Thursday Thirteen

So I’m leaving today to go to the New England writer’s conference down in Framingham, MA. It’s only 2 days, but I live so flippin’ far from everyone I add a day of travel on either end. Anyway. I just thought I’d list all the things I love about this conference. (And they’re in no particular order.)

1. Riding from southern Maine to Framingham with some Maine writers. I never get to see them for extended periods of time.

2. Finally getting to see my CP … JEN! I lubs Jen. I talk to her nearly every day, but we both live on opposite borders of Maine so we rarely see each other.

3. Food! They have delicious food and I neither have to cook nor do dishes. I’ll be in heaven!

4. Laughing – It seems like all I do. It’s the best workout for my abs. I love laughing.

5. Meeting Mima (and other Divas). This is the first conference I’m going to where I finally get to meet some of my friends from the internet. I can’t wait!

6. Workshops. There are always wonderful workshops planned at these things. I love just hanging out and listening to other writers talk about writing.


(Oh, baby … my kind of workshop!)

7. Books! Books! and more Books! Every time you turn around there’s another free book on your seat at your place setting. They’re everywhere. Not that I need more books for my TBR pile that’s now flowing out of the two huge book bags next to my bed, but I always want more! Mwahahaha …

8. Little bottles of liquor. They just seem to appear from purses, bookbags, suitcases … they’re everywhere! (Or maybe that’s just me.)

9. Brainstorming. I love to talk plots and twists. I’ll talk about other people’s stories, my stories, it doesn’t matter. Just talking all that writerly stuff is great!

10. Books on CD. The ride is soooo long I usually get to listen to two books on my trip. Great way to catch up on some books I’ve been dying to read, but don’t have time.

11. Amazing writers. They are all over the place. Along with their agents and editors. It’s fun rubbing elbows with them. I’ve met some NYT best selling authors and it tickles me pink every time!

12. Talking. There are so many people I can talk to my heart’s content and I don’t wear out one person. I don’t even mind when they pass me off … the lips just keep flapping. Really, for your own safety … step away from the moving mouth!

13. Getting away from northern Maine. I understand spring has arrived in other parts of the world. I can’t wait to see it for myself!

I’ve been wracking my brain to think of a unique list for this week. But everything  kept coming up short. So here’s a list of the lists that just didn’t work for me.

1. 13 of my favorite green things – You know, just going with the St. Patty’s Day theme. But green isn’t around my house or in my closet and the only thing I could think of was my books (ya know because they’re electronic … environmentally friendly and … green. I know, it was a stretch.)

2. 13 things I learned from my teens – I looooove my kids. But hormones definitely flood brain cells during these years and render them temporarily useless. Which means the “lessons” mostly would have embarrassed them.

3. 13 places Beautiful Girl has visited in Italy – She’s definitely been to more than 13 places. But I thought of it late at night while she was sleeping and I couldn’t get the list.

4. 13 things that are stressing me out – This is a busy spring for me. And since it takes me a long time to get things done I have to think waaaaay ahead. But listing everything I need to do between now and June just wouldn’t be mentally healthy.

5. 13 reasons to have animals – Mine are getting old which equates to sick. With a sick kitty and a sick dog (who’s shedding small chihuahuas every day) there’s not much I really like about them right now.

6. 13 things on the stickies around my desk – And before you ask, yes, there are more than 13. But most of them would embarrass me to share.

7. 13 things on my dining room table – Umm … this is just so sad … you so don’t want to go there.

8. 13 things I need to do before convention – Next week I’m going to the New England Conference in Massachusetts. My to-do list is as long as my arm. *sigh* You just don’t want to know.

9. 13 things I do to relax – Sadly, I couldn’t come up with a full list. I need to get a life.

10. 13 of my favorite videos – For some reason, juggling these videos and getting my blog to recognized all 13 codes at the same time is enough for me to pull my hair out. But here’s one that just cracks me up…

11. 13 cliches – My writing group is talking about avoiding cliches in writing. But then it would mean searching for 13 new sexy guys. Which I don’t mind so much, but I just didn’t want to bore you with more handsome hunks.

12. 13 things I love about summer – There’s still snow outside my window. It’s going away a centimeter at a time, but not fast enough for my liking. Thinking about summer right now would just make me yearn for those warmer temps and stretch out this icky time of year.

13. 13 of my favorite shows – I watch two. “Amazing race” and “Survivor”. Not really a full list.

I live with a pack rat. It’s not me … really! The man wants to save everything “just in case”. My mission then becomes to keep these trinkets in some semblence of order. When I was well I had garage sales and pawned off a lot of his stuff to others who find a thrill in buying useless things for a quarter.

Anyway, today I mined through one of my 5 drawers … all three layers and this is what I found:

1. Shoelaces – Not in packages, just sort of loose in the drawer.

/p>

2. Pens and Pencils – 5 bundles in elastic bands. 3 packs of unopened pens. What? Do I think Bic is going out of business?

3. 4 protractors – 2 of them are unopened! I guess I want to make sure I can find a new angle to my plot. 

4. 2 packs nylon ties (in various sizes) – I’m prepared in case one of my villains shows up at my door.

5. 3 packs gluesticks – Okay, I totally did this one. Little Boy Blue had a project and we had no glue sticks. I stomped into WalMart at 10 o’clock at night sputtering and swore we’d never run out of gluesticks again!

6. 2 self-adhesive hooks – umm, I have no idea why I would think I need these. (At least they don’t look like this …)

7. 5 jackknives – Yeah, 5 of them. Including two leathermen tools. The man has two in his glovebox and there are a couple downstairs on his workbench. I think they’ve all been given to him. He doesn’t hunt or fish … can’t help you there.

(This is the kind of leatherman I wouldn’t
mind having in my junk drawer.)

8. 4 small screwdrivers – A couple with flatheads. A couple phillips head. They do come in handy. I use them all the time. Just don’t ask me why they’re in the third layer.

9. Eyeglass repair kit – With all 5 of us wearing glasses this unfortunately sees a lot of action. It’s a couple of teeny-tiny screws. The optomitrist rolled his eyes when I said I wanted my screw back after he repaired my glasses. Hey, it’s not like I’ve got extra.

(Come to Mama … let me check your screws)

10. 5 rulers – But none of them have centimeters. Who makes a ruler in this day in age without metric?

11. Electric hair clippers – Used once by the man on my son. But when my beautiful baby was left bald, I threw them in the junk drawer and we now use them for the dog!

12. Key rings – All attached together with several keys hanging off them. This is not me! I can’t see saving keys if you don’t know what they go to. But my beloved believes you just might find some locked box and these keys will magically open the pirates booty!

13. 2 tape measures – The kind with advertisements on them. My man attends all kinds of health fairs. You wouldn’t believe the treasures he finds!

Thursday Thirteen is a meme where you get to know a little more about me. So this week I’m going to share with you 13 things that are within arms reach of my computer.

1. The man. Well, not all day, but he spends the evenings next to me on the couch while I write, email, or goof around on the computer. (Sometimes he helps me with a little research 😉 )

2. The phone. I’m on the national “no call” list and still my name is on so many calling lists it drives me insane. I got tired of getting up to check the caller ID in the other room. I keep this little number right next to me.

3. The dog. Since I started working from home, she is wherever I am. No kidding. I love her, but when I get up to pee, does she really have to follow me into the bathroom? I feel like I have little children all over again.

4. Notebooks and paper. I keep notebooks on all my books where I keep pictures and notes of my characters and the places they live. Sometimes for inspiration and sometimes to help me remember if the building is made of brick or logs or whether my hero has blue eyes or brown. (Did I mention my office assistant helps keep them in order?)

5. The TV remote. No, I don’t flip stations, but if I’m not writing I like to have the TV on for entertainment. I’ve completely fallen in love with the “Bonnie Hunt” show. I’m trying to convince her she wants me on as a guest… I’ll keep you posted.

6. My webcam. With Beautiful Girl in Italy we “Skype” nearly every day. It’s kind of funny, we talk more with her an ocean away than we ever did when she lived in Massachusetts.

7. An afghan (and a sweater). I’m cheap. I keep the heat really low during the day when it’s just me. Needless to say … it’s been a looooong winter!

8. A coaster. During the morning I drink the better part of a pot of decaf Hazelnut coffee and my cup sits on that coaster. In the afternoon I drink hotwater. In the evening it usually entertains a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. I like my coaster.

9. Pens and sticky notes. If you’ve ever seen my desk you’d know why these have to be so close. I write on them constantly. Sticky notes cover the edge of my two shelves and the side of my computer tower. And I still miss appointments.

10. One of two cats. We have three of them. But there are two that jockey for my attention. The youngest used to sleep in my lap until he got too fat to fit. Now he has to find his own place to hang out.

11. A metal case full of poker chips. They’re not mine. The man went through a period of time where he was addicted to some kind of poker and the kids bought it for him. It doesn’t fit in the game closet so it ended up next to my desk.

12. Beautiful Girl and Baby Girl’s college class schedules. I like to know where they’re at and what they’re studying.

13. Print outs of all my book covers which brings me to the newest! Did you see I got the cover for the Hearts Afire anthology which includes my vampire firefighter novella, Shadows of Fire? It’s coming out in May from Liquid Silver Books! April Martinez is the cover goddess!

I’m having one of those weeks when the stars seemed to have aligned to conspire against me. I’m behind in everything. This week I’m listing 13 reasons why I’m late with the blog and why there are no pictures to go with it!

1. Some stooopid virus seems to have infected my computer and it freezes every 5 minutes.

2. I travelled last weekend (and someone used my computer … which probably explains #1) and that always puts me behind.

3. January is when I pull together all the tax stuff for my personal account and business stuff AND all three of my children. This means cleaning out the old folders and making new and … well, trust me when I say it’s a job that keeps going.

4. Ditto the above for the medical bills.

5. I’m making a couple of book trailers for some authors. It should be wham bam quick and easy … but refer to #1 and you’ll understand why I’m pulling my hair out.

6. Furry, Fluffy, and Wild won the Love Romance Cafe award for best anthology for 2008. I’m stoked! But that means I spent time surfing around shouting the good news. (You can see the winners button over the book cover.)

7. Beautiful Girl leaves for Italy in 4 days. I’m trying to help her get things organized. (Like making sure her tax forms are signed.)

8. I’m working on edits for Divine Deception and learning how to use tracking for the first time. (It’s not hard, it’s just new to me.)

9. There’s still laundry to do and dinners to cook. (And Little Boy Blue is doing swim team for the first time which creates more of the first and requires larger quantities of the second.)

10. Our router isn’t working so two children don’t have internet access. Which means I’m sharing computer time with them. Oh, and did I happen to mention the flipping thing ISN’T WORKING RIGHT!

11. I’m going through my calendar and trying to catch up on interviews and guest blogs for people coming here and me go other places and it’s just not working. On top of that, I’m supposed to be writing another novella. That one’s been taking a back seat … which is baaaad.

12. I’m doing a presentation for my writer’s group on writing novellas in February and I’m a little freaked out about it because I’m really not sure how I do it. (And it’s bigger than that … not the teaching part … well, let’s just say it’s freaking me out.)

13. I’m finally getting a chance to read Twilight and it’s keeping me up late at night and DH is complaining that the bedside light is on too late and I should have been writing or doing my blog instead of that.

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So I’ve been laying back for the last couple of weeks. But it’s back in the saddle this week. I don’t post goals for the coming year … avoid it like the plague. But I thought I could open 2009 with my favorite moments of 2008. Here’s the top 13 in no particular order.

1. Road trip in the summer to go visit Beautiful Girl. (We saw lots of other people during that weekend, but seeing number one child topped it off.)

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2. Getting my contracts. Each and everyone of them made me smile. Okay, and a couple of times I wept with joy. But I’m queer that way.

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3. All the new friends I’ve met online. I can’t believe how much the internet has opened up my circle of friends. Hugs to everyone. You know who you are.

4. Speaking at the library luncheon for seniors (as in retired). Those ladies were a hoot. I brought PG excerpts of my books and they wanted to know where the heat was.

5. Going to the Highland Games in Canada. We’ve been wanting to go for a really long time and finally just bit the bullet and made the reservations. DH and I would totally do it again. Baby Girl and Little Boy Blue … not so much.

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6. Every month I made it down south to be with my home girls. The Maine Writer’s chapter of RWA is a kick-butt group of writers. I’m so happy I found them.

7. Picking up Little Boy Blue from engineering camp. He got to spend 3 days at the state university where he wants to go to school and learned all about the engineering profession. Riding 3 hours home from the camp was a chance for us to have a nice visit and I think I learned all the naughty things those high school seniors did. (My lips are sealed!)

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8. The record breaking winter of 2008. More snow than northern Maine has seen in … like ever! I didn’t say I enjoyed it. I simply said it was memorable.

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9. Spending 3 days with my critique partner at her house just talking writing and brainstorming plots. I was in heaven! Hugs, Jen!

10. Having a chance to ride a hot air balloon. DH insisted. I’ve always wanted to do it and it was beyond what I expected! After skydiving, it’s my favorite flying (or is it falling) activity.

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11. Snowmobiling with DH. Okay, so if you look at my blogs from last winter there was more downs than ups. Still the Maine woods in the middle of winter are beautiful. And one always needs good stories about your significant other. Those trips totally added to my repetoire.

12. Visiting with my family. My sister (in-laws), my mom (and in-law), my dad, my brothers (in-laws), nephews, neices, you name it … I love seeing them all. It’s the best part of making the looooong trip home.

SExpressions 8/08
Oh, that’s not my family. It’s just a lovely summer picture … don’t you think?

13. The Kiss of Death writer’s retreat in Oct. Now that was an awesome retreat that I enjoyed from the moment the valet parked my car until I had to say goodbye. I can’t recommend this retreat enough. It’s in New Mexico next year. And if I can afford it, I’m going!

AWB

This week I thought I’d share with you my working space. (Don’t laugh … this is the real thing!)

1. Sticky notes to remind me of deadlines, book notes, books on TBB list, and weekly appointments (because I tend to forget these things when I’m writing.)

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2. A mug with my kids’ picture on it to hold my pens and pencils. (Notice the troll pencil!)

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3. Binders on the floor next to me with notes and pictures of heroes, heroines, and research info for my WIPs and series stories.

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4. A six pack … for those times when I need a little inspiration.

5. Another pair of eyeglasses specifically for the computer. 

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6. Lists of all my passwords and usernames for internet places I visit … and there’s enough to fill a bulletin board.

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7. Burned CDs with all my books. And one graphic CD for doing the monthly newsletter for my local RWA chapter

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8. All my beautiful book covers.

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9. Phones: The cordless house phone and my cell phone with blue tooth so I can keep typing even while I’m chatting. 

10. My zip drive. Because one form of backup is just not enough.

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11. Oliver … yep that’s our formerly sick kitty and he’s feeling much better, which means … he constantly wants my attention.

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12. Pads of paper for taking notes and keeping daily word and page count totals.

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13. And of course … I keep my computer tech really close in case I need … well … anything. 😉

So this week I thought I’d share with you 13 things that were overheard in the Kara/Nina house …

1. I know it’s 11:00 Mom, but I just remembered I have an essay due in English Comp. tomorrow.

2. Thank you for folding the laundry, honey, but that’s the DIRTY clothes hamper.

3. I said we kissed. I didn’t say we were dating.

4. Every architect student should spend a semester in Italy … the experience is worth the exorbitant cost!

5. Which scene are we re-enacting tonight?

6. Where’s the Vick’s Vapo-rub? The cat sounds like she’s dying.

7. No, I don’t think asking for a $300 IPod for my birthday is unreasonable.

8. It’s pneumonia … it happens a lot with stray kittens. They should only have to keep him at the vet’s 3 or 4 days. Add the cost of antibiotics … and does it really matter? We love him … right?

9. I think you should bump up the cable package to include the sports channels for Little Boy Blue for his birthday … I think he’d like that.  

10. No, I didn’t turn the ringer off on my phone while I was at school. And yes, I will have to have a 3 hour Saturday detention. (And BTW, would you mind springing my phone from the office?)

11. But the stairs work so much better than my bureau for storing clean clothes.

12. I know that special shampoo is $10 a bottle. That’s why I asked you to buy it.

13. Yes they’re flowers. Why? Because 32 years ago today I asked you to go steady with me in high school and you said “yes”.

This week’s thirteen is compliments of Little Boy Blue who works at a local (sorta fast food) restaurant. It’s this cafeteria type place where you order and pay for your food and then it’s delivered to your table and there’s self-service drinks and salad bar.

In the three years he’s been there he’s worked himself up from dishwasher to grill-guy. (It’s a steak restaurant.) Though he often still has to fill in as the salad bar guy or take orders.

Anyway … here are thirteen things that annoy restaurant employees (umm … teenagers).

1. People who break plates or kids who spill soda. Then you have to clean it up with a bucket and mop and it’s just annoying.

2. When customers arrive 5 minutes before closing and order “the all you can eat” special.

3. Ordering steak tips at the end of the night when you’ve already cleaned both the pan and the grill.

4. Getting paid crap to do crap. (Umm … that’s a quote!)

5. Inability for customers to do anything on their own, like asking for a glass when they’re stacked next to the soda machine.

6. Nasty people who are angry at you … even when you’re not doing anything more than breathing in their direction.

7. People who leave money on the table as if they’re going to leave a tip, but then take it with them when they leave.

8. When you’re dumping the trash and the barrel bows and bounces back, pouring rotten food all over you.

9. When other people park in your “employee of the month” space (next to the door) because you work part time in the winter.

10. When you have no idea how to use the cash register, but you’re the only one near it when someone’s ready to cash out and you have to apologize and walk away.

11. When your manager asks you to do complex simple math in your head (like 4 X 343) and you do it because he can’t. (It’s just annoying.)

12. When you’re ready to punch out and they ask you to refill the tarter sauce (or the butter or whatever).

13. Dropping a plate in front of a loud group of older gentlemen who harangue and joke for the next hour while you work the dining area.

Sometimes my mind just doesn’t engage. And this is one of those weeks when I’m just not feeling it. So here’s a list of thirteen things I considered for my Thursday Thirteen, but just fell flat.

1. I really wanted to give you 13 reasons I hate the elections in the US. Okay, I totally came up with like 9 … mostly because I’m jealous of Canada who began their election season last month and finished it two days ago. They sooooo know how to do elections right!

2. Oh, the man and I have had one of those weeks … you know the ones. He talks. I talk. No one listens. Yeah, that sucks. I thought about writing a list of rules from the woman’s play book, but he doesn’t read it anyway … why bother?

3. Since it’s October I thought it would be fun to do a list of sexy ways to use a pumpkin. Sorry, besides this one … it just ain’t happening folks.

4. Since my latest WIP involves some bondage, I thought I’d entertain you with thirteen interesting ways to tie up your partner. But I couldn’t find enough interesting pictures. I’m thinking I need to get rid of the filter on my Google searches. 

5. Well, speaking of WIP, I could have gone the whole cowboy route, because there’s cowboys in it also. But since I do that so often I was sure you wouldn’t want to see more of this …

6. Then I researched some cute Halloween costumes. But they all expected me to be this cute little size 3 … um, yeah … I was a size 3 once … in my dreams!

7. Then I wanted to list all the reasons I find the fall so depressing. But too many of you love this season. It just seemed so wrong. And when it looks this beautiful in Maine, how can I disagree?

8. We had a little kitten show up at our door last week and I forgot how much babies need attention. I’m loving having him here, but he’s all over my keyboard and begging for me to play with him and taking time from my writing. So I thought I’d show you 13 pictures of our new baby … but then I’d actually have to take them and that is soooo not happening! (This is not a picture of our new “Oliver”, but it’s really close … and if he looks like someone you lost … forget about asking for him back… he’s found a new home!)

9. Of course giving you a list of television programs I watch no matter what would be an easy one. IF I actually had 13 programs I watched. But with limited cable in northern Maine, besides “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” there’s not much more I watch during the week.

10. Then there’s the whole cliche of 13 of my favorite types of heros. But you’re so tired of me showing pictures of men in kilts … I just couldn’t do that to you again.

11. Lots of people tell you the songs on their IPod. This would require two things. 1) That I actually listen to music while I write and 2) that I own an IPod. I don’t do either. I’m such a geek!

12. Like all mothers, my children have been driving me insane. I love them, but sometimes I’d just like to give them a list of all the reasons they’re slowly sending me to the looney bin. I just don’t think they’d appreciate it!

13. And last but not least … I saved you from the 13 ugliest dogs I happened to catch on the Sunday morning news program. You just didn’t want to be subjected to that!

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