Friday, May 23, 2008

We've moved!

Finally at 345 posts, we got some new digs. And are they spiffy. Yes indeed.

What Came Down Today now posts from a new url.

So, please update your bookmarks, accounts, RSS feeds, and blogrolls. This blog has been renamed What Came Down Yesterday. Get it?

The archives will stay up for at least a year at this location, I think. I'm still trying to import some of these posts (the good ones) into Wordpress. Just need time and more time.

And please forgive the construction at the new location. Wordpress is a whole new ballgame for me. Some of the ads don't work yet (static) and the search boxes don't work either, I don't think. And I'm just not sure about the theme yet. Hope I settle on something soon! I've only changed it about twenty times!

But anyway, see you over there!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Book 1 of 100: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

I've heard half a dozen people recommend this book to me in the past few months, but it wasn't until agent Kristin Nelson recommended the series in her April newsletter that I finally paid attention. And then the book sat on my book table in my living room for a month before I realized it was due back at the library and I couldn't renew it because it there was a waiting list of people after me! So I read it, just this week, in entirety. And I couldn't read it fast enough.

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld is a YA look at a semi-spooky future, but you don't realize it is spooky until after you finish the book, which I think lends to its charm. Tally Youngblood is three months away from 16 at which time she'll undergo plastic surgery (everyone on earth does at 16) to become pretty. Until then though, she's still an Ugly. The Uglies can't do anything fun and are bogged down with rules and plain-jane clothes and surroundings, whereas the Pretties live the high life: parties and clothes and fun and games. At the start of the book, Tally sneaks over to the Pretties side of town to see a childhood friend and on her way back meets another Ugly, one who isn't content with her Ugly lot.

It's a book filled with new images and places and yet, all of this is easily recognized as a darker picture of our modern society. The book moves very fast and every page is jam-packed with new information that enlarges the landscape. Tally has quick wits and is modestly fearless. She brings to the YA fantasy genre a new heroine that teens (and adults) won't be able to resist. I certainly could not.

It's high-concept YA at its best, I think. And it solves the often-perplexing problem writers face. Eudora Welty says to write about what you don't know about what you know.

And then Alice Laplante points out, as writers, we're not looking to provide a lesson, or a moral; we're not therapists looking to cure our characters of pain or neurosis. Our job, as writers, is simply to render what is, using precise, concrete detail.

I think that's what makes Westerfeld's first book so lively and engaging. He does not tell us why something is, he shows us how it is. He doesn't give us easy answers. Rather, he helps us understand the precise nature of the questions.

As Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes says, "Bad books are about things the writer already knew before he wrote them."

My Beginning

A blogging friend, Jen Miller, author of The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinations, and the inventor of the Book A Week Blog, sent me a copy of her blog in Word form this week. Planned to span 52 weeks (a book a week), it actually went much faster than even she anticipated (we're all in awe of her now).

I really liked her opener to her book a week series (posted back in October):

I like to read. A lot. Whenever I move, my mom asks "do we have to move all your books? Again?" I have managed to turn books into a sliver of my freelance career -- I review for a few newspapers and magazines, and write about books and authors, too, if not profiles, then using them as 'experts' in my magazine articles.

I can't give you one reason why I like books. I think they offer an escape, and a much more textured and indulgent one than you'll find on TV. Even the frothiest of novels demands more from you than watching TV, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

I know that reading a book a week is not a new idea, nor is it a new idea to do so and write about it. But why not give it a go? I find myself drifting when I don't have a book to read, and I'm in need of an anchor.

Trish again.

I like to read too. A lot. Whenever I move, my entire family asks "do we have to move all your books? again?" (they've only helped me move them three times, whoop-de-doo-dah) and while I haven't had the amazing freelance writing career of Jen, I've worked on a lot of books before publication--as a copyeditor, project manager, proofreader, researcher, and developmental editor--from non-fiction to fiction, college textbooks to gift books. I love my work and I love my job.

But the books I read for work are not what I would pick up and read for fun.
Thus I feel a bit disconnected and adrift if I don't have a book I'm reading for fun. So I recompense with several books at once!

So I decided, after seeing Jen's blog and then her blog in book form, I need to record my book reading journey.

You see, a few years ago, I discovered Jane Smiley's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Novel and it has since become one of my most favorite books. When I am at odds with life, I sit down and thumb through Jane's mini-reviews (similar to what Jen has done) of the 100 novels she read after September 11, 2001. It took her three years, but what a rich treasure came from those three years. It will probably take me longer and I don't doubt there will be weeks (and months) that I don't get any book reviewed on my blog.

I'm not in a race, and I'm not doing this to try and beat Jen's record. I think that by doing this, I will a) have more interesting content for this blog and b) I will keep a record of what I've read. I read voraciously (thanks to a well-stocked King County library system) and often there is no pattern or texture to my reading. I just read. You may like what I read, or you may not. The choice is yours.

I think it will enrich my life and perhaps the lives of those who faithfully follow this blog, even though a) I still have not published the novel, and b) I work too hard some days and my brain goes completely empty.

So, dear readers, this is my beginning.

And, thanks to Jen's good example, I intend to start . . . today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Balancing Your Creativity With Others' Input

This is hard work for me. I'm a people-pleaser, I guess. If someone gives me advice, I really try hard to take it and use it, but oftentimes that makes me double-minded about my work and my creative pursuits.

I have made a decision and it was not hard, but obvious to me, however, it wasn't the popular consensus. It meant choosing a fiction project over another. I'm neck-deep in revision and it is so easy to want to start on another fun project, but 2008 is the year I learn to plow through the tough revisions and persevere. I can write first drafts until the end of time, but the point is to revise.

So I picked my current WIP to continue on and I will make it the best I can. Next up, the fun book (which is a series, high concept, and just really entertaining for me).

A few stories:

Journalism going mobile from Editor and Publisher.

Sex and the City ads banned in Jerusalem, from

And off I go to get things done so I can write.

Currently listening to: Leona Lewis
Currently reading: Pretties (Scott Westerfeld)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No One Cares What You Have For Lunch

Saw a book with this title on Amazon today and chuckled. I feel like this blog has been just that dull of late. It's been a miracle just getting something up on this blog every single day in May. (Don't travel when you want to improve traffic to a blog!)

So today we go back to the basics. This blog is my writing blog. I'm not here to help anyone improve their writing, or even to improve my writing, I'm just talking about my writing journey. I am an aspiring novelist, have written and published several non-fiction gift books and one children's picture book and I'm moving onto YA this year. I also write essays and non-fiction and copyedit a lot of pages on a weekly basis.

Currently I'm just about to begin my massive revision of the YA novel I've been working on for the past year. I plan to have 100 pages ready by the first of August (or sooner) to send out to a second editor for her opinion and I plan to sell this book in time to grab the summer/fall reading lists for 2010. This means I need to find an agent this fall and sell sometime in early 2009. Or somewhere thereabouts. Plans of mice and men and all that . . .

News roundup today:

CJR reports on the changing face of journalism; not so much about magazines anymore.

Print news is growing, not decreasing, in emerging markets, according to the NYT.

Professional blogger/podcaster Amanda Congdon is back on her own terms.

And a bunch of information sites to get the scoop on everyone you know (or hate). Privacy? What's that?

And last, not definitely not least, Penelope Trunk talks about productivity testing, with some very interesting results.

Have a great productive Tuesday!

Currently listening to: ASAJ 2008 mp3 recordings
Currently reading: Pretties (Scott Westerfeld)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home Again


And we're home. Really glad to be here too. London was delightful and wonderful and I would do it again in a minute, but I was ready to head for home, especially when I heard about the wonderful weather we're finally having here (England was lovely too, for the record).

And so today is a la-de-da day, with me trying to get back on the correct time zone and relaxing while I sort through email and snail mail and unpacking and laundry and writing.

Would you believe I read half a dozen books while I was gone? Thank goodness for the Kindle and for nine-hour flights both ways! Reading that much prepares me nicely for writing and I'm ready to go.

I start my new writing class in a week (Memorial Day proper) and am working on a book proposal and an essay. Plus, the novel work commences in earnest this week.

I relied so much on YouTube over the past ten days that I am going to take a break and not use one today.

Currently reading: Girl's Guide to Growing a Million-Dollar Business
Currently listening to: the Ellen Show

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Homeward Bound

And we're flying home today. I'm ready, but so sorry to leave London. It is a wonderful home away from home and I really got comfortable on this trip. I found a hotel that I love in a location near my day job and near everything I want to see each time I visit. I'm anxious to get back and hopefully will in another 8-12 months or so. Or sooner. Who knows.

We have a lot of work to do in the next seven weeks until launch. So I go home knowing that I will be working hard before I can get on a plane to Boston for the U.S. employee meeting.

Plus, right before I flew over, I was admitted into Brenda's very hard-to-get-into writing class in West Seattle (I was writer #8) and she almost capped it at just seven people. I am so excited and grateful. Many of her students get book deals (and very lucrative book deals). It will be a great growing experience.

Coming home, I'm also beginning to drift into fiction writing mode. I have a lot of work to do--lots of writing to do--and I'm excited and a bit nervous.

Currently reading: back of my eyelids--sleep!
Currently listening to: Basshunter

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Notting Hill

The Saturday market in Notting Hill on Portabello Road is something unto itself.

Of course, Notting Hill brings up memories of this movie:

But until you've actually been there on a bustling Saturday morning market day, well, you haven't really experienced Notting Hill.

Vendors selling everything you can imagine and people are jam-packed into a space that sometimes includes cars and march the long route through the market in a blizzard of language and chatter and noise. It's a cacophony of humanity. I go to Pike Place Market every so often in Seattle and Notting Hill is a completely different experience and quite wonderful.

Today is our last day to run around in London so we are out soaking it up. Home tomorrow.

Currently reading: The Host (Stephenie Meyer)
Currently listening to: Amy Winehouse

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Fabulous Fiver (London-Style)

1. Christopher Wren's architecture

(set to Handel, of course!)

2. Sparkling bottled water

Really, really good water (flat is good too!) provided to us free at the Hilton.

3. My job and colleagues at BMA House (and offsite around the world)

Fantastic! Brilliant and insightful and full of ideas and energy. I'm proud to be on such a team. What a great trip to finally get to meet everyone!

4. Burberry

Nuff said. It just rocks.

5. Marks & Spencer

Clothing, food, you name it. And these are everywhere.

Tomorrow we go to Notting Hill and the remains of Whitehall Palace (also Henry VIII's) and then it's time to pack it up and head for home.

Currently reading: headlines on China and Burma
Currently listening to: Natasha Bedingfield

Thursday, May 15, 2008

All This Christopher Wren Architecture

Yesterday we saw St. Paul's Cathedral and it was stunning.

As I walked in I thought of Prince Charles and Lady Di's wedding (watched it back when I was a girl) and once again marveled.

I have decided to learn more about the genius of Christopher Wren after visiting this cathedral. He was quite a guy!

We also visited Buckingham Palace and took a ride on the London Eye.

Today I am in meetings with my day job and Todd is off exploring war museums.

Currently reading: training class paperwork
Currently listening to: conference instructors

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Technology Mishaps

So, I spoke too quickly yesterday. The sample of Elizabeth George's Careless in Red was good, but then I tried to read the Kindle version of the book itself and could not. Seems Amazon's Kindle version of the whole book had a corrupted file. I emailed Amazon all last evening and got my refund, but now I saw a review in London about the book and now I'm not sure I want to buy it again.

And my cell phone won't work this week (no service) and my webmail keeps crashing my laptop! Argh. Technology.

Otherwise, we've had a very full day today visiting Hampton Court Palace. We took a Thames boat upriver to Hampton Court and it took 3 hours (through a few locks), but just 35 minutes on the rail train home, which we were thrilled with. So we got a nice round trip view of the outerskirts of London.

The Palace was stunning (and Rick Steves termed it "not quite sparkling" in his guidebook) with the Tudor, Georgian, and Baroque sections all just amazing. The gardens were the highlight though. Stunning.

Currently reading: Rick Steves 2008 London (Kindle version)
Currently listening to: CNBC Europe on the telly

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Elizabeth George Is Back (with Inspector Lynley!)

If you've wondered a bit about Elizabeth George's bestselling series (as I have) about Inspector Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers after she allowed someone to kill Lynley's wife and unborn child, well, don't worry. The author has brought the magic back.

A delicious read (and I'm just a bit of the way through!) and I'm so excited to finally be reading an Elizabeth George novel while in England!

And Elizabeth George is a favorite of mine because she splits her time between her Seattle and London homes. Love that idea! Maybe someday.

Currently reading: Careless in Red (Kindle version)
Currently watching: People walking by on Upper Woburn Place

Monday, May 12, 2008

Having A Grand Time In London

Again, I love traveling around the city on the underground.

It is so easy to use and even if you get on the wrong train (which I have done), it's a very simple process to turn yourself back around and go the other way.

Today, we made it to the British Museum and the British Library . . . and Harrods! I love Harrods. Hubby couldn't believe how big it was. We had soup and sandwich at the food court and followed it with Charbonnel et Walker chocolates (2.50 USD) each! Best chocolate I've ever had hands down.

After we looked around at Harrods, we walked through Knightsbridge and then made our way to Hyde Park and then to Kensington Park. It was 8 pm, warm and breezy and almost idyllic, save the police sirens, as we walked past Albert's Memorial and Royal Albert Hall.

Tomorrow, we head to Hampton Court, the last Tudor palace in London (Henry VIII) and then to a pub to watch a UK football game and drink a pint (well, hubby).

Tonight, we are savoring fresh blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries from the Whole Foods on Kensington High Street.

Currently reading: Elizabeth George's Careless in Red (Kindle version)
Currently listening to: BBC on the telly

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Video of the Day

And we're landing at Heathrow's Terminal 5 right now, so this will be another quick vid.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Video of the Day

We are on a plane to London!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Fiver Favorite Things Vid-Style

1. Natasha Bedingfield's Pocketful of Sunshine

2. York Peppermint Patties

3. Vivaldi's Spring

4. The Clash (London Calling)

5. Harrods

Currently reading: The Host (Stephenie Meyer)
Currently listening to: Vivaldi

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I Am Addicted to YouTube

Among other things.

Great vids today to share:

And Jodi Picoult (I'm reading this book right now):

Just two today, because I've got a lot more coming up!

I'm signing up for a weekly crit class with an amazing essayist here in Seattle. I'm talking to her via phone tonight to figure out how we'll begin. It's in a big group of writers! Spendy, but worthy it.

Keep writing!

Currently reading: Life insurance policy
Currently listening to: Cascada

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Socializing While Overseas

This is much harder in reality than it seems. Especially when a dress code is required.

So yesterday I found out that we're attending a soiree while in London that requires formal dress. But this is England and formal to them is not the same as America. This does not mean a tux or tails for the guys and a ball gown for me, but it means a dress and a suit coat and tie at least. Which was not what we were planning on, so we're scrambling.

There's Loehmann's up here with Balenciaga cocktail dresses and then the Rack around the corner from my house with Trina Turk and Elie Tahari, so I'm going to be out and about for a bit making sure the simple sheath dress and kitten heels with a fabulous scarf (purchased while in London the last time) is just right.

So I'm flitting around today finishing up the last of the projects (including a Powerpoint presentation for AMWA) and cleaning at odd moments. Hey, inspiration to scrub the shower just happens, okay?

Great meeting last night with the writer's group at Elizabeth's house. It completely calmed me down (okay the champagne calmed me down) and I felt somewhat nonstressed and normal for the drive home from Redmond. Woohoo!

Off I go!

Currently reading: London schedule
Currentlying listening to: Basshunter

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Quick Writing Update

Well, things are progressing . . . slowly. Trying to get ready to get on a plane (this time for 8 days) is hard work!

Good progress on my essay work. I get myself into essay mode and then have to go put out client fires. I was hoping to have it ready in draft form by today, but other things have been given priority.

Novel is moving forward, very slowly. I will concentrate on it when I return from London.

Non-fiction work is moving along faster than anything. Working on a few book ideas and getting ready to pitch.

Currently reading: palliative care paper
Currently listening to: Natasha Bedingfield

Monday, May 05, 2008

How To Generate More Profit At Your Job

Are you in the position to generate profit? If so, what are you waiting for? Go do it!

If not, a few tips I learned this week from Michael Masterson's book Automatic Wealth.

1. Do some research and find out (if you don't know) how your company makes money and sales.

2. Talk to people who are profit generators and find out how they do it well and brainstorm with them on ways to do it better.

3. If you can, volunteer to help them somehow.

4. Do this while you are doing your own job above expectations.

5. Give your boss most of the credit, even though you do most of the work.

I am paraphrasing, but you need to read the book if you want to know more. It's very thought-provoking as I head across the pond to the home office (and to meetings with the sales team and the product development team). I am so glad I bought this book (on Kindle, no less) in preparation. Very good ideas.

Currently reading: blogroll
Currently listening to: baby Henry's Youtube vid (he's laughing at his dad, so cute)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

How To Handle High-Profile Projects Without Losing It

So, I'm copyediting a very high-profile project for my day job and it's slightly stressful, a specialized paper on a health care issue going out to 500,000 U.S. medical doctors. My name is on it and I want to do a good job.

1. Remember to breathe.
2. Review the project in full, check for scope, essential elements, figure out process.
3. Fix the little things first.
4. Start the work and go slow. The beginnings are always the hardest.
5. Ask lots of questions along the way, even if only to confirm what you think you already know.

And above all, be confident. You can do it!

Off I go!

Currently reading: 90-page paper for job
Currently listening to: quiet house

Saturday, May 03, 2008

How To Network Without Thinking About It

So, today is a symposium for local Pacific Northwest medical writers and editors. I'm taking my business cards and hoping to collect a few job ops while I'm there.

But I hate overt networking, you know walking up to someone and immediately jumping into "what can you do for me?" because that just really sucks.

I prefer social networking. Chatting over snacks or at lunch about issues we face in the medical writing/editing world and trying to help others find a solution. This has worked for me many times in the past, not only in getting work, but more importantly, in meeting and solidifying business relationships. The medical publishing world is quite small in actuality and it's good to know as many as you can. Again, not only for work, but for wise counsel and helpful resources.

Currently reading: symposium schedule
Currently listening to: Seth Godin audiobook

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Mayday Fiver

1. So it feels like spring, but is it spring? The jury is still out on that. I'm taking it as spring. Even though tomorrow is a day-long seminar in Seattle, afterward there is a Cinco de Mayo party at T&J's house.

2. The London trip prep is in full swing. Pants are hemmed, all the little bottles are purchased, and now the packing commences. Going to be a full trip and we can't wait!

3. Downloading books for the Kindle to take and delighted to get almost all of the Thomas Cahill Hinges of History series! Can't get Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World though. Boo.

4. Spent the J. Crew rewards card, because they had an additional 20% off the sale and I couldn't resist. Fun! Drooling over their summer dress book.

5. Knocked the new bottle of makeup into the sink, and it broke wide open, so on a waiting list at the local Macy's to get another (they were out and I don't want to drive to southcenter). I saved as much as I could, but you know how it goes with a glass bottle.

Michelle Rafter of WordCount is doing a blogathon for the month of May and I signed up (now that Blogger can postdate entries). Check out my co-bloggers! Quite a listing!

Have a great Friday all!

Currently reading: Kindle books
Currently listening to: Madonna

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

Whenever May 1 rolls around, I always start dreaming about going camping. There's a special spot our family goes up in the Oregon Cascades, but for this year, hubby and I are starting a new tradition. We're going camping in Central WA.

I'm not sure about this actually. No rocks, not many trees, and on the Gorge? Can I really do this?

Plus, I've roughed it camping (well, not carrying my stuff on my back on a backpacking camping trip), but my idea of camping includes no running water, electricity, showers, or flushing toilets in the Oregon Cascades. And we love it.

This camp on the Gorge has everything, bathrooms with showers and sinks, electricity, a marina for the boats, and the rumor is that we're sleeping in our car (an SUV with room for an air mattress).

I'm hoping I don't get there and freak out.

But it's good to try new things. And since it's May, I'm so ready.

Currently reading: RSS feed
Currently listening to: Flying Birds (Van Thijs mix)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How To Get Invites To Be An Insider

I have no idea, but out of the blue, Banana Republic is inviting people who have the Luxe card and probably spend a certain amount to join a group of "BR Insiders." Well, I'm delighted to help.

Next up, I want to be a J. Crew insider. I think I spend more at J. Crew, between the outlet, the sales, and the J. Crew rewards program. But enough of that. My balances at both stores are at zero, because in a fit of frugality, I decided not to spend my J. Crew 100-dollar reward certificate until after Londy. I am amazed at my self-control today.

My hairs are cut and today the pants will be hemmed and the suit dry cleaned. The suitcases are ready and I even got a handy space saver set for my suitcase. These gizmos are similar to that television infomercial, only you don't need the expensive air vacuum. You just roll and squeeze the air out of these bags. We'll see how well they work. I've gone from a checked large hard case down to a 17-inch carryon as we navigate through Heathrow's Terminal 5. Hey, if my buddy, L, can do this, I can do this, right?

The question this week is how to reduce my beauty products into 3-oz bottles that all fit in a quart ziploc bag. How do other gorgeous women do this? :)

In the news today, the whole attempt by Lifetime television to rebrand just doesn't sit well with me either.

And one link about Miley Cyrus. And I am not even going to post one thing about James Frey. He has had enough air time on this blog.

And off to the writing. One more writing group meeting before I leave and I intend to have something prepared. So, the essay work and novel work continue!

Currently reading: Uglies trilogy (Scott Westerfeld)
Currently listening to: Madonna Hard Candy album

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Don't Let the Stress Catch Ya

It comes in threes. Stress, I mean.

One thing heats up, then another, and then the third shows up and I start to wonder if I've got a target on my back or something.

So, we're in full stress mode at the office here. The upcoming trip to London, the all-day AMWA class on Saturday, the presentation while in London, the workload before I can get to London (very high-profile stuff for my job), and in the midst of it comes my salvation.

MarioKart for the Wii.

Seriously, folks. This is the best treatment for stress I've EVER found. Well, that gym every day works well for me too, but for those who can't get to the gym every single day, try this game.

In writing news, have made it to the next stage. Figured out my family makeup (Electra) and now we can begin the pre-writing planning stage. That was tough work. It took a pile of about 20 novels, another 5 books on mother-daughter relationship theories, and another 5 books on psychology, but I did it. I actually didn't need to read all those books, because my lightbulb moment came in the midst of a novel, but it was good to read and take notes anyway. I have plenty of notes and so here we go. What does the pre-writing planning stage mean?

It means I have too much work to do and have to go to Europe before I can really get started because I'm not bringing a laptop with me and there is no way I'm going to get a hubby to sit in a hotel room during daylight hours so I can write 2,000 words. No way. So I'll just pre-write plan and start writing when we get back.

And that works. Lessens the pressure for me right now.

The first of my paid blog posts are going up this week. I am trying to work with the client to make it a monthly gig, so fingers crossed.

And with that, no news today, as I'm off to get a hair cut and my suit hemmed. My daily gym workouts have helped me fit into the suit! So good for me!

Have a great day!

Currently reading: Uglies series Scott Westerfeld
Currently listening to: Basshunter

Monday, April 28, 2008

And The Rain Is Back

But we had a toasty Friday/Saturday with sunshine that was wonderful, so I'm not complaining. I've got enough work to do today to stay indoors, so I will.

In today's news, people continue to move away from print to Web.

Miley Cyrus should be embarrassed. I am not yet a fan of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, but my niece sure is, and this doesn't help her case much.

I would have paid good money to see Craig Ferguson delight the crowd at this weekend's White House correspondents' dinner. He is hilarious!

And Twitter strikes again!

If you are not yet a Twitter user, you should consider it. 140 words to succinctly sum up what you are doing at that exact moment. It's hilarious to see who's jumping onboard and I'm having fun playing with it. Nice way to broadcast my point of view and business happenings to another 150 very cool people.

And the first of the paid writing blog posts goes off to the client for review. Fingers crossed! I had a great time and definitely want to continue this trend. I'd like to score this job for sure. The essay has been reworked, and the novel work continues.

And the packing for the London trip is going ahead full-steam. Today need to schedule the hair cut, get those pants hemmed, and start work on a possible PowerPoint presentation to go with my talk.

Too much to do!

Currently listening to: BassHunter
Currently reading:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday "Here Comes the Warm Weather" Fiver

1. Seattle is poised and ready to take advantage of it, so come on down, warm weather! (I will be out weeding my front yard!)

2. Am booked up with writing jobs (more than copyediting work) right now and it feels a bit strange, but I'm jiving with it. Here we go.

3. New season of Deadliest Catch! Okay, so it started a few weeks ago and that week was a banner one because we saw Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern at the airport as we picked up hubby's sister. His family was on her flight. Sig was bombarded with people wanting pictures. He's shorter than he looks on television, but really polite and kind to everyone. Fun star sighting! Only in Seattle!

4. We are packing for London this weekend! Going to try and not check any bags because we're going through Terminal 5 at Heathrow (the same BA terminal that has been in the news of late for lost luggage woes) and to pack that light takes some planning. I am motivated!

5. Writers group meet went off last night and what fun. Had a reading from Jen's new novel that is headed out to agents, brainstormed with Elizabeth as she figures out a way to use her vast international network to sell her novel (she's well-connected; had a private audience with the Dalai Lama when he was in Seattle recently), and we were wowed by Sonya's first chapter. I came ready with a complex writing exercise as I am still in prewriting mode. We had good wine, good food, and a great time.

Off to write!

Currently reading: Kindle version of Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools
Currently listening to: Natasha Bedingfield

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Am An Orange?

Publication coach Daphne Gray-Grant writes an excellent Power Writing eZine each week that I always make time to read.

Last week's edition was printed out and is still sitting here by the computer because it's so good.

Why You Should Think Of Yourself As An Orange

(love the title)

In a nutshell, when we try to write (or think and write) we give up too quickly. If we take time to write out what we are trying to understand, we often can dig down to a deeper well of better ideas. Brainstorming techniques work really well here.

If you want to sign up for the Power Writing eZine, check out Daphne's site.

Off I go to prepare for my writer's group.

Currently listening to: Natasha Bedingfield
Currently reading: Kindle version of Joomla guide

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Administrative Assistant Day

After spending years as an administrative assistant (to a mayor, city manager, CPA, head librarian, CEO), I recalled fond memories this morning of my favorite admin assist day, way back in 1995. I job-shared with a good friend and our boss sent us on a day-long scavenger hunt (how he had time to plan a day-long one is beyond me) complete with rhyming clues and mystery faxes sent from Russia and Chicago, all culminating in a final clue that led us to our prize. A Cross pen.

I treasured that pen for years (thanks, Loren) and I still have it, 13 years later. That job was one of the hardest (inside a juvenile detention facility) jobs I've ever had and prepared me to jump into any other admin assist job with ease. I dealt with the press when I supported Lebanon, Oregon's mayor and I was even able to calm down very self-righteous people who were fighting the city's plan to build a bigger Walmart. Those were heady days. Every single boss I had helped me become who I am today. I no longer assist anyone and now I'm the one working on spotlighted projects at work. And I tell every single high school senior to do the same -- learn to work, learn to listen, learn to soak up every lesson you can as you start in the working world. Every job has something to teach. It's worth it to slow down and pay attention.

Cheers to all the administrative assistants today who are making this world a better place.

I'm really putting my Kindle to good use. Downloaded a list of books and have now hauled it to Costco, the gym, the post office, and the dry cleaners. Love this thing!

Currently listening to: Leona Lewis
Currently reading: Medical insurance guide to benefits

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Showing Up To Work

So, yesterday was my first day of a new daily schedule. It was a bit frenetic. I have three goals this year and last week realized I wasn't allowing time in my day for any of them. So I changed up my daily calendar on iCal and yesterday was the first day.

Well, it went well, but then petered out. But I did get a lot done on my to-do list. SO I can't complain too much. I did get in my writing time and went to the gym. The goal is to do that every day this week and next week and the next week and by then it will be habit. Just in time for me to fly to London and ruin the habit. Oh well.

It's a bit of a struggle to make certain things stick every single day. I'm determined though and it will happen. I just need to prove to myself today that I can stick to a schedule and keep up with all the extra things I jam into my day as well.

So off I go today to try.

In today's news, Disney's Evolving Business Model from

Russian newspaper that angered Putin shuts down. Yikes.

An interesting look at creating web content by suffering newspapers without hiring anyone.

Have a great Tuesday!

Currently listening to: The Magic Flute remixed
Currently reading: Jodi Picoult on the Kindle

Monday, April 21, 2008

Change It Up: Five Things to Rethink In Your Life

My weekend was full of rest, reading, and planning. With less than three weeks until we leave for London, there is a lot to plan.

So recently, I went to Macy’s to get a refill on my liquid foundation makeup. This is the same makeup that I wore on my wedding day, now almost five years ago. The Lancome lady who gave me my makeover swore she had never seen a makeup blend so beautifully on skin. The friend I hired to do my makeup for my wedding said the same thing.

When you hear things like that, you treasure them for years. And go back to get more of that golden liquid well before you really run out. Hey, I put makeup on when I go to the gym. Yes, I’m that vain.

I always repeat the name of my makeup to myself a few times as I approach the Lancome counter to make sure that I ask for the right shade, thus it came as quite a shock when the clerk said to me “We’ve stopped making that line.”

I immediately went pale (not hard to do when you haven't tanned for months) and choked as I exclaimed, “No, don’t tell me that.”

Within minutes, the makeup clerk had me perched on a chair with a sample shade in her hand ready to apply to my fair forehead. I held the mirror up, afraid to hear the words. “Oh, this just doesn’t match your skin as well as the other.” I was so afraid my life with an invisible makeup line was over.

But after a few tries, she finally found a shade that matched my fair look. Because this year, just a long minute in direct sunlight will make me sprout another two dozen freckles. (I'm trying to quit tanning in order to be more natural. My legs are already scaring people.)

So I love my new makeup. I love it more than the old makeup, which now looks all forlorn in its messy bottle in my medicine cabinet. And it got me to thinking about other things in my life that I’ve done day in and day out for the past five years and that I thought were a perfect fit.

1. Buying books. Yes, the arrival of my Kindle today will change that, but wow, discovering the King County Library system last year was a godsend. They have everything and I mean everything. Even obtuse titles like The Mother/Daughter Plot, written in 1989 by Marianne Hirsch, which outlines how literature throughout history has viewed mother/daughter relationships. On Abebooks, this would have cost me a mint. I no longer have to buy as many books as I did before. I can’t decide if I’m happier about saving trees, or saving money. Hm. Keeping this trend.

2. Procrastinating on my taxes. Now that my CPA and I have finally completely separated my business affairs from my personal affairs (it takes time, trust me), the corporation is getting easier to file taxes for. The pittance of money each year I pay my CPA (and the firm charges a good amount) in comparison to how much time they save me boggles my mind. Why didn’t I think of this ten years ago? I’m keeping this trend too.

3. Saving ziploc bags. Okay, so my family will kill me because this is an uber-frugal, "save the environment" thing that I just can't do anymore. I absolutely hate washing out ziploc freezer bags. Hate it! And then hubby pointed out that I use like a box a year. Forget it. I'm just buying a box a year.

4. Buying new fabric. I am now addicted to finding beautiful pieces of fabric on Ebay or at Goodwill or garage sales. Well, okay, so it's already a dress. Seriously! A friend just made an amazing apron out of an old 1950s dress. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. No more ugly fabric. Time to get creative.

5. Using old collaboration tools. I have gigabytes of old email. This has got to stop. My goal for the next five years is to figure out how to downsize my archives and to use new tools to better utilize my time.

And that's all the wisdom I have for today. Unless you want to read a long expose on Gossip Girl. Yeah, you know you do. It's back tonight and I am getting sucked in.

Currently reading: Brazen Careerist
Currently listening to: audio interview for a client

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Fabulous Fiver

1. Very tired. Not coping well with medical insurance drama. Need to breathe and calm down.

2. Work is almost done for the week. Once I'm done at around noon, I'm turning off the computer and going for a walk.

3. Kindle has shipped for arrival Monday, April 21. So 19 day wait. Not bad at all.

4. I have piles of books to read, so this weekend, that's what I'm doing.

5. Next week is marketing, marketing, marketing. (Hint: when you're not sure which direction to take, market like a fiend)

Currently listening to: interview with a petroleum company engineer
Currently reading: My notes from the last listen

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Little Goes A Long Way

Feeling relieved at the loss of our book deal. The timeline might have been a tad tight. I met a lot of great people during the pitching process and I'm not deterred. It will happen someday.

In the meantime, I'm reading a lot of Penelope Trunk and Michael Port and Seth Godin. These are my gurus.

I liked this review of Ben Stein's new movie, Expelled.
I agree even though I have not yet seen the film (will go this weekend) that if the film is presented as a sob story, I will be disappointed a bit. If ID is a viable belief, then let's give it a fair chance. However, I'm going to see it. The intersection of faith and science is one of my favorite topics so this is right down my alley.

My fellow writer (much more accomplished than I), Sara Gruen marks 12 months on the NYT bestseller list. Congrats, Sara! Amazing.

Oh yes, I can commiserate with this story. Facebook fatigue is right!

And Variety again, talking about how studios are chasing book and magazine deals for fresh content. Good news for us print writers!

Thinking through issues of online collaboration as my email flounders, conference calls stack up to hours each day, and documents are lost by the wayside. Especially this week. I'm definitely surfing for best practices right now. I'm headed to London in May and hope to present solutions in person.

Oh and I figured out what I'm talking about at the symposium (not collaboration issues) but reference issues! Whew. Need to just get my talking points together and we're set. I have no problems filling up a 15-20 minute slot. No worries! :)

And that's it for today. Off to write more case studies.

Currently reading: Brazen Careerist (Penelope Trunk)
Currently listening to: Leona Lewis

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hopes Dashed

My possible co-author and I did not get the book gig. It was for a Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Out of Debt. He's a certified financial planner, but we didn't have a big enough media platform and someone else won the gig. It was half-expected, but still I wished for a chance to get my foot in the door. And it was loads of fun to work on. I really got jazzed about the project and while writing the pitch, really, really felt drawn to the subject matter and to helping people get debt-free.

Anyhoo, so I've decided to entertain the idea of building the web platform for debt reduction anyway. We'll see. Lots of decisions to make now.

And I must mourn a little bit (I really wanted to write the book).

Got an email today asking for more information on writing a blog for someone else (rates, experience, etc.) so that should be interesting.

Turned down an article opp for debt reduction, so need to really think about what my focus should be with journalism work.

Booked our hotel in London (Hilton). Gasped at the cost in US dollars. Thank goodness for company reimbursement.

And I'm not in the mood to scope out interesting links today. Will do some tomorrow.

Currently reading: email from agent about failed book deal
Currently listening to: Pirates remixed

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Rains Came Down . . . Soft

It is a soft spring rain this week. I don't mind it. I am pretty exhausted, and rain is simply an excuse to stay inside with the laptop on the couch and rest up.

Of course, I'm writing case studies for a large IT outsourcing company while I rest, but you get the idea.

Our refrigerator is making very funny noises. I think it's the ice maker coming back to life (it's been dead for years), but hubby thinks it's the fridge cooling system. Either way, it does not bode well. I am starting to wrap my head around a new fridge, but be assured, I will baby this one as long as I can.

Good thing we got a refund.

New Line Cinema, maker of the Hobbit, is at the end of the line, finally folded into Warner Brothers.

And the annual "since it's tax day and too late to do anything, we'll tell you what you should do if you had planned ahead just one week" post from Salon.

May April 16 rise up to meet you.

Currently reading: my blog roll
Currently listening to: Avalon remix

Monday, April 14, 2008

On the Job Again

After a very nice week with our company, it's back to work this fine Monday. It's overcast, a bit chilly, and going to rain at any moment.

After the 70-degree sunshine we've enjoyed, this is harsh.

I accomplished a ton this past week while on A/L from the day job. I contacted a bunch of people that I needed to talk to about various upcoming projects. Heard back from almost everyone. Feels good.

Taxes are done and filing today. Everything on the to-do list is caught up and today is a writing day.

Amazon just emailed to say my Kindle is shipping next week! Woohoo! Just in time for a long flight to London. This is so awesome.

In the news:

Nina Garcia, esteemed PROJECT RUNWAY judge, may be out at ELLE? Woman's Wear Daily reports the latest.

TheStreet.comTV analyzes how to pick a clothing stock, but I liked the comparison between the GAP and J. Crew.

And that's all for today. Must write!

Currently reading: Corey's JCrewaholoc blog
Currently listening to: the heater

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Sunny Fiver

1. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy! Yep, the weather is heating up and we are so happy! Rumor has it that Seattle will hit 70 in the next few days. Perfect for a trip east to hike in the mountains tomorrow (if I get all my to-do list done).

2. Had a good week in spite of all the stress. It is not easy to have guests and try to keep up with my deluge of work, but I did it and I'm proud of myself. I have one more big call today for a regular client and then I have homework for my CME course through the American Medical Writers Association. Oh fun.

3. Found THE pair of shoes to go with the suit at Nordstrom Rack. They are beautiful and will help as I stand up in front of the entire group of my colleagues for my presentation in May.

4. We've decided to skip the trip to mainland Europe and instead try to catch Les Mis in London and get to a football game while we're there. Hubby would really love that. Which works well, because I don't have time to figure out a quick overnight trip to France in my obsolete "spare time."

5. Taxes are done finally, closing the books on 2007 will feel great. Waiting on the CPA to finish. Woohoo!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Currently reading: client material for conference call
Currently listening to: Filo & Perri

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Tortoise Always Beats the Hare

A lot of people are talking about money these days, with a looming recession (fine, it's looming) and gas, food, and prices for just about everything else going up, up, up.

Slow down. Breathe. Don't panic.

If you're dealing with cutbacks, then cut back. Drop the cable, lower the cell phone bill, get rid of the extra bells and whistles on your cell and your home line, heck, drop the home phone line if you have to, sell anything that isn't nailed down on (my family sells their DVD collections when they're done and they make good money) and then you don't have to store it.

Quit going into the middle of your grocery store. Just shop the outskirts (and the canned food aisle) and you wouldn't believe how much money you save. I did this and forgot to buy a whole lot of processed food. I missed it, sure, but my checkbook enjoyed the reprieve.

Stop shopping for fun. Don't go to (if you have my problem with books) and ignore the GAP sale emails. Shop in your own home if you're bored. Dig out a closet and see what fun things you can find. If there's nothing fun in there, sell it.

And above all, remember, a slow, methodical purging of waste from your life is better than multiple overhauls of closet, pantry, or offices that cost money, time, and energy.

The tortoise always beats the hare.

In news today:

A great piece on Heather Armstrong, THE parenting blogger from the WSJ.

And more WSJ, with news that Katie Couric might leave?

And a funny piece by the Guardian on falling in love with Wikipedia.

Not much today. Things to do, places to go.

Currently reading: Making of Story (LaPlante)
Currently listening to: Rihanna

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pouring On the Inside, Sunny On the Outside

The projects are flowing in this office, which is good and slightly terrifying. I keep getting an email with great offers for both writing and editing. It's kind of fun actually.

And outside the weather is warming up for sure. They predict Seattle will be back to "warm" by Friday at 67 and warmer on Saturday. But Friday marks the warmest day since last October for us Puget Sounders. Brrrr. We're ready.

Yesterday went and got mani/pedis with the sister-in-law. She being from Georgia knows how important pretty feet are, plus she broke one of her nails the other day. I skipped the mani, and was filled with high trepidation about the pedi. Not a fan of salon pedicures. Yes, I watched that horrible talk show about those women who scarred their legs for life from some mysterious bacteria. But everything looked okay, so I went ahead. Well, bad idea. My feet look great, but the pedicurist drew blood. I hate that. Two things in my life are sensitive: my toes and my teeth. Don't mess with either.

But I can't really complain about my little wound. Hubby came home from soccer with oozing strawberries on both his knees. He's so proud of those too, which is even more funny. My little wound looked like nothing in comparison as we were up pouring hydrogen peroxide on his wounds about midnight last night. Oh the fun of living with a soccer maniac.

Variety reports that Ben-Hur will be remade into a miniseries. We'll see if they can beat the unbeatable Charlton Heston.

This is a scary prospect.

And an interesting look at the Pulitzer winners announced yesterday by a fellow freelancer.

Currently reading: European Urology February 2008 issue
Currently listening to: Filo & Perri

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Feeling Feisty

Yup, my energy is coming back after having just Monday off. (And I get the rest of this week off too!)

Decided on a domain name for my new publishing venture, and have been brainstorming content for its launch in May. The new blog digs are almost ready (probably May). I didn't get much done on my first quarter goals.

Left on the list from Q1 (with new additions):

My April list:

1. Moved the blog; need to tweak it for publication.
2. Build new publishing venture site and content (has its own mini list).
3. Outline plans to revise novel.
4. Editorial postcards need to go already (by May 1).
5. Finish building corp writing site (has its own mini list).
6. Hire my VA for data entry.
7. Update eZine.
8. Implement decisions on blogs for both biz sites.
9. Corp site eZine writing.
10. MFA class work catch up for February.
11. Essay class (finish the most recent essay for my essay coach)
12. Daily study for DANTES and CLEP and reading/research schedule (my list of books is over 50 titles long).

My work is cut out for me. Just as I get to feeling accomplished, I see this list.

Must get to it.

CNN reports here on blurring of lines between professional and amateur writers. Interesting read.

Project Runway moves to Lifetime after one more season due in July. Boo. Hiss.

Perez Hilton has conquered Europe. He will write a Gossip Girl column for ITV.

And I'm out! Happy Tuesday.

Currently reading: Making of Story (LaPlante)
Currently listening to: Filo & Perri

Monday, April 07, 2008

And the Week Off Has Begun

And I'm online with the UK chasing editors for work.

It's just life. I will soon finish a series of work for another client and then my SIL and I will have a la-dee-dah day at home. Or we'll go to IKEA.

I have brainstormed a blogging platform for my writing. This blog will stay here for the time being as my brain dump, but a new, pro blog will be going up soon. See the scaffolding?

In today's news roundup:

Bloggers who blog to death in the New York Times. An article on how writers are scrambling to keep up with the neverending steam of news.

And then, my good buddy Allison Winn Scotch has the paperback version of her first novel coming out on 4/22. Check Amazon here.

And that's all for today!

Happy Monday!

Currently reading: Annie John (Jamaica Kincaid)
Currently listening to: Hillsong

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Rainy Fiver

1. Blasted email won't work today! Can't get in or get out for day job and for my main freelance email. This will be fun.

2. Work is almost all done for freelance. Finishing up two projects today and then another begins Monday, but for the weekend, I'm caught up!

3. Guest room is spotless, hubby cleaned his office, and the rest of the house is clean. Just our bedroom (laundry) and bathrooms. Then I need to buy food and we are ready for company.

4. Behind on Netflix movies! Need to catch up this weekend. Can't wait for new episodes of the Office next week! Woohoo!

5. Writing will continue into this weekend and into next week. Sample chapter work continues, need to place some platform-building articles out there, essay rewrite, and need to read a pile of books and start work on the novel revision plan. Plus short story MFA work to catch up on! Yikes.

And I'm off to the rainy beyond.

Currently listening to: The Anthem (Filo)
Currently reading: RSS feeds

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Let's Just Wait Until 350 Posts To Switch

Got slammed today with day job work and freelance work and little niggling details that only I can attend to. So what's new?

The bookshelves are up and every single book fits on a shelf! Happy day! No piles under the coffee table and on side tables or stacked behind the couch in the living room, no more books stacked three feet high on my reading table, no more books stacked in a maze pattern on my office floor, no more books stacked in the hallway or on the floor in the guest room. Everything is on a shelf. And boy, do I feel accomplished.

Put another 25 books on hold at the library yesterday and put myself on the list for a Kindle. The rumor is that the wait is no longer at six weeks and since I need to read the new Jodi Picoult, but have four feet of bookshelf space left, I don't want to use up my shelf space on a one-time read. Plus, the traveling coming up will require lots of books and not enough room for them all. So the Kindle was a logical choice. Ordered April 2, 2008, let this blog be a measurement of how long it takes.

It comes with a book cover, a USB cord, and a power cord. It automatically updates with subscribed newspapers and magazines, and if I'm thinking of a book, I can order it direct from the Kindle (in the US). Fully recharges in 2 hours. Easy on the eyes.

The reviews from friends who own one are impressive. Everyone loves their Kindle. And even though seeing Shan's iPhone made me REALLY want one, I'm still waiting for the new 3G network until I buy. Plus my Blackberry will do fine for this year.

In writing news, getting my brain wrapped around my three projects and good thing too. A major trip is now looming on the horizon (bigger than London) for this month and if I go, I will get tons of writing done. Found a major research paper using the King County library extended academic research database, and pulled down a pdf, for free! It deals with the subject matter I'm working on for my YA novel.

Sister in law comes in tomorrow, must go vacuum.

Currently reading: New Oxford Guide to Writing
Currently listening to: Hillsong

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

301st Post For This Blog

When television shows get to 300 episodes, they get a cake and a party. Hello?

I got chocolate chip cookies last weekend, so relax.

I wanted to move the blog to the new domain by this 301st post, but I'm not done tweaking the new digs, so everyone will just have to wait.

In today's news wrap-up, I'm still fascinated by the debate over receding Google clicks. As someone who uses Google's ads to generate income and to advertise my own business, I will continue to follow this closely.

The fizzle of freelance writers? The New York Observer observes a trend.

And the specialization of book clubs, which is a trend I am a part of. My "book club" is simply five writers who talk writing, but we always take a poll and ask what everyone's reading and then discuss. The last meeting was a heated debate on "The Other Boleyn Girl" and continued reverence for Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love." Good article, anyway.

Busy day today, so will get to it. Essay work is on deck right now!

Currently listening to: Hillsong
Currently reading: New Oxford Guide to Writing

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Back to Work, Back to Work, Back to Work, Work, Work

Yup, I had a three-day weekend. Very nice, I might add. Trying to burn up my vacation because it all restarted today for the next year. Since I get 4 weeks a year with my job, it seems I will be taking more vacation than I've ever had in almost 15 years of freelancing. Well, sometimes freelancers just take a day off, but most of the time, we work!

I get all of next week off (my last five days from 2007 vacation), which works out nicely because my sister-in-law arrives Friday night. We can't wait.

Had a fabulous weekend with the sis and we shopped and gabbed and brainstormed and watched movies (August Rush, which was pretty good in spite of the crazy photography), and I think she's well-stocked with work clothes (as am I! Found a suit at J. Crew!) and a few ideas on things to accomplish in April.

I finished up multiple projects while she was here, which just started to bug me and so all in all, it was a very productive weekend. Snowed, sleeted, hailed, rained, thundered, lightninged, blew, and blustered all weekend. We still have hail crust on the ground. They say it is to be 60 degrees by Friday.

Bring it on. I bought new flip flops.

Today is finishing up more little stuff (multiple freelance and work projects), sign up for AMWA's spring education conference in May, finish tax papers for the CPA, and begin to get the books off the floor and onto the bookshelves!

Yep, they arrived yesterday, in good shape, and I can't wait to have a shelf for every book in this house. Plus, now that everything can be shelved, I can start weeding out books that can be sold or given away. Woohoo!

This week, I aim to begin the first sample chapter for the book project. We're still in limbo waiting on the publisher's editorial committee, but I like to get something down before they ask for it. Plus, the essay needs revising and I've got to begin a novel revision schedule and master plan.

The client from last week (I quit their project; not their fault at all) offered another lucrative project yesterday and so I need to get the specifics going for that today as well.

Currently listening to: Mighty to Save (Hillsong)
Currently reading: New Oxford Guide to Writing

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Fiver, Birthday Style

My sis is having a birthday this weekend and so in her honor:

1. Happy, happy birthday! No snow this morning, so hopefully the storm missed us. Snow right now is just ridiculous, I think. My hyacinth and tulips are shivering.

2. T-o-o-o Y-o-u. Day job is going great; I have to participate as a speaker at the big symposium in London in May. So I need a suit. Darn.

3. Happy birthday, dear sister! Freelance work is in constant motion, jumping off one project today because of the bad vibes. Feel bad for those left on the job, but my gut hath spoken.

4. Happy birthday . . . The agent sent the pitch to the editor. Yowza. This is real.

5. To YOU! Three-day weekend begins. Waiting on my bookshelves and wallowing in my new chair.

Happy Friday! Keep writing, everyone!

Currently reading: about perspective
Currently listening to: Michael W. Smith

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Simplify, simplify

Trying to do this, and starting on this blog:

Basically my five-year plan consists of one non-fiction book and one fiction book sold each year (starting last year, but I didn't sell a nf book last year) for the next three years. I then hope to increase that number, but rather than boring you all with my complex algorithms on exactly how I plan to do that, I will just keep it simple.

Two news stories worth talking about today:

An Observer piece on memoirs where people need to change their lives, so they get book deals and then get paid to change their lives (think Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert).

And a Times piece on the Seven Deadly Words for Book Reviewers. This stung, because I've used a few of these in my reviewing. Time to haul out the Flip Dictionary again.

And then a good piece on Jodi Picoult (who has a new novel out) from last year, but that inspired me yet again.

And voila, the writing corner of my office:

Please ignore the drapes that still need to be hemmed and the mess of books and papers. All that mess used to be in my living room. This is simplifying for me. I'm delighted. Amazing how one stupid chair and ottoman from IKEA makes such a difference.

Currently reading: Writing Tools (Roy Peter Clark)
Currently listening to: Newsboys

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Crazy Day and Before 9 AM

So things went haywire here and I had to move up all my errands to before 9 am this morning. Fun. But all is well now and I'm on my series of conference calls for the next few hours.

Update: Conference calls are now over and I'm off to my daily work.

Argh. Need to take a picture of my new writing corner. I love it. And my five-year plan. Tomorrow for sure!

Must run now. Lots of writing to be done.

Currently reading: The Making of Story (Alice LaPlante)
Currently listening to: Carrie Underwood

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Flying Through

Lots to do today, so this will be short. Tomorrow will be pictures of my new office addition and the beginning of my five-year plan for public consumption.

Today though, there is this news, which delights me to no end, because I adore the Price is Right and Drew Carey and never get to watch during the day. I will definitely be tuning in to CBS for these.

Then this news about Facebook, which slightly freaks me out. I am trying to decide if my profile is worth keeping.

Tonight is a meeting of our writer's group, so this day is going to fly by. Off I go!

Currently reading: sample pages for writers group
Currently listening to: Imogen Heap

Monday, March 24, 2008

Post-Easter Weekend

Hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday with family, with renewed hope for their future. I hope everyone was loved.

It was a quick weekend and we all weren't moving very fast. Everyone has been stressed about one thing or another and so lots of talking and encouraging and lots of good eats and the inevitable chocolate. I loved playing with my baby niece, who is so cute, and spending time chatting with mom, dad, sisters, and brother. It was great. I completely put the writing issues out of my mind, until last night when they came flooding back, but all is well in light of day now. I think I'll make it.

Revision letter back from the editor on my novel on Friday. I thought about it all weekend (sure, I fretted a bit too), but today I'm ready to go again. I will take the next six months to revise it as I got incredible ideas from the editor and I think I can see what it I want this book to be now. So, if everything goes according to plan, by mid-fall 2008, I will write a fiction book and a non-fiction book! It's more than I thought possible for this year and gets me farther ahead on my five-year plan! It's cool.

I'm still reworking my essay this week too. Lots of writing going on this week as day job is at a dull roar, freelance work is down to a thin trickle, and I know exactly what steps to take to get the writing done. So here we go!

Tomorrow, I need to post my five-year writing plan. I realized that if this needs to happen, I need to be more professional about it.

Currently reading: Writing Tools (Roy Peter Clark)
Currently listening to: NCAA tourney on tv

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

The blog will stay quiet today.

real/brilliant is taking off until Tuesday to celebrate the holiday with family and friends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Rather Calm Week

It's nice. My UK colleagues are preparing for a three-day weekend (as am I) and things are slowing for that. There's still work to be done, but the "go-go-go" pace we've had for the past six months is definitely on hiatus.

Next week should be quiet as well with another UK client on hiatus for a conference. What does this mean?

I can make some writing progress between now and when my sister-in-law flies in for her visit. Yep, she's coming from Augusta, Georgia to stay with us for nine days. It's her graduation present. A single mom with three very busy teenagers, she just finished her double masters degree last week with a 3.9 GPA. And her masters degree is in organization management and project management. Those are not small feats! So hubby bought her a ticket to escape and come to Seattle and relax with us. I'm taking that week off, and we'll just watch movies, gab, and sleep, I think. I will still have work to do, but it's definitely our spring break.

In other news today, the New York Times reports on the media's apology to the McCanns. Read it here.

Off I go!

Currently reading: The Making of Story (Alice LaPlante)
Currently listening to: Avalon

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Slowing Down For Holy Week

Trying to anyway. Trying to stop thinking about bigger work and family/friend issues and focus on what this week signifies in my life.

Still waiting on the editor, still reworking the essay, still writing the nf book pitch for the agent who requested it.

See, it's hard to be still and just meditate.

Here's a very good article on microloans from the New Yorker's online edition: What Developing Countries Really Need

And with that I'm out.

Currently reading: What's So Amazing About Grace (Philip Yancey)
Currently listening to: Narnia soundtrack

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Not sunny here, but I had to tell myself this to drag my weary body out of bed. Yesterday was my day off, but I did a lot of little things that have been wearing on me. Plus then we went to a friend's house to celebrate St. Pat's Day and stayed until late. And I had my family and friends up to visit, so I'm still recovering from that.

All in all, a great long weekend.

We took the baby niece on her first carousel ride. She loved having her daddy on a horse beside her. I was on the other side on a horse and of course, they stopped the ride with me high up in the air. I am quite ungraceful, so imagine the giggles of the baby and my entire family as I struggled to get myself down. I am the crazy aunt (but if my sis wants to be too, we can be so together!).

In writing news, the feedback came back for my essay, need to rewrite it yet again and the first of the feedback for the novel came in Friday with a longer, more expandable version of feedback due this week. It was what was expected, more intense than the critique I received from my writing group, but along the same vein. It has had me thinking all weekend and I am preparing to get started for the April Marathon (like Nanowrimo, but only at my group).

It has sealed the deal for me though. I'm ready to make this a career. I love writing stories and this is the truth: I want to keep at it.

Many people think they'd be deterred by editorial feedback, or shut down altogether, but it isn't like that. There is something about slowing down enough to think through what you are trying to accomplish that really ignites your engines and gets your brain moving.

For me, it's the reality that this story actually exists outside my head now and people will take it seriously. That is humbling, gratifying, and terrifying. It also is a prompt to take my stories more seriously in draft stage and to let them (organically) become what they are trying to be.

The editor has basically said my story could be YA or adult, and I get to choose what would work best. I know which way I want to go, but I also could go the other way. The thing is, I get to pick one way and wallow in it.

It's very cool.

Currently reading: The Making of Story (Alice LaPlante)
Currently listening to: Charlotte Martin (Everytime it Rains)

Friday, March 14, 2008


So much going on today that I almost forgot to post the Friday Fiver. Whew.

1. Finished day job work for the week in good time. Whew. Lots of stuff going on. Need to buy plane tickets for our trip to London. Prices are amazing.

2. Freelance work moving right along and I'm feeling good. The first article was perfect, even though the next one needed a bit o'help. Next week will be more intense.

3. Still flying over my novel critique! Woohoo!

4. Family coming in for the weekend. We might have a lot, but that's okay. Everyone's welcome.

5. Still deciding on book project. Working up a preliminary outline and I like it, so hopefully we're moving forward.

Currently reading: CSS FAQ online
Currently listening to: printer

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Still Aglow From My Critique

You'd think I'd be hiding in my closet, whimpering, but I'm glowing, thrilled, excited, and ready to write!

The first meet of our twice-monthly writing critique group met last night at Jen's and it was a hit! The four of us (will be five later on) hit it off and sat in front of a cozy fire with chilled grapes and ice water (yes, we are fruity) relaxing and chatting and encouraging each other.

Then for the last hour I got my first 20 pages of the revised novel (currently with my editor) critiqued. I had my laptop and couldn't type fast enough as the comments came. But once they got over the issues they had with my first chapter, the comments were all about how much they loved it and wanted to read more. So my job for the next two weeks is to wait on the my editor for her critique, but to try and fiddle with a first chapter rewrite. Slow to start. I can fix that! I'm delighted. It was a huge breath of fresh air and I can't wait to get started. Two projects to finish today first (a European journal project) and deciding on an outline for a book project.

In movie/writing/media news:

They are filming Harry Potter #6 (spilled by accident by Lois Lowry on her blog last month), but they've just decided to split HP #7 into two movies, six months apart. I am not thrilled by this. Why would you make me wait? Argh.

Off I go. Lots to do today.

Currently reading: History of the Ancient World (Susan Wise Bauer)
Currently listening to: a forgotten iTunes folder with music from 2002!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We're To Wednesday

It's writer's group day! I am so excited! Lots going on in the background here today. Two projects have to go out the door and my house is a mess. This usually does not bug me, but today it's bugging. Big time.

All the Spitzer resignation news is making me tired.

So this will be short and sweet and more tomorrow!

Currently reading: DOT report on transportation hubs
Currently listening to: Youtube video of exploding raisins

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Writing Clear

So this is my feedback week. One thing I know for sure: I need to write clear. My sentences are complex, convoluted tangles (if you've read this blog much, you've probably seen it).

I am not cast down, however. Do you know how much I crave feedback? I may be a special breed of writer, but I love to hear when I write terribly.

Because it makes me a better writer. So bring it on.

News roll today:
HBO is going to do the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency for 13 episodes.
I'm not even going to comment on Spitzer.
The press may be turning on Obama according to The New Republic.
His economic policies definitely need a thorough shaking out. And his financial advisor is from the University of Chicago (which doesn't seem to be helping him either).

Have a lot to be thinking about regarding a platform for my non-fiction writing. A book opp has presented itself, so I really have to get my rear in gear.

Currently reading: book proposal books
Currently listening to: Wall Street Journal from

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time Change Is A Positive

The UK doesn't move forward for three weeks, so all the meetings are actually at the same time. And boy, was I glad this morning to "sleep in" until 7:55! I will be acclimatized by the time my team moves forward in three weeks. So this works great!

Lots going on this week. The first meeting for our fiction group meets this week and I'm donating the first 20 pages of my YA novel draft for critique. I'm so anxious to get feedback on my book that I'm going to throw it out there.

More on the false memoirs from the Times.

His quote resonated with me:

We all like a good story. The cruelty of the fraudulent ones is that they will inevitably make us distrustful of the true ones — a result unbearable to think about when the Holocaust itself is increasingly dismissed by deniers as just another "amazing story."

Finally finished with about three hours of conference calls this morning. Off to lunch!

Currently reading: Whipple, Squeeze This!
Currently listening to: Nothing (ah bliss!)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Unique Friday Fiver

1. Saying tooty-fruity drink to some UK colleagues makes them very uncomfortable. Estrogen-focused ethanol drink works better. (Or just estrogen-focused drink, which is a virgin margarita.) It's Friday in the UK and my colleagues are off to celebrate the weekend. I have a few more hours to go.

2. I am a quick CSS learner, but I am a terrible graphic designer. I am fiddling with the blog on Wordpress and will let everyone preview the new look soon. Not now, it is just terrible.

3. Craving brownies. Good thing a friend is bringing them tonight to our weekly Wii party! Must not eat sugar all day to prepare.

4. My filing piles are overwhelming. Need to make time to deal with those next week. Excited about springing forward this weekend. It will mean less sleep, but we are headed to spring! What a great thing! I'm a poet, and I know it!

5. Memoir fallout continues with this internal memo at the New York Times:

Times Memo: No More Single-Source Profiles
NYT standards editor Craig Whitney sent new guidelines to the newspaper's staff by e-mail to prevent another Seltzeresque embarrassment:

"Single-source profiles of people who are not already well known quantities are traps we have fallen into twice in the past year or two, and that's too often. Until publishers start fact-checking their own nonfiction books, and that'll be the day, we should remember that profiles of unknown authors should always include reporting from other sources -- not just surrogates of the profilee like agents, publishers, lawyers, etc. -- to verify the most important facts. But even when there's no book involved, the same rule applies. If we can't find ways to check key facts, names, graduation claims, etc., we should hold the story until we can verify them, and if we can't, we should be suspicious. Live and learn...."

Currently listening to: Gone (Sun)
Currently reading: Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This

Thursday, March 06, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

Extremely good day yesterday for several reasons:

1. Got a hefty rebate check from Costco; time to stock up on toilet paper! LOL to the BS2 buddies on the forum--"no spendy!" Woot woot!

2. Got a new freelance client that I think will be a good fit for my biz; ongoing work with a great team.

3. Hubby got a new job working for an awesome team, with a nice hefty raise, for a very well-known company. Woot!

4. Several online buddies wrote me to commiserate on me not being able to find anything in the COACH catalog, but asking me to make clear that my despair is not giving up hope that the perfect 350-dollar purse will appear at some point in my future. I agree. I may be done with COACH, but I am not done with amazing bags. In fact, I'd say that I'd rather have one nice 350-dollar bag, than five less than stellar 70-dollar bags as Nicole at Making It Lovely put it so well. We're headed to London and possibly France in mid-May and what a great opportunity to buy leather goods. Harrods here I come!

ps to that--my good buddy, J, just got her amazing COACH bag yesterday, and because of her coupon, a refund on another bag that fell apart, and a very good hubby, she was able to swing this final bag purchase. It's the "Last Bag" for both of us from COACH. We intend to throw a celebration for it this weekend, which will probably include a sacrificial dance.

Okay, okay, no more purse talk. Sorry, Jamie.

5. All this crazy goings-on have made writing tough, but I did get the prep work on the new novel series going yesterday. My NY editor is almost finished with the previous novel and promises editorial feedback next week. And next week begins the start of the writing group (Jen and I are adding a few people) with a blog, web site, marketing platform, and publicity in the works.

Today there is fog instead of sun, but I don't care. We've had enough excitement to last all month!

Currently listening to: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Currently reading: Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This (Luke Sullivan)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Writing Schmiting

I buried myself in editing yesterday and wrote late last night once the returns started coming in from TX and OH. Interesting day. I think people are taking a closer look at Barack Obama and his policies. I know the WSJ (not the editorial page) is and they haven't really been for the past few months.

I have to say I'm glad for Hillary. This is her dream. She's wanted this her entire life. I won't be voting for her, but I'm happy for her.

Just priced plane tickets to London in mid-May. I'm going to try and see if I can spend nothing for this trip. Since I bought everything I need last fall. Yes, I'm on a very odd "spend nothing, save everything" kick. It's a funny thing, my mood. I even got a 25% sale coupon for the COACH store and I want nothing to do with it. Nothing. It even seems stupid to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse. I tell ya, this mood.

Reading a lot too. Have a pile of marketing books and cds to go through this week.

In case you haven't heard, memoirs are getting hit hard once again. Authors are making up their books as if it's a cool thing to do. Don't even get me started. Instead, see here, here, and here.

Currently reading: Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This
Currently listening to: The Vogues

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Staying Busy as We Wait for TX and OH to Vote

So I found a whole bunch of stories that were interesting.

Wikipedia founder living large? The scoop here.

Yet another memoir writer made it all up. Another one confessed last week, although hers was more pitiable.

So I caught the 20/20 story on the Royal Family last night, did you? Really interesting. Especially as I'm headed back to England in May for work. Working on extending the trip so that hubby and can travel around the country a bit while we're there. I want to go back to Oxford!

Also have embarked on a Meryl Streep movie-athon. I added all of her movies to my Netflix queue years ago after her Devil Wears Prada triumph, but just am beginning to see them all now (that's just how Netflix works). The first was Sophie's Choice, based on this novel, and I can't get it out of my head. Haunting, whimsical, layered, evocative, and depraved. It's a vivid picture of the Holocaust. It stuns you. Meryl's award for that movie role was absolutely deserved.

Waiting to hear what happens in TX/OH today. I hope the drama continues. We need to hear more from all candidates about how their plans to lead us in the next four years are better and we need to make sure those plans work, not just sound good.

Currently listening to: Sarah Brightman
Currently reading: Free Agent Nation (Daniel Pink)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday Again

Had a great and very productive weekend, but it's back to work today.

In book talk, a great book review from the New York Review of Books on Wikipedia that looks interesting. I'm reading ravenously about upcoming books, probably because I'm trying a book "no-buy" period until June or so. We're out of bookshelf space to the max, plus I've got plenty to read already, so I'm just making lists and checking out from the library these days.

Worked on the new novel idea this weekend quite a bit. Feeling good about that work. Slowly thinking my way through plot issues. I also worked on my web site upgrade. I have to decide how many web sites I really want to build. There may be a way to lower the necessary number, which works for me.

No word on novel or essays, but I'm keeping plenty busy with marketing and my color-coded schedule in iCal (yes, I've gone completely bonkers over color-coding iCal a week at a time). For one thing the colors are so much fun and for another thing, I seem to do better with a schedule and a block of time with a to-do list rather than a daily to-do list that always has too much on it. Definitely accomplishing more each day.

Happy Monday!

Currently reading: History of the Ancient World (Susan Wise Bauer)
Currently listening to: conference call with London on comorbidities scores

Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Grand Fiver

Because it's February 29 and it won't be February 29 again until 2012, this is special Friday GRAND Fiver. Everybody shout!

1. ABC is taking over SCRUBS from NBC. Huge news in today's Hollywood Reporter. Prince Harry is being taken off the front line in Afghanistan thanks to Drudge Report's scoop on his being there in the first place. Way to go, Drudge, endangering his life. The Prez made an appeal about us not being in a recession, surprise at the price of oil, and predicted the GOP would hold the Oval Office. I believe the first one myself, so I'm not pleased that he opened his mouth about it at all. I think we'll be okay and that things will turn and head back the other direction, but now all my credibility is shot to pieces.

2. Decided against the upcoming three-month writing class. I just had a check about it. You know? When it just doesn't feel right? So I'm not gonna do it. For the money, I could take another associate to lunch a couple times in exchange for his feedback instead. And get a few nice dinners at Boka Kitchen for myself as well (that place has amazing food, I'm telling ya!). Nice to have that settled.

3. My brother is in Jordan today at Petra. It's an amazing place just from his pictures. I can't imagine actually being there (and this is his second time!).

4. I talked with my novel editor on the phone yesterday and hope to get some feedback shortly. Feeling better about that. I have been thinking that time was a wasting and I was getting antsy to get back to work on the book. Especially when AWS is already plotting her third novel now. I'm never going to catch up!

5. Work is caught up. Next week should be slightly more intense. Tax busy work is caught up and will be finished today. All in all a very productive week. I plan to spend the weekend working on web sites copy and fiddling with my client management database. So fun. Thank goodness for thin mints!

Currently listening to: San Francisco (Global DJs)
Currently reading: Business Writing (James Davis)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The End of An Era

If you've read this blog for long, you know I have emphatic opinions. One of my most emphatic opinions is on free-market economies (thanks to years of watching people debate Keynesian theory versus the theories of von Hayek and the Chicago school).

We lost a great thinker in that field yesterday: William F. Buckley, Jr.

I'm proud to say I proofed one of his books about five years ago and have been in awe of him ever since. He was a great thinker, a great American, and even if you don't agree with free-market economic policy or his other more enigmatic beliefs, you have to admire the guy for his life's accomplishments (he published George Will, David Brooks, and Joan Didion) and represented a thought process that blossomed with Reagan and Maggie Thatcher. (Yes, I know about McCarthy, enough already.)

Goodbye, WFB, you will be sorely missed.

And then the new show that I was kinda interested in bombed: Quarterlife.

They are going to yank it before it airs its second show this Sunday. Boo. I'll have to get the episodes off Netflix in a few months or years. I thought it was more realistic than Gossip Girl, which is turning into a blathering infestation on the CW. And I love the CW!

Okay, in better news, it's Thursday, things are going well, and I'm making some serious progress on my Q1 goals (corporate writing web site, editing web site overhaul, data entry work, essay class work) as well as researching a possible writing class for the next three months. I have had some serious luck with really good teachers, so I want to continue that trend.

Currently reading: The Martha Rules (Martha Stewart)
Currently listening to: Regina Spektor