Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bucket List Blogfest Entry

1) Hike the PCT. What is the Pacific Crest Trail you ask? It stretches out over 2,650 miles from the Mexican to the Canadian border. It's a hard fought journey of 20 miles a day. But it's worth it, I hear. The hubster and I plan to do it before we die. Sooner, rather than later. Because you have to be able to WALK to do the trail. Here are journals: PCT journals. Just so you can get an idea of the punishment and the beauty we're in for. You have to take six months off from work.

2) Run a marathon. I hate to run. But I want to do this just to show myself that I can!

3) Pit Bull Rescue. I want my own. I'm in no position now with the non-profit I just started gathering steam, but I figure that's a good goal for my retirement years. Love the breed. I won't own any other. I put together a section for the website here. This is the organization I want to be like - BAD RAP. Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer are my heroes.

4) And speaking of heroes...I want to meet LaDanian Tomlinson before I die. More than meet him. I want to have dinner with him. NOT a date. I want to tell him what a wonderful human being he is, how many lives he has influenced and how honored I was to watch him play. How mad I was that he didn't get a SuperBowl ring in San Diego. Just stuff. He's a cool guy. Great man, running back, husband, father, mentor.

5) Get published. I want to see my book on a shelf.

6) Leave a legacy. I always said, "When my father dies, people will say Man, he made a lot of money. But when I die? People are going to say Man, she really made a difference." I may not know how many lives I have touched - human and animal, but I want to do it anyway. I want to leave this place a little bit better because I was here.
I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.

7) Give my mom at least one grandchild. My mom. Sigh. She was a mom at 22. That meant my grandmother, her mother, was a grandma at 40. I threw a whole monkey wrench in her system, let me tell you. I was career girl. Television production. 60 hour weeks. No time for a marriage or a family. She wanted me to get married, then have kids. By the time I was 25 (and she 47), she was willing to get one any way she could. She became like that gambler in Vegas who starts out sure they're going to win big, but now they're down two grand and are so desperate they just want to break even.

I came home to this on my answering machine one night, "Hi Jen, it's Mom. (Big sigh. - now you see where I get it) I just got my latest People magazine. You know, Rosie O'Donnell just adopted a kid. Rosie's single. They're letting single women adopt. You could do that."
It used to be she wanted biological grandkids. Then she decided she'd take them any way she could them. Besides, our genes aren't THAT great that we need to be passing them on. It didn't help that she worked at the high school I graduated from. In the records office. That means everyone came back to see when they needed transcripts. And I got to hear about it.

"So and so was in today. You know, they have FIVE kids now. FIVE. I'd be happy with ONE."
"So adopt one."
"Noooo. I meant ONE grandchild."
"Have you talked to Drew?" (my younger brother)
"Oh, like that's ever happening!"

Drew gave her a grandson four and a half years ago.

"But I want one from you and Erik," she whines now.

Before Drew had Dillon (well, his wife because obviously my brother didn't birth the boy), my grandfather died and left my mother a sizeable inheritance. She had a family meeting and offered $10,000 to the couple who gave her a grandchild first.
I'm ashamed to admit we did get hung up in the race for a few months. It's not like we didn't want one. But we weren't married yet. C.R.A.Z.Y.

So we waited too long and three years later it's just not going to happen. We'll be adopting because I do so want to be a mother. And she is a wonderful grandmother. She deserves more. Many more.

That's my Bucket List at the moment. Or the parts that I'm oversharing with you in an attempt to make you laugh.

What's on YOUR Bucket List? Pop on over to Liz's blog and hop around to read the others!

P.S. - Abby has finished her first novel! And in celebration, she's having a fantastic giveaway! Hop on over here to enter.


Colene is having a contest that ends on December 2nd HERE.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday NaNo Musing

I am sprinting towards the finish line, cold and all. I'm only at 45,000 words. Will I make it? I don't know. It's okay if I don't. This is my second cold and I broke a tooth last week. Fun times. Through it all, I've tried to stay on track and keep plugging away. Here is what I do know:

Even if I reach 50,000, my book is not finished. There is still too much that is unfolding to wrap it up in the next 5,000 words!

Once I'm done, this is going to need a massive makeover.

I can both pants and plot...the same piece of work.

If you follow the writing, it takes you crazy places! I've been shocked at things that have happened and characters I wasn't expecting to show up!

You can do NaNo and still have a life if you manage your time well. Yes, I work part time but I did not miss out on a dinner out with friends or family this month. I didn't skip a hike that I felt well enough to do. Laundry still got done twice a week. Grocery store still happened. I made dinner from scratch four to five nights a week. My house might actually be cleaner than it was pre-NaNo (amazing what trying to think things through can do for your house!).

NaNo has been fun - precisely because I refused to stress out or take it too seriously. I got my family time in. I did a massive cleaning of the house on Friday (even though I was sick, maybe why I'm more sick) and still wrote 2,000+ words!

I won't be able to upload my 50,000 words by the deadline because I will be in San Diego getting ready for some dental fun. But I will certainly post it here (the number count) whether I reach that number or not. I have some fun visits planned for Tuesday, but that doesn't mean that I can't fit in at least three hours of writing that evening.

NaNo has shown me that I wasn't making the most of my writing time before November. So I will go into December knowing that I can be more productive if I simply manage my time better! And I'm so looking forward to blog hopping and Christmas decorating this next month!

How about you - how is NaNo going? If you didn't NaNo, how is your writing going? Do you have Christmas decorations up yet?

P.S. - Liz is doing a FUN Blogfest - Bucket List!! So pop on over here and join in!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving NaNo Interview


I hope your day is full of family, friends and FUN!

I bring you my interview with Liz at 8 Bit Words. Liz started NaNo, but had to drop out. You can read her post here explaining why.

I felt it was important to include an interview with someone who started the journey but didn't finish on time for several reasons. The most important reason - I think as writers, we can be extremely hard on ourselves. We are our worst critics and we all have that awful voice that tries to fill us with doubt. People need to know that it's okay not to finish. We all have those moments where life gets in the way.

Without more of my rambling, here is my interview with the Lovely Liz:

Is this your first NaNo?
Nope! This will be my 3rd NaNo. Can't stay away!

How did you prepare?
Once I got the idea, I rounded up some characters and planned it out from beginning to end. This way, I'd have a clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end, and everything in-between.

Do you have an outline or are you flying by the seat of your pants?
I learned from past NaNo's that I am simply not a pantser! This year, I prepared an outline to prevent those "oh crap, what do I write next?" moments. Time is at a premium this month, so the outline will be a big help.

Can you give us a brief synop of your story idea?
A noblewoman and the man she loves struggles at the hands of a fallen angel bent on destroying humankind.

How soon before NaNo did you get your idea?
About 10 months ago. Since I was busy revising another novel, I shelved it for NaNo. Fortunately, the idea is still pretty "fresh" and I'm looking forward to writing the story!

Where is the strangest place you've found yourself writing?
Hrm, maybe not strange, but different. I wrote part of my 2009 NaNo in a hotel in Göteborg, Sweden while on a business trip. Despite my jet-lagged state, I managed to get a lot done during the evenings! (How COOL is that!?!)

What has been the snack that has fueled your writing most?
Oreos are my favorite snack. I also enjoy crunching on RiceWorks Sweet Chili Brown Rice Crisps. (I'm actually making The Hubster stop at Ralphs so that I can pick these up on our way to the in-laws tomorrow. They sound so yummy and just what I need to finish!)

Are you pulling out hair or biting your fingernails?
I'm a lifelong nail biter, so I can promise those nails will stay short this month!

Any new habits you've developed as a result of NaNo?
Maybe not a habit, but my first NaNo really taught me how to shut off my internal editor when I need to focus on "just writing". I also track my daily word counts throughout the year to measure and monitor my writing activity.

What is your word count?
I stopped at 25,883, just beyond the halfway point.

Any parting words of wisdom, encouragement or insane babbling?
Write, don't look back, and have fun! Oh, and backup your work!

What will you give yourself for finishing?
A marathon game of Civilization V!

I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Someone else's TEETH! I broke another tooth today. No big deal except that the dentist is my worst fear. So I spent an hour crying. Yep. At my age. How pathetic! But I hate the way the shots make my heart race. My pulse shot up to 200 last time. That was WITH an anti-anxiety on board. The rest of the visit is no big deal. I don't mind the pain. In fact, if they would just do it without giving me anything? No fear. I'm fine in the chair. I don't mind the sound of the drill. I just don't like the feeling I get from those shots. So I'm shuffling my schedule around next week so I can go to San Diego to get this tooth fixed. My reward to myself? HARRY (yes, again! so what?)! And a visit with a close friend's mom who haven't seen in far too long.

2) A week away. This may become permanent on my list, but I'll switch it up every week! Somewhere with a cabin! Can we make it a place where the mountains meet the ocean? With Lily and the hubster. Throw in a chef that makes yummy vegan healthy food (and desserts!). That would really recharge my battery! A week of hiking every day! Beach walks in the morning and at night!

3) Christmas Music and Christmas Trees and Wrapping Paper, oh my! I have nothing to wrap yet. No tree to decorate. But I'm already in the spirit! I'm trying to find a weekend night for my Wrapping Party - everyone brings gifts, two rolls (minimum) of wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, etc. and we wrap to Christmas music while drinking Hot Chocolate (or a Hot Toddy!) and laughing. It's fun to use each other's wrapping paper! But I'm sad because it may not happen this year due to scheduling. We'll see. Is it too early to decorate for Christmas on Friday?

What about you? What are your wishes for Wednesday this week?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday NaNo Interview

Today I am interviewing the lovely Lola from Sharp Pen/Dull Sword. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lola (I'll be shocked if you all aren't), she is cake and shoes and hot pictures and oh my! As you can see, she's one of the blogs I follow and I check in whenever she has a new post up because I know it will be full of the following: inspiration and fairy dust. With a bunch of other stuff thrown in.

Let the interviewing commence...

Is this your first NaNo?
Nope. I did it officially last year and 'won'. It was a blast.

How did you prepare?
I am not a plotter at all. Last year it was the evening of Nov. 1st when I finally sat down with my laptop. I had NO CLUE what I was going to write. Not even a 'feeling'. Zip. But when I sat down with my laptop a female character came to me and away we went. This year isn't looking to be much different. I've been focused on revisions on another project and haven't had much (any) time to think about Nano. But, yesterday, while in the shower, a seed of an idea I've had niggling for months began to sprout. I haven't written anything down (I'm still trying to focus on those revisions). It's just the smallest bit of a sprout, the smallest sign of life peeking out of the seed. That's more than I had last year, and it's not even Nov. 1st. Score! I do make other preparations the days leading into Nano: a big grocery shop, letting friends and family know I'm going to be sequestered for the month of Nov., and a major preemptive cleaning of the house.

How did your family prepare?
My husband and daughter know how I work, and they've been through Nano with me before. They are good about shoving food, quietly, under my cave door and fending for themselves. I make a point to come out of my cave and give them my full attention once in a while. (note: my daughter is in high school now, so this is easier. But, strangely, she does still want me. And Husband wants me too. They are very supportive, but when I sense they want/need me, I come out and spend quality time with them.)

Did you pants or plot?
I'm definitely winging it.

What is the oddest place you've found yourself writing so far?

Well my MacBook is happy to let me play with it anywhere. I write out by the pool frequently in the summertime. I've written entire scenes on the backs of receipts on the side of highways before, because way too often I have writing breakthroughs while driving. I once got out of the shower with shampoo still in my hair and wrote on the side of a tissue box a solution to a plot problem. I've written many chapters in a (paper) notebook while soaking in a bathtub...many times. But my favorite place to write (in the winter) is in my bed. I don't know why, but writing late at night while under the comforter puts me in a zone.

What has been your can't-write-for-NaNo-without-it snack?
I snack all the time, year round. I'm a snacker. Lately it has been 2-alarm Doritos and Halloween candy (Reese's).

Are you consuming mass quantities of the following: coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks?
Coffee. Always. With cream and sugar. Keep it coming.

How many hours of sleep are you averaging a night?
I normally average around 5 hours/night year round. That remains my average during Nano.
(Um, WOW! I wish I could go on that little sleep and still be functional - how much does she ROCK!?!)

What is your word count?
I make it my goal to write a minimum of 2,000/day 5 days/week on all my first drafts, but for Nano I do that number 6 days/week. I try to do more than 2,000 when I can, especially early in the month, to 'bank' extra word count for any emergencies that may pop up. (Her current word count is 51,021!).

When you finish, what is your reward?
Husband always buys me good champagne, takes me to dinner, and buys me little goodies. He's the best. But I usually reward myself when I finish any major writing goal with a trip to the book store and buying an armload of yummy books while sucking down a caramel frappe.

Any parting words of wisdom, encouragement or insane babbling?
Have fun! Because it IS fun. I hope you attend some of the meet-ups in your area and make some new local writing friends.
And really, if you are planning on being a career writer, putting out a book a year-ish, you need to get used to writing 2,000 words/ day 5 days/week , so this is a good exercise on writing daily.

So there you have it, my friends! We will have another interview on Thursday with Liz at 8-Bit Words. That will conclude our NaNo interviews!

How is everyone's writing coming - NaNo and non-NaNo? Did you have a great weekend??

NaNo Word Count (me): 36,012

Feral cats trapped count: 4 out of 6 (and only because I ran out of traps!)

I'd say a very productive weekend culminating in a very productive Sunday night!

Friday, November 19, 2010

FUN Friday



This is my friend Jess' 4 year old, Eli. How cute is he? Talented too. He LOVES to beatbox. Both mom and dad are musicians so it's in his blood.

And another version (notice the BIG breath he takes before he starts):

How FUN is that!?! Love him so much. So does Lily. Here's a pic of the two of them when they were both a bit younger.

The Hubster is taking me out to dinner and we have reserved seating for a 7pm showing of Deathly Hallows! He's so NOT into these movies and has never read the books, but he takes me anyway because he loves to see the joy I get out of it. This year, I promised NOT to dress up. First year. I figure it's the least I can do since it's just the two of us.

So no spoilers, my friends!! Simply tell me how much you LOVED it (and if you didn't, LIE TO ME and say that you did).

Any big plans for the weekend? Another viewing of Deathly Hallows on hand?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Award

This is what I feel like at the moment. I've had a really busy day and only got 1,000 words written. My head is pounding. My back aches from dragging presentation materials up and down stairs today, then carrying large cat traps from a clinic to my car (four trips). My bed calls my name. I can hear it.

So...1,000 words short of my goal today. You know what? Too bad. Not beating myself up over it. Okay, I already did. DONE beating myself up over it. I can make it up. I WILL make it up. I teach tomorrow, but Lily has a playdate in the evening which means she will resemble the above picture and give me plenty of writing time. I will hit my word goal tomorrow PLUS an extra 250. That extra 250 over the next four days will catch me up!

On to FUN things like...An AWARD!

Thanks to Abby for this. I am passing it along to:

Nutschell at The Writing Nut - If you haven't seen her blog yet, you must check it out. Fun AND informative. You can't beat that. What does she blog about? What doesn't she blog about?
Signings (sometimes she includes videos of the authors offering advice!)
Books to improve our craft
Retreats (GREAT, detailed coverage)
Martial Arts Training (The girl doesn't just write about a characters who can defend themselves, she LIVES it!)

Her pictures are always FABULOUS.

She's doing Harry Potter week - interviews, trailers, her recent trip to The Wizarding World!

She's absolutely amazing and her blog is irresistible! Check it out!


Who has their tickets?

Who is going TONIGHT??

Who has NO IDEA what I'm talking about??

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

NaNo Word Count: 28,019!

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) No more nausea. You know that throwing up is my biggest fear. I've been burning the candle at both ends for the past week. I have a delicate stomach. I'm not real susceptible to the stomach flu (knock on wood). BUT I get sick to my tummy if I don't get enough sleep (five days in a row on six hours sleep or less), if I don't eat right (two REAL brownies today), if I have a migraine (gone now, but had one that woke me up 2am this morning)...if the wind blows, if the sky is blue, if the sky is cloudy, if it's Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday...you get the point. The problem? Because this is my biggest fear, I've had panic attacks all day today at the slightest hint of nausea. Good times. So I'm asking for it to GO AWAY!

2) Friday to get here FASTER!!! We have tickets for the 7pm
showing of Harry Potter and I can HARDLY WAIT!!


3) A house elf to clean up the aftermath of 4 hours and 2 bullies.

That's just the house. The yard is even worse. They went through EVERY toy in the toy chest. Four hours of tug and shredding. They even managed to find a few toys in the yard that I thought had died a looooong time ago. Apparently, Lily has gotten good at hiding them behind bushes! It looks like it snowed in the yard.

It's already cleaned up. But a house elf would have been nice. They clean up yards too, right?

I apologize for not being as attentive as I usually am! This week I am really struggling to get my word count out. Tired brain = longer than normal writing time. I promise to visit blogs next week when I have an entire week off! I'll make up for it. I love you even if I'm not commenting!!

What about YOU - what are your Wednesday Wishes for this week?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's On YOUR Browser

I'm in the thick of NaNo. Well over 20,000 words in. Almost halfway there. I jumped in with my idea and a short outline. Nothing indepth as I've found in the past that I waste time with an indepth outline that changes and changes and changes again before I'm done. Once I start writing, the story can take me in an entirely different direction and I have to scrap the original outline. Surprisingly, this has kept me pretty close to the original outline.

In looking for a quick recipe I had googled weeks ago, I found the following in my browser:







I love watching true crime stories and I'm always fascinated by the stories where spouses have Googled the way they kill their other half. I mean, seriously? In this day and age, who doesn't know they have access to your computer and internet search engine? If I'm on that jury and you have Googled "Ways to kill someone and make it look suicide using drugs" and your wife died of a drug overdose when she wasn't depressed? You are so going down, buddy (and apologies to my two public defender besties who are probably spitting their morning coffee at their screen right now).

I wonder what someone would think with those searches? I'm starting my own cult after I break out of prison? But I'm stopping for Sprinkles Cupcakes first. Their cupcake mix is essential for survival.

What about you - what are some of the funny things you have searched?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday NaNo Interview

Today's interview is with the beautiful and talented Abby Minard at Above Water! She is participating this year, but has dubbed it NaNoFinMo as her aim is to finish her current novel. I wanted to feature an interview with her because I know several of you are also using NaNo to drive you to finish your current work or to finish those rewrites!

Is this your first NaNo?
This is my 2nd! Last year was my first, but I didn't write anything new- I'm doing the same this year- I'm just trying to finish my current novel!

How did you prepare?
Mostly by talking about it with crit partners and bloggers. We'll see if it's all talk or not ;p

Are you pantsing or plotting?
I'm usually sort of both. I kinda have a plot outlined in my head, and then a couple sheets of ideas like names, a rough summary, characters and what they're like and any random thoughts I have on it. But then I just write and don't have too much of a structure. Right now, I have a really rough outline for the end of my book- my head is a little jumbled with the climax and how I'm mapping things out, so I had to write a little of it out.

Can you give us a brief synop of your story idea?
(okay so this synopsis needs a lot of work, but here is the gist) In a land named Tartha, four novice Mages who are blessed with the Elements of Ice, Earth, Wind and Fire must defeat an evil Earth Mage who has figured out how to acquire all four Elements, enabling him to have power over anyone. They must figure out how to master and merge their own Elements- not one with four, but four with one. Only then can they defeat the evil Mage and restore order to their land.

How soon before NaNo did you get your idea?
I've been working on it for about a year now (I started a year and half ago, but took a 6 month break when we bought our first house- it was stressfull!)

Where have you been writing?
Either on my bed or the couch

What has been your favorite snack?
I love eating gobstoppers while writing.

Coffee, tea, soda, energy drink?
None- caffeine doesn't agree with me ;p Naps seem to do the trick though!

Laptop or desktop?

What is your word count?
79,000 words. I have about 15-20k left.

What is your post-it count?
Haha, I have about a million scraps of paper. I do have a drawer that I keep them in.

Any parting words of wisdom, encouragement or insane babbling?
Don't forget your notes and a pen when you get all snuggly in your bed or couch ready to write- or train your dog to get them for you. If mine could get the stuff I forget, I'd have so much more written right now!

Are you rewarding yourself for finishing? And if you are, what with?
A new printer/scanner/faxer all-around-kick-butt machine!

Now hop on over to check out Abby's fabulous blog! She's got an interview with ME.

Oh, wait, before you go - tell me, how is the writing going? Word counts? Revision pages? Shiny new ideas?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

And the WINNER is...

Sara B. Larson!!!


Email me at
jennveg@aol.com to let me know if you want the $50 on one (Starbucks or Barnes & Noble) or if you want 2- $25. And your address so I know where to mail it.

Thank you to everyone who participated, gave me shout outs, side barred me. WELCOME to my new followers! And hugs to all my old, faithful followers!

Here is how the dogs are spending their Sunday morning.

We lost our grass this summer. Completely. I'm not sure when to seed. It seems to me that the people in our neighborhood with the best grass seed every few months. I'm not having any luck convincing The Hubster. Anyone have any tips for the lawn? This is the first year we've lost it completely. We're down to dirt patches in areas.

A few more cute pictures...

Did someone say COOKIE?

Cookies + Tug + Walks = Two Tired Pups

We sure are going to miss Atlas! She's been such a good girl. And she's such a snuggler. Her little muscular body is a trip. The Hubster has decided our next dog will be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier like Atlas so we'll be keeping our eyes open in the shelters and through the local rescue groups. No rush though. Right now we like being able to dog sit for anyone...even during NaNo.

Stay tuned this week:

Monday - Interview with Abby Minard who is doing NaNoRevMo!

Tuesday - We'll chat about the funny things we type into search engines.

Wednesday - Wednesday Wishes! We'll be asking that little magical cat for things.

Thursday - An Award to give away!

Friday - FuN Friday.

Hope you all have a great end to your weekend!

Friday, November 12, 2010

FUN Friday

I know that I have shared this before, but I feel it's funny (and we are in need of funny plugging away at our novels this month!) and fitting (for NaNo).

And speaking of NaNo...Word Count: 20,001!

I don't have time for more tonight, but I left off in a great place for productivity tomorrow. I can hardly wait to start back up in the morning!

"Miss Jennifer, did you know I have two dogs?"
"I did not."
"I do. A boy and a girl and they're married."
"That's sweet."
"Mmhmm. And they had babies. But my mom tooked my girl dog to get spaded so she can't have no more babies."
"That's good. Miss Jennifer (yes, I talk about myself in third person sometimes) likes when the dogs get that operation."
"But the husband, he still tries to have babies!"
"He does?"
"Mmhmm. A LOT."

Happy Friday everyone! Any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Award

Jennifer Hillier gave me the Honest Scrap Award on Tuesday. Too cool! For those of you who don't know Jenny, she is all kinds of awesome. Her debut novel, CREEP, comes out in July 2011 (Simon & Schuster/Gallery). She blogs here and here (at Killer Chicks).

The award means I have to share ten things about myself. Did I just hear a collective groan?

1) I am obsessed with missing persons cases. I can spend hours on the Charley Project website perusing them. I then google the case to read everything I can find about it. It both frightens and confounds me that anyone can disappear without a trace in this day and age. And I feel so bad for family members who never get any closure.

2) I miss my grandma. Every. Single. Day. Tonite to the point of tears. She's been gone for over a decade. Still hurts.

3) I have three older brothers and one younger brother. All my cousins on my mother's side of the family are boys as well. I'm the O and O (as grandma used to call me) - One and Only. I love it. I'm spoiled rotten. But, being boys, they taught me how to throw a punch as well so don't mess with me.

4) My husband put me on a Starbucks budget. He thinks I've quit going entirely. Instead, I take $20 out of every paycheck I deposit so I can spend the cash at Starbucks and he can't keep track of how much I am giving them. Before you judge me too harshly, I have given it up the last month so that I could give away that $50 giftcard (or 2 $25) to YOU for my 100 Followers Contest. But you better believe I'm back to Starbucks for some yummy holiday coffee drinks next week, people!

5) I eat a Weight Watchers Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Bar every night before bed.

6) I volunteered to dogsit for a friend starting tomorrow (until Sunday). Completely forgot how allergic I was to her dog. AND I have to stay at her place because said dog is cat aggressive. Extremely cat aggressive. But look how darling she is with Lily.

I do dopey stuff like that all the time. I can't say no. And I forget how allergic I am to animals.

7) I'm still with Coco.

8) I love sugary cereal as a snack. I try not to keep it in the house for this reason.

9) I make my dog sit at every corner. Every. Corner. Of every block. She has manners that we worked hard at and I like to show them off.

10) I am allergic to all my pets. This means hardwood floors. Air filters in every room. Throws on all the furniture that gets washed three times a week. No dog on the bed. Cats are on the bed but not allowed up on the pillows (and I wash our bedding twice a week). Cats and dog get pet wiped downed once a week and the dog gets a bath every other week. Benedryl to sleep (and breath) every night. And it's totally worth it. I won't live without them.

Now passing it on to two of my faves, Colene Murphy and Meredith Moore!

We're almost to FRIDAY, people! How excited are you???

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

NaNo Word Count: 16,131!

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) The Mummy - Thanks Colene! She mentioned it on her blog and I decided I wanted to be obsessed with it again so I went to dig out my DVD (well, technically my brother Drew's DVD that I swiped from him)...I can't find it anywhere. It's driving me NUTS. I have turned the house upside down. I can't call Drew and ask "Did I give you back The Mummy?" because I 'borrowed' it two years ago (oops!). What if I didn't return it? What if I lost it??? Then I'll have to buy HIM another copy. So I've enlisted mom's help and she's going to spy on his shelves when she is over there later this week. Shhhhhhhhhhh. He doesn't have time to read the blog so it's totally safe to post it here. In the meantime, I've been renting it OnDemand, which is $2.99 a rental. Can't wait until The Hubster gets that bill.

2) COLD weather! I'm loving this weather. I want more of it but it looks like Mother Nature may have other plans. We ended last week in the 90s. YUCK! It's November for cryin' out loud. But the weekend brought cooler temps and it's been downright chilly the past two days. Perfect hiking and walking weather with Lily! She's sensitive to the heat and direct sunlight because of her breeds so if we get cloudy days, we get loads more exercise before dinner! Plus, it's peppermint tea and hot chocolate and beanies and scarves and gloves and sweaters and fires in the firplace! And it's also GREAT writing weather! Love love love!

3) New Living Room Set - Hey, I wished for a new bed and it happened! I can't decide on what I want, though. I need faux leather because of my allergies. The fabric furniture we have now just collects way too much dust. And it's a pain to steam it. BUT I'm not fond of the faux leather look. I want a warm, inviting living room and leather just doesn't do that for me. You see my dilemma? Oh, and I want a flat screen with that living room set. 42 inches, please!

What about you? What are you wishes for Wednesday this week?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday


1) NaNo! I LOVE my idea. It's all I think about. I had to force myself to step away on Sunday. Which made me want it so much more on Monday! It's rolling along. Can't wait to put the Hubster to bed tonight (he's sick) so I can work on it some more. And speaking of beds...

2) My new BED - Beautyrest. Pillowtop. I've had the same mattress for 15 years. No box springs. Ikea frame. So we get the set, have it delivered, they put it on the frame...and it's HIGHER THAN the frame. We laughed. If we have an earthquake, we're gonna slide right off. But we'll be on the pillowtop mattress so it will cushion our fall. I love it. Love love love, as my Eva would have said. We went to bed after dinner on Thursday night. I've taken naps EVERY day. The cats won't get off it except to go to the bathroom and eat. It's the best thing ever. EVER.

3) The Walking Dead - I hate zombies. I really do. They scare me worse than anything. Except maybe fire. I was fine with zombies until 28 Days when they had zombies move FASTER. I want to be able to outrun them. That being said, if you can get me to watch a show WITH zombies - and keep coming back for more - you're doing something right! Loving this show. Still hating zombies, though.

4) Autumn Mix - I've eaten so much I'm sick. I don't even want to think what is in it. Candy corns and pumpkin mallowcreams and indian corn - oh my! I have eaten an entire bag in three days. Ugh. And I bought TWO bags because they were on sale. So I'll be doing extra exercise tomorrow.

5) Sequim, WA - Our friends moved up there with their three dogs this summer. The pictures they keep taunting us with...well, they're working.

They bought a house on two acres with a creek running through it and they hike the dogs EVERY day. It's green but without all the rain that Seattle gets. Want to be there now! I can see myself walking this trail with Lily and another dog!

6) Ayana - Her ears kill me!

She's Lily as a puppy, only Lily's ears weren't this big so I know this girl will be truer to the APBT bloodline than Lil is. Those ears scream it. Her velcro, loving demeanor does as well.

7) Gloria Jean's Madagascar Vanilla Caramel Coffee - It's the reason I'm getting out of bed in the morning and it gets me going whether I'm teaching or I'm writing!

8) Peppermint Tea - It's my evening obsession. Peppermint tea, candles and Niyaz help me crank out that last 1000 words!

9) Halls Honey Lemon Cough Drops - This obsession is long reaching. It's actually become problematic. I think we're in the addiction phase now. Here's the thing...I was really sick about two years ago (maybe longer now, I've lost track) and these became my reason for living through the cold (melodramatic much?). The problem? I'm still using them. Daily. The sugar free ones. The Hubster, a pharmacist, wants me off them. As far as he's concerned, I stopped partaking daily a year ago. The truth? I have a stash in my purse, in my underwear drawer, hidden in the very back of my make-up drawer, in the linen closet and one in the kitchen. Yes, I'm stocked. How has he not caught on? What I'm supposedly sucking on - Wintergreen Lifesavers - has been sitting in the kitchen on the counter for six months now. It was a big bag, sure. But not THAT big. Is he turning a blind eye to my addiction?

10) My Chargers - Are we gonna pull it together? Are we not? I hate our head coach - more than fast moving zombies. He stepped into a SuperBowl caliber team and couldn't get them there. In fact, we're getting worse every season under him. We might not make the playoffs this season. I think we will. Barely. And then we're stuck with him at least another year. Our defense is worse than the walking dead. In fact, they look like walking dead on the field. But I just can't bring myself to hope for failure just so we can be rid of Norv Turner. I've sat through 1-15. In the stands. Surrounded by opposing fans. It stinks. And I canceled my season seats after last season, letting the front office know I'll be back when Turner is gone. Apparently, they had a lot of cancelation from long time season ticket holders like me (over 20 years). Shouldn't that be a clue? I was the one who sat through 1-15. Those yahoos in the stands right now will cancel after one losing season. Sigh. They have a way of suckering you in, making you believe this is actually going to be THE SEASON. Only to find new ways to lose, new ways to break your heart. I thought I wouldn't care as much not having season seats. I was wrong.

What about you? Any obsessions this week?

How about this - Jessica is over 400! And if she makes it 500 before the deadline, her prizes DOUBLE! Go, follow, win!

And don't forget to enter MY 100 Followers Contest here!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday NaNo Interview

Each Monday, I'm going to feature an interview with a current NaNo participant! Today, we have the lovely Jen Daiker from Unedited! If you haven't been to Jen's blog, GO! She's one of them that I read daily (even when I'm in the midst of word counts). Love her! On to the interview...

Is this your first NaNo?
Yes! I'm nervous, excited, and ready to go!

How did you prepare?
I walk around my house talking to myself, to my cats, and to my characters telling them I really want this to work and I'll need their assistance. Then I start writing come November 1st.

Are you pantsing or plotting?
Always pantsing, never plotting. If I plot the story dies... I second guess what I do and lose the gripping and intense feelings from pantsing. More emotion which I love!

Can you give us a brief synop of your story idea?
When Rose wakes up with wings, her world is turned upside down. A century since the last fairy had their wings before the age of seventeen, the Gods deemed her to be the ruler of Raslina. Only problem is, Fina, her best friend, doesn't like Rose in the limelight. Determined to steal her role she tricks Rose and sends her to the Human World. Once out of the kingdom it's very hard to get back in. Rose must live in amongst humans until she's able to find her way back home. What's a fairy to do?

What has been the hardest part?
Not writing. I get an idea, I type it out, in a week or two it's finished and locked away in a secret cabinet until revisions start.

What has been surprisingly easier than you thought?
The confidence. Once you sign up the pressure you gave yourself is gone because you've found a team, an awesome support group to help you along your journey. I love all my buddies and I hope they have as much success as I know I will!

What has been your favorite snack?
Chocolate chip cookies... fresh out of the oven.

Have you imbibed any of the following: wine, chocolate, coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks?
Blush wine, Martini & Rossi champagne, and Dr. Pepper, cannot live without them.

Where have you been writing?
On my uncomfortable green sofa (cuter than it sounds) until I can find the perfect writing space.

What keeps you going?
My imagination, if didn't run wild, I wouldn't either.

What is your word count?
My final word count is 54K, which was done on November 5th!

Any parting words of wisdom, encouragement or insane babbling?
GO GET 'UM TIGER! That's as good as it gets... don't worry about making those words sparkle, write what you feel, what you know and push those 50K out... everyone has it in them!

Thanks so much, Jen! And for anyone who feels pressured or like they are falling behind - Jen finished in 5 DAYS! Keep at it. You may hit that groove and fly way out ahead of the everyone else! We all write in our ways at our own paces!

P.S. - Don't forget my 100 Followers Giveaway! Enter to win a $50 giftcard (or 2 - $25 giftcards)!!! Click HERE.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jennie's 100 Followers Contest!

I just looked at the sidebar and we have reached the magical number - 100! 100 people following my blog! I'm so excited - and I want to share that excitement with a giveaway!

Your choice of a $50 Barnes & Noble or Starbucks giftcard
A $25 giftcard to each (so you can spend $25 on books, $25 on coffee)

+1 New Follower
+2 Old Follower/Friend
+3 Sidebar
+5 Blog About It (include the link)

+1 for referring someone new (make sure they mention you in their comment)
+2 for telling me a secret about yourself

For example, my secret - I am a self-professed Pit Bull Junkie! Love love love the breed and can't ever live my life without at least one in the house to snuggle with. That's right, I own a "pit bull type" dog. Not a thug. Not a gang banger. Not a criminal. Have a degree from USC. Live in a VERY nice neighborhood. Married to a PharmD. Well educated adults who own a GREAT dog. Okay, honestly, the three cats own us, but we're above the dog in the pecking order in this house. So that's my secret.

One more? I sleep with a light on. The Hubster hates it. I don't care. I'm scared of the dark!!!

Contest Ends: Friday, November 12th.

Let's hear it friends - old and new! What's YOUR secret???

(Be sure to add your points up for me in your comment!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

FUN Friday

Today, your orders are to have fun or ye'll walk the plank, matey!

How cute is my nephew? This is his fierce pirate look! And my mom dressed up as a pirate just to go trick or treating with him!

How mischievous he looks! You can't NOT have a swashbucklin' FUN with him! He's full of the 'dickens', as my grandma would say.

NaNo Word Count: 8015

I had a conversation with The Hubster tonite that resembled this:

I've had a migraine all day (and managed to hit my word count goal anyway - YAY me and thank the gods for my Bed Buddy) so I'm sure that I was the major problem with our conversation.

100 Followers Contest
I am TWO people away from 100! So stay tuned for my contest next week - the prize will be a $50 gift card to your choice of Starbucks or Barnes & Noble (or $25 to each)! It will be the usual - +1 for new follower, +2 for old, etc.

Fun Kid Story
I was teaching 2nd Grade Kindness and I had a little girl tell me the following story:
One time our gardeners left the gate open but we didn't know it. When we let our dogs out to go potty one last time before bed, Josie came back and Jordie didn't. My dad was overcome with grief and worry. He started running up and down Ventura Blvd. shouting his name while my mom got in the car with Josie to search the neighborhood. My dad found Jordie but he started running away and my dad ran so fast his pants fell down and he lost his flashlight!

I love that she put an emphasis on "lost his flashlight" as though that were the best part of the story. I also love that she said her dad was "overcome with grief and worry." It's so nice to get happy stories on occasion!

What about you all - Any fun weekend plans?

What is your NaNo count? Or FinMo? Or RevMo?

My apologies to Joanna for not getting her contests up. It was all I could do to write through this pain! If your contest is still taking place, I will try to get it up on my sidebar tomorrow and do a shout out this weekend in a post!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

NaNo Word Count: 4184!

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) A laptop that doesn't overheat. I'm getting about an hour at most on it before it's too hot and shuts itself down. Not good for NaNo. I can use The Hubster's computer but his chair is soooooo uncomfortable. I have to hunch forward to work the mouse and type on the keyboard. My chest muscles are already hurting! I can't do 29 more days of that! But there is no time to take my laptop in for cleaning/diagnosing. I had the choice between a new laptop and a new mattress this week - I went with the mattress. I'm not sleeping well on the 15+ year old one I have now. So I'm wishing the Laptop Fairies (who totally exist!) will magically repair it during the night!

2) A massage! Or time for one. No time really right now. My friend Keren gives KILLER massages. She's the only one that I will allow to massage me anymore. The last two massages I've had at spas have been disasters. No fault of the masseuse. I've just had panic attacks in the middle of both. It's really hard to enjoy a massage when your heart is thumping out of your chest, your skin is crawling and you just want to run. But when Keren does it, I completely relax. No panic attacks. So that is the way to go. Plus, she's got the BEST hands. The Hubster tries. He really does. But his hands are not Keren's hands. It's almost worth paying rent for her to live next door to me so that I can get weekly massages!

3) 2,000 words a day! I'm starting off strong, but the finishing is important as well. I'll try not to limit myself on Saturday. Maybe I can bank some extra words. I might even write on Sunday. Shhhhh, don't tell the NFL. I can write and watch football. I can! Although writing and watching election coverage didn't work out so well. Those last 120 words were very distracted words. Tea Party. What? Very distracted. Out the gate, rounding that first curve in the track and I'm holding my pace. My wish is to keep up for the rest of the month!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

P.S. - If you have a contest for me to promote, let me know!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day One NaNo Update

I know I said that I wasn't going to post every weekday, but I'm so excited by first day NaNo results!

Word Count: 2045

Here's what I have learned:

I can write even when I'm sick and have worked half the day!!

It was easier than I thought it would be! Yes, that's right! I cranked out those words in just a few hours.

I admit that I did a brief outline (but not a complete one so I'll spend Sunday finishing it, I think) so that has helped.

But there were surprises:

I have a ten year old autistic boy named Ben who showed up. Sweet, sweet boy. I love him.

The 16 year old with the jet black hair and violet eyes bites. Be careful.

Ed is late. Very late. There's been no word. He may not have made it. But they have to wait. He has two very important children on board that must make this flight.

Even with an outline, I wasn't expecting what happened today.

It was so much fun!

The freedom was amazing. Just following where the story led me!

How did everyone else do?

Good luck tomorrow! I promise that I will try my best to get some blog hopping in tomorrow!

P.S. - Sara Larson is having a FAB giveaway over at her blog to celebrate 200 followers! Find her HERE, follow her because she's FAB and has so much great advice and you will have a chance to win your choice of three prizes (all of which include CHOCOLATE!!).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Away We Go!

Up, up and away, my fellow NaNoers!

We're off! Racing toward that 50,000.

My blog schedule for the next month will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Mondays will be interviews with NaNo participants! So check back for that fun!

Wednesday will be Wednesday Wishes.

Friday will be our FUN Friday.

If I feel so inspired any other day of the week, I just may add a post or two. But no pressure. We'll see how it goes. But I'm making the vow right now - NO WHINING!

I was starting to get stressed out over NaNo, then I put the brakes on this afternoon. I don't want to do this if it isn't going to be FUN. I love to write and I REFUSE to take the joy out of it. I sat down and spent three hours this morning with character sketches, ideas and a rough outline. I'm very excited about this! The joy came back and the stress went out.

I had to do this because I got SICK. I was so stressed this past week at the thought of the next month that I ended up with a lovely cold. I stocked up today at the grocery store on lots of juice to flush my system. I proved to myself this morning that I can write IN BED. And I may actually be better for it...is that a bad thing???

Anyway, off we go my friends! Up, up goes the word count. Up, up toward success! We can do this and it will be FUN! Flying with a magic umbrella fun even!

Grab my hand and let's soar up to the highest heights!

Who's with me?