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awwww. .. .Is it Cute or Cruelty?

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best cat picture of the week.

Poor, poor pitiful me.

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Reasons:

1. The Flirtin' Fir.

It sings, wiggles, bobs around (the marabou feathers add a lot with a kind of drifting effect) The star on the top -- slightly wonky off to the side --lights up. So do the bulbs all over it. And the ones on the base. The song is "Santa Baby" lithped in baby talk. We can get one phrase "Santa Baby" -- the rest is grating, high pitched gibberish. The boys press the on button to listen and try to figure out the lyrics. Often. **

The pink high heels. The random pink string. The glittering green cloth body. The not-quite-on-key horn accompaniment.

Thank you, L. I know where you live.


2. That puzzle.

1,500 pieces. The boy seems to be doing it. He's just messing up all the pieces I've turned over. I hate puzzles but I can't leave them alone.


3. YOU people.

I'm extending the contest a day or two. Granted, the entries I've gotten are pretty high quality, but more would be good.

Come on, ya lazy lubbers. If you don't enter, I …

Dear Me

Dear People Who Sent Me Christmas Cards,

You know who you are.

I know who many of you are. I don't know all of you and I wonder how you got my address.** But I won't worry about that until you send me pictures of yourself nekkid. Right now I like the Santas and whatnot. I'll just say:

1. I love Christmas Cards. Or Holiday Cards.
2. Don't expect one from me, because apparently I'm incapable of sending them.
3. Thank you.

XXOO

Kate

________________________

**Or if you really meant to write to me. One of you said you loved my books and listed a title I don't recognize.

I should not be so nice to you

So very many of you have NOT ENTERED MY CONTEST. But here. I've got a flipping halo over my head and will share anyway. Make this AFTER ENTERING THE CONTEST.


I made the best chocolate pie. Ever. It had a pint of heavy cream in it. There were a coupla cups of skim milk, too. I invented it and will now share it with you because I'm just too great.

Make a graham cracker crust. (Standard crust: 1/4 butter melted, 1 sleeve graham crackers. Maybe a bit of cinnamon and sugar. Grind up or have kids stomp on ziplock bag carefully. Press into pan with your fingers. Don't lick em while you do this. Gross. Bake in oven for about ten minutes)

Use Oreos instead of graham crackers if you're feeling decadent. Or if you have a food processor, add some chocolate chips to the graham crackers.

Filling: Usually I just make ganache and pour it into shell and that's that. But I wanted more filling because I had a bigger pie pan and I wanted something that wouldn't freeze up so hard. gena…

Over at Bitches You Get Romance Covers Gone Wildly Bad

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What could be worse? How about truly wonky holy depictions? There are plenty out there but just in time for the holidays really skeeeeeery natitivity scenes. Here's a goodie, literally. Marshmallow Mary and Baybee Jesus! Give us smores for the holidays.

Disclaimer for Bill O'Reilly: I love creches. Yeah, we weren't exactly Christians -- we weren't much of anything. But when I was a kid, one of my favorite people in the world was Christian -- and she made creches out of clay. She made one for me and told me how to set it up. I loved the fact that the little manger would stay empty, everyone in the scene sitting around waiting, until Christmas morning. Then . . . ta da! The little lump depicting Jesus would appear. (They were very small creches)

Almost forgot:ENTER THE CONTEST or I'll turn our thermostat down to 50. Don't make my kids shiver in the cold!

yet another version of Summer's cover

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It's different from this one. Can you see the change?

No capital L in Futurelove!


HEY YOU--ENTER THE FLIPPING CONTEST or I'll eat those chocolate truffles and probably get adult onset diabetes or something. Boy, won't you feel bad then.

Bah

What? Being festive means you can't enter contests? What's the matter? Afraid Bill O'Reilly might think you're not Christmas Enough if you get competitive?

Enter my contest and enter Lori's too. Hers is actually useful--it's all about gift giving. Kind of Martha Stewart on the cheap.

To add to the incentive she's also throwing in a prize. Whoever has the best list, as picked by the elves at the RU Blog, will win two of the following: Get Bunny Love by Kathleen Long, Lady of the Knight by Jackie Ivie, Unlaced by Kristina Cook, Love is All Around by Lori Devoti or Prince of Frogs by Barbara Plum.

A Biographical Contest

I've been interviewed a few times and have gotten to blather on All About Me. . . and during the interviews I even told a version of the truth.

What a mistake, a waste of paper and bandwidth. Oh, how I wish I'd thought of this method instead. I should have asked the public to come up with my biography instead-- a la Liz at blondsense: Bugger. I can't seem to link to the memories, which are the best part. Does this work? (Yes! thank you, Liz)

You post a comment with a made-up, as in fictional, memory of you and the subject. It can be anything you want. Good or bad, it has to be fake.

IF this were a group blog, I'd definitely aim it at someone else.

I'm tempted to make you all post memories of you and Candy or maybe you and Doug. **

Heck, why not. . . Make it pg-13 at most, please.

Pick one of the players: Doug, or Candy and write a memory. The best one gets socks or mittens (I have a lovely pair all picked out-- my Fredneckian friend never identified herself in the last s…

the stranger sex

Me: So why are you using a heating pad on your knee?
DH: It hurts.
Me: Yeah, but you've been using the pad every day for almost a week. Maybe you should call Marcy the Wonder Doc.
DH: I'm going to see the physical therapist on Friday.
Me: Huh? But I thought we couldn't do that without a referral from Marcy.
DH: She gave me a referral last week.
Me: Wait a sec. I thought this only started a few days ago. How long has your knee hurt?!??
DH: A while. Started more'n a month ago.
Me: Why didn't you say anything?
DH: You didn't ask.
Me: [cursing and snorting]
Me:So tell me, darling, how's your elbow.
DH: fine.
Me: Your head? Your neck? Your foot? Your heart? Your stomach? Your liver? Your--
DH: okay, okay.

It could be a response to my not-feeling-well style: broadcasting medical updates every few hours. ("I still have a headache but now my throat isn't hurting.") I think it's more that he's a stoic=silly goof. We have to guess from his thin lips or his occ…

no, no bitches today

I have to figure out helium use in the future, okay? I'm busy. At least I stopped trying to write fluff and am working on another story about a lost person. Whoopee!

I can't manage to bitch, so here's the cheesecake.

Crust 1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter

Ganache 1 1/2 cups whipping cream (I have better luck with heavy cream, don't know why)
20 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup KahlĂșa or other coffee-flavored liqueur

Filling
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark rum (or Kahlua! Hey, it's for Beth, right?)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract2 teaspoons mild-fl…

Suisan's meme

Turns out I really love to do these things. I wonder why.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:
1. The stuff I do every day. I like it.
2. Go back to a tropical place.
3. Go on a long bike ride, even though I'll be on my ol' granny bike.
4. Get more book contracts.
5. Develop some more interesting ambitions.
6. Okay--I'll go for something standard. Write an excellent book that has staying power.. and, duh, that's a best seller.
7. Win the lottery and give away almost all of it to complete strangers.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Exercise regularly for more than a couple of months before the routine falls apart.
2. Be chirpy in the morning.
3. Sing a tune when other people are singing a different tune. Rounds are out.
4. Give up certain harmful addictions.
5. Skate, ski or anything that requires a good sense of balance.
6. Stop reading blogs.
7. Find a reasonable plot for this book I'm writing.

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Spouse (or Significant Other, Best Friend, etc.)
1. He is fun…

The evil stroller

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I dredged up this story when I read Bookseller Chick today--she talked about strollers as The Enemy. Yes, I, too, have loathed a stroller.

When I was preggers with boy 3, my friends got together and bought us a fabulous jogger stroller. It was used, but just barely. A primo machine. It sort of looked like this, only more stripped down. That thing was nimble and super fast--made for athletes so it didn't have a handy little basket underneath or brakes.

Know where I'm going with this already?

The boy was born in February and I soon discovered that the fab stroller actually worked in snow, unlike any stroller I'd ever owned (and by boy 3, I'd owned a lot of those things. I hated driving and we lived downtown in a compact little city. Could walk everywhere to anything).

One day, the baby and I dropped boy 2 at preschool and walked home. He fell asleep so I pulled the stroller onto the front porch. As I turned to put the key in the door lock, the stroller, that nimble lil thin…

Today's Fab Blog Find

by way of The General, Fafnir. Yes it has a big chunk of left wing political posting, but if you don't like that, don't give up. Slide down for another entry. It'll be worth it.

The email I sent this morning (from a winter wimp)

Hi School People,

This is the second time in the last couple of years you guys have decided to hold school when there was a layer of ice on the ground. Personally, I'd much rather haul the kids through snow than over this stuff. We live a block from school--my kid fell four times and I fell twice (ow, ow). More seriously--as we walked, a car stopping too fast at the corner of A___ and F___ slid and almost jumped the curb.

Now I'm going back to school to take a change of clothing to him because he got thoroughly soaked when he fell . . . but before I slide out of here, I thought I'd whine at you some: Cancel school on ice days. Please. I know the world doesn't look particularly menacing when it's just icy rain and not lots of the scenery-transforming white stuff, but believe me, it's a scary place out there just now.

limping back to school (by car this time),

Kate Rothwell

Summer Devon's second book

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Two things about Summer's new book:

1. It's going to be available earlier than I'd expected--January instead of April.

2. It's got a cover. I really like it--posers, major man-titty and all. The mood fits a moment in the story, too.

I whined about another, earlier cover the art people sent me because I thought the posers' limbs were bizarre and both figures floated over the couch. (What is with that, anyway? is it matter of shadows?)

anyway. . . here's the new one.
The art department didn't tell me to stick my opinions where the sun don't shine. They didn't even politely ignore me. They actually changed the cover and anchored the characters on the couch. I think they're even going to change it again because the title doesn't have a capital "L". They caught that. I didn't.

I have to get a review copy to send to Mrs. Giggles because she inspired the story. Besides, she hasn't savaged Summer yet. ("Savage Summer" Now ther…

writing

I don't like one of my character's name so I went hunting for a better one. I found two great tools.

This one actually helps with the names. Sort of.
here are the first four entries:
Aaron - ugly but hung like a horse, prone to belly button fluff.
Able - totally useless.
Adam - not very bright and not very pretty, has almost mastered hygiene.
Adrian - usually short and very horny, watches cartoons

update: to prevent the appearance of a sexist blog, I'll also lift the first four women's names:

Abby - agony aunt, always willing to explain about your confused sexuallity.
Ada - blue haired, smells of wee.
Adie - quiet and shy, but when you get to know her .. quiet and shy.
Adrianna - eats like a horse yet incredibly scrawny, her girlfriends all hate her.

I just downloaded Babylon's little free tool and have been playing with it (messing about with translating into German, Swedish, Spanish and French--all in the same cute little window). So far I think it's great. We'll see…

ohhhh the weather outside is frightful

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Walking to school rituals. . .

We sing every morning as we pass the giant tacky snowman ball in front of our neighbor's house. Inside the globe a manically grinning snowman family stands around under blowing white stuff. "Let It Snow" is written in christmasy font on the front of the snowball. We must sing. Too bad we don't know the lyrics.

A few houses down, Boy 3 and I pass the head-bobbing lit-up reindeer doe. More than a week ago I made the mistake of pointing out that it looked like a cat tossing up a hairball. Boy 3 must now make HURK HURK sounds as we pass that.

I love Christmas decorations.

This morning we added another ritual to the walk. We turned the corner and for the second day in a row, a blast of wind hit us. Whoa momma. Since the temperature is hovering at about 5 degrees, this is a big event. We yelled "Oh LAWSY!" yesterday and we did today, too. I feel sorry for the Hurricane Katrina evacuee who's staying across the street. he might have…

Does this scare the bejeebers out of you?

It should give you the kohlrahbis. Patriot act, my eye. Chunks are downright unpatriotic for a country that values personal freedom. I can't find a mainstream source about how political protestors are going to be shoved into special areas from now on--that's another fun aspect of the act I've seen mentioned on less reliable sources. And that protects us how?

When I was 16, my mother, her old Russian teacher and I visited the Soviet Union. We broke off from the tour group to visit a family my mother knew. When I started to say something in the apartment hallway, everyone at once made hushing sounds. My mother even put her hand over my mouth. Later on she explained that the family might get in trouble if it became known they had American visitors. . .

Right now it's too easy to imagine a scenerio like that in this country. Neighbors encouraged to turn in neighbors who have "foreign looking" people visiting them. I find that prospect far scarier than a bunch of Qu…

forget the politics, just check out the prose

The most breathtakingly snarky start to a political diatribe I've ever read.

Look, I'm going to make this simple. As simple as I can possibly make it. As simple as the laws of physics allow. I'm going to venture into the madness of the primitive mind, and make it "Dumbass Republican**" simple. I'm going to travel to far-off mental realms, and bring back a map to the Fountain of Simplicity. I'm going to board the U.S.S. Really Fucking Simple, and snag you a seat at the captain's table. I'm going to go to the Republic of Simple, and bring you back a T-shirt. I'm going to call up the Home Shopping Network, and buy you a goddamn Clue at the special sale price of one hundred thirty seven dollars, which is a good deal considering that they have less than two hundred cases left at that price.I am going to journey past the Singularity of Stupid that has lodged itself in the shared cortex of the planet, fighting the demons of Mental Craptitude that seek…

Some Days You're Music Hall, Some Days You're Not

Damn, I wish I'd saved my nub rant for SBD. Perfect one, huh? Anyway, the bitches have the subject of the nickname (Love Nubbin Jolie Pitt) settled. I'm using that phrase first chance I get. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll get sued and that'll give my book some fab publicity.

Another Attempt at SBD: romance schmomance
( or, I'll pass on the gothick, thank you)


I'm writing a book instead of cleaning the house. But my poor characters are going down, down for the third time.

I strive for more PG Wodehouse. ‘I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down into life and not caring a damn…’

I want musical comedy. I strive for fluff. I believe in dark and light, but I prefer producing fluff.

Usually I can shape the same reality into any number of patterns. Even non-fiction romance can be messed with. Hey, I had the opportunity to observe a chunk of a marria…

An XXXX website ..warning, contains images!

Go on, click on the thumbnails. They're work-safe. No, I'm really not trying to get you fired.



* * * *

Huh?
My boss called to say we're getting some new refugees--Turkish women.

I tend to scan the news for wars and unrest because I know that we'll be getting some in a year or so. And sure enough, we've gotten Darfur/Sudanese, Somalians, Liberians, Afghans, and, until a couple of years ago, Bosnians. But Turkey? Are there kurdish people there, too? because from my hazy knowledge of this stuff, kurds tend to be unpopular in a lot of places, kind of like Jews.** I assume they're not Jews because some group?? Jewish Family Services?? is extremely active (and amazingly good at their work) in this area and more likely to step in to help.

Something happen in Turkey in the last couple of years? I guess I better go google.


____________________________

**I was a kid in DC, back when a synagogue near Connecticut Ave had a big sign that read "SAVE SOVIET JEWRY" Some…

don't eat somosas before bed

dream one--I went to Arkansas to help Mrs. H with her kids and she didn't want to see me. Another woman, I think it was Bronwhine, met me at the door. She announced we were going to a Harry Potter movie and that after the movie, she was driving me to England. Got to love dream geography.

dream two--an editorial assistant at a publisher called to tell me that there was no point in ever submitting to them again; they were cutting many of their authors. Oh, yes indeed, I was most definitely cut. I forgot to ask her if they were going to even publish the book I'd sent to them and they'd already accepted.




[insert big-ass space, indicating big-ass change of topic, here]


There is a whole lot of talk on the liberal blogs about this.--transportation of dead soldiers. I tried to imagine being one of the dead soldier's parents and I don't think I would feel outrage at the mode of transportation--where else could they put the corpses? It would be the boy's senseless death tha…

we's tough 'round here.

from today's Hartford Courant:

"It's pretty routine," West Hartford Town Manager Barry Feldman said. "If we can't figure out six inches of snow in New England, we all ought to move to Augusta, Ga."

I love Mr. Feldman. Seriously. The guy produces the best town council notes I've ever read. I'm going to start a Barry Feldman fan club (and I plan on remaining an active member even after I move to Augusta, Ga).

8 boring things about a rahthah boring day . . today

1. At 5:30 am, not a flake had fallen.
2. By 6:30 am, the schools had closed and there were at least two inches. (Now more'n 12")
3. I still haven't shoveled outside--inside, yes. Some of us still need to learn about taking off boots before wandering around the house.
4. What's with Children These Days? I have to shove boyz outside to play. I toss out the tobaggans and tubes. Lock the door. Scream "GO SLEDDING" through the keyhole.
5. That plastic shrink wrap stuff for insulating bad windows is extremely cool. It is kinda trashy for this neighborhood. . . Yet another advantage.
6. Boyz reappear within an hour, suffering from computer withdrawal.
7. I want more coffee.
8. Before I grind the beans, I will blast windows with brand new hairdryer. Dual purpose: gets windows smooth and drives boys from computer room. This window treatment makes me think about the past, too. That's always fun.

My Kids' Current Favorite Comic

http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/GiantITP/ootscript?SK=253

( . . . and they love Harry Potter too. Love is not blind in this case.)

Dear Miss Manners

So here's a poser: You rat out your neighbors to an invading army--in fact you are the one to knock on their door with the soldiers behind you. You are directly responsible for your neighbors losing their home, their possessions, their freedom, their two sons who are still missing. Because you marked them as "enemy" (the wrong religion) the father is taken away, stripped, beaten and left for dead and ten years later is still something of a limping basket case. The rest of the family spends three years in prisons and then another five in refugee camps.

Skip ahead. . . Peace has come to the land. You still live in your house and the now ex-neighbors return to your town. What do you say when you see the father wandering around their old homestead--the house was burned to the ground, and the farm now belongs to one of the invaders?

"Hey, hello! How ya doin?"

Yup. You actually go up to the man and put out your hand to shake. Too bad the father can't really shake ha…

I blogged at Romance Unleashed

something of a whine of course.

* * * *

random thing:
Study Links Bake Sales, Weight Problems I mostly like the headline.


* * * *

R-(or X?)ratedrandom thing:

'k. I just read another historical romance (mainstream, as in not advertised as erotica) that had a long description of the guy's "manroot". Color, size, shape, texture--everything was dwelt upon in great detail. And for the woman? She had a "slit". Ha. Didn't even rate a delicate hued flower or tuna-scented lovenest.

And anyway, here's the thing, the vagina is the one part romance rioters go on about. "tight velvet sheathe." Granted, it's part of the package and plays a big role in those graphic love scenes, but since we're talking female pleasure and the female audience for romances, shouldn't there be excruciating detailed scenes starring the clit? Or at least a passing mention of size or something? Something more than "nub" What a word. Nub. (TMI-time: I've been…

dog

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I missed that Thursday thang

PBW and Monica marked Blog Against Racism day. So did Beth ("Please don't be a racist.")

For anyone who thinks that it's not a real issue these days, here's an article to help change your mind. Dang, I hope GAF takes its business elsewhere. Lovely if Walmart lost 50,000 dollah for obvious idiocy.

Chances are

Okay, so, what the heck kind of parent would name his/her kid "Chance" or "Slade"?

I've been sorting books in my house (moving them from plastic bags into cardboard boxes) and have discovered TWO of them feature heroes named Chance. What were those babies' parents thinking? Don't they know that every kid in elementary school is going to have at that little darling: Fat Chance! Slim Chance! Gack.

Even if the third graders don't take the bait later on in life, how do the parents come up with the names in the first place? Oh look honey, the little guy looks just like a slab of rock. Let's call him Slate.

In romanceworld, parents are always giving questionable names but they're not as bad as paranormalfantasyland where the parents just adore apostrophes. Ka'oht' Ton'k. Spe'w Fo'orth. K'la Onde R'cks

The absolute worst parents exist in spamville. I've looked through my undeleted spamfiles to bring you some of the best.…

map time

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I keep seeing these things all over the blog world so I want one too. I just have to figure out where to put the little sucker.

In the meantime, I'll plop it down here. You can be the first and add yourself. I'm going to go to Jason's blog and look at his gorgeous photos of graveyards.


damn, now that's some FINE rejection stuff!

I'm quite the rejection letter connoisseur, and I must say I've been getting some good ones lately. I won't make the mistake of posting an editor's letter here again. Let's just say that the content of the letter is as good as the feedback you might get on contests.

It's more of a revise-this-and-we'll-look-again letter. And the stuff the editor points out? Wow, she's right.

Huh. She ought to do this editing thing for a living.

No, I'm not being a brown-noser. I happen to know that this nameless editor would never look at my blog. It's just kind of cool that sometimes a rejection is extremely useful--great advice from a professional for no cost, other than a moment's (or an hour's) sensation of "aw, damn".

I'm fond of that story, so chances are I'll actually get around to doing what she suggests. Some day. First I have to re-write all the crud I lost when the lap-top crashed. When that doesn't work, I'll have to cra…

I blogged TWO other places.

1. For left-wing ranty politics, please click here. Be warned, it's on the dailykos site and sometimes that place is just too far over the edge--and ....er....I might have been influenced by the tone. Kate eyes ferfe nervously. Actually the only interesting part is a link to this story.

2. For a continuation (or perhaps the repetition) of the discussion of romance** as Rodney Dangerfield please click here.


More than enough Kate in the blogosphere, I'd say. I just got back from Bosnia and the ladies did NOT want to hang around long so we ended our day early. We went to an apartment, had cups of kill-me-now coffee and I came home as soon as I could. Now where did I put that bottle of TUMS?

____________

** check the comments, particularly Bookseller Chick's.

well, it's one way to train the family

Thanks to Ari for the link to this auction.

The woman is scary. Do not cross her. Do NOT leave anything lying on any tables. (I'm talking about the woman running the auction--not Ari)

the WINNER IS. . .

brace yourself, sock lovers. . .

SAM!

A poignant slice of life--Can't get more poignant than wishing you weren't so different from your sisters. Slice of life? Line o' ants fits that bill. Click on the email thing on the right corner, Sam. Supply your footsize and tell me if you want a book too. Oh, and I'll need an address.

Robyn's entry would have been perfect, but the word-count went over 100.
Cheryl's also fit, but she has socks and anyway, she claimed it wasn't a real entry.

Heck--as usual, all of the entries were great. A round of applause! And the judge gets some chocolate.

****


Speaking of poignant, it's sort of piteous to think that my former guest the PIL will soon move out of the heavily drugged love stage. . . Or at least that's what these people say. Here's what I say: I'd buy stock in a company that produced Lurve in a nose spray.

****

and shark scribbles, too bad you're too late, because that really is poignant and a slice of life-…

why it works, SBD

It's all endorphins.

I'll bet I've said it before: romance can help what ails you. Everyone else has said it. Every conference I go to has a big name romance writer speaker who talks about the most horrible moments of her life with the climax of her speech being How Reading/Writing Romance Helped Her Through It.** We're all sniffling along with her and then uplifted at the conclusion. Yowza, talk about endorphins. (Not to mention the buzz brought on by sharing common experiences)

I was just yammering about Depression. and Embarrassment. those downers that we can revive with no effort. Sometimes it's like yawning. Just recall an incident and bang! you're in that state of mind vividly. (ever noticed that about certain words? Say "yawn" aloud and I bet you'll yawn within minutes. Say the word "lice" aloud and your head itches. I've never had lice and I have that response. Weird.) Anyway, those negative emotions are so easily accessed...we…

The Contest is Ending and Kate Does Depression

Only 13 entries? That is pah-thet-ick. But quality not quantity counts.
HEY go on. You have til midnight to enter.

* * * *

The Thanksgiving crowd is gone. I got a long email--half apologetic, half amused--from my niece who'd brought along the PIL. Next time the niece visits, she's going to bring along a friend who's never petted a dog or a cat. Can you imagine?

I'm not so sure Sooz the 70 lbs neuroto-pup is a good place to start pet patting, but that's between the niece and her friend.

Our dishwasher is relieved that the extra people are gone. The kids are in mourning. I did love having extended family here. They're such good extended family, too. My siblings have done a wonderful job with their kids.

* * * *

I'm grey, grey, grey. Glomming onto anything that is hopeless or sad and being very November about life. I'd like to give a miss to being a depressive, thank you. I'll take a cheery attitude for ten, please, Alex.

I wish I could use all this brain che…

Burp

We still have guests. Nieces and nephew and a niece's friend. The friend is young PIL**. It's been a long time since I've interacted with one of these and I must say, I'd forgotten what a bore they can be.

You'd think that a romance writer would be more sympathetic. Heck, I should probably sit the girl down and interview her. Does your heart actually beat faster when you see your adored one? Do you think of the object of your desire when you first wake up? Can you see anything interesting and not immediately think of how you're going to relate it to her? (they're PILLs**)

Fact is, I rarely see our houseguest. She's usually hiding in her bedroom IMing the object of her desire or talking to her on the phone. We're talking deeply, deeeeeeply in love. The guest has missed a couple of meals because of this obsession. She panicked when we went to the movie theater and discovered she didn't have her cell phone--turned out she did. And of course, part way…

schedule

Today's schedule--preparing for guests

1. Begin vacuum entire house.
2. Stop vacuuming when reaching boys' room because of huge mess on floor that they did not clean up even though I asked TEN TIMES over the last few days.
3a Begin to clean mess.
3b. Get mad and discouraged, leave vacuum cleaner in boys' room and decide to clean bathrooms instead.
4. Get wet cleaning shower stall, remember that I need shower.
5. Forget all towels still in laundry.
6. Walk, dripping and nekkid into bedroom.
7. Scream when dog puts cold nose on butt.
8. Dry off with clean unfolded bit of laundry.
9. V. cold from having no towel. Get dressed and make more coffee to warm up.
10 Check email.
11 NAG PEOPLE TO ENTER MY CONTEST.
12 Realise still need to pick up special order 28 lbs turkey from store closing early. Realise out of norvasc--contemplate fact that norvasc (newest of the godawful high blood pressure medications) sounds like some kind of missile treaty. Realise still need fair number of groceries. Wo…

Today's Blog Find

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She gets a number of comments so the blog's not an undiscovered treasure that might bring out a possessive streak in some weirdos.


Hey, speaking of fab finds, what's the problem? You know you want those socks.Enter the contest, already.

enter if you dare.

1. contest ends a week from Monday . . . I mean November 28, because it's nearly Thanksgiving and we're going to have a bunch of people here. Three cousins and one cousin's friend will stay with us. On the big day we'll also get another family coming over. Lots of people and have I started to clean my house? nope. Will I? maybe. No refugees this year. I don't know anyone new any more.

2. maybe while I'm cleaning the pit of doom, I'll find the Billy and Blaze tape and will include that as part of the prize. It's read by David Cassidy. I have no idea how it ended up in our lives, but it's sure to be a collector's item fetching huge prices on ebay. Yours, if you enter and win the contest--and I find it. Don't forget you'll also win the Bosnian Socks, which now come with an informative pamphlet.

3. More rulz when I think of them. Void where prohibited by law.

TWO HUNDRED!!

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Yep, this is the 200th post.

I have to drive around the greater Hartford area and then act as a Stern Overseer, sitting in an empty house with no internet connection.

That means you'll have to write this post for me. Make it a poignant slice of life** and less than 100 words. You might want to look at some of my previous back cover contests and maybe I'll even include links to them. Later.

In the meantime, here are some photos to inspire you. Extra points if you incorporate all four.



Write a good one and I'll send you sox. And maybe a book.

This might qualify a contest even, but I'm too tarred, tarred, tarred to pimp a contest. Maybe after the Day of Endless and Bizarre Errands (one includes the use of Vaseline tm), I'll go around to other blogs and push this as a real contest.

____________________________________


** I think we can agree that Beth's belly dancing boy qualifies. Billy Elliot with a spangled crop top and finger cymbals.

Private Life Check In

I'm printing out manuscripts. We're talking about half a box of paper, hundreds of pages, nearly three reams. Holy shit, I sure am a chatty person. My main emotion about the mountains of paper is embarrassment. Who are you to use up those natural resources? What makes you think your work is worth a minute of an editor's time? Naturally this is just a stage. Later on, when those editors send rejections, my outrage will be directed at them.

I'm telling you, the writer's lot is one of ego inflation, ego deflation and other really silly bits of torture, mostly self-inflicted.

Speaking of torture devices, have I mentioned my printer is 13 years old and cranky? It jams every 20 or so pages just to remind me who's in charge. I have to dissect it, fish out scraps of paper, reassemble it and then reassure it I love it. I do, too. HP Laserjet 4P, my fourth favorite baby.

As the stuff clunks out of the machine, I turn over and read random pages and immediately see how I coul…

eye rolling

The kids recovered from their temporary insanity. They felt the need to scream "SKILL CRANE" . I dunno. I suspect the moon was full.

I hid from them and read blogs. Right blogs, left blogs, black blogs, white blogs, big blogs and little blogs, par-tay blogs.

And now I'm the one who's insane.

From Bill O'Reilly to a standard vegfemPETA blog, everyone knows what's Good for This Country. And the other side? NOT TRUE AMERICANS. Nope, only if you're [fill in blank] can you be considered a TRUE AMERICAN. Guess what, Bill? A bunch of the people of San Francisco are truer Americans if only because they get the point--it's okay. We're all in it together.

a true American is on welfare
a true American joins the military after high school.
a true American works two shifts at the Colt factory then quits to join a cult.
a true American works 80 hours a week.
a true American owns three homes.
a true American knows all three verses of the star spangled banner.
a true Ameri…

my kids

They are driving me crazy. Pure up the wall and over the edge.

Time outs all around, but the longest one for the woman blithering quietly in the corner, yanking out tufts of her hair.

more veteran's day

I figure the best way to celebrate (and avoid work) was to actually read about what it's like to be a soldier so I wandered around that Operation Truth site a while.

I found blogs and other sites....and here's the summary: It's usually a really, really crappy job.

from one blog about the current war:
Counterinsurgency operations (COIN) present tons of challenges, not the least of which is how they complicate the moral calculus of killing.

A Soldier who fights in a high-intensity war against a uniformed enemy can confidently assume that every enemy soldier is a combatant, a threat, someone whom it's morally permissible to kill. That's why Soldiers don't fire warning shots; instead, they aim to "put two in the chest." People downrange are to be killed unless they surrender or become incapcitated.In contrast, a Soldier who is part of a security force in a situation where his mission is to protect the people and where a non-uniformed enemy hides among the pe…

"It sounded like a typewriter"

That's what a veteran said about the bullets hitting the side of his lander during World War Two. He didn't realize what the tapping was until a couple of hours later--which was just as well because he had to wade ashore through the rain of bullets.

It's Veteran's Day! Or Remembrance Day or Armistace Day. . .

To celebrate Veterans Day, here's a short list of sites run by veterans and/or soldiers' families that aim to make the troops veterans -- and not casualties.

bring them home now.

operation truth, advocacy

[note to anyone visiting twice: I took down one site devoted to collecting air tickets for military on leave because it had no activity after 12/04--not because it was pro-Bush policy]

veterans for peace

iraq veterans for peace

military families speak out

I'm supposed to be writing

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Instead I'm thinking about the blog post I'm not going to write. No, no, stop me, I beg my computer Don't let me rant.

I lose readers when I rant. People email me to say, "I want to read your books but your political POV puts me off. I'll never read your stuff now." I understand that--hey I can sympathize with it.

Here's what I want to post but I know is inappropriate, alarmist and overwrought, not to mention so left-wing it makes my teeth hurt.

Chemical warfare[warning: link has graphic images],torture, secret prisons. Who's the bad guy again?

To stop myself from obsessing about this and getting to work (not to mention not posting this damned entry in a romance rioter blog, Teresa) I went looking for reassurance that we're really not a Bad Guy. First of all, the above methods seem to be seriously stupid actions in the circumstances--not the way to win the hearts and minds of a country we "liberated" and want to retain as an ally. But the re…

cold rain and a synopsis and more self pity

November in New England ... Feeeeeeeel my pain.

When my hard drive died, it took all my synopses with it. I mean honestly--who remembers to back up synopses? The agent wants to send out a book so I have to write another five pages or so about it. Oh lordy lord, I dislike producing a synopsis under normal circumstances but I know this means I'm going to have reread this book.

Can't I do something more palatable instead, like clean the boys' filthy bathroom with a toothbrush? Or the other task I'm avoiding -- trying to reconstruct the lost 200 pages of another novel.

Skip the second project. I'd much rather just grab the toothbrush and bleach and start scrubbing the grout. (I think an application of bleach behind the boys' toilet produces some dangerous chemicals. Seriously--ammonia and chlorine bleach? Didn't they use that in the trench warfare of WWI?)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Got a minute? You can go wish Teresa Bodwell happy birthday. You have to click the link to "Visit Teresa's LiveJournal" because it doesn't seem to have its own direct link. Hmmm.

Happy Birthday, TB.

Possessive ...Hey, that's my air you're breathing

Okay this is an astonishingly stupid quirk that has to go. We're talking a character flaw that I shall now reveal to the world.

I feel possessive of** the blogs I visit.

I'm adding booksellerchick to my list of blogs . . . and as I went swooping by to pick up her address I noticed that suddenly other people are visiting her and I think, hey, wtf? This is my blog. It's like going to my neighborhood Indian restaurant that was sort of quiet and suddenly there's a line waiting to get in.

Except it is nothing like that. I don't have to wait for a table--and the more people who contribute to a discussion the more interesting and livelier it gets. I know this. And the the wtf response doesn't last (well, at least until I notice that my blogger is over posting at other blogs and not at mine).

Never mind that it's not really my blog, that I don't really know the blogger and what the hell difference does it make. Just because I got to read Beth before most of the res…

SBD what is it with the food?

I think it's funny that bookseller chick and Candy and everyone else is doing food. I'm going to jump on the ice cream wagon. Candy got all shy about the analogy but nawwwww. . . Why not take it all the way to the coffee and biscuits?

what I'll eat:

John Gardner = a thoughtfully prepared and rich meal. Say...something with complex cheeses and home-made pasta. Traditional but with lovely twists. Can't gulp it all down at once though.

Annie Dillard=just like John Gardner only made with green peppers and I really don't like green peppers much.

Judith Ivory or Laura Kinsale= one of those chocolate cakes that's so rich that you moan through every bite but don't want to eat the whole cake at once.

Standard Category= twinkies. Sometimes NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. You can wolf one of these down and not even moan about the wasted calories. but don't kid yourself into thinking it's always homebaking.

Really Good Category= twinkie-like sometimes it is home baked and the …

silver lining to the death of a computer

When you go to the back-up disks, you find old stuff you forgot about.

Here's a short story I wrote years ago. It was published in a now-defunct literary magazine and it's not romance. [eb--you've read it already] It won an award.

I loaded another short story at my website, a more recent one. That one is romance.

This hunting down and displaying old stories is almost like fun--I'm looking for my other short stories so I can put them on my site. I can't find my very favorite about a compulsive liar and her patient husband. It wasn't my best short story, but it was the first thing of mine ever published for cash** It appeared in the Monocacy Valley Review, yet another defunct literary publication. (I have the touch, eh?)

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** Twenty-five dollars.

even more depressing than a dead computer

I finally finished reading Dude, Where's My Country?

Yeah, Michael Moore can be annoying. Scratch that--he is annoying. But if he's correct about even a single one of those accusations. . . even if the accusation is only partially correct . . .There are far worse things than being annoying.

The drive for money and power are apparently the only motivators for Bush and Co. What ugly souls they must possess.

Do I believe it all? I'd go look at the rebuttals that are plastered all over the internet, but just now I can't bear to read another sentence about the issue. Maybe later.

Ugh.

* * * * *
oh and this is the best answer ever for Cheney's love o' torture:

"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile."
- Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon to Berthier 11 Nov 1798, Corres., V,…

The Long Day of Reconstruction

Jennifer--Watch out for that little stick. My once fabulously reliable fujifilm stick somehow got corrupted. I spent hours trying to work with it and it's really fried says the tech dudes.

Yeah, the hard disk isn't wiped, it's corrupted. I called a data recovery place and they said they'd do it for about $1000 a gigabyte, and just recovering one story would be about 400. They explained it's like reconstructing a shattered mirror, and they have to hunt around for the bits of things. The place I talked to does a lot of reconstruction for blue collar crime--cool junk.

Anyway, I sob in gratitude to the editors, my agent and crit partners who've emailed back copies I sent out to them. I'm reconstructing that way. I'm going to put everything in gmail again and I'm going to just have to corrupt--hmm, smash into pieces?--my poor boys by putting my stuff on this computer again. (I found one of them reading one of my stories on this computer and stopped sending…

bye-bye hard drive

bye-bye several hundred pages of stories, a couple hundred email addresses, photos of my family, every single work in progress I have.

I'm now going to take the hard drive out and put it in the freezer. My husband says that sometimes works. Wotthehell.

sob.

In the meantime, the boys will let me share this computer. They're scared of me just now so that should work out well.

Hard Drive Death Rattle?

Maybe.

We have the blue screen of death.

We have the expensive call into Dell Software types to make sure it's not Windows XP messing with my mind. (I did my blogging at the belfry while on hold.) Don't bother to ask: of course I haven't backed anything up this week.

This is the fourth time in two years I've had a laptop go south. Have I learned anything? Not enough, apparently. I might have lost 30-60 pages this time,** depending on whether or not Linda has the copy I sent her. That doesn't beat my old record of 80 pages of the unfinished Someone To Love going ffffffftttttt.

Damn. I don't haul the damn computer around any more. I treat it with kindness, consideration and a light touch. I keep it well stashed and away from boy and dog abuse when I'm not using it. Apparently this is not enough for Mr. Dell "OOooo She's lookin' at me funneeeeee" Inspiron Laptop.

I can't work. I might as well do Doug's meme. Lyn Cash's meme, really. Ms…