Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Not quite New Year’s yet, but I did spend some of my art time this morning happily designing a set of Valentine cards, and it’s going pretty well. Since I’m jumping the gun on holidays anyway, why not go ahead with the resolutions, eh?

In the words of the great computer commercial, where do I want to go this year? I will have my first historical romance, My Outcast Heart, out sometime in 2006, which isn’t really that far away. By the time it’s on the cybershelves, I want to have at least one other ready for it. I want to be writing faster. I know I can. Less fussing around and more getting down to business.

So, what is business? Historicals. Big, thick, lush, emotional historicals. With the focus front and center on hero and heroine’s love story, how they beat everything to get their happily ever after. Two people who must be together, but can’t and the way they make the impossible happen, because after all, it’s not only impossible, but imperative. I want to feel their heartbeats.

These headphones my husband gave me for Christmas are a godsend. Truly. A concrete reminder to shut out what everyone else is saying and concentrate on what drives the heart and soul of my stories. Not what I’m not, but what I am.

In my fanfic days, I bucked the trends with abandon. D*mn the torpedoes and full steam ahead, because darmitall, I had stories that demanded to be told, and they were coming out, no matter what. Series canon? Hah! Canon fodder, more like it. Boom! Different pairings! Boom! Mess with the space-time contiuum any time I feel like it. And it felt good. Boom! Marrying. Boom! Burying. Yes, of major characters. With original additions. Boom, boom, boom!

::waves smoke and gunpowder from air in front of monitor::

All so I could pour all of that into writing historical romances, and that’s where I am. And where I need to be.

Friday, December 24, 2004

T'was the day before Christmas and so far I have not strangled anybody.

Though I have hauled out one (1) Eeeeevil Look (tm) and wrapped one (1) actual present myself (my job is not to wrap, as I am exquisitely bad at it; my job is to booby-trap any and all presents given to those over seven or under eighty, so that Scotch tape covers all possible entry points into the actual gift.)

We are color-coded, we are organized (I think the most organized ever, thanks to a system I learned from my Aunt Sunny) and things look good so far. As I said, I have not strangled anybody yet. That may still change.

Since we're dealing with the teenyweeny microscopic tree (which looks gorgeous with mini lights and mini ornaments, btw, with a plaid scrunchie as tree skirt) we decided to try draping a fake evergreen bough across the window above it, and that added the perfect touch.

Much as I love the gathering and the gifting and decorating (not to mention that this is the only time of year that Olivia kitty is allowed to have tuna, as it turns her into a raging tuna monster) the best-best part of the day is remembering the reason for it. I checked the church calendar, and I'm not preaching this week, but wahoo! God loves us and sent a way for us to be close to Him. Definitely worth celebrating.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I have come down with a severe case of mommyitis, and no, I do not have actual children. I know this for a fact because the husband and I frequently do a little checking. Once every couple of months, we open our wallets, call out 'allowance time' and if nobody comes in sixty seconds, we figure we're safe. So far so good.

Still digging out from the furnace guys, though we're past the worst. Christmas looming, and while I always love this season, especially celebrating the birth of my Savior, the stress that goes along with shopping, wrapping, making, coordinating four different households into one gathering and finding a time and cuisine that everyone can/will eat is not the most calming of pasttimes.

Plus the civil but surreal "discussion" the husband and I had last night; topic, "how old is the Christmas tree?" We couldn't form a consensus beteween "not very" and "really" so we're most likely getting a new one (artificial) at Target tonight. There was no official word on the viability of current garland, so will have to keep you all updated on that one. Next possible "discussion" topic: correct amount of ornaments to put on said tree. My personal stance; if you can still see actual tree, you do not have enough ornaments.

This is on top of laundry, presents that still need to be made/finished/wrapped, and exercising extreme caution that I do not consume the entire bowl of hard candies that I am mixing to form the base of the stocking filler. (Combining several different types, and yes, I could just buy Brach's Hostess Mix, but where's the fun in that?) Also trying to see if I should try one more fix or give the heck up and buy a new mumblemumble base (the recipient may be reading this) because I have so many layers of failed attempts at crackling the paint that I am really sure the dad-blasted thing is now shallower than it was before I started.

Umm, and I think my hero/heroine are mad at me. They're looking at me funny, and I don't trust them (especially her) when they get like that.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Your belonging in The Mysteries of Udolpho is quite
evident; a world of intrigue, melancholy,
sublimity and terror. You belong where there
are danger, gloomy edifices, and evil Italian
guardians. Your passion for the passion of the
Mediterranean, the divine contemplation of
nature, and for adventure stories, makes you a
prime contender for a spot in a gothic romance.

Which Classic Novel do You Belong In?
brought to you by Quizilla

Read about Sylvia's good news today and will consume leftover Chinese food in her honor. Okay, I was going to do that anyway, but now I have an extra reason.

Also squeee on the Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen fan club Christmas card that arrived in my email. Yes, I am a fangirl for an interior designer. Want to make something of it? Didn't think so. The man's work is so flat-out gorrrrgeous that I can't help but be inspired. Slap a few Elaine Duillo prints on the walls, pop Phil Collins or selected Meat Loaf (the singer, not the food) tunes in the CD player, and get out of my way as I race to the keyboard.

Which is something I haven't been doing as much as I would like these days. Though it's turning around, and I am very happy for that. After reading Sylvia's news this morning, I dusted off a romantic vignette I wrote in a writing group exercise a while back, and yeah, it is pretty darned good. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit with what those romance mags taking submissions are open to at the moment, so it may go on my site as a gift to readers. I kind of like that idea.

Looking forward to the Arabella announcement. I think. At this point, I will be happy to know anything, period.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Normally, I don't go to televised cartoons for my perspectives on romance novels, but a particular episode of King of the Hill put me in a thinky mood. The mumble-mouthed Boomhauer discovers the love of his life, Katherine, is about to wed his neer-do-well brother, and sets out to stop things. Stuff happens, and in the end, though Katherine and Boomhauer do seemwonderful for each other, she needs time alone to sort things through.

What had me sniffling was something Boomhauer said. Lots of mumbling, as always, but the part that stayed with me "dang ol' north star; always gonna be there for you," struck me as a perfect analogy for that "you and no other" feeling I love to capture in what I write. Exactly how to do that has become my current fascination. That it that makes it clear that there's nobody for this hero but this heroine and vice versa. The invisible tie between them even when apart. That's the it I'm shooting for.

Normally, I don't go to televised cartoons for my perspectives on romance novels, but a particular episode of King of the Hill put me in a thinky mood. The mumble-mouthed Boomhauer discovers the love of his life, Katherine, is about to wed his neer-do-well brother, and sets out to stop things. Stuff happens, and in the end, though Katherine and Boomhauer do seemwonderful for each other, she needs time alone to sort things through.

What had me sniffling was something Boomhauer said. Lots of mumbling, as always, but the part that stayed with me "dang ol' north star; always gonna be there for you," struck me as a perfect analogy for that "you and no other" feeling I love to capture in what I write. Exactly how to do that has become my current fascination. That it that makes it clear that there's nobody for this hero but this heroine and vice versa. The invisible tie between them even when apart. That's the it I'm shooting for.

Monday, December 13, 2004

One of the first things I did this morning before starting actual work (well, besides fixing the promo for the online class I'll be moderating so that there is actually a URL for people to register...whooooops!) was download a house and family from my Simmy friend, Vicki (in the regard that Vicki is a friend who plays Sims, not that she is herself a Sim, because she is not. Though I did name a Sim Vicki, but lost her in a reinstall.)

Went to put the house in my game, and el crasho. Multiple times. Did a little file vetting and still a-crashing we did go. Long story short, complete clean uninstall/reinstall. Weep, weep. Tracked down the culprit, but hey, these things happen. ::sound of wailing as I realise that no, I had not backed up the files I wanted to keep after all::

But we'll move past that. I have fallen madly in love with the DVD player in the Bunninator. (The Bunninator being the new puter we have at home, a delightful thing.) With this marvel, I can watch a movie *and* write at the same time. Woohoo! At present, our DVD collection is a whopping two: Highlights from the first season of Survivor, and the Robin Wright Penn version of Moll Flanders. Mercy, but I love that movie. So far, I've only had the chance to watch most of the Survivor highlights but did get bunches of notes banged out while doing so. Very neat invention, that Bunninator.

Found a ridiculously easy and fun card design that will make some great presents, with some variations. Might work on some of those tonight.

Actual writing talk tomorrow. My brain is fried with the puter stuff today, but much creative thought has been percolating.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Okay, crying for help here. Decided it was time for a template change, foolishly did not save links ahead of time, and must confess that I am no good at HTML. So if your link was here and now isn't, please send it in and I will put it back where it belongs. Ditto with the blog ring listing. ::sound of silent weeping in background::

Yeah, I thought the day was going too smoothly.
We have heat again, nag group is on hiatus until after the holidays (except for our annual party next week,) we get to join some Messianic friends for a Hannukah celebration on Friday if all goes according to plan, and even as I speak (figuratively) my cover artist for My Outcast Heart is working on rough sketches for a few cover variations. Life is good.

Okay, the printer on the old puter may be dying, but I did also find that Kathleen Woodiwiss has a website (www.kathleenwoodiwiss.com) and features some of her original press and book jackets, etc. I especially love seeing her query letter for The Flame and the Flower. Also some pages from the Good Housekeeping condensation of A Rose in Winter, one of my all-time favourite books.

Seeing that made me remember when I was still on the sunny side of ten, ransacking my mother's Good Housekeeping issues for the novel excerpts, staring for ages at the character sketches (as in actual drawings) and making up my own stories to go with them. I remember two in particular I would love to track down and read the whole books.

Finding the Woodiwiss site brought back a lot of the warm fuzzy feelings (and no, not just because we have heat again) I got when I first fell in love with historical romance. Maybe I'm a throwback. Maybe I'm a new traditionalist (I rather like the sound of that one) or maybe things really do go in twenty year cycles, but that's all for another post.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Day (mumblemumble) of the furnace follies. Last night, at nine-ish in the evening, while I was actually in bed, people, and the husband was getting groceries put away and we were both eyeing the sandwiches he'd brought home, what do we get but a visit from Furnace Guy? He really does exist. Thankfully I'd opted for the filched-from-husband t-shirt and not some lacy number, and executed the pillow-in-front-and-wrap-self-in-blankey maneuver. The other option was to make a mad dash for the bathroom and wait out Furnace Guy, but Plan A was the better choice; after poking around the bedroom, he then had to poke around the bathroom, and how annoying would that be?

Husband asks Furnace Guy if we will have heat tonight. Furnace Guy, IIRC, gives husband the "are you crazy" look and says no. This, apparently, is Electrician's fault, since Electrician could have shaved a couple days off the great freeze if he'd agreed to work at the same time as Furnace Guy, but did not. Electrician had best stay clear of me, or at least be packing some chocolate covered gummi bears and a Waldenbooks gift card. Heat may potentially be on tonight, but I will believe it when I am sweating.

Did I mention we had a couple of hours sans water yesterday, too? No, I did not personally need the water during that time, but it's the principle of the thing. That, and the fact that I am going through a snail mail drought, which always makes me cranky. I want letters. I want Christmas cards. Packages. Especially if they contain anything related to books or stamping.

Laid down the base coat on a decoupage project; boring brown paint, but it's progress. Thing was not brown before; now it is, therefore I did something useful. That, and I also did the work I was supposed to for figuring out the villain for The Wild Rover, and did some more plotting. Should be working on Orphans in the Storm at the moment, but I'm in a mood, so I'm blogging instead. Also vaccummed my printer and the keyboard. Yep, if I'm actually cleaning vital tools, I am in desperate need of good Christmas music.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Shirley Jump

Hey, look, a blog from Shirley Jump. Go see. I'm looking forward to helping with an online class taught by Shirley in January, so this was very neat to find.

Sunday morning, still no heat. ::sigh:: Landlord promises it will be there by tonight, so I'm hoping so. Though I will have microwave popcorn (providing the circuit doesn't get blown by an army of propane heaters, like it did last night -- Landlord fixed it at eleven PM. Now, that's service.) standing by in case I get to watch The Simpsonsunder a mound of blankies. That would be me under a mound of blankies, not Homer and Marge, though that's really their business, isn't it?

Did not get to read last night, but did get to watch a PBS pledge drive thingy on disco, which was much fun. Okay, I was about nine the first time it was around, so I'm getting mine now. :)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Remember my recent posts on not having enough to read? That's far out the window. If I didn't have a job other than writing, art, laundry, cat aunty and family diva, I would have to take time off to read.

Currently reading Connie Mason's Pirate Prince (I haven't read Mason in a long, long time, but hey, this is 16th century and Ottoman, and pirates -- yeah, try and keep me away. Hah, you can't. Neener, neener.) and Virginia Henley's Insatiable (not my favourite of hers, but again 16th century and it has Elizabeth Tudor and the heroine designs her dresses...though a couple of points had me making undignified noises, but that could be just me) and I have Maggie Osborne's Foxfire Bride (one of the very few western writers I read; love her to bits) but I made out like a book locust this week, and especially today.

Today was CORW day, and of course since I have the fabulous Kate Rothwell's newest, Somebody to Love (yes, I will pause while you hum the song; I'm doing it, too) but I snatched the first May McGoldrick release from my special shelf, since the McGoldricks were our speaker. Fabulous, fabulous couple, great writers, great speakers, very nice people, go buy their books now. I said now. Go. I'll be here.

::ahem:: Found out the book I brought (blanking on titles but I know the one I mean; will post here when my brain comes off strike) is a collector's item. No, I will not sell it. They brought more books. I bought more books, including their book on writing with a collaborator, since my writing partner and I are once again feeling the pull of the Monster Historical (huge Tudor saga that occasionally eats us, spits us out and pulls us back in again) and need the information. Bought the first in another of their historical series, and am slavering over them all.

Maybe I can take the time off from laundry? Nah, we need the clothes. Landlord as of this morning still has not done the magical furnace dance needed to restore heat. Hopefully by the time I get back to the abode, it will be on.

Or I can ignore arctic climes and take all those books under the covers.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Haven't gotten actual writing done today, since I spent the morning searching in vain for the one inkpad (Adirondack's rainbow pad in "Noel") I need to do my Christmas cards. Had planned to have a bunch ready for the RWA chapter meeting tomorrow, but that may get delayed if I can't find the dingdang pad. I have a colour scheme, that one fits it, the other ones don't, and though I will be able to visit craft and art stores tomorrow, today I am in my usual workspace, searching.

Got home last night, ready to collapse, and found our landlord in our closet, drilling a hole for the wire that will connect something to the something else that will activate the yet another thing and we will finally have heat again. Oh, blessed heat.

Seeing as how my options were A) stick around and listen to at least twenty minutes of man with power tools, or B) go grocery shopping, the husband came up with an option C) drop me off at Barnes and Noble, do the shopping, and then bring me home. We'll take option C, and gladly. I am that easily bribed. Book tramp and proud of it.

Especially since they had the new RT Bookclub, which they usually get much later than the release date. So, I grab it, page through it, and somewhere in all the suspense and chick lit and erotica, I'm sure there's some romance somewhere. Maybe it's this particular issue or that I was particularly crabby, but oy. I did get to pick up Kate Rothwell's latest and Jim and Nikkoo McGoldrick (who write as May McGoldrick) will be our speakers at the meeting tomorrow, so I should be in a better mood then. Though landlord had the wrong drill bit and will need to drill a different hole today. Hopefully while I am not there.

Just checked the Adirondack site, and made the mistake of looking at some of the other gorgeous rainbow pads. How did I miss getting "Winter Sky" and "Mountain Lake" again? Which names also strike me as perfectly acceptable things to name children in a couple of places I've lived.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Ugh, didn't mean to be away for so long, but we had one replaced furnace (glad to be a renter, yes I am) one new computer (not the one I'm on at the moment) one new microwave, four bookcases, a major holiday (yay, turkey) and a printer that as of today has its own theme song; "We Be Jammin'" Though I'm not sure if that's really a song. It is, however, true.

Plus I am very pleased that I could bang out five pages in one pannicked hour. Amazing what a looming group meeting will do for me. Not that we weave on looms; it's three writers sitting around angsting. Also reading our work of the week. I know these gals will hurt me if I don't make production, and so I do it. Hmm, what does this say about work habits?

Out the door now, so more coherent rambling later, but I am back. Or still here. At any rate, trying to convince the printer that it does so have paper in it. ::whimper::