Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and Happy NaNo!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Happy Halloween to all the ghouls and goblins out there! To those with kids who are trick-or-treating tonight I hope you all have fun.

I can't believe we're already saying goodbye to October, but I'm excited because I'm really looking forward to starting NaNoWriMo tomorrow. I've been working on getting my novel ready and I feel like the pieces are falling into place, so I can't wait to start writing now.

My NaNo project is a story I've been kicking around in my head for a while now called "The Ghosts of Aquinnah." It takes place on the island of Martha's Vineyard, and begins with the real-life shipwreck of The City of Columbus, which sank off the coast of the island in January, 1884 while on its way from Boston to Savannah. The main character is a writer who is trying to learn the truth about what happened to a passenger who survived the wreck and found himself recovering on Martha's Vineyard. The story is a mystery mixed with a love story and, as the title suggests, it involves more than one ghost.

Who knows what kind of a story I will have when December arrives and NaNo has ended, but I'm really excited to get started and find out.

I'm going to be participating in a few blogfests in November but other than that I don't think I'll be blogging much due to the NaNo writing. I will try to keep up with my blog reading and commenting but if I get behind please forgive me! I'll definitely catch up in December. 

To everyone who is signed up for this year's NaNo, good luck and happy writing to you! :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest

Today is the beginning of Cally Jackson's The Year I Turned 18 blogfest to celebrate the launch of her new book, The Big Smoke.

The idea for the blogfest comes from the fact that both of the main characters in The Big Smoke turn 18 in the course of the novel. So, Cally is asking participants to write about our own 18th year.

I turned 18 way back in 1986, so I am a long way off from Ceara and Seb, the characters who celebrate their 18th birthdays in Cally's novel.

When thinking about this blogfest I realized that I don't have any particular memories of my 18th birthday at all. I have vivid memories of turning 16 and, especially, 21, but 18 doesn't stand out much.

But there were lots of things about 1986 that do stand out. It was the year of the Challenger space shuttle explosion and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. And, on a much lighter note, the "only in the 80s" event Hands Across America was held in May and an estimated 6.5 million people held hands across the country.

I have to admit I don't remember Hands Across America taking place in Cincinnati, but according to this Wiki entry my hometown was in fact one of the cities along the route. And, none other than Chewbacca was our celebrity representative. I can't imagine how we got Chewie but had I known he was going to be there I feel sure I would have gone down to the route to hold hands.

I was too old for toys in 1986 but there are still a few from that year that I remember vividly, as both were horrifying. One was the My Buddy doll, who was probably the inspiration for the demonic Chucky. He also had a Kid Sister. I hate dolls in general, and these are particularly creepy.

But the most terrifying toy of all was undoubtedly Teddy Ruxpin, the talking teddy bear.

I had a teacher that year who was so in love with her Teddy Ruxpin that she put him on her desk and had him talk to the class nearly every day. It goes without saying the woman was more than a little nuts.

The most popular movie of 1986 was easily Top Gun and I can't deny I totally loved that movie in the '80s. It hasn't aged well, to say the least, and it now seems like the cheesiest thing ever, but it was a fun time back then.

But when I look at this list of "big movies" from 1986 my favorite is easily Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Unlike many '80s movies, Ferris is still fun to watch today. And I will never tire of "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" or of Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. :D

One last bit of 1986 popular culture, the three most popular tv shows were The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Cheers. These shows aired in a 90 minute block on Thursday nights on NBC, and we never missed them at my house. It seems strange now to think we actually had to watch them as they aired if we wanted to see them, as it's hard to remember like before DVRs and On Demand viewing.

So that's my quick look back at 1986, the year I turned 18. It was fun to take this little walk down memory lane. :)

Congratulations again to Cally on the release of The Big Smoke! Here is a short blurb about the book:

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Medicating a Cat, or My Morning from Hell

My cat Nate came down with a bladder infection this week and the poor cat has had a terrible time with both nausea and pain as a result. After a very expensive trip to the vet yesterday, where he got shots of various medications to help him feel better, it's now on me to give him his remaining antibiotic and pain medication.

As I've posted here before, Nate is normally a sweet and adorable kitty who loves nothing more than chilling out on the couch with Clancy and me.

Unfortunately, that relaxed attitude goes right out the window when it comes to getting medication of any sort. Liquid or pills, it makes no difference. Nate considers all of them a threat to his life and he is sure I am trying to kill him each time I come at him with a syringe or a tasty pill pocket (which has never once fooled him.)

This morning I set my alarm extra early so I would have plenty of time for the task at hand. I filled the syringe with the pink antibiotic, took a deep calming breath, and squared my shoulders as if going into battle. By the time I got hold of Nate and tried to get the syringe into his mouth, my sweet kitty had morphed into this.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I think I got more of the pink liquid on my pajamas then I did in Nate's mouth, but I felt fairly confident that I managed to at least get a little down his throat.

When I came back with the pain medicine, I was met with this:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This foray was not nearly as successful, as 99% of the pain medicine ended up all over Nate's face. It's safe to say he won't have any pain in his whiskers today.

By the time I made a second and relatively successful attempt with the pain medicine, I was ready for a stiff drink or a sedative. Or perhaps a combination of both.

Now that I've lost the element of surprise and Nate will know exactly what evil I'm up to when I come at him with a syringe, I can't imagine how the rest of the weekend will go. I hope we both make it through.

On a more fun note, I'm participating in Cally Jackson's The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest on Monday, October 29. Cally is holding the fest in order to celebrate the release of her new novel The Big Smoke. I'm a sucker for nostalgia, so I couldn't resist this one. And my post is sure to be all about nostalgia, as there have been many, many years that have passed since I turned 18. Now that I'm thinking of it, this blogfest might not be a so fun after all. It's an unfortunate reminder that I'm really old! ;)

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead, and I hope Nate and I are both still sane on Monday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm Thankful Blogfest, Huge Congrats, and NaNoWriMo

It's hard to imagine a better way to start off the day than by reading wonderful news about a writer friend. That's how my day started out this morning when I read that the fantastic Tara Tyler of Tara Tyler Talks has a contract for her book POP TRAVEL! Woo-Hoo!! While reading Tara's post I could feel her joy and enthusiasm and it made me smile from ear to ear. Congratulations Tara!!!

While visiting Tara's page I learned of the I'm Thankful for my Readers blogfest that she is hosting with Vicki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. I think this is a wonderful idea and I can't wait to participate. I have so much to be thankful for when it comes to writing and blogging! Plus, how can anyone resist the adorable blogfest button? The mouse is too cute for words. :D

If you'd like to learn more about the fest and sign up, go here.

Finally, I know that NaNoWriMo is right around the corner and I've been kicking around the idea of signing up. In the past I normally freeze and do nothing when I try to set goals regarding word counts or daily writing, but I've always wanted to give NaNo a try because it seems to be a lot of fun due to the sense of community it brings. It seems like a great way to meet and support other writers in addition to being an opportunity for me to be more disciplined and consistent with my writing.

So I finally decided to take the plunge and sign up. I have been so sluggish and lazy when it comes to getting my WIP off the ground that I'm hoping this will help me finally get into gear. I know several of my blogger buddies are already participating so I look forward to cheering you all on as we go through the month!

ETA: If you're doing NaNo too, I'd love to be buddies. My profile is here

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hanging Out on Spacedock 19

I'm excited to be the guest of M. Pax and her fantastic bartender Craze, the star of the Backworlds series, today on Spacedock 19.

Craze always serves up a tasty drink and Mary is a wonderful hostess, so stop by and visit with us here.

Thanks to Mary for having me as her guest! :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Healthy Writers and Baseball Blahs

For the past few years I've had a regular exercise routine that I stuck to fairly faithfully and, as a result, I felt better than I had in a long time. But over the summer I lost my motivation and became extremely lazy, losing my routine in the process. So I was glad when I came upon Shallee McArthur's blog last week and discovered her Healthy Writers Club.

I thought the club was a great idea and signed up right away in the hopes that joining in on the project would help me get some of my motivation and discipline back. I know from experience that I am more productive with my writing when I am also walking regularly, so it's a win-win situation for me.

With the club in mind, Clancy and I hit the walking trails around my place this week. Clancy is a fierce advocate for the couch potato lifestyle, so he wasn't thrilled. In fact, this is a fairly accurate depiction of his reaction to my renewed motivation.

In spite of his grumpiness, we managed to get about 10 miles of walking in this week which, while not great, wasn't a bad start.

I'm now hoping I can carry that energy over into getting a lot of work done on my WIP The Ghosts of Aquinnah this weekend.

I really need to be productive over the upcoming weekend, as I spent the vast majority of my time this week engaging in the exercise in futility known as cheering for the Cincinnati Reds.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When I wrote my R is for Reds post back in April, I was extremely pessimistic about the Reds' season. I should have held on to that pessimism even though the team managed to go on an amazing run over the summer and win their division.

I thought it was safe to be optimistic when the Reds went up 2-0 on the road in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. I should have known better.

All the Reds had to do was come back home to Cincinnati and win ONE out of three games in order to advance. The town was electric and fans were thrilled, and I rearranged my schedule, bought party food, and even used PTO time at work so I could watch the games.

What I got in return was a colossal meltdown the likes of which has rarely been seen, as it turned out that winning that one game was impossible for the Reds. They threw away their lead and lost three games in a row, losing the series 3-2. This really wasn't a surprise to anyone here, as all of us in Cincinnati know we have a better chance of being struck by lightening than we do of ever again seeing a Cincinnati team win a championship.

So now that I've been reminded once again that Cincinnati + sports = misery for fans, I'm hoping to get back to focusing on writing for the weekend. I need to do something to get the bitter taste of this latest local sports fiasco out of my mouth.

I hope everyone has had a good week, and has a great weekend ahead! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG and C.M. Brown's Launch Party

I can't believe it's already time for the October meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

At first I thought I was going to have to sit this month's meeting out because I couldn't think of a topic to post about for the group. I've been feeling pretty good lately and have taken a bit of a break from my normal habit of tearing myself to shreds on a daily basis. ;)

But when I thought about it I decided that, really, not feeling insecure was worth a post all by itself. I'm certain this won't last, and by the November meeting I probably will have so many ideas for topics that I won't be able to decide on just one but, for now, it feels good to be able to say I've taken a short break from insecurity.

So here's hoping for some insecurity-free days, weeks, or months for everyone. :)

I'm also excited to be participating in the launch party for C.M. Brown's He Came For Mine! Congratulations, C.M.!

He Came For Mine is Book Two in The Protector Series, which started with He Came For Me. Here is a short teaser from C.M. to whet your appetite for the story:

Fending for herself for almost two years, Jazz worries she will never see Sebastian again.

A new man enters her life,

But does he hold a secret?

Will Jazz trust him?


Sebastian discovers an ancient ritual which must be performed on the Chosen One's son before his first birthday.

He returns to Earth to find Jazz in the arms of another man.

A man he knows very well.

A man he doesn't trust!

C.M is not only celebrating the release of her new story, she's also celebrating one year of blogging! She's hosting a fun giveaway with prizes that include an Amazon gift card and a free book cover illustration by her talented cover artist, Rebekah Romani. For all the details on how to join the giveaway and help C.M. celebrate, visit her blog here.

Congratulations again and best of luck to C.M!!