Monday, March 31, 2008

Been Slogging Lately

That's blog tech-talk for slackin' off on the old blog.

I don't know what's wrong. Either my life's going through a lull, my writing's going through a lull, or (see last post), I'm letting "fear of blogging" edit my material.

Hey, so let's throw caution to the winds, shall we?

Things I thought twice about sharing:

Had my face injected with Juviderme a couple weeks ago. Nice difference! Not-so-nice price! And yes, we discussed the eventual face-lift (and associated eye stuff). Got the estimate and everything. Now, all I have to do is schedule it for a time at which I will have quit smoking two weeks before.


I'm beginning to think I wasn't as vain as I thought. (Interpret that however you wish.)

Second, I got my scores back from a contest I entered. Blah. Got some perfect 5's, and a 3 and a 2. Ack. Never gotten a 2 before. But I understand. Some people detest anything that smells of chick lit, and guess what? Leftovers reeks. But, um...that's why I didn't enter it in a traditional romance category--didn't she notice??

Third, I sold another story to True Romance. I hesitated to relate the circumstances, but what the hell...the cool thing is that I finished it on a Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning I got an email from the editor saying they were struggling with the June issue and although I'm already in the June issue, did I have anything else "lying around?" Long story short (ha--there's kind of a pun there), they bought the one I had "lying around." I was flattered to be asked.

Lastly, I'm going to Phoenix this weekend for the Desert Rose Chapter bi-annual conference. Yippee!! A day off work...a desert setting...lots of buddies I haven't seen since Dallas last year...what could be better?? Oh, and of course that nasty editor appointment I have. Let's not even think about it until it happens, okay? Otherwise, I'll start sweating.

Nothing else new in Randyland except the Senor, Senora, and I went on a gambling run on Saturday. Let's just say an excellent time was had by all...!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shh--Don't Tell

Everywhere I turn (well, every where I turn on the Internet), bloggers with advice for aspiring authors say over and over: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WRITE ON YOUR BLOG.

I hate that. I hate having to censor myself.

DON'T write about politics. DON'T write about religion. But above all else, DON'T write stuff like hey, got my fiftieth rejection on Manuscript A from that bitch, Agent B.

Well, duh. That's just plain stupid. But, still. It' hard to know where to draw the line. Say, for instance, I've submitted a partial to Agent C, and she decides to check me out via my blog. Hypothetically speaking, a litany of rejections posted here might give her pause. (Hey Agent C--if you're reading this, please note I said hypothetically speaking!!) But again, where do you draw the line?

Sadly, sharing good news can be dangerous too because unanticipated jealousy can rear its ugly head.

Which makes keeping this blog a little tough sometimes.

Suffice to say, lately there's been writing news both good and bad.

How's that for being blogitically correct? (Oooh--I just coined a new term! Remember, you read it here, first!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Plan--Amended*

As punishment for not hitting the gym tonight (yes, faithful readers, we're into Month 3, and I'm keeping a pretty regular schedule--not that I have much to show for it), I'm gonna divide activities undertaken for the next couple of hours into two categories: writing and cleaning my closet. I know it's a Monday--hardly the day of the week normal people choose to Spring clean, but then we all know I'm not too normal, don't we?

So the plan is to write a page, clean the closet, write a page, clean the closet. (Haven't figured out yet how long each cleaning stint should be--guess until my back aches. Oh, wait. I already feel the pain coming on. Maybe I should stick to writing.)


I. Will. Clean. My. Closet.


If I can't keep a promise to my blog, who CAN I keep it to?

And, hm...the longer I make this post, the more time I can waste instead of cleaning...oh, I go.........

*Amended to incorporate unanticipated boredom with cleaning closet. So, here's the new plan. I want y'all to lean up real close to your computer monitors and yell, "It's clean enough!"

There! I heard you! All righty, then! If you's back to writing for me! (Doncha just LOVE a successful collaboration?)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Too Much Reality a Bad Thing?

In my case, I'm guessing yeah. OD'ing on reality can be harmful to your mental health. At minimum, it really screws with your carefully constructed schedule for completing the Great American novel.

Personally, I blame the writer's strike. How else to explain the current overload? I mean, we're talking:

Big Brother
The Bachelor
Top Chef
Dancing With The Stars
and last, but by no means least, American Idol

And some of the above air multiple times a week!

How's a struggling writer (who uses nighttime hours) suppose to pursue her dream? (Please don't say TiVo--I refuse to spend any more $ on television.)

Anyway, so I've made concessions. For example, I'm barely watching Big Brother--which ain't a big loss cuz this season sucks anyway. Oh, and here's my theory on that: usually, BB airs during the summer when there's less competition. For some reason (hello! writer's strike!), CBS chose to move up its airdate and loaded it with a bunch of whiny, unlikable youngsters to compete (I assume) with American Idol's demographic. Wrong move.

Here's another way I'm freeing up the schedule: I don't watch the AI results show until 9:50. And I only flip over to Dancing With The Stars during commercials because, hey--I can always catch the video on youtube the next day.

And if I really, really, have to, I skip Top Chef because Bravo does the rinse, lather, and repeat thing several times a week. (Shh. That's when I sneak in their Supermodel show, too.)

Speaking of programs I don't watch, have any of you caught the new, East Coast version of those Orange County skanks, I mean, wives? Holy moly. Are they for real? Are they so dim, they don't have a friggin' clue how despicable they come across?

Not that I'm watching mind you. 'Cuz, y'know...that would take away from valuable writing time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Manna For Thought

Women's magazine Marie Clare is having a contest, the details of which can be found here. The task? Write a 300-word letter to your younger self, reflecting on your life experience.


Cue violins.

Bring on the anti-depressants.


From The Now I've Heard Everything Department

According to reliable sources, my sheet metal guy is on a visit to his homeland (The Philippines)...only he's NOT on vacation. He's getting...are you ready???...

A face lift.

When did the world turn upside down?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In Case You Needed Additional Proof...

...of my schizoid tendencies, consider this:

I get home last night (from St. Patrick's Day festivities--hey, I may not be Irish but when the observance takes place at a Mexican restaurant, I'm all about multiculturalism), and I settle in with the premier episode of the latest American travesty known as "The Bachelor."

First, I'd like to go on record as saying, pip pip. Jolly good choice.

Tall? Check. (Six foot five)
Nice family? Check. (Youngest of five brothers)
Professional? Check. (Investment banker)
Looking for love? Oh, check. (The usual drivel about finding an amazing soul mate rolls of this guy's tongue with an English accent, making him even more believable than all previous bachelors 'cuz as everyone knows, anything said with an English accent must be true. Just ask Margaret Thatcher.)

Anyway, so I'm digging the bachelor, waiting to see the lovelies arrive, but we cut to commercial, so I flip on over to MSNBC...

...where I catch the beginning of "The Lockup"--a show about two guys in a maximum security prison somewhere in the south. In seconds, I'm hooked.

But then...wait! What about the lovelies?

I switch back.

At the entrance to the L.A. mansion, The Bachelor welcomes a couple dozen women, thanking them for coming and promising to catch up with them later inside. Although he's "blown away" by how far the contestants--excuse me, future brides--exceed his expectations, I'm left a bit underwhelmed. In fact, I honestly don't see a special sparkle in the bunch.

Over to The Lockup.

...and a guy who, when he was twenty, settled a debt in a most unique way. "I kept trying to get him to pay me back and one day he said 'over my dead body' so I got a rifle and and I killed him."

Back to The Bachelor.

...where one of the ladies has a special song for her potential mate. Um...let's just say she isn't American Idol material. Then, another one hauls out a case from which she produces and assembles a...yes, it's a clarinet. After pointing out the reed and describing how one needs to wet it properly or it doesn't work (said without any hint of double entendre) she serenades our hero with a short, melodic piece. He claims to be in awe, but I'm pretty sure he's thinking: WTF...?

Back to The Lockup.

The prisoner in question's been in solitary (oh, did I mention he killed another guy while incarcerated??--yep, a debt issue again), for something like 19 years. Yet, he doesn't come across scary or weird. Maybe a little bitter. A little angry. But mostly, what he wants is a transfer to a prison closer to his mother. An interview with Mom reveals a horrible childhood with lots of abuse (both of her and her son) on the part of a father/husband. She assumes responsibility for not having found a way to get the guy out of their lives, but claims she didn't have anywhere else to go. Now she tries to visit her son as often as possible but the distance, expense, and limited time off from work restrict her to twice a year.

Meanwhile, over at The Bachelor, a woman bites into an aluminum can, tearing off a piece for the future love of her life and he promises to keep it in a place of honor.

Prisoner guy screws up and doesn't get his transfer.

One of the ladies (?) donates a pair of panties to the Bachelor, and one passes out, snoring, on a bed. I'm thinking that by the end of the show, he may wanna trade places with the guy in prison doing life in solitary confinement.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Double D-Day!

Not one but TWO envelopes in the mail yesterday with the Dorchester return address. Pretty neat. The first was a check for part one of a story that ran in February's issue of True Romance Magazine, the second was a contract for a story to run in June. Not that anyone's counting, but that makes a total of 14 sales since February of last year. Who knew, huh? They add up nicely!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Cool Is This?

Okay, I realize this blog is s'posed to be about my journey to publication, but...well...y'know, sometimes that topic gets to be a snooze (even to me).

So...ever-the-harbinger-of-positive-cultural-trends, today I point you toward this fascinating phenomenon (courtesy of the L.A. Times): "Women-Only Buses Make Welcome Detour Around Unwanted Attentions."

Yeah, tell me about it. I had to blink.

I mean, what a concept, and here's how it works: First, we're talking Mexico City--a public transit system consisting of subways, buses and privately owned vans called micros. Subways already have areas restricted to women, children, and the elderly, but (up until now), not the buses. Too impractical.

So it turns out women were constantly getting groped and harassed. (Gee, there's a surprise.) But then apparently some forward thinking individual had the audacity to get approval for ENTIRE buses dedicated to women only. Can you imagine? This must be HEAVEN! (Not that I've been on a bus in...oh...shall we say decades? Still...)

Better yet, this phenomenon is not isolated to Mexico! Nope. They're following in the footsteps of Toyko, Rio de Janeiro and Cairo.

What an enlightened world we live in.

'Course it'd be even nicer if men could keep their hands to themselves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Just got word that I'll be pitching to my number one choice at the Desert Dreams Conference in Arizona! Not sure I should name names here, so I won't. Suffice to say I'm thrilled, and the butterflies are already doin' the cha-cha in my stomach!

In other good news today, a little birdie told me to be on the lookout for a contract from TR for June. Yippee! Time to write another one!

I don't know about the rest of the country, but Spring is definitely in the air here in California.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Title-Free Zone (Updated)

The great title search is driving me to drink. (Okay, I confess--I didn't really need an excuse.) But while I squander what few brain cells remain, I'm resorting to photos for blog fodder. (Hm. Blog fodder--a possible title??? Yeah, it's an occupational hazard.) Anyway, here's Blogreader Joe with granddaughter Kayla and grandson Luke at the traditional "take the new grandoffspring to meet the Mariachis" event. (No, really? Your family doesn't celebrate that tradition? Go figure.)

Oh, fine. Blogger is PMS'ing and won't upload photos.

Check back in awhile...

Whew...Blogger got over whatever was ailing him (yes, I picture Blogger as a HIM). And, no that's not a typo on Luke's bib...he's already a huge fan of Duke University's basketball team. (Just goes to show how much infants know!! No doubt as he matures he'll see the light and switch his affections to the UCLA Bruins.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bemco!

Ah... time flies, huh? Today is Bemco's 57th birthday. That's my brother and I showing off an SS30 Salt Spray chamber circa 1959. We still sell that model, and guess what? It hasn't changed much...too bad I can't say the same about me and my brother.

Click here to read up on the history of the company.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not Another One

Anyone heard of the book "Love and Consequences" by one Margaret B. Jones? (I hadn't, but then I'm not always "up" on the latest literary offerings.) Anyway, according to the article here, in "a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods."

Only one problem.

Ol' Mags made the whole thing up.

Not half-white.
Not half-Native American.
Didn't grow up in South-Central L.A.
Wasn't a foster child.
Didn't live among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

What she did do, was she grew up in a whitebread section of the San Fernando Valley (a suburb of Los Angeles) with her biological family.

AND she had the nerve to attend the very same private school I traipsed through in ninth grade.

Oh, the shame!

The fine folks at Penguin Books are admittedly red-faced. They're recalling the books and canceling the author's tour. The editor who worked with Ms. Jones for three years is appropriately heartbroken. (Um...three years?)

And, get this: her own sister spilled the beans. Yep, as soon as she saw some publicity on the book, she just called up the publisher and said, "Nuh-uh." (Methinks the family might not be too close--or if it was, it ain't now.)

Ms. Jones claims she had good intentions. She wanted to forge a better understanding of race relations through relating experiences told to her by others.

(Yeah, and I'd like a little of that advance she got.)

Anyway, a word to the wise, Margaret: don't be showing up at Campbell Hall's reunions any time soon. I might wanna word with you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

News Flash--Big Ass Company Does The Right Thing

Gotta give credit where credit is due.

So on a Sunday in December, I had four employees show up at LAX for a 6 a.m. flight on Continental. Long story short, they spent almost an entire day at the airport with no luck. El plano el broken-o. By the time they figured they weren't gonna make it to Mississippi by Monday, our customer said to forget it. Come after the first of the year.

Meanwhile, I put in for refunds (complete with a handy little letter from the airlines confirming the snafu was mechanically related, not weather-related)...and scheduled the new trip on a different carrier.

Weeks later, a little package arrives from the original airline. Four individual vouchers for about 1/3 of the cost of the original tickets.

Er, thanks a heap.

I mean, first...not all these guys travel regularly. Second, sorry...but we hardly ever use Continental. Not because we have anything against them--we just rarely fly where they go. this time, we'd already completed the trip on another airline.

I wrote a letter.

Meanwhile, four more vouchers arrive (this time at my billing address) for $100 each. Nice, and all...but, again. Not so useful.

I wrote another letter.

And guess what!!! Today, I got a response! They're voiding out the first vouchers, refunding the tickets in the ENTIRE amount, and letting us have the second vouchers as a goodwill gesture.

Way to go, CONTINENTAL! Ya did the right thing!