Monday, June 29, 2009

bulwer-lytton time again?

Has it been a whole year already?

Every year I think I should write one and send it in, but haven't yet. Maybe this is my year! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


It's supposed to be 105 today.

It was already 90-ish at noon.

I'm not going ANYWHERE for the rest of the day.

But I will hang the diapers outside instead of putting them in the dryer (I always mean to, it's just I'm lazy)

Friday, June 26, 2009

DH stole my computer again!

I am tired today and haven't had much time that I would have been able to write. Well, not totally true, because I went and worked out while DD was napping. I could have been writing. I also could have been napping, but oh well.

Anyway, I was trying to get back into a scene that I started yesterday where the hero's coming to terms with his problems with his late brother. Too much of it is back story blah blah and I will need to pare it down to stuff that is vital to the heroine understanding the hero and the hero getting over it.

So anyway, I thought of some stuff that I needed to say and next thing I knew DH was taking my computer to some demo. And the thing went out of my head. POOF like that.

I have also identified a couple of chapters that I need to cut completely, that don't do anything at all for the plot or even very much for characterization. But it makes me sad, because I like the chapters. I also need to trim down one of the chapters that I wrote more recently because I am suddenly introducing characters from the second book and I shouldn't unless they can add something to this book (it drives me nuts when authors write a series and toss in characters just so they exist before the next book comes up or just so we can see how happy they are after their own story's over, even though they don't do anything in the book) Sigh.

more teeth!

Silly tooth fairy stilled hasn't showed...

But she'd better get here soon, because DD is apparently working on 4 teeth. Is that story about the TF using old teeth to make baby ones true?

DD's been working on them for a while, but she's been chewing on her fingers and tugging at her ears and having horrid poops and I'm hoping it's only teeth. I gave her a half dose of tylenol liquid and she calmed down some, but she's still majorly cranky. We've dragged her off the table and away from computers more than usual today, all with much screaming and yelling.

Oy, my head.

sad news

A UK online friend of mine is separating from her husband. Six kids. It's just so hard to hear. Will everyone be happier apart, how will the kids cope, how will she cope, etc etc.

Another friend's dog had to be put down.

No recent news of the friend whose son has lymphoma and I hope that means good news. They were home after the latest round of treatments and massive side effects.

Another friend's mother has been told that the chemo isn't doing anything. This is the mother who was diagnosed at the same time as my mom's friend, who has been told the same thing.

And Michael Jackson? I don't actually care about him, is that bad?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

he's right

I'm never going to get anything done now.

Dh installed the wireless network so now I can browse from anywhere in the house.

Stupid tooth fairy!!!

still hasn't showed up to take DS1's tooth. AND he says there's still one floating around from the last tooth he lost ages ago.

What's the tooth fairy's cell phone number? I want to give her a piece of my mind.

Oh? Huh. Interesting.

A cell phone for four year olds. Oh what a great idea!

Excellent reasoning from the guy who wrote the article.

Actually, we should just implant a GPS tracking device in them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


DS1 (yes, the 9 1/2 year old) just lost a tooth. It's the first molar - he is supposed to lose that one, right? He's got some teeth in odd places, so I just want to be sure.

Lots of blood, so even if the other tooth is right behind, I can't see it.

Next ortho visit is coming up in a couple weeks, so it's good timing!

SWOON! (and gosh, I'm a bit dim)

I found a house for my characters in the first novel I finished, the one that I asked a few people to read. It's a nice 5 story row house/townhouse in Kensington. Very upper-middle-class sort of place with gardens in the middle of the road and I can easily conflate that section of the road with the one with mews behind them so we can have a back gate on the garden. I was just messing around in Google, looking for a likely place - I think I mentioned this at the time. This was a few months ago.

I was just now futzing around in my London A to Z (that's ZED for you Americans. Not ZEE.) and realized that the Natural History Museum is RIGHT THERE.

My heroine has a lifelong fascination with zoology and corresponds with Darwin's daughter.

So I looked up the Natural History Museum online and it moved to its present location in 1881. My book is set in 1881.

(BTW it's a great place, don't know why I didn't think to fit it or any other museums into the story before)

So life is good. They needed someplace to go and this will be new and exciting and fun. I wonder what month in 1881 it opened there, because that will determine where in the story I put it. And I wonder about its hours and what was there and... well, so on. Not much history on the website as far as I can see.

And does anyone know if Holland Park was open to the public in 1881? I love Holland Park.

Washington DC

Apparently, I've been living under a rock for the last few days.

My thoughts are with the victims, survivors, and families of those who were in the crash of Metro trains.

Hoping everyone I know in the DC metro area is fine!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A friend's son

An online English friend (who has been through a lot in the last ten years) has a son about the same age as my 1st son. He has Lymphoma and is undergoing chemo for it. The thing is, he has been having horrible reactions and illnesses. Now, he is getting over something bacterial that started during his last round of chemo. He's very ill, the poor thing and my friend is having a hard time of it.

So lots of love to England.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

edits and other writing problems

I wrote my last scene for the book I've been writing for the last couple months. I have one more scene that I want to go back and put in - a crucial one for explaining the heroine's character, I think, I just haven't written it yet.

A friend of mine - and mother of boys who are my boys' ages - came over for a bit today and we went over some of the comments and questions she had about the book I wrote for NaNo. She really helped me clarify what I need to do and now I need to do it. Mostly more narration and more revealing of what the characters are thinking and the scene around them. I like dialogue and don't always explain what's going on in their heads. At least one of those characters keeps most of his emotions hidden, so when he gets around to kissing someone, it's a surprise to everyone. But once he has kissed her, he needs to think about why, I know....

Anyway, she pointed out lots of stuff and is going to make more notes on the copy I gave her and then it's serious rewrite time.

weather (boooorrrring!)

It's getting hot again. It's supposed to be 98 tomorrow, which is hotter than average (which is about 90 in late June). We've had such great weather for a week or two now, with temps around 80 (lower, obviously, than the average).

I was getting used to being comfortable.

I am never ready for summer around here. Ugh.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

a total stinker

If all her books are as bad as this one - and this author has published dozens of books - I really really wonder what the H*** is wrong with the publishing industry and with readers. I don't mean to insult those who are big fans, but you know.... I have suggestions for much, much better books. MUCH better. If you dig contemp western romances, even, and I'm not much of a western person. Just please, step away from the Palmer.

It was Fearless by Diana Palmer. I give it an F.

I bought it on a whim when at B&N for a couple of other books. I generally get everything from the library, but the latest Alyssa Day, Christie Craig, and Sherry Thomas paperbacks haven't gotten there yet and I am not a patient type, so I splurged.

But this book was just awful. I am never, ever again trying out a new-to-me author by actually buying the book, even if the reviews aren't too bad. I mean, B- from one review site? B- is a decent book with a few flaws honey, not this bit of garbage.

(Oh, thank goodness, some others have given Palmer D's for others of her books. I should have read those reviews first. And unlike those reviewers, I WON'T be reading any more Palmer and then say that oh, this one is just a fluke - every single review in recent history says that. MAYBE all her recent books stink which is when it's time to STOP READING books by the author and maybe someone with a decent book can get published in her place. RANT RANT)

It's about 300 pages long and about 200 of those are backstory. The first hundred pages were basically ALL back story. I only kept reading because I kept hoping something would happen other than telling us about the heroine's abusive childhood and the hero's love for his former crimefighting partner. OVER AND OVER.

And then I was sorry when things did happen. The hero is an undercover DEA agent, who is a former mercenary and is wanted in every country other than the US (never heard of extradition laws?) and he's undercover, but using his own name and his former DEA partner (the one he's in love with but she went back to her ex-husband because they're still in love, it was all just a misunderstanding - apparently in an earlier book) comes to visit him on the farm where he's undercover without any sort of subterfuge. And no one EVER tries to find out who he is. The drug lord says "Oh yeah, of COURSE I want you to run drugs for me!"

So the heroine is an assistant DA and a drug lord has made a death threat, so she's in hiding. Only it's her stepbrother who arranges it, not the witness protection program. I mean, the DA sat there and said they didn't have the money for it, sorry, so she's actually on the farm and in the house where she was abused by her mom and NO ONE in the teeny-tiny town recognizes her except one guy who's, I dunno, a cop somewhere else and comes to visit his mother every week.

And so the hero's the one that has hired the tattooed gang members to work on the farm and is pretending to be running drugs, only no one in the whole book knows how to do background checks. Or to freaking GOOGLE each other, because I am sure that ADA's named Gloryanne are not all that thick on the ground.

Because the drug lord trusts this DEA agent who's working under his own name. Because the assassin that has been hired is a woman with a long criminal record that the super perfect DEA agent never even checked out, but who is working in the farm kitchen and has the keys to his house. (In a real book, this would have been the DEA agent whose death they were investigating. Seriously.)

Because even in hiding, the heroine is using her own name, too, and the DEA agent never even checks it, though she's living in his house.

All this all leads to the misunderstandings, too, because the DEA guy thinks the ADA is really actually only an itinerant cook that some guy had him hire to help make jam. She's not beautiful and walks with a limp and he thinks she's stupid, but he sleeps with her anyway and then talks about her behind her back - including to this ex-partner who he's in love with - and she always ends up hearing. And she thinks he's an actual drug dealer. She works as an Assistant DA. Goodbye career!

So what do they do? Well, get married, of course.

And right up to five seconds before the end of the book, he just thinks she's stupid and sneers about her. They even get divorced and she miscarries and almost dies because she has a bunch of other health problems, so he feels guilty, but still thinks she's some stupid wench who's out for his money. He finally finds out that she's an ADA and that she does wear expensive clothes and then he falls in love.

So of course, she goes back to him.

And they get remarried and she has a baby and everyone is blissfully happy. Because it was truuuue loooove.

Apparently, the next book is about this heroine's stepbrother and stepsister who fall in love. And thank goodness they're not actually related by blood, but you know? Still seriously gross. I have adopted siblings and NO - just NO. OK, so my siblings are mostly girls, but still.

for all those times when your brain forgets what it was doing

I opened this window for a reason, but hey, I'm not adverse to babbling, am I?

The boys are barking like dogs and chasing the baby around. As long as they don't start biting.

well, she came in here looking worried and i picked her up, then they started licking her feet, but she didn';t think it was funny, so i told them to go find something else to do. So of course, she takes off after them less than a minute later...

I stayed up too late last night reading a book that wasn't even that great. That's probably why my brain forgot what it was doing.

Oh, i know one thing I've been meaning to post about: one of the worst books I have ever read.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

and in unrelated news

There was an interview with Schwarzenegger on NPR yesterday (or 2 days ago?) about the CA budget crisis and the interviewer at the end asked him what his future plans are after he's finished serving his term. He basically said he's focused on what he's doing now (which is a huge change from when he was running, during which time he insinuated that he was going to keep living in LA and would commute up to Sacramento and could be governor with one hand tied behind his back. Huh. Reality.) and is glad to give back to the US, because he considers himself "Made in America," which I suppose is true because he wasn't a big hit over in Austria.

The interviewer said that the new Terminator movie wasn't getting great reviews and asked if he was going to go back to that. He said that he would give it a 7 out of 10. I guess he isn't getting some sort of residuals. And since I would give the original Terminator about a 3 out of 10 because it is so not my type of movie...

bookninja's fault

I have this song running through my head and I had never heard it before today.

man wins romance novel prize. suddenly romance might have actual literary worth

"It doesn't mean that because something is comedy romance that the writing can't be good, or that deeper topics can't be addressed. It's just a matter of finding the balance."

A man won the Melissa Nathan prize for writing a romantic comedy.

People have been saying this for YEARS. But, you know, women writers are stupider than men. And if there's a happy ending, it's not actual real literature. But if a man writes a romance - hey woah! - then it gets comments like the one above.

sorry. a bit cynical today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

outside play day

Today is the last day of school - a half day, actually - and the K/1 classes were going to have a water play day, but it's a lot cooler than usual and they figured everyone would freeze, so they just have a bunch of fun stuff - an obstacle course, beach balls, jump ropes, etc and it's free play time.

So they had a parachute, just a smallish one for 6-12 kids or so. no one had taken it out and DS2 was wandering around, unable to choose something to do because he had done everything already.

So we pulled it out and he said, "What is this?"
I said, "A parachute."
DS2 said, "Oh. But what do we parachute from?"

And now I brought the baby home. She was pretty happy riding in the backpack all morning and I let her down to play a few times and she was happy doing that, too. She discovered the kid-height computers in DS2's classroom and was trying to play on those and not interested in having some milkies, though she was getting cranky and definitely was hungry. Eventually I left and brought her home for a happy nap. I was planning on leaving her here when I go get the boys, but DH packed up his stuff and took off on his bike to meet a customer. I have to leave in ten minutes and that's going to be a seriously short nap.

But hey, I can also take back the cutting-out thing from DS1's class that I never finished. I feel really guilty about that, actually...

OK, ten minutes of drinking coffee and writing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Backyard baseball! Not exactly ideal as far as diamonds go...

She wants up. Now.

Devil with a blue(berry) dress, blue(berry) dress on.

Being very sweet. Usually, she's up on the table.

We've taken almost everything out from under the sink because she eats it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

swimming and books (which probably shouldn't mix)

The boys had their first swim lesson of the summer this evening. We're doing evening ones this cycle because they're not out of school yet because our charter school is on its own weird schedule that doesn't match the rest of the district (which got out on Friday).

Anyway, the boys were already seriously wound tight when they got home from school (DS1's teacher - 2nd and 3rd grade mixed class mind you, not K/1 - said that there were quite a few people who lapsed into tears for one thing and another today, including DS1). They were fighting over who could put more toy trains into his shirt and DS1 was still putting in trains before DS2 even got a chance to start and it wasn't faiiiiir. And it went downhill from there. We split them up several times, but no go. They were just weird. I couldn't get DS2 to leave me alone for more than 2 minutes at a time and eventually, I just needed to be alone for a while and had to physically remove him from my room three times.

So we finally got off to lessons and they were a lot more relaxed in the water than I have ever seen them, so maybe they will learn to swim this year. Fingers crossed.

I didn't sign the baby up for the parent-and-me class this cycle. She gets so cranky in the evenings that I figured it would probably be a disaster. Besides, she won't even take a bath without lots of crying. I am hoping to spend some time getting her used to the concept of bathtub and wandering around the pool with her during the boys' lessons to see how very much fun everyone is having. Then we're going to give it a go in two weeks. Wish me luck...

Now on to the books....

I started reading Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas this afternoon and took it along to the pool this evening because I left DD at home. I just finished it a few minutes ago and am wandering around sighing. I love Sherry Thomas. Her books tend to be so heartwrenching and yet they work out. This last one works. Any doubters as to the literary quality of romance novels should read it. (I have a whole list of books that I will point you toward once you come over to the light side).

But, as always, a really excellent book ends up making me doubt my own skill as a writer. I have two days to finish this next novel before school gets out and am suddenly despondent. oh, and I reread a Julia Quinn novel a couple of days ago and just discovered that the plot device I thought up all on my own is actually cribbed from this book that I read a year or two ago. I'll change it a bit in the rewrites, because I really need to forge ahead and write the final scene. I came across a few spots today where I had written in a phrase about something that needed to happen and never gotten around to writing out the scene. I wrote one of those today and started working on another, but didn't have much time between interruptions. Maybe I'll do a bit this evening, once I get over my sighing over Sherry Thomas. Though technically, it's bedtime and I'm tired.

Oh, and one friend who is reading the rough draft of my other book said that she really enjoys it and we're setting up a playdate for our sons so we can go over her comments. And I realized that my other friend didn't even know that I had finished a rough draft. I was sure I had told her, but I don't know if we've spent much time together this semester. So I might try and get her to read the rough draft, too. I feel pretty bad about not even talking to her about it. Maybe she wasn't at the book club where I mentioned it, either? Anyway.

I just was thinking that I haven't posted any pictures in a long time and noticed that I am not even sure where my camera is. I think it's on top of the fridge.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


We went to a neighborhood picnic today. It's actually the neighborhood down the hill and it used to be a babysitting coop, but it's not really anymore, it's more of a way for people in the neighborhood to meet. I used to take ds2 to a playgroup which later fell apart when the kids, who were all about the same age, went off to preschool and then kindergarten. i'm going to need a playgroup for dd soon...

Anyway, the picnic was at noon it was only a bit above 80 by the time we left. the front yard where we had it has tons of trees, so it was all in the shade and very comfortable. the boys played with a pack of feral boys (and yes, they counted as the feral ones. I keep saying that it takes 4 boys to go from kids to wild, rabid dogs). It was mostly OK, but they got too rough at times.

there was one kid who was about 5 who was really punching and kicking and hurting people. DS1 got his arm hurt because he was trying to shake the kid off without hurting him; I thought he did a really good job. that boy's parents, though, i wasn't so impressed with, because it was him and his little brother out there with inappropriate violence over and over and over. OK, so they were 3 and 5 and the rest of the kids (mostly boys, really) were 6 to 9 and can generally defend themselves. The kicking of the partially deaf boy with other physical problems was pretty vile, though. Luckily that boy's dad swooped in and then supervised closely.

I left the boys and DH down there to play a bit longer and came home with the baby, who hadn't napped at all this morning. She was fine while we were there, though she kept finding loose rocks and chewing on them and then people would comment on how she had chocolate cake on her face when it was really dirt. She started screaming when I was leaving, though. She did not want to be taken away from the dirt.

I ate fairly sensibly until it came to dessert. Yeah, well I'll go work out a few dozen times this week, OK?

It's actually time for me to sign up for real at Curves and I am hesitating. It's not the most exciting of workouts and is already getting a bit monotonous. I would have to sign up for a whole year, too, not just month by month. I'm pretty sure I'll do it, because i need to have something to do and somewhere to do it. I've only gone twice a week over the last 2 weeks instead of the 3 times you're supposed to go. each week i have a different excuse. :/ But even so, I lost nearly 4 lbs and a nice % of body fat in the first month. i lost an inch around my waist and my stomach feels much firmer. All in all, a good result.

What else can I ramble about? Oh yeah. Almost done with the book. I will finish up a scene as soon as I finish here, then there are only a couple of big ones and then I will put it aside for a few weeks before starting to fine-tune it. I need to do some serious editing on the first book I finished. The people I gave it to to read are still reading. I forget not everyone reads nearly a book a day...

Friday, June 5, 2009

a friend posted this link on a group

just... well, the randomness of music videos? i laughed until i cried.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

tummy bug

The baby is recovering nicely from her excessive poops.

It was a mild flu/tummy bug thing.

How do I know?

I have it now.


actual rain

We had a bit of sprinkling the day before yesterday and I figured that was about it. We don't get much rain here in the summer - in fact we just don't expect to get any at all until October-ish.

But last night at about the kids' bedtime, we had an actual thunder-and-lightning storm. The thunder wasn't too loud, but it was basically constant. And then it dumped down rain for about 10 minutes. At about midnight another storm rolled through. More "isolated t-storms" are expected over the next few days. woah! says we only had .01 inches, but I'm pretty sure it was wetter than that. The second storm might have been after midnight and so would count for today, but the first one really dumped it down for a while.

AND the highs are in the 70's instead of the average which is about 85 or even what we had a couple of weeks ago: 100.

the temp is fine for it, but I'm abit worried about rain for DS2's class trip to the zoo tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

new books!

After dropping the boys off at school (just barely on time after lots of "get your shoes on! what do you mean you haven't brushed your teeth yet? Go! Gogogogogogo!!!"), I went to the B&N that is more or less on the way home, if I take the slower road.

DD and I got a cup of coffee and she crumbled half a madeleine (very Proust) and then we wandered around outside until the store opened.

I walked in and blanked out on the two books that I wanted to get. I was standing there in front of the new release romances just saying duuuuuuuuh.

I finally remembered one author (Sherry Thomas, whose 2 earlier books I really liked) and found the book (Not Quite a Husband) which promises to be angsty too.

I found 2 impulse purchases (Christie Craig's latest and, um, I want to say the Diane Palmer western/romance?) and still couldn't think of the other book that I had written on a piece of paper right by my computer and yet didn't bring the paper (see the aforementioned "Go gogogogo!!!").

I pulled out my cell phone which I tend to not turn on for a week at a time. I had it on yesterday because I left DD sleeping when I went to get the boys and would have come straight home instead of going to the library if she had been desperate. Well, I forgot to turn it off and the battery was almost flat, so the phone beeped at me and I was afraid it was going to turn off before DH found the paper. All I needed was the author's name and I knew I would know it. And there it was. Alyssa Day.

It wasn't in new releases, though it came out about 2 days ago, so I asked. The clerk had to search around and found it on the regular side, not with the new releases. So I have the latest Atlantis book (based on the cover art, it's 'Atlantis and the Sword-Schlong of Doom", but it's actually Atlantis Unleashed.)

So anyway. Along with the, um, 6 or 7 books I got from the library yesterday, I have enough to read. Should last me a week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The garden's status is now a "maybe"

I went to Raley's today because though we went to Trader Joe's just yesterday, I forgot to get cheddar cheese. I ended up getting cherries which were on sale, and some pears that i didn't even think to look for at TJ's.


I got 5 tomato plants and 2 pepper plants. They had a couple of carts out front with a sign on them saying those plants were $1 each. 4 of the tomato plants were $1 together. So even if i kill them, I won't feel too awful. yay!

I planted the something-or-other pepper in an empty pot and watered the garden rectangle so I could dig out the weeds. i haven't dug out the weeds yet, though.

And today, DD took a really, really long nap at a convenient time. Though it was too late for me to go to Curves, I sat down and wrote and wrote for a few hours. I've done 3668 words today. yesterday, in spite of fighting for a few minutes here and there to write and getting frustrated with bad nap timing and kids who wouldn't leave me alone and so on, I ended up with about 1500, which is pretty good.

I wrote the hero's mother's death today and his subsequent breakdown. I still have to get him through the funeral. I think he's going to faint or do something else really embarrassing. he's really sensitive about people laughing at him. I also finished up a scene just before the end where the heroine's mother ruins a dinner party and then the dad drags her out and everyone has a much better time when she's gone.

I think I have only one major scene left, maybe two. And then I have a rough rough draft of another book.

Then I need feedback on the first one and I need to rewrite it.