Friday, December 28, 2007

The Holidays Are Over...The Year Coming To A Close...

Well, in my mind they are. New Year's to me isn't so much a holiday as the ending of one chapter and the beginning of the next. I eat cooked cabbage, cornbread and black eyed peas, for good finances and good health in the coming year.

I normally wait to take down my tree on New Year's Day and I subscribe to the notion that whatever you do on New Year's is what you'll be doing all year- ex. laundry, work, etc. (As if I wouldn't be doing that stuff anyway! LOL)

Some make resolutions. For years I did write down a list of resolutions, but I always failed at them and it left me feeling awful. Now I just concentrate on the goals in my heart- the desires I want to fulfill and the things I hope will happen in the coming year.

Last year the goals of my heart were to come up with more novel ideas, do revisions and editing on my finished novels, write 2-3 more, win NaNo again and join RWA and KYRW. Well, I did come up with more ideas, did revisions, wrote another novel and I'm still working on finished the 2nd one, which was the one I won NaNo with this year. I did join RWA and KYRW. I don't know if I'll get the 2nd novel finished by the end of this year, but I saw the majority of my "goals" reached, so I can't complain too much.

In 2008 I hope to write more novels, edit more, and get a few stories polished enough to send out and keep my fingers crossed that one (or more) find homes.

Almost 10 years ago, in 1998- I wrote myself a letter on my 23th birthday- a letter not to be opened until I was 10 years older- in 2008-- a "time capsule" if you will, about what my life was like at the time and where I thought I'd be in 10 years...LOL I will have to open that on my 33rd birthday in February, though I KNOW my life has changed dramatically since then. I'm no longer with the guy I was with at the time, and any dreams or hopes I had for the future I thought I would have with him are nonexistent. I don't have to read the note to know that my life is nothing like I imagined it would be. Haha!

All in all though, I think that's probably a good thing. I'm not that same young girl and that guy broke my heart, even though I now realize I cared about him, loved him even, but not enough to be married to him. I hope his life is better for not having me in it, the way I'm thankful for the life I now have without him.

Isn't that the oddest thing to say?

I guess though I think of it this way- I cherish the relationships I had once upon a time, but as Rascal Flatts so eloquently puts in one of their songs- "God bless the broken road that led me straight to you."

That's how I feel about my husband. There were others before him, ones who broke my heart, relationships that ended, sometimes seemingly without rhyme or reason, but on the narrow path I took, it was those roads I followed, the broken relationships along the way, that led me to my wonderful husband.

New Year's makes me a tad bit melancholy, mixed with reminiscent memories of years past. The loss of loved ones gone from our lives. It makes me take inventory of who I once was and who I am now- who I want to be in the coming years.

Years of experience has taught me to be thankful for where I've been, for who I was and who I am and to be forgiving of the hurts that have burnt me to my very core. I know it does me no good to hang on to the anger and hurt of the past. I can't thrive when I wallow in self-pity.

My mom always asks me, "How can you still care about so-and-so?" "How can you be so forgiving?"

My answer is always this- If it wasn't for what came before, I wouldn't be where I am. And that being the case, I should try my best to hold no grudges, to live without regret of the mistakes in my past, and to forgive past hurts and wrongdoings. To be THANKFUL for all of it- the good, the bad and the ugly. Everything that came before has shaped me into the person I am.

And well, I know I'm not perfect, but I think I have it pretty good. I have a roof over my head, food to cook/eat, a wonderful husband, beautiful kids, great friends and family who support my dreams and the freedom to pursue those dreams. Life isn't always easy or beautiful or simple, but I have the love of a good man and a really great life.

I'm hoping for more wonderful days with my husband and family in the coming year, the transition of my writing life, the transition of having my daughter start school in August and good sense not to take anything for granted.

My wish for you, my dear friends, is that 2008 holds all the wonderful things you hope and dream of. I wish you good health, happiness and joy. I hope that this year brings you more good than bad and seeing your dreams come true. May you be truly blessed.

Taryn

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas, Snow and All That's Holly Jolly

This may be my last blog- at least until after Christmas. We've got a very busy weekend coming up, as I'm sure everyone else has.

Tonight we've got grocery shopping and tomorrow we've got a get together with my husband's mom's side of the family for lunch. I was contemplating waiting until Sunday to make peanut butter fudge, but I might do that this afternoon and fix up a small tin to give my stepson's mom when she comes to get him this evening.

Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday we plan to just sit back and relax and enjoy it before the big festivities start. Christmas Eve morning will be spent with my husband's father's bunch...breakfast and presents. We'll probably run by his grandmother's to visit for a few minutes and give her her present and then come home because we've got to be here when stepson's mom calls to say when he can be picked up that evening.

So after we get back home I'll be fixing
homemade apple pie-per the request of my sister
turtle pumpkin pie- an egg less pumpkin pie my husband thought he might be able to eat
pineapple surprise dessert- my original dessert plan for Christmas

Depending on the time, my husband's dad and his wife may come over to see my stepson open his presents from them since he won't be with us that morning at their house. Not sure yet on that. Stepson needs to write a letter from him and our daughter to Santa to leave out with the cookies(which reminds me that's another baking thing I need to do that night! LOL) and "strawberry" milk. Santa likes strawberry milk at our house...it gives him a change from plain ol' milk...hahahaha!

Once they go to bed, hubby has to go pick up something from his mom's that was too big to hide here for stepson and so while he's gone doing that, I'll be getting the rest of the presents wrapped and under the tree...most especially my "secret" Santa one. It needs to be hidden up under the tree so my hubby doesn't see it. LOL It's from Santa to us as an entire family.

While I'm doing the wrapping, I'll be watching my all time favorite- White Christmas and sipping eggnog and eating cookies. Then I'll need to write a small note back to the kids from Santa, like I did last year, to be left with the empty cookie plate and drained glass of milk.

Christmas morning we'll be up early- I'm sure- as soon as the kids get up and realize Santa came and then they'll open their presents from him then and we'll open anything else, etc. I'll have to get the house straightened up and start the macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and corn while we wait for my mom and dad, sister, grandma and hubby's mom and her husband to get here. My mom's bringing ham, rolls, and baked beans. We'll eat and then watch the kids open their presents from all the grandparents and nibble on sweet treats and so forth.

I'll probably have Christmas music going on the stereo in the kitchen while I cook. My Christmas comedy cassette has finally bit the dust...I've had it for about 20 years. I've got all sorts of country Christmas, one that's a Thomas Kinkade set, Toby Keith's first one, Garth Brooks, George Strait. I've got Ally McBeal's Christmas one. The "Now! That's What I Call Christmas!" Vol. 1. The Carpenters' Christmas. One I made years ago with a variety of songs, when I celebrated my very first Christmas in my first apartment. Jewel's Christmas. My favorites though- 98º This Christmas, NSYNC's Home for Christmas, and Elvis' Christmas. (I even have a guilty pleasure one- New Kids On The Block...LOL)

I'll wish it was snowing...we have a very slim chance of rain with a little snow mixed in, but nothing like the snows I've seen on Christmas Days past. Gosh, I miss years like that.

It seems we have so little snow in this area. Where I'm from up in North Central Kentucky, we used to have some of the best snows on Christmas Day...At least it sure seems that way to my old foggy recollection. Down here it seems to stay warmer, so there's less chance of a real accumulation. So I suppose you could say I AM dreaming of a White Christmas, though I know how slim the chances are. It wouldn't have to be much...just enough on the ground to KNOW it had snowed...it wouldn't have to cover the road- no...I wouldn't want that...it would mean my family wouldn't come down and I wouldn't dare want that. It just wouldn't be the same.

I think one of my favorite things is looking at my tree. It's filled with red bows and gold garland, but it's also filled with cherished ornaments. Mine and hubby's first Christmas ornament as well as the ones we've gotten over the past few years to add to each year that we've been together. This will be our 6th Christmas spent together.

There's also all the kids' special "annual" ornaments. Stepson has a BUNCH of Spidermans, Spongebob, Scooby Doo. This year it was a Transformers one.

My daughter's first Christmas one- Baby Tweety and Baby Bugs Bunny. A ballerina kitty, Dora, a Carebear. This year it was a My Little Pony.

The past two years, mine and hubby's have been the kind with the LED lights that you plug into your light set and they change colors. There's my hubby's Oakland Raiders ones and the homemade plastic canvas mailboxes with holly on it that I made the year my daughter was born. One for each of us with the holly on one side and our first and last initials on the other.

My favorites though....the ones my stepson has made at school and deemed worthy of having here on our tree.

Best of all are the ones I made a couple of years ago- Snowman handprint ones. I bought new purple and blue balls(any color works, but the darker ones the better) and then painted the kids hands with white paint and pressed their handprints onto them- each fingerprint painted to look like 5 little snowmen with the kids names and the year on it and a little written note that hangs from the hook that says-

"These aren't just 5 snowmen
As anyone can see
I made them with my hand
Which are a part of me
Now each year when you trim the tree
You'll look back and recall
Christmas of 2004
When my hand was just this small."

I made a set of each for all the grandparents that year...and of course, if you want to do it every year, you just change the year on it. I know my MIL mentioned she'd like to have another set now that the kids are older, but it was such a mess to make the first time! LOL I imagine my supplies are shot anyway and I'd need new balls to make them now.

May your Christmas be filled with as much love and happiness as I'm sure mine will be. Hope you have fun and enjoy great food in good company. Be careful if traveling and have a blessed holiday!

A Few More Holiday Treats

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

3/4 cup peanut butter (generic brands or low fat peanut butter not recommended for this recipe)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

CHOCOLATE DOUGH:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

ICING:
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a mixing bowl, cream peanut butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Roll into thirty 3/4 inch balls. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Bean in egg white and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa and backing soda; gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into thirty 1-1/2 inch balls.

Using floured hands, flatten chocolate balls and shape one around each peanut butter ball, sealing edges.

Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake at 375º for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are set and tops are cracked. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks.

For icing, in a small mixing bowl, cream shortening and confectioners' sugar. Beat in vanilla and enough milk to reach spreading consistancy. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag or pastry bag; cut a small hole in corner of bag. Pipe icing over cookies in zigzag pattern.

Yields 2 1/2 dozen.

*****
World's Best Peanut Butter Fudge

4 cups white sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream
12 ozs. peanut butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1) Grease a 9X13 baking dish, set aside.
2) In a saucepan, combine sugar, milk, and butter. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow cream and peanut butter. Gradually stir in flour. Spread into the prepared pan and let cool.

******
Chocolate Layered Pie

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cool whip
1- 8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (5.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
milk- as directed on the pudding box
2 cups cool whip
sprinkle of pecans

1) Mix together pecans, butter and flour. Pat into a 9X13 (or slightly smaller) dish. Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and let cool.

2) In mixing bowl, blend 1 cup cool whip, cream cheese, powdered sugar until creamy. Spread into cooled crust.

3) Whisk pudding mix with milk- spread over cheese layer and then spread 2 cups cool whip on top, sprinkle lightly with chopped pecans.

Refrigerate 1-1/2- 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Desserts and Treats, Oh My!

Thought I would share a few of my favorite recipes for desserts and treats for the holidays today.
***
Spicy and Salty snacks-

Bisquick Sausage Balls
2 1/2 cups of Bisquick
1 lb tube of mild sausage (Tennessee Pride, or your favorite)
1- 8 oz Shredded Mild or Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1) preheat oven to 325 degrees
2) Combine sausage and cheese until well blended
3) Mix in Bisquick and roll into balls
4) Place on baking sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes

****
Cheese Ball with Ritz
(this recipe is for 2 balls, so you can divide it if you only want 1)

2- 8oz packages of Cream Cheese
5 bunches of green onions
1 teaspoon Accent
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce
1 package of thin sliced Ham (such as Deli Selects or Buddig)
1/2 teaspoon of Salt

1) chop ham and onions into tiny thin pieces and combine them in a bowl
2) Mix together cream cheese, Accent, Worchestershire sauce and salt
3) Mix 1/2 of the ham and onion into cheese ball
4) Form into two balls, then roll them in remaining ham and onion
5) Refrigerate until ready to serve
6) Serve on Ritz Crackers

****
And now for something sweet-

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Egg

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1) Mix together all ingredients and drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
2) Press cookies out so they're not completely flat, but still slightly ball shaped.
3) press with fork prongs in a crisscross fashion
4) Bake for about 8-10 minutes. (I keep an eye on them and check them after the first 6 minutes to be on the safe side.)
5) Let cool on sheet for a few minutes before removing.

****
Pineapple Surprise Dessert

1 Box plain Cheesecake Mix
1-8oz. box Cream Cheese
1 small can of Crushed Pineapple, drained
1/2 cup of Pecans, crushed

(you'll use the cheesecake powder mix, but not the graham crumbs)

1) Mix Cheesecake mix by the directions and add the cream cheese to it, until well blended.
2) Drain Pineapple *the less liquid the better or the dessert gets runny
3) Fold in pineapple and pecans into cheesecake mixture
4) Top with a few nice looking Pecan halves
5) Cover and Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have Yourself an Animated Little Christmas

A while back I had posted in reference to blogging about Christmas cartoons after the movies. Well, I figured now is as good a time as any. :D
***
The holidays abound with wonderful animated cartoon shows for kids and adults alike.

There's a serious theme in most of them- being a misfit, an outcast- until everyone realizes how special the characters are and how their differences actually help when it really counts the most. It's all about acceptance.

Rudolph has his red beaming nose, which caused him to be ostrisized and made fun of, but in the end he saved Christmas and everyone realized how wrong they were. But he wasn't the only misunderstood one- Hermie the elf felt out of place among the other elves, simply because he aspired to bigger dreams than the others. The misfit toys weren't loved- until Rudolph made sure Santa found homes for them.

Nestor, the sad little long-eared donkey, was made fun of for his differences too. His mother sacrificed herself to save him in a snowstorm and he went on to carry Mary to Bethlehem.

Kris Kringle was shunned and considered an outlaw- a criminal, in Santa Claus is Coming To Town. He and Jessica, the Kringles and the Winter Warlock had to leave their homes and move north to escape imprisonment by Bergermeister Meisterberger- who hated toys and all that kindness represented.

Good vs. Evil, Naughty vs. Nice, Rejection vs. Acceptance.

One of my favorites is Jim Henson's Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas- a roundabout retelling of The Gift of the Magi. Ma Otter hocks Pa's toolbox, which Emmett used for odd jobs to get fabric to make a dress to enter the talent show contest with a song. She did it so she could win the contest and get Emmett a guitar for Christmas. Emmett puts a hole in Ma's washtub to be in a jugband for the same talent contest to win the money and get Ma a piano- or at least put a down payment on a used one for her. Both had good intentions but neither win. They accept their losses but end up with a paying gig at the restaurant in town after they combined their talents and music. By working together, instead of separately, they actually accomplished more.

Another favorite is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Alfred, of the Mouse family got together with his friends and sent a letter to the paper stating that Santa was a fraud and no one believed in him. The consequences of that letter caused Santa to send all their letters back, unopened, with no intention of coming to their town at all on Christmas Eve. Father Mouse shows Alfred what his letter has done to the town- to the children in the Trundle family as well as the sick children in the hospital.

Mr. Trundle, the clockmaker, comes up with a towering clock, built in the middle of town, that will play a song of pleading to Santa to forgive the town and encourage him to come. Again, Alfred, who's full of book smarts, but not much in the way of imagination, accidently tears up the new clock and ruins it for everyone. Eventually though after seeing the Trundle family working together in hopes that Santa will still come, Alfred realizes his mistake and fixes the clock just in the nick of time and Santa comes after all.

But then, there are lots of good Christmas cartoons-
Frosty the Snowman, Frosty's Winter Wonderland, Frosty Returns
Rudolph's Shiny New Year (Happy and his big ears)
Mickey's Christmas Carol (and the other various ones that go with it- Chip N' Dale in the tree, Donald and his nephews and the snow fort, etc)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Jack Frost
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Garfield's Christmas
Winnie the Pooh and Christmas, Too
The Forgotten Toys
The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas
I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown
It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown
The Little Drummer Boy
Vinson's Claymation Christmas
Looney Toons Christmas

The last two were ones I'd forgotten for years, but my husband's mom had them on tape where they recorded them when he was a kid, so we all watched them last night. The claymation one was from 1987- exactly 20 years old. The tape really shows it too...it's full of static and just about wore out. I'd love to be able to find that on DVD for my husband. Maybe not this year, but soon. It's one of his favorites.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but that was quite a bit to recall as it is! LOL

Do you have a favorite? Please feel free to share.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Looking Back (crosspost from myspace)

It might not seem like, but my life has changed a lot in just a little over a year. In the middle of 2006 I decided it was time to pull out my first novel and finish it. And that I did. And then I finished my 2nd one before the year was out. I've gone through a lot of emotional, personal changes in my point of view and feelings about who I am and where I'm going in my life.

The biggest changes started around that time, around the end of last year and the beginning of this year. I got more ideas than I know what to do with for novels and I found a lot of new friends online- writers like me. I finished my 3rd novel at the beginning of August and I'm working on my 4th.

I don't know if this would be possible, if not for all the changes that have gone on in my life. I have some very supportive people in my life. My mom, who tells me that she knows I will be published some day, she only hopes she's around to see it happen for me. She says she's so proud of me for working so hard this past year or so. I have friends from back home, who think it's a great thing I'm endeavoring to do and they know I'll be successful.

And then I have all these new writer friends. Albeit, it's a bit presumptuous to say they are friends- since we have only known each other through myspace and other blogs, but I consider them friends nonetheless because I have received so many encouraging messages and so forth from them.

Even with all the crap we've gone through in the past year or so (my dental issues, water lines, dead dryer, getting rid of the condo, etc....) this new phase in my life has been embellished and enhanced by all my new aquaintances online through writers groups and blogs and RWA and KYRW already.

Over a year ago, I would never have thought I'd mingle with other writers. That seemed a far out dream. Now I feel like I'm a part of something. I have a community I can chat with about writing, I have support and encouragement and help when I need it.

It truly is an amazing feeling, especially when I used to think that writing, for me, was a distant star I couldn't reach nor capture. I didn't dare try before. I had given it lots of thought and though my insides gnawed at me that writing was what I REALLY wanted to do, I still didn't hope to believe there might be a future in it.

Now I recognize that deeper stirring and acknowledge it. I have that feeling that it is possible and it is something I should strive to achieve. I have more confidence than I ever had before and I want to take it as far as it will let me go.

So to all my friends- I want you to know that you have all been my blessings this year. For those who encourage and cheer me on and check in on me to see how my writing is going. I have a long road to pave- lots of editing to do, but each little message from you spurs me forward toward reaching my goals and following the dream of my heart.

Thank you!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

URWA gets a new name-

In an earlier post I mentioned URWA- United Romance Writers Association- We've had a recent change though and thought I would update links to the yahoo groups and forum-

We're now WRR- aka Write. Read. Romance- It's still the same great group, with a new name-

A forum for authors to critique, workshop, and share info about the Romance industry. This forum is a private member group FREE to all Romance authors published and unpublished. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WriteReadRomance_Writers/

Love romance novels? Here is the place to discuss, discover, and dig deep into today's romance novels and authors. This is the official romance reader group for the Write. Read. Romance. WRR authors may announce their new releases, post blurbs, chat up their books, and host author/writer events here. Writers who are unpublished may also tease and please us with their "pre-pubbed" work and test out their stuff with readers. Authors/Writers please check for brief guidelines in the files section. Readers, enjoy!

To host an event: WRR authors/writers may use the calendar to reserve a time/day for your book event. Please feel free to add yourself to the calendar. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WriteReadRomance_Readers/

The website and forum can be found at the link below.
http://writereadromance.com/

Less Than 2 Weeks Till Christmas...(Cross Post)

We've only got about 9 days till Christmas. The kids enjoyed their birthdays and as usual, made out like bandits.

We got Chris a cool new lamp for his bedroom because his bedside one died a while back thanks to the bulb being too close to the shade and it melted it. We got him one that has 3 lamp heads and he loves it. We got Koty a Disney Princess dress-up trunk with interchangeable outfits and she went nuts over it.

My parents got Chris some Ben 10 stuff and gloves. Koty got the My Little Pony Teapot thing.
From Dave's mom and her husband Chris got a new twin size bedset with Cars on it, along with a 2 disk Looney Toons collection of old cartoons, the Cars soundtrack and a towel and washcloth Cars set. Koty got a small jewelry box with Lipsmackers, gloves, a Disney Princess toddler bed set of sheets and comforter and Princess panties.

Both kids got small boomboxes from Dave's dad and his wife, which the kids are tickled with. Koty has spent more time in her room in the past few days than I've ever seen her do. In fact, yesterday afternoon, she stayed in there listening to a cd and cleaning her room up! LOL
Saturday morning we went up town to pay the property taxes and then stopped by Dollar General Market and Pamida so I could look for a new set of lights to wrap around my wreath on the front door. The other died in a big way. At DGM I didn't find the type of lights I'd like, though I did find my old-fashioned Christmas cookies for a buck. But, at Pamida, I did find the LAST box of the LED blue & white snowflake lights I had seen up there and thought were really cool.

I will tell you now- LED lights, even "covered" with snowflake twist on caps will MESS WITH YOUR EYES! It's like watching a strobe light. And if you're moving the string of lights around...it can almost make you nauseated! LOL I was looking away while I wrapped it around my wreath! It looks beautiful though and I told Dave I think I might just leave them up till after winter and the "chance" of snow passes away into spring, since snow isn't just about Christmas. And even if we don't get any real snow in our area, at least I've have my snow on my wreath! Haha!
I finished my refreshing/editing and got back to where I was in my novel. I wrote the 22nd chapter and started the next one. Of course the weekend has gotten in the way, but I feel confident that tomorrow I can pick back up on it.

Yesterday I made homemade vegetable beef soup. It's my version of my mom and grandmother's. Something I'd been wanting to fix for a while now. My husband ate a little, but my recipe isn't MINE (or my mom's or grandma's) without cooked cabbage. He HATES cooked cabbage. It wasn't until it was too late that I realized I could've divided the recipe and made two batches...one with cabbage, one without. He said he'd eat it all, so long as I left out the cabbage. I told him next time, that's what I'd do. Koty though LOVED the soup with the cabbage...That's my girl though...when I fix regular cooked cabbage with butter, salt and pepper, she will eat it up. Especially if I fix cornbread to go with it.

I still have some cabbage leftover, so I told her we'd have some of that later in the week. She started jumping up and down in excitment. Then later yesterday evening before she went to bed, she asked me if we could eat more of the soup. That's what we're having for lunch today- leftovers. That made her happy too.

Oh, on the height front- Chris grew just about 2 inches exactly and Koty grew about 2 1/2 inches in the past year since their last birthdays. We have a growth tree stickered to the wall in Koty's room, that Dave had put up in there when it was Chris's room. Chris was a bit disappointed the Koty grew more than him, but we had to explain that boys and girls hit growth spurts differently.

Hiding the "surprise" Santa present just got a little harder yesterday. Of course, I did slip off into the spare room and hide one night to wrap the Singing Machine (which BTW was on sale in the Pamida salebill for $20 less than what I paid online and comes with 2 mics instead of one- BUT I wouldn't have been able to sneak it into the house like I did...I couldn't have even gotten it without involving someone outside the house)...but yesterday the CDs arrive and just as I came back in the house, hoping Dave and Koty were in the other room, he came into the living room just as I slipped into the spare room to hide the box until I can wrap it. UGH! He's starting to get suspicious about what I'm up to. I'm biting my tongue in excitement though...so long as he doesn't figure it.

I've been trying to figure out how to put them under the tree on Christmas Eve without him seeing the boxes, and I think I've got a plan. I realized yesterday that Dave will HAVE to go to his mom's to get Chris's television from over there that night, so as soon as he leaves, I'll slip the surprise under the tree and then start stuffing the other presents in front it as I get them wrapped so he CAN'T see them until the following morning. hehehehe!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Plethora of Things (cross-post from myspace)

Today, 5 years ago, I had my daughter. Of course, five years ago it was a Friday the 13th, but there she was. The light of my life- a piece of me that will live on. Tonight we'll be doing her birthday "party" like we did for Chris a couple of days ago. Grandparents, presents and ice cream cake.

In other news~ I'm officially a member of RWA and KYRW. We also now have a myspace profile for KYRW. See link below.

Kentucky Romance Writers Myspace

I'm still taking in being a member, feeling a bit overwhelmed, but still tickled to be a part of it and have had quite the warm welcome from other members.

Yesterday was the first time in a while that I was able to concentrate my current WIP, 4 that I started during NaNo. I went through about 140 pages..possibly more. I lost track. Right now I'm mostly correcting misplaced words or adding or deleting where I saw editorial mistakes and just trying to get my head back in the story so that I can move forward with finishing it.

I would like to at least get this draft done before the year is over. Not sure whether I can manage that with the holidays coming up, but I'm sure going to work my hardest to complete it. Then it's back to editing and such on all 4 novels after the beginning of the year to polish till they shine and I feel ready to try submitting.

I'll admit, it makes me nervous as can be to imagine doing so. I just hope that I'm also well prepared for a lot of rejections. LOL I like my writing-most the time, but I'm not foolhardy enough to believe I'll be picked up directly.

So...I am off to cross-post this to my other two blogs so I can cut my time online today and get back to doing more editing on my novel. Hope everyone has a lovely Thursday!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Change in Direction....

I've been wondering why I've been remiss to work on my novel since I hit 50K in November during NaNo. Today it was like lightning struck me...

While on Petticoats and Pistols reading Stacey Kayne's blog, wherein the discussion centered around what kind of hero we all like, I realized I love the rugged emotionally wounded hero. The general idea of what I said was that to me an emotionally wounded hero's transformation to breaking down the wall around his heart makes him "stronger" in my eyes than the sensitive man who loves wholeheartedly all along because it takes more strength and courage to open up and love after being hurt than to have always loved without misgivings.

Ok, so it's not EXACTLY what I said, but the idea is still there. And that's when it dawned on me....my hero in Haunted Melody- Wes- he's been loving and waiting for Melody to come back all along...always loving her....He's the "sensitive man" who has had it easy in loving her...I need to come up with some turmoil, differences in his character so that this works or it's going fall short of what I want to see and would never make it as a published novel...ever.

As I sit here, I realize I didn't make him strong at all. He's been "weakly" awaiting her return, in hopes that she still loves him just as much. There needs to be more conflict...more of each of them tearing down the walls around their hearts that have kept them apart for years. I don't want him to be a jerk, but he needs to be "less open" to her return, less open to giving his heart to her after she ran off and left him without rhyme or reason.

It didn't occur to me that Wes was such a weak character. I will definitely have to take action about that and well, that gives me something to go on now. I was in a rut in regard to this story, knew that there was a good reason I wasn't getting anywhere and now I know what it is.

Wes Stanford needs a character overhaul.

He'd better look out...cause I'm coming after him! LOL

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cartoons Bumped...

On account of good news!

I got my email this morning- my acceptance email from RWA with my member #. I'm now a member or Romance Writers of America!!! I've still got to fill out my application for Kentucky Romance Writers Chapter, but I've already crossed the first hurdle. Husband thought I was silly and laughed at me when I started bouncing in my chair a little while ago over my excitement! hehehe!

Today marks a good start of the day for me. Very cool and I thought for sure it would be several weeks before I heard anything, but not so. That was quick like lightning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Holiday Visuals

I know I said I'd cover movies and cartoons today, but I think I'll go with movies first and then blog tomorrow about the cartoons because there's just such a massive list.

So, who doesn't love a good Christmas movie? Or a movie set around the holidays?

I have so many that are must-sees during this time of the year.

I've already watched It's A Wonderful Life - one of my favorites. I'll probably watch it again if I get a chance! LOL George's discovery of what an impact his life had had on others is a wonderful reminder that, though we may sometimes feel that we make no difference in this world, there will always be others who see us as amazing people they couldn't imagine their lives without. You don't have to have riches to be rich in love and life and friendship. The last three things are far more important.

Miracle on 34th Street(1947) with Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood. This one is the heartfelt dipiction of how important it is to never stop believing, to always have faith. My favorite parts? When Kris spoke Dutch to that little girl and sang with her, the gum in the whiskers, the postal delivery to the courtroom and the ending scene at the house. (I'm a big sap by the way)

Holiday Inn- Oh Bing Crosby-"Be careful with my heart..." I love this story for the simplicity of romance and songs. The Inn from this movie was later remodeled and used in White Christmas, also starring Bing Crosby.

I also like Christmas In Connecticut- both the Barbara Stanwyck and the Dyan Cannon versions.
A Christmas Story
A Christmas Carol- George C. Scott
Little Women- any of them, but most especially the one with June Allyson

Other less "classic" favorites are-
While You Were Sleeping
You've Got Mail(love the song River)
The Shop Around the Corner- James Stewart
When Harry Met Sally
The Santa Clause 1, 2, & 3
The Preacher's Wife- Whitney Houston singing Believe in You and Me brings me to tears.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation- my husband's favorite
Prancer

But my #1 is White Christmas

Growing up my mom and my sister and I would watch this and sip eggnog in front of the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree. We'd sing along with all the numbers and bawl our eyes out. This movie has special meaning to us. My mom said she and my aunt used to always sing "We'll Follow The Old Man" in reference to my grandpa. As a child I thought my grandpa had been a general in the Army because of how closely connected I saw him with General Waverly in White Christmas. My mom and aunt were the Hanes sisters in my mind and numerous times they'd break into "Sisters," laughing and cutting up with each other. Even to this day I still see a lot of my grandpa in the character of General Waverly and it fills me with nostalgia about him. I enjoy the movie through teary eyes and that reminds me I need to get Kleenex at the store, SOON. LOL

It's not just a fun movie, but a classic and it's my definite must-see Christmas movie. I have so many favorite parts I can't separate them from the rest of the movie. While I was working on this blog, I did some searching and found out a few cool trivia bits I didn't know about this movie-
  • They had wanted Fred Astaire to come back to team with Bing, but he claimed to be retired. The part was rewritten with Donald O'Conner in mind, but he pulled out and they finally got Danny Kaye for the part of Phil Davis.
  • The "Sisters" lip-syncing scene that Bing and Danny did wasn't originally scripted for the movie. They were goofing off on the set and the director thought it was so funny, he added it.
  • The midnight snack scene was improvised, according to Rosemary Clooney.

So this is my list of favorites. What are some of yours? Tomorrow I'll be posting about the Christmas cartoons. Please join me!

Calling Romance Writers

Check out blog about URWA getting a name change to WRR- Write.Read.Romance.
I have removed the original info and link from here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'll Be Home for Christmas....

Yes, Christmas is fast approaching. My decorating is finished. I'm mailing out the last of my Christmas cards today. Well, except for maybe one or two I'll mail if I ever hear from a couple of friends who I emailed to request their snail mail addies.

We've gotten most of our shopping done, other than a few treats to put in the kids' stockings and I still have some wrapping to do...mostly the gifts from Santa and the couple we are giving the kids from us and the one that needs to be wrapped for my stepson's Christmas party at school.

I'm also eagerly awaiting the shipping and arrival of the "secret" present from Santa that will be for the entire family- a karaoke machine and a few CD+Gs to get us started. I decided this year there should be a gift to all of us as a family from Santa under the tree. Even my husband isn't aware of this gift. hehehe...HOHOHO! I'm being Sneaky Santa this year! LOL
The house is warm and toasty, for the most part...other than a few drafts that sneak in when the wind gets up. I've had to put up plastic over the window in my stepson's room and in the kitchen over the back window that has the air conditioner in it. Brrrr....

I've been sipping General Foods International Coffees in flavors that remind me of the holiday- French Vanilla Cafe and Suisse Mocha. Yummy! I've also had some Egg Nog already and I've got my holiday mix of red and green M&M's to nibble on from time to time.

The outside of the house is reminiscent of how my grandfather would decorate his house for Christmas. We spent several weeks before Thanksgiving checking the lights, which stayed up all year, though only turned on during the holidays and changing out the shot ones.

We'd have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and then when it got dark, my grandpa would turn them on for the first time. I can remember how even when the wind was bitter and ripping through me, bringing tears to my eyes, I still felt this warmth excuding from inside at how beautiful the lights were.

We'd all go stand outside and look at them for several minutes. He ran a junk yard that had a tall fence to keep the lot from being an eyesore, and he had the lights strung up all the way down the fence row in both directions from the house. We'd all walk down there, oohing and ahhing over how great it was. It always filled me with a sense of awe, a sense of the holiday spirit.

Between my grandpa decorating the fence and house and my mom always going all out to decorate our house, I was blessed with this "traditional" inclination myself. It's not for competition, it's for the pure joy of being able to light up my home and hedges with bright colorful lights and enjoying it with my kids the way I did as a child.

I love seeing their faces light up, the shimmer of awe in their eyes and hearing their oohs and ahhs. It fills my heart even more with the spirit of the season, the small joys children get from seeing those festive lights, even if they're only up for a month or so...It's the one time of year that I connect with my children on that special level where childhood innocence, awe and joy subside and it also brings me close to my grandpa again.

I miss him a lot. I wish he'd been around to see my daughter. Not that I don't feel him near a lot. Her birthday is coming up and to me she will always have this special connection to him. She was born on December 13th, on a Friday and that was always my grandpa's lucky day. He was discharged from the Army after WWII on that day.

So, as I close out today- I did work on my novel a little bit yesterday...wrote about 900 words or so..not as much as I would like, but that will change I'm sure.

Tune in tomorrow- I'll be blogging about my favorite Christmas movies and cartoons. Feel free to join in with me and tell me about yours!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaNoWriMo Coming to a Close This Friday...

Yes, Friday is the last day of NaNo. I've been so busy with holiday stuff and household chores that since the 13th, I haven't been able to wrap my mind around my novel to finish it. Seems my brain went on vacation as soon as I hit 50K. LOL

Oh, I think about writing or working on it everyday. I couldn't count how many times I stare at the screen and think...just open the file and get back into the story. What were Wes and Melody up to when you last saw them?

Last night as I went to bed, I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, there's a reason. Maybe it's because I feel that if I work on it now, I'll have a boring, letdown of an ending. Of course, this is the first draft, so it shouldn't matter. I'll be going back to it later to revise and change things up anyway and maybe later I will think of a much more exciting ending, or if not exciting...at least a more gratifying ending.

It's not that I'm not happy with what I've written so far. I'm sure it could be better, but for the most part, I am satisified. Maybe though this year the distraction of holiday decorating and gathering has gotten the better of my writerly side.

I'm all wrapped in up ribbons and bows and sparkling paper and twinkling lights and Christmas cards.

Today though, I need to try my best to put my brain back to work. So I'm off and gone-

Have a good Hump Day!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm a winner

My novel isn't done...been just too many things going on the past couple of weeks to work on it since I hit 50K. I'm hoping tomorrow through Friday will give me the opportunity to finish it before the month is over.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dead on My Feet~

I've been sidetracked from my writing a lot since I hit 50K last week. Saturday I got most of the inside of the house decorated...got the tree up and some of the decorations set out. Wrapped the grandparents and great grandmothers presents, etc.

Saturday we discovered that my fiber optic waterfall village and train piece was messed up beyond repair, so Sunday we got up early and went to Wal-Mart to get another piece for the village to replace it. Dave wanted a firehouse, but we went to both the Walmart in Franklin and the one in Bowling Green and neither had one.

So, I suggested we just get the Bayside Inn or the Victorian House, but no...Dave saw a Lighthouse that was on display, but there were no boxes of them. He went and talked to the lady in the Christmas department and she checked and they had no more of them in boxes, just the display but it was missing adapter was missing and the lady said they threw the box away when they set it out, so it probably got thrown away.

We went and found an adapter for it in Electronics and so they gave us a 10% discount off the Lighthouse. We got home and it wouldn't work, so Dave was finally about ready to take it back when I discovered there was a switch on the huge plug and we just didn't have it set to the right voltages. So now it's working fine, and it looks pretty, but I was getting rather frustrated over the entire fuss he made over getting the thing.

Our skating pond is also starting to mess up and shut itself off already...just got that one this year. If it's on for very long it just kicks itself off...I told Dave that from now on when we pick out a piece for the village, we should just go with the ones that you put C7 lights in because the pond is motorized and already screwed up the first year we've had it and I'm not sure if we can replace the lighthouse light once it burns out or not.

After all the fuss over the lighthouse when we got home, I went out and strung the lights outside and got that done. By Sunday evening my feet were throbbing and felt like they were going to cramp up and my back had this huge burning sensation in the middle that ached so bad...being on my feet too long for a couple of days in a row.

Monday I straightened Chris's room and got his miniature tree up in his room and did some decluttering of his toy box and toy dressers. I put up Koty's mini tree that evening when Dave and Chris were gone to the Cub Scouts Pack Meeting.

I've also been getting caught up on laundry and dishes and straightening the house. Yesterday I spent straightening Koty's "Disaster Zone" of a room. She is the child who doesn't mind chaos and it drives me insane! LOL I still need to go through her toybox and do some decluttering there too. Bed sheets need changing sometime soon, but today my goal is to finish up the laundry and then make my homemade apple pie to take up to my parents tomorrow and then I'm going to get up early tomorrow and fix the mac and cheese so that it will travel hot and may only need to be warmed a little once we get there.

I do intend to get my stamps soon for greeting cards and hopefully add some more to my novel before this month is over...hopefully finish the story by the 30th, especially since things around the house should calm down after Thursday.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and fills up on good food and good company with loved ones.

Here are some pics over on MySpace of my decorations~
http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=62433615&albumId=1436465

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaNo's still going and so is my story...

This novel I did for NaNo this year may well be the shortest of my novels. I feel the end of the story looming closer than I did with the others. It's like that impending feeling you get when you're wrapped up in a movie and don't realize it's almost the end, until it is the end.

My other novels all ran somewhere around 70-80K. This one feels like another 10K could finish it off at 60K. Not sure yet. I know this is just first draft, so it's not like revisions, editing, dumping some things and adding others couldn't bump the word count though. I'm sure when I go back and start reading it I'll find empty spots and realize-

Oops! I meant to mention this or include this scene...

Or it needs beefing up here or toning down there....

The argument didn't last long enough...

But then neither did the love scene....

LOL

Plot holes.

They're kind of like potholes. You HAVE to fill them in with good concrete or asphalt, or the story is going to be like a bumpy ride down a neglected highway. The reader isn't going to want to travel that road again (or any other road you've fashioned) if you don't make sure they have a smooth ride, enjoy the scenery and come to the end of the road and look back and say- "You know what...I'd like to travel that road again someday."

When I love a book, it's because I enjoyed the journey, didn't crash my car into any "plot"holes or find myself grimacing or grabbing at the dash to steady myself during the trip. And a good book will take you smoothly from start to finish. You'll say "That's a keeper" and you'll put that book on a shelf so that you can drive that road again in the future.

It's a beautiful thing.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday! We're over the hump!

50,008K/50,000

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Smack it up, Flip it, Rub it down!

Hit 50,000 a few minutes ago!!!

Can't validate it on NaNo's site till the 25th to be declared a winner, but I already feel victorious! 2nd year in a row!

Now to just finish writing my novel!

2,554 Tuesday!!!

That's all I have left to make the 50K mark. Not sure how long this one is going to end up being, but yesterday was a milestone.

I wrote 9,561 yesterday. Oh, yeah, I almost made up the difference of the couple of days I wrote little or nothing at all and I just have to make that 2,554 today to hit the goal! Yay!

Of course I'll still work on it after that and attempt to "put a finish on it" before the month's out.

I don't think I've written that much since back in July/August when I wrote my 3rd novel. I hit 10K in a single day...but boy did my wrists pay for it the next day! LOL

Off to check email and blogs and then get to work.

47,446K/50,000K

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fresh Start Monday

I didn't do any writing over the weekend. My family came down Saturday and then yesterday I thought about my novel, but I just couldn't bring myself to get on the computer and write. Maybe I needed to give myself a couple of days of down time after my puny word count Friday(380).

Hopefully today will be more productive than the weekend past.

Well, now I can't say that...it was a productive weekend. My husband and my dad got the side door of our house changed out. We had a very drafty old door there, but we've now got a very nice steel door with windows and NO draft. My dad also cut a board to keep my hubby from falling in the hole in the couch and my daughter had a blast getting to see her grandparents and aunt. It was a nice day.

One thing I thought was cool was that my dad and husband couldn't figure out how to get this Qwikset deadbolt off the new door so they could put a new matching deadbolt and knob on the new door. They took out the screws, but it wouldn't come off the door. I knew my husband was struggling with it for a while because he couldn't figure it out. Just out of curiosity, I went to look at it. I broke the cover off the edge of the door, which didn't make a bit of difference really, but then I got to messing with the deadbolt facings and the cap fell off that goes around the keyhole on the inside.

Wah-La! behind the cap was two OTHER inset screws that the exterior screws had been screwed into. I pointed it out to my dad and my husband and asked, "Could this be something?"

My dad was like "Yep, another set of screws hidden."

Once I removed it I got the deadbolt off with NO problem. My husband said something about how he couldn't believe I figured that out, I smiled at him, then my dad and said, "Well, hey, I'm the daughter of a carpenter. I should be able to figure this stuff out." LOL Or something to that affect.

So anyway- I best post this booger and get my butt in gear and start writing!

37,885K/50,000K

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bad Taryn!

Yesterday all I managed was 380 words on my novel. There was distraction all around me. I had to get the grocery list and next week's menu planned out, but then I got distracted by other things~ Talking to my mom, surfing the net, doing the dishes. Watching Men In Trees- though I would've been watching that anyway.

I've not even reached 40K yet! LOL I had been going along so well. I was hoping to hit 50K by the 12th like I did last year. I might work on it some this morning before my husband and daughter get up. My parents and sister are coming down today to visit though too, so I'm tickled about that and don't really mind giving up some NaNo time for them since they live so far from me. Besides, it's not like I don't have plenty of time left in November.

My sinuses are giving me fits too and my eyes are weepy, watery and itchy. It's been pretty bad since yesterday, but more so after I bought a couple of those new Glade Wisps Flameless Candles. I had gone to their website and printed out the Buy One Get One Free coupon. Dang things cost $9.99 at the grocery. I didn't really want to spend that, but hubby was like, well, go on and get it because all you'll have to buy later is the refills.

After I turned them on, they started making the house smell good- supposed to be clean linen scented, but since then, I've been having the watery eyes and my face feels like it could cave in and my ears are hurting. I just wonder if I'm allergic to the scent. Maybe it's too much for my sinuses/allergies to handle.

The weepy eyes were why I didn't write much last night after Men In Trees went off. I was sitting here and my left eye got to twitchin' n' itchin.' It was watering so bad that I finally told my husband that I knew my word count was bad for the day, but I couldn't sit here typing cause I couldn't see what I was doing anyway through my itching blurry eye.

I'm still feeling a bit odd this morning in that department. I might have to take the batteries out of those air fresheners to see if that's what's causing me so much head trouble.

So, here's to my worst word count day so far!

37,885K/50,000K

Friday, November 9, 2007

How Could I Do It?!?!?

Again, I didn't write as much yesterday as I planned to- I got my total up to 37,505 yesterday, writing just over 4K instead of surpassing my goal for the day. I was just too tired to wrap my mind around it until yesterday evening.

I only have about 12-13K left to go before I hit 50K. I feel like I'm floundering a bit, faltering and a little weary that the story will end before I hit 50K. I suppose if that happens, I can go back and add more detail and description to the story in places I might've overlooked it before during my crazed writing woman typing.

But then last night, I started crying after a significantly poignant scene that ended one of the chapters. I started bawling when I realized what had happened. I had only "sort of" seen it coming and after it happened all I could think was "How could I do it?!?!?!"

I got my MC shot- as it turns out, only a flesh wound, but dang...I scared myself and gave rise to fear and sadness in my own heart once I was finished with that scene. It felt vivid enough to me that I could see it in my mind's eye.

I almost think my novel has turned somewhat into more than just a romance...it was romantic suspense there for a bit, while this last part played out. In some ways I feel like this should be almost over, but at the same time, I'm still waiting- There has to be more to the story. Besides the fact that after I got through what I DID have loosely plotted, I ended up giving my characters the reins and they took it in a very different direction than I had thought it would go. I have a scene that was part of my plotting process, though it was going to come later in the story. Now it appears that it probably won't happen. I'm actually surprised at that revelation. It's no longer pertinent to the story, nor would it be that I can see. Maybe I can work it in, in a round about way, but it would only be the remnants of that idea rather than the one I had originally thought of.

I'm also still unsure of how things will pan out in the end, but that's ok. Sometimes it's better to let my characters lead the way, to let them tell me their story.

Hope everyone has a lovely Friday. I'm off to write on and keep going...

37,505K/50,000K

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Falling, Zoning and Memories

I was so tired yesterday and distracted-I reached 33,484 total, but I was about 1800 short of 5K yesterday.

Last night I was listening to my cd of The Ben Taylor Band, James Taylor's son's band- which is WICKED AWESOME- he sounds so much like his father...Love the song Island, but the entire cd is great. The music was so soothing I found myself typing with my eyes closed, almost as if I was drifting off to sleep and yet...I was aware of what I was doing, but I was zoning.

Does that mean maybe I should take a break from writing...It was almost like going into a trance or feeling drugged by heavy medication. And yet my fingers were still moving, even without me thinking about it. It was almost like automatic writing, only I was typing. It's any wonder I didn't type the words of someone from the great beyond! LOL

I don't know if I can accomplish it, but I'm hoping to surpass my 5k today, just to make up that 1800. I went to bed exhausted and a bit aggravated, knowing I fell short after so many days of achieving more than I planned to.

As an after thought- I really need to invest in some of James Taylor's cds. I didn't like his music at all when I was a kid- My dad loved his music...Daddy was the reason I even grew to like JT's music- all because of my dad trying to reach me when I was going through my angsty teen years, he made me listen to Like Everyone She Knows. It has a beautiful guitar solo intro before the lyrics-

Like everyone she knows
She's holding out for true love
Waiting on an answer
Ready for a change
And everywhere she goes
She's just a little bit on the lookout
A day might mean tomorrow
Questions still remain
It's not that she's so sad
She always was a happy soul
But lately she gets to wonder to herself
What's the good of going on anymore

I see her in her room
Sitting at the window
Wondering if she's pretty
Feeling just a little small tonight
She thinks of going home
Giving up on the city
Maybe moving back down to Mobile
It's not that far to fall
I know she won't see me
But I might just say anyhow
If I could be right there right now
As I myself was told

Hold tight to your heart's desire
Never ever let it go
Let nobody fool you into giving it up too soon
Tend your own fire
Lay low and be strong
Wait awhile
Wait it out
Wait it on out
Wait it out
It'll come along

I know she won't see me
But I might just say anyhow
If I could be right there right now
As I myself was told

Hold tight to your heart's desire
Never ever let it go
Let nobody fool you into giving it up too soon
Tend your own fire
Lay low and be strong
Wait it out
Wait it out
Wait it on out
Wait it out
Let it come along
Oh, wait awhile
Wait awhile

In a way that song has always made me feel closer to my dad because he found something to connect with me, through music, which is one of my favorite forms of expression besides writing. My dad thought I was giving up on life, on finding love, on persuing my writing at the time, and this song speaks VOLUMES to me about his belief in me.

Ok, now that I've made myself cry this morning(blubbering mess at the keyboard), I'm going to go- get some of this writing done today.

Have a great day!

33,484K/50,000K

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chugga Chugga Chugga

It's Day 7 of NaNo and I'm well ahead of the average word count.

I reached the 30K mark last night, which is technically the ideal word count for Day 18.

I'm feeling rough from a fall I took yesterday. Twisted my ankle and banged myself up- joints and muscles mostly. Stepped in a hole in the yard trying to chase off the neighbor's dog when she was trying to get in our trash(can was tipped).

Guess that's what I get for getting so much pleasure from my main male character's fall in my novel the other day! LOL

But anyway..I'm still chugging along and enjoying the flow I've got going now. Have a happy Hump Day and Write on!

30,277K/50,000K

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'm HALFWAY THERE (HALFWAY THERE, HALFWAY THERE)

There's no school today because of Election Day, so I have both kids at home and hubby took off work too, but he's still in bed asleep.

My new Word Count Total I'm proud to say---- 25,260!!!

It's a great feeling to know I'm 1/2 way to the total, though I know I'm not really done, but just getting to 50K again this year will be an amazing feeling. It will also be wonderful to know I have 4 novels written, ready for revisions and polishing. 4 novels in just a little over a year.

Well, finishing my first novel was big enough as it was, after having worked on it off and on for over ten years, but since then it's been a wild ride getting my others written. Albeit they're first drafts that need LOTS of revisions and so forth, but I can't say I'm disappointed that I've accomplished more in the past year or so than I had in all the 20 some odd years I've wanted to be a writer.

end of September 2006- Finally finished 1st novel after working on it for 10+ years
November 2006- Wrote my 2nd novel during my 1st NaNoWriMo
Feb-July 2007- had explosion of new novel ideas- did editing, rework on 1st novel
Mid July- Mid August 2007- Wrote my 3rd novel during my personal 30 day writing attempt.
October 2007- did some editing and rework on 2nd novel
November 2007- Writing 4th novel for my 2nd NaNoWriMo

It's been a year full of surprises, ups and downs, personal accomplishments and private problems, major overhauls- dental issues, having to replace a dead dryer, getting water lines hooked up, having the harddrive crash and burn. I don't think I've ever experienced a year that had SO much going on all at once.

It seemed for all the bad, there was equal amounts of good. My teeth were killing me, but I got inspiration for numerous novel ideas. We got the water hooked up, but the dryer died. I wrote my 3rd novel, but almost lost all my writing thanks to a virus on our old computer that crashed it so hard we almost weren't able to recover ANY of my writing. Thank heavens for that computer guy! I could never thank him enough. When he got my writing and family photos off the old computer I literally BAWLED like a baby. I found a lot of wonderfully talented writers online and won a bunch of autographed books, bookmarks, bookplates, trinkets and bobbles.
It's been astounding and I can only hope that maybe in the next year it will be even better, though hopefully without so many downsides! LOL

So anyhoo- I'm rambling on this morning. I hope everyone has a great day! Off to get myself even closer to 50K.

25,260K/50,000K

Monday, November 5, 2007

Crazy Weekend- Amazing Word Count!

The weekend was "odd" to say the least. Everytime I was on the phone someone would beep in and it seemed our phone was ringing off the hook all weekend, which is rare, but something came up that had to be resolved and I'd be just as well off to keep my mouth zipped about. It's not really my business, so I will leave well enough alone.

In other news~ My new word count is amazing me.

Here's a rundown-
1st- 5,738~ 2nd- 3,296~ 3rd-5,978~ 4th- 5,256

Grand Total- 20,258! I'm well ahead of my total word count from last year already- Last year on the 4th I didn't write anything and I was sitting around 10K and change. Must have been busy that day or something because I had a goose egg for my WC that day.

I'm also getting further into the story, with an unexpected confrontation with someone Melody knew from her past. It hadn't crossed my mind she might run into this person before, but now it kind of fits and makes sense with the skeleton that's going to fall out of her closet and reveal that secret she's carried around for sixteen years. The secret that may very well destroy Wes's "undying" love for her.

So today's goal is to hit the 1/2 mark for NaNo, which would be 25K of the 50K. I still think my novel will go over the general count though. Just not sure how much farther over. Last year I went about 30K over, so we'll see.

If things continue to go as well as they are, I'll hit 50K before the 12th, which was last year's amazing day of accomplishment for me. I didn't stop though. I kept writing till I put a finish on it.

This year my main problem is that I keep wanting to type Royce(last year's nano MC) instead of Wes (this year's male MC). My fingers want to do it but I have to keep pausing myself and saying, "No, wait...Royce's story was last year.)

Well, I'm off and gone- going to replay this on my other blogs, just to cut the time I'm away from my novel.

20,258K/50,000K

Sunday, November 4, 2007

NaNo Day 4- Reporting Day 3

I hit 15,002 last night before heading off to bed but NaNo's site was down so I had to wait till this morning to put in my new word count total. But all in all I feel good about where I am. Plus, I'm starting to get more into the story better.

Since I started writing on the 1st, I had felt set apart from my characters, until Wes fell over the tree stump last night and hit his head on the porch steps in the dark at Melody's grandmother's. LOL Yes, I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed his spill and the gash on his head and him getting knocked unconscious. Yes, I enjoyed it because it was unexpected. I was flying by the seat of my pants on that one. I have a plot, but not all my scenes figured out, so I just went with it last night to see where it would go. It was the perfect opportunity for Melody to HAVE to interact with Wes- especially since she's been running from him for years, avoiding him. Then she had to care for him.

It was a perfect surprise to me, that's for sure. And since having written 3 other novels, I've come to expect that after a certain point, my characters will take the lead, show me what they want to happen, what should happen and lead me toward the end we "all" know will come. I love when they come to "life" for me, point me in the right direction, surprise me with good twists and turns in the story.

Last year my main character Royce did that and often. There were several turns in the story that came out that I never planned, never intended, but once it was written I realized just what a difference it made to feel as though he was standing over my shoulder, telling me his story, whispering in my ear...In some ways it's reminiscent of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

I love that movie- The ghost of a sea captain, telling this woman his story she she can write it and have it published. It's wonderfully fanciful. In the process, she falls in love with him and eventually he leaves her and she lives the rest of her life believing he'd only been a dream, until the final scene where she dies...and the captain comes back to get her.

In some ways it quite the same when I'm writing, though my characters are the ones telling me their story and yes, I do fall in love with them, though for me, they are like my children, growing and living through me onto the written page.

Well, that would be it for me for today. I need to pull that file up and get my booty in gear for another day of NaNo'ing. Have a great Sunday and WRITE ON!

15,002K/50,000K

Saturday, November 3, 2007

NaNo- Day 3, Reporting on Day 2

The past few days I've felt like I've got too much going on to get my head in my novel. I've been writing, but I feel like I'm standing to the back, just watching. I want to be in my story, really I do. But with outside influences (housework and daughter) things just seem hectic inside and out.

Movement and energy seems to race through my veins, making it almost impossible for me to think straight enough to throw myself into my work.

Yesterday I didn't write nearly as much as I did the first day- 3,296 words, but it still brought me up and is keeping me ahead. Off to finish checking in on blogs and such and then sticking my nose in that file and trying to mesh myself with the characters. Have a great Saturday!

Word Count from Day 2- 9,024K/50,000K

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Exhausted NaNoer Here- Day One

I'm exhausted but it's more from running all over last night taking the kids trick or treating. We live in the country, so we have to drive to all the houses we know, rather than hitting a neighborhood. By the time we got home, I was wore out. We watched Kid Nation and put the kids to bed and then watched the first 3 hours of Ghost Hunters Live! filmed here in Kentucky at Waverly Hills Sanitorium last night.

We went to bed at 11PM, but I was up at 5am to get my stepson off to school. Checked in on email and my favorite blogs and then started on my adventure into my 2nd NaNoWriMo. I have somewhere around 4,900 words already. I don't think I'm done though for today. I'm going to work on it some more until 7. After that I'll be watching Ugly Betty, Supernatural and the last three hours of Ghost Hunters that I recorded last night.

Feeling pretty good right now about NaNo. I've proven to myself I can write a novel in a month twice before- Last NaNo and back in mid-July/beginning of August of this year I did my own personal NaNo and wrote the other. I'm confident I can do this, so right now there's no stress. I'm just waiting for my characters to throw something crazy at me. LOL

Ok, so as of right now, here's how I'm standing- 4,936K/50,000K

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween into NaNo!

(copying myself from another blog)

I have dishes and laundry that needs doing before the day is out.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! comes on at 3 in the afternoon here, which doesn't make sense to me, but oh well. Tonight once we get home and eat supper, which we'll be picking up while we're out, we'll be watching Kid Nation with the kids and then the LIVE Ghost Hunters comes on. I've joked that I should stay up and watch that, which will probably run for about 6 hours on Sci-Fi, and after midnight I could start working on my novel for NaNo. I would have to sleep almost all day though in order to stay up that late and still be able to be up to put my stepson on the school bus tomorrow morning.

I need to vent a little- The Rocky Horror Picture Show is NOT airing at all tonight. I would've been watching Ghost Hunters anyway, but I always try to find it on Halloween night. I'd SWEAR last year they aired it over and over on VH1 Classic, but this year...NOPE. It's always been one of my Halloween treats to watch RHPS, but I guess I won't get to see it this year. I definitely need to get that movie on DVD, so I can watch it whenever I want to.~ So there you have that. {stepping down from my tiny soapbox}

I also need to get my desk straightened up today and get all my novel notes laid out over here where I can easily get to it as of tomorrow.

So here's to only a few tricks and lots of treats tonight and as for NaNo~ BRING IT ON! Time to Write!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Got my NaNo shirt last Thursday. It's COMFY! Soft cotton and comfortable. I'll enjoy writing in it along with wearing the shirt I got last year.

I actually have been working on revisions on last year's Nanovel this past weekend. I've gone from around 80k to almost 83k. That was just from adding some of the scenes I felt were necessary from the main female character's POV.

She was lacking- a flat character who I wasn't sure held up her end of the bargain on being the woman a reader would WANT and HOPE the main male character would end up. So I'm giving her depth and even found a friend for her that I didn't know existed. When I originally wrote the story, I had written it strictly from the male M/C's POV, but after having reviewed it a bit, thought back on how things play out and had time to think about it long and hard because I knew something was missing, it hit me one day that she wasn't nearly as deserving of the role I gave her in his life unless I wrote more of her side too.

I've also discovered just how LONG my chapters ended up being. There were only 13 chapters when I finished. Several chapters ran very long, without scene breaks where they should be, so that's been part of my revision plans...breaking them up where they need to be broken down. Changing my sentences to flow more smoothly, adding here, extracting there. I feel like a surgeon. LOL

So now I'm off to work on that some more- Operation: Polish This Novel!

Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Approach of November & NaNoWriMo

With NaNo's approach and holidays coming up, I probably won't be posting any more installments of my little blog novel for a while. I think I have another complete chapter, but from there, I don't have much else of it written on it and my brain has not been very cooperative in the past few weeks. (I blame Mercury in Retrograde for that. It ends on November 1st I do believe, which is just in time for NaNoWriMo.)

I started doing some revisions on my novel from last year's NaNo, but after just a few pages a couple of days ago, I haven't been able to wrap my mind around it again. It's almost like I have closed off my editor already. He's bound and gagged in the back room.

Then I have several more books in my TBR pile that I haven't read and right now, I just can't seem to sit still long enough to take up a book and get into one. It also weighs on my mind all the other books I would LIKE to add to my TBR pile. Those are my TBB books. It seems the list keeps getting longer the less time I have to sit and read! Hahaha!

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and nice weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Haven't Posted in a While


I've been kind of out of it the past week or so since my last post. Headaches mostly and being tired or getting housework caught up.

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday so I baked him a pineapple upside down cake this morning since I know we're going to be busy tomorrow while he's off work and I wouldn't have time to bake it since we've got to get my stepson off to school, drop daughter off with the grandparents and then go to Wal-Mart, then hit the grocery on the way back home, getting back here in time for stepson to get home from school and then going back to grandparents for a cookout I believe.

I have also been thinking about my Autumn decorations and I did share them on my myspace blog, but hadn't posted any here. I had some spooky lights, but they were over ten years old and started overheating, so I had to toss them. I did get a picture of them though before I had to take them down. They were melting the plastic covers.

My hubby got me some purple lights but they are so dark they don't show up in pictures or I would post a picture of them.

I do have my front door decoration though that my mom made for me, pictured below. Next to it is a basket flower arrangement I made with some craft things my mom gave me.

I have a fiberoptic Jack O' Lantern too and though the picture is a bit blurry, I have included it as well. Hope you have a Great Day!








Friday, October 12, 2007

Beware The Boredom!

Over the next few weeks and the next month, I'm sure to blog a lot about participating in NaNoWriMo 2007. If I start to bore anyone to tears, let me know! LOL

Right now I'm trying not to think too much about my NaNovel. It makes my fingers all twitchy with anticipation. So in the meantime, I've been visiting the forums for NaNo and I made myself a tag for my signature for my novel. Here's what it looks like-



Here's a snippit of what my novel is about-

Can Wes, the man Melody once loved, forgive her betrayal? Especially when he finds out the truth about why she left him behind to become the big Nashville star? And will Melody's return to her small hometown years later reveal a secret that could destroy his love for her forever?


See, I have a blurb I wrote when I got the idea and though I don't normally share my stuff I'm working on, I will post it here.


"Melody Russell was as famous as any country singer could be. She had it all~ the money, the glitz, the glamour, best selling albums and sold out stadiums. She'd given up everything to follow her dream, but when her grandmother's heart attack calls her home after sixteen years away, she comes back to mixed emotions and opinions. While some are starstruck and in awe, her character comes under fire from others, but Melody begins to see having it all means nothing without being true to yourself, having family and most of all~ having Love.

Wes Stanford had always wondered why Melody had run off on him. He had been working hard in college to make a good life for them and he had thought that was what she wanted just as much as her music career. She left his heart crushed on his sleeve without saying goodbye, just when he'd intended to ask her to marry him. He hadn't forgotten her, nor had he moved on, as if always sensing she'd have to come "home" someday. Maybe then he'd get the answers he needed. How could he have known the 16-year-old secret that "haunted" Melody would surface upon her return and change their lives forever?

Would the truth drive Wes away from Melody? Or would he be able to hear the song of her heart and give her the one thing she'd regretfully given up all those years ago- the loves of her life."

Well, that's it for me for now- Have a great day.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Revving up for NaNo

Last year I participated for the first time in National Novel Writing Month and I succeeded in reaching the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. I actually finished my novel by the end of November and I was proud and exhilarated.

See, I had previously been working on my 1st novel sporadically over the past decade or so. Life had always been too busy, too hectic, to finish it, but I had finally finished it at the end of September of last year. I was just thrilled I had finally completed my first draft of my first novel after struggling with it for ten years off and on.

It was shortly after that I found out about NaNoWriMo. The process intrigued me- write a 50k novel in 30 days! Impossible!

Or so I thought.

NaNo is truly a challenge with yourself. Of course you can chat with others, have discussions and whatnot on their forums, but it's not really a competition against others. It tests your own skills and pits you against your own fears and doubts, hopes and dreams. When I read up on what it was all about, I knew I had to do it. I mean, in all honesty, I thought it would take me ten years to write any novel. Look at how long it took to write my first one! LOL

But last November I made an amazing discovery about myself. I CAN write that much, if not moreso, in 30 days. Given a deadline made all the difference I believe. I wrote and finished the first draft of my 2nd novel during NaNo last year.

Of course, the high speed race to finish did leave me with brain drain for a couple of months after and I was going through a lot of stuff personally as well toward the end of the year last year. I've come a long way since then. Somewhere between Feb and April, I was blessed with an overflow of novel ideas.

I was also damned to almost insufferable pain with my teeth, but once that was over and I was back to myself, back to feeling "normal," I dug in, picked one of my favorite novel ideas that I just knew I had to write. I wrote and finished my 3rd novel between the middle of July and the middle of August.

Once I was done with that, I went back and did some major overhaul to my 1st novel- revisions, editing out stuff that just didn't fit, adding things that seemed to enhance the story. I've been participating in the Coffee Write story on Coffee Time Romance's forums and also including my "Arms of the Right Man" on here as a "blog novel." I call it my blog novel because I don't foresee ever submitting it to an agent or publisher, just something to play around with, testing my writing chops out in the open, which is taking a step outside my comfort zone. I rarely share anything I've written outside of family/friends. (BTW, any feedback, advice, or comments are welcome).

So now the time of NaNo is upon us again and I've got my novel idea picked out and I'm anxious to get started...but can't until November 1st. If I succeed again at writing and finishing a 50k+ novel again this year, I will have 4 novels written. Last night I started going through my printed manuscript of my novel from last year's NaNo, doing revisions- marking and highlighting changes I feel are necessary to the story.

I'm trying to distract myself from thinking about my NaNo novel for this year. It makes my fingers tingle at the idea of getting started. So for now I'll not think about it. Or try not to.

Have a great day. I will be posting the 6th installment of Arms of the Right Man later.

Friday, October 5, 2007

My Journey "Home"~ Through the Lens

This has been a rough week. Well, it wasn't so bad when we went to visit my family on Monday. It was a lovely day that started off with a beautiful sunrise sky filled with pinks, lavender grays and citrus burning oranges, as you can see to the right. I took my camera along for pics of my family of course, but I caught a lot of beauty in nature as well. This shot was taken just before we left out house that morning around 6:30am or so. I usually catch my breath at seeing nature unfold before my eyes, but to capture it on film humbles me and I thank the heavens for such an opportunity.

The sky directly above the car before we left the house was like cotton balls rolling across the sky, the pink tint reminding me of calamine lotion, leading me to ponder if the sky had poison ivy. LOL

Or if it had a hankering for cotton candy. Soft and transparent, sweet and satiny. If I could have reached up far enough, I could've imagined plucking it from the heavens to have a taste, the fluffy texture melting right on my tongue.

Everywhere I looked, I heard little gasps escape me. I couldn't believe what a gorgeous day we'd gotten up to or what a lovely day it would be.


Riding down the road away from home proved to show off more eyecatching arrays of the fabric makeup of the sky.

Some reminded me of ribbons and courdorouy, rippling across the sky. The shifting strands, the way the hidden globe beyond the horizon illuminates different layers. It was absolutely awe-inspiring. That touch of beauty...that touch of grace, in a world where we take so much for granted and forget about the small things as well as the important things.

Some, like silk, a bright thin blade slicing across the sky leaving a deep gash, opening it in golden rays of irridescent sheets, blanketing the morning in softness and sensuality. Tendering the heart and lightening the spirits. Deep breaths and fresh air, cool breeze blowing in the window, wheels speeding us along toward the place I called home for 26 years of my life. The place where my roots run deep and my surroundings are so familiar I could find them in the darkness before the light.

But then I saw, as I've always referred to them, "the fingers from heaven." Those rare times that the sunlight breaks through thick dark clouds and shoots of glowing fingers aim down toward the earth, clasping us in the protective hand of all that was, is and will be. Clouds with silver linings indeed, power hidden behind shiny gray armor that looks as soft as flannel. It's as though we're being spoken to, not with words, but with visions you can behold with the naked eye and warmth, like a touch, not just upon your skin, but your heart and soul.

The day was spent enjoying time with my aunt and cousins and my grandmother, along with my parents and sister. And just like the day came in bright and exhilariating, it seemed fitting that when we headed home that evening, around 6:30pm, the high of my day was settling. There was a calm in heading back to the place I now call home with my husband and children, and the sky had softened, reflecting my mood at the close of the day and the end of my visit with my family, my touch of home base, my roots.

Fading into dark pastels, the night began to cloak us, wrapping us in the change of mood, and hiding the heaviness of my heart that I had to leave once again.

It's hard to live so far from where I grew up. I get melancholy and wistful missing "home" and for a 32-year-old wife and mother, it's absurd to think that I long for my hometown and miss it so much. I suppose it's hard though considering that I grew up believing I would NEVER leave and though I made the decision to do so, sometimes I don't think it has really hit me that I really did leave.

In some ways, my roots run so deep that I don't think I've ever left it behind. Not really. And I doubt I ever will. It's where I'm from, but more than that, it's where my writer's heart was born. And my writer's heart cannot forsake it's birthplace.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Raining Salvation

Well, temporarily it was this morning. The ground was wet and cool. The concrete of the road and sidewalk glistened with a wet glossy shine. The air was refreshing, with the musky smell of damp ground and leaves. It's was very nice out, even with the rain drops thumping down as if they couldn't hit the ground quickly enough. I know that it wasn't nearly as much rain as we could've had, but it was nice to actually hear thunder this morning and the winds dancing around the house.

The leaves are out in more of their fallen glory, and the day dawned without a sunrise, only gray overcast skies and my hope was for the rain to continue to soak into the ground and replenish our drought-ridden yards and countryside.

If only we could get more of this. It makes the outdoors and everything that comes in contact with it seem more alive than it's been all summer.

Even the neighbor's horses were enjoying grazing in the rain. Nothing like showering while you have breakfast I suppose. This one here was intrigued by what I was doing down near the fence so near to her. She watched me for a long while, I suppose just as interested in why I was standing in the rain with a little shiny box aimed at her as I was by her nonchalant attitude about standing right out there in the rain. Quite the beauty don't you think?

She has other buddies that were grazing as well, as you can see behind her there, but the other was so far down in the field I couldn't zoom in any further to get her picture.

Off in the distance you can barely see a cream colored horse among the misty rains and my new friend in front of one of her commrades in the photo to the left. Horses are just so beautiful and inspiring to behold.

I almost walked down to pet her, if I could've gotten her to come closer to the fence. Instead I entertained myself with taking pictures of how awful the kids pool is. We need to clean it out, but we have tadpoles, or as my stepson called them, tadipoles. I don't think I captured any on film though, I did nudge the edge of the pool and stirred up bubbles and waves in the water that reminded me a lot of abstract art(see below).

It's been a lovely partially rainy day. I feel revived, refreshed, but look forward to more of the same weather. I just hope hubby and stepson don't get rained on tomorrow night on the Cub Scout camping trip. That would be a sight to see, but more importantly, I just don't want them turning up sick, especially hubby since he had pnuemonia last year about this time.

Hope you have a wonderfully rainy day as well!