Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Home sick. But I'm placing much faith on the curative power of The Princess Diaries. How did Julie Andrews become so wonderful?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hell fires

Reading: Hell House, by Richard Matheson
Writing/editing: nada
Coffee units: 3
Noteworthy nibbles: asparagus and goat cheese risotto

While I'd like to work through some editing and sketch out some ideas for a new story, the slight fever I'm running reccomends an early bedtime. I'm just waiting for the kiddo to fall asleep, and then it's time to snooze!

Needless to say, since I'm slacking, I felt perfectly justified finishing Hell House. What an awesome book! Truly scary and truly inspirational. I am hoping to create a few haunted stories now!

I just hope I don't get as sick as John's been. Poor guy! He's barely eaten anything in two days, and last night he slept in the basement to stay close to the bathroom. I really missed him. Pink Poodle is a pretty cuddly stuffed animal, but not even close to a sweetpea.

Monday, April 27, 2009

playing catch up

Reading: re-reading I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
Writing/editing: worked up a 2nd draft of the werewolf story
Coffee units: 2.5
Noteworthy nibbles: saltine crackers with red pepper hummus

John is home sick today. I would joke that it's the swine flu, but that seems too chancy. Poor guy. His tummy is killing him.

It felt wonderful to sit down with my story about Ellen the werewolf and do some work on it. I mostly filled in some blanks that had been rushed out of the first draft, and I have to admit I did insert an image that was totally stolen from the office where we have ZS meetings. I had almost given up on this story, but my writing partner was eager for something to read this week, and I didn't have anything else that was close to ready. So I am going to print it up and subject Sue to it. Poor woman.

Other than that, I merely tidied up my desk, read a bit and daydreamed about the ballet that John and I saw on Saturday. It was a wonderful performance, and the ballet men were magnificent. Yay, culture!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


  • Reading: just finished Killing Bridezilla, by some funny chick mystery writer. What? I love the chick lit!
  • Writing/editing: just got home from work, so ... no.
  • Coffee units: 2 (the 2nd pot is still brewing)
  • Noteworthy nibbles: fresh sheep's milk cheese (the milk came from sheep milked Tuesday!) with French bread, apple slices and organic Californian strawberries

Really, there hasn't been much exciting to post about besides the delicious snack. This is what happens when I stop at New Seasons on the way home from work and John is at home with a sick midget, needing a snack. YUM.

I also just want to point out that stores that actually expect to sell clothes should carry clothes in sizes beyond S and XS. What is up with that? I stopped by the cutest shop yesterday and would have been tempted ... except that apparently my body is unwelcome in those clothes. Weirdly enough, the shopgirl was awesomely nice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cute sick midget

Reading: re-reading I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
Writing/editing: worked a bit on Lohra, ch 3, but plan to delete everything I did
Coffee units: 3
Noteworthy nibbles: Mentos

Also noteworthy, but not for a good reason: the asiago potato salad from Fred Meyer. Unfortunately, what's noteworthy is that it has bacon in it. But not on the label. Bummer.

Today was a great day, even though I spent it indoors, listening for Fi. She stayed home sick, the poor little tyke--fevery, pukey, miserable. BUT I did get the ZSC011 Facebook page all set up AND I finally cleaned the corner of the counter in the kitchen. We had a little shelf in there that John took out and replaced with a much cuter shelf, and there was all kinds of what-not and mess all over the counter after that project. I feel much better now that it's not dirty.

But yesterday--yesterday was a fantastic day! I spent the entire afternoon with my friend Erin, catching up on girly chitchat (like her wedding plans! Some cute little girl just might get to play flower girl this fall!), and then I had ZS at night, where I got to enjoy anti-girly chitchat. I even did a little running in the morning.

So. Good times. Now I just hope I don't get Fiona's flu!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blogging just because I can!

I got to work early today so I am taking a second to post a blog. Because I totally can!!

Yesterday's ZS sewing bee was an awesomely good time. I can't say enough good stuff about my ZS crew. Or the spinach salad (hold the chicken) from Burgerville. Man, if you're going to sit down in the park with your friends and eat lunch, I highly recommend that spinach salad!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tofu, Rice, Veg

Reading: Cockatiels at Seven, some chick mystery writer
Writing/editing: hopefully starting Chapter 3 of Lohra version 2.1!
Coffee units: 3--yay! I bought creamer!
Noteworthy nibbles: Tofu, Rice & Veg

Finally! After almost 3 years as a vegetarian, I have come up with a comfort meal as satisfying as baked chicken. But to do it, I had to make the discovery that not all tofu is created equal. Tonight's TRV (Tofu, Rice & Veg) was acceptable--I used Woodstock Farm's extra-firm, and it's firm, but not amazing. There's some crazy local brand at People's that kicks its ass, and after I discovered its solid, fork-resistant texure, it's hard to even look at anything else. Trader Joe's 2-pack of super firm is almost good enough ... but I was at New Seasons, and I had to make do.

I can't believe it took me this long to realize that the tofu I get at Safeway and Fred Meyer's is pathetic, squishy stuff. I had noticed that I made better tofu sometimes than others, but I never blamed the tofu itself. Just me. But I'm okay! It's not me, it's the industrialized soy stuff. Yay!

Anyway, once you get some good, super-duper firm tofu, go ahead and marinade it. Don't be afraid of the salt products--they're your friends. Bouillon or soup base, 1 or 2 Tbs of soy sauce, some booze, some crushed garlic: it's nothing fancy. Soak it for 15 minutes or so, then toss the marinade and the tofu into a skillet and let it heat up. Eventually the tofu will slurp up all the marinade and become brown and delicious. Do whatever you like to the rice, as long as it's not too fancy, and find some kind of basic, tasty veg: broccoli fits the bill, but tonight I went crazy and bought some asparagus. It's finally available from CA, so I bought some. Consider it a warm-up for the Washington season. Anyway, chuck it all on the plate and pretend you're a normal family, enjoying a meal with three distinct food groups that don't touch or ask for sauce.

Yeah. It's as June Cleaver as I get nowadays.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We gathered together

Reading: Darker Than You Think, Jack Williamson
Writing/editing: critiquing for my writing partner
Coffee units: 5 (is that bad?)
Noteworthy nibbles: creme brulee at Pix

I can totally explain the five cups of coffee. See, the Ahabs (John's brother and sister-in-law) came down Friday night. Saturday night my brother surprised us all with a (20 hour) visit. The combination of visitors and awesome games shorted my sleep cycle by a chunk or two, and then I sat around for an hour just chatting with Jak. Just chatting, in my family, means drinking coffee and running off at the mouth. So I had some extra coffee. And then some with dessert. And then some when I got home.

Soooo yummy. Coffee is wonderful.

It's hard to explain how nice the weekend turned out. Sometimes a lot of company can be too exciting, but we balanced everything out and I feel peaceful, warm and fuzzy.

Oh, and exhausted. Maybe I should have another cup of coffee?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday, I'm in love

Reading: Darker Than You Think, Jack Williamson!
Writing/editing: --made 1300 words on the Lohra rewrite already!
Coffee units: 1.5 + 1 cup of hot cocoa!
Noteworthy nibbles: hopefully going out for dinner tonight!

This is the kind of day where a girl just wants to use a lot of exclamation points. I managed to get a quick (10 minute) "run" in this morning (I ran a little, walked a little), which makes me feel like a champ. I will probably do a lot of walking this afternoon, but getting in some speed first thing in the day is pretty neat. Don't tell my sister, though. She's been trying to convert me to running for forever, and I don't want her to get smug.

Last night I saw the movie Paprika. What a great movie! I highly recommend it.

Writing has gone badly this week, but this morning I am off to a good start. The Lohra re-write is more re-writing and less editing. Looking at the previous draft is like looking at a 125,000 word outline that isn't necessarily correct. There's a ton of work to be done, but I feel very confident. It helps that every single rewritten passage is about 250X better than the original!

I am really hoping this rewriting goes well, because I haven't had the best luck with editing and revision in the past. I am good at churning out the crap and good at editing short stories, but when it comes to a book, WHUFF. It's SO hard. So hard. I need to flex muscles I'm not sure I even have! And I need to see everything all at one time. Which isn't easy. I hope I'm getting better at it, though. I'd like to someday finish a book.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

One Pokey Little Puppy

  • Reading: Just After Sunset, Stephen King
  • Writing/editing: --working on the 3rd draft of Lohra's story (made a whopping 200 words tonight)
  • Coffee units: 3.5
  • Noteworthy nibbles: Seeds of Change korma simmer sauce

Once again, a depressing night's work. Now that I've set the goal to be done with the 3rd draft of "Lohra" by the time we go to vacation in May, a million and ten things keep popping up: my own psychoses (absolutely freaking out about the state of the kitchen, my own overwhelmedness, and my deep and abiding feeling that John will never marry me because I'm a) a slob and b)ugly and c) probably getting bored with a boring, ugly slob), my kid, tomorrow's lunch, my psychoses ...

Oh yeah, there's not enough coffee in the world to keep me writing tonight.

Monday, April 06, 2009

A walk in the park

Reading: Just After Sunset, Stephen King
Writing/editing: --working on the 3rd draft of Lohra's story
Coffee units: 2 at 7:55 pm. Might need a half cup to make it through the night.
Noteworthy nibbles: Chocolate Chickpea Cake with strawberries

While I had planned to make this a bust-my-hump work day, the good weather changed my plans. I had to go for a little hike this morning. Wowser, was that a good choice. A Monday morning in Forest Park, at least in April, is still quiet and peaceful. The birds were singing their songs at the top of their lungs, and the trillium was out in full bloom. I managed to keep on the trail--but barely. There was a moments of total nature dorkdom when I almost fell into Balch Creek. Yikes! That would have put a chill on the morning.

I didn't wind up getting any writing done during the daylight today. My little girl was the unfortunate victim of a run-by vomiting, and I had to pick her up early to wash her. She didn't mind the extra 2 hours of play-time!

I can't believe how big of an improvement this draft is over the previous version of "Lohra." I guess I've actually learned something in the last 2 1/2 years!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The horror ...

Reading: Writing Horror, edited by Mort Castle
Writing: too soon to tell
Coffee units: 1 cup
Notable nibbles: none, cereal being too boring to note

[No idea why the bullets didn't work today.]

One day, after writing two novels and some shorter stuff, I realized that the best parts of everything I wrote was either gory, terrifying, eery or horrible. And I also realized that no matter what kind of project I was working on, writing those parts was best part of the writing. So since Nanowrimo wrapped up, I've been letting myself explore my horrible side.

I believe that the main reason I like horror so much is because of my childhood and where I grew up. See, I lived at the end of a very long, very windy road. Highway 38, a two- or sometimes even three-lane highway following the curves of the Umpqua River, gave way to the infinitely narrower Loon Lake Road. Our road. It hung from a cliff face, its other side mouthing a sheer ravine that at points looked bottomless. At others, particularly in winter, that side of the road went straight into the creek. After a storm, the creek would ride high, floating foam and entire bodies of trees and sometimes loose boulders. After a lot rain there were points where the water came right up to the white line. Each trip along that road scared the shit right out of me.

It was a half hour drive to the grocery store, and we usually went once a week. So imagine being a quiet, introverted, carsick child experiencing a good 52 hours of absolute terror every single year. Combine that with loneliness, no tv and a love of books?

I was doomed to become a horror writer. The great thing is that after many years' denial, I am now willing to admit that I love horror and anything scary. Thanks to my virtual godfather (after reading On Writing by Stephen King, I have adopted him as a kind of bibliographical family member. And hero. ), Stephen King, I am no longer afraid to be a speculative fiction writer. It was like he gave me permission to write what I liked after all the college years of shame. I might never be part of the canon, but what the heck. At least I'm having fun!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Donation Request Letter

  • Reading: Writing Horror, edited by Mort Castle; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by H.P. Lovecraft
  • Writing/editing: --
  • Coffee units: 2 at 4:26 pm.
  • Noteworthy snacks: cheese-flavored rice cake with bean dip and Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce

Since I plan to stay up tonight watching Diary of the Dead, I thought I'd do a quick post this afternoon while my adorable daughter plays outside. One of my big goals for this spring's blogging is to talk more specificallly about my writing and reading projects. It goes without saying that I'm not really going to write anything today, because Romero and the margaritas have got me booked.

Last night, however, I enjoyed work on a donation letter for ZS. ZS is looking for raffle items for the raffle we're hosting during Zombie Prom, and one of my pals was feeling uncertain about his own writing skills. As I have seen his emails, I could understand. So I wrote a donation request letter, and while it did not rock, it was a nice change of pace. I feel like I've been focusing on my short fiction lately, and there's just a lot of pressure to get the language and the details just right all the time. It's like writing under a magnifying glass. Whew! It gets hot under there!

As for the reading today, it's been a mixed bag. Writing Horror is a compilation of advice from the Horror Writers Association, and so far, the advice hasn't been too thrilling. But there was a great list of recommended books, and I went ahead and put a bunch on hold at the library. The Case of CDW, however, is so far very good. It's the longest of Lovecraft's work, and I like it. So far.

Hey, what do y'all think of my Bridget-Jonesesque summary at the top of my post? I'm thinking about using it routinely.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The fun and frustration

... of making my new header. Man, what a pain in the butt. However, I couldn't resist playing around with the fun font my friend Kt helped me make, which is based off my very own handwriting. We'll see how long it lasts.

Also, I don't know what I think about having my face (all business-like and serious) up there. I might take it out--it's kind of busy.

Let me know what you think!

Updates a-comin!

Ah, Constant Reader(s)--after a hiatus of Spring Break, I am preparing for some site changes. Keep your eyes skinned!

(Given what I've been reading, that colloquialism makes me kind of queasy!)