Thursday, December 27, 2007

Miss Spelling

Is it just me, or does anyone else get a kick out of beating spellcheck? I'm not the world's greatest speller (ask anyone who has had to crit my stuff) and those little red dots under so many words is always annoying. A lot of the time, rather than having the Word dictionary fix a misspelled word, I'll try out different variations until the little dots disappear. Just a smidgen of satisfaction in a busy day.

Maybe I should get a hobby.

On this date: In 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Waiting for the Big Guy

As of right now, Santa is in Virginia and we're tracking him on the Internet.

Just shows that no matter how old they get or how cool the presents are...they always end up in the box.

On this date: In 1809, Kit Carson was born.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Did you ever get to a point where any morsel of good news from someone else (no matter how wonderful and deserving the person) rubs on your heart like sandpaper until you feel like there's only a raw nub left inside? Did you ever get to the point where you looked up from the computer at all of the real, actual, published books on your shelf and say to yourself "Who am I kidding?" Did you ever read someone else's amazing first line and throw yourself on your bed in a fit of despair because you'll never write anything that good?

And then, did you ever start reading the chapter that you wrote late last night and you come across a sentence is so right and true and perfect where it is that you have to smile because you absolutely don't remember writing it? And then you put your cursor to the end of the word "faster" because that is where you left off and just let your fingers start typing whatever comes next. Did you ever do that? Because it's magic.

On this date: In 1949 two of the three Bee Gees were born.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Muddling Through The Middle

I haven't been saying much about the new book lately because I'm doing what I always end up doing when I'm writing - wandering around at 33,000 words until I figure out what's going to happen next. I switched a few scenes around to make the character arc work better and as soon as I smooth out the rest, I'll be back to staring at the blinking cursor and trying to figure out what is going to happen to Lucy now. I think I know the ending, I just have to get there.

Also, my freelance work kicked back in - which is good, but I'm crazy busy right now and counting the hours until the kids are home for a full two weeks with nothing to do (it's 17 1/2 hours, but who's counting). So, in a nutshell, my 1k per day is temporarily kaput. But not for long....

Maybe next time I should try an outline.

On this date: In 1957, Elvis Presley is drafted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

True Love

Everyone should feel as much love as the Big Hairy Dog had for his bear.

Unfortunately, after this photo was taken, I threw him in the trash because really, what else are you gonna do?

On this date: In 1865, slavery is abolished in America.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Eclectic Reading

I know there are probably scores of publishing executives who sit around scratching their heads trying to figure out what kids are reading. I hope they never use my son as part of a focus group. Here is a sample of the books this ten year old checked out of the library last week:

Yes, among the choices are three books on the KKK, two on Adolph Hitler (he says he wants to know what makes people think like that), biographies of Stephen Spielberg, Magellan, Willie Mays, Ben Franklin and Wild Bill Hickock plus the 1950s series Little Pear. No wonder it is difficult to find him good Christmas presents.

On this date: In 1903, the Wright brothers made the first airplane flight.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Indoor Snow

It's been a tough couple of days, so instead of talking about writing, today we're going to talk about something that makes me happy: snowglobes.

If you know me well, you know that I have about a hundred (or two) snowglobes that I used to display until we ran out of room (ie: the kids got bigger and needed more space). Most of them are in storage until I can get that long-dreamed about office of my very own. I do keep a few out, mostly older ones like these:

and these:

But today, I found something that makes me really happy - a pop-up snowglobe. It is so cool.

On this date: In 1999 Charles M. Shultz retires.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Giving In To The Holiday Spirit

I've been feeling a little humbuggy so we decided to put up the tree today. Just moments after the lights went on, our cat Fat Stanley took up his post at the base of the tree where he will remain (with a few short breaks) until I get sick of it all and take everything down on Dec. 27th.

We're a bit more hohoho than holy...even the stars on the top of the tree are held up by elephants. So, did it work? I'll let you know.

On this date: In 1915, Frank Sinatra was born.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Writer's Best Friend

I love my dog. Not just because he's the Best Dog In The World, but because he is the best writing partner a gal could have. When I'm stuck (like I am now on some elements of my Triplets story) I just roll my eyes toward his leash and we take off for a mind-clearing walk.

Today, I was dragging (okay, it might have been veering into a short bout of depression) over some story lines and other issues, so I called the BDITW and we suited up to go out. Now, walking with the BDITW is always done slowly. It is his duty to stop at every vertical object and dribble exactly three drops of pee. This gives one lots of time to think and stare off into the distance (because if you watch him, he gets annoyed). By the time we'd gotten to the third block I had gotten a pretty good idea, and by the time we rounded the corner toward home I had one of the major problems with the story mapped out. My heart felt lighter and the mood was lifted, all thanks to the BDITW. I wonder what people do who only own cats?

(As a thank you, I went to Costco and bought him a new pack of bully sticks. If you don't know what those are, go here.)

On this date: In 1936, Edward VIII abdicates the British throne to marry Wallis Simpson.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Break for Your Sunday

My dad sends me stuff all the time, but this is hilarious:

Friday, December 7, 2007

One down...

From this:

To this (yay):

When we got outside after getting his haircut he says: "Hey, Mom - I have a new shadow!" Yes indeed.

On this date: In 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I spend a fair amount of time at various school-district meetings for my kids' school. I went to one sponsored by the California Teacher's Association last week and that had nice giveaways. Among the usual giveaways like pencils and rulers were these:

A bottle opener and a pill case. The weird thing is that nobody else found it particularly humorous.

On this date: In 1884, the Washington Monument was completed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Everything is just to the left of center today and I'm not sure why. Could be the fact that I had to try on a bunch of clothes for DH's holiday party. Or the not-quite-dead bird that Spike the one-eyed wonder cat left for me in the dining room. Or the fact that I taught J to play Nadia's theme on the piano and have now subsequently heard it 57 times in the past hour and a half. In any case, hopefully tomorrow will be a better version of today.

Agent Kristin Nelson had a great blog today about how an auction goes down step by step. It's the stuff dreams are made of. Or the stuff that keeps you awake at night wondering if it's ever going to happen.

On this date: In 1933, Prohibition ended. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Do You Read It?

I've started to sub my new YA chapters to my fabbo critique group. As I'm giving them a synopsis, one of the gals says "Oh, have you read XX? It sounds similar."

Now, to a writer, there is almost nothing so stomach-dropping as that sentence. One of my favorite threads on a Verla Kay's board was called Someone Wrote My Book - And Won A Newbery. Even though everyone writes a different book, blah blah blah, the last thing you want is to spend an enormous amount of time on a book that's just like something that is already out there. "But I'm different," you say. "Unique. This story has never been told before." Uh huh.

So I spent an hour or so frantically researching this book, and (whew), it's actually quite different. There are a few elements that are similar, but the focus in my book is in a different place. The only thing is, School Library Journal gave it a pretty stinko review (BookList did like it though), and some of their comments could apply to my book.

The $1,000,000 question is: should I read the book? The last thing I want is to "unintentionally internalize" someone else's work, but I'd hate to repeat someone else's mistakes.

On this date: In 1991, hostage Terry Anderson is freed in Lebanon after 2,454 days in captivity.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I really have nothing to say today. Enjoy these photos instead.

Oh the places we've been this year.

On this date: In 1977, Roots premiered.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green

Like the good Northern California girl that I am, I try to do my part for the environment. As soon as our 1996 VW Golf gives up the ghost, we are going to get a hybrid. I buy only recycled paper towels and napkins. We are slowly replacing our light bulbs with compact fluorescents. I tried to use earth-friendly dish washing soap. There is only one problem with most of these earth-friendly products - they are not as good as what they are trying to replace. You heard me - most of these products s**k.

The paper towels disintegrate at the slightest hint of water, ditto with the napkins. I hate hate hate the light that compact florescents give off (don't even try to tell me that they're the same). The dish soap was a bust because we were having to run every load twice because everything was still filthy. Kinda misses the point. I don't know about the hybrids - my friends that have them like them, except for the fact that Prius' are ugly. (Okay, rechargeable batteries seem to work, but let's ignore that for the sake of argument.)

The newest item on my list of earth-friendly-products-that-s**k are LED Christmas lights. They're not only NOT warm and inviting, they are positively aggressive. The powers that be (pun intended) decided that they should put LED lights on the giant tree in Union Square in San Francisco. That thing is so glaring that everyone was standing around shielding their eyes. Don't look directly at it - it will sear the retinas right off the backs of your eyeballs! It was awful. Today we were in San Jose at their big Christmas in the park. Hundreds of trees with earth-friendly LED aggressive soul-s**king lights. It was so depressing I had to get out of there.

Hey! You developers of earth-friendly products out there! I would love to help you save the planet, but you need to make things that are at least as good as what we are giving up.

Me personally, I'm putting up those big old fashioned power-grabbing C7 lights on our house this year. They're on a timer, so that they don't waste power by being on more than 4 hours a day. Happy Holidays.

On this date: In 1955 Rosa Parks ignited the bus boycott.