Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nov. 1

I've been thinking that it isn't fair for me to blog here and wait for comments when I'm not able to read your blogs and comment. I've been blogging since 2008-how time flies-and I know that it is a close knit community of writers who share their thoughts. The key word there is share. When all I have time for is talking and not listening than that is useless in terms of community and personal interaction.
To that end I think I will suspend this daily blog-take a hiatus. Re-evaluate if what was right in 2008 is still good for 2012. The world is changing in the blink of an eye. I need to keep up or get out.
So, with much love and grateful thanks I am taking a breather. I will still write once a week at www.nancyjparra.blogspot.com. For now...
Take care my friends and thank you for all the joy. Cheers!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oct. 31

Happy Halloween!!

I had four children come to my door. I'm used to at least 100 children. So now what to do with all the candy...
One of the women I work with said her 6-year-old and her class were donating all the candy they collect to soldiers in Afghanistan. When the woman asked her daughter if she didn't want to keep some of the candy the little girl said- "No. Those guys are out their protecting me. I can give them my candy." How sweet is that? It made tears come to my eyes. As a Vet who was overseas- even if it wasn't in a war zone-to know people at home think about you is important. So is a taste of home.
I'm going to take my leftover candy in to work and ask her to give it to her little girl to take to class...
Heroes come in all sizes and ages. Cheers~

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oct. 28

Happy Birthday to my sister Kathi. I hope it's a good one!

I have no idea how it got to be Friday- or the end of October. Halloween is Monday - and the time changes next weekend, November 6th. I've noticed the tiny changes in the season but seriously the actually days of the month are crazy. People keep asking me about Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mind whirls. All I have to say is that I'm glad I graduated in June. If I graduated in January with most of my classmates, I don't know how I would have been able to get it all done.

The people at work of India descent told me that this is Dawali - their Christmas/new years celebration. I am always excited to learn about a new culture and celebrations. We grow up thinking everyone has the same traditions and holidays as we do. Then we become grownups and learn that the traditions/foods and holidays are as diverse as the people. Celebrating that is the most fun of all.

What special celebrations/traditions to you celebrate at your house?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oct. 27

How many of you will be doing nanowrimo? That's the contest where you try to write a book in the month of November- or at least hit a set number of words say 50,000. It is used by writers to motivate them into finally finishing the book. I think Nano can be great fun, although I've never done one personally. I do like to see everyone joining in on-line and supporting each other. The truth is that in "real life" there is no one motivating you to do a job- even a job you love. so there has to be a certain level of self motivation to get a book written.
Let me know if you are hoping to knock out words next month. Cheers~

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oct. 26

It smelled like snow outside today. I think it was just the wind talking as the temperature was 50 degrees F - the sky was gray and completely covered in clouds. Little dog and I are walking in the dark these days. I think I want a walking stick. I worry about coyotes popping out of the tall grass. Seriously the conservation area we pass has slough grass that is as tall as me. Sometimes even little dog gets spooked when it starts to rustle.
We have all the last minute stink bugs/squash beetles clinging to the outside walls and doors trying to find a place to stay warm. This morning there was a group of mallard ducks along the pond. They all slipped into the water as we passed by. Little dog is great. She never barked once, although she wanted to chase them very badly.
How is your weather?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oct. 25

Happy birthday to my nephew, Jared. Hope your day is big fun!

I can't believe I didn't write a blog post yesterday. Ugh. I thought I was all caught up. No wonder I finished so early-here I thought I was being more efficient.

So, how is your week so far? I took cookies to work yesterday and they were a big hit. I now have a group of people I can bake for who can eat it! That's always fun. The thing is they all decided that the gluten-free oatmeal tasted better than the "regular" cookies. I was surprised, but then I got to thinking about it. For the gluten-free cookies I could taste the batter and the cookies to ensure they were good. The others I couldn't. Perhaps tasting really does make a difference. What do you think?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oct. 20

They say October has the most birthdays of any month. In fact October 5th is the day with the most births. That is not hard to imagine considering that February is the conception month. When it's dull and grey and there's nothing to do well... babies are conceived.
Its something to think about when writing your characters-whether you set it in February or October.
What else causes a bump in births? Blackouts. Blizzards. War? Can you think of more? Cheers~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oct. 19

Today was cold, windy with rain that fell thickly. Trees waved in the wind. Leaves swirled in tiny devils on the ground then stuck flat and wet to windows and doors. Birds hid in the remaining leafy trees and sang a song to brighten the day. A lone tree held tightly to its bright red leaves, the top most branches having lost their battle stood bare against the silver thick sky. The earth absorbed the water while the tiniest of creatures scurried to their winter dens.
Here in the USA we call this football weather or turkey weather. Time to gather inside with the warmth of the oven roasting full meals and the television blaring over the top of family chatter. We visit and root for our teams. We bake pies and cakes and goodies. We tell ghost stories and share our bounty. Deep fall is the storm before the cold when we are happy for the change of season before the darkness gets on our nerves and makes us dream of summer once more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct. 18

Today's sky reminded me of winter. It was gray and thick with clouds. Winter clouds aren't like summer clouds-they have a silver quality to them that speaks of snow and cold. Lucky for us the surface temperature was too warm for snow. We had rain instead. It is only the middle of October, but the weather is showing warning signs of the weather to come. I heard it's still 100 degrees in Arizona. Funny to think they are still in the throws of summer while we are on the edge of winter. After living in the south Pacific for nearly two years I kind of like my four seasons. I may complain come March when it's still snowy, but I'd rather have four seasons than only one. How about you? Do you dream of a tropical island where the weather never changes?
Inquiring minds want to know. Cheers~

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct. 17

I spoke to a dear friend this weekend. She, too, experienced a weird week last week - having seen both trouble with electronics and communications between people. So I know I was not the only one, and she lives hundreds of miles from me so it wasn't regional, either.
I spent the weekend having the most interesting time at a large tradeshow for my new job. The show itself was fun, it was the getting to and from that was interesting. I learned very quickly how to hail a cab. Having never done it in my life~ I can now say I'm no longer a beginner. Perhaps it was easy because I'm relatively tall and a red head with long arms. One God-send of a cabbie caught me running down a flight of steps and across a parking lot and still got me where I wanted to go. Now that's an eagle eye. I tipped him well.
In many ways I am Marlo Thomas in the big city. It is not safe for me. I'm too approachable- if that's possible. We won't talk about the lack of umbrella or raincoat as I ran from one train station to another downtown in a suit and heels. I feel so urban now. I wonder if I look "cool" and "polished," too~ LOL.
Nope I'm still me. What adventures did you have this weekend?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oct. 14

Full moon week, is anyone else experiencing technical difficulty? Work computers have been on the blink. Communications with vendors is rough. Communications between people has been rough. Communication with my characters has been rough. I wonder if it's a sun spot or a planetary alignment or something. It is almost as if we are all in the Tower of Babel and something happened so that we are unable to truly understand each other. Or maybe this is the universe's way of making us all stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and come at things from a new and better angle. I like to order the chaos that is life. Reality doesn't allow for order, but I pretend that it does and that -like a story- life has it's own pattern all I have to do is figure it out.
I hope you all have a great weekend! Cheers~

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oct. 13

Today I walked little dog in the damp misty darkness. I noticed that the water droplets hung from the needles of the pine trees like tiny jewels. We arrived home damp but happy. I'm writing. Unfortunately I'm averaging three pages a day when I usually average ten. I suppose I should cut myself a break, but I find that I'm editing half of what I write-worried about my protagonist's "likeability." She is a bit snarky. I don't know if it's her or me but we are having trouble finding our rhythm. I find when this happens if I just keep at it, it does finally take care of itself.

How are you doing? Did you have a rainy day or sunshine? If you are a writer, how is the writing going for you? Ever have trouble getting started?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oct. 12

Do you want to hear about my new job? I work with scientists. Yesterday they ran an experiment and I got to witness and photograph them as they did baseline drug testing, then "spilled" or in this case "poured" a powerful liquid drug on their hands and waited sixty seconds. Then they washed their hands carefully and after an two hours took a second drug test. Why? Because someone was using the reason they failed their drug test as they spilled the drug on their bare hand. As scientists, my employers didn't say- "that's ridiculous." What they said was, "Let's see if that could be true." Was it true? I don't know yet as the testing has to be done. All in all it makes life interesting when you work for people who say, "let's prove it."
Now, I'm wondering how I can write that into a book~ lol.
Do you know someone who's job is interesting to watch? Say a fudge maker? Jeweler? Painter? What do you like about watching them work?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct. 11

My poor pitiful attempt to follow back and comment has been squashed by the hours I spend at my new job. Yes, my friends, if you haven't heard, I am now employed full time. I love my new job and it is very rewarding, but the hours I can spend on-line have been scrunched down to nearly none as I am writing my new series. I will keep posting as best I can. I want to keep in touch. If you have any questions or comments that would be great. I would love to know what you want to read about or what you want to know about me or my books.
I will try to follow and comment as much as possible, but I'm hoping that my books will speak to you more than my daily blog.
Cheers and thanks for reading!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct. 10

Tonight little dog and I went for our walk later. The moon was out and it was huge and round and bright. I would call it a harvest moon. The street lights started to pop on one by one. We walked across a bridge where the sound of frogs singing filled the cool air. The ducks were all off somewhere else, leaving the marshy smelling pond with the perfect twin logs sticking out of it empty. The leaves are falling fast and thick. They are close to four inches deep where they were blown off the sidewalk and mounded up on the grass. Little dog loves the wide variety of smells the mounds contain and happily ruins the piles searching for bugs and other secrets the leaves hold.
I see the vast array of birds flying high above me across the moon, heading south. It makes me wonder why we, humans, don't migrate south in the winter? Unless we're retired that is... lol. Cheers~

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oct. 7

I'm afraid I've been a bit boring lately. In part because I've been crazy busy. I'm writing and that is important as well as watching the leaves fall in an alarming rate. The grape vine has given up and is half gone. Sometimes I talk a lot about the little things because there are so many big things going on and it is the little things that get lost in my head. I pay careful attention to them. If you are keeping a season's notebook don't forget to add Indian Summer to your descriptions. Those are the perfect Autumn days when it is neither too hot, nor too cold. The original term was used after the first frost-if we had a warm up we would get a second or "Indian" summer. I forget about this part of the season when I'm writing. So it is a good detail for the notebook.
I'm glad you visit me at this little blog. Comments are welcome I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Cheers~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oct. 6

It is an absolutely perfect day. The weather is warm. The sky is blue and the trees are bright fall colors of red, orange, yellow and senna. With all the vibrant colors to the leaves against a blue sky it nearly hurts your eyes. I had to go outside and soak up the sunshine while it was here. People were out eating their lunches on park benches or where ever they could find a seat. My lovely cousin said that she was enjoying our Indian summer. I agree. Savor these days as winter comes quickly.
What do you like about this season?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct. 5

Today I was talking with a wonderful gal at my Doctor's office about reading. She told me she has my book but hasn't gotten to it yet as she has a stack on her night stand. I laughed and told her I have the same issue. She loves to read but can only do it in spurts. I agreed. For me though if it's a time issue, than writing comes first, reading second. I received a new stack of books today that my friends have out. Some I will take to get signed, but most won't get read for at least three months. I used to be a one book to the bitter end kind of reader-good, bad or indifferent I would not start a second book until I read the entire contents. But as I've slowed down on my reading, I've gotten to the point of selection. If I'm not the audience for the book, I won't finish it. Or I'll start another and mix it up. There are times when I have a book in every room. You can tell how much I enjoy the author by whether it is a living room book, a kitchen book, a bedroom book, a laundry room book or well, anywhere else.
Are you a one book at a time reader or a book in every room kind? Did that change over time?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oct. 4

Today's subject is the horror of not finding chocolate chips in the cupboard. (Just kidding, I'm sure there are far worse horrors in the world. So let's say- the complaint...) What happens when I want a gluten-free cookie and it's 9 pm? Well, I make them, of course. The trouble is that I didn't have any chocolate chips. This almost never happens. Anyone who knows me, knows I always have chocolate in my house. But alas, not tonight. So what did I do? I made trail mix cookies. I used the chocolate chip cookie base but instead of chips, I added the same amount of dried cranberry, white chocolate, walnut trail mix. The result? A cookie jar of yum!
What good things have you come up with in a pinch?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct. 3

This weekend I harvested the grapes. It was over two hours of cleaning and sorting them into a big pot where I cooked them down to juice. The juice was then twice strained and frozen. We got a gallon and a half off of one grape vine. The next time I have a large section of time I'll make jelly with the juice. The juice is darker this year. We waited longer to harvest the grapes. I hope the jelly has more flavor this year. It was good last year, but delicate. I prefer more grape flavor. We will see.
What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sept 29

The month has faded away into a memory. Writer friends are you prepping for this year's NANOWRIMO? My regular readers may remember that the month of November many writers sign up to hit a certain word count that equals a book in a month or as close to one as possible. It's a great motivator to get writing before the holidays hit us. What do you win if you reach your goal? A complete first draft and a cute little banner to add to your blog or website. I have never done this because I've always set my own goals. But I will use the change of month and season to create new goals and deadlines. For me it's all about getting your bum in chair and writing. The stories tell themselves.
Are you setting new goals?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sept 28

Today little dog and I went for our walk in rain. It was the third day in a row. I'm not begrudging it as we needed it, but it is a bit cold and wet and yucky to walk in. I keep saying I need to get a giant golf umbrella for us both to walk under. When I do, I can guarantee that the rain will stop. Isn't that the way of things.
Writers, when you write characters do they have things like this happen to them-rain when you don't have an umbrella or rain right after you wash your windows or your car? We call it Murphy's Law here- whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
Everyone, what others things seem to happen all the time?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sept 27

Next week is October. Gah! I know I'm accomplishing things. My to-do list is fluctuating. So why then am I feeling as if there simple aren't enough hours in a day? Little dog says I'm making her tired and she needs a nap. Perhaps I'll discover that October is a good month to get caught up and I will be able to join little dog in her nap. With the colder air, falling leaves, and honking geese flying south, a nap sounds very, very good.
But the grapes are getting ripe and soon I will be picking them and cooking them and straining them and making juice and jams and jelly. So much for a nap. At least the jelly will be tasty when I'm done.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sept 26

I forgot to say- Happy equinox! It is officially autumn here and spring down under. The days are rapidly growing darker. The trees are changing color and leaves are falling. This morning was a heavy cold rain and little dog grumbled about having to go outside to do her business. I refuse to spend the money on one of those puppy shelters for her to potty under. 1) I don't think she'd use it. 2) It's crazy how much money we spend on dogs while children suffer. Don't get me wrong, I love little dog and spend far too much money on her, but in my book all children should be warm, dry, happy and healthy. (So should fur babies but human babies first.) We can't rescue everyone. Life isn't fair, blah, blah, blah. It's why I love stories. I know you can get lost in a story and for a while-however short- you can be a hero/heroine. For a while you can be brave and funny and beautiful and you know the outcome will be happy. If only life were truly like stories. What are your favorite things about changing seasons?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sept 22

There are so many details to be attended to in my life right now; details in writing while I edit, research revise. There are logistical details of getting myself to and fro. There are details to attend to after Bouchercon. There are details, details, details. I like to organize my details and try not to miss them. Sometimes it feels as if you are swallowed up whole by the little things, but then I smile and say "hey, don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff." What I really have to do it to stop promising things that I can't deliver and forgive myself when I don't meet my personal insane deadlines.  I keep making lists and crossing stuff off. In the end it all gets done.
How do you deal with the details of your life?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sept 21

On our walk today, little dog and I passed a group of Mallard ducks sleeping on top of two large logs in the middle of a swamp/pond. I thought how clever. I doubt a coyote is hungry enough to splash his way through the water to get to them. Even if he did, they could wake up and fly away before he reached them. It's times like this I wish I had a camera with me.
What did you see today that stuck in your mind?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sept 20

I did write a post yesterday. I didn't see it posted. Hmmm, Blogger is acting all weird. So is Facebook. It seems when the internet messes up it goes all over. I am changing internet providers and will be without service for a while. Hopefully it will be fixed by Saturday. I'm hoping to have more time starting next week to get back on line and follow your blogs and check in with my friends. I feel so woefully out of touch. Take care and know I'm thinking of you~ Cheers!

Whoops, it wasn't blogger it was me. I scheduled it for the 20th and not the 19th. Yikes. I need some rest. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sept 20

I learned last week that The Counterfeit Bride, my latest book was named one of the top ten romances of 2011 by Booklist Magazine. What an exciting and happy thing!!
I actually learned about it from friends who sent me the link. Thank you to everyone who told me and tweeted the information.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sept 16

When you are at a conference there is far too little time. I am stopping in to let you know that I am fine. I'm simply busy meeting wonderful book reviewers like Dru Ann Love and writers and other business professionals. It's been non-stop motion since I got here. My poor roommate is doing at least two things a day. Where I am lucky and get to sit in the break room whenever I want. Sometimes it's good to be part of the masses.
Cheers my friends. I hope your weekend is joyful!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sept 14

I got revision notes for my latest cozy mystery. I love to see what my agent thinks. Then it's a puzzle for me to figure out how to make that happen. When I first started many books ago, I would have been put off by revisions. But these days I encourage opinions. It doesn't mean that I will follow them all, but it helps me to improve the work and for me that is the most important thing. I want to be successful and if that means a rewrite or a word search, then I'm all over it. I am so invested in my stories. It breaks my heart when they aren't selling. So I work hard to ensure they are the best they can be so that more people enjoy them.
Writers, how do you feel about revisions?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept 13

Well, my blogging friends, how is your social media doing? Have you done any Google analytics to see page views. Are your numbers going up or down now that the kids are back in school? I see my numbers rise in September. But I wonder what it's like for YA authors, do your numbers go down or up with the return of school and all it's activities?
I think there is a place for blogs and it shows when the numbers come back that many people get to my website through blogs.
Readers, do you have more time or less for social media when school starts? Inquiring minds want to know. Cheers~

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept 12

The grapes are starting to turn purple. I have noticed trees with red leaves. Some are half red while others are still pure green. People are putting out their Fall decorations of scarecrows (that scare no one) and red/orange/yellow-colored mums. The geese are flying over head in V formations. I suspect they will begin to come back to the lake for their annual ten o'clock coffee break.This area lost a lot of trees this summer. The weather was bad between drought and strong storms that tore off branches and split trunks. Then the bugs came and feasted on the damage. Slowly the trees are being cut down. The limbs sectioned into firewood. The air is dry and scented with bonfire smoke. Fat squirrels run about burying nuts for winter storage. I have yet to see the deer this year. I wonder why they are not coming by this way. Perhaps there is more food somewhere else. Little dog tells me that chipmunk has been up on the deck again. I need to keep an eye on the fruit and ensure I get it first.S easons change daily, but life...life goes on in known cycles. It's comforting. Isn't it?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sept 9

Yay Friday~ It has been a crazy short week. September ramps up for writers as the fall releases start to come out and the publishers, editors and agents are back at work after a leisurely summer. I'm having fun with my new story idea. Plus working on new stuff for my next release. Then there is website stuff to update and more. So, it's going to be a busy weekend.
If you're a reader do you buy more books come Fall? Are you thinking Christmas already or are you simply happy to have the kids back to school?
If you're a writer, tell me about your latest release and what kind of promo you're doing. Inquiring minds want to know. Cheers~

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept 8

Its a Thursday that "feels" like Wednesday due to the holiday on Monday. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing because it is almost the weekend already and a bad thing because there is more work than usual to fill the hours. I'm working on a new mystery series as well as a young adult horror/thriller novel. No worries there is humor in my horror.  I guess that is because I see humor in everything. It keeps the hardships of life less of a burden when you see the ridiculous in them.
What is your favorite genre to read and/or write?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sept 7

The grapes on my back deck are beginning to turn purple. Right now they are a dusky red. The air is scented with concord grape. It smells purple. The neighbors gave me a bag full of tomatoes from their garden. Mine are still mostly green. It has cooled off and I am worrying that frost will come before the plants fully produce. If that happens, we'll figure out what to do with green tomatoes and green grapes- perhaps a relish.
Do you know of a good green tomato recipe? Cheers~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept 6

I'm going through my inbox. What a mess. There are stacks and piles in the basket. So it's time to figure out what stays, what goes, what's due and what can be put off.  I did get some critiquing done this weekend. I got signed copies of my new contracts out. That's always good. I did write my weekly letter to my grandmother. It's an excuse to use stationary and practice my handwriting-which sucks since I type everything. There is some mail I wanted to reread. A book borrowed from a friend. Notes on my new job. An invoice on a skirt I bought on-line. Gah!
The good news is that nothing has tipped over and scattered on the floor. Not yet anyway.
How busy is your Sept?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sept 5

A cold front has come through and the temperature dropped about twenty degrees F. The windows are open and the breeze blowing in making me chilly. I have a sweater on. Here in the US it's Labor Day and the official end of the summer season. The fashion industry once again debates whether it is fashion forward or a no-no to wear white after labor day. As for me, I try to avoid white at all costs because I'm a hot mess and white will be quickly stained and ruined if I wear it. One bump of my coffee cup or a stray spurt of ketchup or even just brushing by something dark or greasy. For that matter I sat in gum at the movie theater a few weeks back and ended up tossing a pair of slacks. So for me, white is always a no-no. As for my messiness. I embrace and accept it. I work around it. Mostly I don't worry about it. It can sometimes bring a good laugh to a sober day. Happy holiday my friends. Cheers~

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sept 2

Yesterday I saw the first signs of Fall. I drove to pick my daughter up from college for the weekend and passed a farm with a line of colorful flags on either side of the driveway and small signs that read: pumpkins, corn maze, hay rack rides, caramel apples, and- my favorite- cider donuts. It brought back memories of taking my kids to one such farm to pick out their pumpkin for carving later-or painting if we decided to cook and eat it. Fresh apple cider and donuts are special parts of Fall I look forward to, although these days for me it's gluten free donuts as I have a gluten allergy (celiac). The memories flow of college and football games and bon fires and fun.
What memories do you have of Fall?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sept 1

Welcome in a new month~ this month I will be attending my first conference in a few years. Bouchercon is taking place in St. Louis and I am hoping to do some networking and learn a few things along the way. Bcon is my first foray into the mystery writer community and with my new sale to Berkley Prime Crime~ the Gluten Free Bakery mystery series, its time I became more familiar with the mystery/thriller world.
I know some writers who attend every conference they can. While that would be fun, I think it would be exhausting and they must have to write while they attend to keep up. I'd rather attend one or two conferences a year and give them my entire focus.
Bcon is a conference for writers but mostly for fans of mystery books. Do you ever attend a conference as a fan? If so, what are your favorite moments?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aug 31

Before I became a writer I would read up to six or eight books a week. Now, most of that time goes to writing my own books, so the number of books I have to be read is very high. Because I'm a writer, people give me books all the time and tell me that I need to read them. Then I have so many talented friends that I have a whole stacks of books that I purchased to support them and because I love their work and want to read more. Then there are my old favorites like Nora Robert's In Death series-which I am far behind on and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books that I am embarrassingly behind on. Then there are the new thriller, horror, YA and scifi authors I was introduced to in my Master's program and after reading one want to read more of their work. If I could I would add about five more hours to the day and get caught up.
What about you? How big is your to-be-read pile?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Aug 30

One writer friend of mine was recently told by a person she just met that they didn't like her because she was a fiction writer and as such she was a natural born liar. This person didn't like liars. There is truth in the fact that as fiction writers we make stuff up for a living, but integrity is important in the messages of our work. If you are without integrity is shows in the writing.
Do we as fictions writers- and you don't have to be a fiction writer to do this- stretch the truth a bit? Sure. For us it's not about the accuracy of the details but the impact the story has on our lives and the lives of our audience. Does this make us liars. I don't think so. I happen to know for a fact that I'm a terrible liar. It shows on my face and in my voice-there is no hiding a lie for me. But I can spin a whopper of a tail out of the smallest detail. If you find that offensive, then I think we are better off parting ways.
So what are your thoughts on the subject? Is it absolute truth for you and your life, or do you love to spin a tale or two?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Aug 29

Fall is always a season of change. Kids go to school. Schedules move from summer activities to fall back-to-school--parent teacher meetings, sports gear up, band practice. How is a writer supposed to keep going as if nothing has changed? Some writers plan their deadlines around changes in seasons and holidays. I know a writer who wrote all her books in the fall and winter and took summers off. Others write year round while most of us write when we can. It comes down to this: if you don't plan ahead then your writing will suffer. Publishers count on winter holidays as slow times and summers being slow times and schedule accordingly. They know that people are prone to take vacations and attend conferences and it is difficult to get board meetings where everyone is available to get behind the new list and discuss who they want to buy. Publishers plan accordingly. As writers- we have lives and family and work and if we are lucky conferences. The very best thing you can do for yourself-especially if you are not yet published, is to create work deadlines that give you specific times off or at the very least account for changes in family and season. Self-imposed deadlines are the best way to get in the habit of writing like a professional. If you are in the habit of working around life then when you publish you will be better able to roll with the times.
Do you set your own deadlines?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aug 26

Let's talk about writer's block. You hear about it all the time. The movies portray it as a writer sitting in front of a blank sheet of paper or a blinking cursor for hours even days with nothing to say. In the old days they would type a word or two- then get disgusted and tear the paper out of the typewriter and crumple it up and toss it on the floor. I like this image. There are days when I would like to do more than mildly delete- I would love to tear the page from the computer and crumple it and throw it at the wall.
That said, I don't believe in writer's block. What it is is fear. The person writing is suddenly afraid to open the door to the story- why? Lot's of reasons- fear of failure, fear that they aren't really any good at this, fear that this is the best thing they'll ever write that it will hit the NYT list and they will suddenly be in the limelight with nothing else to say. Or fear of humiliation that people will point at laugh at them for having the audacity to be a writer. The fear of humiliation or being caught as a fraud happens even after you have several books published.
How do you stop this? Put your bum in chair and write. Give yourself permission to suck. No one but you will read the first draft. The great part about writing is that it's not done until you say it's done. A lot of people will see it before it goes public. Stories are fluid and until the book is in print it can change. So relax and give yourself permission to write. Cheers~

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aug 25

The view from my window is hot and swampy. The trees are deep green in shadow and bright in the spots where the sun hits. The sky is that brilliant blue that makes you squint with a handful of small puffy clouds. The air is thick with the scent of muddy water and mosquitoes. The plants are overrun with Japanese beetles. The sine wave rhythm of the cicada buzz creates a lazy feel. Heat rises from the damp earth and radiates back toward the sun. The lake banks are over flowing, swallowing trees and creating swamps.
Still hints of autumn are all around. There are trees with yellow and orange leaves peaking out among the green, found along the edges. The Canada geese can be seen flying in a vee formation toward the south. Small birds are flocking up. They all know that the slow lazy heat will soon be gone and Fall will arrive with it's warm days, cool nights and the scents of warm straw and dead leaves in the air.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aug 24

I know you want to know why I'm late to my blog today~ I sneaked (did you know they say there is no such word as snuck? It's bad form so I sneaked) out to see a movie. I was amazed at the number of people at a Wednesday matinee. I think they had a senior citizen special.
I went to see "The Help." This is a movie based on a novel about a girl who interviews the black maids in Jackson Mississippi at the start of the civil rights movement. It is funny how the white girls are all suppose to go to college to get their MRS degree. Everyone is disappointed that the heroine got an actual Journalism degree and wanted to work-not get married. Her idea for a book is simple. Tell the story from the point of view of the maids. It was Jim Crow laws and the "country club set" are horrified that their maids use their bathrooms. A couple go so far as to have special bathrooms built in garages for the maids. What the heroine proposes to do can get these maids put in jail or worse--killed. It takes courage and fortitude but these women speak up and she writes their stories. The consequences are not pretty, but fairly told.
I wanted to see this movie because as a child of immigrants, my grandmother left school after 8th grade and went to work first cleaning hospitals then cleaning houses- she cooked, she cleaned, she raised other people's kids. I went for a ride with her through her town a few weeks ago and she pointed and said, "I cleaned that big house for forty years." She has told me in the past that one thing she knows- she knows her place. The difference between my Grandmother and these black women is that she is white and didn't have to battle Jim Crow laws. That doesn't mean she doesn't know what it's like to be "The Help."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aug 23

It's raining here. I put little dog's sweater on her and took her for a walk. She protested the whole way~ her feet were getting wet! Such is the life of a pampered pooch. They actually make doggie out houses so they can poo in the rain and snow and stay dry. Um, yeah, I'm not going that far. She's a dog, a cute dog, but a dog. My daughter has me watching The Dog Whisperer- that guy would shake his head at the idea of a doggie outhouse. I like him. He says dogs are 100 percent predictable if you know what you're looking for and that it is the owner who needs to be trained. He thinks people need to get over the stories they tell themselves about their dogs feelings and become calm and assertive pack leaders. He tells women that this kind of calm and assertive behavior will help them in their work and their life.
It reminds me of that wonderful old movie If a Man Answers, where the young wife tries to save her marriage by using dog training techniques on her new husband.
Have you seen it? It's big fun. Remember always to be calm and assertive my friends. Cheers~

Monday, August 22, 2011

Aug 22

Happy, happy birthday to my Mom who turns 75 today! Hope your day is special~

Went to the movies this weekend and saw "Captain America." I loved it. It had some fun newsreel like scenes. The Computer generate image of the actor as a 90 pound weakling were awesome. Seriously looks like the same guy. I loved the character, Steve. He might be small and weak but he never gave up and he always stood up to bullies-even if they beat him up. One of my favorite actors is in this movie- Stanley Tucci. He plays the scientist who came up with the formula to create a "better soldier." It is all good fun.
Complaints: it ran a little two long at two hours and 5 min. and some of the military details made me squirm. To me it's a little disrespectful not to get these details right. It took me less than an hour to find them on-line. What details am I talking about? 1) you don't wear your hat inside. 2) Women have to have their hair up off their collar. Small I know but it pulled me from the story. I mentioned this on my facebook page and had two guys argue that women could have long hair in the 1940's and they showed me pics-some were Hollywood stills (if they can't bother to get it right now, why would they get it right then?) and some gave the appearance of on the collar but weren't. So I asked my sister a 20-year-retired Navy Chief if she knew what the regs (regulations) were in 1943 and she was able to send them showing that off the coat collar was standard. I also got some great links from my Romvets group. (A group of veterans and active duty who write mostly romance.) Here are some awesome links: US Reenactors-women at war and this great look into the basic training handbook from 1943. Check out page 5 of the handbook. Fun reading.
What complaints do you have in movies you love?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Aug 19

I love to bake. It's a creative outlet with immediate results. But I've found over the years that there are certain things that fail every time. Pie crust and yeast breads have never turned out for me. My guess is that I over work them. My mother's forte is pie crust. My grandmother makes bread to die for-it has a taste no one can duplicate. My daughter is good at yeast breads. Seriously, if they can do it, then I can do it. I simply have to practice more. So I am equipping myself with an artisan bread cookbook-this one contains gluten free recipes so I can make bread that I can eat-and a baking stone and a danish dough hook. I'm going to practice, practice, practice until it looks like the cookbook pictures and tastes as good as it looks. Trust me-this is going to take weeks, perhaps months and a lot of eating stuff that isn't quite right. But it's fun to try and something to distract me when the writing gets nuts.
What hobbies are you trying this year?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aug 18

This morning I sent a book off to my agent. I hope she likes it and can sell it. I'm waiting for revisions on a proposal for a second mystery series. When you write, you write years ahead of yourself. Sometimes I'll write a book that is spot on for the current market and sometimes I'll write one that sits for a few years until the market swings to that type of story. I recently read a blog where the writer spoke about readers wanting to read a new book now and not understanding that what can take them hours to read can take months and sometimes years to produce. So there is always lag time of one kind or another. The good news for readers is that it is a way of keeping the quality of the content. Trust me, you don't want to read anyone's first draft. lol. In the end, for the reader a good book is worth the wait.
Writers, how long does it take you to write a book? As a reader, what do you hate most about the wait?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This morning I got up to find that the chipmunk has discovered my back deck and the mother load of grapes. He was checking out my potted tomatoes when I first saw him. Then he went on to enjoy the grapes. After battling him last year to prevent his burrowing under my front stoop, I don't know what to do about this new turn of events. I can't put down the "stay away" crystals on the deck because little dog uses it. She likes to smell the chipmunk but doesn't keep it away. It's times like this that I miss big dog. He would have a blast guarding the grapes. He was a good hunter and always made sure there were no rodents in my yard.
Any suggestions on how to save the grapes without harming the dog? I'm putting on my camo face. It's war chipmunk!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aug 16

Summer isn't officially over for another three weeks-Labor Day weekend in the States. But it's over for many kids already returning to college and to school. I go into the stores and see the parents stocking up on the school supplies on the list for their child's grade. In our current economy there are many parents who can't pay for supplies. There are kids who will feel bad- or less than everyone else because they don't have the 24 pack of crayons. They only have the 12 pack. Even worse are the teachers who point out to the kids that their parents didn't buy exactly what was on the list. It's hard enough when kids wear hand-me-downs, and only get one meal a day-the free school lunch. Or worse, they're living in cars or shelters or hotel rooms.
Let's band together to help these kids out. There are some great organizations near you that take donations of school supplies. If you can spare a dollar or two, please pick up a school supply list and purchase one or two items on it. Let's help all our kids feel as if school is a place they can fit in, and forget their parents worries, and their hunger-at least for a few hours. Cheers~

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aug 15

They say that no good deed goes unpunished. I am here to say that what I thought was a nice thing turned out to be confusing and apparently misleading. Funny how writers and professional communicators can still send the wrong message.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about my Goodreads giveaway. When it was over and Goodreads picked the two winners, Lauren and Emma. I immediately announced it here, and on Facebook and on Twitter and everywhere where I had talked about the contest. Then I saw that Goodreads allows me to see the first name and Goodreads link to all who entered. So I thought I would send each of the 1559 people a personal thank you note for taking the time to enter. I got to about 25 when I got an e-mail back that went something like this: So did I win? Then I thought about the others I had connected with who said they were looking forward to reading The Counterfeit Bride and now I'm concerned all 25 thought they were winners because I sent them a thank you. Yes, I now know that I should have said the winners were announced and congrats to Emma and Lauren and then said Thank you for your entry. Lesson learned.
Here is my apology to everyone I contacted who may feel misled. It was not my intention. I'm terribly sorry.
Has this ever happened to you?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aug 12

Happy Friday everyone~ The view from my window is sparkly green as the sunlight hits the leaves on the trees. The windows are open and fresh air is blowing in. It smells like warm gentle summer. The scent of fresh tomatoes and zucchini, oregano, beans and peas from the garden. The lake has lazy waves. There is a hum of cicadas that starts out low then grows louder and louder then back to soft mimicking the waves. I can hear crickets and bird song. All is steeped in the soft sweet heat of summer. Perfect for lemonade, a good book and a easy hammock.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aug 11

The internet is playing havoc lately. First it was my blog list, next I could not log onto Facebook. This morning it took a while to be able to get into my e-mail. It's awful how much I rely on these things to communicate with family and friends, and to market my books, etc. I really count on the internet for my news both local and abroad. It's quicker and less skewed than the television news. So it hurts when things go wacky.
I'm told Google+ is the culprit as every other web service is trying to update quickly to compete. Blogger is changing, Facebook is updating, e-mail services are updating. Sigh.
I suppose all the constant change is good. It keeps the mind sharp. But then it may also steer some people away and back to old fashioned things like phone calls, snail mail and newspaper.
What do you think? Do you keep up with every new change or do you long for the "good-ole-days?"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aug 10

The Goodreads contest is over. A big THANK YOU to everyone who entered. There were 1559 entries and two winners. The winners are: Lauren from Lacy, WA and Emma from Cincinnati, OH. Congrats! The books will be in the mail by this weekend.

Thanks to Judy Croome and Joelle Charbonneau for suggesting the contest.

Okay- I just checked my list of blogs I follow and it's gone! What is going on? I follow a lot of blogs and I use my blog list to read you all. Now Blogger says I don't follow anyone. Does anyone have an idea what happened? Will it come back on its own or do I have to go searching? Gah! I don't have the time. sigh. Isn't technology grand.

Hope your day is wonderful. Cheers~

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aug 9

Today, I'm in between writing and editing and I look up to see that my office is totally trashed- again. Don't get me wrong, I vacuum and dust it every week. But when I am in the throws of writing or editing things tend to pile up. I work around the piles gloriously able to ignore them. When I'm done, I look up and see that things are falling. Piles are mixing when they shouldn't. Then I know it's time to suck it up and start sorting and filing and boxing and wondering how the heck I never noticed that I had guns and knives falling out of my closet. (Okay, don't be scared. My office closet is a catchall for the house. I think I was digging for boxes and dumped misc. things out. Thus the son's hunting stuff ended up on the floor.)
Everyone has their own level of organization that needs to go on when they write. I usually start out spotless and the more I get into the work the worse my office gets. I dig through books for names and leave them open because I may need it again. I have research books and several style guides and dictionaries- my feet are on a pile of research books right now.
What is your level of comfort when you write/read?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Aug 8

I started today off writing July 8- sigh. Do you ever do that? I mean wow what year is it? lol. Time flies, especially when your brain is hip deep in a book- either writing or editing. You're in your character's time and if I didn't have family around I wouldn't really know night from day. I've read that some writers will even not eat. Hmmm- I can't go that far. I'm an eater. That is obvious by my facebook posts about baking things. This weekend I made Zimtkucken for the first time. It is a yeast based cinnamon coffee cake. I can't eat it because it is made with flour- but everyone else can. The house smelled like a bakery. I posted the recipe in the notes section of my FB page.
Another tip for the time challenged: since it's not good to sit too long, I set the kitchen timer for 60 minutes. My office is upstairs but I can hear it. I have to get up and go downstairs to turn it off. Then I get water as well. This helps stretch my muscles and keep me hydrated.
Does time fly for you? If so, do you have any tips to combat it?

Friday, August 5, 2011

August 5

Sorry to have missed you yesterday. I made a road trip to see my Grandmother. She'll be 92 in October. Sadly, I only make the trip once a year, but I do write her. Late last night when I was tired, I got two notices from friends that my FB account had been hacked. I have no idea how they knew- they told me to check my pictures- but I didn't see anything different. Still I changed my password. I'm super careful and don't play games, use linked apps, click on strange links or keep it open. Sigh. I am wondering if FB does the hacking since as best I can tell only a few people were effected. I say this because FB has been bugging me to "up my security" by giving them my cell phone and allowing them to send me text messages. I say no.
Do let me know if you get any thing weird from me.
I heard back from Awesome agent- the new proposal is passed step one and on to step two. I'll let you all know how it's going.
Have a safe and happy weekend~ Cheers!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3

As of this afternoon 644 people have entered the Goodreads Giveaway for The Counterfeit Bride. That is awesome. You people rock!
At the end of the month I'm going to take Judy Croome's advice and place a book as a giveaway on Library Thing as well.
For my blogger friends- I know that I took quite a few months off from commenting on a regular basis due to school work, but now that I've been back at it I am disappointed to see so many bloggers who don't follow back. (Unlike you wonderful people who are so kind a patient with me.) There seems to be a line somewhere where they say- I'm popular and I no longer care about reading what you have to say. I wonder is this because of the different types of bloggers out there?Or do you think that the time of following blogs has settled into- these are the people I follow and that's enough for me?
Or is blogging so 2007?
What has been your experience?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2

Today I turned in the proposal - first three chapters and synopsis-of a new mystery series I'm developing to my agent. I'm a bit nervous as she is an awesome agent and this is only the second work I've sent her so we are still in the "new" stage. I want her to "love" it. I want her to be able to sell it. I don't want to look like the first series was a fluke and I'm not really that good of a writer. Yes, I know- ten published books with many starred reviews and still I worry every book is not good enough. Silly, but there you have the mind of a writer. I know big name authors who feel the same. Many of us are secret Sally-Field-at-the-Oscars, "You like me. You really like me." Poor Sally, people make fun of that moment, but I'm here to tell you they make fun of it because we've all felt that way with one thing or another. Thankfully, she said it so we don't have too.
I'll keep you posted on the progress of the new series. Meanwhile, I'll be editing a couple of books and sending them off as well. After all, you never know what is going to sell next. Cheers~

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1

All right my friends- the Goodreads contest is on for the next ten days you can enter to win one of two hard cover copies of THE COUNTERFEIT BRIDE. These books are priced at $24 each so it's a good deal.

It's new month with new goals. There is a group of writers on Facebook that is set up to do a writing push this month. It's a good idea. Now is not the time to query. Now is the time to write, write, write.

If you're a reader, this is a great time to ask your librarian to order your favorite books. Budgets vary but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Now the big question- what are you reading? This week I'm reading "Murder on Lexington Avenue," By Victoria Thompson. Cheers~

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Goodreads. It's a social network where people who love books and love to read share what they are reading. They also can review what they are reading. I have a small author page there and in fact just last night linked this blog to that page- so *waves* to the Goodreads people who see this post.
I mention this because I am following a couple of good friends in a new promotion activity. I will be giving away two free books on Goodreads. I'm curious to see how many people sign up and if it makes a difference. My hope is that if you haven't read my books before that you will sign up to try to win a free book- and then review it on Goodreads. If nothing else you will check out my other award winning books. You can find most of them at your library or a library in your district. If not, ask your librarian to purchase them. Five of my books have received starred reviews from Booklist Magazine- the magazine for librarians.
So if you are on Goodreads, please find me and friend or follow. Have a fantastic weekend. Cheers~

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28

My blogger friend Anita made a great comment the other day that what gets her back into writing mode from edit mode is bum in chair and just doing it. I agree~ When I say I'm having problems starting it's because I'm only able to scrap out five or six pages a day when I usually easily do ten or more. So for me it's not bum in chair as much as finding the place where you are so lost in story that pages flow without any thought. I love that feeling. I'm still waiting for it. Meanwhile I'm bum in chair and the partial for my agent is almost ready. I think it might help if I continue on with writing this book instead of waiting. I trust that the more days I hack away, the better my chances of finding the zone.
So, do you work in a zone? Or do you simply give yourself a page count or word count and stick it out until you're done? Or are you the kind of writer who writes whatever comes to you that day with no thought to deadline? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27

Here we are in the swelter of a massive heatwave and the stores are putting out winter coats and fall sweaters. School supplies are already half price and school doesn't start for another month. I predict I will be seeing Halloween goods in the stores in the next week or two. For me time flies so quickly, I don't want stores helping it along. On the radio this morning an ad for new cars said, snow is just around the corner time for a new car. Um, what? It's a heat wave. The idea of snow right now is kind of nice, but why skip the wonders of summer? The flowers that come out in the heat? The lazy steamy days? We have them for only a short time. I say-heat or no- we live in today, this moment, right now and see the joys there are to be found because today, right now, this summer won't be here tomorrow.
What are your pet peeves when it comes to stores pushing the seasons?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26

I'm having a terrible time getting started on my latest book. I can't figure out why that is. I love the idea. I love the characters. I've got my beat sheet worked out. So what is my problem? Why am I scratching out five pages at a time?
My lovely friend and fellow writer Joelle Charbonneau clued me in last night. She said, "You have been in editing mode so long, you are struggling to get back into writing mode."
A bell went off in my head, she's right! I've spent this entire year so far revising and editing first the gluten-free mystery book, Gluten For Punishment and then my thesis thriller, Mind Games. I'm so into editor mode that I'm picking at my writer trying to work. Poor writer. She sits down and instead of letting her play I keep telling her things she should edit. Does this happen to any of my writer friends out there?
My solution is to do a few playful, creative, non-writing projects until I can once again hear the writer voice inside me. So I'm off to color with colored pencils or maybe bake up a new recipe.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25

Here is a picture of one of the gladiolas I planted in my garden this year. Isn't it lovely? I thought in this heat wave we should have a picture of some good things about summer.
We got rain this weekend in the evenings and I think the plants will begin to perk up a bit. I have two tomatoes that are almost ripe. I jumped the gun and picked them early because I was afraid, the heat, bugs or rot would get them first.
Jumping the gun is when a racer takes off before the starting gun sounds. I am thinking since I have an international and NY readership, perhaps I should explain myself. My NY editors rarely understand what these "isms" mean. My latest battle was with a heroine whose friends "would give their eye teeth to have one of those designer coats." I thought this was a very common saying everyone knew meant that they are jealous and would do almost anything for the coat. But my editor and her assistant didn't "get it." It sounds yucky, they said. Do you mean they'd really pull their teeth?- eww. Sigh. No, I explained it's a common saying for "They would do anything." This was not good enough. I had to completely take the sentence out before they would move on. This is not the first time this has happened. Several of my books have had "isms" fixed. I can't remember exactly which ones at present, but I am always shocked by the editorial lack of understanding. I try hard to remove "isms" but I think at the same time they do add flavor to the story. What is your favorite "ism?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22

We had rain today. YAY! Water falls from the sky. It was accompanied by lightning, thunder, and wind, but not so bad that it did any damage. The grass is already perking up a bit. DD (darling daughter) went to let little dog out to do her thing when she stopped. Wily E coyote was near the fence. He ran off and in the distance we heard a goose holler. I hope it got away. I went out but could not see anything. The birds pitched a fit for twenty minutes after, but then all was quiet. Little dog was safe to use her yard. I stayed with her just in case. I miss big dog. He has been gone a year, but he was the one big enough to run off the largest of predators.
Have a fabulous weekend. Cheers~

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21

Yesterday I learned that The Counterfeit Bride earned a starred review from the ALA's Booklist Magazine. This is wonderful news. A starred review means that more libraries will consider stocking the book. You can also ask you local librarian to stock it as well. In the back and forth of writers trying to build careers in a bad economy and a changing market. Good reviews are important. So if you read a book and really enjoyed it, please post a little line on Amazon. It will make the author's day and perhaps help them sell their next work to a publisher so you can read more.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20

The other day I saw geese flying in a V heading south. I thought- already? It's a little early considering the heat wave and all. But then I realized that the lakes are very low right now. Perhaps they are looking for a place with more water resources.
Another strange bit- my magnolia tree is blooming again. It is not supposed to bloom twice, but suddenly I have big pink flowers at the very top of it. Meanwhile the cherry trees and the neighbor's birch trees are all losing leaves as if it is late September.
I think perhaps we are in some sort of climate change. The plants and animals are confused.
Meanwhile, the wood chipper guys are out creating as much noise as possible as they clean up the piles and piles of debris left by last week's storm.
The view from my window is close-the-blinds hot and I'm enjoying a bowl of cherries for breakfast.
How are you dealing with your season? Cheers~

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19

I have joined Google+. It is a new social network meant to out do Facebook. I like it because you can keep private matters private and yet still have social friends from all over the world. It is slow going as I have yet to figure out how to add people. I was lucky to have a mutual friend add me and then I went through her friends and added people that way. I hope in time to master this new network. I like to keep on top of new things happening on the web. It keeps the brain from getting rusty and helps keep my writing current and my friends in touch. I really enjoy Facebook and only regret the lack of privacy. As an author, you are a public figure, and everything you do on the web must be carefully thought out. But then again, now that the web is so prevalent in everyone's lives, I suppose the best thing for everyone to do is to always act as if your Grandmother is watching. Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't want her to hear.
What is your motto when working on the web?
(If you are on Google+, add me.) Cheers~

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go see the Dalai Lama of Tibet in person and listen to him speak. The auditorium was packed. He spoke on religious tolerance and how religious people should work together and not fight each other- because we all believe in the same truths- love, compassion, and forgiveness.
It was an interesting talk. For me, people-watching was as interesting as the speaker. So many different cultures there curious to know what this man of learning had to say.
His main point was to respect your own culture and religious traditions, learn about others and understand that we all want the same thing - a happy life.
My question for today- are you living a happy life?

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15

Well, this week certainly did not go as planned. We lost power in a storm Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. The power did not come back until Thursday. The food in the fridge melted and/or rotted. The house was an oven. The internet and cell phones ran out of juice. We tease it was the Zombie Apocalypse.
Needless to say it set me back in both writing and catching up on-line. Sometimes when you set what seem like realistic goals, nature comes along and reminds you of the old saying..."the best laid plans of mice and men..."
I hope you have a fab weekend. A heat wave is approaching. Stay cool. Let me know how your week went. Cheers~

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11

Interesting Monday~ woke up to the house shaking and a fury of a storm going on. Grabbed little dog and hit the basement. It lasted almost thirty minutes and when it was done we had tree branches down, trash cans, and trash everywhere. (Why do these things happen on trash day? I think the wind see the trash cans as a challenge.) We are safe. As best I can tell our roof is intact- although they did stop the trains due to 80 mph wind gusts. To put that in perspective, according to the Beaufort wind scale- it is hurricane force with extensive destruction and devastation possible. (Don't you love the drama in the words destruction and devastation?) If you go by the Affir-Simpson Hurricane scale it was a hurricane one. Which means: No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. (Certainly much less dramatic. ;))
We are without power. I'm using laptop battery and wifi battery back up. Hope the power comes on before the food in the fridge goes bad. How's the weather where you are?

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8

Yesterday I registered for Bouchercon - the world mystery convention and home of the Anthony awards. It takes place in St. Louis this year, September 15-18th. It will be my first mystery con and I'm excited to see the difference between mystery fans/writers and romance fans/writers.

I also joined Sisters in Crime an international organization to promote the professional development and advancement of women writing crime fiction.

As a close writer friend told me, "You have gone over to the dark side." BWAHAHAHA

It is fun to write the communities and characters of mysteries as well as the puzzles. So, I don't know if it's dark, but it's different. I'll keep you updated on the rest. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7

Today is a tad bit cooler. Little dog discovered a kitty in the woods. Kitty refused to come out so we went inside. I'm working on a new mystery series proposal and trying to get back into the swing of reading blogs and commenting. Catch up on my TBR list as well. So many of you are wonderful authors and I want to read all your work.
On the one hand it is a relief to be done with all the work that the Master's degree took, but on the other, I am left with a mountain of regular work that I put aside. It is YAY! you accomplished something big-and I still have the balloons to prove it-but now get back to work you are behind. LOL Isn't that real life? If we didn't have work to do, then we'd all be like little kids and crying about how bored we are.
So, what are you working on?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6

I spent time in the library yesterday. I love to go. I love the smell of books. I love the wide variety of services from music to movies to computers. I could sit and read magazines all day long. Our library is very active. Every time I have gone there are always kids and Moms and Dads. There are seniors and others participating.
I must admit, though, that I gave up on the library catalog computer in frustration and simply walked the stacks to find the books I wanted. I am so used to google and simply typing in a word and getting leads to what I want that I have forgotten how the Dewy decimal system works. Shame, I know. I suppose I could have asked at the help desk, but there is something adventurous about seeing all the titles available on the shelf. I find books I didn't even know I wanted.
If you have time this week, go to the library and thank a librarian.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5

I've been home a week. I tell myself it is time to get up and get back to work. To soldier on- school is done. Degree in hand. Now put it to use.
The small child in me says, no. I'm hot. I just did a big thing. I deserve ice cream and naps...and ice cream. :)
I rewarded my inner child with books. I purchased my good friend Erica O'Raucke's debut YA novel, Torn and my dear friend Vicki Thompson's latest Gaslight mystery. They arrived today. I will use them as the carrot to get me back into the swing of social media and writing. If you get X number of words done, then you get your treat. :)
Life is about motivation, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4

Happy Independence Day, USA! When I went bicycling around my neighborhood, I was struck by the numbers of empty houses and houses for sale. I was surprised by the lawns that have grown filled with weeds because the economy is still not right. People can't afford the upkeep or they just don't care. The price of gas is more than double what it was when we moved here. The price of houses have been cut by hundreds of thousands. We live in a community meant for up and coming families, laughter, lakes and the American dream. But now boats sit idle in driveways as neighbors can't afford the gas to use them. Houses aren't selling because the big corporations in the area are no longer employing new people or transferring workers. The price of gas which made our little subdivision out in the middle of nowhere affordable has made it a ghost town. People just leave. There are five houses that have been for sale for over 18 months. Nice homes in a nice neighborhood. Two empty houses on my cul de sac alone. A woman drove by with her tiny blonde-haired daughter in the back seat. The window was down and the little girl waved a small American flag. Last century things were so bad we were once promised a chicken in every pot. Now we've only lost luxury things- boats, McMansions, etc. There are people who would have you think we live in the end of times, but I think of that little girl and her waving American flag. I think of the men and women who fight for us every day-Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, police, firefighters and I think that we still live in the best of times. Cheers~

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1

Happy Canada Day! and welcome to a new month. Here in the United States it's the big Independence Day weekend. We are lucky in that we can stay home and watch fireworks from both the front and the back of the house. We can see them through the windows and don't have to expose ourselves to heat and biting insects. I suppose that is half the fun, though, isn't it? To make a picnic that gets you outside. Where wasps attack your sugared desserts, ants enjoy your crumbs and mosquitoes enjoy your blood. They only take a little, right? LOL. We try to spend a lazy weekend in the heat and the humidity taking in outdoor concerts, fishing, swimming and running around. Someone suggested I get a hammock. I'm all for that. Ahh, the smell of bug spray and summer heat.
What are your plans for the weekend? For those in the throes of winter- please leave a comment to let us know how your weather is going. Cheers~

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30

Yes, I got my Tuesday blog out - finally. I am still dragging from school, but this means I'm improving. It's the last day of June. The slow humid heat of summer has arrived. The scent of green and growing things-so different from the sharp cold scent of winter. The lake is alive with unseen critters, leaving concentric circles where they skim the surface. The sky is blue and white and hazy. The color less sharp more pastel than what we see in winter when the air is full of ice crystals. Birds are constantly singing their territorial markers. Children are out of school, running and screaming and filling the air with the loud importance of their games. The woods is lush and full blocking the view with shadows, shades of green, rocking of the wind. The wind is lazy, softly blowing gossamer, sheer curtains in and out. Flowers bring color to the green along with dragon flies, butterflies and insects of all varieties. Coffee out on the deck before it gets too hot and I'm chased inside. Summer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29

Sorry- am exhausted and not getting to posting. I keep thinking if I just take a five minute nap...and two hours later I drag myself up. Life is funny that way. Little dog and I need to recover from our adventures. I should have been smart and taken Airborne but nope. I didn't think of it.
The wonderful author Shelley Bates not only spent the week at school as an instructor and a student and a graduate, but now she is in NY at the RWA conference signing books. I want whatever pill she's taking. :)
How's things going with you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27

I am home and graduated. The picture is a bit dark, but it's me.
I don't know which is better, the diploma or the box of author copies. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24

The view from my window this morning is onto an indoor swimming pool atrium. I keep the curtains closed.
Today is the big day- presentation day. I'm ready. I'm going to do it whether I mess up or not and then I'll be done. Yay! I think it wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't being graded/judged. I don't do well with the whole judging part. Oh, maybe I'll make up cards and ask three in the back to raise them at the end- you know- 10,10,10. That will make me smile and remind me that I'm being silly.

Have a fabulous weekend my friends!! Cheers~

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23

Up at the crack of dawn- no wait my window looks over the indoor swimming pool atrium. Hmmm, so up at the splash of dawn? *takes peek out* Nope no one is crazy enough to be swimming at 6 a.m. on a Thursday. Today is another easy day of learning and critiques. Tomorrow is the BIG day- of my giving a workshop and then presenting my thesis for defense. Then it is all down hill to graduation. YAY!
The people here are wonderful. I've made some friends that will last me a life time. So cool to be with a bunch of genre writers. No matter how out there we are-we all understand. That is kind of cool.

Hope you day is great. Cheers~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22

Day one of my final residency for the Master's degree program is over. We talked about the homework book and writing series-what the pitfalls were and how to avoid them. There was a class on prepping for our thesis reading plus practice. There was lunch and then a great afternoon seminar on using acting techniques to help you gain a deeper point of view. Right now it's dinner and I'm watching little dog on puppy cam at Camp Bow Wow. There are a trio of boy dogs mixing it up. Little dog is the girl next door. Sort of like a soap opera.
This evening is full of thesis readings. Then I need to do more homework and practice my own reading and teaching presentation. Hope your day is fab!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21

Today I think I used every mechanical mode of transportation know to man- took a car to a train to a bus to a monorail to a plane to a subway to a car. Ah, the wonders of the modern world. I bought a new suitcase with four rolling wheels in hopes of being less beat up and bruised from dragging said suitcase through numerous modes of transportation. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out. Yes, the suitcase did not tip over like my previous suitcase, but it beat me up just the same. I think I need a couple of strong guys to haul my stuff around for me. Any volunteers? :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20

Blogging may be hit or miss this week as I begin my last week of the Master's degree program. I'll let you in on a secret, I am constantly worried I'll make a fool of myself in public. Thus, it is easier for me to write books because revision is always possible before things go to far. But when it comes to this week at school-I have to step out and face the terrifying prospect of screwing up. I have a teaching presentation and my thesis reading and defense. What me worried? No. Petrified. lol I'll get over it. When giving presentations I find it's easier to simply fall down right off- then the worst has happened and everything is up hill from there. Of course, I never plan to do something stupid-it just comes out. Everyone laughs and the tension breaks and we are on our way to having a good time. So- no worries- right?
What do you do when faced with stage fright?
Have a great week. Cheers~

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 17

Little dog spent the day at Camp Bowwow- a doggy daycare. I spent the day running her to camp, shopping and errands. Now we are both home and pooped. She goes so that she will be comfortable boarding whenever we are out of town.
We are supposed to have a rainy weekend. I hope yours is lovely. Cheers~

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16

My good friend and wonderful writer, Carolyn Brown told me yesterday that her latest book, "Love Drunk Cowboy" made the NYT Bestseller list. Then this morning she found out it was on the USA Today Bestseller list. I am so very happy for her. She and I go way back to when I first published. She published 36 books with Avalon before she went to Sourcebooks and started her wildly popular cowboy books. This proves that persistence does pay off. Carolyn is a fabulous writer and her stories resonate. Even better she never gave up. I am so inspired by her and happy for her, I had to share with you. Seriously in this business you just never know. Congrats Carolyn and keep writing my friends. Cheers~

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15

It was a cold and rainy day...(not unlike a dark and stormy night.) I made no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. The problem with no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies is then I do nothing but eat said cookies. Oh, my~ The baked cookies are better. I put the raw dough in the freezer and take them out two at a time to bake for fresh warm cookies that don't sit on the counter and make me eat them every time I walk passed the kitchen. I've tried covering them up, hiding them in jars. It never works. They call my name and I walk out with one in each hand and if I'm sneaky eating a third. It's wrong, I tell you just wrong.
How's your Wednesday going?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14

It's flag day. If you are a USA citizen I hope you put your flag out today. I like to wave it proudly. We have a flag attached to a pole that we put out at the entrance to our house.
My parents have a tall flag pole at their new home. I went out with my mom on Memorial Day weekend and tried to hang the flag. Of course, having never done it before I didn't have the imagination to figure out the ropes. Our first attempt was unsuccessful. So we went back inside and asked the guys if they knew how to put up the flag and before they could answer I figured out what we were doing wrong and how to fix it. Funny how a the mind works. After that it was a matter of going back out and unhooking the rope, drawing down the clips and attaching the flag. We were proud to be successful in our flying.
Some tips for handling flags: 1) don't let it touch the ground. 2) if it gets ratty and worn, take it to your VFW where they will dispose of it properly- a flag should never get tossed in the garbage. 3) if it starts to rain, bring the flag in.
Show your respect for the flag because so many men and women have given their lives in order for you to fly the colors. Happy flag day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13

This Monday has shaped up to be a true Monday. Got up late and have had phone calls and problems to solve and no food so I had to make muffins-blueberry, yum! But I wanted to make this sour cream blueberry coffee cake I made last month. So, I spent 20 minutes searching for the recipe and couldn't find it-looked up and it was 11 a.m. and I needed breakfast. So I ended up making muffins. It's Monday.
I read a recent article where they surveyed a small group of bloggers- only 40 participated. They asked what kinds of blogs interested the reader the most. Surprisingly, people wanted to know the day to day living of an author more than they wanted to know writing craft tips, etc. This news surprised me because I don't find my day-to-day living as anything special. I am like any other person with good days and bad, housework and cooking and calls from my agent and PR to do and books to write. Oh, well, I guess that is a bit different-but not so much if you were here living it. Thank goodness they don't do reality shows about writer's lives. It would be a giant snooze fest. They would have to write in a visit from a Snooky or some other crazy reality TV person just to liven things up.
What do you like to read when you read blogs?

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10

I got my first look at my contract for Gluten For Punishment, Berkeley Prime Crime. Yay for contracts. I'm glad for a good agent and all those years of looking at less complicated contracts. One of the best things about the writing community is how many groups will give you contract tips and pointers. Thank goodness for a good agent with a legal department who is up on all things contracts- and for those who prefer, there are wonderful literary lawyers who will also help you figure out what the contract means and how to make it work for you.
The best advice ever is to never, never sign a contract without reading every line-ensuring you understand each and every clause and how it impacts you.
What is the best contract advice you've ever gotten?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9

Little dog is at an interview for doggie day camp. I took her this morning and she passed the "meet new doggies" test. The next test was for Mom to leave and for her to enter the play yard with all the other doggies her size and play. I am feeling anxiety separation-lol- they have web cams so you can go on-line and watch the doggies play. It is awfully addictive to watch the doggies. Sort of like the puppy bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. (If you have never seen this, on Animal Planet TV channel, they have three hours of puppies playing in a small scale sports arena. Crazy.)
This is good socialization for little dog and she will be much happier playing at day camp when I'm at school than sitting at home alone in her kennel. So, this crazy human wants to believe.
The things we do for our pets.
Have you ever taken your fur baby to a day camp or a boarding hotel?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8

Note: this is a housekeeping post to catch you up on what is going on in my life.
I think I must have received close to 16 documents via e-mail this morning for the residency week at Seton Hill University Master's program. I'm still sorting and printing them all out. That put me a tad bit behind in all my daily tasks-such as writing this blog. The good news is that this is my last residency. I graduate June 26th with an MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Yes!
I hope that come July, I can put more effort into on-time blog posts and visits with other blogger friends. In the meantime, I'm treading water, trying to keep my head up. If I am slow with a blog or a message please put it down to my head in too many clouds.
I have a number of writing friends with new releases and I hope to put some time in celebrating their work~along with my own starting in July.
If you are waiting for "The Counterfeit Bride" please note that while it has a June release date, the publisher tells me it will be mailed out in August.
One last note: This weeks Craft blog is on procrastination- you can find it at www.nancyjparra.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7

The woods behind the house is so thick with foliage that it is dark and medieval looking. Mosquitoes hang out in the shade. Small critters move about unseen. The dark blue lake ripples with the wind. A big blue heron, fishes at the bank while 24-inch, snapping turtles come out to sun themselves. Dragon flies so tiny you can mistake them for mosquitoes flit about mixing with dragon flies so large they make humming birds look small. The air is warm and heavy with moisture and the scent of lilacs. Cottonwood fluff floats by tickling the nose and pretending to be snow flakes. The sky is a hazy brown from heat and far off wild fires. The deck is too hot for bare feet and smells of heated cedar wood. Ants scurry in long lines. Bees and wasps bump around attracted by the flower scents. I saw our garden snake. He is now four-foot long. I think that may be the reason I haven't seen any toads, yet. Early summer is so full of life- large and small. Cheers~

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6

I've noted that the on-line presence has dropped in the last month. I have fewer blog hits, see fewer tweets, and fewer people posting on Facebook. Why? Is it something that I have done? Is it because I have spent the last six months immersed in school and am not giving good content? Not visiting enough blogs? Not tweeting well?
Or is it simply that the shine is off social media and people are not reading as much? Have you seen a dip? (I know my friend Judy has not- congrats to her for getting so many people to view her blog and to enter her launch contest. Yay for her new launch.) But Judy and all her hard work aside, how is everyone else doing?
Do you think more people are spending time outside now that summer has come? More people on vacation? Or have we lost a portion of the audience to the tornado damage, floods, fires, etc. that are going on in the USA right now? I mean, seriously, if you home and life are endanger you're not going to be tooling around the internet.
Or is it a positive thing? Are more people back to work or working on new projects that they don't have time for social networking?
What do you think? Is your experience positive?

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3

This weekend is Chicago's Printer's Row Lit Fest. I have gone a few times and it is great fun. There are tents and tents of books for sale. There are authors speaking and groups to join. One year we went in the rain- blah. One year it was so hot I almost died. This year I have a couple of friends who will be there talking on panels, signing books and supporting their writer's groups. If you are in the area, you should go. The whole thing is free-like a street fair and if you love books, it's the place to be.
For my friends from other parts of the world, do you have a lit fest near you?
I hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2

We are having a weather war here- one day it's turn on the heater- the next it's air conditioning-then heater- then AC. There seems to not be any temperature that is not extreme this year. What happened to temperatures in the 70's? The plants and animals seem to take this in stride as everything is green and growing. As a human being I am spoiled. I can keep the ambient temperature from getting too hot or too cold simply by pushing a button.
I watched a Bruce Willis movie last night called Surrogates. The concept being that sometime in the future human beings live in their pajama's, rest on an easy chair and live their lives through the beautiful, always perfect robot they control with their minds. According to the movie this is done because people feel safer. Their robots can get in an accident and they will simply buy a new one. As they say- "you can be anyone you want to be." Creepy really. While it's convenient to have central heat and AC, and as a writer I tend to live my life in pajamas, I really am glad to be able to go outside and feel the air on my skin. Hear the birds singing. Dig weeds. Meet my neighbors. Live life in a very real way. Cheers~

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1

We are twenty days away from the beginning of summer and twenty days away from the time the days begin to grow shorter. I do love long days and can't believe that the time is closing in to where they begin to shorten again. The years slip away so quickly. This month is already filled with events- along with my final week of residency and my graduation from the Master's program. I'm sure you will all be relieved when I am done and can talk about something else-like the tiny turtle we found crossing the sidewalk looking for a new pond.
In the meantime, I'm hoping to keep my head above water and promote my new release, work on my presentation and write a proposal for a new series. The devil is in the details and there are a lot of those lately.
Do you have summer plans? Please share~

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31

Everything is behind this week. The long holiday weekend took me up to see my parents in their lovely new home. We wandered the woods admiring the blue and white forget-me-nots and the trillium- carpets of flowers. We saw cranes and bald eagles, loons, ducks, crayfish, chipmonks, deer, porcupine, etc. The world is teaming with wildlife. It is hard to remember that living in the suburbs-even with my small woods and all the critters that inhabit it. I heard this is a bad year for ticks so we kept an eye on that. The mosquitoes nearly picked my Mom up and flew away with her. Here we thought we wouldn't need bug spray if we walked along the road. Ha!
I hope to get back into the swing of writing and blogging tomorrow. Tell me what you did on your holiday? Curious minds want to know. Cheers~

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27

I watched the 1981 movie, "Absence of Malice." It was very well written and Paul Newman and Sally Field were wonderful and so very thin-sheesh. (It was probably all the cigarettes people smoked back then. There certainly was a lot of smoking and drinking in the movie-so odd to see since they try not to promote that stuff in movies today.)
In the movie, she is at home working on her typewriter. Paul's character comes over and comments how she works long hours and she says no, she was writing her father a letter. She said something to the effect of, "I could call. It would be quicker, but when I hang up what would you have?"
It got me thinking. What will happen to the history of the texting, cell phone, social media generation? They are probably the most filmed generation as parent have easy access to cameras to create video. But even that isn't on actual film any more. What happens if the internet is attacked and lost? What happens if electricity changes or if technology changes in fifty years? So many books and letters and journals and notes will be lost. It will be like the mythical library of Alexandria-all the things that we once knew will disappear. You can argue that it won't happen that technology will continue to move forward. But history has shown otherwise.
I just wonder what historians will make of us two hundred years from now when the letters and notes and books are gone. When people don't remember how to write or read cursive...
It's quick and convenient-but when you hang up, what do you have? Maybe this weekend, I'll write a letter. Cheers~

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26

Let's face it I'm behind- again. But this time for pleasure as I had brunch with two great writing friends. We talked books, promotion, tumblr, and gluten-free. It was more than fun and a trip to Whole Foods to buy GF donuts, and raisin bread topped it off. So it was a worthwhile break for me. I hope that your day was as much fun.
What do you do to fill the well?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25

In concert with yesterday's blogs about promotion I would like to share with you all a great contest~
My dear friend and fellow blogger, Judy Croome is having an amazing contest to celebrate the launch of her debut novel. Click on Judy's name to read her blog and find out the details on the contest and scroll up her blog to catch a glimpse of how her book came into being. Judy is a fabulous writer/story teller- you won't be disappointed.

For my friends who live in tornado alley- you have my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe. Same to those who are suffering through the huge flood.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24

I blogged about promotion efforts on my craft blog. It seems some people have it all together with book tours and celebrity endorsements, contests and on and on. The thing about today's book market is that there are so any authors- so many salesmen- how do you as a reader pick out which books to buy? Do you listen to the person with the slickest promotion? Or are you annoyed with the "feed a family, buy my books" kind of thing going on? I've seen people threaten suicide if their books don't climb the Amazon best seller list. People tell readers that they will give a portion of their proceeds to a charity- but how much is a portion and is buying their book for charity really going to help them with a career? (Hint: send the money directly to the charity and you get a nice write off on your taxes)
If you are on the social network at all, you know the people who promote until you want to stab yourself in your eye so that you don't have to see them any more, or the people who overly/fake gush about how surprised they are that you "like me, you really like me."
So, what draws you as a reader to buy a book? Word of mouth? Favorite author? How to you pick new authors? Contest and award winner? Does promotion matter to you as a reader? Inquiring minds want to know. Cheers~

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23rd

Happy 50th Birthday, Tom!

So I got my picture taken on Saturday. I need to purchase Photoshop to play with them, I think. I put this one up because it has an interesting border. There is one other that I like but the lack of border makes it look un-professional. Well, as much as I hate to have a camera turned on me, it had to be done. The other picture was ten years old. The happy news is that I will probably not have it done again for another ten years. YAY!
People have been very kind to me about the photos. It makes it easier to put then up. Someone said I look like I was having fun. What was really going on is the photographer kept admonishing me to give her a "real" smile and I would get embarrassed and smile.
Truthfully I'd rather be behind the camera than in front of it.
How do you feel about your photos? love them? Hate them? Want to be a model?

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20

My goal for today is to work on the PowerPoint presentation for my teaching demonstration at school in June. If you have ever had the pleasure to work in Adobe creative suite, you know that PowerPoint is far from intuitive and is a real hassle. Sigh. But it's what schools and businesses use for presentations. Therefore I work in it. Design like writing is very subjective. What one person loves another might loathe. My design, like my writing, has a very strong voice. Often a client will say, come up with something. So I do, I might give them five designs. Guess what? It won't be at all what they are looking for. LOL I may try to give them something close to what they have and they decide they want something new. I might give them something fresh and they end up wanting what they have. At least in this instant I can design for myself. It's a lot less work.
Writing can be like this. Editors and publishers might tell you they are looking for X and yet they really want Z. So, sometimes, just sometimes, it's really not you. It's them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19

I think the robin has decided to build its nest in the tree where a certain broom-waving human won't ruin all his hard work. They certainly put up a good fight. The Mallard ducks have a nest in the woods. I've seen the pair sitting, but no sign of babies. We chased the coyote off a few days ago- so perhaps the ducks abandoned the nest or Wylie E. is waiting for the ducklings like he did last year. It's rough out there for the critters, but somehow they manage to come back every year and have a new family. I haven't seen the deer since the big blizzard I hope they survived. They are most likely enjoying the young shoots in the farmer's fields and leaving the wild plants in the woods for later. I know I would. I've also seen a tiny little turtle and our big fat garden snake-not in the same place thank goodness. The frogs sing every night. Spring is a beautiful thing.