Archive for March, 2011

In Flight. Or Not.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Insert heavy sigh.

I was halfway through the most amazing, excellent post about my experience swimming with dolphins in Cabo this winter and…I HIT THE WRONG KEY!! WordPress ate my marvelous prose. And just left me with a lower case b. Not even a capital B.

I am so disheartened that I didn’t think to hit Save Draft halfway into the post that, alas, I find myself unable to conjure up the will to write it again. Sooner or later, you’ll hear my tale. But not today.

Instead, I offer bird pictures. Re-sized for the blog but otherwise unaltered. So if my composition is off, just know it wasn’t accidental. Those birds might fly fast (or the boat might be moving fast), but, darn it, I meant to catch them off-center. And that’s the sort of truth. It’s more interesting that way sometimes, don’t you think?

A soaring...INSERT NAME OF BIRD. Might be a gull. Might be something more interesting. Really, I don't know. I'm not a book-and-binocs bird-watcher. I just like taking pictures of them.

Making a splash. I know this one! Wait a moment...I've nearly identified it...A pelican!

Muy (or is it mucho?) pelicans! On our way to Lover's Arch at Cabo San Lucas.

"Admire me. Damn it. Admire me, I tell you!"

What do you think? Is that one drooling? Or is that water dripping from its beak? Maybe it just ate its enemy. How are you to know? I’m not a reliable narrator, so don’t ask me.

"Two Birds." One pelican, one INSERT NAME OF BIRD.

Last one. A crab this time. They were crawling all over these rocks at what I like to call Isolated Beach.

"Little Brown Crab."

Oh, crap, that’s not a crab! That’s my father! Pretending to read, but he’s really asleep.

Now I’m in trouble.

How to Write Funny When Your Sense of Humor Sucks

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Today I’m guestblogging on writing humor at the RWA ChickLit Writers blog. You don’t want me to be lonely, do you? You want to hop on over and lap up my knowledge, right?

Just in case not…

You are feeling sleepy. Very, very sleepy.

Your typing fingers are not under your control. No, they are under mine! They will do whatever I say. And I say that your typing fingers will click this link to the ChickLit Writers blog, read and comment on my post.

Then, and only then, will you be able to move on to anything else. Then, and only then, will you find the will to eke out a productive day.

You will have no memory of this conversation.

Next time you see me in person, say, at an RWA conference, you will feel strangely compelled to buy me a drink.


Ring, Ring!

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Guess what I’m not doing today? Sitting by the phone (or doing my best to pretend I’m not sitting by the phone) waiting to hear if I finaled in this year’s Romance Writers of America RITA contest for published books.

Neither I nor Penny had a new release in 2010, which meant I couldn’t enter the RITA. And it’s kind of a relief. Because today I get to write instead!

By now, I should have been brainstorming a short story series to write as Cindy, but Penny is still glomming all my time. She received a critique back on her short story (an erotica, not an erotic romance, gulp) and is keeping me busy implementing revisions. Well, and dealing with the business fire is also occupying my time and thoughts.

For all the RWA members who are sitting by the phone waiting to hear if you finaled in Golden Heart or RITA, good luck!! To my 2007 Golden Heart sisters who have entered either contest, crossing fingers double-time for you.

I’ll see you all in New York. I’ll be the one not sweating to hear if I won.

A Spring in My Step

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Spring is finally here! Unfortunately, that means I’ve taken up running with the beagle again. The inexpensive elliptical machine I received for Christmas (I know it was inexpensive because I ordered it, in case I didn’t like it) did its job of preventing me from putting back on the weight I lost in Peru last year. I started with a measly 20 minutes three times a week and worked up to 30 minutes 3 times a week. I thought this was remarkable!

The problem with a cheap, um, inexpensive machine is I never know when the read-outs are giving me correct numbers. I never could find precise directions for how to set up the digital thingie, so when I get on the elliptical, sometimes the calories are burning, burning, burning off! Other times, I hit a different setting and my speed is suddenly slower (even though I swear I’m going the same speed as my last time on the machine) and the calories don’t burn off as quickly. This is quite aggravating. However, I don’t have the time to figure out the instruction manual. All I care is that I’m using Program 2 (so it’s like I’m going up and down hills, which I never do when I run, because in real life it wrecks my back). And the second thing I care about is that my time is increasing. Up to 30 minutes 3 times a week!

That kept me eating chocolate bars while fitting into my new jeans all winter.

Except when I went away for two weeks. Then I had to kind of start over.

As the snow melted after this very long winter, I vowed to myself that I would start running outside again as soon as the street-cleaning machine cleared away all the gravel and the dog park wasn’t so soggy I sank up to my knees while stopping there for Allie McBeagle’s constitutional. I had taken quite a liking to the elliptical, but exercising inside really sucks up my writing time. Because Allie, you see, still needs her exercise. And so, all winter, I was walking the dog for 40 minutes (depending on what other dogs were in the dog park, which would lengthen the time of our stay) and then, upon arriving home, I’d do my 20-30 minutes on the elliptical and then spend another 10-15 minutes stretching, because, you know, I’m old.

Late last week, the street-cleaning machine came along. So I started running with Allie again on Monday. I extended my run two or three telephone poles beyond what we were doing before it began snowing and the roads became unsafe. By the time I reached that last telephone pole, I was exhausted and my thighs were burning. Well, guess what? I’d only run 17 minutes (with a break at the dog park). (The break isn’t factored into the time).

How can 30 minutes on the elliptical without a break not feel as bad as 17 minutes running with the dog?

Well, running with a beagle is kind of like salmon fishing during a marathon. You’re always reeling the dog in. And the running must work different muscles, because my inner thighs hurt!

Plus, I can keep a bottle of water near the ellipitical to grab and gulp. I can’t carry water when I’m running. It puts me off-balance and next I know I’m in the traffic. I’m lucky I can manage the dog!

Apparently, I am not running far enough.

Although, I must admit, at the end of my runs this week it hasn’t taken me as long to stop huffing and puffing. But I have nearly run out of telephone poles before I would have to go uphill. Sorry, sisters, I’m not running uphill! Running in itself keeps me going to massage therapy every other week. Running uphill is torture on my poor, middle-aged lower back.

The plan is to stretch my running time to 30 minutes, even if I have to change my course to do it. One telephone pole at a time, per week. My endurance sucks, and I don’t mind admitting it. Hey, I’m proud that I’m out there at all.

Has your exercise plan changed with the onset of spring? Or do you live somewhere where it’s a balmy 75 Fahrenheit year round?

I’m Not Here

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Well, I am, but I’m keeping my head down. Working on projects for Penny while dealing with the aftermath of the business fire mentioned in my last post.

I did want to mention that I’m guest-blogging on the RWA ChickLit Writers blog on March 28th (next Monday). So I’ll have my act together by then.

In the meantime, BIC-HOK! (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard, for those not in the writerly know).

Have a good week!

Smoke and Dreams

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I’ve been very good about not blogging lately. I hope you all are proud of me. I finished the comprehensive edits on Penny’s single title and will submit it to one or two publishers this week. While I’m in Penny-mode, I decided to revise a first person erotic short story of Penny’s into third person and submit that as well. So I’ll continue to stay away from the blog for the next several days.

Why I’m away from the blog isn’t all good news, though. I’ve talked before about my dh’s small business, Ironhorse Caddybag. The venture is in addition to his full-time job, and he shares the business with a partner. Well, last week, I think it was the day before the Japan earthquake struck (or it might have been the same day, but we heard about the fire first), we woke to the news that our business partner’s workshop, where our ENTIRE INVENTORY was stored, burned to the ground.

A car and motorcycle were both stored in the same shop for the winter (we still have snow on the ground!). You can see the car in the picture below, on a hoist. The fire was extremely toxic, as our inventory was built out of plastic and fabric and metals, bubble wrap and cardboard, not to mention the car and motorcycle and other stuff that is found in a working shop! The shop was maybe two minutes from our local volunteer fire department, but the fire department had no choice but to let everything burn and try to control spreading to neighboring buildings (at which they were successful).

We are in the process of gathering together receipts for our commercial insurance, but we’ve lost our selling season. It’s difficult enough to start a new business and then discover in the midst of ordering your first product run that the United States (target consumer as well as Canadians) has hit a deep recession. Ours was a niche product, so, as you can imagine, it’s been slow going.

Of course we would like to rebuild the business, but that depends on so many things. Until we find out where we stand financially, I’m asking my Facebook friends who haven’t “liked” Ironhorse Caddybag yet on Facebook, to do so. And, if you wish, suggest the page to your own FB friends. This way, once we have replacement stock, we can get the word out quickly.

Any help in this regard is appreciated!

People have asked me why the fire hasn’t impacted me more than it has. I guess I’m trying to let it slide off me, much in the way I have learned to deflect rejections from agents and/or publishing houses over the years. I have suffered two major traumas in my life aside from natural occurrences like grandparents dying: (1) my husband’s brother, a good friend of mine, dying at the age of 25 from an asthma attack; and (2) our family experiencing a 5-car accident when our youngest was 11 months old that took three years of battling out-of-province insurance agencies to settle and left me with a whiplash injury that lasted 14 years. Somehow, the business inventory burning pales in comparison. Age and wisdom help. Plus, when I consider what residents of New Zealand and Japan have suffered recently, what would I choose? Our entire inventory burning in a fire, of course.

I find it kind of ironic that our homepage says, “while quantities lasts.” In a way, that’s pretty funny. The quantities didn’t last very long, however, not in the way we’d anticipated. Honestly, Universe, we were aiming for sales.