Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Are You Doing Next Tuesday?

It's true: I do get a little tired of people telling me to vote. Sometimes, I feel insulted, LOL, because I'm like: Of course I'm going to vote! Why wouldn't I? Whaddaya think I am?

But the point of my question is not whether or not you're going to vote. (I'm kinda assuming you are.)

My question is what are you doing next Tuesday?

My best friend mentioned she always goes out to breakfast with her husband after voting. I confess I don't have a cool ritual like that. We vote, and then we do our thing. During presidential elections, I stay up and watch CNN as the numbers pour in, while my husband snores.

Do you have any rituals? Do you eat popcorn while the numbers come in? Wait until the next morning to check the outcomes? Have a party with friends? Go to a movie?

What are you planning on doing next Tuesday? After you vote, that is. ;-)

You've probably seen this, assuming you go to Melanie's blog. (If you don't, you're missing something special!)

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I Thought We Fixed the Idiots.

Google Reader recommended I try the EREC blog, and Emily Veinglory had a great and funny post up about Squawking Tech's ridiculous theory on why women will buy the Kindle.

I love the Kindle. I do not believe that the cost/benefit ratio is better for women than men because all women carry purses. (Note to Squawking Tech: All women do not carry purses. I managed for 35 years without one.)

And then Wendy passed along this video:

You know, I'm kinky, and sometimes people get confused: yeah, men and women are different, but the bottom line is free choice, equal opportunity, and equal respect. Period.

Oh, and here's a funny one, thanks to Mark Terry. This brought me to tears, I cracked up so hard:

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Do You Want To Be?

Guess what? This is a post about writing. I know, I know, I know. It's been awhile. I was thinking of how I shape myself as a writer.

I believe the stories we experience, watch, and read, become a little part of us. I believe every author we read influences us, shapes us, even changes us. Sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes in big ways.

So yesterday, I was watching the end of A Knight's Tale, and I had the sort of weird thought: I need to watch this a few more times. This needs to be a bigger part of me. I love the movie, but really, who has the time to watch a movie three or four more times because they want it to be a bigger part of themselves??? (Well, me.)

Just like Les Miserables, which, God help me, has TOO MANY WORDS! And Jane Eyre, which I have been continually reading for about a year now, over and over.

Sometimes, I find myself watching or reading stories I wouldn't, except that I feel it needs to be part of me, as a writer. Sometimes I watch or read them multiple times, because they need to be a bigger part of me.

It's not like I try to actively learn from them, although sometimes I do. I just need them to settle into my subconscious and be part of me. And sometimes I have to look after the whole, make sure the balance is precisely me.

But it's not like Moonstruck, which I've seen a million times. That movie has become a micro-piece of myself, not necessarily a piece of me, the writer. If that makes sense.

Does this make any sense? Does this sound crazy? Do you watch the balance of your "writing food?" Do you sometimes seek out movies or books because you want them to become part of you? Do you ever re-watch and re-read, not necessarily because you want to re-watch or re-read it, but because you want it to be a bigger part of who you are as a writer?

While we're at it, how do you shape yourself as a writer?

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Talk About A Closing Argument

Wow, if I were 100% going to vote for McCain, this speech would have convinced me to at least consider voting for Obama. I have said before: if you're going to vote for McCain, I respect that. I understand these are scary, tough times, and you truly have to follow what you think will be best for this country.

Last weekend, I had a conversation with someone else who was trying very hard not to burst into tears, with their own personal struggles with the economy.

It's hard, and it's embarrassing, but there's no shame in struggling, none at all.

It breaks my heart.

It's easy to say why worry about the middle class when there are others who are homeless? It's easy to say why worry about harming animals when people are starving?

But I think we each have our own different callings, different things that touch our compassion button deeper than others. Things that only we were meant to do.

Anyway, no matter who you're voting for, I ask only that you watch this video, Obama's "closing argument" speech in Canton, Ohio. What could you lose? And I'll even trade you: send me a link of a video for McCain, and I promise to watch it with an open mind. You can even leave it anonymously, if you want.

I'm not normally one to believe campaign promises, not normally one to get choked up by speeches, but if he can achieve only 10% of his aims and plans, then I have hope for the future of our country.

The second video is the best (I'm a little embarrassed to admit it moved me to tears), so if you're not inclined to spend too much time, skip to that one first.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Never Thought I'd Agree With Conservatives...

So you've heard about Palin going rogue? What cracks me up most is this bit:

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

A Palin associate defended her, saying that she is "not good at process questions" and that her comments on Michigan and the robocalls were answers to process questions.

NOT GOOD AT PROCESS QUESTIONS?? So, you mean, she's not good processing information, and then giving an answer that demonstrates her understanding of all sides to an issue?

AND THEY SAY THIS WOMAN IS READY TO BE PRESIDENT???

And here's an interesting bit:

But two sources, one Palin associate and one McCain adviser, defended the decision to keep her press interaction limited after she was picked, both saying flatly that she was not ready and that the missteps could have been a lot worse.

They insisted that she needed time to be briefed on national and international issues and on McCain's record.

"Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic," said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the "hardest" to get her "up to speed than any candidate in history."

I never thought I'd agree with conservatives:

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Who is your Perfect Lover?

image So have you seen The Mentalist? You can catch all the episodes you've missed at its website. It totally rocks. He's an ex-psychic who doesn't believe in psychics. He just has an amazing eye for detail and body language, and the way the human mind works. It is SO cool.

I am SO IN LOVE with Simon Baker's character. I mean, I think I have a crush on him as big as my crush on Ranger.

And you all know that's saying something!

He listens. He really listens. We all know that's supremely sexy. And he's so good, it's almost as if he can read minds. That's sort of sexy, too. He's got an incorrigible side, but he also makes whoever he's talking to feel like they are the center of the universe.

Nothing, in my mind, makes an alpha hero yummier than the ability to listen like you're the most important thing in the world, understand you almost like he can read your mind, and make you feel like you are the most interesting person on Earth.

Another important component to the perfect alpha hero is the self-control to never react, but to always act the way you most need and say the thing you most need to hear.

Tall order. Yeah, it's fantasy, it's romance. Does it set impossible standards? Does falling in love with such sexy ideals set us up for disappointment with reality?

I don't know.

I love my real-life DH, real and alive with me. I wouldn't trade him for the world. But I enjoy my fantasy men. Is that silly?

What do you think? And if you had to create a perfect lover, what things would be at the top of the list?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Soaking Up the Bookstore. And The Plan.

Cool music (Mark's friend) and cool copy (Mark's doing!) at the MARVINs. Really cool guitar sounds. I'm easily impressed with the guitar, LOL: it's an instrument I have no experience with.

image The bookstore soothes my soul. I could close my eyes and lie in between the shelves, soaking up the bookstore, just like I used to lie in the grass, soaking up the sun.

Something different happened yesterday. It was one of those BIG SHIFTS that happen so quietly you almost don't realize them.

I got upset.

And I wrote.

Okay, that doesn't sound that dramatic, but every time I've been feeling, I pour it out on the piano. Yesterday was the first day I poured out words on a page.

Production at either the piano or the computer are largely worthless when feeling a lot of emotion, but it was an interesting shift. I have been known to write haiku when upset, but that involves a calm enough mind to count syllables and choose words, usually. This was just haphazard poetry, half-sentences, snippets, whatever. Characters and journaling mixed in.

An emotional mess.

Which brought me to my plan.

I promised not to agonize. I do that every time I try to write or come up for an idea for a NY-able novel. Okay, I'm going to break down now and then, but here's a good plan, I think:

2,000 words a day, in the morning, for writing projects that have a 70-100% of making money. This will alleviate any guilt I feel about writing for NaNo, which might not produce anything of value, let alone bring in any money.

1,500 words a day of self-indulgent crap for NaNo. Anything except E.E.E. (see last post for explanation.) Which means, at the end of November, I will have 50,000 words of Haiku, of "I can't think of what to write" over and over, or some gems of something I can use.

Or not.

But at least I'll know. You know? I'll have tried.

So if you're doing NaNo, what's your goal? And if you're not, what's your goal for November, anyway? And do you ever indulge in writing crap, purposefully? Ever write crappy, emotional poetry? (Or in your case, it might be great, heartfelt poetry!)

How do you soothe your soul?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Colin Powell on Barack Obama

I just want to interrupt our discussion for a second to post this video, in case you haven't seen it. I love what he says so much, I burst into tears. (I seem to be overly emotional about politics, lately.)

Please return to our regularly scheduled discussion.

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Living It

I seem to have nothing to say, lately. I don't know what's up with me.

Have you ever stomped out on a job? Quit on the spot? Just walked out? (I already know your answer, Zoe, so maybe you could share an example. I'm sure it'll be a good one!)

Just curious.

Wanting to know an author because you like his work is like wanting to know a duck because you like pate. ~Margaret Atwood

(Work with me. With no idea what to blog about, I'm just putting in random thoughts.)

It's not like I don't have ideas. It just seems like I wore out my mental ability to pull together and organize my thoughts into a non-fiction post. I seem to have freaked out my brain with writing a little essay, LOL. Even though it's been done for two weeks.

I have great respect and gratitude for Colin Powell.

So who's doing NaNo? I know lots of you have said, but I don't know where to click to find you. I think I am right here. Zoe and Melanie magically found me, which is cool. :-)

I've decided to "experiment" and try a NY-able novel this time. Finding what to write about that doesn't revolve around Ess Eee Exx (trying to stay G-rated, here) usually causes me a considerable amount of anguish. I promise to spare you.

At Mark Terry's blog, he asked What Do Your Read? He suggested that if you're wondering what you should be writing, then analyze what you read.

I've tried that. Often. I'm too all over the place.

I'm procrastinating, at the moment. I said I was taking all of October off writing so I could focus on reading, but I decided to do NaNo and that means finishing a novella by Nov. 1.

So I ordered Hot Chocolate at Borders but I'm always too shy to double check that they made it with Soy Milk instead of milk. They get a little insulted when you ask. Or embarrassed when you ask and they forgot and have to make it again, and that always makes me feel bad.

Okay, with that insanity, it's time to end this blog post.

Thoughts on anything? The world? Life? Stomping out on a job? Burning a bridge in the heat of passion?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Some fun questions:

Writtenwyrdd had this meme up, so I thought I'd play. Do you want to play, too? Either on your blog or in the comments, if you like. You don't have to answer all of them, just whatever you feel like. :-)

1.  What do you do before bedtime?
Watch an episode of TV on the internet or read my Kindle.

2.  What is  your favorite sound?
DH's laugh.

3.  What were your childhood fears?
Monsters under the bed. I slept with a fuzzy robe curled around me, a sleeping bag, a sheet, two blankets, and a comforter. The only thing that peeked out into the open air was my nose; my head was usually under the pillow.

Even in the summer.

4.  What place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back?
Germany.

5.  What has made you unhappy these days?
Hormones.

6.  What websites do you visit daily?
See the blogroll on the right? Did I mention I have over 100 feeds in my feed reader? I don't miss a one. Ever.

7.  What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Well, Writtenwyrdd didn't tag me, but I'd have to answer: cool.

8.  What's the last song that got stuck in your head?
My head has been strangely silent. I'm in a must-need-quiet phase again. Except for a brief episode of "I can see clearly now..." yesterday.

9.   What is your favorite item of clothing? 
My pajamas.

10. What is your dream for the future?
To be a turtle.

Seriously, to live in an RV full-time, dragging my house behind me as I amble around the country, working while on the road. :-)

Your turn!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Whole New World!

Ohmigosh, it's 7:30 at night and it's my first moment on the internet. I feel shaky, nervous, so deprived! We've been out shopping--shopping!--and I got new shoes (badly needed), an eye exam, new contacts, and new glasses.

I don't know what else, but a bunch of stupid details that don't matter took from 10am until 7:30pm. Sheesh.

Long story short, I haven't worn contacts in six months. I don't have a pair of glasses. (Well, now I do.) This isn't as bad as it sounds: one eye is as badly near-sighted as the other eye is far-sighted. They balance out. The eye doctor said that was very odd, but that they sometimes make people's prescriptions like that on purpose instead of using bifocals.

I'm naturally odd. I kind of like that.

So after six months, I was completely unprepared for a world of clarity. Oh my god! It's amazing. Everything has edges. Clean, clear edges. The clouds have wispy fine edges, the trees are just chock full of green, crispy depth, and the mall had this mosaic of tile that was fascinating.

And the people! I swear, I was this close to grabbing strangers in the mall by their cheeks and checking out every last line, pore, and pimple on their face. Indescribable!

The world looks so cool right now, I'd suggest anybody who wears glasses to go without for a few weeks, just so they can re-appreciate how cool the world looks.

I mean, I could see Every Blade of Grass! I even saw a spider web before I ran into it! Wow, so pretty!

And then I went home.

OH MY GOD I NEED TO CLEAN.

OH MY GOD I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY NEED TO CLEAN.

So that was my day. Since DH is home, he's been taking me everywhere for all the little errand and details stuff I let slide when I'm home alone. He hasn't yet noticed I only have three pairs of pants, one of which is way too big. (The other too small, but let's not go there.) I'm not mentioning it because I hate shopping.

All this errand-running drives me crazy. The details of life take FOREVER. It's a full-time job! I usually skip them, which is a large part of the reason I haven't gotten around to getting new glasses or new shoes or new pants in six months. Just keeping up with the dentist has been a third (fourth?) job.

I am glad to be able to see, though.

Let's bring this around to writing, just so I feel productive. How do you see the world in a whole new way? How do you shift your perception, so everything the same looks entirely different? Or when have you?

Hey, it's almost Sunday. How's the WIP going? The writing? The reading? What are you guys reading right now?

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Miracles and Limitations

You guys are going to roll your eyes, because I say this every time I edit old stuff: I can't believe I made a story. I really can't believe it. It's astonishing to me. They're even paced okay. Threaded. The plants were at just the right spots so they don't feel like plants.

See, you don't understand.

I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO ALL THAT!

I guess I sorta do, obviously. Not really. I don't know.

I'm really good at seeing my faults. The day I can't see the faults in my writing is the day I fear I will have lost my abilities. I fear a perfect book as much as I fear never writing one.

Does that explain why, when I get edits, my only feeling is RELIEF?

On another note, since optimism is running around the internet, I wanted to post this video of the Heeah Lee, a pianist playing advanced classical music with only four fingers.

You know, it doesn't matter what limitations you have. Whether you're building a career on an hour a day, no marketing time, not much editing, whatever. We make up for our limitations because we have to. I learned to self-edit because I had no choice. I'm sure someone else could do a better job, but whatever your limitations are, you can make up for it. And it's nothing special, it doesn't take talent or anything. It's just doing what you have to do.

Limitations are just opportunities to develop a skill.

Just like people who go blind begin to hear better, or people who go deaf learn to interpret the feeling of vibrations in their feet as sound--vibrations "normal people" don't even feel.

It's tempting to say this girl, Heeah Lee, is a talent, a miracle. I think that does her a disservice. She's a girl who used her limitations to develop a skill to a degree no one would have thought possible.

She's an inspiration, that's for sure.

PS: Before I forget, I stopped "following" everyone in Blogger. This is only because it screwed up my folders in Google Reader, not because I stopped reading you. :-)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I. Can't. Look.

I'm wondering if my no thought problem has something to do with the election. I'm terrified. Seriously. I'm quite heartened by the fact that Demon Baby has turned his state, and it seems like everything is going pretty strongly for Obama overall.

When I have a performance, I'm too nervous to practice for a day or two or three before (depending on how important the performance). Of course, I do practice, but imagine me squeezing my eyes shut with every muscle braced, holding my breath. I'd be immobilized if it weren't for sheer force of will.

That's how I feel about the election right now

I kinda feel like Tina Fey about Sarah Palin: "If she wins... I'm leaving Earth."

I feel, also, for those who are just as fearful that Obama will win. I believe the Middle Class could collapse, and I believe this next president will have a lot to do with whether or not it does. Look at these statistics:

Since George W. Bush has been in office 5 million Americans have slipped into poverty, 8 million have lost their health insurance and 3 million have lost their pensions. In the last seven years median household income for working-age Americans has declined by $2,500. Our country, for the first time since the Great Depression, now has a zero personal savings rate and, all across the nation, emergency food shelves are being flooded with working families whose inadequate wages prevent them from feeding their families.

I know those who want McCain are just as fearful Obama could cause it as I am fearful McCain could cause it.

It's tough times.

Whoever wins, I pray with all my heart they can help lead this world, this country, to a better place.

So tonight: the debate. I don't think I can look. I get nauseous every time I think of it.  What if he totally screws up?

I'm too scared to look, too scared to watch. And I've sort of lost  my stomach for this election. I want it over with now.

What did I think about before all this election business? What did I do online before I started checking the Dow and the Election Polls three times a day?

What about you? Can you look? Will you watch? Did you watch? Do you still have the stomach for this election?

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The Power of a Wagging Tail

imageSorry I've been gone! I've been housesitting, and it takes a surprising amount of time to take care of two dogs. Now I'm home, though, and I feel rather depressed without them. Just on a selfish level, it's nice when someone acts like you're the best thing since Santa Claus every time you walk through the door, throw a toy across the room, or feed them dinner.

Plus they let me hug and pet them all I want.

I haven't been writing, but I've been editing. It's funny, going back and editing old stuff. As I go through all my old stuff, I can definitely see stages. The current novella I'm editing is what I consider my "pre-that" period.

In that I hadn't yet learned you don't need to put quite as many thats as I thought.

I'm feeling discombobulated. I don't do well without something akin to a schedule, despite the impossibility of sticking me on one. Little things keep ruining whole days. Like this morning, I had a dentist appointment. It takes an hour to get there, an hour there, and an hour home. Add in a forty minute lunch, and guess what?

imageNo time to really do anything before I have to teach, and then cook dinner, then an hour or two before bed. DH is still not over jet lag. He keeps falling asleep, which I'm Ms. Selfish for not understanding, but at the same time, I miss him! I want to spend time with him!

I've needed glasses forever. Same with new shoes. And, embarrassingly enough, I'm down to one pair of pants and two pair of presentable jeans. Pitiful, huh? The money is there. But exactly when am I supposed to find the time to shop for clothes? (If DH weren't home, I'd put it off for another couple months. He will drag me to the store, I'm sure, in the next couple days. I hate clothes shopping.)

I think I'm in a non-writing funk.

You know, even when you're not writing, stories swirl in the head. You can't shut them up. And they're so dissatisfying, like endless foreplay and never a climax. They just keep swirling and morphing and, frankly, driving me crazy.

So I'm just feeling too funky to come up with a blog post. I guess this is one, LOL. Are you sorry you read it, yet?

Do you get in a funk if you don't write? Can you explain that? I mean, geeze. And how much time do you spend cleaning every day? Every week? It's kinda insane. It really interrupts all the stuff I'd rather be doing. And it's tiring. And unfulfilling. And makes me whine. And miss blogging.

I haven't touched coffee in two weeks, either. I don't even like coffee, but I can't seem to get perky energy without it. *sigh*

Ya' know, this is pitiful as far as blog posts go, LOL. I will do better tomorrow. Let's talk about something more interesting.

What about you? Tell me what's up with you. That's more interesting.

And got any ideas for my blog this week? I've been sort of dry on things to talk about, it seems.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Balance, Bull-Fighters, and what should I read?

Someone had an awesome post about balance, and I'm sorry, I thought I bookmarked it, but I can't find it. Please let me know and I'll link to it. I'm embarrassed, because it brought up some great points about finding one's balance.

I keep trying to cram everything I love into every day, to live the perfectly balanced day. But maybe I need to take a longer view: to live the perfectly balanced week, or month, or maybe even year.

I've been reading like mad. Obsessively. Everything. I'm currently in the middle of (no kidding): Shakespeare's Sonnets, Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (which hardly counts as I've been reading it over and over this year), Charles Dickens' Hard Times, Mark Terry's Angels Falling, Mary Reed and Eric Mayer's Two for Joy Johann Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werther (relying more on memory than reading it; my German is rusty), Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Not to mention a bunch of wonderful unmentionables. ;-)

I've never read Hemingway. I was completely surprised it's good. No one ever told me he was a good writer. I just heard he supposedly portrayed women badly and that he killed himself and that he was depressed.

I didn't expect to be met with a character who just turned thirty-five (like me!) and who wants to take his life's bull by the horns (like me!). I didn't expect this awesome quote:

"Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters."

I could read forever. I have a hundred other books piled up on my Kindle, just waiting to be read. I'm also dying to write, but I can't stop reading. It's terrible.

But as far as balance goes, why not spend a month obsessively reading? Then a couple months obsessively writing? And just alternate? I've never tried that.

How do you balance your life? By day? Week? Month? Year? How do you balance reading and writing?

I sure wish I could read faster. I feel like I've missed too many books I should have read.

Will you give me a few ideas? What must I read? What can't I go another year without reading? What books do you read again and again? What are the best books you've ever read in your who life?

I'm not picky about genre at all. Which reminds me: I haven't finished The Stand. Just let me click a few buttons on my Kindle...

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Love My Kindle

image First, I'm sorry for my disappearance and late responding to comments. I can't even use DH's return as an excuse, because he's been so exhausted, he's mostly sleeping. Or running errands and taking care of all the little stuff. God, I love the man.

The Kindle, however, is my excuse. I've been reading up a storm!

I got a Kindle for my birthday! Let me count the ways I love my Kindle! In my massive book cull, I kept about one hundred books. I'm thinking of getting rid of ALL of them, except about ten that I love, are signed, and aren't available on the Kindle.

I love the smell, feel, and energy of books. I would even go so far as to admit a bookstore kinda even turns me on. But my bookshelves don't. The Kindle does. :-)

First, the Kindle is pretty. It used to look ugly in the pictures, but it's every bit as pretty as the Sony Reader. It's got this pretty little silver select strip thing that just amazes me. I don't know how this e-ink technology works, but it's way cool.

image Second, books are cheap. WOW! Books are cheap. Paperbacks are around four and five dollars, and hardbacks are around seven to nine dollars. And there are TONS of free books (especially the classics) out there at feedbooks, which rocks. I got Crime and Punishment and the whole Oz (Frank Baum) series. I'd missed a couple when I was young.

Third, the font is very readable and easily enlargable. Totally rocks. And reading in the sun is easy. I take it with me everywhere.

Fourth, the Whispernet wireless technology rocks. Anytime I think of a book I want to read, I download the sample. That way I'm not buying books until I actually read them, and I won't forget that I want to read them. And buying a book anywhere with a single, easy click is the ultimate in convenience.

image Fifth, I'm reading more. And my long dry spell of buying no books is OVER! YES! I stopped buying books for nearly a year. Let me tell you, that was TORTURE. But now I've got a Kindle! Definitely worth it.

The first books I bought on the Kindle were:image

  1. One for Sorrow by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer
  2. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  3. Mists of Avalon by Mary Zimmer Bradley

The very first book I'm reading on my Kindle is One for Sorrow. So far, it's awesome. Unlike anything I've ever read. It's a fifth century mystery in Constantinople. So cool.

Lately, I seem to enjoy reading more than one book at once. The ability to carry 200 books with me just KILLS me. I LOVE IT! And on a lazy level, it's so much easier to click a button to turn the page than it is to actually turn a page.

And seeing how it looks like you're actually looking at a page from a real book, I don't really miss the feel and look of paper. It really looks just like a page from a book. It's cool.

The Sony Reader is coming out with a touch screen in time for Christmas, I believe. I like that it will accept Adobe Digital Editions and many other formats, and the touch screen makes for a larger book "page."

Still, the Whispernet wireless ability to touch a button and download a book without the bother of hooking it up to my computer is something I very quickly can't live without. Not to mention the fact that Amazon has so many more books! (About double.)

So what about you? Are you thinking of making the jump to an e-book reader? Which e-reader are you leaning toward? The e-ink technology is amazing. I still keep staring at it, touching it to make sure it's not real paper, LOL!

Read more...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hustling

Phew. I just finished a non-fiction essay. Man, do you see how I can go on when blogging? Well, I swear, non-fiction essays take me forever. I write fiction at a rate of 500 - 1500 words per hour. (Okay, I've got my 100 word hours, too, LOL.) I write non-fiction at the rate of about 30 - 50 words an hour. And I'm not exaggerating at all. It's pitiful.

What's funny is I could barely get my brain to pull together a blog during my non-fiction time. And I can blog way faster, and that's non-fiction. I don't get it. Maybe it's the type of non-fiction.

Ah well.

I was just talking with someone about layoffs, and I realized how very grateful I am for my situation. For all the job security in a "real" job, there's a security in hustling. I mean, if I get "laid off," it's from one small part of my income. And I can always hustle up more.

Which brings me to my biggest goal for the next year. I mentally have a "set point" for my monthly income, a minimum amount that I tell myself I must make. I've got the red zone (Oh shit! how am I going to pay the bills!); the yellow zone (Tighten your belts!); the green zone (Lookin' good!); the green-yellow zone (Lovin' this money!); and the green-red zone (Lovin' the money, but I'm so busy I don't have time to eat!).

My point is, I have a set point that's sort of the perfect balance of work and money for the studio.

And I realized: I never chose a "set point" for my fiction income. So I've made a goal: in the next six months, I have a figure in mind.

I've never done that with fiction before. It's always been "extra" money, either for something fun or for emergency I-need-money situations. I think if I move it into the "X amount a month" category, I will see a big shift in what I'm making.

Mostly because I'll be working more productively to get to that figure.

Anyway, I was just grateful. I can't lose my job in one fell swoop. I can lose a little, but then I have plenty of time in the yellow or even the red zone to move things back to the green zones.

Two great news: I'm getting a Kindle!!!!!! Today!!!!! And Glenn (DH) is home!!!!!!!!!!! (No coincidence, LOL!) I am SO excited! It was my b-day yesterday. :-)

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Having Some Compassion

I appreciate your patience with my recent obsession with world events and politics. I'm really hoping to get back to normal. I have two writing posts brewing in my mind, but they don't seem to be coming out.

I don't know.

I'm writing a ton, wrestling with a non-fiction essay a ton, so I just may not have anything left over for here at the moment. Things should calm down soon. I do have a writing post coming soon. I just don't have the mental space to write it, if that makes sense?

How are things going for you? How's the writing? Y'all are doing some cool things. How do you balance your various types of writing? Do you find you need to balance them? Do they feed each other, or does one drain the other? Or, like Edie and Kath talked about this week, do they unblock the other?

***

Have you heard about the 90 year-old woman who shot herself in Akron while she was being evicted from her foreclosed home? It's gonna make you cry. But I think it's important to feel, to relate, to remember or imagine how it feels when you're trying to claw your way back to solid financial ground.

It's like clawing your way out of a pit with slippery mud walls.

Since I started this blog entry, there's been a happy ending for that 90 year old woman. I'm thrilled. On the other hand, there are many more people like her who are trying their best with no hope, feeling like they're drowning.

Here's a man with two houses in foreclosure. He didn't buy "too much house." Sure, he didn't handle the timing well. In retrospect, it's easy to see what he could have done to prevent the mistake. On the other hand, it's also easy to see that he wasn't being irresponsible.

Every time you handle money, it's a risk. No matter where you invest it, no matter what kind of loan you take out, it's a risk. It's a risk you calculate, but it's still a risk.

People keep talking about this crisis as if these people in foreclosure are irresponsible idiots, or people who asked for what they're getting.

It's just not that black and white. It is definitely gray. I don't know what to suggest, honestly. I do think we need to have some compassion. If we're bailing out these big companies who were irresponsible, why not the common man?

And where is the root problem? Is it with these foreclosures, or is it with the energy crisis and the rising food and gas prices? My food/gas/entertainment budget has more than doubled in the past couple years. That has to affect the foreclosures, too.

It sure is complicated.

Here is one more. Let's listen:

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

What do you Think?

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I'm curious what everyone thinks, whether you're Republican, Democrat, or Other. ;-) I'm pretty sure everyone knows who I'm voting for, but I'm still interested in hearing what everyone else is thinking, no matter who you want to vote for.

I have to read the transcripts tomorrow. I'm not good at learning aurally. I understood and processed most everything Joe Biden talked about, but I never can understand Palin.

I had to miss two parts of it. I'm housesitting again. It's like a vacation. :-)

The fact that Joe Biden knows what it's like to have his father leave because there were no local jobs really related him to me. DH is not my father, but I think the hole left is not one you ever forget.

Good news: He might be home early! He might be home on Monday or Tuesday instead of Thursday. I can't WAIT! I'm so happy. We can talk by phone now, which is a change from online messaging for most of the last four months.

It's SO good to hear his voice.

I survive while he's gone. When we're together, I thrive. We're supposed to be together, you know? We're like two halves.

Anyway, I'm impressed with Joe Biden, really impressed. I can also give Palin credit: she did tons better than she did with Couric.

It's hard for me to disagree with her because I just can't follow her like I can Biden. I'm not sure if that's because I have an attention span of a pea, if it's because I'm better at learning visually, or if she talked in circles again.

I know everyone hear can't possibly be an Obama supporter. I'm interested in hearing from both sides, because I know so many of us are quite passionate about the outcome of this election. So many of us are worried about the immediate future of our country. So many of us are hoping this election will make a big change for us.

I'm curious: what issues are most important to you? Why are you voting for who you've chosen? Are you yet undecided? Why are you undecided? What is going to influence your decision?

I'm not asking so I can debate your answer. I just want to hear what you think. :-)

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McCain Aspires To Be Dictator

So I've shown you way too many videos. I'll probably show you too many more. The 17 seconds below, however, tells it all. This is McCain on September 30, 2008, at the Des Moines County Register. If you think he's joking, click here for the full interview. There's no laugh, no punch line after he delivers this line.

At least Bush pretended to be joking.

I'm preaching to the choir, huh? I know. :-) But this terrifies me.

Bush said it three times (quoted from InfoWars):

Bush infamously said, “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator,” during a December 2000 speech.

He also remarked, “A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it,” in a July 2001 Business Week interview.

When Bush was Governor of Texas in 1998 he stated, “You don’t get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.”

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Real Writing Post

I've been a little wrapped up in politics, haven't I? Okay, well, today is a real writing post. I just want to ramble a little, and then I have some GREAT news!

image First, the self-indulgent rambling. I mean, this is a blog, after all, and you guys are so patient with me. I just have to say, I love writing. I love other writers. I love just talking with everyone in the business, I love what they do, what I do, the whole energy. I love all of it, just love it.

Isn't it strange?

It is to me. It's strange to me that it never goes away. I do dislike the organizations and their politics, but I love everything else. It never fades.

I think I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But it never does. I keep loving it. No matter what I worry or stress about, it doesn't even make the slightest dent in the fact I love books, stories, and writing.

I never knew something could be like this.

A little sad news is you know my lovely office I made? Well, the basement is a little damp, and it seems to bring back the asthma problem I had with the mold that was in the house. Right now, I haven't had an actual attack, but when I sit down there, I can feel my lungs starting to feel all ticklish and fuzzy, and I'm practically panting just walking across the room, and even out of breath when I'm teaching.

So I've stopped working down there and I'm breathing normally again.

I'm really disappointed about that, because I love that room. So it's still my special place, but I'm only using it if I'm up early in the morning writing (like 4 or so) or way late. And only like once a week.

I can't explain how special it is to me, to have carved out a space that honors that part of me. Oh well. It gives me comfort, just knowing it's there.

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Now the GREAT news:

image Melanie Avila's aunt, Karen Dionne, is having an online release party! This is a REALLY cool launch party for her book, Freezing Point. Here is the press release:

In a YouTube world, it’s becoming ever more difficult for authors to grab and hold readers’ attention. To a Web 2.0 generation accustomed to tag clouds, wikis and widgets, authors’ static text-and-images-only websites are as outdated as Fred Flintstone’s writing tablets.

“Authors naturally think in terms of words,” says Karen Dionne, whose debut thriller Freezing Point about an environmental disaster in Antarctica releases October 2 from Berkley. “But on the Internet, we’re not limited to text. Today’s Internet is very visual, very interactive.”

Savvy authors are taking a page from the digital age and posting book trailers to their websites. Dionne is going them one better. With help from renowned thriller authors David Morrell, Lee Child, James Rollins, Gayle Lynds, Douglas Preston, and John Lescroart, Dionne is throwing an online book launch party where family, friends, and fans can mingle and win prizes – and catch the buzz about her new novel in the process.

As co-founder of Backspace, an Internet-based writers organization with hundreds of members in a dozen countries, Dionne knew only a handful of friends would be able to attend her book launch no matter where it was held. So she set out to recreate the traditional launch party experience on the Web.

Entertainment for the October 1 - 3 event includes video welcomes from bestselling thriller authors, a reading by a professional voice actress who’s also a New York Times author, standup comedy from one of her author friends – even testimony from a medical doctor regarding the science behind the story’s premise. There are door prizes: a boxed set of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” series on DVD, bottles of genuine iceberg water, and Penguin Gear from her publisher. And because a book launch party wouldn’t be complete without, well, books, two independent booksellers are making signed copies available.

“Writers shouldn’t be afraid of the Internet,” says Dionne. “We’re creative people. We can figure out how to use the Internet to spread the word about our books in new and exciting ways.”

Compared to a real-world book launch, Dionne says her online party has definite advantages. “Where else but on the Internet could my mom hang out with Lee Child?” There’s no limit to the guest list, work schedules and time zones don’t even factor, and perhaps best of all, Dionne’s guests can attend wearing their pajamas.

Visit Karen Dionne’s book launch party at www.freezingpointlaunchparty.com.

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Presenting Neil Gaiman...

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Oh, Wait...

This one is better:

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More Laughs

Please forgive me: I'm a little swamped. Partly because I can't get myself away from politics and the economy. Of course, I couldn't help but share with you the latest installment of the Palin/Couric interview. But first, a laugh from Bill Maher:

And you know how I love the Daily Show:

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