Monday, August 17, 2009

I Aten't Dead...

Just busy. Moving, remodeling, and recovering from a car accident, oh my. And painting, even though it's not my usual style, it's still paint on canvas :)
And gardening. Last year, I had a 4x4 foot garden; this year, two 4x20s and a 4x10. Yes, it has been mentioned that I am crazy, why do you ask? Sadly, I had to rip out and destroy the vast majority of my tomato plants, which were over five feet tall and gearing up to an epic harvest. Damned tomato blight!So, in the absence of deep and meaningful content, I found this meme here by googling "book meme" (yes, I am terribly original.)

1. What author do you own the most books by? Stephen King, followed by Terry Pratchett

2. What book do you own the most copies of? I have two copies of several books, like Lani Diane Rich's A Little Ray of Sunshine; Crusie / Rich & Stuart's The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes; Sarah Shankman's Digging Up Mama, and Stephen King's The Green Mile.

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Nope.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with? So many! Will from The Fortune Quilt. Brandywine from The Fortune Quilt. Cal from Bet Me. Burr from gods in Alabama. Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin from Ravished. ST Maitland from The Prince of Midnight. Jake Templeton from Manhunting. Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files. And so on...

5. What book have you read the most times in your life? I'm a chronic rereader, but maybe the Oz books by L Frank Baum? I think I've been rereading those for the longest.

6. Favorite book as a ten year old? Any Trixie Belden book.

7. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Twilight. I did actually finish reading it, but was disappointed to find the heroine spineless and the hero stalker-y.

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? Nation by Terry Pratchett

9. If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? I'm not much for forcing people to do things. I make a lot of recommendations.

10. What book would you most like to see made into a movie? Any of Lani's books. or Jenny Crusie's.

11. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read? The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. Very disturbing.

12. What is your favorite book? Too many to list, really. Kinsale, Rich, Crusie, Alesia Holliday, Chris Moore, Gaiman, Sarah Shankman, Barb/Caridad Ferrar, Lisa Gardner, Jim Butcher... so many authors writing books I just love.

13. What is your favorite play? Into the Woods.

14. Poem? Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

15. Essay? Jenny's essays are great. There are others I like, but those are the first to come to mind.

16. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? I don't know.

17. What is your desert island book? The source book from Angel Season Five Episode Seven - where you say what book you want it to be, and the words appear inside. Hey, if I'm gonna dream, I'm gonna dream big.

18. And . . . what are you reading right now? Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World - edited by Kathleen Raglan.

Normally, I would hyperlink to all the books and authors, but it is 4:46 am and I am too tired.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Trey's Birthday

It seems impossible that you've been gone longer than I knew you.  There is not a day where you don't cross my mind, and when I don't wish you were still here, even just for a few minutes.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy 2009 (I think...)

So, the last several days have been heart-wrenching; the last several weeks have been discouraging; and the last several months have been pain filled. As usual, no resolutions, and I will weigh in on last year's best / worst list, and rate my successes and failures at the indulgence list; plus I will plan Indulgences for 2009.
"Lousy Things About 2007:
1. Same job :( Still.
2. And I worked Halloween, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Again, except for Halloween, when I was still on Medical leave.
3. I did not see several of my friends, even the ones who live near by. I'm sensing a negative theme here...
4. I missed Talk Like A Pirate Day AND Global Orgasm day. Barely remembered Pirate day, for like the last ten minutes.
5. I still am not blogging on a regular basis. Like I need to tell you all about this one.
6. There is something wrong with my digital camera. Sometimes, it signals that it is in focus, but the finished picture is blurry. Also, it's very temperamental in interior light situations - more so than before. (It's never really liked candle light or house lamps, but it now hates conference rooms now, too.)My camera is all better! I have a new "pocket" camera, as well.
Great Things About 2007:
1. New place
Really, this one has a subset of great things- terrific roommates (both of the guys cook and clean, as well as being great people to hang out with. How lucky am I?), three cats, home office, bedroom that I love... I moved again, this time back in with my mom due to the medical issues. I do have another totally kick ass room, and a new kitten.
2. I won at NaNo, and have a book I still want to finish writing as a result. Still haven't finished that, didn't make my goal at NaNo this year.
3. Will Write for Wine! Still great forums, but mostly they aren't podcasting anymore.
4. Cherry Con
Again, a subset of things to love- wonderful people, amazing giveaways, nice hotel, great roommate.
5. I learned how to crochet. (Pictures of December's accomplishments forthcoming...)"
Still crocheting, and I think I'm getting pretty good at it.
Indulgences for 2008, as well. Indulgence #1: Crochet a queen size afghan for my bedroom. I have some yarn, an afghan I love that my mom promised to teach me how to duplicate the stitch on, and a newly discovered appreciation for crochet. Also, keep playing with different kinds of yarn and stitches. No afghan for me, but my gorgeous quilt is finally done and on my bed! Many star afghans for friends who've had babies, and much playing has been done.
Indulgence #2: Trip to California. RWA Conference, Vixen, the Drawing Club, maybe lunch with the amazing Doug, possibly some tourist activity... Cancelled due to vehicle issues and the need to get my camera repaired. Maybe this year...
Indulgence #3: Paint. I know, this is one from last year, but still very important to me. Are we counting the bodrooms? 'Cause once again, nothing on canvas.
Indulgence #4: Believe in my ability as a storyteller. Finish the first book, and start another - NaNo again, when the time comes. Well, I started, and I have a kick ass idea, but I'm just now starting to be able to sit at a desk and write for any length of time again.
Indulgence #5: Wine. Loving the Will Write for Wine podcasts, and trying new wines semi-regularly." A little. None since I had to ove back home (we live in the church parsonage, and "Baptists do NOT drink" Not that I have reconverted, just trying to go along to get along)

So, not all good or all bad.
Worst of 2008:
1. Laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and D&C simultaneously. While all three procedures went well, and I am thrilled to be non-cancerous, there have been problems since I overdid about two weeks after the surgery that seem to be unresolvable. More doctors = more medical bills to pay.
2. Patches the cat died, and I had to leave Woody and Marty behind when I moved in with my Mom.
3. My truck has been slowly decomposing, and I'm having trouble holding it together long enough to have mechanical relatives patch it back up.
4. My Wolverine MVP fried its power source, and had to be sent in for repairs. About three weeks after I got it back, the new kitten knocked it off the desk, and now none of the data input ports work. I do have a techie friend looking into the problem.
5. Both my oldest nephew and niece are depressed and having a hard time of things. For a bit, things were starting to look up, because they moved in with us and we were getting them counseling and a stable life. Then, my self-centered jackass of an ex-sister-in-law threw a hissy fit and nsisted that the kids had to either move back in with her or with their dad. They chose their dad (um, duh?) which means changing schools mid semester and living about an hour and a half away from us, as well as having to find new therapists and all that.
Best of 2008:
1. Tina Turner in Chicago. I got to see her on the second night of her comeback tour, and she's been my hero for a long time. I cannot even count how many times I teared up, and the show rocked the house.
2. My finished quilt.
The Top Side
The Back Side
3. My new bedroom.

4. Cleopatra Slunk Butt, the crazy sweet kitten with vile gas.
5. Started gardening, and had an incredible square foot garden.
My first garden alone! I learned a lot (like, never let your lemon basil flower, it goes mad and will never stop)

Indulgences of 2009:
1. Smart phone. On Saturday the third I bought the LG Incite, and I am in love!
2. North American Discworld Con. I'm taking my nephew, who is also a huge Pratchett fan.
3. RWA Nationals in Washington DC? This is conditional on finishing the first draft of either book in progress, and may take second consideration to Discworld Con.
4. Actual vacation, hopefully seeing four friends in the south and possibily one in Michigan.
5. You know, I think I'm upgrading putting paint on an actual canvas to a necessity this year. I am being haunted by paintings, and really need to do something about it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


As I recovered from surgery, Mom & Mike decided I needed a little pick-me-up. This is my bundle of crazy, who also loves everyone and thinks the whole world was put here for her personal amusement. She also purrs nearly constantly, and you can tell she's falling asleep when there are pauses in the purring.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life Updates

Clearly, I have not kept my personal goal of updating my blog more often, but I'm going to forgive myself based on extenuating circumstances. ;)
  • I've Moved
For a whole rash of interconnected reasons, I've moved in with my mom and stepdad. This is an ongoing project, actually, since I am not by any definition unpacked.
  • I'm Post-Surgical
This was a biggie on the reasons I moved back home - I needed a few surgical procedures related to endometriosis and my most recently discovered fibroid tumors. I had surgery on October 16th, and have been off work since. My doctor currently estimates a return to work date around November 6th. The surgery itself was successful, at least in the sense of a) I am still alive and b) my doctor was able to treat the problems he cut me open for. It is taking longer to recover from this set of surgical procedures (in the past, I've had two laparoscopies) than I had expected, and only in the last couple of days have I not needed frequent naps. I'm still not up to many of the post-moving day unpacking and arranging tasks, and still limited on how much weight I can carry. OH- and I have discovered a whole new allergy the hard way: the betadine and whatever they used to prep my stomach for the surgery has created a bad-ass rash across my torso, which looked at its worst quite like a second degree burn. It is much improved now, but still not entirely resolved. Also, this was the largest contact dermatitis rash I've ever had, and hopefully ever will.
  • It's Almost November
Which consequently means it's almost time for NaNoWriMo. I am super psyched about my concept for this year's novel, and have been doing research while recovering from surgery. My main character casually wishes to be a fairy tale princess, and then starts to encounter situations from fairy tales that she has to deal with. I am trying to work through the backlog of emails and things I've been ignoring for the last several months, and as of November 1st I am a writing machine, baby.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Nothing Golden Can Stay

I'm sorry, little girl. I let you down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Joss On Writing

I'm gearing up for NaNo and have been wondering a lot about Joss Whedon's process, as well as experimenting with ScribeFire. I think it's a cool idea, and maybe having the ability to capture things that interest me as I encounter them will mean I blog about them more often. Maybe not, who knows? I keep waiting for light bulbs to go off in my head, for the moments when I start to understand things - I have brief flashes in Photoshop, I'm still pretty much completely muddled in Access, I still know nothing of programming or html or even how to make this blog look like I want it to or what to do if I buy my domain name... I've thought about migrating over to Wordpress, for the simple reason that last year I saw an immensely retro cool NaNo word counter that acted like PacMan :D Anyway, back to topic (not always my strongest point) my desk has a bunch of colored post it notes with things I want to keep in mind currently, about love and writing and whatnot. The majority are from three places: Will Write for Wine podcasts, the Logan and Veronica love story in Veronica Mars, and everything of Joss's that I've seen. I've jotted things down while watching the commentaries, like "I don't write so you'll like it. I don't care if you like it. I write so you love it" and "Give a character pain - take everything away - and they will become more interesting" which I noted came from Jass and David, but not where I heard it. I probably paraphrased, or got some of it jumbled - I tend to do that, sometimes. So,I went to the internet, looking for solid quotes on Joss's process, or the process of the writing teams on his projects. Reviewing them, I see that I didn't clip the fundamental question from the Buffy episodes, where a writer would pitch the story and Joss would ask, "How does Buffy feel?" again, maybe not an accurate quote, but the idea was there somewhere. I do occasionally wish for a photgraphic memory.

In Wikipedia, on the Firefly entry: "Espenson wrote an essay on the writing process with Mutant Enemy. A
meeting is held and an idea is floated, generally by Whedon, and the writers brainstorm to develop the central theme of the episode and the character development. Next, the staff meets in the anteroom to
Whedon's office to begin "breaking" the story into acts and scenes. The only one absent is the writer working on the previous week's episode.
For the team, one of the key components to devising acts is deciding where to break for commercial and ensuring the viewer returns. "Finding these moments in the story help give it shape: think of them as
tentpoles that support the structure," wrote Espenson.[36] For instance, in "Shindig", the break for commercial occurs when Malcolm Reynolds is gravely injured and losing the duel. As Espenson elaborates: "It does not end when Mal turns the fight around, when he stands victorious over his opponent. They're both big moments, but one of them leaves you curious and the other doesn't."
Jane Espenson on Breaking a Story
"You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you
find out who they really are. If there's any kind of fiction better
than that, I don't know what it is." attributed to Joss, found on Wikiquote
"I write for fanboy moments. I write to give myself strength. I write to
be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm
afraid of. I write to do all the things the viewers want too." - Joss Whedon, LA Times interview
"I want people to see themselves before they see me. Even though ultimately, you always work yourself into the work." - Joss Whedon, Brian Bendis Interview
Q: Have you ever had writer's block? How'd you overcome it?
Whedon: Lots. The trick is to walk away, either to another script or to
some good old mindless veging out. The other trick is not to give up
right away 'cause you're lazy and you wanna play. But if it ain't
comin', it ain't. SFF interview

And as work? Well, in the first place, it IS fun. When it’s going well,
it’s the most fun I can imagine having. (Tim Minear might dispute
that.) And when it’s not going well, it’s often not going well in the
company of a bunch of funny, thoughtful people. So how is that work?
You got no muscles to show for it (yes, the brain is a muscle, but if
you show it to people it’s usually because part of your skull has been
torn off and that doesn’t impress the ladies – unless the ladies are
ZOMBIES! Where did this paragraph go?) Writing is enjoyable and
ephemeral. And it’s hard work.

It’s always hard. Not just dealing with obtuse, intrusive studio execs,
temperamental stars and family-prohibiting hours. Those are producer
issues as much as anything else. Not just trying to get your first
script sold, or seen, or finished, when nobody around believes you
can/will/should… the ACT of writing is hard. When Buffy was flowing at
its flowingest, David Greenwalt used to turn to me at some point during
every torturous story-breaking session and say “Why is it still hard?
When do we just get to be good at it?” I’ll only bore you with one
theory: because every good story needs to be completely personal (so
there are no guidelines) and completely universal (so it’s all been
done). It’s just never simple.

It’s necessary, though. We’re talking about story-telling, the most
basic human need. Food? That’s an animal need. Shelter? That’s a luxury
item that leads to social grouping, which leads directly to fancy
scarves. But human awareness is all about story-telling. The selective
narrative of your memory. The story of why the Sky Bully throws
lightning at you. From the first, stories, even unspoken, separated us
from the other, cooler beasts. And now we’re talking about the stories
that define our nation’s popular culture – a huge part of its identity.
These are the people that think those up. Working writers. - on Whedonesque