Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nano 2012 Update

So far so good. Four days into the month and I find I'm keeping up with the word count.

Don't know for how long, though, as the roads get bumpier and we're go, go, go, non-stop until after January. But I'm hanging in there, hopeful. Got a plan and so far I'm having a blast.


Smiling me
 
But it's only the beginning, so I'm sure somewhere along the line my poor hubby is going to scream for help, for someone to save him from the dragon lady I'm sure to become.


Pretty tame, isn't it? Ha!


So I'll leave you guys with the thought that one should never, ever give up on one's dreams.

 Happy writing!




Monday, October 22, 2012

Nano 2012

I did it! I really did! I signed up for Nano 2012!



Nano stands for National Novel Writing Month and the goal is to write a 50K novel (of course you can do more!) in 30 days.



Here's a link in case you would like to join me in such a crazy endeavour: National Novel Writing Month. Oh yes, I know it's crazy. Specially with our schedule. But I'm looking forward to the experience and the craziness and the results.


I've been reading quite a bit on how to prepare for it. There is tons of advice out there for newbies and even experienced Nano participants. From what I've gathered, between the dire predictions of 30 sleepless nights and completely alienating one's family, it's a good thing to have as loose an outline as one is comfortable with, some character development and all the provisions required to hunker down for 30 days of absolute madness. Sounds like a jolly good time, doesn't it?




So how about it? Are you planning to participate? Why or why not? And if you are, are you a newbie? Do you have any tips to share with us?

I love hearing from you guys!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Crocodile in the Living Room!

A crocodile where? What?
A couple of days ago I read a post by talented author Joanne Wadsworth while she was vacationing in Fiji. She mentioned how she was forced to play the hero by her young son (her husband was conveniently unavailable at that moment) to a couple of frogs stranded in a small rowing boat. Her tale made me laugh because, of course, she is not fond of frogs.
I thought I would share a tale that to this day, not only makes me smile and laugh, but I always bring up when we’re swapping stories at a family gathering. Well, okay, one of many…but I’m sure that’s normal, right?
Our house in Costa Rica (for those of you who don’t know, I was born and raised there) had a formal living room for entertaining. My Mom hosted plenty of Thursday Tea Group meetings, where the ladies would knit or crochet, and Friday Group meetings, where a different group would play card games and share anecdotes. This living room was off-limits as a kid because of all the treasures it held.
Where was I? Oh, yes! The crocodile…
One afternoon I was playing in my room when I heard screaming and a ruckus. A rushed out to see what was going on and there was my Mom, usually so calm (she’s a nurse so she handles emergencies well), screaming like a banshee. “A crocodile! There’s a crocodile in the living room!”

Crocodiles from Crestock.com


Even at the tender age of eight, I knew there was no way there could be a crocodile in the living room. Right? I mean, we do have them down there, but not in the capital. But from that to finding one inside the house. Maybe in a movie, but not in real life. Dad was at work and all my brothers were in school or out, and the maids were trying to calm my Mom. I was so curious I just had to go and see what monster lurked in the living room.

So I walked into the room expecting some huge creature to jump out and attack, but there was no animal in sight. Obviously relieved but still curious, I set forth to explore the dangerous terrain comprised by antique furniture, priceless porcelain figurines and a plush white area rug where feet had been known to disappear within the cushiony clumps of fabric.

Cute dragon from Crestock.com




It was here that I found my Mom’s crocodile. Carefully I parted clumps of fabric and scooped up a small garden lizard that had wandered into our home. I was laughing all the way back to the kitchen where my Mom waited. She hasn’t lived that one down yet.

Child holding lizard from Crestock.com






How about you? Do you have any monster stories to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Look Challenge

The Look Challenge

I've been tagged in The Look Challenge by fellow author and friend Noree Cosper. Here's the way it works: You take your current manuscript and find the first instance of the word "look". Then you post the surrounding paragraphs as an excerpt of the book on your blog. Lastly, you tag five more blogging authors who you think might be a good choice for the game.

I'm working on the first draft of Dangerous Masquerade, a historical set in England, and this is what came up:


The desk was a disarray of papers and other odd objects. Holding a hand close to the flame,she leaned over to take a better look at the papers. Notes, cargo manifests, lists and moreblank papers than anything else, all strewn in a careless manner as if to denote a busy person.

She chewed on her lower lip for a moment. It had been a long shot to think that Carter would keep any incriminating documents around, but it had been worth a try. She could only hope that John had better luck.

A squeaking door and loud voices sent her heart racing and she gasped in surprise. Instinct had her closing her hand over the candle to extinguish the flame and fanning the air with her hands to disperse the resulting smoke. She hurried to the curtains and touched along the window edges to find the latch. She mouthed a silent thank you as she pushed the window open without a sound and slipped out.


Anyway, my chosen five authors are:

Karen Einsel

Katherine Bone

CC MacKenzie

Charity Parkerson

Blue Remy

Hope you guys have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse


Thought about it, have you?

Zombie from Crestock.com


The dead walking. Towards you. With only one purpose, which is to tear at you and eat you. Creepy, right? Scary? Mmmmm… Now, don’t smirk, but there are people out there totally prepared for a catastrophe of this type. There are even Zombie kits for sale on the internet. Not to mention the people that actually dress up as zombies and take drugs to enhance the zombie experience.



I’m a fan of The Walking Dead, a show about, you got it, zombies. Last week we got the second season and watched it. Loved it. Can hardly wait for the third season that starts in October. That got me thinking. Yes, I know, that’s plain dangerous in itself.

Cartoon Zombies chasing terrified young woman from Crestock.com



I thought: what if? What if it actually happened? Where would we go? What would we do if suddenly there were hundreds, thousands of zombies milling around looking for someone to much on? And we can’t forget those great examples of human nature that would scavenge and steal and probably kill you for a can of beans. That’s even scarier.
 
Zombie scout muching on human ear from Crestock.com




Weather can get crazy sometimes. Ice storms, blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes, you name it. In the truck we carry bug out bags full of goodies to keep us alive for 5 to 6 days should we get stranded or stuck somewhere due to extreme weather or a natural disaster. We figure that is enough time for help to arrive.
 
Lightning by Melissa Bowersock


Bug out bag



My husband kinda looked at me funny when I brought it up. I just wanted to know the small details like where to meet if separated and have an action map to act as a guide. So the roof of the school nearby is our first choice. We go from there. It’s a start, right?
 
Zombie aftermath from Crestock.com


What about you? Whether it’s a natural disaster, some disease epidemic or a zombie attack, are you prepared to survive? If so, what have you done so far? What would you do?
I’d love to hear from you!



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Getting Older



Silly me

Ever feel the image looking back at you from the other side of the mirror doesn’t quite look how you feel? Ha! Happens to me all the time. The face staring back at me smiles and even laughs, and that makes me feel better. 
When I was younger, I used to say that I would greet my wrinkles as old friends and hold them close to my heart, badges of courage, wrought by all I had experienced. Yet I still look for them closely when I glance in the mirror and feel relieved when I find none. I know they’re coming; can’t hold them off forever, right? Until then, I will use my eye cream religiously.

Never leave home without them


Yesterday I spent most of the day in our storage unit in Dallas, moving stuff around and organizing. I had a certain amount of space available in my car and wanted to use it wisely. I found some unwanted visitors in termites and had to do a lot more cleaning, repacking and organizing than I thought.

Termites - Yikes!


It was 105ยบ and there was no air circulation inside that storage unit. Even though I had brought some water and soda with me, I stayed too long, telling myself I was almost done. My car is now piled high with everything and anything from kitchen utensils (some of which we have already replaced), clothes, baseball cards…yes, everything we just can’t live without. Stop grinning. I have to be very careful every time I open a door –including mine! So much for organizing.

Unloading nightmare



Woman picking up heavy box from Crestock.com

So today I’m paying for all that unusual physical activity that I did yesterday without any problem. Yes, folks, not eighteen anymore. Muscles are sore, lower back is signaling a warning that there might be more than a little twitching later on if I continue on this path (movement, that is) and all I want to do is take a couple of pain pills, lie back and relax instead of beginning my 12 hour drive back home to Georgia.

The funny thing is that my brain would like to ignore all these signals and messages from my body. Maybe that’s why they seem to be getting louder?
So what about you? Do you have any aches and pains that appear out of nowhere? How do you feel about getting older?
I would love to hear from you.





Monday, July 23, 2012

Spoiled Rotten


Hi, there. Hope everyone has been staying cool and hydrated while temperatures have been soaring.
Both my kids have grown up and moved away. Now I have three Chihuahuas, two female and one male, that keep me quite busy.

Shakes, T-Bone & Betsy Lou Lou

Shakes was my gift for Valentine’s Day in 2008 and she’s the oldest of the trio. She was the runt of the litter they were selling at a gas station down the street in Red Oak, TX. She took to life as a trucker dog from the first day. Her little black and white furry face is so cute and when she’s happy and excited she gives this little side jump, like she just got an electric shock. She’s like my shadow and never leaves my side. Shakes is Miss Prim and Proper, always polite and she’ll use her paw to ask for permission to get under the blankets with you or jump on your lap or ask for treats. And if you’re not careful, she’ll lick your face fast as lightning and her tongue will reach your brain. Yes, I’m not kidding!

My Shakers!


Betsy Lou Lou was a rescue from the pound in Mesquite, TX. She was sick and infested with fleas and her breath was rotten and she farted. One hip was caved in, we don’t know if from a car accident or abuse. You guessed it: Richard brought her home. And it was love at first sight. After  several baths, a botched spay (the poor thing had already been spayed but she was so thin they couldn’t tell!) and a deep teeth cleaning that left her with only two teeth, Betsy made herself at home in our hearts. Although in the beginning we thought she was around three years old, the vet was able to estimate her age between six and eight years because of the state of her teeth. Her fur was a very light tan and she had the longest neck. She used to rest her head against my chest and then rub it back and forth in the sweetest caress. She loved to sit in the sun and never seemed to get enough. Last September there was an awful accident and we had to put our Betsy Lou Lou to sleep. I was there with her til the last moment. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We were so lucky to have her, even if it was only for two and a half years.

Don't they look cute?



Betsy Lou Lou and her long neck




T-Bone came along right before we lost Betsy. We had stopped at a rest area in Arizona to walk Shakes and Betsy. Out of this falling-apart van came out a herd of puppies and it was as if we were the ones on a leash and T-Bone was pulling us towards him. The rest is history. He just turned a year old in June and had a growth spurt that caught us by surprise. He’s very lovable and simply can’t stand for us to be upset with him. He’ll lick us to death until we tell him he’s a good boy.


T-Bone Willy as a wee one



Getting bigger!



And just about a month ago, I walked into the PetSmart in Acworth, GA to buy some puppy pads for the truck. They were holding an adoption event and I just stopped by to take a peek at all the beautiful animals. There were these three chocolate Chihuahua puppies that caught my eye. They were so adorable! Of course I just had to tell Richard. And surprise, surprise, guess what I got for Father’s Day? Priceless, isn’t it? But Richard got to pick the puppy and that’s how we got our precious Daisy Mae Mae.

Daisy Mae Mae
 
Lazy thing!





And these are my babies. They require lots of love and patience and work and sometimes drive me crazy with their little quirks, but it’s those quirks that make them unique and part of the family. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

How about you? Do you have a pet that is special to you? I’d love to hear your comments and what makes your pet such a great companion.






Friday, June 29, 2012

Angels & Fallen Angels

Hi, everyone! As I began my driving shift the other evening, there were ominous clouds across the horizon in the direction we were heading. I figured it was going to be an interesting night what with the rain, lightning and thunder. 
I said a little prayer for safety and this got me thinking about angels. I’m always calling on angels for help. Everyone has their own Guardian Angel, the one who looks after your soul. That little voice you hear sometimes when you’re at a crossroads or making a tough decision –some call it conscience-, that gut feeling you get about something being not quite right. Hmmm…I have to admit suddenly becoming deaf  every now and then, if you know what I mean.




And do you remember that cartoon Tom & Jerry, where Tom, the cat, would have a good angel on one shoulder and a bad angel (usually a red little devil) on the other shoulder, giving him opposite advice? Talk about the internal battles about doing the right thing or taking a pass at not doing anything, or actually doing a deed we know is not right. 




A very good friend of mine who knows a lot about angels, told me that there were also angels with other purposes: white angels for peace (we knew that!), green angels for health, yellow angels for clear thinking and inspiration, orange angels for mechanical stuff and so on. I believe this speaks highly of delegation, don’t you think? 



And then we have those Fallen Angels we read so much about, the really bad ones, that behave like demons but are not; and the not so bad ones that have some redeeming quality and whose soul might be saved by self-sacrifice or some quest. Sound familiar? There are so many books out there that use this premise.




What about you? Do you believe in angels? Do you have any interesting stories about them? I’d love to hear about them!






Thursday, May 17, 2012

Costa Rica Trip 2012

COSTA RICA TRIP

Hello everyone! A couple of weeks ago I went back to Costa Rica to visit family and friends. I hadn’t been back since 2005, and OMG, the changes in those 7 years!
To mention just a few: cleaner air (newer and better buses!), tons of new construction and businesses, and an impressive system of new and improved highways. This latter impressed me so much I actually got behind the wheel of a car after 13 years of abstinence. What can I say, after driving in Dallas and Atlanta and up and down the U.S. in a big rig, I don’t know why I was afraid to before. I had a blast!

Even though I visited for only 4 days, I was able to cram all sorts of activities into this short time. Who needs sleep, right?
I spent lots of time with family. Stayed at my brother Ricky’s house and got reacquainted with nieces and nephews and even a great-nephew whose a cutie pie! 
Brother Ricky and me
 Flory, one of my best friends, picked me up Friday afternoon. She has a small business and had some errands to run, so we figured we’d catch up on the go. Ha! It ended up being a 4-hour Central Valley tour (I lost count of how many cities we went through!) that was incredible. It allowed me to see just how much the country has changed since I moved to the U.S.

High school classmates
 Saturday evening I had a high-school class get together with lots of good conversation, music and  food.                            


Ana Lucia and me
 Sunday was a crazy day. Had lunch at Los Anonos, one of my favorite restaurants ever! Going there has been a family tradition for over 45 years. And we always order the same dish! 
                                           
                                                                   



My brother dropped me off later at one of my sister-in-law’s home and spent the afternoon visiting more family.
The evening I spent with my Stepmom and my other brothers and sister. We had some BBQ ribs. I really enjoyed my time with them. It’s never enough! Funny how everything revolves around food, right? I swear I didn’t stop eating from the moment I landed.                                                        
Monday, my last day, we went to Puntarenas for some beach and food. Stopped at Puerto Caldera on the way and got my feet wet.                     

             And we couldn’t leave without having one of our famous “granizados”, kind of like a snow cone on steroids, at the “Paseo de los Turistas”, the Tourist Walk.
                                                                                                                 

Would you believe that what little shopping I did, mostly for food again, was late Monday evening? I got back home Tuesday needing a vacation from my time off! Talk about time management.

How about you? Where have you traveled lately? Where are you planning to go next? Would love to hear from you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Hell Hounds Snippet





Drest dropped his cloak of shadows and stood still for a moment, eyes black as coal scanning the area. His tall frame was all dark planes and corded muscle; a shadowy outline against the semi-darkness of the alley. He stepped forward, revealing his presence to the demon that was hunched over its victim.

“Hell Hound!” the demon hissed and spat as he backed away from the body. “You stray far away from home!”

“I am not the one who strays, demon,” Drest responded, his tone scathing. He had been tracking demons for the past month, and he was tired and in a foul mood. He watched the hideous creature sway back and forth, restless. “You seem nervous and need not be.” He kept his voice steady but all his senses were on alert. This one did not hunt alone. “I have but come to fetch you home.”

“Prison!!” shrieked the demon, his eyes glowing red . He made a weak attempt at swiping the air with his bloody claws, but maintained a safe distance.

“But home to the likes of you.” He held out a hand in warning and the demon froze. “Do not mistake my intent! Choose to return or destruction.” His other hand went to his hip, where a coiled whip rested. Crafted from the thick darkness of Erebus, the whip was one of Drest’s favorite weapons, easy to wield and lethal. “Kali! You may come out of the shadows!” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the demon Kali detach itself from the wall to his left. Slithering slowly, she made her way to her husband’s side, her eyes promising a thousand deaths.