Sunday, December 30, 2007

Family Christmas

It was great having everyone home for the better part of Christmas week. It snowed most days, which was okay *most* days. More photos to follow.

Hope you had a happy Christmas surrounded by those you love and remembering what is important in life and eternity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wayfarer's Journal

So...I broke the arm off my glasses this morning. I'm here to tell you that I am as good as blind without them, and couldn't even tell what I'd broken. Magnifying glass was only marginal help with that, but it did enable me to find my old glasses in my dresser drawer. Then, with a certain amount of neck twisting to line up the bifocal, I could kind of almost make out the problem on the arm.

Oy. Back to bi-focals from progressives. Scratched lenses. Wrong prescription. Of course it will take a week for the new arm to come in and repairs to be made. Gotta love living in a rural area during the holidays. Good times were had by all.

So this month's Christian Science Fiction Fantasy Blog Tour is for a webzine: Wayfarer's Journal. And even with Control +++, I'm having issues with reading on the computer, as a lot of pages have text that runs together at that magnification. (Might have to clean the store before holidays. I think I can see to do that, if one isn't too particular. Oy.)

Very briefly, the Wayfarer's Journal is strictly a science fiction 'zine. The site's founder, Terri Mains, selects stories and poetry that explore the moral, ethical, and spiritual implications of modern technology. Stop by the site and have a look--if you haven't broken your glasses.

Most of these folks are participating in the tour, so if you're interested in opinions, check out these blogs: Brandon Barr, Jim Black, Justin Boyer, Grace Bridges, Amy Browning, Jackie Castle, Carol Bruce Collett , CSFF Blog Tour, D. G. D. Davidson, Chris Deanne, Jeff Draper, April Erwin, Marcus Goodyear, Andrea Graham, Jill Hart, Katie Hart, Michael Heald, Jason Joyner, Kait, Carol Keen, Mike Lynch, Margaret, Rachel Marks, Melissa Meeks, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Mirtika or Mir's Here, John W. Otte, John Ottinger, Rachelle, Steve Rice, Cheryl Russel, Ashley Rutherford, Hanna Sandvig, James Somers, Steve Trower, Speculative Faith, Jason Waguespac, Laura Williams, Timothy Wise

I'll be the first to admit that this month, I didn't look at each of these blogs. I was saving it to do this morning, and we all know how well that worked out for me. Anyone with a slow site--anyone with a black or dark background--got skipped. I guess I'd even have skipped myself! But I did check out a couple spots to mention: Jim Black posted an interview with Wayfarer's Journal's founder, Terri Mains. John Otte explains why we should bat around ideas now, in a safe environment, before technology hits us with the unexpected and all we have left to offer is a knee-jerk reaction. I must say I was looking forward to what my buddy Steve Trower would say about Wayfarer's Journal, because he's a science fiction fan and somehow has managed to turn all the fantasy book tours into discussions of science fiction. But he doesn't have his Christmas tree up yet. (Go, Steve!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Upcoming at Forward Motion

Forward Motion Writers Community is one of the premier sites for writers on the internet. I've been a member there for almost six years and a moderator for three. It's a very active place with knowledgeable, helpful people from around the world who write short and long in many different genres.

The site owner, Lazette Gifford, is offering a free course in which the participants will write and edit a complete novel over a two year time frame. Sign-ups are currently available at FM's main discussion board, and the new course will begin in January. The course is open to all members, and membership is free. I've taken the 2yn (2 year novel) course twice and found much in Zette's methods to be helpful to me.

Not only that, but Forward Motion will be celebrating its tenth anniversary throughout 2008. It's a good time to come on over and join the fun. We've got some great plans to kick off the anniversary celebrations!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Busy busy

In my little world at work, things generally slow right down at this time of year. Folks usually have other kinds of shopping on their brains other than flooring. At least that's how it was in 2001 and for a couple years thereafter. There'd be full days in December when no one came in and the phone didn't ring.

Not so in 2007. Yesterday was the only quiet day this week (Yay! I edited almost 3500 words of Quest to be Queen bringing my total in the complete column up to about 47K!). Today was flat-out busy. Had a sales rep, but even without him I had almost non-stop customers in the morning, quotes to write, product to order, freight to arrange, etc.

I've got one more week of work before two weeks off for the holidays. My boss guys have always booked off their kids' school Christmas vacation. Most of our customers don't really want us in their houses over the holidays anyway--with the likely exception of the new houses that no one is living in yet, but they're waiting. Oh, well, The guys haven't had any time off since LAST Christmas either, with the exception of a couple of extra long weekends. I'm thinking we all deserve it.

I'd really hoped to have Quest off to the critters before shutting down for the holidays, but that no longer looks remotely possible. I'm about 2/3 done the edits, and even though on a good day I can do nearly 5k, a whole week of good days wouldn't see me to The End. And of course, if I'm pushing that hard, it increases the odds that I'm not noticing sentences that don't quite work.

Must say that after the heavy themes in Marks of Repentance, it's fun to be playing with fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and silly songs. The segment I concluded today touches on: the princess and the pea, old MacDonald had a farm, a needle in the haystack, spinning straw into gold, sleeping beauty, and the dairy fairies. Never heard of dairy fairies? Well, then, maybe there's a few things I invented and tossed in the mix just for entertainment.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Kitchen Progress

So from time to time folks ask what's up with my kitchen. We started renovating it last spring just before my nephew got sick and my mom had a stroke, and didn't get as far along as we'd hoped before summer hit.

(Aside: Steve made a complete recovery. My mom spent three months in the hospital and then was transfered to a nursing home's temporary bed. She just got permanent placement and will move on Tuesday to the other nursing home across town. She's in *moderate* condition, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again next weekend.)

So. The kitchen.

What's done? All the base cabinets are in and have been since spring. Also in spring were my new lino, countertops on two sections of cabinetry, sink and stove moved/ hooked up.

This fall hubby has: installed the dishwasher and built-in microwave/convection oven (both included running electrical wiring.) Half the upper cabinets are in--the ones that are against a wall instead of dangling from the ceiling over peninsulas and such. The kitchen ceiling has been torn down (a mousy mess, I assure you) to make way for more electrical work, in this case pot lights. Everything wiring is a big deal in this house as most of the walls are concrete block.

To accomplish before the kids come home for Christmas holidays: install the under-cabinet light under the run of uppers that's up, install the range hood (I'd not say no to a plug-in or two...), build and tile the peninsula countertop, tile the backsplash. The tiling is my job, not hubby's, but he has to build and prep the countertop.

After Christmas: install remainder of upper cabinets (and their under-mount lights), put up a new ceiling, complete electrical work (remainder of plug-ins), kick boards, light rails. We've lowered the ceiling enough--required for the pot lights--that there won't be any crown molding space above. I'd rather have decent lighting! Then a couple minor things will remain: tilt-outs at the sink, racks on some cabinet doors, etc.

When we get done with the kitchen, there's plenty left to do to the rest of the house. I think the front entry/ porch is next on the list, though I'm really wishing for a second bathroom. I'd like one for Christmas as we will be seven people for about a week. Ain't happening!

So this week the mess was the ceiling coming down. Everything in the kitchen/ dining room/ living room (basically that is all one 16x24 room) was covered in dust and stuff. Lots of mouse turds in the ceiling. I was totally grossed out. I know we have trouble with mice and every once in awhile the great white hunter cat earns his keep and kills one. But to see the evidence of 30 years was...disgusting. So when hubby drove back up to the mines I had one job and one job only--to disinfect and tidy and CLEAN that space. Two and a half days later I'm not afraid to touch things anymore. However, I did find one very small dessicated mouse behind the couch and (even worse) a flat dessicated mouse under a couch cushion. (Yep, laundered and bleached the slipcovers...)

This space is now pretty darn clean, if I do say so myself. I've even done a wee bit of Christmas decorating. But I have to say I'm paying for it with sore neck and shoulders tonight.

In other excitement this week the water pump on the car went. There is no end of ways to spend money on vehicles. Parts are on order and hubby will fix next days off. Which takes time from the kitchen again. Oh well. Life goes on.

And on.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Over half done Quest edit

So, the 10-12 inches of snow turned into 6-8 inches of slush. Our driveway is still bad (yay for 4 wheel drive) but the main roads are bare, though temperatures hover at the black ice stage. Whew. Survived that storm. My cold is *nearly* gone. I hate the lingeringness...

So. Quest to be Queen. I wrote this novel during Nano '04 and this is the first I've looked at it since. I have to say I didn't take it all that seriously at the time. Here's the blurb:
Teagren is convinced that High Prince Cecil desires her to be his bride, for he has bestowed upon her the Kiss of Promise. However, the King invokes the traditional Quest and a young woman from each of the seven lands of Dhaneira is chosen to participate. Each has one magical kit bag which includes one magical gift to aid them on the journey. Cecil may choose his bride from the contestants who return to Zabetha within a year and a day with a Token from each land. Teagren thinks the Quest is just a formality. Of course she will return on time...and of course Cecil will choose her.

She hasn't counted on Kosse, the bespelled prince who requires a kiss to wake him...and she can't get the token from underneath his body with him asleep. She hasn't counted on Esdras, the young hero-in-training. She hasn't counted on the vegetarian dragon named George, the needle in the haystack, or the frog who has been turned into a prince. She especially has not counted on the magical gifts of the other contestants.

Will Teagren get what she wants...or will she want what she gets?

I mean, what's to take serious about something this spoofy and silly? But I'm having great fun editing the thing up and I'll see what my pack of critters has to say about it. I've rammed through 42K of it in the past three weeks or so and with any luck can email it out just before Christmas break. Though this seems to be the week of salesmen at work, and they do cut into my time. (sob)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

How the weather changes!

The picture below was taken a week ago.

Today I took the photo that has become my blog header and the one below.

Last Tuesday we got about eight inches of snow. It cleared off nicely but didn't warm up, so nothing melted significantly. I woke up this morning to falling snow and by evening I would guess we've had about another 8-10 inches of fluffy powder. Some may like this kind of snow; I was just thankful I didn't have to drive today.

I've had a nasty cold this week that has sapped much of my energy and sleep. And given me a scratchy throat. Hope to be on the mend soon. Like really soon.