Saturday, January 27, 2007

I just can't resist...

Darn you, Shannon! You know I can't resist a good tag. I'm supposed to be answering questions for my web developer, not blog memes.
But I can't resist. So here you go:
Women's Fiction Meme
Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?
All of the above. I started with Contemporary, then I discovered writers like Christina Dodd and Kinley Macgregor. I tend to go through waves, now. I'll read a bunch of contemporary, then I move on to some Historicals. Then I might move on to a Paranormal, or a Suspense. It all depends on my mood.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
Mass Market paperbacks are easier to carry around, and I'm all about ease.

Heyer or Austen?
Um...I've started one Jane Austen in my entire life. I'm about halfway through it two years later. I enjoy it, but I can get pulled from it easily. Never read anything by Georgette Heyer.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
I prefer being able to hold the books, flip through them, read the backs, and maybe an excerpt. When all else fails, Amazon.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
I used to work for Borders, so I guess I'm slightly biased toward them. But I get more gift cards to B&N than to Borders.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?
I read a few Lindsay way back when, but really neither.

First romance novel you ever remember reading?
Can't remember the title. It was a Harlequin Presents that my Bubbe owned. I remember the main character had red hair, and it took place in Australia.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?
Random to a point. I have all books by the same author clumped together. And if there is a series, I put them in order from first to last.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Mostly keep, though in the last few years I've gotten better. I sell, donate or give away any book I don't absolutely love or see myself re-reading.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Same as Shannon. I usually start with it on, and then remove it when it starts to annoy me.

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake?
Sookie. But it's been a while.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When I'm forced to go do something else, or else both. If I'm getting tired, I try to make it to a break.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Once upon a time. I love my fairy tales.

Crusie or SEP? I started as a Seppie, and will always be one at heart. But I do love Crusie too. They are both fantastic.

Buy or Borrow?
Used to be I had to own. Now I'll beg, borrow, buy and loot.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
Browse, auto-buys and recommendation. Rarely do I trust book reviews.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Tidy endings...I like my instant gratification. I don't want to wait.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
Whenever I CAN read :D

Series or standalone?
I love series. But I'm a bibliophile, so if it's good, I'll read.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
That'd be tough. I have a tendency to shout about the ones I love until someone listens.


Sunday, January 21, 2007


I spent a good part of the afternoon at a coffee tasting, with a few friends. If you're like Mom, you probably have never heard of a coffee tasting. It's basically like a wine tasting, only with different coffee blends and roasts. Now, I don't drink wine, and so I never go to wine tastings. I can't stand the taste of the stuff, so it makes sense to stay away.
I don't really drink coffee either, for much the same reason. I can't stand the taste. When I do drink it, it's so doctored it might as well not be in there. The only reason I went was to see a friend who is having surgery tomorrow.
On top of all this, I am also pretty sensitive to caffeine. If I drink it when I'm tired, it brings me up to normal. But if I drink it when I'm awake? Oooh, boy, watch out. I talk even faster than normal, and I feel like I'm vibrating. Too bad I forgot this little fact before the tasting began.
I sat through most of the coffee tasting, with one nose must be broken, because I can't tell the difference between any of these scents. They all smelled the same to me. Same thing with taste. I must have defective tastebuds, because it all tasted like burnt, dirty water to me...with an aftertaste.
On the bright side, we also sampled some fabulous pastries, and I picked up a new all was not lost.
Of course, I'm still pretty high on the caffeine, which will probably make falling asleep a little difficult. Darn!


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Booksignings and other writing related news...

The ever-fabulous Gerri Russell, Shannon McKelden and Pat White held a signing at the local Borders. The turnout was fantastic (even if a lot of us had a personal investment in the signing), and the ladies covered a lot of information that, while maybe not new, needed to be heard. After the discussion, we milled around the store, waiting for Shannon to finish the signing part of the event. I bought too many books, put others on hold, and generally had a good time. At one point Pat asked me who all I had sent my manuscript to, and who was I waiting to here from. I listed Agent X, Agent Y and Agent Z (who I couldn't remember if I'd heard from or not).
After the signing Serena, Shannon and I went out for the early-bird dinner (or a really late lunch, depending on how you look at it.) We talked about writing, life, Serena's house. You know, the usual.
But the next best part was when I came home. Not only do I have statements I need for my taxes, but I also found in my mailbox not the dreaded rejection letter, but a request from Agent X for a Partial of my last manuscript. Yes!!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sometimes I really am a bit of a geek...

I had a fantastic post all thought up last night...then I forgot it. So you'll have to make-do with this one.
As you know, I recently got a beautiful new car. So what comes next? Insurance of course. Now many of my friends have listened to me moan and complain about how much I was paying on my 11 year old baby before this one, so I did my homework this time. I dutifully called several companies to get quotes, and went with the best one.
That it included me renewing my old AAA membership? Well, that's a bonus.
What? You don't understand why I'm totally excited by this happy news?
Think about road maps, free access to travelers checks (not that I'm travelling anywhere any time soon), discounts on a variety of different things (including coffee!), and other various bonus features.
Sadly? They had me at the free road maps. I stocked up this afternoon on maps of Seattle/Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Now, when I get lost? I have a chance of getting out of it!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The forcast calls for...

More snow.
What, you think I'm kidding? Sorry to disappoint you, but it's no joke. I awoke this morning, rolled over and immediately called our school news hotline, to check on the status of school. Keep in mind, folks, we've been out since Wednesday afternoon. No school Thursday or Friday, and yesterday was a holiday. So I called, and the message still says Friday, January 12th. So I shower, dress for work, check the news, and nothing. Then, around 5:50, I see on the news that my school district is now running two hours late, while all the neighboring districts are officially closed. I consider leaving a little later than normal, but instead decide to get in my car and drive. I'll have time to do work, and hopefully miss the bulk of morning rush hour.
Thankfully made it to school in under half an hour, and this includes the time I spent sliding backward, turning my car around, finding another street that goes through and eventually parking. So I'm at school, and everything still says 2 hours late.
I check in with a couple of my fellow teachers, and before I know it, about 5 of us are in the hallway chatting. Then comes the announcement. At 7:26 a.m. the district closed school. Uh-huh. They waited until most teachers were already on the road, if not at school, to decide to cancel. Some left right then, some of us stayed a few more hours. I figured I was there, might as well get work done. But now? Now I just want to know when we have to make all this up. We're already at 8 days...I just hope it doesn't become more.


Sunday, January 14, 2007


Check it out...I'm at 25% of my projected word count. Go me!!


It's still way too cold out...

But you wouldn't know that, based on the fact Ms. K. and I walked this morning. We've learned to compromise on our weekend walks. I walk a little further than normal, and she doesn't leave at the buttcrack of dawn. It works for us. Which, of course, is why I had a slightly panicky moment yesterday when I had an email from her announcing she'd arrive to pick me up at 7:02a.m. I know, crazy! Thankfully, she was mostly just messing with my head. Had I actually agreed to this insanely early time, she would have held me to it.
So we walked. Then I came home and thawed out on my couch for a bit with my newest discovery...HGTV (aka The Home & Garden Network).
But this afternoon was all about the writing. Or, at least the business of writing. Sent off another query, and eventually worked around to actually adding to my page count (95 ba-by!). My muse, however flighty she may be when I'm feeling stressed, dropped a goldmine in my lap this afternoon. I sat down to write what I believed would be a scene between my heroine and her best friend. Imagine my shock and surprise when the best friend flits out of the scene within moments, leaving my heroine to wander New York City on her own. What I discovered next,'ll have to wait to read the book, but it's fabulous! Or, at least it will be fabulous once I get a few more details figured out.
Which brings me to my favorite thing about being a pantser...these little nuggets. Writing by the seat of my pants is what works...for me. It doesn't work for everyone. Some of my friends are paralyzed when they don't have the full scene outlined well before they sit down to write it. But to me the writing is a discovery. I may think I know what my story is about, only to discover a whole new facet to it 100 pages in. I love this about my writing. The feeling of striking gold is what puts my tush in the chair. Sometimes I have to work up to it. I have to spend time researching agents, or finding just the right music to work to. But sometimes...sometimes it simply flows, like a stream.
Today was one of those days.
Now tomorrow? Well, tomorrow will have to wait. I just hope it's warmer out.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movies, books, and mythology...

Last night my aunt and I went out to see a wonderful new movie. Eragon is based on the book of the same name, written by Christopher Paolini. This is the first book in his Inheritance Trilogy, and I gotta tell you, I'm eager to read it. I've actually wanted to read it for some time now, as it is very popular in the grade I teach. However time, as well as other books on my agenda, have kept me from it. Which is why I was a little bit leary of going to see the movie first. Normally I'll wait until I've read the book, just so it's not ruined for me. But last night we made an exception to the rule.
And wow, am I glad I did.
It wasn't until I came home to write this blog that I realized how truly amazing this book must be. First off, it has practically a cult following in the 11-16 age group. The second book, Eldest, came out last year, and I remember seeing it just about everywhere. Students couldn't wait to get their hands on it. As a writer and a teacher, I loved seeing this passion in my students. What most people don't realize, though, is how truly rare this book is. The author was 15 when he wrote Eragon, 17 when it came out in 2003...making him only 20 now. 20 years old and not only are his books one of the biggest things since Harry Potter, but there's now a movie out based on the first book.
Wow. I want to be him when I grow up.
Now, again, I haven't read the books yet. I can't speak to his writing style, or to his use of vocabulary. But I can speak to his understanding of what makes a true story teller, which is fabulous for one so young. Several of you may be aware of the Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell. Campbell was one of the foremost authority on mythology and hero stories. His work on the Hero's Journey became the basis for Chis Vogler's The Writer's Journey. Paolini clearly studied one or both of these books. Vogler's book is one of my favorite craft books, and the one that seems to speak to me the most, though usually on an unconcious level. It sets up the three act structure of a story in such a way that it becomes easily accessible to both readers and writers. Of course, the downside to having studied both men's works, is that I can't always simply go to the movies and enjoy. I end up analyzing. As I watched the movie, I was picking out in my head the different elements and parts of the Hero's Journey. "Ah, here's the Call to Action." "Here's the Refusal." "Oh, look! There's the Gatekeeper." Eragon is clearly based in the mythology and hero stories of old, and this is what makes it such a classic story. It's not revolutionary. It isn't something we've never seen before. It simply is what it is, a wonderful story.
Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Paolini never read anything by Campbell or Vogler. Maybe he simply understands that to have a story rooted in mythology and heros, he will inevitably follow a certain pattern. Maybe he's a Star Wars fan, out to create his own cult classic.
Or maybe he's simply a talented writer using the gifts he's been given to the best of his abilities. I'll let you decide.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

From my window...

This is a picture taken from my window this morning. I'm home from school again, as the roads are a mess. I'll try to post more later, when I walk to Starbucks for company and writing.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What the...???!!!

It's back. The freakin' snow is back. See, I'm a firm believer snow should stay where it belongs. In the mountains, or east of Montana. It really has no place in Western Washington.
It especially has no place out here accompanied by hail the size of eraser heads, and drivers that think they are better than they are. Maisy and I fared well, though the drive home took FOREVER! 3.5 hours to go 8 or 9 miles. How sad is that? The drive normally takes me 15 minutes in the a.m., and about 25-30 in the evening...and that's when traffic is high. Tonight, though, was filled with people attempting hills they had no business attempting, spin outs, near misses, and SUV drivers who had no business behind the wheel tonight. I had one decide that he needed to pass me, even though we were on a not very well used road, with major curves coming up, and cars lined up and down the side of the road. Apparently the fact I was MOVING didn't mean much to him. He needed to move faster. Silly man...
But I had my tunes, and Maisy, and a cell phone for when I wasn't moving at all and could call a friend. So really, I guess it could have been worse. Right? Right?


Saturday, January 06, 2007

New toys...

No...not that kind of toy. Get your mind out of the gutter!
My toy is shiny. And red. And purrs so nicely...
And the best part? When I drive it, I can no longer hear the wind whistling by my ear because the little rubber seal between door and door frame no longer works properly.
You guessed it, I got a new car. I shiny, new, all my own, never before owned by another living soul, car.
I should stop grinning ear to ear by Monday...but then again, maybe not.


Friday, January 05, 2007

When Worlds Collide...

Last night my friend Gerri Russell held a party for her book launch for The Warrior Trainer. Gerri won the American Title contest sponsored by Romantic Times and Dorchester Publishing, a win I couldn't be happier about. Gerri is truly one of the nicest, warmest people I know. The party was fabulous, and you can hear all about it at Christina's blog. I'm not even going to tell you about the Irish dancers who dressed remarkably like window cleaners, wearing bells on their legs.
No, my story for you is how small this world truly is. To appreciate this, I have to go back a-ways, to when I first moved out here. I applied for a job with WW, and during my interview mentioned I was a writer. Bev, in all her wonderfulness, got this huge grin on her face and says, "Do you know Gerri Russell? She also works for us." In fact, I had met Gerri just a few weeks before at the Emerald City Writers Conference. Not too long after that, while at a dinner at a friend's house, I was talking about having to be at work the next morning. (Please note, I'd been acquaintances/friends with this person for a couple of years at this point.) "Oh, where do you work?" So I told her. "Oh my gosh! We're members!"
Yeah, my world got a little smaller that night. Even better, a few months later, this friend came to work with us. So now I had a writer friend, and one of my Jewish/JConnect friends working with me.
Now, many of you know I love to get my friends together. I host potlucks, game nights, anything I can do to gather the people I like together. But last night? It every aspect of my life came together in a splendid display.
See, Gerri is part of my writing community. So many of the writers who came were either chapter members and friends, or members of the Seattle chapter whom I have met at conferences. Gerri is also part of my work community, so I ran into several coworkers every time I turned around. Heck, I left to go to the bathroom and 10 minutes later was still in a conversation with a couple of women I work with but never get to see.
One of my book club girls also knows Gerri, and she and I met for dinner before the party, then went to the party together.
What really made it all a little crazy was when a woman stopped me and asked if I'd found a job. To be honest, I recognized her face (still can't place her name), but couldn't remember where I knew her from. I figured it was either writing or work. But no. Turns out she was a teacher from the same school where I did my student teaching.
Four different areas of my life, all pulled together for one fabulous reason...celebration of the beginning of a long and beautiful career.

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