Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LIfe's Little Edits

Yesterday I applied to two jobs. One was full time and the other was part time. Both jobs are in the medical field, one a fertility clinic the other an assisted living facility. The assisted living facility job has better hours, but either job would be great. I have done random searches over the months because after being aggressive for about a year, I got frustrated. Me and thousands of others have gotten frustrated and still are I am sure.
Now I figured I would try again and I am hoping I can get in a hospital or some area of medical. I have no desire to work for a regular corporate company again. That does not mean I would not apply to them if I saw something great, but I have my preference. So fingers crossed.

Writing wise I finished editing the novel and now I am struggling with a query letter. I have about four different versions and I am not really thrilled with either of them. The suggestion has been to sum up the whole book in four lines. I think I can do it, I know I can do it, but I want it to be as close perfect as it can be. I may have to go over four to six or something. Do I know if it would be a grand detriment? No, so what have I got to lose? My nerve I guess. I need to just take a deep breath and go. Perhaps I should do a stream of consciousness writing exercise and see if the query letter comes out that way. Right now I would dance a tribal dance in a circle out in the driveway covered in a velour tracksuit and bananas if that would help. The query letter is the door closer or opener and I am banging my head, trying not to stress over this, but believe me, this sucks in many ways.
On the agent front I have been able to narrow my list down after doing a bunch of research over the weekend. Unfortunately, one of the agents I had chosen some time ago is no longer receiving inquiries, so I had to replace him. Normal situation in the world of trying to get published. With my list I can narrow down who gets to reject me or take me on first :) and then I keep trudging along.

Thanks to Netflix I have been watching Soap, a progressive television comedy from the seventies. I remember my mom loved it and I may have caught an episode when I was younger, but it has been years since I have even seen it. There are few times while I have watched it that I marveled over what they got away with in 1977. The writing is great and the cast is fabulous. Billy Crystal plays Jodie Dallas one of the first openly gay characters on television and you can see the talent he really had blossoming.

Okay, I have much to do today so I am off to do my errands.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quick bathroom ideas

Hope the holidays were wonderful and filling.

While our friend finishes building our bedroom closet, WHOOO HOOOOO!!!, I have been looking at claw foot style tubs for the upstairs bathroom renovation that will happen one day in the future. This of course could mean years from now, but I still like to look. Dare I say if I was a wealthy person who wanted to buy something decadent, I'd say Copper Slipper bathtubs would rate high. Of course I would want a sexy hammered sink like this from Waterworks to go with it.

What about pure minimalism? Kohler has a Purist Suite series that embodies this.

This Woodland Sanctuary bathroom by Kohler is interesting. I doubt I would do something like that, but I like the concept.

And a modern round tub is pretty neat too!

Natural light rocks and for once I do not mind the all glass shower.

I would take a shower room over a whirlpool tub any day of the week.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Inside my head are many random things

So I shall share.

Friends of ours came back form India a few weeks ago and brought me home the magazine Syncorian Matrimonial Times. It is interesting to read all these ads placed by families to procure the "perfect" spouse for their child. Height and weight and college degrees are listed. There are preferences for cultured families, same town, professionally qualified mate and numerous other things we probably think of in the States, but would not dare say mattered out loud.
Many people are appalled by "arranged marriages". Considering our divorce rate is on par with marriage, I would say it is not the worst idea. Now, I am only talking about arranged marriages like the ones I am reading about. I am not endorsing the alliance of a twelve year old with a fifty five year old. That is a totally different arena that I am not getting into.
I am sure there are bad arranged marriages along with good ones. Plus, Time Magazine has a whole issue devoted to marriage this week asking if the institution is not obsolete. I think it all depends where you are in life and where you stand. Marriage and cohabitation are not for everyone nor should it be forced on everyone. Same with parenthood. It is not for everyone and should be a personal choice. That is where arranged marriages are wonky. Choice is removed as a whole and that is that. Still, I do wonder how many people in arranged marriages see their alliance as working out better as a business partnership then those in love? More research for me!

I have to admit I am one of those folks who loves little gadgets and things for the kitchen and table. Salt cellars being one of them. No I do not have one and I doubt I would ever use the darn thing. But I like them. Yes, yes I do.

I really like Made By Girl's style. Here is an interview with her in Siren Magazine.

When will people get art and nudity is not an offense to God? Seriously.

I am a sucker for wraps, stoles, all things that would have wrapped Jane Austen. This Autumn Leaves Stole from, Brooklyn Tweed is calling me to pick up my needles.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Scratch that, add this, what were you thinking??

As I edit my book between daily errands and commitments, there are times I want to pull my hair out and run screaming into the night. My writing has improved quite a bit. Amen to that. Though there are passages in the story where I shake my head wondering when _________ (insert bad writer name here) came into my head and screwed me up. Trust me, I know there are parts that are stronger then others. My editor, if and when I get one, may hate me on that. But what is burning my ass for sure is that I get stuck in a certain scene and it overrules anything else I was going to pursue. Yesterday I had to work on a bedroom scene. Nothing too racy or scandalous and for the life of me I could not think of way to describe the main character's feelings or reaction without sounding like a dork. I am not a romance writer, could never be one, some of those folks have mad skills, and I was pissed. I was at a loss on how to make her emotions shine on the page. Her expression of want and need. Just writing it sounds half assed. Even good 'ol Merriam-Webster's thesaurus was no help. What I had written and erased most of the day was so awful it sounded robotic, lifeless, dead in the ground with roses on top. Who said this was easy? Not me, but to lose command of your mother tongue like this is so unnerving I swear I might have to write it in a different language to make the point.
Yes, I could walk away, go back to my Angel of Death story, but this needs completion first. There is an agent out there somewhere who will want this and I can not deny them any longer. (Of course I am nervous and smiling, I have to at least sound confident right?)
There has to be a book where novelists discuss writer's block or stupid block in my case. What the hell did Tennessee William do to alleviate this issue? Or Nora Roberts? What about Harper Lee? I bet she never had it. I bet "To Kill A Mockingbird" flowed like honey. Damn her.
When I open that file later I hope I can just get through the cleaning up and final research. I have conflicting opinions on what happens with a medically induced coma and getting the tube removed from your throat. Can you talk? Should you talk? Do I have an advanced medicine that makes him talk? Is that too Deus ex Machina? Charlie Brown yell here please.
And so later on today I will resume my course of action and pray to all that is Holy that I can get out of this locked down mind of mine. I really do hate when I am at a loss of words to help make the reader feel as if they were there. Hell, I am not even sure I have made them feel like they are there. We will find out. That is if I can get the muse in me to rise and focus.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The sweat and tears of others

It brings out the best and worst of all of us. As I sit here typing on my couch from Pier 1 trying to figure out if I can reupholster my retro one armed love eat, sounds like a James Bond villain, I peruse the Internet for inspiration.
I admit that I am jealous of some of these folks who without a clue on how to work a drill watch a few videos, make a few errors and then create a built in bookcase that custom cabinet makers would envy. I do not fear the upholstery, I just want to do it right since the couch is a timeless design. Depending on what fabric I choose for it, it can look contemporary or antique. I think I am going to aim for a more contemporary look. The wing backs will follow suit and then our seating area will be complete. Yes, a stunning area to hang out and drink, chat and read all night if one chooses.
Let me not get wrapped up in seating areas and fabrics and retreat back to the full blown renovations that inspire and captivate me.
Here are some blogs that have shown what some sweat equity can achieve. Of course, some of these folks do have a bit more disposable income then we do. Innovation still abounds among those who have cash flow so I am ignoring their financial status and looking more at what they have done to improve their living spaces. On a side note, our friend is building us a closet, YAY!!!, in our bedroom so I am hoping to get pictures of it up once it is complete.

Redneck Modern is about a couple who bought a dilapidated Eichler home and made it a masterpiece. Here is their post on Apartment Therapy as well. Here is a link to Eichler Homes for sale. These may be the one modern type home design I could truly live in.

This kitchen renovation on Nothing But Bonfires is divine. I am a sucker for white subway tile. We want it in our kitchen and one bathroom so viewing a small amount of it in the kitchen just helps to feed the monster. :) Honestly, I would hire these folks to do my kitchen, yes, yes I would.

416FixerUpper's kitchen redo is fabulous and I love the spice drawer idea. I am all about using the space wisely and this is a good one.

I think this would be a great tag line for The Brick House blog. "Because we’re renovating a mid century cement brick house in the middle of retirement hell, making it awesome and doing it on a budget."

Okay, okay, this is not a house, but a store and I tell you, if I had cash and a huge truck, I would be all over Copper Fox Antiques in Virginia. The Primitive Pie Safe is gorgeous.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't know if I like you Anita Blake.

I just finished reading "Circus of the Damned" by Laurell K Hamilton and to be honest, I found it to be a bit of a drag. This is book 3 in the series and I am not sure if I even want to continue reading when I can just look them all up on Wikipedia and see what happens.

That is not a good sign.

What did I enjoy? Like the others, I do like the pace of action and I am intrigued by Jean-Claude the Master of the City. Other than that, Anita has begun to get on my nerves. Yes folks, she is pissing me off and we are only on book 3. Shades of Stephanie Plum are surfacing for me.

Again, not a good sign.

Let us get one thing clear, Miss Hamilton does not need my good words or approval. Her series is doing just fine whether I read it or not so my criticism is like a speck of dust in her world. Prepare yourselves, here come the catty comments in regards to her writing. For the love of God please get a better editor or learn to use a thesaurus. Everyone in her books have eyelashes that are like lace. Be it black or gray, they all resemble lace. Also, Jean-Claude wears the same damn lace shirt all the time. Or if he has another outfit on, it only has lace. Lace, lace, lace. I have never in all my life seen the word "lace" used so much outside of a archive on fashion.
The landscape of St. Louis in this book was always stated as being like "the dark side of the moon". Seriously? Really? You had to use that more than once?
The descriptions of the main characters were so damn repetitive I almost had a coronary. People change. Yes, even day to day with a tired look , a new hairstyle, anything. She puts a lot of stock in describing these folks this is why I point it out. Now I get why Stephen King said to never ever describe people and clothes to the last detail, it will bite you in the ass.
The story itself was choppy and at times I actually groaned out loud. This book was published in 1995 and so fashion descriptions, which there are always way too much of, are indicative of the times in the Midwest and does not make them look at all good.
Anita has been battling with Jean-Claude about becoming his human servant so what does she do? What any other dumbass 24 year old necromancer would. She sells him out to a rogue Master vampire that should be able to wipe out the human race with a thought, but he needs her help to find jean-Claude. (A big WTF?? there) She then apologizes to Jean-Claude as she warns him and helps try to defeat Oliver. Oh, a lycanthrope named Richard has the hots for her which of course annoys Jean-Claude, but she may date him, yes she may.
In case you missed it, I am not digging this at all. Anita baffled me with her constant derision towards Jean-Claude. He helps her, seduces her, she hates herself for wanting him, hates the "monsters" and all they stand for, but he and Richard, the werewolf, are making her think twice. Or are they? Decisions, decisions indeed.
Sure I get it, our day to day living is not outrageous so a series will show the struggles of any ordinary person and how they falter and grow. Maybe this is why I do not do well with a series. By now I want her to deal with the Jean-Claude situation and either sleep with him and become his servant and kick ass or walk away. Of course, this may all be in the fourth book, but I am on the fence about going on with the series. I hate being disappointed by a book. I have gotten recommendations for various other series in the same genre. The people who recommended them claim they are written much better and have consistent character advancement so we shall see.

On a different topic, just because someone is on the bestseller list, it does not mean they are a millionaire. Most folks have no idea what it actually does mean and this article, The Reality of A Times Bestseller by Lynn Viehl breaks it down beautifully.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Fun Fabrics

I do adore a good piece of fabric. No matter the pattern or use, outdoor, indoor, etc. I see everything as a dress that Auntie Mame would wear. Keep in mind that I have never made a dress of any sort. I have sewn a skirt and some curtains. That is all. I really wish I could motivate my self to make a dress, I truly do. This Marimekko Napakettu is divine, but it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive for me to attempt my first dress pattern. I bet it would make a great skirt or sarong.
This Josef Frank textile called Hawaii would be fabulous as a sweeping summery dress. Clearly it would be a beast to line up all the seams and lines of the pattern so it does not look choppy, but in the end it would be worth the frustration.
I have been wanting oil cloths to make place mats or even use as backgrounds of frames instead of some boring mats. Mendel's in San Francisco seems to have some lovely choices.
Can't decide if I like this from Revival Fabrics, but I think it could make a sweet liner fabric or a coat or a cool pencil skirt.
This fabric, Geo Grand by Daisy Jane, would look awesome on an ottoman or on some pillows. It would really compliment our new brown couch!

And here is something not fabric related at all. Decadence my name is Bisazza Tiles. WOW!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I read and read and read and I do get somewhere

Right now I am enthralled with a short story anthology called McSweeny's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. It was edited by Michael Chabon, who's own work I have never really gotten into, but my husband loves. The stories are driven by action and plot. Most of the reviews hated the book, so far I like it. I am not one who enjoys ambiguous story telling as if it is just a fragment of a story, the author smirking as they hold back much detail. Nothing worse then reading a short story and then being pissed off because somehow you missed the deep, dark insight given by the exalted author. Yes, I do get bitchy.
One of the things I was most excited about was being able to read an Elmore Leonard story. I have never read any of his books and have been wanting to check out his writing style for sometime. I like it. He is bare bones all the way. Not an easy thing to do I think because people enjoy details. Some authors enjoy over detailing to the point where you want to kill yourself. I have had this happen in some romance works along with the Anita Blake series. I do not need a catalog description of outfits just tell me how they are going to kill the vampire. We all know how I feel about dialogue that repeats itself to the point that I wonder how dense the character is even after her hero has written "I love you" in his own plasma.
There is a sort of gift in being able to convey a feeling, an emotion without having to put in the descriptive note before or after the dialogue. These are my own struggles. As I continue to edit the bounty hunter story, which has an official title now, I catch these blunders and hope my decisions pay off. Reading someone like Elmore Leonard truly helps. I am at the Neil Gaiman story now, we all know I will love it since his skills are the ones I want the most, and I look forward to reading the whole book. I was thinking of attempting a romance anthology next, though some I have flipped through have the typical wardrobe descriptions and baby makes three endings.
Here is an anthology I really want to buy though. Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love. There are authors I love in it and ones I have really wanted to read. Once I get my grubby paws on it feedback will ensue.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Raise the Roof

Since we bought the house my husband has rhapsodized about how one day he wanted to raise the roof and make the second floor taller. We know that would one day require an architect and most likely a boatload of cash. In a recent issue of Southern Living Magazine, there was a house that made me catch my breath.

The design was exactly what we wanted to do.

The architecture firm is Gardner Mohr Architects out of Chevy Chase Maryland and this is the house. They went into Asian minimalism in the kitchen which I would most likely not do, but we love the sun porch and I covet the two bathrooms, especially the master bath. I do not think we could do a bath that large, but then again, who really knows? I would love to at least see what they could do with our second floor and find out if even the first floor would need remodeling. Architects see things much differently then the rest of us hence they have ideas that neither of us could dream up.

One day my friends, one day.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Have we become too PC as a society?

I ask this because this morning I got in an argument on a blog with an unknown person about my use of the word "Nazi" as applied to ex-President Bush and some of his policies. I was chided by a few bloggers saying I was insensitive and that neither party should use that term as everyone just throws it around. While these folks are entitled to their opinion, there is an assumption I have no idea about fascism and WW II and what Hitler really was trying to do. I replied back and once I was done I wondered if I should even bother checking to see if I get a reply back. I am okay with discussions and agreeing to disagree, but when we are on the Internet it is easier to get nasty much quicker and block out other's opinions and ideas. The reason I felt the need to respond was I became grouped in with those calling Obama a Nazi, never understood that since Socialism is not Fascism, and I wanted to make some points. I started with the subtle nuances between Bush and his team and Hitler and his. I also pointed out that in America today we are very belligerent towards immigrants and Muslims which rears of the ugly stench of 1939. The best was, I realized as I did this, the posters had already stated that no matter my reasons, they were not good enough to use the term. I should have said that the fact that Nazis even existed and were allowed to go on as long as they did should be more offensive then me even having the word to use. But I know that will get me nowhere. It is not just in politics where we are PC, it is with everything. Children all get applause and trophies even when they are mediocre or lose. We are teaching youngsters that they are very special and can have and do whatever they want. No one should ever have bad feelings or make someone feel bad. In a perfect world we would all have manners and be polite and not hateful, but again, we are not in a perfect world. There are awful, vile things that happen in this world that present a dialogue for all of us. Dissenting views and opinions are a good way to learn about others and yourself. I do not think the people who disagree with me or wrong to feel that way, but neither they or I should be blindsided by our might to be right. We seem to have lost the skills for discussion or even the desire to hear others and that bothers me. I have religious discussions with those who are heavy evangelicals and it never ends up nasty or condescending. Could it? Sure, if I let my emotion get in the way and make it all about me. When you ask someone their opinion, it is their opinion and should be respected as such. If we can no longer do that, then we have a much bigger problem at hand.

Thanks for listening.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My to do list grows

My husband and a friend went and got our couch last night. It looks really fantastic and now we just have to decide where we want to actually put it. For now it is where the orange couch was, but it is not staying there since it is against a radiator. I also need to go purchase some Scotchgard to help protect the couch.

I started this week out very well as I had a massage client. Always nice to work on someone and get paid :) I need to drum up some more business and start looking into the hospital systems again. Someone suggested the VA Hospitals and I would love that, but their budgets are worse than private hospitals.

Our kitchen is one of the few rooms I like, but the cabinet hardware is atrocious and there is none on the bottom cabinets. Two of the doors on the upper cabinets are cracked, so one day we will need to replace all of them, but for now, I would like to get some nice hardware and paint the walls. It will brighten it up, especially when I check to see if the wall is okay behind the faux brick back splash and if so, I will take brick down and paint the wall. If not, I will paint the brick. Good times.

I need to work on my nephews blanket tonight and some other stuff up in the office. There are two art pieces I need to finish and I need to rearrange some more stuff up there. I also need to get back to writing since it has sort of been on hold the last few days. Maybe after some knitting I can work on that which would be really nice.

I really need a thirty six hour day sometimes.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Morris County New Jersey

Is where I live and while I am on the low end of the wealth spectrum, it is a beautiful place. As one who is tired of seeing my home state and people look like mafioso breeding grounds filled with tanned, high haired Neanderthals this article in Traditional Home makes me breathe better. New Jersey is very diverse with farms, small intimate enclaves, rolling hill estate areas, funky neighborhoods, sea shore, mountains and fun cities. I wish to God people knew that.
Recently I got into a blog discussion with someone from Los Angeles and we were lamenting how Hollywood shows the worst of LA and NJ. When you live someplace, you see the best and the worst, but it seems Hollywood only likes the awful side, the stereotypes. Which I hate more than anything. Southerners are redneck hillbillies who intermarry, Midwesterners are all fat and slow, West Coast is flaky and plastic. Pacific Northwest is filled with hippies. The list goes on and on. Sure stereotypes come from somewhere, but I think it is easier to focus on what makes us uncomfortable and is easy to mock. I have said this before but the best quote I ever heard was "Travel is the enemy of bigotry" and I think we all need to do that domestically to break the ridiculous stereotypes. I am not saying they do not exist. I went to high school with guidos like the ones on Jersey Shore, but those guys were not complete d-bags.

The bottom line is, while we think we know an area in the USA, even the world, but let us focus on USA, unless you have lived there or visited, you do not know the people and if you only do tourist stuff, you have not necessarily seen the true flavor of any place. Here are some places that pleasantly surprised me and are not always touted for a visit:

Providence, Rhode Island
Santa Monica, California
West Palm Beach, Florida
Northampton, Massachusetts
Ithaca and Watkins Glen, New York
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania

There are also a ton of towns in NJ that I have stopped at and walked around.

All those places could feed a serious stereotype but most of the people I met were lovely and the cities/towns were too. I hope I can go to more places without preconceived notions. It is not easy, but since I am used to New Jersey being on the short end of the stick, I think I can do it better then most.