Monday, October 31, 2011


Do you get into the spirit of Halloween? Do you decorate your house? Wear costumes? Or do you turn out the light and disappear for a few hours during Trick or Treat (or as they like to call it in this area – Beggars Night)?

When we lived on a busier street, and went through five bags of candy in an hour, we went to the trouble of decorating our house. One year we even put the speakers up to the window and played spooky music. It was fun.

Now we live on a cul-de-sac and we're lucky if we get 20 kids. The first year we had LOTS of candy left over – since we were basing our purchase from the busy street we moved from. We also decorated. When realization hit us, my husband and I kind of lost interest. I mean, who's going to see our house? We're not exactly a drive-by.

But my daughter loves Halloween. When she lived with us, she did the decorating. Now that she's moved out, the decorations stay in the basement. I still hand out candy, though. Even for those few souls who venture down our street.

As I thought about writing this post, I thought it would be interesting to post pictures of my kids' costumes. Lucky for me, I was organized at one time and most of my pictures are in albums (yes, we're talking paper copies here since I used film back in the dark ages). Needless to say, I don't have a photo for every year and it's not because they lost interest. I guess I would be to blame for that (or maybe I didn't have any film – yeah, let's go with that!).

1983 Ft. Monmouth, NJ
I don't know if I'm responsible for my son's infatuation with Garfield, but his first Halloween costume was the lazy cat. He was 1-1/2, I was 26. Damn, I was young. The dog in this photo is Natasha (Tasha, for short). She was a German Shepherd/Husky mix. I guess she wanted some candy, too.

1985 Ft. Monmouth, NJ
Two years later (yeah, don't know what happened to 1984), my son moved onto Transformers. Gee, do you think they're still popular?

1986 Ft. Monmouth, NJ
In 1986, I wasn't able to enjoy this Halloween with my kiddies, since I was stuck in the hospital with pneumonia. I have no idea who my son went out as, but you can see we recycled that Garfield costume for my daughter. She's not as infatuated with that cat as my son still is.

1987 Santa Barbara, CA
In 1987 I either got lazy, or cheap, or my son really did want to go as a clown with a bow-tie. And of course, if he had one, my daughter had to have one, too. She picked Big Bird for her costume.

1989 Ft. Rucker, AL
1989 Ft. Rucker, AL

In 1989 (yeah, 1988 is missing) I got a little more creative. My daughter wanted to go as a cat, so I bought her a grey sweat suit and then made the ears and tail. I thought it turned out cute. My son went all pirate-y that year. He does love to pose for the camera!

1990 Ft. Rucker, AL
In 1990 my daughter and her friend wanted to go as cheerleaders. The only good cheerleading costumes were the ones you made. But I hate cutting patterns. My daughter's friend's mother (who was my friend) said she hated to sew, but she'd gladly cut the patterns if I made both outfits. I wish I had a picture of the two of them together, because they really were cute.

1990 Ft. Rucker, AL
I even made my son's costume (man, I was a busy little sewer back then, but it was also a lot cheaper and money was tight). Think he camouflages well?

1993 Huber Heights, OH
This last picture was taken on Halloween in 1993. It wasn't our first Halloween in Ohio, but it was definitely our first Halloween in the snow! And it was snowing as I snapped this photo. Oh – and where was my daughter? Inside. She hates snow.

However ever you celebrate (and for some of you, I guess you got snow), have a safe and happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Projects that Stray

June 9, 1988
I actually decided to plan a blog for Halloween, using pictures of my kids in various costumes through the years. Of course, going through old photos is time consuming because I get caught up in the memories. Or I just ooo and ahhh over them.

Like I did with this photo.

Weren't my kiddies just the cutest?

I'm glad I have a week before I want to post. I think this project will take awhile!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Dream

When I first started writing (all of two and half years ago), I didn't go into it expecting to be published, I did it to see if I could write a book. It wasn't until I wrote the book, and was told it had potential, that the niggling idea came to life. A dream of being published was born.

After polishing it and polishing it, I finally got enough nerve to submit that first book to contests. Results were mixed. I polished it some more. Then I went to the Romantic Times (RT) Convention and actually pitched it. Shortly after, I started querying agents.

Writing the query for that book opened my eyes. Some thought my book sounded like Twilight (it's not Twilight – not even an adult version of it) and I realized that maybe my book wasn't all that unique. But how was I to know? It's not like I read tons of vampire romance novels. I'd only read a few.

I've read lots more now. I still think my first book has unique aspects to it and I have numerous ideas for a series. It's just that my first book won't make a good first book in the series. Neither will my second, since it's a sequel to the first.

So I wrote a third. One that could kick-start a series. It really was my best, yet. Even the query was easy to write! And while I've had requests (and some requests are still in process), somewhere along the way the urgency to get an agent has diminished.

It's not like I've given up my search for an agent. More like I've slowed down to consider. I've heard the reasons I should continue. I've heard the reasons it's not necessary.

Self-publishing is a tempting apple, but I'm not ready to go that route. It requires a lot of work and time. Time I would rather spend writing. Maybe once I have several books under my belt, it'll be time I can spare.

There's still a part of me that wants that agent, though. Someone on my side who loves my writing. Helping me get better, helping me fulfill my dream. I don't know if that part will ever vanish completely, but I know I don't need an agent to fulfill my dream.

In the meantime, I will keep writing. And I will continue to query, because you just never know. It's like the lottery. You can't win unless you play. And while I do dream of winning the lottery (so I can quit the paying job), at least my dream of being published is a whole lot more realistic. With or without an agent.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Trip I Would Have Enjoyed

The U.S. Australian Football League (USAFL) conducted their tournament in Austin, TX this past weekend. My daughter went there to play with her team.

Apparently, you only need a team to play in the tournament. It's not based on wins or schedule, since my daughter's team only played one real game all season (against Toronto). And it's not a professional sport. No one gets paid to play. It's all about fun for them.

My husband and I had planned to go. We'd never been to Austin before and looked forward to the trip. But work requirements made making the trip impossible and we had to change our plans. I ended up using that vacation on other trips (i.e. my family reunion).

Then the work requirement got cancelled, but I didn't have any vacation left to take. So we couldn't go. And wouldn't you know it – my daughter's team won TWO games. Last year they won none. I so would have loved to watch them play.

Next year the tournament will be in Mason, Ohio (just outside of Cincinnati). A mere hour away. We'll definitely be there cheering her team to victory!

Anyway, I want to congratulate the Columbus Jillaroos for a great year and I look forward to watching them play next year.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Why do you blog?

When I started blogging almost 2 years ago (gosh – where does the time fly?), I did it to see if I could, and maybe use it like a diary or something like that. I had no real plan and I was SHOCKED (and did a happy dance) when I got my first follower. I also did it as a way to keep track of the blogs I like to read. That list to the right is probably more for my benefit than anyone else's, but be my guest and check out any one of them. If you follow me, I follow you (provided you have a blog and I can find you). And if I follow you, your blog gets listed, plain & simple (although that may change if I get hundreds of followers…yeah, like that will happen).

I also blog to keep track of what I read (of which I discovered I could do on Goodreads, but it's not the same), where I travel, or movies I attend (ooo-maybe I should put a list of that to the right – something to think about). A posting about what I had read in 2010 got a lot of hits. It also brought back a lot of memories (ah, back to being a diary). So, maybe the same will happen this time, too. We'll see.

How do you blog?

I've read blogs/articles/whatnot about what a blog should be for a writer. A lot of writers blog about writing. I do sometimes, too, but not a "how to" kind of blog. More like a "this is what I do" kind of blog. Again, this is like a diary for me. It helps me keep my timeline straight (which was never a problem for me when we moved constantly, but now that we've been in the same place for twenty years, it's gotten to be more difficult to remember when things happened!).

I can't blog every day. I wish I could. When I was a teenager, I kept a diary by my bed. The kind that had dates, with a key, even. The entries were sporadic and at the end of the last entry, I'd have to write "skip to [date]" to get to the next one. I realized those kind of diaries just didn't work for me, so I bought a spiral notebook. So much better. I could write when I wanted and if months went by, it would just show up as the next entry.

Kind of like this blog (although I try not to let months go by, and certainly not more than a week without warning). It's not always the time that keeps me from writing the next entry. It's what to blog about that stumps me. However, I find myself paying more attention to what goes on around me. And hopefully I'll remember the fun & interesting stuff to blog about.

So tell me why & how you blog? How do you come up with topics? Do you have a method?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm Definitely a Pantser

I'm a pantser, not a plotter. It's taken this fourth book for me to realize I'm not going to change in that regard.

I wrote over 500 new words last night. Then proceeded to delete 1000 older words. And you know what? I didn't have a problem with that. That's what happens when you have a breakthrough and realize what you wrote previously won't work.

Granted, I saved the previous version of my manuscript and started a new version before I hit the delete key (in other words – my file GhostlyLiaison10.doc became GhostlyLiaison11.doc). This is something I always do, just in case I need to go back and use something I had deleted earlier (and yes, I'm up to 11 – that's how many times I've gone back and changed something significant).

I'm in a happy place, though. This story is starting to work for me. It's not a struggle any longer. Maybe because I know my characters better now. It's a VERY rough draft, but it's getting written – that's the important part. And once I hit THE END, I look forward to fixing it – giving it meat (like I've mentioned before – I enjoy all aspects of writing – at least I have so far).

But plot the book? There's no way I could do that. I just can't think that far in advance. One or two scenes at a time are all that's in me, along with a vague idea of how the book will end. How I get there is the adventure. And I'm always amazed at how my characters take me on this journey. It's their story, after all.

Am I motivated to write? Heck yes. I can't wait to see how it all plays out!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Some of it was Good, Some of it was Bad

That about sums up my weekend!

The Good: Wrote nearly 2000 words on Sunday, surpassing my weekly word goal. And the next scene is gelling in my head just fine. All's good on the writing front!

The Bad: I realized we need to replace our freezer. The door doesn't always shut completely, even when you think you shut it. When I opened it Saturday, the interior was covered in ice and the frozen pizzas were thawed (but the meat was still frozen, thank God!). If my side-by-side refrigerator could hold the pizzas, we wouldn't need the freezer (we don't fill it like we used to), so I'm considering a refrigerator that has the freezer on the bottom. The old refrigerator will go where the freezer is now and the freezer will go bye-bye. Now we just have to wait for a sale.

The Good: Our Wayne Warriors (high school football) won on Friday night in front of a small, cold crowd. That's what usually happens on an away game and it's raining. But we were there (up until the 3rd quarter when it was apparent we would win) getting wet and shivering. Yes, we're nuts!

The Bad: The Buckeyes (NCAA), Steelers (NFL), and Rams (NFL) stink! It was pitiful to watch their games. But I will continue to watch because that's the kind of fan I am.

The Good: The Detroit Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys. Not that I'm a fan of either, but I really hate the Cowboys and I'd like to see the Lions go undefeated. At least until they play one of my teams (and I don't think they are, but I've been known to be wrong before).

The Bad: We had to finally turn on the furnace (summer is over – boo hoo), but at least I wasn't the one who caved. That's not to say I wouldn't have done it, just that he got there first!

So… How was your weekend?