Saturday, July 31, 2010

No. Just... No.

My week of fitness was a big giant FAIL... I am in bad need of a spanking.

The week starting with all the events referred to in my Wednesday blog may have had something to do with it, but I fell down ALL over the place, ALL week long. BAD BAD BAD.

But tomorrow starts a new month and I will start trying fresh.


In the meantime, to make me feel better, I ran my various names through the Anagram Machine and thought I would show you how apt some of them were.

[Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for the time you waste at this site (and you WILL waste time on this site.)] (though I plan on blaming Mark for introducing me)


Anagrams for Tami Hart

A Harm Tit
That Mari (Ha! I'm an IMPOSTER!)
Am Tart, Hi or conversely: I'm Tart. HA! (Is there anything more perfect?)


Hart Johnson

Ha! John! *Snort*
Jars Nth Ho On
Tar John Nosh


Tami Hart-Johnson

Rajah Nth Motions
Asthma Horn Joint
Trainman Josh Hot
Artisan John Moth
Harsh Ninja Motto
Marsh Ninja Tooth
Math Ration Johns
Ninja Arm Hotshot
A Hart Smooth Jinn
A Harts Ninth Mojo


Alyse Carlson (Oh, these are good!!!)

Rascally Ones
Larceny Lasso
Solace Snarly
A Sensory Call
A Crayon Sells
Carnal Yes Sol
Salsa Con Rely
Sly Lace Arson
Aces Snarly Lo

So what are your anagrams?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Your Quest!!!

A quest? Good idear oh, Lord!

Of COURSE it's a good idea. I AM God!


[erm... that was Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, lest anyone think I'm suffering a god complex, though if you are here, and are not yet familiar with the Holy Grail, then I fart in your general direction! BUY IT! You will want to watch it repeatedly.]

IN FACT, I think we need to make a little JOURNEY on this little Quest, I think...

We will need a pair of coconut shells apiece, fine silk yarn to knit exciting underwear, a llama, a moose, possibly some very small rocks and a PRAM to make the guy with the deep voice push it a lot. Oh, and a tool box to build a large wooden rabbit...


So back to a little backstory...


Okay, yesterday I went to Cozy Chicks blog and got a whole bunch of STATISTICS!!!! You know how excited I get by statistics... I'm freaky that way. The PRIMARY point of the blog was how much work was needed for how LITTLE money. But one of the POINTS brought up (in relation to fan email)(ACTION POINT!!!!) was the following:

The author loves getting fan mail, but one of the commenters pointed out that the fan love that can be taken to the BANK is positive comments on Amazon, or Barnes & Noble...  At the VERY LEAST authors need enough fan love in this form to balance the mean snarks who seem to have nothing better to do than criticizing everyone...


So YOUR QUEST is this:

If you have recently (or even not particularly recently) read a book by a newer author (or even a more established author) and you loved or even liked it—GO REVIEW! Go to Amazon, pick a couple books, write a couple reviews, give a couple stars. Because there are people making book purchasing decisions BASED ON stars and reviews.  And if you LIKED the book, why not help the author out?  (the karma may come back, ne?)

http://www.amazon.com/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

And I think that is it for today, as I am WAY behind on my typing... so Quest on, my lovely minions!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's So Funny?

So my friend and Digressionista, Mari had a blog this week that got me thinking, and you ALL know how dangerous it is for me to think... Her question was about GENDER and who was more FUNNY... and she had some great points and generated a FABULOUS discussion. So it would be good to read that, but what I got to thinking about was WHAT MAKES FUNNY.


I thought I'd give the humor TYPES I could think of, along with some examples, whether I think men or women both DO and LIKE each, and my personal opinion on them (fun, ne?)

Slap Stick

Three Stooges, Looney Tunes, Certain skits of Monty Python... Humor based on silly physical actions and accidents. This is a male genre—men definitely prefer it compared to women. I suspect more men write it, though it isn't something you can appreciate in writing really.

I like it in small doses, but without a British accent and a straight face, it isn't really my preferred thing, and the performances of it I like best, I think I LIKE because I like the performers doing other stuff so well, so it carries over.


Situational

This oughta sound familiar... situational comedy... you know... SIT COMS. Where stuff happens because of who is thrown together how. This is a television staple, and unfamiliar to NOBODY. It is also seen in some chick lit, YA, and Cozy Mystery. I'm not sure anyone does this better or worse, but I find it is a preferred staple of women, while some men do and some men don't. Blogs like 'I'm Not Hannah' (which is FABULOUSLY funny, in a 'life is too real' way) use it very regularly. This very blog uses it with some regularity, though not exclusively.

I tend to love it if it is the form that turns dark things inside out and makes them funny. Not as big of a fan of the overly silly version that is most often on TV. The situational comedy I like on TV right now is Grey's Anatomy season 3s Christine... her inability to deal with emotion cracks me up like CRAZY, though I also like Izzy in her silly stage, and Bailey (see dry humor). In case anyone missed that... what I find FUNNIEST for situational comedy, is funny breaks in the dark stuff, or dark stuff turned funny. I'm twisted that way.


Pranks

This is where somebody GETS somebody else... they do something TO them. There is a perpetrator and a victim. I think this is ALSO a guy thing... not exclusively, but mostly. The only literary example I can think of is the Prank Wars in the Harry Potter series between Snape and the Marauders. And this is a perfect example of how I feel about them.

NOT FUNNY. There are exceptions, but they are rare. For the most part any activity that can be said to have a victim is not my thing.


Wordplay

Turning words around to make jokes... My favorite example is A Series of Unfortunately Events. This thirteen volume, thirteen chapters apiece series is a giant grammar/wordplay smorgasbord. I don't know that this is more male or female, either in production or appreciation.  The blogs I read that use a lot are Tara's with her Taffy stuff (for a lesson, go here), and Hyperbole and a Half.

I ADORE wordplay. Misattribution isn't my superpower for nothing. This is one of my favorite things to do, but I do it almost exclusively in interaction, not writing. While I REALLY appreciate it in writing, I appreciate the really smart version of it, and what I seem capable of is a pretty silly version of it.


Dry

These pieces often say something serious, but include an irony, or say something other than what they mean but with enough information that you can tell the meaning is different. Most often though, it is just a truth at a really inappropriate time. Somehow this seems feminine to me, but I don't know if it is just because the characters who USE it are often women, or if it is really more often written or appreciated by women.

I LOVE dry humor, often because it is the tension break in more serious works.


(Geek Humor—totally me) -------->


Sarcastic

This is rarely seen as the whole piece, except in parody type pieces—more typically it is a device within a situational comedy or relief within something else. I think this is an equal sex offender.

And I like it IFF it isn't overly mean. Sarcasm is often mean-spirited, and that, I am less fond of.

And while I'm at it... a couple funny things from the Blogosphere this week (male, though the above two links to funny stuff are female)



Fall down funny this week
 Christopher Allen keeps in touch with his inner princess:  http://imustbeoff.blogspot.com/2010/07/ode-to-la-prairie.html
This one is only a little funny so far, but the idea of a Battle of the Cereal Mascots tickles me, and so you should go vote for who will be in it.
http://reviewsyoucantuse.blogspot.com/2010/07/battle-of-cereal-mascots-you-pick.html


Also wik:  Which reminds me of potty humor (a male art form), and self-deprecating humor (both use it, but males seems to use a much broader range) and rude humor (picking on people or talking mean about them)--both genders use it and of the 3 it is the only one I don't like.

Also also wik:  Absurd humor: Much of the Monty Python stuff falls here and I ADORE IT.


So what kind of humor do you like What did I forget? (as I know there is a bunch)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Deuce Gets Mooned

I should probably explain 'The Deuce' first. See, I live in a big town fulla GEEKS (of which I am proudly one) and Ann Arbor gets shortened to A2 (A Squared) all the time—it's extremely convenient for things like the corner of envelopes or writing somebody directions. Well the local teens have just ignored the 'A' thing altogether and have focused on the TWO and so Ann Arbor becomes the Deuce.

I know you've heard me talk about reality never coming here before, but SURReality seems to make a show now and again, as it did with whip guy and the chicken people. Well this week we've had a big dose of it.

You may KNOW that Sunday and Monday were this months full moon night—if you were a werewolf, I'm not sure if your third night transforming would have been Saturday or last night, but I am VERY clear about the two... Let me e'splain.



Mental Health Central

I'm going to be a little obtuse here, for the sake of privacy, but one of my daughter's friends had a mental health crisis this week and chose HER to reach out to. She in turn reached out to me and I made a call to the mom who had actually just been pulled in by the teen, so all's well that ends well, but it was a sort of scary event.

What I DO want to share, that I can't emphasize strongly enough, is that while some teens really DO need medication for very REAL mental health issues, the warning about teens and anti-depressants—and suicidal thoughts and tendencies, need to be taken VERY seriously. A teen who needs them is a teen who ALREADY HAS some issues, but no matter HOW STABLE they seem, no matter HOW MUCH things appear to have been improved, they need monitoring, communication, and a support system.

This is NOT her first friend this has happened with. It's REAL. Resort to meds only after behavioral and cognitive things have been tried, and then WATCH CAREFULLY and open up lines of trust.

Nuff said.



Crime Spree

Then, Monday night, my son and his friend come home for dinner at about six, leave their bikes (son actually rides MY bike, as he kept blowing out his Scwinn brakes) in the front yard and come in to eat. Twenty minutes later, my bike is gone. Somebody walked up into our front yard in BROAD FREAKING DAYLIGHT and stole my bike! This is Ann Arbor—things like this don't HAPPEN here!

And worse...

I went downtown around seven o'clock to pick up my daughter who'd been hanging out with friends and on the way home, three houses from home, she points out a 'tussle' of some sort. “What do you think is going on there?”

There is a struggle, a fight of some sort—physical, and it looks like the bigger person is trying to choke the smaller one. My car gets closer, as we have to drive right by, and I stop and yell, “Hey, do you need help over there?”

The pair break apart a little, the woman jerks free, stumbles a little (pretty sure she's high), and the guy says, “It's none of your business.”

I respond, “You can't just assault somebody. I'm calling the police,” as the girl stumbles off down the street.

I get home, call the police, describe what I saw. Hubby, who'd been talking to the neighbor thinks I've called about the bike, “sheesh, no—I called about the ASSAULT IN PROGRESS. I totally FORGOT about the bike.”

So hubby proceeds to do his Gladys Kravtiz thing, walks around talking to neighbors, warning the little old ladies to keep their garages closed (for the bike thief) and asks a couple questions. He found two OTHER people who'd witnessed this assault and CALLED the police, plus a young woman who saw but hadn't been sure what to do. The assault moved down the street a little (in the construction lane of what normally is one of the Deuce's busiest streets- and the police took 30 freaking minutes to arrive—had the been even ten minutes earlier, it still would have been going on.

So I'm ANNOYED at the slow response—that girl could have been raped or dead by the time they got there. I SUSPECT they thought the people would disappear into the woods and be hard to find, but WORRY that it sounded like a domestic dispute and they figured it would work itself out. Hello, NO!

I know there are people who might think a woman on drugs gets what she deserves, but I happen to think people who think that deserve a little time in a jail cell with a big guy named Bubba. Nobody deserves violence. Ever.

So that was OUR little excitement. Anybody else have any full moon stories to report?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Author L.E. Harvey

If you've been paying more attention than I usually do, you may have noticed Lauren (aka: LE Harvey) and I had a near miss two weeks ago... I fell down on sending a reminder, and she was away when the reminder finally came, so the blog didn't happen, but we managed to get the horses back in the stall and get it together, so TODAY, you get to meet Lauren! HA!

You can't imagine my delight, when I got her blog material and she's got a cross-dressed author photo in with her stuff. You may not know this, but in a former life, as Lady Tamadriel, I was a woman dressed as a man dressed as a woman... I LIKE my cross-dressers! So WELCOME Lauren!

~~~~~

Author Bio 

L. E. Harvey is an author from Harleysville, PA.  Nationally published for the first time at age fourteen, L. E.'s background is in non-fiction, though she has now ventured into the exciting world of fiction writing.  For more information on L. E. Harvey, her writing and more, please check out her website at www.leharvey.com


Book Description

Unbreakable Hostage is the story of Lareina Oliveira.  Bright and beautiful, Lareina is a stunning Ph. D. student.  One of her classmates is taken with her beauty and he quickly becomes obssessed with her.  Unable to withstand her constant rejections, he loses all control and kidnaps her.  Lareina is held hostage and tortured for days on end while the LAPD, her family and roommate search endlessly for her.  Lareina uses her wit and knowledge of algebra to help lead everyone to her rescue, but will they get to her in time?


Guest Blog:  On Trendy books

     Twilight.  That is a word no longer associated with an actual time of day, but rather a series of books.  We can't think of it as an adjective or a noun.  Now its' all about vampires and warewolves.  I will openly admit that I have not read the books.  Not because I don't like them, simply for the fact that there is an infinite list of books I have yet to read.

     My partner is an avid Twilight fan.  I have seen the movies with her.  They are certainly enjoyable.  They're not good for me as a writer, though.

     I, among countless other writers, pray for the day where at least one of our books will be turned into a movie.  If we're lucky enough, it will be a big hit.  J. K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer are two of the very few and very fortunate scribes who have seen this dream become a reality.  I envy them.  When I watch the movies with my partner, I can't help but dream of seeing my books have big previews on the red carpet.  Not a good idea for someone with an imagination as vivid as mine!  LOL.

     These incredible success stories also add pressure on the writing and publication end of things as well.  We all hope that some big name publishing house will simply eat up our book and give us the press and exposure that Harry Potter or Twilight have had.  We all want to see our books in the large chain stores as well as smaller venues across the globe.  Every writer hopes to create a phenomena.

     So, since Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, J. K. Rowling and the other select few writers who enjoy fame are so few and far between, what are the rest of us writers to do?  Write.  To become a major blockbuster movie is a rarity.  Even if I never get to see my book go on the silver screen, I'm still creating the best stories I can.  My books may not reach millions of writers, but they will still touch the people who do read them.  Trendy books are great, and they give us something to aim towards when we write.  Readers love them.  Trendy books have a great place, but so do the less trendy books.  So go out and read a fun trendy book, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.  Perhaps after that book, you should try picking up a lesser known writer's book.  You might just be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Disastrous Diversions

Sometimes you see an obstacle coming, and your focus on the obstacle is nearly obsessive... and so you swerve, hoping to miss it... and hit something as bad, or at least ALMOST as bad. Do you have ANY idea how much I LOVE that in a story? When trying to avoid something LEADS to it? And do you have any idea how much I HATE IT in life?

Let me e'spalin...


The Eberwhite Bog

So on my powerwalk yesterday, the day was GORGEOUS. It has been... pretty much soup for the last couple weeks (too warm, high in humidity) but yesterday was FABULOUS. It was PERFECT weather, at least by midwest summer standards. Humidity had probably dropped to 50 and the temperature was in the low 80s... perfection...

I took my powerwalk—never miss it on the weekend... and because it was so nice, the Eberwhite Woods diversion did not even seem optional. I saw the entrance and dived in.

Ann Arbor is sort of lovely with all it's intra-city woods—greenspaces--there is actually a city goal of running a path in both directions (E/W and N/S) such that you could go all the way through town in a PARK—you'd have to cross streets, but a pretty nice jog, ne? Considering Ann Arbor is about 7 miles by 7 miles (7 square miles of real estate, surrounded by reality, as the bumper sticker goes) But I digress...

Anyway... so I dived in and remembered why I don't ALWAYS dive in... As I did the wide-step waddle with the stream running down the middle of the path, trying to avoid the particularly muddy spots... it occurred to me that sometimes the path gets MUCKY.


So I got to a certain point in the trail where the stream was wide enough that I had to hop and wobble to hit the dry spots... And then I had to go off into the growth to avoid the stream... and ended up in some sort of nettles.

OUCH!

It wasn't the REAL nettles... like the day long, spread to other parts of your body version you get in the woods, but it still sucked.


BUT THE WRITING METAPHOR!

Ha! You can't escape it! It reminded me of the fiasco where I THOUGHT I hadn't written something, so instead I WROTE something, but it was the WRONG thing, because I'd already WRITTEN something.... but that isn't the metaphor I was really trying for. PSYCH!

Here is the REAL metaphor:

Often when you write you spot something you REALLY want to avoid. And you work so hard to avoid it, that you don't spot the stinging prickles of the other options.

The LESSON... before you commit to diving off course, look a little more carefully into the other options... look either way, consider the REAL consequences of diving one way or the other.

So there... when you are writing, if you spot something that might get your feet all wet, CAREFULLY evaluate the other options, because the reality is wet feet are better than a painful rash.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Drabbled Innuendo

So you probably all know by now that the Burrow, over at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash, are posting an image every Sunday for you to all write drabbles to. And... because I'm me, I thought I'd share a

~~~~~~~~~~

Strange. Fetish. Tickle.
Your words in my ear and I know what you have in mind.
A like mind.
An unlikely romance, to look at us.
Jack Sprat, some would say.
But your words and your eyes tell me something about you.
Our delicious meeting of minds, a collusion of souls.
So intrigued with things so uncommon,
Or rather too common.
Most would overlook the possibilities.
There are endless possibilities,
As many as there are things, I would say.
And so here we are, you and I
And never have I found
Such enjoyment
As this provocative meeting of minds.


~~~~~~~~~

Chupa Chup. What a good word. Makes you pucker just to say it, sour, then sweet shooting flavors through your mouth. If only the English were so blunt. Lollipop. What is that anyway? We could call it a suck suck, too. I'd like a suck suck please, and wrap it in bright paper. Happy presentation. I suppose maybe something is lost in translation, but it seems to me, presented elsewhere, this company could not possibly keep up with demand. "Suck suck, fifty pence!"

I suppose that is a cynical view. Or not. Suck suck for fifty pence... definite mass appeal...


~~~~~~~~~

"Martha, are you coming?"

"Oh, Frank, just let me enjoy how you look a little longer."

"But Martha, I'm getting cold. Did you open the freezer?"

"I might have. I had a little something special in there. Would you like me to show you?"

"It's not the frozen Hot Wheels again?"

"No, love. It's better."

"But I'm cold already."

"So do you want me to enjoy it alone?"

"No. I just want you to warm me up."

"But Frank, we can't waste it. Here, just hold on a second."

"Ahhhh! That was freezing!"

"Here darling, let me warm you up."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Long Way

So I made some serious progress this week... the fitness and the writing... and learned a lesson I think relates to BOTH about what NOT to do...


First the Good News

I did the arm and shoulders thing 3 times.
I used the exercise ball 3 times.
Only 2 diet cokes
I wrote 3+ chapters.

YAY Progress!


Now the Lesson(s)

I think I get easily sidetracked, ye know? Like... I can't do all the things right at the same time. But when I do stupid stuff, I get annoyed.


Typing. NOT Editing

You know I write long-hand, yes? Naked in the bathtub. That's me. I am writing chapter 17 right now, but TYPING 10 because frankly, there is more competition for my computer time (blogging, Facebook, Grey's Anatomy) than there is for my writing time (Sudoku and reading notwithstanding, but the one doesn't take long, and the writing I like every bit as well as the reading when things are flowing)... The typing... erm... Don't like it.

But when I type I DO correct some wording things... heck, I had a stretch in there this time where I was writing in present tense (not clue what kicked THAT off, unless it was rum *shifty*) so I do minor editing as I type. What I need to remember NOT to do, is PLOT editing. Every time I do it, it is because I've thought I forgot something and am now trying to FIX it, but every time, I DIDN'T forget to WRITE it, I just forgot I WROTE it, and then I have this inconsistency string. Grrrrrrr.



COUNT POINTS COUNT POINT COUNT POINTS

I ate MOSTLY what I was supposed to this week but DIDN'T count points... pound back on. I KNOW the gig. I just need to DO IT! In my defense, we were hiring at work (found a great woman for the job and she's accepted—YAY!) but that meant messing up breakfast (normally oatmeal, which helps my frame of mind for eating right—I eat it at 10:00 most days, because that seems to be the middle grown—pretty hungry by then, but if I eat earlier then I want lunch unreasonably early). This week it was bagels at 9 (before interviews) which means I am starving early for lunch and in the wrong frame of mind to keep eating right. The extra obligation in my day ALSO makes me more stressed at work (the stuff still needs doing, and I need to be more efficient (far fewer blog visits between tasks—sorry) which all contributes to really wanting a cocktail when I get home... whereby any non-point counting gets undermined. 6 points worth of COCKTAIL on top of eating right and on points will undermine all but the best days. THAT is why I need to count. Otherwise I just let those slide and they add up over time.



And How Are those things related?

I know, I claimed they were... And I think they ARE, just sort of obliquely. Mainly just because I KNOW what to do, I have LEARNED these lessons before, but sometimes I have this willful forgetting thing where I don't do what I need to.

SO STOP IT ALREADY!
*Cough*
And Have a Great weekend!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rejection and Mrs. Ringo

First off, I should tell you that I am ALSO at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash today, Spreading the Love (literally—that's my blog title)--so if you want a little love, head on over THERE, too.

Now the project HERE today, has to do with The Rejectionist's Blogiversary... she asked for an 'essay' on what a form rejection means to ME.... So here it goes...



Rejection and Mrs. Ringo

Y'all know with the Naked World Domination Tour, and the ever-growing cadre of minions, that sometimes I FORGET the world won't be handed to me on a silver platter. I mean it SHOULD, right? I'm deserving. But there are bizillions of people out there, including pretty much ALL the literary agents, who haven't gotten the message. It all reminds me a little of how I became intent on Total World Domination (even if I had yet to merge the fact of my Nudism with it at the time). I have Mrs. Ringo to thank.

My high school math teacher looked... pretty much EXACTLY like the girl of the Campbell Soup Kids (somebody back me up here—calling on Moscow High School grads—she DID, didn't she?) Her voice didn't help, it was high pitched and very precious... imagine how a Cupie Doll would sound... And I gave her an awful lot of grief, though hopefully she only knew the half of it, as part of it consisted of writing down what she wore each day (she had 4 outfits) and keeping track of how many days her pants had a chalk line from leaning on the blackboard (she ran about 85%). I was a SERIOUSLY TERRIBLE HORRIBLE STUDENT. A NIGHTMARE.

In my defense, I was in the advanced math class and desperate to prove I was STILL A REBEL, even if I was good at math. No easy feat when in a class of 200, only ONE math class was ahead in Jr. High, and in my first high school math class EVERYONE was older.

You see though, the joke was on ME. Mrs. Ringo would say things to me (by the time I got to Calculus and so only had same age peers, which emboldened me to be more openly a smartass), “Well, Tami, I don't think YOU can do this.” (Tami is my peon name, if you'll remember) She was referring to getting an A on a test, or a certain kind of problem. And do you want to know how I responded?

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time KNOWS I hate to be told what I can and can't do... that being told 'you can't' makes me do it just to spite them... no matter HOW I have to bust my butt to do it... So all these things Mrs. Ringo said I couldn't do? I did. Oh, I didn't always get As in Calculus... Only when she basically DARED ME. She was a whole heck of a lot smarter than I gave her credit for—one of VERY few teachers to EVER tap into my inner rebel.

And what does that have to do with form rejection? *cough* My second round of queries, my inner rebel yawned. My third round it opened an eye. And then I proceeded to find ANOTHER WAY IN. HA! Take that you Tart Rejector you! I will make it WITHOUT the query process! HA!

By this, I mean... I managed to find a back door... get a referral... establish a relationship with an agent... audition for a specific series and get a contract offer... erm... Okay, so it's not even a back door. I crawled in a window... but there was no Query involved.

The form rejections have been saved... about 30, I think, since a couple never responded... I will wallpaper with them one day... And I'm SURE I will Query again, though my project agent will get first shot the next time I feel something is truly cleaned up for submission, and if SHE doesn't want it, she darned well isn't going to give me a FORM REJECTION about it, as we have a working relationship on something she is getting money for, so at least I will have a chance to clean it up with some advice, or a referral to an agent she knows, if it is just a genre she doesn't want to sub.

I really get the NEED for form rejections, but I think as writers we can't take them too personally. To a QUERY, I really never have. To a requested partial or full—it is a little offensive—a sentence at least, would be nice, but hey... I am in the process of hiring right now, and I don't relish contacting the people we didn't pick, so I guess I get that to some degree too... just part of the process. I am just not inclined to follow rules.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Things I Wish I Could Make Myself Want To Do

There are a number of things I REALLY would sorta like to care enough about to do... but I don't. No matter HOW hard I ponder them in a 'that would be sorta nice' kind of way. So here is a comprehensive list of things I WANT to care about, but don't.


A Garden.

Specifically, I'd like a Dr. Suess garden... things with long stems and big puffs on top-- strangely branching mini-trees, weirdly curving flowery things like the one growing at Old Kitty's house. It would be REALLY cool. But I don't want it badly enough EVEN to research what kind of darned plants those are. Certainly not enough to like... pull weeds and stuff.


Moderate Maintenance of my Appearances

By that I mean I really wish I cared more about my hair/make-up. I wish I could be bothered to do more than keep clean and comb my hair, but on most days... like unless I'm going to a party or something... I just can't make myself take the time.



A Clean Basement

It would make my husband so much happier. And it is where I type (and blog) and spend a HUGE portion of my time. I WANT to want to clean it, but I don't want to.


Get Rid of the Crap

This is related to the clean basement thing, but has to do with the VAST amount of stuff we've accumulated, that I just CAN'T make myself want to go through (let alone making myself ACTUALLY go through it)--you see, marital misery aside, most stuff comes in handy eventually. The hubby would just 'buy it when we need it' but I am far too cheap to think that is okay when we bought it once already.



Organize the Laundry Room

I tore it apart looking for that damn marriage certificate that I eventually had to just reorder because Chapman Kelly, Blue Cross and the University of Michigan ARE EVIL. Now there are boxes everywhere that used to be in storage. I know I should put them back... Building up the momentum to do it though, is just not happening... I just don't want to do it.


Yoga

This would solve a couple of health obstacles at once, I think... increase flexibility, which I think would help my back, because I think tight thigh and butt muscles are pulling my back off kilter... increase strength (and muscle burns fat, but looks better besides) but I can't seem to force myself to be interested. It makes me tearful just to think about it. If I am going to take the time to exercise, I WANT TO MOVE IT MOVE IT! I wish yoga sounded appealing, but it just doesn't, on so many levels.


Get Organized

SO MANY areas of my life could benefit... the writing, the day job, the blogging... The EDITING—talk about a process that could benefit from organization!  But I don't WANT TO organize!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Starts and Stops


Whereby the Tart proves she is possibly insane.

Why do things sometimes flow super smoothly, and sometimes there is this productivity constipation... this inability to GO. It happens with the WRITING, it happens with the DAY JOB, it happens with the TYPING.... and, erm... It happens with the BLOG.


Cozy Update

I have finished chapter 14 (of 20 0r 21), in a burst of speed—2000 words Monday night. 1500 last night, after writing nearly NOTHING over the weekend. See... my Sunday evening I ended up lounging by my neighbor's pool (I know, life is rough). Like I said... fits and starts. I am on target though, for the WRITING. It is the TYPING, I am having trouble getting done (maybe it is the evenings typing up three blogs instead of typing... but I suppose it gives me a couple nights of very LITTLE blogging in the next few, so I should be able to make up for it.


Reading List

It is REALLY growing somehow... I am almost done with The Watchmen by Brian Freemantle—a decent book. Next up is my read of Ted Cross's fabulous book—I'm excited to read it, though my purpose is feedback—hoping to help him spot the strengths and weaknesses from another reader's perspective. THEN, I have a stack... from the library, from my birthday.... I'm excited to read ALL of them, but find myself WRITING instead.


The EDITING

Don't you DARE ask me about editing! I have a MAJOR stack to get to. Erm. Someday.


Querying

Haven't done it since JANUARY. Because of that editing stack.


And the BLOG PLAN! HA!

I can make plans. Remember. I'm good at making plans. It is FOLLOWING plans I am bad at. Tomorrow is adequately delusional. Friday I am participating in The Rejectionist's Blogiversary—you all should to: a simple essay in any form themed “What Form Rejections Mean to Me”.


So what are YOU up to?  Are you progressing well, or having trouble pushing it?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guest Author, Ami Blackwelder

I'm happy today to welcome Ami Blackwelder. I believe Ami is my first Sci-Fi visitor, and her concept sounds intriguing. But I should probably let HER tell you about it, since she knows more than I do on the topic. Welcome Ami!


Brief Biography


I am a forbidden romance writer in the paranormal and historical romance genre. My unique experiences allow me an original perspective and a plethora of ideas to entertain readers.  I grew up in Florida and went to UCf. in 1997 had my BA in English and teaching credentials. I decided to travel overseas and teach and have worked in Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China and Korea. Thailand is considered my second home now. I have always loved writing and wrote poems and short stores since childhood; however, my novels began when I was in Thailand.
http://www.amiblackwelder.com/


And the Book, Briefly: America 2060.
Three Lovers. Two Species. One Way to Survive.


Summary: Set in Alaska in 2060, when April enters her sophomore year at University, she thought Robert might be the love of her life, but as she discovers, she is hiding something inside her, something the rest of the world believes to have died out. She struggles with who she was and who she is becoming as she learns of a family she never knew existed and of enemies she will have to outrun, outfight or outwit to survive. As April embraces her new identity, will she have to leave the life she loves behind?

With underlining themes of how prejudice breaks human connections and animal/wildlife conservation, this novel which has received rave reviews will leave the reader flipping through the pages of April’s story.



How long did it take to write the book?  I began writing it in March of 2010 and began professional editing in June 2010. About 3 months to write and 1 month to edit.


What inspired you to write the book?  While in Thailand teaching Kindergarten I had a vision of a woman who could transform into an animal and thought what a fun idea.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?  I write  novels from passion. If I love the idea, I will write the story! A few main characters come quickly to mind as they develop throughout the writing process. Other characters usually easily emerge later….the beginning and ending are usually clear, but sometimes the ending is blurred until I approach it. The bulk of the story forms when I take the journey with my characters and allow them to make it their own story. Writers can't force a story for characters. I usually have to research a bit when writing paranormal and when writing historical I research constantly. When writing my novel The Day the Flowers Died set in 1930 Munich, I used You Tube for videos of that time period for music, sound, place and to set me in the right frame of mind.


What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?  A sense of appreciation for the wildlife and forests on earth and a better idea of how prejudice can lead to cruel and unnecessary consequences. I hope my readers are entertained while learning. All of my novels have something to teach, but are also very entertaining.

Where can we go to buy your book?  IMy book is available on kindle and as a print at amazon as well as my website. Soon to be on nook, Barnes n Noble, and pad.

Also check out my books and purchase them at my website:
http://www.amiblackwelder.com/

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
http://paranormalromance.ning.com, http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000483080700,  are two great sites to gather information about The Hunted of 2060 as well as learn more about the author and other paranormal authors!

Excerpt from book:
I am torn.  Two halves dividing.  I feel it deep inside.  There is no escaping it, no denying it. My body aches with a pain too familiar.

My hands clutched the metal student desk in sophomore Biology class at Alaska University.  Sweat dropped from my forehead in the air conditioned room. Chills rushed up my spine and I shivered in a brief moment only noticed by me. My long nails scratched the surface of the classroom desk. My class schedule appeared on the square shaped electronic device on my desk, beaming in and out of focus as my vision blurred:

Biology
English
Humanities II
Lunch
Calculus II
Ethics

The pain as sharp as a knife carved into my sides, my muscles, my bones.  My mouth opened in silent agony.  I didn’t want anyone to know.  I cried out in a quiet prayer inside my own mind. Make me whole.  Make me not think.  Make me not hurt.

Robert’s athletic build filled his seat one desk away from me in the back row.  ‘Are you alright, April?’ he whispered.  His brows formed crooked angles over his intense stare. I wiped the sweat as it slid down my jaw line.  I felt the color fall from my face.

‘Yeah, I’m fine.’  I forced a smile to hide my pain.

‘You sure?’ he insisted. ‘You look kinda pale.’

I excused myself and walked to the restroom.  The ceramic tiles of the bathroom walls swirled in dizziness.  I fell to the hard floor, hitting my knee and then my chest before everything went black.

In the nurse’s office, I awoke lying on top of a clinic bed two doors down from the dean’s office.  Not a room I wanted to be so close to.  Not a room I wanted to visit again.  His office made me feel claustrophobic, and excited a certain angst inside of me, something I didn’t know how to control.  I heard chatting above me, next to me, only I couldn’t see anyone.

I turned my head toward the wall and listened.  I heard the sounds in the next room, every word, every movement, every sigh.  Turning my head away from the unwanted reality, I curled up on top of the crisp white sheets.  I stared at the ceiling and talked myself into believing I just needed more sleep.  I didn’t want this.  I didn’t understand this.

‘April?’  The nurse’s warm tone called me.  She swung the door open and in maternal instinct, stood by my side.  ‘Are you feeling better?’

‘How did I get here?’

‘A student found you unconscious in the bathroom.’ The nurse considered her words. ‘Have you been taking anything, prescription drugs, anything illegal that I should know about?’

‘No,’ I shook my head vehemently, ‘no.’

‘Are you sure? I need to know so that I can help you.’ She sounded so genuine. I could hear the sincerity in her voice, in the thumping of her heart. She meant it.

‘No,’ I said plainly.

‘Ok.’ She smiled like she believed me. ‘I’m going to run some blood tests to find out how I can better help you.’

‘Help me? I don’t need any help. I don’t need any tests.’  I pushed myself off the bed.  The palms of my hands grasped the clinic sheets covering the plastic cushion. The sound of it crinkling irritated my ears.  I don’t need needles in my skin, my blood.  I know I need help, but not the kind she can give me.  Somewhere inside of me I knew what was happening, but my rational mind could not make sense of it.

I pushed the clinic door open as the nurse tried to grab my shoulder and pull me back, but I turned the corner and disappeared down the hall.  I moved fast.  My fragile mind could not understand the pace which I took.  In a moment, I stood at the door of the main office, leading outside.  I couldn’t fathom how the spaces below my feet disappeared underneath me.

But I am safe outside. The fresh air feels right.

Robert nudged me from behind.  ‘April, how are you feeling? After Biology, I didn’t see you. I was worried.’  He raked his fingers through his chiseled blond hair that could be modeled for a shampoo commercial.  I shrugged, not knowing how to explain this to him.  I didn’t even know how to fully explain this to myself.  Pulling my long wavy chocolate hair over my left shoulder, I fluttered my lashes fringing hazel eyes.

Distraction is easy for me.  Deception is like second nature.

‘I’m fine,’ I said, almost convincing myself.  ‘Did I miss anything important in class?’

‘Not really.’  We began to walk down the university campus sidewalk. ‘The same topic from Monday.’
‘Metamorphosis,’ I ascertained.

‘So, what are you doing tonight?’ Robert brushed his crimson sweater against the sleeve of my black silk blouse hanging over a pair of faded blue jeans.

‘I’m not sure.’  My lips tightened and I glared at the cobblestones below us.

‘Plans?’  Robert concluded and I could feel the drop in his enthusiasm. He always jumped before I told him how high.  I opened my mouth to say something, something I wasn’t even sure of. I wanted to ease his insecurities, but then I closed my lips and nodded.  It’s better if he doesn’t know.  ‘Maybe another time?’
‘Maybe.’ As our eyes parted from each other, a few players in Robert’s hockey team, huddled over the lawn, called to him.

‘Robert, over here!’

’‘Look, I gotta run, but call me if anything changes. You know I’ll be there if you need me,’ Robert said in a loyalty I knew only he afforded me.

‘I will.’  Alone on the campus lawn, I lay on my back.  I heard the laughter of the hockey team fade as they drew away from me and entered a building. The grass squished up against my skin as I glanced over the stars hidden so well in the late afternoon sky. I miss moments like these.  Moments of peace.  The knife had been removed and I felt no pain.  The vibration of sounds around me vanished.  I could almost feel the cold of Alaska again.

* * *

At my apartment I thought I was safe from it, from myself, but my arms began to itch.  I scratched.  The tingling returned.  I knew what to expect — sharp, intense pain. Unbearable.  I threw myself onto my oversized bed propped up on steel bars and held myself.  My hands clasped my shoulder bones.  My head pushed into the pillows.  My teeth gritted into the sheets.  My fingers raked my skin as if I were an addict in need of another fix.  My body shook with convulsions.  My eyes shut. Instinctual, not of volition.  It will pass.
A sound bellowed from my lips, a sound I’d never heard before tonight.  I curled up like a baby in need of her mother and let the aching pass.  It always passes.  It always takes too long. Every minute felt like forever.  I need him.  I need him to help me get through this.  When the violence inside my body soothed, I called him on my phone.  He will come.  He always comes.

The knock at my door drew me from my bed and to him in one fluid motion. He stood at my doorway with an orange tulip in his hands, my favorite.  But I didn’t even have time to thank him for his thoughtfulness. My pain needed his comfort. My mind needed his words.  My body needed his touch.  He hurried through my door to the foot of the bed.  He sat in his dark blue jeans, still wearing his crimson sweater.  Too desperate for games, I just told him the truth.

‘I need you.’  The words flowed so easily.  He drew close to me and I rested my weary head on his chest.  The chill from his skin cooled my warm temperature.

‘What happened?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Tell me where you hurt. Let me help you.’ The fine lines breaking in his forehead revealed his fear for me.
‘Everywhere,’ I grimaced.

‘Tell me what to do.’ The longing in his words mirrored the longing in his heart. He wanted more from me than I could give him right now.

‘Nothing,’ I said shortly, looked up into his pleading blue eyes and then gave him just an inch of what I knew he wanted. ‘Just be here.’

He smiled and didn’t question me more about it. Robert had seen me hurt before, twice, and learned not to ask me questions. They brought out the agitation in me. With his lips closed, his gentle hands took care of me. I abhorred hospitals. He held me in his embrace.  His heart beat fast, too fast.  I heard it too well, better than I should.

Never mind.  He’s here with me now.  Everything will be fine.

I rested on his chest, wrapped up in his arms, his large toned arms.  He fell asleep, peaceful.  I never sleep so still.  Every sound, every motion usually kept me awake.  But with him near me, I slept soundly.

* * *

I covered my eyes in the bright daylight at first.  We strolled out of my apartment and down the block over the chipped sidewalks.  The sky cars in various metallic colors flew past us like birds overhead.  Their revving sounded like whistles blowing.  The black apartment walls stayed in the shadows of the day and the windows glowed in fluorescent lights laced around their borders.

The electrical newspapers beamed in and out against the shop walls and displayed current events.  America clones President Strossey in an attempt to derail assassination attempts.  The news faded out while the next page faded in.  A trip to Mars is scheduled for next weekend: September 14th, 2060.  NASA says the highly anticipated Anti-Matter Propulsion is ready to use for distant travel.  On the next slide of news, another space-related event emerged onto the screen.  The RAM Jet Fusion Engine will reach the Space Walker today to transport food and water to the Moon Station.  Go Green, Go Hydrogen!

The gray clouds rolled in like a tumultuous sea about to storm.  The thunder crackled and a few rain pellets began to fall.  Robert took out his compact umbrella stashed inside of his front jean pocket.  He wrapped his hand around the miniature, rectangular tool and hit the silver button with his forefinger.  The shape of the umbrella unfolded around us and clicked into place.  People on the busy streets brushed past us in dark raincoats and silver radiated umbrellas.  The silver color lit up against the lightning.  I wrapped my arm around Robert’s and fastened my other hand over my waist.

‘Are you…’  He stopped his sentence.  I knew what he wanted to ask, …alright today?  He knew I didn’t enjoy those questions. He cleared his throat, ‘…hungry?’  I smiled at him and shifted my eyes to the chipped sidewalk like a coy animal.

‘Sure, I could eat something.’  In truth, I was famished.  I hadn’t eaten dinner last night even though I’d been feeling more hungry than usual.

‘Where would you like to eat?  We have the whole day to ourselves.’  His strong blue eyes shone lighter than the sky. ‘Thank God for Saturdays,’ he smirked with a scar over his wrinkled chin from playing hockey.  We ambled to the end of the sidewalk.  A sky car slowed down, dropping out of the sky in front of us.  Its wheels, in mechanical precision, lowered out of its body and hit the aluminum street.  The car’s angular tip and short rounded frame propelled down the road and disappeared after turning a corner.

‘We could eat at Uro’s Deli,’,I suggested. ‘I’m craving a roast beef sub.’

‘Uro’s it is.’

The silver, black and white checkered walls of the deli stood out between two buildings.  The low brick building to the left reminded everyone of designs long gone.  The spiraling crisp white tower to the right reached into the clouds.  Music somewhere between disco and techno permeated Uro’s (a name based on the monetary exchange of America since 2025) and the sounds seeped out the deli door and onto the city as we approached.

Robert pointed to the spiraling tower with his forefinger. ‘I would’ve positioned the base more to the left and the tip more to the right, placing the spiral off center.’

‘Crooked?’  I arched a brow.  He loved architecture, he studied architecture, but his ideas could be grandeur.

‘Interesting,’ he corrected.  I grinned. Robert tripped over cement on the other side of the street.
‘Damn sidewalks.  Do you know when they’re going to rebuild them?’ he asked, agitated.  I don’t have answers.  I can only think of my own pain.  I can think of nothing else.

‘No.’ I walked ahead toward the door.

‘They’d better reconstruct them with nano-ceramic soon before someone gets seriously hurt.’  He followed.  The entire city began to look like one large piece of nano-material, a substance that wouldn’t bend or break in chaotic weather or over extended periods of time.

Robert sat across from me in the oversized black booth with his concentrated expression. We punched our orders into the Electric Order Form, an efficient device, much like the internet fifty years ago.  Square, about the size of a book, it fit into the table on each side near the end.  It eliminated the need of waiters.

Robert fiddled with his projection watch. He looked like a budding professor playing with the technology in his hands.  Despite his strong body and model-like appearance, he maintained a 3.5 GPA and tutored some of his buddies on the hockey team. He hit the silver button on his watch and the hologram of our Biology textbook appeared over the table.  He clicked the arrow button and it turned page after page until he stopped at page ten.

I brushed my onyx hair away from my face. ‘You want to show me something?’  I placed my elbows on the table and nestled my head in my left hand.  My palm cupped my chin and my hazel eyes shot up at him.
‘I forgot to mention, Mr. Crougar said this was going to be on the quiz Monday.’

Monday? I can’t even think about tomorrow.  I have to take this one day at a time…whatever ‘this’ is.
I nodded like I cared about a quiz, like I wasn’t thinking about something else over every word he read.  He hit the arrow button again and the page turned.  As he finished highlighting the important parts, the Intelligent Service Robot, dressed in the deli uniform of silver, black and white checkered shirt and pants, carried our orders on its metallic arms.  Its back squeaked as it bent over to place our plates before us.

‘Do you ever miss it?’ I said in almost a whisper to Robert.

‘Miss what?’

‘Actual people serving food?’  The ISRs were manufactured and found in every business by 2050 and in most homes by 2055.  They brought a great relief to the extra workloads carried by most people, but they also took away many jobs.  People were angry at first, until new employment opportunities for the manufacturing and upkeep of the ISRs became available.

‘Sometimes.’  Robert winked and began to eat his chili sandwich, one of his favorites at the deli.  The smell of roast beef spun my head in a dizzy frenzy and I began to feel the aches in my bones again.

All I can think about is the meat.



A Paranormal and Historical Romance author!
Passion with Taste and Twist!

Preview and Purchase my books (Prints and eBooks):
http://amiblackwelder.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

TartTrack

Arleebird is hosting yet another FABULOUS Blog Fest... this one is about the TEN songs that form the soundtrack of your life.



Mercedes Benz, Janice Joplin

My parents were young when they got married, and neither was particularly savvy... about anything. They were pop music (mom) and big band hang back (dad). My dad had a lot of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Mom had a lot of folk rock. Being marginally tone deaf, the stuff with LYRICS was preferable, so I grew up choosing Carole King, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkle, Sonny & Cher... and Janice Joplin. I think the Scarborough Fair Album was most frequently chosen (still love it), Sonny & Cher was what—at the TIME, I would have marked as favorite... Carole King has stuck with me longest as a musician I STILL admire the heck out of, but if I am choosing a SONG...

Janice Joplin was raw and tortured, and her music resonated with the times. She was wild, but vulnerable, as I still think of my dad, and I love this SONG as my first awareness of the use of getting the point across by saying something different than the ACTUAL point. At four or five, I GOT that a Mercedez Benz or a color TV were NOT the kinds of things you asked God for. Seeds of irony were born a decade before I knew what the word meant. We also had a near miss with Dialing for Dollars—the Spokane station announced they were calling 882-4792 and the phone began to ring. I could hear it... but I was next door at my babysitter's house... missing the call... no money for the color TV that we didn't yet own... so there is a somewhat personal connection.


The Rose, Bette Midler

In Junior High I gave over to angst. I wanted LOVE and ACHE and LONGING in a big way—never mind that almost ALWAYS when a boy actually liked me back, I panicked and backed off... I had stereotypes of the feelings I was supposed to have, but it was the wanting I wanted... not the having... (my apologies to the boys I gave the wrong impression to—not that they were knocking down my doors, but there were a few). This particular song had an associated boy... a boy I eventually GOT but gave up due to peer embarrassment—being harassed about kissing in the dugouts... I guess I had been more comfortable with the thing just out of reach...


Wuthering Heights, Pat Benatar

The driving age in Idaho is 14. Moscow, however, was behind on driver's ed, so when my friend Michelle moved there as a Freshman, she was the only one our age with a license (AND a truck—a really OLD truck—a 58 Chevy, I think, with an 8-track tape deck... and two tapes). I don't remember what the second one was, but the one we listened to, almost all the time, was Pat Benatar. This was my favorite song on it.

I will take a moment to note that I'm rather surprised to see that my first third of life was most notably marked by songs by women. I have never had a noted preference for them—in fact 'pop' women tend to bug me. Oh well, there we have it...


Cum on Feel the Noize, Quiet Riot

When I got to high school (10th grade, because we had a Jr. High and a High School) I gave over to the heavy metal under-movement... because in a small town with a single radio station the options were pop music or heavy metal. I am STILL fond of it, from my first Loverboy LP , all the way through, but this song ushered in my 'high school party phase'... the metalhead in me.


Purple Rain, Prince

Purple Rain was a generational album which ties in MTV, Showtime, and a particular time of really angsty stuff for me. I had a long time romantic obsession—this time not free of contact, but never quite the level I wanted it to be—oddly, a person I've remained friends with, and have great clarity that it is for the BEST it never flew... he was a romantic attachment I might have given up dreams for, but because it wasn't to be THAT kind of serious, but the attachment was there, nobody ELSE ever had the strength of attachment for me to be willing to give it all up for. Funny how that works. I went away to college, the friendship converted to a WRITTEN one, and obsession mellowed to friendship.


Don't You Forget About Me, Simple Minds

I had such a strong feeling, as I left home for the first time, going out of state to college where NONE of my other friends would be, of wanting to be ME for the first time in my life. I'm not sure why I never felt free to be me before, but the freedom and release of starting fresh was tangible. I wanted to make an impression, every step of the way.


Nirvana, Memoria

First out of college I gave over to the grunge movement full force. I LOVED the stuff. By the time Nirvana came on the scene, I'd given up the field of advertising as the soul suck it was, and was working at a microbrewery and going back to school for my Master's degree. The anti-establishment played clearly in my life and on my stereo.



Strawberry, Everclear

I happen to think Art Alexakis is the best story teller writing songs. And for anyone who has ever loved an addict, this song will dig a hole in your heart and stay there—it makes you FEEL what it is like from the other side... and if you are to KEEP loving an addict, sometimes that is necessary.


You Learn, Alanis Morissette

And like Art can tell a story, Alanis can philosophize. I believe every word of this song absolutely and completely, and I think I just need to share them.

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone (I certainly do)
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time (Feel free)
Throw it down (concoction knocks you from the room)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn


Mr. Jones and Me, Counting Crows

And finally... the quest to BE someone... to make a name. I want to be Bob Dyllan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky, but if everyone loves you, oh son, that's just about as funky as you could be... There are a fair number of songs out there about the quest for fame, but I think this is my favorite of them... we all wanna be beautiful, man, I wish I was beautiful...


So there we have it... not necessarily all FAVORITE songs (though I like them all) but definitely the ones that most notably mark my life stages...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pslushpile

That P is because it is only a Pseudo Slushpile, but PseudoPslush seemed like overkill... Oh, yeah, I get that if I have to explain the title, it's a fail, but too much seemed worse than clever followed by an explanation... erm... or did at the time.

So what am I talking about?

I had to go through a pile of mostly COMPLETELY incompatible MUCK this week for the first time in two years. You see, in my DAY JOB, I am the supervisor... Now y'all don't need to laugh that somebody put me in charge... I get the irony. But the STORY of it THAT MATTERS, is I FELT for a moment like an agent wading through slush.

Michigan has been in the bottom three economies in the US for going on 10 years now. It has NEVER ranked better than 48 (pretty bad, when you consider they measure these things every month... that is 120 TIMES we've been in the bottom 3). It's bad—lotta people unemployed. But on top of that, 2 years ago, at UM, my employer, a hiring freeze went into effect. NO NEW JOBS. NONE. NADA. ZILCH. ZIPPO. That means the ONLY HIRING DONE is to replace people who leave (100% grant funded positions aside, but don't even get me STARTED on how much harder it has gotten to get grant money—since about 2002 in fact, because the Bush Administration didn't believe in science, and Obama came into this financial MESS). So for my measly Admin/Research position, in a week of posting, there were 81 applicants.

Guess who got to weed them?

If you guessed me, you wouldn't be too far off. Pretty much I had to go through ALL, and I put them in three piles: “Good God, no.” “Possibly, if I've interpreted what my boss wants wrong.” and “Now we're getting somewhere.”

Then I take piles 2 and 3 to my boss so SHE can determine whether she agrees with me or not, and we decide who to interview. (she liked 7 of my 12 yes ones and 1 of my 20 maybes: not too bad for agreement) Might be worth it to note SOME of my Yes's she didn't like had to do with things like odd font changes—you see, the person will be sending correspondence in her name, and so she wants them to have good aesthetic judgment. The reason I am telling YOU, is you never know when somebody might get picky on you for ODD stuff. It ALL needs to be right, so the only thing they have to evaluate on is YOUR WORK.


But the point of this POST (yes, there is a point)... strike that... there are TWO points...

[note: this is a Debbie Ohi cartoon]

1) I felt like an agent weeding through a slushpile... SO MANY PEOPLE either didn't read what we were looking for, or were just desperately grasping at straws when we were NOT THE JOB FOR THEM.

Among these were people who couldn't even be bothered to personalize the darned letter—this REALLY stuck out to me. How bad could they possibly want the job if they couldn't change the sentence from 'a position in human resources' to 'a position as an administrative assistant'. For Pete's sake! At LEAST individualize it to the right freaking JOB LISTING!

This is TOTALLY something I can see causing an auto reject in an agent pile... Querying for genres they don't pub, calling them the wrong name... saying 'to whom it may concern'. If you are serious, you have to be a professional, which means bothering to do a little darned homework! Find out who you are sending the Query to!

2) The other thing I noticed is I have become a rather bitchy person where letter writing skills are concerned. If someone wasn't professional? NO. If someone had poor grammar? NO. And no small number of people were moved UP a pile (no to maybe or maybe to yes) strictly for their ability to communicate well in letter form. I've become a prose junky. So it is worth it to spend the time on writing the query WELL. And it is REALLY REALLY worth it to spend the time making sure you haven't made a BONEHEAD of yourself by thoughtlessly firing off impersonal sludge. Know your audience, personalize and then POLISH.



BONUS CONTENT! Getting to Know you *shifty*

This is going around, but I copied it from Rosie, one of my new friends via the Burrowers, Books & Balderdash where there is a new IMAGE up today if you want to participate in the Drabble contest (I think it is one of Rayna's photographs, which are ALWAYS cool, though I am writing before it is posted, so if I am wrong, don't sue me...).

Anyway... More about ME! *cough*These are the questions...

1.What is YOUR definition of sexy?
2.Would you rather clean up puke or change a poopy diaper?
3. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
4. If you had to give up one of your 5 senses for a year..which one would you give up?
5. Cake or Pie?
6. If you could play any character on TV (old or current) who would you play?
7. My favorite website is.....?
8. The highlight of my day is....?


1) Sexy is this mind meld thing that happens with a direct stare in which you and the other person really GET each other. It can be as purely sexual as what I get looking at Captain Jack (his eyes HAVE that look that somehow don't require bi-directional contact) or as personal as truly and deeply knowing somebody. It can appear instantly in a person you've known for years because you've had a strange dream, or learned something, whereby you touched their soul for an instance. It is typically playful, sometimes a little dangerous, and ALWAYS makes me feel naked.

2)  Poopy diaper. I'm not a huge fan of poop, but everybody poops, even when healthy. Puke is a sign of illness, and so adds fright (and a smell that turns my stomach, instead of just one that is unpleasant) to the task at hand. And a poopy diaper is CONTAINED... (usually, there was an exploding diaper or two when my kids were small) Puke is almost always somewhere it shouldn't BE. *ponders why firefox doesn't like the word poopy*

3)  Introvert. I really LIKE people, but I am not particularly SKILLED with them in a real world setting. And I need a TON of down time. I like being alone.(well... with my characters, I mean) I guess the deciding factor comes with the question, if you had to ALWAYS be with people (no alone time) or NEVER be with people, which which you choose. Yeah... I'm a never. (though the middle ground is preferable)

4)  Probably taste. Much of it can be made up for with smell, and maybe if I couldn't taste much, I'd be less tempted to overdo it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE tasty stuff, but it is where my biggest control problem lies, so giving it up for a year might be good for me.


5)  Pie. I LIKE cake, but I like pie better.

6)  Sidney Bristow. Oh, sure... lots of parental drama, but she kicked butt, was gorgeous, got to do REALLY cool stuff, and married Michael Vaughn in the end... I could be Sidney.

7)  Probably Blogger, possibly Facebook... used to be HPANA... where my friends are, basically.

8)  WRITING TIME. At about 8:30 each day, I GET NAKED, run a bath, fix a drink, do a Sudoku, and then I WRITE. LOVE that time.

So there we have it. Now you know me!  Well not Biblically... but pretty well anyway...


AND THIS JUST IN:  July 18 is National Ice Cream Day.  Eat some.  And that's an order!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fitness Blah Blah Blaj

First off, I had a string of new followers this week... 13, I think, which is quite a lot in a week that I'm only half sure what I did right (and that didn't come until Thursday)—because hosting Elizabeth was DEFINITELY a good move on my part!--the post with her 18 Helpful Marketing Tips has been linked by several helpful people and I suspect may get hits for a long time to come. Makes me think I ought to organize a sidebar with 'most popular posts'. I believe I have @InkyElbows (Twitter name) to thank once again for part of the spread.  But at that point I'd already added a fair few...

So anyway WELCOME to new followers! (and I now have 96 flags—the most recent is an 'unknown European Union' one—whatever that means... Peru right before that) For some reason those flags make me really happy. I suppose it's because Naked WORLD Domination needs to reach all over the WORLD, ne?

Any, Saturday is typically my fitness day, so... Back to it...


Fitness Update

So it WORKED! (mostly... but mostly sort of counts, right?) Now I suppose I should start with my to-do list from last week, so you know it wasn't a TOTAL success...

Exercise Ball? Erm... not so much.
Weight Lifting? No but... no but... no but... I did some counter push-ups and stuff... (my upper body isn't strong enough for traditional push ups, so I often do them leaned against a counter--the steeper the angle, the closer to a real push-up) so... sort of.
Diet Coke Drop? SUCCESS! I had one Wednesday, but I figure one a week is perfectly reasonable. (maybe even TWO, but I didn't start counting until Monday, so it is only half a week. The point was, I RESISTED 4 days)
Writing down points? Erm. No.

BUTTTTTTTT!!!!! I COUNTED them. And I ate on plan Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, was only a little over Wednesday and on Friday I followed other than the allowance for a couple drinks... it's a Friday thing...

I know. It sounds an awful lot like I didn't do it at all, but that, in a WAY is the revelation... because this was such an improvement (enlightening me on just how FAR I was from doing it BEFORE). And it got me back to where I needed to be to lose weight—yes, slowly, but slow is okay.

My friend Linda (who is a Registered Dietician) says slowly lost weight stays off longer. And losing is better that staying the same (if you are overweight) and it is almost ALWAYS better than gaining, unless you are a baby or child... or very sickly. Which I'm not.


And my own weight is back to my low, so no new weight loss, but I am down 41 pounds since January and feeling ready to now START!

I guess my real victory—And I think it IS one, in spite of only doing one of four things on my list, is that my HEAD is actually back in the game. I FEEL like I am DOING it.

So giving a shout out—last week I have a few who wanted to join in either the HOT SHOULDERS campaign or the weight loss piece... Success? Near misses? Better luck this week?