Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thinking of taking the rest of the week off.....

Turned 55 today.



I did.

And I feel every second of it right now - caffeine hasn't kicked in yet...give it a few minutes.

Anyway...Hi. How are you today?

I really don't have much to say. Just some random rambling. Oh, say that five times really fast.

On second thought.

Yes. This is me in my weird mood so don't expect anything even remotely inspired in this post. Just random thoughts and reactions and whatever else pops into my head.

Actually, I do have something to share. Rewrites. Yes. I said it, that nasty word every writer hates. Come on. Admit it. You hate doing them, too. I was whining about rewrites to my Mom the other day and she asked why I couldn't just write the story and get it out there without having to change things.

Good question, Mom. Why can't we just write the thing, shove it out the door and move on?

Well, editors, for one thing. Storylines that change abruptly during first draft. Characters that want to do their own thing and not what you, the writer, want them to do. And a million other reasons.

For me, getting the first draft down usually does not include important things. Like description. I know what my characters look like, what their world looks like, but you, the reader, can't read my mind, can you? No. You can't. Well, you could dream up your own version but if I do happen to put in a few descriptive words, you might end up thrown out of the story because what I'm seeing won't necessarily match what you're seeing.

Book covers help but only if the characters are correctly portrayed on the cover. I remember reading one book where the heroine's hair color on the cover did not match her description inside the book. Rather jarring to say the least.

Unfortunately, descriptive prose isn't my strong suit - at least, in my opinion. It's hard to get it right. Either there's too much or there's not enough. I can't seem to find that happy, middle ground when it comes to describing things. I do try to practice, though. Reading helps. I always seem to write better when I'm reading at the same time.

I have two writing friends that are unbelievably adept at descriptions. One is so lyrical, her prose can be mesmerizing to read. The other can describe food with only a few words but they sound so delicious that you're wondering where you can get it for yourself. This is what I want to do but we shouldn't be comparing ourselves to other writers, now should we? Then again, we're always the hardest on ourselves so I'm probably not as bad I think I am.

Hmm. Think the caffeine just kicked in?

And I got off topic a bit. I was supposed to be considering taking the rest of the week off.

When I was working out of the home, I always took this week off. I always said I don't work during my birthday week.Things are different now that I'm home all the time. I have even lost track of what day is it at times. The days just all run together now, which is one reason why I'm considering instituting a work week for me, with scheduled days off. It'll be like I'm back to a normal work schedule but the working environment will be much better than it was in my old office.

Getting my room together will probably help. Right now, I could be a candidate for that hoarding show. Everything is so jumbled up, I have only a path from the door to my desk and that's about it. I now believe wholeheartedly that a messy environment leads to a messy mind that can't focus on a blooming thing.

I think I just got my answer in that last sentence. Perhaps I need to step back from rewrites (no, I'm not using it as an excuse), and get the room together so that the mess isn't distracting me from what I'm supposed to be doing. Plus, I need to free up the other window in the room because my little garden is quickly expanding. Everything is growing like crazy and already I see some of my babies that need bigger pots.

Not to mention the recent obsession expansion from nail polish to makeup. That's another post on another blog but a valid point nonetheless.

Mission "Make The Chaos Go Away" will begin this weekend. Today I'm just gonna be Birthday Girl. Tomorrow, Birthday Girl again with friends (hello, Rusty Bucket and Blueberry Stack!). Saturday, grab the shovel and start digging out.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Computer Time?

I think my computer is slowly going insane.

It doesn't have a bug - at least that's what my numerous anti-virus, malware detectors say, but it does seem to be slowly losing functionality just when I cannot afford to buy anything new. My rule is if I can't get something better than what I already have, I don't need it. Might have to rethink that rule now.

I do have a laptop I can sort of fall back on but since I sacrificed speed for battery life, it just isn't sufficient for all the other things I do on a computer besides writing.

So, new computer time? I'm thinking so. Which means funds need to start rolling in here really soon. Which means I need to stop watching YouTube videos and get my butt in some serious gear. 

Another distraction this week....have all you PC people seen the news about Windows 10? Microsoft is supposedly providing this update for free to all 7 & 8.1 users. My desktop is 7, my laptop is 8.1 so obviously, I'm expecting that free upgrade, right? Yeah. Not so much.

There is supposed to be a lovely little icon on my taskbar that will enable me to reserve my copy of 10. Unless that icon is actually invisible (which it is not), I do not have said icon - on either of my computers. Both computers meet all of Microsoft's criteria but for some reason, they apparently do not recognize either computer as eligible. At least, that's what I assume since I don't have the icons.

I've done everything suggested in the forum and finally gave up because it's just too much hoop jumping for something that may or may not be any better than what I already have. There's that rule again.

What I don't understand is, they are doing the free upgrade because they finally get that while 8/8.1 worked like a dream for tablets and phones, it's total crap for PCs. Ok. Maybe not total crap but it does come with a learning curve. There are still things on my laptop that I haven't figured out - only because I just haven't taken the time. Like booting up into the desktop instead of the app screen, for instance. I get around that because I don't really ever shut the thing down. I just close the lid. The only time it gets a restart is when I get updates (and don't get me started on those).

This whole thing with Windows 10, however, is making me seriously consider defecting to the other side. I speak of the Apple side.

I always said I'd never have an i-anything because of the total proprietary way they do things and how I'd have to replace pretty much every software package I own. I'm now looking at the other camp with a bit of longing. I know Macs have their issues, too, but they don't seem to have as many. Of course, it doesn't help that a friend of mine just got a new Macbook and that thing is pretty cool.

Yikes! Just looked out the window. I think we've got a big nasty rolling in. That's what I call bad thunderstorms. Gotta go check Intellicast. All south of me right now but that doesn't mean it'll stay that way.

Where was I? Right. Computer in death throes.

Maybe not that bad but it's enough to really irritate me. I suppose I could live without the desktop for a short while if I had to. Some of the things I do can be split between the laptop and the Kindle, but most of my games don't play well on the laptop. Sacrificed processing speed for battery life, remember?

Then again, those games represent distraction from what I'm supposed to be doing so maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing. And maybe that's why the desktop is doing this to me now? Oh, why did I have to go and think that?

And on that note....I'm gonna go find something productive to do. Or watch another YouTube video.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I'm somewhat shocked to find it's been over a month since we were last here together. I do apologize for that. May was a little less frenetic than April, but somehow it felt just as busy.

You will no doubt notice a face in place of the sparkly shoe in my profile picture. Yes, that would be me. I finally decided to face the world face. If I'm going to be a famous author, some people will want to know what I look like eventually so why not make that happen ahead of time and get it over with, right?

Even had my hair professionally done for the occasion. Ok, it was my normal hair cutting appointment but I do believe Terri took extra pains because she knew her work would photographed. I think she did a good job. The breeze, however, decided to do a little rearranging of its own. Still, I love this cut. I must do because I've been sporting it for most of this year already with no plans to change. 

So what have I been up to in the last month? Well, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of haven't done a whole lot of anything. 

I don't know. I suppose the whole unemployment issue has begun to prey on my mind a bit. The savings is dropping to dangerously low points and with nothing coming in, I'm getting just a tad nervous here. And since going without health insurance isn't an option (thank you, Obama), I'm going to have to find employment soon, maybe even another cube (ugh!).

But on the bright side, I did get a call from my former employer inquiring about my interest in doing some contract work for one of the other offices. That deal has yet to be brokered but if it does become reality, that will ease the furrowed brow a bit and give some breathing room.

I did work on a short story idea for the Writer's Digest competition, however, me and my writer's group have come to the realization that I do not know how to write a quirky, nerdy hero. The hero in my short story is supposed to be the stereotypical computer nerd who lands an unbelievably gorgeous blond who isn't all she seems to be. One writer friend said he sounded like a less physically developed version of one of my stronger Alpha heroes. 

Ah, yes. Mr. Thorpe. You do seem to invade my writing quite often these days. Must mean I need to get back to your story at some point in time but not right now, my love. Be patient (not one of his virtues, by the way).

Ahem! Anyway....

Muddled short story heroes aside, I've also been working on my other career pursuit - copywriting. The profile picture you see here is also my official portrait for my professional profiles at LinkedIn and with the Professional Writers Alliance through AWAI. 

I must admit to being a bit nervous about the first foray into this copywriting thing. No jobs yet but I sit here, almost in fear of the first one actually dropping into my lap. I know I learned how to do this copywriting thing, but I still have heart palpitations when I think about actually doing the work. From what I hear, it's perfectly normal to be anxious about the first job. I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing and that I'm not ready to take that first step out into the real world. 

But will I ever be? Probably not. I guess it's a little like pulling off a band-aid. It's gotta be done eventually and no matter when, it'll still hurt like....well, you know. Just need to get in there and do it. 

I've never considered myself very good at selling, and now I find myself in a position that requires I sell myself, or rather my skill as a copywriter. My heart is in fiction, though. Can the two coincide peacefully? Only time will tell.

What about the book, you say? Yes, the book is still there in rewrite hell. Because of working on the short story, I did miss my June 1 deadline for that but my writer's group is flexy-bendy, as one would say. I am currently going through and putting scenes together in as much of a coherent format as I can. I have one scene early on in two different versions. I love each version and trying to merge the two into one has been an interesting experience. Talk about killing your darlings. I made a merge attempt at Panera on Tuesday but did more staring out the window than merging paragraphs. My mind just couldn't stay focused for some reason.

I have been doing more reading lately. My writing always improves when I'm reading at the same time. Romances mainly but even before I finished the last one, I realized I do need to read some sci-fi soon. My stories do have a romance thread running through them, but my main focus is the action. Sweet romances have their place and are a nice change but I gotta have some action with my romance, or I get bored regardless if I'm writing or reading. 

And I mean non-romance related action, people. Get your minds outta the gutter. Sheesh! 

My Kindle is stuffed with a ton of books right now in both fiction and non-fiction forms. It'll take me years to get through them all and I don't stop getting them, especially the free ones. I also get the anthologies for 99 cents. I've discovered some excellent authors that way. A few duds, sure, but even one really good one makes up for the crappy ones, and there's usually at least one really good one in every anthology. 

Then again, I've read some that I feel pretty sure were written by raw beginners who never once looked at a writing how-to before putting their stuff out there. Two words - info dump - the bane of the new writer's existence.

I've been guilty of it myself, but after reading so many books where you get the entire background of the story in the very first chapter, I can see why there's tons of advice against it. You get a sentence to start the story and then whammo! You're sent careening back through time without the benefit of a madman with a blue box (Oh, Doctor, where art thou?). For pages upon pages, you read how the hero or heroine got to this time in their lives. 

Really? Any chance we're getting back to the current time anytime soon?

So, no info dump, people. Please. Weave those details into your story but sparingly. Don't get me wrong. I do care about what came before, but mainly I'm there to watch what's happening right now, this minute. 

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. And since this post has become more of a ramble than anything, I'll leave you there. I can't promise I'll be more timely with posting, but I do hope to be.