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Friday, January 25, 2008

Mystery Solved

As I struggled through the foggy haze of a head cold this week to come up with a blog topic, I kept returning to this. It’s not writing-related, but hey, it’s been a slow week-- it's all I’ve got.

I found the answer to something that’s been plaguing my weary little brain. Mystery solved!

For weeks now I’ve been wondering how on earth a certain light in my basement kept getting turned on, when I knew I had turned it off. (Yeah, being a SAH mom who is never allowed to complete a thought—this stuff happens to you. The mundane and trivial becomes the focus of your life, largely because you’re never allowed to focus on the larger, more important things.) The reason it bothered me so much has nothing to do with girlhood fantasies about being Nancy Drew, though, I confess, I did spend a few summers carrying around a magnifying glass, pencil over one ear, and notepad in hand, searching for clues.

But this bothered me because my basement really creeps me out-- and I was starting to think I was losing my mind. Or that someone was living down there.

To give you a bit of detail, the specific room bothering me is this dark little powder room in my basement. Though I live in suburbia, I’m not fortunate enough to have a “finished” basement. Mine’s dark, creepy, cob-web ridden and dusty. Someone, at some point—and that someone most assuredly had a weak bladder—installed a powder room. Right next to the laundry area. I have never—never!—used this room. That little bathroom with it’s bi-fold door is just too dark and spooky for girlie-girl me. In fact, it’s so creepy that for years I have kept those doors closed tight with a rubber band looped over the two doorknobs. I guess I figured any ghosts, ghoulies, monsters or ax-murderers who snuck in there to hide wouldn’t be able to put that rubber band back on the outside doorknob, and I’d see it missing and know someone, or something was hiding in there. (My only excuse for this is that the same over-active imagination that makes me a writer likes to torture me.)

But a recent plumbing fiasco necessitated shifting things around and the doors got left open (the plumber, I suspect, appreciated my dingy little powder room). But each time I head down to do laundry, I find that darn light on. And make it a point to turn it off. And each time I go down there again, it’s back on. Hmm.

One day this week just as I rounded the corner, laundry basket full of dirty clothes in arms, I heard a noise. In there. Heart in throat, I moved steadily forward, glancing around for anything I could use as a weapon. That five-gallon container of Shout stain fighter with the spray nozzle would come in handy. I could always spray and run, right? Or at the very least, throw it. I tiptoed forward, peeked around the corner and there was the culprit. Sitting in the powder room sink. All twelve furry, black-and-grey pounds of him. Batting enthusiastically at the pull string hanging from the socket. But he wasn’t just playing; Gilbert, my year-old kitty-cat was on a mission. He finally managed to hook a claw into the string, tugged down until the light came on, then let go. Then he jumped into a basket that has some old towels in it, and proceeded to do his little pre-nap grooming ritual.

Apparently I have a cat who doesn’t like to sleep in the dark.

He sure caused me a few sleepless nights as I wondered what was living down there. So the Case of the Basement Light has been solved.

Wouldn’t Nancy Drew be proud?

Sigh. Okay. So she'd have solved it a lot sooner, and not been such a scaredy-cat about it.

Like I said, it was a slow week!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm blogging with my friends The Scandalous Victorians today. Stop by and see what I came up with for our Tuesday Ten (yes, it's a safe bet to say I have a mild obsession with my topic of choice -- evidenced by a blog so long I had to post it in two parts!)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Putting on the Layers

With temperatures expected to take a major tumble here in the northeast, I’m hearing that a lot. But while wool socks and thermal underwear are what the weather man is talking about, I’m hearing something else.

Adding on layers. Layering. I’m thinking about fleshing out scenes, not covering flesh!

For as long as I’ve been writing, my stories have come to me one way. Straight from the horse’s mouth—or in this case, the hero and heroine’s mouth. I don’t just mean Raz Colt pulling up a chair, propping up those long legs of his and insisting I listen while he tells me his life story. I mean the way my characters talk to each other. That’s pretty much how every scene unfolds for me.

Sometimes my fingers can’t keep up as I struggle to get it all down on paper –sorry, old habit, I mean on screen. Especially when the sparring really gets going.

But at the end of the day all I’m left with is … talking heads. Two people talking, baiting, bantering. But no action. No movement. No emotions!

That’s where the layers come in. One layer for physical gestures. One for external things, like description of the room, the surroundings. Another for emotional responses to charged statements. And another to see if I have any unnecessary tags I can get rid of.

As I continue to fine tune and hone my craft, I think I’m slowly getting better at doing it as I go. But by the time I present it to my critique partners, I still go home with “how does she feel about this?” “What is he doing?” “Where are they?” scrawled on my pages. And as frustrating as it is, I’m glad my CP’s are there to ask these questions and make me look at my scenes from a different angle.

How about you? Do you go back and add layers, and if so, which ones do you have to add?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Five: 2008 Goals

I'm a bit late posting this, but ... well, better late than never.

It's been a while since I've posted goals, and even longer since I've posted a Friday Five, so this will kill two birds with one stone!

1) Get The Model Man off to final production. Enough is enough with the procrastinating, it's time to get that puppy out the door.

2) Speaking of procrastinating, I need to finish that spit & polish on Wild Texas. I'd like to get that out to Hilary Sares before the woman retires!

3) Motivate (aka - nag) fellow TWRP authors about getting down to business on The Sons of Summerville Stories.

4) Begin the big read through of Northern Temptress so I can finalize that and get it off to my editor.

5) Be a more consistent blogger!

Well, only time will tell if I succeed at all of these, or just a few. I'll keep you posted!

The Struggle is Real Week 8: When Life Hits Back

  It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Did anyone notice I was missing?   But I have good news/bad news.   The good news. I wr...