Posts

Showing posts from June, 2007

Summer Camp

The manuscript is finished (sort of). I have sent it out to my first readers. Once they return it to me with their notes and comments, there will be another round of edits…hence the “sort of.”

But for the moment, I am without a novel manuscript to work on. Some would say “get to work on the next one” and I will. But for the moment, I’m enjoying the sense of freedom. I don’t have children, but this must be what it’s like when the kids head off to summer camp. Not quite empty nest…they’ll be back soon. Empty nest syndrome is what I’ll feel when I ship my manuscript off to my agent. I’ll be sending my baby off into the cold, cruel world of publishing to face harsh criticism and rejection. But maybe it will find someone who loves it and will nurture it and propose marriage…er…offer a book contract.

We writers do get attached to our manuscripts. And why not? We give birth to them. The gestation period is often longer than for an infant. They make us cry and swear and scream in agony at times…

Watching the World Go By

I'm over at Working Stiffs today writing about the view from my front porch. It's not what you probably think. Come over and read about it.

One Day Vacation

We took yesterday off. After a couple of stressful weeks for me and a couple weeks working overtime for Ray; and after he worked overtime again on Saturday, then mowed yards while I cleaned the house and did a mountain of laundry; after all that, SUNDAY we took off.

With the bike rack loaded on the back of the old Saturn, we headed to our favorite one-day vacation spot. Ohiopyle.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Ohiopyle is a small town nestled in the Laurel Highlands through which runs some of the most popular whitewater in this part of the country. It’s also a state park.

The Youghiogheny Trail runs through Ohiopyle. People often question the fact that we frequently drive two-hours each way just to ride for little more than an hour. Ray prefers riding there than driving ten minutes to the most local bike trail access. Why? Lots of reasons.

First, the drive itself is beautiful. Route 40 is also known as THE NATIONAL PIKE. It was the first national highway and originated back in the…

A Party Animal

Image
There was a time when “going out” for me meant leaving the house at 9:30PM and closing the nightclub with my friends at 2:00AM. That was in the days when I was between the legal West Virginia drinking age of 18 and the legal Pennsylvania drinking age of 21, so my merry little band of partiers would drive to Wheeling, WV. Ah, the adventures I could tell. But I won’t. That’s not what this post is about.

These days I’m more prone to the kind of party that begins at 7PM, is over by 9PM allowing me to be home and getting ready for bed by 10:00. Such was the kind of party I attended last night.

I also won’t write today about the over two-hour drive through rush hour traffic to get to Oakmont or the restaurant that hadn’t even put my sandwich in the oven after a thirty-five minute wait on my part, forcing me to leave without it. It was not an evening for tranquil dining.

I won’t write about that stuff because the party to launch Kathryn Miller Haines’ first novel The War Against Miss Winter was…

Roller Coaster Week

When I was a kid I loved the roller coaster. All those ups and downs and twists and turns sent me into bursts of joyous laughter. I still enjoy the amusement park variety of roller coasters, although my neck can’t tolerate the new super-fast steel coasters. But my life is becoming a roller coaster ride again, and this one, I’m not enjoying so much.

Down: Sammie is still not eating well. In fact, she’s eating less now than before her visit to the vet last week. The tumor under her tongue is preventing her from using her tongue properly. I have to pick up some syringes at the vet’s office and try syringe feeding her next.

Up: Ray finally finished my new book case for the living room. It houses my growing to-be-read collection. Formerly, the books were stacked on the floor in six or seven piles which toppled over frequently. Now, my reading space is neat and clutter-free. There’s even room for more books!

Down: I lost another cousin to cancer this week.

Up: Patty has finally been transfe…

Writing from a Dark Place

Last week I had some dark days. Sammie, my cat who has oral carcinoma, stopped eating. Well, not entirely. But she refused her Fancy Feast moist food and mostly pushed her tuna fish around the bowl while eating very little of it. She picked at her dry food, but left the bulk of it uneaten and soggy from drool. After several months of basically ignoring the inevitable, I assumed that the tumor had finally grown to the point of discomfort and would soon grow to the point where decisions would have to be made.

I made an appointment with the vet, but in the meantime, I spent every available moment with Sammie, coddling and cuddling her.

Tuesday, I attended a Pennwriters meeting where I learned of a call for submissions for inspirational stories for cat lovers. So Wednesday I sat down at my computer and began to pour out Sammie’s story. I figured if it didn’t get accepted, at least it would be something I could hold onto, a remembrance of my kitty girl.

Writing that first draft was like su…

Summer Tinkering

I finished my second draft of DEATH BET this week. Does that mean it’s ready to go to my agent?

Heck no!

I’ll be tinkering with it for another week at least before I send it anywhere and then it’s going to Kristine, my first reader. She’s the first person to get the entire manuscript, chapters one through twenty-three, in one big chunk to be read beginning to end.

Kristine is a fellow crime writer and a sibling or sorts. We both belong to the Mary Roberts Rinehart Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She will look at my work through the eyes of someone who knows about mysteries and plots and characterization.

After I get it back with her notes on what worked and didn’t work, I’ll be back to tinkering. From there I have another group of readers who will look at it from their perspectives as a teacher, a veterinarian, and a horsewoman. The veterinarian’s wife also gets to read it and she’s great at the line edit.

Once those copies come back to me with notes scribbled in the margins, I get to tink…

My Life as an EMT

Today's my day to post over at Working Stiffs. Click over to read about my memories of life on an ambulance service.

Major Progress

My cousin Patty is walking!

Mom and I went to visit her on Sunday. It’s been a couple weeks since we’d seen her, since I’ve been down with the sore throat/coughing/sneezing bug and didn’t want to spread my germs. So Patty’s progress seemed all the more astounding. She’s in much better spirits. She laughs and jokes and keeps up her end of the conversation. She can quote you the entire daytime television schedule. She’s up on all the local gossip. And she’s eager to get back to normal. Whatever that is.

Sometime this week, she will be transferred to a rehab center in Pittsburgh for intensive physical therapy. She’s ready. Her pelvis is finally healed enough to support bearing her weight. They’ve had her up on a walker a little at the Washington County Health Center, but they aren’t equipped for the kind of rehab she needs now.

I imagine Sunday’s visit will be our last one to the Health Center. I won’t miss it. I was surprised how hard it was going back to the place where my dad died. But…

Roger That

Image
I’m on vacation. Or to be more specific, my husband is on vacation. Back in January, when the weather was bitter, we had to try to determine what dates we wanted to list on his vacation request form. If only we had a crystal ball. But without any help to predict the future, it was more like close your eyes and throw a dart at the calendar.

We chose yesterday and today as two of the days he’s allotted annually. And in what’s become a tradition known as the vacation curse, I’ve been sick. At least I’m on the upswing, so it could be worse.

Yesterday, we went to the movies.

I had seen Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End back on May 25, the day it was released. I know there have been mixed reviews and not everyone is as enthralled with it as I am, but I loved it. Okay, I admit it. As long as Johnny Depp is up there mugging, I’d be happy. And as a writer who struggles to achieve accuracy, I confess there are many moments when the viewer must suspend their grasp on reality. Or even likeli…

One Year and Counting...

Writing, etc. is one year old today! Happy anniversary to me!

A year ago I launched this blog with no idea of where it was going. Most days that’s still true. But along the way I’ve picked up some new readers. I do track such things, so it’s nice to see the numbers growing slowly, but steadily.

A year ago I feared I would run out of things to write about. Ha! I need not have worried. Life keeps providing me with more than enough material on a wide range of subject matter.

I always enjoy hearing from my readers, everyone from family members near and far to folks I have never met, but feel like I have. I’m grateful for those of you who post comments as well as those who email me. Please stick with me.

Shortly after I began this journey a year ago, I signed with my agent and anticipated that my blog would be filled with tales about the path to publication. In a sense it has been. I’ve learned that the path to publication involves a lot of waiting. And writing. And waiting. And dealing with…

Toncillitis and assorted stuff

I’m sick. I hate being sick. I especially hate being sick in the summer. Or spring. Or whatever season we’re in right now.

As you can probably tell, I’m a tad crabby.

I suspected something was coming on Tuesday evening, a suspicion that was confirmed when I did not sleep a wink Tuesday night and got up Wednesday morning feeling like I’d been hit by a bus that then backed up over me, shifted into Drive again and mashed me a third time. Everything hurt. I had a yoga class to teach that night and was actually grateful when only two students showed. Especially considering who the two students were. I knew they would be content with a restorative class, so that’s what we did.

I was a bit concerned because I had a really full day scheduled on Thursday. But I had a reprieve and felt pretty good after a full eight hours of sleep Wednesday night. The bad part is that I think the Universe was giving me a Get Out of Jail Free card and I passed on it. I’m sure if I’d just taken it easy Thursday, I…

Teaching an Old Cat New Tricks

Image
Lots of folks have been asking me about Sammie. She’s doing great. The symptoms I noticed a few weeks back have disappeared. Or were never really there in the first place. Paranoia is part of the process when you have a cat with cancer. We continue the regimen of piroxicam every other day with cimetidine for her stomach.

That she’s still alive is incredible. That she’s still free of symptoms is nothing short of a miracle.

However, I find myself with a bit of a situation. It’s summer (maybe not on the calendar, but we all know it’s true). We have a camper. Hubby has vacation days.

Two years ago, my dad was still at home and we couldn’t leave mom with the burden of caring for him. So we didn’t go anywhere. Last year, we got away twice. The first time, it rained most of the trip. The second time, we had to deal with Ray’s broken foot.
Suffice it to say that it’s been a few years since we really had a vacation.

And now we have Sammie who needs meds every other day. There is no one who can …