Sunday, November 30, 2008

If you're reading this, you're a genius!

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

Of course, this is just WRONG, but fun.

OK, you can stop laughing now. Try it and let me know what your blog rates.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Furry Family

These are the furry members of the family. Our home comes with the guarantee that you will leave with cat or dog hair showing.

In the center is Skitter Kitten. The only person in the family she likes is youngest son. He got her last year for his birthday (our old cat, Angel, had died the month before and our old sheltie, Angus, had died the week before). We took Scooby with us to the shelter to get the sheltie seal of approval. Skitter Kitten nuzzled the dog. We should have noticed that she didn't nuzzle us.

Going clockwise, at 12 o'clock is Scooby. She is 8 and was from a sheltie rescue group. We have had her 4 years and she has almost recovered from the trauma of her previous family. She is a great guard dog.

At 3 o'clock is Mr.Whiskers, our 8 year old tabby. He had 7 families before us--really. I think his problem is that he is too smart. He gets into everything. We had to install child-proof locks on the cupboards to keep him out of things. Now that he has toys and a playmate, he doesn't make confetti from the toilet paper and paper towels.

Our newest member of the family is Baby. He was rescued from a puppy-mill in the spring. I won't rant about puppy or kitten mills except for this: please, please make sure your breader is reputable before you get a pet from them. Better yet, get a rescued dog or cat. *stepping off soap box*
So, who are the creatures in your life and how did they find you?

Post-Thanksgiving Post

We had a great Thanksgiving with friends on Thursday. DH had to work that afternoon, so we ate at 11. We finished at 2. As soon as I get the recipe for the stuffed mushrooms , I'll post it.

Yesterday, we did Thanksgiving at our house. We had to have the leftovers. I just did turkey thighs, because the four of us can only eat so much. We all prefer dark meat, anyway. We sometimes have pheasant for Thanksgiving, but DH & oldest son didn't go out pheasant hunting this year.

I tried Neil Gaiman’s cranberry jelly, but it turned into cranberry syrup. We ate it anyway.

I was going to try sweet potato souffle but I decided to try that this week, and if it works we will enjoy it for Christmas.

We will have venison for Christmas, but we will celebrate a week late this year. My DH only gets Christmas week off once every 5 years, so our family gift is to go to Hawaii (we've been planning & saving for this for years). The kids know THAT IS IT for presents this year. They'll get stuff from the rest of the family, so they will have something to open when we get back.

OK, I lied, they WILL get a couple of books to read on the plane. I couldn't resist a couple of books each. It's really more for my sanity.

Tomorrow, the tree goes up. Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beautiful photos

I found the most amazingly beautiful bird photos while doing research. I never did find what I was looking for, but I'll settle for a new blog to visit which is sure to make me smile.

I hope you enjoy it, too.

Have you ever stumbled on to something amazing on the web while looking for something else?

Too Cute

BOOK REPORT

I read a charming book this weekend. ALEX AND ME is the sweet, true story of Alex, an African Grey parrot and Dr. Pepperberg, the scientist who worked with him. There needs to be a kleenex alert on the cover, though.

It is rare for me to find a nonfiction book this moving. As an animal lover (we share our home with two dogs, two cats & 10 fish---I wish I could have a bird, but I have a strong allergy to feathers. ) I found the relationship between Dr. Pepperberg and Alex to be amazing. She spent so many hours, for so many years, with him. I don't want to spoil the book for you, so I'll leave it at that.

If you love animals, get this book.

It is a quick read and would be a thoughtful gift for the animal lover on your gift list. I know my oldest son will want to read it, and I think it would be perfect for a friend who trains guide dogs.

As an aside---please buy it at an independent books store, if possible. Over at MURDERATI they are encouraging book buying in general as a great way to do your holiday shopping and support the industry. A plug for supporting all small businesses is on PLOTMONKEYS today. BOING BOING has a list of kids' books, for the SF & tech-minded.

With the economy as difficult as it is these days, we can vote with our dollars and support the businesses of our family, friends and neighbors by buying from the independents of every type of business. Yes, I know I blogged about this on Friday, but it is worth repeating.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. We will be over at a friend's house for the big meal, because my DH has to work that afternoon. We will do it all again, with just our family, on Friday. How can we put up the tree on Sunday, without turkey and rice casserole for lunch?


So, what are you reading? Do you have a special book for animal-lovers? Is there a small business in your area that you love? Where will you be spending this Thanksgiving? And what will you make with the leftovers?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Comment Moderation is ON

Due to a spam post, comment moderation is ON. If I go for a week or so without more spam posts, or if I just get fed up with the moderation thing, I'll take it off.

I'll let you know when it is turned off.


Thanks for your patience. I don't want my blog to be someone's billboard.

Independent Bookstores

Today over at SISTERS IN CRIME there is a strong appeal to support local, independent bookstores.

One great example of an author who does this well is John Scalzi . He has a great idea for supporting his local bookstore, and making autographed books available to his readers. Everybody wins.

I wonder why more authors don’t do that. They would have the undying devotion of the booksellers, and the reading public. They wouldn’t even have to do this year round. One month a year would be a great start.

New Year’s resolution, beginning about six weeks early, buy form my local, independent booksellers. I already do that for Children’s books and I need to do it for my Mystery and SF/F books as well.

Hmmmmm.....Christmas shopping starts for me on Monday, and I have these stores bookmarked and ready for my ordering.

Do you have favorite independent bookstore? Do you hunt through a favorite used bookstore? Do you seek out a bookstore on vacation?
You ARE giving books for presents this year, aren’t you? What book do you want to receive as a gift?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Writer's Roadblock

My NANORWRIMO experience has not worked the way I planned this month. A sick child (he's better now) and a home remodeling experience--which can best be described as MUCH FODDER for the writing grist--have left me with less time to write than I had anticipated.

It has, however, left me with snippets of time I have spent "procrastinating" on the web. I put that in quotes because each day has left me with a new insight on craft (see my last post) or some new research for my WIP, or some personal inspiration. Rachelle Gardner has a great post on working through these frustrations, when I have questioned my reasons for writing and my ability to succeed.

I found that link from a link on a blog which I visit daily. Under the comments of the not-named blog, however, I found some very rude comments on the spiritual nature of Rachelle Gardner's post. I can fully understand people having other beliefs, or no religious beliefs at all, but I can not understand someone being mean about others' beliefs. I'm not sure if it is the anonymity of the blogosphere, or if the poster is regularly an unpleasant person, but it left an unpleasant e-smell. Maybe it's because I'm in the midwest and we are a little nicer here about differences.

I can feel sorry for the person, and whatever hurt they have in their lives that they feel it necessary to inflict that on others, but it does make me wonder about being published and how open that will leave me to unkind words, or worse, from strangers.

I don't mean about my writing---that's subjective and if you think it's awful, that's your opinion. Just don't read what I write and you and I will both be happy. What really concerns me is that someone who disagrees with a (real or perceived) political or religious slant to my work will see it as something PERSONAL, and try to respond in a personal way.

I'm very protective of my family (no pictures of my DH or kids on this blog) so that makes me concerned.

Of course, I may never get anything else published, and this will all be a meaningless worry. LOL


Do you have things in your professional live which affect you and your family on a personal level? Do you find it difficult to separate the two aspects of your life or do you feel more comfortable combining the two?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

LESSONS IN CRAFT

Over at MURDERATI today, there is a excellent post on craft. This is one of several (they're linked in the post) lessons on structure and pacing.

I reread all of the posts today, and figured out something that was very wrong with my WIP.

I am behind on my word count for NANOWRIMO, but I thought this needed sharing.

Where do you get ideas on craft? Do you have favorite books or blogs that help? Have you taken any classes thathave made a difference inyour writing?

*slinking off to the office to get my BIC*

Name that character

I can't write about a character until I give her a name. As soon as she has her name, she comes alive. I see her, hear her voice, and begin to live her story.

This has been a HUGE problem for me. I scour the net for names. I read lists, check obits and go through directories. UGH. A time suck, and not a fun one. I usually love doing research, but the name game was one I dreaded.

Until now. I just discovered
this cool writing resource.

Now I can search a name and find a similar one, or a variation, so everyone isn't Jennifer and Jason.

How do you name your characters?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day One

Good news/bad news.

The good news is that I made my word count for the day--- 1,710 words. Yippee.

Bad news it's only the first day and nanowrimo has already disrupted my life and made my DH angry.

My outline (hand-written) disappeared. I had been working on it off and on for a couple of months. Last month, we had house guests two weekends in a row and it got stuffed somewhere. I spent 6 hours today doing a rough outline and starting my writing. I simply CAN'T start writing until I know the names of my characters.

*sigh*

Word count goal met today, now DH & I are going out to dinner. We will talk about something other than my WIP.

Who knows, I may do better writing this thing without an outline. I have one completely new scene already.