Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Suck It, Trump!

I did it! I did it! I did it!

I made it a goal to finish a 50K word novel in a month. If I failed, I vowed to give $50.00 to the "Make America Great Again" campaign. The rules:
1. It must be a new project 2. I must tell the story from start to finish.



Ended up with 50,005 words, to be exact. And I made it juuuuust under the wire. My deadline was tonight at 12:00AM.

But noooone of that matters...I made it! That means I can tear up the stupid check I wrote to that stupid man to support his stupid campaign. BOOYAH!

Oh man, I've not felt this good in a long time. It was a rough month with a lot of trials and I very nearly gave up a dozen times. But NO...I made it.

Let's celebrate!!!

*Please be kind. My hair is awful, but I had a marathon writing session today in order to make the deadline. 7,694 words, to be exact. :) Could I BE any happier about this??

The answer is no, I couldn't.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Today Bailey and I took a long hike together. It was a perfect Colorado day -- sunny, big poofy white clouds in the sky, a slight chill in the air that just makes you want to be out of doors.

We were nearly derailed a couple of times. I couldn't find my watch, I left my phone behind, and the trail we'd planned on hiking was hosting a mountain bike race. All of it told me to turn around and head back to the condo. But I couldn't do that. I searched and searched and still couldn't find my watch so I gave up that particular hunt. I did drive back to get my phone, though. Heaven forbid we get lost out there without the ever-handy use of GPS. Instead of the trail we'd planned on walking, we opted for another parallel trail, a shorter one that took us off into the woods to...well, destination unknown.

We set out and made our way through the woods. Bailey splashed into every pool of water we came across, peed on all of the good rocks, and generally had a great time. Me...I was looking for the perfect spot. It was hard to know what that would be, and I just kept telling myself this place wasn't right...over there isn't quite what I wanted. I had no idea if I would ever find IT.

Eventually we hit a road. Luckily, it wasn't quite game over. I spotted another trail heading down into the trees below. We decided to give it a shot. We made it to the bottom and I just knew...this was it.

We'd crossed a bridge over some falls earlier and in front of us lay a pool of water created by them. Calm enough for Bailey to wade into, but moving enough that I didn't have to worry about her drinking the water. In the background, the sounds of the falls, loud but not too loud. It was a peaceful respite where we could rest in the shade, the mossy smell of the woods surrounding us. It was the sort of place both dogs loved. And for me, there was a nice tree stump to sit upon. It's where we would've stopped had we all been out there together. So, it's where we stopped now.

I sat there for a few minutes, not sure if I was ready to do this. Not sure what I should do. I had brought along the card the vet hospital gave to me, so I pulled that out along with a clay paw print one of the hospital staff had given me. It seemed right, so I read the words on the back of the card.

In tears, I ran my fingertips over the impression of Chloe's paw print and said one last goodbye to my baby. Then, with Bailey splashing around in the water beside me, I sprinkled some of Chloe's ashes into the water. I said goodbye, knowing there was no better place for me to do this. Now she would always be a part of the mountains she so dearly loved.

There are so many things I'm going to miss about her that I don't even know where to begin. Mostly I think I will just miss her comforting presence--her sprawled out across my bed, hogging it to the point I had to cling to the edge; her snoring that was like a little Mack truck; the BAM BAM BAM of her tail when I walked by while she was asleep on the floor; her good natured bark that boomed like the big dogs, scaring the wits out of anyone who came to our front door (when they actually saw her, it was always a laugh); her sitting under her tree in the backyard, looking out over her domain; her--in all of the best ways possible--mischievous nature. She was my little sidekick from the day I adopted her. I will miss her beyond words.

Rest in peace, sweet baby.

And because I couldn't think of my own words, this is what I read:

The Story of Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...

Author Unknown

Ack...more tears. Do me a favor? If you have a fur baby, give them an extra hug and kiss for me tonight. Thanks. :)

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Chloe:

In my mind's eye, this is what I saw today on our hike. Chloe always looked ahead to see what was around the next corner.

Mischievous in all the right ways. Her tail literally never stopped wagging.

See what I mean by SPRAWL? :)

My little sidekick. Thought bubble above her head: Where we going, mom?

Wherever Chloe went, her little sister Bailey followed. Happy times, happy smiles.

You were the best dog I could've asked for. Sleep well, Chloe. Someday we'll cross that bridge together.

Monday, August 1, 2016

NaNo Progress

As of today, I am 33% of the way to 50K!

YEAH YEAH!! (CanIgetta..WHOO WHOO?!)

That comes out to 16,715 words in 8 days. A little over 2,000 a day, which has been my goal. I want to get a little ahead in case I fall on a rough patch (more on this later), and because I'm heading to Breckenridge next week for at least 7 days of fun-filled Colorado time. While I plan to write while I'm there, you just never know. The mountains know my siren song, and will beg me to do nothing but hike and spend time outside. I am more than willing to oblige. Plus I'll have the pups with me, and I've vowed to make Chloe's trip to Breckenridge this year extra, extra special. :)

This week has been fun. It's quite lovely trying my hand at a new story. It's going in some unexpected directions, but I'm loving the process. I've had to fight my internal editor tooth and nail when it comes to reading back through and fixing things I know I want to change. I've bonked her on the head for now, and onward I go. I just keep telling myself this doesn't need to be perfect. It DOESN'T need to be perfect! A TOUGH thing for me to reconcile, believe you me.

That said, I've struggled to get my butt in chair the past 2-3 days. I'm not even finding the writing all that hard. I just want to do...other. things. It's hard because right now I have family staying with me while they wait to move into their new home. Being as they're here from California, none of them are currently working. That means they're spending their days playing cards....watching TV....dozing. I LOVE all of those things!! lol And me? I'm spending as much time as I can writing...then heading off to work in the evenings. It can be quite tiring all around.

Ah well, I must do everything to keep my hard-earned cash out of that meglomaniac's hands. See HERE if you don't know what I'm talking about.

As I said before, I'm trying to keep this one a little quiet until finished. That said, here are some hints about this book:

1. I'm writing in multiple POVs. (Yeah, WOW, right? But this is big for me.) One is...Omni. Whaaaaaat?? I know.

2. It's a dark fairytale. (Hence the Omni.)

3. It's an historical setting, though I'm not quite settled on when yet.

4. Given the fairytale motif, there is maaaaaagic involved. YEAH.

Okay, enough hints for now. LOL.

Just for fun, I'm basing my heroine's character on the below picture of Lily Collins. So pretty!!

That I all for now. Hope y'all are doing well!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Ultimate Form of Motivation

(What's this picture for, Jen? Hmmmmm. :) See below)

Okay, so I know it's not November, but I'm needing a little extra motivation to get my butt in chair these days. I've been working on the same book for, well, forever, and I'm just hitting a creative brick wall over and over. I need something fresh. Something new. Something to get me back into a regular writing routine.

Therefore, I'm going to NaNo, starting today.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, every November there's a thing called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), during which participants agree to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I'm just tweaking the thing a little and doing it, starting today...July 25, 2016... and ending it on August 24th, 2016. That actually gives me 31 days, but I figured a bonus day wouldn't hurt should I run into any roadblocks along the way. You'll understand in a bit why it is Very. Important. for me to finish this novel.

Anyway, there are several basic rules: It has to be a completed novel and it must be a NEW story.

Ah, can you see the appeal it has for me? Something NEW. SHINY. YAY. (As an aside, I'm attending the Surrey International Writers Conference for the first time this year and well, I just need something new to talk about. No more same old, same old. UGH. :))

Alrighty, the contract:

Find the verbiage/copy of the contract HERE.

I've made a very important addition to mine, however. And it reads as follows:

Edited: Should I fail to achieve my goal, I vow to set aside all dislike and downright loathing of Donald J. Trump, and donate $50.00 of my hard earned cash to the “Make America Great Again” campaign. As many can attest, this will kill my soul—leaving it a shattered piece of dead garbage that no longer holds any joy for this world. A post-dated check, which I have already signed will be mailed by my sister, Sherry Hendren, should I fail in this endeavor. May God speed my words and may God Bless our poor souls should I lose and/or that Oompah Loompah win this election.

Now do you see why it's so important that I win???

Ugh. Just writing the check out gave me a case of the hives. You can ask my sister. I was quite visibly distressed throughout the entire process.

Donald J Trump President, Inc???? Seriously?? Did you know you could incorporate a presidency?? I think I threw up in my mouth a little when I read where to send my check.

My one consolation in this process is that on the Memo line of the check I wrote:

I hate you, but I lost a bet.

If on August 24th I fail to produce a completed novel of at least 50K words, my sister has vowed to mail this stupid check. It's even hanging on my weekly bulletin board as a constant reminder.

So, my NaNo journey begins. I had the idea for this story some time ago (apparently), as I found notes for it in a drawer I was cleaning out. I don't remember writing the notes or how/when I came up with the idea but to say the least, I was intrigued by what I wrote. The top picture is something I've hung above my computer for motivation and inspiration. That's all I'm saying about this new project for now. I'm keeping this one close until I have a finished--and likely very flawed--novel at the end of this. I'm sure it will be a rather large steaming pile of poo, but honestly, I'm sort of okay with that. I will write with abandon and see which way this ride takes me. :) If it turns out to be any good...FABULOUS.

Okay, off I go. I'll be keeping a word counter in the sidebar somewhere. Feel free to stop by and cheerlead to your heart's desire. :) And if anyone wants to have a "writing date", please let me know and we'll set something up.

Words for today: 2,007

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What's The What With Me

Long time, no blogging. I know I popped in a few months ago, but for a lot of reasons, I've stayed away. Now, I'm ready to go live again. Hey, two blog posts this year... I'm going for a new record. :)

Where to begin?

I have made many, many changes in my life in the last 3-4 months. It's been a bit of an adjustment, to say the least. But I'm 100% confident that the path I've chosen is the right one. So... some of the highlights:

* After seven years with the same company--one in which I was doing fairly well, moving up in position at a good clip, making a decent salary--I decided to walk away. Yes. I know. On the surface, this was a bit of a crazy move. But the decision to leave was the right one for me. Why, you might ask? Well, the reasons are many--but it really boils down to the fact that I was letting my job, my work, get in the way of what I really wanted to do. That is: Writing. I found I could never go home and just leave my work. I was stressed, I was not altogether happy with my job, and in the end, I had very little energy or presence of mind to put my butt in chair to write. Heck, I don't think I even read more than a book or two the last year I was there. Something needed to change, and after searching my soul for a long, long time, I decided to take the leap and quit. With no real plan in place, btw. :)

* I took a solid 6-7 weeks off. Hey, I had vacation racked up--vacation I never let myself use because of aforementioned reasons (i.e. I lived and breathed for my job). I spent that time unwinding, decompressing, basically -- getting out of the head space I was in. It wasn't a good place to be. I spent time with visiting family, went out to Breckenridge for a couple of weeks -- just took it easy. I did read through my MS but didn't do any substantial writing that I recall. Hey, miracles don't happen overnight. lol I knew quitting my job wouldn't put me into a writing gear straight out of the gate. Boy did I call that one right.

* After my vacation time, I took a job waiting tables. (Did I hear gasps? I know, way to use that law degree of mine, right?) There are reasons behind my madness. 1. Waiting tables is easy for me. I like the interaction with people--I have fun with it. 2. The scheduling is flexible and I can work as little or as much as I want 3. When I go home at night, I don't take my work with me. (Except for those random dreams where I'm in the weeds and can't figure out the computer system, etc. If you've ever been a server, you've probably had these) 4. Due to the flexibility, I can make my own schedule... such as working only nights, for instance, freeing up my days for other...endeavors. 5. Surprisingly, it's VERY good money. I make about the same as what I did before...with less hours, less stress, and the bonus of leaving work, at work. It's not the best job in the world--there are days I want to pull my hair out--but I can't say it's awful. It's not a permanent move, but it's a job I plan on keeping for the immediate future.

* As mentioned above, I have my days free!!! Yay!!! Does this mean I'm writing my ass off during the days? Erm, sometimes. I haven't quite gotten into total writing mode yet. Awful, but true. I've been working through WIS -- a while back I posted something on FB about the number of scenes I have left to write. Some I've completed, others I've struggled with. I would say the book is about 80% complete at this point. I've had to scrap quite a bit of it as I worked through some of the major plot holes I was dealing with. I printed the whole thing out yesterday -- well, most of it anyway -- and it's sitting at about 80K. So it's definitely getting there.

When I'm not writing, I'm doing a LOT of reading. Hey, gotta refill the creativity tanks, right? I'm trying to stay away from church so I don't spend all of my hard earned duckets, but I've been haunting the local library. Reading LIKE CRAZY. I'm really into Anne Perry's William Monk mysteries, finished off the latest from Evanovich (boy does that put me in the mind frame to visit with Maddy, Drew and Gabe!), and trying out a number of different YAs. I've also perused a few writing books to try to... I don't know, get the fires going, I guess.

I also discovered this great app for karaoke. So yep, I've been doing a lot of singing as well. I'm basically reliving my high school days. I read some days, write a little others... when the mood strikes, I sing a few songs. It's lovely. LOL.

Strange as it may seem, I haven't felt like reading the past few days. Feels like my tank is sort of topped off and needs to come out in words. So, I'm leaning more toward writing now. Hence my blogging. Hence my reading through WIS yet again and really trying to put things in place so I have a full story from beginning to end. (Viva la chunkster!) Yes, this means I got out my scissors and paperclips again so I could put everything in the right order. The murky middle isn't looking quite so dang murky anymore... so YAY.

So...that's where I am. A lot of changes. Good news is that I feel happier and better about where I'm at. I'm planning vacations I would've otherwise put off, making decisions for my happiness and not just because it's what I should do. Just generally being mindful to the fact that I don't have to do things a certain way...the expected way. I want to that's what I'm trying to do. One of my new sayings puts it perfectly:

Don't dream your life.
Live your dream.


Hope all is well with everyone! Stop by and say hello if you're around. :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Memory Lane

So, it feels really strange to be back writing here on the blog. A funny thing happened at the office the other day... and it all led me back here. I didn't expect it, didn't plan for it, and I'm quite frankly, a little overwhelmed by the idea that I'm actually typing out a post right now.

It all began with a team meeting. My team is made up of a bunch of introverts. Getting them to speak about themselves is ridiculously difficult. My boss came up with the idea of doing an icebreaker each meeting, in the hopes that they'll open up a little. Did I mention they're all men? Introverts and male. Now that's a recipe for a silent meeting if I ever heard one. Well, not silent -- my boss and I can fill the void, quite nicely actually.

This last week, the icebreaker topic: Funniest family vacation memory.

For once, I struggled to come up with something to talk about. Then I remembered this wild rafting trip I took where a Texan nearly killed us all. I tried relating this story from memory, and for whatever reason I just wasn't doing it any justice. I got a few tepid reactions, but no one really seemed to find it all that amusing. I finally said, 'Ack! I told it better on my blog." That led me to emailing them the body of said blog post. Nervously, I waited to see if anyone would comment. It was seriously like being back in crit mode--awaiting anxiously to see whether anyone would find it funny -- give it the ole' thumbs up -- snicker at me as I passed by them in the hall. I got nothing that day -- thankfully it all slipped my mind shortly after sending it out or I might have neurotically worried about this lack of reaction for the rest of the day/evening.

The next morning, I received an IM from one of the guys, stating he didn't know I was a published author. That, he said, it made sense, because after reading my story he thought to himself that I should be a writer. Something apparently led him to googling me or something because he stumbled across BTPM on Amazon. He said I really needed to stick with it because I was good--or something to that affect.


I haven't written anything in a very long time. Longer than I care to admit. I know it sounds stupid, but it was seriously like a having a bucket of ice water thrown in my face.

What the heck am I doing that I've allowed writing to just sort of slide off of my list of priorities? Something I love--that I once could never imagine my life without?

I won't lie and say that it hasn't been on my mind. I have a co-worker who harasses me about WIS whenever I see her. I've been like a parrot whenever she asks: "It's coming." "I'm working on it." Well, no, I haven't been working on it. I used to have small bursts of writing here and there, but it's been a long time since I've even had a minor one. I have the best of intentions, of course, but it's always a "soon" or "someday" I'll work on my book thing with me -- never a TO-day thing. I guess I keep waiting for this flash in the sky to signal it as THE day. Well, it hasn't happened. Pretty sure it won't.

So, I came back to my blog and started poking around -- both here and over at ATWOP. Admittedly, I spent the entire day reading through my posts, thinking the entire time, "Who is this girl and where did she go?"

This isn't meant to be a sad post. It is what it is. :) Life happens and there's no real point in mourning or getting angry. It simply is.

Honestly, I read RT from end to beginning (Yes, backwards) -- the entire thing. Well, at least the published posts. I didn't have the energy to go through and read all of the stuff I hid for one reason or another. That's a whole lotta posts. I'm pretty tired and not a little cross-eyed at this point. WOW. It's humbling to see so many years of my life laid out in this fashion. There are so many things going through my mind about:

1. How whiny I was about school/work

2. How I was obviously very sick for a good portion of my time on this blog

3. How I definitely was NOT ready to be published when FI caught agent attention

4. How I love me some disclaimers. OMG. Every book review started with a brief synopsis, which I promptly followed up with a..."Oh dear, I'm so awful at these things" lol I don't know what the heck that was. False modesty or just a simple cry of "Please don't judge me!"

5. How the HECK did I have the energy to do half the things I did? I was writing like a crazy woman, blogging, critiquing, actively participating in writer's exercises, beta-reading, doing book reviews, reading like books might disappear from the planet the next day... AND going to law school. Seriously, y'all. I'm exhausted reading about it all and I LIVED it.

6. Half the stuff I blogged about was progress on this or that WIP, without any real specifics. How did that not drive everyone completely bonkers? Well, to be fair, it might have. But thankfully no one ever said so to my face. :) But man, the number of "breakthroughs" and "epiphanies" boggles the mind. A good majority of them turned out to be total crap in the end, but I suspect you already knew that.

7. That girl had chutzpah. A certain lack of guile. Kind of like a small child playing dress up in her mother's clothes. Oh, she wanted to be able to walk in her big girl heels, and often times she pulled it off. At other times, the performance came off as condescending and asshole-ish. Sometimes she was just an asshole. Hey, I had firm beliefs at time and I wasn't afraid to say them "aloud." Yes, I cringed reading some of my posts. Others I laughed. Some I shook my proverbial fists in the air and loudly proclaimed, "Preach on, Sister!"

I was riveted by what I read. That was me, yo! Parts of it are still me. I'm just a bit out of practice. :) Am I coming back to the blog? Hell, I don't know. Maybe yes, maybe no. But it was nice to at least pay a little visit. As for the rest...we'll see.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Game Time!

Today was a looooong day. I had to take my pup to the vet to investigate this really disgusting mole (maybe?) on her leg. She's 11 and is, what I'm calling... "moling out". (Moles, moles, and more moles. Everywhere she has moles!) Only this one is the size of a nickel and within her reach. She's been gnawing away at it and I was fairly certain it would need to be removed. I know...GROSS. Thankfully, nothing bad showed up in the tests so now it's just a matter of removal to keep it from irritating the heck out of her. They have to put her under, so my vet suggested getting her teeth cleaned at the same time, and even offered to remove a couple of other moles while he's at it. I know, bonus? Too bad teeth cleaning is big monies. Ah well, gotta bite the bullet, I guess. It's wrong of me, but I want the dang mole on the top of her head to go -- it makes her look so funny. Vain. I'm vain about my dog's looks. Sue me.

Anyway, because of said vet visit, I stayed late at work and didn't get home until about 8 o'clock. A fount of energy to write this does not make. I could barely muster the energy to think of something to post tonight. And I'm cheating in the end.

I decided it's game time. I have no idea who's out there reading this blog -- doesn't seem like all that many, but I'm hoping some of y'all will join in.

If you're a writer -- use your current WIP to play. If you're not a writer, but love books, use the book you're currently reading to play. That way, we can all play. :)

First -- figure out the number of pages in your WIP/book. Then go here and get a randomly generated number between 1 and said number of pages.

Got your page #?

In the comments, post the entire page if you choose -- or bits that you really enjoy. It's up to you. If using another author's work, be sure to include proper credit. If you blog, please pass on the game and see if we can really get it going. Don't leave me hangin', yo!

My number was 256, and I'm going to post the entire page. So, without further ado... from WALKING IN SHADOW, pg 256:

"I love you, Mac," he slurred.

"Aw," I said. "That's sweet, but if you touch me again, I'm going to remove every one of your appendages. That includes the little one, stud." I gave him a soft pat on the chest and walked away.

It was only then that I realized Jenna was gone.

"Shit," I muttered, scanning the crowd. People milled about, some still in their cars, some paired off, others in large groups huddled around the kegs someone had brought with us. I paced the perimeter of light thrown by the fires blazing in the center of the lot. She wasn't anywhere. Neither was Mike. That meant they'd gone into the surrounding woods.

Cursing myself for letting her slip out of sight, I searched the crowds again. This time for Melanie and Ty. Neither of them was present, and I could only assume they'd pursued the couple. Caleb, however, caught my attention. Chelsea was suction cupped to his side. I met his eyes, shaking my head at his unspoken question.

His eyes hardened and swept the area, coming up empty a moment later. I motioned for him to stay where he was, but as always, he didn't listen. He disentangled Chelsea's arms from around his chest and came up even with my already fast pace a moment later.

"Can you hear them?"

I shook my head. I'd tried that already. "No one's exactly


Your turn!!

On a side note, my horror fest continues.

This last weekend I watched The Stand. I have to say, I like the book soooooo much better. The movie just seems really low budget. So, if you're unfamiliar, it's basically about a contagion that wipes out most of the worlds population. There's a devil like character and a God like character, and they draw the survivors to them, pitting the good against the evil. I have to chuckle about some of the choices the filmmakers made--especially the opening scene. In it, an army base worker is alerted to a leak from one of the "vaults" on site and is commanded to "close the main gate, soldier!" He doesn't. He runs off to retrieve his family and then books it off base. The clincher is when the camera cuts back to the gate -- a friggin' chain link fence. Bwhaha. I love it. Who knew holey metal was such a paragon of safety against airborne contagions. Too bad he didn't roll it closed before beating it out of town. *snort*

I also squeezed in Killer Party. Ha. This movie is so cheesy but I LOVE it. It's centered around three friends rushing a sorority and the haunted frat house they keep throwing parties at. HILARIOUS but surprisingly freaky toward the end. It has the funniest opening to a movie ever, if you ask me. (This opening is long but soooo worth its weight in cheese. It just keeps on giving.)

Hair bands rule!!

Finally, as I'm typing out this post, I'm watching The Fog. Not the remake, but the original with Adrienne Barbeau. Again, LOVE it. Creepy lepers that come out of the fog! How much better can movies get??