Thursday, December 29, 2005

Barnes and Noble University

I don't know if I mentioned this, but I'm going to take some online writing classes through Barnes and Noble University. I'm going to take the sci-fi and fantasy class and the mystery class. I was going to sign up for some actual classes at my old university, but I think I'll wait until the summer courses. Jan-May are pretty busy, and I want to find a martial arts class, so if I take a writing class one night a week, a drawing class one night a week, and a martial arts class two nights a week, I won't have very many nights left. I'm still thinking about the drawing class, though. I think it would be so interesting to attempt to learn how to draw. But anyway, I'm really excited about the online writing classes. I hope they are good. I plan to get as much out of them as I can, especially the mystery one, since I'm working on a mystery series.

Today was uneventful, but nice. It was a beautiful day. The sunset was awesome, and I didn't have my camera with me. From now on, I will...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fun with graphics

I've gone insane. I've become obsessed with novel graphics. See the film loop at the bottom of this blog for proof of the insanity! NaNoWriYe starts very, very soon.... Am I ready? Who knows? But I've got lots of ideas, and that helps. I can't wait to start!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Well, the dollhouse was a hit. Look at it! I'm so proud. See, I've never built anything before without my dad's help, but my mother and I built this house almost entirely by ourselves, which is quite an accomplishment! Isn't it cute?!

Anyway, Christmas was lovely. I don't remember having a better Christmas. My sister's kids got everything they ever wanted and some things they didn't know they wanted until they unwrapped them, and everyone was happy and friendly with each other. When you consider that my sister and her husband have been having some problems, that was a miracle in itself. I was glad they seemed happy. Hopefully they will work things out.

So Christmas Eve was basically a mad dash to get the house finished. We managed to do everything but the gingerbread trim, which we decided to put off for a couple of weeks because we're tired of looking at the thing, lol. So we have a tiny bit of work left to do, but we're waiting on that. Christmas Day was a very nice, calm day. My family gets together on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day is a day for everyone to do whatever else they need to do. I personally needed to lie in bed all day and watch the "Scrubs" DVDs that my best friend gave me. She gave me seasons 1 and 2, and they are both great! I love that show. I've loved it since the first episode, but have lost track of it because it came on opposite other shows I was invested in, so I sort of stopped watching. But I have a little crush on Zach Braff, so watching two seasons of the show in a row all day on Christmas Day was really nice. ;) Today, I went out and bought the thing I really wanted for Christmas but didn't ask anyone for because it was too expensive. I bought a new TV! yay! It's a flat screen, 24 inch TV that fits perfectly in my entertainment center. So this afternoon, after I got it home, I spent several lovely hours watching different DVDs on it and playing each of my X-Box games (just for a few minutes each) to see what they look like on the new TV. It's awesome to go from a little portable TV to a real TV with a flat screen. I love it!

So other than Christmas stuff, things have been pretty normal. There's a strange feeling, though, like I'm waiting just a few more days for my life to start again. Everything happens after the new year, so I'm just sort of waiting until then. January 1 is the day I start NaNoWriYe, the most insane resolution I've ever had. January 1 is the day I write down my resolutions and start working on them. I already know what they are going to be, but I won't start working on them until January 1. I plan to get up an hour earlier every day and exercise before getting ready for work. It'll be a challenge to start with, but I'm sure I'll get used to it, just like now I can't sleep past 7, which is when I normally get up. After a year of getting up at 6 to exercise, I won't be able to sleep past 6. Which is kind of sad, because I do enjoy sleeping late on weekends, and I can't even do that now! I can't even imagine automatically waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday! ugh. But I'm going to do it, because I'm determined to get into an exercise routine that really works for me.

Anyway, that's just one of them. There are more. Many more. Oh, and January 1 is when I start looking at classes I want to take (just for fun, probably writing classes and maybe an art class or two) and I will start looking at where I want to spend my summer vacation after the first of the year. I'm actually leaning toward a writing conference in Florence, but it might be too long. It's a 7 day conference and I only get 7 days of vacation, so I'm afraid I won't be able to do it. There's also one in Prague, which would be completely amazing, but I'm not sure about it either. I may have to save the overseas trips for 2007 and beyond, when I get more vacation time. My boss keeps telling me I should take a cruise, so I might consider one. I'd have to go alone though, because nobody I know wants to go on a cruise.

Anyway, so 2006 is the year I turn 30. So I have many things to do this coming year. I may have to strike a few things off my list because they were pretty unreasonable to begin with, but I'm okay with that. But I will submit a novel for publication before I turn 30. That's something I can do. I will do it by February, 2006. Let this be a record of that promise.

Well, it's late and my bed is calling my name. Work starts back again tomorrow. I hate to say it, but I really missed work while I was off. I'm sick, I know... lol.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dollhouse progress and a shiny new obsession!

Made a little progress on the dollhouse this evening. I actually managed to put the porch rails and posts up and put the wallpaper and carpet in another room. Now just two full rooms left to paper and three very small rooms (without windows, so they will be easy!) Still have to do the shingles, though. Can you tell I'm avoiding them?! They scare me. I'll probably work on them tomorrow, though. I have to get this house done by Christmas. The kids have had a very rough year and I want to make sure they have a great Christmas. It may not make up for the awful time they've had recently, but at least it will give them some joy.

In other news, I've developed a shiny new obsession! A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a handheld computer with GPS, and Marcus (thanks a lot, man!) told me about geocaching. For info, go here: And Marcus, I'll be coming to P'cola to find some caches there, and I expect navigation assistance from you! lol

It's like a treasure hunt! How fun, right? I plan to get very obsessive about this. My mom wants to join me on my hunts, and I thought I'd take Noah along too, so we can spend some time together. He's growing up so fast that soon he's not going to care much about hanging out with his silly aunt, so I've got to enjoy the time I have left! But I think this could be a really fun thing for us to do. And anytime I go on vacation somewhere, I'll see if there's a cache somewhere for me to locate while I'm away. I've been wanting to get outside more, to spend more time doing something active and interesting, so here's something that will do both!

Still editing Summer's Blossom. Rewriting some scenes and adding parts that I knew I would need to, but left out because of time during November. It should be ready to be sent off by February at the latest, hopefully. That's what I'm shooting for, anyway. Still planning the three novels for next year. Unless we get hit by another hurricane, I'm going to do the hurricane story for NaNoWriMo next year. If we get another storm, I'll be in the same place I was this year, just not ready to write about it. I REALLY hope we don't get another storm!

Work has been great this week. Very productive. I have almost finished creating all the pages for the Web site. I can't believe there will be more than 50 by the time I'm finished. I figured out some sneaky ways of getting around the FrontPage limitations, so I think the pages will look really nice when I'm finished. There will be cool archive pages about our disaster relief efforts and links to the photo galleries for each year. Our photos from Katrina relief will go there.

I revamped my personal site the other day. I should probably think about getting a domain name and a site without ads so I can make a truly professional writer's Web site. It would be a little premature right now, but sometime in the future, I'll need to do that. For now, the geocities site will do. I even made graphics to go with each piece of fiction on the site and linked the graphics to the corresponding story. It was fun. (yes, I find very strange things fun, lol)

Anyway, it's midnight and I'm sleepy. Visions of shingles are sure to dance in my head. Or perhaps a clown mafia, due to an extremely enjoyable and funny phone conversation I had earlier today. I'm actually hoping for the shingles.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Getting really worried...

Okay, so it's Monday and Christmas Eve is Saturday. That means I only have a few days to wallpaper and carpet 6 rooms (I completely finished the kitchen yesterday but didn't get anything done today) on the dollhouse, and I haven't even started shingling the roof yet! What am I going to do?? Tomorrow night is Noah's Christmas play, so I'll be going to that. He's playing Santa this year and is really excited about it. I'm sure it'll be great. Then, I'll come home and try to wallpaper a few more rooms. This dollhouse is turning out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated! On a nicer note, the dolls I ordered for the house came today. They're so cute!

Work was good today. Everyone is in a good mood because the holidays are coming up and it's a short week. When I leave work on Wednesday afternoon, I don't have to be back to work until the next Tuesday. I won't know what to do with myself, having all those days off!

Speaking of days off, I'm considering attending an extended writing conference next year for my vacation. I'll have to check them out and see what looks good. And the next year? Europe! (hopefully)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

2005 Review and 2006 Goals

I borrowed these from Devon, whose blog I enjoy reading daily. It seemed like a great way to get things in order for the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. I'm always very introspective this time of year, so this will be great for me! Here goes...


1. Take some time and look back at 2005. Write a few summary paragraphs (NOT A LIST) to evaluate the year.

At this time in 2004, I was graduating from college, so at the new year in 2005, I was beginning a new phase of my life. So I started the year with great expectations for 2005, and most of them were fulfilled. I had a great job with a local nonprofit org. waiting for me when I got out of school. It was the perfect job for me at that point, and it still is. I'm enjoying my work very much, and I feel great that I'm working in my field.

I started the summer planning to do a summer writing challenge and finished Summer's Blossom, but it didn't work out. My laptop died halfway through and was completely unfixable. There is some very important info on that machine that I still can't access, but I'm working on a plan to get it transferred to my current computer. Hurricane Katrina pretty much turned everything upside down for awhile. Work was fierce during the three months after the storm. The months of September, October and November were filled with 10 hour days, working 6 days a week. It was hard, but very rewarding. I suffered hurricane burnout around the middle of November, right in time for my birthday, but it passed pretty quickly. I'll be ready next season, in case we get another bad storm. Anyway, I did NaNoWriMo this year and won for the first time! I couldn't believe it! I was ML for my area (one of two) and we had a great time encouraging everyone in our area to win the contest. We had 38 members, which was awesome for a first-time regional group. Did anything else happen this year? I'm not sure. It went by so fast!

2. What achievement left you proudest last year?

I'd have to say my finest moment of the year was winning NaNoWriMo. But it wasn't really because I won NaNoWriMo, it was because I finished a novel that's been in my head for a very long time. Finishing Summer's Blossom was the greatest moment of the year, for sure! It was the moment I realized I could be a writer after all.

3. What were your disappointments?

I am disappointed that I didn't keep my resolution to exercise for 45 minutes every day. There were days when I skipped it altogether. I need to make more of a commitment to that.

4. What do you wish you had done differently?

I wish I had been more committed to my writing and to exercise. I wish I had taken more risks.

5. How did your goals for the year evolve and change over the course of it, and what were the unexpected experiences?

A lot of things were changed by the hurricane. I had so many plans that were destroyed by that storm. But I can't complain, because others had it a lot worse. So many people lost their lives or their homes. So plans are incidental compared to that.

6. What was the best unexpected thing to happen in your year?

My two trips to Chicago. I have never had so much fun! I loved the city and really enjoyed the people I met there. Who knew business travel could be so much fun?

7. Looking ahead, what are your goals for 2006?

Finish at least 3 manuscripts
Write Every Day
Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes
Polish Summer's Blossom and send it off!
Move to a place closer to work
Meet some new people

8. What steps do you plan to get you there?

So many of these are related to each other. To finish at least three manuscripts, I will have to write every day. To write every day and to exercise every day(well, at least three days a week), I will need to create a better schedule for myself and stick with it. I've already done all the research on where to send Summer's Blossom, so all I have to do is polish and edit and then send the query. Moving should be easy enough if I can find a place. As far as meeting new people goes, I just need to put myself out there more. I'm planning to take some recreational learning-type classes so maybe I'll meet someone there.

9. What are your dreams for 2006?

Be published!

10. What steps will you take to bring you closer to them?

Already working on it.

11. What are your resolutions for 2006?

-Lose weight and get into better shape
-Keep Writing
-Try something new each month
-Live each day in such a way that I will look back on the year and not have any regrets
-Concentrate on my spiritual life and my creative side

12. How do you plan to get there?

Exercise and eat right, write every day, even when I don't feel like it, and always be mindful of how short life truly is

13. What changes has the last year brought to your long-term plan?

I'm not as anxious to move away as I was before. I think I'm going to stick around for awhile, especially if the job continues to go well.

14. Where would you like to be one year from now?

Contemplating grad school. I just need one more year out of school before I will feel ready to go back!


1. Where do you want to be with your writing in the long-term?

I would eventually like to write full time.

2. Where are you with your writing now?

Well, it's more serious than a hobby, but it's not something I can do for a living yet.

3. What project did you leave unfinished last year that you need to finish for your own peace of mind?

I must get to the point where I am comfortable sending a query for Summer's Blossom! I've been cooking up this story for way too long!

4. What creative goals do you want to achieve over the next year?

I'd really like to get two Deadlines books finished, and there's another one I want to work on too. I'd also like to do a short story each month, just for a change of pace. I'd also like to work on different genres (probably in the short stories) so that I can say I have a command of all types of writing.

5. What financial goals do you want to achieve over the next year? Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? (Note: There is no need to post this information, but you should have a figure that you feel comfortable with in your own notes).

There is a number in my head. If I continue getting raises at work, I will reach that number by the end of next year. I'd also like to make some money on a piece of my writing. It doesn't matter what, I just want to say that I've been paid for writing something that wasn't a part of my job!

6. What steps do you see necessary in your life to achieve these goals?

Continue doing my best at work. Gain more confidence in my abilities at work and in my writing ability so that I can continue to work toward those goals.

7. What will make you refer to yourself, first and foremost, as "writer"?

I guess just writing every day would allow me to refer to myself as a writer, but I think ultimately it hinges on being published. I know that's the worst way to determine if you are a writer or not, but it seems to be everyone else's standard.

8. What steps do you need to take on the technical front to achieve your goals (such as improving spelling, grammar, and a general widening of skills)?

I'm taking classes in different genres of writing to hone my skills in those different genres.

9. What steps do you need to take on the creative front to achieve your goals?

Write every day (I keep going back to that, don't I?) Journal and keep an idea notebook for future projects, spend time watching people and writing down observations about them.

10. What changes do you need to make in your daily life (interaction with friends, family, job) to make this work?

I need to schedule creative time each day. This includes time for writing, journaling, prayer and meditation, and making an effort to really observe the world around me.

11. How much time each day do you vow to devote to your writing?

I'd like to spend two hours writing and one hour editing/brainstorming if at all possible.

12. With what new type of writing will you experiment in the coming year?

I want to try sci-fi and fantasy. I'd like to write a children's story and a young adult story. I want to play with all genres. And I'd like to finish my Harry Potter fanfic.

13. What new non-writing interest do you wish to add to your life this year?

I want to learn to draw. I plan to sign up for a drawing class that starts in January. I'd also like to take martial arts. I'm thinking TKD. There are some decent schools around and I think I can find one that suits me. I want to go further with photography, since it's something I really enjoy. I'm going to try to take more nature photos, since those are the ones I really love to take. Of course, I'll continue taking pictures of my sister's three lovely kids! I'm finally going to become involved with one of our theater companies in town, and perhaps the opera company. I'd like to get back into singing, especially on stage. I miss it terribly! Of course, I may need to resume voice lessons if I want to try to get into the opera company. It's been a few years...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Web sites and other things....

So I'm working on the Web site for work and things are finally moving along. I've had lots of help, though, so I can't take all the credit. But if we want to launch the thing in Jan. or Feb., I need all the help I can get. In fact, if anyone out there knows anything about building Web sites...

Nah, I have to figure all this out myself. ;) It's actually kind of fun to play around with the code and see what each little change does.

Other than that, things are pretty boring around here.

I'm still working on editing and polishing Summer's Blossom, and am getting ready to outline some other stories for NaNoWriYe. Still planning to start with Deadly Council, but am thinking I might actually do Under the Magnolia Tree before the second Deadlines book. I've been getting all kinds of ideas for that one, and it just seems to want to be written.

I was thinking today about how strange it is that the two genres I enjoy writing the most are inspirational romance and mystery. They're kinda... not similar. I guess that's good, though.

Anyway, nothing really big to report. I hope I do something interesting this weekend. It's been several weeks since I've had free time during the weekend and I happen to be free tomorrow night. Hopefully I will have some great plans by tomorrow! (actually, I'll probably end up taking my nephew to see Narnia, but that will be fun!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pre January Writing Prompt

So my group is doing writing prompts each month, and here's my pre NaNoWriYe attempt. Before you read it, please note that I am aware of the switch in perspective throughout the story. It was done on purpose! ;)

This is a tribute to all the people who suffered because of Hurricane Katrina. May your recovery continue and may your hope never die.

Jenny was sleeping peacefully, blissfully ignorant of the war nature was waging outside her window. She was only five years old, after all, and her parents wanted to keep her in the dark. And was it ever dark, outside and inside, even though it was mid morning and the sun should have been out hours ago. But the sun wouldn’t come up that day, and it would be a long time before it would shine as brightly as it had before the storm.

Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the Mississippi coast, where Jenny lived. She was unaware of the storm, all she knew was that the grownups kept talking about a girl named Katrina and how she was going to be bad. Before going to bed the night before, Jenny heard her mommy asking her daddy if they should run away from Katrina, but her daddy was strong and brave and said no, that they didn’t run from anything. Jenny was proud of her daddy for being so brave. She thought about her brave daddy as she drifted off to sleep that night, the night before Katrina came to their house.

Jenny slept on, even while the house rocked slightly in the wind. Her mother, Alissa, was in the living room, sitting on the couch and alternatively looking out the little circular hole in the board her husband had nailed over the window before the storm hit and then looking through Jenny’s open door to make sure she was still sleeping. Her husband, Robert, was pacing the hallway, looking at the ceiling for leaks and checking the windows for cracks or other damage. They had already lost power, so there was no television, but the little weather radio squeaked instructions and comfort for everyone listening. If they could just get through the worst part of the storm, everything would be okay.

Outside, the war raged on. In almost total darkness, clouds swirled angrily above the little house, lashing the sides and windows with rain. Shingles were torn off the roof with loud cracking sounds, then they chased each other across the roof with thumps and bumps that sounded like animals running a race over their heads. Alissa looked out the hole in the board again. She could see very little through the curtain of rain, but she could make out debris flying across the lawn. A loud crash against the front of the house made her jump. A lawn chair had slammed into the front door, knocking one of the boards loose. Robert ran to the door and opened it to see what had happened. As the door swung open with the push of wind that struggled to enter the house, Alissa saw something she had never seen before. A wall of water was coming toward their home.

It was at least six feet high, because it covered cars and small trees as it made its way up the street. They were a mile from the shore, they shouldn’t have flooding here, but the water was on its way. Even in the gray light of the day, the near darkness they had experienced since twilight the night before, they could see the water rushing toward them. She ran down the hall, to Jenny’s room. Robert tried to slam the door, but it was too late. The water roared into the house with a force neither of them had ever experienced. Robert was swept out the back door, which was forced open by the wave. Alissa threw herself on Jenny’s bed, hoping Robert was okay and that she and Jenny were safe in the bedroom.

The haven they had created for their daughter was unsafe in these conditions, however, and the wave found its way in, even though there was no door to the outside. It crashed into the boarded windows, breaking them with tremendous force. The windows broke and shattered into the room with them, and Alissa held the comforter over their heads to protect them from the shards. Jenny awoke and screamed, and Alissa held her close. The wave kept coming, forcing itself into the room higher and higher, until the bed was wet and the sheets floated around them. They looked like flower petals floating on a pond and Alissa watched, fascinated, as the water rose higher still. She was not able to think, couldn’t focus on where her husband had gone and why he didn’t join them in the bedroom, but knew she had to protect Jenny.

The water rose higher and higher. First it was a foot over the bed, then two feet. The wind continued to roar outside. Alissa could hear trees snapping beside the boarded windows, and what sounded like a large branch fell on the other end of the house. Alissa held Jenny tightly, stroking her hair, as they both sat on the bed, in two feet of water and almost total darkness, with the sound of the wind outside fiercely screaming through the trees and the vents in the attic.

As suddenly as it had begun, however, the wind slowed and then stopped. The water began to subside, and Alissa climbed off the bed and waded to the door. When she opened it, she couldn’t believe what she saw. The entire house was gone, except for the room they had been in and the attic above it. Everything else had been swept away by the water. She ran through what used to be her home, looking for Robert. She could not find him. Though the swirling clouds were moving away and the sun was peeking out from behind them, it was the darkest day of her life. She screamed his name, waiting for some response, but none came. Forgetting about everything else, she ran into the street, looking all around for Robert, for some sign that he was okay. When she saw the bright blue baseball cap he always wore, her heart sank. It was stuck in a tree, but Robert was nowhere to be found. She fell to the saturated ground, crumbling under the grief as her tears fell and mixed with the remnants of the wave that she knew had swept her husband away from her forever. After several long minutes, or it may have been an hour, a hand closed on her shoulder and she looked up, expecting to see Jenny, or perhaps one of the neighbors.

Robert was standing there, she could only see his silhouette as he blocked out the harsh sunlight. It was as if a ring of sun rays surrounded him. It was a sign of hope, and Alissa jumped to her feet and hugged him as closely as she could. She didn't know how he survived, and she would be concerned about hearing the story later, but for now, all that mattered was that he was alive, that they had all survived. They gathered Jenny to them and looked at their home. It was shattered, a shell of its former beauty, but they would rebuild, they would survive, knowing that, as long as they had hope, as long as they were together, they could face the darkest hour and still see the light at the end.

What's this? An actual post???

I feel terrible about not posting for so long. But there are good reasons for it, I promise. I've been busy designing my club page for NaNoWriYe 2006 and I've been working on building a dollhouse every evening when I get home from work. So between Web design and building the dollhouse, I haven't had much time. But here's a good update for everyone out there in Blogland who cares about my life. (if there are any people out there who care about my life, lol!)

Last Friday, I was invited to go to dinner with the people who worked on our Saturday event with us. They had just come into town and wanted a nice dinner. So, that evening, I had dinner with them and with a few of the Harlem Globetrotters at The Pillars, a lovely restaurant in Mobile. I really had a great time at dinner. The communications team that we worked with from Western Union and from the ad agency in Atlanta were all very nice, and the Globetrotters were absolutely hilarious. Especially the one I was sitting by, whose name is Ethan. He was a trip. Seriously.

On Saturday, we had our event. It went soooo well! Here's a great article about it. I really couldn't be happier about how great it was. The people came hungry but left full, not just from the food, but also with hope and laughter. Can a person be full of laughter? I think they can! The picture posted here is of me and Ethan in the gym of the high school where we held the event. It was a blast. He was so good with the kids and the crowd in general. All the guys were incredible. What great entertainers!

The progress on the dollhouse is slow, but it's going well. My mother and I (neither of us are builders by trade) managed to get the sides, the front and the three floors put together, and have painted the body of the house a nice pale shade of pink. Hannah is going to love that, it's her favorite color. The trim is all going to be a light blue, and we are in the process of painting the second coat on all of it. There are tons of pieces! We stained the shingles with walnut stain, so they are a nice dark brown. We have to shingle the roof this weekend. I'm hoping to enlist my dad's help with that, since neither of us have ever shingled a roof before! I can only imagine how crooked it will be if we do it by ourselves! Last night while we were waiting for the glue on the window frames to dry, we put some of the furniture into the rooms and looked at how it's going to fit. The living room is going to be so cute, with the leather couch and chair, and the little TV on the TV stand. I can't wait to see the kitchen, but we have to build the furniture for it, so that will have to wait just a little while longer. I'll post a picture when we are completely finished. It's going to be beautiful. I can't wait to see Hannah's face when she sees it.

On the writing side of life, I've been thinking about what stories I want to write this year. I figure I can do two books and then one during November (NaNoWriMo) to bring my total for the year to three completed manuscripts. It's time to get serious about this writing thing. I'm still working on editing Summer's Blossom. I need about 4,000 more words, but that shouldn't be hard. There are several scenes that I know I need to flesh out a bit, and one that I want to put in, so that should cover it. By the time I'm completely finished, the book will be a little over 70,000 words, which is just what they request on their site.

Oh, I went Christmas shopping on Saturday after the event. I was just in a Christmas mood. I bought so many toys for the kids! I fear what kind of parent I will be someday, because I really enjoy spoiling those children! It was so much fun, though. I can't wait until Christmas Eve, which is when they open the gifts from family. And I made a DVD for my sister with a slideshow of pictures of the kids and a really awesome cheesy song playing in the background. When I showed it to my mom, she cried, which is always a good sign, lol.

But I think that's what's going on these days. Sunday is our Christmas Cantata at church and I have a solo, so I'm trying to ward off any type of illness that would hurt my voice. I've been sucking on Halls Vitamin C drops like they are candy for the past week and a half. At least they taste good. Very citrusy. Well, back to work...

Monday, December 05, 2005

National Novel Writing Year

Well, I enjoyed National Novel Writing month so much, that I decided to challenge myself even further. I need to maintain the discipline and the momentum from November, and the best way to do that is to continue to challenge myself to write every day. So I've set a goal for next year, beginning in January and ending in December, to write 250,000 words. Of course, 50,000 of those will be in November. So I'm going to break it up like this: two 100,000 word novels (books 1 and 2 of the Deadlines series) and then a 50,000 word novel in November. The great thing about this schedule is that I'll be able to edit as I go along because it's nowhere near the amount of words per day as NaNoWriMo.

So anyway, here's to a year of insanity and great creative projects. On Jan. 1, I will be starting "Deadly Council: A Deadlines Mystery"

Here we go again!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

So very pretty...

My sister has the prettiest kids. Aren't they pretty? I guess I'm a little biased, but that's okay. Yesterday, we dressed them up in the Christmas outfits I bought them and took pictures of them. It was fun. We even did some of them "coming out of" a wrapped gift box. So cute. Anyway, I just had to share.

Nothing else to report. I started reading my book yesterday. I'm actually surprised at the way it turned out, since I wrote it so quickly. It actually has a decent plot and the dialogue isn't nearly as awful as I feared it would be. I'm going to read a little more this evening before bed. I can already see places where I need to add scenes and/or dialogue. It'll be fun to finish it out completely. I can't wait to see how it turns out when I'm finally, completely finished.

In other news, we started building Hannah's dollhouse today. She knows about it, but I don't think she quite understands that it's going to be taller than she is, and that it will be fully furnished when we are finished. With carpet. And wallpaper. And books for the bookshelf. I had so much fun picking out the furnishings for it and can't wait to see what it looks like in the house. I need only a few more things for the house, and then the doll family that will fit in it, and her Christmas will be done. Then it's on to the boys, who are proving to be a lot more difficult to shop for, unfortunately. I'm still not sure what to get Noah. As the oldest of the three, he's the most difficult to please. He wants everything, so it's hard to figure out what he wants the most. Ah well, 'tis the season to go shopping and stress about what you're getting your loved ones, right? And you know what's worse? Thinking about buying Christmas gifts while wearing short sleeves and running the air conditioner! It was actually hot today! Well, it's time to go to sleep now. It's going to be a busy week...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ah, the joys of working in PR

I love my job. I really do. It provides so much material for great stories down the road. I recently spent some time in Moss Point, Mississippi for a work related project and I got a chance to talk to some people who had been affected by Hurricane Katrina. So many people have stories of survival and helping others to survive. It's truly inspiring.

Now to the thing I couldn't talk about before. We are going to be involved in a very special event next Saturday. We are going to serve a holiday meal to hurricane victims in Mississippi, sponsored by Western Union and the Harlem Globetrotters. I remember the Globetrotters from when I was a child, when they used to do various TV guest spots. I loved them then and can't wait to see them! And the event is going to be so great for people in Mississippi who have lost everything. I can't wait to see them enjoying all the turkey, ham, and other trimmings of a real holiday meal. So we've been busy planning this thing for the last month or so.

Another interesting thing I've been working on is a massive update on our Web site. It's pretty ugly now, but we're working on something that looks a lot better and is very functional as well. Problem is, I don't know anything about Web design, so I'm going to buy HTML for Dummies today and see what I can figure out. We were using Frontpage, but we got Dreamweaver in, so I need to learn how to use it. Maybe I'll buy a copy of Dreamweaver for Dummies too. I'll just have a whole library for dummies before long!

Today is our TGIO party for NaNo, so I have to get ready. We're meeting for lunch, which will be fun. I was going to buy something for everyone, a little trinket for participating, but I spent all my money on Christmas presents for my sister's kids. Such is the life of an aunt, I'm afraid! So I guess I'll do that next year. Oh well, off to the party!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No clever title

Today was World AIDS Day. I didn't know it until I started my computer this morning and went to Google to do some research for work. The red ribbon was there and it made me think of my very first World AIDS Day. I was in high school and my friend Jamie made red ribbons for all of our friends. We wore them around school that day. That ribbon is in a collage that I made of pictures from high school. The collage is in a frame and it's hanging on my wall to this day. So when I saw that red ribbon, I thought of Jamie. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, if you read this, Jamie... please contact me. You were my oldest and dearest friend and I haven't spoken to you in many years. For some reason, when I saw that red ribbon today, I missed you intensely and felt a need to get in contact with you again. And if any of my friends out there who are reading this know how to contact him, please send me an email with his email address or phone number. I need to talk to him.

But back to World AIDS Day. When I saw the ribbon, after I realized how much I missed Jamie, I was then struck by how many people have been taken by this disease. I thought of them and their families and I sent good thoughts and prayers their way. I hope everyone else in the world did the same. Last year, when I was a journalist, I did a story about an AIDS walk in my community. The theme was Walk to Remember. When I graudated from high school in 1995, AIDS was a really "hot" issue. Everyone was talking about it, everyone was interested in preventing and curing AIDS. We have become complacent about it, or so it seems. I hope that today, people renewed their commitments to finding a cure. I know I'm going to contact my local AIDS support center and see if there's something I can do to help their clients. Maybe I can participate in the next Walk to Remember.

On another, lighter note, I went to my very first "professional party" tonight. It was a media appreciation party, held by the Public Relations Council of Alabama. I was terrified that I wouldn't know anyone. I was afraid I would just be standing there by the trash can, waiting for someone to talk to me. (not really a great fear for a PR person, right?) But it wasn't bad at all. In fact, I had a nice time. It was outdoors, there was a lovely jazz combo playing and pretty lights making the whole thing very festive. The weather was nice too. Not cold at all. I was only wearing a sweater, not even a jacket. Anyway, I found quite a few people to talk to, some I knew and some I didn't. I have a lot more confidence about the next five parties I have to go to in the next two weeks. I felt a little like Bridget Jones when she's preparing to go to the launch party in the first book/movie. I actually caught myself introducing people with "thoughtful details" and I had to chuckle a bit. Seriously, you guys should have heard me go!

"Hi, how have you been? Have you met ____? She graduated from ______ with me and now she works at _______, where she is in charge of _________."

It was great. I actually can't wait for the next one. I have a party on Monday, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday of next week, and then a few the week after that. Some of the people who were there tonight will be at the other ones, so at least I know there will be people there that I can talk to! I used to be so great in social situations, and then I spent years not having to do that, so recently I've been a little hesitant. But tonight showed me that I can do it again. It was good.

I going to sit down with my NaNo novel tonight. I haven't read it all the way through yet, and although my mother said she really enjoyed it, I need to read it myself before I really start fleshing the thing out and editing it. I probably won't finish reading it tonight, which means I will have to finish it over the weekend, because I wont' be able to do it tomorrow night, since I have plans to go see Rent! I'm sure it's not as good as the stage show, because... well... they never are as good, but I've heard nothing but glowing reviews. The touring cast I saw a few years ago was fabulous, but I've never seen the original cast. It's so great that almost all of them are in the movie. So I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Well, that's about it for tonight. I need to do a little Web research for work before turning in, so I'm going to do that now.