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Monday, October 26, 2009

Helpful tips for October . . .

Some are short . . . some are lengthy, but all have a little merit to a lot or a lot of merit to a few. Enjoy the tips and stop by again. More will be posted.

Financial learning starts early:
*The road to fiscal grooming begins by setting the household standard. If certain chores must be completed by the child, or certain grades are expected on report cards, then be specific. Communicate those expectations. The choice to pay an allowance for these household requirements is every family’s personal decision. But it is important for parents to contemplate ‘bonus’ payments. Surpassing normal expectations may feel wonderful, but getting rewarded for those outstanding successes is doubly sweet. Consider payment for honor roll acceptance, dean’s list recognition, district band or choir accolades, completing merit badges or serving the community. Parents should take this idea and individualize it to the child. The actual size of the monetary bonus is of less importance than the parental recognition of the accomplishment. Striving for personal excellence is a life’s goal. Getting paid for it is simply the bonus.

Great Shoe shopping deals:
Go to: Zappos for some of the best shoes deals on-line. Affordable prices for trendy shoes . . . and best bit of news – this on-line store has a great return policy. Always be sure to check the fine print before buying, but loads have bought several pairs, made their final selections, and then returned the unworn – still brand-new – pairs.

For athletic shoes, try:
Go to Eastbay. Loads of friends have used this site to buy athletic footwear at a true discount price. They carry hard to find sizes at the same price. A total bonus if you’re fitting a large foot.

Looking for Shoes at The Mall:
Check your local mall to see if they boasts The Shoe Department. This particular chain buys the overstocks from major retailers then lines their shelves with the great buys. They carry up to a men’s size 15 in dress and athletic style shoes – and there’s quite a selection as well.

Need a fast Halloween costume: (Beware – sitting is tough in this outfit)
Two boxes one large (3 foot square) and one small (1 ½ feet to 2 feet square), aluminum foil, construction paper, a gray long sleeve shirt and solid pants – that’s it, the total remedy for an emergency Halloween costume. Seal one end of each of the boxes. Leave the other end open, and cut away the excess flaps. Cover both boxes solidly in aluminum foil. On the smaller box, pick a front side then cut two openings for eyes. On the larger box (opposite sides) cut two openings for arms to fit through. Then in that sealed end of the larger box, cut a hole large enough for the head to fit through easily. Use construction paper circles, squares or rectangles to decorate the outside of ‘Robot Man’ or ‘Robot Woman’. Slide the box body of the robot in place, followed by the head box and that’s it. Recommendation: wear a turtle neck shirt (or sweater depending on how cold it is in your piece of the world) so the box opening won’t rub against the wearer’s neck. Also, to keep the head in place, consider stapling elastic or even ribbon that can be tightened under the chin once the head piece is on. This tip will allow the wearer to turn their head without fear of the costume rotating off.

Excess wine remedy:
*Martha Stewart says if there’s excess wine left, fill ice trays and freeze for adding to soups and stews at a later time.
*My favorite Maxine, says, ‘What’s excess wine?’
*While I’m totally on board with Maxine’s take, it is always possible to have little too much wine left over.
*My remedy: Pour that wine in the ice tray, but stick a Popsicle stick in there as well. I’ve discovered sweating through kid’s soccer games and that long walk home from ‘fun in the park’ is always more enjoyable with a little something on a stick.

Alright, so there’s one for the kids . . . one for shopping and one for . . . well, the good stuff in life. Being a writer, there must be one to appease the grammarian in me.
*Beside – means next to (Jane walked beside Jack up the hill.)
*Besides – means in addition to (Besides Jack, who could have fallen down the hill so quickly?)

*My last tip is important with the holidays looming around the corner, and that’s the subject of re-gifting. Everyone does it. Okay, some folks just bury those elephants in the back of the closet and hope they never get a wild hair to clean, but for the rest of us, re-gifting is a way of life.
*Make sure to keep attached the birthday/anniversary/Christmas card or tag to the particular gift that you can’t wait to re-gift. Why? Because when names are drawn out of the hat for the Christmas exchange, it’s just plain tacky (however much of poetic justice it would be) to give back the re-gift to the original gifter. If for no other reason than to avoid why you hated the gift in the first place, make sure the re-gift finds a new home.

Thanks for stopping by my back porch. Weather's cool . . . if the rain ever stops. Here in Texas we complain if it rains and we complain if it doesn't. However, if you hear hammering in my front yard, you'll know I've gone back to work on my ark. Hey, I was a Girl Scout, after all, and we take that 'Be Prepared' motto seriously.
Do drop by again.
Until then,

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm finished . . . I'm finished . . . doing that happy dance!

This weekend, I typed The End on my 92,000 romantic suspense. This baby has been awhile in birthing -- frankly, if I'd carried kids as long as it took me to finish this book, there would have only been one bouncing baby in my house.

That said, this manuscript has seen me through a tough loss: my father's year-long illness and passing, which seriously made me question whether I could ever finish this book. Then came my evolving literary skills: the dawn of my true Texas voice and the huge learning curve for any serious suspense plotter -- as in I bit off more intrigue than I knew how to write at the time. Months of research and cultivating the muse finally revealed the end.

Hopefully, those challenges will make these completed words on page all the sweeter. The accomplishment certainly made me do the happy dance around my desk early Saturday morning. Yes, it really was an early start -- 5:45am and I typed the last words at 10:07am (I had a NTRWA (writer's meeting) and I wasn't going one more month without being able to list the completion of my manuscript.) All of us need deadlines!

So, now the next tasks is to meld together the working synopsis with what's actual on page, get the book into the editor--agent rotation, and start on the next manuscript.

So help a gal out, please.

Here's is the first run at the teaser for Trickle of Lies. Tell me what works, what doesn't.

Someone murdered her best friend, and attorney Kyra Malone will have justice. Unfortunately, her evidence-gathering journey to drought ravaged West Texas has netted a ‘temporarily borrowed’ sports car she can’t explain, a husband she didn’t plan on, and an unstoppable killer on her tail.

Until the red-haired stranger shows up on his front porch, County Sheriff Boston Donavan – burned by his big-city, conniving ex-wife prized two things: honesty and his small town – now, he’s caught in a Trickle of Lies not of his making and a passel of bad guys set to destroy the peace.

It's beautiful here on my back porch -- cool morning temperatures, a Grackle or two cawing in the still air, and not a mosquito in sight. It really is the small things that make me happy.

Here's wishing you a great Monday.
Do drop by the porch again,
Until then,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All Things English . . .

I'm not ignoring all my blog friends, but writing to the end. Long days, and some fairly long nights have dragged (yep, that's the verb I want) my current work in progress (WIP) across the threshold of writerly 'hold' and into the close-to-finished stage. Presently, Trickle of Lies is sitting at 84K on the word count, showing a 397 on page count -- lots of dialogue in this manuscript. So, I'm close, really close. The way to finish is not go on the Internet, so I've banned myself from the fun stuff I love.

However, that said, the following "English Rules" was sent to me in an email -- yep, even those are far behind -- but as most who visit my site are lovers of the English language, I hope you'll enjoy.

There isn't anyone to give credit to this compilation of English wonder. So, if you know where it started, do make sure to comment and fill in the rest of us.

Happy Wednesday to you all.
Stop by the porch again.
Until then


Read all the way to the end.............................. !!!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce .

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP..
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP .
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP...
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, is time to shut UP!
Now it's UP to you what you do with this email.

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