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Showing posts from 2006

When Authors Pontificate

I can't help it. I can't separate the person from the talent. Which is why I wish several authors (and actors, and musicians) would just keep their rantings and ravings to themselves-- or at least pick up a pseudonym for these activities. I'm not talking about the Mel Gibson alcoholic stupidity or the Michael Richards stand-up disaster, either. Those were both pretty awful, but they were spur-of-the moment tirades, unlike the actually planned out and purposefully written blogs and posts and reviews and whatnot from people who alienate half their fans with seeming disregard. It was an author's blog that tripped me up this time. There I was, dropping by just to show some love to an author whose work I really like, when I ran headlong into pages and pages of political rants that not only run counter to my own beliefs, but do so in a terribly disrespectful manner. I don't know what authors are thinking when they launch into insult mode, saying things like, "How c

A Travesty: Horse Attacks Go Unpunished

A friend from Absolute Write shared this story with us. He and his wife have horses, and two of them were attacked. One was slashed until her flesh hung off her body and the other suffered a puncture wound that nearly severed a major artery. Here's the full story. Since then, the Ortons have learned of other attacks in the Dallas area. Their neighbor's horse died after an attack, and a horse in Bryan, Texas had its throat slashed. When they spoke to an editor at a horse publication, they found out similar attacks have been reported across the state. Here's the outrageous part of the linked article: Deputies say they think there were attacks, but there's not much they can do. State animal cruelty laws exempt horses, and cows, pigs and goats. An attack like this one might earn the attacker a ticket for damaging property. I probably don't even need to comment on the craziness of that. But there must be something we can do to pressure lawmakers in Texas to chang

November 1st Collection of Assorted Thoughts

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We had more trick or treaters this year than we've ever had at our house, which I loved! I'm sure it was because of the warm weather. All the kids came over between 3:15 and 7:30. I panicked and ran out to get more candy at 7:30 because we had only five bars of 100 Grand left... and then not a single kid showed up after I put the whole bag of Crunch bars in the bowl. So, in other news... We all knew it, too! I don't know why, but starting at the 12-week scan, I had such a strong hunch that this was a girl growing inside me, and Anthony and my parents and brother and sister all agreed. I think I would have demanded a second opinion if the technician had said otherwise. Now the challenges are: coming up with a name, and picking out nursery stuff! The names I like are getting vetoed, it appears. My first choices were Sienna Marene and Sariyah. Anthony was already iffy on Sienna because it's a color, but when he found out Toyota came out with a Sienna model, well...

Pregnancy Things

We jumped over a large hurdle today. I had a nuchal fold test done a week ago, which is a test for Down syndrome and other Trisomies. There is DS on both sides of my family, and my mom and sister have translocations-- pieces of extra chromosomes. That's the amazing thing: my brother has an extra chromosome, my sister and mother have an extra piece of a chromosome... he has DS, my mom was an English teacher, and my sister's in law school. What a tiny difference makes such a big difference. Anyway, we don't know yet if I have that same translocation, but I probably do. I've always been aware, and so has Anthony, that we'd have a bigger risk than most people of having a baby with DS. So there was a lot riding on this test for us. It's not definitive, but it expresses your odds compared to other women who've given birth with the same measurements and blood test results, and based on that, our odds are: 1:850. Which is really good. Better than average for my

Absolute Write Logo Contest

We're having a contest to design a new logo for Absolute Write. And I forgot to mention it in the newsletter today, because I'm an idiot. So here it is! Deadline is July 25th, and there are some great prizes.

Folksy Women

I swore up and down I'd never sign up for MySpace. And I would have stuck to that promise, if not for Siobhan McCrudden . What happened was that I was searching around on iTunes again for that mysterious male vocal piano song that I will probably never find. Decided to just look up the word "acoustic" to see what popped up. Up came a podcast called Acoustic Long Island , which is recorded at a little coffee shop. I listened to a couple of shows, but stopped after I heard Siobhan. Had to track down this singer. Found her on MySpace. Wanted to contact her to ask if she has an album, and had no other choice but to sign up for MySpace. Grrr. So I did. And then I decided if I was signed up for it, I might as well take a look around. So I followed Siobhan's "friends" link and found Madeleine White . And then Antje Duvekot . Well, wow. Where have these gorgeous voices been hiding? (Note: if you click any of the women's links, you can listen to a few of thei

Guess what?

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Mystery song

I can't smoke, am too worn out to scream, and I'm fresh out of heroin (a joke, just a joke). So I've decided to go for some music therapy on iTunes. I'm looking for a particular song, though, and can't figure it out. I heard it on the radio for the first time the other day, on a pop/soft rock station. I thought I'd remember the title, but of course I didn't. It has a gorgeous piano intro, beautiful male vocal, ballad. He goes into falsetto for just a note here and there. It's mostly just a guy and a piano. I know that's not much to go on, but do you know any new-ish songs on the radio that fit that description? I've been searching all over the web and can't figure it out. Barring that, similar suggestions would be appreciated. I'm in the mood for a male vocalist and a piano. Tell me about the beautiful songs you love...

Yep, it's gone wonky again

Absolute Write has been down since about midnight. The hosting company tried to reboot our server, but that didn't work, and they said, "We have an issue that is being looked into. I apologize for the delay." So, yeah, I know it's down. I really don't know how quickly it'll be back up, but I hope soon!

The blog frog

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We had a staring contest in my backyard. He totally won.

Pregnancy tests and online friendships

It's been about a month since this happened and I'm cool, so I'll tell you about it. During the Great AW Blackout, I was on the phone with supermod Lori (Birol) talking about life and stress and timing. I told her that it was just about time for me to take a pregnancy test, but that I didn't even know what to wish for this month because I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and that this would be "a miscarriage waiting to happen." It was while I was still trying to get back our databases and freaking out over how I was going to pay salaries and the new server costs and all that. And then I took the test... and it was positive. But with a qualifier: I was supposed to read it within ten minutes, and instead, I was in the shower and didn't get to it quite on time. I read it at about the 15-minute mark. Anthony was there with me, and I excitedly flung it at him, saying, "Do you see the line?" It was very, very light-- but he saw i

Setting up tents

Hi folks, Another quick update: Roger J. Carlson has set up a refugee camp for AWers, and there are a little more than a hundred of us there so far. Today's mission is to make sure we're all still writing. Toward that goal, Tri has revived the "Travel Edition" of the Weekend Progress Report (where AWers normally check in to report on what they've accomplished that week on their works in progress). He has Barb's taser on loan, and he isn't afraid to use it. I got six pages down this morning, which felt great. I didn't think I'd be able to concentrate that long on anything except... y'know. If you need an assignment, I've posted one here . Hurry up, because it's due tomorrow. No further word on the retrieval of our hostages (er... databases). This is the text of Barbara Bauer's fax to the ex-hosting company, for the curious: Here is the page on which my e-mail address has been unlawfully published without my consent. I am recei

No news

Sorry, folks. I hoped to have some news to report by now, but here's where it stands: What we were able to download of the forums before we were shut down is not usable. It's lacking vital components, and there's no way to fix that. Our storefront is also not functioning. The main site is set up with our new host, and you should be able to see it by now at www.absolutewrite.com ; it's been sort of up and down today and yesterday, but that's normal. I guess it takes a few days to fully "take" across the network. The e-mail addresses are functional again, too. JC-Hosting still has the databases, and I hope we'll be able to come to an agreement so I can restore them. I'd very much like to respond to the inaccurate story being told, but this is now a legal matter and I'm advised not to say anything. Hope you understand.

Thank yous

Just a week or so ago, my neighbor's daughter died, and I asked my Absolute Write friends what I should do-- I didn't know the girl, and have never really spoken with her parents, but felt awful and wanted to do something. They told me to bring over food, and a couple of them said something like, "They probably won't remember you were there, but they'll appreciate it anyway." The past couple of days have been a little like that for me. No one died, of course, but Absolute Write is very much my "daughter," and I've put my world on hold to try to get it back together after our hosting company suspended us. It's been a blur, complete with stereotypical stages of grief. It's not something I feel comfortable talking about at this point, and I've struggled with what to say, or whether or not to even say anything yet. (I should note: That's why comments are turned off on this post. I'm not ready for Q&A yet.) For two days, I wa

Lexapro withdrawal, day 5

Well, I've made it to day 5 this time. (Last time I gave in at day 3 and took a quarter of a pill.) I think this is progress. I'm back to having that I-can't-turn-my-head thing and some brain zaps and brownie cravings, but the rest of me isn't bad. And, okay, fine , I always have brownie cravings. I'm going to try to stay off it altogether now. Not sure if it'll work (I heard that antidepressant withdrawal actually gets worse around day 7), but I want to try. Time for me to find out who I am underneath this med that's been keeping me sane for the past several years. I'm praying that by now, my brain has straightened itself out and that the panic attacks aren't lurking in there, just suppressed all this time. But I really don't know what I'm going to find. I remember when the doctor first told me that I'd probably be on this medication my whole life, and I thought, "That's fine by me. Who cares, as long as it works?" I eve

The visiting penguins

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The Gay Zombie Penguins are on a blog tour, and this is stop #3. (Yippee!) Please welcome our penguin friends... Their next stop on the tour is MacAllister's place . Thank you, dear gay zombie penguins ! Come back anytime!

The things that make me cry are making me laugh.

I'm not sure how many years I've been taking Lexapro to combat my panic attacks. Four, I think. And now I'm trying to come off it, which has been trippy. Don't ever let a doctor lie to you and say that SSRI withdrawal is no big deal. I've been tapering down for more than a month now, but I can't seem to take the final step-- down from a quarter of a pill to nothing. I made it three days, then couldn't take it anymore. I was in a bit of a manic state, feeling pretty good emotionally, but odd physically. Every time I turned my head, I felt like I was going to fall down (even from a sitting position). I couldn't move my head, or the dizziness and brain zaps would hit. I walked into Anthony's wall, at which point he said, "You're not doing so hot, huh?" The one time I tried to drive, I ran over a curb. And then came the nonsensical weeping. I started to cry while listening to Anwar Robinson's version of "What a Wonderful World,&

My Sophomore Attempt at Meme-ing

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Dawno, the lovely lady who runs the Blogging board at Absolute Write, posts an AW Monday Meme every week, and because I've never figured out what this blog is supposed to be about, I haven't jumped in and done them. Well, how am I ever going to find out what my blog is supposed to be if I don't play with it a bit more? So here we have... The AW Hair Meme 1. What length do you currently keep your hair? Long-ish. See pic of me with iPod. But this is actually fairly short for me. 2. Is that different from 5 years ago? 10? How about when you were a teen? I've always had long hair, save for one embarrassing poodle perm chin-length bob when I was 12-14. At its longest, it's hit my butt. At its usual length, it's not quite halfway down my back. Here's a pic of my brother dancing with me at my engagement party almost 4 years ago... 3. What color is it naturally? <---- See there. Very dark brown. 4. If you color your hair do you like to go for natur

What ham-handed symbolism!

I had a dream last night that I couldn't sleep because of a loud ticking noise. Eventually, I unzipped a zipper on my abdomen and pulled out a rather large clock and smashed it. Then I was able to sleep. Does my brain think I can't handle more subtle symbolism? I think I'm insulted.

My first meme

I've never participated in a "meme" before, but my pals Lisa and MacAllister came up with one I can't refuse, so I'm doing it. Here are the rules... Gift-A-Song Meme 1. Pick one or more of your friends who listens to digital music; preferably someone who already has iTunes and an iTunes account, and who has a blog or Live Journal or something similar. Songs are .99 cents on iTunes; if people want to send MP3s directly, that's up to them, but post the song title, artist, and album anyway. You can use a credit card or PayPal to purchase songs. You must have installed a copy of iTunes to play or download the songs. I suspect it's possible give music with other music services, but I don't know. There are also lots of good sources for free music on the net; feel free to use those, or to publicize indie artists you like a lot. There are free songs at Amazon too . 2. Select the song you want to give. 3. Post this meme on your blog or Live Journal, and l

Adventures in iPodding

I finished a book yesterday. God, I love those days! So now I'm not working on three books at once... just two. I try to find a way to reward myself when I finish a book-- usually, Anthony and I go out to dinner or something, but I finished this one at about 5:30 in the morning, and he went fishing, so I tried to think of how to 'reward' myself alone. Decided to get reaquainted with my own property. We have a pond in front that we dug and stocked with about 8 fish a few years ago. For the past two years, when the pond unfreezes in the early spring, we've found lots and lots of baby fish. So I got a breakfast sandwich from the deli, then sat on my front steps with my iPod and ate and watched the baby fish swim around. And, surprise! We have three frogs in there, too. We've never had frogs before. Then I went inside and got some bread to feed the ducks in the lake. Normally, I bring two slices, but yesterday I got generous and brought three. Took me a long time to

They bought me an iPod.

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I'm not even kidding. You ever have someone you want to thank at work or school or something, so you get a bunch of people to pitch in and buy the person some flowers or a t-shirt or a restaurant gift certificate or something? Right, me too. But when that "bunch of people" are Absolute Writers, apparently they think bigger. They bought me an iPod. And not just any iPod, but the world's greatest iPod. With the extended warranty. And a big gift certificate to iTunes. I mean... seriously! I got the e-card today, which says: "Your friends and fans at the Absolute Write Water Cooler want to thank you for all your efforts on the behalf of other writers everywhere. With love and appreciation from..." and a list of 52 writers who are part of the forum, plus a few "anonymous"es. I've been staring at that list all day, trying to figure out how to say "thank you." I mean... they bought me an iPod ! I've never even seen an iPod in perso

That doesn't sound fun. I think I'll pass, thanks.

So I'm sitting in a new OB/GYN's office, because I've recently gotten health insurance back, and my old OB/GYN doesn't take my new insurance. Anthony and I are TTC, so I want to make sure all my parts are in the right places. Picked this doctor out of the phone book. I'm skeeved right quick because of the women waiting in the waiting room with me. One 60ish woman with a romance novel sucks and slurps and clicks on her dentures about every three seconds. There's no Musak or anything, so every slurp sets off my inner gag reflex. Then there's the woman with moles all over her neck who is wearing a floral skirt... and pilled black socks and black sneakers. I wonder if she's been recently homeless. Then the woman with the knit cap that appears to have lasted at least two decades without a washing. I am in the wrong part of town. I begin thinking about the fact that these women are going to have their hoo-has all out in the same room I'm about to be in,

Why do I dream of the vapid?

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No, really, this is disturbing me now. Last month, I had a series of dreams involving Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. I've no idea why. I think we were friends in the dreams. Since then, whenever I do remember my dreams, chances are good that they involve a celebrity-- and not a celebrity I particularly admire, but the ones who are more known for partying, being ditzy, etc. Last night's dream involved Leonardo DiCaprio, whose house I was considering buying. He had lived there with his mother and brothers, and it was kind of a small, crappy house. When I went to look around in the backyard, I took a jacket from Leo's wardrobe to keep me warm, which I explained to him later, when he showed up in the kitchen. I was being flirty with him, then his face morphed into a horrible human being I dated in high school. I don't ever remember having celebrity dreams before. Is there a dream interpreter in the house? (Me, being vapid)

How do women buy makeup?

Here's the thing. I have been on a mission for the past two years to become more girly. It all started when I was engaged and reading about women's beauty regimens in preparation for their weddings. I read these 12-month beauty planners and my eyes fell out... women actually started planning their beauty routines a year in advance?! There were lots of things on there I'd never even heard of, much less tried. So I drove over to my nearest spa and asked them to give me a facial. Which they did. And it was expensive and I didn't like all the steam up my nose. But that's beside the point. The big revelation for me was eyebrow waxing. I had never waxed or tweezed anything before. But after I had my brows waxed for the first time, I was in awe-- I looked so much better! Soon I hated looking at old pictures because I was horrified by my unkempt eyebrows. I experimented with spray-on tanners, I used Crest Whitestrips, I bought pore strips... but the thing that I still ha

My novelist counterpart. And so on.

So I've found my novelist counterpart, and she's Tess Gerritsen, a writer who probably could not seem any more different from me if she tried. She writes medical thrillers; I write nonfiction and children's picture books. But I've been following her blog for some time now, and looking for a good excuse to chat with her. I found it. A few weeks ago, the psychic editors at Writer's Digest wrote to ask me if I was interested in writing an article about the dangers of the Internet for published authors-- things like checking blogs and message boards to see what people are saying about your books, obsessively checking Amazon and BN.com to see your rank and new reviews, etc. Their timing was uncanny. I had just gone on a hiatus from my own message boards because I needed time to think about my mental health and how it relates to just those sorts of things. When you run a big site for writers, you leave yourself open to criticism and scrutiny. I had, once again, inadver