Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Madness . . .

Another Grammar article -- Dealing with the Comma -- picked up by EzineArticles.com. Wahoo, for me. My written word floating around the web is always a good thing. Besides, I'm a little partial to getting the use of the comma corrected. Too many extraneous commas -- missing ones for that matter -- in basic writing today. A good grammar book should be a must for all. Not, just writers! I can think of few careers into today's job market where a certain amount of writing is not required. Yet, folks by the hordes throw words at a page and assume they'll stick in the proper, punctuated order. Not hardly. So, writing grammar tips on the comma was another of my simple attempts to save the English language.

I've been hard at work through the weekend discovering a lost manuscript. CHASING DESTINY as it stands is a contemporary romance. Decent plot, good characters, dynamite backstory and strong motivation, mediocre writing. CHASING DESTINY was only my second completed manuscript, so my writing level has increased significantly since then. It's good to know that the book is salvageable, if . . . and here's the biggie, I need a suspense plot woven into the story. As all my books now fall into the Romantic Suspense category, and this book shares one of the same characters from the Donavan series, it should all be shelved together. See how positive I am? One day, when all my books hit the NYT best-seller list, I want the readers to find them all together. The difficulty I'm encountering with the suspense element is that my heroine has suffered through a painful history. Not ancient history, but recent, so it becomes a matter of how much bad luck can any individual be expected to survive. Then there's the whole coincidence issue -- contrived coincidence is always the kiss of death for realism. I must find the balance between a suspense that naturally evolves around her, without seeming to dump on her head. I've finished my read through CHASING DESTINY and brainstormed several suspense twists. Now, I'll leave it alone for a little fermentation. Maybe, just maybe, like great wine, I'll have something wonderful to pour out of the bottle of my brain.

Also, been working hard and heavy on finishing TRICKLE OF LIES. It's way past time.

My critique partners, Sherry Davis, Mary Karlik, and LA Mitchell, have submitted like crazy over the past few months, totally shaming my lack of effort. They, collectively, have received a number of 'no's, but they're closer to a 'yes' simply by their efforts of continual submission. I have a great beta reader lined up for TRICKLE OF LIES as soon as I can type The End. All said, there's no reason not to plant my fanny in the chair and write.

I'll keep you posted from the back porch.
A spurt of lovely weather has sailed into Texas. Highs today in the upper 80s. That is lovely for us.
Happy Monday to you all, and drop by the porch again.
Until then,
~Sandra

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Madness . . .

I'm well aware that Mondays are insane, especially if you're in the MOM,-I-CAN'T-FIND-MY-SHOES-MY-BACKPACK-MY-LUNCHBOX-MY-HEAD-BEFORE-I'M-LATE-FOR-SCHOOL group . . . however, if you can spare a little over seven minutes, I promise to make you smile.

As I've never met a mom who couldn't use more laughter in her life -- no, I'm not talking about the hysterical, I've reached the edge kinda laughter, but the real deal, hold your sides kinda laughter. That's what this clip on 'truism' will provide.

Happy Monday!



Drop by the porch again,
Until then,
~Sandra

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Procrastination is an art form . . .

How do I know? Watch a kid. They're professional stallers.

As a mom, an older mom whose kids show know better (there's the disclaimer), I've decided I shouldn't be required to answer stupid questions. After all, I got them to this age, successfully -- which means they still have all their appendages, can talk in full sentences, read full sentences, fuss with their siblings, and are intelligent enough to want a job that requires saying more than, 'Paper or plastic?'.

Stop! Don't send me hate email about how many of you worked in a supermarket. Face it. That's not a job any of US would want to repeat, nor would we want our kids stuck there.

All that said, stupid questions have been banned in my house.

Image my surprise the other day, when I was the guilty culprit of Stupid 101 and asked my kiddo why she'd procrastinated over a summer reading project until the very END of summer. She muttered around a half of dozen answers when I was suddenly hit by the figurative V8 hand and heard 'Duh!' rattle around my brain. She'd put it off because IT WAS EASIER. (Now, you understand the V8 thunk.)

Procrastination is an ART FORM because it's simply easier to put things off than do them immediately.

Does this revolutionary theory apply to kids only? If you answered, 'yes', V8 thunk yourself.

Who wants to rush into the kitchen after dinner and wash that sinkful of soaking pots and pans? Certainly not me. I've left pans soaking so long even the metal has pruned. ART FORM.

Who wants to swing into high gear and become the dusting fairy? Oh, please, if you do, email me straight away and I'll give you directions to my house. I've waited long enough to dust that my kids could use my coffee table as a chalk board (no chalk needed, just write in the dust) to figure their math problems. Not too depressing when it was simple math, but when there's enough dust for Calculus then procrastination has become an ART FORM.

If finally hit me squarely the other day when I tried to deposit a few royalty checks I'd been nesting on. My justification for bank-delay was that the checks weren't huge in monetary amount so no rush. Here's a banking tip: they really mean that whole we won't deposit a check that's more than 6 months old. And they're totally fussy about checks that were written in past years. Who knew? Oh wait, the bank said they'd supplied the answers in a pamphlet marked, 'Welcome to our bank. How to avoid extra fees, use the ATM and generally avoid doing anything stupid.' Yeah, I know I have that little treasure tucked away somewhere. I was about to read it. Really. I've only banked at this institution for twenty years -- give or take. Oops, ART FORM.

Tiny tip: the banks procrastinate, too. Deposit a check and try to get all your money at once. Ooooh no, they're waiting for funds to clear or the planets to align, whichever happens last by the way, before they'll dole out your own money. ART FORM!

All of this revelation has lead me to the conclusion that stupid questions can't be banned in my house. Inevitably, as projects follow summer, and kids procrasinate until the last minute, I'll be asking, 'Why did you wait so long?'

Psst, my kids don't know about the whole check issue. Let's just keep that on the DL (down low). It's not good for kids to know too much about their parents. It confuses them. That's my story and I sticking to it.

Happy writing every one. And if you're not writing today, 'Why did you wait so long?'

Drop by the porch again.
Until then,
~Sandra

Monday, August 17, 2009

School daze


And so the learning begins . . . again!


Time to tuck the kids back in school and move forward with the intent and determination to finish Trickle of Lies. I might love these characters, but at this point I hate the book -- just hung around too long and now it's time to cut it loose.

All that said, there was NO writing work this weekend as the fam and I spent a frantic time getting the oldest moved back to her university, up to the fourth floor and stuffed way too much stuff into way too tiny of a room.
Okay, maybe not that far up, but when I was carrying the 20th or 25th or 55th (it all blurs together) load, it certainly felt like we were bound for the heavens.


My oldest is blessed with the ability to pack -- a task she takes seriously, very seriously. As a result, nothing could be left behind. Believe me, there was nothing left to leave behind. Hubby dearest headed out to rent a trailer, absolutely certain, even she couldn't fill an enclosed trailer since she's moving away for just 9 months. My hubby dearest should never say never. 40 square feet of packed trailer followed us down the road. And believe me, my truck-driving hubby knows how to 'cube' a trailer -- that means to stuff stuff in every square inch. Of course, what goes in, must come out and in oldest daughter's case, then it must go up. Who wants to live on the bottom floor with all that high traffic noise? Um, wait a minute, I want her to live there so I don't need a chiropractor and traction to recover. If it weren't for her exceptional strong siblings, my oldest child would need professional movers because dear ole mom and dad were too tuckered out to go the distance. As I hung the two hundredth hanger (yep, clothes included) I wondered where did all this stuff come from? Why does she have two to one in the shoe department over me? I happen to love shoes, but I look like a pauper compared to her closet. My strapping son didn't need to go to the gym for a work-out -- his oldest sister was nice enough to supply that task. And my baby, who by the way stands 5'10" and truly towers over her mom, didn't need her cycling regiment for the day, either. 45 stairs X a zillion will get any body's heart a-pumping.

All said and moved in, however, we all felt her loss as we drove away from the university.

We've had a fabulous summer, hence, why my writing time has sucked. I'll be posting the cruise pics to prove it. Loads of family time does equal a crimp in the writing schedule.

So as my kids head off to school -- the boy is starting community college -- can't wait to blog about that experience, I'll be plopping my backside into the writing chair and getting busy.

Here's to surviving the 'daze' that surrounds the beginning of school and cheers to the normalcy of more writing.

Drop by the porch again. Naw, it's too hot to sit outside, still, but my A/C works great.

Until then
~ Sandra

Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

Quote of the Day