REQUIEM FOR MY MICROWAVE

How do you cook bacon if you don’t have  a microwave?

I only buy bacon when you’re here, Mom. Thus began the conversation  that  led to the purchase of the little box, safely hidden under a cabinet, next to the refrigerator. I discovered its demise two weeks ago after I couldn’t identify the location or source of something burned. Oven off? Check. Toaster unplugged? Check. Stove off? Check. Then I noticed the  lack of light on the “magic box” in the corner. Plugged in, but no light. Alas, alas. T’was gone, and not to be revived. I’m still searching for the patron saint of gadgets to offer prayers and petitions.

I’ve never like the way microwaved food tasted.  A potato cooked in one has no taste, and don’t even talk to me about preparing an entire meal in one. But after the man I call my brother accused me of trying to destroy the planet and being a bad ecologist(fighting words for sure)before he had children by turning on the oven to heat up a meal, I had  to concede the usefulness of the gadget. One friend thought I’d been kidnapped and replaced with a substitute when during a phone call I said I was waiting for the frozen dinner to finish cooking in-you guessed it-the microwave. Ah, how well my friends know me.

But most of all, I accepted the gift from my mother because of her never failing kindness and generosity. She’s been gone just over eleven years, and she bought that magic box for me  years before she died. My guess it was long lived because I did only use to heat up things. Mom was long-lived too. When the doctors diagnosed her multiple myloma, they said, “This cancer usually kills people your age within two years.” My mom, a Razorback from Arkansas replied, “We’ll see about that.” The cancer finally got her, but it was long after the diagnosis. The only way you can stop a Razorback is to beat them death. They don’t go down without a fight.

Have I replacedthe microwave? Not yet. But Memorial Day isn’t that far away, so I’ll wait for a sale. But even after it finds its new home, there’s no way I’ll do bacon in it(sorry, Mom)Vegetarian, you see. In the words of the late American poet John Ciardi, “Good Words to You.”

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So for the past week I’ve PIITCHed or Put It In the Chair Honey and written. Written to the point I’m almost finished with a long “short” story and still managed to exercise more this week than I have in a long time. And started plotting something new that came into my head while I was attending a workshop at work. Isn’t it funny where and how are ideas flow? I’d be interested in hearing any comments from my SMRW friends about their writing process. Short blog tonight. Be safe everyone.

STEPPING OUT WITHOUT A NET.

Remember when I said last May I was going to start blogging? Well, I didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t so much  a lie of commission as omission. But  I did write. I pulled out a short story I started ages ago and after figuring out a way to change what is an often told story to make what I hope will be one that is distinctly unique. And further more-I am going to try Self-Publishing it. For one reason, I want to see what happens. There’s an adage about the difference between cooks and bakers is the former will throw things into a pot and see what happens. In baking, you have to be precise(creative experimental, but precise nonetheless)The other is-well, I’m not sure what to say without giving too much away. So, in November, I hope everyone will travel over to Amazon and look for my new Christmas Novel, Almost a Princess-a book I describe as a story with a twist. The cover is beautiful, and exactly captured what I wanted. I’m also finishing up another Christmas story for Books To Go Now, with the goal of having it finished by next Friday. A split of champagne if I do. I have a dear writing friend who shares my love of red wine, but doesn’t like champagne. Horrors! But as one my favorite romance heroes, Julia Quinn’s Colin Bridgerton would say, “More for me.” Wasn’t he just the best hero?

Second part-I’m going to blog about my diet. I’m not sure what I’m doing or not doing, but something has to change. I’ll do something I never do-admit my weight. I weigh 151 pounds. And that’s way too much. So tomorrow after work, it’s me and the gym(and I have been going)and the pool and later to the track with BUDDYANDFEBE THE WONDERDOGS!

So October is in a few days-my birthday month-so the die is cast. I’ll be making my yearly pilgrimage to Atlanta for Moonlight and Magnolias-Hey Brenda! Hey Nikki! Can’t wait to see you!-hopefully a few pounds lighter and ready to meet with agents and editors. See you later this week. Peace.

OUT OF THE CAVE

So maybe it was the lack of light. Or warmth. If I had wanted t live in a place where the temperature dropped to 2 degrees, I would have moved there. Not much writing done this winter and early spring and no real excuses, except sitting on my laurels for the last published book(Nice Reviews, nice check) But now spring is here! It’s warm! There’s daylight! So-no more excuses or asking friends to help me out. It’s time to start seriously blogging and joining on-line groups. Since I talk to or listen to people all day in my job, I often come home grateful that the dogs don’t answer-at least not in words. So I just kind of coast through the media age or lurk around other sites. So, no more “cave-dwelling.” But as in all good goal-etting, one shouldn’t do too much too soon. Besides, I don’t want my techno-savyy friends to keel over from shock. So, whoever drops by, here I am. See you in the blogosphere or on Facebook.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEALTH

Two days ago I commented on the arrival of November and the approaching end of the year in 60(no less)days. Which means the demands of the holidays is upon us. Every year, it seems the turkeys and the holiday songs arrive before Halloween. And that means many of us  fall into the “I have to make the holidays perfect for my family ” belief, leaving little or no time for your writing. I’ve worked (my day job at any rate)in the mental  health field for over twenty years, so I’m here to say, TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH! Which means making sure you find time to write. I don’t mean carving out a few minutes here or there, but sticking to your schedule as much as you can. Modify, yes. Give it up, no. Be as creative as you can, but be sure you are writing everyday To be sure you stay focused, I ask you to consider these tips. Be sure you are getting enough sleep. Don’t indulge in everyone else’s culinary creativity and overeat. Say no from unnecessary or unreasonable requests, and make  sure your family knows that is your desire. OK, I only have dogs, but I promise the world will not end if you don’t make five dozen brownies or promise to decorate the school cafeteria for the Holiday Dance or promise to stuff 2000 envelopes.  If any of these demands leaves you too tired to write(one of your greatest loves, right?)then gently but firmly  say “No.” Cut back where you can and do NOT let anyone try to fill you with guilt for your decision. Many of you(like me)still have to have day jobs(Simon and Schuster, where is that five book contract and the seven figure advance?)so we write when we can. So it becomes particularly important for us  to be able to say no when we can with a clear conscience. Saying no, like writing, gets easier with practice. So remember what PITCH stands for. Put It in The Chair! And what comes next, class? WRITE!

A Hero's HeartAnd now, I am proud to do my first Cover Reveal for fellow BTGN author, Amber Daulton for her soon to be released story, A Hero’s Heart. How would you like to find him under your mistletoe? Or Christmas tree? Or waiting in your front yard? Sigh. isn’t being a writer fun? Amber has promised to let me read this story very soon, so keep watching for a review on this post! Good work, Amber!

Finish What You Start

In Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles, the late, great Harvey Korman(who can forget him with C. Burnett in Went With the Wind all those years ago?)speaking as the dastardly Hedly Lamarr, says, “My wind is a whirl with burning ideas(or something close to that)Do you ever have that dilemma? More ideas than you can possibly nail down or chose from? Or even worse, half a dozen projects that all got off to a good start and then fell by the way side? Sagging middle, tired plot, stale characters? Who knows? So one of my goals for November-no matter how many great ideas leap into my gray matter, is to FINISH WHAT I’VE ALREAD STARTED! For example, I have an almost finished traditional contemporary romance that is requested by a publisher whose house I would love to a part of. Now, granted, some computer problems(at least until I replaced my ancient one last week)slowed me WAY down from finishing edits for my new novella(more on that later)and put me off track for finishing the other one. So today, I’ve kept it in the chair(have taken the WonderDogs out twice for big walks, so I won’t feel guilty for not going to the gym)and gone over the manuscript. You know what? Even though it’s several years old, conceited or not, I still like it. And I’m up to the middle of going over it to be sure pacing still flows, it’s not too wordy or repetitious, and the characters don’t seem to be cookie-cutter types. And as soon as I finish reading what I’ve already done, my goal for the next two weeks, is to finish it and get it off to the editor who requested it. THEN I’m going back to another story that has been truly floundering for months and it’s still in its infancy. But I’m determined! No excuses. The other ideas will just have to wait until these other projects are done. Now if only I could justify using that for not finishing swapping out summer clothes for fall/winter ones…. Happy writing!

NEW MONTH, NEW GOALS
Well, November is here and there are nearly 60 days left in the year. What can be done in sixty days? A great deal I hope. There is a barely started novel that I told myself would be finished by the end of the summer(HA!)Losing a lot of weight(HA HA) and starting to blog three times a week.(HAHAHA)Ah, the slogans i hear in my head about the best intentions and all that. But now I have this trusty NEW computer, so at least as far as blogging goes, I have no excuse. I know my trepidation about anything technical is what’s holding be back. but I have to get over that fear. So all of you out there, please help me be accountable to my self. Or otherwise, take up a HUGE collection of money so you can endow me and and I can quit my day job to stay home and write all the time.(BRRAAHAHAHHH!-Can you hear Bart Simpson laughing?) Please check in next Monday when I am going to feature (the first time ever)a BTGN author. So stay tuned! Now I’m off to take Buddyand Febe the Wonder Dogs for a very long walk!