Friday, September 30, 2005

And the beat goes on....

I got my anniversary present a few weeks early.

This year it's our tenth and we wanted to actually give gifts, but money is tight. We were at Costco one day and they had student model flutes for under $200. I haven't played flute for 15 years, but there was a time back in the day that I was getting ready for auditions on that instrument for entering university. It has been so long since I played, I got really excited about the chance to do it again, and I didn't care if it wasn't a great instrument.

I mentioned it to our Music Director at church, whose husband just happens to be a musician and music director at a local high school. He happened to have a lovely instrument, just sitting around. So the deal was made - he tuned it up, and sold it to us for $100.

I got it last night at choir practice. We also had a flute and piano book there as I am accompanying our director's daughter in a few weeks. So I put it together, had the director play a bit of a song, and remembered wayyyy more than I thought I would.
It brings back lots of great memories. This morning I even recorded a track on my piano, for accompaniment, and played a bit.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Big Debate - Tom vs. Brooke

Much has been made on the news lately of the Brooke Shields/Tom Cruise war on the use of psychiatric drugs and I feel compelled to put in my 2 cents.

Funny enough I don't really take either side even though Tom is REALLY annoying me. The fact is I had post partum depression - badly. When Brooke appeared on Oprah for the first time to talk about it, I could really relate to many of her feelings. After a few months of treatment (therapy, exercise, taking time for myself, etc.) my psychiatrist decided meds might be a good idea. So I did take them. The side effects were awful. But they did their job. Six months later I weaned off of them and I know they helped me get over the hump. I wasn't 100% better, but what I was doing clearly wasn't working.

I also believe that as a society we are over-medicated. We are constantly taking medication for this and that. And just throwing a pill at a problem isn't the answer either.

I'm a middle of the road kind of girl. I don't believe in just prescribing something and problem solved. But I don't believe that you should across the board condemn something either.

Look at diabetes. A responsible doctor wouldn't just give you insulin and say, "here you go, now you're all better". He'd talk to you about the importance of diet, exercise, etc. working in conjunction with the insulin. Bear in mind that diabetes is a chemical imbalance.

So why, WHY would we just throw an SSRI at someone telling them their anxiety/depression will disappear? I believe the first line of defense should be perhaps cognitive therapy, importance of diet, benefits of exercise, and perhaps vitamins. But if you're doing all that and still sick, maybe it's time to consider medication. Most of the time anxiety and depression - the chronic kind - is caused by a chemical imbalance of serotonin.

I know because I still have an anxiety disorder. And I'm not on meds. I am trying to manage it with exercise, cutting out caffeinek, getting sufficient sunshine and taking specific vitamins.

In the end I truly believe what it comes down to is what course of treatment works for that individual, and it is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to take it upon himself to impose his opinions on those who are suffering from this disease.

Perhaps if he lived with someone who suffered from it or suffered from it himself he'd be more understanding and tolerant.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Manuscript Who? and boats

It is true that working on a new project is the best way to get over all the neuroses that accompany sending a manuscript to a publisher.

I am still waiting rather anxiously to find out if my ms actually arrived in Richmond and will breathe a sigh of relief when I get that confirmation letter. And if it doesn't arrive this week then I'll e-mail on Monday. I am hoping the mail is just unusually slow. For one I worked so hard to get this ms out the door and into the requesting editor's hands. And secondly I don't want to have to cough up the international postage AGAIN. :-)

When I was writing it I put a lot of pressure on myself and it was quite nerve wracking. I sent it out the door with all my hopes and dreams for it living quite vividly in my mind. But I'm fickle. What can I say. I'm in love with my new hero and love my heroine, and surprised myself by actually tearing up yesterday as I was writing - and it's only chapter four! I am so excited about the new project that I'm quite blase about the whole "will I get asked for revisions or get the big R" thing. I'm sure that will change as the weeks go by and I know a response is imminent...and it'll fly right out the window when I'm holding the letter in my hands.

But for now, the new WIP sure makes waiting a WHOLE lot easier!

Bamber Droolfest update: watched Bastille Day yesterday. Mmmmm mmmm! Is there anything hotter than a gorgeous, well built fly-boy with principles????

As well I spent last evening helping my kid build a boat. We made it out of a gallon milk jug. Does that make it a gallon galleon? Anyway we have a huge sail and dh built a rudder for her, there's a flag at the top of the mast and cargo (I had buttons that look like silver coins and others with gold anchors on them). This morning I was tempted to write "Indy" on the back. LOL I can reference Hornblower in almost any context! (Incidentally, Hornblower was also the first program I ever watched starring...you got it...Jamie Bamber).

Monday, September 26, 2005

Romancing the Blog post

Julie Cohen has a remarkable post on Romancing the Blog today. I have copied and pasted it into Word, for those days that words just won't come and I wonder why in the hell I'm doing this. For 9 great reasons why we love writing romance, click http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/?p=381

Jamie Bamber Droolfest - underway

My season one dvd's arrived. The first night I watched the sci-fi special, "The Lowdown", sort of a behind-the-scenes show. What's so great about that? Jamie with slightly longer hair, speaking in his native accent. Call me silly but that public school brit accent just turns me to jelly. Next, I watched the deleted scenes while I was ironing.

Saturday night dh wasn't in the mood for Jamie (I can't imagine why not) so we watched a movie - The Upside of Anger- which we both liked A LOT. But last night I was back and we watched the first two episodes of season one: "33" and "Water".

All Bambering aside, I am not a sci-fi genre fan but I love this series, and just about everything about it. I discovered it because I knew Jamie was in the mini series, but after the first ten minutes I was hooked (And he hadn't even appeared yet). If you get a chance, watch this amazing drama.

And if you're wondering who in the world Jamie Bamber is, then visit www.jamiebamber.co.uk.

In other news, my critique partners met each other at the M&B authors lunch last Friday. I have to say how weird that makes me feel. LOL It just seems funny that they met each other, when I haven't actually met EITHER of them. However it did not make me nervous as I'm sure they had much more interesting things to talk about than me. I spent the weekend insanely jealous and fantasizing about attending in the future. :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Your chance to weigh in!

First of all the mail has arrived. No confirmation letter and no dvd's. Grrrr. I could really use a Bamber fix right now (for those of you who don't already know, I have a serious thing for actor Jamie Bamber).

But back to business. I am in a quandary and am looking for YOUR opinion.

Now not that editors are banging down my door asking to publish my brilliant works, but I honestly believe that the day will come when I WILL sell. I am in the midst of developing my website. And dh and I have been having discussions about pen names.

The original plan was to write as myself, under my own name. But we both tend to be cautious people. I try not to give out a lot of personal information....you might know my favorite colour is red but you won't know exactly where I live or the names of my children. In this day and age information is power and I don't want to give someone out there MY power. It would be nice to think that everyone visiting my site was a nice, moral person but that would be naive. So we were thinking perhaps a pen name might work.

I know several people who write under pseudonyms and many that don't. Dh, bless him, said last night, "Just keep your own name. Then when you're famous I can say 'Hey, that's my wife'." It's nice that he's proud of my persistence and dedication, but that wasn't enough to convince me.

The next issue is what SORT of pen name to consider. At first I only thought of a complete departure, a fabrication. Then I thought perhaps an alternative spelling of my existing name. That one in particular I find fascinating. There is one spelling of my last name that I really quite like. But there are several spellings. My last name can be traced back to 11th century England. That's a lot of time for variations.

Anyway this is your chance to tell me what you think. Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A good day

Today my youngest is playing at a friend's after school, which means I have until 3 p.m. ALL TO MYSELF.

This, people, is unprecedented.

I have so far finished up my third chapter of my WIP. Hooray for me! I have dabbled in a little more design work for my upcoming website. So lots accomplished this morning.

Unfortunately, I still have to scrub the floors and clean the bathtub. Ah, the glamour of it all!

The only thing that would make it better for me at this point is if the door bell rings and it's the postman bringing me my Battlestar Galactica First Season dvd's. Stay tuned for my Jamie Bamber droolfest schedule.

But first....polishing porcelain!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More Prayers

Needing more prayers today, but for a different family.

The mom of my daughter's friend just lost her first cousin. Which is sad enough in itself, but the circumstances are what make this story so sad.

Her cousin was 18. She went missing almost 2 weeks ago and they found her body. She was murdered.

Understandably the family is in shock, completely horrified and because of the investigation, short on details. They are also spread out over the country, so any prayers you have for them in this terrible time would be appreciated.

Give your kids a hug today and thank God that they're ok, too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Postmen and Pets

How sad is it that I'm hounding the postman, hovering over the mailbox? And I'm not even thinking of rejections or requests right now. I'm thinking about the confirmation letter from Richmond with the handy-dandy file number on it, telling me that my ms reached its destination safely.

And after last week's rant about the cat crap, I've rarely seen said cat out and about....just a few times. However walking by their house this morning you won't believe what I saw in the window....a NEW KITTEN.

I can't imagine having another when they don't even take care of the first.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is one of my cp's thinks that the new ms I've started is better than the last....and she really likes my characters and how I've handled things so far.

The bad news is one of my cp's thinks that the new ms I've started is better than the last....and the last is sitting in Richmond as we speak.

It is good to know what I'm working on is going well....but darn it, I can't help but feel that the full at M&B is destined for a big R.

Ah well. The important thing to do is make this next one the best yet, the best I can, so that IF The Book That Shall Not Be Named gets rejected, I have another one ready to go.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pet Peeve

OK, so this isn't actually a Pet peeve, it's more about their owners.

I should add a disclaimer that I don't dislike pets. I always had pets growing up and have been negotiating with the husband to get one for the kids. Just not a dog. I LOVE dogs but we live in the city and I number one hate scooping poop (as you'll see in a minute) and number two I honestly think dogs need to have space to run around and be, well, dogs.

Back to the peeve. As of late (all summer) I have been finding cat poop in my backyard. We do not own a cat and if we did it would do its business in the litter box. Anyway there have been countless times I've been out with a shovel and bag, cleaning up the mess. This is a city lot. Our space is 33ft by 100ft and we have a bungalow and garage on that small space, and the kids don't play in the front yard much because of the busy traffic on our street. So the backyard is their one place to play. Added to that we spent a lot of time and effort finally getting our backyard up to scratch this year. I didn't do that so the neighbour's cat could use it as a litter box.

Of course in HOT weather, if you don't notice it right away, it really gets nasty. And wet weather is actually worse. There is nothing solid to clean up. It's just a nice, watery mound of gag-ness.

Twice this summer I went to the neighbour and politely asked them to keep their cat inside as we were having issues in our backyard. I've run out of repellent and the damn stuff is $13 a bottle. Day before yesterday I went to mow the grass. I thought perhaps I should have a look for any recent "presents". Well I missed one and squish!

That did it. I was cranked. Seriously evil. I marched next door, rang the bell and said through the screen, "You either keep your cat inside or I'm calling animal control." The response I got? "Thank you."

Marched back to yard, cleaned up THREE PILES of it (and we'd had 3 inches of rain which means to get all of it you have to take off the top layer of grass, oh my poor beautiful lawn!).

Guess who was out walking the fence first thing yesterday morning? You got it. The cat. What bothers me is that they obviously don't care about their pet. It's against the law here to let your cat run at large. That should be enough. When someone threatens to call animal control, it should be more than enough. Not only that, wouldn't you make an effort NOT to piss your neighbour off? You may want something from them someday. But nope, don't care.

What this whole long irritating post boils down to is that the one thing that really, really annoys me are people devoid of common courtesy. If my animal did that to someone's yard I'd be appalled. I'd be back there cleaning it up and promising it wouldn't happen again. That's the way I was brought up. Responsible. I just don't get it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Something new

I have started on something new. One of my cp's told me to write what was calling to me. My other cp said, "hey, I'm starting something new, should we make it a challenge?" It was enough for me to brainstorm a bit, and get a little over a thousand words on paper today...as well as some basic research.

I am excited. And this might sound like a little thing, but I've come up with a title I like and with buzzwords in it...it's sounding very M&B-ish. Yay me!

It is about time I sunk my teeth into something new, so I won't focus so much on waiting to hear on my full.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Send a prayer

This deserved a separate post.

I found out recently that a family friend has been diagnosed with lymphoma and acute leukemia. Things are looking pretty grim for him and for his family - his wife and two young children.

It especially makes me think since he is only 2 years older than my husband. So if you can, please take the time to send out a little prayer for my friend and his family. They need all the blessings they can get right now.

What to write angsty stuff

My week of craziness behind me, I'm now faced with a new challenge...deciding what to write next.

There's the 1/3 finished ms I *should* finish for Avalon. There's a previous ms with a great premise I can rewrite....those characters never have truly left me alone, and I can see scads of emotional potential. Then there are two whole new ideas playing with my mind.

I need to pick one and commit to it. I am not on a deadline of any sort, since I don't expect to hear from M&B on my full for at least three more months. But I need to get cracking at something.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

This and That

It has been a busy week. Everyone was home on Monday for the Labour Day long weekend, Tuesday I spent volunteering in my eldest's class, Wednesday I volunteered in my youngest's class, and today I am simply getting caught up.

The first day of volunteering consisted of huge amounts of prep work, also the school received 25 new students since other local schools were full. So much for our "reduced" class sizes. However there may be a chance of some part time work opening up over the next few years...just my cup of tea, really. A bit of fun money, no worries about school schedules vs. work schedules, and still have my writing time. Fingers crossed it works out! So that was a profitable morning spent.

Yesterday I was in the kindergarten class. The teacher was ill so we had a sub. There are 27 kids in that class, some with little or no english. It was a challenging morning but with some bright moments.

My daughter has made a friend of a rather shy, timid girl. They get along famously. But yesterday my girl was playing with someone else, so I got her friend paired up with a new girl who was at loose ends. My daughter apparently got upset when I was down the hall. She thought her friend wasn't her friend anymore because she was playing with the new girl. When I got back things were fine, until the other girl started crying! I finally got her to tell me what was wrong: She thought my daughter thought that they weren't friends anymore and her little heart was broken. So I reassured her that everyone was still friends, emphasized that it's a good thing to have more than one friend, and she gave my daughter a hug, saying she was still her friend. My daughter's answer: "That's OK. I was just feeling a little left out." It was sweet. I really didn't expect this sort of conversation to take place so soon, though! Gosh, 5 yrs old and friend angst already!

Then the same girl called my daughter that afternoon. It is the first time she's had a friend telephone. She takes the cordless, and very politely says, "Hello?" Her response to her friend: "Oh! I was wondering when you'd call!" I tried very hard not to laugh as she took the phone to her room for some privacy.

The other cute thing... we're walking home from Kindergarten and for the life of me I can't remember what we were discussing...but my little darling said, "And Mama, it just filled me with joy."

I stopped and had to kiss her right there in the middle of the sidewalk. It's those little moments that make parenthood so wonderful.

Tomorrow is grocery day. Scouring the fridge today, I think I have the makings of tandoori chicken. The day before groceries is always sort of slim pickings.




Thursday, September 01, 2005

Vacation Schmacation

I have to laugh at myself.

"Oh," I said, "I'm going to take this week and next off to get caught up on things around the house and just take a needed break from writing."

It lasted two days.

Ok, so I'm not totally to blame. It's not my fault that Mark Harmon has such stunning baby blues. I mean gosh, the guy gets better looking as he gets older. In his role on NCIS he's seriously alpha-licious. Inspiring, really.

Then of course I'm minding my own business and Trish Wylie shows up online. Now I think I'll just sign in and say HI and what happens but we chat for over an hour and my mind is going crazy. We're chatting about the biz and then about books and characters and suddenly things are playing out in my head....yep, less than 48 hours later, vacation is over and I have a blurb saved in a word file. Shame on you Trish! lol

So today I'm back in the saddle so to speak. And for the first time, I'm considering working on multiple projects. Basically getting proposals ready to have my bases covered if/when I hear back on submissions already in the works. The previous Tender reject being re-tooled for Avalon - that's first. I'll get that partial tuned up. Then probably the new story since it's driving me insane in my head (and, more excuse to google pictures of Mr. Harmon, heck, I might even have to make a trip to the video store in the name of research!). And then, I've been pondering a linked story to the full I just subbed. Standalone but with characters mentioned in the ms. So I can get that partial ready. And then we'll see which one gets finished first. :-)

Does this constitute being a workaholic?