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Only Two More Sleeps...

Monday, July 25, 2005
Until Reno!!!

I'm a little excited. Can you tell? Tomorrow's task list is only moderately lengthy.

1. Get nails done. I never get manicures. I don't really even like manicures. And I'm not getting fake nails. I just want my hands to look nice with a polish that'll last for more than 6 hours.

2. Pick up dry cleaning. Color me a happy camper. Last night I tried on the clothes that I bought a few weeks ago when they were all too tight. Now they fit!! Yippee!!! (And my mother told me I looked good! I think aliens stole her brain, but I'm not complaining.)

3. Have mom alter the sleeves on my evening gown. Either I have stumpy little arms or fit models have arms like apes because they never, ever fit right. This is a satin french cuff attached to a sheer mesh sleeve, so even if I could sew, I would never touch this project.

4. Laundry, ironing, packing. My flight leaves pretty early on Wednesday, so I need to be ready to go tomorrow night.

I bought a neat little folder-thingy-doohickey to keep my files and papers straight and I hope it does the job. Plus, it was like back to school shopping for something I like, instead of for kid stuff which I'll have to do in a couple of weeks.

And then there was this sweet pair of navy slingbacks I just couldn't resist. I finally examined my favorite pair of navy suede t-straps and they were just sad looking. I'd had them for nearly 15 years, the dog had chewed on them, and they're just worn out. Very sad. I hate to let them go. One of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I've ever worn, but I don't think the suede can be repaired.

In other news, I wrote my very first review. I know. I don't even read reviews, so why write one? Duh! Free book!! It's for Lori Handeland's DARK MOON, and I enjoyed it. I gave it 4 1/2 stars, but you'll have to pop over to Romance Divas after Reno to read my whole take on it.

Seriously, though, I wouldn't have reviewed it if I didn't already know that I liked this author. Do you think that colors my perception? Do you suppose that makes me a less than objective reviewer? I don't know. I really don't. I do know that I breathed a sigh of relief as I was reading it because it didn't suck. I was terrified that I would have to write a bad review and I didn't want to. I was compelled to be honest and my review, while positive and praising the things she does well, doesn't leave out the bits that bothered me. Still, I don't know how often I'll do this sort of thing. It's a lot of pressure, to be honest. And you can read that last sentence however you want. I just know I've been burned by glowing reviews of terrible books before and I didn't want to add to the general nausea.

I did see that Kristen Painter gave Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest, SINS OF THE NIGHT, only 3 stars. The book is in my TBR pile and I won't read her review until I've finished reading the book. I don't want one person's perception, even one I trust, to influence how I feel about the book.

I'll try to get in one last blog entry tomorrow, but if it doesn't happen, I'll see y'all when I get back!
7/25/2005 07:25:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 7 Comments



Old Home Week

Friday, July 22, 2005
Well, I did make it out here. I put together my mom's new computer, but she doesn't get online enough to warrant DSL or broadband, so she's retaining her dial-up connection. I'm so spoiled! This is killing me! ;-)

Anyway, today she did me the enormous favor of telling me to "go have fun." So I did. I needed to get my wedding ring cleaned (it looks like a brand new ring now!) and that means a trip to downtown Boise. What a change! The city has grown exponentially. Naturally, that means that some things are better (lots of great new restaurants) and some things are worse (OMG the traffic!). After I finished my errand, I had lunch at a nice little Thai place, then found a coffeeshop where I sat with Bertie and pounded out a bit more of my Scarlet Boa entry. I'm going to let it simmer for a couple of days, tweak once more if it needs it, then send it in.

After I finished that, I figured I'd drive onto the BSU campus and just see if my old forensics (speech and debate, not CSI) professor was in. I never figured he actually would be! So we sat and talked for nearly an hour and a half. I had the best time. And if we moved here in teh next month, I'd have a good shot at a part time adjunct position as interp coach. My best events when I was on the team involved dramatic interpretation of literature. To be perfectly disgusting about it -- I rocked.

But we're not moving here -- probably ever. It's expensive here! Boise is in the midst of a huge housing boom and even shabby little places are selling for California prices. Absurd, really, when you think about it. I mean, it's Boise.

Tomorrow, it's back to Boise to get my hair trimmed by my all time favorite hairdresser. There are definitely things I like about this town. Regardless of all the progress, there's still enough left for me to be comfortable.

Ah well, time for me to see if I can't put in another chunk of time on ... something or other. I worked on Big Bad Wolf for an hour last night. We'll see what strikes my fancy tonight.
7/22/2005 11:55:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments



One more time

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Let's try this again. I'll try to post a little bit from holiday, but if you don't see me before then -- See you in Reno!
7/20/2005 10:16:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Not quite

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Flight delayed all out of reason so we're going to try again tomorrow.

Swear words.
7/19/2005 06:57:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Outta here!

I'm gone, bloglets! Mom's got dial up, so I don't know when I'll get on again. See y'all in Reno!
7/19/2005 02:37:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Panicsville

Saturday, July 16, 2005
I guess now would be the time to mention that I'm PANICKING!! I like to start early and get a jump on my stress. You know, stretch it out over weeks instead of letting it hit me all at once.

I'm leaving early next week to go visit my folks for a while before I head out to Reno for the RWA National Conference.

I'm a little excited. And not all of my clothes fit. And I'm up to here with my children, who are actually pretty good kids. I'm just at the frazzled end of my patience right now.

I get to trek cross country with the kids, hang out with my mother for a week (she'll tell me I'm fat), then I'll go to Reno and meet 2000 other writers so we can all be neurotic together.

I am typing out my packing list. So far, it's 3 pages long. Some of it is repetition, though. For instance, I have two outfits planned per day down to shoes and handbags, but then I also listed shoes and handbags in their own sections so I don't forget them. Mind you, this is only the stuff that's going to Reno. I haven't even started on what I'm taking just to hang out with Mom.

Nor have I begun the children's lists. I need to do a school clothing inventory before we leave so we can do big shopping when we get home at the Back To School sales.

I also have a couple of small errands to run tomorrow and Monday, and the rest of the washing and ironing to do, plus clean so I come back to a clean house instead of a depressing mess.

My list just keeps getting longer.
7/16/2005 08:32:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments



I am on a Roll!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Woo-hoo! I've lost 4 lbs!! I was already watching my diet, but nothing was happening, so I concentrated my effort on exercise and I've lost 4 lbs in less than 2 weeks. Color me a happy camper. I'm still 11 lbs from my goal, and I doubt I'll make it all by Reno, but at least it's in sight now.

This time management workshop is also inspiring me. In order to achieve the big goal, I set a weekly one. This week, it's to write one hour a day. I wrote for a solid hour yesterday and plan to do the same today. As a matter of fact, I'd better get started if I want to get it done before we head to the pool.

See y'all!
7/12/2005 08:21:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments



Rambling about goals

Friday, July 08, 2005
Jax is doing a Time Management workshop over at Romance Divas. She's the most driven person I know, so I guess she must be a pro at this!

The first assignment is to set a goal, then to list 10 reasons I want to achieve my goal.

Yikes.

I've never been one to do well with "goals" or "time management." And yeah, I'm using those dorky looking finger quotes when I say that. I'm essentially lazy. I'm easily distracted and have less focus than my 4yo.

I have lots of goals, actually. Keep house tidy. Be a better wife, a better mom, a better person. Stop swearing. But I'm assuming here that Jax is talking primarily about a writing goal, so I'll stick with that.

So what, really, is my goal? Is it to be the next Nora? Not really. I can't imagine the pressure that woman is under to constantly and consistently produce more books at a schedule that must be inhuman. I think she's taking a break right now, though, because they're reissuing a whole ton of her old Silhouettes.

Is it even to be an A-list author like Sandra Brown or Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick or however many pseudonyms she has? Nope. Again, too much pressure. I don't want those expectations put on me. I'm too laid back a personality, despite the occasional raging breakdown.

You know, I think I'd just like to be able to produce one good story a year for the next 20 years or so. Honestly. I want to FINISH a story a year. Submission, acceptance -- that's part of a timeline that's not mine to control. But the writing process from idea to final polishing, is mine-all-mine. I even accept that I write slowly.

What I hate, what I don't want to accept, is the fear that prevents me from finishing. The fear that lately has prevented me from getting past page 10 on anything. The fear that I Will Fail.

I make lots of short term goals -- Finish this scene. Finish this chapter. Finish this story. But what comes next?

So, back to the assignment.
Goal: Finish -- from idea to final polish -- one story per year.

10 Reasons I Want to Achieve My Goal:
1. Sense of accomplishment
2. Pride in a job well done
3. So my family can say, "My wife/mom/daughter is a writer" with pride
4. To sell so that we can afford some extras -- like a housecleaning service!
5. To be able to contribute to the family income
6. A creative outlet
7. To leave my mark on the world as an individual
8. To make people laugh
9. To make people think
10. To bring joy

Well. That wasn't too painful. So, what about you? Why do you write? What's your long-term writing goal?
7/08/2005 07:42:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments



Ch-ch-ch-changes

I hate that song.

Anyway, I'm feeling frazzled. My errand list is long and each task on it is time consuming. Our vacation is galloping up to us and Reno comes ever closer. And I'm still chunky.

On top of that, eHarlequin has done some major renovation of its site and I'm, personally, not that happy with the changes. For one thing, one of my very favorite threads -- Struggling Writers -- has been relegated to the Social section. It just doesn't feel right. It feels as if SW has been ... diminished in some way. That now it's just a place for chit-chat, but not for talking about writing. Granted, we do a LOT of chit-chatting in there, but the underlying purpose that binds us all together is that we are Struggling WRITERS. Not Struggling Readers or Women or Moms, which not all of us are. But we are all Writers.

I couldn't care less about the new colors or the new layout or anything like that. And it makes sense to have all discussion about a specific line in one place. It should certainly save the authors in those lines some wear and tear. Now they can be in one area instead of one thread for folks who read the line and one thread for folks who write for the line. I could be totally off base there, though, since I'm not targetting Har/Sil.

But it feels as if eHq is changing its focus to readers and not writers. If that's true, (and I'm not saying it is) they've made two big mistakes.

1) The readers love the Online Read Library and they gutted it. They left one Online Read up per line. It's possible that they're going to build a fresh library, but do brick and mortar libraries toss out all their old books when they get new ones? And because I'm not a techie person, I don't understand how simply keeping stuff in an archive causes so much work, which was the reason they touted for scouring the Library.

2) H/S lives and dies by the quality of its writers, right? And they say they're always looking for something new and fresh. But if they're going to cut out the writing discussions, then aren't they shooting themselves in the foot? Yes, they've left the BIAY threads and articles, but there's more to writing for H/S than is contained in those articles and guidelines, isn't there? Even the Q&As are gone. Well, actually, they've been divided up by line, which is extremely illogical. For instance, take a Q&A about Alpha males. They moved it to Blaze, but don't they think that people who write for Intrigue want to know about them? Honestly, it made more sense to keep all the Q&As together. That way, a writer who wants to learn about their craft in a well-rounded way can pick and choose a subject without spending an hour rounding up all the different topics the sessions covered.

BTW, as I've been writing this, Jayne the Uber-Hostie is considering putting the Writing Techniques and Grammar Girl threads in a non-line-centric location. Whew! Call me a squeaky wheel -- at least I got some grease!

Edit: YAY!! More grease! There's now a board called The Write Stuff that will not only contain Techniques and Grammar, but cross link to writer's discussions for different lines, as well as link to all the Q&As!! The eHq hosties are AWESOME!!!
7/08/2005 11:19:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments



Bloody Bastards

Thursday, July 07, 2005
37 people dead. Over 700 wounded. And for what? I ask you, for what? Because somebody got their tighty-whities in a bunch because they don't like how things are done. And because their collective IQ is lower than pond scum, they decide that rather than be reasonable people and learn how to play well with others, hell no. They're just going to murder innocent working class, everyday folks on their way to work. Because they're pissy. They're insane and pissy.

So just for today, I'm tired of being reasonable and moderate. Pardon my redneck, but

NUKE 'EM TIL THEY GLOW AND SHOOT 'EM IN THE DARK!!!

I'm just tired of it all. Who do these people think they are? What makes them think THIS is what God is asking of them? I'm a committed conservative Christian (with a bad habit of using blue language -- please excuse me), but I'm not so blind or stupid as to think heaven is only big enough for folks just like me.

God forgive us all and grant peace to the survivors.
7/07/2005 03:03:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments



Happy Independence Day!!!

Monday, July 04, 2005
First off --

Happy 4th of July to Americans at home and overseas! If you're part of a military family, have an extra hug for all your hard work. If you're a military wife with a deployed spouse, sweetie, have a drink!!

Second, run over to Brenda Coulter's blog and check out her pictures of fireworks. Nice shots, Brenda!

And finally, quiz courtesy of Julie.

You Are 69% American
Most times you are proud to be an American.
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!

7/04/2005 09:16:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments



Sunday musings

Sunday, July 03, 2005
Since I'm too much of a heathen to get ready for church today.

Actually, by the time I rolled out of bed (late), did my half hour on the stationary bike, then fed the kids, I knew that for us to get ready for church, I'd have to spend the next half hour screaming at everyone and the idea just didn't put me in a "church" frame of mind. Also, when my kids complained, "Church is boring," the only response that sprang to mind was, "Tough! That's what church is for." I figured I'd better work on my attitude instead.

So I'm at home this morning, secure in the knowledge that God loves me anyway. I know because the sun is shining and there's a fresh pot of coffee.

Anyway, I'm writing this post as pre-writing. I'm warming up my writing muscles so that when I hit "Publish Post," I can move directly to the WIP (Work In Progress, if any non-writers happen by -- Hi Shriek!)

I've already written a little about this in a smaller journal I have over at Romance Divas, so for those of you who have already seen this, you may continue your bloghopping now.

Since I began writing 3 years ago, it's been drummed into my head to finish one story before I begin another. I'm a seriously distracted person and I thought the discipline would be good for me, so I've followed that advice. But now that I look back, it may have led to me abandoning a lot of stories simply because I haven't got the attention span to do just one thing at a time. So I'm loosening my strictures.

I will work on whatever strikes my fancy as long as it moves forward every time I work on it. I will not rewrite the beginning 8 times.

And yes, I've done that before. I've written several novels worth of beginnings, but only ever finished one novella.

So now I'm working on COLD again. It's the one with the hero whose voice is a ruin. BTW, I discovered what happened to him. Poor man. Nasty scar. And I finally found the setting, though it will require a ton of research to get it just right. In the meantime, I've done enough to get me going. I'll figure out the details later.

As long as I'm here, I'll also get another plug in for Romance Divas, who are running another great FREE workshop this month. Author Jess Michaels will be hosting her "So I Wrote This Book... Now What?" workshop in the Forum. Just register to become a member and you're eligible for the workshop and the monthly giveaway. The workshop starts July 18th. Read Kristen's interview with Jess here
7/03/2005 10:17:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments



 

 
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