Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

It's New Year's Eve - time for 2007 resolutions. I've thought a bit about mine and since I can't stand failure, I haven't exactly made them impossible. But they'll definitely require some work:

1. Make two new book sales. (It has to happen folks, two books a year is the only way a full-time career will be born)
2. Improve diet and add some exercise. (Technically, this is self-defense, since I need more writing time and fattening foods make me sleep more)
3. Take time each week to work on organization until my household is an efficient machine and I don't search for hours for items I know I have before rushing out to buy them and finding them two days later
4. Work at being more fun and less serious. (This one's a long shot, but what the hell)

So what about you? Are you willing to take the challenge and put your resolutions in print for all the world to see? December 31, 2007, I'll pull them from archives and see how we all did.


Friday, December 29, 2006

The White Light Dawns

I had that moment this morning - that moment that I'm always waiting for whenever I'm writing a rough draft. It's that exact time when my mystery plot is finally revealed to me, the writer, and all of a sudden the sky clear's and bright light shines down from the heavens. Unfortunately, historically, this only happens when I'm approaching the end of my rough draft. So I spend most of my rough draft writing time wandering around in a fog of red herrings and plotting based on who I think the bad guy is at the time.

Then that moment happens and changes everything. Suddenly, I have a plot that won't make people weep with agony. I have a plot that might even measure up to the first book. I have a plot that I would be happy to read - and I'm no easy reader to please. Happy days!

Now all I have to do is go back and thread the clues and add in scenes throughout the first 210 pages. That's all - no big deal, right?

So do you have those moments while writing? Are you a panster at all? Or do you have a notebook full of notes and a plastic container of index cards before you sit down to write? And if you work the last way, how much does your finished product vary from your original notes?

I'm only lacking the climax of the mystery then the culmination of the H/h relationship to wrap up this story in rough form. Then it's on to layering in description (something I tend to skimp on in the rough draft), adding the humor that everyone wants and layering in my new mystery plot.

What a great way to bring in the New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

C'mon Weekend

Well, it's official - I have a cold. Went through that whole sweating to death while sleeping thing last night. Now, I'm hot natured, but the house was only 55 degrees and I had a regular cotton sheet and blanket and was only wearing a thin cotton shirt and undies - not exactly winter wear. The good news is, I work for a web-based software company, so my work doesn't have to fall behind if I'm out. I only need an internet connection and I'm good to go.

I got a new review on Rumble yesterday and was supremely pleased with it. It's from AAR (All About Romance) and they are tough, tough, tough! They rarely give A's and I am overjoyed at getting a B+. Check out the review on their website.

In other news, I am finally hitting max stride on UNLUCKY and am really working the kinks into the mystery part of the story. It takes actually writing before I can come up with all the little twists and clues that make it worth reading and hopefully I have made it work again. Of course, all that thinking while writing means major rewriting once the rough draft is complete, but hey, layering in emotion or description is so much easier than creating the characters and creating a mystery plot that works.

Has anyone made resolutions for 2007? If so, I'm going to do an official resolution post on New Year's Eve. You're all invited to post here. Next year, I'll pull up the list and we'll check in with what we accomplished. No pressure. :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Movie Review Wednesday

So I'm a little late and it's not exactly movie review Monday, but hey, there was a holiday. Also, today is doctor day when I get all my annual/quarterly visits satisfied so I apologize for late blogging today but I was busy being naked at the doctor's office.

I actually saw two movies over the weekend, but I'm only going to talk about one right now:

Little Miss Sunshine

Rented it and LOVED IT! Now several of my writer friends kept saying this was such a great movie and raved over it, but I was cautious about seeing it. Mainly because it seemed a little too literary, artsy for my taste. Not that I don't like a good artsy/literary type film, but only if the point they're making is right out there in front. If it's buried too deep in clever dialogue and meaningful looks then it's just too much effort for me. I watch movies to escape - period.

LMS did not disappoint. There is simply nothing more entertaining than a screenplay that takes a totally disfunctional family and makes them funny. All brands of humor were covered here - silly, clever, sad and gallows. It is the first movie I can remember in forever that made me laugh out loud - WAY more than once. I might have even passed ten out loud laughs.

The script was fantastic, the characters each so unique and so perfect for the plot. I loved every minute of it and think everyone should rush out and rent it if you haven't already seen it.

My Rating: Two Thumbs Up and At Least Ten Laughs

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Well, it's Tuesday morning and aside from fighting either a sinus infection or a cold, I'm officially back in the saddle. Managed to drag myself out of the warm bed around 5:30 this morning and head out to the cafe to write. I actually got 6.5 pages done - whoohoo!

And I'm definitely back on my sarcastic humor (thank God - I was starting to miss me). So the church men were meeting today. If you don't know about the church men, read my earlier blog. And today they were discussing all the gaps in the Bible, things like unfinished plotlines, character ARCs that abruptly end - that sort of thing (but not exactly in those words). So one guy says "For instance, what do you think Joseph was thinking when they were in the stable?"

To which my immediate thought is "he was probably thinking - if this baby looks like the blacksmith, all bets are off."

It's good to be back!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

For your holiday enjoyment - fun with animals.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home At Last!!!!!!!

Sorry to leave you guys hanging, but I ran out of battery on my laptop and believe me when I say there wasn't an available plug in the airport. Hell, there wasn't an available two foot of space in the airport. But after five gate changes (which took me around the terminal and right back to the gate I started with) and eleven time changes, I finally boarded my 3:50 flight at 8:00 after a mere 11.5 hours in the airport. It put us to Dallas at midnight. Then the games began.

Apparently, in their infinite wisdom, American Airlines just decided to put any baggage to Dallas on any plane to Dallas. So it took another two hours to locate and recover my bag in another terminal. Then I had to get the shuttle to my car and drive home. I got in bed with Whataburger at 3:00 am. I don't remember another time when I was this tired. I was literally numb, I was so tired of dealing with the whole mess.

But the important thing is that I'm home! And I'm safe! And even more important - I have access to all the comfort foods I want!

Thanks for hanging in there with me and for all the prayers, crossed fingers and good vibes everyone sent my way. I'm sure it made a difference and now I'll get to celebrate Christmas at home with my family, the way it should be.

Merry Christmas and God Bless you all!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Flying Out of Winter Wonderland (Hopefully)

Well, today's the official day that I'm supposed to leave Denver. I hope all the crossed fingers, prayers and well-wishes have made it to God and American Airlines.

The weather here is much better. The blizzard stopped mid-morning yesterday and although it continued to snow until late afternoon, there was no wind and the snow was light compared to before. I went out right after lunch and dug out my rental car. I figured it would save me some time this morning plus I wanted to make sure it would start. It took my about 2 hours to get all the snow far enough away to be able to back out. I am soooooooo not in any shape to shovel for two hours. And don't forget the altitude. The altitude is killing me.

After I dried off my clothes with the blow dryer I was going to rest for a while but then I looked out the window and saw a bunch of people walking up the main road. I decided I had to have better food, so I put on my clothes again and went in search of anything non-healthy. There was a regular grocery store about a half-mile up the road. I got a chicken pot pie, chicken wings and some cheese and crackers. Oh, and God forbid - I'd finished my last book (horrors) so I picked up two more. The real shame of that one is my hotel is right next to a Starbucks and a B&N both of which have been closed. (sigh) So after buying groceries, I began the trek back to the hotel. Did I mention it was uphill on the way back? Did I mention the altitude?

Needless to say, when I got back to the room I heated up chicken wings, had some real food then collapsed in bed and took a nap.

The news coming from the airport is that they will open at noon today. I know they are low on clear runways and have no idea what that will do to the flights scheduled out, but I am still showing an "on time" status for mine so far. I have to leave early for the airport because of road conditions so keep all the good vibes coming that I get there and still have a flight to board. Especially since I have to check out of the hotel. (yikes)

I'll update you during the day if I can and if there's anything to say. I'm really hoping to update you tonight from Dallas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow......

Still here in Denver - in the same hotel - in the same room - wishing I were anywhere else. The situation has only gotten worse, with the Gov declaring a state of emergency and calling in the National Gaurd. I figure for a place that used to lots of snow, that's probably not a good sign. Here's the latest news story, if you're interested.

Do you ever notice how being couped up is completely paralyzing if you have no other options? I mean, if I had taken a writer's weekend and locked myself in a hotel room to work that would be fine, but being held hostage in one by Mother Nature isn't ranking high on my list of favorite things. I don't know how my Alaskan friends do it (or Canada, for that matter)

The blizzard is due to run through noon today then light snow until 5:00 pm. I hope to God they get everything cleared enough for flights to leave Friday because apparently there's another blizzard on the way for Saturday. Looks like Friday might be the only window of opportunity to get out.

In addition to the couped up issue (and the fact that I've watched more television in the past day than in the past year - and I'm really not into television), there are a couple of other problems.

One - there is no way to get my car out of the parking lot and even if I could, it wouldn't go anywhere. It's not exactly made for this weather, which leads to problem Two.

Two - this is not a hotel with a restaurant. They have a mini-store in the lobby, so I snagged some microwave dinners as soon as I checked back in yesterday. I'm glad I did since they're all gone now. Of course, I know that this big butt is not going to live on a couple of Lean Cuisine until Friday so I ask about where I might walk to buy groceries. I am told there is a grocery store across the street, so I go walking across the street in the blizzard in search of food, feeling like a bad horror movie heroine. Now, I did not exactly pack for a blizzard - hell, I don't even own blizzard clothes. What would I do with them in Texas. So "walking" is a bit of a stretch for how I actually got across the street in my tennis shoes, thin sweats and jacket. The snow was already too deep to tell where the road was, so I of course, plunged off a curb. I didn't fall, but my knee and my shoulder are feeling it. Then I get to the grocery store and decide that I have done something to offend God - the only food supply happens to be an organic health food grocery store. I bought organic peanut butter and a loaf of bread and wonder why I bothered to go out in that mess. I'd almost rather starve. The most fattening thing I could find was Power Bars and I bought three. Back at the room, I start feeling hot and think "Oh God, you do not have time to get sick." I go into the bathroom and realize, I'm windburn! It looks like I've been sunning by my pool all day.

Three - (and this is probably more information than you ever wanted) I only brought one spare pair of underwear. Looks like I'm going home commando on Friday.

This afternoon I get to dig my car out of the parking lot in the hopes that I get to go to the airport tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The One Thing I Never Intended to Do in Denver

OFFICIAL UPDATE: I am officially stranded in Denver. All flights today and tomorrow are cancelled. I was smart enough to stay on top of the situation and call as soon as I saw my flight cancelled this morning, so I was able to get a seat on Friday late afternoon. So if all goes well, I'll still be home for Christmas.

This is the most snow I have ever seen in my life. I mean, I've seen in already on the ground, but I've never seen this much coming out of the sky. I went to train my class (what there was of it) this morning and we ended early since the second wave of students didn't come to work. It was just as well since I barely made it back to the hotel. The rental car is not exactly equipped for this kind of driving, so I kind of slid sideways into the hotel parking lot (it was the only way in without stalling) then the car got stuck and I couldn't move it another inch. So I left it all sideway hanging out in part of the entry way to the hotel. Then I got to drag my luggage across the parking lot and back inside.

Damn it - I didn't even bring boots!

I'm in Denver training this week and scheduled to fly out tonight. Of course, those of you who watch the weather channel already know where this post is going, so I'm only going to ask once - who sent the blizzard?

The one thing I never intended to do in Denver was STAY. I kind of have a family of my own and Christmas is this weekend. Depending on which news cast you're listening to, they're calling for 9-15 inches of snow. Keep your fingers crossed that I get home before Christmas, especially since I'm sure all the flights are already full with holiday travelers.

Do the airlines schedule additional flights if they have to cancel? Or do they just do that fake apology and leave you stranded? I'm thinking it's probably the latter, but I'd love, just once, to be pleasantly surprised by something.

Even worse, I have to check out of the hotel this morning and hope if my flight gets cancelled that I can find a room again for tonight. So for all you out there that talk about the "romantic" life of business travel, please take note. There is no romantic side of business travel. And for those of you who think it's so cool that I get to "see" all these different places, I have one thing to say: The inside of a Hampton Inn pretty much looks the same everywhere.

The reality is, it's a job. I don't travel then do nothing all day - I train classes. Once class is over I have as much time as any other job before it gets dark and is too late to do anything. And these days it's dark right after I leave class. Not to mention that I just worked all day and I have to work again tomorrow. Spending all night pursuing tourist pursuits is not a good way to excel at your job and my obligation is to the clients who are paying me to be there, not to my own interest in seeing the sights.

The up side is that one day I hope to have enough points (and enough vacation time) to actually take a real vacation again - for free! But for now, I'll just enjoy the snowfall in Denver. You don't get to see this very often in Texas, and as I'm here anyway, I figure I might as well enjoy it.

So how's the weather where you are?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

That First Sale

My friend, Diana, turned me on to a survey that Science Fiction author, Tobias Buckell, ran on his blog asking writers how many books they wrote before they sold. It's interesting information, so check it out.

The books written until sold is a question not unlike how many years did you write before publication in that it's still all essentially bullshit. It's fun to know and interesting to play around with if you're a numbers geek like me, but the reality is that everyone's writing path is different and you can't compare yourself to another writer.

Someone might say - It took me a year to sell. Okay, and they might also be independently wealthy or otherwise not employed and don't need to be and have unlimited writing time. It doesn't necessarily mean they're a prodigy. Someone else might say - It took me ten years to sell. Guess what? It doesn't mean they're a slow learner. What if they simply had five small kids at home and were attending college part time to finish a degree?

So time isn't a good measurable factor because everyone has a different quantity and quality of time.

So lets look at number of books written before sale. Should be a better indicator, right? Wrong. Again, it depends on the author. I have two different friends who sold their first books, but they both worked on them for years. I have other friends who have written five to ten books before selling. And something else books to sale doesn't take into account is finding your genre and voice.

When I first sat down to write, I wanted to write a mystery series. My first book was the first of that series. I wrote it in six weeks, edited for about two months and managed to get an AAR recognized agent. Ultimately, the book didn't sell. Funny enough, the comment I received from one agent actually said "this book reads more like Bridget Jones Diary than a mystery." But at the time, the chick lit mystery had not been born. Of course, now I've missed that chick lit train completely, but what the hey. While the first book was out for submission I DID NOT STOP WRITING. That is a very important sentence - DO NOT STOP WRITING JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE SOMETHING ON SUBMISSION!

In addition to mystery, I was an avid romance reader, so I decided to try my hand at a romance - sort of. It still ended up having embezzlement, kidnapping and at least one dead body, but it was definitely more romance than anything. Again, no sale but I garnered some good comments from editors about my voice that were encouraging. So on to book three. I definitely wanted to write single title, but I'd also been a long-time fan of Harlequin Intrigue and figured, hey, I should write two a year - one single title one category. So the Intrigue was written, queried, full requested, full sent, full rejected. Strike Three!

I was supposed to be out, right? So sorry but book four was where I decided to go where no man had gone before. I loved mystery, I loved romance and I couldn't think of a better blend than the two. So I sat down to write RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU with every intention that it be a true blended hybrid - the two genres so important to the story that the removal of either would cause the story to collapse. Now, I knew from the onset that RUMBLE would not be an easy sell. It didn't "fit." And that's exactly what happened at a couple of houses. Editors liked it, but I don't think they were exactly sure what to do with it.

Enter Dorchester Publishing! The one house that definitely knows what to do with something different - they create a new genre and launch a line of books to fill it. Trendsetting is a Dorchester favorite and many great new authors and genres have come from the chances they're willing to take on "out-of-the-box" writing. And I couldn't be more thrilled. The beginning of a new genre is definitely where you want to be as a writer and I got my manuscript in the door at the right time.

Some time/novels written is about learning craft. Some is about finding voice. Some is just about hitting the market at the right time since everything about book publishing is cylical. So while all the statistics are interesting to read, please remember that everyone has their own route to publication and yours is still the right one for you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Giving Writers a Helping Hand

Good morning from the DFW International Airport. I'm on my way to snowy Denver where I get to have yummy dinner with my fabulous agent tonight.

Today, I thought I'd talk a little bit about how anyone, writer or reader, can help out authors. My fellow Dorchester author and great writer, Rowena Cherry, has compiled a list of 50 ways to help your author friends. It offers some great ideas on how to help writers without spending any cash.

For the record, no one expects you to do all of those. Quite frankly, no one expects you to do ANY of those. But if you're so inclined, we are most appreciative.

For instance, last week on my blog, Sassy Sistah blogged in with stock information for a Barnes & Noble in NC. That is the kind of information that authors love and can't get for themselves. After all, it's hard to cover ever bookstore in the nation - not to mention Walmart, grocery stores, drug stores, etc. Anyway, you get the idea. It's a simple thing to do and it will only take you a minute to drop an author an email to let them know where you saw the book, how many copies the store had and what the placement was, but it will make the author's day.

Thanks so much to all of you who have already done some of the things on the list. You are helping make me a career and that's priceless!

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Blog Look

So did you notice - I got a new blog look! I updated to beta blogger and it allowed me all sorts of fun color changing. So you know I had to hit the turquoise right away. :)

Now that the color coding part of the blog is covered, let's move on to Friday blog business:

My friend, Jaye, sometimes blogs interesting snips of conversation that she hears in public places. I haven’t tried it before, but this morning after I’d finished my pages and received my breakfast, I decided to open my ears and see what my fellow cafĂ© dwellers were talking about. Here’s my top comments of the morning:

“She was talking so loud that I turned around in my seat and gave her the answer to her question and she says ‘are you listening in on my call’ and I said ‘the pilots are listening in on your call.’”

“She went and invited my kids to the house on Saturday. I’m already having dinner with them on Sunday. I don’t want to see them that often.”

“I’d like to have three million in the bank before I retire but I’d have to keep working to do it.”

And the grand prize winner:

“He’s been in jail on a drunk-driving conviction. He gets out of Friday and we’re having a party for him. I have to rent the margarita machine.”

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Late & Behind and Out of Time

No time for a long post today - I have class. As opposed to the other days when I have no class. (Think Rodney Dangerfield and say it again)

So I'm cheating and posting another weird picture. Does anyone find this as disturbing as I do?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Crimes of Fashion

I got this pic by email yesterday and decided I had to share. For any of you writing "crimes of fashion" books, this outfit has GOT to make it into a storyline.

I give you - The Safe Sex Dress

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Dooney & Bourke Contest Winner

I know some of you have probably been wondering if I was actually going to give the purse away or if I'd decided to keep it myself. I'm giving it away - I promise.

I had to get all the entries loaded into my newsletter system, then get an impartial group of my co-workers to draw numbers for a winner, then notify the winner and wait for response. But it's now official:

Dee Dailey of Clarksville, TN is the Dooney & Bourke contest winner!!!!!

Here's a picture of Dee with her brand new grandbaby.

Congrats, Dee and I hope you enjoy your purse and your autographed copies of RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Movie Review Monday

I know, I'm posting a little early (as it's supposed to by Monday movie review and it's not quite Monday), but I write in the mornings and the Cowboys are about to play the Saints, and well, everyone will be fine. I promise.

Movied Seen: Apocalypto

This is one of those movies that I don't know where to go with the review. I wanted to like it. It was grandiose in setting and time period but ultimately, the scope of the story was so small and irrelevent given everything else that was about to happen in that time period, that I found myself literally experiencing a "Deja Vu." Essentially - same problem as the other movie - the focus was on one man and his wife, child and unborn child. Hey, at least he knew them (unlike Deja Vu, where the woman was a total stranger), but it still seemed like a whole lot of buildup for one rescue.

The setting was great. The costumes were brilliant, and for anyone that doesn't know what kind of barbarians some of the Mayans were could watch the movie for a very graphic description - head chopping and all. But ultimately, I just found myself wondering when it was going to be over.

Maybe I'm just not "deep" enough to appreciate the movie. Maybe Mel Gibson inserted some hidden message about humanity and our future that I failed to see. The only "bigger picture" thought I got from it was something I already knew - if you are weak within, you are ripe for the picking.

If anyone else sees this movie and can explain why it's getting great reviews, this clueless girl would love to have it broken down.

My rating: Utterly Forgetable

Update: Blogger reel fanatic (i hope I got that right) - if you're reading this today, please drop in and share your expertise.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dispelling Writing Myths

Since my book has released, I have had questions/comments from many people - both writers and readers - talking about myths that seem to persist in the writing profession. So for the next few weeks, I will include one myth and then cover the grim reality.

Myth #1 – Writers make a lot of money.

This sentence would more correctly read – a few writers make a lot of money. I once heard a statistic that stated that 5% of all the writers in the world made 95% of all the money paid to writers. So writers who are well established, Nora, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Grisham, etc, probably aren’t worrying about the winter gas bill, but everyone else is stretching the all-mighty dollar to capacity if writing is their full-time job. And for those who are just inside the published door, we’re trying to get to the point of working one full-time job only, instead of two. Because, the reality is I have to work a job in order to afford to write – marketing is not a cheap thing and having good equipment (computer, monitor, printer, etc) is a requirement for me anyway.

So why don’t writers make money, well I’m an accountant, so let’s talk numbers. Let’s consider a debut author’s first contract. I’ll be very general/standard in my example. A typical contract for a romance book will contain an advance of $500-5000. (remember, this is typical we’re talking about). This advance is just that – an advance against royalties. So essentially, the advance is not the biggest issue when selling books. The two most important items are percentage and sell-through. A typical contract will state a royalty percentage to an author of 2%-8% (for paperbacks – a little more usually for hardcover). That’s percent of the sales price, excluding things like bookclub where the price may be deeply discounted.

Print run is the next step in talking money. Typical print runs for debut novels are all over the board depending on timing, push behind the book, publisher, etc, but mostly I hear of debut print runs of 25-50k.

Sell-through is the percentage of print run that you actual gain sales on. So if your print run is 50k and your sell-through is 50%, you sold 25k copies of your book. Sell-through is also estimated at different amounts by different publishers, but a safe estimate is 50%. 60% is strong and 70% will usually have people cheering. If you go to another print run, ask for accolades.

So let’s take a typical debut romance with an advance of $3k, percentage of 5%, a list price of $5.99 and a print run of 40k. Let’s say your sell-through is strong at 60%. Here’s the way that breaks down to author payment:

$5.99 X 5% = .30 (what the author makes off each book sold)

24,000 (copies sold) X .30 (royalty) = $7,200 This is the total earn-out of the book

But the author got $3k up front so take the $7,200 less the $3,000 advance and that leaves you with a royalty payment of $4,200.

Take off 15% of that for agent fees and the author will receive a royalty check for $3,570.

So including advance & royalty check, this author would receive $6,120 for their effort. I’m not even going to get into paying self-employment taxes and federal, etc.

Now let’s consider the time factor. Let’s just say the author is a fairly fast writer and wrote the book in six months working 25 hrs/week in addition to a full-time job. Beyond the six months writing time, she spent an additional 100 hours on revisions (between cp’s, agent and editor) and 20 hours on line edits. Another 10 for going over galleys with a fine-tooth comb. Then an additional 150 hours on marketing related items. So that’s a total of 930 hours spent on this project (and believe, my estimate of time spent is REALLY low). That means the author made $6.58/hr for all that hard work.

So when published authors tell you they are not doing this for the money and if money were the issue, they’d get a job at Walmart – they’re not exaggerating. Making money as an author is definitely possible, but it’s a long-term career goal. You have to build a readership and the only way to do that is to consistently write and release great books.

Just getting to the point of quitting your day job is a huge accomplishment – retiring to Tahiti is the stuff legends are made of.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reversing Society

Question Number 2 for the week:

Why do people insist on backing into parking spaces?

This morning (like so many others), I had to wait in the parking lot while someone backed their pickup truck in a space between two other cars. Mind you, the people who insist on doing this are never good enough drivers to accomplish it in one try. They weave back and forth and generally hold up the rest of the world from our deadlines and other important matters - in my case getting to coffee and my wip.

So why back into the space? I've heard all the arguments and quite frankly, they're silly. The first is "It's easier to pull out forward when you're leaving." Okay, so let's assess this for a moment. You can take twenty times to back into a space, wedging your SUV in between two other parked cars, OR at the end of the day, you can back into a wide/long exit lane ONCE and drive away. Not buying it, folks.

Then some make the argument that they can leave faster if they're pulling out forward. Okay, while I'll agree that it is certainly faster if you rip forward out of a space rather than backing up then leaving, what exactly do you need that extra three seconds for?????

Now if you're robbing a bank, I totally understand. But the rest of us, you're just going to save that 3 seconds of backup time only to get to the line for the security card exit a little sooner.

If you insist on backing in your car, I guess I'll have to get over it. But let's stop with the stupid reasons already and call it what it is - an OCD.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Death of a Forest

What the heck is the deal with the length of store receipts these days?

If I were the mother of a family of eighteen and I left the ranch to visit the grocery store once a month, I could see a receipt a mile long, but c'mon. There are times I literally buy one item - no warranty, no guarantees, just something like a package of gum, and the receipts is the length of my forearm.

Of course, because I am one of those people who HATES people who hold up lines to store their change, receipts, etc, I grab my bag of purchases and purse and start walking towards the exit while trying to fold the receipt up and stuff it in my wallet. It's an exercise akin to trying to stuff a parachute into a shoe. In fact, the thought crossed my mind that if I taped them end to end, they'd make a handy garnish to my Christmas tree and one heck of a roll of toilet paper.

So this is my vendor plea - Please, PLEASE go back to a simple receipt. I want only what I need on my receipt - store name, date, time, items purchases, sales tax, total. Please leave off any of the following: "Thank you for visiting," "please shop again," Contests, Surveys, the date of your next sale, the date of your last sale, a list of your board of directors, or locations of your store in Indonesia or Panama.

If receipts continue to grow, I will have to get a bigger wallet. If I have to get a bigger wallet, I'll have to get a bigger purse. At the rate we're going, pretty soon we'll all be pulling carryon luggage to haul around our receipts.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday, Beautiful Friday!

Dallas has officially survived the cold front. Unfortunately, it did not include hail. There was a little icing of roads but not near to the extent I was hoping for. Oh well, better luck next front.

Today is Friday and I am happy for so many reasons. One, it's the end of the work week - yea! I trained a class this week and had one of those weeks where I bored myself so I was certain I had bored everyone else. Apparently that wasn't the case as several of the students told me how much they enjoyed it. Or maybe it was just the candy I bribed them with around 2:00 every afternoon.

Second reason to be happy it's Friday - this is writer's weekend! And I haven't had a writer's weekend in forever. That means tonight I will meet with my cp, Cari (Cindy is out of town) and we'll stay at the hotel that will host the DARA (Dallas Area Romance Authors) Christmas breakfast and meeting tomorrow. We'll have dinner and drink, discuss our wips, drink, talk about technique, drink, work out plot problems, etc, drink. Anyway you get the idea.

And in addition to the DARA breakfast tomorrow, I'm getting my hair done - double yea! It's probably a bit overdue and I'm going to try a new color so we'll see how that turns out. Now if I could just fit in a manicure and pedicure, the weekend might be perfect.

So what are your plans?
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