Category Archives: books

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I hit my writing goal for July . . . LAST NIGHT! It’s been a long time since I’ve even attempted National Novel Writing Month, but I signed up for Camp NaNo this year and set a pretty high goal for myself. I can only write for about fifteen minutes at a time (a bit longer if I’ve just been to the chiropractor) so I’m excited to have hit my goal at all – let alone hit it early.  Here’s my prize:

No, I’m not kidding. I’m damn proud to be a validated winner and will be changing my personal FB profile pic momentarily! Also, I get 50% off any Scrivener product – I’ll be buying the Windows version since I’m addicted to the mechanical keyboard my sons gave me. So tell me, Scrivener users, what are your favorite components? Should I download a how-to book before I start using it or just dive in?

I’ve still got a few important scenes to get out of my head and into the MS, and one lingering awkward transition to figure out. Then I get to check the strength and placement of my hooks and do a read-through aloud. I haven’t done that before, but I’ve been told it’s a great way to find mistakes that would be missed otherwise.

And since I write erotica I’ll be reading when I’m the only one home and all windows are shut tight. Any erotica readers willing to be Beta readers when I get this ready?


Pet Peeves

Anyone who knows me well knows about my pet peeves. I’m nearly as OCD as a high school band director, but without as much patience. Here are just my top ten.

  1. Do NOT interrupt anyone else while they are speaking.  My sweet husband is bad about this, so if I’ve been interrupted three times trying to say something important I just leave the room. Someday the house may be on fire, but he won’t realize it because he interrupts me at “The house is. . .” and rambles on for a while.
  2. Poor grammar, spelling, or punctuation. This is unacceptable in this day and age. We have spell check on our PHONES! Please do not put misspelled or grammatically incorrect phrases on your marquee. I will never go there for anything. Ever. Same with emails, internet ads, and flyers.
  3. Don’t assume I’m an idiot because I’m female. I truly didn’t think this still occurred until my husband’s newly-replaced rear window in his convertible shattered the very first time I put it down. Actually, I thought it should have been replaced free of charge since it was clearly mounted too tightly. But no. I called to get an estimate for yet another replacement. The price they quoted ME was TWICE the price they quoted my husband a day or two later.
  4. Don’t give me parenting advice if you aren’t a parent. A former step-brother used to do this when my eldest was about three. He gave me constant suggestions on what I should say or do. My eldest son was in a Ninja Turtles phase and liked to bounce around pretending he was a TMNT. He’s 26 now, and that was about as wild as he ever got. Last time I saw that ex-step-brother he was on my family farm looking for UFOs. Multiple religious sects rejected him. Thankfully, he has never fathered a child.
  5. Never say, “I know how you feel” unless you are in constant pain, are no longer able to practice in your career field, and have watched all your plans, hopes, and dreams dissolve in front of you.
  6. When I’m angry or frustrated do not pat me and say, “Now, now.” One of my father-in-law’s girlfriends (while my dear mother-in-law was still alive) did this the first time I met her. There’s really no coming back from that.
  7. Don’t insult my housekeeping or my pets. One sister-in-law (after I’d kept her dog for a week for free) insisted her husband call to tell us her dog had gotten fleas while at our house. My dogs didn’t have fleas, but I keep them on their flea/tick meds year-round because we have a very large, woodsy back yard. She clearly got over it, since we ended up taking care of the sweet pup every time they left town until he passed away – all for free.  Another sister-in-law called me up the weekend after Thanksgiving to tell me that their family would be unable to attend any gatherings at my home because with my dogs (two chocolate labs at that time) and my poor housekeeping skills her children had horrible allergic reactions. I apologized, and said I hoped to see her at a family gathering somewhere else in the future. Guess what? There was a New Year’s Eve party that year she really wanted to go to, but couldn’t find a baby sitter. They asked if WE could watch their kids overnight. Hmmm, so your children’s health ranks a bit below your social schedule? Or does your need to insult me rank higher than either of those?
  8. Speakerphone. It’s great! I use it so I don’t accidentally hang up on someone because of my tremor. But DO NOT do it professionally or about sensitive family matters when you’re not alone. I can hear that other person, or other people in the background. I don’t want to speak to random people. If I called YOU I want to speak with YOU. Not everyone who happens to be in the room with you. Common courtesy demands that you announce you’re on speaker-phone at the beginning of the conversation.
  9. As a nurse, spouses or adult children speaking FOR the patient. If a doctor or nurse asks the patient a question, they want the patient’s answer first. If you have something to add wait until the patient stops speaking.  And if you’re a spouse, NEVER bring up your own health issues. Talk to your own doctor on your own time (even if you both have the same doctor).
  10. Apathetic salespeople. My nineteen-year-old son told me he appreciates people ‘being real’ while working at a fast-food place, a movie theater, or a restaurant.  I was just stunned. At the very least I expect someone to whom I’m giving my money to smile and say please and thank you. Even on the phone. I know for a fact people can tell if you’re smiling while you’re talking on the phone. Common courtesy should be extended to EVERYONE. Of course my youngest is always terribly embarrassed when I’m walking out of a store with my cane (bad pain day) and hold the door open for some 15yo hoodlum. I yell, “You’re welcome!” with a smile. Most of the time the young man or woman will be embarrassed and say ‘thank you’. But many don’t, and some even mumble obscenities. #sadworldwelivein

What are your pet peeves? Please share, so I don’t feel like such a prissy-pants!

Bibliophile Spring Cleaning

Today I will . . . That’s the Mama Kat writing prompt I’m going with this week.

Today normal people are probably doing Spring Cleaning. They are washing windows, cleaning out closets, washing baseboards, and perhaps even alphabetizing their canned goods. I’ve never claimed to be normal. I do alphabetize my spices, but only because I have so many of them and no patience.

Instead of Spring Cleaning (which I really should be doing) I’m reorganizing my bookshelves. Yes, I buy nearly all the books I read in Kindle format and read them on my iPad. I also borrow a lot of library books in both print and eBook. But I still buy my favorite authors in hardback, and I buy local authors in hardback/softcover so I can get them signed. There are books in every single room of my home except the bathrooms. The rattiest shelves are the ones with books the whole family enjoys: Harry Potter and Stephanie Plum, to be specific!

Earlier this year my husband’s aunt passed away. She was an incredible woman, and her home reflected that. I have wonderful memories of visiting her with my mother-in-law and thinking that being there was my version of heaven. We sat and drank tea, talking about fifty different topics within a two-hour visit! Every single room (except the bathroom) was a library. Every wall in every room was covered with shelves. After she passed away her children opened the main house to family and friends, letting them take whatever books most appealed to them. I couldn’t go that day (damn F*$%ing pain), but was blessed with an opportunity to go a few weeks later. Her collection was eclectic, to say the least!

My youngest son, John, drove me over. He’d been at the memorial service, and so was already familiar with the house. I’d warned him in advance that the first-floor hallway had been narrowed by bookshelves on both sides, but since I’d been there she had also filled every closet with books! Her children had printed out hundreds of labels with her name, date of birth, and date of passing to be put into books taken home – that’s how she will best be remembered by generations of people.

I’m a bit OCD about my books. I’m about 95% Fiction, while my husband Michael is 100% History. Mine are all arranged by author, and then chronologically by year of publication. But the order of authors is pure favoritism. When Stephen King announced (several years ago) that he would continue writing but would not publish – well, I stopped giving him shelf space. Liar, liar, pants-on-fire!! He’s still publishing (for which I am very thankful), but now I need to spread his books out and move Anne Rice AND John Grisham. And since SK’s son, Joe Hill, is incredibly awesome he needs his own dedicated space.

I even have a special spot for local authors, most of which are signed First Editions. Every bookstore should have this, BTW, but odds are you’ll only find it at locally-owned shops. But that’s where you should be shopping anyway.

Tiffany Reisz gets her own section, which will expand exponentially now that I don’t have a teen boy in the house 24/7. I’ve read all of her books multiple times on Kindle, but the only print copies I had were from book signings I’d attended. Now I can indulge myself with print copies of all her books. I may even be able to get signed copies of all of them from a small bookstore near her home. YAY!

I was spoiled for many years by having a large, wonderful family-owned bookstore (Hawley-Cooke) five minutes away. All the employees were bibliophiles, and if they didn’t know how to find what a customer was looking for they took it as a personal challenge to find it. Better yet, I could tell any one of them what I liked and they’d introduce me to a new author in that genre. That’s particularly helpful in Children’s Books. If you like Richard Scarry you will not like Mo Willems. Mo Willems rocks, IMHO. And I have plenty of room to expand my collection for visiting kiddos:

What will YOU do today??

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