Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I'm looking forward to Wednesday. A friend and I are taking her daughter and my niece out trick-or-treating, and are getting together to eat chili and hot dogs beforehand. My job doesn't usually allow us to dress up, but we are doing so this year professionally and only adding the other non-professional stuff later. I'll share pictures sometime after, so check back.

Halloween is not something I used to enjoy. As a diabetic, it's almost torture, but by the time I was diagnosed, I had grown out of wanting to do it and now that I have an insulin pump, it's much easier to enjoy those treats! Then, when my mom died only five days before (Oct. 26), I couldn't stand the ghosts, goblins, and skeletons. But now I enjoy it again, and it's been a tradition of mine to go with my niece.

Also, as a reminder, my short Halloween story, HOPE, LOVE AND TREATS is still available from The Wild Rose Press. The story came out this time last year, but you can still enjoy it. I pride myself on it being a romance you can read to your children, like my mom did for me.

What's your Halloween tradition? Your Halloween fears? Your favorite Halloween treats? (Anything with chocolate!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

RWA Magazine and Day Jobs

I just love the articles in the Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine of the RWA. That magazine alone makes membership in the RWA worth it. They have great tip, advice and articles by other members.

There was an article about quitting your day job, and while that won't happen for me for awhile because it's just not feasible (for many reasons), I realized I am not the only one who has suffered.

I thought I was losing my mind. My mind has been exhausted, I have little time and energy to follow my dream, I blamed it on anything but my job (my health, my other pursuits, etc.) I blamed it on my diabetes, thinking that diabetes was just affecting my mind. I am reassured to realize that other people have been through the same thing. Emotional exhaustion is a tough one to beat. I'd rather be physically exhausted and I used to argue with my husband about it. Physical exhaustion makes me feel like I've done something constructive. Makes me feel like my body has accomplished something, and I can give it rest by taking a nice warm bath and drinking a glass of wine.

But how do you get over emotional exhaustion?

Sometimes you just have to "let go, and let be". A lot like physical exhaustion, you just have to give your body and mind a break. Veg out in front of the TV. Take a warm bath. Spend time with friends. Laugh.

But what about everyday? What if you suffer from an intense job that wreaks havoc on your writing? Then what?

Oh, if only I had all the answers. Scheduling is important, but it's also important to give yourself down time. Don't stay too long in that down time, though. That's my problem. If you get in that down time and won't get out of it. Also, deep breathing exercises help me. If I sit down to write but the scene won't form, deep breathing and "imagination meditation" helps. (I should do it more often, instead of forcing words out). That's where I breathe slowly and deeply and focus on my scene, imagining what's happening but not writing it down. If you fear you'll forget, use a tape recorder. I carry around a digital voice recorder, and it has saved me several times.

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer because of my job, so sometimes I have to bring out the ole pen and notebook. There's something about that method that breaks me out of the doldrums and gives fresh meaning to "writing".

Lunch breaks are a good time to use that notebook and just write. I'll pack my lunch and go to the park. A good hour of this will really put steam in my writing, and this time of year is a beautiful time to do that.

And weekends. They've gotten away from me a lot lately, but a good weekend with nothing to do but write has been a life savior to me many times. It means you have to say no to people sometimes, and PUT WRITING FIRST!

Seriously, sometimes when writing, my mind will be so exhausted that I have to ask my husband “what’s that word that means…” That, my friends, has been scary since it’s been happening more often than not. But since I can’t quit my day job, those are a few techniques I use to cope. I’d love to hear yours!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hot Burns and Mustard

Hot Burns and Mustard

Yep, I said it right. Hot burns, not hot dogs. I found a cure, or at least a home remedy that works for burns!

Last night I was cleaning my cast iron skillet. I’d left it in the sink too long, and you know how iron skillets can get rusty with water. I put it on the stove to dry, turned it off, did a few other things, poured some oil in it and, thinking it was cool, I stuck my right three fingers in the skillet to smooth out the oil.

YOOOUCCH! It was still hot, and my three fingers puffed with the pain. I have no idea what I was thinking, obviously I wasn’t thinking. I should have used a towel of course, or something. I shouldn’t have used anything at all, probably.

I ran it under water for just a minute, used ice, tried lavender oil because I always heard that would help (it didn’t), then stuck it in a cup of cold water for a long time. Nothing helped. It really hurt. I tried to take my mind off it, even watched an hour and a half movie putting my fingers in water off and on, but nothing worked.

Then my hubby says he thinks he remembers reading that mustard is supposed to help. At this point, I’m ready to try anything, and I'm big into home remedies. After all, I’ve tried this burn spray relief several times, the ice cold water, the trying to get my mind off it. Nothing worked. So I poured some mustard in a small bowl and stuck my fingers in it. If nothing else, it felt really good because it was nice and cool.

I am amazed! Downright amazed at what happened. I left it in there a couple of minutes, and afterwards didn’t have to use anything again. It’s been a day, and the puffiness that started to appear is now almost gone. You can see dry spots and the whiteness of the burn. (And the yellow under my fingernails because of the mustard, LOL).

Next time I burn myself, I know what to do. Run it under some cool water, then stick it in mustard! Seriously, I was amazed at the results and highly recommend mustard for burns.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hot Dog Party and a Redneck Family Reunion

8 am--Getting ready for 10 am, when the meet and greet party starts. Just about to take the food to the tables outside, and it starts sprinkling. There's hope. The sun is right behind the sprinkles. I looked at the radar and didn't see anything.

Will I be eating a lot of leftover hot dogs for the next couple of months?

It didn't rain, but it was windy. That's okay, the wind kept the heat away. It was a slow day, but the people who did show up were important people, like a wrecker service, a journalist, and people who will help get our names out there.

Still, I have a lot of leftovers. At least hot dogs freeze, and we can do this again!

I'm going to have to run extra on the treadmill what with all the cupcakes I ate.

Then Saturday, I had a family reunion. We had karaoke and a wedding. Yep, that's a true "redneck" family reunion, LOL. I wonder what Jeff Foxworthy would say about that.

One of my fears is public speaking. And you know how people always say the best way to confront your fears is to just get up there and do it. So, I thought, what better way to humiliate myself (and confront my fears) than to "croakey" in front of my family?

Wish I had pictures to share, but I was too busy. Obviously. :-))

Monday, October 15, 2007

A New Venture

After working all day, my brain is mush, so it's been hard for me to get online and blog. I think of all kinds of things to chat or blog about while working, but when I get home, it just seems like I can't think anymore. My job is emotionally exhausting, and here lately, my life has just been crazy busy.

Besides trying to fit writing into my schedule, my husband and I are starting our own business. He's a collision repair technician, and has been commuting for the past twelve years sometimes up to 200 miles round trip. So, we've gone into debt by taking out a loan and are working hard at succeeding with our own collision repair center. I know he can do it, but it's a matter of getting work before we can't pay our bills.

We've always had good credit, so it scares me to think of all that you have to do.

I wrote a business plan, but we ended up not needing it. Good experience, though. Here's a condensed version of the to-do list: Lease a building and get it ready for collision repair (which entails a paint booth, supplies, etc). Buy a fax machine and other office supplies (thank God we have a computer we can use), file a Tax ID and a sales tax id, file your assumed name, open a business account, set up a business phone...

Whew, I've already done all of that. That's what I've been doing (instead of writing) for the past few weeks. Now we've opened our doors.

This time of year is always slow for body shops. School just started, the weather is mild, the holidays are upcoming, and everyone has settled back into a routine after summer break only to be jerked back from it for the holiday season. Well, I can only hope something will happen BEFORE the holidays, because we can only live on our mere loan for a little while.

Wednesday, we are planning a "Meet and Greet" to get people aware of us. Now, I live in a small town and the body shop is actually about 5 miles outside of town, but everyone here is used to driving somewhere to get anywhere. Most people drive 45 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart, so hopefully it won't be a problem. Wednesday, we are serving hot dogs, drinks and other snacks, so if all else fails, hubby and I will have hot dogs to eat for the next few months, LOL.

My dad, who is also a collision repair tech., is involved, too, but we are fronting the money. It should work, if it works, because they get along well and work good together.

So...join me in the next few days, weeks, months as I journey through a business while working full time and writing full time. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of finally sitting down and doing some much needed revisions on a novella I'm working on, and charting my next novel. Oh, by the way, my 3rd novel is in submission stage, so I'm keeping my prayers going to hear something positive back on that.

Now, with a new business venture and an upcoming event, the concerns and marketing is similar to being a published author. Did I advertise enough? Am I still in budget (Budget? Wait, what's that!?!) If I build it, will they truly come? Am I taking a huge step into a pitfall, or do I need more blind faith? Oh...I can't begin to tell you the stresses I have faced, but I'm also proud of myself. Proud of myself for all I've accomplished and all I've learned. When I really start to feel down, I can think about all the things I have done. So, if things get really bad, frustration and/or stressful, I'm going to have to bring out the pictures and good memories to lighten my load, at least temporarily.

I'll let you know how Wednesday goes. I've talked to a journalist, and he's supposed to be there. I'm excited about that! Free advertising!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vote for My Website!

Vote on FictionAddiction.NET

Hi all, I'd love and appreciate some votes for my WEBSITE. (Not the blog, but my actual website).

I created my site all on my own with no knowledge of html, save for the banner. A friend/writing buddy did the banner. It's listed on Fiction Addiction and you can vote everyday until November 12, when the winner is announced!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I played my first game of Pokeno last night. A group of women get together the first Tuesday of the month, so I joined last night with plans to attend monthly.

If you've never heard of Pokeno (I haven't, until my aunt introduced me), it is like the Las Vegas Keno game. A group of women (there were 15 of us) sit around a table with this 'card', and we take turns calling out the suit. If you have it, you place a red chip over it. The person who is calling the cards get to choose how it's place, i.e. the top row, the middle, a cross, the four corners, or just one card in the middle.

You can read more about it here, since I'm no good at explaining.

Each person brings an expensive gift, based on a theme. Last night, the theme was pictures/photos. It could be a photo album, a picture frame, etc. The winner chooses a gift. It goes around. The winner keeps choosing a gift until the last person calls the cards. We take a break, open the gifts, eat (you also bring a dish, a snack, whatever). Then we do it again, but this time you choose the gift already unwrapped. Basically like white elephant. So if you win 3 times, you may go home with nothing if others take it away from you.

I didn't win. I was the very last person to call the cards, and I won on my card! Funny how things get more exciting when you win.

So I got to choose whatever gift I wanted without worries anyone would take it away, since it was the last game. Look what I ended up with:

Isn't it darling?