Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Patience

Or lack thereof.

I'm suffering from an extreme lack of patience.

There comes a point where waiting just becomes agonising. The very best cure for waiting is working, and since I'm working 16 hour days you'd think I'd be ok on the patience thing. But I'm not.

I think I've figured out why. It's because I'm SO busy.

Right now everything is on a list. It has to be that way or I forget it. So my brain is completely oriented to list-type thinking.

For instance, I made a list of everything I needed to do after I got home yesterday. A critique. Book orders for kids, homework. An insurance claim, a form to mail, the towels in the dryer. (Yes, even the towels. They've been in the dryer since Monday morning.) I had to send an e-mail to staffing at work and write a letter to a parent so I can send it home today.

Everything got crossed off the list except my edits, but that's a week long project anyway.

So now I have this mental list and nothing is getting crossed off. It's driving me crazy. I keep reminding myself that the rest of the world does NOT revolve around MY schedule. But I'm waiting to hear on a partial at M&B and it's been nearly 12 weeks. My last got requested within 6. I'm waiting on release dates. I'm waiting for the post office to deliver my copy of my latest contract.

The trouble is compounded by the fact that I don't KNOW the outcome of the first two of these things. The post WILL deliver my contract. But the other stuff...less concrete. Which means I'm not in control.

I'm big on control, by the way. I can deal with just about anything, as long as I know. It's the NOT KNOWING that's excruciating.

So fingers crossed I'll hear soon on both counts and I can be put out of my misery...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Oh, by the way

I'm guest blogging for a fellow Samhain author, Rene Lyons today. You can view my post here.

Exports

First of all, thanks to everyone who popped by my site and sent me comments. I felt kind of like one might when preparing her first dinner party. You make everything, hope it tastes all right, and then worry about whether anyone will actually show up or not!

On Saturday we got my youngest's ears pierced. In order to find a place that actually used something to numb the lobe first, we drove all the way across town. We looked across the parking lot and saw a store called The British Pantry. I spent more money than I planned between there and the bakery next door.

So far my TOP 5 Great Things About Britain

5) Jamie Bamber. I try to sneak him into as many postings as I can.

4) Jaffa Cakes

3) Irish Breakfast Tea in economy sized boxes

2) Wilkin and Sons Blackberry Jelly. O.M.G.

and number one great thing about Britain (and the UK in general)

1) All the great friends I've met - Michelle, Trish, Anna, Julie, Biddy - to name a few!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Quick note

Just a quick note - my feedback form isn't functioning right (yes, I AM pulling my hair out) so you'll get an error if you try to send comments. It's one of the bugs I'm trying to work out.

Thanks

I'M ONLINE!!!!!!!!

Now keep your panties on, there *are* glitches. My feedback e-mail isn't available yet and it looks like a font got changed when I published and a few links don't work...so I need to tweak those this weekend. I'm starting a list of the little things that need rectifying.

BUT, for a sneak peek on my first attempt, go to my home page. Heck, go ahead and bookmark it if you want!!!!!!!

Happy Friday everyone! Phew!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

One down, a couple more to go

I had my meeting last night AND I handed in my resignation. A little uncomfortable, but otherwise ok. I left before the last bit (when the fundraising arm of the society meets) and my ears MAY have been burning just a little. LOL I felt like a weight had been lifted. As I was leaving the parking lot, I cranked up the Dixie Chicks and this song....

I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell and I don't have time
to go 'round and 'round and 'round...


Picture me smiling the whole way.

In other news, stay tuned. Hopefully in the next 24-36 hours I'll have a web address for you to visit. I have 3 small tweaks to make and then it's fingers crossed to getting my web page online without huge kinks!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A quickie add-on



I couldn't resist posting this today. Just for yummy scrumminess.

Research

I've begun doing research for my next book for Samhain.

Yesterday my amazon order came and even though it's not on my "agenda" yet I cracked one of the books and started reading. I started with the small one: "Canadian Peacekeepers - Ten Stories of Valour in War-Torn Countries". Each story has a foreword of sorts, explaining the political situation in the area, then launching into the individual story. It's really good, and better, easy to read.

The second books is THICK. But even my husband said it looked really good and he, a non-reader, may tackle it. It's called "Friendly Fire" and is about the friendly fire incident where Canadian soldiers were killed by fire from a US jet in Afghanistan.

My hero is ex-military after serving in Afghanistan. I'm not sure but he may just have been a sniper flushing out Taliban. The military aspect will have to remain in the background but I'm reading a lot because who he is - and why he is the way he is - is crucial. And this is something I have to get right. Our soldiers out there deserve for me to get this right instead of just fluffing it. I have to say, I've only just started but it's really interesting reading!

I heard from my editor today. She's got my first round and will get the second round to me as soon as she can. :-) Until then I will just keep plugging away! I made a lot of headway on the website last night. I have a meeting tonight but hopefully not a very long one. It's also my last of the year. I think perhaps I've posted that a lot lately but I'm excited about that fact! LOL Once I get home I hope I have time to work on the laptop again, because on Friday the plan is to get this baby online. Stay tuned for my web address!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Camping and Back to Work

Camping was a blast. We went to Rocky Mountain House. Bear country but incidentally NOT in the Rockies, just "close". We "group" camped- that is, we went with friends of ours and their extended family, most of whom we'd never met. However we instantly felt at home. Felt a little poor as we set up our tent next to the campers and RV's but our screenhouse was a definite hit, especially during a brief shower and at night, playing cards!

It was very dusty and the playground across from our site was cushioned with sand. The kids came back if they were hungry or thirsty and at the end of the day, all you could see were eyeballs, they were so disgustingly dirty (and happy). Yesterday when the van was packed to the hilt, my eldest actually cried because everyone hugged her and she didn't want to come home!

I got sick one night. I think it was the Bailey's and hot chocolate. Now don't go thinking I was a total lush, I only had 2 small cups, but it might just have been too rich. Anyway I was brilliantly ill for about an hour, laid down until 11p.m., then got up, had a bottle of water and watched the last cribbage game. On Saturday the "relatives" looked after all the kids (something they will probably never do again,LOL) while we golfed with our friends. I was spectacularly bad, which you can't really tell from this picture:



Now we're back, a bit more tanned, tired but rested, if that makes sense, and ready to get back to work. I didn't even take any books with me to READ. I took a complete vacation, except that you can't exactly turn your BRAIN off. Now it's back to the grind...and getting some stuff accomplished.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lists

I will freely admit I am a list junkie.

When I want something done, I make a list. I have a horrible need for order, so when I have a list I can focus and get so much more accomplished.

In the new Kindergarten job, I'm working for a teacher that is much the same way (and maybe even more anal than I am). It is comforting in the way that I am not amidst chaos at work. BUT, it's a little daunting because I can relate and I don't want to screw up her system! She has a precise spot for everything!

I have a lot on my plate writing-wise. And with the extra working hours I'm finding it hard to focus. So last night I made a list. Everything on that list I want to have done By July 1. That's pushing it (since I don't finish work until June 27 I think) but it *may* be done. I have a set of edits for Almost a Family to do and send. I have a webpage to finish designing and get online. I also have to finish editing TBB. At some point I'll hear from M&B. If it's a request I'll have it ready to send. If it's the big R I'll have it ready to send elsewhere. I could leave this until the time comes but I hate having something so close to finished yet unfinished. I want to check it off my list.

I have Original Sin to finish, half a book. And I found out yesterday that my amazon order shipped - with my books for researching the next WIP.

Next week I have my last school council meeting, and also my last choir practice. Thankfully, SOME things are winding down.

With a list I can remind myself - one thing at a time. All I need to focus on is one task, cross it off when it's finished, and move on to the next one.

Right now I'm off to e-mail my edits. :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bleurgh.

Last night I had the perfect evening. I finished my edits, yay me! Dh opened a bottle of cabernet for me and we stayed up to watch the season finales of NCIS and The Unit. The Unit was especially good! I drank the whole bottle of wine and got quite silly.

And quite sickie. Hence the title, Bleurgh. That's exactly how I feel this morning and I'm off to work. It definitely doesn't help that I'm a 7-8 hours a night person and last night was less than 5.

I've had a slice of plain toast. What I really want is crisp, greasy bacon and eggs fried in the drippings....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Blogthings and Edits

I am within 45 pages of finishing my edits. I had to turn off the radio this morning because they were talking about Grey's Anatomy. I taped the last 3 hours worth, and will watch at a later date. Edits come first.

The goal is to finish this evening, so that I can watch the season enders of NCIS and The Unit.

Kris has got me doing these bloody things again. Not only that, but I'm more convinced than ever that my mother had twins and separated us at birth.

From the looks of it, she couldn't have handled two of us anyway. ;-)



Your Seduction Style: Sex Pot

Tradionally known as a "siren", "rake", or "femme fatale." You exude sensuality.
And while your sexiness is part of what makes you an incredible seducer...
Your ability to make others feel sexy is what really makes your seduction skills shine.

Most people don't feel attractive or desired enough - a need which you tap into.
You have the ultimate sex appeal, and getting attention from you is a total self esteem boost.
Your confidence is contagious, and you help others unleash their own sexuality.

Your sex pot seduction skills are so intoxicating that you can get away with... well, almost murder.
Lovers feel like your sensuality is in your blood, so it's only natural if you flirt a little.
And if you stray, that might be okay as well - as long as you make your lover still feel hot.


Your Kissing Purity Score: 31% Pure

You're not one to kiss and tell...

But word is, you kiss pretty well.

Monday, May 15, 2006

In defense of my taste...

There's been a little confusion over on Julie's blog regarding my taste in men and more specifically a so-called obsession with Rick Astley (which fortunately does not exist).

In defense of my taste I post the following as a droolworthy alternative for sex scene inspiration:



Now I've never seen Paul Bettany sing "Never Gonna Give You Up," but if he looked at me THIS way, I don't think I'd really care all that much.

:-)

Potpourri

The title of this post is taken from the Jeopardy category of the same - which means it'll contain a bit of everything.

Was in the middle of edits last night when the phone rang. It was my babysitter's mom. My babysitter, "K", had collapsed about 6 min from where I live and the ambulance was on scene, but her mom was 20-25 min away. I hopped in the van and went to the scene, got the car keys for K's car and followed the ambulance to the hospital. Then I went back to where she'd left her car, met her mom and stepdad so they could get the car and then her mom could go on to the hospital. So even though she's not reading this, get well soon K!

Before I get into the rest, today you should pop over to Michelle's blog. There is a link to an article in the Times about a course on writing for M&B. I'm hoping that the article is an example of selective journalism. There are many "absolutes" stated in the article (made by the instructor) which I disagree with. It renders the mantra "It's all in the execution" rather obselete. So please drop by.

Yesterday was mom's day. Had breakfast in bed, a couple of darling homemade prezzies from the kids and a couple of bought ones too that dh and girls bought for me. One was a microdermabrasion kit. Tried it last night. I was shocked. Once I was done, my face was as smooth as a baby's bottom. My friend Joyce asked if I'll look 22 by Friday. I highly doubt it, but I am impressed.

Anyway we're getting in the van after church. Church by the way was a blast. I played piano with K's mom (our music director) and it was fun...we also did a gospel number for our anthem and it was very cool. Anyway the girls had picked some blossoms for me. We're in the van, and dd2 says, "Mummy, Mother Nature gives us presents every day!"

I thought that was extremely cute.

Now, writing wise I'm longing to write something new. I know it's so not going to happen for a while though. Saturday night I took a night off and watched Wimbledon. I love that movie. I got a little inspired but also a little concerned about my edits. Or maybe a lot concerned. It is simply a case of me doubting myself. What if I'm not doing this right? I mean right now it's making sure pronouns agree and deep POV, but I'm still thinking, Am I missing spots? Am I not changing enough? Too much???? A part of me, a small part that only sticks its head out rarely, is wondering if my editor will change her mind and realize she made a mistake contracting me!

I just need to work through it, send them along, and start on the next set. I've ordered a couple of books for research which should be here in a week or two. Those are for the next book I'm writing for Samhain. I'm also at a standstill with the ModX. And I have another hero/plot patiently waiting in the wings for when I'll have time for him. Dh has suggested that I take the laptop with me on vacation this summer. I wanted to but was afraid to ask as I thought he'd tell me to relax and just take the time OFF. Honestly, having an hour or two free and clear from housecleaning and dayjob to just sit on the deck in the summer sun, sip on lemonade and WRITE definitely sounds like vacation time to me!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday!

It's Friday. I'm doing banking which is not an exciting job, kind of depressing. But it's hard to stay depressed long as the weather is gorgeous and it IS the weekend! Yesterday the husband was off, and I came home from work to find a shiny, spotless house! Today it's the outside getting the treatment- he's pressure washing the siding.

I managed an hour or so's worth of editing last night after choir practice. This weekend, without housecleaning to do, I should be able to manage even more, and hope to finish up before next weekend's camping trip. It's a long weekend and I don't want to worry about edits while I'm tenting. :-)

The blurbs are sent. Fingers crossed they don't come flying back to my e-mail at record speed!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blurbitis

It's a new disease! Blurbitis!

LOL I made a bit of a crack on the author loop today about requesting cover art...after which my editor sent me a few forms to fill out! Apparently I was supposed to get them earlier but right after I sold there were e-mail and server issues and I never got them!

I get to fill out forms on cover art and for blurbs.

Now the cover art is fun. And especially for AAF since I know what I'd like to see, so filling that one out isn't hard at all. But BLURBS are another animal entirely. Writing blurbs for both books could possibly take me the entire evening. How do you condense a whole premise into 100 words or less, with the hope that it's going to make someone run out and buy it, like they just HAVE to have it?????

The headache is lingering at a lower intensity, but if you hear a loud boom, it's just my head exploding. :-)

Still, each step of this process just makes things a little more surreal and real at the same time. I'm having a ball!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hard Tabs and Headaches

I have a nasty headache. There could be a number of causes. Needless to say, I came home from work today and immediately took a couple of somethings. LOL But motivation to do any work? Nada. Watched General Hospital and curled up in a chair. 2 loads of laundry are dry but not folded on top of my bed.

Last night I started my edits, over 2 hours worth. They are very enlightening. The good news is that within my whole manuscript, I only had one hard tab. The bad news is that I had to scroll through my whole ms to figure that out. Also I was shocked at my occurrences of "just", "So", "really" and "And then". I deleted or changed probably 90% of them. Tonight I have a few more "seach and destroy" things to take care of and then I can get into the meatier stuff. I can tell though that I'm going to learn a lot from editor-directed edits, things that hopefully I won't do as much in the future.

off to pick up kidlet and then do the work I *should* have been doing this past hour and a bit.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Life? What Life?

So here I am, planning to quickly check my mail etc. before starting work - you know, the job with the extra hours for the next seven weeks - and bam! what hits my inbox but....my first round of edits from my editor.

The don't even look all that scary - but they ARE thorough. Really, really thorough. :-) I told my husband not to expect me to be very social in the evenings in the immediate future. Holy crap!

I guess because I'm still waiting for my release date I really wasn't expecting edits so soon. But once they are done, I can send them off and think about the WIP again.

Of course, with just my luck, I'll get a request from M&B this week and end up having to finish the revisions on TBB. Not that I'd complain about the request, mind you. But feeling snowed under is a feeling I should get used to.

OK. Must start laundry, make beds, dry hair and get the rest of my day going....If I don't post here for a day or two you know why...any longer than a week send out the K-9s.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Some things you just shouldn't say out loud

OK, feeling kind of stupid here.

A few days ago I posted about being asked if I wrote children's books. And how I get asked that SO much that it's starting to get disconcerting.

I got a comment from "J", apologizing for asking me that and that it was just because it just seemed like I'd be a natural for it.

"J", thanks for the compliment and I hope to God I didn't offend you! I hope that any of you out there writing children's books don't think that I think that it's easy. I can't imagine writing them because I think it would be so HARD. I can put myself in the shoes of my heroine. I don't think I could do that with a young adult book and honestly I've never even considered younger books than that. But I would hate to think that I'm guilty of looking "down" on any genre, especially since I'm so sensitive about the romance genre stereotype. EVERY writer has a niche where they belong.

I've thought about this a lot and have come up with a few conclusions (I'll try to be brief).

Number one, even though your blog is meant to be an online "Journal", you should still self edit. And included in that is that I was looking at this as a whole and used that day's event as an example. I don't dislike this woman or anyone who's asked me that question. I think after a while I just starting thinking, "why?" What is it about me that gives that impression? And conversely, why is it so surprising that I write romance instead?

Which brings me to number two and the part that makes sense. Most of the women I see/know are moms of kids of approximately the same age. Not only that but some know me through my working with young kids at church and also in my job. I doubt that a year ago I would have been asked this question so much. But now I'm working in the school. So most of the people I know there see me working with kids every day. And I do love my job and I do love working with the kids. So by extension, it probably *does* seem natural to them that I would be writing children's books.
I mean look at the new position I'm starting. In KINDERGARTEN! And I've gotten so much support from everyone at the school, and opportunities have opened up for me so I must have good instincts. So it makes sense in that context, a lot of sense.

Number three: Irony. Ironically, because so much of my life is tied up in children, that's probably why I'm so sensitive about it. When I started writing - seriously writing - it was because I was a SAHM with issues. I needed a purpose. I felt my whole identity was wrapped up in my kids and I really needed something of my own. Something separate and just "Donna's". And so this year, with still doing the mom thing AND working with kids during the day, I think I'm oversensitive to it. Like I need to reassure myself...that there still is a part of me that is separate, and important, and mine. It doesn't mean I don't love all the other aspects. I wouldn't trade staying home with my kids for ANYTHING.

And number four - hormones. EVERYTHING irritated me that day. Including my husband who, when I asked him to put his cereal bowl in the sink and he put it on the counter and I put it in the sink for him, simply backed away and said, "O-K."

"J", I could NEVER be mad at you. So take what I said with a grain of salt, OK? Smooches.

Donna

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Plusses and Minuses

Ok, is it Plusses or Pluses?

In my defence, I haven't even finished my first cup of coffee yet.

The Flames lost last night. Now it might have been nice if they'd even shown up to play. They were F-L-A-T flat. I actually fell asleep in the third period. And it wasn't even ten o'clock.

Our city is in mourning that our playoff run is done. But there is a good side.

If I have to write at night, it'll be good not to have hockey seducing me away from the laptop.

Nothing else monumental today. Get kids ready for school, write, work, finish laundry, workout, choir practice. Ho hum. Tomorrow we're mixing it up a little. My eldest has an appointment with a specialist in the morning, then I work, then my husband has a "party" of sorts to attend in the afternoon - when a course finishes, they have a pizza and beer graduation thing. The last course was for most of the managers, which was kind of weird. So he figures he'd better go! And then there's groceries.

When that day is is considered "mixing it up" you know you lead a pretty boring life. ;-)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dare I post?

I'm not sure if I should even post today. I definitely should minimize my time with the public. That's right, I'm PMS'd in a big way.

Of course there are a few "downers" right now. Like waking up and finding another fish dead in the toxic tank. We've done what we were told and still we have fish dying. Not to worry. Another couple days and the last ones will give up the ghost and we'll get to start all over again.

My CP Trish is going on hiatus for a few weeks. SHe's going to have a blast working on the show circuit, but I on the other hand am going to be LOST without her to bounce ideas off of. We talk *nearly* every day, so it's gonna be weird. Part of my evil plan is to finish the draft of this ms while she's gone and then hit her with the whole 40k plus that she hasn't seen yet the moment she gets back. ;-) Nevermind the deadline that SHE has.

On to another topic and one I encourage you to comment on in my comments section just cuz I wanna know.

When anyone finds out I'm a writer, 95% of the time they ask about my children's books. They just assume that I write children's books. So often that it's actually starting to freak me out just a little. Sort of one of those "if one more person assumes I write children's books I'm going to scream!" things. This happened to me yesterday. Then when I explained that no, I write romance, she looked all disappointed and said "I hear romance is the easiest genre to get published. Is that true?"

I gritted my teeth. Now if I hadn't been PMS'd this *may* have been funny. Oh my god. Another one for the "Can't you just zip one off, send it away and become incredibly rich" school of thought. I said, as politely as I could, that the average was 6-7 years and that it had taken me four and a half.

It is one of the things as writers I know we have to accept and deal with. Even after knowing I've sold, there are people I know who still consider my writing a "hobby". I think because I work at home they think I can just reorganize my schedule around them. Oh well, big deal if I miss a day. But if I suggested they just miss a day at work....there are always going to be people who don't consider this work or think that it is easy. Which is why I'm eternally grateful for the internet and the connections I've made with other writers.

Of course this could all be PMS which means in 3 days I should probably come back in and delete this post for the hormonal rambling that it is. LOL

Oh and one last thing....GO FLAMES GO! Game 7 goes tonight....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Time Management Part 2, or otherwise known as WHAT WAS I THINKING???

Before I launch into my post, I must give a wave to my husband. He visited my blog yesterday. Which I will admit gave me several moments of unease. However he e-mailed me after, got in a few digs, and a few very nice compliments. So *waves* hi hon! Come on out and see the nice ladies! And thanks for visiting.

How funny that yesterday I posted about time management and before that about 8 weeks until freedom. I've been all about freeing up time to write more. Prioritizing and finishing things. Now what have I done? The principal approached me yesterday about working more hours.

First of all, no matter how old you are, when you walk in the office and the secretary says the principal wants to see you, you think you're in hot water. ;-)

Anyway the position is going to be a fun one. It's an extra 2 3/4 hours in the morning, working in Kindergarten! I love the teacher (she was my eldest's Kindergarten teacher) and I'll be in the classroom next to my youngest. Once I'm done I'll do my lunchroom thing. The money isn't bad either, for a School Assistant. So I took it.

Problem is, mornings, more specifically from nine until 11 o'my god I'm going to be late for work is my writing time. So for the next 7 weeks my writing time will remain at night. It's hard to say no though. Money talks. And this fits in with the two year plan to move.

At least I lobbied for a Monday start date because she would have had me starting today if I'd let her. I'm glad because I can have this week to get my ducks in a row.

Oh and the husband said nix the spring cleaning. If we're going to reno the youngest's bedroom, and consider putting in a few new windows, there's not much point of cleaning until AFTER the dust settles. Phew!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Time Management

Things are really heating up. And I have noticed that when I have too many things on the go, I need to focus big time. So my life is now reduced to lists. A list for the weekend. A list for each day. Sounds anal, I know. But I work better that way. I certainly get more accomplished.

For the next few weeks, my writing time is going to be in the evening. Which sucks because it's playoffs! (GO FLAMES GO!) But somehow I'll manage. The important thing is to write every day. I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't hammer out 10k a week. Or even 5k. As long as I make progress, and add to my WIP a little each day, that's going to be ok. Because the only person putting pressure on me right now is myself. Well, maybe my CP but what can she really do about it? She's in Ireland (slave driver!). :-) Unless something pops up in the next little bit, there's no huge rush for anything. And once the next two weeks are over, things will calm down considerably.

Last night I finished chapter six on my WIP and sent three chapters away for a critique. If I can finish chapter 7 and 8 (and I already have 8 pages ready for one of those in the form of a sex scene) this week then I'll be more than happy.

For now I'm off to eat breakfast and do the school run. But now I can cross "update blog" off my list!