Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In transition...


Just so everybody knows, my blog may be down for a while while I configure my website. But when I'm up and running, I'll have some amazing things to share!

Stick with me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kentucky Romance Writers meeting...


I know! Crazy! Two posts in one day!

Yesterday was our regularly scheduled KYRWA meeting, in Lexington. We only had about 8 people show up this month, but we did have two newcomers. Hello Sherry and Crystal!!!
Pictured from left to right are Amy, Saundra, Kathy, Sherry, Crystal, Jenny and Glenda.
Thank you Amy and Glenda for the Nationals recap!

Kentucky sucks...


At least when it comes to county fairs. I'm from southeastern Ohio, and I grew up going to the Guernsey County Fair in Old Washington ,Oh. When I was a kid I had fat steers in the fair, and even though they were a lot of work, I will always remember the camaraderie of being in a club, with friends who were doing the same thing.
The funnest part of being in 4-H though, by far, was hanging out at the fair.
When I took my kids to Nicholas county fair, I was very excited. They would get to see what I enjoyed as a kid, and we would have a shared experience to connect us. Yeah, didn't happen. I don't know what it is about Kentucky, but I have not found a single fair I have enjoyed. Nicholas County has two food booths. No rides. No animals. Demolition derby. That's it. Certainly not worth the cost of admission.
So, last week I took my kids up to the Guernsey County Fair, my old stomping grounds, and they had a BLAST!!!
There were PLENTY of rides. The balloons above were something I had never seen before. The kids climbed in these plastic bubbles, and the guy aired them up with a leaf blower. They stayed completely dry, but they were playing in the water. They loved it!
















This side of the fairgrounds contained all the livestock barns, and everything was full! Cattle, horses, chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs. It was all there, plus extra. I will never forget going to the Kentucky State Fair one year, and there not being 1 single horse on the property. It's Kentucky for goodness sakes! On this day at Guernsey, they had harness racing in the afternoon, and the draft horse pulls that night. The grandstand (even though not pictured) always had something going on.
The donkey above is a piebald Sicilian. The white chickens below are called frizzles, because their feathers grow out. And the rooster on the right is actually a Turken, yep, part turkey and part chicken.























This is the other side of the fairgrounds, the rides side. Pictured are only a portion of what was there.















This was my favorite part of the night- the Draft Horse Pull. This was a lightweight team pulling about 7,000 lbs. The winning team of the contest pulled 10,500 lbs. Imagine pulling about 5 cars, all with their parking brakes on.


I'm still exploring, looking for a county fair down here I like, but for right now, I think I'll travel the five hours to Ohio. It's well worth it.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Surprising mistakes by a well-known author...


I grabbed one of my favorite books off my shelf today, by one of my favorite authors. Not to read, but to look at conversational patterns in her writing. I'll keep this author's name under wraps, just because I'm not the type to try to dirty people. What I found surprised me.

I flipped the book open to an area with a lot of dialogue. I was looking at how she used speech tags and how she broke up the rhythm of speech. But I got distracted.


The 'nodded's started leaping out at me.


In a page and a half of dialogue she used 7 'I nodded's, 2 'he nodded' s and 1 'Micah nodded' at the beginnings of her sentences. Most of them were short sentences by themselves. That seems like a lot to me.


When I was a reader rather than a writer, I didn't really notice it. I've read that particular book no less than 10 times over all. But now that I'm delving into craft it popped out at me big time. And it begs the question- Was this deliberate? Or was this the unconscious use of a phrase she liked? Was it something the editors glossed over?


Or was it something done deliberately to get her word count, get her book done, be finished with it, gimme the money because I'm ****** ********, author extraordinaire? And I can do things however I want to because you'll still pay money to read my books.


I hate to think it was the last.


If you had glaring defects in a book you put out, that had made it through the proofing, editing, publishing process, would you want to know about mistakes that made it through?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Show, Don't Tell...


If you're a writer, at some point in your career you've probably been told to 'show' the scene, rather than just tell the writer what is going on. I know I have. I ran across a quote the other day, though, that really clarified it for me:


"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

-Anton Chekhov


I don't know why, but that phrase really clicked with me. I went through one of my current WIP's and made 14 different changes implementing that advice.
Just something to think about...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tips for Writers...


I bought 2 magazines recently, that are absolutely a wealth of information for writers. If you have a chance, find these.

The first is a Writer's Digest magazine titled Get Your Book Published. It was wrapped in plastic because there is a free 90 day access to WritersMarket.com inside. There is also a listing of 183 book publishers inside, many of which I had never heard of. For you YA authors, it was packed full of hints and tips. At $12.99 it was a bit pricey, but once I saw what was inside, the price didn't hurt as bad.

Well, I just realized the second mag is also a Writer's Digest magazine. Maybe I need a subscription, huh? This one is The Big 10 issue, and inside is a wealth of informative Top 10 lists, everything from '10 Tips to Delivering a Kller Reading' to '10 Ways to be a Productivity Pro'. It has top 10 lists from many authors, editors and agents as well. Very interesting. This one was only $5.99 too.

Both of these are definitely going on my reference shelf for later reading. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I've been bad...

Well, I did it again. Hubby usually just shakes his head at me when I sugguest another animal, and grumbles. But this time he agreed.
This past winter we lost Annie, our old friend. And our lives have been just a little emptier without her. Even Murphy moped around for a long time looking for her. Which is what he did. Once the blindness set in, if Annie wandered away, Murphy would go get her and bring her back.
We've been looking at shelters and watching the paper for possible replacements. There was an ad in the paper for Great Pyrenees puppies the other day, and when I said something to hubby, he agreed we should go check them out.
I promised him I would be reserved and check the dog out thoroughly before I said yes, but as soon as I saw him I knew he was coming home with us. He was the last one left. What really sealed the deal was seeing the mother, who looked so much like Annie it made tears come to my eyes.
So, this is Sam. We think. That's the name we've settled on for now. He's 7 weeks old today, and is 3/4 Great Pyrenees and 1/4 border collie. The man with the dogs said dad was part Border Collie, but I think he looked more Golden Retriever.
Murphy accepted him like he had been waiting on him forever. He watches over him as he wanders and seems to really like him. Sam ,of course, is a little afraid of Murph, just because of his size.
The cats are reserving judgement...


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hmmm, This could be something dirty...


But it's not.
I had a wonderful little hen sitting on a nest of babies for a while, and she only hatched out three before she left the nest to lead the chicks around and teach them chicky things. Well, the other day, a hawk snatched my good hen, leaving the babies orphans. I thought another hen was going to adopt them, but it didn't happen. Somehow two of the chicks have disappeared. Maybe they got snatched too. But one is still alive. Flourishing, actually. Because it has finally been adopted.

By a rooster.

It's the funniest looking thing. This great big cock, with two-inch spurs on his legs, leading this little tiny chick around. And it's not a regular chick, but a banty chick as well, so really tiny. The rooster leads the baby around, and cheeps at him when he finds food. I think the rooster feels like he has a flock now, even though it's only one bird. The rooster is a lesser rooster, and has never had birds of his own. I looked out earlier today, and the rooster was sitting on the doorjamb of the chicken coop, and chicken little was sitting on top of the rooster.
My husband says the rooster is robbing the cradle, but I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's just stepping up to be daddy...




Thought I'd show you my new kittens, too. One, Whiskers, is smart and ornery and very cat-like. Takes care of herself. Knows when to get out of a thunderstorm. The other is, well, intellectually challenged, let's say. But she's very sweet. My daughter told me that even when she dropped Skittles in the pool, she still purred.
Can you tell which one is Skittles? I'll give you a hint. She doesn't know when to get in out of a thunderstorm. (She's the bedraggled one on the left.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Uh, Honey, the barn is rolling away....

So, I don't know if anybody else had any issues with the weather last night, but we certainly did.
This is a barn hubby and I built a couple of years ago. We were going to separate my stud horses away from the rest, and eventually get a few mares, but the idea kind of fizzled away and my studs have since died. The barn has been used for storage since then.
So, yesterday afternoon, Hubby woke me from a nap and told me we were having a major storm. Everything was blowing around us; kids toys, kittens, misc. things. And it was all blowing in the wrong direction. Our wind always, always comes from the West. Yesterday, it was coming from the North. The door of this barn faces the north. The storm simply picked the sucker up and rolled it over. Unfortunately, it rolled it over on top of two trailers we parked down there (out of the way, we thought) three days ago. 3 days. Doesn't it just figure? If the trailers had not been there, the barn would have simply rolled onto it's roof and stopped. Instead, it's all cock-eyed now and dangerous. We won't be able to tell if the trailers are damaged or not until we get the barn off of them.
The good news is, the insurance man came out and we should be getting a check in a couple of days. We were not the only stop he had planned for today; other people were waiting for him with other damage from the same storm. Helped back up our claim a little bit.

How on earth we're going to get the barn down, I have no idea. Maybe a storm will come out of the south and flip it back over for us.

Riiiiight......



















Saturday, July 31, 2010

Udderly Delightful




Went to the Buffalo Trace Balloon Festival friday, and I have to say, it was one of the most visually stunning things I have ever seen in my life. I've lived in Kentucky 4 1/2 years now, and I've wanted to go to the festival the entire time, just haven't ever gotten the chance to. Schedules never worked out, or I found out about it after the fact. Seems like I always missed it for one reason or another. This time, my lovely neighbor Dorothy reminded me.



All tolled, I believe there were about 27 different balloons.









This balloon was called 'Udderly Delightful'. I thought it was damn cute.










They were having some problems getting this balloon vertical. See the little gray haired lady in the bottom left hand corner of the picture? She's a lot more enthusiastic there than when she finally gets in the balloon. With the basket jostling around, she did not seem especially thrilled. The balloon was actually tethered to the front bumper of the black truck she is leaning against, and it was moving as the balloon tried to lift off.


The balloons after everybody had lifted off.

Once the balloons were headed who-knows-where, they had live music and arts and crafts
to check out. And, of course, bounce houses for the kids.
It was a very nice evening.















Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Procrastination is my Middle Name


Ok, it should actually be my first name too. I am so bad about putting things off.

I've had a lot of people asking about the cruise hubby and I took, so I thought if I did a blog post, it could cover everybody.



We left from Port Canaveral on the 12th, in the afternoon on Monarch of the Seas. Huge boat. Surprisingly awe inspiring. I found out later that she is actually one of the smaller boats in the Royal Caribbean line.


We left in the afternoon, and sailed through the night to Cococay, Bahamas, an island that Royal Caribbean owns. Hubby and I thought it would be hoaky, but it was awesome. We decided at the end of the cruise that we would have liked to spend more time there. One side of the island was busy; you could sign up to go snorkeling, rent jet skis, play on bouncy things in the water. We took a nature walk by ourselves and ended up on the other end of the island, which was totally deserted. That was the side we liked most.
















One thing we felt bad about, was walking on hermit crabs. When we went on the nature trail, it took us a few moments to realize the forest floor was moving, with little tiny hermit crabs. It ended up being an especially long hike because we were watching every step we took to avoid the crabs. On the deserted end of the island, Hubby found a pile of shells he thought somebody had gathered. Instead, it was a group of crabs that had gotten together for breeding, I thought.











These are all little crabs, most of them about the size of your thumbnail.




We left Cococay, and headed towards Nassua. While we were sailing, the RC staff made sure you had plenty to do. There were at least a dozen bars and lounges on the ship. There was a three story theater inside, a shopping mall with Ben N Jerrys, Starbucks, two jewellry stores, a general store, a duty free store. There was a casino, a piano bar, a climbing rock wall, 2 pools and two hot tubs. There was food available somewhere all the time. Literally, you could get pizza at 4 am. There was a regular buffet that ran about 15 hours a day, as well as several specialty restaurants. We went to a restaurant called Vincents for a couple nights, and I ate some of the best food I'd ever had. Lobster Bisque, Filet Mignon, Raspberrry Panna Cotta. Absolutely mouth watering!!! (Yes, I did gain a few pounds.)
When we arrived at Nassua, I had scheduled us to go snorkeling with Manta Rays. It was thrilling. They were debarbed of course, and very used to human contact. Such an unusual texture though.
After hiking up through the town, sampling conch fritters, we rented a taxi to take us to one of the forts and a place called the Queens Staircase. Below is a view of hubby standing at one of the cannons, with our ship in the background. On the right side is a view from the same hill of Paradise Island and Resort, which is very high end and built not too long ago. It looked very cool, but it was like a hundred bucks per person just to walk on the island. Maybe we'll do that next time. It was especially beautiful at night, but none of my pictures came out very well.
































We sailed through the night Thursday night, and got back to Florida Friday morning. We spent a day in florida, looking at where I used to live years ago. We stayed at Melbourne beach, on the coast. The water was so much different from the Bahamas. Cold and a little violent.
It was turtle nesting time, but the only turtle we saw was one that had died on the beach. She didn't have any injuries or anything, so I assumed she starved to death trying to get to the beach to lay her eggs. Very sad.
Overall, the trip was absolutely phenomenal. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Next time, though, I will know to keep more money at hand when we go, (for the endless people that needed tips) and I will not fly Delta. The worst part of the trip was trying to get home, with delays, mechanical issues, etc, that put us a day late.
Hope everybody is inspired to do something crazy. A cruise was not something I ever really planned to do, but I decided to do it exactly because of that. I'm not generally a sun person, but I had a wonderful time.




Sunday, April 25, 2010

So, alot's been going on that I didn't want to blog about. It seemed like this winter was a real test for us. We lost Moose, then Bud, and at the beginning of March we lost Annie. Not from her Diabetes or old age, No. She was attacked and ripped apart by neighbor dogs, and we ended up having to put her down. It seemed like everything I had to talk about was down.
With the spring comes renewal, though,and things are starting to perk up. Hubby has been working in Mexico for a little over a month, and he's almost done with that. He's at least getting to come home on the weekends now.
Although Moose is gone, he's not forgotten. He has a little baby filly that was born just before Easter. Mom appropriately called her Spring. She only weighed 29 pounds when she was born. Below is a clip of her at about 5 days old. And yes, those are roosters crowing in the background.



video

Then, a setback. Tucker, one of my three remaining geldings, managed to tear up his leg in fence. Actually, the term the vet used was degloved. Literally, he cut the skin and meat on his long cannon bone in his rear leg, and everything got shoved down. There was a 4 inch section of bone dry to the air. Think tube sock being pushed down to the ankle. Yea, seriously bad. The crazy thing was, the vet said all the work would be up to me. He didn't do anything. No antibiotics, no pain management, nothing. I have to bandage everything every 3-4 days, and let me tell you, it is absolutely THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I have ever seen or smelled. I was a cop for 9 years, and I've seen wrecks, dead bodies, gross things, and this injury is definitely in the top 3. I'm not even posting a picture, because it's so bad.

On the upside, it's looking surprisingly good.( I'm definitely looking for the upside in all things right now. ) Flesh is actually growing in over the bone. I never would have believed it. The vet said that this could be a six-month process though, with possible setbacks. I'm hoping for less. Poor Tucker won't be as pretty as he used to be.

Anyway, spring is here and I'm looking forward to a better year this year. I'm still writing, although with hubby traveling, it's harder to eek out time, because I have to juggle the kiddies. But I plug on, because I have to.

Till next time...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sex All Weekend Long...

Had a wonderful experience this weekend. Mary Buckham, writer and professional critique-er (is that a word?) came to speak to our group, the Kentucky Romance Writers, on including sensuality in our writing. No, not sex, SENSUALITY. Yes, there is a difference. Sex is sex, But sensuality is everything that builds up to the actual act. All the hot glances, little touches, tense moments. Everything that makes the reader keep turning the pages. It was a VERY informative day, and she was such a gracious speaker.



The day before, on Friday, we explored our little corner of Kentucky. We started with lunch at Wallace Station, then moved on to a tour of Three Chimneys Farm, which was an enlightening experience in sex itself. We toured the stallion barns, where we met Big Brown, Smarty Jones and so many other phenomenal horses standing at stud there. We also watched three live breedings, which was very exciting.





This is the famous stud Dynaformer, father of Barbaro, getting a bath. Dynaformer brings in a paltry stud fee of $150,000 a cover, THREE TIMES A DAY! At 25, he is one of the oldest studs, but he's still going strong. You go old man!

I think us Kentuckians even taught Mary a thing or two about sex that day.




From left to right we have Tracy, Heidi, Stephanie, Kathy, Mary and Saundra. I, of course, am taking the pic.

From the farm we proceeded to Keeneland, where I have never been before. What a beautiful race track. Nothing was really going on , of course, but it was neat to explore the shop and paddock area.


I had to peel off after Keeneland and go to work, but the rest of the girls went on to Equus Run Vineyards, where they may have imbibed in just a little wine. (ie. a bottle or three?)


Nah, just kidding...mostly. Everybody had a wonderful weekend, and Mary was exceptional. If you check out her website, you will find that she has critique services available, and her prices are all included. From what I saw, she is well worth her time and money.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rejection, rejection...


Today is a momentous day in the life of an aspiring author.I am officially in the club. I just received my first rejection. Months ago, heck, I think it was maybe August, Resplendence had a call for law-enforcement themed short stories. I whipped one up, and re-worked it, and re-re-worked it, let a few people read it, before finally sending it in. Honestly, I hadn't heard back from anybody, so I had already assumed it wasn't right for them.

I'm not too broken up about it. Since I sent the manuscript in, I've reworked it even more, and it is such a better story now. Better conflict, better sex, better dialogue. So, Ms. Everhardt, I think you made the right decision. But thank you for officially letting me know.

Although, if you want a look at the updated version, you've got my e-mail...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good Idea for Anytime...Louis Ramey

So, our babysitter pulled through for us at the last minute on Saturday, and we headed to Lexington. Hubby and I don't get a chance to date much, so this was a special treat. One of my favorite things to do is go to Comedy Off Broadway, in the Lexington Green Shopping Center. I got online and ordered tickets. Their headliner was a dude I had never heard of. Louis Ramey. I looked him up on You-tube, and he was ok, but didn't seem spectacular.
Was I ever wrong!!!
From beginning to end, he had us rolling! His subjects were varied, and he had one-liners that really struck home. Of course he had to make fun of Kentucky, but he did it in a fun way. Apparently, he was on Last Comic Standing- not sure what year.
If I knew he was coming back to Lexington, I'd go see him again in a heartbeat.
http:/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HgybeZCltk
This clip is pretty tame compared to what he did for us, but you get the idea.
Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Endings and Beginnigs...

I am sad once again. I've lost another very dear friend. 'Four Bid', the stud pictured above, died yesterday, unexpectedly.
Bud, as we called him, had been losing weight recently. But that was actually pretty normal for him. Lose weigh in the winter time, then bulk back up in the spring. Throughout the winter, I would feed him special senior feed, give him extra treats and roughage. I don't think it was enough, though, this year. Especially with the snow and the cold the way it's been. I think everything combined to get him down.
It was especially heartbreaking to look down in the field and see the other three horses hanging theirs heads over top of his body, waiting for him to get up.
Bud was the patriarch of the group, the 'old man' as we called him. He was 27 this year. He always held a special place in my heart because his pedigree could be traced back to Man O' War, the great racehorse. And because he was willing to put up with any novice rider I put on his back. He is going to be sorely missed.
Okay, damn it. On to lighter news. I reconnected this week to a very dear friend from high school. HELLO NICOLE!!!! On Facebook, no less. I think it's quite a coincidence that she found me. I've only just started being a presence on the network, and week before last she typed my name in. It was so good talking to her. I'm sure we'll get together at some point and get into trouble just like we always did. (Hey Nic, remember getting the truck stuck going around the reservoir? Ha Ha!!!)
So, I guess life kind of balances out, huh? When it takes something away, it will give you something back. Maybe just not what you expected.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hmmmm....

I don't know if this is true or not, but I received this in an e-mail the other day. It made me laugh. I have visions of Harlequin sweeping this under a rug...

'Worker Dead at Desk for Five Days'
New York Times: Bosses of a publishing firm are trying to work out why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting dead at his desk for five days before anyone asked if he was feeling okay. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proofreader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers.
He quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was working during the weekend.
His boss, Elliot Wachiaski, said: "George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all the time and didn't say anything. He was always absorbed in his work and kept to himself."
A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead for five days after suffering a coronary. George was proofreading manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died.
You may want to give your co-workers a nudge occasionally. The moral of the story: Don't work too hard. Nobody notices anyway.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

13 Years and counting...



Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. Kinda. Actually, he's in California right now, so our celebration was limited to what we could do on the phone. (No, nothing dirty.) We'll be extra celebratory when he comes back, because he comes back the day after his birthday.

This is an older picture, of course, but it's one of my favorites. And I realized, too, one of the few pictures I have of the two of us together. Something I need to rectify.

We were dating about two and a half years when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him a ring. After he turned about 10 shades of green, and didn't talk to me the entire car ride home from work, he finally agreed. The sweetheart sold his dirtbike to get my engagement ring. He makes fun of what he did, but to me it was precious.

We eloped to Tennessee to get married, which was one of the best things we ever did. No family hassle, trying to juggle exes, in-laws and out-laws. It worked out perfectly.

Alot of people didn't expect us to survive. But I've come to realize that that was their dissatisfaction with their own lives coming through.

I love my husband dearly, and he loves me. We balance each other out to perfection. He is the whimsy to my practicality, and I appreciate him more than I can ever tell him.

I love you honey.


My joy is tempered by sorrow though. My step-mother just lost a very dear friend to lung cancer, and Magdalena is dealing with her own heartbreaking trial. My heart goes out to them.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Changes, changes...


Yesterday was our Kentucky Romance Writer's meeting. Kinda... Actually it was more of a workshop, with Maddie James leading. It was all about Social Media Marketing, and it was very informative! One of the things she taught us to do is change up our blog. This one is still a work in progress. The picture frame is cute, but I don't know if I like the the way it interacts with the rest of the blog.


I will try to keep this up more often. I can at least do a blog on the weekends. Let me know what you think about the new look.


Oh, thank you Patty for suggesting http://www.thecutestblogontheblock.com/.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Amazing...Kindle...


I love my sister-in-law. She totally set me up. She GAVE me her 'old' Kindle, because her husband bought her a new one.
I love hand-me-downs.
This thing is awesome. I love it, love it, love it.
And today I love it even more. You know how they tell you to read your manuscripts out loud before you submit, because your ear will hear things your brain doesn't see?
How cool would it be for the Kindle to read your current work-in-progress to you on the way to work, or the grocery store, or whatever. Well, it does! You have to have an Amazon e-mail address, which is free to get. You send your wip to your e-mail, download it, and Kindle will transfer it to voice.
Even better, if you have a critique group, have them send you what they want you to critique, and it will do the same thing! Read it out loud to you when it's convenient to you.
Isn't that cool?
Or is this one of those things that everybody already knows about and I'm making a fool of myself very publicly?
In case I'm not, go to Amazon and Kindle support. Scroll down on the page and find the section about downloading wirelessly. Click on 'more information' and read 'transferring personal documents'.