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Showing posts from February, 2006

"Och, ma darlin' wee lass," or, Maili's worst nightmare

I don't even read these things and I know what's supposed to happen. But in case you don't, check out Gabriele's site. She's listing Rules for Writing Scottish Romances .

SBD First Romance Novel I Ever Read

I don't know the name...it was a category romance someone left on a bus. I picked it up and flipped through it--and then read it For Real. The hero was a blind musician maybe? The heroine was his nurse. He regains his sight and naturally this is not good for the heroine. I think she flees because she's 'not good enough for him.' She might have even been a size 11 and therefore too fat?

Ooops gotta stop, dog is puking on the rug. No, really. Logan's letting loose on the family room floor. bwww bww bwwww aaaaaaack.

Okay, back to the first romance. Not that there's much left to say. All I can recall about the end of the book is that the heroine's bedroom contains a huge smiling camel sculpture with real eyelashes. The hero, who apparently turned into a peeping Tom once he got his eye-sight back, thinks the thing expressed her whimsical nature. I thought ewww.

This story inspired me. I read it, enjoyed it more than I thought I should** and left it on another bus--…

Fafnir explains again

Freedom to bird flu and all the reasons in between--why we're in Iraq, yesterday, tomorrow and today. All there.

internal hell

Community service is over. I tried to help the boy find a job with someone other than me but the world of human services has apparently figured out that a clueless middle-schooler with only five hours to spare is too much work for them. Kind of like building a fire in a badly designed fireplace--instead of helping, it sucks all the heat from the place.

B2 was a better intern than the first intern I had at the magazine. Hmmm... I've blocked on her name. Her time in my office? Unforfriggingettable.

There's an old joke with professors: they don't like to schedule too many big exams because tests seem to raise the mortality rate of grandparents. First time I heard about that sick grandparent syndrome was when I had the Intern From Hell (IFH).

During her semester with me, IFH had two very sick grandparents. Maybe even one of them died? I can't remember. She was cursed with unreliable cars and a horrible break-up and an actual broken bone. By the time she showed up with the cas…

Guest Blogger

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His mission, community service. His job, organizing socks. This part of his mission? Convincing you to look at the socks. Later we will take out the bad pictures. For now. . . presenting Boy Two in his official role:

Yo yo yo My homey home home home dogg doggies!!! *pant* A to the L to the EX here to rage against the machine!!!!!*cough* Okay. I am done now. I am here to be Mr. Young salesman, and show you, yes YOU, some of our amazing socks. Oh so amazing. Handknitted by Bosnian refugees, no two are alike yaddayaddayadda. You already know all that. Unless mom is lazy. Without further ado:


Oh look at the lovely flower. There are many handknit purses like this one for to put your various moneys/ possessions/ illegal items you are smuggling over the border into.
Is that a whistle or something attached to the hat? I don't know, I'm just the photographer. Well, yeah, it's a price tag. This thing is bigger than it looks, it's just that I stink with cameras. The bosnians knit al…

Thursday Thirteen again

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Thirteen Things about writing

1. Learn to write dialogue by conducting interviews and recording them. I did that for years when I wrote articles. I don't know if that helped, but it sure didn't hurt. 2. Finish the damned thing. No, stop talking or fretting about it. Just write. 3. Being published means you learn the preferences and pets' names of every New York editor. 4. And the secret handshake.5. Turn off the internet when you're working. 6. Read PBW on Mondays. That's when she posts her lists that are often extremely useful for writers. Sometimes it's advice, sometimes it's fun ways to avoid work. I'd post some of the writing links here but there's no point. She's got it covered. 7. Miss Snark is funny and astute and on target but she's just one person, or two, maybe. No one has all the answers--except me. I do, so just ask. 8. I love writing fluff and romance. That's why this is pink. Don't ask me when I'm going to write a re…

POST NUMBER THREE HUNDRED

None of you gave me any ideas and since I remain in a sadistic mood (even though the dentist thing was a wash out) you will be punished with a joke from Valerie Parv. I'd never heard it before and that could mean that she made it up. After all, the woman has an astounding ability to play with words.

I mean it. Hold up your thumb and forefinger and bring them so close together you can't see any light through them. Okay. Now. Parv and words are like that.

THE JOKE
Hear about the consumer questionnaire that went around, asking people what electrical appliance they couldn't do without?
90% of respondents said their refrigerator.


It was known as the survey with the fridge on top.

Can you give me anything worse? Sure you can, you word masters and mistresses. Give me your old, stale, new and fresh jokes. Just make sure they're as at least as corny as Ms. Parv's** I'll make sure they go to good homes.

______

**If they are any cornier, please post a warning at the top of your …

I'm going to the dentist

So I'll just leave links.

Letterman takes off gloves. Cool.

The man I vote most eligible to be bottom for a really bad dominatrix. She should not allow a safe word and she should use a scalpel and a lot of springy clothespins--and she should not know what the hell she's doing.

Recall I'm going to the dentist so the sadistic streak is open, wide.

My next entry will be number 300. I'll take any suggestions about possible subjects.

Doug -- plus --why yes, Nanza, I do have socks

Heh. Who says blogwhoring for someone and slipping them a coupla hundred doesn't pay off? (did anyone say that?) Doug wrote a post about my book...


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Here's my socks inventory. Three pairs are promised to a gallery, and she hasn't picked out which ones she wants yet (I did this inventory for her).

These are more like slipper/booties than regular socks. They do NOT have non-skid bottoms. (but I don't slide when I wear them and I am a klutz. Just ask EB.)

unless noted, these sizes fit about women's size 6-10 or so. But that's me looking at them, okay? And I do not sell socks for a living -- at least not my living. Caveat emptor, is all I'm saying. You can return any socks you want, and I'll pay you back but I won't refund your return shipping.

br=bright
First color mentioned is main color. Decoration added is other colors.

-- purple with white
-- white with rust
-- blue with rust (with a cuff)
-- red with teal and white
-- bright green with lavender and …

hot** trend in fart culture

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notes from the front lines:
1. If you fart, you must say "safety."
2. If someone who farts does not say the magic word of "safety", someone else can say "doorknob"
3. The "doorknob" person can thwack the farter until farter runs to a door and touches the knob.

practical notes:
a. The door handle inside the car does not count as doorknob.
b. Pulling over to the side of the road and demanding the hitting stop is unfair because they're only "following the rules".
c. The threat of "stop hitting your brother or you walk home" usually works.

I thought my kids made up the safety/doorknob thing--its actually a standard middle-schoolish practice. Stay alert.


**whoops. According to Beth it's a very cold, very old trend.



* * * * *
unrelated addition:

I'm posting this to make AngieW feel better. A child turned his head at the wrong moment while his mother held clippers. This is the aftermath (a professional performed the final butchery).

My Arm Hurts

ow ow ow. it hurts from patting myself on the back.

I met a self-imposed deadline! I finished the first draft of a ms today! Emphasis on DRAFT. There are chunks sort of . . .missing. And other chunks that ought to be missing. BUT I wrote The End and it really is. The two chunks that need to get produced and dropped into place shouldn't be a big deal. I hope. Knock wood.

This was a good deadline to meet because the boys have off next week.

Question: Why do the boys have next week off?
Answer: I have no bloody clue. This is February and February in New England (this New England, not Bron's) is not a time I'd choose to have three crazed boys ricocheting around the house. What were those people thinking?

Style

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Okay, I know we're sick of the whole Cheney thing. But here's a source of indignation that hasn't been fully explored yet.

The man lacks style. I mean honestly. Compare Cheney's delivery with Lord Voldemort's far more deliciously sinister cover-up.

And really. The whole excess of killing far more than you need is slightly repulsive even as they remind one of the old Edwardian hunting parties:
There were shooting parties at which thousands of birds were slaughtered in bizarre anticipation of what would soon happen to millions of men on the Western Front. There were stalking parties in the Scottish Highlands, where middle-aged millionaires put on funny clothes to bag a stag.
But the elegance of those old parties was undeniable. Drinks were fine wines and whiskey served in crystal, not beers served in cans. And the funny clothes? The rich went out in the most stylish dress. Stiff collars and frock coats instead of bright orange. You can see the whole elegant crew here.I…

and speaking of low expectations (or TMI)

All you women who complain bitterly about men who leave the toilet seat up?
It can be far worse. The males in your life might not bother to raise the seat--and then try, with a spectacular lack of success, to aim for the hole while the seat's in place.

Here's the TMI Part: 2 am. not quite awake, in the dark, the female sits on the seat and meets a very cold puddle of pee. Oh and look. The lid's all wet too. This is not the first time. . .

All 3 boys deny being the culprit. If it happens again, I'm setting up a video camera and then forcing the criminal to clean that bathroom for the rest of his residency in this house.

we need to talk, said the agent

oh god. she's going to drop me.

I haven't sold for two years. Well, not a New York book.
A couple of weeks ago, she sent the email setting up the appointment. And that was two weeks of desultory work and more active contemplation of my future as a has-been before I'd ever managed to be a have-is . . .

I was wrong. She meant we need to talk, as in plan the next year--though it didn't help that she started out by saying "I have bad news," in hushed sympathetic tones. "Your book got rejected by [I've already forgotten the name of the editor]. She liked your voice; she liked the characters. The book just didn't do it for her."

That's bad news? That's NORMAL news.

The rest of the call was about what I should write next. How's about an erotic historical set in New York. Sure! Why not combine Summer and Kate?

She'll do her bit with pitching the old book and a newish one to new editors and I sent off a couple more finished books and she…

What makes you happy every time? SBD

PBW complained about some of the common problems in books that make her nuts. Plenty of bad stuff to avoid.

I want to go for the opposite exercise--tried to figure out what makes me stay in a book and/or give me a strong emotional response.

My first response is that it's all general. Strong characters, interesting plot. Blah. Once I figure out something specific (guys who pretend not to like cats but are sneak-patting one on page 200) then it's a device and therefore sneerworthy.

But heck, I can be manipulated by the right writer. Sure! I mean we're talking Universal Themes, right? So it's nothing to be ashamed of.

We'll call them archetypes and pretend we're in English 101. The people I like to read about:

The loners--who keep a part of their mystery through the whole book. I'm talking about the tough detective, the wizard. Merlin. None of this complete meltdown into mate material at the end. That's what happened to Spenser about 3,000 books back. He was ne…

stuff

THIRTY TWO freakinginches. That's what the local weatherman said. Wowee. But it's fluffy and that means easy to plow and that probably means school tomorrow. Talk about whining, X, you should hear the laments of the boys.

Okay, remember that I brought you the joys of the Brawny Man? Huh? Remember him? I'm out there for you, looking for more astoundingly bad videos to love.

Here's another ad campaign I found over at Jesus General. (Why does he link to it?). It isn't as mortifying but it is more mystifying. The stories are just so damned ODD. What's with the slippers? I watched a bunch of the peculiar little things before I realized I really didn't have to.

There never is any soup.

mike took these at 7 am

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and it's still coming down hard and sideways. The local cause of horror and pity: this is on a SUNDAY. Chances are it'll be cleaned up and there will be school tomorrow.

our back deck




out the front of the houseUPDATE: The snow is now over the front of the van. Oh. The weather report is for 20-30 inches total accumulation.

a moment of silence

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My favorite local bookstore has gone under. It was a Barnes and Noble, but it felt like an indy because of the enthusiastic staff. They'd all been there for years. Now where will they go?
Where will I go?

Dig out yer walletses

I'm fundraising. Here's the good news: you don't receive any cookies, candles, popcorn or wrapping paper. You just give money and that's it! No stuff will clutter up your life--except maybe a nice tax deduction.

My brother-in-law, a cabinet maker, is on his way to Pearlington, Mississippi to help rebuild homes. "Hey, Kate," my sister said. "Carter has to raise $2,000 bucks so he can help people. I'm doing the fundraising."

So now I'm passing the buck that he passed to her and she passed to the people on her email list. Yes, I'll shell out some dough, but I thought maybe I'd nag you lot too.

It seemed pretty odd to me that a volunteer would have to pay. Hell, they should be delighted to get the services of a professional carpenter like Carter. So I called Building Goodness to find out why he had to pay for his own food and supplies.

Brenda Yordy, the friendly director of the organization said that, no, the volunteers aren't required

The Truth About Me.

Celebrated novelist JT Leroy, known for gritty novels that drew on his life as a prostitute and drug addict, doesn't really exist--and there's another book in the making (well, movie offer. Even better).




A central figure in the case of the mysterious writer JT Leroy has come forward to say that no one named JT Leroy exists, and that the books published under that name were actually written by a San Francisco woman named Laura Albert.

Geoffrey Knoop said that stress of the scheme led him to come forward. . . Knoop, Ms. Albert's partner for the last 16 years, said in a telephone interview on Saturday evening that he had seen Ms. Albert write the books of JT Leroy in their San Francisco apartment. He added that for much of the last decade, he had been present when Ms. Albert conducted telephone conversations as JT Leroy with unwitting editors, writers and celebrities, using the voice of a young man with a West Virginia accent.


Ms. Albert, 40, is originally from Brooklyn.



All of…

thanks for asking

I'll be better soon.

I went years with only small occasional attacks that didn't run the show. This particular episode is very clearly in charge of the brain -- though I did manage to do a couple of errands today. And the bathrooms are so clean they scared the children.

Time again to practice the baffling koan art of Living With Panic as taught by those who basically teach the sufferer "Don't think about the phrases, simply live them" and "Don't not think about it". . .All part of the looking at a tree and not thinking about squirrels School of Cognitive Junk. Or rather being slammed face first into a tree over and over and reminding oneself that the tree is not charge.

But life will soon be sweet again. I have just signed up for Don Juan's tip of the day, discovered at Reese Witherfork's place. I will wow the girls with my indifference and they'll come over just to see why I'm ignoring them.

Here's a little gem from that site.

And it…

and since I'm complaining

hey, a lot of people blog about their migraines. This is kind of like that, eh? worser living through badly designed personal chemistry. Intelligent design my aunt fanny. I read somewhere the attacks last a half hour. I've never had one last less than two hours and they always leave behind days of mental slime to clean up.

Lizard brain comes barging into regular life demands that all activity cease because FEAR is HERE.

Regular brain starts wondering what triggered the attack.Uh oh. Don't start. You can't ignore it but don't make eye contact. Just pretend that it's not important and--

Lizard brain pulls out weapons. Silence! And while we're on the subject, I do not give you permission to breathe that way! You must now make yourself dizzy with bizarre breathing. And overdramatic shaking! Then you must spend 1.45 hours puking and being generally disgustingly sick.

Regular brain says, what the hell? there is nothing going on here. What did I do to bring this on? could…

stupid

I hate panic attacks
I'm having one just now
I suspect it's because I have to leave my maze in two days. Or just because the moon is made of rock. The why never is important.
So
I'm
Lying in bed next to a peacefully sleeping husband and it's either poke him til I wake him up or whine at you lot. I know he'd vote for whining. Actually I could just not do both but naw, might as well whine.

hyperventilating, shaking, barfing . . .
What a waste of energy.


scuse me -- gotta go throw up now. Of course I'm shaking so much I have to put the laptop down carefully. Don't want to drop that.

sign # 52 that maybe I spend too much time blog-hopping

Dream: I tried to leave comments in a blog and my words kept getting erased. It was an honest-to-God nightmare. :::::shudder::::

stalled . . .out

I was chugging along nicely with this story and now. It fizzled. Not a sagging middle, more like an irksome ending.

The action is done but I can't just write THE END because there are too many unfinished bits. Tying up? Bleh. Black moment? Worse. I swear if I throw in anything more for that stupid required black moment (I KNOW it's not actually required, o my fellow rioters, I KNOW.) it'll be a giant bowl of nonsense. I enjoy overkill as much as the next person, but only when it feels like naturally occurring overkill. Not overkill that just wandered onto the scene waving a gun.

On the other hand, right now everyone's just wiping his or her hands saying, "okay then! Back to life, shall we?"

And to make matters worse, my writing goddess has decided to go back to school. She's reading that thing about whales -- have you seen the great white?

My sister thinks she's allowed to have a life, too. I'd ask Beth but she fell asleep two pages into the last ms.

S…

Thursday's Thirteen Things

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Thirteen Random Things about Kate1. I once had a dog named Frances. Her real name had been Princess but my grandmother had misheard the name. "Frances" fit the dog better.2. I now have a dog named Soozee--boys insisted it is spelled funniee. She is a family dog but we both know she's really mine. 3. Everyone especially knows she's mine when she craps in the house. "Kate, your dog took a dump in the family room," says my husband. "Better clean it up."4. When I was a kid I had gerbils until the day the mom ate her kids. No, sorry. I couldn't live with cannibalistic animals. I don't know what happened to the gerbils after that. Hey, I was only 8 or something, okay? My parents dealt with it but I don't remember what they did--probably gave them to the neighbors.5. Enough with the animals. Here's the first movie we saw with our Christmas gift of 3 months of netflix [thanks Jed!]: Monty Python's Life of Brian.6. Next up was a chunk o…