Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Can we say... I spoke too soon? Hmmmm?


Oh my God... I just had to ask what else could happen? The good news.... I survived the ice storm. Yaaay. The bad news is my power went out at 2:30 pm on Saturday and didn't come back on until Monday morning some time (I'm not sure exactly when because I was at work at the library). But thankfully, I'm not one of those people who are STILL without power, and there are a few.

I stayed in a motel Sunday night because the cold started to get to me, and I had to go to work on Monday. If I had to work, I wanted to get a good night sleep someplace warm. Now, granted, it was only in the 50s inside the house Sunday afternoon, but BRRRRRR that's cold.

Not only that, but it was torture to be without power. No TV. No computer...talk about withdrawal. The lack of information sucked!!! I'm a librarian, but my only way to get info was calling friends in town to find out if they had power. "Have you been watching TV? Do they say when power might come back?" No one knew. I tried to get batteries to put in a boombox I had - I got the batteries but the boombox wouldn't work. Damn! Never again. With the predictions for a blizzard in Iowa later this week (AFTER the ice last week) I've gone out to buy a small radio and AA batteries to use with it. I just hope I don't need the radio.

Some friends brought me food Sunday afternoon, and I finally caved and made room reservations at a local motel. Fortunately, there were rooms available. After a toasty warm Sunday evening during which I ignored the Oscars, I debated making reservations on Monday. I took an early lunch break at 11am and checked the house again - Power...blessed power! I went to the motel, got my stuff, got my cat, and came home. I love electricity.

I'll let you know how the upcoming blizzard weekend goes.... Keep your fingers crossed the power stays on. I sure will!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I been sick.....


That's twice this month! First I was sick Feb 7-9 with the flu. Now, this week I ended up with a sore throat and sinus thing that has me dragging. What else is going to happen? Sheesh!


Yeah, I'm whining, but so would you if you'd been felled like this. I sure hope I feel better soon! I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I got the Blues...


I got the blues. Why? Because last night was the second concert in a series of blues music concerts I arranged at my library. I LOVE the blues, and I love having the blues. :-) We've had two incredible performances and I'm looking for a couple more out of the month.

Last year was the first concert series we did and I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it or not. I liked R&B and soul music, but I didn't know if I'd really get into the blues. I did. The performances last year were stellar and this year, just as fabulous. Who knew we had such amazingly talented blues musicians in Iowa, of all places? We do, though.

Blues is also fantastic inspiration for writing. There's always someone who's been done wrong, and blues is filled with the proverbial "black moment" romance writers are trying to write successfully. Not only that, but musicians have to write that "black moment" with a minimum of words while doing it lyrically.

It's been most instructive. Course it's also just been fun. People of all ages trooping to the library, sitting in an audience with heads bobbing in appreciation of some inspiring music. What more could you ask for? Not a thing!

Monday, February 5, 2007

I thought I was done with homework!


Okay, so I go to school for YEARS. I get my associates degree, my B.A. and then finally, I get my Master of Arts in Library Science. I figured I was all done with homework at that point. Au contraire, mes amis. And I did it to myself! I thought learning how to fly an airplane would be confined to climbing into the cockpit of a plane with some take-offs and landings for entertainment.

Nope. I have ground school! I go to the airport, sit with my instructor and other students and go over a textbook and test questions! We play flying jeopardy - thankfully my instructor is much cuter than Alex Trebek (much younger and has a girlfriend too, but that's another column). The weird thing is...I enjoy ground school. I like learning about charts and air space and weather because it's cool. You know I actually learned about how an engine works? I'm forty-something and I didn't really get how engines worked until now. I drove my car with nary a clue to what made it go - other than putting expensive gasoline in so the engine would run.

I finally understand what they mean by "use it or lose it." My brain is starting to work better since I've been forcing myself to learn new things. I'm remembering better, this from a woman who'd been worried about her brain leaking like a sieve, and it feels good. I hesitate to admit it, but I feel younger too. I don't LOOK younger, but I feel younger which is a nice feeling.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Stroke of Midnight Deadline Extended

Passionate Ink's 2006 Stroke of Midnight Contest
Deadline: Extended to 2/19/07

ALL ENTRANTS WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO RECEIVE ONE OF FIVE FREE REGISTRATIONS TO A PASSIONATE INK WORKSHOP OF THEIR CHOICE.

REMEMBER THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT CONTEST IS OPEN TO ALL AUTHORS, PUBLISHED (as long you haven't been published in the category you are entering.) AND UNPUBLISHED.

Make the first 35 pages of your novel so compelling that an editor has to have more!

Five Sizzling Finalists in Four Categories:

Contemporary - novels with erotic elements that focus on the developing romantic relationship in a contemporary setting. Includes series and single-title length romances. Can also include elements of romantic suspense/intrigue.

Historical - novels with erotic elements that focus on the developingromantic relationship in a historical setting.

Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi - novels with erotic elements that focus on the developing romantic relationship in any setting in the future, an alternate world/reality, or another planet. Includes elements such as elves/faerie, sword and sorcery, aliens, etc.

Paranormal/Time Travel - novels with erotic elements that focus on the developing romantic relationship in any setting that includes elements of time travel, angels, vampires, werewolves or other paranormal themes.

All entries must be at least 25,000 words in their completed form. No novellas accepted.

Judging and Prizes:The top five finalists in each category will be ranked by the following industry professionals:

Contemporary: To Be Determined
Historical: Allison Brandau, Berkley
Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi: Raelene Gorlinsky, Ellora's Cave
Paranormal/Time Travel: Rose Hilliard, St. Martin's Press

First place winners in each category will receive a free one year membership in Passionate Ink ($25 value) and a certificate. (Writing teams will split the membership.) All other finalists will receive certificates.

All entries will be returned after finalists are determined and statistical information is complete. Winners will be announced at the Passionate Ink gathering at the Romance Writers' of America National Conference in Dallas. Results will be listed on the Passionate Ink website and in the chapter's newsletter.

Email questions to Marie at strokeofmidnight@passionateink.org

Rules, Fees, and entry information can be found at: http://www.passionateink.org/contests

Plot Cliches 3 - "To Do" list of the Evil Bitch Other Woman

Now we all need a villain. Who better than a gorgeous, sophisticated but shallow other woman. The bitch! But the Evil Bitch Other Woman has an agenda. Torturing the heroine both mentally and physically are at the top of that "To Do" list. So here it is...
The “To Do” list of every evil bitch other woman…
  1. Lock the heroine into a dank and gloomy, dungeon, attic, wine cellar or other musty cobweb filled location.
  2. Tell the heroine she is ugly, fat, skinny, short, or gawky so she feels inferior to my physical perfection and desirability.
  3. Slip into the hero’s bed nude while he is showering, just in time for the heroine to burst into the room to talk to him.
  4. Make sure the hero sees I’m really a bitch so he can fall more in love with the heroine.
  5. Claim to be pregnant with the hero's baby.
  6. Go shopping with the hero and heroine. Flirt with the hero to get him to buy me furs, designer clothes and jewelry, while the heroine reluctantly yet meekly accepts the hero’s lordly gift offerings, thereby offering the hero a clear comparison between the golddigger (me) and the woman who loves him for himself (the heroine).

These are just a few overused ideas which drive readers nuts. However, just like the hero and heroine list , I've seen authors use these cliches and really fly with them. I knew they were a cliche, but I bought it anyway. And yes, I admit it. I've used them myself. Who among us is without sin on this point? No one. Feel free to add more cliches to the comment section.

Software Upgrade? New blog location!!!

I can hear you asking, why are you on blogger instead of your old location? You had a perfectly good location before! In two words?

Software Upgrade…

Didn’t blogger recently have a new upgrade to their systems? Yup. I logged in, created a google account with an existing e-mail address I had, then the software did the upgrade. No fuss, no muss. I like those kinds of upgrades.

My old blog was maintained with WordPress. I like WordPress, you can do some cool stuff with it. However, they recently instituted a system upgrade. Now I could stay at the old version indefinitely, but then I wouldn't get new capabilities and possible bug fixes. So I checked out the upgrade instructions.

First do a backup. Now this is always good advice, but I haven’t done this kind of backup in years. I’m not a technology librarian for a reason! So I get the backup done - I think. Then I read further. Go to the FTP server and locate such and such a directory. Delete these named files (which I’m not gonna name here) then upload these other files.

Huh?

Now, I may have been a technogeek back in the late 80s/early 90s. I could scoot around MS-DOS like Harry Potter can fly a broom, but it’s been years! And years… And years…. You get the picture.

I looked at my blog. It was pitifully short. I didn’t have tons of entries to transfer. However if I stayed there too much longer, I would. I already use blogger as a public services librarian. My library has a blog (which I created - tooting my own horn here). I know how to use blogger and damn it’s simple. Not only that, but it looks good. The designs are somewhat limited, but manageable. So I switched.

However, I didn’t want to abandon my other blog entirely in case someone had bookmarked the location. (If you did, thank you). I left a redirect. A compass for the directionally challenged (of which I am one). Yes, the directionally challenged is learning to fly a plane. I have a VERY brave flight instructor.

For the record, I didn’t disappear in a flash of smoke. I was not carried off by an alpha male, no matter how much I might want to be. No, I just moved. Blogger is my new home. Visit me here often. Make comments. Have conversations. It’ll be great.

P.S. If you’ve taken the time to comment on my other blog, I want to thank you. I haven’t figured out how to port comments to the new blog. But if I could figure it out, I would do it. If anyone knows how - please post instructions. Remember... Short simple sentences non-technogeeks can understand.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Breaking News - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Book 7


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, book 7, will be released at 12:01 a.m. (just after midnight) on July 21, 2007. I am really looking forward to the book release! Don't expect to talk to me on the 21st or the 22nd. I'll be reading.
BTW, I will be Siriusly ticked if JK kills off Harry.
For more info, check out Scholastic's Web site

Plot Cliches Part Deux - Heroes too stupid to live…

I’m all about equal rights or in this case equal stupidity. Today let us visit heroes who should be removed from the gene pool, preferably by drowning.

Things I’d do if I were a hero too stupid to live…
  1. Order the heroine around instead of talking to her as if she possesses a brain capable of cognitive functioning.
  2. Assume any male she has a conversation with, or hugs, is her lover, when it is more likely he is her brother (or father).
  3. Kidnap the heroine to have her all to myself for no apparent reason (other than as a plot device).
  4. View the heroine as a whore because she is sexually active, but praise past lovers as vibrant sensual women.
  5. Refuse to tell the heroine I think she’s hot, even though I get a hard on every time she’s in the same room with me.
  6. Keep some deep dark secret from the heroine because a.) I want to protect her. b.) I don’t think she’d understand.


That’s just a few to get you started. Feel free to list your pet peeves for heroes in the comment section. Tomorrow, the evil bitch other woman’s “To Do” list…

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Plot Cliches - heroines too stupid to live

I put out a chapter or two for critique. At one point (fortunately it was one comment about one thing), my critter said “if your heroine says this she is too stupid to live,” or words to that effect. It got me thinking about plot cliches. We’ve all read them. It doesn’t matter which genre you read or write, cliches abound.

I remember running across a great Web site a few years back (a LOT of years back, but who’s counting). The first time I read it, I was laughing so hard tears rolled down my cheeks and I managed to make it to the bathroom before peeing my pants, but it was a near thing. I don’t go quite that silly over it anymore, but it still has the power to make me laugh. Visit ”The Top 100 Things I’d Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord” by Peter Anspach and you will begin to understand the mental workings of an evil genius.

In the spirit of the Evil Overlord and as a nod to my critique partner, here is my start to a new compilation list:

Things I’d do if I were a heroine too stupid to live…
  1. Who cares about condoms? STDs or pregnancy have no power over me.
  2. I solemnly promise to disappear pregnant with the hero’s baby without bothering to ask the hero if what the evil bitch other woman told me was true.
  3. I shall allow a minor misunderstanding to become a major issue, when a simple conversation would have cleared matters up on page 10.
  4. I will always believe that a man who treats me like crap is a wounded soul who will be made whole solely because I love him.
  5. His overprotective mother will love me someday - ditto on dad.
  6. If the hero’s overly controlling father offers me money to get out of his life, I'll take it. He deserves someone better than me anyway. codicil: If he truly loves me, he’ll hunt me down someday.
  7. If I have a deep dark secret, I will allow some asshole to hold it over my head so that I betray the man I love (aka- the hero). After all, he’ll forgive me because he loves me.


These are just a few. Feel free to add on your own and be thinking. Coming soon to a blog near you, actions of a hero too stupid to live!