Where phobias come from

So to reward my son for not making me sling him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes in order to get him into the car this morning, I took him to Schlotzky’s this afternoon, and then to Town Lake to feed the ducks.

As I was sitting on a rock watching the ducks fight over stale pizza crusts, I overheard an older woman explaining to her grandson why he should not play ring-around-the-cypress tree right at the water’s edge. Here’s how it went:

Grandma: “Honey, you should stay away from there.”

Little boy: “Why?”

Grandma (in a sugary, high-pitched voice): “Really, sweetheart. I think it’s time to go.”

Little boy: “Why can’t I go around the tree first?”

Grandma: “Because if you fell in, I wouldn’t be able to get you out before you drowned.”

Yes, that’s right. Drowned. (The water, incidentally, was about a foot deep.)

I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the poor kid’s first swimming lesson.

Anyway, I’ve got to get another few hundred words in and check the laundry…

Happy Friday, everyone!

Three thousand words later

I find myself without the energy to write two blog entries. So for today’s installment, please go here.

And if you’ve ever tried Weetabix, please tell me if it tastes as awful as it looks. I’m curious, but not curious enough to drop a couple of bucks on it.

The Austin American-Statesman article

is up, and you can read it here.

Whew. Am off to make more burnt offerings to the culinary gods. (In other words, I’m going to start dinner.)

On the writing front, I met with my friend Kimberly Sandman this morning and bashed out another 1200 words, which brings me back up to 20K. Now I have to go write 300 more… of course, after I read all of your lovely comments.

And Laura, you are SO far ahead of me. If you feel like writing a few chapters on werewolves and lighthouses just to break up the monotony, drop me a line…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Why I don’t have TV

So I only had a few minutes to exercise today, which meant instead of walking, I hopped on an exercise bike at the Y. Which has 4 close-captioned TVs to stare at while you’re pedaling away.

On TV two, MSNBC was doing a hard-hitting ten minute report…. on American Idol.

That’s right. American Idol.

So I switched over to the tube on the left, which turned out to be one of those Christian channels, featuring a forty-ish woman recounting a quiet evening at home with her ex-husband. Apparently on the spur of the moment, right after watching the Simpsons or something, he decided they both needed to die. So he dragged her to the kitchen, stabbed her a few times, let the gas in the burner run for a while, and then lit a match.

Which is horrifying.

But as I’m pedaling away, watching the woman talk, she says, “As I was lying there on the kitchen floor, I knew Jesus had heard my prayers, because suddenly I felt a warmth all through my body.”

And all I could think was, gee. It could be Jesus. Or it could be because you were ON FIRE.

I can’t tell you anything about the American Idol update — something about a sexual harassment suit, I think — but I am pleased to report that the woman in the second story survived and is happily remarried. (Hubby one turned out to be a paranoid schizophrenic and is now in an institution.)

Overall, it’s probably a good thing I don’t have TV, because I’d spend my days surfing channels and making catty remarks. And not writing. Speaking of writing, evidently my little story about Natalie will in fact appear in the May issue of Portland Magazine. And tomorrow I’ll try to post a link to the Statesman, which is running a feature on yours truly. So overall it’s a publicitastic week.

On the downside, I axed 10,000 words from Wolf 2 today because I didn’t like them. I added another 2,000, but I’m still running a bit behind. (Like at 18,000 words instead of 28,000 words.) Fortunately, if I work a few weekends, I’ll be caught up in no time — besides, I’m feeling much better about the book now, and I may be able to use some of the cut scenes later. And I’ve decided to put in some calf-roping! Do you know anything about calf-roping? I don’t, but I hope to soon!

How’s your writing going? Even if you wrote nothing, your daily net count still beats mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

RSS etc.

So, despite my substantial technical ignorance, I think I’ve managed to get both RSS and e-mail subscription options going (a few of you have asked about it). You can find it over in the links section. Gosh, I hope I did it right. The downside of this, of course, is that I’m going to have to stop editing my posts six times a day (I always read them after they’ve published and find things to tweak).

If you try one or both of these, please let me know how it goes. If it works, I’ll add it to the Cozy Chicks blog, too.

Oh — I wrote some flash fiction today, about Natalie and Emmeline. With luck, it will be in Portland Magazine this May. And here’s the article from the Picayune.

Ian’s better, by the way, and tomorrow I get to write with my friend Kimberly. More soon…


Not flu after all… and thickening plots

So Ian’s better, but still not at the camp I scheduled for him this week. Unfortunately, that throws my schedule off; but that may be a good thing, as I had a few plot ‘ahas’ yesterday that I probably need to go back and work in. Plus, I’m having fun reading about lighthouses.

Still, regarding my little plot issues; you’d think this whole book-writing thing would become easier, wouldn’t you? I guess it does, but there’s still a disturbing element of uncertainty in each book. On the other hand, I guess that’s why I’m a bookwriter and not an accountant. Although there’s a certain amount of uncertainty in my accounting, too… ๐Ÿ˜‰

And my poor other half has been cursed by the tire gods. Yesterday, he got three flats on his bike; today, he woke up to discover his car had a flat tire. And he has to drive to Houston. I can hear the tire wrenches on the driveway as I type.

I hear the five-yr-old stirring, so I’m off for now… hope everyone else has escaped this affliction (which, incidentally, is NOT flu, thankfully).

Oh, and because I am constitutionally incapable of saying ‘no’, I signed up for another blog the other day. It will go live soon, and I’ll let you know the details.

Karen (who is off to go looking for her misplaced common sense)

Flu and writer’s block

Unfortunately, despite the vaccination, I am afraid our little boy has come down with the dreaded flu; even on Motrin, his fever was at 104 this afternoon. Scary. It promises to be a long night, filled with every-three-hour temperature checks and medicine doses. I should have known it was coming; after all, it is spring break. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before I was aware of the high fever situation, though, my sweet husband kicked me out of the house this morning to go write, and I’m glad he did; I was feeling a bit stuck, which always makes me nervous, but by sitting through it and doing a lot of staring into space (and writing in fits and starts), it finally started flowing again. It’s funny; no matter how many times I work through these things, it always comes as a surprise when I sit there and bang my head against the wall and it eventually shakes free. (The writing, I mean, not my head.) My word count is a hair over 26,000 right now, which puts me at approximately 1/3 complete. Which is a good thing, since my dance card is looking rather full right now.

I also spent some time at the allergist’s office Friday putting together a calendar for getting the books I’m under contract for finished comfortably. (Thank God I had the laptop with me, or I’d have been forced to read tabloids for forty minutes instead. Hmm. Perhaps I’ll leave the laptop home next time.)

Anyway, assuming I did the math right (must recheck this, come to think of it), I was pleased to discover that even writing 4,000 words a week, with a week off for spring break, I will still finish with time to spare. I’ll put in a more aggressive weekly goal, but I like having that “minimum” there to make sure that even with a few chaotic, potentially disease-ridden weeks tossed in there — and, heaven forbid, some rewriting — I’ll still finish with some time to spare. And I won’t have to chain myself to a desk to do it. Unless, of course, we get hit by some four-week flu virus or I break both arms and can’t type. But that would never happen. Right?

Right? (Please let me be right. Please.)

Anyway, enough of the morbid thoughts, and back to the topic at hand. Okay, I’ve forgotten the topic at hand. But I will report that this afternoon, to celebrate blasting through another mini-writer’s-block, I stopped by the library, where I picked up A Year with the Caliph, a book about a woman who moved to Casablanca (which I subsequently discovered I already own), a book on lighthouses (I’m looking for a good lighthouse story — if you know of any, please tell me) and a book called Get Out of Your Own Way, which is supposed to help people “reach their full potential,” etc. I don’t know why I read these books, but I do. Hope springs eternal, I guess? I picked this particular one up because, like most writers, I seem to be my own biggest obstacle some days. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m off to check on my little boy’s temperature again. I hope you all escape the flu, and that you had productive and glorious days!

Oh — and for some reason, there’s a june bug colony on our front yard. The buzzing is so loud it sounds like you’re standing next to a bee hive. Very strange — there are hundreds of them, but only in my yard. I wonder why?

very sleepy

and computer hijacked by word-whomp-playing friend this evening. Just now reclaimed it, in fact.

I did write today, though, about 1500 words. And briefly lost my keys. And learned that Episcopal churches don’t generally feature minarets. (Which I think I knew, come to think of it, since minarets are usually for mosques.)

Having accomplished all that, I’m going to bed now.

More tomorrow.

Another visit to the Gray Whale Inn

I just got off the phone with my agent, Jessica, and am thrilled to announce that I will be returning to the Gray Whale Inn in the next few months!

Although I have no idea what the title of the third book will be yet, I do know it will be out next summer. (As in 2008, not 2007 — I’m fast, but I’m not that fast.) I’m already playing around with what will happen — I think there will be light recipes (including the infamous lemon berry souffle muffin recipe) in it, and possibly a lighthouse element. I love lighthouses. Why are they so magical? So mysterious and alluring and lonely…

Anyway, I’ll stop nattering on about lighthouses now, since it’s time to pick up Mr. “You-Don’t-Make-the-Rules-of-Me.” ๐Ÿ™‚

But I’m very excited, and am once again googling plane fares. Research is a very important element of writing, after all… as is copious lobster consumption. Stimulates the brain cells.

Ta for now (I only wrote 800 words or so, and will have to do a two-fer later)…

By the way — if you have any ideas of what you might like to happen, please let me know; I’m always trolling for interesting plot twists.

K (who’s dreaming about blueberries and sea glass already)

Why can I not operate a hairdryer?

So I got my hair cut today, and as always, Judy spent about fifteen minutes with a hairdryer, and I came out with a perfect hairstyle that will last approximately 24 hours.

At which point I will wash my hair and attempt to replicate her results.

Which is why most days I wear my hair back in a clip.

What is it with stylists and hair dryers? I know they’ve had tons of training, but there seems to be an element of magic in there, too. I have watched as Judy wields the brush and dryer. I have attempted to learn. I have repeatedly tried to use the same techniques at home. With the result that my head always winds up looking like a haystack that had a close shave with a tornado.

Perhaps it’s because I declined to spend $140 on a dryer that Judy said would ‘change my life’ and instead dropped $19.99 on a Target special. But whatever it is, my hair looks fabulous today, and I’m going to enjoy it.

Tomorrow I can put it back in a barrette.

Oh — and due to hair and other appointments, I have written a whopping 400 words today. And I’m serving lunch at my daughter’s school tomorrow. Not good.


P.S. This morning, when I told my friend (who happens to be a photojournalist) that I was going to get my hair cut, he blinked at me and said “Didn’t the editor come yesterday?” When I told him that yes, she had, he pointed out that most people would get the haircut prior to the visit from a photographer. But honestly. Who has time for hair when you’re waging battle with your oven?

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