Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Behind the Bell Swag-the coolest present ever!

Christmas was fantastic. I threw a Christmas Eve party with family and friends. A few people didn't make it but it was still a blast. I'm definitely going to do it again next year.
Christmas day was spent with just my immediate family and that went alright. Visit my livejournal to find out about my awfullest gift.

I must say that all irritation from awful gifts was completely erased by Jenni, out doing herself, again, this year.
I got a Mannheim Steamroller CD along with a picture of a shopping cart. This is a tribute to a former co-worker who tried to give me a stolen, regifted shopping cart in thanks for some Mannheim Steamroller tickets that I won off the radio on the first try after he had been trying all weekend.
She also got me an awesome "friend" frame with a picture of us at her wedding. In which she looks amazing and I look goofy, but I'm keeping it up so people can be in awe of how beautiful Jenni is and they can point and laugh at me.
There were lots of cool pictures, notes and cards that filled the package and some very generous gifts but I have to say the coolest thing was the time and effort that it took her to make a movie about the store that I still work at and Jenni has moved on from. It was nearly a half-hour of cool music, pictures, captions and the most creative thing ever. It's beyond fantastic. I wish I could share it with the world. It deserves an award! I can't imagine how much time it took her to make. And I know she has so little spare time between teaching, grading papers and all the other stuff that's piled on her to do list.
How am I lucky enough to have the absolute best of best friends in the world?

So Christmas is over and New Years is closing in. Work is madness and I'm still recovering from all the dishes and cooking from the last few days. I doubt much more will get done until 2008. I have plans though. I think I have a new writing project to start off the year.

*Since no one but Jenni will get the title. Bell Swag is this hideously ugly Christmas decoration trimming stuff that was painted to match the shoe store's pink carpet. And it is featured in the movie Jenni made.*

Monday, December 24, 2007


I want to thank everyone for the cards and and holiday greetings.
I'm spending today and tomorrow with friends and family. Although, my best friend didn't make it but she sent me another awesome gift to say that she was thinking of me and of course I am thinking of her.
I hope everyone has great things to enjoy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WTF is Wiplebamle? And yes, the holiday stress is getting to me!

It's getting down to crunch time with that holiday business. I'm running around like a mad person so needless to say that writing is not happening. Unless you count the billion lists that I have written in hopes of not forgetting anything.

I'm done with shopping except for a particularly hard gift. It's always impossible to buy gifts for a person when you have no idea how to define your relationship with them and that is where I find myself. I wish the creative side of me would really shine through and it did for a second only to realize that the idea I had was somewhere between out of my price range and way the eff out of my price range.
The person I'm thinking of is a reader and I thought if I could just think of that one most amazing book but after searching the book store for hours, I came out with nothing.
Cash, gift cards, DVDs, CDs all seem too impersonal, unless I could think of something really off the beaten path on the DVD, CD list. Clothes and house stuff seem a little awkward unless once again it was something wicked cool.
I've got nothing. At least I have a few more days before I hopelessly fall back on one of the many 'I didn't know what to get you' gifts.

Also I'm having a Christmas Eve party and some people are already complaining and making ridiculous demands that tell me it's definitely going to be a night filled with stories for my memoirs, Turkey Thievery and other annoying family tales.

In more bummerish news another small book store is going out of business around here. I was able to get the first book in the The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. Someone lent me a prequel to the series, Debt of Bones, that was pretty good so I decided to give the first one a try when I saw it on mucho clearance. When I get around to reading it is another thing. And yes I still remember the stack of unread Tolkien books.

I have two bigger submissions that have to be postmarked by the 31st so I need to get cracking on. The stories are done and have both been through writing group critiques, I just need to proofread them about a billion more times just to be certain, which means I'll be waiting until the last possible second.

And a big congratulations to J.K. Rowling for being runner-up for person of the year. I think it's amazing that a writer had a such an impact on so many people that it would actually put them in the running for being the most influential person of the year.

Now that I've shared my to do list, hopefully there will be some understanding if I don't post again for the next few days. Of course, it's not really unusual when I don't post for awhile so no one would have really think anything of my blog absence. In fact, it's more unusual when I post three days in a row. So right now people must be worried that I've come down with some crazy fever that causes me to write pointless blurbs about my life. I have people, it's called WIPLEBAMLE (WritIng PointLEss Blurbs About My LifE)(yes I just came up with that right this second. Why can't I come up with gift ideas like that?) and there's no cure. I just have to sweat it out. And it comes in unpredictable outbreaks. I've obviously had it before but never knew what it was.

Huh? I think I'm lacking in sleep and maybe overdosing on candy canes, twinkling lights and jolly music. I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The fate of literary magazines

I'm sad. While working on submissions I thought I would check out the latest theme for Writer's Post Journal, the literary magazine that published my interview gone wrong story, Sweaty Palms, over a year ago.

When I got to their site I found they are out of business. I feel bad for them. I always said that if a magazine would publish me I'd get a subscription. Unfortunately, their yearly price was in the $100 range so I settled for buying a few different issues, not to mention a few of the issue with my story. Of course, now I wish I had bought more of both. Not only to help out a literary magazine but also because now I'll never be able to buy more of the issue with my story.

It's discouraging that this is the fate of a lot of small literary magazines that are one of the few places a fiction writer can get a start.

Well on the topic of things gone wrong, visit my livejournal for a great story on how I won't have to worry about sweaty palms at a job interview anytime in the near future.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Where is everybody?

So much for the meeting. I was late, no one else showed up. We communicate mostly through e-mail but I sent them my cell number a few times so I was a little annoyed that no called to say "hey, where are you?" or "sorry, I can't make it". I would have done them that courtesy if I had any of their numbers.
Holiday festivities will fill the next two weeks, after that I'm going back to night shifts. All of which will make it even more impossible to find a time we can all meet. I feel the meetings may be coming to an end. They lasted a lot longer than I expected when we finally managed to start meeting this summer. I should just be thankful that they happened at all because for awhile I doubted even that would happen.
It might be time to look into an online writing group. It makes finding time a lot easier.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Behind the Bahumbug

Once November ends I become a serious slacker when it comes to posting. Sorry, but the holidays keep me running around like a crazy person. Not to mention that my work schedule is crazy due to vacations and major changes.

While I've been working I've gotten tons of work done. I have worked so much on editing Going It Alone, I'm sick of reading it at this point.
I've also gotten a lot of submissions done on a few different things and if I finish up this post in a timely fashion I may continue on them tonight.
And I think we're attempting to have a writer's group meeting tomorrow so I've been finishing up the second half of the story I took last time. Hopefully, we end up meeting.

In other news, my store's Christmas party was today and it was somewhat festive. I've been isolated from everyone lately being at another store and I kind of felt left out. My party going experience became more glum when my boss gave me unfortunate news.
For anyone who doesn't know, we're moving the store, that means we'll no longer be in the place with the green Naugahyde curtains that inspired the title and several events in Behind the Naugahyde.
When I first heard this news I asked if I could have one of the six curtains and my boss said yes. Bonus because not only would I want it for the madness of it but Jenni and I had always thought it would be cool if we ever got Behind the Naugahyde published we could have our book photo taken with us standing behind the curtain. And then that lying butthead told me today I could not have the curtain because he has to return the store in good condition. As if the landlord would care if we removed the ugly green curtains that do not match the ugly pink carpet! Jerk! So now Jenni and I have two weeks, with the holiday madness in full swing, to find time for her to drive up here and take the pictures if we ever want to.
And if Jenni is reading this now it's the first time she's heard this unpleasant news but she knows my boss so she probably expected nothing less.

Just saw: I Am Legend
Just finished reading: Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind
Currently reading: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Newest link added to my sidebar: Melissa Donovan's Writing Forward
Line under blog title changed to: "How's that novel comin'?" (it's why most people find this page and I'm working on a novel(s). It just seemed to fit.)
Craziest google search that lead to this blog in recent days: time after time lyrics harry potter say you

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Just when I thought I was done

I worked all weekend to finish the stuff I mentioned in my last post. When I thought I was done with my Christmas cards, I thought of about ten more people that I needed to send cards to. My address book that had my Christmas card list was saved on the computer that died this summer. Usually I'd try to fill in the blanks by looking at last years cards but I got so few thanks to my address change. Bahumbug.
I also realized I need a cover letter to accompany a resume if I chose to send it out. So I'm not finished like I thought I was.

And while reading through some news this weekend I found an article that shouted Human Decency. Probably a sign that I should get back to work.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Instead of fiction, I'm submitting greeting cards and resumes

Well I missed a day of posting but I'm doing better than I usually do. Unfortunately, the only writing I've been doing today, other than this blog entry, is the personal messages in my Christmas cards. I like to try to say something other than just signing my name. Of course, some people are just getting an obligatory card, like family, and with them I have no idea what to say other than a generic greeting.

I'm finished with my stack of library books so I'm thinking about what to read next. Maybe something Christmas related, although nothing pops into my head.

And I've become a crazy person and spent too much time at work making a playlist for many of my writing projects. I know I need help.

Once again, I'm putting a few finishing touches on a resume as I consider applying for another job. Am I the only person that thinks it's odd that this page or two pages that are suppose to be one of the most professional and impressionistic things a person can create is composed of incomplete sentences and bullet points? How can you really judge if someone is competent by this? It's no secret that resumes are often embellished.
Also it just seems so impersonal. I'd really rather just write a letter that states my case. Here's what I can do and here's why you should hire me to do it. Maybe I should make a stand and do an unconventional resume.
Can anyone tell I'm annoyed by the application process and also very tired right now? Tomorrow's Friday, right?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I finally got around to reading a book that’s been on my list since last year. The author of the book actually shops at the same comic book store I do, or did rather when I could afford comic books. The book, The Forest King: Woodlark’s Shadow, is written by Dan Mishkin and illustrated by Tom Mandrake. For anyone who reads comic books they might remember Mishkin as the creator of DC’s Blue Devil.
It’s a children’s book and it definitely seems like they are planning to make a series out of them. It was pretty short and I got through it fast. Of course, it’s always a change to read children’s novels. They’re paced differently and more simplistic. I always have to remind myself of that when reading.
It was a children’s book and it got me thinking about books I loved as a child, books that still stick in my mind and children’s books that I read now.

I read so much when I was younger. My whole summers were spent reading. And sometimes the books were so obscure I doubt that I’d ever be able to find them again. I would love to list every book in my head that I remember from my childhood. If it’s something I still remember it must have made quite an impression on me.

When I was young I remember reading a lot of Berenstain Bears and of course Dr. Seuss books. I also remember reading a lot of Baby-Sitter's Club books. I didn’t find them interesting at first but my sister had them and it was another book for me to read. I remember my grandparents buying me a few Baby Sitter’s Little Sister books when they bought Baby-Sitter's Club for my sister.

I’d say the year that I really became completely engrossed in reading was 5th grade. I had a teacher, my favorite elementary school teacher, Mrs. Tracy, who really loved to encourage reading. We had lots of reading activities. She would read to us. We’d have book reports and silent reading. I loved it. And I remember she really appreciated how I read so much. She would bring in books from her personal collection that she thought I would like. It’s the first time I can really remember someone doing something thoughtful for me, something that required a person to actually know a little bit about me and take an interest in me. I had never really gotten attention like that before and it meant a lot to me. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I really came to love reading.

Enough of me being sentimental and giving out way too much personal information. That was the year that I read a lot of the stuff that would come to be some of my favorite books. Maniac Magee and Number the Stars were two books that I really liked. I felt like they both had good messages at least for me. Both books to me were about acceptance, which is an issue I struggled with as a child, as I’m sure most people do.

I also loved Louis Sachar books. Sideways Stories from Wayside School and all the books from Wayside School that followed. To me they were some of the most original stories I had heard. I was also a big fan of Holes. And when I was in middle school Louis Sachar came to our school. He signed my books but sadly I have no idea what happened to them. Probably lost with everything else that found its way into the house I inhabited in my youth.

One of the books my teacher gave me was Little Women. And I loved that book. Mostly I related to it a lot because I was definitely one of the more economically challenged kids at school and it was obvious to everyone. The most memorable parts of the book for me were that the girls weren’t rich but they were happy and I felt like my sister was the only one I had growing up. It took me a lot longer to realize it then it ever should have but I know now.

My sister also gave me the Diary of Anne Frank to read in fifth grade. She had read it and gave it to me. I don’t think I really understood everything about it at the time. Maybe I was a little too young to have my attention held by such a long piece of non-fiction. But my sister gave it to me when she heard we were studying World War 2 and the events leading up to it. She thought it would help me.

And yes even in my childhood, I was a big fan of science fiction and fantasy books. One of my favorite authors was John Bellairs. My teacher read us one of his books, The Revenge of the Wizard’s Ghost, and I was hooked. I started reading everything I could find by him. A few years ago I really started thinking about those books. I ended up getting a bunch of them off eBay and rereading them. I eventually ended up doing that with the Wayside books as well as Shel Silverstein poetry books, like Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, which are other books I found that year.

I wish I had the time or the patience to name every book I can remember reading as a kid. Sometimes I feel depressed knowing that I can’t remember more about certain books. I wish I had kept better track of stuff from when I was younger but I didn’t.
Maybe one day I’ll be reading a book to my kids and all of a sudden get an epiphany that I once read that book a long time ago.

Monday, December 03, 2007

It's all very shocking

I bet no one expected this. It's three days since the end of NaBloPoMo and I'm still posting daily. It's weird how something has just popped into my head everyday since then. I can't imagine what I'll have to say tomorrow. Maybe that will be the day that I go back to posting once a week. I always try post at least once a week but more if I can manage. My computer difficulties this year certainly hurt my blog posting.

Anyway, yesterday I was playing on my computer when something hit me. I should make a play list. This is the first time ever that I've had a computer with a working CD drive that can actually stand having music downloaded on it. I know I'm really far behind with technology but I'm to poor to be down with it.
So I went through and made a playlist for Going It Alone. Now I have something to set the mood of my thinking while I edit. Today I plan on making one for Human Decency.
This is cool for me. I really like engrossing myself into the character's world and I do that with music I think they would be listening to. And I didn't have to make a mix tape or attempt to program a multi-disc c.d. player.
I know I'm a loser, but now I wonder if an mp3 player can be far behind for me. Oh if only I had money. For now though, I am very content with my laptop having a soundtrack for my noveling writing.

Well I need to head to work. I know aside from me posting daily what might be more insane is that I'm up early enough to post before work. Lots to do today. I have to get Christmas cards ready and I need to finish the book I'm reading, which is now over do. And there's bills to pay and stuff to clean.
Also I'm a lot bummed when I realized that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix doesn't come out on dvd tomorrow. It comes out next week. I was really looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Better brush up on my Spanish

I had a pleasant surprise. A friend of mine, that I haven't heard from in years because she moved to Mexico, just got an Internet connection. I know, why did I not call her all these years? Well I tried but she doesn't have a home phone. I could only contact her at work and guess what? She's the only one working there that speaks English. So needless to say aside from the long distance charges, there were other difficulties.

We were really close when she moved. She threw my high school graduation open house when my parents refused to. That's how awesome of a person she is. Well that's just one of many great things she did for people.

Anyway, I was extremely sad when we lost touch but luckily for me her sister and my sister work together and that's how I found out she now has e-mail. So I spent the good portion of yesterday writing an e-mail to catch her up on the last few years and of course overloading her with questions about her beautiful family and her new, well not so new anymore, home.

And I was happy to find this morning that she got the e-mail and returned it. She wasn't upset with me for not having called her because as she said, the phone works both ways. (I'm sure somebody else said it first but oh well.)

So other than me having a new pen pal, what does it all have to do with writing? Well the story that I wrote a few years ago, Papa's Little Angel, it's based on my friend and her family. Everything except the sci-fi parts of course. Her daughter could not teleport, to the best of my knowledge. So I have to thank her and her family for inspiring to write a story that got me second place in a writing contest.

And I just wanted an excuse to write about how excited I am to be in touch with her again.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day 2007

I just got back from the local World AIDS day observance. I think this year's was the best yet.
Robert's speech went well, he ended up cutting my opening joke because it was all in the delivery and he wasn't sure that he could deliver when nervous. And I don't blame him because I know I couldn't. He did end up adding in a few of his own bits on the spot but his presentation was moving. I was teary eyed and so were others.

Two of the other speakers were just amazing, Paula and Felix Sirls. I don't think they would mind me mentioning their names since they devote their lives to speaking up about AIDS. They're a married couple who are both HIV positive and they are involved in so many committees and programs that I couldn't even begin listing them all. Their speeches were wonderful. Not only did they speak but the sang and read poetry it was beautiful.
Felix is a writer who has works about being HIV positive and he's had three books of poetry published. I posted the link so that anyone who wants to can check out his work. And if you put their names into a search you can find quite a few different interviews and such by them.
They are amazing people and it was an honor to meet them. I hope our paths cross again.

Here is the speech that Robert gave, before and after some revisions. So it's not exactly the original speech but it's not exactly the speech he gave either.
And since it was about leadership, I just want to ask everyone to please take the time to educate yourself and others about HIV/AIDS, to get tested and encourage others to do so.
Thank you.