Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Allergies and Other Fun and Games

It's raining this afternoon. Some days, I hate rain. Some days, I love it. Today, it's perfect, because for the first time in two weeks my sinuses aren't going into pollen overload. Yay, me!

I hope those of you who celebrate it had a great Memorial Day. I snuck in some good family time, which included getting dirty in the grass with my toddler. (Ever notice how much fun you have when you stop being an adult and give yourself the excuse to act like a child?)

My first book, EARTH, finally has an ISBN number and will soon have a release date. WATER is continuing at a pleasing pace, though I am finding the usual difficulties with the first draft. I have to keep reminding myself that it is a first draft and I can go back when I'm done to add layers and whatnot. I have a hard time doing that. I like it to be right the first time! But they do say, in so many words, that writing is 90% editing.

Which I ought to be doing right now. Hee hee. See you next week!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hanging On Every Word

I've decided I am on the fence about word count meters. Things being as they are (i.e. a day job, half-hour lunch, maybe an hour free in the evenings to write due to obligations with family, and I re-read before I write that day), I sometimes get zilch done for writing in a day. Other days I can crank out several pages (though never my goal of a whole chapter in one day).

As it stands, I'm about 13% done with WATER. Wow. There goes my eagerness. I don't think I want to see that anti-motivator in pictorial grandeur every day. I submit Exhibit A:

Word Count: WATER
9040 / 70000

C'mon, that looks pathetic. Around 80% complete, it might look a little friendlier, eh? This sort of makes me feel like those writers who got paid by the word back in the day. I could write "the" and get paid. Heck, I could write "a" and get paid!

I can see why these can be helpful, or at least nag you like a silent but insistent reminder to write--but in the early stages they seem a little disheartening. I might give it a shot at some point though--post it here for y'all to see.

Maybe when I get to 80%. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

EARTH Hits The Galley!

I got my galley this weekend (the "dress rehearsal" for a final, printed or e-published book). And with it, I got the book's ISBN number. Yay--it's finally coming together! EARTH has a 2010 copyright date, so I will assume we should see it in print and e-publication early next year. This is exciting news for me, and it's making me even more eager to get into Book Two in the Elemental Series, WATER. I hope to have that book finished by the end of this year (fingers, toes, and eyes crossed for luck). More news to follow as it comes in. The next thing I should hear about is a release date!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Squirrel Wars

(Or, How A Little Fuzzy Grey Mammal Shouldn't Be Smarter Than Humans, But Is)

I am in the midst of that great perennial battle--Human vs. Squirrel. Several years ago, when my husband and I bought our house, I was big-eyed with dreams of turning my backyard into a miniature nature preserve. I set out a nice new (standard hopper-style) bird feeder expecting to see all the pretty birds show up to eat and to listen to their tweets and chirps over my morning coffee.

No dice. Grey Squirrel shows up, pops the top off my feeder, eats the whole batch in two days.

Okay, I said. Let's try something different. I bought a tube-style feeder and a pole, and some suet cages.

No dice. Grey Squirrel shows up, knocks down the tube feeder, opens it, eats everything. Just for good measure, he opens the suet cages and eats that too.

Hmm. Not to be denied, I re-hang the feeder and suet cages, using floral wire to keep the cages shut and the feeder on the hook.

This time he breaks the wire and gets everything anyway--suet, birdseed, my pride, you name it.

Okay, you fuzzy little guerrilla birdseed eater, I'm gonna fix your wagon. I went to the hardware store and bought a few of those single chain-links that you have to screw shut. NOW the little monster can eat my suet, but at least he can't open the cages and gulp it down in one day. It takes him a few, but hey, I'll take what I can get at this point. Try that on for size, Mr. No-Opposable-Thumbs!

On to the feeders. I like goldfinches, and this little bugger's not gonna keep me goldfinch-less. I find a cone-shaped thistleseed feeder that's made of steel and heavy-duty screen wire. The birds can cling right to it to munch away. A-ha! GS leaves it alone! I get pretty yellow birdies! (Maybe he just doesn't like thistleseed.)

Okay, I said. What about the other feeder? I dispense with the tube feeder and blow a chunk of change on a squirrel-resistant hopper feeder that slams shut when GS's weight plunks on it. Hooray! It works! More birdies! Then one day I see GS hanging upside-down from the feeder roof and chomping merrily away at what's in the pan. Arggh. "Resistant." Not "proof." Well, we're aiming for almost perfect anyway now.

Then, hoping for some different birds, I try adding a wire basket-style feeder that you fill with sunflower seed. GS is showing signs of being Houdini reincarnated now. Two days after hanging it, he has figured out how to unhook the lid latches, flip the thing open, and chow down on the contents. And he got on his little squirrel Blackberry and texted his pals, because now there are three of them.


I am now trying a feeder that claims to be squirrel-proof. It says so right on the box, and there's a picture of smiling people and lots of birdies flitting around the contraption. It's a tube feeder with a cage around it, so GS can't stick his head in there and suck down my sunflower seeds like a furry little vacuum cleaner.

I am not convinced.

There is a flaw in this lovely design. The top, which they claim "locks," just sets down on the top of the tube--somewhat snugly, but you see where I am going with this. There is no padlock on this sucker. And I think GS might be working out how to mutate his little paws into something with opposable thumbs at this very moment.

I will keep you posted. But if you hear screaming, it's me, overrun by Squirrelfest.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Yay! It Worked!

I managed to get my website up and running at its new home, so it's now working and ready for you to see. I'm excited to present my new website! Look it over and see what you think. If there's anything you'd like to see on it, please let me know. Have a great day (I know I will, now that things are running smoothly again)!

With that comes the new blog header. I decided that for ease of use, the blog will look slightly different than my website, at least for now. The new blog header is above. What do you think?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Webhosting Changes

I'm in the process of changing my webhost from Web.com to Yahoo, as I have come to the realization that Web.com is not working for me. I've been unable to upload changes to my website for the past several days, and their technical support yields little more than pat answers.

As a result, you may see a "hiccup" in certain functions of the site while I move it to its new host. I hope to unveil a redesigned website soon to celebrate the impending arrival of my first book, EARTH. Thanks for your patience while I complete this move!