Friday, July 28, 2006

Live and Learn

Tried a new dog food as a treat for Lucky. Live and learn. We will NOT be using that one again. It's taken me quite a while to clean up the mess. NOT the way I want to start a brand new day. Sigh! I'm sure it was worse for her!

Okay, on a totally different subject, I just read that groups doing work on a project do best if there is a really smart person in the room and everybody has reasonably equal social skills, and that these "committees" work better than if people work on the project individually (even part of the time).

I understand that. BUT, maybe I'm in the minority, but I have seldom (if ever) done well in working in groups because (a) We're all supposed to have social skills (yeah right); (b) We're all supposed to be motivated to get the result (it happens, not often, but it happens); and (c) Willing to work, work together, share credit and have time at the same time. This has never, in my wildest dreams, been possible for me. Then again, I have never claimed to have wonderful group problem-solving skills. I'm an individual kind of gal.

Now you say "But wait, Cie, you work with a co-author. What is that but small group work?" Not the way we do it. We talk it out, sure. Then we write individually. Then we edit each other, pass it back, argue some more. (Sorry, did I say argue? I meant DISCUSS [LOL]) When we have a final product we send it in.

I hated group work in school. I detested group projects in the workplace. It never failed that one or two people wound up doing the bulk of the work. If it went well the credit was shared through the group. If it went badly, the blame went on the one or two people willing to even try because they "took it over and wouldn't accept input." Nope. NOPE NOPE NOPE. Not for me. My teachers will no doubt scold me (but vouch for my veracity) for not ever having learned how to do this and my poor attitude. (Not, may I say, for the first time.)

Ah well. My position is, that some people can do group work. They are extroverts. They are socially skilled (at least moderately). Some people are not meant for group work. That doesn't mean they're not bright, nice, hardworking people. I don't think you should force people into things they're REALLY not built for. We are, after all, individuals living IN a group. Then again, I'm not a corporate type.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm Grateful

Hi Guys! I did a list of 50 things I'm grateful for. My son saw it and said I should post it on the blog. Now some of this is personal, but what the heck, I don't appear to have attracted any stalking types to my life at this point. So here goes.

1) My parents. They’re great!
2) My son. I love him. I’m proud of him.
3) The mass. You forgave (and keep forgiving) me. This is huge. REALLY HUGE.
4) Every pet I’ve ever had, even the ones I screwed up with. They’ve made a huge positive impact on my life. If I named them individually and what they’ve done for me I’d be here for the next couple of years. Thank you so much for giving me my pets.
5) My homes. I’ve had several now. It’s a big deal owning a home. I hope that I can get to the point where I pay for it and own it outright. I know, ephemeral stuff. But here on earth, it’s a big deal.
6) Diane and Jeff, Tim and Sharon, Sarah, John, Jodi and all the rest.
7) Camilla and Bill. They’ve been like a second set of parents. I’m amazed at how supportive they are.
8) The rest of the relatives. They all have their quirks, but they are amazing people.
9) The teachers I’ve had. Some of them were jerks. But I learned things that have helped me with my life. Amazing stuff.
10) The taste of chocolate
11) Pepsi
12) The stars at night, the sun and the moon.
13) The beauty and order of the world and the universe.
14) Sex.
15) Men in general.
16) My health. Oh, it isn’t perfect, but I still get to do almost everything I love. That’s great shit. (But if you could help me to be active and get fit (and my weight down) I sure would appreciate it!)
17) My possessions.
18) My talents, particularly writing.
19) Empathy and understanding for and of others.
20) The ability to imagine.
21) The ability to forgive and actually forget.
22) Steak, hamburger, the fact that this world can grow food.
23) Books.
24) Friendship. I have and have had the best friends anybody could hope for. Amazing people. It is SO COOL.
25) Laughter.
26) Movies, television shows and the kind of entertainment that makes you happy, but gives you real insights into life.
27) Indoor plumbing.
28) The fact that I live in a free country and can choose my own path as far as religion, politics, and pretty much everything.
29) Music, politics and pretty much everything.
30) Individual snowflakes
31) Claw footed tubs.
32) The rosary.
33) Beauty.
34) The smell of baking bread.
35) The food you give me and mine.
36) That there are people out there who actually TRY to help others and understand me.
37) Habitat for Humanity
38) That I didn’t die from the spider bite or any of those bouts of pneumonia or anything.
39) Other people’s babies.
40) The computer.
41) Prayer.
42) Antibiotics, immunization and modern medicine in general.
43) Breath mints and dental care stuff.
44) Cat whiskers and purrs.
45) The wagging tail of a dog, (particularly mine) and getting licked because they love you.
46) Bird song.
47) Music in general.
48) MILK with or without brownies and chocolate chip cookies.
49) Editors (particularly ours.)
50) All of the wonderful folks (and the not-so-wonderful but heck, I got to know them and work with them and none of us are perfect) who I’ve gotten to work with over the years. I’ve learned all kinds of lessons in tolerance and kindness from them. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way, but hey… it works.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sorry it's been a while.

Hi Guys! Sorry it's been a while, but I've been in the kind of mood that is best not shared. I've pulled back from pretty much everything and everybody. You REALLY didn't want to hear anything I had to say. Let it suffice to say that I ran head first into corporate America and came away bloodied and crazed. I will be dealing with the aftershocks for months most likely.

On a different and (bound to be) happier note, I am writing. I have set aside the mysteries for a bit. (Sorry Mom) and am working on the Sazi story we are contracted for. This one is going to be about Aspen Monier (the seer afflicted with both foresight and hindsight) and a former Wolven Agent who everyone believed was dead (he staged his death with the help of Lucas because of serious burnout). It is coming along nicely. I had run into a snag (usually happens at the beginning of the book) in the plot, but I think I've found my solution. See, I had my characters down cold, I had the romance figured out, I had the points I wanted to make emotionally (what's driving the characters). But the plot wasn't working. Now I've added a couple of characters and it's actually making sense. YAHOOO! I love it when it starts coming together. The writing goes so much faster. Instead of getting maybe a thousand words out, you get these huge heaping chunks of writing done and it WORKS. I love that.

ANYWAY, I have to go, writing to do, things to accomplish. Hope you haven't all stopped coming by, but I wouldn't blame you if you did.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a virtue. I know this. I am not, however, particularly virtuous, at least as far as that goes. The dog is barking her head off at the construction workers next door. It is driving me wooka wooka. I have a bunch of checks due to me that are "in process" but haven't arrived yet. In short. I am being taught patience by force. And like all lessons learned by force, it is being learned with more than the fair share of resentment.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I wonder sometimes if other writers worry about some of the same things I do. For example, having seen other authors get raked over the coals over things their characters have said and done, I worry. Or will, because my characters, for the most part, have really dysfunctional families, people think that mine was/is? I had a great family growing up. Blue collar/middle class, happy, with lots of love and laughter. Oh, there were arguments, problems and misunderstandings, but everybody worked hard and -- for the most part -- we got along really well.

But happy families are boring to read. They just are. No conflict=DULL reading. So I take the sibling rivalry and amp it up through the roof, or make the parent controlling as hell, or emotionally distant and cold and imagine what life would be like growing up that way. I've explained that to my sister, my brother, my son and my mother (I don't generally talk much about writing fiction with my Dad). But that doesn't mean they aren't going to cringe if people start thinking that they're like these fictional characters I've made up. I mean... EWWWWWW.

Another problem, prejudices. Everybody has some, whether they know it or not. So, how do you make sure you're not unintentionally offensive? I mean, you can have characters who are offensive -- racist, sexist, or whatever -- people like that exist in real life, and if your world is going to be believable, there should be some in it too. But I'm talking the actual meat of the book. How do you make sure that you haven't been insensitive when you don't even KNOW you are because the prejudice is so ingrained? For example (and it is JUST an example), I've been told, a little bit to my dismay, that some people have a hard time relating to some of my heroines because they're TOO strong and kick ass. They don't show enough vulnerability to suit a lot of readers. I'm advised that a lot of readers really still do want the hero to do the rescuing and be just a little bit stronger than the heroine. Now this hasn't been conscious on my part -- but I AM a single mother. I HAVE dealt with most of the issues in my life without having to consult somebody else. So I just don't "see" that I've short-changed the males in my books. Now that I know, I have to look for it. I also have to make sure that, while I keep my men strong and believable, I don't eviscerate my females and make them wimpy whiny types either. OY! This is harder than it looks folks!

I want my characters to be well rounded. I want them to be believable enough that people feel like they KNOW them -- that maybe they live right down the street. But I don't want people to think that *I* know them because they're friends, or relatives, or whatever. In a weird way, I suppose it's a compliment that people find what you've imagined so believable that they can't believe you just imagined it. But hey folks I can REALLY imagine some weird shit.

Anyway, I gotta go. The mystery awaits.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Hi Guys!

I've been depressed. Really, seriously depressed. Don't worry. It's mostly due to having worn myself out. That and having a REALLY frustrating time with beating my head against the brick walls built by corporate America. No, I don't think I'll talk about that. It would just make me cranky when I'm finally starting to cheer up.

Why, you ask? Because I'm finally catching my rhythm on the mystery. It's a very different "flavor" from what I usually write. But writing it, and writing in general, is a true joy for me. It makes me happier than just about anything. So, even if this book doesn't wind up being "right" for the publishing world, it will be right for me.

I've been reading a bit. Read a new book that was compelling, but odd. I couldn't put it down, but I swear that as much as I liked all the politics and the magic (not so fond of the sex stuff, but hey, whatever), I really didn't see that there was all that much plot. I'm a big fan of plot. I love for a book I read to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. But I liked it anyway. Go figure.

Well, my train of thought derailed. I think I need to get back to the book anyway. Thanks everybody for stopping by.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I stand corrected...

The correct term is apparently "HIMbo." Also, a spelling note. Apparently if you have a second g in giggolo (as opposed to gigolo) you have a HIMbo with the giggles. Good to know. I'd want my HIMbo to be cheerful.

Guten Morgen Fraus, Frauleins and Hommes

Okay, maybe I got that wrong, but you get the idea.

What do you want? If you could have pretty much anything you wanted, what would you want? Money? Fame? The world's greatest courtesan (or giggolo) in your bed? Now I'm talking personal here. Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men is a really great idea, and totally selfless. I admire you for bringing it up. BUT we're talking personal gratification. So leave the squishies for next time and go for the GUSTO.

I want --

To lead a mostly quiet life with plenty of money to get me out of debt and pay for everything I need and most of what I want.

I want my son, my friends and family to be healthy, happy and prosperous. (What, you say that isn't selfish? You are SOOOOOO wrong. I mean, how can I enjoy my prosperity if everybody else is resenting the hell out of it. Nope. Totally selfish. I want them content and happy so they leave me be. RIGHT. You believe that. Of COURSE you do.)

If I have any enemies (and I hope I won't but, let's get real. It's me.) I wish them all the happiness in the world -- somewhere ELSE. It can even be somewhere NICE. Not selfish? WRONG AGAIN! If they are utterly happy they'll be too preoccupied with their pina coladas and bikini clad bimbos (or thong clad bimbas, this is an equal opportunity blog) to harrass me.

To be a financially successful, multi-published, award winning, best-selling author of book-length fiction.

Oh, and just occasionally, I wouldn't mind a thong clad bimba to provide distraction -- in the name of research for those obligatory steamy scenes. (RESEARCH. I SAID IT'S FOR RESEARCH. GEEZ, you guys are SOOOOOO cynical.)

Your turn. What do you want?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I Don't Get It


I just was reading another blog and found out that yet another of my writing acquaintances is having to deal with "trolls" attacking her and her work.

I don't get it.

I simply do not understand why people feel that they have a right to attack someone simply because their art/product isn't exactly to the viewer's taste. Okay, facts are facts. I am not a big Picasso fan. I get that other people are. I mean, they're willing to pay millions of dollars for his work. More power to them. I have yet to see a piece of his work that I'd want in my living room. Go figure. I also find a lot of the formal literary fiction... dull. And I'm not positive, but I think I might prefer a case of hives over having to read anything by Nathaniel Hawthorne ever again. That doesn't mean it's not brilliant. It is simply not to my taste.

I think part of the problem is that so many people believe REALLY believe that if you can read, you can write. To some degree that's true. Anyone who is literate can, and probably does write to make themselves understood. (Went to the store to buy milk. Call me on the cell if you think of anything we need.) But that is not the same thing at all as creating a believable world and peopling it with memorable characters. That, my friends, is hard work and *difficult* work. So even if I disagree with a direction an author is taking a series, I respect the amount of effort they put into it. I may choose not to buy or read the book, but I hope I would never attack the author, or confuse the beliefs and actions of the characters with those of the author.

We have (to my knowledge) only gotten one extremely unhappy letter. (Although we've gotten some really nasty comments in Amazon reviews. Some people hated the world of the Thrall. Some people loved it. But there weren't many people in the middle. That's OK. If they don't like it, they shouldn't read that particular series. I don't like beets. So I don't eat them. Easy. Nothing personal against beet growers.

Best wishes.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hi Guys!

Hi Guys!


Hope everybody had a happy 4th of July. Happy Independence Day for all the citizens of the good ol' USA. I hate that we're in the middle of a war. Then again, I have never truly understood politics. I think the reason I have such a hard time with it and get so frustrated is that frequently there are no clear-cut "right" answers. I absolutely support our servicemen (and women). I am horrified by the things I'm hearing are being done to our troops -- but I am also appalled at some of the things I'm hearing are being done by people representing my country right now. In my opinion, if you lose track of those standards of behavior and freedoms that set you apart, you become the enemy and have already LOST more than the battle. I am horrified by what our troops are facing. But I am also horrified by the thought that my own government may have authorized torture, and unjust imprisonment in Guantanimo. The point is that this government was set up on the principles of freedom: Freedom of religion, free speech, the right to bear arms, no taxation without representation. It is what makes us who we are. If we sell off the Bill of Rights in the name of safety, we are selling off the very soul of our country. War is hell, and we are at war. It frightens and saddens me.

OK -- time to move on. If you don't have answers, you don't get to bitch. I don't have the answers when it comes to politics. I'm not sure there even ARE answers. So I pray for our service people and I pray for peace.

The leg is better. The asthma is getting better. (It kicked in with the reaction to the spider bite). The writing is going slowly. No real surprise there. First, this is a different genre. My mysteries to this point have always been short stories. Secondly, I was completely burnt out and sick, so it's taking me a while to recover. But I've given myself the whole month of July to play with this, so I should be OK.

Hoping to visit my folks at the end of the month. I'll probably take the train as it goes right to their town. Flying would mean coming in to either Chicago or St. Louis, renting a car and driving. I'm not up to driving either the whole trip from Texas or possibly even the couple of hours from Chicago right now. It'll get better, but I'm not there yet. So I plan to take the train, barring disasters.

We switched my thyroid meds and it appears to be helping. WHOO HOOO!!!! This is a GOOD thing. I'm not back to normal yet, but at least I'm in the mammals.

(Note of explanation -- first medicine, I was a snail. Second medicine, a turtle. While we have not reached the rabbit/hare stage yet, I am at least in the mammal category.)

(Joke of the day -- What did the snail say on the turtle's back?

Answer: "WHEEEEEE!!!!")