Sunday, August 26, 2007

What's Your Blog Worth?

My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sloppy writing

Ever have one of those days when sloppy writing just irks you? Today is one of those days for me. Must be the heat because everything is getting under my skin.

The continuing story of Jessica and Nash (can't stand this guy) on One Life to Live has taken another turn. Antonio (Jessica's ex-husband) has requested that Nash buy out his share of the vineyard--the business that Nash and Antonio went into together. But Nash doesn't have the money. Antonio has given him a short time to raise it before he sells his shares to the highest bidder. Feel the pressure here?

Pressed for cash and running out of time, Nash hears about this high stakes poker game going on after hours at Roxy's saloon. Big wheelers are coming in from Atlantic City to play.

Here is where it gets sloppy: two people show up at the saloon. Only two people. So, if Nash hadn't weaseled his way into the game these two people would have squared off against each other? And I am supposed to believe this is a high stakes poker game.

Please don't insult me. If you want me to believe this is an important game, then at least have more than two high stakes gamblers show up to play against the show's regular.

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Is it time for them to go back to school yet?

Today is hazy, hot, and humid so I bet that has something to do with my mood, but I cannot wait until school starts on Wednesday. I have had enough summer to last me a lifetime worth of summers.

One of my daughters is a social butterfly and that means constant play dates. It certainly doesn't leave much time or writing--unless it's after 10pm. I have had children here almost every day of the week for at least a month.

And if they played nicely, then it would be no problem. But when you have a group of three, they rarely play nice. The youngest one is always left out and spends most of the play date running to you with tears in her eyes about the two older girls being unfair. Then the older two girls apologize just to turn around and do it again ten minutes later.

For some reason when my daughter gets together with her friends, they feel the need to come in and destroy my house. One day, they threw almost every toy the girls own around the play room. Another day, they crushed a tall metal trash can that belongs to my son who moved out recently and still hasn't taken all his stuff. Another day, they went from room to room on the second floor playing with toys and leaving a trail of mess wherever they had been.

I'm exhausted just talking about it. I'm sure my blood pressure will go down about 30 points once school starts next week. Six hours a day of no play dates sure sounds like heaven to me.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back to Work

Our family visited Cape Cod for a few days this past week. The Cape can't hold a candle to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but it's a short drive to the shore and the kids like to go into Hyannis and ride the carousel.

Going on vacation at the end of the summer can be a big let down. Next week is Vacation Bible School and the following Wednesday my oldest daughter goes back to school. Then comes Labor Day and the youngest starts preschool the following Monday. Before we know it, Halloween will be here and if I blink too quickly Christmas will be upon us.

It's like that end of the summer vacation tells all of us it is time to get back to work. But today is one of those glorious days when a strong breeze is blowing through the leaves and the temperature is cool enough to fool us into thinking fall will be here soon. We know it's not true. Even if the temperatures hover around 70 all next week, we can count on an Indian Summer in September before the fall weather stays for good.

I think I'll enjoy the sun and the breeze and go play with the kids. Pretty soon it will be back to work for all of us and it will be easy to forget all this beauty while we try to maintain our schedules and our sanity.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Curse of Being A Writer

Now, don't get me wrong--I love my job. It's one of two things I've ever wanted to do with my life. But there are times when it can really stink to be a writer.

Maybe this isn't true for everyone, but I can't just read for enjoyment anymore. I am always dissecting plot, keeping an eye on the author's style, and noticing typos. I wish there was a way for me to shut my writer's mind off for a little while and just enjoy a story or book.

Then there are television shows. Randolph Mantooth (Emergency, Loving) is one of my favorite television actors. He had a brief stint on the soap opera One Life to Live recently and I've found myself watching this soap again even though they killed Randy's character off weeks ago.

But I can't just sit there like a couch potato and go ga-ga over the gorgeous actors and get caught up in the storylines, because I'm trying to figure out how the writers are going to plot out the next episode.

There is an ongoing storyline between Detective John McBain and Dr. Marty Saybrooke. Marty thinks she killed Spencer Truman and John doesn't believe she did it. He is determined to prove her innocent, but he is having a heck of a time convincing Marty that she didn't stab Truman. What makes the situation even more interesting is that John cares for Marty.

Here is where things can get real good: Marty is convinced she is guilty of killing Truman--even though her memories are still vague and she doesn't remember actually stabbing him. But, since Marty believes that she did it, she plans to plead guilty at her arraignment. John is going to be escorting her to the court house.

More than a couple things could happen between John and Marty. John has been begging Marty to plead not guilty so that he has time to snuff out the true killer. And while pleading guilty will mean a separation from her only son, Cole, Marty is willing to do that if he is well taken care of. She is placing all her hopes on his future and seems to believe her life as she knows it is over because she must pay for what she did. But what if on the drive over to the court house John declared his feelings for Marty? Would that be enough to give her a reason to plead not guilty? Could John's admission make Marty look forward to the future and give her something to concentrate on other than paying for a murder she might not have committed?

That's one possibility, but how about if Cole figures out that John is in love with his mother and he is the one who lets the cat out of the bag right before Marty is arraigned? Will she believe Cole? Or will she think it is just a plot to get her to change her plea? Or, could Cole's announcement be just the thing to get Marty to think jail isn't where she wants to spend her free time?

Maybe it's neither of those two ideas. John McBain--from the short time I've watched him--isn't a guy who shows too much emotion. Would he be willing to make himself vunerable by admitting to Marty that he loves her? Or would he keep working on trying to find the real killer, but never say anything to Marty about his true feelings. He is a cop--first and foremost, and if his feelings became known it might jepardize his chances of ever finding the real killer.

And Cole, would he even have the wits about him to figure out that John is hot for his mom? I mean, he's got enough of his own crap going on--including testifying against his step-father who had blackmailed Marty into marrying him so that he wouldn't tell the police that Marty killed Truman and who also tried to convince Cole to kill the guy that his step-father was holding hostage in the storage room of their apartment building.

As I watch this story unfold, I wonder if the writers and I are on the same wavelength. I think about all the possibilities that could be played out in the next episode and I remember back to a time long ago, when I was a kid watching One Life to Live on a 19" color TV with rotary dials, and how none of these things plagued my mind. I just vegetated in front of the television set and enjoyed watching the actors portray these characters without any thought to the fact that there were writers behind the scenes making these characters act the way that they do.

As a writer, I'm lost to that forever. But I can still watch and learn how to weave great storylines with strong, believeable characters, who make desperate choices when put in desperate cirucmstances. I can see how other professional writers keep engaging the reader time and time again and strive for the same excellence in my own work. I will pay attention to how backstory is woven into the current action so that I don't bore my readers to tears when I need to spotlight some aspect of a character's past.

I guess it's really not a curse after all!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

So, when do you have time to write?

I'm often asked where I find time to write. The answer is simple--I find it whenever and wherever I can.

As a wife and mother of three children--two of them under age six--there is little uninterrupted time in the day to concentrate on my writing. But, if you want something badly enough you "make" the time.

How do you do that?

First, I had to sit down and assess exactly where all my time goes. Every day I wash, dry, and fold two loads of laundry; I get three people breakfast and lunch; I cook supper every night so that the entire family can spend time together; I make my husband's lunch for work each night; I read to the girls at night, we say prayers together, and I sing to them until they fall asleep.

Those are all things that must be done in order to keep the house running smoothly. Gee, looking at that list it seems like I should have plenty of time to write.


The house still needs to be cleaned every once in a while; I spend one night a week at church to help prepare for Vacation Bible School; I teach the children in our AWANA Club at church; I am a member of a town committee and sit on the church council; I like to stay in touch with family and friends either by email or at parties; and there are the two forums which I administrate. Plus every once in a while I would like a few minutes of "me" time.

And let's not forget the unexpected: illnesses, accidents, and errands that steal precious moments away from what I should be doing.

When I sat down and seriously considered everything I had to and wanted to do with my time, I knew I would need to cut some things out if I was ever going to have a writing career.

The first thing that went was uncessary emails. I have no willpower. If someone sends me a joke or a Power Point presentation, I am going to read it. So, I emailed everyone asking them to hold off on sending them my way.

Then I canceled my membership to several Yahoo Groups. Once again--no willpower. And finally, I made a concious decision to limit all my online time so that I would have more time to write.

I also use every spare moment to do something writing related. I read trade magazines while waiting for doctor appointments. I read or write while my husband drives us to church on Sunday mornings. And, I carry around a small notebook in my purse to jot down ideas or words for a story I'm working on as they come to me.

But the thing that most of my friends get a big chuckle out of is when I tell them I read and write while soaking in the tub.

If you want to be able to balance your family life and your writing career, figure out where all your time goes; decide what must be done and what can be cut; and use every free moment you have to make your dreams come true!

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Friday, August 03, 2007

I guess it's just about me now

Well, now that I'm getting back on track with this blog, let me tell you a little about what has been going on in my life.

The summer has been a scorcher. I think there was one week where the temperatures were comfortable, other than that it has been hot, hot, hot, and like this week--humid.

We've been a busy family. At the beginning of July we drove down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a little rest and relaxation. As usual, it's not very relaxing with two little ones, but we did still manage to get some rest and after I got over my bout with bronchitis we had a wonderful time. They sure do know how to do fireworks up right down there.

The girls went to camp for a week. I figured it would help our youngest get used to going to preschool in the fall. I've always been home with her, so I hope she'll be okay with the transition.

Then the oldest participated in a reading camp at her school for two weeks. It was a great learning experience and she made a new friend--so it was well worth the money.

And during all this fun stuff, my writing career has begun to blossom. My bi-monthly writing gig for Writer2Writer has turned into a monthly writing gig. My latest article, Seven Ways Writers Can Reduce Stress appeared in the July issue.

I started writing book reviews for The Muse Book Reviews (, began two new blogs, and got involved in an exciting new project which aims to encourage a love of reading and writing in young people. And my connection with Pump Up Your Book Promotion ( has given me the chance to interview some great authors like Vicki M. Taylor, Marilyn Morris, and bestselling author Jane Green.

I've even made time to write a little fiction here and there. My co-author/sister and I got back to work on revisions to the novel whose first draft we finished last August and I began revising a short story which I had hoped to submit to Wolfmont Publishing in February.

So, all in all, I am happy to be a wife, mother, and aspiring author right now. Though I have been very busy during the day and the girls are beginning to think I love my computer more than them. It's very sad that I actually have to schedule free time these days, but I also know if I don't put it on my calendar, I'll skip it. And since the kids are only young once I better remember to pencil them into my day planner too.

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