Writing Wednesday, Apr 30 2008 

Followup to Procrastination from Saturday:  It’s Wednesday in sunny NC–no snow flurries like Green Girl in Wisconsin–and I have worked on the porch part of each day, revising and adding new bits, trying to plump up character’s personalities and add details that make this a fun read.

But after dinner out to celebrate a friend’s positive chemo progress, Sunday’s Wire in the Blood, dog training and grooming, floors, cooking, wash,  trying to make two outfits Grand 2 requested for her upcoming birthday (she’s into history and the era of the month is 1776), cooking, wash, out yesterday to buy fresh eggs at the egg farm (hey, they’re right from the hen,  only $1.05 a dozen, delicious flavor, only you have to buy 15 dozen at a time, ) then we had to deliver some to neighbors who were sharing our 1/2 crate, wash, check emails, send out notices for the next Writers Read, cook, have lunch with Mom in town and have hair trimmed, then set up her new birthday TV with Doc, read and answer a few blogs, get Christening gift for this Sunday, make out and mail May’ birthday/anniversary cards, dally in the hot tub briefly with son and his wife, make dinner for same, a new recipe to die for, etc. etc. etc.—I’m only up to page 54 on my manuscript!    I did not take Hen’s advice and have a vodkatini, YET~

But I’m seriously thinking about it.  Will it help me writer faster/better/quicker? No.

But will I care?  Probably not. . .
after all, I only have about 220 pages left to go~

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Procrastination Saturday, Apr 26 2008 

So here I am, on the porch with the fans whirling, the laptop set to go and a large glass of iced green tea beside me, and instead of plunging into the rewrite of my novel, I am looking for any excuse to NOT do that.  Why?

I need to get this manuscript done by the end of May so my writers group can read it during June for our upcoming workshop in Denver.  I started one day, got to page 30, and that was two weeks ago!  I got sidetracked editing someone else’s ms, proofreading another, and then this week when I was all set to start, suddenly decided NOW was the time clean out closets and shelves for spring.

I don’t know why I do this to myself; maybe it’s part of being a Libra, that constant swinging back and forth between what I know I should be doing and deliberately NOT doing it?  Maybe I like flirting with danger because I tend to be the on-time, polite gal most of the time?  But all this does is increase my own stress level…any suggestions?

What do YOU do to overcome procrastination????

OK, I’m going to go there, really, right now, as soon as I post this. . .I promise.

Colin Firth Friday, Apr 25 2008 

Just that title alone got you reading, didn’t it?

News is that Helen Hunt has written and directed and stars in a new movie, titled “Then She Found Me.”  Playing a schoolteacher disappointed in love and marriage, her long-lost mother suddenly shows up, a  flamboyant talk show host played by Bette Midler.  And the man who enters her picture later on?  Our lovely Colin, although Helen’s not telling in interviews if they end up together–but there’s definitely a dalliance going on.

This is one movie I may actually pay money to go and see on the big screen over an hour away.  Mr. C up close and personal, HH and BM on the side. . .I’d love to dally with Mr. C~

Beautiful Music Wednesday, Apr 23 2008 

Sunday found me and Doc sitting in the newly restored Turnage Theatre in downtown Little Washington (so-called to distinguish it from Washington DC). We were given the tickets from the featured writer at last week’s “Writers’ Read,” and met Jayne and her husband for an afternoon of Mozart and Tchaikovsky, performed by the Carolina Chamber Symphony.

It was pouring rain, but undaunted, we set out for our hour drive, only slightly guilty at leaving out two dogs in their pen. This very large pen features a nice sheltered dog house, and its steps lead into our screened-in porch, where there are old dog beds, bones, water, and a nice high view of the river, but this did not lessen my guilt at those two noses pressed against the wet screen as we drove away…not guilty enough to keep me home, though.

The music was everything I’d hoped. The director told us about the composers lives before waving his baton. I loved hearing about Mozart’s brief but productive life, although until that day I hadn’t known he’d produced SIX symphonies in the last year of his life! And I’d also never known that Tchaikovsky’ was a closet homosexual, and that this had haunted him all of his life and imbued his romantic pieces with its longing.

It had been a while since I’d attended a concert and this proved to be an energetic and enthusiastic group, from the director with his flying arms to the cellist whose face reflected the emotion in the music. The second violinist was perhaps my favorite, a man whose entire body swayed and moved with his bow as he ‘got into’ the romantic pieces. During the first offering, that nagging tickle I can get in my throat when I’m supposed to be quiet acted up. You know, the one that only bothers you in churches and concerts and funeral… but not to fear; I quietly whipped out one of the trusty cough drops I routinely carry around. As the music continued, so did my cough. And then my eyes started to tear, and my right nostril closed over…hmmm…

I was on my fourth cough drop when I leaned over and asked Jayne what perfume she was wearing. “Just something from the grocery store, cheap Gardenia something.” Aha! I’m allergic to gardenia’s. Quick solution at the interval: we switched seats so there was a husband on either side of me. Second half: only one cough drop for me, tears lessening, sinuses opening…but Jayne started to sneeze at her own perfume, and I found myself handing those suckers down the row to her. Seems her own perfume got to her, too.

Moral of the story: Carry your own cough drop supply, and sniff your neighbors deeply before settling into the quiet of a concert.

It was still a wonderful afternoon, and I can’t wait to go again–providing Jayne switches her scent of the day!

Writers Read Sunday, Apr 20 2008 

That’s the name of my Screw Iowa outreach program; the first was Thursday night and I am still reeling from the great success of the evening.  I had a keynote reader, a friend who agreed to read a snippet of her novel, and hoped for at least two others to sign up to read.  I’d rented out the local coffeehouse for two hours, done up flyers, sent them out and hoped for six people to show up.  I had 15 there and 6 read!  It was a huge success!  When I told them I wanted to do it again in the fall, they clamored for an earlier date, so we are doing it again in June.

I may read this next time, but the point was to stimulate other writers to get together and from critique groups of their own and get experience reading in public.  I had an essay, some novelists, and even a playwright read.  Even Doc, who graciously accompanied me, said the evening was a huge success and he enjoyed it.

The friend who was the keynote reader is thanking me by taking us to a chamber music concert tomorrow in the newly renovated old time theatre in town, so it’s a double-whammy weekend~I was so giddy I spent three hours in the sun today helping Doc with a gate he’s making to keep our puppy Radar from going over the marsh bridge to play where he’s not wanted.  I have weird neighbors who are hermits and don’t like puppies.  They happen to be relations, too (big sigh).  But that’s for another blog and another weekend~

Sunday, Sunday Sunday, Apr 13 2008 

so good to me, as the Mama’s and the Papa’s said. Remember them? Mama Cass’s smooth voice, the best of the group, Michelle’s high soprano, those 60’s songs that take me right back to high school and making out with John Maydan, he of the heavy-lidded brown eyes who taught me to French kiss…but I digress. It’s the kind of day I love: sleeping in, great shower, dogs adorable, fundraiser lunch so no cooking a big meal, then home on the porch enjoying the breeze and watching the birds and waves, actually getting work done, pausing only to blog a bit…and Wire in the Blood to watch tonight followed by the cutest blood spatter guy ever, Dexter. I just that sociopath. Last week he started to have, gulp, feelings! So cute. If you haven’t discovered Dexter, Sundays at 10pm on CBS.

Finished the Mgt. Duffy series and now have to wait for the next installment of Ingrid Langley and Patrick Gillard novels. If I have one complaint, it’s that these two don’t seem to spend enough time at home with their kids. But then I realize they HAVE been home and I’m just privy to the bits of time when they go off on one of their jaunts, finding spies or murderers, restoring right to the world, having sex on top of furniture…see where my mind is??? I’m treating myself to brain candy today, Mary Higgins Clark’s newest: Where Are You Now? You can whip out one of these babies in a day without guilt and plunge on to the next one waiting on your bookshelf.

Enjoy your Sunday; I plan to enjoy mine.

Domestically challenged tells me she didn’t know any of the shows I mentioned and is still waiting for the Purple Martini to arrive. Anyone have a recipe? My Purple Martins have chosen their respective apartments and are waiting for their better halves to arrive. Radar the Spinone weighed in at 99.6 lbs on Friday and is asleep on his king-sized ottoman, Murray on her bed. All is right with the world–for this minute.

CSI et al Friday, Apr 11 2008 

TV at our house is a mixed bag, now that our favorites are returning.

Doc politely suffers through all the CSI’s and Criminal Minds in return for Number3 and Speed channel; we both enjoy Bones and NCIS.  I use those forensic shows for my mystery novels and they’ve given me some neat ideas when they’re in the realm of possibility.

There is no question HOUSE is the favorite at ours, although Hugh Laurie’s still out until next week.  A new addition to the loaded DVR schedule is Canterbury’s Law, ending this week already, but quite good with the emotional and tough Julia Margolies as an unusual defense lawyer with a jumbled personal life.  Did I mention Aiden Quinn plays her husband?

Doc’s Nascar on Sunday afternoon’s  is nicely balanced by my BBCAmerica and Masterpiece Theatre at night.  And of course, the occasional Ace of Cakes on the Food Network.

To see this all, it would seem we are glued to the TV, but mostly we watch the DVR’s stuff in bed,  relaxing in comfort after a hard day of other chores, and amidst other thoughts…but that’s another topic entirely~

Calling All Anglophiles Monday, Apr 7 2008 

Check out BBCAmerica on Sunday evenings for the latest installment of adaptations of  “Wire in the Blood”.

Based on Scottish writer Val McDermid’s dark psychological Tony Hill/Carol Jordan novels,  Robson Green plays haunted psychologist Tony Hill so believably you’ll want to scoop him up and make him a cuppa, poor dear.  Last night’s season opener saw Tony travel to Texas, a true duck out of water–entering his rental car from the wrong side, trying to figure out the Old Boys network–whilst endeavoring to figure out if a vet with PTSD had murdered his wife and children.  Gritty stuff.  Satisfying ending.  DVR it if it conflicts with Masterpiece Theatre, Austen fans~

McDermid’s other series include the Manchester-based, smart-mouthed PI Kate Brannigan novels; the classic Brit mystery-with-a-twist novels of lesbian journalist Lindsay Gordon; and multiple stand-alones that are intricately plotted and delve into the psychology of her characters.  One of my personal favorites, Place of Execution, won the Macavity, Barry, Dilys and Anthony awards.

McDermid puts her ability to write in so many veins down to her Gemini personality.  The first student ever accepted at Oxford from a Scottish state school, due to a mix of her ability and sheer tenacity, she read English at St. Hilda’s.  She traces her realistic dialogue back to that time, learning to listen carefully to discern other accents from her thick Scots brogue.

If you haven’t discovered McDermid yet, you’re in for a treat!

Purple Martins Thursday, Apr 3 2008 

Those chattering, mildly irritating birds are back, in force, scoping out which of three apartment building sites will contain the nest for their newbies. At our river home we take bets on when the PM sentinels will arrive from Brazil to see if their former flats are up and cleaned out. I was this year’s lucky winner with March 28th.

You can tell it’s really spring in NC when the PM’s come back and with it comes the usual: garden cleanup, which I am pretending someone else is going to do this year; red ant hills, which my savvy Silver Fox has already been out treating; bugs. The mosquitoes won’t arrive for a while, but the honey bees will soon, and then the hornets which I loathe. Sugar ants came and went, ditto one tiny mouse who slipped in when our door didn’t latch properly after a storm.

Ah, the joys of living so close to nature. Did I mention I have to start watching where I put my feet for snakes????

Auntie M had a good time visiting the Grands in MN, although illness plagues us all.  The kids are terrific and the 16 mos old baby is starting to talk.  Now that Grandpa Art comes out “Bart,” the older kids are calling my Silver Fox that, so I just may adopt that name for a while. . .

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Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

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Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

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My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

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Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

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A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

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