Voting in America

While out and about earlier today I overheard a few troubling conversations about the upcoming Presidential election. People said they weren’t going to bother to vote because they didn’t like either official. Like they were limited to vote for either Hillary or Trump and neither fit their personal choice.

Do they no longer instruct students in Civics classes – for the younger people I heard today – that Americans have yet another choice, the “write-in candidate”? Are the older people too addle brained to recall that our country is one of the few that allows this practice? Can none of them recall many years ago when the country was split and people were not pleased with the Presidential choices, so many chose to write-in their candidate, Bozo the Clown???? The Democratic Party didn’t like the Republican choice, former President Ronald Reagan, while many Democrat’s and Republicans alike didn’t like Walter Mondale. The year was 1984 and Bozo the Clown did receive many votes… obviously not enough to become the President having only gotten around 0.02 percent of the vote…. But still, this Toledo born entertainer did toss his hat into the ring.

Each State has its own rules and regulations as to how a candidate may be written in and your vote counted. Here, in Georgia, you need to check here to see who the available candidates are. Unfortunately for me, the candidate I wanted to write in, is not available… *sighs* I’ll still vote, though. If one does not vote, then one does not have the right to complain or gripe over the candidate that does win. After all, that vote one chose to not cast, might have been the one vote to make a difference. Vote, people. It’s your right and duty.

I am so outtie….

Darkness

I’m a huge Gerard Butler fan, no doubt about it. Like many writers, I am sure, I model the leading males in my stories after celebrity males I consider drool worthy and visual personifications of a true alpha male. Gerard is one of these males.

When describing these alpha males, I have a picture of the celebrity male on my corkboard. Actually, I try to find two males that are… not so much similar, but at least complimentary of each other, and combine bits and pieces of both in the stories alpha male. That’s my way of not only creating the perfect male character for the story, but also help if I should be lucky enough to sell movie rights, they are not locked into an exact description that only Gerard Butler could fill, or Brad Pitt, or Dwayne Johnson, etc.

Besides the images on my corkboard, I’ll often have funny or romantic movies featuring the males used, playing on DVD; I also play music when I’m very into the writing and know I won’t be looking up at the TV screen, whatever suits my soul and needs for the writing at the time.

When writing a romance, I tend to keep romantic ideology around me as much as possible. I fall asleep to The Phantom of the Opera (2004) every night. Until my DVD player died, that is. With the disc still inside it. *sighs* I bought a new player, my daughter will do her best to pull my DVD out of the broken player – if she can’t, I will buy a new one. So, I started watching some of my other favorite Gerard Butler movies to help keep me where I needed to be… The Ugly Truth (2009), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), and Law Abiding Citizen (2009) to name a few. Each of these films show various kinds of love the character Gerard is playing, has for others in the movie. There are several other films, too, but these are my “go-to” movies. Phantom is the main movie, and I miss it, a lot.

Watching Law Abiding Citizen (2009) was not a good idea for me, at this time. I empathize for Clyde (Gerard Butler) as well as Jamie Foxx’s awesome portrayal of ADA Nick Rice. Feeling for Clyde ended up pushing me into wanting to watch Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014), so I just finished a marathon of watching. I found my head entering a very dark place as season 5 ended; halfway through season 6, I was feeling very dark… the only bright spot was my grand daughter’s 4th birthday. Her party rocked! I never laughed so hard, watching her bounce – and be bounced – on her trampoline. It was awesome….

But when I came back home, I stuck the DVD’s back in. Even after joking with my daughter earlier in the day about where my head was at when I’m supposed to be writing a romance. Sheesh. I told her I should probably go back to work on my serial killer story cause that’s how dark my head felt.

I finished the series about an hour ago. Betrayal, death, matricide and more still reverberating inside my head. Wow. And no Phantom to pull me back. Damn.

So, I likely won’t work on Robert & Allison’s story tomorrow – their story is romance, it’s light but with some action… it has one dark scene in it that was influenced by my SoA marathon, but it does work in the story so I’ll keep it. But the story shouldn’t have any more dark stuff, so I need to purge myself before pulling Robert & Allison back in. *sighs*

That’s where I am at. Damn. I am so outtie….

the art of editing

M’kay, I was quite proud of myself for finally getting back into Robert & Allison’s story and doing some cosmetic revisions way back on the 19th… then I got hooked into watching all four seasons of Wentworth because the new season came out and I re-watched the preceding three seasons because I couldn’t recall the story arc well enough. And I honestly did finish the new research I mentioned, too… and then, like I said, got hooked on the telly! Argh!

I honestly don’t mind editing, although acknowledge it can be a pain in the arse as well. I also admit I still make some grammar errors as well as over use comma’s. That’s likely the biggest area I edit. I still miss Mom & Don’s editing skills – they not only pointed out the grammar and spelling issues, but offered revisionary-type stuff, as well, that sometimes changed the story arc and almost always improved the story. Which is why I periodically mention my intention to find a writing/critiquing group to join. I still intend to find and join one.

Previously when I edited a piece, I color-coded everything. I changed the font color for whatever I changed during an edit to make it easier to find changes… back when I did all of my writing in Word, that is. Now that I’m finally exclusively using Scrivener for my writing, I simply make the changes. And, if the changes are somewhat huge, I save the changed copy with a different name so I have both versions available to compare. I’m sure there are better ways to go about this, or more efficient, or more detailed, or whatever….

I mentioned I finally backed off on my Sim City BuildIt addiction, and I haven’t logged onto the Herding Dogs game for (I think) about two weeks now. I finished Wentworth two days ago and planned on getting back to Robert & Allison and was kind of hit with a comedy of errors-type thing… apparently, the port connection for my Internet service was failing. I had noticed my net and TV connection was acting up a bit, but honestly, it wasn’t enough for me to complain, just more of an irritation. There have been some heavy thunderstorms rolling through that have been sending Stevie into panic mode, which makes it difficult to sit and write or concentrate on anything other than her. So, two days ago after watching the final episode of season four, Wentworth – following an all-night binge of watching, sans sleep, I figured I’d catch a couple hours sleep then awake refreshed enough to get back to writing. Ha! I couldn’t fall asleep; I realized I was almost out of cigarettes so decided to hit Starbucks and get my smokes, then go to sleep.  I heard some rolling thunder moving in and saw Stevie going into full-on panic/idiot/moron mode, but crated the girls so I could get my running out of the way. For some weird reason I didn’t turn the TV on for the girls before I left. I typically leave the telly on so they can hear something, whether it’s music or a TV show. But, I didn’t bother to turn the TV back on after finishing my show and took off. Was only gone for 20-30 minutes, or so. Decided to check my email before trying to sleep and kept getting an error message… that’s how I found out my modem was fried. I did all of the testing via the AT&T tools and diagnosed the problem, then used the chat feature to have the tech’s do their official diagnosis – and was scheduled for a repairman to arrive, yesterday. He came, agreed with my diagnosis, switched out modem’s – and still had connection issues. That’s when we discovered the port issue. So he left and did those repairs; came back and finished up here, and right as he was walking out of the door, another issue popped up which hinted at the DVR/uVerse box going bad! *sighs* So he switched that out with a new, smaller one – fits even better in the allocated spot than the previous one did, but said these newer boxes can be quite slow to start up. Naturally, mine appears to be one of the slower ones. But hey, it works.

So, no writing for awhile again, but my ‘net is fixed, TV is working fine, bills for the month either paid or payments scheduled, do have to run to the store to pick up a few grocery items and once again my sleep-schedule is fubar’ed (fucked up beyond all recognition), as in, I was reading last night and unexpectedly fell asleep around midnight, woke at 4:30 this morning and ‘just’ finished my last cup of coffee from the pot. I know, none of this really has jackshit to do with editing, k? Guess my brain is scattered from sleep deprivation – among other things. Any-hoo, I am so outtie….

Lethargy

You know, there is something oh-so-deliciously decadent when one disregards the poking and prodding of one’s muse. Sometimes. However, giving in to an… ahem slothful nature is not something that should be indulged too often. So I have been indulging. It came to me quite recently actually, just within the last 24-hours or so, that I never allowed myself to truly rest and play and vegetate, after I completed my schooling.

Oh no, I no longer had texts to read and papers to write so I substituted fictional readings and writing tons of reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still read – a good writer does their best to keep abreast of current offerings – and write reviews for what I’ve read – for one, it’s a way to make my name known in certain circles and should also be incentive for others to review my own works, once published.

I’ve been playing Sims 2 and SimCity Buildit, addictively, both created by EA Games – my favorite game makers. Sims 2 I play exclusively on my desktop PC, while the Buildit game is played on my Kindle Fire. I don’t have to truly plot or even think, to play these games… I can create chaos or keep things moving serenely along with a click of a mouse button, simply take time out to give attention to my girls – feed and play with them, feed myself, sleep when I’m finally exhausted enough to drop off. Once I got past the guilt of not working on my book and simply played, I realized my restless muse was beginning to poke and prod at me again – only this time, I was interested in answering to her. So tomorrow, er, later today, I shall once again indulge her and actually feel refreshed enough to accomplish something.

As a side note, during my ‘off time’, I had a minor fall… thick clodhopper slippers not quite clearing a shallow step and tumble I go. Freaked the hell out of the girls! Both were hovering over me, whining and poking at me with their wet noses… I had a few tiny skin-scrapes, barely noticeable, but was left very sore in my right shoulder, hip, lower back, and even my neck. Oddly enough, sleeping on the couch in the den for the last two nights has improved the soreness, somewhat. At least I’m no longer limping or moving like a hundred-year-old person. In fact, earlier today I even managed to make note of all the kitchen cabinetry hardware – something I’ve been putting off doing for months, and I hammered a plug extension onto an inner area of my main desk and rearranged some wiring. I even dusted my den and took the trash out! In other words, I’m beginning to feel like I’m back.

With that said, I am so outtie….

Nothing new

I did a tiny bit of writing on chapter six, described Allison’s family members that she’d just met – but she doesn’t know they’re her family yet. She’s showing a rapport with youngest brother Henri, and when I get back to the story, mother Marie will show signs of a deja vue type recognition of Allison….

I finally updated, i.e. read that as totally changed, Scribes Canvas. New index page (and graphics), new core pages (from a pre-made template) being added – reviews mainly, possibly some fiction will be moved over there, too – but same old serial killer blog – Ramblings from a Scrambled Mind. Haven’t updated that blog in ages, been too busy with romances to let that coffee nut back inside my head… although, I am drinking a lot more coffee. *insert evil laughter*

I also joined a book review group, Book Reviews 22, and will get the first listing of books needing reviews on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Kinda looking forward to it. Although I have a ton of books to read on my Kindle, already. I really need to create some folders and sort what I have into groups, like YA, romance, etc. But honestly, it’d take forever to go through all of my old Bookbub and Sweetfreebooks listing emails to find the descriptions for my books. I actually debated buying a new Kindle while they were on sale, to set it up correctly! *laughs*

So, completed a few reviews, did a tiny bit of writing (but more research), graphics work and refurbished the other domain, grocery shopped, played with the dogs, wasted time on FaceBook, visited with Springy… and that’s about it, I think. Hmm, sounds kinda boring when I read it. But, it’s not. No, really. It’s not.

M’kay, I am so outtie….

**CORRECTION!!!** I said I did a tiny bit of writing on chapter six… my bad! I finished chapter six and have almost completed the first scene in chapter seven. Ooopsie! *grins* Back to writing, I am so outtie, again….

Block, or Procrastination

Yeah, that is the question.

So, classes officially ended on February 28, 2016. I’m done, fini, completed my Masters. Awesome. [Note: this is not sarcasm, I really am proud.] I also completed the novel I had been working on, my fiction thesis. Lynette has made her choice finally and is settling down with Lachlan. Very sweet paranormal romance, i.e. no sex scenes just a sweet kiss towards the end of the story. I still have to revise chapters 10-15. I still have to find an online critique/reading group to join. I still have to decide whether I am self-publishing or using a traditional publisher – knowing my work may not be accepted and have many rejection slips heading my way. I mean, I know I am not guaranteed being accepted/published simply because I have completed my Masters now. I am not stupid, nor am I naive. I am also still needing to transfer all of the writings into my Scrivener program. I mean, I did buy the program to use for writing but continued using Word while in school….

I’ve joked and said my brain is tired… been sleeping extremely odd hours… playing the damn dragon game, too much… on Facebook watching videos and “liking” various things… watching YouTube documentaries… watched all seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager over a few days [watched final episode, this morning, btw.] So, went “to bed” around noon today, awoke around 6:30p.m. or so – so yes, this is roughly my ‘mid-morning’ today. Still drinking coffee, obviously. Need to do massive domain updates, all accounts/domains.

I figured I just needed to push myself, and opened CoffeeCup last night to start doing text updates to my main account – where this blog is housed… ran into a confusing issue before upload and instead of figuring it out and solving it, shut program down and watched Voyager! *sighs* Well, that excuse to avoid work is gone, since I watched the final episode.

M’kay, tackle this. I’m not blocked. Nope. I’ve already started thinking about and begun working on the next female protagonist in this planned series; Allison Bolden, a werewolf to be with the other werewolf Lynette met and did not choose, Robert. Allison’s backstory is getting fairly well developed in my mind and some has been committed to writing via Evernote. I know I need to go back and do the final revision/editing for Lynette’s story and do actually prefer to take a break before a final revision so as to read with ‘fresh eyes,’ that of a reader and not the writer. So, maybe this is more along the lines that I have not created and developed a new writing routine where I actually get things done. I had a workable routine geared towards class assignments; now that I no longer have that ‘pressure,’ perhaps I am allowing myself to get too lax?

So, dinner now then shut off television and head back to my writing desk. Tomorrow I’ll push myself to redesign one domain. Plan set, push for follow through… so I am so outtie….

An Update of sorts

So Spring and family came for a visit on Sunday, Feb 21, for my birthday. Spring intended to bake a sheet cake for me – chocolate, of course, and let the girls each decorate half of the cake. Hope was having none of that, huh-uh no way nosireebob! Apparently, Hope told her mommy, “I’m gonna dec’rate the whole cake!” Naturally, Spring tried to reason, cajole, beg and bribe Hope to share decorating duties, to no avail… so she came up with the idea of splitting the batter and baking two round cakes. Now the girls could decorate a whole cake, each! Chocolate cake with white icing, blue and purple decorative icing and black sprinkles… yummy! The girls giggled and argued as they decorated their cakes, until both were ready to present them to me.

Teen D gave me her cake first; she had written Happy B-day on it in blue, sprinkled black sprinkles all over, and used the thicker blue mixed with purple icing to decorate the edges… they looked like spiky points. Teen D kind of blushed and started to say something when I interrupted and said, “Oh wow, look at what you did! You know how much I love dragons and you’ve created dragon scales and claws! Thank you, babe.” Teen D beamed with pride as she squired a bit; I could tell she was embarrassed and trying to figure out how to tell me the “scales and claws” were an accidental creation, but I just winked at her and she realized I understood. Well, not to be out done by her big sister, Hope presented me with her decorated cake… it also had purple mixed with blue icing ‘scales’ and a big blob in the center where Teen D had written a message on her cake. Before I could say a word to her, she pointed to the blob of icing and said, “That’s dragon poop.” All of the adults burst out laughing. Who knew dragon poop was so tasty?

On Monday, my actual birthday, I went to Starbucks for my free birthday drink, and decided to head to Springy’s house from there. I wanted to visit longer – we hadn’t had much time together the night before – plus I wanted to see Elsa’s litter of twelve. After evaluating the pups and tentatively selecting the one I’ll be getting [me, a pitbull, wowsers!] I finally was able to talk with Spring for about fifteen highly interrupted minutes. [Hope is very competitive concerning Mommy’s attention and Grammy’s attention. It was like a double whammy!] I told her about the problem I was having with Chapter 13, that I was stuck and had no clue where or how to go about getting unstuck. I had also given her details of the various changes I’d been making, due to peer critiques, and how the very thing that caused my current dilemma was because of the only Instructor critique I had used. *sighs* It was a good critique, but with other interruptions, I had forgotten how I planned to implement the new direction and I became totally and completely stuck. It was like I was locked out of my story, and it was driving me batty. Add to that the way a character completely changed as I wrote in her voice, from how I had originally envisioned her – she surprised me the way she was in the story, but I wanted her to somehow move closer to what I had envisioned… well, Spring gave me an idea I had not thought of and I came home and wrote for hours! It’s safe to say I’ve moved past the block and am now heading towards the finish line. Yay, me!

So, with that said, I am so outtie….

Ooopsie

I let two weeks go by without updating, and I thought it was only a couple of days. My bad. So, in the last two weeks I’ve used my new books, a lot. And I mean a lot; I’ve mentioned them in two discussions and highly recommended my peers consider purchasing them, and think Amazon has had a mini-upsurge of thesaurus purchases thanks to me. So that’s a good thing, for Amazon and my peers.

I’ve completed updates/revisions up to Chapter 9 in my novel and am considering a different title name for it. I’ve started looking into book cover art, as well as tutorials for DIY book cover art. No decisions firmed up at this point. I discussed the issues I’m having with Chapter 13 in my last class, and got an interesting suggestion from Prof. Jenn that I just might implement. Still thinking about the issues I would be facing, on each choice… I have three different ways I can deal with this chapter. Ernmas can pop in and put Badb in her place; book would be essentially finished with only a short epilogue needed to tie up loose ends and word count ending around the 40k marker. So novella length. Option two would allow Badb to continue pushing Lynette and Lachlan’s buttons and causing havoc. This would allow a minimum of an additional chapter before Ernmas comes in to finalize her agreement with Lynette and would likely finish around 50k word count. Option three, suggested by Prof. Jenn, is that Lynette states she simply can not choose a life mate, that it is too big of a decision with too little time spent with each potential partner. My idea was that Ernmas could give Lynette a strict timeline back in her old life, say six months, before she absolutely had to make a choice. This would allow readers the chance to see Lynette interacting in her old life more while she thinks about the three men to choose from, see her interact with some of the briefly mentioned secondary characters, and work through her personal demons before finally making a choice. Depending on how this is handled, it could develop over two or three more chapters, with the final ‘decision’ chapter at the end. Again, this option would definitely increase the final word count, pushing the story into definite novel length, plus, no matter my final decision, I am going back and adding to the chapters Lynette spends with each man so their [the males] character’s can better be shown.

Other than that, I’ve noticed I’ve been in a definite funk, of late. I’ve been playing that damn dragon game, too much. Watching too much TV – Justice Central and HGTV, some Netflix. Oh, and watched all five seasons of Alias, too. Then getting pissed at myself for wasting time, falling into bed exhausted, and unable to fall asleep until well after the sun comes up. *sighs* On the plus side, it is officially February 4th now and all of my bills for the month have been paid. I’ve helped Sammie with two papers for her classes. I have roughly two and a half weeks to go before my schooling is finished. [Which might be contributing to the funkiness; while I am beyond tired of classes at this point, I know after a short break that I’ll really miss school. *sighs* I am soooo in debt on student loans!] I do have various non-writing projects I’d really like to tackle, like the rug I’m making for my bedroom, sanding my kitchen cabinets, making a couple of new skirts for myself, etching my newest dragon art-piece, watching some of the DVD’s I purchased, playing the Sims, and simply reading for fun, to start with. I really want to do some domain updates, too, for all three main domains. Argh.

I have officially upgraded my two main laptops and desktop to Windows 10 now, as well. The desktop was the last to be upgraded, finished yesterday afternoon. I think I’ve covered the main points since my last blog entry, so I am so outtie….

Okay, then…

So my third book arrived a few hours after my post, the day before yesterday. I thumbed through all three books; the books were not exactly what I expected, but I am not disappointed in them. The Emotions Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, was my favorite, by far. This book is filled with extremely helpful synonym’s for well used words and really helped me get ‘unstuck’ – or, at least, not be repetitive – on emotion descriptions. Very handy, especially when you’re sitting there writing away and you know there’s a better word to use but it escapes you… chances are, this book has it. The other two books, both by the same authors, for Negative Traits Thesaurus and Positive Traits Thesaurus, are both filled with loads of extremely useful and helpful information, but still not quite what I expected. Maybe I was thinking they would be written and presented a long the lines of The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, by Linda Edelstein.

Edelstein’s book has really helped me start the character creation process; I can look up the various stereotypes and mix-and-match complimentary traits to better present a more rounded out character. Now, I’m not saying I won’t be able to do that with the Positive/Negative Thesaurus’ written by Ackerman and Puglisi, eventually – it’s likely more along the lines of them presenting the information in a different format than what I expected.

So I was able to rework some descriptions I had previously written; they’re main characters in my current novel, but I felt some of my wordage was fairly stale and used a lot. So I tried the minimalistic approach – which fell flat for my readers, as I mentioned. Hopefully, these books will help bring the freshness back. And on the plus side, I also wrote 1000 words last night. Might not seem like much to some, but after a week long dry-spell, it felt like a lot!

Last thing I want to mention here, totally unrelated to writing, is how shocked I was when I heard Alan Rickman had passed… such a great actor, he will be missed. I adored him in Galaxy Quest, thought he was simply the best in the Harry Potter movies, was awesome in Sweeny Todd, and I could go on.

K, I am so outtie….

Sheesh, too much TV

Not a good writer-ly start here, with twelve days between posts.  And no excuses, either.  I’ve not been under any deadlines or been sick or anything. I’ve simply been blah. Plus it’s carried over to my novel, which really sucks.

I roll out of bed in search of coffee, sit down with my first cup and play a game while waking up. I end up sticking with the game for an entire pot of coffee. By that time, it’s usually nearing the girls dinner time so I begin that – and put another pot of coffee on. Halfway through that pot, I realize I’m hungry, so I make my dinner. After dinner and the unfinished portion of the second pot of coffee, I either head back to my room with a Coke, or sit and watch some TV with a Coke. If I made it back to my bedroom, I do wake up my laptop and check my email, login to school and check things, and open up my working copy of Choose. Understand, I’m up all night all of the time, whether I’m productively writing or not. It’s the ‘or not’ part that’s getting to me.

I’ve been glued to the TV watching Fixer Upper, Love It or List It, Property Brothers, and the Justice Channel. So yeah, spending tons of time on HGTV! I think Chip is a goofball and adore his antics; Joanna has a beautiful rustic style for design, even though I don’t care for shiplap. I adore Hilary’s sense of style and think David is an awesome real estate agent that really listens to the clients. Drew & Jonathan are my fave’s, though – I love the styles! All of these shows give me ideas, on the plus side… they also help me see all of the flaws from my previous contractors, on the negative side. And, I play the game while watching. Argh!! These shows pretty much end for the night around 4a.m. or so; by that time, I’m typically winding down and not feeling too creative. *sighs*

However, two nights ago I finally started some revisions on Choose. Yay, me! I’ve added some ‘missing’ scenes that help explain things better, added some detailed descriptions of a few important characters, and purchased three new books from Amazon that should really help my character descriptions. My peers and Instructor have all commented that my settings are beautiful and highly descriptive, that they can truly visualize where they are… But, they can’t quite see the characters, other than eye and hair color. Well, two of my books have been delivered and I’m planning on thumbing through them shortly, to see if they can help flush out my characters. I have high hopes; I try not to use the typical phrases that I think are over-used, to describe my characters… apparently, my minimalistic style for that is falling flat. So, my new Emotions Thesaurus and Positive Traits Thesaurus [waiting for Negative Traits Thesaurus to be delivered, still] should help resolve that issue. I hope. The important thing here, though, is I’m finally writing again! So again, yay, me!

I haven’t opened the game today and I’m almost finished with my coffee. The girls have been out a few times and have about an hour and a half to go before dinner. I’ve finished my main email and just need to pop into Facebook and Craigslist real quick, to check for anything of interest. This is exciting, it looks like a night of writing is ahead!  So, I am so outtie….