Late . . . again

It’s the story of my life.

Actually, left to my own devices, I’m usually a very prompt person. It’s when others get involved (not naming you by name, sweetie!) that I turn into this horribly slow, never-on-time creature that people laugh and snicker at.

My problems getting this post up on time are twofold: insomnia and modem trouble. Yes, I use a modem. (My kiddo snickered at that, and the repair guy looked as if he wanted to. I live in dial-up hell.) I’m writing this on a borrowed computer. Ick.

The insomnia is a tougher problem. No trip to the repair place to deal with that. I’ve had it since I was fifteen, and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. There’s not much more miserable than being so tired that your yawns are swallowing your face and not being able to go sleep.

If the frustration doesn’t drive me too crazy, I put the time to good use by running story and scene ideas through my head. It’s not too distracting; it doesn’t keep me awake; it’s like watching a movie that no one else can see. The only problem is that I often can’t remember the scenes the next morning, LOL.

During about half of my twenty-some year writing career, I slept all day and wrote all night. Maybe that’s what I need to do now, since I’m awake most of the night anyway. It’s just kind of hard to deal with the real world when you’re asleep while they’re awak e and vice versa, but maybe I’ll give it another shot.

It can’t be any worse than lying awake, exhausted, and listening to seven critters snoring — oops, six critters and one husband — while I’m begging for sleepl

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I Love Summer!

I took the kids swimming today.

Okay. That is a lie.

I took myself swimming today and allowed the children to tag along. And as I was merrily floating down the lazy river on my bloated inner tube, feeling quite proud of myself for not caring a bit about my exposed cellulite and sagging…uh…body parts (aren‘t you proud of me Marilyn, I kept it PG 13!)…it occurred to me what I was doing. Every time I floated past the lifeguard, my head swivelled. Not a lot, to be sure. But enough that he had to have known that I was eyeing him…like the slab of highly tanned and very ripped beefcake that he was.

Sigh.

This can only mean one thing.

I have now officially become a ‘dirty old woman’.

I can’t help it.

In my younger years, I would have been too shy to openly gawk at a hunka-hunka, afraid that he might get the ‘wrong’ idea about me. Now, sister, let me tell you! Not only do I gawk, but I also stare, and sometimes I have been known to openly salivate. Seriously. I mean, is it just me, or are guys these days actually getting hotter? What with all the waxing and tanning and hair gel….wow.

And while it may be true that I am WAY too old for most of those boy-toys (and probably wouldn’t even know what to do with one if I somehow managed to catch him) that does not negate my viewing pleasure.  They primp. They preen. I enjoy. It is a very simple system, and it works well for everyone involved. In fact….

Next week, I am going to go again. And I am going to take my sister along, because as with most things female, gawking at hot lifeguards is best done with a buddy.

I now know where the hot lifeguards hang out.

*sly smile*

Anyone care to join us?

K.C. Wildwood

Letting Go

I come from a long line of overachievers and perfectionists. My great grandfather spoke seven languages. My mother’s father managed to attend Harvard Divinity School even though he was the son of coal miner. My father was the first in his family to graduate from college. So naturally, there was a time in my life when I really believed I could be Super Woman. And I darned near was. My house was always clean and laundry done. I could pull together a dinner party for eight at the drop of a hat. And my husband, an Air Force officer, always had the sharpest uniform on base.

Then the most amazing thing happened…I had kids…three of them. And the broomstick I had shoved up my you-know- what broke into a million little pieces. I haven’t been the same since! But I have been less perfect, less super, more human, and according to my husband, a whole lot more fun!

Old habits are hard to break. I still set goals and strive for perfection. In writing that can be double-edged sword. Certainly as a author, I want to submit to a publisher or agent a flawless piece of work. But I have to watch myself, or else I end up polishing, then re-polishing, polishing, then re-polishing, polishing, then re-polishing …you get the idea. At some point, I have to take a step back, look at my work objectively, and accept that my best effort is just that…my best effort.

I learned to do bead work from George, a Santee Sioux. One day, I was beading a strawberry motif on a pair of moccasins. I held out one of the moccasins to admire my work. George, who was sitting next to me, set aside the leggings he was working on. He reached over and took the moccasin from me. He looked it over without a word. Then he handed it back and asked, “Did you mean to do that?” I took another look at my bead work, saw the flaws, ripped out all the beading I had done and started over. Sometimes, my writing effort is like that. But in the end, I want to be able to say, “Yes, George, I meant to do that.”

And with all that being said, I want to end this blog with an apology to all my Writing Slut bloggers. Over the last few weeks, I have been a terrible blogging partner. I don’t think I’ve left a single comment on any of your blogs. I’ve been pre-occupied with being a new grandmother and with helping my DS and DDIL lose that deer-in-the-headlights, I’m-a -new-parent look. But that is no excuse. I hope you will forgive me and I promise to be much better.

Questions

Have you ever pondered those pithy questions only to come up with no answers?

Like: Why did Mrs. Howell pack so many clothes for a 3 hour tour? Was Ginger going to be the floor shore for the cruise on the SS Minnow?

Why does the cat decide to like me (she hates everyone!) while I’m painting a ladder back chair? And if she was going to help why couldn’t she have whipped that long tail under the rungs instead of having me turn upside then get swatted in the face by that now green tail?

Why does the grass grow faster in the garden than on the lawn when they both get the same amount of water?

When your house is the messiest, the dirtiest, and there is nothing in the fridge, why does company come? The same can be said if you’re in your favorite t-shirt sans appropriate undergarments and rattiest shorts?

Tell me some of your favorite questions. Who knows, we may find the answers.

Stay cool!

Published Contests and New Readers

I’m doing an informal poll here today, folks. I know all the usual posters will answer, but I’d really love to entice some of you lurkers into speaking up, too. I see our traffic numbers, so I know you’re there. Give me a clue how to get you to open up, would you?

Okay, my question is about published contests. (Thanks for putting it in my mind, Lynn!)

A lot of published authors don’t enter contests. There’s no feedback. Their ego doesn’t need the stroke of seeing a certificate hanging on the wall. They think the odds of their winning are too low to bother with. In fact, an on-again, off-again pubbed member of RWI once asked, “Why should I spend $25 to enter a contest? What do I get for my money?”

The answer we gave her was simple: readers. When I judge pubbed contests, I routinely get books by authors who are new to me. Some just aren’t to my taste, but some get added to my to-buy list. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve found at least one new author to buy per contest I’ve judged.

Yeah, but I’m just one person, you say. One book paid at the 6-8% royalty rate does not make up for a $25 fee.

But I’ve got a big mouth. I have lots of friends who love to read. I post on three blogs read by people who love to read. When I find a new book or author I like, I tell all of them about it. Some of them will read it, and they’ll tell their friends and post on their blogs about it, and so on. And any marketing person can tell you that word-of-mouth recommendations are worth their weight in gold.

So y’all chime in. Do you find new authors you love through judging contests? Do you continue to buy books by authors you first discovered in a contest? And who do you tell?

Writing for the ages.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been basically “lurking”.  On my email, on this blog, on getting my new website set up…well, you get the idea.  The reason is a few weeks ago, my family helped my dad move into assisted living.  Then we began the massive task of emptying my parents’ house of sixty years of..of…of stuff.  And I’m being kind in not calling some of it junk!

The last task was mine since I’m the writer.  Now why this task falls under the job description of “author”, I’m not sure, but to me fell the joy of disposing my dad’s collection of airplane memorabilia.  The man is 84 years old and he had been saving these things since he was 11 years old, so you have some idea of the job.  Hercules cleaning the Augean stables had an easer time of it!

I started to catalog everything, but since we’re talking about hundreds of titles, not just the books and magazines themselves, and at least 100,000 pictures of airplanes, I soon realized this job could take me literally months to accomplish.  Thankfully, the very nice people of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum (a great place to visit, by the way!) came by Friday to help me pack it up.  I have to admit, it was kind of cute the way they drooled over everything.  🙂

As I went through the collection, I marvelled at how much sheer writing these publications represented.  Some of the books covered air history all the way back to WWI.  My dad even had what were called “recognition” books.  This were paperback books with silhouettes of enemy planes handed out during WWII to help American military men and women search the skies for danger to American ships and territory.

(By the way, did you know that the Japanese actually invaded part of America?  They managed to set up concrete bunkers in the Aluetian Islands which were part of America’s territory of Alaska.  Of course, they weren’t there long.  We kicked their asses out in no time!)

The one book I saw really touched my heart.  It was titled BILL BARNES BIG BOOK OF AIRPLANES.  It was copyrighted in 1936 and cost 5 cents.  At that time, my dad would have been 11 years old and I can just imagine how he worked some extra chores to earn that nickle since my granddad firmly believed in the old-fashioned work ethic.  And the magazine was well-loved.  It was worn and yellow; the front cover had been taped on the spine where it had started to fall apart.  But he kept it with all the other more professional, shiny new magazines.  Now that is really writing for the ages.

Wild Wicked Weather

The past few days have been a bit rough around here. While Dallas flooded, we got virtually zilch here at Twisted Creek, but the storms are lingering. Living with a weather man, did I mention he used to be an air traffic controller and is NO fun to fly with? I get up to date detailed weather reports, plus with our iPhones, he has constant contact with the latest greatest Doppler radar. Sometimes, I just don’t want to know it all. Give me the basics–do I have to worry or can I just watch the light show? 🙂

That may be a bit too simplistic, however I was told to unplug the computers, gather the jewelry and to make back up copies of TAME to put in the megaton safe in our bedroom. I’m still not worried — yet. I’ve lived through a tornado, hurricane, straight line winds, floods and two fires. The advice to back up my latest WIP is valid no matter if the weather is fair or foul. Well, I did back stuff up and lost part of the edits I worked on yesterday–not horrible but 15 pages is 15 pages. This taught me a good lesson to change or amend file names.

Here’s a picture I took during the last round of storms. Hard to tell off to the right were two funnel clouds (sisters) going back into the clouds.weather pictures May 002weather pictures May 008