Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaNoWriMo--The Final Frontier!

Well, as you can see, I failed miserably this month, even though my goal was a paltry 25,000 words instead of 50,000. As I write this, Beverely has soared across the finish line, and I'm sure Jax will cross it by midnight.

You ladies ROCK!

In my defense, that bout with bronchitis set me back. Also, I'd like to point out that I wrote an additional 4,000 words on a story for True Romance that I didn't include in the total. Sadly, though, I don't ROCK, I stutter-step. HA, kinda the way I dance (blogreader Joe is nodding is head right now).

Meanwhile, I read through my WIP last night--approximately 50 pages. I wasn't as thrilled as I'd thought I'd be.

(We interrupt this blog to report the shuttle just went over!!! BAM!! BAM!!!)

Anyway, sometimes novels take on a life of their own. Or maybe, I'm in the wrong mood to be writing, cuz...geesh...this one's so friggin' serious. Too dramatic for my taste. I need to go back and find a way to inject the yucks. The...I that the right word?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

Okay, I admit I did NOT do my part to resurrect the economy yesterday. I only hope that the rest of you made up for my absence. Instead, niece Jamie roped me into joining the family for a portrait, complete with an honest-to-goodness photographer. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures myself, so here they are. That's the "grandparents photo" with Barry and Polly in the center, flanked by Ashley on the left and Jake and Zac on the right. And that's the Perlstein family below, complete with Mom and Dad (Jamie and Jon).

New parents Brian and Juli-Ann with baby Paige wallowed in the wet grass for this pose.

Finally, last but not least, niece Mindy (and fellow spinstress) to me, but Aunt Mindy to Paige.

Let's hope the professional guy did a better job than I, huh? (P.S. I think you'll agree that Paige is the only consistently photogenic one of the group.)

Nice setting though, huh?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I've been lax on the old blog lately. Guess I've been busy at work and with my NaNo Project. Just thought I'd drop by and wish all my readers a very happy holiday and to remind everyone that it's just important to be thankful for what you DON'T have.

Borrowing from an email sent to me by friends Debi and Skip, permit me to plagiarize!

Be thankful that you don't have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to.

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
they will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
However fulfillment also comes to those who
are thankful for some of the setbacks in life.

May the good things in life be yours in abundance, not only on Thanksgiving but through

the coming year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Gory Details

Please note I spared y'all the day-to-day saga of the switch to high speed until that last post. Actually, after the first couple weeks of on-site visits, calls to Earthlink and Time Warner, live chats via the Internet, yada yada, I pretty much gave up. Figured I'd wait until the BILL was due, then politely explain why I was choosing not to PAY IT.

Sure enough, when I contacted the billing department at Time Warner on Friday, they instantly set up yet ANOTHER tech visit for first thing Saturday morning. Yuck. My favorite thing in the world. An appointment (at my home, no less) at 8 in the morning.


Decided to give it the old college try.

Promptly at 8, my phone rang. "I'm parked in your driveway," the TW tech informed me.

"Give me a minute to throw on some clothes," was my answer.

Yes, sans makeup, I opened the door and let him in. I think his name was Brian. Or Ryan. Something like that. Anyway, he went to work, performing the same old diagnostics his forerunners tried. Then he decided he needed his "earthlink book"--except he didn't have one, so he called in reinforcements. Two more guys showed up within minutes.

Now I had three tech guys standing in front of my computer, scratching their heads. (I was dying to take a photo for the blog, but didn't wanna embarrass them--I'm so nice!!) Eventually, the whole thing was taking so long, guys 2 and 3 left to handle Brian/Ryan's next appointment.

Meanwhile, Brian/Ryan resorted to desperate measures: he ran a new cable directly from the street up through my 2nd story window. Nada.

Next he called "Tier 3" support. Apparently, these are Time Warner's really big guns on the tech front. After listening to Brian/Ryan claim he'd exhausted every option imaginable, they all agreed it must be Earthlink's fault.

Where have we heard this before??

My memory of what followed is a bit hazy. I believe there was another call to Earthlink involved, but I can't quite remember the outcome. All I DO know, is that in the end, we were back with Tier 3, who I'm pretty sure is capable of beaming wireless death rays to targets of their choice. Anyway, all of a sudden, I saw Yahoo Messenger pop up on the monitor. "I'm connected," I told Brian, all excited.

He grabbed his phone and asked Tier 3 guy what he'd just done.

From my end, I heard garble garble, then Brian/Ryan turned to me. "They took off the Earthlink code."


"Meaning, you're connected through Road Runner."

Uh-oh. This did NOT sound promising. "What about my Earthlink email account?"

More garble garble, both on the phone end and in person. "Let's try it," Brian/Ryan suggested.

Tried it. Worked like a charm. Still, I KNEW IN MY HEART, this was probably the last I'd see of earthlink.

Sure enough. Brian/Ryan scurried out of there like a guy on a bad date. Three hours later, I went to check email and earthlink didn't know me from Adam. Not on Outlook Express. Not on the webserver. Not even one last email saying our five year relationship had been fun, but now it was time for him to move on.

See, the ONE criteria I had for upgrading was....I wanted to keep my email address. Not just for convenience, but because I have emailed submissions to agents and editors out there, some of whom use only email for their responses. Okay. I realize that on the OFF-CHANCE one of them can't live without my book, they'll find me via snail mail. But what of the partials? The maybe's? Well, here's hoping they use that SASE. And for the electronic submissions where there WAS no SASE, I guess I can send another email...but experience tells me those follow-ups get lost in the ozone.

But, I digress. On with the story.

So there I was without an email address to my name (except for one I use on Yahoo). I went to Roadrunner's site to set one up only to learn that I should have been given one when I "signed up for the service." Hello! Never signed up! Searched all over for a phone number. Tried "live chat" but...duh...needed an EMAIL ADDRESS to use the feature. Finally got ahold of a human who was able to give me the address, but not the password (how convenient!). She transferred me to another human who, after several fasle starts, finally figured out how to reset it.

Fortunately, I was savvy enough to successfully add the new address to Outlook, then I spent the next hour updating all my Yahoo groups, sending a blanket email to my address book, trying to remember all the places (iTunes, Yahoo webhosting, Blogger, etc.) that are anchored by my sad former email address.

I'm sure I missed a few.

Probably even a lot.

I guess we'll never know what the problem with Earthlink was, but I'm thinking their ad campaign to entice dial-up customers to switch to high speed cable is be a major bust if they all turn out like me--former customers.

Oh, the icing on the cake?? Got an email from earthlink today addressed to my company's account, but referencing my phone contact this past Saturday. (Guess maybe they had the company account as an alternate contact address.) Anyway, they asked me to take an on-line survey regarding my satisfaction with how they handled my problem...

You can imagine how much FUN I had with THAT!!

P.S. I suppose this post was about as fascinating as someone's childbirthing story. Sorry.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Am I Still Here???

More elaborate stories later, but the migration from dial-up to high speed cable took a new turn today, with the end result being that I no longer have my original email address. Surprise!

I'm a tad concerned cuz this blog is tied to that account. Which may mean nothing...or everything. Anyway, if I disappear, or am unable to post at some'll know why.

The evil techies are at work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Number 20!

In addition to making s-l-o-w (but relatively steady!) progress with my NaNo project, I can report another True Romance sale! Yippee! For the first time, I actually wrote a themed story--this is for the February issue. Valentine's Day sounded to yawn-y (y'know, cuz it's not exactly my all-time favorite event), Presidents Day...Groundhog Day...nothing inspired me.

Until I came up with Mardi Gras. I mean, what could be better than a romance centered around a masquerade party?

Along with the contract came a lovely note from Nicole, the associate editor. Let me just mention that flattery has a way of increasing my productivity so that Nicole is one smart girl. Ha.

Anyway, so that makes 20 contracted stories since receiving my first in February of 2007. I guess that first one wasn't the fluke I originally thought, huh?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The 88 -- Coming Home

Swoon...what's not to love about boyishly cute guys and feel-good music? They remind me of the Beatles before they went whacko.

P.S. Go, Keith!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cough, Wheeze, Snort--And A Milestone Is Shattered

As my hairdresser said today, "I hope you didn't get that bronchial thing that's going around."


And so, long-standing record fell. In the 26 years I've worked here, I've called in sick only once and technically, I wasn't even sick that time--it was more of a jet-lag thing circa 1988 which I insist does NOT count.

I even got up, showered, and dressed yesterday morning, then thought...what the hell am I doing? Just because I felt immeasurably better than on the day prior, didn't mean I was firing on all pistons. (Okay, and to be honest, I went home early on Friday. Like at 10 a.m.)

So instead, I dragged myself into what the health care system calls "extended care" and sat with all the rest of the germ-laden sickees. Bottom line: bronchitis (but, yay! no pneumonia!). And with a couple scripts in hand, I am now well on my way back to Randyworld. (I have to admit it occurs to me that were I still a spring chicken, I probably would have toughed this all out, but oh some point, I guess I clearly must give in to middle age.)

Anyway, I spent the time sleeping and watching a WHOLE LOT of TV which, thank God, kept me well entertained. And at odd moments, I began to compile the following list, so here now...


  • You can moan and groan all you like without feeling like a pathetic loser
  • You can toss used tissue wherever you like, including into the growing mound on the opposite side of the bed
  • In fact, the opposite side of the bed is useful for holding many essential items, e.g. reading glasses, thermometer, washcloth, remote
  • You needn't put the caps back on pill bottles (this saves a lot of energy, trust me)
  • You don't have to eat boring stuff like chicken soup and jello
  • Instead you can eat whatever you crave, like ice cream cones and pizza
  • You can look even more decrepit than you normally look when you wake up
  • You can watch TV all night long
  • You can take as many hot baths as you like without hearing someone say, "another one?"
  • You can drink Nyquill right out of the bottle, saving you from having to clean that little plastic cup
  • You can talk yourself into believing any medication you happen to have around the house is certainly within its expiration date
  • You can throw stuff on the floor when your nightstand gets too cluttered with other medicinal debris
This has been a public service announcement intended to reach all the whiny single people out there who wallow in depression when they're sick.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So I'm driving through American suburbia this morning on my way to work. I stop at a signal and while I'm waiting for the light to turn green, I notice a woman pushing a double stroller containing infant-type children down the sidewalk.

This strikes me as odd, but I can't figure out why, so I begin to analyze.

First, I note that the woman is probably not the kids' mom. Why? Because she's wearing a uniform. (It helps to point out that she's also Hispanic, and even from my car I can tell the babies are blonde.)

Okay, so she's the Nanny. No biggie.

But let's examine further. If I were a mom (yeah, I know--huge stretch, but bear with me), I would think that taking the young'uns out in a stroller would satisfy one of two purposes: either, a) to get myself some exercise, or b) afford the little tykes some fresh air. Obviously, a is out because the mom's nowhere in sight, and I'm having a problem with b because morning drive time on a busy street translates to nothing but noxious car emissions. Besides, this just strikes me as an afternoon-type activity.

Anyway, so here's my conclusion.

Mom has obviously mistaken her children for DOGS.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Road Trip

Randy and Randi in front of Cold Springs Tavern, a popular biker stop in the San Marcos Pass. Built as a stagecoach stop in 1886, it's been a restaurant and bar since 1941. One of those places you mean to stop and see sometime but are always in too much of a hurry for--but not this past
Saturday. Yep, I can cross it off my to-do list.

Crap. Why can't I ever figure out how to put pictures on Blogger? Or maybe it's them, not me.
Anyway, two photos (God know where they'll end up amongst the text I'm writing) are of that bridge I love so much. The one you can't see at all as you drive over it. I always knew there had to be an awesome vantage point from which to take pictures...not that this it IT exactly, but since I'd just wolfed down a humongous cheeseburger, I barely had enough energy to leap from the car and scramble around to find a spot at all, so give me a break.

So, you know where this all leads to, right? What can I say...the hotel made Randi an offer we couldn't refuse. Not that we did any gambling while we were there. Oh, no.

Friday, November 07, 2008

This is precisely the way you feel when you've foolishly committed to participating in NaNoWriMo.

Ha. Kidding. It's going pretty well, actually. Last night I wrote a scene in which my heroine, confronted with the biggest decision of her life, seeks counsel from a dog named Alfie. Yeah, I loved it too, although (thus far) I've resisted letting her say, "What's it all about, Alfie?" Tempting, let me tell ya.

Anyway, if you can believe the widget on the right, I'm at 4,444 words--or for you non-writer folks--about 18 pages. Hey, only about 360 to go! I'm practically finished! Let's whip out the synopsis and query letters now, huh? Kidding again.

Can you believe I actually dragged myself out of bed thirty minutes early this morning? Yeah, me either. Managed to squeeze in another page. During NaNo, you take every opportunity because falling behind usually means falling off the map entirely. Or the chart. Whatever.

I may not make 50,000 (in fact, that's a given), but I'll be happy as pie to get half of that.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Halloween 2008

Gold cocktail dress, gold gloves, gold hair, gold purse overflowing with gold wrapped chocolate coins...and a gold shovel. What's it add up to?? A GOLD-DIGGER, of course!

Ah, the lovely Ann and Marty. Can you see the delightful black hair sprouting from Ann's nose and chin? Nice touch!

Those bastards Rex and Sandy. Well, Sandy has cat ears on, but it's hard to tell, isn't it? I'll forgive her since she's the one who had the camera and preserved this memorable evening for posterity.

By the way, I'm thinking of donning sunglasses for all future occasions. The eyes aren't just the windows to the soul--they give away your age, as evidenced by the stranger sitting next to me who thought I was about 42. (Crap...when did I stop being 42??)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fidgety Widgets

More accurately, malfunctioning html.

'Cuz that monthly thingy purportedly charting my NaNo progress is NOT right, folks. I mean, come on. What's that big red blob for Tuesday? When, in truth, I ROCKED it last night. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

Did I mention that I'm not doing the out-and-out NaNo goal? Nuh-uh. Not me. Writing 1600 words a day is pure torture and, speaking for myself, not conducive to quality writing. At least not when I'm working on a novel I truly believe has potential.

So I'm slogging along at 3 pages a day to reach 25,000 words by the end of November. Oops. Just did the math. Three pages a day puts me short of 25,000. Oh, well. I'll make it up along the way. Somewhere.

Bottom line, by the end of the month, I should have almost 1/3 of the book done. And if I continue at that rate on into December and January, writing friend Brooke says, I'll have something new to pitch by National next July. Oh, let's be even more optimistic, shall we? I'll have a SALE to celebrate by next July.

By the way, got a rejection in the mail this week, but did I let that sucker deter my NaNo progress? Hell, no.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Terry Spear, Superstar!

I'm so proud of writing friend Terry, I could burst!

Apparently, each year, Publishers Weekly takes the opportunity "near year's end to review the year in books, highlighting the very best of what American publishing had to offer in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, comics, religion, lifestyle and children's."

Well, guess what?!?!?!?! Terry's book, Heart of the Wolf, was named (among only five titles total) to the best in "Mass Market."

Yay, Terry!

Truly amazing, although well-deserved. To read the list, click here. To visit Terry's website to see how to purchase Heart of the Wolf, click here. Again, CONGRATS, Terry. You're an inspiration!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ready, Set, Splat!

NaNoWriMo commenced yesterday at 12:01 a.m.

Uh, I didn't do so hot. Well, to be fair, I had a Halloween hangover (pictures to come--of the costumes, that is, not the hangover). Still...I managed to write, um, two (count 'em, TWO) pages. With a third added this morning (at 8 a.m. no less!).

It's been awhile since I typed the words "Chapter One." Pretty daunting, let me tell ya. Plus, since I've been mulling this book over for MONTHS now, I truly wanna do it justice, and so far, the pages I've written are missing something. Can't quite find the voice, I guess. Or maybe I've written these scenes in my mind so many times, they just look funny on the screen.


I shall persevere...if only to make those bars and charts in my sidebar look a bit more respectable.

Go Jax! (Currently in first place, the byotch.)