Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of a Decade, Beginning of Something New

It wasn't until the other day that I realized we are at the end of a decade. 2010 marks the beginning of a new decade...at least that's MY understanding of how decades are divvied up- from 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, 2010-2019, etc.

I just can't fathom that we're already a decade into the new century. It seems only yesterday people were screaming Y2K and panicking that their computers were going to go all wonky and the world was going to collapse around our ears. LOL

10 years ago I wouldn't have dared dream of ordering anything online...in fact, I had very little knowledge of a computer myself back then and thought that eBay was the only way to "shop" online and even then you had to follow the rules of winning auctions, etc. LOL Now you can pretty much do ANY kind of shopping online and books are even in e-book format, something that was foreign and unheard of in my little corner of the world back then. Mind you, I still don't do eBay and I'm not a big reader of e-books, but boy I do buy the heck out of books on Amazon! LOL

But then, ten years ago, I was single and living it up and working at a grocery store and hanging out with my friends. I was recovering from a broken engagement and a broken heart- which wasn't so broken after all now that I look back on it- the heart, not the engagement. It was best buried and left back there in its grave.

And as the small world around me went into widespread panic, I just coasted along and laughed because I didn't think Y2K would be more than a hiccup over into the 2000's, perhaps a burp at best. LOL

Of course, looking back, I hadn't done much in the way of my writing either, so I've come a long way. I had never finished anything but poetry and song lyrics (which I'll NEVER sing). Novel-wise, I had the beginnings of a single novel, one that was close at heart, but not close to being finished.

10 years has changed a lot in some respects. I met someone, moved away, married, had a baby, and have written 9- nearly 10, complete manuscripts, though that doesn't mean they are anywhere near being presentable. I'm ten years older and though some say I'm not the same, I still feel like that younger girl inside. At the core, I'm still ME. I sometimes think that time- years- decades- change a lot about people outwardly, but inside we're all still youthful, hopeful believers in fairytales and happily ever afters and though this past year has been a rough one in regard to my writing and I'm not feeling very confident in myself because of it, I am determined to start the new decade off getting back on my game. It's not so much a resolution, but a HAVE-TO for me. I'm not sure I can go another year NOT writing the way I spent this past year dawdling and piddling about with it and not accomplishing anything.

Maybe I was drained of inspiration. Some might say I was clogged up or blocked, but I think I just steamrolled myself into believing I wasn't good enough to be a writer again and I let it rule me this year. I won't stand for that in the coming year. I can't. I spent almost 3 years writing till my fingers ached, but during that time, my heart was soaring on wings of joy and blindly believing in myself in a way I have NEVER believed in myself before.

I've just spent a year without that delicious, delirious happiness flowing through me and out of me into my stories and characters and I realize it's not something I want to live without any longer. The true writer within is screaming and clawing her way past the doubt and self-imposed miserable abyss she fell into.

I know big changes are around the corner for me. I don't know for sure what all that entails, but I know change is coming again. It came the year that I finished my first novel and began the journey into writing with serious determination and it's circling back around again. The breeze is building and I feel it flowing beneath those wings again, ready to lift me out, ready to toss me high into the sky so I can spread out, high enough that I can catch the wind and flow with it instead of fighting against it.

It's a new decade and a new time- a new sun rising over the next chapter of my life and that means, I am going to try to wrap myself in words again- find that voice I miss so much, hear the stories, hear my characters and remember what I've forgotten for it seems I lost myself somewhere over the past year and it's time to find her again. I also am determined to find more time to start blogging again, so please check in with me ever so often. Poke me or nudge me if I grow quiet again, make me talk. Please.

To a wonderful New Year and a new Decade full of wonder and adventure!

~Taryn

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaNoWriMo Nearly Took Me Out This Year....

It's beginning to look "more" like Christmas to me...now that I've hit 50K and validated my word count to WIN NaNoWriMo '09.

So, I got down to the wire this year, didn't I?

I crossed the 50,000 word count mark just an hour or so ago, thank goodness.

I was really starting to doubt I would win this year because it seemed like there were so many distracting things this year to keep me from writing. In the past years, I have hit 50K somewhere close to the middle of November, but this year...I felt myself dragging along....

Mind you, the story isn't done...no...I still have about 161 pages to write, but that puts me more than 1/2 there already since I'm heading toward 400 pages.

Just before I hit 50K, a plot bunny hopped across my path and told me a little bit more about where the story is going, too, so that is helpful and inspiring, isn't it?

I've just been SO out of it this month...truthfully- this entire year. I haven't cared about writing, trudged through revisions most the year, hating that and gritting my teeth and wishing to goodness I didn't HAVE to revise or edit at all....I know my stories will be all the better for it, but it's so tiring.

I didn't do anything more than plant flowers this year because doing a garden just sounded like too much trouble. Then I quit smoking and started working out on my gazelle (which I've been lax about doing since NaNo started) I've probably said it before but I think 2006-2008 when I did so much writing sucked me dry and this year has been about refilling my tank....but I still don't think I'm rejuvenated.

I've dealt with a sick kid a couple of times this month, preparing for the holidays and our vacation trip to Pigeon Forge with my husband's side of the family and then Thanksgiving, etc. It's been so hectic and to top it off, I'm feeling homesick for my hometown and my family and friends. It's severe homesickness and I know it...

I have relatives who are sick with cancer and I worry about them. I miss my grandparents and for some reason this year is feeling harder than it has for quite some time. I find moments in the day when I burst into tears from being sentimental and just feeling drained and exhausted and so far from everything I've ever known. I miss getting to hang out with my best friends anytime I wanted...Now it's a rare occasion if we actually get to SEE each other when I'm up for a visit.

I'm like Frosty....I just get all wishy-washy....LOL

Tonight when I hit 50K and submitted my word count, I burst into tears that I made it when I had thought it wasn't going to happen. Now I can work on it without so much distraction and stress. Other than filling out Christmas cards and getting them mailed, everything else is just about done, so I'm hoping things really settle down and I can concentrate on the storyline and finish this baby and put it to bed.

Have a great evening! Here's to NaNo '09!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shake your NaNo-maker....

I did the 10K Boogie yesterday afternoon. I hit the 10K mark 3 days ahead of schedule and by bedtime I had 10,353. Well, truth is, I don't write "just" up to the daily word count goal. But it's nice when I glance over at my NaNo calendar on the desk next to me and see I'm head of what would be necessary to hit the 50K mark by the 30th.

And I've still been doing this through the haze of sinus headaches and pressure and a nose that has declared itself a drippy faucet. LOL

I've not been doing the Gazelle, thanks in part to the drippy faucet, but I'm actually thinking today of getting on there anyway. A little bit of exertion and exercise might be the thing I need to sweat the illness out. Who knows?

We're just a few weekends away from our trip to Pigeon Forge, too and I need to get in touch with my MIL and find out if there's a website I can go to and get the driving directions we'll need since we haven't ever been with them down there and we'll have to leave out separately from them because we have to wait that Friday till hubby gets home from work and kids get in from school. I'd also like to see if there's a website for the place we'll be staying, just to familiarize myself with it a little. Boy, I hope I'm feeling better by then!

The following week I've got to make the mac and cheese and a Pig Lickin' cake to take up to my family's for Thanksgiving. This month is already getting away from me and it's barely started.

As for NaNo- The story is coming right along- 20% of the way to winning NaNo and I'm 12% of the way to my tentative word count total. So long as I reach 400 pages, the word count could range from 80-85K for all it's worth. I can't say that what I'm writing is exceptional or even the best I've ever written cause I don't think it is. I think it's truly the bare bones of this story.

But, I feel like my hero and heroine are growing with each new page and scene, and that's good, because the better their personality come out, the better I can actually write them. The rest will come out in the wash.

It feels really good to be writing again, that's for sure. I have REALLY missed the freedom I feel when I throw myself completely into a story and can bring my characters more and more to life.

Well, I better go- time's a wastin'!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

1st Day of NaNoWriMo

It started off typical, of course. I would swear that the past several years I've done NaNo have always started similarly. I was absolutely FINE on Saturday and felt great. Had fun dressing up for Halloween and whatnot, but when I woke up Sunday morning, I was SICK AS A DOG! It's like my body KNOWS it's NaNo time and wants to throw an extra monkey wrench into my plans.

I had an itchy sore throat and a stuffed up head. I felt miserable and couldn't concentrate at all. I spent the better part of the morning taking care of things around the house that I knew weren't going to do themselves (and no one else would lift a finger to do them either)- emptied the litterbox and bathroom trash, the kitchen trash (which hubby did take out to the trash can for me)- started all the laundry that needed doing and put up more that I had folded but set aside. I changed the bedsheets and did the dishes and made overnight coleslaw, but by lunch time, I was feeling far worse than I had when I got up.

I did sit down here and try to write, but the story refused to get going...I couldn't get past "Chapter One." I ate tomato soup and a grilled cheese and ham and still sat here, hoping inspiration would strike.

Instead I found myself dozing off and my head getting heavier and heavier until I finally gave it up and lay down in the bed and slept restlessly for several hours. I took a couple of those NyQuil pills for cold and flu, but that seemed to make me feel worse.

I got up around 4 pm to find hubby mixing up a bag of chocolate chip cookies and insisting that he could fix the kids a sandwich instead of me having to cook. I still heated up chicken noodle soup for myself and ate that. Felt a little better, so I gave my daughter her bath and decided that perhaps I could get something from reading the last few chapters of my previous novel, which is connected- the heroes are brothers from one story to another.

Well, it must have helped some because at 7:30, after the kids were put to bed, I started chapter one and nearly had it finished by 9 when hubby and I go to bed. I made my minimum goal for the day. As most NaNo'ers know, you need to write at least 1,667 words a day in order to hit 50K by the 30th. Of course, if you get on a role, you can get ahead some, but I did get 1,684 written last night and that was good enough for a sick woman. LOL

This morning, I'm back at it, hoping to keep my nose to the grindstone since my total goal isn't just 50K but to finish the novel will at least 81K OR around 400 pages. So there you go. I'm already up to 2,140 words this morning so I'm moving along.

Best of luck to everyone else participating!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween All!

My kids' pumpkins turned Jack-O-Lanterns I fixed yesterday.

The cat is my daughter's the spider my stepson's.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009- Coming Soon to A Computer Near You!

Yep yep, it's that time of year again. I decided I will probably crosspost from here to my LiveJournal (and Myspace, as usual) this year- it would just make things easier, I'm sure.

I have a lot on my plate in the coming weeks along with NaNo- Today I am going to tackle carving the kids' pumpkins. Saturday we have a trip to Bowling Green to pick up the in-laws Christmas presents we're having made and I might see if we can do some last minute shopping for something for me to dress up as for Halloween that night. Of course, if the weather forecast for our area is right, it's going to be rainy and it's going to be interesting getting my daughter- the Southern Belle, in all her hoopskirt glory, in and out of the car in bad weather...I'm hoping to squeeze in watching Rocky Horror before Halloween's come and gone and there's also the Ghost Hunters Halloween special on that night, too....But that's just the beginning of the insanity-

That night Time "falls back" and it will be Midnight Cinderella- my beautiful coach will turn back into a pumpkin and as the mice scurry away back to the attic- the real fun for this Noveling Princess will begin.....I don't have a Prince Charming- unless you count my hero, but he has a heroine of his own to win over, and I will have NaNoWriMo chasing me down through the cold falling leaves of November to find out if my glass slipper still fits and if I still have the ability to accomplish a LOT in so little time- especially with so many other things going on as well.

Once November gets underway- I will be writing like crazy as well as cleaning house and getting decorated for the holidays- tree goes up, Christmas village pops up on the shelves, outdoor decor lights up the evenings, then filling out all the Christmas cards, wrapping presents, baking some goodies, Thanksgiving with my family and this year- before Thanksgiving we're having a weekend get away with Hubby's dad's side of the family to Pigeon Forge, TN.

Sounds like November is going to be JAM PACKED with excessive writing and all kinds of travel and holiday goodness! Yummy!!!! Can't wait to take a bite out of it! LOL And that doesn't even include the children's birthdays within the first 2 weeks of December and then Christmas and New Year's..... Wow!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Multi-Author Book Signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington

Just wanted to post a quick promo and shout out for my fellow KYRW who will be in attendance at the Kentucky Romance Writers Day multi-author book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers from 1-3 p.m on October 31st- this coming Saturday.

Love romance? You'll find stories in all romance genres by a LOT of talented women at this book signing! Drop by Joseph-Beth and meet these fabolous ladies and find some great books to enjoy by the fire on these cold Autumn evenings.

Authors attending are:
Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander
Dianne Castell
LuAnn McLane
Patricia Rice
Shiloh Walker
Sheryl Brennan
Sophie Danu
Teresa Reasor
Jules Bennett/Sophia Rae
Rosemary Laurey/Madeleine Oh
Molly Harper
Anya Bast
Georgia Evans

http://www.kentuckyromancewriters.com/Meetings.htm
http://www.josephbeth.com/AdultEvents.aspx

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Break Fever and Looming NaNo....

Things just have NOT gone the way they should in recently weeks. Stepson was out of school sick September 14th- 18th with a fever, lack of appetite, nausea, but it wasn't the flu in any way, shape or form. He went to the doctor on the 14th and they thought it was an ear infection. They ran the flu test, nope...Took him back Wednesday when his fever hadn't gone away and they said it wasn't an ear infection and told us to take him off the Amoxicillin- ran the flu test again and- nada...Just gave him oral suspension meds and said to keep him home the entire rest of the week. They couldn't figure out exactly what it was....He had a lot of homework to make up (and suddenly developed sniffles when that was picked up from school for him to work on while he was home sick LOL) and he missed out on the ONLY school photo day they were going to have this year. No retakes for some reason...not sure why...

Got him back in good health and back in school for a full week and then they were out for the 28th because of professional development day for teachers- they went 4 days after that and have been out since for Fall Break.

Fall Break hasn't gone well at all. We left out Saturday the 3rd to go visit my family in L-burg for the week. Girlie Girl was fine when we left that morning. That night, she was running a fever. She was miserable every day, spiking high fevers and just not feeling well at all. When I talked to hubby when he got home from work on Tuesday we decided it would just be better for him to come get us so I can try to nurse the sick little thing back to health here from the comforts of home. We got home late that night and I took her temp- she wasn't even running a fever anymore. Just congested and croupy now.

This, of course, falls during hubby's change of jobs, too. He just started a new one- had to take a lower paying job because the other company he had been at for 6 years is on it's way out...so needless to say, there's a shift in that part of our lives, too...

Seems we're still riding the tail of the Mercury retrograde that happened last month. Sure, Mercury turned around on September 29th or so and has been heading back in the right direction since- but I think we're still feeing the affects of the retro and I don't like it. I had hoped to enjoy my trip my parents this week and that got cut short and Girlie Girl HATED to leave...she wanted to stay and visit with her grandma and pop pop, but well, sometimes things just don't work out the way you expect them to.

Rather than posting a separate blog about exercise on Taryn Up in Smoke, I'll just mention here, in passing that I haven't weighed recently- I did my measuring last week (the 29th) and HAD lost 1/2 inch on all accounts- waist, abdomen, hips, thighs, and calves. I'm not sure I will be able to say that come next Tuesday's measurements though since this week I fell off the exercise wagon while I was at my parents and since being back home, I haven't yet gotten back to doing the Gazelle or watching my meal intake. Gotta get back to that for sure!

And in the last bit of news- I already ordered my NaNo shirts and made a small donation that will go to the YWP (Young Writers Program). The top photo is of the official NaNo 2009 shirt with the "noveling" machine on it- feeding in ideas and spitting out books and stories. The second shirt's design is simply for fun- the idea of a camp getaway for those of us participating. I meant to spend some of this week deciding which brother's story I will write during November, and get a bit of the characterization interviews and outlines done, but I've yet to find time between traveling a sick kid and traveling back home and still tending to a slowly recovering sick kid. Definitely need to get on the ball though considering there's just barely over 3 weeks till November arrives and along with it the need to actually concentrate on writing again.
I wish all a wonderful day and wonderful rest of the week. Have a great one!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Whazzup?!?!?!?!

It's been awhile- again- I guess the last time I posted was a couple of weeks ago.

Things here have been busy. It's not been hectic, but for some reason it had FELT that way for a while with the kid back in school and whatnot. I feel Fall setting in now though and there's a strange "humming" and it seems a regular routine is slipping back into place, but....
My yard is showing signs of the change in seasons and it would appear there is all kinds of changes and transitions afoot. Mercury is in retrograde now until the end of this month, though things won't be truly back on track until mid-October. Thank goodness it went retrograde BEFORE November and NaNo. I hate and avoid starting any new projects when it is.
I added nearly 2500 to the current manuscript that I am revising and editing, but that was on the last day of August. Since then, I've yet to do anymore work. I'm so tired of distractions and irritations....
It's just silly little things, but it's nerve-wracking nonetheless- like the little friend of my daughter's who thinks the telephone is a toy and has- in the past two weeks made a nuisance of herself because she doesn't know how to take "no, she can't come to the phone right now" or "don't call back again tonight" (after she's called back 10-15 times DURING supper). Stubborn, bossy and rude, I'm to the point of contacting her mother and having a talk because I honestly don't think the little girl's mother KNOWS she's been doing this. I'm tired of it and it seems my hubby doesn't want to deal with it, don't want to rock the boat and just wants to "ignore" it as though it's not a big deal. Arrrggghhh...There's NO way I'd allow my daughter to make a pest of herself that way. It needs to be nipped in the bud.
Yesterday I was a little more than irritable because a neighbor's dog had gotten loose from her chain and dragged our welcome mat off the porch and down the road. Hubby went and talked to the neighbor, who said he'd go get it, but hasn't yet.
That hadn't been the end of it though- she dragged my daughter's toy watering can across the yard and chewed the handle on it, bit the cap on a big jug of bubble blowing stuff and tipped it over and spilled it all over the porch and then got hold of a bottle of lighter fluid that had been sitting out there from when we grilled once and was using it as a chew toy. I luckily got it from her before she punctured it and spilled FLAMABLE liquid all over our yard. {rolling eyes}
I like dogs, but goodness gracious! It rattled my nerves. I've been so irritated recently and that was nearly the straw that broke the camel's back! LOL
I just want normalcy again. I want to FEEL like writing and working on writing and right now I feel like I'm on this kooky merry-go-round that won't stop and I can't seem to slow it down or get off so I can get back to my groove.
I hope everyone else is having a much better time of it with their writing and life. I'm going to try to start posting blogs more often. Just feel like I've run out of things to talk about because I'm not writing, so I don't feel like I have a wealth of things to say about anything in particular. Blah, I guess you'd call it.
Have a good one!

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Name is Taryn Raye and I'm a Professional Liar...

{Join me in a sing-song taunt} Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Even the title of this blog is, in and of itself, a lie. Taryn isn't even my real name. LOL

I've been contemplating what a writer's life is all about and I've come to the conclusion we're all really big liars. And most are REALLY good at it.

But see, the thing is- I never aspired to be a professional liar.

But in some ways, I have, now haven't I?

Storytelling comes natural for me- I've been told I have a gift for writing- and I've always felt that I was born to be a writer. It eats away at me when I'm NOT writing because I have so many stories I feel "need" to be told.

But does that doom me to being a natural born liar, as well?

It hadn't really crossed my mind much before, but what do we do? We fabricate the biggest, most extravagant lies going. Each story is word upon sentence upon paragraph upon chapter of an elaborate massive web of deceit.

We're all taught not to lie, but statistics say we lie from early on in childhood and it's almost natural to development. Indeed, I can see that now that I have children of my own. LOL

Sometimes it's just them telling big windy stories, but other times it's to cover for a mistake they know they've made and other times its to get out of things they don't want to do. Most often, they lie for no good reason that I can comprehend, but in the end, it all comes down to fibbing, regardless of the reason.

It's really no different than parents telling their children stories of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

Or purposely avoiding telling them the entire truth in regard to a sticky divorce. Or what happened when Spot got out on the road. Or where babies come from.

We tell the first to encourage the use of the imagination and to suspend disbelief. It's part of the magic of childhood. It's something they can only experience once in their lifetime from that point of view- and I want to share in those joyful, innocent moments where reality and fantasy merge for a time- Where its still "okay" to indulge in pretend and the abstract and the ability to see beyond what's really there.

We leave out details in regard to the other things in order to help keep them innocent, as well. It's part of protecting our children from the harsh realities in life, to preserve the magic of their childhood- at least for a little while. It's instinct to protect them from being hurt or sad or heartbroken or much too grown up at such a young age.

So what's the difference when it comes to other things- like books? Works of fiction? We willingly pay for lies each time we buy a novel and we do so happily. But why?

Perhaps it's because- mixed in with all the lies there are smidges of truth.

Sometimes it's obvious and in your face. Sometimes its buried, hidden from the world because it's easier to hide the truth than speak it aloud. We find pieces of our truths inside the pages of books. We discover that sometimes others know the things we hide from ourselves and in that- we find a kinship with them, those who, whether they know it or not, help us see ourselves. Help us UNDERSTAND ourselves.

As for these lies I tell?

They are merely white lies. Really...honestly....

They aren't malicious or meant to cause harm. They are likeable lies. They inspire and reinforce the idea that love is out there. That real love is a bright shiny possibility. That it can happen for the first time when we least expect it or we can get a second chance at it when it didn't go quite right the first time around. My lies open the doors to fairytale worlds that are set in realistic scenarios. The stories and settings are falsehoods, yes.

But....

They can bring the reader REAL tears and laughter- because there's nothing false about raw emotions. When felt deeply, those feelings are just as real as the nose on your face (so long as you still have your real nose, of course LOL). It's raw truth- it brings the sting of tears to our eyes, the rush of excitement to our pulse and the joy to our hearts when we journey to find a happily-ever-after between those pages. That's real and true, even in the midst of lies.

The best part- these little white lies grant us the ability to hope, believe, have faith and find a little bit of happiness for a short time.

If I have to lie and deceive to accomplish that, then so be it.

I'm not saying lying is a good thing, but I'm not saying it's all bad either...

I'm just saying...

Mwahahaha.....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Looking for the Humor In Daily Life

I completely agree with Carl Hurley, former EKU professor and fairly well-known comedian and lecturer, that you MUST look for the humor in life.

For the past several months- heck, for most of this year, I've not found much to laugh about between dental pain and lack of inspiration and motivation toward getting my revisions done on my manuscripts and my inability to get back into a writing frame of mind, BUT....

Now that my kids are back in school and routine is settling back in and I'm making strides in other areas of my life that needed looking after- i.e. my health- quit smoking and in the past week and a 1/2 taken up exercise and journaling to keep track of my eating habits to help myself lose weight- I'm starting to relax a little and take inventory of what going on in and around my life.

I did a little work on revisions the other day and that felt really good to see that I was able to find a place that needed some tweeking in the current project. I've been making efforts to do workouts- hard as they might be- but I'm hoping it will help me make progress toward shedding the pounds I need to get rid of.

I'm also starting to see the humor again and it's encouraging- when I see it and feel it again, I think it opens me up for my writing and revisions as well. I've been closed off for nearly 9 months. Distracted and otherwise disheveled by what was going on around me. My concentration was shot in the foot and hobbling around here, cursing and refusing to pick up the slack. Sometimes you don't have to look too hard for the humor though. Sometimes it just presents itself.

A couple of examples- Earlier this summer my daughter insisted she had an imaginary sister named Katy (my daughter is Koty). This was all right. Using the imagination and not hurting a thing. Eventually that imaginary sister story petered out when something more interesting caught her attention.

Then a couple of days ago- "Katy" came home from living with Grandma and PopPop and Aunt Shannon. Katy is, after all, Koty's twin, so she needed to go to school now that Koty's back in school. And yesterday morning, I tried not to let it gnaw at me that Koty made me say bye to her and Katy as "they" got on the bus. Dread set in my stomach...I just KNEW what was going to come of THAT....Sure enough, Koty came home from school that afternoon with work she had done in class..

The blank for the student's name?

Yep, you guessed it...She had filled it out as "Koty & Katy."

Oh, Lordy! I couldn't help but laugh, except that 6 or 7 pages were ALL filled out that way and you know good and well the teachers are bound to be scratching their heads over that.

I explained to Koty as nicely as I could that pretending she has a twin sister is one thing here at home and even on the playground at recess, BUT she does not need to fill out actual work as though she and her "sister" have worked on it together. There's a line that needs to be drawn between pretend play and when it's time to get down to business and do her school work. She nodded and seems to understand. Thank goodness! LOL

Moving on- My stepson decided it was time to ask Daddy about body hair last night while I was in the other room giving Koty her bath. I hear the entire story as we lay down to go to sleep since I wasn't in the room at the time the conversation started and my husband didn't want to embarrass his son while he was still up.

As I entered the living room, I hear my husband, laughing and telling his son, "Well you go right ahead and grow that mustache out."

Chris runs over to me and shows me that he's got "fuzz" on his upper lip and claims it's his "mustache." I nearly fall in the floor laughing and tried to explain peach fuzz. That didn't do any good.

Okay- see, first Chris asked Dave if boys shave their legs. Of course, Dave tells him no and that eventually he'll grow hair in a LOT of different places, but the only part he'll shave will be his facial hair.

And thus comes the humor.

Dave said Chris reached up and ran his finger over his upper lip and said, "Hey, I think my mustache is starting to grow. I can feel it." Of course, Chris said it with all seriousness. My husband, on the other hand, nearly died laughing.

Dave asked him, "Is that a fact? Is your goatee growing out, too?" But Chris felt his chin and said no. That's when I entered the room only to hear the end of the conversation.

Under any other circumstances, that probably wouldn't be too funny, but well, my stepson is 10...not quite old enough to grow facial hair just yet and he doesn't get the concept of peach fuzz.

Ahh...youth....Comic relief- just when you need it! And now I'm off to work on my revisions. Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just So Glad....

Gladiolus that is. Ain't that the picture of beauty and innocence? I've had a few pink ones this summer, this stem of white ones and a purple that I caught too late before I realized it had bloomed and it had started to die back.

I'm still feeling the end of summer lingering around my doorstep. Today it's overcast with deep gray clouds and it just doesn't seem like my kids will be back in school a week from today. Yet here we are at the threshold of the autumn and the beginning of another school year.

I'm trying to wrap my mind around revisions and writing again. It's become such a struggle though I really NEED to do it. This year has really truly SUCKED for me...I can't seem to stay "in story" long enough to think things through. My kids are constantly fussing and bickering amongst themselves or hollering for me and then I get sidetracked by games online and perhaps that's where my issues are- I need the quiet of an empty house, no arguing voices in the background and the determination to pull myself away from the internet's distractions long enough to get some real work done.

And hopefully with the start of school I'll get that. I'll have the house to myself again for several hours during the day and hopefully it will help be get my focus back. For now, I'll simply focus on these pretty glads and take a deep breath- Only a week to go..;o)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seasonal Ramblings

Revisions are still slow going- I jumped into the next one, but have been finding it hard to concentrate- mostly because the one I'm working on seems fairly well put together and there are so few places I feel need changes(it's one of my more recent works, so that should be a good sign that my writing method and voice are getting better, right?). That doesn't bode well though when I need to add another chapter and lengthen the book by about 80 pages. Geez...what did I get myself into writing such a short novel? It's the last of the first 4 book series and I need to make it match up to the others! LOL Right now I would rather pull my lower lip over my head and pretend the work is all done. :o)

This week has not been kind to me where the revisions are concerned anyway. I'm minus one kid (who's gone to his mom's), but find that having just one kid who wants to talk to me ALL the time makes it a lot harder to concentrate than 2 kids playing together and leaving me be for the most part- except when they start to get under each other's skin and therefore, on my one and only nerve. That's the breaks, I suppose.

Of course, the lack of concentration also doesn't help when the one day I had all to myself was spent doing other things. Yesterday, while my darling daughter was gone to Grandma and Pa's, I had to mow some of the yard because the weather was calling for a few days of storms and rain and it needed to be mowed before that happened.

I got my part done, but by the time hubby got home, it was sprinkling/raining/storming so he couldn't finish the rest of it with the riding mower. Sigh...

It was yesterday that I finally noticed what a few other people I know have already mentioned in their blogs recently.

Autumn is approaching.

I know we still have a while before the actual change of seasons, but I FEEL it already. Just as I do with other changes in the seasons, it was there. Not pouncing on me in an obvious way - no, it was subtle and invaded my senses slowly and quietly.

The sky was clouded over for the most part, though the longer I was out there the more often the sun peeked out from behind those massive gray behemoths hanging over my head. I could barely make out the paths the mower blade shaved, though it was doing a good job of spitting out plenty of grass clippings and dried clumps from last week's mowing. The mower reminded me of an old farmer spitting chewing tobacco, coughing and sputtering and complaining of the heat.

The air was muggy and like dragon's breath and smelled of gasoline and motor oil and I was sweating. My cheeks were rosy beneath the sun's blistering stare each time it broke through the clouds. The lawn mower roared around me and music blared through my headphones, dancing me along in my mission to get the grass cut before the rains came.

And YES, I lipsync along with my favorite songs and I imagine the neighbors shake their heads and raise eyebrows in my direction when I hit on a beat that hammers into my soul. Sometimes I get caught up in it in a way that makes me want to strut and boogie down with my bad self while I'm moving along to the beat, and I forget everything but mowing and good music.

Yesterday though, even over the roaring mower and even over the music, there was something else there. I could hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it and nearly see it as I mowed over a few dead leaves- the few rogue soliders who have already fallen before the war between the seasons has even truly begun. I'm not sure if they were battling the summer heat or the late summer beetles, but it felt wrong to see them scattered about.

The overcast haze of the day and the barely tolerable heat couldn't disguise that feeling- a sinking in my soul- that sense of melancholy that another season is almost at its end and the next is ready to rush in on us. July is only half over, but I realize that means that its only a couple of weeks before my kids are back in school- 1st grade and 5th grade. Wow! Seems only yesterday summer vacation just started! Where did all that time go? And with the beginning of school we also start to usher in the changes of the season and before we know it all kinds of holidays will come and go again so quickly and 2009 will come to a close.

I need to get through these revisions in the next few months. Mercury goes retrograde at the beginnning of September and goes back direct at the end of that month, but things don't straighten back out completely until it returns to where it went retro to begin with- so it will be mid-October before I should start any new project- This happens just in time for the start of NaNo this year! Yay!

So, now that I've rambled for quite a while...I'll leave you with a recommendation of a children's book that even an adult would love-

The Story of May by Mordicai Gerstein

My sister found a hardcover copy of this book for my daughter at the Goodwill Store for like 50¢. The first time I read it to my daughter, I was in tears by the final page after following the little month of May, the daughter of April, as she journeys through the landscape of the rest of the year. Along the way, she meets her other monthly relatives who help point her in the right direction to meet her father, December, who she has never known and learns about why the months have the places they do as she travels. It's a wonderful book full of beautiful, colorful pictures as well as descriptive and colorful words and it's one of my daughter's favorites and mine, too.

I looked it up on Amazon and it is no longer in print, which I think is a real shame. Through sellers on there, as well as a few other used booksellers online, I've discovered that this little gem of a book we got for pocket change goes for anywhere between $20 and $80- used. I hate to imagine how many children (and adults) will miss out on this book because it is no longer in print and because its so pricy to buy used. Such a shame.

If you can find it at a bookstore or at your local library, it is definitely worth checking out, especially if you have little ones. It's a rather long story, but my daughter, who's 6, will sit through the ENTIRE reading- over and over. (The reason I even mention this book in today's blog is because that was her pick for the story I read her last night at bedtime.)

So, anyway...I will take my leave now from Blog World- Having breakfast for supper tonight and need to get some dishes washed up before I start cooking and make some homemade biscuits.

Have a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

After Nearly 7 Months...

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting back on track. I took time to do some leisurely reading and finished one book I had started reading months ago. I enjoyed my 2nd trip to visit my family last week, but found a distinctive and clear desire to work on my own writing started to gnaw and chew at me as the week wore on.

I would have done some work on it if I could have, but my memory stick is incompatible with my parents' old document program, so I jotted notes to myself about the things I need to do. I started setting forth goals again for myself to get all the revisions done (on my 9 finished manuscripts) so that I can submit some things and get my butt- and my head and heart- back in writing mode.

NaNoWriMo will be upon me in no time as it is and so I must have the revisions done by then so I can get to work on the 2nd book in my 2nd series. Pretty bad when I've spent most of this year doing nothing. To have been so productive the past 2 years and look back and see how much I accomplished and then to look at 2009 and realize that other than working a few revisions here and there, I haven't completed anything else is a staggering difference that I'm not very proud of.

I had serious writing burnout though and I know that. In 2 years time, I used up my best supply of writing energy and I collapsed in a puddle, feeling unmotivated to move forward and wrestling with overwhelming self-doubt. I need to learn to pace myself so I don't spin out like that again.

I'm getting things sorted though and once I'm done with the revisions on what I have finished, I'm making an exerted effort to write and then revise directly after- not write and write and write and then attempt to revise a lot of different stories in a short amount of time. I need a plan and I'm getting it laid out, as well as learning what works for me as far as the page/word count stuff. That has stumped me for a while, but I think I'm starting to get it, too.

Here's to making the rest of 2009 productive for myself in regard to my progress toward becoming a published author. I need to find consistency and make it work for me, not against me.

Need to get to work. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I know, I know....I'm a deadbeat blogger...

Sorry I haven't been around recently. I've not been reading blogs much, let alone writing any. I also haven't been working on revisions much. Just seems my thoughts are wrapped up in other things that have become such distractions as to keep me away from what I am supposed to be doing.

First there was the trip to the 'Burg, which I enjoyed, but didn't seem to last long enough. We had rain a couple of the days we were there, so that put a kink in the hose of our fun. Haha!

Back home now, I have laundry and dishes to get caught up on and though I did take walks while I was up visiting, I've yet to pull out the Gazelle since I've been back. Walking and Gazelling are two VERY different things, to say the least and PMS is lurking around the corners, so I'm not feeling all that great at the moment, either. Yeah, that's JUST lovely...LOL

I'm also distracted by the out of doors... speaking of...isn't this beautiful?

The daylilies in my yard are blooming out and this one is just one of the most beautiful I've seen in a long time.

I have rogue sunflowers coming up from last year. I hadn't expected them at all, but well, they're there and I'm not mowing over them.

I'm eager to see my tigridia and gladiolus bloom too, as well as my morning glories and I'm keeping my fingers crossed to see more blossoms on my knock-out rose.

Though I'm not up to much lately and seems I'm doing nothing, it still seems that things around me are chaotic. Here's hoping that settles down in the near future.

I'll be making another trip to the 'Burg in less than 2 weeks to stay one more week with my folks and sister. Figured I'd better fit in a couple of good visits before school starts back in August.

I will try to post again when I feel I actually have something about WRITING to say. :D

Friday, May 29, 2009

In Spurts

I've been working on revisions in spurts recently. A sentence here, a paragraph there...a 1/2 a chapter one day, removal of something that didn't make sense the next. I'm getting there. Slowly, but surely.

Tuesday I push mowed most of the lawn and trimmed rose bushes and forsynthias back that were getting out of control. Been doing the Gazelle everyday this week (started on it Tuesday as well) and in between, I've been working on revisions.

Yesterday was the kids' last day of school and so my daughter is moving on to 1st grade and stepson is moving on to 5th come the fall of the year. Time surely flies. So far this year doesn't feel nearly as productive as last year where my writing is concerned, but there's been a lot of health and family and personal issues crop up since the start of 2009 that needed attention and well....it seemed my inability to get back to writing or revisions came at an appropriate time.

But now we're settling into the middle of the year...Summer's nearly upon us and I'm starting to feel "more settled" too. At least where writing is concerned. My brain's been off in La-La-Land for a while now- just not the RIGHT La-La-Land! LOL

Speaking of which- I now have two lovely fairy companions at the computer. I've realized I'm actually quite fond of fairies the way I am butterflies...in my mind they are basically butterflies with human characteristics and bodies. Anyway- they are my new writing totems and I have a feeling they will be just the first 2 of my new hobby to collect.

They had no names when I got them- simply the purple fairy and the coral fairy. We couldn't have them going around nameless here though, so let me introduce them-
Destiny is the "purple" fairy. She's dark and goth and made me think of a fortune teller with her crystal ball and the guiding star on her forehead. The future is unknown and dark- like her- and well- I don't know- I just feel that "Destiny" is here to guide me into those unknowns with my writing and whatever may lay around the next bend for me.
The "coral" fairy is Variel. She carries with her a very autumnal feeling, the orangish/brown leaves that grace her arms and hair along with the feathers symbolized to me the changing of the seasons- the changing in life- to alter, transform, adjust and adapt- which led me to edits and revision...etc...you see where I'm going...
Variel means change. I would assume it's derived from vary, various, variation and it's pretty...so it fit her perfectly.
So I now have with me as guides on my writing journey a fairy of change and a fairy of the unforeseen future that lays ahead. That's pretty significant to me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Bit of Progress

I'm still trying to settle down after what felt like a very busy week.

Wednesday I found myself in the deep in to- can you guess?? WRITING!

LOL

I had been slowly inching my way into revisions, but something hit Wednesday that I almost couldn't control. I knew I had accidently eliminated one of my chapters during revisions and so I decided I'd "add" it back rather than continue working through the revisions and having to try to find another place to put it. Can't be jumping from Chapter 10 to 12. LOL

Well, I ended up writing 3,723 words that day. Something clicked and began to flow.

Of course, yesterday I didn't get an opportunity to work on it at all because I went to the oral surgeon's office for my post-op check up. That didn't take but 2 minutes. One of her assistants took me back to a room, flushed the socket with a funky syringe and said that it looked like it was healing up perfectly fine. She gave me the syringe to bring home to flush food particles out of there with and said that was it. Boom! Boom! Boom!

Came home and waited around till it was time for my daughter's kindergarten graduation. Of course, Momma lost it- I was bawling through most of it. My baby's moving on to 1st grade. Wow!

Came home and watched some of my soap opera but then washed up dishes and started supper and just never got around to writing or working on revisions. Hoping to fit some in today and over the weekend though. Sinuses/allergies are giving me fits and I feel like I could use a nap- which might not be a bad idea. Might help refresh me after a restless night's sleep.

Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Keeping the Portal Open

Most writers know that it's best to write a little something every day in order to "keep the portal open."

I haven't really been doing that much recently. I put the revisions off to the side and for a while wrote nothing other than the menu and grocery list each week. I slacked on the blogs as well, but more recently I've taken to heart the idea that using a journal always kept me "open," so I found a blank notebook (as if I don't have bunch of them anyway) and have been jotting personal thoughts and emotions in it. It's like opening the floodgates because I have a lot on my mind and a lot on my heart.

I'm of the belief that there are just some things that are too personal and private to share in any instance~ Things you wouldn't even share with your mother or your spouse, let alone perfect strangers or online acquaintances and friends. LOL

I've been "clogged" up, so I figured it was time to run a snake through the pipes and clear the lines so that everything flows more smoothly. It seems to be helping, though I think I've still got a way to go because I'm not fully "back" to working on my novels by any means.

I'm still feeling the residual effects of yesterday's sensitivity. I've always been sensitive- tuned in to things- nature, emotions, things I can't explain.

I'm now 3 days off the patches. A week recovered from the 3 dental extractions- I go Thursday to have my gums checked to make sure they're healing up good, etc. My daughter had a viral infection last week and now my husband is sick. He started feeling bad Saturday night with his sinuses, sore throat and running a fever. He went to the doctor yesterday afternoon and they said it's not in his lungs- yet, but it was headed there and he could have ended up with pneumonia again. They've given him antibiotics and some Claritin and he's been trying to get his temp down. I'm starting to feel a bit of a sore throat coming on and hoping warm tea and whatnot will ward it off for me. We can't afford to keep going to the doctor every time we turn around. It's been a crazy year so far.

Knock on wood- Here's hoping we all start feeling better soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Undercurrents of Change

Can you feel that? It's like movement and urgency and helplessness....

Maybe it's just me...maybe it's just my imagination....

Today I've been overwhelmed with this sense of change--- Something big is afoot, but I'm not sure what it is- I just FEEL it. I felt it as I went to put the bills out in the mail and as I bagged up the garbage and put it out in the trash can. There's a rumbling, a vibration of something strange and distant calling to me.

Perhaps it was the very bizarre dreams I had last night that made NO sense to me but still filled me with a niggling- a worry- about things beyond my control~ emotionally and physically.

It feels like the earth is shifting beneath me, that whatever it is will impact me in a way I'm not expecting. Maybe I'm too sensitive to things around me. The sensation and emotion has nearly brought me to tears though a few times this morning. I can't explain where it's coming from or pinpoint the cause of this anxiousness.

I just know that it's coming....

Perhaps it's a fresh wave of writing inspiration- I have been feeling the pull to gravitate back toward my revisions and added almost 200 words to the revisions I was last working on- but I think it's more than that. It feels as though the floodgates are about to open and the waves are going to force me into the next phase- the next chapter of my life, whether I'm ready or not.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Like Pulling Teeth....

Okay, I must first and foremost apologize for not having been around much lately and it's been what now, nearly 2 weeks since my last post?

During that time I've rested, played around online, but not much else. Been feeling lethargic.

Monday my daughter was sick and had to come home from school. Went to the doc and they gave her amoxicillin and cough medicine. Still wasn't better today. Coughing, complaining of a headache and sore throat and had a fever, so hubby took her back to the doctor like they told him to if she wasn't doing better. She got blood taken, and they said that was fine but they gave her a shot in her tush. She didn't like that. Hubby has gone to pick up more medicine that's been prescribed for her.

Yesterday, after a long wait since the oral surgeon was running about 2 hours or more behind from other surgeries that morning, she got me sedated and got those teeth out in a flash. Got home and rested in the recliner for the most part. Hubby made his cavatini and he and the kids had that for supper. I ate a baked potato when we first got back so I could take my Motrin and then later a little bit of chicken soup with mushed up crackers in it so I could take my Motrin again.

Trying to follow my instructions to the T. Been doing the warm salt water swish today and just taking it easy. Tossed and turned all night, wanting to turn over on the side where the teeth were extracted and had to fight that.

The other day I actually thought about my writing a lot and I can almost feel the "need" to write and work on it starting to come back to me. That's hopefully a good sign...right? Maybe I've just needed time off...a break in all the work I've been doing. A mini-vay-cay for my brain. I'm thinking that it won't be long before I find myself elbow deep in writing and revising again.

Just thought I'd better post a little about what's been going on. I will be back to posting before too long. Have a great Hump Day!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just a Consultation....

Go figure- Yesterday's appointment with the oral surgeon was simply a consultation beforehand. We set up my appointment for the surgery to have the 3 extractions for May 5th. Wish it could have been sooner, but that was the earliest they could get me in that was convenient with hubby's work schedule and when he can take off. They're going to sedate me.

So, for the time being- that's about all I've got going on. I can't think about my writing or revisions. I feel really out of the loop. I am nearly 6 full weeks smoke-free and only have Step 3 to go starting this Sunday. I'm doing pretty good with it, though I haven't been getting on the Gazelle as I intended. Haven't felt good though with the pain coming and going.

We did watch the Will Smith movie "7 Pounds" and it was a really good movie, though I figured out what was going on fairly early on in the movie so I wasn't caught off guard as much as I would have been if I hadn't. I had heard a lot of reviews say that the movie would keep you guessing and you'd be shocked at the turn of events. Maybe it's the writer in me that figured the storyline and plot out early. It was still a really good movie though.

Hope everyone's been well and taking care of themselves. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fear and Oral Surgery

I went to the local dentist on the 15th after being woken up in the middle of the night by rolling waves of pain in my face/jaw. I won't get into all the nasty details, but needless to say- I have to go to an oral surgeon this coming Thursday to have 3 teeth pulled- 1 wisdom tooth and 2 molars- all on the right and all in bad shape. He said my wisdom tooth was impacted and rotten, though to my understanding wisdom teeth are generally never in good shape when they come through. He put me on Amoxicillin for the infection and gave me Hydrocodone for the pain.

Guess who the dentist wanted to send me to??? Psycho "Steve Martin" oral surgeon. That's who this dentist usually sends people to. I told them about my experience with this other guy and so he chose someone else for me to go to- a lady oral surgeon- newer and younger, probably more apt to be gentler.

The dentist told me though that the other guy had had some trouble about 2 years ago- right around the time that I went to him- that there was a lack of good communication in the OS's office and probably the reason I didn't get the gas or any local anesthetics...and that a lot of his staff had to be let go of around that time because there was scandal going on in his office- embezzlement or something.

Still makes me queazy to think about it though, that even if it was his assistants who forgot to tell him I wanted gas, it still should have been double checked and I couldn't very easily tell the OS I was supposed to have gas after he'd chocked my mouth open and I couldn't speak.

This dentist seemed to understand though and laughingly said the other OS ruined me on going to the dentist since I hadn't been in 2 years because of that incident. I'm hoping things are better this time around, though from the sound of it- I'm in for more than just these extractions. The dentist wants me to come back to him a month after these get pulled so he can get a better idea of what teeth can be saved and the ones that can't be.

Really rather freaks me out, but I know I need to do something about it because I have been awful about taking care of my teeth over the years. I already told my mom that if more than 1/2 my mouth needs work or more than 1/2 my remaining teeth need to be pulled- well...I might as well just have them ALL pulled and get dentures. Not sure yet though. We'll see.

Haven't been able to concentrate on anything though. I have thought about my revisions and such, but just haven't been able to bring myself to open it because I know my attention span right now is too short to invest real quality time and concentration on my work. I hate this, but after all this is out of my way- I'll dive in and get back to what I love to do, not worrying about dental issues.

Will update again once I've had the teeth pulled Thursday and am feeling up to it.

T

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cold Rainy Break- Toothache....Blech!

So much for returning feeling refreshed and ready to work on edits/revisions.

The weather turned off COLD- wintery- while I was up visiting my family. We had one day that it snow flurried almost all day. Brrr......

Then, since the middle of last week I've been slowly working on a toothache. Since I've been home, it's been awful. Some of it is probably affected by the weather, but for the most part, it ebbs and flows- comes and goes and it isn't pleasant at all. I've taken ibruprofen and I've been using Oragel severe pain formula, but it still hurts. I'm going to give it a few more days, but if it doesn't stop after that, I'll go have the problem yanked out.

I lived with severe pain a couple of years ago- around this time of year in fact- for about 2-3 months before I went to have it taken care of. I lived in a haze and felt like I lost a LOT of time- not just on my writing but with my family because I was in so much pain I couldn't focus or concentrate. That ain't happening again. No way. I just won't go back to the dentist/oral surgeon I went to the last time. Psycho Oral Surgeon will NOT get his hands on my mouth again.

Sure, I felt better after he pulled the two teeth that needed to be pulled, but he didn't respect my wishes for gas before he stabbed me with the needle over and over and left me to sit alone for about 15-20 minutes, shaking all over, hyperventilating and sobbing from the pain he put me through. I nearly got up and stumbled out of there.... I thought, and still think, it was unprofessional and sadistic in him to disregard my wishes. The receptionist asked me 3-4 times if I wanted gas...I told her yes every time! But when I got back there, I didn't get it....There was never even any mention of it...

No, what I got was- "Here, let's have a look..." and then jab, jab, jab, jab, jab- into my jawbone, the roof of my mouth- over and over again with what felt like the biggest freaking needle I'd ever felt in my life. He was the epitome of Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors- I swear he was keeping the gas all to himself.....

I WILL NOT go back to him...no way, uh uh, ain't happening...not in this lifetime...

So- did I come back refreshed and rearing to go? Not exactly. I've spent the better part of the last 3 days lying on the couch with my eyes closed, trying to block out the pain. I can't hardly concentrate on daily household stuff, let alone writing/edits/revision. It's any wonder I've gotten this much written on this blog.

I'm doing good with the not smoking. feel free to hop over and read the small blog I posted on Taryn Up in Smoke. I'm going to check a few more emails, load some of my pictures up on the computer from my week away and then probably lay down for a while to rest and relax through the pain that's escalating already this morning.

Have a great one!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Running Backward Up A Hill Blindfolded...

I realize that's what I've been doing recently...I can't see where I'm going and I'm having a hard time seeing what's right in front of me, or behind me, as the case may be.

I've got end-of-winter blahs and I think that has a lot to do with my inability to get back to revisions. I'm burnt out. After November's NaNoWriMo and the holidays and starting revisions- I'm simply burn out.

Spring is coming- see my peach blossoms? Aren't they purty? They make me smile, just like the blossoms that are coming out on my lilac (the first year I'll get to see it in bloom- if the frost doesn't kill them off).

Still, as pretty as it is, it doesn't fill me with the desire to work on my writing. I haven't gotten the overwhelming sense of urgency that I HAVE to get the revisions done in quite some time and, as I said before, a break away should be good for me. I need it every once in a while and I haven't had time away since, I guess Fall Break last October.

It always does me good to touch homebase- to go back to where my roots were so firmly planted. It revives my sense of "me" and maybe that's something that's missing from my writing/revising right now. I'M not there with the characters- nope...I've crashed and burned into cinders, so it's time to pick them up and glue them back together or gather a few fresh parts of myself to bring back- regenerating bits and pieces of me and reigniting the core of where the fire to write burns in my gut. I need the kindling and the spark and I know where to find it.

These trips back home are the main place those things reside. I'll get the fire going again. I'll come back with a new fire lit under me and a stronger desire again.

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

No Work and Other Things

Well, I'm 2 weeks smoke-free and I've still not gotten anything done with revisions. Of course, that's probably going "on hold" over the next 2 weeks and maybe I can come back to it refreshed and ready to read through and really dig in like I need to.

The reason for 2 weeks I won't be able to concentrate on it? This week I need to get the house cleaned up and pack mine and my daughter's things for our annual Spring Break visit in my hometown with my family the next week. So this week is going to be filled with dusting, vacuuming, getting all the laundry caught up in a major way, figuring out what hubby wants to buy for himself that week for meals, etc.

I've been sticking with the Gazelle. 26.25 miles this past week and feeling pretty good. Not sure what I'm going to do about it while I'm up visiting my family. If the weather's nice enough, I'm hoping to go walk at the park on the walking trail. I know I probably won't be doing nearly as many miles as I do at home, but walking on the Gazelle and walking a park path are a bit different, so I hope it still evens out.

Anyway...if you don't see or hear much from me over the next two weeks, fear not- I will return. :o) (Hopefully rejuvenated and rearing to get back to work.)

Have a good one! I'll try to post when I can.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Back in the Groove

Yesterday I actually opened the manuscript I've been currently working revisions on and I worked through about 17 page, though I didn't add much to it...maybe 50 words, but it's better than the "nothing" I did last week.

Of course, today hubby has taken off work, so we'll see if I get anything done. I've been needing less distraction, but haven't been getting it. Last week my sister and I played Scrabble online against each other everyday and I just haven't been able to concentrate for anything.

I have been 10 days smoke-free and I've been doing 5 miles a day on the Gazelle other than over the weekend. I lost 2 lbs in 2 weeks. This week I started doing 5.25 miles, so we'll see how that goes.

I've been trying to eat healthier, but in doing so- all the fresh veggies and fruit is taking it's toll on my stomach. I've had an upset tummy since last night. Woo hoo!

Trying to get things organized and ready for a couple weeks from now when I go up to visit with my family during the kids' spring break from school. My grandmother sent me some irises and I planted them yesterday morning down along the side of the house. Hubby's mom is definitely having to take it easy so she doesn't have another attack. They're still not sure what set it off, but she got to go home yesterday from the hospital and she's on a bland diet.

I'm going to see what I can get done today. Have a good one!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Grief!

This new Internet Explorer 8 is driving me crazy this morning...I could go to just about any other website but I couldn't get in HERE! LOL

I was about ready to pull my hair out...

This week's felt long, but I feel good. I haven't had a cigarette in a week- Of course I haven't gotten any revisions done, but I think this is a time of baby steps for me and for once I'm not "multi-tasking" everything. Hopefully next week will find me pulling things together a little more and getting back to revisions while I go through Week 2 of not smoking.

Right now my thoughts are pretty single-minded, though I am also thinking about my mother-in-law. She's been in the hospital the past two days because she had a pancreatic attack. The doctors don't know exactly what to do for her, though they have her on antibiotics right now, I'm assuming to help bring down swelling or infection around her pancreas because it's swollen and has fluid around it.

Have a good weekend everyone. I'm going to try to get back to blogging next week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Top O' the Mornin' to ya!

I'm feeling my Irish heritage this morning. If there's truth to my ancestry, my great great (not sure how many greats- too many to count this morning) grandfather Newton came over from Ireland in the 1790's. Of course, my bloodline is a huge mix of German, Dutch, English, Irish and possibly Scottish. It's hard telling what else...but my red hair inspires me to lean more toward the Irish side.

I sent my kids off to school dressed in something green today and I myself am wearing green, too. No need to get pinched if you don't have to, right? LOL

I would love to travel to Ireland and go kiss the Blarney Stone. It would be cool and the whole gift of gab would be wonderful, but I'm pretty darn gabby as it is...so not sure what that would do to me! LOL

I didn't plan ahead this year to have anything Irish for meals. Wish I had gotten some cabbage at least, but didn't think about it- but anyway...

Here are two of my favorite toasts..

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be ever at your back:
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields:
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
May those who love us, love us;
And those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn't turn their hearts
May He turn their ankles
So we'll know them by their limping.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lucky Tomorrow...

Tomorrow is St. Patty's Day and I'm hoping it brings me good luck- not only with the whole stop smoking thing, but also to get me back into my revisions. I've been putting it off in lieu of what else I've got going on, but tomorrow I'm going to put distraction aside and get some more work done on the one I've been working on.

I really need to- I need to learn to work on my manuscripts without my old habit so I can get used to it. Who knows- maybe I'll find I get even more done without stopping for a break ever so often. We'll see...

Hope everyone has a good evening.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taryn Up In Smoke

I started another blog adjacent to this one for my daily diary/journal-(You can find it under my profile, of course) because tomorrow I'll be starting the patch to stop smoking, if anyone wants to check out that blog. Thought it might be better to have a separate blog specifically for my journey to kick the habit.

Taryn

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Friday, March 13, 2009

I've Got a Bridge To Cross

This week has been a rough one on the personal front. A lot going on that is better kept to myself, but let's just say that's why I took a step back and haven't posted in a few days. I've been at an emotional crossroads.

I've added extra scenes to my current revisions, but there were other things on my mind and heart this week that took precedence over everything else.

One was my own ridiculous slide into melancholy- and the sudden overwhelming fear that engulfed me with self-doubt about my writing. I hit a downward spiral and found myself crying like I haven't in a very long time. Made me feel like a silly little child, bawling my eyes out and wondering what makes me think I know anything about writing romance novels.

This sprouted its ugly little head on top of numerous other things- things that are and aren't beyond my control- It's just been a crazy week and I'm looking forward to a trip to Wal-Mart tomorrow, even if it's mostly to pick up darling daughter a new pair of shoes. She's outgrown her 10's and the 10 1/2's she has are really snug...so size 11 it will be!

In the midst of all this insanity I've gotten back to the Gazelle- after a month away. On Monday I did 2 miles. Tuesday was when everything welled up on me and overflowed, so I figured I'd make up for what I missed the day before. Instead of simply doubling my "miles walked"- I decided to try something different- an hour on the Gazelle, just to see how much I could get out of it. I wasn't breaking much of a sweat doing 2 miles a day- so in just under an hour- I tackled 5- so Wed, Thur and today I did 5 miles each. Go me! Now if I can just keep that up 5 days a week! Maybe I'll add a mile or two on the weekends- just to keep me in the habit.

Another thing- my husband and I are both smokers, but the recent price hike has given us a lot to consider. I've been smoking for 16 years, so this is going to be tough, but I know I can do it, though I might need help from one of those smoking cessation products, but it will be worth it to get rid of a habit I shouldn't have started to begin with. I'm truly tired of it and though I haven't quit cold turkey before, I am going to tackle this.

I realized at this very moment that I haven't mentioned my smoking on here before because- in all honesty- I'm ashamed of it and I know in this day and age it's looked down on, but considering I'm finally at a place where I feel I'm done with it, there's no need for me to shamefully hide in the corner. I'm making a good decision for myself and my family and I know that. Please feel free to hold me accountable! LOL (I'm sure support and encouragement from friends/acquaintances would help tremendously.)

It will save us so much money and it will also improve our health, our lives and our children's lives, without a doubt. Please wish us luck in this. Last night we were talking about it and I said something about how we're going to "try" to quit and I said, "Scratch that- we're not 'trying' to quit- We're GOING to quit."

So needless to say, there's a lot of changes occurring in my life now- A lot of turning inward to find answers, to understand and to make major adjustments where they need to be made- emotionally, mentally, physically and health-wise.

Shew! That felt like a mouthful! Have a wonderful Friday and a lovely weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Bit of a Breakthrough!

After my weekend filled with laundry, dishes and cooking and sharing recipes, I thought last night that I needed to do a little brainstorming for my revisions. Last week sucked. I was stuck and it seemed I had NOTHING more to add. I got some things added, sporatically, but otherwise I'm way off the word count and 59 pages off from my goal.

So where do I go from there?

I went back to my character questionaire sheets that I filled in before I started writing. I forgot my heroine could play the piano. I hadn't included any scenes that had that! I suppose I forgot because it was a talent she didn't remember she had either! LOL But now I know there could be room to add a scene with it, especially since the hero is musically inclined as well.

There's some other quirks too- things that need tweaking, so I can add those.

My hero rebuilds classic cars in his spare time..oops...forgot that, too. Would fit nicely to incorporate more interaction with his brother, brother-in-law or his best friend- resulting in a conversation in regards to his situation/feelings for the heroine.

I'm sure I'll stumble across more now that I reopened the gateway to who my characters are.

I've also determined today will be the fresh start I need- not just for my revisions, but also for me to get back to doing the Gazelle, so here goes! I'm off to improve myself and my novel!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Round the House

I haven't done any revisions today- mostly laundry and dishes and cooking- which brings me to my recipe for round steak that I mentioned in the previous post. Thought I would go on and share it so I don't forget.
It's actually a recipe I found online and though I don't get a chance to fix it very often, it is a nice change from the same ol' same ol'. I usually buy round steak when its part of a special meat sale at our grocery.

Round Steak Supreme

1 1/2 or 2 lbs round steak (top or bottom round- recipe calls of thicker, but I use the thin)
Large jar sliced mushrooms
1 envelope dry onion soup
1 envelope or beef bouillon

(You can also add fresh onion and green pepper, if desired)

Place Round Steak in a foil lined 13 X 9 casserole dish. Drain mushrooms and spread across the top of meat. (add onion and green pepper here if desired). Sprinkle with dry onion soup mix and beef bouillon. Save back packet from onion soup mix and add 2 packs of water. Wrap tightly with foil.

Bake at 350º for 2 hours. (says to serve with white or beef flavored rice. Purely optional. I fixed it with mashed potatoes and corn this time around)

Food Stuff

Yesterday I tried out a recipe I just decided to throw together. Actually, it was going to be something else altogether- Cheese Ravioli dish- but apparently our local grocery pulled their frozen cheese ravioli from their freezer- even though I had seen it there for the past month or so and I used to work at the same store in my hometown- the cheese ravioli wasn't a "temp" item, so I was quite baffled they didn't have them anymore.

Guess that's what I get for passing by the freezer compartment the past several weeks and saying "I'll get them some other time." I should have gotten them "then."

So anyway...since they didn't have the ravioli- I got some penne pasta and threw this recipe together. I'm certain it's probably not original or unique, but it was different for us. Hubby and I liked it- 6 y/o- not so much..

Sausage and Green Pepper Penne Pasta

1 lb tube of Sausage, grounded and browned and drained (I used Tennessee Pride Mild)
1 or 2 Green Pepper(s)
1 Tbsp stick butter
1 16 oz box of Penne pasta
1 jar Spaghetti Sauce (your favorite- I used mushroom)
1 8 oz bag of Italian Blended Shredded Cheese
Cooking Spray

1. Cook pasta until tender and to your taste, while you brown the ground sausage.
2. Cut peppers to suit (bite size) and saute with Tbsp. butter. Leave slightly crisp.
3. Drain pasta- use the same pan to mix together the cooked sausage, peppers and spaghetti sauce and heat.
4. Mix drained pasta back into pan and stir well to mix all ingredients.
5. Spray a 13 X 9 casserole dish with cooking spray and pour pasta blend into it.
6. Sprinkle top with Shredded Cheese and put under broiler long enough to melt cheese and slightly brown.
Serve with favorite garlic bread.





Tonight I'm making Round Steak Supreme. Perhaps I'll share that recipe later.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Life at the Keyboard- Music

Like most writers, I spend the majority of my time during the weekdays here- in front of the computer. I check emails, chat with friends, blog and read other blogs and I work on my novels and revisions with all those notebooks and pads of paper scattered around me- sometimes with music as the backdrop and sometimes the comforting silence is my companion. Depends on what I'm dealing with at the moment.

Weekends are a bit harder because I don't have a writer's cave I can disappear into. I'm planted in the living room and weekends or days off from school/work for the kids or hubby tend to become a major distraction. Hubby usually has to have to television on or the kids are playing or needing something at all times. It's then that I slam the headphones on and lose myself in music that fits what I'm working on. It varies.

Sometimes I make a playlist of really romantic soft slow songs and other times I just need that pounding rhythm rocking it out, blurring the lines around me so that I'm sucked into the story.

During the writing process, I generally use songs that fit the moment, the momentum and the emotion my characters are going through. There are scenes that need melody, but not lyrics and that's when I turn to one trusted musician-Jim Brickman. Any of his piano instrumentals can give me the boost I need without so much as a word (though I still can include the one he did with Martina McBride- My Valentine.)

I have seen times where music cannot possibly help me and so I turn it all off. No music, just sweet comforting silence. Well, almost silence- the computer humming, the ceiling fan's whirring, the washer or dryer in the background.

My musical tastes and needs vary from novel to novel. During the writing of my paranormal historical, I chose songs that haunted me, slow, heartbreaking songs that filled me with melancholy and heartache in order to achieve the mood I needed to get the emotions onto the page. A few songs in particular from when I wrote that one are from The Ben Taylor Band's Famous Among the Barns album. Island, No More Running Away, Rain, and Tonight.

During my contemporary about the country singer- yes- I absolutely relied on country music to do it for me. Brooks and Dunn, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Clint Black. I used Garth Brooks (as Chris Gaines) with songs like That's the Way I Remember It, Lost in You, and Driftin' Away. This one is not linked because the CD was discontinued by the manufacturer. Maybe it wasn't his brightest, shiniest moment when he went a little split personality- but I actually really liked the CD and the songs I mentioned in particular.

Most of what I use are songs from contemporary artists. The list could go on and on but a few of my all time favorites to use while writing are-

98º-Was It Something I Didn't Say, Take My Breath Away, I Wasn't Over You, Don't Stop The Love
Maroon 5- She Will Be Loved, Must Get Out, Sunday Morning, Sweetest Goodbye, Little of Your Time, Won't Go Home Without You, Nothing Lasts Forever, Goodnight Goodnight, Not Falling Apart, Better That We Break, Back At Your Door (sometimes their entire albums)
Alicia Keys- No One, Like You'll Never See Me Again, Fallin'
Whitney Houston- Nobody Loves Me Like You Do
Meat Loaf- If This Is The Last Kiss (Let's Make It Last All Night)
Robin Thicke- Flowers In Bloom, Cherry Blue Skies, Complicated, Lost Without U, Sidestep, Magic, The Sweetest Love, Cry No More
Jewel- Stronger Woman, I Do, Thump Thump, Loved By You (Cowboy Waltz), Near You Always, Morning Song, You Were Meant For Me

There are plenty more, but I'll save any other references to music choices for another blog, but I will leave on this note. One of the ones I have used the most and actually listened to over and over again is Sara Bareilles' Little Voice.

The link takes you to the newer version, which has a 2nd CD I didn't get when I originally got it.

Of few of my absolute favorites off there- One Sweet Love, Gravity, Love Song, and Between the Lines- Fairytale is fun, but in all honesty, it's an absolutely great CD all around.

Do you listen to music when you write? If you do, what are some of yours? Are there any songs you find yourself listening to repeatedly, regardless of which manuscript you're working on?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Feels Like The First Time

Inspired by a little thought that trickled through my mind while reading a comment to my previous post, it really got me to thinking about what writing a first draft is REALLY like- at least for me.

Fellow Kentucky Romance Writer Amy Durham said "I don't want to nit-pick on the first draft. That's when the writing is so fun, and all I want to do is just WRITE!"

So you might ask, what is writing that first draft of a novel like?

For me- It feels like the first time.

The beginnings of a whirlwind romance. The first time your hand meets his by accident and ZING goes your heartstrings. That first kiss, that first touch, the first time you make love to the man you know your heart belongs to, who's heart belongs to you.

I know it's the romantic in me who sees this comparison as completely plausible. I don't fall in love from my head- I fall in love from my heart, so it makes sense that when I write, I do the same. I write freely, without worrying about the nit-picking of my internal editor. At least I try my best not to, because writing that first draft IS fun and exciting and it moves me in ways I never dreamt possible. So in that respect- it's very much like falling in love for the very first time.

The story seems to rise up like the first tingling embers of a gentle caress and it spreads through you like wildfire, igniting passion and desire and the need to take things to the next level. And when you're caught up in that moment in time, looking deeply into the eyes- searching the heart and soul, of someone (or in the case of a first draft- something) you love with your entire being, you give yourself over to living in those moments and experiencing it, tasting it, feeling it. You let your inhibitions go and give yourself over to learning to trust what you feel and allowing your heart to lead you where it may.

In a love relationship, especially a new love, you don't critique every first touch or kiss or embrace. You don't find fault with your beloved. It's new and you want to see where it will go- how long it will last and whether it's meant to be the forever-after kind of love you have always longed for.

There will always be "problems" that have to be worked through later in all relationships, but falling in love for the first time is the rare opportunity to express yourself as openly as possible without fear or rejection.

You don't say- "Well, your kissing technique could use some work."
You don't say- "How about we 'fix' you?"
You don't say- "No, no- You're doing this all wrong! What's the matter with you?"

LOL

No, you are lost in his eyes, centered and focused on the emotions you feel, the racing of your heart and being on sensory overload. Everything around you is beautiful and it makes you feel good. It puts you on a natural high and you want that feeling to continue and grow and deepen. And in truth- you'll never love this way again- not like you do in the beginning of that relationship when everything is so new and fresh. It burns upon your memory for a lifetime.

There's emotional gratification from being in love and feeling love just bursting at the seams. Sometimes it blinds you to other things going on around you because you're so caught up in the swirl of emotions and joy. You can't imagine anything ever being better.

Writing a first draft is like that. When you can "fall in love" with the story and just allow yourself to feel it- to know it in it's unaltered, uninhibited natural state, without questioning it. In turn, you also give yourself permission to bare your soul and connect to the story- not just the grammar and sentence structure and punctuation and page count, etc.

You'll never pour the story out with more emotion or more openly than you do the first time you write it. Sometimes relationships/stories are smooth and easily fall into place like traveling down a fresh section of interstate and other times they aren't- they're bumpy and hard to navigate like an old country road that's never been paved and has potholes everywhere (dare I say "plotholes")- but either way- usually worth the trip.

And yes, you'll have corrections to make later, things to work on, and improve upon, to make the story stronger and more cohesive and lasting. But that's the great thing about love AND writing- you start a new relationship OR story with the sparks and fire and anticipation of the things to come because you're not holding back- You give your heart.

Sure there will be issues that come up down the road- after the romantic notions take a back seat to "real life," but with either one- if you want it badly enough, you'll work hard to sustain it, to improve it, to make it the best "LOVE" story you can possibly have.

(Could I rambled on enough this morning? HEHE)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Battling Conflict Internal

The Internal Editor (I.E. for short) can be a rather tough cookie for us writers. "She" can be loud, obnoxious and noisy and tends to be a blabbermouth. Now, of course, I reference I.E. as a she because "she" is a part of me.

I am sure there are those who appear to have no internal editor and just write like they think, talk, react- giving little thought to grammar, punctuation, tense, sentence structure, etc. I'm sure they have an internal editor hidden somewhere, but perhaps not nearly as mouthy or prominent as others. Perhaps he/she hasn't grown into the behemoth most of us writers have grown to know, love and hate.

Our internal editors are helpful when it comes to revisions, but when writing a first draft of a novel- sometimes not so much. It depends on how we balance out the logic with the fantasy of what we write. Sometimes our I.E. is so locked in on corrections and perfection that it overpowers our ability to write what's in our heart.

"Writer's Block" sometimes settles in as our Internal cautions us that we need to "fix" everything before we can move on. Other times, our characters give up even trying to tell their story because they have to fight and scream over Internal's constant criticisms about what's been told so far, or how it's written and how wrong we are.

Everyone's method of getting their stories down is different. I've found, that for me, it works best when I bind and gag my I.E., toss her in the closet and slip her a little nourishment from time to time so that she doesn't die completely while I type my little heart out.

I'm not ashamed of her by any means. She's a hard worker and points out the things I need to fix, polish, edit, reword, rework, etc.... but there comes a point where I can't think for all the sputtering nonsense she overflows with while I'm in the middle of a first draft.

She drowns out the heart of my story and makes me doubt myself and my ability to write. I have to make her leave for a while because I can't concentrate on what my characters are telling me or follow their lead if I keep listening to her and going back to change this or that.

Do you listen to your Internal Editor while you write your first draft? Or do you lock him/her away until you reach The End?

Is there any way to balance writing and internal editing? Can you do both with success simultaneously? Can they work together in harmony or does there need to some boundary line- a division- between the two?

This has been a recent topic of discussion on fellow writer, Devon Matthews' blog. Feel free to join in the discussion here or there.

What works best for you? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.