As I Was Saying …

saying

Hum … well, actually, you see … I um …

Okay, so yeah, I don’t quite recall what I was saying. It’s been a long, long while since I last dropped in on my lovely little piece of internet real estate here, and that makes me sad. And a little bit ashamed.

 

WE RUDELY INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST

I’m generally tougher than that. Am in fact a disciplined, regimented, list-making, task oriented being, and falling off the map is not my standard response when one of those *straight-to-the-gut* sucker punches catches me unawares. Yet this time around the blow was enough of a wallop to send me reeling through the Christmas holiday and straight into the New Year.

REGROUP, REKINDLE, REFRESH

The thing is, getting one’s groove back is no easy task. Whether just returned from a three month trek through the Italian countryside gorging on cheese and salami and copious samplings of Vino (admittedly something I haven’t experienced outside of my head), awaking after months in a coma, or shaking off the dazed confusion of a hit-and-run assault by Life.  Make no mistake, it can be tricky.

A MIND RUNNING ON RANDOM FUEL

It takes a fair amount of random fuel to rekindle the engine, narrow the focus, reset the brain’s GPS.  A matter of unleashing our brain doodles to roll out across an endless pasture where they can wrestle around while we’re trying to remember how to re-saddle the horse that’s dumped us on our bum.  Unchecked scribbles that keep our brains from knocking around in an empty room…

BRAIN OFF THE LEASH (AKA, MINDLESS SCRIBBLES)

… is there any relevance in the fact that all of my favorite numbers are Odd?

*

Can I maybe actually really accept that invitation to jump on a plane to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Dump the guilt of home-bound responsibility–claim it’s necessary research for the WIP though the setting of said novel is rural Maine … unless, right, a flashback. The original designer of flashbacks must have come up with this writers tactic after running away to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

*

Breakfast for Dinner tonight.  Kiddies favorite meal when hubby is away on business and this is the last chance before the bird lands back in the nest tomorrow.

*

Politics suck.

*

Spanx: sausage casings for humans. The concept works, but the name makes me giggle. Great title: Spanx.  If you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, you’ll adore Spanx.

*

Today is the day! I’m gonna reclaim my Mojo and jump back into the sadly neglected wholly abandoned WIP.  Not this instant, but soon. Once I’m done thinking …

thinking

*

Wowsa, there’s a lot of ellipses in here … I must really like them … see how nicely they fill the spaces in my head …

*

Just how long is a Cotton pickin’ minute? Is it longer or shorter than an ordinary minute?

*

Done with checking my RANKINGS, LIKES, REVIEWS on Amazon. No really. Done. Finished. What’s more idiotic than angsting over stuff I have little no control over

… wonder if it’s been three minutes yet?

*

Oh yeah, but there is that other book I read about on someone’s blog and wanted to check out.  Can’t recall the title just now …  but I’ll remember if I just poke around a little on Amazon. No, really, I’m only looking up that ONE book. Not going near my page. Just having a quick look at that other book that ISN’T mine.

Oh, wait!  Hold on.  Before I take off, how about you take a moment to drop a mindless scribble of your own right here. The floor is yours. What cha thinkin?

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A TOUCH OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SIZZLE

Packing up my keyboard early this AM and heading over for a visit to one of my very favorite cyberspace hang-outs: PSYCHOLOGICAL SIZZLE, where I’m a guest of the uber fabulous and ever-entertaining, Queen of the Snarks, SHERRY ISAAC!

Sure hoping you have a chance to stop by, kick-off your shoes, and share a bit of chit-chat.  

Sherry has dedicated the entire month of November to my all time favorite super sleuth, NANCY DREW. Love it if you’d care to share your comments 😀

RED, WHITE AND TRUE BLUE

 Among the assortment of ingredients contained within, aka the mumbo jumbo of stuff that make me *Me*, is a genuine patriot that tears-up at parades, is thankful for the opportunity to Vote, and thinks The Star Spangled Banner is a pretty good song.

As far back as my childhood days as a Girl Scout marching in my small town parade, I have been proud to bursting of my American heritage and the rich soil on which I’ve been planted.

AND YET,

I could claim I was blindsided and it wouldn’t be a lie. It was all so innocent. An act of over-confidence piqued by a simple enough challenge in the back pages of the Sunday Newspaper: “Can You Pass The Citizenship Test?” followed by a civics portion of the U.S naturalization test.

It’s true I might have chuckled over the warning ” One in three citizens failed this test in a survey taken this year.”  Tisk tisk. Just pitiful. They should be ashamed. 

Just a Moment, While I Sharpen My Pencil …

  1. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
  2. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
  3. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
  4. We elect a U.S senator for how many years?
  5. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
  6. If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve,who becomes president?
  7. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
  8. When was the Constitution written?
  9. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S Constitution. Name one of the writers.
  10.  What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

Huh? My Score, You Ask?

Fugeddiboudit! Fat chance of tripping that particular Elephant in the public square 😦  Especially when such revelations could very well lead to immediate deportation. (As in, it is pitiful, and I am ashamed.)

Just let me mention that to pass the civics test, an applicant must correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions, which are randomly selected from a list of 100. (You can go to Parade.com/citizenship to see how you fared on these 10 and to try your hand at all 100.)

My Final Score:

Patriotism: A+++

Citizenship: … still studying for the re-take.

What’s your standing? Would you pass the Citizenship test as it pertains to your own little parcel on the planet? Care to pull up and chair and refresh with me?

PULL UP A CHAIR AND POP A CORK

This gallery contains 6 photos.

  A POP HEARD ROUND THE WORLD       … although maybe, it’s actually just the echo of a popping cork here in my still dark kitchen at 6:00 AM. Normally I’d be pouring coffee, but today, you see, I’m … Continue reading

Nobody Cares

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

… as much as you do.

THE BIG PARTY 

I’m not saying that no one gives a hooey about what you’re writing or have written.  Maybe you’re so blessed that the day you turned the knob and let yourself out of the writers closest your cheerleaders fell into formation, practiced and ready to spin a dozen perfect cartwheels of support over your heartfelt endeavors.  They bought your book, tooted your wordy genius to their circle of friends, posted on Facebook, tweeted from sea to shining sea.  Possibly even set your heart to singing by posting a review on Amazon and/or BN.  They told you how proud, excited, impressed, joyful they are over your accomplishment.  They begged for a sequel and your smile stretched so wide it nearly split the seams of your face from ear-to-ear.

C.O.D

You’ve worked hard.  Persevered across the fiery coals of doubt, rejection, and uncertainty regardless of  how much it never failed to sometimes hurt.  You’ve paid your dues and can at long last bask in the radiant light of an accomplished dream. It feels good.  Because it should.

BEWARE THE BURSTING BUBBLE

Whether it be weeks or months later, the thing is, it does happen.  Readers read … and then they move on. Readers have an appetite that requires constant care and feeding of good books, not just one book.  Yes, they read and thoroughly loved your book.  But now the marching band has turned the corner and your personal parade has dispersed to return to their own lives. But this writing gig is your real life and you’re still here. Alone.

FOREVER ON YOUR MIND

It’s something beyond wonderful when people care about your creations.  When they take time to share your passion and connect with your characters and stories.  And although none of that stuff is why we write, it puts an extra special spring in our step and twinkle in our eye. Until they leave. Pack up their pom poms and return to whatever they’ve temporarily set aside.  Leaving you to sweep up the confetti in a suddenly empty room.

SHHHHH, NOT SO LOUD

And here you are. No less passionate, still eyeball deep and consumed with all you’ve created. You haven’t finished talking about your characters lives, thinking, wondering, obsessing about them.  Worrying they have no friends on the playground and nobody has invited them to sit at their lunch table.

THAT BAD?

Not really. Just the facts.  No One Cares … as much as You Do. Just because you’ve written a book doesn’t mean people are going to want to read it. And even if they do, their potential love for your work will never surpass your own and you shouldn’t expect it

SINCERE APPRECIATION

Be gracious and appreciative of well wishes and enthusiastic readers.  Just keep in mind, when the final cork is popped and the lights go out, it’s still your baby. You brought it into the world and you’re responsible for future nurturing and midnight feeding.

Are you expecting too much from your readers?  How difficult, or potentially painful, do you find it to draw the shades on your party and wave goodnight to your guests?

Jeezaloo–fingers crossed that someone really does care that my baby number two, “Asleep Without Dreaming,” is due for release in 7 days  😀

Cover Me Please

          FINISHED! And there you have it.  Two altogether exhilarating words for anyone who has ever poured months, years, lifetimes into writing a book. Despite multiple drafts, rewrites, painful edits, etc … etc, there comes a day … Continue reading

Living Outside Your Head

I like to make up stuff.

So I write fiction.

It might seem that inventing people and their made-up lives would be a fairly uncomplicated thing–not necessarily the mechanics, which are often painful, brain wrenching, and altogether frustrating –but rather the inventing part. The part where you build your creation brick by brick and move things around the board, following the gumdrop trail until at long last you reach the Sparkly Candy Castle.

Most days it feels good …

… some days it’s shout from the mountaintops exhilarating. Other times it’s more crash and burn–can we get someone in here to sweep up the ashes, please?

And consuming.  Honestly, but it’s nothing if not consuming.

And that’s a problem. A big fat, festering problem that swells and groans with the weight of living exclusively inside your head.

You see, it’s likely the rest of the world hasn’t paused to read the memo pasted on your forehead that announces you’re a writer. Your mortgage company still expects the check to arrive on time, the call made to your doctor to discuss those lab results, your child’s school still expects you to fill out the pink emergency card BEFORE an actual emergency arises.

As a registered citizen of the planet Earth, there are essential moments when you need to crawl out from beneath the debris piled-up inside your head and address the here and now. All of which is reasonable, understandable, and generally accepted.

Except when it’s not.

Such as when you’re up to your eyeballs with the urgency of piling pages, hellbent on clearing the crevasse, scaling the mountain, walking into the light … inasmuch as the words don’t, won’t, wait.  You well understand to scramble.  To  strive to catch them before they sprint away–even as the phone rings, the buzzer sounds on the clothes dryer, the vein ruptures and bleeds out onto the page.

And always is the question inside my head,

“How it is that I can justify putting such importance on made-up things?”  Why is something so non-essential to the world at large, so, well, essential, to me in my little corner of the world?  So necessary to who I am?

 

And you? Care to climb outside of your head for a moment and share your passion 😀

WHY SO EXCITED?

Aren’t you so EXCITED?!  Of course you are!  At least it certainly seems you ought to be, considering that when you skim the news feed on FB, stop by to read a blog post here and there as you cruise through cyberspace, noiselessly tip-toe through twitter, it’s pretty much everywhere. Excitement, and lots of it.  Can we really be this Excited so much of the time?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m right there with you  to blow-up the balloons and toss the confetti in celebration of those occasions, announcements, and achievements of high excitement.  You’ve just gotten a new agent, your book is/will be published, you won the Nobel Prize? Absolutely that’s EXCITING stuff. In fact, pardon me while I dash off and bake you a cake …

EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD

In truth, it’s not the overabundant use of the word EXCITED that has me grousing, it’s the observation that maybe there’s far too much EXCITEMENT being tossed around, and quite possibly we’ve gotten a wee bit lazy with our word-ology.

Okay, so if you’ll hold your excitement for just a moment, I will make my point by serving up some suitable, and yes, EXCITING alternates courtesy of the every handy-dandy desk thesaurus:

EXCITE: inspire; upset, accelerate, agitate, amaze, anger, animate, annoy, arouse, astound, awaken, bother, chafe delight, disturb, electrify, elicit, energize, evoke, fire, fluster, foment (huh?) galvanize, goad, incite, induce, inflame, infuriate, instigate, intensify, irritate, jolt, kindle, madden, mock, move, offend, precipitate, provoke, rouse, start, stimulate, stir up, taunt, tease, thrill, titillate, vex, warm, worry …

Clearly, it’s nothing if not a thoroughly lazy exercise in word usage  to so often default to the generic EXCITED when we have such a diverse menu to choose from.

IF YOU’LL PARDON MY EXCITEMENT

Over here in my little corner of the world, this first half of 2012 has seen more than a few truly exciting astounding milestones. 

AND SO, A FEW EXCITING STIMULATING HIGHLIGHTS

1. Child #3 graduated with honors from Tulane University in New Orleans this past spring.

Aside from the “official requirement” that we pack up the jalopy and head off to one of my very favorite cities in order to attend said graduation, there is the deeply personal excitement fire of waving my third child off into the world with college degree in hand as she pursues her hearts desire. (Not to mention that by graduating with honors, I am assured that my darling girl did indeed resist the temptations of Bourbon Street and perpetual Mardi Gras well enough to open her books and work hard when necessary.) Certainly every parent thrills at such achievements in the lives of their children, but for those who, like me, carried their own Ivy League dreams straight from High School to enrollment at the University of Real Life, (although to my credit, I paid attention, studied hard, and did my homework along the way to earning a self-awarded doctorate) there mighty milestones elicit high levels of excitement animation.

2. Child #4 completed his Boy Scout Eagle Project this summer. Yes, absolutely the stuff that makes a mama proud, but there is something infinitely exciting stimulating in witnessing a 16 year old boy take a mighty step toward manhood by proving he is far more than an eating, sleeping, video game playing entity (cue Dr Frankenstein as his creature comes to life, “IT’S ALIVE!!!!”), by willingly shouldering the necessary design, planning, fund raising, labor, and responsibilities necessary to accomplish a mighty and highly ambitious project. In this case, by metamorphising a neglected Memorial plaque on a boulder dedicated to WW II veterans, into a beautiful memorial garden complete with archway, benches, brick walkway, flag pole, night-time lighting, and plantings. So yeah, this is one of those things that truly excites  inflames my pride receptors.

3. I am a shiny new Grandmother (or Mimi, if you happen to be Baby Sebastian.)!!!  Although I’ve only been wearing this newbie title for 4 days now, it fits quite nicely and feels especially comfy. To those of you who are grandmothers, have a grandmother, long to be a grandmother, I needn’t elaborate on how over-the-moon, EXCITED ANIMATED I am now, and will forever be.

4. Having weathered the accustomed angst, turmoil, and brain strain hairpulling, sulking, whining of writing, I now have a mostly official date penned on the calendar for the release of my latest novel, Asleep Without Dreaming. (September 18, 2012. Woo woo!) If you’re a writer, no elaboration necessary.  If you’re a reader, I hope pray, gnash teeth, cross fingers that you’ll consider climbing into your favorite comfy chair with my book and while away an afternoon. After mucho years of scribbling out these chapters, my EXCITEMENT supreme sense of electrification is near blinding.

AND SO

What exactly does all this word-muddling prove, you ask?  Probably that EXCITE, EXCITING, EXCITED, are pretty good words.  Because, shoot, we really are  EXCITED! And for good reason. EXCITEMENT is a feel good, done good, bring on the parade, perfect fit of a word.  Accept no substitutes imitators that sound really awkward and stupid. I might be inflamed, animated, fired up and stimulated, but mostly I’m EXCITED, by golly! EXCITED, EXCITED!

EXCITED is life at it’s finest and nothing quite expresses it like good old tried-and-true EXCITED EXCITEMENT! 

So what’s got you Excited lately?  It’s fun to share, please do 😀

*Hoping you don’t mind my adding a fleeting dash of EXCITEMENT by announcing that my debut novel The Secret of Lies will be FREE on Kindle August 2 – August 3 in celebration of the near-release of Asleep Without Dreaming 😀

Hair of the Dog

As You May Recall,

I have something of a fascination with Idioms.  You know, those expressions that are near ancient in origin, which we toss out often enough to assure their permanence in the rhelms of common language.  And yet, when we take a moment to think about what it is we’re actually saying, uh well, What actually are we saying?

For starters, just how guilty are you of  Letting the Cat out of the Bag?  I know I’ve done it more times than I care to publicly admit. Or, maybe not, considering the true meaning of this odd little phrase. Let the Cat out of the Bag:  Possibly related to the fact that in England in the Middle Ages, piglets were usually sold in bags at markets. Sometimes, someone would try to cheat a buyer by putting a cat in one of the bags instead of a piglet. And if someone let the cat out of the bag, the fraudster’s secret was revealed.

And when was the last time your mother, husband, or BFF had to corner you with this particular admonishment:  Get off Your High Horse: Medieval soldiers and political leaders bolstered their claims to supremacy by appearing in public in the full regalia of power, and mounted on large and expensive horses, thus presening themselves as larger than life. The combination of the imagery of being high off the ground when mounted on a great war charger, looking down one’s nose at the common herd, and also being a holder of high office made it intuitive for the term ‘on one’s high horse’ to come to mean ‘superior and untouchable.’

Is it possible that a  little Moderation might be just the thing to keep the dog hair off your tongue:  Hair of the dog is a colloquial expression in the English language predominantly used to refer to alcohol that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a hangover. The expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound. The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back to the time of William Shakespeare, when it was a popular belief that “a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences.” Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves. “If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.”

As a kid I thought this sounded like a fun idea, but only because I believed real animals were involved:  The term Kangaroo Court may have been popularized during the California Gold Rush of 1849. The first recorded use is from 1853 in a Texas context. It comes from the notion of justice proceeding “by leaps”, like a kangaroo. The phrase is considered an Americanism.

Sadly familiar because it’s practiced so often: Lying through your teeth:  This also may be an expression describing the act of lying with a smile or other patronizing tone or body language.  It is very old, traceable to the early 1300’s.

So, what’s the most oft used idiom in your language closet? Do you know what it really means, or do simply enjoy it for it’s familiarity and the fact that regardless of true meaning everyone tends to “get it” when you say it?

The Best Laid Plans … Yeah, Right!

It goes something like this …

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of real life, I can’t help but believe that the medicine goes down better when accompanied by a well laid plan spoonful of sugar.  Whether it be a mental list (Bahahahaha, yeah right! What kind’ve bone-head boob would rely on such foolish tactics!) or a tidy inventory laid out on paper– complete with bullet points–I’m all about planning.  Not that all my plans see fruition, it’s more about the fact that having a plan makes me feel fools me into thinking that I have a safety net in position at those times when real life comes along and attempts to blow the post-its off the refrigerator.

Did I mention my delusional tendencies?

Plans are admirable and good, even necessary at times, and yet, to believe they are ironclad or accident proof is to be mighty disappointed delusional.  The hard, cold, nails-down-the-chalkboard-truth, my friends?  Real Life Trumps The Best Laid Plans. 

For example (and I have so many I will make an effort to curb myself from dumping an avalanche here), I never fail to compose a grandiose list of New Year’s resolutions on or about January 1st, ready to sprint out the gate the moment the countdown ends, the ball drops, and I can *officially* crawl into my sparkly new and improved skin.

Make no mistake, I’m no lightweight

Which isn’t to say that I am simply a composer of abundant schemes and flowing designs–no ma’am, not this runaway chicken. To my credit, I stockpile ammo, suit-up, dig-in, and prepare for the long haul. I aim high, because I don’t know any better somewhere deep inside my rock hard head, I’ve succeeded in convincing tricking myself into believing that I’m up for the task and ready to vault over the wall at a moments notice.

My proposed lead into 2012 was no exception. Grand planner that I am, I prepared early, toiled over my intentions,scratched some, and elevated others.  It was an admittedly rosy start and I had a good run. All things orderly, neat, and infinitely promising for nearly a week.  Right up to the moment when the clown car pulled-up  and stormed the castle.

And so …

What happens when THE BEST LAID PLANS step out for a smoke, take a powder, leave the building? Well, duh, for starters you need to make new ones.  You rethink, regroup, refocus.  Because here’s the thing, the reason REAL LIFE trumps all variety of planning is because REAL LIFE is the big ticket, the hot tamale, the Leprechaun’s lucky charms. Whereas PLANS are more akin to those unintelligible instructions that come inside the box of high-quality-assemble-it-yourself furniture (why does it look like a coffee table when you’re supposed to be constructing a chest of drawers???), equal to the odds of winning more than two dollars on a scratch-off lottery ticket or waking up to find Brad Pitt scrambling eggs in your kitchen.

Say What?

Simply put, PLANS are good. They help us streamline, focus, accomplish. But still, there are plenty of times when REAL LIFE has its own PLANS and we’re left feeling as if there’s a runaway tractor trailer barreling straight through the center of our life.  Just as there are nevertheless moments when an even better PLAN comes along and trumps the seemingly perfect one you scribbled on the back of the cocktail napkin or jotted in the margin of the newspaper.

Um hum, REAL LIFE, it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And you? Are you a planner? How often do you defer to Real Life without a knock-down, drag-out fight?