Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Wrap-up and resolutions

This year.

My baby started high school. My ickle tiny baby boy. My oldest and he’s six feet tall now and needs to shave his peach fuzz, but still my baby. Anyway, he has A’s and B’s in his first semester. He should have all A’s, but doesn’t always finish all his work. AHEM. He got his second degree black belt through the karate program he has been in since he was seven. He worked really hard at it…. Right at the end. Poor boy has inherited my procrastinator gene. He has created some board games (one with a friend of his) and learned all there is to know about the Lord of the Rings.

My next youngest is growing so quickly that he’s going to be taller than me within the next few months. He’s in seventh grade and still homeschooled and there are times that it goes well and times that… We went on walks, talked about all kinds of cool things, built cardboard and yarn suspension bridges, went to Angel Island for a Civil War reenactment, and generally advanced in all sorts of areas. Next school year, I’m thinking about a program that has them in class for two days a week and working at home the other days. He needs to be reintroduced to a classroom before he starts high school. He also needs a better science lab than I can provide at home. And someone who can make him write and learn that it isn’t as hard as the mental block he has set for himself. He’s funny and quick at thinking up fun things. And he knows just about everything about Minecraft.

My youngest – the actual baby – is in first grade and is finally starting to read everything that falls into her hands. She wears the same clothes for several days in a row now, which a big step up from preschool when she wore her red and white striped PJs with the reindeer on the shirt for several months. She also has long hair, but doesn’t want to wear anything to restrain it, doesn’t want her bangs cut, and refuses to brush it unless I hold her down and do it. She’s funny and working hard to catch up with her much-older brothers. She’s motivated and will go far.

My husband is still working as a computer contractor and doing other work on the side. He usually stays up late working and gets up late. 

The cat has really settled in with our family and now that the floor is cold, she spend most of her time on someone’s lap. Or asking for food. Or asking for food on someone’s lap. 

My initial excitement at the release of my very first published work fizzled out as I didn’t know how to promote it and the publisher didn’t make any kind of push (and released it a few days before Christmas with no pre-ordering available, which is seriously LATE for a Christmas book to come out). Then they turned down my other books.

So I went off to the RWA (Romance Writers of America) annual conference in July, ready to take on the world. I met a whole lot of awesome authors whose work I love (I’m not a very squee-ing person, but I was close to exploding in a squeeeee many times). I didn’t get a contract, but met people and learned about writing and networking. Apparently, agents and editors don’t know what to do with historical romance novels set in the seventeenth century. And apparently, my writing and/or presentation of my writing is not so stellar as to make them take the chance.

I finished one book and edited another, then submitted the latter to several smaller publishing houses. Then I took on NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in the month of November) and won for the first time in a few years. I also finished that book. So two books written, one submitted. And lots of rejections on the one submitted, but one likely acceptance. I still have my fingers crossed on that one.

And I will learn how to market a book and release it to great fanfare. This is gonna be big.

In other stuff, I started walking over the summer and other than the flu-laden run up to Christmas Break and the cold-ridden break itself, I have been walking three times a week for anything from one to three miles. To those who run marathons, it doesn’t sound like much of anything, but it’s plenty for me and a huge increase over the past few years. I’ve tried to jog a bit of it a few times, then was reminded by my knees and hips and various other failing body parts exactly why that was such a bad idea. Overall, my balance has improved a bit, and my ability to walk up a short hill without being out of breath is a huge deal. Yes, I was that out of shape. I’ve also managed to stay at a healthy weight. Even though I’ve tried to get to a slightly lower healthy weight, this is just fine.

Two of my three favorite dogs (all of whom belong/ed to friends, not to me) died this year. 
Watson was a big, dopey, black dog who lived for ball-chasing. He was always thrilled to see me because it almost always meant I would throw a ball or we were going on a walk. He was fairly old for a big dog and had mouth cancer that spread quickly.

Sparky was a crazy little chihuahua who belonged to our next door neighbors. He was happy to see me, too, and would run out and squirm all over until he squirmed onto his back and I could sctratch him there. He ran out into the street (as he was wont to do) and got hit by a car and died after they got to the vet. Unfortunately, my daughter witnessed the accident.

Much bigger than that were the friends who lost important family members this year. A friend in Ohio lost her teenage son to suicide. That's the one that hits me hardest. So let's pause while I find something to wipe my tears again.

And people got married! My husband's cousin (one of the French second-cousins, one of the few he's in touch with) got married today! They've been together for 25 years or so. They have two teenage kids together. Her husband (!) has some medical issues and for the sake of hospitals and wills and all sorts of stuff like that, they've made it official.

So goals for this year:
1)      Find someone to publish my French romance novels or else start to publish them myself. Enough of this waiting around. Time to learn to market myself. EEEEEKKKKK!
2)      Increase walking to at least two miles each time with the goal of walking at least three miles twice a week. Maybe I should go for four. And yes, maybe I should jog a little, too.
3)      Make the second half of Homeschool Boy’s seventh grade year a great one. Inspire him to read and write. Make sure he knows how to write a full-length essay. Help him gain confidence in his math skills (which are good, he just doesn’t always believe me). Find more fun and educational outings to go on. Make sure he gets more exercise.
4)      Support oldest and youngest in their schoolwork, too. Oldest will have English class in the spring and Youngest needs to increase her reading skills.
5)      Focus on my emotional and moral journey through life. Support my kids in their emotional and moral journeys through childhood.
6)      Find a set time each week to sort donated books at the library. I’ve let this lag this semester and I really enjoy it and feel it does some good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I have a blog?

So anyway, 2 months later.

Seems like all my update are 240 characters or fewer on facebook. It also feels less like I'm talking to myself over there.

Planning for a trip to France. We're still in the early stages of where to go and what to see and all that. And don't even bring up where we're going to sleep, because I'll probably start crying.

And we'll see MIL, which will be great. It remains to be seen exactly when and if she will then decamp to Germany and when that will be and so on.

And geez, too many details. Right now, I'm focused on finding rolling backpacks for the kidlets. Maybe for me, too. We'll require them to carry a good portion of their own stuff that way. I don't know if that will be a hindrance or a help. When they're too tired to go another step or when DD is sleeping in the stroller or.... whatever.

But we have plane tickets and a hotel reservation (with park and fly paid for most of the time) in San Francisco. Yeah, 3+ hours just to get to the airport. Saved us $500 PER PERSON, though....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The end of a rough draft.

The last 10,000 or so words have been like pulling teeth as I try to navigate a couple of fight scenes, a magical healing scene that goes beyond the healer's former capabilities, a couple of hostage situations, wrap up subplots, and realize I need to make certain subplots and characters and themes more prominent.

So now there's a rough draft and I will let it sit and stew for a bit before making major revisions. My critique partners have already been reading and critiquing, so I should probably add their changes in before getting it out of my head too much.

I have a side project I started a bit before and abandoned, and lately ideas for it have been popping back into my head, asking me to tell that story again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Collaborative fiction (third grade boy style)

T is my eight-year-old and W is another third-grader and son of a friend of mine, who drove them on a field trip:

"Then he and W and another boy, G, told a long saga about Big Pitts ( an enormously fat man who puts apples in his armpits and shoots them at others) and Giant Kung Fu Banana Slug Guy. G dropped out of the narrative task early on, but T and W kept the saga going for miles and miles, cracking up G and themselves. At one point, when it was T's turn, he began narrating, in a serious voice, "There was a lot of farting going on in the city. "
It turns out that Big Pits does not, as I suggested, own an orchard. Big Pitts buys the apples. he is a millionaire. he makes his money eating beans and selling his flatuence for greenhouse gasses. No lie."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

going crazy on the pictures

DH took the toddler to the Vernal Pools, searching for tadpoles

It was their next outing to the stables that she really loved:

Random pic of her after she bumped her head:

Birthday pictures:

DS1 owning the fun of playing with the Barbie vet set with DD. DS2 went and hid after I took a pic of him with it. Blackmail potential, you know.

Granny sent this box:

uhhh..... (that's not what was in it, though)

that time of year again

The male turkeys get so busy showing off that they wander out into the street and don't want to get out of the way of cars.

I also don't see them eating much in our yard. I guess eating isn't cool. They hang around across the street while the females eat, though.

Notice their handsome, sky blue heads. Freaky, eh?

Also a good one here from last year:

And DD, who crawled on her belly, chasing them a couple of years ago:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's been.... how long?

I really should erase the link to my blog from the signature line of my email, because I hardly ever update here. I put little updates on facebook and I write and write and write. And rewrite. And edit.

Right now, I'm trying to write a synopsis. I have to say that it's immensely clarifying to go through chapter by chapter and figure out what I was trying to mean in them. I've made a bunch of little additions and changes in the manuscript trying to be sure I got the ideas across.

So anyway.