Monday, December 31, 2007

keeping track

After I graduated from college, I wound up dating a guy who went on to break my heart. One thing I did after this breakup, being that it happened right after the first of the year, was to recap everything I accomplished the prior year and set goals for the new year. I filled a page, folded it and kept it in my wallet. Every so often I'd pull that paper out and check to see how I was doing. The main goal for the year after I got dumped: learn how to ride a horse. I'd always wanted to do it so I called a riding stable and took lessons for two years.

By the time my hubby and I married, I had three of those sheets stuck in my wallet. Unfortunately, my wallet was stolen at the downtown main library one night when I was studying in the genealogy room. After that episode I got out of the habit.

I'm also a calendar saver. I have some wall calendars saved from when I was in grade school. Of course, those were special Hobbit or Lord of the Rings calendars. I've also saved my purse calendars and have a stack of IU alumni ones in my closet.

Yesterday I sat down and transferred all the important info from the 2007 family kitchen calendar to my new 2008 one, picked it up at church last Sunday....one major benefit of being in Indiana for Christmas. Those parishes still do a church calendar...can't beat 'em.

My somewhat rambling point, give me a break, I've only had one cup of coffee this morning, is that we all keep track of stuff. For me, it sometimes becomes a bit of a ritual. It helps me remember where I've been and where I want to go next. It keeps me on track.

We're on the verge of a new year and I may revisit my old habit of keeping a goal sheet in my wallet. I'm going to be 43 this spring. I have a lot that I want to do not just for myself, but for my kids and hubby. Putting it down on paper, writing it out longhand, is one way to 'own' it. Tomorrow while the ham is in the oven, I may do just that.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

jiggity jig

Home again. We bypassed our weekend in Chicago to cap off our trip north as the middle kid came down with a sinus infection. Spent three hours in a Med Point with her followed up by an hour at the pharmacy. So, Friday morning saw us packing up and heading south. We did experience a bit of the snow that moved into Chicago-land, but by the time we were midway down the Land of Lincoln, it turned to rain and then sunshine. I missed the sun, reaffirmed for me why I don't miss living in Indiana. The sun didn't shine the entire time we were there. Bleh, argh.....

Christmas 2007 has come and gone. I'm glad to be on the other side. Gift giving/receiving with the hubby's side of the family can be a bit of a challenge. My sister-in-law is the queen of the re- gift. I could fill pages with the assortment of ego bruising items foisted on me in the name of holiday cheer. You'd think that after 16 years of marriage to my hubby, his family would figure out that a gift card to Barnes and Noble would send me cartwheeling in ecstasy. No, instead I get used baskets, candlesticks and department store freebies. Ah well, after 16 years I've learned to not expect.

Today the hubby and I are headed to Costco for the major after Christmas shop. On the list are a flat screen TV and a laptop. Yep, we are going to splurge and treat ourselves. Of course this means that I really need to finish the edits on Maddy Blue. I can now work on that WIP in the van. Wahooo.

The house is still and quiet. Everyone is enjoying sleeping in their own beds...good lord I missed my electric mattress pad:) So good to be home, have that first cup of coffee alone and read the paper without having to make small talk. The little things in life are the best gifts of all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

visiting

We arrived in northern Indiana in good shape, even though the majority of Illinois was covered in fog. The kids are delighted it has snowed the last two days....they are happy with the flurries and not bummed over the fact it isn't sticking because the winds are so strong it blows away.

Had a fabulous time visiting some friends we haven't seen in 5 years. Way too long to wait for a visit. Cruised by the old house, it looks good. The big gathering with family and friends went well, no major drama. At mass yesterday we saw several families from our years here. That was such a treat.

So, we are sliding into Christmas in fine form. Merry Christmas Eve to all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

the Tea

Take a tall 40 something Yankee, a tray of cucumber sandwiches and a house built in 1877. Mix them all together and you get the Christmas Tea I attended yesterday. The house was amazing. Fireplaces in every room, stained glass windows, original hardwood floors and bead board ceilings, it was just beautiful even before you added the antique furniture. The tea was way too yummy, never thought I'd be a fan of little fussy cucumber sandwiches, but these rocked. The average age of attendees had to be 70; lots of gray hair, gold shoes and holiday sweaters. I did learn that this club only admits new members when one of the existing members passes away and the club has been around since 1936. They were the driving force behind establishing a town library back in 1956. Pretty dynamic group of women and living examples of the phrase 'steel magnolias.' Think a houseful of Miss Julia's....which reminds me, I really need to finish reading that series.

We leave tomorrow for parts north. I've almost finished packing and instructing the daughters on how/what to pack. Today I hand my bookstore keys off to the Friends treasurer for the duration of my absence.

Enjoy the weekend and if I don't get to log in before Christmas, hope you have a very Merry one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

stuff

Beware, this post is going to be a hodgepodge of random stuff.

To update, the kid earned a 99 on her research paper. She got dinged a few points for one section being a bit too short, the teacher deducted one point from everyone for their historical verification section (because something could always be made better), but then she earned a few points for her incredible cover art.

The latest bookstore update is we sold a s&*tload of movies and books on cassette Saturday to the tune of $1600. Incredible. The store itself is still averaging about $100 a day in sales.

I'm off to a Christmas Tea tomorrow....this is a major event as it entailed being invited to attend a very 'native' social club. Not sure why this is thrilling me so much, but getting an invitation from these ladies is just a treat. I'm sure I'll be the youngest there, probably by a good 25-30 years. A Yankee youngster in their midst.....just hope I don't spill my tea or show up with a run in my hose.

No reading, editing, writing etc this week. I'm in the process of readying the family for the jaunt to snowy climes for Christmas. I hope to blog from there...if my fingers aren't frozen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

how to wield the red pen

The oldest kid is working on her first 'research' paper. I've helped a bit with this project, but only when asked. The teacher has done a fine job of keeping the kids on a schedule by using their rough drafts as quiz grades. The finished product is due on Thursday and now the kid is looking to dear old mom to help polish the paper.

I've restrained my tweaking to this point and have verbally issued warnings to check the punctuation, the tense, the spelling etc. She has caught a few things, but others slid past her radar. The teacher didn't do a hard edit on the rough drafts and instead wrote general comments similar to what I verbally issued.

Do I get out the red pen at this point or do I let her attempt this on her own? I'm not sure if I'm taking this problem more seriously than some because of my background. My daughter has told me stories of how much other parents are helping on this project....basically it sounds like some are doing all the writing or they are doing some major editing.

And I thought the science fair was bad.

Monday, December 10, 2007

finished Follett

After a very busy weekend full of standardized tests, band competitions and the mall, I plopped on the bed and plowed through the last 300 pages of Follett's latest.

The appeal of huge books is the author can really delve into his characters. By the time you finish, you know those folks better than the majority of your relatives. Follett doesn't let you down in that regard. Caris, Merthin and crew are very real to me now and given the chance I'd read more about them. He included a nice twist at the end and although that plot point wasn't explored often during the book, he visited it enough to keep it relevant when crunch time came. I enjoyed the story and the few elements that struck me as 'awkward' aren't really worth mentioning as the good far outweighs the bad.

To tie back in to my lead in, the middle kid took the ACT for the first time. Just a hoot to watch those big old high schoolers glare in total shock at my very petite 7th grader....we should get the results in the typical 3-7 weeks.

The oldest kicked some major band booty at the regional competition and earned fifth chair...our of 85 players. Woot!!

And of course, my Hoosiers won in a trounce over Kentucky.....GO IU.

I survived the mall and the purchasing of the new outfit for Junior Beta induction....anyone who has shopped with a middle schooler will realize the magnificent accomplishment this is.

Didn't open Maddy this weekend. I seldom have the chance to do any writing when everyone is home. Plan for today may be scrapped, but I'm hopeful to carve out a few hours this afternoon and start back into the edits on chapter six.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm still laughing

If you have a moment, watch this one.....if you have kids, you may watch it more than once.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ZpuA8_YYk

friday recap

I have to start my recap with the major announcement that I edited Maddy Blue this week. That is the most important thing I did for myself the past seven days.

Other highlights: Having Starbucks with Kim. Falling prey to the creeping crud that has infiltrated my house/family. Reading 1/4 of the Follett book (cut me a break, the sucker is over 1,000 pages). Wrapping the Christmas gifts.

That is about it folks.....a busy week in many ways, but most of it involves the kids and the minivan.

I'm sure I will be editing again today as the calendar is rather clear except for dinner plans with the hubby and another couple.

Enjoy the weekend:)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the big book

Word limit my foot....have you seen Ken Follett's latest massive contribution to the book world? I reserved "World Without End" last week and was able to pick it up from the library yesterday morning while I was in to stock the bookstore. I read "Pillars of the Earth" years ago when it first came out. I have a major soft spot in my heart for the mega sized historical novel. I blame my mother for this. She gave me Michener's "The Source" to read one summer when I complained I had nothing to do.

I crawled into bed last night, after I'd turned on the mattress heating pad, (if you don't have one run now and get one) with the book and a big mug of friendship tea. The darn book is so big that it is hard to lay in bed, read and sip without constant adjusting. The book ended up on the nightstand because the hubby got home from his work session and started to chat about the day's events and what we have going on for the rest of the week.

The first seven pages were great......Gwenda captured me from the first paragraph, but it would take a cold soul not to like a little girl who has to pickpockets to keep her family fed.

I'll keep you posted on how this sequel to Oprah's current book pick unfolds.

On other fronts, I worked on Maddy Blue yesterday....I actually edited, folks. Did you feel the earth tremble?? It was a momentous event.

Monday, December 3, 2007

themes for all things

Had a marvy few hours at B&N yesterday with my crit bud, Kim. We scoured the shelves and analyzed book covers for a while. Beyond the obvious pastel or bright colors versus the dark color difference in genre books, the layout is critical. Sort of like my critical fascination with fonts. A good font can rescue a bad day.

I firmly came down in the camp where I like a banner at the top. Such banner should say whether or not this is a series. For example: A Maddy Blue Demon Slayer Mystery. Below the banner is some sort of cartoonish graphic. At the bottom of the graphic is the title and the author's name. On the spine I like a thumbnail of the cover graphic.

So, why did Kim and I spend time looking over these things yet again? Because now she will have a book coming out in a year's time. She's moved from the fantasy to the reality, after years of hard work, networking and rejection. Her short stories will appear over the next year in Mouthfull of Bullets and Enspiren Press, out of Canada, has offered her a contract for her Shannon Wallace mystery. The girl is doing it!

Hat off yet again to you Ms. Kim........you inspire me:)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

sophomore slump



"Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy" is the second book in Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series. Our intrepid heroine, Cammie Morgan, is a legacy at the exclusive all girls school The Gallagher Academy, a secret CIA training facility. When boys descend upon Gallagher's hallowed halls, the emotions and hormones run high. Toss in some good old boy-girl competition, a possible theft of highly classified information and the inevitable run in with the old boyfriend and you've got a 240 page book.

I really liked Carter's first book,"I'd tell you I loved you, but then I'd have to kill you." My girls loved it......anyone I gave it to at the library loved it....I think the waiting list to check it out was a half dozen deep at one point.

This book will be just as successful because it does 'enough' to keep the reader engaged. I didn't feel, however, that the plot and new character development were strong enough to ward off the dreaded sophomore slump some series fall victim to.

It was a fun, quick read but it wasn't the 'get excited' read that the first book delivered. Carter does do a few things very well. Cammie and her buddies are smart, daring, loyal and not afraid to show it....even to the boys. I'd still recommend this book, but the grownups may feel a bit let down. I'm anxious to see what my two girls think of it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

short and sweet

The week in review....

Worked at the bookstore, made a few waves, calmed a few folks and had a good time.
Found the latest Ally Carter book: Cross my heart and hope to spy....better than a bag of doritos for pure decadent fun.
Snapped up a couple of Jack Reacher stories in paperback at the store.
Banished the dust bunnies from the house.
Stocked the pantry, Costco loves me:)
Made weekend plans with Miss Kaycee, hip hip hooray, the girl is getting pub'd.
My girls won their last soccer game...fierce competitors that they are:)
Cleared the decks for next week....Maddy Blue, get ready to be edited.

Enjoy the weekend, I know I will!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hoosier Hysteria

I stumbled across ESPN last night and to my total joy and delight discovered Indiana was playing Georgia Tech in Assembly Hall. Yes! I tuned in just in time to catch the end of the first half and stayed planted in the comfy chair to enjoy the rest of the game.

For some unknown reason, after the Big Dance ends, I seem to forget just how much fun it is to watch college basketball. I'm so revved up now for the regular Big Ten season to start, I've already printed off the schedule of televised games.

The Hoosiers went on to win and after watching them play, this could become a habit for them. DJ White and Eric Gordon are an incredible inside/outside duo. Hard to believe Gordon is a freshman. He drives the lane like it is the autobahn.

Enough basketball.......

Off to the bookstore today, tomorrow and Friday. At some point I need to dust and vacuum my house. That is the rest of my week. My girls' soccer season ends tonight, their long break has not done them any favors. They lost last night 1-0. It would be nice if they could end with a win. Basketball season starts for them Saturday. Oops, there is that b-ball word again.

The hubby made it home from the funeral with plenty of stories to tell. We are both gearing up for our jaunt north next month. Christmas back in Indiana-Hoosierland for the first time in 5 years......talk about plenty of material for a novel. But, aren't most families like that?

Monday, November 26, 2007

the best laid plans

Let's just say it....Thanksgiving sucked.

The youngest woke up Tuesday with a raging fever...that continued to rage through the day into the next, hence our trip to the powdery white sands of the Florida panhandle was cancelled. The kid was really ill and when we got him to the doctor on Friday he wound up with 3 prescriptions. Then, in the meantime, we got a call that one of my hubby's uncles died. His son found him dead in bed Wednesday morning. So, hubby got online and booked himself a trip up north for the funeral...and pall bearer duties.

I did manage to throw together a damn fine meal, considering I had less than 24 hours to prepare. Instead of lounging beach side, I stuffed my face with pumpkin pie, dressing and turkey.

I didn't work on Maddy Blue.....too busy taking temperatures, refreshing drinks and rolling out pie crust. And playing on the Wii.

Yes, the hubby and I threw the kids a major bone after the Thanksgiving trip debacle and had the 'elves' deliver a bit of technological heaven to our front step Thursday morning. One less gift under the old Christmas tree, but at least mom isn't babbling in a corner doped up on Prozac. That little box of plastic kept the kids busy for 4 days.........I love you Wii!!!

The best bit of news was from my crit bud, Miss Kaycee Connors...yeah, you girl.....she is breaking free of the bonds of the unpublished and signed on the dotted line. I can't hardly stand it I'm so excited that Shannon and Dwayne are going to be out there for the world to enjoy.

Dwight.....I'd love to crit your stuff....and as soon as I wrap up the latest edits on Maddy I'll take you up on your offer to give that manuscript a whirl.

On other fronts....I read Laurell K. Hamilton's "A Lick of Frost" and Lee Child's "One Shot" over the long weekend. Thumbs up on both.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the lack of writing

Unless you're living under a rock or just don't watch television, the writer's strike is starting to impact what's on the screen. I tuned in last night to watch the American Music Awards....I have a sickness that enables me to watch award shows with the daughters. I was pleasantly surprised to find the lack of writers made the show better. The presenters gave out awards, the musicians performed and all without any embarassing jokes or juvenile comments. The show was quick, to the point and other than Jimmy Kimmel trying to fill a few spots with what he thinks passes for comedy, painless.

Sad to say, but I didn't miss the writers. Now, I am missing the writers when it comes to the big three networks and the looming repeats. Thankfully I do have access to BBC America and the whole 'on demand' feature Comcast offers. I can watch Torchwood, Dr. Who and Blood Ties to my heart's content.

The lack of writing in my own life is going to resolve itself as soon as I begin a full reading of my completed first draft of Maddy Blue. I opened the file and read for about a half hour over the weekend and the old brain started to awaken and the creative juices began to bubble. All will be well there, it is just finding time to sit down and work on it. The doubt demons are sinking back into the shadows.

Like most folks, it is about carving out time to work on the book. Soccer season is winding down and although basketball season starts, it just isn't as demanding. Two days a week versus 4-5 days a week. The store is settling into a groove and I don't have to be there every day. The holidays are looming, but the shopping is almost done and what isn't purchased is just a mouse click away.

I'm looking forward to our journey south for the Turkey Day festivities. Those hours spent in the car will offer plenty of time to mull over Maddy and make some notes on the story. I can't read it, I get horribly car sick, but I can jot down ideas and hash out story odds and ends with the hubby.

I'm taking the next week off from the blog....and will resume next Monday....enjoy the holiday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

a dollop of doubt, please

I've got dollops on the brain, maybe because Cool Whip is on sale this week at my local grocery store. Hey, I bought two tubs of the stuff because not only is it fantastic on the old pumpkin pie, it is also great on hot cocoa.

Enough food talk. I'm having major doubts that I will ever return to either WIP. I've spent the last three months developing the bookstore, which by the way, is going amazingly well. My writing consists of blurbs for the local newspapers, our website, the Town's website and the Chamber of Commerce. The latest focus is the big VHS sale we are having mid December.

The old library is withdrawing every single VHS tape and book on cassette they own. Why? Well, they are installing a self checkout system and the system would wipe clean such tapes. Which then the patron would have to pay for because they didn't read the sign telling them not to use the system on such tapes. Funny in a very ironic way that the library has to remove materials because the library patrons DON'T READ!!

But, back to my lack of fiction writing. I've been away from Maddy and Lani so long now, that their mental tug/wail has been reduced to a mild whimper every now and then. Hence, my very large dollop of doubt. The muse is silent, I think she left the country. The creative juices have dried up like the Georgia lakes I see in the newspaper.

I've stalled out. You have to admit the problem in order to solve it, right?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

out of whack

I wrenched my neck a few days ago and have been walking around doing a fantastic imitation of a robot. Aging sucks. Aging is not for wimps. Waaaaaah.

With my neck out of whack, sitting at the computer has not been the fun filled time it usually is for me. I've popped off and on, posted a few things here and there, but my usual blog reading has suffered.

Here are a few random thoughts and comments based on a rather painful week.

Middle daughter came home to inform me that a fellow student is passing around a petition to have "The Golden Compass" withdrawn from the school library because 'god' is killed in the series. Geez Louise, just great. Did allow the perfect time/opportunity for a lesson on petitions, censorship, fiction and religious zealotry.

Oldest daughter is knee deep in research projects. Now, that makes my heart sing. She finally has teachers who see the value in teaching their students about bibliographies, citations and crafting a research paper. Yeah...you go Ms. Tucker, Ms. Ford and Ms. Higg.

The quantity of gifts under the Christmas tree has fallen off, but our Christmas expenditures have risen drastically. Hooray, less to wrap. Boo hiss, more to pay.

That's all I can do today.....off to take the next dose of ibuprofin....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

too funny

My DH sent this to me today, it came on the heels of a long conversation about the bookstore and some of the more hair pulling episodes I'm having or others are having.

Sunday's sermon was---Forgive Your Enemies.Toward the end of the service, the Minister asked, "How many of you have forgiven your enemies?"80% held up their hands.The Minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one small elderly lady. "Mrs. Jones? Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?" "I don't have any." She replied, smiling sweetly."Mrs. Jones, that is very unusual. How old are you?" "Ninety-eight."She replied."Oh Mrs. Jones, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?"The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said: "I outlived the bitches."

On a totally different front, you've got to check out Dwight's blog today http://dwightwriting.blogspot.com/.

Way too funny. He started a discussion about youthful crushes. Made me think of that Friends episode and the laminated list..remember Ross and Isabella Rossilini?

Today would be the perfect day to write, except it is raining like a sonuvabi^%&....and the thunder and lightening is actually rattling the house. Yet again, the girls will not have a soccer game tonight. I think I need to ship the team over to Georgia. It might solve their rain crisis better than the governor praying on the front lawn. The girls' team has some serious mojo going on.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

starts and stops

I read my third Lee Child book....Jack Reacher crawls under your skin and takes over your brain. I find myself contemplating what sort of adventure he'll go on next. I need to monitor the bookstore for new Lee Child donations.

Then in a total shock to the system, on the level of jumping into an outdoor pool right now, I bought the latest Lilith Saintcrow book, "Saint City Sinner." I just love the gritty in your face attitude of Dante Valentine.

Today brings another crazy day of soccer. The seasons don't end until after Turkey Day, I think we have three games the following week.

On other fronts, our wonderful neighbors may be moving back north, way north as in Canada. This bums me out on many levels. Great people, great kids, cool dog, they are the complete package as far as neighbors go.

Starts and stops....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

subtle

I don't mince words. As my former library supervisor would attest, "Geez, Liz, tell us how you really feel."

More often than not folks I work or volunteer with appreciate my candor. I say what I mean. I don't massage the message, pretty, ugly or mediocre. My lack of a filter can get me in trouble at times, but the dust always seems to settle.

I also don't like to dwell on the small stuff. So when folks start to set in and discuss whether or not to spend a hundred bucks on flowers for the library, that falls into the no brainer category for me. If we have the money, the request seems reasonable, write the damn check. Why are we wasting time debating whether or not the Town or the Friends should pay for them?

What exactly does this have to do with my writing? I was pondering that today as I replayed the last few hours at the library and thought about coming home to work on Maddy Blue.

I don't do subtle. I'm not subtle. I'm not over the top in how I dress or talk, but if you ask me what I think, I'm going to tell you. I don't pull punches. My characters seem to all be the same way. I need to cultivate that silky smooth easy going persona and find a way to endow a few characters with those qualities. A book filled with 'call it like you see it' people can be a bit intense.

So, how do you go about writing personalities that you don't know? I've observed them all around me, but I get stuck when I try and interpret them into a character.

I think I need to noodle this a bit more.

Friday, November 2, 2007

friday

Hey, busy week around here.

I read two books, Persuader by Lee Child and Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox.
The store had its best day ever: $315.00 in sales. Wahoooooo
I delivered the teacher coupons to 10 schools in town.
My kids have already had teachers ask if the Liz who signed the coupon is their mom..so I know the coupons have been distributed.
Having a nice visit with my MIL.
Having an unexpected visit from my hubby's cousin, one of my best friends, and the person responsible for introducing us, tomorrow.

Busy soccer day tomorrow and then not sure what is up for Sunday, but no doubt it will involve shopping as Susan is anxious to hit the local Pottery Barn outlet.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

new and used

I finished the Lee Child book I picked up in the bookstore last week. "Persuader" was filled with tons of action, amazing feats of daring do and lots of bullets, blood and bad guys. Those books have to be bad for a reader, just like eating too many donuts is bad for anyone.

The bookstore is sailing along and our first three weeks is complete. We sold over $1750 in materials, a total of 1500 items walked out the door. And the donations keep rolling in, this project hasn't put a dent into our inventory of books. I'm off to drop coupons at the school this week. We're giving the teachers a free small paperback, of course in hopes they come in and buy more. I think I've got about 400 coupons to distribute. I'm so curious to see how this 'promotion' is received. If we get 100 back, I'll be amazed. I need to put my marketing cap and on come up with some other ways to promote our store. My brain is filled with a few sketchy ideas, but some time to really sit and think them out is a priority for next week.

My mother in law arrives today, so I have to take care of another neglected household duty before the wheels of that jet touch down. Yes, I off for Sam's Club. Time to restock the pantry as this buying ingredients one meal at a time has me a first name basis with the stockers at the local grocery store.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Dreamquake" by Elizabeth Knox


I scooped up the sequel to "Dreamhunter" this past week at the library. Elizabeth Knox has created a captivating and original stories in her "Dreamhunter Duet" series. I strongly advise reading "Dreamhunter" before reading "Dreamquake." You'll be lost if you don't, as she spends almost no time on backstory.
The basic premise is that dreams can be caught in a region called 'the Place' and then transmitted to other people as a form of therapy, entertainment and even punishment. The sequel tackles the heavy questions of fate, time and the composition of reality. Not your run of the mill Young Adult themes. Knox's writing is loaded with detail but she manages to keep the plot moving and our heroine, Laura Hame, overcomes incredible obstacles during her journey to discover the true nature of 'the Place.'
The two books are written in a fairly sophisticated style and involve as much internal action as external. Although they are classified as YA, I found them to be more challenging than most fantasy offerings for that age group.
Up next, I found a paperback Lee Child book at the store last week and figured a few hours spend with Jack Reacher would be fun.

Friday, October 26, 2007

what I've not been doing since last saturday

Rather than make a list of what I did this past week, I thought I'd make a list of what I haven't done this past week. No, I haven't had my coffee yet......although the aroma is wafting up to me as I type.

I didn't write in either WIP although I did open them, read the first paragraphs and then I didn't post either to the wonderful Mr. Nathan Bransford's contest. Although I had fun reading everyone's entries, especially the ones from the folks who entered the Fabo First Line Contest and the entries from the folks I know via their blogs, like Dwight and Paperback Writer.

I didn't finish reading a book. This is extremely rare for me. I went a whole week and didn't finish a book. Slacker.

I didn't go to the bookstore Wed or Thurs. Feeling a bit like a woman denied chocolate for a week. It is time for me to step back and let the volunteers fend for themselves a bit. My fingers were a bit cramped from all the hand holding I've done over the last two weeks.

I didn't have to haul kids to any fields. I also didn't see the sun this week. I think my SAD is kicking in and I may have to look for a sun lamp soon, or eat more chocolate.

Next week I have company arriving, Halloween to survive and bookstore coupons to deliver to the various local schools. I will have a much longer 'did' list than 'didn't' list next Friday.

Enjoy the weekend:)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

simplicity

Perhaps it is the crowd of moms I wind up with due to soccer, school and circumstance, but at least once a season I hear the exasperated wish for simplicity. A day off. A day of quiet. Even those who try and keep Sunday clear wind up working all day at church.

We all nod our heads, sigh and then someone answers a cell phone or runs to the car for a forgotten water bottle or promises that she will be on time to read to the class today. The moms I know are busy. So busy in fact that I posed the question, "Will we know what to do when the next phase enters our lives?"

What if we had a weekend where we didn't have practices, games, volunteer work, birthday parties etc? We've all met folks who are what I call 'artificially busy.' They fill their time with an assortment of mundane tasks and moan over how they just can't find the time for everything. The moms I know don't fall into that category, but I wonder if perhaps someday we might. We are so used to running hell bent for election every day, when the time comes for the kids to move on and out, what will we do to fill the time?

My pat answer in my head is I'll write more. I have hobbies, darn it. I won't become one of those pitiful empty nesters who lament the fact that their child raising days are over. I will move on to the next phase of my life with grace and style. Insert your own brand of heavy sarcasm here.

I do long for a more simple pace, yet I also know life has a rhythm to it. Right now my life resembles a mosh pit, but it won't always be that way. At some point, the tempo will slow and I may actually long for those days when I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in the mini van. My life will become more simple.

When I think about this sort of stuff I tend to remember the joke about how you don't want to enter Heaven all perfectly dressed, nails done and hair perfect. You want to slide in a real mess and shout, "What a ride!"

Simplicity can wait....I'll take the chaos.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ribbon cutting


Here we are cutting the ribbon for our Grand Opening. I wield a mean scissor!! Next to me is our Friends president and next to her is our town mayor.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

falling chips

The bookstore is officially a week old now. We had the ribbon cutting on Monday night and sold almost $100 in an hour to attendees. The mayor was there along with three of our five aldermen. Lots of other folks stopped in as well. It was a fun and exciting few hours. So far our little store has made more than $750. This is an amazing number considering that the majority of our items are less than $2.50. We are off to a great start, now the trick is to keep the momentum going.

I'm still working for an hour every morning with the first shift person. Next week I have three people coming for training and then I start my 'normal' routine. I expect I'll be in the store 5 hours a week. I don't even want to think about the time I spend at home working on store related issues.

When the normal routine kicks in, I'll have to figure out a way to work my writing back into the weekly schedule. I miss it.

I've added another plate to my collection of spinning dinnerware. To use another well worn image, by month end I need to let the chips fall where they may. I think having zero expectations for how my week shakes out could be the only way to insure I find time to write.

Monday, October 15, 2007

the store


Here's our big debut. The card table has since been replaced by our actual cash register stand, but this gives the general idea. Behind us is our wall of fiction hardbacks. I'd be the 'young' one with the dark hair:)
Today is Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting with the Chamber of Commerce. I have some paperwork to update, those P&Ps need tweaking, and some books to shelve and tidy.
Sorry I couldn't post an actual link to the article. For some reason the paper didn't upload any of Saturday's paper into their website. I'm not sure if they had a tech problem or if they just leave Saturday off.
Wish me luck:)

Friday, October 12, 2007

friday recap

The bookstore venture is off to a great start. We've already sold more in three days than we normally sold in a month from our old bookcase located at the back of the library. Amazing. The volunteers have been wonderful. The store looks great. The cash register is working well. It is all so good, the exhaustion I'm feeling is tempered by the sense of accomplishment.

Next week will be more of the same, except Monday is our grand opening and ribbon cutting. That should be fun. After the second week, my life should become easier. Maybe I can actually get a few things done around the house.

The reporter from the big local paper showed up yesterday and spent an hour with us. It should be a great story. The photographer came later and took a good dozen shots. I'll try and post a link to the article when it appears.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

energy applied

We always tell our kids the basic rule of physics: everything moves from a state of order to disorder unless energy is applied. This goes for schoolwork, bedroom organization, the family shoe rack to life. Sometimes they get it and apply the appropriate amount of energy, other times, they are afflicted with what I call 'buttinchair disease.' That is, they can't move their butts from the chair.

We've been on fall break around here. The kids had yesterday and today off from school. The first nine weeks are completed and report cards will be arriving soon. I already peaked at their grades online, all is well, in fact all is extremely well.

The bookstore opens today....the quiet, soft opening at 11:00. It will be interesting to see how this week goes. I'm wiped out from getting this project on its feet, but I'm ready for it to start walking. Nothing like real live situations and customers to poke holes in the policies and procedures I've been working on for two months now.

Lots of energy is being applied and we are staying clear of chaos for the moment. All the plates are spinning, some are wobbling a bit, but nothing is crashing to the floor. For now, it is working. I'll take it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

friday recap

Today is our final day of setup for the bookstore. It has gone really well. I'm mentally and physically worn out, but today will be a lighter day for both my brain and body.

Tuesday is our first day of business, but the grand opening isn't until the evening of the 15th.

So many folks have helped. It is amazing how hard these women and men work as volunteers.

Not much else to recap for this Friday. I'm still reading Stephen King's "On Writing" and enjoying every page of it. Kaycee and Dwight were dead on...one terrific and inspiring book.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

a pause in the action

Two days down and two to go....I've learned that while I love books, they don't always love me. My allergies are killing me. I've been digging through boxes of books and the sneeze factor has increased daily. The good news is I believe we are done digging and now we can move on to alphabetizing.

No bookstore work, per se, today. We do have our monthly meeting, so I'll be giving the progress report. Also on today's agenda, a haircut and a half hour of 'read to the class' time for the youngest. He's requested a Magic School Bus book and a chapter out of Little House on the Prairie. No prob.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 1, 2007

ready, set, go

We start setting up the bookstore today.....keep a good thought for me. I'm going to need it.

On the soccer front, the kids came in second place in their tournament and in the final game eked out a 2-1 win with only 11 players and no subs.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

book sale success

The Friends book sale raised over $8200 for our library! Wowsa. Ponder how many books that is when nothing is over $2.00! What we didn't sell in nonfic and our unsold, older fic was donated to Goodwill afterwards. Bookstore set up starts Monday!!

In other good news, our first soccer game yesterday was cancelled, a team withdrew at the last minute. We won our afternoon game 6-0. We play this morning at 8 and then again at 1:30. The oldest and I will miss the afternoon game....but I'm sure the middle kid will 'represent.'

Friday, September 28, 2007

friday recap

Worked the presale set up yesterday and pulled enough books to fill 6 boxes. I need to pull more today as by the time I get there Saturday, some real gems may be gone. Which isn't bad, as the money still winds up in our accounts, but I do want the bookstore to have some quality items for that first week.

Today I'm at the sale from 10-3.
We have 4 soccer games this weekend.
We have a big church activity for the oldest kid on Sunday.

So between books, soccer and church the weekend is totally full. Next week I'll be in the store stocking and organizing every day from 10-2.

I haven't written in weeks now....although I am reading about it:) I found Stephen King's writing book yesterday and snatched it up. I've wanted to read it for a while now and at $2 it was a major deal. I may just keep it in the car for those moments in between soccer games.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

banned books

Just read a list of challenged books reported by the ALA. Banned book week is coming up....one of my favorite library holiday events. I was proud to see that several of the newer books on that list were items I ordered and added to our library's collection during my tenure. Yes, I love to stir the pot and having banned books and challenged books on the shelves is doing my part to keep the pot stirred.

Off to the book sale today. We are still setting up. I worked yesterday on getting my manuals put together for the store. Today I will be organizing and pulling books for the store. Should be a fun day.

Had a small article appear in our big regional paper. Always fun to see my byline:) Even after all these years, it still brings a smile to my face:)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

full plate

Never did get around to blogging yesterday and it wasn't because I never found time to be online. Now that we are in the final approach to the bookstore opening day, I'm scrambling to address a range of issues. Nothing major and nothing that can't be resolved, just lots of small fires.

I did manage to read Diana Gabaldon's latest Lord John Grey book. Overall impression, the book had it's moments, but I so loved her Outlander series it is hard to let that go. The high point for me in this new novel was the inclusion of Jamie Fraser in the storyline.

In addition to the bookstore stuff, the Friends are also having their fall book sale this weekend. To top that off, the kids now have a soccer tournament to play...with two 8:00 kickoffs. Nothing like being on a soccer field at 7:15 in the morning!! Thank God for good coffee.

Needless to say, I may not post for the rest of the week.....too much on my plate right now and while it is all keeping me very busy, it isn't the stuff of interesting reading.

Monday, September 24, 2007

mixed messages

We had house guests over the weekend and one of them left the latest Oprah magazine. I'm not a big magazine subscriber. In fact, the two that I receive, The New Yorker and More, are both gifts from family/friends. So, after I finished folding the tenth basket of laundry last night, I poured myself a diet coke and flipped through Oprah's latest.

Perhaps it was the frame of mind I was in, laundry can do that to me, but I really felt the entire magazine did nothing to make most women feel better about themselves. The articles are all focused on self improvement, but I'd guess the examples provided are fairly unattainable for the majority of the readers she is targeting. The icing on the cake was Oprah's essay at the end. She waxed poetic on taking the summer off and recharching her batteries while lounging in Hawaii eating fresh produce and watching 28 consecutive sunsets. Wow.

Good for you, Oprah, so glad you can step away from your media empire and recharge. Most women who read your magazine and contribute money to your brokerage accounts would settle for a day out of the house.

I tend to get a bit peeved at celebrities informing us how to be more fulfilled, how to recharge, how to look, eat and dress. They don't represent reality and the message they send isn't helpful or even healthy, although they tell us it is.

I used to watch Oprah and I've even been to her show. Heck, I sat in her chair on stage. After spending time on her magazine last night, I can't say I appreciate the message she has to offer. If I ever get to Hawaii for a month, maybe I'll change my mind.

Friday, September 21, 2007

whoa, it's friday?!

Yesterday's blog covered the whole choices conundrum I'm in right now with my writing. Oddly enough, while I was at the library yesterday to hold my last bookstore training session, I was offered a job. Yep, they want me back as the part time adult reference library associate. I toyed with the idea for a few minutes, asked if they would triple my salary, joked with the director (who's a good friend) and then declined.

I want to go back, but the time isn't right. I know that in my gut. I have to get this bookstore off the ground and functioning in some sort of routine. The hubby is traveling quite a bit. The kids are more busy than ever.

Sometimes forces outside of ourselves nudge us along. Sometimes decisions are clear cut and easy. Sometimes we flounder. This was an easy one to turn down.

My time will come again to man that ref desk and help folks find that perfect book or navigate the Dewey decimal system.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

choices

One of the agent blogs I read just asked the simple question: what are you currently reading? The responses were as varied as the number of cereal choices at the local grocery store. I go through reading spurts. Right now I'm totally in love with the Dante Valentine series. So much so that when I finished the third book and had to fall back on the bedside table stack for something to read late last night, I was totally bummed. I want more Dante.

Which brings me to my title for today's blog. Choices. We all make them, from the minute to the huge. From what book to read, to what to wear, to what to eat for breakfast. Writers have choices to make every time they open up the current WIP. Or whether or not they open the current WIP.

I haven't opened either the Maddy file or the Lani file in a while. I've lost steam. It is extremely difficult to stay motivated when I feel like I'm leveling a mountain one teaspoonful at a time. My crit bud is in the same spot.

I have the bookstore to fill my spare time. She has a budding photography business to fill hers. Most writers have other hobbies, jobs, things to take up those hours we could spend writing. So, it comes back to choice. I'm reaching the point where I need to choose to either get serious about this writing stuff or let it go. The proverbial fork in the road.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

check out Dante Valentine


I"m always torn when I discover a new series to read. When I stumble across the first book and then have to wait a year for the next title to be published, I go through something akin to withdrawal. On the other hand, when I discover a series that has been completed, then I know the end is in sight. Does it sound like I'm bitching because my ice cream is cold?

Either way, I've been reading Lilith Saintcrow's contributions to The Midnight Hour blog for a good six months now. I enjoy her wit, insight and grit. I finally picked up the first book in the Dante Valentine series last weekend at Barnes and Noble. I zoomed back on Monday and bought books 2 and 3.

I'm in love with this character and the world she lives in. Dante is awesome, flawed and real. The world she lives in is so well developed, the word original just doesn't do Saintcrow's effort justice.

If you enjoy urban fantasy with a strong punk/goth/sci fi twist, check these books out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

schedules

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know by now I'm very schedule driven. It is how I get things done and keep all the plates in my life spinning. Not that I'm opposed to spur of the moment events, but I'd like at least a few days notice!

I need to come up with a new writing schedule. The problem is I'm just not sure how much time the bookstore is going to suck out of my days. Right now, it seems like it will devour a whole heck of a lot of time. I need to wait things out and see how the store falls into place before I try and sort through all of my duties. Patience is not one of my virues.

Anyone have a chill pill....I'm in need of a reality check. I will find time to write again, right??

By the way, the girls kicked butt last night and won their game 5-0. Oldest didn't even have to play keeper...she was on the field running her little heart out and doing some amazing things footwork wise. She can juke that ball like nobodies business. >>swelling with pride<<

Monday, September 17, 2007

muddled monday

My time to post is usually way earlier than now, but my mind was so muddled this morning, I knew better than to even try. We spent the weekend out of town at a soccer tournament. Unfortunately, the team didn't fare well. The kids had solid games, but no one seemed to be able to find the goal. Except for the opposition. Oldest kid's knees look like she's been in a battle royal. In a way she was. I lost count of the number of stops she made. The few that got past her, well, they also got past 11 other girls first.

I've been reading quite a bit. Finished the first Dante Valentine book by Lilith Saintcrow. Makes me never want to attempt urban fantasy again. Boy, can she write. I ran out today and picked up books 2 and 3. She posts to a group blog and am always inspired by her posts on the craft of writing. She knows her stuff. http://www.themidnighthour.net/ Check it out.

I have two training sessions this week. One tomorrow and the grand finale on Thursday afternoon. I feel like breaking out in the Alleluia chorus. I'm glad to be almost done. The store's grand opening is set for October 15 at 6:00. The Chamber of Commerce will even be on hand for the ribbon cutting. Wowsa. We've hit the big time.

Hope your words are flowing and the WIPs are growing. Mine sure as hell aren't, but that is okay. For now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

out of whack friday recap

I fall into routines quicker than most. This week has been so out of whack. I'm finding it hard to come up with something to write this morning. Please forgive the rambling, nonsensical nature of what follows.

I've held two training sessions for the volunteers. Twenty brave souls now know how to 'sort of' operate the cash register for the bookstore. I have a training session today and then two next week. I'll be glad when they are over. One trainee frowned at me for the entire two hours. Talk about disconcerting. Not sure if she was suffering from indigestion or if I'm that poor of a teacher.

We are off to a soccer tournament this weekend. Not sure what to expect as all of their practices were cancelled due to rain. Oldest kid did get an hour in at a keeper clinic, so she isn't quite as out of it as her sibling is after 10 days off.

I'm starting to miss my WIPs. The self imposed exile from my writing efforts has allowed a few things to settle in my head and my thoughts to clarify.

I've been reading Nathan's first line contest entries along with 500 plus other wannabes. I can't say that I'm blown away by the finalists. Of the ten, two peaked my interest. Am I missing something here? Not sure if I'm going to vote.

That is it for me. I'm going to try and get back to posting next week. I've got a better handle on this bookstore stuff and should be able to figure out how to keep all the plates spinning.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Knights of the Black and White


I have to preface this brief review by stating I'm a big Jack Whyte fan. I loved his Camulod Chronicles and thought his take on Arthurian legend was nothing short of brilliant. When I spied his latest book, a ginormous paperback, I purchased it. Our library very seldom adds new paperbacks.
The book is inspired by the same book that gave Dan Brown so much grist for his DaVinci code book, but focuses instead on the Templars. Again, Whyte's take on the Templars and how and why they came into existence is intriguing. Several of the characters are well developed, but the action drags at times. Parts of the book are excellent, parts are mediocre. The good outweighs the bad.
I will read the rest of the series. I'm hoping that the slow parts, the info dumps, were to lay necessary groundwork for future novels. This isn't a short read, coming in at close to 900 pages, can you say epic?

Friday, September 7, 2007

friday recap

I've made my phone calls and I've filled two training sessions and the remainder all have at least 5 volunteers in each. The P&P and How To guides are done and ready to be copied. So, I'm in pretty good shape for Monday.

Laid down the law with the youngest. Work not finished on time, no APEX.

Read some sad news. Madeline L'Engle died today at age 88. I loved reading "A Wrinkle in Time" and the other books in that series.

I doubt very much I'll be posting over the next two weeks, but I will be back after the training sessions are completed. Wish me luck:)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

daydreams, hoops and kids

I wasn't a daydreamer in school. For some reason I understood early on that if I got my work done and turned it in, I'd have plenty of time to daydream after school. My youngest hasn't quite grasped that concept. The kid has an IQ off the charts, but can't finish his work while at school. Now, when he is home, I set the old kitchen timer and he plows through his homework sheets with minutes to spare.

We've tried a variety of carrots and sticks to get this child to jump through the scholastic hoops. I've come to the conclusion that until he decides to starting jumping, nothing we do will get him to sail through the hoops.

His reluctance to do the seat work hasn't resulted in poor grades. Every paper so far this year has been perfect. He is capable. He is giving me gray hair. He'll probably invent the cure for cancer or figure out how to harness some cosmic force to manipulate the space-time continuum.

I had to tell him this morning that if he didn't get his work done, no traipsing off to APEX for his weekly 'gifted' class.

I hate this.

I'm off to work on bookstore stuff. I have a dozen or so folks to call about training. My sounding board got back to me with a few revisions. God love her, she is such a doll. I may be really quiet next week while I charge into this new challenge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

sounding boards

As I packed up my 'how to' sheets for the bookstore cash register, I realized how important it is to have a few good sounding boards. I have loads of people I chat with on a daily basis. Very few make it up to the level where I would weigh their advice or input with a discerning eye. This same phenomena happens in critique groups. No matter what the group's size, one or two folks will stand out to you as sources of quality feedback. Treasure those folks. They make the journey more tolerable.

I have a dear, dear friend from my freshman year of college. We've been through a variety of ups and downs as we've married, had babies, raised children, coped with job changes, moves etc. She is a wonderful sounding board. The only person who knows me better is my husband.

But, she isn't my writing sounding board. I guess that is the other piece in the puzzle. I have sounding boards for different facets of my life. I'd think most people do. It is pretty easy to take those people for granted. They are there for us, every day in some fashion. They can pick us up when we need it. They can pull us back to earth when required. Don't take that ability for granted.

I'm off today to meet with the gal who is going to be my bookstore sounding board. She's engaged the store, she sees long range, she can read a P&P manual and understand the importance of laying solid groundwork.

Sometimes we have to search out sounding boards. Sometimes they fall in our laps. I've had both happen, but either way, the important thing is to realize how valuable a fresh opinion and perspective can be to our journey.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

full speed ahead

I spent lots of couch time reading this weekend. I read two books and started a third. However, I wasn't totally antisocial. We did venture next door to the neighbors for our fourth annual Labor Day food fest. I don't even want to contemplate how much we ate. Lots of food and it was really good too.

Today I have to write the entire How To section of the bookstore manual. I put off doing it on Sunday and Monday, so now I'm in a bit of a pickle. Usually I don't procrastinate, but for some reason, this part of the manual has all the appeal of a dirty diaper.

I'm going to force myself to get the darn thing finished before noon. My motivation is the book I started last night. I love Jack Whyte of Camulod Chronicle fame. His latest tome, and believe me, I don't think I've seen a larger paperback, is about the Templar Knights. He does historical speculative fiction so well. If you haven't read his Camulod series and the neat take he developed on the Arthurian legends, put those books on your to read list.

Off to finish the Tuesday chores and clear the deck for the real labor. Full speed ahead.

Dissolution by CJ Sansom



One of my uncles gave me this book on his last trip through. The funny thing was I'd picked it up at Barnes and Noble several months back, but didn't buy it. "Dissolution" is set in Tudor England. Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour, has just died from childbed fever. The monasteries are being dissolved and their monies taken by the crown as part of the reform movement. When one of the government's commissioners winds up headless during a visit to Scarnsea's monastery, Matthew Shardlake is dispatched to find the murderer. The trouble is, he stumbles into more than just one mystery requiring his keen intellect. Sansom packs this tale with loads of historic detail, philosophical musings and a cleverly wrought mystery designed to keep the reader guessing until the very end. This is a very well done book and I would most definitely read the next two in this series.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"The Wizard Heir" by C. Chima


Troubled teen orphan Seph McCauley hops from boarding school to boarding school. Of course we learn the source of his problems lies in the fact he is a wizard. "The Wizard Heir" is a stand alone companion book to Chima's "The Warrior Heir." Several of the characters from the first book make appearances in Seph's story, but the story is Seph's. A pawn in a growing battle between the forces in the wizard world, Seph fights off being used for purposes he doesn't understand while trying to learn who he is and who his parents were.


Chima saves this book from being a typical 'who am I/where did I come from' story because she isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. She kills off a few symphathetic characters, Seph is put through a wizarding ringer and he doesn't get the girl in the end.


Even though this title is a stand alone, I'd read the first one before sitting down to enjoy this book. Chima has built a layered world for her YA series and some of the details and alliances are better explained in "Warrior Heir." This was an enjoyable read and I'll look forward to the next few books in this series.


Up next: Dissolution by C. Sansone...a murder mystery featuring hunchback Matthew Shardlake set in Tudor England.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

just for you, Dwight

In my often early morning blog ramblings I've apparently failed to explain exactly what my 'relationship' with the library and the bookstore means. So, Dwight, here is the Reader's Digest version of my on/off relationship with my town's public library.

On a total lark, after being employed as a full time mommy for 13 years, I applied for a job at our local library. Well known to the staff as my youngest's mommy (I don't have a name, I'm just so and so's mother) I was given an interview at 5:00 and hired the next morning at 10:00. I became the part time YA library associate. In that capacity, I did everything from collection development to YA programs. I started their Teen Advisory Board. I wrote the library newsletters, press releases and did all sorts of public relations stuff for them.

After two years, my hubby's job began to require a good bit of traveling and while we'd been able to juggle our two jobs and the kids' activities, it started to wear on us. The library was as flexible with me as they could be, but at a certain point something had to give. My job gave.

When the president of the Friends of the Library learned I was leaving my paid job, she strong armed me into becoming a "Friend." Then she body slammed me into taking on the management of their brand new used bookstore. All that from an over 60 retired school teacher. Don't ever mess with retired teachers....

The Friends raise money for the library via used book sales. All the items they sell are donated from our community. Currently, they hold two big sales and two mini sales a year. A big sale can bring in 7-9K. The funds are given back to the library to support our Summer Reading Program, pay for professional staff development and things like that.

With the bookstore opening next month , the Friends hope to provide a steady income stream for the library. I've been busy writing our policy and procedures manual, coordinating publicity and getting ready to train our volunteers.

There you have it.....as the library staff says, I still work for the library, I just don't get paid anymore.

Friday, August 31, 2007

weekly recap

The last day of August has arrived...let's all give a cheer. I'm glad to see the month end as I'm more than ready for fall to begin. Here are a few of the highlights from my week....

It RAINED. I can't tell you how psychologically uplifting that early evening shower was. It just about ranked right up there with getting a one hour Swedish massage at a five star spa.

Watched the finale of Jekyll. I'm so hooked on BBC America:) Boy, that show sucked me in and I'm still shaking my head at the clever twist at the end. Threw me for a loop.

I didn't write any fiction. Now, I said I wasn't going to, so I'm fine with this.

I met with my book store 'brains' and we revamped the policy/procedures manual.

I'm starting to figure out this damn cash register. Figured that was a better choice than tossing it out the kitchen window as I was inclined to do earlier this week.

Managed to get the kiddoes to all their 'stuff' and not resort to eating out. Yes, I cooked all week. I'm most likely going to become the crock pot queen this fall. Got any good slow cooker recipes?

Read a book and started another.

Up for today, make the changes to the book store stuff, make cheat sheets for the register.

Have a relaxing Labor Day weekend:)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

thursday review

I finished my haul around town book yesterday as I waited for the oldest to finish her music lesson. Cleo Coyle's "On What Grounds" is the first book in her coffeehouse mystery series. I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was quick. I loved the fact our sleuth was a 40 year old. Plus I learned all sorts of neat facts about coffee. I'm still a bit perturbed that the villain didn't make his appearance until so late in the story and then the final big confrontation took place after a smaller conflict scene. I also am undecided on the way the book ended....the last chapter wrapped everything up in close to a bulleted list. I'd read the rest of the series, but I would most likely borrow the books.

Up next, Cinda Chima's YA book "The Wizard Heir"....so far seems to be a stand alone sequel to "The Warrior Heir."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

penguins and higher powers

About spit the old coffee out this morning as I read the paper. AP ran a spotlight story on controversial books. Of course, the bottom line is more books were 'challenged' in 2006 than in 2005. Challenges rose 30% according to the ALA.

Cases in point are the two children's books "And Tango Makes Three" and "The Higher Power of Lucky." The Tango book has two male penguins raising a baby penguin, major no no. Yep, this children's book advocates homosexuality according to many. Yeah, right.

The Lucky book, of course, uses the word 'scrotum' in the story. Oh my, guess I must have missed the parenting class where we should only use metaphorical terms for anatomy.

Good grief, don't these people have anything better to do? I'd heard about both of these book brouhahas several months back. We actually did have someone challenge the Tango book at my local library. Don't think anyone dissed the Lucky book.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

random thoughts

Hubby and I are back to our morning walks. The humidity this morning made it feel like we were walking in water...I tell him I regularly walk on water:)

Okay, so I'm at the soccer field watching the oldest at her keeper clinic. I watch and then read and continue on back and forth for the 90 minutes. The current 'haul around' book is Cleo Coyle's "On What Grounds." The story revolves around a coffee house in the Village and our heroine gets caught up in solving a mystery. Cute story, love the coffee tips, heroine has spunk to spare. I have to admit, I've read the ending first...I like to know who did it and see how the writer gets us there. The villain/evil doer just now made an appearance and I probably have less than 75 pages to go.

Why does this bother me? Does it bother anyone else? I feel like the writer says, "oops, I forgot to have our brave heroine interact with the bad dude...better stick him in a scene or two."

On the bookstore front.....I took the cash register out of the box and started to figure it out. Good Lord, I think I need a remedial course in something. Reading that manual is like trying to read Chinese. I was about ready to toss the thing out the kitchen window. Needless to say, I plowed on and came to the conclusion that my meeting Thursday will involve making some decisions about just how 'in depth' we want to make our cash handling procedures. Do I really need 45 clerks? Do I really need 100 departments? The hubby, tech dude that he is, came up with some solutions for me. Now, whether or not I can sell this to the ladies is a whole other matter. Keep some fingers and toes crossed for me, would you??

Monday, August 27, 2007

book store buzz

The big news for me this week is the book store. The shelves were installed on Thursday. I popped in on Saturday to check it out after I dropped middle child off at the movies. She raved about "Stardust" by the way. So, my new project, this volunteer run used book store is really starting to become a reality. I'm unpacking the cash register today and putting my old 'banking' skills to work and writing the 'how to' use it instructions. I've also got a meeting with the treasurer and the gal who runs our biannual used book sales to come up with our cash handling procedures. I'll be throwing myself into this project for the next month. I have six training sessions to facilitate for our 'staff' as well as working on the grand opening shindig with the Chamber of Commerce.

I don't plan on writing or editing or revising any fiction over the next thirty days. This may be a real good thing for me. I need to do some work that involves positive, concrete, measurable results. Working on this book store project will give me that.

So, look for updates on the birth of this new book store endeavor. I may also post some short book reviews. Don't expect any info on my writing. I'm setting down the 'pen' for a spell.

Friday, August 24, 2007

friday recap

I'm stuffy and grumpy....not the best way to start a Friday. I forgot to down my Claritin last night and am paying through the nose for it right now.

So, what in the hell did I do this week besides the laundry? I do know I need to take stock in "Shout" because the soccer gear is incredibly dirty so far this season. My daughters seem to think rolling on the field is the best way to play their positions of goalie and forward. Soccer season starts next week and if the moaning and bitching my two did last night is any indicator, they are starting to gear up mentally for a rough season. Not good. Of course I told them to suck it up. I'm not a sympathetic parent when it comes to their athletic performances.

I read two books, Eclipse and Poltergeist.
I finished the third revision of MB and started the fourth.
I tinkered a bit with Lani.
I submitted a short story based on MB to two ezines.
Have been rejected by one ezine already.
Have tinkered with the short story again.
Looking for a few other ezines to sub to.
I read Kaycee's short story and provided my usual 'insightful' feedback. Ha.
I read all my blogs, like a good girl, and even managed to post replies on a few.
Went to two back to school nights at the middle school. Enjoyed the teachers...got to love it when they tell jokes and are actually funny. The Algebra I teacher is a hoot. The reading teacher reminded me of myself after I down a pot of coffee....she bounced, no lack of enthusiasm there.

Today I'm off to the library for a bit to see the about the bookstore shelf installation. The hubby and I have dinner plans tonight with the neighbors and tomorrow with the library director and her hubby.

Good weekend to you.....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

who writes what

First off, if this post makes no sense I'm blaming the heat. The Midsouth has left the good old USA and taken up residence in a Jenn air convection oven. I swear. As I told Kaycee on Sunday, the heat has poached my brain.

I was meandering through Target yesterday as I'm apt to do when the oldest is at her music lesson. Of course I wandered back to the book section. I always like to see which books Target has selected for their special stickers. A few random thoughts struck me as I read book cover after book cover ranging from Jodi Picoult to Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Why do we write what we write? I'm not sure if I've ever truly thought about it. I'm not or will I ever be a writer of literary fiction. It just isn't in me. I'm not sure if it is because I'm from the Midwest, grew up in a two parent household, had a happy childhood, married a good man, remained married to him, have three healthy kids or have managed to live a life of moderation. Maybe it's because I'm a product of Catholic schools....who knows!

Now, I read a ton growing up. I was given free rein to read whatever I wanted to. No censorship in my house. I toted John Jakes "The Bastard" off to St. Jude's and gave Sister Katherine Delores a reason to phone my mother. But usually, fantasy books were my stories of choice. Then I discovered Anne Rice. I launched into reading paranormal books. What do I write? I write urban fantasy. I can't ever see myself writing a story that doesn't have some sort of 'magical' twist to it.

Is that a product of my reading tastes? Or because of my very stable life, have I searched for a bit of edginess and that is where I've found it?

Last night after I went to bed, I tried to think of some 'literary' book themes and plots. I swear my brain started to cramp. To ease the discomfort, I switched gears and flipped on the old magical 'what if' switch and came up with a handful of paranormal ideas.

Are our imaginations just hardwired that way? Have you ever tried to step far, far away from your comfy writing zone and tried to write or even plot a story totally different from what you usually produce?

I need more coffee...and by God, the paper better be here by now. My brain is hurting again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

who reads what

Did you see the latest AP/Ipsos poll about American reading habits? A nation of readers, we are not. Some interesting tidbits from the poll: Democrats and liberals read more than Republicans and conservatives. Southerners read more religious books as well as romances. Folks in the West and Midwest read more than folks from other regions. Of readers, most have read between 1-5 books in a year. IN A YEAR??? Good grief, I read that in less than a month.

Women and older people read more than other groups. So, old women read a lot. Makes me think about marketing......write a book to touch all those little niches. What exactly would such a book look like?

The bottom line, people are reading less. In 1999 survey respondents said they read 10 books a year. In 1990, the average was 6. A bit of fluctuation there.

We often wonder about the current crop of young readers and whether or not they will continue to be readers beyond the Harry Potter phenomena. Makes me interested in seeing what the polls will show in 5, 10 and 15 years.

Hey, did you hear JK is working on a crime novel????

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Poltergeist: a Greywalker novel


Bought Kat Richardson's latest in her Greywalker series while Kaycee and I were hanging out at B&N on Sunday. I finished the book this morning, but I have to tell you, it was a bit of a challenge. I'm bummed out about how this book read. I really wanted to learn more about Quinton and Carlos and it just wasn't to be. The good juicy tidbits I'd hoped for were nowhere to be found. The first half of the book explained loads of scientific experiment type details that really bogged me down. The last half read much faster as the action picked up. Overall, the book focused more on telling us than showing us. Lots of discussion time at the Danzingers...and even though I'm the mom of three, the little boy in the story was really starting to wear on my nerves.


I like the main character, Harper Blaine, but the story didn't have the 'pop' the first one served up. The world Richardson has created for Harper has tons of neat twists, turns and possibilities. I just wish she wasn't so stingy in letting us play in that world. Nothing spectacularly bad, but nothing to blow my socks off either.

routinely scheduled

Off to curriculum night for the 7th grader this evening. Oh joy. Don't I get a pass since I had a 7th grader last year too? Have the objectives for 7th grade changed over the summer? Argh. Then I get to go Thursday night for the 8th grader, with an extra half hour devoted to hearing about the Algebra I program that kid is in. As long as they don't expect me to solve any algebraic equations, we're good. Any of my kids' math prowess came directly from the hubby. I was out reading a book when those genes were passed out.

Enough of my home life...well, in a way. I operate the household with a fairly tight schedule. Laundry and cleaning duties are set daily. I meal plan for the whole month. The kids have assigned chores to complete. To the casual observer, the operation has to look pretty smooth. My mother laughs, she knows I wasn't raised that way. I've fallen into this routine so I can carve out dedicated writing time. I feel guilty writing when I know I have house/family stuff to do. It is a juggling act most writers face, in one form or another.

My methodical nature seems to be sapping my creative side of late. Or, the whole revision process for Maddy Blue is doing it. New ideas seem to be rare as rain right now. My lawn is dying and the stories in my noggin are drying up. Maybe it is the heat and lack of precipitation. Why can't it just rain, damn it??

Monday, August 20, 2007

too short

Why is it that after school starts the weekends pass by in a blink? Other than meeting up with Kaycee on Sunday and doing our regular eat, chat, bitch and buy books visit, I can't recall what else I did! Sad. Thanks, Kaycee for reading the short story and pointing out the flaws in the ending...I may fix those yet today.

Okay, I did read Eclipse. That took up most of my Saturday. I bought the latest Kat Richardson book yesterday and started it. I didn't work on any of my writing. I never seem to on the weekends. With the hubby and the kids around, no way to sneak off and focus on the WIPs.

Today I'm headed to the doc with the youngest. Just the annual visit, hope to be in and out of there in a reasonable amount of time. I think we have our weekly schedule set now that the music teacher called with the oldest kid's lesson time. I'll be living in the old Odyssey again....I really need to invest in a laptop. Just think of all the writing I could do at the soccer fields!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

eclipse



Back when I first started ordering books for the library's YA collection, I ordered a few copies of "Twilight" more for myself than potential readers. I wasn't quite sure how many YA vampire fans I had in my patron group. Needless to say, finding any of her books on the library shelf is a rare moment. She is extremely popular.

"Eclipse" is the third book in the Bella-Edward saga. Meyer has a real talent for creating emotional moments and for capturing the heart pounding, mind numbing obsession of teenage love. "Eclipse" isn't as action filled as the first two books, but this isn't a slow read. The real focus of this story is Bella's examination of her relationships with Edward and Jacob. This is a more mature book. Love does involve choices and Meyer spins a story about the cost of love, the repercussions from making choices and the realization that even with good intentions, we can hurt those we love.

Now, that being said, I think Bella plays a far more passive role in this book than in the other two. She seems very comfortable at times, perhaps too comfortable, letting the boys make decisions for her. Quite a bit of emotional manipulation going on....and that bothered me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

friday recap

Ahhhhhhhh, when will this heat let up???? It is starting to turn folks into snarly, grumpy lumps of humanity. My family included.

So far this week I've: written and submitted two press releases, one article, updated the book store policy manual, worked on store signage and created an email list for sales targeting the local schools. I edited Maddy yesterday, stopping at page 241. The heat got to me and I had to seek relief about 1:00. The a/c just can't keep up in the attic. Crappy insulation! I've also read a book this week, got the kids to all their appointments on time and chatted with the youngest kid's teacher. On that front, all is well. Today I have to head out for some groceries and then plan on trying to plow through the rest of Maddy.

Ordering pizza for dinner.....I'm tired of cooking. Grilling dinner at 9:00 to avoid the afternoon sun/heat works, but requires more planning than I could do last night.

Good weekend to all.....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

blurry, part II

Now that I've had a cup of coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, read the paper and started a load of laundry, I'm feeling less blurry. Yeah!

I finished a book yesterday, the nightstand pile is now down to one final novel. I'd picked my latest read up at Target...it had one of those special Target stickers on it to highlight a new author. I bought the book because the author graduated from Notre Dame. Since I grew up in the backyard of that university, I felt compelled to support the author. Plus, her bio indicated she became an English major so she could read. I could totally relate to that choice.
"And only to Deceive" by Tasha Alexander is a Victorian mystery centered around recently widowed Lady Emily Ashton. Lady Ashton married her hubby to escape her overbearing mother only to have him die while on safari in Africa. Over the course of the book, she falls in love with her dead hubby, cultivates an appreciation for Greek antiquities and mulls the age old contrast between Achilles and Hector. Sounds a bit dry? It really wasn't....although the book was a tad superficial in spots. While I enjoyed Lady Ashton and her spunk at defying Victorian convention, I never fell 'in love' with her as a reader can with some characters. I was, however, sufficiently entertained by this story and the mystery surrounding how fake Greek antiquities came to be in the British Museum. I'd consider buying the sequel.

blurry

It isn't much earlier than when I usually get up, but the paper isn't here yet and the coffee maker is still brewing. Please forgive any odd ramblings this morning....I'm writing without that first jolt of hot java.

I finished everything I needed to yesterday for the Friends. Yeah. Today is a clean slate and I have Maddy in my sights. No plans to leave the house until tonight when I get to go to the youngest kid's back to school meeting.

With a bit of effort I should be able to complete this current round of revisions....and finish removing the one character I'd targeted as a nonstarter. Then it will be time to assess the damages and see where I need to start working next. My best guess is the few plot threads that are dangling will need attention. I'd really hoped to have this piece polished before the bookstore opens, but I'm not sure if that timeline will still work. Right now I just don't have a good feel for what needs to be done. I should have a better idea after working a few hours in that WIP.

I also need to start thinking synopsis. Ugh. The hook/query is pretty well set.

Then for fun, as a special treat, I may even open Lani and see about her and that story. Or I could open the Maddy short story I worked on....many possibilities....

However, I need coffee, life is just a bit too blurry right now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

hi ho, hi ho

I'm not sure if I'm a 5' 10" version of the "little engine that could" or an overgrown member of the seven dwarfs, but off to work I go. Yesterday was slow going on the library/Friends/bookstore writing. Can writing policy manuals be more boring? Why yes, it can. Felt like I had to force myself to sit and type. Ick. I hate that feeling. Certain days I can whip through that dry stuff. Not yesterday.

I didn't work on any of the fiction sitting patiently beside me. I heard old Maddy bitching up a storm as I struggled through the third press release for the Friends. She threatened to sic some demons on me......like I need added pressure. Then Lani chimed in with the legitimate complaint that I left her and Connor at the mercy of his amoral dark fairy father.....yeah, kid, I know, I need to decide what nasty things happen to you two next.

Today is the last day I'm working on the Friends stuff. I will get this crap emailed out to all my newspaper buddies today. I will not open a nonfiction file of any sort tomorrow. I will open Maddy Blue and finish the current round of revisions. I will decide if Lani takes an arrow for the team.

I will. I think I can. Hi ho.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

sit and sweat

Yep, we've officially embodied all the cliches about summer in the south. When you sit and sweat, it is hot. Thankfully the air conditioning is working well, and even my attic writing space is comfortable for most of the day. I've curtailed my time up here to 10-2. After that, the a/c is hard pressed to keep up.

I spent three hours yesterday working on book sale publicity and press releases for the Friends. Today I need to take a peek at the policy manual for the book store and polish up a few things in it. The library is still drowning in returned books in need of shelving. I may head that way Wednesday as I need to download some pictures from their camera for my press releases.

The kids had a good first day of school......except we've already had a 'come to Jesus' meeting with the youngest. The kid is super bright but would rather ponder the universe and quantum physics instead of finishing his 'early bird work.' He can't seem to get it through his head that he could knock out the worksheet in 5 minutes and then spend the next 20 doing quadratic equations. He'd be happy, I'd be happy and the teacher would be happy. Arghhhhh. He's giving me gray hair daily. The oldest kicked some goalie butt yesterday at the clinic....wowsa, how did I mother such a fierce daughter? The middle one is happy as a clam, the posse is still intact except for two girls and her afternoon conference call assured all parties that the ties are still in place.

The joys of August.

Monday, August 13, 2007

jumping in

I'm not one to just jump in the pool. I'd rather wade in one inch at a time. Today is the first day of school for the kids. It is a jump in and swim sort of day. The older two will be fine. My youngest got the one teacher I'd heard several complaints about. Oh joy. We really need a good year, so I'm going to have to make a judgement call this week over whether to leave him in the class or to raise hell and get him moved. I didn't want to break out the 'don't mess with my kid' artillery this early in the school year.

On the writing front......the Internet is abuzz with news of the huge, gigantic, enormous book deal for the latest vamp story/author. Of course my hubby said, "Get your ass upstairs and fire up that damn computer." My crit buddy said the same thing, but without the profanity.

I do need to hit old Maddy hard this week. It won't be today though...I have a list of things to do for the bookstore and the Friends. Those items come first and I should be able to put the mess in order and finish my list today. Maddy is on line for tomorrow.

It is now or never. I'm jumping in.

Friday, August 10, 2007

friday recap

Our last week of summer vacation is over today. The school year schedule starts tomorrow with the first soccer practice for the fall season. Wow.

This week I didn't write one word in any of my WIPs. I didn't even open the files. Just didn't happen.

I did read the one book...and after I wrote my review I read several reviews on Amazon. Amazing how strongly I disagreed with them. Perhaps because I've read this book several years after it debuted, I've got a very different perspective on what worked and didn't work in the story. I think this book tagged along on the southern women wave caused by the Ya Ya book. Not nearly as good as that story.

I worked six hours at the library shelving books. Took both the older kids with me on different days then treated them to lunch out with Mom. Had a good time.

Today we are off to see the Pixar rat movie after we take the oldest to her music lesson. Tonight is date night for the hubby and I. Maybe we'll use the very generous gift card our neighbors gave us for watching their dog and house while they were out West.

I've also written down the major things I need to get done next week for the Friends and the book store. I'm going to be a busy girl.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reading Recap



I picked up "The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc" by Loraine Despres at Sam's club several months back. It languished on my nightstand along with two mysteries and a historical for several months. Finally, I worked my way to it, plopped myself down in our reading room and spent the afternoon with Sissy. I'm a sucker for quirky southern women. Guess I got sucked into that relationship due to my ongoing appreciation for Scarlett O'Hara and the infamous Vivi from the Ya-Ya book. Not to mention my high school English teacher adored Flannery O'Connor.

I was predisposed to like the book. I did like it in some places. In other places, I just found myself cringing. The basic story is a woman's high school sweetheart returns to town to find her stuck in a go nowhere marriage. The reason she ended up married is the well worn reason of getting pregnant...and that is the twist. Of course the baby isn't her hubby to be's...it is her future father in law's. For some reason, the conflict factor of her premarital affair made me cringe. It didn't ring true. Once we flashed back to that part of our heroine's life, the book lost steam for me. I also didn't care for the let's wrap it all up in a tidy package ending.

Not sure if the book tried to do too much or if it didn't do enough. Can't give this one a thumbs up...more of a sideways thumb.

crafty thursday

School starts Monday, but I'm already getting into the back to school mode. This is the second morning I've woken up shortly after 5:00. Yes, I am an early riser, but my poor brain just doesn't focus well on six hours of sleep. I stayed up too late watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. John was funny as usual, Steven, well, he needs to lose that damn wrist cast.

The crafty tip for the day.....I'm struggling a bit here and going to borrow something I noticed when I read my kid's essays. Don't rely on spell check for everything because sure enough it will miss the 'there-their-they're' problems. For short pieces, read aloud. Another trick from my j-school days is to edit by reading the piece backwards.

I'm off again to the library to shelve books. They had stacks of returns on the floor, honest to pete, a yard high in some places. Took one kid yesterday to help then treated us to a lunch out. Today, child #2 gets to go and do some shelving time. Tomorrow, our last official day of summer, I'm hauling them all off to see the Rat. movie. With temps in the 100's, the best place to be is a dark, cool movie theater enjoying how only Pixar can make a rat cute and how peanut M&Ms always taste better at the show.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

why write?

Just finished reading one of the blogs I frequent. Several of the comments to yesterday's topic included reasons why that person wrote. A few honest souls admitted they write because they want to be 'known' and they want to make some money to boot.

Every so often I sit and stew over why I write. I've always written and have hand scribbled ramblings from grade school to prove it. Yes, I have stories knocking about in my head and I enjoy putting them down on paper. That doesn't mean I'm good at it. It doesn't mean I'll ever be published. So, what does it mean?

My writing seems to serve a purpose in my life. It is like the cliched faithful friend. Most people have one. The person you can go years without seeing or chatting with and when you bump into them or call them, the years disappear and you pick up right where you left off. My writing has always been there, but I began writing in earnest after my third child was born. When I put him down for his naps, I'd fire up the computer and write for those few hours. It gave me a respite from my two older kids and gave them some time away from me. They'd watch some Disney movie and I'd venture back to medieval Scotland.

I wrote commercially and made some pocket money in the newsletter business a friend and I started. I sold an essay to a nationally published magazine. However, I've never queried my fiction. I'm not sure if it is fear or sheer lack of motivation that keeps me from trying. It isn't easy to get published and I'm not at all sure why I want to be.

Do I want to be 'famous'?
Do I want to make money?
Do I want to see my name on the spine of a book?
Do I want to entertain people?

Writers harp about the importance of GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) in a well crafted book. What about the GMC in the writer's life? If/when I start the query process, I need to understand my own GMC. I may be approaching that point.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

the big haul

I'm off to school early this morning to register the youngest and help kill a forest. It is amazing to me how much paper is required for a returning student. After filling out a good half dozen forms that contain basically all the same information, I'm going to drive west towards the mecca of pantry restocking: Sam's Club. I've avoided the 'big shop' all summer, but now that brown bags loom on my horizon, I need to venture forth and procure lunch packing items.

Had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. The current round of edits on Maddy Blue are focused on removing one character. Yesterday I decided to remove another one as well. In both cases, the removal has increased the potential for conflict. So, that is a very good thing.

I've been procrastinating on working on the book store publicity, but I truly need to sit down and start writing. Perhaps today....but for sure next week.

Actually picked up a book and read it yesterday. I think my bedside stack is now down to three titles. If I get a chance, I'll have to post my thoughts on it. I really liked it in some places and wanted to hurl it across the room in others. More on that later.

Monday, August 6, 2007

so long summer

And so, we come to the end of summer break. I feel like I should sponsor a moment of silence for all the local moms who dread packing lunches, running herd on homework assignments and making sure the favorite pair of jeans are washed and ready for wear.

I'm ready to have my house and my writing routine back, but I'm not ready for our free and easy days to end. I have some very fun things planned for myself once that first bell rings, but I do enjoy being unscheduled. Life during the school year is anything but spur of the moment. I guard our family calender like it is a crown jewel. I've joked that I really need an entire wall to keep track of all the appointments, practices, assignments and social events.

Instead, I've settled for a sort of Mommy shorthand when it comes to noting our activities on the standard sized calender hanging over the kitchen trash bin. I'm sure I'm not unique in this. Guess I'm fortunate I wasn't overtaken by the urge to name my kids with all the same first initial...unlike my great grandmother whose first four kids all had names starting with the letter "V." I should write the code down for the hubby...he might actually need to look at the calender one day or I might be stricken with laryngitis and be unable to explain what J&AF10/7 means.

But, I digress. So, I raise my coffee mug to you Summer of 2007. I may not have accomplished all of my fiction writing goals, but I did manage to have fun with my kids. I'm excited for them to start a new school year, but I'll miss them around the house. For me, that is a job well done.