Sunday, February 24, 2008


I had an idea for Moonlight Cafe that I thought might make it even better, so rewrote a few chapters to try it out. I loved it, so am in the process of rewriting the entire novel. I'm about 1/3 of the way done. This rewrite is easier than the initial go through. If I work hard, I should be done in about 2 weeks. What am I changing? I originally wrote it in third person, mainly from Brenda's point of view, but with snippets from Vincent's point of view as well. I decided to try it in first person. It works a lot better, especially considering that I am going to write another book telling Vincent's story. I promise, it won't be redundant. It will show what Vincent did before and after he met Brenda, in the time between, and with a totally different view on their time together. But first I'm going to finish this rewrite. Everyone who has heard the change so far likes it a lot better, including myself. So querying agents has been put on hold until I am finished with the change.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Taking the Plunge

I finally joined the rest of the online world. I've been protesting it for a long time now, but everything I've ready about marketing yourself as a writer says you need a couple of things - a website, a blog, and a myspace page. I set up the website. I set up the blog. I never really wanted to join myspace, but the more I think about it the more I see the benefit of getting my name out there and networking. So I did it. I set up a MySpace page. If you have an account, please add me as a friend. Let your friends know about it. Name recognition is key in the publishing world, so I'm going to get my name out there as much as I possibly can. So please stop by when you have time. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dreary Weather

I've been in quite a funk ever since Friday. The weekend was kind of rough, then the weather got bad. We had a "wintry mix" yesterday. That's code for a mix of all kinds of bad stuff. Sleet, freezing rain, snow, you name it. Took me almost 3 hours to get home in it all, which didn't help my mood. So I haven't written anything since Friday. But I'm going to change that tonight. Writing makes me happy. I enjoy it, and I love my stories. If I can escape to another world with my writing, maybe it will take my crankiness away, even temporarily. So I'm going to get back to work tonight.

Here's to hoping for some brighter weather real soon. Too many people have been sick recently, and it's too gray. Try to stay well.

Currently playing in iTunes: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

Friday, February 8, 2008

Peaceful Journeys, Freckles

One afternoon in October, 1993, I was watching TV in our family room after school. I looked up at one point and saw my Dad outside on the patio. That was odd, I thought. He usually came inside through the garage, never went around to the backyard. A few minutes later I looked outside again, and he was kneeling on the ground with a tiny Beagle puppy. Oh, he found a stray. Poor puppy, I thought, and rushed outside to pet it.

Our Cocker Spaniel, Belle, had passed the year before. I asked my parents for another dog, but they weren't too keen on the idea. I almost didn't believe my Dad when he told me that tiny puppy was my new puppy! My parents told me I could name her. I couldn't decide, and finally settled on Freckles, because she had tiny spots all over her body that looked like, well, freckles.

Freckles was 2.8 pounds at her first vet visit. She was 8 weeks old my dad brought her home. He got her from a guy he worked with who had a litter of 3. He held tiny Freckles against his shoulder the drive home, and she howled the entire drive. He says his left ear is still ringing today from that drive home.

Our first year with Freckles was trying, to say the least. She quickly earned the nickname Devil Dog. I never thought a dog that tiny could cause such pain with her biting. We wore gloves when playing with her to protect her hands. My Dad resorted to buying leather work gloves from the hardware store. Freckles loved books, and we had to remove all books from the lower bookshelves. She tried our patience, and more than once my parents talked about getting rid of her. It would have broken my heart. In my freshman religion class, we started each day by going around the room and each person could say something they wanted to pray for. Several classes during Freckles' first year my prayer was that my parents would not get rid of my puppy. We stuck it through, and when she turned 1 she was like a different dog. Calmer, no more biting - tolerable and extremely lovable.

Four years later when I went away to college my parents gave me a wooden Beagle statue to take with me. I set it on my desk in my dorm room. When I transferred to a college in St. Louis and moved back home at the end of the school year, I kept the wooden Beagle on my desk in my bedroom.

Even though I only lived with Freckles her first 8 years (after that I had my own apartment), she was my dog. My parents never changed her tag, which had my name on it.

Last year Freckles started having health problems. She had to go to the bathroom often, and woke up several times in the middle of the night. After several months, my parents found out she had Cushings Disease, had a tumor on her spleen, and en enlarged liver. The vet prescribed medication to ease the effects of Cushings Disease, and referred my parents to a specialist for the tumor. They visited the specialist, but in the end decided to do nothing. Freckles was 14, and if they opted for surgery, there was a chance she wouldn't survive. They decided to make her life as good as possible (as if they hadn't already made it better than any dog could hope for!), as long as she wasn't in pain.

My Mom works from home, so has been with Freckles all day, every day for the past year, leaving the house as little as possible so she would be there anytime Freckles needed to go out, which was often. It was trying for my Mom, but Freckles wasn't in much pain, and still looked happy most of the time, so my parents stuck it out.

Last night Freckles had a very bad night. She couldn't get settled down to sleep, and was restless all night. She wouldn't eat or drink. This morning she was obviously very miserable. My parents debated what would be best. Maybe they'd wait till Monday and see if she felt better over the weekend. But they knew. They called the vet, and he squeezed them in for an 11:00 appointment. During this time, I was in a meeting at work and didn't know anything was wrong.

When I got back to my desk at 10:30, I had a message from my parents on my desk phone as well as 2 missed calls and a message on my cell phone. My grandma has also battled a slew of health problems the past year, and when I saw all the missed calls I knew that something was wrong with either my grandma, or Freckles. My mom answered the phone, but handed it to my dad because she was crying. He told me what was happening. I told him I'd meet them at the vet's office. When my dad asked me if it would interfere with work I simply said, "It doesn't matter. Family is more important than work. I'm going to take care of a few things real quick, then I'll be at the vet by 11." Thankfully the vet is only 15 minutes from where I work.

I cancelled the meetings I had in the afternoon, asked my teammate to take care of anything that might come up that afternoon, then went to find my boss to tell her I was leaving for the day. Ronnie was still in the conference room, talking with a few stragglers from the meeting I had just left. I didn't know one of the people in the room, and told myself I wouldn't cry in front of strangers. That didn't turn out so well. I told Ronnie (who also has dogs) what was going on, and started crying. Ronnie is a great boss, and told me to do whatever I need to do, not to worry about work, and asked if I needed someone to drive me to the vet. I told her thanks, but I would manage.

At the vet, we hugged and kissed and petted Freckles. My Dad gave her one last backrub, one of her favorite things. The vet and his assistant were very kind. After he gave her the shot, he whispered "Peaceful journeys" to her. My parents and I petted her until the end, and after. She went peacefully. Freckles laid her head on her paw, as she always did when she slept, and looked very peaceful when it was over. Now she's with Belle, our Cocker Spaniel, and Chico, the Chihuahua my parents had when they were first married. She can run and chase birds again. But we miss her.

She never went to the park. When we get her ashes, we're going to take her to the park I take Loki and Tiberius to, and we're going to spread her ashes there so she can be with my boys whenever they are running around at the park.

I love you, Freckles, and will miss you.

Currently playing in iTunes: Pie Jesu by Sarah Brightman


Freckles puppy.jpg




Thursday, February 7, 2008

Quote of the Week

I've added something new to my blog. At the top you'll notice the Quote of the Week. Every Monday I'll post a new quote there, so stop by (at least) every week and check it out.

New Blogging Software

I found some new blogging software for the Mac called MarsEdit. I'm on the trial version right now, and this is my first post with it. So far it looks pretty cool, and if it keeps up I'll definitely be purchasing the full version. It allows you to easily add photos, and even this:

Currently playing in iTunes: Wait for Sleep by Dream Theater

Very neat. I don't know what it is about Macs, but when I was on my Windows computer I never cared about nifty software. Could I access the internet/e-mail? Could I listen to music? Did the word processor work? Great. That's all I cared about. But being a Mac owner is turning me into a computer person. I find myself spending time looking at new software products, and Mac has a great Shareware community. Instead of Word, I'm now using Scrivener for writing. It's a great program that allows you to not only write your novel, but organize research, download info from the web for offline access, and store pretty much any file you could need (pictures, videos, research documents) in the project file for easy access. I highly recommend it.

I just need to be careful not to spend too much time playing with new programs, and detract from my writing time. But I doubt that will happen, I love writing too much to ignore it, and the novel I'm working on is too interesting for me to step away from for long. I just happen to have new "toys" to make the work even more enjoyable and easy.

But back to Scrivener for a minute. At one point I decided to find some writing software. This was before my Mac. I spent several hours searching for programs, downloading trial versions, trying to figure out how to use them, and uninstalling them when I couldn't figure it out. I finally gave up, realizing that was wasted time I could have spent writing. But once I got the Mac, a fellow Mac user - 2, in fact - told me about Scrivener. I downloaded the trial version, spent 30 minutes on the tutorial, and was ready to go. Easy as that.

So I'm going to get back to writing now. I'll leave you with a picture of my literary dog Loki, easily added with MarsEdit.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Soothing Rain

It snowed last week, and is supposed to snow again tomorrow, but right now there is a hard, steady rain falling outside. Usually I listen to music when I'm writing, but not now. One of my favorite things is the sound of rain. I have a candle lit on my desk and am ready to go for the night.

The yard is soaked and muddy, the street in front of my house will soon turn into a swiftly running river because the storm drains don't work, but I don't care about any of that. The only thing that does bother me about rain is the muddy puppy paw prints that get tracked through the house if I am not fast enough to clean their paws when they come in from outside. With 2 dogs, about the only way to manage it is either block of the kitchen doorway, or only let one dog in at a time.

The rain is already slowing down. I better get to work before it stops completely. I hope you all enjoy the rain tonight. I will be busy writing.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day

It seems Punxsutawney Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter. That would be fine with me if it would stay cold. But here in the Midwest the weather keeps going up and down. Snowstorm 2 days ago, and today I was out in just a sweatshirt. I prefer one or the other, not the constant change. Oh well, I guess I can't dictate nature. And I must admit, I love snow, and my puppies especially love it. They've been spending a lot of time outside running around in the white stuff.

I've been reading The Moonlight Cafe aloud to myself for a final check to make sure everything flows smoothly. I'm 10 chapters in (it's 43 total), and so far, other than some minor changes, I'm happy with it. I'm also printing out the final version. I have a hardcopy of an older version, but not the final. It's always nice to have a hardcopy backup in the case of a computer catastrophe. I'm trying to be better at backing up all my stuff, digitally and hardcopies, where possible. I started a binder containing my short story printouts, and have file folders for various versions of Moonlight and the beginnings of Discovering Family. I need to upgrade to Mac OS Leopard, and I want to buy their new Time Capsule for backups to make everything easier on me. Something for my To Do list.