Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sadie was a Saddist

I'm sure I'm not alone when I admit that I hate housework. I'd definitely prefer to sweep the room with a glance and dust my taste buds with icing sugar, than take on the dust bunnies under the bed each week. (What if they're related to the Easter Bunny? My labours could have serious, chocolate-depriving consequences!) Alas, there are some drudergies involved in being a mum that are inescapable.

Or are they?

I found some wonderful advice on the net about how to eliminate cleaning forever! Yes, ladies and gentlemen (what? some men DO do the cleaning) it CAN be done!!!!! Such pearls of wisdom are far too good to leave in their oyster, so here for your pleasure is how to be done with drudgery for good. Enjoy!

1. Open a new file in your pc.
2. Name it "Housework."
3. Send it to the recycle bin.
4. Empty the recycle bin.
5. Your pc will ask you, "Are you sure you want To delete Housework permanently?"
6. Calmly answer, "Yes," and press mouse button firmly......
7. Feel better?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Strictly for the Birds

I have a secret new pleasure no one knows about, not even my kids. (Well, no one until now.) Usually by the time evening comes around I am too tired to be bothered with dishes. It just seems one more hurdle I can't face. So every morning when I'm gathering the mountains of dishes and scraping them off ready for the dishwasher, I gather the leftover bits from the plates and toast crumbs off the kitchen counter and throw them out the door onto my lawn. Yeah, it looks messy, for about 20 minutes. Then my army of WWFF (will work for food) descend.

I back this ploy up, of course, by putting in water features and native food plants for my workers (they didn't even need unions to negotiate these excellent work conditions), but everyone who visits here is amazed how many wrens, sparrows, parrots, honey eaters and pidgeons stay at my place whittling down the undesirable insects in my garden.

Sure, they are a bother with seedlings, but nothing some netting won't fix. Plus they bring me joy. I feel like I am playing some small part in helping care for God's smallest creatures, and their color and antics bring many a happy, procrastinating moment throughout the busy day as I "consider the birds of the field who neither sow nor reap." :-)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Come to Peel

me off the ceiling please. :-)

You know, sometimes life just goes right and it always comes as a shock! I heard yesterday that "Come to Heal" finalled in the ROmancing the Tome competition. Yep, color me happy. Today I got my judges sheets. Here's one:

"Fabulous entry. You earned my highest score. :) It was exciting. Well written. Excellent detail. Wonderful dialogue. My only regret is not getting the whole manuscript to read. :)"

and another

"I like your writing style. You have great description and the action of the story started off great."

and this one:

"Great! Loved it! Want to read more!"

But then, the cruncher, my very next email was Medallion press requesting a full!!!! So, um, that blimp floating over the horizon isn't a weather balloon, it's Babe's big head. Just nobody dart me, okay, 'cause I'm so puffed up at the mo I might end up in Antartica somewhere. :-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Eeek, I'm Dying

Tie-dyeing that is. Heeeeeeeello 1960's. Not that I remember them of course, but then they say anyone who does wasn't really there. Besides, I'm more of a caffeine powered than flower power kind of person.

Anyway, since I had to mix up a vat of dye to finish off the 13 year old's batik, I figured I'd do tie-dyeing with the 7 yr old. Tie-dyeing is such a hippie/free love/save the world kind of craft that I like my kids to try it at least once, plus I try to do something crafty with them at least once a month to let them know Mummy does factor them into her time usage. That way I can justify the disgusting number of hours I spend romancing my keyboard.

So now I have a whole line of deep purple things flapping in the breeze. (Wonder what the neighbors think of that!)And I must tell you, that suggestion you wear rubber gloves for this craft is a good one. Pity I didn't give it a thought or read the dye packet BEFORE I turned my cuticles purple. Oh well, guess I'm more of a writer than an instruction reader. :-)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Cat's Outta The Bag

I think I am sometimes a literary snob. Y'know, I don't try to be, but often when I'm reading I feel sick to my stomach at what makes it into print.

One of my bug-boos is category fiction. Like so many novices before me, I used to think cats were just a shorter length, simpler characters and plot version of ST. I wrote 2 medical cats and, not surprisingly, they were rejected as inappropriate voice, characters and plot for cat. Well der...... All those things I thought I'd improved on the medicals I'd read were the very things that made mine inappropriate. I just didn't get it at the time.

Recently one of my CPs started writing a cat for Nocturn. This is a girl whose ST work I love, whose voice I know well, and yeah, my stomach did the whole quigley thing just thinking about it. I wanted to be a good CP and be honest, but I was scared I would hate it. WELL, I did the crit anyway. It wasn't what I was used to, but you know, I didn't hate it either. I started to notice the differences between cat and ST. There's a whole lot more between them than length. Everything from heavy backstory in the beginning ( a no-no for ST), to simpler sentence construction and humor, less description/character dev/plot complexity, basically, lots of things that damage a good story.

I thought.

Then, I picked up and read one of Hartlequin's new line, Next. It was serendipity, because likely I would never have bought this book for myself, but wow! It threw all my ideas of what made up cat out the window. I love this line so much that I'm buying several more (I've NEVER done that before. I'm a buy-because-I-love-the-author girl). Next's heroine is older (maybe the 40 something viewpoint appeals now I'm looking at middleage???) but more than that, the story I read was closer to Women's Fiction than to straight romance. The characters were warm and full, deliciously portrayed, with many real-sounding layers I could root for. Yep, I'm hooked. On cat! Who'd have thought it.

So this is an apology to all those cat writers I may have inadvertently offended over the years. I was wrong. I don't hate cat, I just had to find the purrrr-fect line.

Next, please. :-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

I've Got The Power

But I don't think I'm plugged in....

Somewhere in between the daily whirl of cleaning the toilets and picking up my kids' socks which they haven't turned out the right way, AGAIN, after me telling them some seven million times (and no that isn't nagging, it is reinforement -- steel girder reinforcement, but still...), I tend to take on the feel and value of a used dish rag. It's no wonder I turn to writing to save me --my golden ticket to the Wonker chocolate factory, my secret passion for dictatorship with moir on the throne instead of cleaning it, my secret challenge to the whole male universe. Bwhahahahaha.

Before you wonder what Babe has been drinking and what's brought on her sudden delusion of adequacy, let me just say that I've been reading other blogs, most particularly, that of Jennifer Crusie, and she's inspired me to look at my writing in a new way.

You've gotta love Jenny Crusie. She's bold, sexy and outspoken, but what I admire most is the way she empowers women. Particularly, me. :-) Take, for example, her view on romantic comedy (since that is what I mostly write.)

"If romance novels are a guilty pleasure, then romantic comedies are the designer chocolates of literature, rich, fun and seemingly without nutritional value. But underneath that sugar coating is one of the most feminist forms of literature ever devised. Jane Austen knew it two hundred years ago and writers like Susan Elizabeth Phillips know it today: romantic comedy empowers women and makes their world a better place."(Crusie: Romantic Comedy)

Who knew I was a closet feminist, much less a purveyor of designer chocolate!!?? Certainly not my kids.

No, I don't think I'll be burning my bra anytime soon. My Cooper's Droopers might become a falls risk without some means of contraint. I am, however, fully intending to write more subtly subversive literature valuing women, their choices and their rights to an opinion -- aka rom com/ verbal fluff/pop lit. Who knows where my wickedness will lead me? Today my computer, tomorrow the rest of the whirled.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I Think I Love Kristin Nelson

Oh my hat, have you read Evil Editor?

I nearly wet my pants reading Kristin's "pick the plot" sections and her comments on the guitarist-secretly-turned-wrestler MS -- deliciously snarky and hilarious to boot (though I think she sank said boot into the last victim's fundamental orifice.) She certainly doesn't wrestle with diplomacy! PC stands only for personal computer to this girl, no politically correct punches or half-Nelsons pulled. But she also offers advice on how to do it better, how to get it right next time. Gotta love that!

I think I have a new addiction. Like I needed something else to claim my time.... But hey, she's an agent. I'll class it as research. :-)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What Came First?

The chicken or the egg-asperating methods of law enforcement that keep us all frightened? According to an email I recieved this week, the following yarn is based on a true story.

George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window.

He opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things. He phoned the police, who asked, "Is someone in your house?" and he said 'no'. Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available.

George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again. "Hello I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now cause I've just shot them all." Then he hung up.

Within five minutes three police cars, an armed response unit, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillip's residence. Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed. One of the policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"

Now I don't know how much truth remains in this Urban Legend, but it sounds about right, doesn't it? How often we mosey along without setting the right priorities until everything escalates so that we have to pay it some attention.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

One More Push!

My time is full, more than full actually, but I just proved you can always cram something more into a full bag. (See, I should have asked Kristen or some other shopping guru earlier to find out this was entirely possible! Of course another shopping bag/ring/C note will fit on my hand.)

Last Friday I recieved an invitation to enter the Cleo Pozzo Literature competition. My schedule for this week was ... well, spilling over into next week! Yikes. But I really wanted to enter this, and at the urging of my CPs who have much more confidence in my abilities than I do, I decided to give it a try. To get the story posted and there on time, I'd only have 3 days in preparation. One plotting and freaking out, one writing and drinking copious coffee, one editing/printing and freaking out.

So "Ashes to Ashes" was born. On time. One of my CPs rushed it through final edits in just over an hour and loved it. Woo Hoo. Always good to hear.

So now I am sitting here in shock. I did it! I really did. Met a deadline shorter than Goldie Hawn's skirt. BUT, and there's always a but, now I'm out of printer ink and have to save my masterpiece onto a memory stick and print it out at work. I'll still be on time as long as no more catastophies fall on me. I even have an hour or so to spare. Who'd have thought it? (Yes, I will have to get the housework, dinner preparation, and grocery shopping done in under half an hour, but what's that for Super Babe, ye of little faith?)

Next time you're looking into a chock-a-block bag thinking you're done, remember, there is aways room for one more little thing if you squeeze hard enough.

Happy sardining, y'all!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Excuse Me!

I thought for a laugh I'd get involved in 13 Thursday. Yes, I know it is Friday here but that's what I get for living in tomorrow land and having so many friends living in yesterday, AKA USA. (Hmm, starting my own alphabet system there.)

Okay, time for my Thirteen Excuses, um .... Reasons Why I am Not Writing at the Moment. :-)

1. My kids just came home from school so I have to peel the teacher's notes and newsletter from the pear core and sandwich remains in the bottom of their bag

2. The sun is still shining outside and it's such a lovely day that if I waste it whoever is organizing daylight saving may put mine into someone else's bank account

3. I'm supposed to be writing a short story for the Cleo Posse competition and my brain has gone completely blank.

4. My CP sent me a great bag of novels to read and I can hear them calling my name.

5. For some reason the maid I don't have hasn't turned up and someone has to get dinner underway pretty soon or the kids will eat the wallpaper.

6. I have so many projects I SHOULD be doing that it's safer to procrastinate and not start any of them.

7. I still haven't unpacked my house yet. (Hey, it's only been 3 months!)

8. I still don't have my new reading glasses and they're the ones set up for computer use (to reduce glare/strain), so consider my not writing as preventative health

9. I don't see any multi-book carrot hanging in front of my face people, editors-- evil glare---

10. Um, I don't need a tenth excuse since there's a zero on the end of the number and that means I just say nothing.

11. Legs eleven- yep, time to shave them. My stockings are starting to look like christmas trees and that isn't allowed until December

12. By the time I finish this blog entry my fingers will have dropped off.

13. I live in tomorrow land so naturally I have to do it tomorrow.

D'ats all folks.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Fickle Hand of Fetes

Here we are in Springtime (I know, strange for those of you in Autumn) and it's my favorite time of year. Not only do all the flowers bloom and the animals bear fruit, um, babies (fruit of their loins, right?), but Spring is the peak time in Australia for fetes.

I love fetes. Buying little pots of strange plants that sit like unopened Christmas presents, their contents unknown until they flower next year. Second-hand plastic contraptions picked up from the White Elephant stall that you take home with great plans to put to use, only to find you never have time to set it up and can't figure out how things go together without the instructions. Home made sweets that don't quite make it home but form a sticky pile of licked wrapping in the bottom of your handbag. Then there's the joy of knowing that the money you spent on these dubious treasures goes to a good cause- a school/church/charity, so the dosh does double duty- always a good thing.

This week I have to help my kids prepare for their school fete. One contribution is a food stall where the parents make all kinds of goodies, donate them, then turn up on the day to buy them back if no one else does so our kids aren't disappointed. The other stall my 13 y.o. is running "by myself, Mum!" Um, okay. Does that count the plain white t-shirts I had to buy so he could print up uniforms for the 2 boys working for him? Or the gallons of printer ink for the info sheets he intends to give away free with every purchase? Maybe it doesn't count the mess and ingredients used in my kitchen as he makes his "dinosaur treats?" I believe these expenditures are to be written off in the columns of PR and education expenses. I think I have a budding entrepreneur, or swindler maybe.

Yeah, I love fetes.

I think.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Cat's in the Cradle

And other places apparently. My 13 year old has been furry funny again mutilating lyrics. I caught him singing this version of the old classic to his brother. Apparently he read a spoof on the net somewhere and came up with his own embellishments. The finished product, I'm sure you will agree, is definitely hmmmmmm worthy.

Did you ever think that when you eat Chinese
It aint fried chicken but a dead Siamese
The food tastes great so you don't complain
Though it's not pig you're eating but feline chow mein
And though it looks like sweet and sour pork
It's Garfield on my fork.
Yes, they're telling me cheese is chalk.

Oh the cat's in the kettle at The Peking Moon
And it gets boiled up every day at noon
They feed their patrons cat, but you'd never know
Cause they wrap it up in pastry dough
Yeah then they fry it up in dough

I went to Peking Moon just the day before
Caught them dialing up for birdies at the old pet store
I said that now I knew it all I'd lost my appetite
Cause all those cats in my belly had decided to fight
But I picked up my fork and I heard something mew
And that was when I knew, yeah, for certain that was when I knew

Oh the cat's in the kettle at The Peking Moon
I'd better stopping eating here really soon
Cause I'm sure I saw a member of the RSPCA
Walking past here just today day, boys
And they'll blow this place away

Oh the cat's in the kettle at The Peking Moon
And it's blood is on the hands of the slanty-eyed goon
When they'll close this joint, well it can't be long
'Cause what they're doin's wrong, boys
Which is why I'm singing this song.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Do the 5

I have been challenged to share 5 interesting things about myself. Tough call. According to my kids my life only has 2 interesting things, both of which are sleeping as I write this, so I thought instead I'd admit to a few ODD things about me. Like:

1. I once sang to 10,000 people
2. I sold one of my artworks through MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) to raise money to help protect the Dalai Lama when the Chinese were trying to kill him
3. My mother cooked several meals for the Sultan of Brunei
4. I broke my neck when I was 9
5. I have hunted wild rhino on elephant back

But I guess none of that really warrants a mention. :-)

Now for the 5 folk I challenge, hmm Heather, Amanda, Stacey, Zeek, Sarah

Friday, November 03, 2006

What's in a Name?

A friend sent me the following article on market trends in motorcycling. Gave me a few chuckles and hmmmmmm moments so I thought I'd share it.

Looks like Harley is going to have some serious competition in North America.
At a press conference late Monday, the CEO of Johnson Marine, makers of Johnson outboard marine engines and other recreational equipment, unveiled a new line of heavyweight cruiser style motorcycles designed to compete head to head with industry leader Harley-Davidson.

Peter Long, Johnson brands marketing manager said, "We have studied the market and determined that Harley, while highly successful, has narrowly missed the mark when targeting motorcycle buyers". Long added, "We, at Johnson, are convinced our product hits the target dead center and promises to draw sales away from Harley-Davidson in a way no other motorcycle has been able to accomplish".

The new line of bikes, marketed under the name 'Big Johnson Motorcycles', will, according to Long, deliver what Harley has only promised. "Our research show that this, "Big Johnson" is what Harley buyers are really after".

At the unveiling of the new line Monday, several current Harley owners agreed. "When I bought my Harley, what I really needed was a Big Johnson", said one Harley owner. "But I see now that riding a Harley is no replacement for having a Big Johnson."

Manager Long also said that his company would follow the lead of Harley-Davidson and cash in on a huge market for non motorcycle related products. "We realize that not every guy can have a Big Johnson", said Long, "But image is very important to people. If they don't have a Big Johnson, they at least want to project the image of having one."

Asked if he anticipated Big Johnsons showing up in the hands of Harley owners, Long said it was unlikely. "I just don't see the need to have a Harley if you have a Big Johnson", he said. "And I can't imagine someone who spends all their resources to acquire a Harley having a Big Johnson. I think it boils down to this - You either have a Harley, or you have a Big Johnson, but you are not likely to have both. "Given the choice", said Long. "I think most guys will opt for the Big Johnson". Another force driving sales for the company will come from women. A survey of the wives and girlfriends of nearly 1,000 potential motorcycle buyers indicates less than 5% would approve of their partner spending $15,000 on a Harley Davidson. But, when asked if they would be willing to pay the same amount of money to get their partner a Big Johnson, nearly 4 out 5 thought that would be money well spent.

One female present at the product unveiling was quoted as saying, "There is no way I will let Lonnie drop 15 grand on another one of those Harleys, but 15 grand to get him a Big Johnson? Well, now that's something we could both enjoy and it's something he really needs."

Carla Roundheel, manager of the dealership network now being established, said her motto is simple. "I service what we sell."

Big Johnson motorcycles will be traded on the stock exchange under the abbreviation P-ENVY

I might add, my internal editor was going bonkers when I put this up, but I resisted the urge to correct what is essentially a quote. It wasn't easy. Maybe I need to go riding and loosen up. :-)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Crying Like a Babe

No, I'm not sad. I'm touched to tears. Today I recieved the most amazing gift from my American CP and friend -- a whole bag of books and promo stuff. Now to those of you who live in America this may not be as big a deal since you likely get stuff like this at every conference, but to me.... um, wow. It was like a decade worth of Christmases all came together.

T-shirts, badges, books, pens, bath crystals ... you name it. I am totally blown away. I'm as giddy as a toddler on a ferris wheel. Wow. Now I don't know what to read first and I'm dancing from book to book in pure, tearful glee. My kids are both eyeing off the lolly pop (yeah, you can bet I'll use that idea when I next need to promo) and I think I'll spend the evening looking up the sites of the donators of this great stuff. Anyone that generous must have a good heart, and good hearts make for good writing.

So I'm a thankful Babe today. Thankful for friends who believe in me and my writing, and the love in that support brings me to tears. May you all feel as valued as I do right now. You deserve it.