Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Commas, Please!

Commas are a funny thing. Some people abuse them; some people ignore them. Me, I love them. See how many I've used already? But all have been used properly. 

I'm a big fan of the Oxford usage. In a series, use a comma after each item, i.e.

A woman should always have a great pair of shoes, a piece of semi precious jewelry, and a knock-em dead dress.

Some people insist that it could be written like this:

A woman should always have a great pair of shoes, a piece of semi precious jewelry and a knock-em dead dress.


Not according to the US News Stylebook and Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (two authoritative sources in the journalism world). The only time you don't use a comma at the end of a series is when it's names of a business firm:

Johnson, Johnson and Johnson.

So please,don't abuse or misuse the comma; it only wants to work with you.


Monday, February 18, 2013

It's That Time...

So the youngest offspring (although he denies it) made the toilet overflow. Yes, it was FULL of all the nasties you could think of- I won't go into detail. And right before church so I was in heels and a skirt. The hubby offered to clean up the mess.

But you know men and bathrooms. So I spent hours, on hands and knees mostly, scrubbing with bleach and other cleaners: floor, walls (yes, it splattered), tub, sinks, woodwork, foot rug, towels, shower curtain. Spring cleaning a little early. Actually way early since there are still pockets of snow on the ground and I have lots of writing, editing, posting and other writerly things to do in between the mommy/wifey/volunteer stuff.

But I was rewarded.

Daffodils! If you've been following my blog for at least a year, you know I get ridiculously excited for these babies to arrive. Seeing them makes me want to clean out all my garden beds, rake the lawn, plants pots of bright hued flowers, and set up my pool. I am a summer/spring gal.

And with these pop ups come loads of energy; I'm going to tackle a number of projects starting today. I will finish editing my NaNoWriMo manuscript Lethal Dose and then finish a review/book blurb I was asked to do. While I wait for editorial revisions on Blonde Ops, I'm putting together a presentation for the New Jersey annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators happening in June (when the second son graduates high school!). I have ideas for 2 other manuscripts, but I'm going to work on the two paranormals-Crash and Burn and Splice-I started months ago (even if my agent isn't that crazy about them YET).

To further motivate me, I found these:

Doesn't look like much, but it's my son's daisies. When he was little he loved them, so every year we had daisies. I see them and think of him, and it makes me want to just get things done so I can sit back and appreciate life, gardens, sunshine--and things accomplished.

So go poke around, see what inspires you.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's That Time...

Love it or hate it, it's....

Don't fixate on the "I don't have a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance" aspect. Focus on all the love that is in your life; family, friends, pets, faith.

I wish you all love and happiness. Go love someone new, they might really need it.


Monday, February 4, 2013

I Got Distracted...

It happens. You sit down to write, or edit, or do something you NEED to do (work, volunteer activities, studies, etc.) and something comes up. It's like the moment you go to drive somewhere, there's a line of traffic that suddenly rushed to the intersection, making you wait. Every time.

I'm working on a number of projects, and yes, I have a good work ethic, but I do get distracted. What's my weakness?

This is the 'kitten' at almost 9 months old. Mink is part Persian, part Maine Coon. (I think the Maine Coon part is winning- this guy has the biggest paws I've ever seen on a cat. Does not bode well for the grocery bill.) Whenever I settle down in my office to work, he rummages through his toy basket and brings something up (here he comes now; usually it's a mousie on a stick.) Do I stop and play with him possibly losing my train of thought, or play?

I play. He's a living creature that I've taken into my life and he's looking what we for what we all want; love, attention, something to experience. ( Oh look, he brought his favorite string, my son's ridiculously long sneaker lace.) *15 minutes later-- Cats are a part of my life--besides loving two rescued cats, I frequently write them into my books. Hades had Cerberus, the 3-headed dog, so my character, Sharisse, had to be a cat lover. Mink's tired of playing, so off he goes.

My next distraction?

 Food. I'm not a frustrated chef, or a food-a-holic. Sometimes I actually forget to eat. It has to be a necessary distraction. Meals for the family and let's face it, my Chai latte addiction. When I remember, or take the time, to eat, it reminds me to weave some of the everyday-ness into my stories. I've read stories where there wasn't a single mention of eating, showering, using the bathroom. While we don't need a catalog of every meal or bathroom break, those are part of being human. Even zombies eat. Plus, food connects me to family and friends. Instead of having dinner at home, we mixed it up with our friends next door during the Super Bowl. Gotta get out and live life to write it.

Which brings me to: swimming.

I grew up on Long Island, between the Sound and the Great Peconic Bay. I love to swim. If I could be any mythological creature, it would be the mermaid. So, I drag my half unconscious body four or five times a week to the YMCA to swim. Just diving into the warm water make me happy. (And the high amounts of chlorine keep me blonde!) I hate gyms; the stink of stale sweat, the 'look over' as people size you up, or having to decide if I really want people to see me bouncing or grunting over machinery without makeup and wearing outfits from years ago. I know, you think it's worse being seen in a bathing suit. Nah, people are wearing goggles or have water in their eyes, or don't look any better as long as you make sure you're out before the swim team arrives. (Oh, Mink's back...*plays again). It's a distraction that I need; exercise keeps the cellulite away, drives up my alertness and will help me live to 100 like my Grandmother (actually she lived to 105 and for many years did water aerobics).

I must admit to: computer solitaire. (And yes, a character in Blonde Ops (Thomas Dunne, 2014) plays computer solitaire much to the annoyance of the main character, Bec.) Sometimes you just need to veg out on something mindless. I don't play games on Facebook or PlayStation or X-box. (I will however, take on the hubs at Wii bowling and fencing.) So many people spend hours playing, discussing or thinking about these games, they're obsessed. Life's too short to chalk up thousands of hours on stupid electronic games. Sorry, but I've got living to do and my time is limited. I allow myself to how many games I can play while I'm waiting for the florescent lights to brighten up so I can see words on my computer, or while I drink my Chai (I only have one hand free.) Plus, too long on the computer, with reading and editing tends to give me migraines.

So those are my main distractions. There's also the three boys, the other cat Casey, cars, house, church, school, family, friends, crises and sometimes the weather to deal with as they all vie to pull me away from what I need to do (write/edit/read).

But life's like that; so use your distractions wisely.