Monday, December 28, 2009

Goals? I don't need no stinkin' goals!

'Cept, I do.

I know there are plotters and pantsers, list makers, and wing-its. I'm a plotter and a lister. I need my goals clearly stated and listed out or else I forget. Heck, I often say I'd forget my head on the kitchen table if it wasn't securely attached to my torso.

So, without further ado...

Writing goals:

1. Find a home for Wild Ghost Chase - I've had nibbles in the agent and publisher department, so I'm hoping it's just a matter of time...
2. Finish zombie historical - I have such high, high hopes for this piece. So, why I am so afraid to just put my butt in a chair and write? I know the historical aspects and the tight timeline of one of the "real" characters have me a little spooked, but I'm trying to "just write" the first draft...if only I could find the time. Next week, when the kiddos go back to school, it becomes my first priority!
3. Write another Eclipse novella for Phaze
4. Write sequel to The Lady is a Vamp for Total E-bound
5. Write something, anything, for Cobblestone Press
6. Ditto for Lyrical Press
7. Rinse and repeat steps 3-6 until the end of the year.

I write novella-length fiction fairly quickly and have been known to kick one out in a month. What I have to learn to do is to let the story sit and stew. Wild Ghost Chase has ended up being a much better book for sitting until I could emotionally (i.e., ruthlessly) edit it (now, lets just hope a publisher agrees with me!)

It will probably be 2010 by the time I post again, so HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

Well, despite my worries and fears, Santa stopped by our home and dropped off many, many gifts for the kinderboys and Drama Teen. The tree was ransacked by 7:30 am and then breakfast of french toast made with eggnog was consumed (yum). Company arrived at 11 am and my uber-wonderful hubby took all the kids to a faraway park so that I could clean up the first round of Christmas debris and gird my loins for the cookie and pizza frenzy that was to ensue in the afternoon. Have I told you how much I truly love that man?

The kids arrived back at the house not long after I had an emergency run to the store for more pizza fixings (a surprise guest and long-time friend of the family is Jewish and needed veggies instead of the pork that sustains the pizza industry (ham, pepperoni, and sausage). Albertsons was closed but luckily Rite-Aid was open. They must have known I was coming for a few cans of diced tomatoes, sliced pineapple, and mushrooms were kicking back on a dusty shelf in their convenience food aisle. I'm also glad to know that I wasn't the only person with a Christmas emergency...there were lots of folks clogging the beer aisle.

Back at home, cookie decorating was a multicolored sugar delight (I'm sure I'll still find sprinkles in my drawers and on the floor for months to come) and although the pizzas came out of the oven staggered and everyone ate at different times, I think it will always be remembered as the "Pizza Christmas".

My husband joked this morning that he's glad I had my nervous breakdown on Christmas Eve and not Christmas Day. I can finally laugh about it to.

And maybe I wasn't so naughty after all...I got a request for a partial from one of my dream publishers! I'm off to ship them five chapters and then chew my nails into the new year.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, or if you don't celebrate, have a fantabulous weekend!

Ho, ho, ho!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Update

Well, there are three naughty children under this roof tonight and major doubt as to whether there will be gifts under the tree in the morning.

The well-oiled workings of the past week lulled me into a false sense of security. I really thought that, just perhaps, we could pull this holiday off without a hitch. HA!

The fighting and bickering started as soon as Drama Teen got out of bed this morning. She and kinderboy#1 aren't good together under most circumstances, add the stress of Christmas, and it's like lighting an incendiary device and throwing it into the living room. Luckily, I'd gotten the dishes and one load of laundry done before WWIII broke out and the crying ensued. The roast resided in a toasty warm oven and noon (when Mr. Scott was supposed to arrive) came and went. I slapped some lunch together and fed my whining brood. I thought pulling up NORAD tracking Santa would provide a bit of distraction. Nope. Or maybe it did...maybe they all decided just to see how naughty they could be before Santa called it quits.

At 1:10 pm I got a text from Mr. Scott that he was leaving work right then. He was moments too late to save me from melting down. Kinderboy#2, usually the reliable, good-natured, never gets into trouble kid, had stuffed 50-100 kandoo wipes down the toilet and flushed. When it clogged (chorus of DUHs here), he wiggled the handle until the chain got lodged under the flapper, so the water continued to fill the bowl. And fill, and fill, then overflow... Only when the water was several inches deep on the floor did he come to tell me there was trouble in paradise. The ding of Mr. Scott's text only fueled my irritation. By the time he got home, crying boys were ensconced in beds and even Drama Teen was sniffling in the living room. I was seething and instead of taking it out on everyone, I went to bed.

Now, cookies were supposed to have been cooked sometime in the middle of the afternoon. However, no one wanted to disturb furious mother bear from her deep dark pity cave, so when it was determined that the oven was too cool for the cookies to bake, they were cut out and stored. When I finally emerged, still irked and swearing off ever celebrating a major holiday again, to cook supper, I realized the cookies hadn't been cooked and thus, the roast wasn't done, as I'd allowed for that higher oven temperature in the cooking time. Curse words were flung, silently for the most part, and it's been determined that only Mr. Scott deserves to be visited by the jolly old elf tonight.

Well, these winter days may be short in reality, but it's been hours too long for my patience. It's 7:15...we did finally eat dinner and are now trying to convince boys that the quickest way to Christmas morning is to get bathed, pajama'd, and tucked in by 8. Ha! Good thing I napped, for Santa may not be visiting the Scott household until the wee sma' hours.

And yes, dear readers, Santa does deliver coal to those who are naughty. I guess I did my part in making the season a little less bright, for I got a nice big R in my inbox.

Next year...I'm canceling Christmas.

One week almost down...

I'm convinced that no one should ever tell children that they don't have school or that Christmas is coming in X amount of days. Kinderboy#2 (aka enthusiastic morning kid) was up before 6 am almost every day this week (except yesterday). My Christmas wish (2 weeks of sleeping in) won't be granted this year. Gee, thanks Santa.

And do young children really need to know Christmas is tomorrow? Why can't we just spring it on them? All I've heard this morning is "Is Santa Coming tonight or tomorrow?" followed by "What are we doing today?" Well, I had planned a "relaxing" day of laundry, cleaning, cooking, completing a few wrapping projects, and upteen other activities. Isn't it enough that we've "done" stuff all week (i.e., Build A Bear, appointments & the movies???) Luckily, Mr. Scott is getting off around noon today to come home and we'll bake that last set of Christmas cookies to decorate tomorrow. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the roast cooked in time for Christmas Eve dinner...Usually I cook it all day long in the oven (on around 250 degrees), but in the middle of that, I'm gonna have cookies heating up the oven to 350 degrees. So, should I put the roast in later to allow for that or remove it to a crockpot while the cookies bake? But the crockpot will take up precious counter space needed for cooling the cookies. Decisions, decisions.

On a very bright note, I decided to ship my revised ghost story out to a few agents from my wish list who didn't get it the first time around (since you aren't supposed to send them revised manuscripts unless they've requested them, I've been holding a couple of agents in reserve). I've gotten two requests for partials and one request for a full. So, Santa, if you're listening, I know what I'd like in my stocking on Christmas morning!

Well, I'd better get back to dishes, laundry, and finding something to keep the kids busy for an hour or ten.

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

So starts two weeks of....

I'm writing this Monday post on Sunday evening...okay, not evening, but late at night. I'm trying to stay positive about the next two weeks. It's difficult, but I'm determined not to ruin the Christmas season wondering how I'm going to keep my kids from driving me insane. I've planned out some activities (why does that always equal expenses?).

My mom sent our Christmas money early. So, I'll be using some of it to fund these adventures. The first is tomorrow. We're going to fabricate inanimate bruins (Build-A-Bear). Believe me, it's not as if we don't have enough stuffed animals already, but both boys had asked for Christmas bears on their we're off to stuff 'em. We'll grab lunch at the mall and pick up a few last minute Christmas items. Drama Teen has been angry with her bio dad for what seems like forever. The moment they manage to hit an even patch, he'll stop calling...then, she thinks he's mad at her and the next thing you know, she won't take his calls. I'm counting the days until she's 18. However, prior to today, she was determined not to buy him a gift, now she's changed her mind. So, this foray out will give her a chance to pick something up for him...assuming she doesn't change her mind between now and tomorrow afternoon. Sigh.

Tuesday is tied up in appointments. We'll be at the dentist first thing in the morning for my daughter to get a couple of cavities filled. Then, in the afternoon, Kinderboy#1 and I have our first counseling session. After reading our questionnaire answers, the psychologist came to the same conclusion we've suspected for a while...Reactive Attachment Disorder. For instance, this evening, we all gathered together on the couch to watch The Grinch who stole Christmas (the 1/2 hour cartoon). Kinderboy#1 would have none of sitting on the couch with us to snuggle. Instead, he stood behind the couch, or beside the couch. It breaks my heart that he won't allow himself to be part of the family, even when it's obvious that he so wants and needs to be included. Now, after The Grinch, when the "pressure" seemed to be off, he did crawl up on the couch and snuggle with Mr. Scott and Kinderboy#2. I'm hoping that he's receptive to the therapy and that we come away with some interventions that work for him.

Wednesday, I think we'll hit the dollar movies and on Thursday, we need to bake another batch of Christmas cookies (a small one this time) for all the kids to decorate on Christmas day. Oh, did I tell you, my brother-in-law and his three kidlets are coming to spend the afternoon. We'll decorate cookies and do a "make your own pizza" for lunch. I'm looking forward to trying out yet another recipe for stuffed pizza a la Garcia's Pizza in a Pan. I found a recipe that looks close... Last year's attempt was tasty but just not I'll have to let you know if it works this year. If so, I won't miss heading to C-U for the holidays quite so much. Yes, I do only go home for the pizza.

I've been working on my zombie historical. It's coming along slowly but surely. In between writing, I've been working on the snowflake plotting software. What I've come to realize is that I've got a fairly strict timeline (my one real historical characters is only in a certain place at a certain time for only so many days) as I'm plotting, I'm playing with time. It's driving me a bit nuts, so I'm trying to not worry about the when, just the what. It doesn't help that I have a domestic scene to write. It furthers the plot in both characterization and motivation, but I'm having trouble getting into my hero's head.

Well, it's closing on midnight, so I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas! I received a new phone from Santa and if I can figure out how to work the camera in it, you might even get pictures in my Friday post!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Pink Glove Dance

I'm out sick today, so instead of my usual Friday rant about my crazy family life, I'm going to pass along a video that brought a smile to my face today.

The Pink Glove Dance brought to you by the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, OR. to raise the awareness of Breast Cancer prevention.

Enjoy! (and I'll be back on Monday with an update...I looked at the calendar today and realized the kids are off for only 2 weeks, not three as I originally thought. I feel like a prisoner given a reprieve!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Cruds...oh, I mean Cards

The past few days have been full of not much writing and lots of Christmas activities...putting up the tree, baking Christmas cookies (my favorite shape is the Christmas T-Rex, yep, we also have a Blinkie - 3-eyed fish (from the Simpsons), a shark, many Christmas rockets, and even a Christmas heart. We also had some traditional shapes, but those aren't nearly as popular as the others.

Continuing the trend of sharing holiday cheer, today I'm writing the dreaded Christmas letter. I hate those things and didn't want to do one this year. However, seeing as I didn't send out any cards last year (gasp), I had a lot to catch up on.

What about you? Do you do a lengthy letter or just a photo card with a signature? I'm definitely doing one of those next year~

I don't often share pictures of my kids on the blog, but I did this little layout for the Christmas letter and thought I would share. Scott is kinderboy#2, Alex is kinderboy#1 and you shouldn't have any trouble at all identifying Drama Teen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is Christmas really in 2 WEEKS!?!?

The Christmas season consistently sneaks up on me, but as I was doing the weekend grocery shopping last night, the clerks says "Can you believe Christmas is in just 2 weeks?" Yikes. Thankfully, I'd hit the mall yesterday and finished up the shopping for boxes that needed to be mailed (Secret Santa and far-away family). Two trips to the post office this morning and everything should be on the 'sled' and delivered by Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas...remember the party we all went to last week? It's a kids' Christmas party, cookie decorating, crafts, a visit from the jolly old elf himself. Things went really, really, really well for the afternoon -- Drama teen decorated one cookie, took her about 1/2 an hour but it was simply gorgeous when she was done. Too bad it was meant to be eaten, which she did so before I could hunt down Mr. Scott and the camera. The boys had a great time playing games (ring tosses, beanie bag tosses...yep, they are boys and were happiest when throwing things). I should have seen the melt-down coming...

Every year we stop by the Burger King on Base to top off our holiday indulgence. There was lots of whining as "meals with toys" are banned in our family from Thanksgiving until well after Christmas. It's the rule, but those under the age of 7 thought it was unfair and grizzled about it. Too bad. Everyone put in their food order to me (i.e., servant, maid, and pack horse) except Kinderboy#1. He simply didn't answer, even after being asked three times. This happens quite often, so I'm prepared with the solution. You either don't get anything OR you get whatever I want to give you.

As I'm placing the order and gathering cups, pandemonium reins behind me. Both kinderboys are crawling up on the steel railings. Mr. Scott summons them down. One obeys, one doesn't. Any guess as to which one wouldn't come down? He was finally yelled into submission, but as Mr. Scott turned his back, Kinderboy#1 made as if to climb again. The direst threat possible was made. "If you climb up there, Santa will bring you nothing for Christmas."

Kinderboy#1 climbed the rail.

We're still trying to work on a compromise to carry out the threat. All of his advent calendars (the table mat that dials down the days and his red and green paper chain) have been taken down. He'll get a lump of coal in his stocking. Now, he will get family gifts, because our love is unconditional (too big of a concept for him to grasp now, but maybe one day???).

It's just all those lovely new unwrapped toys that will be under the tree will be Kinderboy#2's (unless, he, too, blows it between now and the big day). Of course, who are we kidding? Kinderboy#1 will end up playing with the toys, simply because his brother is such a generous soul, so much so that Kinderboy#2 turned over his table mat to hid the calendar and hasn't been tearing off his links either...

The whole event rather spoiled the holiday season, but we can't go back on the threat now. The one good thing that has come out of this (and the scary results of the school psychologist's report performed as part of Kinderboy#1's IEP) is that we'll be heading in for counseling for him (and us). We go next Tuesday.

On a bright note, Drama Teen has her voice recital tonight...although she's decided to give up voice lessons and dedicate the time to driving lessons (priorities, people...she is 16!). We'll also be indulging in our own cookie decorating extravaganza this weekend, and finishing up a few odds and ends in the shopping department. Then, I'll be done....

Well, except for those Christmas cards...guess I'd better get writing!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Just another Frantic Friday....

Yeah, I know, Monday's are supposed to be manic...for me, Fridays are the roughest day of my week. I'm usually trying to wrap up some sort of writing project so that I can spend a little time with my family. This weekend we'll be attending our town's Electric Light Parade, where we'll sit in front of the hardware store and drink hot chocolate while evil girl scouts and beauty queens fling candy canes at our heads. A good time will be had by all.

On Sunday, we'll be attending a Childrens' Christmas party hosted by one of the EAFB units. There's cookie decorating, craft making, games, and snacks. Me, I'm going for the cookies and the snacks, but the kids will have a great time. Santa flies in for a couple of hours and last year, even my teen sat on his lap to put in her gift requests.

Somehow between now and then, I have to get a few gifts purchased so that Santa has something to pull out of his sack at the party (shhhh)

I'm pounding away, writing like a fiend on my zombie historical. I've also rediscovered AutoCrit, so I've been running chapters through it's magic software and being shamed by my tawdry love affair for repeated words and phrases. Grrr. But, better to clean it up now than later.

The entire week has been uneventful, except for Tucker's trip to the vet. I don't talk much about the dog...he's six years old and has changed from a rambunctious puppy to a floor mat. For the most part, he's the calmest member of the family (except at mealtimes or when someone knocks at the door -- and don't even consider ringing the doorbell, he goes ballistic). Well, the poor guy is due up for his shots. So, last night, Mr. Scott loaded doggie and two antsy children into the car and headed up to the vet's office for the shot clinic.

It's held once a week and the crowd of people and their pets overflows into the parking lot. A parking lot my children decide to tear across in front of a huge line of cars! Poor Mr. Scott had his heart in his throat as one of those said vehicles nearly misses a collision with the kinderboys.

Gathering up the crew, he stands in a line of hissing cats and growling snarling dogs, admonishing the boys not to pet potentially vicious animals. Do the kinderboys listen? Not a chance. Mr. Scott takes solace in the fact that the animals are there to get their rabies shots, so that will save a series of painful injections in case anyone gets bitten.

Finally, his turn comes to fill out the paperwork to get Tucker's business done. Through all this, our dog cum chicken, has been shaking, whining, and looking pitiful. Mr. Scott loses sight of one child, but spots Kinderboy#1 (aka looking for trouble in all the wrong places kid) hanging in the doorway. Warns Kinderboy#1 not to leave the room and go out into the parking lot. Looks up. Kinderboy#1 is gone. With a sigh, Mr. Scott deserts his paperwork, gathers up Kinderboy#2 and goes in search of Kinderboy#1. Tucker prances all the way to the car...relieved that his ordeal is over.

What the poor pooch doesn't know is he and I will be heading back to the clinic this upcoming Thursday in an effort to get the dirty deed accomplished. Sigh.

Hope you all have a great weekend!