Reading, Writing & Other Addictions

Facing Reality Through Fiction

Writing Contest

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Okay, all my NaNoWriMo friends.  You have finished your novel. Now you are wondering, what’s next.  Well, I found a contest on Twitter called “Dear Lucky Agent.” This contest is for Sci-Fi and YA novels.  You just mention the contest twice through social media, and then submit the first 150-200 words of your unpublished book-length work, including your email, links to the social media you used, your name (real name, not nom de plume, please), the title and a one-sentence description of your book (aka logline or pitch).

You could win a critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work by an agent!

This contest ends January 31,start entering!

To find out more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/a8msdw2.

Good luck!

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A Busy Couple of Weeks

LB_decorates2010

Okay, here is an update.  I finished NaNoWriMo! 50,000 words written in November. My novel isn’t finished but I’m going to try to finish it before January.  I have the “You’ve Won” graphic, but it’s on my laptop and I’m not on my laptop right now.

I did get sick by the end of November and had to force myself through the last 4,000 words.  My mom thinks it’s because I was running myself ragged and then trying to stay up half the night writing.  You see I have a full-time job and I also petsit. This year I have been at other people’s homes more than mine.  This requires a lot of driving and I never sleep well at other people’s houses.  I was at someone else’s house over Thanksgiving and that’s were I got sick. Plus I have a cat of my own (which is why there is a lot of driving).

My cat hadn’t been feeling well, so I took her to  the vet and she was diagnosed with diabetes.  By the time the tests had been run I was at someone else’s house again (Dec. 1-9). I went back to check on her on Tuesday, and noticed blood in her urine.  I had Bible study that night, so I had several groups praying for my cat, while I freaked out for the rest of the week, not knowing what to do since I was at someone else’s house.

On Friday, I took her back to the vet and he confirmed that she had an infection, though there was no blood in her urine.  I give God the credit for that.  The vet pumped her full of penicillin and gave her antibiotics.  I also got the prescription for insulin and syringes, which I will be filling today or Wednesday and making another appointment with the vet to learn how to jab my cat with needles.

Also, I have stopped petsitting. I’ve contacted all my clients and even canceled the job I had over Christmas.  She understood that I need to take care of Little Bit.

Anyway, it’s been a busy, emotionally draining two weeks.  The most fun I had was when my niece and I went to two movies.  I was sick and overdid it, which made me worse, but I did have fun. Right now, I’m just happy to be home.  Little Bit is happy too.  She didn’t stop purring all evening, and even took her pill well.

Thank you Lord for taking care of her when I could not. Please help me to learn how to take care of her now that she has this disease.

Please keep Little Bit in your prayers.

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40,000 Words and Counting

For the sake of National Novel Writing Month I have successfully switched off my inner editor and have been able to write 40,000 words so far this month. (I am tired. I am also starting to speak in a West Texas accent whenever anyone asks me about the book.

I have also realized the old adage “Write what you know” must be correct, because it doesn’t matter what I start writing about, my characters turn out to resemble someone I know, or have habits that I myself have. I have also realized that God tends to pop up in my writing as well.  It’s natural for my characters to pray and go to church because that is what I do.

Well, for the past two weeks I have been living in an imaginary town, dealing with imaginary problems, proving once again that the life inside my head is so much more interesting than the life I actually lead.  Move over Walter Mitty.

Let’s just hope that I’m not deceiving myself in my writing ability, because I would love to someday put this imaginary world of mine to good use.

Question: What can a game warden do if he believes the sheriff and one of his deputies murdered a man, but he has no proof, because the sheriff and his deputy are the ones gathering the evidence?

Pages: 150

Word Count: 41,151

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Desperately Want to Go Back

Okay, so I’m writing.  And I hit a snag.  So I sit there and stare at my computer screen. The blank space that follows my last word mocking me. And I keep thinking. I want to go back and read what I’ve already written in order to see where the next logical step is.  But I know that if I do that, I will end up editing, and that’s not the point of NaNoWriMo. The point of NaNoWriMo is to move forward. Constantly move forward. I will not go back and check my work.  that can wait until December. I must move forward.  I will not go back.

Pages: 52

Word Count: 14,423

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Curse You Paying Job

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cramped fingers

Sore back

Apartment littered with empty boxes of Chinese takeout.

Mind that cannot stop thinking about the next word that goes down on the page.

Like most of it so far, but can’t go back and change anything, yet. Not during NaNoWriMo.

I forgot how wonderful it felt to just sit down and write all day.  Oh, I got up every now and then to stretch and walk around the apartment when I was unsure of what to write next.

I am writing my novel in an accent.  A West Texas accent so I have a lot of practice. But by Sunday when I called some of the ladies in my Bible Study, I realized that accent was coming out of my mouth on the phone.

The first thing I thought this morning, after “how long can I stay in bed until I really have to pee, and why did I have a dream about working in a convenience store like I did when I was in college” was I left Joanie confused, Max angry, Eddye cooking dinner, and Will was about to come over.  Should I end the chapter now or have the meal and the nighttime confession before I start the next chapter. Dilemma.  And one I can’t solve until tonight.

Maybe I should have asked for November off.

Pages: 37

Word Count: 10,024

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NaNoWriMo–Day 1

Okay, here it is!  The first day of NaNoWriMo, and my first year to try to write a 50,000 page book in one month.  I have warned my friends (not that they’ll remember) and my family (my parents will remember) that November is off limits because I’m going to be writing.  I’ve finished most of my character profiles, my synopsis and a rough outline, jotted down some good notes as far as the duties of a game warden (one of my characters is one of these) and hunting seasons. And if I get stuck on something I’ll just call my dad who used to be friends with a game warden and has lots of stories.  I’ve even worked ahead on my Bible Study.

Goals for today:

  • post synopsis on NaNoWriMo site
  • write roughly 2,000 words

Things to expect in the future:

  • strange questions posed on Facebook and Twitter about hunting, cotton farming, cattle raising and word options
  • strange phone calls to family and technical support
  • practical famine, followed by binging on junk food and gaining weight
  • weekends that don’t see me out of my pajamas

Thanksgiving is going to be tough. I may have to take some days off at the end of the month to finish.  However, right now, I’m just going to concentrate on starting.

Wish me luck.  And if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, best of luck to you.

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Virtually Uneventful

ImageTuesday, October 3

Heard scratching above office ceiling

Curious

Put chair on desk and climbed up

Raccoon

Scared him more than me

Never knew raccoons hissed

Fell off chair

Fell off desk

Rode in ambulance

Sixteen stitches

Facebook status: My office has 36 ceiling tiles

 

ImageFriday, November 10

Walking into store to get groceries

Gunshots

Everyone hit the pavement

Bullet hole

Too close for comfort

Questioned by police

Interviewed by reporter

Two dead

One injured

Will need to replace fender

Before Dad sees

Facebook status: I forgot to get grapes at store

 

ImageSunday, December 24

Driving home for Christmas

Construction

Decide to take alternate route

Flat tire

Swerving in and out of my lane

Finally get pulled over

Broken jack

No spare

Dead phone

Present transfer

Friendly tow truck driver

Facebook status: Merry Christmas!

 

ImageSunday, December 31

Reviewing Facebook page

Discouraged

 To think nothing ever happens

Resolved

To live more exciting life next year

Run marathons

Try extreme sports

Distracted by cat

Nope, opossum

In house through cat door

Exterminator closed

Call police

Call animal control

Call Dad

Pack up cat

Head to parents

Facebook status: My life is virtually uneventful.

 

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To Be or Not to Be…a Cougar

I’m not.

Okay, here is the story that has caused a little controversy with some of my FB friends. This Monday, while I was sitting at home minding my own business, cutting up a Black Forest Cake that looked like my cat slept on it and making it into a trifle while watching “Major Crimes,” my 19-year-old neighbor (I use the term neighbor loosely, he lives in the next complex) knocked on my door.  He had injured his head and wondered if he could have a wet washcloth or something because he thought he was bleeding.  He was, but not much.  I let him in and got him a wet paper towel, and told him that he probably would want to put an icepack on it when he got home.  Then he started asking me questions.  Our conversation went a bit like this:

He glanced at the television, which was still on and asked, “So, what kind of shows do you like?”

“I like murder mysteries, but not the dark kind.  I like the ones with a bit of comedy in them.”

“So like 21 Jump Street?”

I had though he meant TV shows, since my TV was on, and I wondered why someone that looked so young would be referencing a TV show that was popular in the early 90s.  Then I remembered that it was recently turned into a movie. “I haven’t seen that movie yet, but I do like Channing Tatum.”

“So are you married?”

“No.”

“Divorced?”

“No, I’ve never been married.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“Nope.”

“Do you have friends?”

“Of course, I have friends.” Who did this guy think I was? A hermit?

“Any guy friends.”

“Yeah, I have guy friends. I don’t hang out with them as much as my girl friends, but I have them.”

“No, I mean, guy friends with benefits?”

Color me clueless, but I still wasn’t getting it.  “No, I don’t do that.  It’s against my religion.”

“Are you a Christian?”

Wow! He got it without having to ask.  I guess we Christians aren’t doing such a bad job being in and not of the world.  “I am, and my life and my body belong to God.  If I ever get married, my body will belong to my husband, but right now, it’s God’s.”

“Do you want to hang out Friday night?”

I thought, why in the world would a cute, young guy like this want to hang out with me on Friday night. He should be hanging out with people his own age. So jokingly, I said, “Oh honey, I am way too old for you.”

He put his hand to his chest and tapped his heart.  “No, you’re not.”

Still, didn’t get it. “Yeah, sweetie, I’m pushing 40.  I’m 36-years-old.”

We went on to talk about magazines and soccer, which is when I found out he was nineteen.  When I walked him to the door, he hugged me.  And it wasn’t until he left that I thought, he asked some pretty personal questions.  Was he hitting on me?  I should have mentioned I have an 18-year-old niece.

I still don’t know if he was flirting with me, or not, but I’m choosing to be flattered, and if I ever see him again, I’ll mention my niece.

I don’t think I’d make much of a cougar.  I’m way too clueless.

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Computers, Cats and Cars, Oh My!

This July, I took the first vacation I’ve had in a long time where I actually left town and it didn’t deal with anyone getting married or dying.  I went to Galveston with my mother for just a few days to hang out and relax.  The week before I left my brother and his family came to visit me at my apartment complex and swim in the pool.  Now, I had adopted my brother’s ex-wife’s cat Ranger a little over a year ago, right before they split.  So, Kent was sitting in my living room with the cat on his lap and he asked me, “Does Ranger not purr anymore?”

I said, “Of course he purrs.”

Kent replied, “Just not as loud?”

I started to think about it and he was right. Ranger had been quieter the last couple of days.  The wax in his right ear had also been bothering him, and I had been cleaning it out every day for almost a week.  He had also not been as playful the last couple of days.  So the Friday before I left on vacation, I decided to take him to the vet (Kent’s family was there on Wednesday for the 4th of July).  Ranger was indeed running a fever so the vet gave him some antibiotics and something for his ear. Ranger was also given a cortisone shot, as I had said he was lethargic.  Ranger bounced back and was doing fine.  On Tuesday, I gave him some of his medicine and commented that he probably wouldn’t need anymore.  I packed my car and went on vacation.

When I returned home that Friday, Ranger wasn’t doing well at all.  He looked and felt like he had lost weight. He wasn’t moving well, and he wasn’t eating.  I called my niece who had looked in on them while I was gone and she confirmed that he hadn’t eaten a lot or moved around a lot while I’d been gone.  I gave him some of his antibiotic and waited to see if he would eat anything.  He didn’t. So Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, I put him in the car and called my vet, letting them know I was on my way.  They took blood and urine and said it was probably one of two things: diabetes or a urinary tract infection.

Heavy of heart, I went to work on Monday and thirty minutes into the day my computer died.  Not crashed.  DIED.  They worked on it all morning and then said I needed a new one, which I didn’t get until almost 4 p.m.  So after a wasted work day and three increasingly impatient calls to my vet. I headed over to his office to pick up some special food a co-worker had told me about that was supposed to be good for diabetic cats.  It didn’t work.  Ranger still wouldn’t eat. And none of my begging or pleading with him seemed to work. He also wan’t drinking.  He was dehydrated. I tried to force feed him some water, but he threw it up.

Tuesday morning, he looked like death, and I was scared.  The vet called and let me know that the test confirmed that Ranger had developed diabetes, and I would need to schedule his first injection so they could teach me to do the injections from home.  He said bring him in on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.  I told him Ranger still wasn’t eating and he already looked like he was dead.  He was barely moving.  The doctor told me to keep giving him the antibiotic, but I had run out of the antibiotic that morning.  So I stopped by his office on my way home from work to pick up a refill.  I scheduled Ranger’s first injection for Thursday at 8 a.m. as that was the soonest time they gave me.

Wednesday morning I gave Ranger his meds. He barely moved.  He was so thin and weak.  His skin was just sitting on his bones.  But he was getting his injection tomorrow morning, I told myself, and then everything will be fine.  He will get better.  He just needs to make it through one more day…but he didn’t.  His poor little body couldn’t take it.  And he was gone by the time I came home from work.  My precious, easy-going little guy was gone.  I blamed myself.  I blamed the vet.  All he needed was one more day.  He was getting injections on Thursday.  He would get better on Thursday.  Just one more day.  I called in sick that Thursday and mourned my guy.

A week to the day after he died.  I celebrated my birthday (not a significant birthday, just a birthday). And two days later, my car overheats in traffic.

Moral of the story: Don’t go out of town.

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Driven

A co-worker of mine has recently encouraged me to try and get some of my poems published, or even self-publish a book of my poems and at least give them to my mom as a gift.  I don’t know if I will do that, but I have been reading through the poems I have written in the last few years.  I ran across this one, which was inspired by  the times when my family drove from Central Missouri to West Texas to see my grandparents.  As I am currently planning a road trip with my mother, this poem seems like a perfect one to share.

The poem is aptly titled–

 

Driven

To distraction

By your constant whining.

No, we’re not there yet.

Please stop playing with the radio.

 

To Confusion.

By your navigation

I don’t have another left.

What do you mean we’re on a toll road?

 

To Insanity

After 12 hours with no bathroom break.

I’ve really got to pee.

No I can’t make it 50 more miles

 

To Murder

Everyone else in the car.

There’s a shovel in the trunk

No one will even notice you’re gone

 

To Grandma’s house

Barely able to walk inside

It’s lovely to see you.

We’re never leaving.

 

 

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