Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Coming Down Off the Sugar

And it's a very scary sight. I don't even want to think about how much sugar I've consumed in the last four days. I'm working the detox as we speak. I haven't been able to blog because my hands were shaking too severely to type.

I had a nice holiday. One day was especially awesome. The most productive thing I did that day was put the red five on the black six. Ahhh. The memories.

So the in-laws got us a Wii. I will now never complete any manuscript ever. I will, however order a pink and black bowling shirt with a crown made of bowling pins embroidered on the back with the name Pin Princess stitched over the breast pocket. I'll also be heading a clinic on my patented Lollipop Release Technique tm - guaranteed to improve your score by at least 3 points or your money back. You too can join this elite ten class series for only nine easy installments of $9.99.

Or could I interest you in a slightly used Hawaii chair?

So, resolutions. I don't believe in them. They're like mystical rainbow farting unicorns, only applicable in the perfect hermetically sealed environs of your Happy Place where everything is perfect. What do you mean you don't have rainbow farting unicorns in your happy place? What's the matter with you? You have no idea what you're missing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas is Coming, People!

And so is Santa. (OH MY GOD! I KNOW HIM!)

Have a great holiday everybody, no matter what you celebrate!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pulling Me Back In

So I'm ready to be done with YouTube and the time suck that it presents to me when . . . I see this. (Some may want tissues before viewing)

A story well told. Though I don't agree with everything, it takes you exactly where it wants to go. And I like it when I don't agree with everything. It's so much more interesting that way. Thought provoking. Giving me a view that isn't my own. (There's that challenging of my views I discussed two entries ago.)

So, like the Godfather -

Curse you, YouTube!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's The Matter With Me?

I'm not sure. I keep going on YouTube to find my Christmas spirit. That alone is just wrong. And then I come up with things like this.

It doesn't give me Christmas spirit, yet I can't look away.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nice Guys Finish Last

I love being surprised by words and having standard perceptions challenged. Like the old riddle about the boy and father who were in a car crash. The father dies at the scene, and the boy is rushed to the hospital. The doctor on call takes one look at the patient, and steps away saying, I can't operate on him. He's my son." How can that be?

George Carlin was a master at coming at an idea from the back door, leaving the listener with a new skewed view and a glimpse into his unorthodox mind.

I heard a new blues song by Johnnie Bassett the other night that took full advantage of the listener's solidified acceptance of a phrase and put a new twist on it. It got me thinking about this again. Blues singers have been playing with words and using humor for years. (Muddy Waters belted out Got my mojo working, but it just don't work on you. B.B. King sang, Nobody loves me but my mother-And she might be jivin' too.)
So when I was listening to the Blues Show on WXPN Phildelphia and heard this:

I'm after your body
Little girl, I'm after your mind,
Yes, I want it all, baby,
But all in good time
No need to move it too fast
I know a woman's needs come first,
And nice guys finish last.

It surprised me and made me laugh. I immediately called my answering machine to record the artist and title of the song so I could buy it later.

Blues singers have used double entendres since the beginning. (Squeeze my lemon til the juice runs down my leg, anyone?) And you hear some very colorful metaphors listening to the Blues.

Anytime someone can jolt me out of my regular thinking patterns and way I view the world, I love it.

So tell me. What trips your trigger? What's something that inspires you?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Silent Lurker Day!

Hello and welcome to the first annual Silent Lurker Day! I'm here to pay tribute to you, the silent lurker, the heart beat of hope of every small time blogger. So where ever you're from, what ever you do, feel free to leave a comment and say howdy. I won't even scare you with any disturbing Elvis pictures or coughborecough regale you with my sea monkey battles. It's all about you today.

In honor of Silent Lurker Day, I'll be coughinflictingonyoucough posting a new excerpt from one of my wips, and offering you a glimpse at some past posts that you may find enjoyable. So sit back and relax as we celebrate you, The Silent Lurker.

Who may very well view this blog as a rather compelling train wreck.


First Draft Excerpt from First Love, Only Love

"So, what do you think, hon?" Dixie asked coyly over the blaring country music, her voice dripping with innuendo.

"If he comes anywhere near me I'll probably puke on his shoes, and then where would I be?" Her voice came out more like a wail than the light-hearted response she’d tried for.

"I'd say out about four hundred bucks. Those are some expensive looking cowboy boots he's sportin'," Dixie drawled.

Why is he looking at me? She checked behind her to make sure there wasn't another girl he was really interested in. But there was no one, and when her eyes met his again they shone with amusement. He leaned over to one of his buddies and said something. They both began to laugh. His eyes had never left hers though, and she felt a blush creep up from the neckline of her silk tank top until it reached her forehead.

Dixie guffawed long and loud at her reaction, practically spewing her beer all over Bethany. "Oh honey, if you get any redder, you're gonna have heat stroke! Here. Drink this, it'll put hair on your chest and give you the courage you'll need when he struts his fine self over here to talk to you." She shoved the shot glass up to her mouth and practically drowned her cousin in booze in perfect drink or swim fashion.

Bethany sputtered and coughed as the liquid burned down her throat. She peeked up again, and the larger than life cowboy was laughing at her. Laughing! At her! Oh good gravy. Her eyes darted towards the exit again. It seemed miles away. She didn't really want to meet anyone. Especially not some huge masculine cowboy who made her quake in her little strappy sandals. It was all a mistake. She should just go back home to her farm in Vermont and forget all about experiencing men. Maybe she could get one of those electric boyfriends Dixie had told her about and just please herself for the rest of her life.

Her gaze gravitated back to the man across the room. She watched as he threw some money on the bar, said something to his friend and slapped him on the back. Then he turned his impressive body and headed straight for her.

Eeep! He's coming over here! Bethany turned wide panicked eyes to Dixie and sputtered, "Quick Dixie, make a diversion! I have to get out of here."

"A diversion? What are you talkin' about, honey?"

"You're good at making a spectacle of yourself. Just do something. Now!" she gritted through her teeth.

Before she knew what she was doing, Bethany slid all five feet nine inches of herself under the small table and crouched down as far as she could and stared at the floor. Clutching the circular support that held up the tabletop as much for support as for the tiny amount of cover it afforded her she chanted in her head. Be the table. Beee the table. Blend. Blend.

She could hear Dixie above her ranting indignantly to herself. "Of all the ungrateful ingrates. I do not make a spectacle of myself. I'm spunky, that's all!"

Just then two very large cowboy boots came to a stop directly in the little patch of scuffed floor she'd been praying would open so she could dive through it.

She pulled in a deep breath and held it. That's when she heard Dixie drawl, "Hey there, cowboy. She's under the table."

It's still very rough and like everything else - incomplete.

Here are some posts you may have missed that you will probably enjoy

The Dead Mouse Disposal Saga of a Reformed Horror Flick Junkie

Unbelievable - (my run in with a zealot)

Menagerie of Misgivings

So Happy Silent Lurker Day to all. And to those of you crazy enough to follow me publicly, I salute you! You're braver than I am.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Have I Mentioned

how much I want to see this movie?


Back In the Saddle and Poor Research Practices

So, the antibiotics are starting to kick in. And the most wonderful medicine of all - codeine- has ensured a full night's rest. So I'm on the mend. I was looking back over the last few posts, and I definitely need to quit the bellyachin. But here's the last one. I lost one of my slippers two weeks ago. I sit here typing with only one slipper on. Of course I've looked everywhere, but no luck. So my left foot is out in the cold for now.

What does your Christmas list say about you? The only thing on mine right now is a new pair of slippers. Kinda pathetic, huh? I'd even be pleased with one left slipper. I don't even need a matched set. You got any requests for Mr. Claus?

On to other, loftier thoughts besides the contemplation of my indoor foot coverings. Do you think an author has a responsibility to the genre? I've been reading (a dangerous pastime if ever I heard of one, because we all know what that can lead to- *horrific shudder* - thinking). Some people out there are concerned about the reputation of the oft maligned romance genre. It seems, many times, that its detractors are people who've never actually read a romance. The harsh stereotype of bodice ripping, poorly written porn gets thrown around, a proclamation is made about how worthless the entire genre is, and the opinion is repeated ad nauseum all over the place until others take up the call and it gets taken for fact.

There are bad books in any genre. But should romance authors feel an extra guarded duty to protect and/or elevate romance? My opinion is to write the stories you think up to the best of your ability.

But the real bottom line is sex. People's views on sex are often entwined in emotions and religion which boils down to beliefs. Which then leads to strong opinions. There's enough disagreement over the amount of sex included in romance books between authors within the genre to make a federal case. This isn't a new argument by any stretch of the imagination. It's just one I've been giving a little consideration recently.

The article (and I use that term very, very loosely) I read that started these musings is How Romance Novels Take the Romance Out of Romance. It's touched off a lot of nerves within the romance community. I'll only mention that the author obviously went into his grand experiment with his mind already made up, admits he did some shoddy research and then made some large opinionated proclamations. Which he's completely entitled to do.

I don't get too worked up about these things. Yet the scientific part of my brain rebels at the thought of making a decision based on heresay or crappy research. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, and even our publicly funded education introduced the concept of the scientific method. Not that anyone has to employ it in the strictest sense, just being aware of the concept should allow a person to have the resources to make informed decisions instead of uneducated spoutings. But as we all know, that's not what blogs are about. And that's an entry for a different day.

Until next time, citizens!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So. . .

I still don't have a voice. (It's been a week and a half.) The only writing I've done is on Ebay auction descriptions. And my phone is still out.

I thought this was the most wonderful time of the year?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random Ramblings

So, lots of little things to tell.

First, I find the term preggers extremely annoying. It bothers me. I can't help it.

Now on to other things. I'm a little sad because it's time for my Ninja to go into hibernation for the winter. We had some pretty nice days last week while I was sick, and I didn't get one last ride in.

Speaking of Ninjas, I am desperate to see the movie Ninja Assassin. Not because I'm under any delusion that it will have anything close to a plot or character development. No, only because it will be a bloodbath of martial arts gory goodness with a cool-assed knife on a chain. It takes me back to a guilty pleasure of my youth. Kung Fu Theater. Every Saturday afternoon one long ago summer, while the family was laboring outside, I'd sneak away from my chores and absorb in mind, body and soul the craziest martial arts movies out of Asia from the seventies and eighties. Blood spatters, flailing arms and subtitles. Ahh the thrills and chills of youth.

Moving on. I seem to dream up odd heroines. Either they're sliding under a tiny table in a honkytonk when the hero approaches in a panicked attempt to hide, they're being abducted by aliens while wearing a sock monkey hat, they're losing a bar bet, they carry brass knuckles, they'll provide only name rank and serial number to the hero, or they're terrified of animals, and their mates are wolf shifters. I'm not sure where they come from.

So, any quirky heroines, guilty secret pleasures or eighties flashbacks you wish to share? I'm all ears.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Evil Streak

This is the song that never ends,
It just goes on and on my friends,
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
and they'll continue singing it forever just because...

This is the song that never ends,
It just goes on and on my friends. . .

Ok, you get the picture. Have you ever entered a time loop where your life just keeps going and going the same way in a continuous loop of endless days?

No writing going on at the Casa de Quinn. Just an endless round of tissues, mucus, doctors, coughing and exhaustion. Then lather, rinse and repeat.

I have no voice at this point. So calling for help is out of the question. I'd blame the sea monkeys, but I just don't have the energy. But they'll get theirs in the end. I've got grandiose plans for a huge chemical attack in the near future. At this point, I'm one illness away from becoming a super-villain. I'm already dreaming up my costume. Think leather.

Once my voice comes back, I'll be developing my evil laugh. I've set up a session with Dr. Horrible's vocal coach.

Until next time, citizens.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2010 Gig and Harlequin Horizons

So here I am, determinedly ignoring the sea monkey revolution underway in my bathtub. Those little s.o.b.'s will get theirs when I'm not so overwhelmingly tired and busy.

I had some good news. When I went to the New Jersey conference, I met some nice women from the Valley Forge sister chapter of my writing group. I hung out with some of them at different times over the weekend, and Carla Kempert, a very cool person, mentioned to the vice president, who's in charge of scheduling speakers, that I had done a presentation on women's self defense (Inserting Realism into your Kick A$$ Heroine). They were interested and contacted me. The VP remembered me from the conference, mainly because I had introduced myself to her as the reigning Possum Queen of my County. In spite of that little tidbit, I am scheduled to give the presentation at their April 2010 meeting.

I'm pretty excited. In one of my former times in this life I was a teacher for a decade. I miss the actual teaching part, the rest of the b.s.? Not so much. So I'm looking forward to doing a little teaching again, even if I break out into hives and have to renounce my Possum Queen throne.

In other news, much of the romance writing world has been abuzz with the news about Harlequin lending their name and collecting profits from a vanity/subsidy/self publishing venture. I have a feeling there is a much bigger picture here. I believe Torstar, their parent company, (who is losing money in this economy hand over fist except for Harlequin) probably set this project into motion and told the people at Harlequin to make it work. As long as it remains a separate branch from the rest, I see no problem.

Unfortunately, they are entwining themselves in the new venture and not keeping it separated like they originally stated. The most egregious part being that they will include in form rejection letters information on how to publish with HH. Not cool.

RWA has stated that "Harlequin Enterprises no longer meets the requirements to be eligible for RWA-provided conference resources". I'm not sure what other steps RWA will be taking, but I doubt Harlequin will care. I believe that only the membership will be affected by the decision, though I'm impressed that the Board acted so swiftly. I'll be interested to see what the RWA fallout is over this news.

I'm pretty sure Harlequin won't give a rat's ass. The formation of the "self publishing arm, Harlequin Horizons" is a good money making venture for an ailing parent company. Time will tell if it's a good business move.

This song's for you Harlequin Enterprises.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jump Around

I've been working on two wips, for real, and two others off and on. And I've gotten stalled on all of them at about the two thirds done mark. I've been very linear in my writing. And now I'm stuck.

Then like a bolt out of the blue to illuminate the idiot, I realized I didn't have to write the story from beginning to end. This chimp can jump around or work from back to front.

Now, I've heard it before. It's not an original idea I came up with as I signed to my keepers to ask for more bananas. (no wonder I can't win the sea monkey war.) It just hadn't clicked with me yet. And now it has. So I'm jumping around the last four to five chapters of Shifting, trying to get up some momentum.

So I leave you with a flashback -not quite to the eighties, my usual decade for the flashback- to commemorate my new writing plan.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Throwing the Book at the Wall

Get ready for a semi-frank discussion of genitalia. If you think this is not something you want to read, click here for a sea monkey rerun.

I was reading a book yesterday, shocker, I know. It was by a NY Times best selling author, or so the cover declared. I was enjoying it, not totally engrossed, but it was a pretty good read. Then I came to the first sex scene. There were some of the typical formulaic things that the main players must be endowed with, but I could still buy it. Then the hero said something in mid coitus that made me snap the book shut, and I haven't picked it up again.

There are certain things that can jar me out of a book, especially during the hot and heavy scenes. I write pretty steamy, some erotic romance, some just higher heat levels. I'm also the first to admit that I am not the best writer in the world. But there are certain words that I just can't get behind. And it's probably not the ones you would think. I am a fan of the c word as used to describe female anatomy and have used it in my writing. But if I see the word mons, I will, nine times out of ten, stop reading right there.

Describing genital areas as furry or fur covered will also stop me dead in my tracks. I'm just not down with that image.

Repeating why the hero and heroine can't get together over and over throughout the story will get me to stop reading, too.

So, are there any standard phrases, words or situations that will get you to close the book? Do tell!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Now for Something Completely Different

I had known that NPR was doing 50 Great Voices this year, but was inspired by this entry on the blog I May Have Been Born Yesterday, But I Stayed Up All Night *sends a salute in Kameron's virtual direction* to make a pick of my own for inclusion in the NPR celebration.

I've been kicking around doing a post on this amazing singer for a while, and this was an easy opportunity to do it. Yma Sumac was born in Peru and is said to be the only known person to have a voice with a five octave range. It is also believed that she had no formal musical training and couldn't read music.

Here is some rare footage of Yma accompanied by my favorite song of hers - Gopher Mambo.

I also think Freddie Mercury and Bing Crosby should be included on the list. Because, really, how can you pick just one?

So how about you? Who do you think should be included in 50 Greatest Voices?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

So jury duty was an interesting little slice of heaven. I'm glad I experienced it, but not as glad as I am to have it be over. Geez Louise do you get to see how the other half lives. As the inmate who tries to spread new lingo around the prison my best friend works at would say - The guy who was on trial was Ca -ra-na-zy!!

Okay. Enough of that. I'm working on turning a corner here. I'm trying to psych myself up to get to a new level of commitment on actually finishing a manuscript and getting it published. I don't know if I'll be able to make myself get to that level since I mostly want to quit. I need a new mindset, take myself and my writing seriously. Put away the doubt and nay saying that I do with regularity and give this a serious shot.

And that's the most terrifying part of all.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Didja Ever Have One of Those Times . . .

when it's a damn good thing that your Man keeps the guns locked up or else without a doubt you'd be in the paper the next day?

Maybe Chris Rock has the answer.

And on top of it all, my jury duty starts tomorrow. At this point, I say fry his ass whoever it is. Next case.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Mothers of Invention

I read a guest post at Terry Odell's blog the other day about the Jersey Devil. I's a very interesting read. But I already knew about that particular nasty creature.

Growing up outside of Philadelphia, heading to the Jersey shore was a summer institution. My best friend in elementary school would invite me to her family's shore house for weekends all the time. (Back in this day, a family shore house was a conservative two to three bedroom home, not the gargantuan beach houses you think of today.) We would drive down Friday night, after her mom got home from work. It would be about an hour and a half to two hour drive, depending on how many others beach lovers had the same idea.

We'd jump on the highway and head through the Pine Barrens of New Jersey - the alleged birth place and frightening haunt of the Jersey Devil. Now we were excited eight and nine year old girls in the back seat of a sedan, giggling and squealing and making an all around ruckus. Every time.

Well, Mrs. Buckwalter finally got wise and started telling us the legend of the Jersey Devil. As soon as we hit those Pine Barrens, our eyes would be peeled and our noses pressed to the glass of opposite windows, keeping silent vigil for the Devil so we could alert the driver to enact evasive maneuvers should he decide to jump on our car.

The woman was a genius.

My sister-in-law tells the story of The Turtle Game. This is another car trick. Whenever her mother would drive her sister and her to Pittsburgh to visit their grandmother, there would be blankets in the back seat of the car. If her mother spied someplace she didn't want her daughters to see, like an amusement park, she would enact the turtle game. "Okay girls! Let's play The Turtle Game!" The daughters would then grab the blankets, drop to the foot wells and cover themselves with the blankets to pretend that they were turtles. Once the distraction was out of sight, she would let them come out of their shells.

My own mother is a wonderful, frugal woman. We wouldn't go to the car wash very often, but when we did, my brother and I thought we were getting a real treat. She called it the fun house. When we'd hear the call, "Who wants to go to the fun house?", my brother and I would scramble to the door. We'd go through the automatic washer oohing and ahhhing over the spinning bristle brushes of doom and the long waving hair going over the windshield. What might pop up from the depths of that sea of flopping canvas? The thrills and chills were almost endless.

She also ended our squabbling over the mail by decreeing that I would be Occupant and my brother would be Resident for the rest of our days. (Click here for the full explanation.)

I even got into the act. The family went to Hershey Park this summer and stayed far too long. As we headed to the gates before they closed and locked us in, there was much pleading by the eldest urchin for one more ride. As we approached the exit, I saw the bathroom and got inspired. Turning to my oldest I announced there was one more ride. The Restroom Ride!! There's water, there's swirling, there's bubbles! All the excitement of the water park miniaturized into one room! She didn't buy it, but she did get behind it and laughed, making it sound like a commercial as she "rode the ride". I'm not as wily as the other seasoned veterans, but I'm on my way.

So what about you? Any stories of the devious and ingenious workings of a mother's (or father's) mind? Or is it just me surrounded by shady oddballs?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Voices in the Dead of Night should be Illegal No Matter How Polite They Sound

During the first night of the NJRW conference, I was awakened by a loud strange sound and a calm but insistent voice. At first I thought it was the alarm clock, but as I began to wake more fully, I realized it was coming from the wrong part of the room.
At that point of semi-conciousness, the word "emergency" cut through my sleep filled haze. The fire alarm was going off.

I squinted at the unreliable alarm clock to see that it was a little after four am. I jumped out of bed. Checked to see that my roommate was doing the same. Shoved on dress shoes and socks. Grabbed my computer bag, room key and coat and hoofed it down the hall and one flight of stairs where many women were lingering in the lobby -in several stages of dress and very interesting outfits and hairdos- looking probably a lot like I did.

My roommate and I were more with it than the lobby lingerers, and we proceeded to exit the building in an orderly fashion to the overhang. Because much safer than inside the building is ten feet from the door.

I noticed that for a conference of about 300 people, there didn't seem to be that many guests out of the building, but I assumed they went out other emergency exits. All of the sleepy-eyed half dressed people milled around, asking the question and postulating hypotheses.

There were several Asian guests with their phones out, videoing all the romance authors in their different states of undress, so who knows, the whole incident may end up on Youtube somewhere.

The police showed up and entered the lobby. They were very cute, by the way. Since they didn't force the lobbyists to vacate the building, we decide it was safe to go back in.

The very polite security guard made the appropriate apologies and we waited for the fire department to give us the all clear to go back to the room. Which they did after about forty minutes.

Tired, but understanding we all trudged back up to our rooms to reset unreliable alarm clocks to squeeze in an extra few minutes of sleep.

At about 5:15, that polite voice and strobe light were back. Roommate and I trudged back down the steps, this time I was not as hard core and didn't save my wips by lugging along my computer. We lingered in the lobby and grumbled with our neighbors about the crappiness of being inconvenienced.

After about twenty minutes, since the fire department was quicker to respond, (probably because they hadn't even gotten back to the station yet) we were sent back to our rooms.

When the alarm went off two more times at six, we didn't even bother. I just got in the shower and started on my day.

We found out later that only the first three floors were affected by the alarm. They said the cause was a guest smoking in their room. At lunch the human resources person from the hotel apologized and there was candy and complimentary bottles of wine on the tables for us.

It made for an interesting day and a tough ride home since we were so exhausted.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The NJ Recap

I survived my first convention. No it wasn't a sci-fi convention, though I will admit to attending one of those in my reckless misspent youth. The things you people drag out of me. It's embarrassing! *sheesh*

Anyway, back to NJ. My roommate and I arrived a little early and got checked in to the conference though it was too early to check in to the hotel. I attended several workshops, including the first timers which was mainly commonsense advice and reminders not to be a mean girl.

I didn't get as much out of the workshops on Friday that I did on Saturday, but the presenters were nice. I do realize it's hard to teach a teacher, so I always try to cut presenters some slack.

Friday night after the awards ceremony, I hit the bar and met some very nice people.*waves to Carla, et al* Which I have to admit was my goal for this conference. They were from the Valley Forge RW, which is my old stomping ground. They may be contacting me to give my self defense workshop.

I didn't get back to the room until about 11:30, wrote for 50/50 and fell into bed after messing around with the hotel supplied alarm clock that was not very easy to set. (In my next post I will go explain how on this night approximately one hundred people and I met in the lobby of the hotel at the obscene hour of four am.)

I learned more from the workshops I attended Saturday, and was happy with all the free books we got. I attended the book signing, and bought one book which is one more than I was planning to.

Then it was time to hit the road after a sleepless night and a full day of workshops. It poured down rain during the first part of the three hour drive home. (a three hour tour. a three hour tour) All the traffic on the turnpike was slowed down to about 35 mph for a while.

But I had a really nice time. Unfortunately the urchins are sick again. So I won't have much time to put into practice some of the things I learned while it's fresh in my mind. But all in all I'm very glad I got to go.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trying to Get Ready and Elvis

So I'm going. Tomorrow. NJRW's conference. My first. I'm hoping all goes well. The organizers only listed the titles of workshops. No descriptions. Which annoyed me a little. I'm pretty sure I'll get over it.

One of the things I need to do today before I go is write for the 50/50 challenge so if I don't have time to write over the next two days of conference, I'll still be in. 50/50 has been good for me, but I've only done edits. No new stuff so to speak. It's a little frustrating, but I know why, so I'm trying to let myself off the hook a bit. Not something I usually do.

Anywho. I was going to write about my Elvis sighting that I had recently, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Those of you with a weak constitution, I urge you to look away.

Let's see if I still have any readers when I get back after that!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

why? Why? WHY?! part II

Previously on Lost (her sense)

Each and every worker must come to the door and look at us with their penetrating testosterone laced stare. Another one they must practice on each other because they're practically identical. Only the amount of eyebrow wiggle accounts for any individuality.

So after I mentally score each leer, I'm usually called to pick up my slice. I attempt to dodge the tentacle fingers for the second time during the food exchange and get out of there with my virtue (mostly) intact.

Being able to then eat the best burrito ever goes a long way towards recovery even though I can't shower until much later.

So that's the sordid ordeal I endure just to be able to enjoy my Neato Burrito. No one said you never had to make sacrifices for what you want.

I blame stress induced pizza ordering for my momentary lapse in mental stability in grabbing the skinny jeans. After all that, trying on skinny jeans is the least of my worries. I think I may have a viable excuse for almost any criminal spree I can come up with.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

why? Why? WHY?!

Why am I such an idiot? I just wrote about how I've gained some weight. I know I'm pretty much rockin' the beer gut. Why would I reach over to the pile of skinny jeans that has been sitting next to my pants drawer? They haven't even made it into the damn drawer because I know it's a farce. Why would I reach for a pair of jeans that hasn't even made it into the regular line up of "you're fooling yourself" jeans. They're still "This woman is delusional if she thinks she'll be squeezing even one buttock into these pants" pants.

The day is not going well.

I'll tell you what prompted it. The aftershocks of (dant dant dant daaaaaaaaa) - The Pizzeria. It had to be some sort of post traumatic stress syndrome in association with visiting that place.

There is a pizza place next to Neato Burrito (Oh Neato Burrito How I love you so - but that's an ode for another blog on another day). My one urchin has a fatal flaw. She will not eat the wondrous manna from the gods known as the concoctions of California mission style burritos from Neato Burrito. I know. I've had to go through my twelve steps to come to terms with it, and most days I can accept her for who she is. I'm big like that.

So anyway, She must have a slice of pizza instead. So while the Man and urchin #1 get to walk directly into paradise and begin ordering up their own little slices of heaven, moi (bonjour French Canadian lurkers!) and urchin #2 go down 4 stores in the strip mall to (cue proper dread inducing music) the pizza shop.

As soon as you step inside the darkened atmosphere, the uber potent Italian testosterone fills every open orifice it can cling to and your estrogen undergoes a chemical reaction transforming your body into a piece of meat. From behind the counter, every greasy male eye is on you.

Next, the foreign language begins with lots of deep heh, heh, hehs as you approach the counter.

"What c'n I getta for you, miss?" Everywhere else nowadays I'm ma'am. Yes, I've reached that magical age where I now notice that every stranger around me refers to me as . . . *sigh* ma'am. But here, I'm miss. So I approach the register with caution, being sure not to make direct eye contact with anyone and place my order as the image of the Virgin Mary stares down on me from the wall above. The men don't seem to notice. They've all practically smooshed their faces against the glass divider to try and stare through my clothing.

So then comes the first tricky part. Passing the money over without making skin to skin contact. These are some tricky devils. No matter how I try, they're quicker and wilier than me. I am always on the receiving end of a cheesy finger caress no matter how I do it. They must teach it to them before they're allowed to work the register and practice it all day. So after I unsuccessfully dodge the tentacle fingers, I'm free to move away as they heat up the slice.

I usually occupy urchin #1 around the corner at the pinball machine, but there's an open door to the kitchen directly across from there. Each and every worker must come to the door and look at us with their penetrating testosterone laced stare. Another one they must practice on each other because they're practically identical. Only the amount of eyebrow wiggle accounts for any individuality.

To Be Continued . . .

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Fish Bowl Effect

I've been sick for the past two weeks. (Still am, thanks for asking.) Every time I move I start hacking uncontrollably. Ergo not a lot of extra moving going on in my life right now. (Pavlov would've had it so easy with me.)

Now, since I've been as sedentary as possible, I've gained about four pounds. I've also gained a bunch of bruises. I'm knocking into things around the house I never used to. And after the initial annoyance and pain, I'm actually glad I do. The fish bowl effect will be my dietary salvation. You see, I'm growing too large for my domicile, so I'll have to slim down to avoid being covered in painful annoying boo boos.

A gold fish will grow to the proper size for its environs. Apparently, so do I. All this negative reinforcement of whacking body parts on furniture and door jambs will definitely help in my pursuit to lose the weight I gained. (Again, Pavlov is salivating in his grave just to get a piece of me to work on. I'm a natural at the conditioned response.)

This is also why I haven't gotten a bigger bed. The Man and I share a full sized bed. Neither of us are the slenderest of people, but we've been making do for the past twelve years. If one of us wants to lie on our backs, the other needs to lie on their sides. Some nights it's a sleepy chess match to fit, but it works.

We've been talking recently about getting a queen sized bed. And I've gotta tell you, citizens, it's making me a little nervous. If I have all that room, I have a feeling I'll be growing in size to fill it. That fear has kept me on the fence for years. But the mattress on ours is shot. Not a new thing, but it's even more shot than it was five years ago, so we're finally getting ready to actually do something about it.

The Man is gung ho on the queen sized dealio. He's tired of the nightly roll ballet. But I'm still dragging my feet. Because when it comes to food, I've got the control of a goldfish that will eat itself into a stupor and be content to float on the currents life throws its way. And if I can easily fit on a space I spend six to eight hours a day on, I know my subconscious mind will think it's time to hit the buffet.

Here's hoping the checks and balances of the negative reinforcing small house will be enough to keep me in line. I'm sure It'll turn out alright, as long as Pavlov is rooting for me from the Great Beyond. Did someone just hear a bell?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Now Back to Our Normally Scheduled Program

Okay, so I'm back from my happy place and none too happy about it. I still have the same million things to do, but now with the added ten thousand and one that I ignored during my mental mini vacation. So, enough.

Writing. Yeah, not so much. I'm still in the 50/50 challenge, but it's a struggle to get just fifty words done. I've lost my momentum on the w.i.p.s, so I'm going back to the beginning and editing as I re-familiarize myself with the story lines. I'm finding it hard to get back into the stories and am tempted to chuck them (all 50,000 + words for each of them) and start something new that might bring back my enthusiasm.

I've thought long and hard about giving up the whole endeavor. I'm sure many have thought the same before me. We'll see where I come out.

So today is dedicated to running around and trying to catch up on chores. As well as fighting off sickness. When all I really want to do is bury myself under the covers and sleep the day away. Magic Eight Ball says: Outlook Not Good.

Curse you Magic Eight Ball. I hope your blue water turns rancid and your oh-so-wise pyramid grows algae.

I think I may need a few more days in my happy place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everything's Rainbows, Puppies and Pixie Stixx

So as I look around at the unicorns farting fruit scented air freshner, I take a bite of broccoli that tastes like chocolate and has zero calories. The elves and faeries have taken care of all my laundry. The gnomes found a cork to put in my incontinent dog and the helpful little birdies are doing the cooking from now on.

Ahhhhh. Finally I can really concentrate on my solution to world peace. *Big sigh of contentment and fulfillment*

(Delirium has set in. Send help quick!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Have you ever been so inundated by your to-do list that you literally walk around in a circle because you don't know which way to go first? I've done that two times today.

Next Saturday is the CPRW meeting. It is also our town's parade, so I'll need to leave the meeting early so I don't get locked out of said town. I'm also running free children's games at the celebration afterward. I just hand delivered parade information to my side of the town, which is essentially one street. Main Street. Very original.

I'll be missing part of the guest speaker's presentation which makes me a little sad. He's a former k-9 handler/police officer. Not sure of his official title. I've got too many other things going on in my brain to form coherent words.

Which is oh so helpful for the 50/50 writing challenge.

This week I have meetings and kid taxi-ing and gathering materials for the games and housework and writing and website updates and a cake to bake and ebay listing and soldier packages to compile and send and - and - and - you get the idea.

Oh. And I was called for jury duty. No lie. $9 a day for the first three days if I get chosen. At this point, I'm glad. It'll be like a mini vacation. Instead of Calgon take me away, it's Judicial System take me away. (Though this is coming from the gal who said a few months ago that a jail term was synonymous with spa getaway.) Only I'm not allowed to bring my computer into the court room. So no writing will get done unless it's long hand. Bleah.

So what are you drowning in? Lay it on me. Make me feel better about losing the Sea Monkey War, and Operation Dirty Laundry Pile. I'm sure you're just as busy as I am.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Psychologial Sea Monkey Warfare

So now the sea monkeys are really messing with me. It started yesterday when I couldn't get one of my urchin's songs to stop playing over and over in my mind. Robot Monkey Head - (click here for a preview) an entertaining song the first two or three times, but after that it grates on every last nerve ending your body has in its possession, rendering you a jabbering brainless mass that lashes out randomly at almost any stimulus. So after about two hours of this torture, I came to realize that the voice of the singer was too high and burbly to actually be the real singer.

That's when I knew it was a cunning psychological tactic. The sea monkeys must have come in while I was sleeping and implanted it in my brain. So now not only are they stooping to mind games, but they're extending their ranging territory.

They've also upped the insult factor in their petroglyphs. Insinuations about a person's foot fungus and b.o. is really crossing the line.

Be forewarned little sea monkeys. The gloves are coming off. And being replaced by big rubber ones that snap when you put them on to protect myself from dishpan hands. You know what I mean.

In other news on the home front, the youngest urchin learned how to gallop on Friday and hasn't stopped since. She gallops everywhere she goes, even if it's just two steps. I feel like I should be galloping behind her with two half coconuts and theme music ala Monty Python.

I'm off to make war plans and brownies. Until next time!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They Even Tried to Ban Seuss

I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan, so I was happy that the ALA chose this quote as one of three to represent Banned Books Week (September 26 - October 3) for 2009. Their website has lots of great information and free downloads.

The downloadable lists of banned or challenged books from the previous four years were very interesting. And it makes a great TBR list. I found a book on there that just made the jump to the top of my TBR pile. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah Brannen. It's about two gay guinea pigs. I just can't pass that up. There are lots more. Some old favorites still getting heat, like To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye, and some new ones that I'm going to check out.

Last year during the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoring George Carlin, Denis Leary related a story from his childhood. When he was an alter boy back in the sixties and seventies, his Catholic church would print in the bulletin different media deemed inappropriate for the parish and urged church members not to purchase them. Young Leary saw it as a "what to buy" list. That's how he found Carlin's albums. And that's how I view the banned and challenged list.

So go check it out. Support intellectual freedom and your First Amendment rights. Read a banned or challenged book.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rise of The Sea Monkeys and Other Stuff

So I've been working on deciphering the sea monkey petroglyphs that are now adorning my bathtub walls, and I can tell you for certain that it ain't "Beans, beans the musical fruit . . . "

It's the typical small-minded, war mongering propaganda you'd come to expect from a burgeoning under water society. "Death to the tyrannical cleaner", "Smite the scrubbing brush", "All cleansers down the drain", "Say no to health care reform". That's as close as I can translate. Wish I had a secret decoder ring, though. Maybe I'll start checking the backs of comic books for one.

I've also been receiving intel on the possibility that there may be future under water nuclear testing in the sea monkey realm. Ever since I installed an automatic shower cleanser to up the weapons in this war, they've gone on the offensive.

On to other news. I only got 100 words written yesterday, but I hurt my hand and my leg while up on an extension ladder as I cleaned the second story gutters. A huge-assed UFO buzzed me. More specifically, UFI (Unidentified Flying Insect). Almost fell off the damn ladder. Yes, I nearly died by highly ingrained wussy girlie tendencies of dodge and scream like a little girl while twenty-five feet off the ground.

I am woman hear me roar.

Got lots to do today and no time to do it, so I better get on with it. Have a good one, and pray that I stay on the ground.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lifus Interruptus

*thanks for the title today, Misty*

So a lot is going down at Casa de Quinn, or for my legions of silent French Canadian lurkers, Chez Quinn. A lot that is going to derail me from trying to get back up on the writing horse. 50 words for 50 days begins tomorrow and I have:
~ a new weekly schedule that is more disruptive than helpful

~a bunch of blue hairs ganging up on me and wrangling me into volunteer positions that I have no time for (They want me to make corn husk dolls with children at the Founder's Day celebration, then expect me to find corn husks, dry them somewhere and keep them at my home for three weeks. Then one helpful senior citizen dropped off a bag of green corn husks in a huge plastic bag and it has promptly rained for two days. So it sits on my porch gathering dampness and probably attracting wild critters. By the time it stops raining, it will be a moldy pile of crap. Plus create new fliers and update, add to and change their website.)

~My phone is out -again. Has to do with the fact that our house is old and falling down around our ears and the list of fix it projects is longer than both my arms.

~My incontinent dog is still very incontinent.

~A sea monkey uprising is imminent. They are now leaving aggressive and taunting petroglyphs on the walls of the bathtub.

~NJRW conference is coming up and I have lots to prepare for that.

There's lots more, but I've bored you enough, and I'm pretty sure you've got a list like this running in your own home. So enough.

One of the real reasons I'm not writing is I'm in a "My writing sucks and I should just give it up" slump. I need to try and write my way through it, but it's easier said than done.

On to other news. Supernatural's season opener last night was awesome. They packed so much into it and laid the foundation for some new story arcs that look pretty dang interesting. Dean had some awesome lines. My favorite was angel condom and asshat. Tres classy. (Am I pandering too much to the French Canadians today?)

Got to go. Time to start my new career as a Wincest fanfic writer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Survived It

Yes. I'm still here. The talk went pretty well. I did some nervous fast talking, and probably covered things a little too quickly, but my handout was pretty thorough. I didn't break out into hives or anything, but I was sweating a whole bunch. Instead of Sweating to the Oldies it was Sweating to the Karate Talk.

I was half tempted to play Kung-Fu Fighting as my intro. Loosen up the crowd, so to speak. There were pretty many people there. And I think I threw up a little in my mouth when they had to add an extra table to have enough seats.

I realized later that I got started too early, and Misty didn't introduce me. She even asked how I wanted to be introduced, but I was just too anxious to get it over with. So, oops. Sorry Misty! I had talked to most of the new people who'd come to the meeting. There were five.

Dan, my surprise assistant, was a very good sport. He's a bit of a wild card, and I was a little nervous that he'd run away with the show because he has such an outgoing personality, but he was great.

So all in all, I didn't vomit on anyone, so I'm calling it a success.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Presentation Tomorrow

Well, I have my handouts, complete with diagrams and pseudo-behavioral objectives. I have Benadryl in my purse, and a case of Calamine lotion in my car. (Though maybe I'll strap it onto the back of my motorcycle if I decide to ride to the meeting.) I have my secret assistant lined up along with the bribe for said assistant. So I'm as ready as I'm going to be. I'm really hoping that since it's Labor Day weekend, there won't be many attending the meeting. Plus I didn't see it advertised in the two venues where I usually see it. (They probably didn't want to advertise using the terms kick ass heroines.)

In theory when I initially propose these ideas for myself I think it's smart. My brain conjures up all kinds of convincing psycho babble to convince me. "Get outside your comfort zone. Push yourself. Put yourself out there." But as it draws near and the reality of the situation hits me full force, I come to the conclusions that either my brain is trying to kill me or I'm just a complete idiot.

Gotta say I'm afraid my homicidal brain might come up with something like a Tourette Syndrome outburst, though I don't suffer from the disorder, to murder me with embarrassment immediately upon speaking. My go-to curse words for the past two months have been fucktard and shit balls, (though maybe I'll work in futtering just to make it complete).

So I'm thinking it should be a pretty interesting meeting.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Target Acquired

Yeah. It hit me last evening, before dinner. Only a day before my oldest daughter's birthday party. Can I say that I now have a new appreciation for vomiting in the wee hours since your stomach has had time to digest. I won't go into the degrees of chunkiness, just let it be known that I have changed my opinion.

So now I'm dealing with sore abdomen and back muscles from throwing up. When I was younger I believed it was important to stay in shape in case you had to hang from somewhere high up for a long period of time. Whether it be off a cliff, a high rise, high tension lines - what have you. Obviously you're up there due to an escape attempt from a psychopath and/or mercenaries.

Now that I'm old, I believe you need to stay in shape because you don't want sore muscles after a night of puking. So to that end I've put in an order for the Hawaii chair. Because really - who doesn't want to get fit while they sit?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blazing Bullseye on my Back

The flu has struck in the household, and I'm the only one who hasn't gotten it yet. All have struck at an obscene time of the morning. Why is it that all puking must commence at 4 a.m.?

So I've been doing laundry and cleaning obsessively. Decontamination showers have been installed at all entrances to the domicile. But I'm just waiting to be the next to fall victim to the virus. I feel like I've got a target on my back, just waiting to start puking.

I've been fighting off migraines this month, too. They haven't gone full blown, but they're getting closer. I haven't had one since I was in college, though I had them almost regularly in my adolescence. They were rather debilitating. I would usually be off from school for three days before being able to go back. And I had one of those mothers who would only let you off from school if you had a fever, were throwing up and bleeding out of your ears - all at the same time. I have a feeling it will only go away unless I let it go full force and work its way through my system. I just don't have that kind of time.

But if I did, I'd get a three day vacation full of unbelievable pain. Right about now it's looking tempting.

Gotta go restock my supply of lye and bleach and refill the decontamination shower. We'll see if I start vomiting before the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ava's Writing is So Cliched. . .

How cliched is it?

It's so cliched that at the end of her story she should just have a deranged lighthouse keeper led away in hand cuffs muttering, "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Attempt #2

I worked yesterday on my presentation for CPRW - When A Slap Across the Face Just Won’t Do: Inserting Realism into Kick Butt Heroines. Still not sure about the first half of the title. I'm trying not to dwell on how many people from the group who this won't be very useful to. It seems to me that a large percentage of the group write sweet romances or contemporary ones without the need for their protagonist to kick any asses.

I'm trying not to psych myself out. I'm fully expecting to break out into hives and make a complete fool of myself. Which will mean I never show my face there again. Not that I'm actually writing right now anyway. Whew. Gotta stop this spiral down the porcelain highway before it turns into more of what has been going on this month.

Saw the new Harry Potter last night. I liked it, but even after two and a half hours I wanted more detail. It made me want to read the series again. I have other stuff in my tbr pile, though. Neuromancer, Freedom Writer’s Diary, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Slaughterhouse 5. You know, some light reading.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

R.I.P Les Paul

Les Paul passed away on August 13, 2009. Not only an outstanding guitarist in his own right, but and innovator and inventor that contributed greatly to the music industry and specifically rock and roll. A sad day for for the music world.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Attempt #1

Here's attempt number one for trying to make it back from wherever it is that I've been. Plans for the destruction of the isolation booth I've been spending so much time in are filed with the appropriate offices - county and local. So it shouldn't be long before the wrecking crews get here. In the mean time, I'll try and put myself out there again.

My best friend works in a state prison. I love the stories she begins with, "So I was at the prison . . ." My absolute favorite was the one that began, "So, I was at the prison talent show . . ." I had to stop her right there and ask the question. "They have a talent show in prison?" Apparently it's a whole competition. I think they used to compete state wide, other prisons' winners versus each other. But I digress.

She's works with the general population everyday. One of the inmates she knows passes his time by making up new slang terms and seeing how long it takes to make their way around the prison. I don't know how original these are, but here are some that she said caught on.

Ca-ra-na-zy ~ when a guy is past crazy. Man, that boy is ca-ra-na-zy!
Selling wolf tickets - when someone is crying wolf. especially used on the basketball court when somebody's trying to draw a foul. Dude, he's doin' nothing but selling wolf tickets.
You're butt's hungry - when an inmate has an obvious wedgie. Dang, is your butt hungry today.

That's enough re-education for today. I let the inspection on my motorcycle run out. Gotta go make a call to get it in the shop right quick. Later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I'm taking a break for a bit. Consider it a hiatus.

I leave you in Bill Wither's capable hands. I've been listening to this and lots of good covers of it for a couple days. I'd really like to find a good reggae version.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Because You Needed to be Exposed Too

I think we need more yodeling dominatrices in the world.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Retro Cartoons

Here were some of my favorites.

Hong Kong Phooey #1 super guy

I wasn't an Under Dog fan. It was Hong Kong Phooey all the way for me. And Scatman Crothers sang the theme song. Can't get much cooler than that.


Probably the least effective of the Super Friends, but the only blond, which was extremely important in my misspent youth.

Penelope Pitstop

She was the only girl racer in The Wacky Races, though she was never able to help herself when she got kidnapped. Someone would always have to save her, which annoyed me to no end.

El Kabong

"Of all the heroes in legend and song, there's none as brave as El Kabong" Need I say more?

And The Mighty Heroes were lots of fun.

So, any classics you claim as favorites? I'll even refrain from rolling my eyes if you choose The Snorks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Been Raining Here

Anyone know where to pick up some good used riot gear cheap?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

America's Poet Laureate

There's a wonderful article/interview in the July 13, 2009 Newsweek (p 63) about Kay Ryan. She's the Poet Laureate of the United States. It briefly chronicles her, at first reluctant, journey to publication. That in itself was interesting and full of the rejection pitfalls that many aspiring writers endure. Also covered are some of her published works and how she became Poet Laureate.

But it's her poetry itself that is so stimulating, and thought provoking.

Tenderness and Rot

Tenderness and Rot
share a border.
And rot is an
aggressive neighbor
whose iridescence
keeps creeping over.

No lessons
can be drawn
from this however.

One is not
two countries.
One is not meat

It is important
to stay sweet
and loving.

Ryan started with the self publishing route, then moved to small presses, finally graduating to "a major trade house. . . the poet whose first work was self-published commands poetry's biggest platform."

An interesting read about one writer's journey.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Dead Mouse Disposal Saga of a Reformed Horror Flick Junkie

Ok, so it's 5:25 in the morning, and I get out of bed because I hear the ominous clicking of toenails on tile of my incontinent dog. (Yes, I even have a post to explain that statement.) I'm in no mood for a forced game of dog crap hide and seek, so I get up and take her out. As I'm waiting for her to come back in, I check, with much inward trepidation, the four mouse traps on our counter.

Sidebar. I have to. I live in a house that was built in 1826. There were mouse runs in it before I was even born. I'm not a slovenly housekeeper (not a word, Natalie). They've been getting into the house for almost 200 years. Not a whole lot I can do about it besides always putting boxed food in plastic containers and the like to discourage them.

Anywho - The Man had called for an all out war on this particular intrepid rodent. And I was behind him all the way. It was trying to make a nest in the bottom drawer of my oven. I'm out for some serious blood.

So I force myself to peek at the first two traps. They're your standard snap trap with peanut butter on them. Like the previous two days, the peanut butter is gone, the trap is still intact, and there's a mouse turd next to it.

With many a colorful explicative turn of phrase involving this mouse and all it's ancestors back into the beginning of time itself, I check the next trap in line. It's a plastic circular trap that lures the mouse in and closes when it does. I'm a little leery of this one ever since a former uber-mouse which must have been a direct relative of this one chewed its way out of one of these traps after it was in the outside trash can and then began chewing through two layers of said trash can to free itself. I still have the chew holes to prove it. The Man heard the noise, opened the trash can, and out sprang this hopped up mouse. Suffice it to say, the Man was lucky to get away with his life.

I check the dubious circle trap. It's still set. So I turn my wary gaze over to the new trap. We knew we weren't dealing with your everyday run of the mill vermin. I was at my wits end and starting to look a little like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack during his quest for the gopher.


I found myself dreaming of plastic explosives in the shapes of mice and rabbits just to destroy this thing. In that vein of thinking, we went in search of a better mouse trap yesterday and found one. It's a little plastic cave like thing with a deadly trap inside.

This trap, The Man set up on that little space of counter top behind the sink fixtures. And then promptly left for the weekend to go to the American Lemanz race in Connecticut with his brothers.

So here I am in a summer pajama top and undies, no corrective lenses in place at the moment, squinting at a long straight tail and fat hindquarters splayed out from the opening of the cave trap.

My first reaction is the freaky ick jump-back combined with the gross out circular dance. Which admittedly ended in a small victory dance. But then my sleepy brain realizes, I'm the only adult in the house until Sunday; where I then turn my powers of colorful invectives on The Man since clearly the disposal of all formerly living things falls squarely into man-land territory.

Now I've seen Re-Animator and Pet Semetary.

Back in the day I was a full on horror-flick-watching-Stephen-King-reading junkie. The macabre was my drug of choice. Now? Not so much. But because of my former horror addiction, I now have an extensive mental file of every way in which I can be gruesomely killed by another. Including death by deranged animals - okay, cats- coming back to life to terrorize you.

If cats, then why not mice?

I look again at the long stringy tail and start making some noise just to check if it's still alive. Nothing. No twitching, no busting out of the cave like the Hulk. I make some more noise, just to triple check-I am dealing with the spawn of uber-mouse, here. Nothing. So I begin to gather my implements of destruction.

Long post, I know. Hard to believe you're still with me.

Picture if you will a grown woman in a pajama top and underwear, her husband's flip-flops, gigantic leather gloves, iron tongs from the wood stove, and a flimsy plastic grocery bag. And still without her glasses on. (If I could have scrounged up a welder's mask I would have.)

I stand poised, holding the heavy tongs in my gloved hands. The gloves are ten sizes too big and unwieldy as all get out. The tongs are clearly not the right disposal tool, but I'm not getting too close to this thing. After several botched attempts consisting of a lot of grossed out squealing and tiptoe icky dancing, I finally maneuver the trap and dead mouse into the bag. Quickly tying the top, trying hard not to think about how flimsy it is, I run it out to the trash can where I realize that there is still an escape route hole in the lid.

So now I have until trash night on Thursday to wonder if it's going to come back to life, re-infiltrate the house and murder me in my bed.

It's going to be a long friggin' week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Gotta get some. I have all these ideas for stories in my head. I just can't seem to finish any. I need a relief pitcher or a closer or something.

I haven't had much time to write for the past month or so, but my schedule is opening up. So I need to start working on my word count. I have half of a free read posted on my website. I need to finish the other half of that and get it up.

I've given myself a timeline for Shifting Her World. If the first draft isn't done by the end of September, I'm putting it aside indefinitely to focus my attention on Brass in Pocket. I've given myself a deadline of the end of the year to finish the first draft of that one.

I'm toying with the idea of a progress meter on the blog to try and be publicly accountable. I need to light a fire under my ass to make some forward progression. I feel more like a hobbyist right now than actually focusing on writing as a career.

Life is filling up with other things and pushing my writing time aside. I need to get on the shtick.

I also need to put together my presentation for the CPRW writer's meeting. I'm the speaker for September. (How to add realism to your fighting scenes to create a kick-ass heroine - or words to that effect.) I'm hoping since it will be Labor Day weekend that no one will actually show up. The last time I presented in front of my peers I broke out into hives on the drive home. Misty, Vicki, Megan or Natalie will need to bring along an emergency case of calamine lotion. That or Captain Morgans so I can get rip roaring drunk before hand.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Last of the Rodeo

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

These are some of the barrel racing photos. This is predominantly a female rodeo event. They need to navigate the horses around three barrels in a certain order and direction, then race full out to the finish line. The best time at this one was 16 point some odd seconds.

There was a junior round where kids under fourteen competed. A little girl, who had to be about ten or eleven, burst into the arena at a flat out full run on a huge horse, hair flying, and body bouncing. Maneuvered the barrels and stormed out. The whole time she had the biggest smile plastered on her face. Just unadulterated joy pouring from her the whole time. It was the cutest thing I've seen in a lot of days.

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

This is the team roping. It happened down at the other end of the arena, so we didn't get many good pictures. Two riders flash out after a cow. The first has to rope the horns, the second has to then rope both back legs in one shot. This is really tough. A lot of skill involved. Plus you need to trust your partner.

On a different note, I had a good time Saturday. We had a writers meeting. There wasn't a speaker, but it was still great to get together. I rode my motorcycle as an added bonus. A nice day.

I have to admit that I'm still recovering from vacation for a bunch of different reasons. It was a hard time. There were some good points, but it's left me drained in a lot of ways.

I haven't been able to make myself sit and write. I need to put out some word count. To do that I need to make some decisions about what I want to accomplish with my writing, what it means to me and if I'm actually any good or just spinning my wheels. That last one is what will really determine the rest.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just Enough to Trust

I saw a movie last night. Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School. I had never heard of it before (no shocker to me - check out this post for an explanation), but the cast was impressive. Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty), Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Donnie Wahlberg, John Goodman, Danny Devito, and a host of secondary characters that you will immediately recognize their faces. It was sweet and shmoopy and funny and poignant and sad. And it trusted the viewer to get it.

Don't doubt that it had it's flaws, but there was a way to it that drew me in. The movie touched on important points, just kissing lightly, then danced away to let the viewer mull them over. On some themes it came back and kissed a little deeper, but others it left alone. And that was what truly caught my eye last night.

I love the details in stories. Especially the characters. Back stories, reasonings, why they do what they do, what makes them tick. I fill mine up ad nauseum, if I'm not mistaken. And I think it comes down to trusting the reader. Which I'm not sure that I do enough.

This movie really brought that home to me. I enjoy thinking through a movie or book, trying to get into the characters' heads and motivations. I don't like to be spoon fed. The film last night hovered on the edge, right at the peripheral, and teased and coaxed until you knew all on your own. It kept me engaged by walking a fine line of giving me just enough.

And that illuminated again this idea to think about with my writing. (As if I needed another thing.) Something to strive for as I progress. It's difficult to hint and tell without telling. Hard to coax the reader instead of laying her out flat with a machine gun volley of details.

But it's worth it. So worth it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacation Picture Infliction

The following is a paid advertisement.

No, not really, but I figured I needed some type of disclaimer or warning statement before inflicting my Montana vacation pictures on you all. (Or y'all, as I heard pretty frequently this past week.)

Had a pretty good time. Got some ideas for characters and setting while I was out there. I need to take some time to write them down before I forget them.

The Man took some good rodeo pictures, so I'll start with them. I'll post the bull and bronc riding ones.

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

These are the bronc riders participating (this guy, grudgingly) in a fund raising auction for the rodeo association.
Ava Quinn contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, contemporary western romance novels, funny blog, contemporary western romance author,

The rodeo was really interesting. I've been to one before. I really like the barrel racing and team roping. I'll post those later.

This is my one hundredth post. I feel like I need to celebrate the accomplishment or something. We'll see what I come up with when I'm not so jet lagged. We got in last night around dinner time after traveling all day. Up a four, over an hour drive to the airport, and two planes later we landed. I'm still reeling.

Hopefully I'll get another post in this week. We'll see. You know how crazy things are after vacation, playing catch up and all. For now I must go appease the sea monkeys. They weren't chummed, but they're swimming a fine line up there. Wish me luck.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Montany Bound

So the directions for the hounds of hell and the tub sea monkey tribe have been left for the best friend who will be dog and house sitting while we're gone. Each instruction sheet ended with the same sentence. "And for God's sake, no chumming!"

She was also instructed to turn the hose on the fanatical JW lady who won't leave me alone. (Check here and here and here for the saga. Something interesting for you to read while I'm gone for a week.)

Speaking of something interesting to read, here's two back posts to reminisce on while I'm visiting the parental units in the Treasure State.


One For the WTF Files

I'll be attending a rodeo on July fourth while we're out there. I'm looking forward to it. Did you know that kids in high school gym classes in Montana can take rodeo? Roping, bull riding, all of it. First of all, I would so take it and am pretty sad that I never had the opportunity. Second of all, what all would you have to know as a gym teacher in Montana? That's some exhausting curriculum.

Talk to you all when we get back!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Love My Motorcycle

Man, what a night. Why do I wait so long between rides? It's the best damn therapy money can buy. Right up there with chocolate.

Packing for Montana continues. Here's hoping we get everything we need in and follow the new baggage regs for flights. If a suitcase is over fifty pounds it will cost $125 dollars - each way. Nothing like taking it up the tail pipe for over packing. Which I am notorious for. (See here for an example.)

Anywho. It was a gorgeous night for a ride. If I hadn't stopped for a box of Nutty Buddies on the way home I would have kept on riding. I didn't want ice cream soup with a dash of peanuts soaking its way through my pack, so coming home was the best option.

After a day of packing and laundry I couldn't have ended it better.

So, any special unwinding practices you care to share?

Monday, June 22, 2009

RWA and Digital Publishing

So I've been reading the fallout over the RWA's stance on digital/e-publishing for the past few days. I've only been a member for a little over a year. I joined just in time to witness the dissipating mushroom cloud that hung in the air after the definition of romance eruption. And like all nuclear detonations, the repercussions of that little gem are still reverberating.

I don't plan on addressing the contests or the marginalization (perceived or real) of epublished authors within the organization. Or the theories that epublishing is not accepted because erotic romance sells very well in ebook format. Others have taken that tack and done them justice.

I'm the first to admit that I don't know all the facts of the current situation. Nor have I read up on the RWA bylaws, and perhaps I should. I have read the president, Diane Pershing's, letter to the membership in the RWR every month. Her tone in some of those recent missives is at best condescending to a segment of RWA members.

I've made it no secret that I plan on moving my writing career towards e-publishing with no real motivation to break into the large NY scene in the near future. Each individual has their own ideas on how to take care of their career. I have mine.

Such a diverse group of writers in the RWA will never agree on everything, but I believe there is at least one point all members will rally behind. Education. And this is where I find a big hair in my taco with the current BOD and the president of the organization

They are not making the effort they should to educate their members on this issue.

I don't care what stance a person takes on epublishing. It's a legitimate business model, it's not. Whatever. Digital rights in publishing and ebooks are already a major issue. It's here now. Even if the BOD and a segment of the membership do not wish to acknowledge it.

Just look at eHarlequin. Or go to ARebooks and search by publisher. Authors from recognized NY publishing houses are having their works published electronically. And have been for some time.

Which, by extension of definition, makes it a legitimate concern for the BOD of RWA. Even if RWA wants to turn a blind eye to the entire epublishing industry - which in my extremely humble opinion is a gargantuan mistake - it is still not offering much help to authors in understanding their digital rights, ebooks, contracts, pitfalls, piracy etc.

There are many others more qualified to expound on the low overhead of selling digital copies of print published books and the low royalty percentage that goes to the author for those sales. But even I can see the danger of allowing that precedent to go unchallenged and keeping authors in the dark about this increasingly important portion of their contract.

So even if members wish to dismiss a business opportunity for their writing that is growing exponentially, digital publishing has already breached the mainstream. There's no going back. And RWA at the BARE MINIMUM should offer long range, forward-thinking education to its members as soon as possible just to catch up.

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