Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Spring in the life of a dog owner

Michigan weather is always a roller coaster. Earlier this week we had 70 degree weather, promptly followed by snow. My daffodils are confused. I, however, am not.

Spring is officially here. At my house it is marked by my mini daffodils poking their heads up in the front yard, followed by my dogs tracking mud into the house. I will not see my floors without mud somewhere until the next snowfall.

I have two Great Pyrenees pups, the youngest just turned a year old. These are very large, very fluffy white dogs, whose favorite pastimes are digging and jumping in mud puddles. They go from white fur to looking like some oddball Landseer Newfoundland.

I know Spring is here, the muddy foot prints and mud splatters on the walls are all the proof I need. The wild weather also turns my normally calm youngest pup into the equivalent of a 125 pound, sugared up, sleep deprived, unruly, independent toddler.

If you were to look in door, you would see me chasing around a muddy dog, usually with some stolen piece of laundry, tail and head held high, with a big grin on his face as this is the greatest game of tag ever. You'll want to cover your eyes though, as I tend to swear at him with the language of a drunken sailor.

My neighbor got a laugh at us the other day, as she watched myself and my hubby (who is a large man) trying to wrangle this wiggling "pup" into a harness so we could rinse him off outside. He was covered in mud on every part of his body, with the exception of a lone heart-shaped white area on the top of his head.

So yes, Spring is definitely here. Enjoy the birdies singing, and the sun shining down. If you hear a lot of swearing, with references to "bad puppy" thrown in, most likely it's another dog owner of a mud-loving pup like mine.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Queen has left the planet

All the buzz today is about the loss of our Queen of Soul, the amazingly talented Miss Aretha Franklin. I'm old enough to remember when she dominated the charts. When her song "R.E.S.P.E.C.T" was the anthem for young women everywhere, demanding our right to be treated as equals, when feminism was still "new".

I've always loved her voice. My grandfather loved her power, her stance as a strong women, and her fearlessness. He was not what I would consider a music fan, but when it came to her, he was all ears.

Miss Aretha taught me a lot, at a young age, even though she didn't know it. I suspect the adults (at the time) in my family didn't realize it either. Aretha's songs taught me that women can stand on their own two feet, taking care of business and family, and that we should never settle for less.

I will miss her, she was one feisty woman, and I loved watching her put younger singers "in their place". Truly the Queen Bee (sorry Beyonce, but Miss Aretha was, is, and will always be the True Queen of Soul) of Motown, and popular music in general.

Now to find a fitting way to give her a nod in one of my storylines. She made the world a better place.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fixing Past Posts

I probably lost folks along the way because posts weren't getting posted as scheduled. I think I have that fixed now.

You may see a lot of posts start popping up related to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is not in response to anything going on today. It is my way of putting "stuff" in one spot that I'm using to research. In addition to research, I'm double checking the veracity of the government's website against "ancient" encyclopedias and history books that were in my grandparent's estate. It will be interesting to see what, if any, differences there may be.

Life has been eventful (not always in a good way) and busy and I am anxious to get back to several of my WIPs .

As I type this though, I am holed up in a basement with my two Great Pyrenees puppies who are most unhappy about the fireworks being shot off.

Happy Birthday America!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Inspiration from the Baking Aisle

I was shopping at Meijer over the weekend and run across a new baking item that I simply had to have, so I could go home and experiment. There was no specific plan for it, no real thought process behind it, I simply grabbed it and put it in my cart.

Fast forward a few days, and I've used to my taste buds delight, and up popped my characters who'd gone into hiding/grieving/holiday/whatever for the past few months. April was hard, I lost my Uncle, my old dog, and one of my young dogs all in the span of a month. All of them unexpected, and my writing got shoved into the back corner of the closet.

Delighted as I am that they're chatting up their story lines, it's still a bit of a rough time. I've been resorting to dictating to my phone, using my Dragon software, and any other short cut I can find to get the words out as I run around the house puppy-proofing. Because, yes, we are getting another puppy so the lone puppy here will have a pack member to play with.

Once the decision was made to get a new puppy, Jess (one of my favorite characters) decided to lay claims on it, making it necessary for me to find a way to introduce a dog into her story line.

Pantser that I am, it's both easy and hard to add a dog into the mix. Which book should he/she be introduced into, how does he/she fit into her future story line, as well as her life.

It's all good in the end, the writing is flowing again and my characters are back to tease me with new ideas. I'll take inspiration any time I can get it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Simpson's Had It Right - again!

I've been a fan of the animated show The Simpsons since it was on the Tracey Ullman Show (hey, what do you know, I spelled that right the first time!).

There are tons of memes out there about the show, some conspiracy theories that Matt Groening is a time traveler (I love that idea!), and lots of people wondering how in the heck did The Simpsons predict Donald Trump would one day be our President.

I know, lots of people don't like him. I'm not a big fan either, but I do have to give him some credit for being willing to take that gamble. Because, let's face it, you have to be a "special kind of crazy" to take on the Presidency of the United States of America.

Seriously, who takes a job willingly where they know they will be villified and adored in the same moment, where a good chunk of the world and country will hate you just for the spot your in without any clue as to who you really are, and where you have absolutely NO privacy.

Our country needs to get over this "Not My President" craze. Everyone needs to grab a clue...it didn't work with Obama, it won't work with Trump. We, the people of this nation, have far more in common than our media, politicians, and the folks pulling the strings, want us to realize.

Just like The Simpson's, we all want a warm, comfy bed to lie in at night, people who love us, food on the table, a decent job, a means of transportation, and a modicum of civility. The folks at the extremes need to take a chill pill, those of us not on the extremes want to be left alone to live our lives, enjoy our families, and have some peace for the short time we are here on this planet.

And if you wonder what else has come true that has been predicted in The Simpson's, check out Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox at the end of 2017.

I'm thankful they haven't predicted a new civil war (yet).

Friday, February 23, 2018

Research vs. Writing - The Inner Battle

I have two book series that require a lot of research. Lately, I've been focusing more on research in lieu of writing and am struggling to get back on track with both. The research for the series is vastly different, the happier research involves the various world religions, the other deals with a particularly evil time in recent history. Both affect me differently, both in my desire to dig deeper and in my need to write.

The religious research is so interesting I tend to lose track of time. The topic is fascinating, I'm learning quit a bit and finding each religion has pieces I enjoy and others I despise. Yet I want to learn more and not stop to write.

World War II, in particular Hitler and his inner circle is equally fascinating. It is sad, morbid, and at times deeply disturbing as I can parallels with today's society and the German situation as Hitler grabbed more and more power. Mengele's experimentation is the most disturbing, yet I need to understand him a bit better as I need to understand his methodology in order to make a part of my story line work.

It is hard to force myself to write after doing research, as my drastically affects my writing. I didn't plan on becoming a writer or author, my original career choice was to be a Veterinarian. I'm a long way from that now, with a day job that eats up  60+ hours a week (don't get me started). My characters found me and insisted I begin writing their stories.

I'm trying an experiment over the next month. For every hour of research I do, I have to write at least 100 words on any of my books. They don't have to be good words, it doesn't have to be "gold", I simply need to get some words on the page. I'm hoping that will help jump start my writing output.

What do you do to get your writing mojo back?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Starting Over

I've been working on a WIP, rearranging the middle of a mystery, and forwarding pages to my "volunteer" editor. I've changed enough of the middle now that I'm having to rewrite the ending in order to throw the reader off and still keep them interested.

It feels like I'm writing an entirely new story, which is somewhat true. The main story line is the same, but there's some new scenes I hadn't seen coming that have thrown me for a bit of a loop and making it necessary to come up with some new red herrings. Established writers will occasionally put out the piece of advice that you will "normally" need to write five books before you're really ready to be published. I'm not sure I have that much patience.

As this book gets straightened out and polished up, I'm gearing up to get back into the routine of sending submissions, and receiving rejections. I'm ok with the rejections that I do get back - at least they're responding. I greatly appreciate the ones that come back with suggestions or any kind of feedback. It's not personal, what I'm sending them simply isn't a fit.

I look at submissions as if they are a job interview (and I've had hundreds of those). If I get an agent or publisher I want to be as good a fit for them as I want them to be for my book. Yes, it's a bit strange to have that frame of mind, however I've been in the business world long enough to separate the business from the personal.

So I find myself back at square one, with a different book series, still looking fondly at my first book series (yet to be published), at the start of a new year. Seems fitting.