Monday, March 31, 2008

A bargain is a bargain after all

For some intents and purposes [though not all] DH is a bargain hunter. His favorite bargains are after-holiday candy sales and last night he found the Momma of all price-slashing.

I sent him out for orange juice and he came back from the store with seventy-five [yep, 75!] Cadbury Creme Eggs. They were on sale for $0.12 a piece.

What we're going to do with 75 Creme Eggs [besides eat them until we hate Creme Eggs] I don't know. Easter is over. We can't give them in baskets and we have no one who will believe the Easter Bunny came back a week later to drop off his leftovers at our house.

The bottom of the receipt from the store lists DH's savings - of which he's extremely proud. He saved $74.52! [Can you believe these little eggs cost over $1.00 a piece a week ago?]

It's good to know we have $74.52 in our pockets that would have gone to Creme Eggs [sasrcasm mode here] Maybe we can use that money toward a gym membership.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Still cruising along...

It's been a week from heck. [I can't say Hell, because I know people who have had it much worse than I have.] My week has been annoying but not tragic.

Good news: I finished round one of my rewrites.
Bad news: Now the ms needs round two.

Good news: I have everything ready for the Winterguard Host Show.
Bad news: It's today.
Good news: This time tomorrow it will be over.

Good news: The fridge technician came back yesterday to work on my fridge.
Bad news: He still can't find the right replacement parts.
Bad news: He says the repair shouldn't have been covered under warranty.
Good news: They have to do the repairs for free anyway.

Good news: Took the kids to the dentist. They have no cavities.
Bad news: I don't think the dentist is in my insurance network anymore.

Bad news: My computer got a nasty virus.
Good news: DH fixed it.

Good news: Next week, Spring vacation is over.
Bad news: I have to work my butt off next week to catch up.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Learn from an editor

There's a wonderful post by editor Leslie Hodges of Wings ePress over at Star-Crossed Romance today. Check it out for some great advice for writers.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Way to procrastinate

Since I said I wouldn't be blogging much, I not only had to blog, I had to take a picture to add to my blog.

Topper spent an hour trying to 'dig' me out of bed today. Now he's sitting on my printer. How am I supposed to get anything done?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Deep in Edits

I may be scarce in cyber space over the next few weeks. I'm working on serious revisions for a NY editor and trying to write with my fingers, toes, eyes and ears crossed that I might be 'this close' to mass market paper back land.

Wish me luck, folks. I'll drop in with updates when I can.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You don't know what you got til it's gone...

as the song goes.

Today, since it's been my week for ranting, I've decided to complain about my refridgerator. I had it serviced last week because there was a crack in the shelving on the inside of the door and since we've been paying for a warranty on it for years, DH decided it might be nice if we got some use out of the contract.

The technician came on Saturday, after the replacement parts had been delivered by UPS, and replaced the shelving, which now looks lovely. But he couldn't put the rails back across the shelves because the brackets that had been ordered were the wrong size. He ordered new ones, told us we could easily install them ourselves and life would be good.

Tonight we got delivery of the wrong parts. We got new rails when we need new brackets. So all the stuff I used to keep on the door is now stuffed on the shelves. You don't realize how much stuff you keep on the fridge door until you can't keep anything there any more.

In the overall scheme of things, this is another one of those small problems, I know, but it just seems par for this week, after the bank debacle and all.

On a happier note though, for those of you who may not have noticed. I recieved this uplifting message in response to my last post:

You can rest assured The Big Bang Theory will be here for a long time. It has 8 new episodes to air this season, and it has already been renewed for a full season next season. It got really good ratings last night. It always gets good ratings. Over 9 million people watched. It will be here at least through next season.

I guess everything evens out in the long run.

PS: As you see, I was right. All the network executives apparently read my blog. :) I knew they did.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Smooch of Death

I know. I know. With great power comes great responsibility and if I was responsible I'd keep my mouth shut whenever I like something, but I just gotta say...I love Big Bang Theory.

This show is hilarious - maybe because I live with a computer and sci-fi geek, and I am a sci-fi geek myself so I know all the superhero, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica references. I mean, it's so much funnier to watch people playing Klingon Boggle when you've actually known people who do play Klingon Boggle. And watching a bunch of guys dance around in joy when they use their computer to turn on the stereo really is hysterical when you're married to a guy who has neon lights on his CPU [his computer, people. Getcher minds outta the gutter.]
Last night's new episode was a treat, especially the scene where Penny is helping Leonard pick out an outfit for his conference. She pulls a 'classic' BSG uniform out of the closet and says, "Why didn't you wear this for Halloween?" and Leonard says: "Because it's not a costume. It's a flight suit."
What made that line even funnier, was DH sitting next to me saying, "Oh, wow, he's got a Flash costume in there too!"
And yes, DH knew it was the bubble city of whatever you have from Krypton even before Leonard explained it.
Yep. This stuff is definitely funnier when you live it. If any big wigs from CBS are reading this [and come on, fellas, I KNOW you do] keep Big Bang Theory on the air - it rocks.

Monday, March 17, 2008

In defiance of all logic...

CAUTION: Rant ahead with capital letters and much yelling

Man has long sought to defy gravity. Makeup companies entreat us to ‘defy’ our age. Our defiance of the inequities of life can define who we are – so I suppose it stands to reason that financial institutions would expect us to defy logic and go blindly along with their strange and unusual rules and regulations.

This weekend, I had one of those logic defying moments during what I hoped would be a rather routine attempt to make a deposit into my individual retirement account.

When my deposit was ‘denied’ by the bank my curiosity got the better of me and I called them to find out why they would not take my money. As it turns out, since the bank has recently changed ownership, they have a host of new rules, one of which is that a customer cannot add to their existing IRA account. They no longer accept those little monthly or quarterly deposits that add up over the year to your federally mandated deposit limit.

Now, each time a customer makes a deposit to their IRA, A NEW ACCOUNT IS FORMED.

Got that? Each deposit, no matter the amount, FORMS A NEW ACCOUNT. So instead of having one nice fluffy pot of money into which you squirrel away little nuggets of gold over the course of your life so that when you retire and Social Security goes bust, you will still have money to eat, you must now have 30 or 40 INDIVIDUAL SMALL ACCOUNTS which the bank will ‘add up for you and tell you how much money you have to withdraw upon your retirement.’

Am I the only one who finds this concept mind-boggling? I had a long, drawn out conversation with a flummoxed bank representative who seemed confused by my confusion. I kept saying, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. You mean I cannot deposit any more money into my existing IRA account? I have to open a new account now and next week, next month, etc, when I have more money I’d like to put away for my retirement, I HAVE TO OPEN UP ANOTHER NEW ACCOUNT?”

Yes, she tells me. That’s how all banks do it.


Let’s just say a person begins their account at age 20 and doesn’t plan to retire until age 70. Then let’s say during those intervening 50 years that person chooses to make two deposits per year into their account. That means that in the 50th year, they will have ONE HUNDRED separate IRA accounts which the bank will then add up, and begin distributing money from one account at a time in order to pay that person back their retirement income?

AM I IN BIZZARO WORLD? Am I on Mars?? Can someone explain to me how it behooves the bank to manage 100 accounts for a single individual? What if that person chooses to make a deposit every month? That would amount to 600 SEPARATE ACCOUNTS over the course of 50 years.

IS THAT INSANE? Or is there something wrong with me? Please, I beg of you all, if it’s me, please tell me. Please explain what I’m failing to see here. Or could it simply be that the bank will ultimately have to pay less interest on 600 small accounts than it would on one big one?? Hmm...have I hit on something here?

Anyone, please?? Help me understand this nonsense because I’m a total loss.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A day in the life...

After reading this interesting post by Robin Hobb, I felt I should blog. LOL. She makes an interesting point about getting sucked into the Internet when we should be writing. And as I mentioned on Romance Divas, writers are somewhat duped into thinking that all the time they spend blogging, chatting, and posting to Yahoo groups is helping their careers by leaps and bounds, when the best thing we can do for ourselves is write, write, write.

That being said, who needs the Internet to suck time away from writing when everything does the same thing so well?

Here's my Friday:

6:30 AM Wake up DD for school, nap until 7:00
7:00 AM Get up, get breakfast, prep DD for school
8:00 AM shower, dress, make beds, do dishes
9:00 AM Start work at the 'day job', transcribe town meetings
1:00 PM Leave office, stop at bank
1:30 PM Arrive home, handle series of e-mails and phone calls re: Winterguard
competition scheduling snafu
2:30 PM make lunch, visit Romance Divas while I eat
3:00 PM Find creative ways to pay bills while emptying checking account of DH's
paycheck deposit
4:30 PM Order dinner [pizza], set table, feed pets
5:15 PM Dinner break, clean up dinner, empty dishwasher and refill
6:00 PM Check e-mail and make hairpiece for new Wintergaurd member
6:45 PM Work on WIP
9:00 PM Punch time card and curl up in front of the TV, too exhausted to care what I'm

So, at least yesterday, the Internet vampire got very little of my life blood, yet still I ended up drained. Where does all the time go? RL, I suppose, is the real vampire.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pink-Slipping a Character

So what do you do when you have to fire a character?

I don't mean getting rid of a character who's mean, unruly or just not what you want in the book. I can say, "Your FIRED!" just as easily as The Donald can. I'm talking about deleting a character who has done her job, been there as tireless supporting cast through countless edits and revisions already and who thought she had a future in the universe I created.

Now, due to budget cuts...well, actually due to the need to tighten a story, give rise to viable sequel and pick up the pacing of my novel, management is bandying about the idea of removing an entire secondary character.

I've already prepared the 'It's not you, it's me' speech, tried to temper it with, 'you've been a good character. There's really nothing wrong with your portrayal of one of the heroine's closest friends. It's just that there's really not room for you, so not only will your scenes end up on the cutting room floor, your dialogue may be rewritten and given to another character who will benefit greatly from your untimely demise.'

That's gotta be a harsh thing for a character to hear. And trust me, as an author, it's no picnic for me. It means serious rewriting to do, lots of work, and the ever-present concern that I'll have an unemployed character running through my head at odd moments asking if she's going to end up in another juicy role somewhere. Not only is this character losing her part, she's being escorted out of the 'green room' so to speak, where secondaries await their chance for the spotlight.

I feel bad for her. I'll do my best to find her another plot one of these days, but in all honesty, I think she really should look for another line of work, maybe commercials, or something in retail. It's a step down, I know, but we've all gotta do what we've gotta do.

Have you ever had to fire a character?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blog Fog

Curses on Daylight Savings Time. My internal clock has no idea what time it is. I feel like I should still be sleeping.

Who's idea was this anyway?

According to this site Daylight Saving Time, it was all Benjamin Franklin's fault. That's what happens to your brain when you play outside in lightning storms apparently.

[And apparently there is no S at the end either. Sheesh.]

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hot and Bothered

I'm dishing about fantasies and a new blog called Hot and Bothered today. Drop by and tell me about your fantasies.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm doin' it again

Rooting for the underdog relationship. [What were you thinking??]

Last night was the long-anticipated [at least by me] premiere of the FOX show New Amsterdam starring Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as John Amsterdam, an immortal NY City detective.

I like the show. [Normally the kiss of death since the powers that be in TV Land never seem to see the world the way I do, and they're all evil anyway] but I hold out hope that it will last long enough to really hit its stride before FOX, in its infinite ignorance [hey, they cancelled Firefly earning them the coveted and indelible title of STOOPID] decides to replace it with yet another insipid reality show. [Bitter much? Sorry, what was I saying? Oh.]

I like this show.

But, as usual, being a romance author, I don't fall for the obvious romance - and when I say 'obvious' I can only hope FOX isn't dumb enough to make it as obvious as they seem to be making it. John Amsterdam was made immortal by a Native American Shaman and he will remain so until he finds his true love and their 'souls are wed.' Interesting concept, not necessarily a gift, to hear John tell it. He's lived a long, long time without true love and bears the scars of it [much deeper than the sexy sword and bullet wounds he sports on his rather attractive chest].

They've set John up to fall for - or think he's falling for - the doctor who pronounces him dead after a literally heart-wrenching pain fells him in the subway moments after she appears.

Yada yada. I didn't find that part quite as endearing as the relationship between John and his new partner Eva. She's a no-nonsense cop [again, kiss of death for a warm fuzzy romance] assigned to him when he has a rep for chasing partners away [or having them die on him]. She takes no prisoners and doesn't put up with his tepid attempts to piss her off by calling her Detective Whatever Your Name Is. By the end of the show they're sharing a quiet moment in the bar and he's done her the favor of helping her complete her transfer out of his department. [Something I have a feeling won't stick.]

Here's the relationship I'm interested in. I don't care already if John ever meets his heart-stopping lady doc. She seemed generic in the few miniutes of screen time she was given in the pilot episode. Eva has a bit of substance - not quite enough yet to make her the perfect romance heroine, but she has potential. Of course, FOX won't do this. She'll be the long-suffering best friend who ends up loving him like a brother and they'll say - well, they're partners, they can't get together. To which I reply, Why the hell not? I'm a romance novelist, for heaven's sake. We do that kind of thing all the time and we do it well.

Sigh. I guess I'll just have to keep watching and waving my banner for yet another doomed relationship.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I can't shake the worm

Maybe that didn’t come out the way I meant it...what I meant to say is, I’m addicted to Bookworm.

I’ve been playing it all weekend on the computer and I cannot stop. Just one more level, just one more five-letter word, I promise! Sunday, we didn’t eat dinner until 7:00 pm because I had made it all the way to level 15 and I had to keep going.


I don’t play a lot of games anymore, because I just don’t have time and because this is what happens to me. I can’t stop.

The up side is, when the kids catch me playing, they help me, so I get them sucked in too. Anything that will encourage DS to spell. The downside is, DH also hovers over my shoulder while I’m playing and he coaches – until I want to kill him.

“No no NO! Not that one – look – there’s B E A M – that’s four letters, take that one.”
“You gotta watch those three letters words, you know.”
“No, not that – use the Q! Use the Q!”

He makes me want to run over his toes with my desk chair.

I need an intervention. I should have been writing Sunday afternoon. Instead I sat around listening to a little green worm tell me ‘Good job!” every time I used the Q. I guess maybe I just needed some positive reinforcement, even if it comes from a worm. ;)

A Rant on Disdain

A few days ago my fellow Romance Diva Kristen Painter posted on her blog about things that tick her off.

I have no trouble thinking of things that tick me off, for instance: rude people, religious intolerance, plagiarism...I have a new one to add to my list now.

I'm not sure what to call it - maybe disdain isnt' the right word. High-handedness perhaps? Smugness? Maybe you can tell me what word fits best.

Here's the scenario. I've been putting some time in working with DD's winterguard team. I'm the treasurer because someone had to take over from the old treasurer whose daughter graduated last year. I run the monthly bake sales, I'm helping out with some tweaking to the show costumes, and when the guard needs something and DD calls me from practice with a request, I go and see if I can help.

I'm not sure why this makes me a fool, but I'm tired of people acting like I'm some sort of idiot for giving of my time. I was telling someone yesterday about my quest to find bright colored silk flowers to make hair combs for the girls. The guard coach wanted there to be a little more color and I suggested a bright yellow flower for their hair. Since most of the girls have dark hair and the costume is in muted autumn colors, a brilliant flower would make a nice contrast. Yesterday I was going out looking for supplies. When I told someone this, the response was, "Well, you got suckered into that, didn't you?"

Excuse me?

Helping my daughter in her chosen extracurricular activity is 'suckered in?' I'm sorry, did I miss something? This from a person who organized the entire fund raiser for Project Graduation the year her child graduated high shcool, and he didn't even attend the event! She worked like a dog to raise money so the class could spend an evening dancing and eating and not driving around drunk as teeangers will do, and that was 'something she had to do.' But I'm a 'sucker' because I'm out at the craft store picking up some silk flowers? Or because I was asked to hem one of the costumes and I did it, or because the girls needed ice packs and I went out and got them, or because I actually show up at the bake sales with bakes goods and sell them?

Please, really, what did I miss? Has it become passe and uncool to put time in for your kids now? I realize a lot of parents can't participate. They work long hours, have several children, not a lot of money and are sometimes just too damn exhausted to help out. I know the feeling and I don't begrudge them. I was never a class mother, I've respectfully and permanently retired from participating in general school fundraisers because they annoy the crap out of me, but when my kids WANT to be involved in something that requires some parental input, I will do it. Not because I love it, and I thought, not because I'm some kind of fool who should be home on the couch watching television and using an extracurricular activity like free baby sitting, but because I thought it was part of my job as a parent.

So why the disdain? Or whatever it is?