Friday, December 31, 2010

The Other Ones

Erm... by that I mean the NON-Writing Resolutions...


Okay, so I say this every year, but this is finally a matter of PAIN issues, and I'd rather be done with it. YES, I should weigh less and would LOVE to have a goal of Goddess Like Hotness—like this Playboy centerfold... What I REALLY want? No back pain. This requires a more reasonable weight... it also requires STRETCHING which I am woefully bad at... core strengthening (which I neglect horribly) and possibly more sex (which I promise to work on right away). But SPECIFICALLY:

Back to my exercise (power walking regularly)
Back to eating on a Weight Watchers plan
Alternate days with core/hand weights (15 minutes of one or the other daily)
Stretch before bed every night (I already stretch in the shower in the a.m.)

A moratorium on alcohol and Diet Coke until all this settles in, and then, only on points.


We have serious financial problems. I have found a short term fix, but the long-term plan requires a couple things... NONE of them SEEM to be in my control, but the one that most closely is is my writing stuff... This is behind the FRANTIC polishing... I want to have 3 books READY by mid year (two earlier: one for ABNA, one to query) and I plan to GO GO GO until I sell one. I ALSO am concentrating on WRITING stuff I am pretty sure is salable—I want to get my name established so this stuff all gets easier.


I finally made peace with my mom (mostly) at Christmas... but newly fixed things are fragile, and I am neglectful in the best of times. I need to keep working at it... I also need to work at the one with the hubby and the childings...

And I should be more cognizant of my other friendships, too... I LOVE my friends, but I can be downright SCATTERED about attention...

I guess those are the biggies, aside from the writing stuff a couple days ago...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

By Blog or Bondage

Erm... or something... I'm making wee minor changes to blogging this year... some aren't actually changes, but formalizations... some are simply silly assertions of what I like and don't... so there...

So you know I'm not really all about rules, ne? In fact... they sort of give me a rash? So you MUST understand these things aren't rules... they're more like GUIDELINES really... a manifesto of sorts of how I intend to conduct my blog in 2011.

First. We are all about Prestige around here. *Snort* You didn't believe that, did you? [this statue is actually a fairly perfect representation of how I view prestige] Seriously... remember my real motto? For a writer to sustain a blog, she either needs to be helpful or entertaining? So... when I SEE helpful stuff, I swear I will (try) to pass it on... and if I THINK helpful things, Tolstoy KNOWS you will be the recipients of such helpful stuff... but mostly, I can only be me (and I am more often entertaining than useful... it's just how I roll)... The PLAN, broad and vague as it is, goes something like this...

6.75-1.25 = 5.5

*scratches head*
That doesn't help? It means rather than trying to blog almost every day and missing just a few, I will try to blog 5 days a week, allowing an extra now and then when I am feeling particularly interesting... I figure at least twice a month I will have something extra to share (probably related to my so-called fitness plans or weekend weirdness in Ann Arbor (not nearly as unusual as you might think))

Of the days left... I figure there will be one day devoted to riduculum... (silliness, eye candy, strange things), one day that is sort of personal... (on average... some weeks may be ALL this, while you may go months where I am feeling like a hermit) and three days of either writing, writing related, publishing related, philosophy come writing... strained metaphor... stuff that eventually GETS to writing...

So not hugely different, just a minor cut-back... BUTTT...

[why does iff mean if and only if, but butt NOT mean but and only but? It's a damn shame—if I was allowed to say but and only but with butt... I would swear to only use this image...]

I also am going to work a bit on brevity... I know I run long. I see blog polls and nobody likes long run-on blogs, yet... I write long run-on blogs... I THINK you don't want me to edit this down to strictly coherent thoughts... I think you wouldn't be here if coherence was a primary criteria, but I DO respect the limited time we have, so if I run over 1000 words, I am going to edit, and if I really feel it is all important, I will split over a couple days... I've normally thought 3 pages was stretching limits of how long my blog should be as I write it in word... I am adjusting that to 2. I will try to limit how often I go longer, and try to be concise where possible, though this is distinctly against my personality.

In OTHER NEWS: need an easy January 1 blog... There is an Eye Candy Blogfest! What better way can you think of to spend you blog hopping when you are low on sleep and fighting a hangover!?

And in other other NEWS:

* I SUCCEEDED in finishing this edit of LEGACY and sending it to 2 readers!

* I am still WAITING to make sure the agent is happy with the edit and am getting nervous that the entire publishing world takes this week off, though I vow not to panic until at least 3:00 this afternoon.

* I have decided Kahlotus Disposal Site (cover by my friend Joris Ammerlaan) IS the best and HAS the time for ABNA. I was intimidated by the amount of work but... I can do it! Hell, if I can WRITE a book in a month, I can certainly FIX one! And this is a 60K word one... not as long as my normal stuff (as YA, that is okay). I like the other one I was considering, but thing it needs a few twists to be exciting.

HA! Oh yeah... the likes/don't likes thing...

Awards: LOVE receiving them. Am totally flaky and unreliable about sharing them... (I will try... I cannot be trusted to follow through in a timely way, though)

Blog fests: fun easy one? I am IN! Ones that share writing? Not so much. This is about how seriously I take feedback. I don't read seriously on a computer screen and CAN'T give great feedback without printing and thinking away from this lighted machine... which I can't commit to on a 'blogfest' level.(though I am participating in 'I'll Show you Mine'--the innuendo is too good and it is close enough to NaNoWriMo that I am reading for content, not polish, and won't feel guilty.

Blog Events: You've HEARD about my FOMS, yes? But I am going to TRY to evaluate my writing obligations first.

Guesting: if you have an event coming, particularly a writerly event: book release, that kind of thing, just give a shout. I am happy to have up to one guest every week (though I can't review—I don't have the finances to buy books or the time to commit to reading with very few exceptions—interviews assume I've read, so fall in here, too.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 in Writing

Before I start, I should ALSO let you know I am at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash today talking about VOICE... what it is and how to strengthen yours (a la Tart... so strictly my view on the matter)

Okay, peeps... you ready to MAKE A PLAN!? Just ignore the mad cackling. That follows me a lot this time of year... It is my plan fiend... He gets REALLY excited with this whole resolution thing...

Before I dish my plan, I should probably explain... there are components of this that are SET IN STONE and portions that are more... set in pudding... (as in they will be permitted to slip and slide as suits me (and flexibility requires) so I will try to clarify which points are which... Ooooh! Maybe with COLORS!!!  So RED AND BOLD is for SURE

BEFORE 2011 Hits:

*  Press 'send' for Garden Cozy
*  Finish this round of LEGACY and send to a couple readers
*  Read enough of my 3 WriMos to CHOOSE January's project (this is fuzzier than it was a couple days ago as I think my most recent might actually be the cleanest, in spite of my love for the Kahlotus story—I just really need to evaluate what I can accomplish in a month)


Edit and Polish one of my WriMos.
Write and test pitch for ABNA: revise test repeat until ready.
Enter Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest


Polish Legacy (should be a 2 week task)
Present option to agent: if she passes, send a dozen queries
Begin writing next Garden Cozy


Finish Garden Cozy
More queries if appropriate
Read Confluence and take notes


Finish reading Confluence beginning to end
Map out how to change PoV/Villains to make it a YA
Edit Confluence


REwrite that Gardening Cozy (should have been about the right about of 'set aside' time) then send to peer reviewers.


Write my Microbrew themed near-Cozy (in a WriMo)


Polish 2nd Gardening Cozy/ send to agent
Revise one of WriMos (probably Kahlotus): Send to peer readers


Open spot for catching up if something has fallen behind


agent fixes on Garden Cozy
Rewrite MicroMystery
Cozy DUE to Editor


Polish the July Rewrite


NaNoWriMo: 1st draft of 3rd Garden Cozy


Polish Micro and pitch to agent (pretty sure this will interest her)

So FIRM:  Is writing 3 books, editing 4 books and doggedly finding representation for at least one other work.

So how do the rest of you plan?  And what are they?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And Twelve Things I Did in Oh-Ten

Okay, yeah yeah... a day later than even the day late version was supposed to be... I know... I slept until 11:00 yesterday, if you can imagine... but the night BEFORE I finished my cozy smoothing... should hear from Cruella very soon and then I am calling it DONE... actually I am calling it done now, as I am keeping the faith Cruella won't find anything hugely wrong...

And way... back to the LAST DAY of Twelvsies! First, a recap of the song so far, so you are thoroughly reassured that this silliness is almost over...

On the Twelve Days of Twelvsies, her Tartness gave to you....

12 Twelving Twelvsies
12 Things Amusing
12 Lovely Man Butts
12 Lame Excuses
Doce Animales
12 TBR Books
12 True Confessions
…... 12 Fab Car-toons!
12 Christmas Treats
12 Great Gifts
12 Christmas Plans

And Twelve Thing I Did in Oh-Ten!

1)  I lost 40 pounds!!! Never mind that I gained most of it back eventually (how much, yet to be determined). I followed a GREAT program for 3 months, then kept it off completely another three... so that is something...

2)  Survived a teen child taking driver's ed... in fact I survived 8 months of said child having a DRIVER'S PERMIT!

3)  Published 4 professional manuscripts (this is a personal best... we had a very good year)

4)  Blogged more than 350 days... not bad considering I've not actually had a hard fast rule about blogging daily. Looks like when we wind up the year, I will have only had a dozen days I didn't blog.

5)  Actually LEARNED how to edit a darned book. I began the year with some vague idea of 'read and fix as I go' that was doomed to not spot big picture stuff. The words got better, but the story really didn't have any hope of improving overly much.

6)  Led my Burrower buddies and a hundred of our closest friends into an off November WriMo. (sort of nuts that we managed to get it that big... keep your eyes peeled for June)

7)Learned that the best way to improve WRITING is to critique for others.

8)Made MANY MANY new Bloggie Friends!!!

9)Finished Conspiracy

10)WROTE Kahlotus Disposal Site, Player Down and my Garden Cozy.

11)EDITED Confluence, Legacy (twice) and my Garden Cozy (3 times)


So there! That is what I did his year...

I hope you all feel like you had productive years, and if not, you still have a few days to gear up for NEXT YEAR!

And as a note:  I've been terrible about getting to all your blogs... tomorrow... I am going to try to get back to getting around and reading (never thought I'd apologize for not getting around enough *shifty*

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twelve Christmas Plans

So on the penultimate day of Twelvsies her Tartness Gives to YOU, Twelve Christmas Plans!!! And by Christmas plans, I mean Christmas BREAK plans. The University gives us four season days each year, and we are encouraged to take them between Christmas and New Years, so I am OFF all week! (and when I say off, I mean the OTHER kind of off from the way I am always off). I actually took a vacation day Thursday, Friday was a holiday (because Saturday was the ACTUAL holiday so they give it the day before)... so a couple of these things I already did... a couple I will do this week...

1)  Polish the Cozy yet again... my agent's changes have all been addressed, but you KNOW how the trickle effect goes... plus... I can't seem to help myself when it is in my hot little hands—I have to polish again (and am always amazed the things that MISSED the polish last time...) I am currently half way through but plan to concentrate HEAVILY on this today. I'd like my agent to have it soon. I ALSO got feedback from Super-Rayna on it and Cruella has it for a read to make sure they don't see anything glaring.

2)  Childing Movie Marathon—we rented 5 movies on Wednesday night (well actually we rented two, had a coupon for a 3rd and both the ones we rented were 'rent a new, get an old free')... so in the last 4 days we watched Inception, The Grudge (nice and christmassy, that, ye?), Lost Boys (okay, only I watched this... kids were snobs), Easy A (I only listened), one of the American Pies (also only listened)--we have a deep disagreement on humor..., Godfather, A Christmas Story, Princess Bride and Kick-Ass. There will be more.

3)  Finish this edit of LEGACY. I only have about 30 pages left on this round, then I want to get it to a few fabulous first readers who have volunteered.

4)  Do a read of Kahlotus Disposal Site and mark sections that need writing/cleaning for Amazon contest. This will NOT be clean enough to win the contest, but I think it is my sexiest idea and I hope I can have it ready to maybe make the first two phases. I am going to have to commit like I would for a WriMo for this if I want it ready by the end of January, but I have had a HORRIBLE habit of writing but not cleaning, and I just really want to have a couple works really close to there... 2011 will be the year of the QUERY!

5)  Mapping my plan... see... if January is for cleaning up Kahlotus... and early February is for a final polish (with peer feedback) of LEGACY... well... I just want to map my full year like this so nothing falls through the cracks...

6)  Make a log: I plan to track my writing and editing time this year because... you know... I'm a geek that way. My boss's niece went with us for our spa day and we were next to each other for the pedicure portion and she asked a bunch of GREAT questions... about things like 'how long it takes to write a book'--and I thought, while I have SOME idea, that idea doesn't incorporate all the CLEANING of a book I need to do... I want to know... Possibly I am just a masochist who wants affirmation that this is not even a minimum wage venture...

7)  (because 7 is the most magically powerful number) kids and I are going to our second round of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Tuesday. I don't see many movies in the theater twice, but this one I am happy to.

8)  Blog my next year: by that, I mean, once twelvsies is over (tomorrow) my week will be a bit of a plan in my various domains for next year (like that writing plan... you will see it HERE)

9)  Pay my January bills... see, in December we get our check before Christmas instead of the last day of the month, and I always manage to goof planning because it SEEMS like we have extra money, but REALLY it is just EARLY money... It will be easier to remember we don't really have it if I pay our bills with most of it.

10)  WEBSITE. I bought a web domain almost 2 months ago and have done NOTHING because I've had no time... well this week? I've got a little time! WAHOO!

11)  Desk area together... I may WRITE mostly from the bathtub, but I type, blog, network... from a corner of my basement that is a DISASTER. I'd like to get it ordered this week...

12)  And finally, I plan to at least sort of sleep in every day... yes, 9:00 is acceptable, though 10:00 is better... I just don't get that much vacation time and when it is TIME, it is TIME!

So there you have it... my Christmas Vacation...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twelve Great Gifts

On the... erm... day of Twelvsies, her Tartness Gives to YOU..

Twelve Christmas wishes... ironically in the form of the song which this entire twelve days of twelvsies has been in, but never mind...

I need to acknowledge I saw something similar... possibly twice. I was to say RaShelle and Katie, but I might be making that up (I do that)  [added:  HA!  Found the second... Jayne... still think the other is RaShelle]

On the Twelfth day of twelvsies her tartness wants for YOU:

12... partial requests
11... author book blurbs
10... next book ideas
9... foreign trade rights
8... agents pudding wrestling (over YOU, silly)
7... cool trips to sell it
6... publishers bidding
4... million dollars
3... reprints
2... movie deals
And your book atop the bestsellers list...

And maybe to tide you over UNTIL then... one of these lovely Christmassy fellows...

I wish all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas! I am going to skip tomorrow and will continue with my Twelvsies on Sunday. Until then, indulge, enjoy, and give thanks. Life is good, and hopefully will just keep getting better.

Love you, beautiful bloggie friends!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twelve Christmas Treats!

Okay friends... we are coming into the home stretch... I notice the boards are slowing down... people are abandoning the nets for... you know... REAL PEOPLE (the nerve!). I always called this Christmas Eve Eve and have ALWAYS loved it. You see... things converge here—it is my half birthday, which means I am exactly half way to 89... for what that's worth, I intend this to be exactly MIDDLE AGE. Not sure why I don't intend to go into my 90s except people in their 90s seem crabby—now people who live into their HUNDREDS—THOSE people are a kick in the pants. So first... a story (don't panic, it's short)

So my great grandma (mom's dad's mom) was pretty stuffy and proper, like, yeah? She was alive when I was born... in fact I spent about 40% of my 'daycare' time with my grandma (mom's mom—this would be Alyse the fabulous) and we went to the nursing home to see my great grandma a couple times a week until I was... must have been 4 or 5. But in Moscow, Idaho, people make friends for life, and my great grandparents had made friends with this couple, Frank and Kitty, who were childless... so my GRANDPA, an only child (adopted) ended up with 4 parents. Now that might sound like a crummy deal, but really, it is fairly cool. Because while his OWN parents were proper, Kitty (I never met Frank) was warm and wonderful. She was FUNNY, feisty, and FABULOUS. She was all of 4'10” or so when I passed her in height, though I suspect she might have peaked at about 5 foot... but she was always a part of our family. Kitty lived to be 103... and catch this... she belonged to a bowling league to the end... bowled twice a week STILL at 103.

So there... I've had my daily digression... But WAIT! Kitty's last name was Hosley, and she had monogramed pillowcases and hankies... as HART... the only H in my family... I got them all... So I have some Kitty stuff, which I love.

Okay, NOW I will get down to business...

On the... erm... whatever day of Twelvsies, her Tartness gives you YOU... Twelve Christmas Treats! (warning... a few of these you are just going to have to enjoy vicariously, as really I was the one who got them...) it POSSIBLE to say Christmas without FUDGE? I'm not sure it is. I LOVE fudge!
2...Sugar cookies. In the shapes of trees, stars, angels, santas... I'm not picky... erm... so long as they have frosting... and sprinkles... okay, so maybe I am a little picky. (I have a GREAT recipe, by the way)
3...Toffee. This is my favorite candy EVER. I like the almond roca estimation...toffee with chocolate around it and then sprinkled with crushed almonds... but so long as there is toffee and chocolate, I am pretty happy.
4...Chocolate oranges... do you know... hubby and I have searched high and low this year and not found them... Christmas may not come... these are orange hinted chocolate, shaped like an orange, that when you smash it, breaks into orange slice pieces... they are HEAVEN. [somehow this treat seems SCARCE this year and we are starting to panic]
5...Egg. Nog. Man, I love eggnog. Though I confess to doctoring mine... shot of rum, dash of nutmeg.

6...Baked brie... oh... hubby makes the BEST baked brie... he wraps it in puff pastry and... there is more too it than that... and it is the best food ever...
7...Movies with kids... lots and lots of movies with my childings... (Last night we watched Inception, but we RENTED 5...two I won't watch—their taste in comedy leaves something to be desired, but the scary ones, I will...
8...Seasonal ale. My time in Michigan has proven that not everybody GETS this... you see something like 'winter white'? Erm. No. A Christmas ale should be brown, hearty and spiced. The best one EVER is Wassail Winter Ale from Full Sail brewing in Hood River Oregon. But provided it is nut brown or darker and spiced, it is a good one to try.

9...Reindeer antlers. Got some. (modeled here by Joel who hides his head if not helped to look at the camera--I
d say he's embarrassed, but he does it even with no antlers or camera).
10...Pedicure... oh sure... who sees your feet at Christmas... UNLESS YOU ARE NAKED! My feet are currently sporting a festive teal shade... they are soft and loved... I have the best boss ever, and this was only the beginning...
11...Facial—a full HOUR...cream it up, massage it in, wipe it off, cream it up, rub it in, wipe it off, nice hot cloth, cream it up, steam it a while... it sounds so naughty, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twelve Fab Caaaaaaaaar-tooooooons!

For those of you not paying meticulous attention, this particular day should be said with the emphasis of Five Golden Rings. I know it's a little harder to keep track when the number stays the same every day. I also know this means I am not done until Boxing Day... I might even finish the 27th, just to be contrary... see, I had a guest the day I should have started and I didn't want to be rude by demanding he put his post in Twelvsies...

Now cartoons weren't on my original list, but Jennee at Cheap Therapy is having a blogfest, and because it fit with the cadence of what I am doing... *shifty* Seriously though... I was a latch-key kid and watched HOURS AND HOURS of cartoons... I KNOW cartoons! (and have strong opinions, if you can imagine...)

So first, let me recap where we are in the song, so you don't lose track again.

On the Twelve Days of Twelvsies, her Tartness gave to you....

12 Twelving Twelvsies
12 Things Amusing
12 Lovely Man Butts
12 Lame Excuses
Doce Animales
12 TBR Books
12 True Confessions
…... 12 Fab Car-toons!

Okay... not lost anymore, right?

Now TO IT! (mostly, the closer to the bottom, the more I loved them)

Dudley Do-right (and Snidely Whiplash!)--Even then I knew I liked that they were MOCKING the stereotypical hero, but he still always won over the bad guy...

Loony Tunes Dog, Cat, Bird stuff... Tweetie, Sylvester... but especially that big bulldog and the worlds cutest big-eyed kitten...

I know it was only seasonal, but I am going to start off with Peanuts. There were things I didn't like (Lucy was always mean, Sally was always annoying, Charlie Brown always was picked on—yes, I was a sensitive kid) but could you BEAT Snoopy? Not really. And I love both Linus and Peppermint Patty.

The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show: Mostly I just like Moose. Squirrel is bossy and make nice hat. [said in best Natasha voice] and now, let me pull a rabbit out of my hat... And oh, for the days to not recognize the anti-Russian propaganda for what it was.

Winnie the Pooh!: Oddly, I think this was on too early to watch as a kid, but when Mr. Tart was still only Sirius Black and we were first living together, we used to watch this on Saturday morning sometimes... And then when I had kids I bought a video... I ADORE Poo... though actually, it is Tigger I love... and Eeyore and his gloomy ways...

Jetson's: I think what sold me on this one was Judy... the TEENAGER.

Pink Panther: I'm not sure why I loved this so much... mighta been the music... maybe it was just that the Pink Panther seemed to have so much style...

Flintstones: This was my favorite REALLY early! In fact when I was 4 and my friend Gary's mom used to babysit me after nursery school we used to want to PLAY Flintstones, but Gary and I inevitably fought over who got to be Pebbles... I claimed it as the GIRL. He claimed it as the RED HEAD. (notice nobody wanted to be Wilma—also a girl red head). But this remained an after school favorite clear up until I had sports after school, so MANY years.

Land of the Lost: now this wasn't, strictly speaking, a cartoon, but in the definition of Saturday morning children's programming it fits, so I am including it, as, other than Scooby, it was my FAVORITE

ALSO not a cartoon, but watched before school with the cartoons: Little Rascals/Our Gang. Sure, it was OLD, but I adored the love triangle with Darla, Spanky and Alfalfa. (are you mocking me?) Seriously, I loved this.

Scooby Doo: Now I am talking BEFORE all that Scrappy nonsense... And I admit to wanting to be DAPHNE, not Velma... yes, I was a shallow child... I loved the mix of mystery and silliness (hello, future Cozy mystery writer)... and that Shaggy and Scooby were always hungry...

Not just Bugs Bunny... Bugs Bunny in DRAG!: Oh, I admit I get endless chuckles out of missing the left turn at Albuquerque and I love Bugs tricking Daffy into telling Elmer, “I INSIST that you shoot me now,” but what I REALLY like is Bugs in a dress... in fact my favorite episode ever is the Bugs Bunny Opera. (honorable Loony Tunes mention for Ralph and Sam—LOVE that set-up... that it's only a job. The sheep disappearing into a hole in the ground is just icing.) But the innuendo in Bugs... the stuff you didn't get until you were older... I ADORE Bugs...

You may notice my lack of superfriends... not my thing... I was a girlie girl who liked furry animals...

What were your favorite cartoons as a kid?  Now?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twelve True Confessions

So FIRST I want to give a few celebratory shout outs... Happy Winter Solstice to Y'all! It is a holiday MEANT for nudity because that is how one communes with nature and moonlight. It's a special one, too—how often is there a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice? Maybe it will open an era of enlightenment if enough people JUST GET NAKED! (it can't hurt, yeah?)

[side note... solstice really WAS originally about enlightenment... in a way... as the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the daylight hours begin to grow... it only gets lighter from here.]

And it is ALSO the BIRTHDAY of my fabulous friend Jan (who I know supports the nudist movement and just yesterday posted pictoral proof she was one with trees, so it all goes together, see...) So be sure to go over and wish Jan a Happy Birthday, and PROMISE HER you will get naked to celebrate the solstice the way it was meant to be.

So in honor... a little soul baring...

1...Michael from The Office (US version) makes me actively hostile. Like I want to scream or choke somebody. That kind of ignorance is not amusing. Ever. Yet my family all loves the show. I am subjected to it regularly. If you ever see me online acting like a real bitch, it is because somebody at my house is watching The Office.
2...At age 11 I had a deep and abiding Shaun Cassidy crush. My entire bedroom wall was covered in posters, mostly torn from the center of Tiger Beat Magazine. When my aunt had a baby (her second) and couldn't think of a boy's name, she asked me and I suggested Shaun. She didn't want it, but DID go for Andy (suggested for Andy Gibb—a second choice crush who had fabulously sent back an autographed picture to my friend Peggy—Peg, you still have that Andy Gibb pic?--you've been OUTED by the way). By 7th grade celebrity crushes were no longer cool. I don't know if my friends gave them up earnestly or not. I only went into hiding.

3...I had pet rats as a kid and have maintained a soft spot for most rodents (in fact pretty much all but the sewer rat and the ROUS). My uncle, to raise a little money, used to breed white lab rats and so I had a stream of them as pets. They typically lived about a year, but I had one that lived about three (which according to Harry Potter and the pet store worker at the Magical Menagerie is about normal). Not one of them ever turned into a beady-eyed traitorous man, but BELIEVE ME, I felt Ron's shock when it happened to him.

4...The primary theme to the second book of my trilogy was largely inspired by the Offspring Song 'You're Gunna Go Far Kid'. It is pretty much about a kid who joins a group of art thieves because he thinks they will lead to his mother who's been abducted, but he undergoes a sort of Stockholm Syndrome transformation while he's with them.
5...When I was 21 there was a Grateful Dead Lost Weekend where I tried 'magic mushrooms'. In my trip I was 'living the book I was writing'... meaning in my head I was only writing the book as we actually did everything. Yeah... it doesn't make much sense without the drugs... It was a helluva weekend though. And I somehow think only a writer would think it was more fun WRITING about it than doing it...

6...I was a slow reader as a kid—it just was hard for me. And I didn't particularly LIKE it... I was sure it would never be my thing but in 4th grade the teachers split the classes for reading and math into high and low... I was put in high of both (for math, I belonged there) but my teacher would not let me move to low reading. She insisted I was capable but not applying myself. I worked. It got a little better. And then a little better. And then a little better. A couple years ago I had the chance to thank Mrs. Burnham for not letting me quit—she was the teacher who made me believe I was smart. That made her cry.

7...I REALLY REALLY have always wanted to have a paranormal experience... see a ghost... have a vision... even have a spooky feeling turn out to be true... but you know what? NOT. A. STITCH. I am (sadly) completely grounded in the here and now. Whatever that inner eye is... me and Hermione are in the same place. I had a neighbor though, who said there was a woman who hung out with my husband... when she described the woman, Mr. Tart said it sounded like his mom. I wonder if she followed us to Michigan.

8...I still have some clothes from high school. *shifty* Not a lot... a couple t-shirts... leg-warmers... (yes, I still wear them)... erm... did I mention I graduated high school in 1984?

9...My first novel I tried to REALLY WRITE (as opposed to minor plotting and maybe a chapter) was HORROR and based on a computer game I had for my Macintosh... The game was called Creepy Castle... Man I had fun... Had I known how the thing ended, I might have even come back to it.

10...I had a really major earring fetish in high school and college. You know... the handy thing about a fetish like that is people always know what to get you for gifts, so I still have a large collection of very cool earrings... funny... anymore I only have a couple pairs I wear that often... Still, I love to have them.

11...I first emerged as a nudist at age 2. I hated being WET. Mom says I was very easy to potty train. But we had a kiddie pool at our duplex... I would get in the water, sit, stand up, remove my suit, and then sit again to play. None of that wet fabric nonsense for ME! I was first DUBBED a nudist by my friend Candy in high school, probably because she knew I preferred to SLEEP naked. I didn't actually EMBRACE being a nudist (erm... other than the sleeping and the skinny dipping parts) until the formation of the Naked World Domination Tour some four or five years ago...

12...My mom has made 'near snuggies' for my kids... two fleece blankets sewn together... I am sitting in one now...

So there. Now you know my deepest secrets...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twelve TBR Books

So this is the list of books I am itching to read... and when I say itching, I mean that in the non-rash way...

Breakthrough by Stephen Tremp (I downloaded this recently, so I hope to get to it over break)
Cassastar by Alex Cavanaugh
Circle of Friends Book II: Sarah by L. Diane Wolfe (I even already own this! Reading very soon!)
Diamonds for the Dead by Alan Orloff
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Finger Lickin' Dead by Riley Adams (aka: Elizabeth Spann Craig)
The Hating Game by Talli Roland
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (I'm on library waiting list)
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
Uncut Diamonds by Karen Jones Gowen
Blood on his Hands by Mark Sadler

Notice something? I KNOW about three quarters of these people!

Yes, I want to read YOUR books! And if you aren't here, I either have FORGOTTEN about a book deal, or had a brain crisis, because I DO want to read all your books...  and I really hope this list grows as the REST of you get publishing contracts!  (my wish for you this holiday season!)

Now that is all for today... very brief... I lost most of my weekend to editing so the blog is brief...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Doce Animales

For those of you who don't speak Spanish, that would be said DOE-SAY AH-NEE-MAH-LAYS.

It fit the necessary cadence better than twelve animals or twelve favorite animals. So there we have it... my favorite animales!!!

Note: this list, in several cases has been influenced by zoo experiences, though I should note, I love many OTHER animals... I pretty much think all of them are cool.

Meerkats: These guys I like so well because they sit and look at you like little old men... or stand up and look around... but they have those faces... no fear, just curiosity—they have a way of making you feel like YOU are the zoo display.

Lemurs: I might think these were just another cute animal if not for a particular zoo experience. When I was in college my best friend asked me up to Portland for the weekend to help take her grandpa to the zoo. She and I, and her brother took it in turns to push the wheelchair through the Portland Zoo (which is technically Washington Park Zoo, but nobody ever calls it that). We got to the Lemur cage and looked and looked... nothing... all of a sudden there was a loud noise and 20 heads popped out of this... gray ROCK. It was hysterical... they'd all just been clustered together sleeping. I've been enchanted ever since.

Orangutan: I've told my orangutan story here before... It's at the bottom of this post. I always liked them before... had one play peek-a-boo with me... but that kiss at Thing 2 won me over forever...

Hippos: This is TOTALLY because of the Toledo Zoo. They have the best Hippo display EVER. There is a viewing area where you can see the hippos underwater, doing their hippo ballet thing, but the first time we went, there was a mama hippo laying on her side, half in the water, and her baby bobbing there in the water nursing. It was WAY cool...

Giant Anteater: Is this the coolest looking animal you ever saw, or what? In all my years of zoo-visits, I had never seen a real one until about six or seven years ago when we went to the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoo is a MARATHON... it's huge and inefficiently set up (say, compared to the Toledo Zoo which is about the same distance from us if measured in hours instead of miles—one, in each case), but the giant anteater made it worth the miles and miles we had to walk to see everything.

Giraffe/Elephant/Penguin: These are animals I always loved, but I love them even more because I have good friends who are somewhat obsessed. Giraffes and elephants are just cool and penguins are amazing to watch, because they are so playful.

Cat: I love cats. I like dogs too, but I like dogs more like I like children... I love them if they are cute, well behaved, clever, and especially when they are MINE (or belong to someone I love) but if they are annoying or out of control, I lose patience quickly. Yappy, in-your-face ones in particular make me want to smack the adult responsible. Cats on the other hand, I ADORE. I love them unconditionally... cute, ugly, cuddly, bitchy. I've been called a cat whisperer... even mean cats like me, given enough time. If I lived alone, I'd probably have three cats. More strains what I am willing to do litter-box wise, but one seems lonely when I'm gone, and two, they end up liking each other better than me (at least if they are litter mates). Whatever the case, I will always have at least one, and if our money situation were better, I'd probably argue for a second (but at the moment we've put a moratorium on new pets)

Hedgehog: Have you ever SEEN anything so cute? Seriously. Have you? I dare you to find something and declare it impossible! I watched a video on a bookstore owner by Boston who had a Hedgehog named Stanley that she sometimes brought to work—she says she sells more Hedgehog centered kids books than any other store... not surprising!

Otter: Not just otters... River otters... they are so playful and fun. I was once a white water rafting guide and on one of my training trips we woke up one morning to CRAZY splashing and came out to find river otters doing this hysterical chase game. They do it at the zoo, too, but I was delighted to find it in nature. And look at those faces!

Wombat: You know... I wasn't even entirely sure what a wombat looked like until I first met my Aussie friends and got edjumaketed. But they've become a symbol of my honorary Aussieism, which I love. They look so cuddly! (though I hear their claws are pretty brutal). I actually love all the marsupials and could have put Wallaby here, but the wombat is sort of symbolic...

The dolphin would be my patronus... erm... if I were a witch and powerful enough to MAKE a patronus, I mean... I love the playful, helpful all rolled into one thing... In fact it MIGHT even be my animagus form, though there are pretty serious limits to only being able to transform in the water...

And of course, you all already know THIS... LLAMA!!!

So there we have it...

I was terribly productive yesterday, but need to be today, too... editing fool... card sending maniac (I think I am only going to manage family at this late date)... and the endless laundry...