NaNoWriMo

Quick NaNoWriMo Update

I think I have discovered the secret to making me write:

1. Leave house

When I leave the house, I feel like writing is more like a job. I’m only away from my regular work for three hours but in that three hours, I can, and often do, produce 3,000 words before I completely go blank.

2. Write at the MSU library.

It’s stone quiet there and I can relax and get totally into my story without getting jerked out by distractions. LOVE IT!

I’m telling you folks, 2009 is going to be THE year I start submitting my work places. I’m really fired up to continue this frantic writing pace. I have plans to revise my 2007 NaNoWriMo project in December and try to make something of it and then in January, I’m going to write a series of short stories to submit to two literary magazines that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

Usually, by this time in November, I’m so brain dead from all the writing that I can’t wait to cross the 50,000 finish line. And then when I do, I’m so burned out I don’t want to THINK about writing for a few weeks.

This year has been different. I have just as much creative energy as I did at the beginning of the month and I can’t really pinpoint why. All I know is, something has shifted inside of me and I just feel ready to take my writing to the next step.

It’s an incredible feeling.

A question to other NaNoWriMo’s out there – how are you coming along with your projects? Are you going to make it 50,000 before midnight Sunday?

NaNoWriMo

Reality Check – Third Excerpt

nanowrimoex-061

Here’s another installment from my 2006 NaNoWriMo project.

I have comments turned off, not because I don’t want your feedback, but because I can’t afford to think about revising at this point – I hope you understand. 🙂

Please remember, this is straight from my rough draft – I’ve done virtually no editing. 🙂

Thanks for reading and KEEP WRITING!

________________________________

She sighed. “They were in a car accident.” She closed her eyes and relived the memory as she spoke. “It was late, around 1:00 in the morning, I believe. We were coming from dad’s retirement party. It had been great,” she turned and smiled at Dalton. “The associates at Liberty really went all out. They had rented a huge auditorium at the Plaza Hotel, champagne flowed, I remember there was a lot of laughter. Everyone had pitched in and bought him a really nice silver watch AND,” she held up two fingers, “two tickets for a Caribbean cruise.” She smiled at the memory. “They were so surprised! And very excited. My father was sort of a workaholic – he would never take vacations even though mom begged him to. This cruise would have been perfect for them.” Her face fell. “They never had a chance to go.” A white hot stab of grief sliced through her heart and tears began to pool in her eyes. “I … I had been following them. We were going back to their house to wind down and just … celebrate, as a family.” She sniffed, a lone tear followed the gentle swell of her cheek.

Dalton reached for a tissue and handed it to her. She took it and blew her nose.

“I saw it happen,” her voice was so low Dalton had to lean forward in order to hear her. “A drunk driver crossed the medium and hit them. The police told me he had to be going 80 or 90 miles per hour. My folks … never … had a … chance.”

She swallowed and continued softly, her voice breaking at irregular intervals. “I watched them die.” She lifted moist, glassy eyes to him. “I slammed on my brakes and almost rear-ended them. I swerved and ran off the road. I got out of my car so fast I tripped and twisted my ankle. But I didn’t notice. All I could do was pray that my parents were okay. That they somehow survived.” She crossed back over to the bar stools and sat down. She grabbed another tissue and blew her nose again.

There was a long pause. Brenna could hear the soft rustling of leaves outside, a distant police siren, the steady tick, tick, ticking of the wall clock. “I reached the car.” She breathed in deeply. She shredded the tissue as she spoke. She could see it all so clearly. It had happened right next to a streetlight. Her parents’ car was bathed in soft blue light. She approached the vehicle from the rear. It was in perfect condition. She had almost convinced herself it had all been a bad dream until she walked around to the passenger side door and saw the shattered windshield. She hadn’t wanted to look inside the car, but she had to. If she could somehow save her parents, she had to try.

“I yanked on the passenger door. I could see my mother. Her head was resting on the headrest. Her face …” she swallowed, “her face, neck and chest were covered in blood.” She sobbed, grabbed another tissue and buried her face in it.

Dalton clasped his hands between his legs, lowered his head and sighed. “I’m so sorry, Brenna.” He didn’t offer more. There was nothing he could say that would make her feel better.

She didn’t hear him. All she could see was her mother, lying prone on the seat, her beautiful lavender silk blouse soaked in blood. She wasn’t breathing.

“I knew she was dead,” she continued, her voice toneless, dead. “I ran to the driver’s side. I could see my father slumped over the steering wheel. His head was resting on his right hand, his left hand was on the dashboard, as if he were still bracing for impact. He wasn’t bleeding, at least on the outside,” she added, almost as an afterthought. “His eyelids fluttered. I think I screamed, ‘DAD!’ though I can’t be sure. All I remember was trying to frantically get his door open. It was crumbled inward. I pulled so hard I dislocated my right shoulder. But I didn’t know that until later.” She stated matter of factly.

“I opened the car door behind him and crawled into the back seat. I scrambled to reach him, desperate to save him.

“He was breathing, but only barely. I could hear a soft wheeze with each labored breath. I gently touched his shoulder as I leaned in between them.

‘Dad,’ I said. ‘Help is on the way. Hang on, please hang on.’ I couldn’t see his face very clearly, he had it turned toward the window, but I could hear something, a raspy whispering, as if he were trying to talk to me. I stopped breathing and listened.

‘Is she dead?’ I wasn’t sure what to tell him. My parents have always had a sixth sense when it came to each other. They were so in love you see,” she sputtered an exasperated, desperate chuckle. “I knew he would know if I lied. But I tried, I honestly tried.

‘I think she’s okay, unconscious, but okay.’ He didn’t believe me. ‘She’s dead, isn’t she.’ What could I say? So I said nothing. ‘You’re going to be okay, dad. Just please, hang on. Some other cars have stopped. I’m sure someone has called 911.’ I can’t be sure of this part,” she paused and tilted her head toward the ceiling as if studying the tiles would somehow confirm her doubts, “but I think he chuckled. ‘You could never lie to me, Bren. I know she’s gone. I can’t feel her presence anymore.’ He said. I began to cry. I couldn’t handle this, I couldn’t handle watching him die. I could hear sirens in the background, help was coming. ‘Dad, do you hear that? They’re coming, hang on. Please, dear God, don’t leave me.

I love you, Brenna’ he had said. And I knew. I knew as soon as he heard mom was dead he was going to give up. His soul mate, his lover, his best friend was gone. There was simply nothing left for him to live for. I stroked his hair. I kept talking to him. I kept fooling myself into thinking he was still breathing and trying to cling to life.

He was dead before the ambulance reached us.”

NaNoWriMo

Reality Check – Second Excerpt

nanowrimoex-061

Here’s another installment from my 2006 NaNoWriMo project.

I have comments turned off, not because I don’t want your feedback, but because I can’t afford to think about revising at this point – I hope you understand. 🙂

Please remember, this is straight from my rough draft – I’ve done virtually no editing. 🙂

Thanks for reading and KEEP WRITING!

________________________________

She slammed out of the car, entered the shop and stalked to the smiling, waiting girl behind the counter.

“I’d like a six-inch turkey and swiss on whole wheat bread please. A small amount of mayo, honey mustard, cucumbers, tomato and lettuce.”

The girl’s smile dropped at her clipped tone of voice “Of course.” She took out the bread, slapped on some turkey and swiss cheese and slid the sandwich down to the boy next to her.

Dalton walked up to the girl and smiled, silently apologizing to her for Brenna’s bad manners. The girl visibly relaxed and returned his smile.

Brenna rolled her eyes and watched the boy put the condiments on her sandwich. She wasn’t sure why she was so annoyed with Dalton. He was only doing his job. And she wasn’t sure why she felt reluctant to talk about Marcus. All she knew was that she wasn’t quite ready to do so.

She had reached the cashier and waited.

“Would you like chips and a drink?” another pimply-faced boy asked her.

“No.”

“Uh … okay, that’ll be $3.69 then.”

“He’s paying.” She nodded her head toward Dalton.

Dalton walked up to them. “What’s the holdup?”

“I’m waiting for you to pay.”

“I’m …?” Dalton scowled and pulled out his wallet. “Fine, whatever.”

Brenna snatched up her sandwich, snagged a cup for her water and walked to a corner booth. She slid in as Dalton approached. She held out her cup.

“Water please, lots of ice.”

“What am I, your servant?” he snapped.

“You are if you want your questions answered,” she shot back calmly.

“You don’t have a choice, Ms. Foster,” his eyes began to darken with irritation.

She continued to hold out her cup. He continued to stare at her.

Seconds ticked by as they continued to look at one another.

He snorted in disgust. “Fine.” He snatched the cup from her fingers and headed to the soda fountain.

She smiled and unwrapped her sandwich. She was beginning to like him.

Dalton returned and dropped her cup of water in front of her. “Did anyone ever tell you you’re irritating?”

“Did anyone ever tell you you’re nosy?”

“That’s my job, missy.”

“Why are you so interested in my boyfriend? What has he got to do with anything at all? And don’t call me missy.” She sunk her teeth into her sandwich.

Dalton sighed and sat back in the booth. He crossed his arms and studied her before saying, “You really have no idea, do you.”

“Wha arliugliut,” she paused to chew before continuing, “what are you talking about?” She nabbed a napkin and dabbed the corners of her mouth.

“Marcus Waters is …” he paused. He really didn’t want to hurt this woman but he had to know if her relationship with Marcus was really over, for Jackie’s sake.

“Yeah? Marcus Waters is … an outlaw? A criminal? A crooked lawyer? A Republican? A law-abiding citizen? Is a …”

“My brother-in-law.”

“Your … what?” A lump of turkey lodged in her throat. She began coughing.

“My brother-in-law.” He arched a brow as her coughing continued. “Take a drink of water.”

She began flapping her hands in front of her face.

“What, are you choking or something?” He scoffed.

Brenna wrapped her hands around her throat and her face began turning various shades of purple.

“Oh God, you ARE choking.” He scrambled out of his seat, grabbed a handful of her sweater and pulled her toward him. The heel of her boot caught on the back of the seat as she was exiting the booth and she fell into Dalton. He caught her and spun her around. Balling a hand into a fist, he placed it just under her diaphragm. Using the palm of his other hand, he wrapped it over his fist.

“Okay Brenna, let’s do this.” He jerked back against her abdomen in quick, staccato movements.

Brenna jumped like a rag doll against him with each thrust.

Finally, the bit of meat flew from her mouth and landed on their table.

She gasped for air. She turned around and hugged him to her. She couldn’t speak, so she squeezed her thanks instead.

He resisted the urge to hug her back. He could get used to this sort of gratitude. He released a nervous chuckle, both at his thoughts and at her public display, “My pleasure, little lady.” He helped her back into her seat. “Here, drink some water.”

She took a few small sips before resting her forehead in the palm of her hand. The other patrons in the shop began to settle back down once they realized the excitement was over.

“Geez, could I BE any more stupid?” Her chin was resting on her chest, her voice came out muffled and husky.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” she paused to take in long, deep breaths. “I am now. You don’t truly appreciate the simple act of breathing until you can’t anymore.”

“I can imagine.”

“Sorry about that.”

He crossed his arms and grinned at her. “You’ll do anything to get out of being questioned, won’t you.”

“Oh, hardy-har-har,” she grumbled. “Eat your sandwich, it’s getting cold.”

He chuckled and picked up his roast beef. “Seriously, are you okay?”

“I’m good for another day at least.” She picked up her sandwich and eyed it doubtfully. “So, back to Marcus … he can’t be your brother-in-law; he’s not married.”

NaNoWriMo

Racing Heart – Second Excerpt

Racing Heart

I’ll be posting excerpts from my 2008 National Novel Writing Month project, Racing Heart, every Tuesday in November. I have comments turned off, not because I don’t want your feedback, but because I can’t afford to think too much about what I’m doing at this point – I hope you understand. 🙂

The story is progressing nicely. I’ve been playing around with writing it from the male protagonist’s POV and this has not only given me more material, but it’s giving me a better look at my male protagonist. I hope by doing this, it will make the story richer, more satisfying.

So far, I’ve been pretty faithful with my writing and am writing every day. I took a day off yesterday (and felt TERRIBLY guilty about it!) thereby dodging my first burn out. I plan on holing up at the university library today – I have no intention of breaking my writing momentum at this point. The third week looms though, and I traditionally struggle through the third week – we’ll see how it goes this year.

Thanks for reading.

_____________________________

Chapter One

“You act like I wanted to kill him.”

“Now Julie, we didn’t say …”

“You sure as hell weren’t paying attention,” said the tall, thin man on the left-hand side of the bed.

“Right dad,” Julie scoffed. “It was my intention, all along, to kill my only brother. You caught me. It must feel great to be right all the time.”

“Now see here, missy …” the man said while moving around the bed toward her.

Julie’s entire body tensed. Though she was sure her father wouldn’t hurt her, she wasn’t sure she could count on that.

“Dad,” the male voice from the bed said. “Leave her alone.”

“Alex! You’re awake! Mike, our son is awake!” The slightly pudgy woman leaned in closer to the prone figure in the bed and lightly took one of his hands.

Mike smiled gently as he looked back at Alex. “I can see that, Helen. Welcome back, son.” He stood on the other side of the man and lightly patted his shoulder. “Now stand back Helen, allow the boy some breathing room.”

Julie Meadows tucked herself into a corner of the room and stayed away from the cozy scene in front of her. She watched as her parents’ normally stern, serious faces relaxed and softened as they looked down at Alex. She couldn’t remember the number of times she had witnessed this transformation in her parents as they talked to Alex over the years or how many times she had wished they would have looked at her the same way.

She knew her parents loved her, but she also knew they loved Alex more. Alex was their golden child, their prize child. They had trained and primed him to be a race car driver and he had fulfilled every one of their dreams. Together, father and son had made quite a name for themselves over the years. The Meadows Match, the racing industry had dubbed the father and son team. They had been unbeatable.

Until now.

It had been a long 48 hours and she was exhausted. She leaned up against the wall and crossed her arms. Would her brother remember what happened?

Would he remember whose fault it was?

“Julie?” Her brother called for her.

Julie straightened away from the wall and approached the bed. Her mother reluctantly shifted positions to allow room for her but kept Alex’s hand in her own.

“Hey,” she said softly, her smile gentle and full of love. “How are you feeling, bro?”

“Tired. Like I haven’t slept in months.”

“So in other words, pretty much like normal,” Julie said with a chuckle.

“Yeah, pretty much,” he grinned and Julie could see her mother squeeze his hand. “What happened?”

Julie shot a quick look at her father, who shook his head in warning. He didn’t want Julie talking about it.

“Just a little fender bender, nothing serious,” Julie said and forced a nonchalant shrug.

“Fender bender, my ass,” he shot back and Helen sighed.

“Watch the language, Alex.”

“Sorry ma,” Alex said but kept his eyes on Julie. “Straight up, Jules, why am I here?”

“You had a little accident, Alex, don’t worry about it,” her father said. “You just concentrate on getting better.”

“Okay,” Alex began slowly. “So, what’s wrong with me.” His eyes shifted from each person in turn before coming to rest back on Julie.

“You mean other than your being retarded?” Julie quipped with a grin. “Nothing,” she paused and her smile disappeared as she looked at her parents. “Actually,” she said, her tone of voice turning serious, “we’re not sure yet. We haven’t seen the doctor yet this morning.”

“But I’m sure everything is just fine,” her mother said and continued to stroke Alex’s hand reassuringly.

Alex squirmed and tried to find a more comfortable position in the bed. He grimaced slightly before freezing, his expression a mask of concern. “Can anyone tell me why I can’t feel my legs?”

“What?” Julie gasped.

“Oh sweet Jesus,” Helen groaned and sank into a nearby chair.

“What do you mean you can’t feel your legs, son?” Mike asked.

There was a pregnant pause while Alex stared at the ceiling. A myriad of emotions flitted across his face – determination, concern, alarm and finally, horror.

“I mean,” he said, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down nervously, “I can’t feel my fucking legs.”

“That’s because you broke your back, young man,” the doctor said as he grabbed Alex’s chart from the door and stepped into the room. “You’re paralyzed from the waist down.”

“What?” Alex blinked at the man several times.

Julie had to turn away from Alex’s tears. The only other time she could recall ever seeing her brother cry was when they had found their golden retriever, Butch, dead on the side of the road, the result of a hit-and-run driver.

Alex had been twelve, she had been eight.

Julie left the group of people and went to stand by the window. It was a beautiful winter day. Sunlight reflected off the ice in the trees and sprinkled tiny gems of light across the fresh snow. The light bounced off the granules of moisture and winked up at her, it was breathtaking.

The silence in the room was nearly overwhelming. Julie reluctantly tore her gaze from the peaceful scene outside to look at the group surrounding the bed. Her father looked shocked, beads of moisture dotted his forehead and his cheeks were tinged with green. Her mother had Alex’s hand tucked in her own and pressed against her cheek. Fat, salty tears ran down her cheeks and seeped between their intertwined fingers. The doctor stood at the foot of the bed, quietly turning pages in Alex’s chart.

Alex was staring directly at Julie.

Julie felt faint from the guilt.

NaNoWriMo

Reality Check – First Excerpt

I’ll be posting excerpts from my 2006 National Novel Writing Month project, Reality Check, every Thursday in November. I have comments turned off, not because I don’t want your feedback, but because I can’t afford to think about revising it at this point – I hope you understand. 🙂

Please remember, this is straight from my rough draft – I’ve done virtually no editing. 🙂 In fact, this is the first time I’ve even READ it over since 2006. It’s weird, it’s like, who the heck wrote this crap??

Oh, that would be me. 😀

You can check my current word count progress on this year’s challenge in the sidebar. Thanks for reading and KEEP WRITING!

_____________________________

Hooking a finger around the handle of the mug, she made her way back to the living room. She sank down into the deep sofa cushions. She felt so old. Was 30 old? She took a cautious sip of the hot brew and stared at the branches swaying in the wind. She needed to stop feeling so sorry for herself. She was healthy, she had a beautiful, intelligent baby boy, she had a nice house, albeit small, she had been promoted to art director … she … she didn’t have anyone to share it with.

She groaned and placed her mug on the end table. She was so tired. So tired of trying to balance her professional life with her personal life. Tired of worrying whether Ethan was all right at the daycare center, tired of worrying about whether a client would like their designs, tired of meeting stringent deadlines, tired of being alone.

“Stop it,” she muttered. “Quit feeling sorry for yourself. You can do this. It will get easier.” With determined resolve, she closed her depressing thoughts, her hurting heart and her tired eyes.

******

She awoke with a jerk. What in the world? She blinked sleepily. What had awakened her? She stared up at the ceiling, fingers of dark shadows from the tree limbs outside danced and swayed seductively with each puff of wind.

She listened. Everything was quiet. The air was heavy and still and smelled faintly of diaper rash ointment. She glanced toward the clock. A moonbeam slashed across its face – 2:53. She snuggled deeper into the couch and sighed. She really should go to bed and she would, she just needed to lie there for five more minutes.

She could feel herself succumbing to the comforting darkness again … she was falling … falling … falling into a thick, soft cushion of delicious nothingness when she smelled it.

She sat bolt upright and immediately felt dizzy and disorientated. She lifted her nose like a bloodhound catching the scent of it’s prey – yes, it was definitely smoke.

She rolled off the couch so fast she bumped her leg against the coffee table. “Shit!” She scrambled to her feet and hobbled toward the kitchen. Only as she reached the doorway, she could tell the smoke was not coming from that room. She veered away from the kitchen and turned toward the hallway. She stopped dead in her tracks.

Thick, black plumes of smoke billowed out of Ethan’s room. She would recall later how the smoke curled, coiled and rolled against the ceiling, almost caressing it with long ebony fingers of destruction. She heard a loud hissing roar, like the sound that emits from smoke stacks at a coal factory. A sharp crackle sounded and Brenna knew without a shadow of doubt that it was the sound of Ethan’s crib snapping into bits.

She screamed. The sound was ripped from the depths of her soul and disappeared into the dense blackness now rolling toward her with increasing speed.

“Ethan! Oh my God, ETHAN! ETHAN! BABY, WHERE ARE YOU?” She continued to scream as she ran toward his doorway. She kicked the door open and blinked in utter astonishment. She was staring down the throat of hell. Flames so hot they were a brilliant white were snaking their way up the walls. Bright blue wallpaper sprinkled with tiny boats began to peel, curl and slide down the walls – it looked like a waterfall, strips of liquid paper cascading down the sides and pooling onto the floors. Stuffed animals were ablaze and vaporizing before her eyes.

She continued to scream her son’s name as she attempted to enter his room. The heat was so intense she could feel her eyebrows singing. Her cheeks, lips and earlobes felt as if they were made of wax and melting onto her shoulders. She didn’t care, she had to get her son out of there.

She strained forward only to be pushed back by a wall of intense heat. She stumbled and fell back into the hallway, gasping and coughing, desperate for fresh air but frantic to rescue her son. She crawled toward the bathroom her legs unable to support her. Blood roared in her ears, her brain felt like a lump of white-hot coal in her head, searing all rational thought. When she finally reached the bathroom, she grabbed two towels and frantically soaked them under the bathtub spigot. She wrapped one around her head and carrying the other one, she staggered back toward the bedroom. She couldn’t see past the tears and sweat in her eyes. It was becoming increasingly difficult to breathe but she still moved back toward the inferno. In a small room at the back of her conscious mind she thought she heard sirens. She couldn’t stop to see if she was right. She had to save her son!

She beat back the flames now greedily licking the doorframe. A wave of nausea coursed through her body as the fire looked almost sexual in its desire to consume everything in its path. She slapped her way past the flames. She was in!

“ETHAN! OH GOD, ETHAN WHERE ARE YOU?” She thought she heard a cry, just to her right. She lifted the towel in front of her as if it would somehow push the wall of fire back to hell where it belonged. She strained to make it past the molten pillar of fire that used to be the rocking chair. The towels, now bone dry, caught fire and she was forced to drop them. Her hands were blood red and stinging but she forced the pain to the darkest regions of her consciousness. She could smell her hair burning and still she pressed forward.

She croaked out an animal cry of pain when she saw the spot the crib used to occupy – it was a pile of red, glowing kindling. Brenna sank to her knees and covered her face in her hands. She no longer cared if she lived or died, her son was gone.

Brenna’s insides felt hot and crusty. She could feel her heart desperately knocking and beating against her chest, like a bird desperate to escape it’s cage. Her lungs felt small and tight in her chest, choking and squeezing the life out of her body; her breathing became shallow. She knew it was only a matter of minutes before her clothes caught fire. She would be burned alive. She didn’t care. She deserved to die; she wasn’t there to save her son’s life. What was the point of living without him? She welcomed death.

Hell beckoned to her with open arms.

Brenna embraced it.

NaNoWriMo

50,000 Words or Bust!

This is it, we’re down to the final wire. NaNo starts at midnight tonight. Of course, I won’t be up at that time, but the challenge officially starts. Just to forewarn you now, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have in the coming weeks to update this blog. I still plan on posting pictures and I have nearly half a page of drafts that I’ve written over the months, so there IS material.

Keep an eye on the NaNo gauge in the sidebar. I also plan on posting a cute cartoon that shows my progress, too. If you don’t see it steadily inching upwards over the next few weeks, contact me and ask me why the heck not?? Tease me, torment me, goad me into finishing. You see that nifty NaNo 2008 participant graphic in the right-hand column? I want one that says WINNER. And you can only get one of those IF you submit 50,000 words or more by the end of November.

Do I have any idea what I’m going to write about? Yes, I have a tentative outline that will guide me for the first several chapters, after that, well, I’ll let the characters take control and see where they take me.

I plan on getting up about 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday this weekend to get my word count in. If I don’t get my writing done before the family wakes up, I’m doomed (I get too distracted and there’s chores and you know, actually paying attention to my family. :D)

As long as the weather cooperates, I plan on hanging out at the MSU library. It only costs $2.25 to park there for three hours and I can pound out 3,000 words in three hours, right? *gulp* If the weather doesn’t cooperate, then I’ll be heading toward our public library (because I won’t have to walk so far to make it indoors).

And if the family is home and won’t leave me alone, there’s always our Cub. Whew! My fingers are tired just THINKING about all of this typing ahead of me.

So, consider this “official” notice – this blog will be sporadic at best in the coming weeks. I’ll try to write a word here and there and let you know how I’m doing but really, the gauge will say it all.

I’m really pushing myself this year. My goal is to actually write 100,000 words. I know. I’m insane. BUT, I’m determined to give it my best effort so we’ll see. That means, I’ll need to write 3,333 words every day in order to make it. I’m thinking that I’ll most likely finish the story before 100,000, but who knows. Wish me luck!

Oh, and did I mention that we’re going camping next weekend? And that the husband, GD and the father-in-law’s birthdays are this month? And of course, there’s Thanksgiving. And the promise of another project to start (which always stresses me out). Then, the regular answering email thing (I get a lot of emails – requests to update websites). OH yeah, this is gonna be a FUN month …

I’m off to mentally prepare for the next 30 days of intense writing.

Life

Fleeting Thoughts

I’m craving donuts. I mean, the all-I-can-think-about-or-I-will-die-without-having-that-sweet-gooey-goodenss-in-my-mouth sort of craving. I’m so, so tempted to run to Krispy Kreme after posting this and buying these scrumptious pumpkin-shaped donuts.

<——-

Donuts are my Kryptonite, seriously.

Who’s with me! Anyone feel like making a donut run!?!


I feel icky today. I just sucked on a Zicam and now I feel worse. (The rhino? Yeah, that’s totally me today).

But no worries, this is normal for me. Zicam, for those that don’t know, is supposed to trigger your natural antibodies into action. They, in turn, aggressively race through your body and munch on bad viral cells.

I don’t know how it works exactly, but it works for me. After taking one, and then feeling like walking dog poop for about fifteen minutes, I feel better.

My sinuses are acting up (which they always do when the weather changes) and I’m prone to sinus infections. Nose spray and Zicam usually fight them off. We’ll see if I was successful this go-around.

Do you take, or do, anything to ward off impending sickness?


Mmmm … donuts ….


I finished a full-fledged blog template for a client yesterday. In fact, this client is attending a conference this weekend and will likely show this blog around. *gulp* I’m both nervous and excited about that – it could mean more business for me.

I’m ready. I can handle it (I hope).

I’ve played around with my own templates quite a bit over the past several months, but this was the first time that I actually manipulated someone else’s template. I feel pretty good about it. I think it’s a good combination of pretty and classy. I’m hoping to do more templates very soon. I learned A LOT by doing this last template and I’m feeling a bit more confident about my abilities. I’m setting up my blog template, er, blog now and will hopefully have it up and running before NaNoWriMo starts.

In the meantime, I’m also thinking about what I want to do with this blog template. I would like to do something fun, funky and satisfying (which means I don’t want to be tempted to play around with it next year so I can concentrate on other projects) and I’m on an active hunt for the perfect graphic.

If you could redo your blog template, what sort of design would you want? What overall (visual) message do you want your blog to say?

Me? I want something to do with writing, of course. I had a really cute design on my self-hosted blog that I will likely use for my design template business blog.

But this blog? I haven’t decided yet.

Any suggestions?


Must. Have. Donuts.


Kids are doing well. This school year is chugging right along. The grades could be better, but they’re not bad, so we’re good.

The husband has been helping MK out with his algebra and seriously, it’s like Greek to me. I have NO idea what they are talking about. Of course, I don’t let on that I’m clueless, but honestly? It’s embarrassing to have kids that are smarter than you.


I’m still craving donuts.


GD has been acting so … mature lately. It’s such a relief to see him settling down and feeling more comfortable with himself. He’s gotten into the habit of stopping his gaming around 9ish, taking his shower and then cracking open his books to study for quizzes, etc.

All without me telling him to!

Even though it’s rewarding to see him take the initiative (have I mentioned lately that he’s still making a B+ in Japanese and seriously thinking about taking Japanese II next year?!), it’s also sad – he’s definitely not my baby anymore.

Though he hasn’t been actively talking about his future (i.e. college), I can tell he’s thinking about it. He’s been bringing home flyers from school about ACT workshops and various other college-prep information and I can tell this is making an impact on him.

He will graduate in 2 1/2 years. And though he joked that that was a long time, I think he’s beginning to realize that actually? It’s not.


Donuts …..


I’m preparing a series of NaNoWriMo writing workshops to post at Write Anything beginning tomorrow. I actually have no idea what I’m doing, but hopefully, the workshops will help motivate and generate some ideas for people. If you have a chance, stop by and take a gander! And if you have any advice, or you’ve written about any of the topics showcased next week, share your links! I, for one, would love to take a look.


The Fall library book sale starts the 21st. Oh. My. Gosh. Book sales are like Christmas mornings for me. I HEART them!! In fact, I usually go a minimum of three times before I’m booked out.

My husband just rolls his eyes at me. But he knows better than to try and talk me out of going. I have two huge plastic containers full of books in the garage – one is full of the books I bought during the spring book sale and haven’t read yet, and the other container is full of books I’ve read and have listed on Bookmooch – that are just WAITING for some lucky book worm to love and read. *HINTHINT*

Books – it’s a sickness with me.

Mooch from me – please. I’m begging you!!


That’s it.

Uncle.

I’m making a donut run.

Ciao, or chow, whatever the case may be. *grin*

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Friday Fun, Life

Friday Fleeting Thoughts

This week was crazy.

In between battling numerous website requests (which is my job by the way – I’m not complaining, just saying), and getting this elementary school website up and running, (which still needs some tweaking but honestly, what website doesn’t?) I haven’t had a lot of time to think outside my Dreamweaver box.

Things have quiet down for me, though, and I can breathe for the first time all week. I had some stomach pain two days out of this week and I’m wondering if I may have an ulcer? Or perhaps it was just stress? Who knows. I feel better now (now that the waters have calmed) and am ready to take on more projects (hinthint – you know who you are).

In short, my brain is scrambled. But this of course, will not keep me from blabbing nonsense at you, so here’s what’s on my mind:

I told the Write Anything writers they could take a week off in October so I could post a week-long “seminar”, if you will, about how-to write a novel. Now that the time has arrived, I have nothing. I haven’t even begun to PLAN for this week-long seminar. Swell. Chock this up to another one of my hare-brained ideas that sounded good at the time. I will, however, throw something together because I did promise – and I keep my promises.


I’m getting quite nervous about my contribution to the Chapter Seven project. We’re currently on chapter two. I believe I’m scheduled to write chapter six – in a science fiction story. ZOINK! Science fiction is NOT my bag and I hope my part doesn’t totally suck. We plan on posting this story in November on the Write Anything blog – I’ll post my chapter and the link to the full story when the time arrives. This, of course, would be another one of my hare-brained ideas.


I installed Carbonite.com on my computer four days ago. For those that don’t know about this nifty program:

Carbonite installs a small application on your computer that works quietly in the background looking for new and changed files that need to be backed up. It looks and feels just like part of your computer, and is integrated with your desktop — there’s no new interface for you to learn.

In essence, it continously backs up your computer whenever you change/update any of your files so that if your computer crashes, Carbonite will restore your data.

Sounds good on the surface, right? So, I downloaded the 15-day free trial and today, four days after installing the thing, it has finally backed up all of my files. Now granted, I had to pause the process several times because even though Carbonite works in the background and doesn’t really slow my computer process down, it does drag our internet connection down. And when you have three other people sucking bandwidth, it can get ugly.

I’m not sure if I’ll pay the $50 dollars annual fee required for a full membership yet – so far, I haven’t been that impressed, but it WOULD be nice to not have to worry about keeping hard copies around as much (you should always have hard copies anyway). We’ll see. My free trial is up in eleven days. If I don’t buy the full subscription, then Carbonite will just delete my files.


My husband’s toe is better. He didn’t go to the doctor (I knew he wouldn’t) and though it’s still not 100%, he can move it and the swelling has gone down. It still pains him to wear his dress shoes though and I think that’s just because they are too small. This man of mine is awfully stubborn and refuses to accept the fact that his body is changing as he gets older and that his feet are just wider than they used to be. I’ll most likely drag him to the shoe store this weekend for bigger, and more comfortable, shoes.


By the way, the slick horizontal lines you see throughout this post? You can do the same thing on your blog by inserting this code
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Just a little code tip for you this Friday.


I am now actively on the prowl for 16 gifts for GD. His 16th birthday is coming up in November and I really want to give him 16 little gifts throughout his day to make it special for him. My mom did that for me on my 16th birthday and that is one of the few birthdays I can remember because it was so much fun! I have a few ideas: Microsoft points (he can cash those in to buy games for the XBox), Wii points (same thing), Mountain Dew (the boy is a Mt. Dew FREAK) … and that’s about it for now. Yeah, this is going to be tough. I don’t think this would have been so hard if he was a she – I mean, what girl wouldn’t want lip gloss and makeup? However, I’m lucky if GD combs his hair in the morning so grooming items? Would be a total wash. If you have any suggestions on what to buy a 16-year old hard-core gamer boy, trust me, I’m all ears.

I did stumble across some UBER cool cupcakes though:


super mario cupcakes 2, originally uploaded by hello naomi.

Aren’t these sweet? (pun intended). Actually, MK might get a kick out of these more than GD since MK is OBSESSED with anything Mario. But wow, if I could find some edible gaming thing like this, I’d be in heaven! I wonder if she does Halo? And if she would SELL them to me??

(By the way, you MUST see her robot cupcakes – YOU MUST! GO NOW! Then come back, please. 🙂 )


I did not go to the husband’s company picnic yesterday. I know. I feel REALLY BAD about that. But I had an excuse (albeit flimsy at best) – MK had his saxophone lessons. And they were smack dab in the middle of the thing. Well, we could have gone before his lessons, but the kids had homework. So, if we had gone, it would have only been for about 30 minutes. We did end up dropping by as everyone was leaving, and I think that made the husband happy – but I still feel guilty that he was surrounded by co-workers and their families and we weren’t there.

It wasn’t a good wife moment.

But while at the music store, MK and I noticed they got a new saxophone in. He’s been on the prowl for a more sophisticated, BLACK sax. We priced the two shiny, black saxs they had in stock – holy mother of God – they are freaking expensive. And we’re not QUITE sure we can justify allowing a 13-year absent-minded kid to walk around with a $3,000 saxophone.

But they are cool, truly. And he’s proven to us he’s serious about playing sax; he’s been playing for a solid two years. And he plans on playing all through high school. (Which is another bone of contention – a $3,000 sax in marching band??)

He’s even hinted around that if that is all Santa brings him for Christmas, he’d be one happy boy.

*sigh* No pressure, Santa.

But last night, as we were leaving, we noticed they have a black matte saxophone – and WOWSIERS. That thing blinds you with its coolness. In fact, MK actually started salivating – I had to hand him a napkin. He wants it; he wants it BAD. And considering the boy is going to be playing his fingers off this year (band, jazz band, pep band, honors and competitions) it’s not like we would buy it and then it would sit around and collect dust.

Yes, I’m going to call today and see how much it’s going to cost. We have some equity built up in his old sax, and then there’s the book value of his old sax (which isn’t much, you know how that goes), but still, every little bit helps. And they have a 12-month no interest thing and we can probably pay it off in a year …

I don’t know. What would you do? Your child LOVES playing the saxophone. He’s scheduled to play A LOT in the coming months. He’s proven that he’s careful and responsible with the one he has now (though I don’t trust other kids and if anything happened to it we would totally press charges), and it’s the only thing he wants for Christmas.

To me, that says he’s serious.

Update: I just called the music store and we ran some numbers on the black matte sax – WOW. It’s the most expensive yet. The husband is not going for it. He says we don’t always get what we want. I agree with that, but it breaks me heart to have to deny MK this luxury. 😦