Thursday, July 28, 2011

O.M.G. I've Been Writing, and other fascinating stuff.

I made a little resolution to get my S*i# together and stop waiting for things to fall into place, so that my life would be perfect.  Every now and then I find myself wallowing around with the committee in my head, agreeing that I suck and should probably just give up and get in line to be a guest on Jerry Springer.  Not sure what my "issue" would be, as my kids all look WAY too much like The Big Guy and me to belong to my lesbian lover (I DON'T HAVE ONE, NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT) and my high school sweetheart (I did have one of those, but he's a non-issue). 

Anyway, I took a look at my calves, the flash drive that doesn't have my novel on it, the mountain of un-mailed graduation thank-you notes, and started making a list of goals.  Exciting stuff. 

1) Get back on a food plan (which is recovery-speak for "diet")
2) Get some exercise (besides working my mouse clicking finger)
3) Act healthy (this is the "Fake it 'til you make it" theory)
4) Write a damn book, already
5) Get organized and efficient at work (ummm...probably by not spending so much time blogging?)
6) Get a "Better Home".  Not aspiring to be Martha Stewart here, just to fix real food for my kids once or twice a week.  Remember to water the grass.  Pull a weed now and then. 

So, not being one for half-measures, I dug out the most hardcore book I could find in my personal library, Body For Life. Part of my reason for pulling out that book is that I have a new posing suit client.  She'll be doing a women's figure competition in October, and working with these women is always eye-opening (I have no aspirations, not even secret fantasies about being this buff.  But finding the time and energy to exercise?  I do fantasize about that).  And learning to walk in stripper heels.  I think The Big Guy might like that.

 Anyway.  I looked at the book for a while, and then logged onto Sparkpeople instead.  There are half-measures and there is reason.  Can I just tell you that substituting grilled chicken for salami has resulted in a loss of six pounds in four days?  Okay, maybe the elimination of donuts and ice cream is a factor, too.  And running to the bathroom sixteen times a day because I've been drinking so much water.

As for those goals? I'm hitting about 500 right now.  I've been doing SOME writing everyday, churning out a perfectly shitty first draft.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
  Haven't made it to the gym.  Pulled a few weeds, but the mosquitos were pretty bad, and I haven't unearthed the bug spray yet, so I went back inside.  But here is the biggest news of all:

My son, the Bearded Wonder, came into the kitchen last night and said, laughing, "What's for dinner?"

I pointed at the stove and said, "Grilled chicken, salad, and brown rice." 

He stopped laughing.  "Really?"

"Yes.  What did you think I was going to say?"

From the living room (Drama Queen) and the basement (Sam Stanley Experience) and the Bearded Wonder came, all together now, "Whatever you make for yourself."

YES!  I get extra points for that one

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making Waves in Kentucky, Part III: In which the book is kidnapped by a pirate.

I have been so overwrought these past few days that I've been unable to recount the events of Friday last, but thanks to much Diet Coke and a few hours on the River, believe I can now share with you my experience; I will share the facts and allow you to draw your own conclusions about the hazards of internet friendships.
I have been blogging and tweeting about my tour of Northern Kentucky with Tawna Fenske 's book MAKING WAVES, and recieved a suggestion to visit the fair city of Verona, Kentucky, just a hop and a skip from my own home.  So I went. 

What a quaint little town! 
As I toured this one-stoplight town (sorry, no picture of the stoplight, it was green and I had to go), I spied author Keri Stevens, with whom I've tweeted (yes, it was she who suggested visiting Verona.  She said there was a semi-nekkid statue in the cemetery there, so I wanted to check it out).  So I stopped and said, "Hey!" and took the opportunity to snap a picture of her with the book:

She opened it to a good part.  She likes it, hey Mikey!
 Apparently, she liked it a little too much, because before I could put my camera away, she was STEALING IT! 

Can you believe it?  Pirating a book about pirates? 
 I was NOT going to let this slide.  That's my book, dammit, and I want it back!  The chase was on.  Over hill and dale, past horses, cows and tractors, I pursued the pirate disguised as a soccer mom: 

Beware writers driving SUV's:  it makes 'em look trustworthy. 
 For a few minutes I thought I had lost her.  But I am nothing if not determined.  I used every bit of knowledge I gained from years of reading Nancy Drew mysteries--and there is also a good bit of Stephanie Plum in this soul.  Using high powered surveillance equipment I found a clue! 
It's the Wine Canoe! 
I had found the Dread Pirate Stevens!  I chased her again, scared the heck out of her whole family, the dog and a couple of cats, and finally caught her on the back patio:
There was no blood spilled, but there might have been a bruise or two (which I got falling on my butt after she let go of the book). 
Since I am an aspiring romance writer, I have to give this story a happy ending (But not a romantic one.  I don't swing that way, and I'm pretty sure Keri doesn't either).  After the big climactic battle scene, I explained that Keri could get her own darned copy of MAKING WAVES.   

Look!  You can order it for your Kindle!

Phew.  That was exhausting.  Fortunately, Verona offers vittles, if one needs to refuel after fighting pirates.
Verona Vittles.  Yum! 
Keri, it was great meeting you!  Maybe next time, you can show me the semi-nekkid statue, unless that was just a ruse.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Waves In Kentucky, Part II: Cody's Ass

There is this really great secondary character in MAKING WAVES, by Tawna Fenske (by the way, go to her blog and check out the details on how you can get a skinny drink coaster).  Anyway, this character's name is Cody, and I don't think I'll be giving too much away if I tell you that he's a slightly (okay, maybe more than slightly) quirky, former professional football player with a fair amount of skill in the kitchen. 

Even before I started reading the book, I thought I would make a stop at Cody Pass part of our Great Making Waves In Kentucky Book Tour.  How delightful to then start reading and make Cody's ( I mean, Cookie's) acquaintance!
Don't you just want to know who lives on Cody's Ass?  Me, too. 
Since Cody is such a great cook (and because we were volunteering in a friend's booth), The Big Guy and I took MAKING WAVES to the Queen City Sausage Festival Sunday evening.  I might point out that the Queen City is Cincinnati, and the Queen City Sausage Festival was held in Newport, Kentucky.  But whatever.  You can see Cincinnati from Newport. 
A view of Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Bengals, be afraid.  Be very afraid. Or not.).  Also, the Roebling Suspension Bridge, built by the same guy that did the Brooklyn Bridge (and we'll sell you some of our bridge, too. Note the artsy sunset photography.  The smog in the Ohio River Valley is very conducive to pretty colors at sunset. 
I suspect that Cody, I mean Cookie, might have appreciated the Andouille Sausage and pasta, although I can highly recommend the goetta Reuben.  If you don't know what goetta is, you gotta getta sample.  It looks nasty, but is seriously tasty.  Google it. 
I can also recommend the Cottage Pie Bites.  Not the name, but the pastry itself. 
One of the fun things about the Ohio River, between Cincinnati and Newport/Covington/Ludlow/Bellevue, is the boating.  I know you can't hear this, but the drunken revelers on this raft of boats must have had binoculars, because they started chanting "Tawna! Tawna!" when they saw me carrying the book around on the shore.  Really. 
Okay, maybe not.  But they looked like they were having fun, and I bet if I'd asked them too, they would have started chanting.  Come see us during the WEBN Fireworks on Labor Day Weekend.  They'll take off their clothes and chant then, too. 
Thus concludes Part II of the Great Making Waves In Kentucky Book Tour.  We have a couple more stops to make, but I've been so busy reading the book, I haven't gotten out to take it places.  The 115 degree heat index isn't helping, either. 

Oh, BTW, a shout out to Gregor Mendel, who would have been 189 today.  Eat some peas in his honor. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Making Waves in Kentucky, Part I

As I mentioned last week, I won a blog contest at Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing.  What I won was an ARC of Making Waves, the debut novel of Tawna Fenske.  And the opportunity to take Making Waves on a tour of Boone County, Kentucky. 

Northern Kentucky may not seem like the most interesting destination on the planet.  Yeah, we have Cincinnati just to the north of us, but,'s Cincinnati. Northern Kentucky is considered by most to be simply "Southern Cincinnati".  But I would like to point out that there are a great many interesting places to visit in NKY, especially if you have a dirty mind.  

So I bring you part I of the Great Making Waves in KY book tour.  Yeah, this is going to be a multi-parter, because I need blog topics this week. 

Day 1:  I arrived home late Friday night to find a big brown envelope in my mailbox.  I took it to my favorite place in the whole wide world:

Here I am, about to make the aquaintance of Alex and Juli and the rest of the crew:  Cody, Jake, and Phyllis.  Can I just mention that, before I became Teri, that I had an evil twin named Phyllis? 
 Then my daughter and I went to our family's campsite.  We have a little spot near the mouth of Gunpowder Creek. 
I introduced Making Waves to Grandpa's boat, but Grandpa wasn't there to take us for a ride. 

Fortunately, The Big Guy was able to get our boat fixed so we were able to get out on the water. 
When I was in college and drove down I-75 with my friends on our way to Spring Break in Daytona Beach or Ft. Lauderdale, we always giggled at the signs for Big Bone Lick State Park.  Well.  I never thought I would find myself living so darned close. 

Or, as the Sam Stanley Experience called it (before he could read):  Big Bone Lipstick Park
  People don't believe me when I tell them that this stuff is real, but you should really visit the thriving metropolis of  Sugar Tit (actually, most people, especially the mayor and the post office, call it Union).  There used to be a sign, but it got stolen.  Huh. 

I bet more people would go to services here if it were called the Sugar Tit Baptist Church.
 In case the Union Baptist Church doesn't work for you, there is also: 


Yes, if you zoom a bit, you can see that this is the Beaver Lick Baptist Church. 
Just in case you are not Baptist, there are some other options, but none are quite as interesting. 

And thus ends the first day of the great Making Waves in Kentucky Book Tour.  You can follow our exploits on twitter, look for #makingwavesinKY !

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Work in Progress

I just thought I would give you a glimpse of my WIP, tentatively titled Safe Harbor.  I am really proud of myself, because I've spent months feeling like a  big faker, like a poser, like someone who just wants to be a writer without actually doing any writing.  I've started and abandoned several projects, but keep coming back to one in particular.  I have the opening scenes, I know the characters, but have been dragging my feet because I didn't really have the plot clear in my mind. It was really hard to come up with scenes to write when I wasn't really sure what the point was.  To quote my boyfriend, Toby Keith, "If you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else"

Anyway, as of last night, I have FINISHED AN OUTLINE!

That's it:  That little brown notebook, the flash drive and the post-it notes.  My outline and first few chapters. 

 I realize that I do not deserve a Medal of Honor or anything.
Thankyou, Leroy, you are my hero!
I don't deserve a brownie button, or even a brownie.  But I can pat myself on the back today, because I know where this story is going, and I am not afraid to put on my sneakers and keep it moving.  There is a line in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous about Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny, and I totally love that imagery.  They weren't talking about the road TO Happy Destiny, as though happiness were a destination, but I think they were saying that being on the road, trudging along, IS happiness.  And it's so much easier to trudge if one can see a few steps ahead on the path. 

So.  What are you working on that is giving you some sense of purpose and accomplishment today?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Performance Anxiety and Monday Stuff

My blog posts keep getting diverted today.  First thing this morning, I was going to tell you about how I am going to take an ARC copy of Making Waves, Tawna Fenske's upcoming release, on a bloggy book tour of Beautiful Boone County, Kentucky.  If you don't know Tawna, you have to check her out.  She's here:  Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing.  Then I though, well, maybe I should wait until I've already done it, in case something goes wrong.  But then I didn't have anything to talk about.  And Lord knows, I need to talk about something.

Then, I thought maybe I'd show you some cool pictures of science stuff.  I have some really neat pics of the work I'm doing...Below are some neurosphere cells that are either alive (green) or dead (red).  How exciting is that?  Yeah, I know, but I have to give those summer interns something to do, and counting cells keeps them from making bombs out of the dry ice. 

Here are some more neurosphere cells, but these are a little older, and some have been scraped off.  Then we watch them grow back and see how far they grow.  I know, you're very jealous, and can't understand why I might want to be a fiction writer, but I am just very, very selfish.  These guys are red because we stained them with an antibody that detects astrocytes.  I know, cool, right? 

But wait!  There's more! If you stay just one more moment,you get NEURONS at no extra charge!  Those are the green ones:

While you are all trying not to be jealous of my exciting life, I'll be in the microscope room, taking more pictures of cells for undergraduates to count. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Entertainment Today

Wow, didn't realize I left the Dead Dog post up for so long!  It's been a busy couple of weeks at Casa del Stanley, getting ready for a graduation party and so forth.  Plus, The Big Guy has been home this week, which always throws off my routine. 

Anyway.  I have been doing a little writing, following the Civil War thread and realizing that I am WAY under educated on the topic.  But whatever.  It's ficiton.  If the citizens of the Commonwealth of KY can create a Confederate heritage, I can certainly make up details about life in an era about which I know nothing. 

I have also been reading and stuff, and here's a rundown:

Okay, WOW.  I had been studiously ignoring everyone who was so excited about this series.  You know, YA, not enough nekkid parts to keep me interested.  But I gave in, and WOW.  It's like, Lord of the Flies and Survivor combined. And, okay, I didn't actually read Lord of the Flies in high school, but I did read the Cliff's notes, so I know the gist.  I'll be chasing down the next two in the series soon.

The Big Guy and I watched this last night.  Not the most original concept, really, but Good VS Evil always works.  Great Abs and tattoos help, too.  And an angel/zombie apocalypse is always nice.  The ending was a little corny, but fortunately it came at...the it's not like I had to overcome major corniness to enjoy the bulk of the movie.

Speaking of corny:
Rob Lowe:  This look says it all:  "I know I'm going to make an even worse Navy SEAL than Charlie Sheen, this mustache itches, and I have to fart."
There is a reason none of us have ever heard of this movie.  When I saw the listing for it, I thought WHAT!?  There is a Navy SEAL movie that I haven't seen?  And it's got ROB LOWE is in it? 

Ugh.  I lasted about twenty minutes.  I'm not sure if it was the ridiculous mustache, or the Officer and a Gentleman Wannabe-ness that got me, but I'm still shuddering a little.  Thank GOD our boy Rob has recovered so nicely:

And finally, it's once again the season of the Vampire:  True Blood is back! 

I have to say that I was not terribly impressed with the first episode of the season.  Too much going on, too many stories to get caught up with, and in a bizzare "Who Shot JR?" kind of a thing, Sookie experienced a bit of a time warp.  If you don't get the "Who Shot JR?" reference, Google "Dallas". 

The second episode was better, but Bill isn't looking so good.  He's got kind of a Dick Clark thing going on...his hair is too dark, and it contrasts poorly with the sexy little signs of aging that would go nicely with salt-and-pepper hair.  There was a lovely scene of Bill doing nekkid stuff with...someone...but I was distracted by the fact that The Bearded Wonder and The Big Guy were both in the room with me while it was on, and honestly:  The Bearded Wonder IS an adult now, but I don't need to know that HE knows where to put tab A.  Fortunately, we DVR'd it, so I can go back and watch again in slow-mo without my offspring around. 

And hopefully next week, there will be more ERIC!!!!!