Monday, May 28, 2007

Water and the Washer

Oh my - my dear husband has said that, no matter how much he loves me, he's never renting a power washer again. All I wanted was a clean patio and redwood swing. It's no big deal, I said. Unfortunately, he believed me. The power washer, like anything with an engine and adjustable power, lead from one thing to another, and he went to town with his magic wand. Chimney, brick, siding, gutters - it's all been subjected to a Man with a Power Washer in his hands. After two days of pulsing water, we're both exhausted and tired of being soaking wet. So much for a long holiday weekend...

Heading for my college reunion next weekend - I'm too young for this number! It's always fun to see everyone, but I still expect everyone to look eighteen. Someday, I'll realize we aren't. But until then - I'll stick with my story, LOL, that I'm not getting older, I'm getting better.

Oh, and wasn't Casey Mears's win wonderful? He was truly deserving - he drove the better race, and if the "names" all pitted for gas and he didn't, well, they were racing for points and not to win. To heck with that. Go for it, Casey! We spent the Friday leading up o the Charlotte race at Evernham Motorsports Fan Day so our youngest could get a Kasey Kahne autograph on the life-sized poster of him she keeps in her room, and ended up having a ball. Lots of nice people. Charity auction with cool stuff.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paper and the Writer

I've finally done it - pulled every single bloomin' piece of paper off my desk, out the filing cabinets, and off the floor, and am now doing the impossible - weeding them out. Why, when computers were supposed to cut down the paper flow, do I seem to have more paper than ever? Don't get me wrong - I love paper. Books come on paper. Love notes on paper are wonderful. Valentines, oh yeah. But somehow, the paper that surrounds me has been breeding in the dark like overly fertile bunnies. It has to go!

When I get going deep into the throes of a book, I block out the mess around me and focus on the screen, on the words. But eventually, there comes a moment, as stuff starts sliding to the floor, when the chaos must be terminated. Yes, this is too much for recycling. Only the shredder will do, since once it's gone, I can never pick it out of the recycling pile. How awful to have this love-hate thing going with paper. Bond stock. Linen count. Color. Weight. It's so

And so distracting. I need space in the cabinets, space on my desk for print-outs of my daily chapters. The chaos must go! Yes, she cried, seizing another file and wondering why its contents are twelve years old and no longer relevant, and it's STILL in the drawer.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Writing Contests

I've been reading tons of posts on a professional writers' loop about changes to judging guidelines for a major writing award. The suggested (new) guidelines go beyond publication date and word count, and into how much of this element or that one, belong in each category. In trying to be specific and narrow the guidelines, the promulgators of this mess are making it seem as if these books are written by "the rules." You know the ones I mean - the "rules" that say you must have so much of this element, less than 30% of that element, etc., to be published in that genre.

Phooey. A good romance, a good mystery, a good thriller, a super paranormal, have one thing in common. They're good reads. When a contest for that respective genre starts to narrow its rules, it eliminates books that may blur the lines, but still fit in their respective genres.

What good are contests? Validation, I suppose, that you're writing a book someone else really, really likes. Do they help with sales? With the Newbery for children, I'll bet they do. Newbery Award winners never go out of print. (Hope I'm spelling Newbery correctly!) Libraries will buy more copies of award winners, I'd hazard to guess. But do they make a difference to the public browsing the rows in Barnes and Noble. I don't think so. Readers want to like the cover, get caught up in the first page, and be intrigued by the back cover copy. I know I, and others with whom I've discussed this, avoid Oprah Book Club books like the plague. They're all depressing and "good for you," which equates to the same thing - I won't buy one.

That said, I bought every Newbery for my children when they were young, because I was raised by a mother who made sure I read them. Many of them are books I can read now and still fall into, just as I would any good book. So hurrah for the Newbery! The rest of the awards - - - I'm not so sure. Just write a great book and hope the reading world will buy it. If they do, then that's the best reward, the top prize, in my eyes.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Rain, rain, and more rain

Let me paint a picture for you: rain, drizzle, downpours, and a bit of lightning for flavor. Before the race, angel thoughts led me to Home Depot and a fire pit, complete with bags of hickory chunks, as its warmth kept us from running, screaming, from the RIR parking lot. A blanket, a pop-up tent, and a continual fire in the pit were all that stood between the four of us and the worst day possible. By the time they called the race off, we had had enough of a very unpleasant experience at RIR. Too bad. The Busch race on Friday night was great.

Sunday afternoon wasn't racin' under the lights, a Richmond tradition, but at least the rain was a memory. Unfortunately, the COT produced a boring race. I've seen Richmond racin' lead to nails bitten to the bone, but not last weekend. The only excitement involved the question of which Hendrick car was going to win. Anyone want a pair of tickets for the September race? I'm already bored to tears by the COT.

Reading Randy Wayne White's TAMPA BURN. Killer opener. Tomlinson steals the scenes he's in.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


It's almost time to endure the traffic, the crowds, and the heat (well, maybe not heat) for the two day NASCAR event in Richmond. Can't wait! I should be working on my pre-mades for two days of menus, but a break from the kitchen won't hurt the potato salad. How I'd love to see Ward Burton win. I'll keep my fingers crossed for him and the No. 4 car.

Have I mentioned how exquisite the azaleas and dogwoods have been this spring? The long cool spells, interspersed with heat, created a spring so lovely I can't remember the like.

Just finished Mary Balogh's SIMPLY LOVE. The woman writes such a deep third person POV, I forget it's not in first POV. Her emotional depths are stunning. Loved the book. After MORE THAN A MISTRESS, I wasn't sure I liked the direction she was going, but with SIMPLY LOVE, she's baaccckkk...