WARNING:

The blog content here is not always family friendly. I OCCASIONALLY write/review in erotica, extreme violence, horror, foul language and otherwise questionable content. I will warn the readers when this content occurs.

WEEK OFF

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Sunday, January 30, 2011


I've been fighting a head cold for a few days, and today it's just got the better of me.  I'd like to take my eyeballs out and soak them in a soothing, warm saline solution.

Medication is top priority for me today. 

Once I've recovered from those effects (my head cold may be arrested, but the cure always makes me sick to my stomach) I plan on taking this week off from blogging to get some writing done.

That's the plan, anyway.

Have a good week everyone . .

GUEST AUTHOR: ALEX J CAVANAUGH

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Today I have as very special guest ALEX J CAVANAUGH.  Alex is:  "a sci-fi writer on a journey of discovery... Books, movies, music, games, and TV shows - along with a little bit about my writing. My first book, CASSASTAR, was released October 19, 2010!"  If you've ever visited Alex's blog you'll note that he has several favorite things showing on his sidebar; and while I'd love to hear him rock out on his guitar, what has captured my attention the most is his iPad.

It's tax refund season, you know.  I've been thinking what to get myself with my small portion of the return: a Kindle, a Nook, a bigger netbook or replace with a notebook.  The iPad.  I really love the idea of the iPad despite the wonky name.  I've been researching all these devices - e-readers all - and having a hard time coming to a decision.  I find the most frequent question I have, and that isn't answered well in any of the internet advertising, is: how will it help me as a writer?

Lets face it, even my cell phone can be used as an e-reader, and if I want a bigger screen, I can always download electronically to my computer.  For several reasons, this option doesn't make me happy.  I've been leaning towards the iPad option, but I need more info from someone who currently uses the gadget.

Help me welcome Alex:

Using the iPad as a Tool




Donna asked me to elaborate on the iPad’s features. As the proud owner of one of the very first iPads, I’ve had ample time to use the device. As it states on my blog, my iPad rocks! Donna wanted to know if the iPad was an effective tool for writers, readers, and bloggers. While I have to confess I use it mostly for gaming, music, and NetFlix, it does come in handy for authors online.

Writing – There are many apps for writing. The iPad comes with Notes, but I use an app called Pages. It functions like a basic Word program, and files can be downloaded and opened in Word. The keypad is only a couple inches shorter than a real keyboard, so it’s easy to use. No more traveling with notebooks – I can write on my iPad!

Blogging and Research – On the iPad, Safari is the featured Internet browser. The iPad is available with WiFi or with WiFi and 3G for a monthly fee. With Internet access, one can browse, conduct research, check email, and blog. Bookmarking is available and there’s an option to create apps for frequented sites. (My iPad has apps for my blog and Twitter sites.)

Reading – The iPad boasts one of the best color eReaders, with access to the iBookstore. There are apps for the Nook and Kindle as well. (Which means the iPad is almost a universal eReader.) Font and size can be changed, and while the screen is backlit, the glow can be adjusted or set to sepia. I’ve never had problems reading the screen outside, and when it grows dark, no night-light is needed!

What else is available for a writer? Well, visit the apps store and explore! Want news? There are apps for USA Today, ESPN, the Weather Channel, and more. Researching the galaxy? Try Star Walk. Need a layout of the land? Google Earth has an app. You Tube, NetFlix, Pandora, photos, games – there’s an app for everything!

The iPad is far more than just an eReader. It’s more akin to a netbook, and while it can’t do everything, in many areas the iPad exceeds the capabilities of a netbook. It’s available with 16, 32, or 64 GB of memory. And here’s the great news – the second-generation iPad comes out this spring! It’ll boast even more features and possibly a camera. (So, expect prices on the current version to drop soon.)

Have I found the iPad useful, satisfying, and enjoyable? You bet! Will I splurge for the new version this spring? I’d be lying if I said no…

Thank you Alex for that very insightful exploration of the iPad's features.  Despite the controversy, I'm quite interested in the device, especially after seeing how helpful it has been to yourself.  I will be watching for those falling prices.  There have been several novels I want to buy, but I've been putting off the purchases until I own an e-reader. 

CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Science fiction/adventure/space opera, Dancing Lemur Press LLC
ISBN Print 9780981621067 eBook 9780982713938

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron, a talented young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life. Much to his chagrin, Bassa, the toughest instructor in the fleet, takes notice of the young pilot. As war brews on the edge of space, Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive. Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Blog - http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
Twitter - http://twitter.com/AlexJCavnanugh

Links to purchase:
AMAZON -  http://www.amazon.com/CassaStar-Alex-J-Cavanaugh/dp/0981621066
BARNES & NOBLE - http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/9780981621067/?itm=1&USRI=cassastar
AMAZON UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cassastar-Alex-J-Cavanaugh/dp/0981621066
AMAZON KINDLE - http://www.amazon.com/CassaStar-ebook/dp/B0045Y261I/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286550119&sr=1-2

ABNA TUTORIAL

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OK.

I got my "query" perfected for ABNA

The novel and synopsis has been revised and re-edited so many times it may as well not exist in print for my eyes.  No really.  All I see when I open NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE is the overall concept.  What I hope the novel is.

So, I've been working on my pitch.  I've read a lot about the concept of The Pitch over the last couple weeks (or months) - and don't even suggest I track down those links for you.  Fsst.  I'd like to (er, uhm, yeah).  The Writer's Digest Conference is in NYC; so many agent, publishing, and Author blogs are spouting words of wisdom regarding The Pitch.  The elevator pitch.  The 60 second pitch.  The 50 word pitch - hell I don't know anymore.  THE PITCH.

The bare bones basics of what your breakthrough novel is about.  Square your shoulders Dudes and Dudettes, shake out your elows, wrists, fingers.   Relax, let it flow.  You know what your story is about . . tell it like it is.  Query it.

Until this . . .

I'm a newbie, right?  Never done this before.  Michael has inspired me.  I CAN DO THIS. 

Envision the Phantom (Of The Opera) raising his ghostly arms to the cathedral ceiling, shaking off the long sleeves of his dark robe, and hunching over the keys of the pipe organ with passionate intent.



Well; like the pitch segment of ABNA, this Phantom video was totally unexpected.  Where's the scene I remember?  I haven't watched the newest movie.  But I did watch the original. 

And dammit, there WAS a scene in the movie like this . . or was it on the Outer Limits or Twilight Zone versions?  Anyone else remember a scene of this type:  the girl slips through the darkend corridors in her gauzy raiment, enters the open theater where a cloaked man sits at the pipe organ, his back to her.  She sneaks up, cautiously, silently; and just as she reaches him, indecision on her face and in her every movement, he stops playing, and turns his masked face to accuse her. .

I digress - or procrastinate.  Either way, my fingertips bleed from chewing my nails in indecision.

THE PITCH for ABNA. 

First the tutorial.  You know, cuz I'm new at this, and I'm a sponge when it comes to info.  I even read MOST of the agreement when I signed in to CreateSpace b/c I read Janet Reid's warning (wait, not that one, though its relevant; this one - which isn't the original post, or the second, both of which I read, but does link to the one I referred to and is more recent).

Oh, that introductory tutorial was just excellent.  Yeah, really, I mean, totally awesome.  Nope, no sarcasm here.  You should check it out, but  I'll give you the highlights - I took notes.  (Wait a minute while I put this shorthand into somewhat readable cryptology):
 - Entrance; tips are focused on fiction and are ABNA specific.

 - Read and understand the rules. The five overall ABNA judging criteral focus on story strength, plot development, character development, originality of idea, and writing style or prose.  Look at quality of writing, paragraph, and sentence structure.

 - Know the standards of your genre and the competition. Study other published authors and read as much as you can.

 - Pitch; why people will read it. What its about, why you wrote the project, your credentials for writing the subject material.  The Author wants to focus their pitch on the strengths of novel w/respect to judging criteria; know the market the author wishes to publish in.  A good pitch dones’t compare itself to other novels that are published for the markets, but does highlight your books strengths.

 - Start strong - the first 10 pages should capivate the reader with a strong, compelling reason for reader to purchase the book. Use major plot points, quirky story elements, or rich and engaging writing to attract the reader/judge.  It should ring true to the reader regardless of context.

 - First 5000 words are automatically designated as entry to the next round (approx 10-20 pages).  Make sure these demonstrate your best efforts.

 - Gives four very different and compelling openings from past winners as examples.

 - Write a good bio, as the publishers sell the author as well as the book. Let your passion come through; write what you have a passion for, and get involved in the writing community.

 - ABNA online community connects writers that want to share ideas. Remember, patience and determination are keys to publishing success.

. . We hope you found these tips helpful . .

Well, actually, they were extremely helpful to me.  And added to my overall anxiety.

My "pitch" is a basic query stripped to 187 words.  I'm dying here.  I'm not the concise type.  But, I also need to add why I wrote it, genre market, and "strengths of the novel based on ABNA judging criteria".

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my . ."

OK.  I didn't submit tonight.

I'm scared I don't understand the pitch concept.

See, this is why I've only queried about 10 agents over 2 years.

I gotta re-think this.  I gotta stress. AND FREAK OUT. 

Nothing worth doing is ever easy.  Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Damn; I gotta go to bed.

Don't forget to stop by Friday 1/28 for Alex Cavanaugh's guest post.

TOP TEN COUNTDOWN - MUSIC BLOGFEST

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Monday, January 24, 2011

I was a late entrant on Alex J Cavanaugh's TOP TEN COUNTDOWN; I really didn't want to just pick ten.  But when I saw I would be participant number 100, and he hoped to get at least 100 entrants, how could I not fill the auspicious slot?  As usual, this post went through the revision you'd expect of a written novel.  And as usual, beginnings are the hardest . .

 I started with my latest favorite song, because it sums me up personally, professionally, and as a writer.

WHISKEY HANGOVER by Godmack.  Now, I love everything Godsmack, and there are SEVERAL songs I could put here.  But this describes who I see myself as.  I've come a long way in my life, and have several questionable habits (whiskey not one of them, lol) that many of my family, close friends, and co-workers disapprove of.  I love the attitude in this song though, and hope to emulate it.



Brevity where I would be complacent . .

Well, as with all my writing, this post will start at the end, work towards the beginning, and then end at THE END.

I wrote my third novel (ENDURING FREEDOM) to songs like: Alan Jackson's REMEMBER WHEN, WHEN SOMBODY LOVES YOU; Garth Brooks THE DANCE, UNANSWERED PRAYERS; so many others of their sentiment.  Wow, I pulled up so many songs that helped write the proper emotional tourmoil needed in that novel I'm hard pressed to settle on an individual concept.  But I think the overwhelming sentiment's are Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's LIKE WE NEVER LOVED AT ALL
 

 
and Tim McGraw's PLEASE REMEMBER ME
 

 
I can't tell you how happy I am that this is one of the few celebrity marriages that has drawn almost no gossip news type attention.  But I have to say, my character Calvin Mertz is the personification of Tim McGraw's COWBOY IN ME
 

 
I didn't have music to help me when I wrote the first and second novel in the trilogy.  I mistakenly thought an author needed absolute quiet to write in.  And I wonder if that's why I so often feel NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE, especially,  lacks passion; a unique voice.  I have since discovered its sentiment in a few songs and have edited/revised to this feeling.  But, I'm not sure if too late was too little . . 

I WANT TO KNOW by Rascal Flatts summs up Roberts devotion to Amy.   He is surprised by her love, and never expects it to last.  He can't imagine someone who would never abandon him. Which is probably why  he can't keep a promise . .



But Amy is a much more complicated character.  She believes in Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black's WHEN I SAID I DO . .
 

 
Which is why she doesn't marry Robert in the first novel, and why she does say I do to Cal in the second.
 
She sees Robert as a kindred spirit, seeking salvation in someone else . .
 

 
And her mother lived and died by the credo STAND BY YOUR MAN
 

 
Amy is young, and she has hope despite her troubled childhood.  And she is in love with Robert; or more specifically, the man he protrays himself to be.  As an adult, she knows it is up to her to sail THE RIVER of her life



But as the relationship progreses, and she is disappointed by Robert's constant insecurities and her own failures to change him into both their ideals, she sees his best friend Cal as A REAL GOOD MAN
 

 
Amy and I are both STANDING OUTSIDE THE FIRE.  The third novel doesn't entirely resolve her issues, though there is a definitive end to her story.   But does anyone's story end with a  distinctive THE END before death?   And I, as an author, have moved on from the questions of my history (not many that absolutely identify with Amy's) that inspired this novel.
 

 

I think I've been there all along.  Not just when it comes to love; but for anything I dream is possible.   I buy a $1 lotto ticket once a week for the same reason I query; I probably won't win (get agented) if I toss my aspirations out there; but its a sure bet I'll lose if I never take the risk.  I think I had to write these novels to reconcile ME from THEM (my clients).
 
And I think that is the fine line that separates fiction from memoir.  Yeah, there's a lot of my own sentiments in  my first two novels; but by the third, I'd grown out of anything personal; and when I went back to revise the books, I removed anything that remotely resembled my own childhood issues.  It was stipped of anything but the basic concept, and it didn't resemble me at all.  Except my passion for the oppressed.

I guess ultimately what my novels ask is: "How do you judge the worth of a human life?"

 
Is that enough?  Is that what THEY mean by "writing what you know?"  This is not my story; though many have acused  me so.  But it is the story I see, day to day, in my chosen profession.
 
I work in social services to allieviate crisis.  I'd like to be known as a risk taker; in a totally non-threatening arena.
 
Well, maybe ABNA is not a completely non-threatening arena.  But I have determined to enter that competition.  Thanks to all the publicized efforts of Michael Di Gesu (In Time) in his journey to get his novel ready, I am inspired to make the attempt.  As if his blog posts weren't enough, he sent me a personal e-mail of encouragement that completely reflects my sentiments of this event:  "I wish you all the best in the contest and let's hope we all get a coveted space in the top 1000 entries."
 
I don't know how many of our on-line friends are entering this contest, but I wanted to pass on Michael's encouragement and sentiments.  We (aspiring authors all) are not in competition with each other.  Some of us will make the cut and some won't.  It is the journey and what we learn that is important.
 
Today is the first day for submissions to ABNA.  GET YOUR NOVEL OUT THERE, and follow where it leads.  Good luck everyone who enters. 
 
And while we're on the subject of published novels - -

OMG, I took a risk and asked the futuristic novelist Alex J. Cavanaugh (you remember he is hosting this blogfest?) to do a guest post on my blog. AND HE SAID YES!! So be sure to come back on Friday 1/28 for Alex's words of wisdom on all things . . iPad.

But go visit all the Top Ten Countdown participants first. . .

MY TWO BLOGFESTS

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Friday, January 21, 2011

I found two blogfests hosting on the same day - today!- and since I couldn't choose which to participate in, I decided to post both.  Click the blogfest links to find the one you're looking for:

Tessa Conte's BIRTHDAY BASH blogfest . . . . and . . .  DL Hammons SIGNIFICANT OTHER

I'll be at the day job all day, but I'll be visiting everyone's posts for these two marvelous events through the weekend.  Happy Birthday Tessa, and happy blogfesting to all the special people in a Writer's life.

SIGNIFICANT OTHER BLOGFEST

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1/21/11


I've been looking forward to Tali Roland and DL Hammons SIGNIFICANT OTHER blogfest with trepidation and excitement both.  The opportunity to hear what my chosen S/O thinks about my writing.  Oh, uuh.  Eek. 

I managed to get my oldest-son-living-at-home to post his comment.  As requested by DL, I did not edit this - spelling, punctuation, white space.  Those don't count, right?
* * * *
Hello,

My name is unimportant and could be what ever you want it to be. Names are nice but only when one wishes to be identified which is not the case here. That and I detest the name I seem to have been given on My Writers blog. Being unnamed also suits the point of this "Significant other" thing, does it not? "For every great man or woman there is a collective of masked individuals working behind the curtains to help ensure the show continues on..." or something like that, right?

I was asked to be the "Significant other" for the sake of this "blog-fest" and while I was given a month or so to come up with something for this post, blog... thing; I have been unable to do so. So, I guess I will just wing- it and see if it works or not. Though I do admit that I'm not really a good choice for this task. When in a family of people who purposely alienate ourselves from each other, you don't really notice much going on with the other people's worlds. More so when some people in your family have many worlds of their own. It can be confusing at times indeed.

So with that said, I really can't answer some of the sample questions given like, "What food or drink is guaranteed to return them to a good mood?" I don't know, all I ever see her drink is water, diet Pepsi and wine. "How hard is it to sit by and blah blah blah". Quite easy when you don't sit by and watch them struggle now isn't it? So I guess the only question I could attempt to answer is "What is it like living with a writer in your life." Where to begin on that...

I think to begin I must answer the question with another question. "How many times have you gotten up to do something that takes 2 minutes and gotten lost along the way for hours at a time?" I have this happen at least 2 times a week. I reach over for my glass of tea to take a drink but alas, the glass is empty. No worries I think to myself. I'll just get up and get another glass of tea. Two minutes tops and back on the track I was on before tragically struck in the form of an empty tea glass... Little do I know that there is a wayward writer at a loss of words between me and a filled glass of liquid ambrosia...

Well long story short, what starts as a simple "I need a word" turns into a 2-6 hour discussion on anything from building layouts to cybernetics; futuristic sleeping beauty stories and plot twists to gangsters shooting up a bar. Even fantasy realms filled with magic, adventure and gnomes (got to show the gnomes some love. They're just awesome...). I've quickly come to realize my room door is the Bermuda Rectangle. Some times you can pass by without incident, other times you pass into another world all of its own...

At times I really enjoy when this happens, other times I don't. I enjoy that we can talk for hours on end about countless topics, ideas, scenarios and have it take form into a brand new story or character. Amazing at times what one can come up with.  Other times after such talks I walk back into my own little world, look at the clock and ask myself "Where did the last 4 hours go! Tea and back. TEA AND BACK MAN! I think I forgot my glass in the other room too... What the hell?" and other times when I think about it, I realize that our 4 hours of conversation results in only 3 or 4 lines in a whole story if anything at all...

So I have come to realize that unless you have a lot of time on your hands, asking a writer "so hows such and such story coming" is a lot like asking a senior citizen "So how are you feeling today?" Just don't do it, because you will be given an answer and it is impolite to simply walk away from someone when they are speaking to you. Even when they have been stuck in a monologue for a large length of time...

I would suspect that many people would think their writer are wasting their time but I don't. I think it is a excellent outlet and hobbie. Certainly better use of time than doing something like gambling, drinking at bars all the time or wasting away in front of a TV (damn you CSI!). That and if it ever came to an intervention over a writing addiction, family and friends would have to be REALLY creative. I also find it rewarding at times as well.

Like when My Writer is happy that she got complements about her story and ideas. More so when that idea came from a 6 hour long talk about the subject. So unknown to most, I also got complemented as well at times for it was my idea and how to implement it that was remarked on or things like my writers fantasy story about the mage "Wynter." A charactor idea of mine that sounded good to my writer, who ran with the idea, spent the next almost 9 hours talking about storyline, plots, the fantasy realm it should take place in, character development and so on.

Now its being made into a book. So its very rewarding when she tells me how much her writing group loves the fantasy story when I played such a large role in its making.

"What's it like having a writer in your home using you as their own personal walking wiki page and fun fact sheet?" I would guess its kind of like writing itself. Full of ups and downs. Full of moments of creativity and energy.  Full of blank stares and *blink...blink* moments. Thoughts filled with countless topics and wonders. Then the aggravation that the annoying flashing text indicator bar on your computer brings. You know the one on that blank text document that has been staring back at you for hours now? You look at it as it looks back at you. Yeah that's the one...

So yeah, I'm kinda winged-out and done with this. Hope it works but if it doesn't, oh well. Though while typing this up, I did remember a quote that I think would fit most writers...

"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed!"
-Red Mage, 8-bit theater Episode 835
Nuklearpower.com
* * *
So how about a big round of applause for my son Paul, who never did get that glass of tea, but was so generous with his participation.  Feel free to tell him how awesome he is, then go visit the other participants.  Thanks DL and Tali for the bonding experience.

BIRTHDAY BASH BLOGFEST

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1/21/11



This is for Tessa Conte's BIRTHDAY BASH blogfest.  Happy Birthday Tessa!!!

I almost forgot about it, so didn't write anything new or exciting to help her celebrate.  But I did pull up a scene I thought was fun and spruced it up for a happy birthday.





“Oh my God; The Hustle,” Danni said excitedly. “Amy, do you remember learning it in school.”


Amy giggled. “Yeah; like in seventh, eighth grade.”

“Come on, lets have some fun.”

“Oh Danielle, nobody else is,” Amy protested.

“It’s your birthday, you can do anything you want.”

Danni tagged several other girls as she clung to Amy’s arm, pulling her along. The heavy, numbing scent of weed in the air and Danni’s excitement overrode Amy’s innate fear of crowds and attention. She’d protested having a party, but her friends were eager for any excuse to shed the winter staleness out of their cold limbs.

As Danni and Amy started the first few steps, Joy screamed loudly from behind, and soon it appeared all the girls present were lining up in rows in the middle of the large front room. Chairs, coffee tables, and even the sofa disappeared as the men hooted and whistled at the dancing girls.

Boogie Fever replaced the hustle, drawing out the more stylishly dressed men. Once again Robert tried to isolate Amy, but she led him a merry chase through a group of her girlfriends. They quickly surrounded him, making him the center of their attentions. Show off that he was, Robert made contact with each girl in turn, doing a bump to the floor here, a cat-skin and double spin there. Somewhere in the laughter and antics Amy lost her birthday crown.

Amy didn’t remember when she’d had so much fun.

And when the song ended, and Robert gathered her into his arms, his hot, steamy body pressed against her pounding chest and swaying hips, she wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled in closer, enjoying the feel of masculinity. Delicately, he brushed her hair away from her neck, his lips firm and wet against her forehead. Sweat rolled down her neck. Sexual heat burned between her breasts and thighs.

The overhead lights went out, leaving the room in semi-darkness as Bob Seger serenaded a ballad. He sang to her; and she lost herself in his beautiful singing voice.

Hunching down, his strong arms circling her waist, Robert lifted her easily off her feet. Her body alive with sensation, Amy’s lips parted as they met his, inviting his tongue as she savored the taste of rum and chocolate cake.

CONTEMPLATING ETHICS

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ONE of the reasons for my sudden lack of posting last week is because I had some heavy thinking to do regarding my personal and professional life.  As an introverted personality that means pretty much isolating myself.  Reading and commenting on other posts is OK for me because the conversations are pretty much one sided, and I can self edit before posting. But eventually, even that had to give way to my own internal processes. (Meaning this may still be a bit rambling.)

The issue I’ve been struggling with revolves around ethics. This is a special topic of interest for me, not only through my professional training, but also as personal curiosity, and it is reflected in my choice of reading material. ALMOST everything I read involves deep moral/philosophical exploration, but because of my distrust of religious and social systems (I know, you’re now questioning my career choice in social services), I’ve found myself drawn to the epic fantasy and thriller genre’s.

Which is why I am now re-reading THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT . . By Stephen R Donaldson. Confused?

I floundered around for several days last week, trying to involve myself in a book to help me resolve my own personal issues. Sometimes distraction is the best way to come to a hard decision.  Knowing I was dead set on reading for this purpose, I went to my shelf and tried to pick out a novel.  I’ve been buying books like crazy over the last three or four months, but haven’t had time to read them. Many of my online friends have also published books that I definitely want to read. Unfortunately my brain just can’t contemplate something new and untried when I’m in the grips of a moral crisis (and its causing me no end of guilt).

However . .

Thomas Covenant’s plight involves some of the same issues that I’m dealing with. In essence, a conflict of interest.

For Thomas, he is thrown into a world that is completely at odds with his day to day reality. Nearly two years before the event that begins the novel, he was diagnosed with leprosy and subsequently outcast from normal society because of the stigma associated with the disease. In order to survive the effects of the arrested symptoms, Thomas must adhere to a strict regimen of visual surveillance of extremities (VSE) and accept the fact that there is no cure or reversal for his affliction.

While he has precariously adjusted to his physical/social limitations, the conflict for him starts when he is thrust into an alternate reality where a form of earth power known as hurt loam cures his disease and restores his nerve endings.  His senses tell him two separate stories: either he is the reincarnated hero Berek Halfhand and has a duty to learn how to wield the awesome power of his white gold ring and save this world from destruction; or he is a leper, trapped in a self delusion that threatens the defensive mechanisms that are key to his survival in his real world. Both realities cannot exist within his consciousness, so he has to make a choice that he perceives will affect the rest of his natural life, however short it may be.

This relates to my own ethical issue because I also have to accept one or the other reality. My decision will have life altering repercussions not only for myself, but for my immediate family.

What started all this ethical contemplation was a training at my day job regarding professional ethics.  The gist; as a social services worker, I have to be mindful all the time of my social interactions with the public. Easy enough to integrate while on agency property, but not so cut and dried in my personal interactions in such a small community.

Our instructor had two major points to impart for our contemplation (and you can see by the overuse of this word I’ve been doing just that): Its not a problem until it becomes a problem, and whatever lines your social interactions and behaviors crossed before the training are forgiven but from this time forward you are aware and accountable.

I’ve had this training before, and others like it. When I entered social worker school at CSU Chico I had to sign a student code of ethics, and I signed the NASW Code Of Ethics in order to obtain my Bachelors degree. In every job I’ve had since obtaining my BSW, I’ve had to sign a specific agency code of conduct.  No big deal for me, integrity is one of my highest values as a human being.

But for some reason, this particular training forced me to think differently about a whole slew of personal issues. Probably because my job responsibilities have changed drastically over the last year.  Or maybe I’m viewing them from a different perspective.  The instructor's advice that “its not a problem until it’s a problem” was prophetic, as these type things are.  Nothing new in the world, and all that rhetoric.  Several things between my personal life, and reading related  subject matter such as the editing of Huckleberry Finn, the Arizona shooting, and even an NCIS episode where Special Agent Tim McGee’s novel inspires a crazed fan murder all the real life persons the characters are based from, made me more self conscious.

Maybe I freaked.  Just a little.

Our ethics instructor made a valid but not new assertion about the lack of privacy on social networks. No matter how private you think you are, eventually something could get passed along to someone you’ve never met. How many social groups/causes are you involved in through FB, MySpace, Blogger, Good Reads . . . Do we really know where info from a posting of any type will end up?

My resistance to his admonition regarding face book (or any other social medium) was simply that I cannot hope to be a published author - or maintain a viable fan base once published - if I do not subscribe NOW to the various forms of social medium. I was ok with him glaring at me knowingly for response.  But, it did make me more aware of my public writing persona while I still work for a social services agency. I’m not sure yet how that will affect what I write, what I will publish on my personal blog, and link to on my face book account.

The more I contemplate the vast issues, the more disturbed I became.  But I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I haven’t written/published anything I’d be ashamed for my children to read (age appropriately), or that I couldn't admit to composing in front of an ethics board regarding my clients/family/friends/strangers as potential character templates.  And while my latest WIP has "borrowed" Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty concept, I do believe my sci-fi rendition, while incorporating the major plot points, is unique in its character and world building.  (Beside, who did Disney get the concept from to make it his own?)

Its like the concept of over editing; you can only think of the possibilities for so long, and then you need to accept the validity of your concepts and move on.

Social networking is always going to be an ethical issue, a possible conflict of interest.

While I believe Sarah Palin’s target list is an extreme example of what affect the published word can have on the larger public, I take the warning in CN Nevets writing and social ethics post today in the spirit in which I perceive he composed it.  Because he says more concisely what I’ve been getting at for the last few paragraphs:  Do publish socially conscious writings, but be aware of the wide range of possible interpretations.

This ran on a lot longer than I expected; but like Stephen R. Donaldson’s Giants that populate The Land, and JRR Tolkein’s Ents that stride through middle earth, it takes me a long time to say anything if its worth saying. I hope this was worth saying.  And with it said, I hope I can now resume a more normal posting schedule.


AMBIGUITY

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

I didn't mean to take a posting break this week.  It just happened.   Every time I log on I get lost in surfing my blog roll, or clicking on links to people who have been commenting lately.  Even visited some followers I haven't heard from in ages.  (Incidentlally, if you follow me privately and never leave a comment I won't be able to find you.)   Honestly, I'm enjoying just reading what everyone else has been up to lately.

My right brain and my left brain don't appear to be communicating.  I guess I'll hang out and enjoy this three day weekend.  Maybe read a book - there's a novel idea (lol). 

I've been told that the best ideas come to you when you're thinking of something else entirely.  I'll give it a shot.  Perhaps I can distract you too for a little while.  My brother sent me this in an e-mail.  I have no clue who the author is . . .

FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THE PHILOSOPHY OF AMBIGUITY, AS WELL AS THE IDIOSYNCRASIES OF ENGLISH:

Please enjoy and understand the following:

1. DON'T SWEAT THE PETTY THINGS AND DON'T PET THE SWEATY THINGS.

2. ONE TEQUILA, TWO TEQUILA, THREE TEQUILA, FLOOR.

3. ATHEISM IS A NON-PROPHET ORGANIZATION.

4. IF MAN EVOLVED FROM MONKEYS AND APES, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?

5. THE MAIN REASON THAT SANTA IS SO JOLLY IS BECAUSE HE KNOWS WHERE ALL THE BAD GIRLS LIVE.

6. I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN, "WHERE'S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?" SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE.

7. WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS?

8. IF A DEAF CHILD SIGNS SWEAR WORDS, DOES HIS MOTHER WASH HIS HANDS WITH SOAP?

9. IF SOMEONE WITH MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES THREATENS TO KILL HIMSELF, IS IT CONSIDERED A HOSTAGE SITUATION?

10. IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM?

11. WHERE DO FOREST RANGERS GO TO "GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?"

12. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL EATING AN ENDANGERED PLANT?

13. IF A PARSLEY FARMER IS SUED, CAN THEY GARNISH HIS WAGES?

14. WOULD A FLY WITHOUT WINGS BE CALLED A WALK?

15. WHY DO THEY LOCK GAS STATION BATHROOMS? ARE THEY AFRAID SOMEONE WILL CLEAN THEM?

16. IF A TURTLE DOESN'T HAVE A SHELL, IS HE HOMELESS OR NAKED?

17. CAN VEGETARIANS EAT ANIMAL CRACKERS?

18. IF THE POLICE ARREST A MIME, DO THEY TELL HIM HE HAS THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT?

19. WHY DO THEY PUT BRAILLE ON THE DRIVE-THROUGH BANK MACHINES?

20. HOW DO THEY GET DEER TO CROSS THE ROAD ONLY AT THOSE YELLOW ROAD SIGNS?

21. WHAT WAS THE BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD?

22. ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

23. DOES THE LITTLE MERMAID WEAR AN ALGEBRA?

24. DO INFANTS ENJOY INFANCY AS MUCH AS ADULTS ENJOY ADULTERY?

25. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR?

26. IF ONE SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER DROWNS, DO THE REST DROWN TOO?

27. IF YOU ATE BOTH PASTA AND ANTIPASTO, WOULD YOU STILL BE HUNGRY?

28. IF YOU TRY TO FAIL, AND SUCCEED, WHICH HAVE YOU DONE?

29. WHOSE CRUEL IDEA WAS IT FOR THE WORD 'LISP' TO HAVE 'S' IN IT?

30. WHY ARE HEMORRHOIDS CALLED "HEMORRHOIDS" INSTEAD OF "ASSTEROIDS"?

31. WHY IS IT CALLED TOURIST SEASON IF WE CAN'T SHOOT AT THEM?

32. WHY IS THERE AN EXPIRATION DATE ON SOUR CREAM?

33. IF YOU SPIN AN ORIENTAL PERSON IN A CIRCLE THREE TIMES, DO THEY BECOME DISORIENTED?

34. CAN AN ATHEIST GET INSURANCE AGAINST ACTS OF GOD ?

Have a good weekend y'all.

FLYBYS AND SHOUT OUTS

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Look at that date: 1/1/11.  Not a pretty sight.  Do you know how confused I'll be at 11/11/11?

Don't look now, but it's a Monday post very late Tuesday.  Not many links though; I haven't been getting around as much as I used to.  Blame the freezing weather that makes me want to curl up with a good book (not my own), or the lack of wifi on the netbook, or just plain laziness. 

I met a few nice people during the last blogfest - and more since I've been participating in 3WW too - and I didn't get around to reading all the posts.  I've given myself permission NOT to catch up, so you should be seeing me on your more recent posts. (Although my comments don't always show up when I check back later so I'm wondering if blogger is being nasty to me, or if somehow I've lost the skill of comment posting.  Not something you'd think would need relearned, but when it comes to weird, I think I got an exclusive on it.)

Chris Kelworth (The Kelworth Files) is an aspiring screen writer with an interesting YA Sci-fi serial and lots of fanart (a new concept to me).

Margo Bensen:  A former dancer and make up artist, Margo writes poetry, short stories and novels. And has a unique hobby of creating jewelry out of chain maille. Interesting.

Pk Hrezo: “I write fiction that brings out the extraordinary in ordinary characters. My last name is Czech in origin and pronounced with the H silent. I'm a mother of two, wife of a firefighter, and international airline agent.” Pk is a lot of fun to hang around the blog with.


Sasha Conte (Sash’s Secrets):  “If you're not interested in m/m romance, you'd better click "next blog" coz that's what I write about here…” Sash is a fellow procrastinator, in need of submission deadlines to entice away from Assassin’s Creed.

Not a complete list of new acquaintaces, but I've been lax.  And engrossed in some fascinating posts (in no particular order, either) from my regular blog surfing:

The Debutante Ball welcomes Laurie Halsie Anderson on Rejection.  I didn't find The Ball on my own; I think it came from one of Roni Griffin's posts (did you catch her dishing out backstory post?), either before or after her guest blogger Psychiatrist  Laura Diamond, who discussed defense mechanisms in characters.  Fascinating insights into the character psyche.  Oh, that reminds me about Doris Plaster of Hold My Hand, a social worker's blog.  I can't tell you how excited I was to discover Laura and Doris' blogs . .

All of Roland Yoemans' (Writing in the Crosshairs) posts evoke some emotion in me, but The Color of Love was particularly heartwrenching for me.  You'll notice Roland finished his Ghost of A Chance serial, and has excellent writing advice using catchy acronym's. 

Another excellent writing resource is Clarissa Draper (Listen to the Voices), and the Two Things Every Sentence Must Accomplish post was timely for me.  I'm working hard at my query and the Cyborg short story, and I need all the writing advice I can get.  Lately I've been thinking about delving into edits for Book Two, but as usual, I'm procrastinating the effort while still querying Book One.  Aside from the writing advice, Clarissa also offers chapter critiques and weekly Forensic Science articles.  Try this one and see if you don't get hooked on them.

By now your eyes could probably use a break.  JC Martin (fighter writer) has just the cure with a Mom Knows Best video that will have you laughing until you cry.  Once your eyes clear up, you'll be ready for her Monday Muse prompt on foreshadowing

Here's to you, a message to writers in all stages of publication from Agent Rachelle Gardner  that I never tire of hearing:  "I just want to thank you for what you're doing. I'm so glad you get up every morning and do what you do. I'm so happy you're up for the challenge. It's because of you that I've been a reader my whole life. It's because of you that I love books. It's because of you that I've had the good fortune to work for the last fourteen years in a career I absolutely love."  Do go read the entire post; it will inspire you to keep writing and submitting those queries.

 Elaine (Still Writing) Smith, linked me to 8 questions on character posted by Donald Maass (Writer Unblocked) with a post titled  The Inner Journey .  If you're a punctuation hound, you'll want to read Elaine's Dash Across the Punctuation Minefield while you're visiting her site.

Two more, which are just plain fun to contemplate:

Elana Solodow (You're Write . .) is accepting submissions for her weekly Vlog readings (as well as hosting the 100 words for $100 blog fest).  If you haven't hear her read, be sure to scroll down until you see the vlogs in her sidebar.  And Michael DiGesu is gearing up for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA).  See Michael's indepth description of the event here.


Happy reading/writing folks . .

3WW: NAME

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Monday, January 10, 2011

I've been trying to post this three word wednesday (3WW) serial excerpt since Friday.  No, you don't want the whole boring excuse(s) about internet, time and . . .

Anyway; below is the next installment.  I'm making a 3WW link to the other excerpts in the serial in the left sidebar in case you want to follow along or catch up.  This weeks words are:  plausible, taint, and willingly.  (Thanks JL and Roland for catching that I forgt them.)

Constructive criticism is invited.

* * * *

The door opened on a barrage of screamed orders and stomping feet.

Cal kept his head bowed over Daryl’s unconscious form for another few seconds while he whispered a prayer. If there was a heaven, then surely his departed best friend Robert resided there in the afterlife and perhaps would look out for his still living counter-part.

Cal stood, clasping his hands behind his neck as commanded by several armed, blue clad patrolmen still streaming through the building. Time had seemed to suspend while Cal cleaned up his crew’s involvement in the shooting, but the cops apparently had time to don Kevlar vests and riot helmets, though it was entirely plausible they showed up in the gear.

“You, behind the bar! Come around this side. Keep those hands behind your head as you move.”

The officer’s steady gun and gaze followed Cal’s deliberately slow progress around the end of the bar. He waved his weapon at a spot directly in front of himself, and Cal dutifully stopped in front of the little used waitress station.

“Turn around, feet apart,” the middle aged officer commanded.

Cal let his own grey eyes pass over the bustle of activity, consciously noting the positions of Sugar, Brandon, and the - quickly counted - five other officers as he turned to face the shattered mirror. Two Oroville police officers had Sugar and Brandon leaning on outstretched arms against the other end of the bar, feet spread, patting them down. Another nervous looking young patrolman stood back against the pool table with his weapon poised.

“What happened here,” the cop behind Cal asked.

Cal shrugged - grimacing at the fresh stinging in his right shoulder. He didn’t recognize this cop, and it bothered him. It also worried him that there were no Sheriff’s officers present. DARYL’S PLACE, as his cousin had named his bar, was located outside city limits and so the first officers on scene should have been Butte County Sheriffs, not OPD. He didn’t like the added mystery.

First the girl, then the unexpected shooting, Cal’s certainty Sugar was a Fed, now the wrong police department had shown up for the call. He shook his head, trying to make sense of the last several minutes.

“This one’s dead,” came from behind Cal.

“Fuck,” he said, turning in the direction of the front pool table.

“Hey; I didn’t tell you to move Dirt Bag,” said the pig holding Cal at gun point.

“Just curious,” Cal responded, hoping he sounded non-committal as he turned around.

"That curiosity could get you killed.”

I don’t know you, but you sure know me, Cal decided. His intuition for trouble was tweaking off the scale, and since his value to the Organization was his nearly infallible people reading skills, he trusted his own instincts. It’d saved his life - and incarceration - too many times to count.

Cal looked down the line and saw the two officers had finished frisking Sugar and Brandon.

“Another one down behind the bar,” the youngish officer beside Sugar reported. “I’m gonna check him.”

“I’ll ask you again; what happened here,” Cal’s uniformed captor asked him.

“Some guy shooting pool shot up the place,” Cal said as the young officer hopped the bar, just as Cal had earlier.

Name, name, he thought to himself. He didn’t like that he couldn’t recognize any of the on-scene cops. It made him nervous. He’d been involved in too many arrests over the last 10 years not to know every OPD cop on the pay roll. Oroville wasn’t a hub of criminal activity, but it had its share of gang activity, and Daryl’s bar catered to biker clubs, not asking if his customers were illegals or not. And while The Organization frowned on drug trafficking, Cal also had dealings with the local, Mexican street gangs. Not much Family left in NorCal, and what’s here kept themselves in hiding.

Being surrounded by six unknown officers set Cal’s paranoia to ticking.

“This one’s alive,” the young officer announced from Daryl’s side. “But he’s head shot. Need to let that ambulance through.”

“Huggins?” The officer behind Cal yelled.

“Sir,” Came from behind and to Cal’s right. Cal assumed this was the man that pronounced Treader dead.

“Frisk this guy while I report in.”

Cal braced himself for the pat down. Knowing there was nothing on his person to find didn’t lessen his anxiety. He didn’t trust cops; and since he didn’t know any of these he was practically jumping out of his skin at the thought of them touching him. He focused on the older cop’s verbal report as Huggin’s hands moved intimately over his body. His arms shook as he tried to hold his elbows out, and his fingers clamped tightly behind his neck.

Cuffs would come next, he knew, and he couldn’t just stand there and let them cuff him. But he tried, as Huggins finished his search and clasped Cal’s left wrist and levered it to the small of his back. He bit his tongue so he wouldn’t cry out and balled his fist with resolve. He could let this happen. Just cuffs, not a straight jacket. He’d be fine.

But the metallic click of the opening circlets unnerved him, and he jerked his arm out of Huggins grasp.

“Move again and I will shoot you dead Mertz.”

He knows my name, Cal thought as he struggled to control his anxiety. Huggins grabbed Cal’s hand and tugged it behind his back again. Cal brought his right hand down and gripped the far edge of the bar. He was sure they would hit him with the baton, knock him out, if he didn’t submit. He couldn’t willingly allow himself to be restrained, regardless of the inevitability.

“Ferguson, what the blazes are you doing here?”

Cal turned his head to the front door, relaxing just a little as Sheriffs Deputy Olan Marlette stepped over the threshold.

“Bout to blow this shitter away if he don’t allow my officer to cuff him,” Ferguson said from Cal’s rear.

“You taint my crime scene with unnecessary blood and I’ll have your badge ’n gun a’fore you get two feet from his body.”
* * * *

Hope you enjoy it.

Sorry I'm being such an unsociable blogger lately.  I haven't had much energy for posting or commenting while I've been catching up from my vacation time at the day job.  I promise I'll be visiting everyone this week though.  I've missed you all terribly.

NEW CREATION BLOGFEST

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Wednesday, January 5, 2010

Happy birthday Summer Ross (My Inner Fairy).  Yep, today Summer is celebrating attaining the awesome age of 29 by giving us the New Creations Blogfest.   The rules for this creative way of saying goodbye to the character you were during the last year, and inviting in a whole new year's worth of experiences and growth are very simple.

1)Pick one ending sentence from last years stories, your favorite one that you wrote. (Only one, and yes it has to be an ending sentence)


2) Write one brand new starting sentence for a story you have been thinking about, or something off the top of your head. But it must be your first sentence. (Yes only one, and yes it must be new.)

Now post your ending and brand new beginning sentence in one post on January 5th.

Easy peasy; right?  I have so many favorite endings . .

But, I'll go with this one from the end of my first chapter in book one, because it was Amy's birthday:

"Disappointed, Amy escaped to the sanctuary her room as soon as Joy was too high to notice the guest of honor’s disappearance."

But a brand spanky new sentence is a little harder:

"Matti waved her armss in a flourish over the bubbling green contents of the cauldron, firmly enunciated each syllable of the 14 words charm in one long breath, then tossed the final aromatic ingredient into the potion."

Be sure to visit the other participants, and possibly join up if you haven't already.  Have fun writing and reading.

PONTIFICATING

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hehehehe; my first post of 2011.

I've seen a couple of my online friends use this phrase "unapologetic pontificating".  OK.

Excellent verbiage.  Sounds so - - literary.  Hooh Yeah I like it!  Nothing like a 25# (cent) word to get the creative juices flowing, eh?

For those of you as old as I - who remember the Olympia, the Olivette, the Underwood; hell even the Apple IIe - what happened to the "cent" symbol on the number keys?  Are pennies on the dollar so scant that we no longer think in cents, we only think $'s and %'s?

Is this an example of "pontificating?" 

Not long ago - well, yeah long ago - the Honorable Francine Howarth awarded me the Literary Award.  Hmmmmmmmm; not sure that's it, but it's been so long I can't find the durn'd thing.  But the gist of the award is that a person is a word hound.  You expose your 5 favorite words, and why you like them, and then pass the award on.

Well, I can think of five fav's.  But they're all Soooooooo NEGATIVE.

And, that's just not what I'm about.  Or, what I'd like NOT to be about.  If wishes were nickels . . I'd be rich . . .

So I need you to laugh;  RIGHT NOW.  Why?  Because I need it.  No really. 

But you see the problem is, I don't pull off a joke well.  AT ALL.  No really; you want I should post some of my e-mails to friends and their serious, apologetic, responses?  And I have to like, say, now really, I was totally joking.  You didn't get that?   Yeah; y'all would pitty me, no doubt.  Unless you've been a victim of my e-mails; and then you'd be like, huh?  And I could post someone else's idea of funny; but since I wasn't born with a funny-bone, well you can see the potential for flatness.  Just leave me a hahaha in the comments, or LOL, or ROLF, or LMAF, or if you're proficient enough in html lingo a link to something that will make me laugh.  Well Dude/Dudette; don't hold back.

'Cuz, I read in Reader's Digest ages ago that LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE.  Yeah I agree, I just can't pull it off.  Anyway;

I went back to work today after two weeks off.  I haven't done New Years Resolutions in . . so many years.  Here's one I can keep:  I will never ever take two weeks off in a row as long as I work for my current agency.  As an ICW Lead Worker, anyway.  (Nevermind; just know I have super powers in my left thumb.  Or is it right, I forget.)

What's the connection to "pontificating" you ask?  Well, I asked a works document for the definition b/c this word has so intrigued me over the last year I finally decided to use it in a sentence.  Even if I had to contrive that sentence for the specific purpose of using PONTIFICATING.   Because, I'm  feeling loquatious (talkative) tonight.

Uhmmm.

Well, I'm not sure it worked out as I thought it would.  Exact definition from my works dictionary:

vi [pon tíffi kàyt] (past pon·tif·i·cat·ed, past participle pon·tif·i·cat·ed, present participle pon·tif·i·cat·ing, 3rd person present singular pon·tif·i·cates)
1. speak pompously: to speak about something in a knowing and self-important way, especially when not qualified to do so
2. serve as a bishop: to officiate as a bishop, especially in celebrating Mass

n [pon tíffikət, pon tíffi kàyt] (plural pon·tif·i·cates)

term of office: the office or term of office of a pope or bishop
[Early 19th century. From medieval Latin pontificat- , the past participle stem of pontificare , from Latin pontifex (see pontifex).]
-pon·tif·i·ca·tion [pon tìffi káysh’n], n

-pon·tif·i·ca·tor [pon tíffi kàytər], n

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
.....well, maybe not what I had in mind for tonight.  Then again, I guess what I had in mind tonight was word vomit.  Why?
 
Because I'm writing.  On the Cyborg Fairytale thing.  The story concept I was suppose to spend the last 9 days of my "staycation" finishing. 
 
I got sidetracked. 
 
My family thought I should spend some time with them.  LOTS of time.  I'm on vacation afterall.  No paying deadlines.
 
MY ftf writers group had some ideas we should all explore to improve our writing techniques.
 
My online friends had some stuff for me to Ooh, Ahh, Ohh over.
 
My first novel in the trilogy demanded I rewrite the query letter.  And again.  The pin is still stuck in my ass to actually submit to Agents.  Rejection is forward progress, ight?
 
My body and soul said I should take a few days to just . . . . . .
 
Pontificating:  to speak about something in a knowing and self-important way.  Loquatious:  talk, talk, talk. 
 
Today was the SHOW ME YOURS blogfest for NaNo writers.  While I didn't participate in NaNoWriMo I totally support this blogfest, because I believe anyone who makes this level of committment to writing should be rewarded. 
 
Sheesh, I really tried to be a dedicated writer over the last two weeks.  I let so many things interfer with my goal though, I wonder; how does a  dedicted writer persevere?  Not just aspiring writers, but  published, several times over.  Where this is the life; the dream achieved.    To get out of bed, exercise, shower,  eat, and head off to the study/office down the hall for the next 6-10 hours of writing.  Just writing.  All day, every day. . .
 
Loquatious:
No exaggeration, I probably talked to about 30 people today; between the phone and face-to-face; clients, co-workers, and partner agencies.  My work day ends at 5p, and although I worked until 6:30p, the calls were still coming in and I refused to pick up the phone so it went to voice mail to deal with tomorrow.  Many of my co-workers know I frequently work to 5:30p, whether or not I put in for paid O/T, and they saved their questions and concernes until I'm (relatively) alone.  I felt like there was a line tonight.  (my Sup signed the overtime requests so quickly I doubt they made an impression on his blotter.)
 
Today - and several days throughout this coming week I'm sure- my desk sported Ruffles plain chips, Diet Pepsi, and red liquorice.  My fav treats while I'm working the problem cases.  Talk talk talk, and tap, tap tap on the keyboard. But tonight, I'm just too drained be loquatious.  When I finally returend home, I read some of my favorite bloggers NaNo first write submissions without commenting.  How rude, I know.
 
Pontificating:
 
Well I did feel self important at my day job today.  Nobody took care of my cases while I was gone, so I spent the morning reminding people who didn't turn in their usual paperwork by 10 day (nevermind) which happend BEFORE I went on vacation, and I called each person individually to remind them I'd be gone after 12/20 (a Saturday) and not back until 1/3 that they may want to turn in all their eligibility info by 12/17, as I expected to process every piece of data I received by 12/18, no matter if I was paid overtime or not.  (I worked a 10 hour day on 12/18 and was only paid for 5.) 
 
 My Supervisor saved seveal items for my direct input today.  The new trainee spent four days talking the ear off every member of our team b/c nobody knew what to do with her (I'm her trainer). Office gossip; if you've never been subject to it . . .
 
I put her to work today.  With supervisor approval of course (he told her her training would start when I got back from vacation.)  Well, not to work.  Observation. 
 
"I'm snappy today because I'm two weeks behind.  You don't want to train with me this morning.  You want to read eligibility manuals (pull out a tape measure and stop at about 5 inches of text), or do you want to sit with this II worker and watch her do general case management?  Oh,pack a legal note pad and take plenty of notes.  I promise, I'll check them later."  Two hours later I heard  her bragging to the II she took 4 pages of notes.  She did thank the worker for her time in answering all her (work related) questions.  I didnt' hear a single word of personal chit-chat I'd been warned the newbie was infamous for.  (Partitions are thin, if you want to know how I know, and I paid intrusive attention.)  I didn't look, much, when she breezed by my desk at 11:59a and showed me her morning's progress. 
 
"Do you write big?"  I asked when she rifled through the notepad and showed off her note taking.
 
"Uh, yeah."
 
"See you after lunch," I said.
 
After lunch, I showed her exactly how much I, as the lead worker, didn't know about a brand new kind of case that none of us had seen since our new software program had been installed in March 2010.  She's transfered from a county that went live with the same program we're using, at the same time.  She did a different job, utilizing the same program applications, just not the indepth usage she is expected in our county.  Confused?
 
Well, I had hoped she could shed some new light on an insistent problem.  Oh well, I'll get there myself; I always do . .
 
Pontificating . . ."espicially when not qualified to do so."
 
By the time she left at 4:30p, on her fourth day of employment, her first day with ME as a trainer; I'm wondering if she'll be back tomorrow.  The last "new hire" is entering her fifth month as my trainee, and says she loves her job . . .
 
Where do I fit?
 
I come late in life to both my writing and my day job.  No Corelation between the two.  Seriously; there's no way to compare writing with eligibility.
 
My heart loves both.
 
My intellect loves both.
 
I am fulfilled with either.
 
Every time my line staff says "OMG that worked exactly as you said it would" I nearly pass out with relief that my years of study have paid off.  I was right.  (The II has been on the job 3 years longer than myeslf; the program manager asked me if I met the minimum qualifications for the III Lead position before he authorized the job flyer.)  I am blessed in my day job position; and I never forget that.  People I respect have had confidence in me.
 
Every time I catch something in a fellow writer's submission that they missed, I feel like maybe I'm a real writer aferall.   Or, if I read it and jut love it and read all the way to he end and think "this shouldent be herre".
 
I learn something from both my day job line staff, and the aspiring writers that submit manuscripts to me for critique.
 
At my writer's group meeting meeting on Saturday (1/1) WE were discussing the meaning of a speific passage.   (The writer/submitter cannot join this discussion) I got a lot of non-verbal out of the segment.  So much of the rest of the excerpt was vague, but intense.   Nothing concret.  I just felt there was more to come.  More that was said "between the lines."   I had my plot suspicions and was willing to wait a couple chapters for author confirmation of my supositions, or a valid response to the planted red herring.  I needed that author trust either way.
 
It turned out the author was "leading" the reader on a specific outcome.  My supposition was vindicated (the author had to tell the group I was right on the money for them to stop arguing how to put forth their perceived concept of the scene plot).  I got it.  I got it!!
 
But I've done a lot more pontification over the last couple years.  3 MGs, 4 YA's, 2 Chick Lit, 1 Mystery/thriller, 2 Steam punk, 1 epic fantasy, and 2 conteporary women's fiction.  And a Historical Ghost story.  I forget this b/c by the time he asked my for my input, it had been submitted to smashwords and published, and my opinion on published works is irrelevant.  I do not critique  unpublished works.  Once you publish - self pub or small press/e-pub; I'm just another reader with a review.  A biased opinion; not valid anywhwhere but your or my exchange.  When I've published my 10th or 20th novel, and Double Day nominates me as the author of the year, you should then value my critique beyond your own writers vision
 
When I assert my opinion in either my day job, or my writing aspirations, I feel as if I'm pontificating.  Basically; talking out my ass.
 
I'm not 100 % sure when I'm right or wrong; except when it comes to my own writing or case management experience.  I know.  I know because I know.  I interpret writing/case management rules in a specific manner.
 
I study.  I experiment.  I risk.  I'm right, or I'm wrong; but I'm never biased or uninformed.
 
In My Own Mind, At Least.
 
Your opinions, of course, are just as valid.  What do you you Think, Feel, envision for your - or anothr's - work in progres?