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Archive for May, 2012

Other than the fact that I’m a happy camper today? Yeah, I had to add that quantifier because tomorrow is another day.

Draft six, third complete revision, is in the hands of three people. They’re busy, shit happens, haven’t heard a word out of any of them about it (Feed me Seymour) except one who is a writer herself and on a deadline. She’ll get to it, I know, and so will everyone else. But… my shoulders proceeded to bunch up and a headache set in. Jeebus. I was nervous for like two days.

Was.

I’m not quite sure when, little by little, my shoulders began to lose the knots, but I started noticing it Sunday. I realized… I know where the weaknesses are – “ing” is the Devil, I know some of the things that need to be fixed – like the ending paragraphs that I’ve come to hate. If I start stressing over three people having it, then what’s it gonna be like the day – gods willing – that it goes to print? I’ll be puking, that’s what, but there’s no point in doing so now. Some of it’s pretty graphic, will they like it? Hate it? Curse me to my grave? Turn up their noses? Well, plenty of readers might feel that way, but there will be those who don’t. What’re they gonna’ say that’ll shock me? Nothing.

They’ll like it, or they won’t. I can’t control that. It sucks as a product, or it doesn’t. If it does, I can fix that.

*boom* There it is. The realization was liberating, and a lot less painful on my shoulders.

Then I came across a link on Facebook to this chick right here. Urban Fantasy Writer – Leigh Evans. Finally! Someone who writes UF and not romance. (No, I’m not knocking romance, but I seem to know an ass ton of romance writers of various flavors and finding a blog for someone who does UF was like the clouds parting and angels singing) I spent hours reading every single post on her blog. I didn’t miss a word. I was caught because, like me, she started a blog to chronicle her journey to publication. I snickered because she still puts herself through everything I put myself through now, and she’s got an agent and is contracted with St. Martin’s. Yep. She’s made “The Show”, and she’s still circling Writer’s Hell.

What I’m going through now won’t change if I manage to catch that brass ring. It was just what I needed to see.

I spent many, many a year writing and never submitting anything, anywhere, but in that time I developed worlds in excruciating detail. I have a lot of material to work with in future books in the series. Hmm, the more I read my MS, the less I’m convinced it’ll be commercially viable as it sits, but … I’m still going to write those books in a series and I’m happy about it, and, for the moment, not so stressed out as I’ve let myself become over the last year.

And that is the huge, honkin’ deal.

So, read Leigh’s book. It releases the day after Christmas. I know I will.

 

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Screaming Mandrake?

I know ya’ll remember this from Harry Potter. It’s the screaming Mandrake root. Keep that horrific thing in mind for a minute.

Because… I forgot yesterday to show you guys a pic of what we dug up in our back yard during the renovations.

While digging out a section of flower bed, we see this white-ish round thing, so we slow down and investigate because I think I know what it is and they’re nasty, nasty bastards. Try as I might, I can’t find what we Southerners call a “pig weed” anywhere on the net. My husband calls it that, so do I, and I’ve heard other people use the name, so I dunno. No amount of Google-Fu is working today.

Here’s a pic of the vine:

We normally get rid of these things as soon as we find them. This one has popped up this long in less than four days. Here’s a close up:

I have no idea what these things are really called, so I’ll describe the evilness of this POS.

The vines are covered in thorns from the get-go. It’s capable of reaching out over ten solid feet – or more – of mid-air to reach out and grab anything it can get to climb. The longest vine I’ve seen in the yard has run well, well over fifty feet up a tree – after having reached at least ten feet in the air, from a fence, to grab the pine’s needles and pull it’s way up. When they’re young, they’re delicate and lovely. When they’re older, the thorns become daggers. You can’t simply cut these things down, either. You must, must dig them up or they will simply grow right back. They’re horrible about just not going away. You must dig them up.

When you do, you will find a tuber shaped like a “pig”, and guess what? Even the freaking tubers have thorns.

Pig Weed.

So.

What we dug up was a tuber to a vine that had obviously been cut down again, and again, and again for gods only know how long. Luckily, I had the camera right inside the kitchen door.

This thing was at least a foot tall and easily just as wide.

The little swatches made it look like it was cocking a brow at us, wanting to know why the hell we disturbed it’s evil slumber.

I have no idea what the hubs did with it. I’m sure he threw it away, but the question is where? Did it get carted away with the yard waste, or did he toss it over into the woods? Is that what’s knocking down my hanging baskets?

Is it pissed?

I think I need a bigger gargoyle.

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Is it Sunday?

Why, yes. It is. So. Everybody go here. Done? Cool.

Following along the same lines, we’ll peek around the corner of the back door…

Sunrise over the koi pond.

Not bad, huh? Except for the grass – or lack thereof – in the yard. When I moved in, there was lush, lush grass everywhere because it had rained so much the previous summer. (Nia and I blamed all the rain on a very upset Abbott witch, and I still believe it to be true.) But that’s a project for the fall. Too hot down here, IMO, to risk sod until then. Oh, and there’s the issue of an algae bloom in the water. That algae is free-floating in the water, so it’s green right now. 😦  Don’t worry, it’s normal and we’ll get it fixed and I’ll finally be able to show you pics of the puppies in the pond.

The thing way out in the yard? That’s where the hubs wants to put the grill and the fire-thingy. That’s a technical term for the thing that I’ve forgotten the name of.  It still needs the “floor” done, but you just watch. I’ll end up with a lattice covered walk-way all the way out there, linking all this together.

Mark my word.

 Turn the corner…

That’s nice right there. I can even ignore the “no grass zone” in front of the flower bed.

Turn around…

We had a pair of Chinese (I think) dog statues (and that stone pagoda in the other pic) out front. They ended up back here. And, as you see, we did get the vinyl siding. Still have to paint around the door, etc.

Ignore the broken grill. The plant that hangs above it has fallen at least four times – two different plants, mind you – and it broke the grill. Funny enough, something also pushed a fern we had sitting on the filter/waterfall boxes into the pond. Still don’t know what’s going on with that, so I did this.

Igor

He’s the guard-goyle that once sat on my desk. He’s named after “Igor’s” in the Garden District. 

Ok, so I do have more reasons than just that for having him out there. The hubs is all about oriental decor, and with a koi pond it’s hard to argue. However, I’m all about Nola. I managed to get my banana trees included in the landscaping, and Igor kinda’ got snuck in on the side. *shh*

Note the pagoda sits across from my obelisk.

*ssh* Don’t tell the hubs. I don’t think he’s noticed yet.

I’m sure there’s an axe joke in here somewhere, but rest assured The Axe ™ is in the house.

*mine*

That’s my chair, complete with no cushions. Ask me if I care very much right now? When my butt starts getting sore from sitting there, I imagine I will, but not yet. The flower bed behind the chair is the last one that needs to be done, but if I waited until we finish that one I’d not be posting pics for another month and it’s already been two-and-a-half.

It kinda went crazy, this whole koi pond thing. It went from a pond to damned near an addition to the house. But… that’s fine. I kinda dig it. Today.

Ask me again when the hubs decides he wants to add something else to it. I’ve bashed my face in, been hit on the head by falling 2×4’s, and falling construction length levels have toppled to smash into my shoulder – same shoulder every time. *ouch*

Two words.

Worth. It. 

How can I resist throwing in a pic of a scuppernong vine that appears to have drops of blood on its leaf?

 Oh, wait. I have some new friends for you to meet.

To celebrate “THE FUCKING END”…

 

I’d wanted a bekko koi and I got one. (That’s the white one with black dots.) Granted, this little guy is not show quality, but ask me if I care. The other guy is darker when you look at him from above (like you’re supposed to in order to judge them), but I dig the stripes. And the blue. I call them the Wonder Twins. No, I’m not sure why, I just do.

Another funny? This was the last time I saw them. They slipped into the algae tinted water and were gone.

It’ll be so nice to see them again.

So. Now you see Astrea’s little slice of heaven.

Ya’ll never did help me with a name for the place. 😛

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69, 266 words…

If you count the last – sort of – four in a sentence which reads:

“THE FUCKING END. LOL! ”

Word counted “LOL!” as a word, so there. So will I. 😛

Yes, I know it has to go out to beta readers, and Nia has to finish her pass through, and more edits are likely, but…

THE FUCKING END. LOL!

One year and five days after I started the blog to track it all…

THE FUCKING END.

Now I’m gonna send this sucker off where it needs to go, write a couple of emails, change out of my yoga pants and slip into some blue jeans. I wanna celebrate by posting up pictures of the koi pond for the blog this weekend and generally wallowing on my husband in between. Might even buy myself a honey-coated bit of Turkish delight.

Shit.

I still need a real title.

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Named Ohm.

or…

Things I Did When I Wasn’t Here

I tend to get into conversations on Facebook when I really could be writing. Lucky for me, as of this moment no one I know is up yet today. But instead of writing, you guessed it! I’m here. So.

1) I’m banned from drinking coffee. I normally don’t drink it at all, but I overslept Saturday. I’m lazy, so here’s the status: I knew I shouldn’t have bought a large coffee this morning. I need to write – overslept – and so figured, what the hell? Of course, I’m not writing – I’m rambling on with Sinead and suddenly notice that the plastic coffee cup is split and has been secretly leaking… off the table, onto the chair and into a HUGE puddle on the floor. See, I don’t drink coffee, so I’m sure this is a sign that I shouldn’t ever again. Lesson: No more coffee. I was so spazzed out that I couldn’t concentrate to write. Whole morning blown.

2) Bought yard plants on the way home Friday. Lesson: Never buy plants on the way home on Friday. It will screw up all your plans to have your yard finished by Sunday because it’ll never be simple and be merely about getting the plants in the ground. It becomes a massive new project (and a three hour trip to Lowe’s on Saturday) and prevents you from having your planned Sunday blog with pictures of the finished backyard. 😦

3) I posted an article on Facebook about noises that made a girl ill and even angry. I think my child would agree that I have issues along those lines. Then one of my friends, Leia, told me to look up hyperacusis. I totally find that intriguing as I have this odd thing with my hearing. Everything on the right sounds as if it comes through a sea shell. Everything on the left sounds as if it comes from about ten-ish feet behind me and on a diagonal. I’ve had my hearing tested twice, once by a hearing aid place and once by an ENT. They tell me nothing is wrong with my hearing. Lesson: I’ve drawn a connection between my aversion to people being behind me – especially on my left – and hyperacusis. Thanks, Leia. 🙂 Secondary lesson: A lip smacking Buddhist crack squirrel named Ohm lives in my head. I should just thank Tammy for giving him a name and get used to it.

4) I’ve arranged for another beta reader. Not ominous, no. Not at all. *snort* It’s just that she claims I “voodoo’d” her MS a few weeks back and it’s payback time. Yay. Me. Lesson: Be careful what you wish for.

And … 5) The new beta would really be a great thing… if I’d finish the damned thing.

Lesson: I better go now and write before the hubs wakes up and wants to work on that new project.

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~

Just after I finished yesterday’s blog, my daughter comes back in gives me my card and a little bag.

“It’s gonna’ sing at you. Just warning you.”

“Babe with the Power?”

“No, better.”

It sang Thank You For Being A Friend.

And yeah, she did share my present. White Cholcolate Lindor Truffles.

That’s my girl. 🙂

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Mother’s Day

Yesterday…

Kiddo: I saw The Avengers the second day it came out. That movie was awesome.

Me: I wanna see it, but I think I’d like to have had Norton as the Hulk.

Kiddo: You know who was hot?

Me: *snort* Thor?

Kiddo: Yeah! He reminds me of that guy who you use for Hayden, just beefier and older.

Me: *pause – but then a smile* Yeah, he does. Sort of.

At that point, my daughter and I kept rambling about Thor and such and let the subject of “Hayden” pass on by. It was ignore it and move on or have me boo-hoo in the driveway. She never missed a beat, never suspected that what she said had made me well up. I’m good like that. Ghetto-Ninja skills, have I.

You see, Hayden is one of my characters that hasn’t seen the bright light of day in a few years, and yet she remembers him. She remembers the actor/model, Travis Fimmel, who became the face of Hayden, but I don’t know if she remembers that it was her little dolphin toy (that also made cool dolphin sounds) and some dolphin stickers she put on my then writing desk that inspired the fact that he is a shifter of that same variety. He came to life when she was only eleven-ish years old. She’s now twenty, getting ready for twenty-one. And she remembers.

At that moment, I felt forgiven for all the years I spent with my back to the room, writing, when she was a small child. I felt forgiven for divorcing her father – who thought my writing and thereby me, personally, was evil. Forgiven for all the years after that divorce when she and I had very little. When she would get to eat dinner, but I wouldn’t, or we’d have to limit the heat in the apartment to her bedroom, so we’d crawl into her bunk beds together. Forgiven for the years of extreme plenty, that bled over into years when mom had issues and wasn’t mentally able to be very “present”. Thank gods, those days are over. Maybe even forgiven for being a broke-ass now and, possibly, *unable to take her where she wants to go in October.

You might have thought that would’ve happened when she went to New Orleans with me and she gave part of her heart to the city, or even when she begs me, daily, to go again for her twenty-first birthday. (*I’m trying very hard, sweetie – yes, she reads my blog.) Maybe even when we sat on a balcony over-looking Frenchman street, drinking bad, baaaaad Hurricanes together. But, nope. It was a random sentence, spoken casually while pulling into the yard after a shopping trip for jeans.

My friend, Katy – and I call her my friend even if I only “know” her online – wants to be a mom in a big way.

I want Katy to wake up at three in the morning to change her newborn’s diaper and discover that the gods have finally decided to add aroma to the equation. I want her to complain about how bad The Cookie Monster’s costume stinks when she takes her toddler to a Sesame Street show. I want her to laugh her ass off at the pearl-clutching old ladies when her four-year-old sings “Sweet Transvestite” at the top of her lungs from her seat in the cart at the grocery store. (yes, that really did happen) I want her to watch tv with her child and harp on the people on Jerry Springer. I want her to feel the pride I felt when I draped an art honors cord around my daughter’s neck at her high school graduation. I want her to roll her eyes when college tuition gets raised. Again.

I want Katy to well-up in the driveway and know it was all worth it, and that the not-so-goods, because there will be a few, will be lessened by a mom’s love… and can be forgiven.

Glitter-guns and baby-dust for Katy, and much love for all the moms I know who had it tough and still came out on top.

~~~

She just walked up behind me.

Kiddo: Whatcha doin?

Me: Writing something. *said as I’m shifting windows around*

Kiddo: Getting sidetracked when you should be writing?

Me: *grinning* Always.

~~~

Happy Mother’s Day.

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