Thursday, December 18, 2014

A December Update

It's been awhile since I blogged last. That's because I have been busy getting ready for Christmas break. Planning, shopping, baking, those have all been taking up more of my time than writing lately. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not.

So, update news:

Image created using
Fodey's Clip generator
1. Will's health is doing better. He has an MRI scheduled and is verboten from doing some things at
work in order to keep him from suddenly getting worse while he is recovering and waiting for the MRI. We have things that we are supposed to watch for in case it suddenly does get worse. Those things would send us scurrying back to the ER, and they would fire up the MRI for us special. After that it would depend on what the MRI showed.

2. My job status. I am still substituting. I did a pre-recorded video interview that for the school year. It was very uncomfortable. I know there is a job opening that is perfect for me, but I do not expect to get it, because it seems like everyone gets jobs before me. Meanwhile, in addition to substituting and trying for a full-time job, I am also doing some work for a freelance content writing website. It's not very money making, but it does keep me writing. In addition, I am still working on my novel, and will be trying to get that to a state in which I can see about either self-publishing or traditionally publishing. I'm not sure which way to go; we'll see when I have something that is finished and of appropriate length.

3. Robert did well at school this semester. His last day is tomorrow, and they are doing an odd schedule. They are starting an hour later, and then letting out at the standard early out time. I think this is to let the students sleep in a little bit. We'll see what happens. Robert was completely unaware of this when the automated system called the parents to let them know. I hope they tell him today and confirm it.

4. Finally, we are having a smaller Christmas this year than last year. However, thanks to several family members who sent presents to us we have enough to make it a fair Christmas rather than a poor one. So we will open our presents over two days, and play with all of them. We will watch movies together, and play together. Which is what the season is about after all.

Lots of stuff going on. Lots of things on my plate. I hope to get back to posting regularly over the next few days since we will be on holiday. I will still be regularly writing, or trying to get some writing done. However, I should have more time to blog because some companies will not be requesting texts, which means smaller pickings for a hungry crowd.

Coming up in the blog will be a project that Will is helping me with. That should be posted next Monday or Tuesday if nothing goes wrong. There will be a Christmas sonnet or two. New Year's Resolutions are coming of course. Finally, January second we have tickets to the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on January 2nd. It's going to be a very long, very busy day for us. However, I hope to have a post or two up. The first would go up on January 4th or 5th, and the second two days later (6th or 7th).

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you are all having a wonderful winter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How Many Ways Can I Say That? "Bloody"

The other day I saw this on twitter:
My response was:
Rachel Vincent replied:
Then someone else chimed in:

I didn't have a quick and easy response to that, because I knew that it would not be a quick and easy solution. So, I spent some time looking into it, and I found a couple of solutions.

The first is the thesaurus.  In the context of "bleeding," bloody as eighteen synonyms. My favorites include "blood-soaked," "blood stained," "gory," "grisly," and "ensanguined." Or, one could go over to just "blood." There are nine words there, none of which are excellent, but "vital fluid" may come into play, and having read some of Vincent's works, namely the Shifters books, "juice," "claret," "gore," and "cruor," may all come into play.

If you don't want to go into simple, single word alternatives, some of which are very obscure, then try being poetic with it. Granted, that would depend on the tone and voice of the book, but Oscar Wilde, in "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" described "tears of blood." In addition, in "The Second Coming," by Yeats quotes "blood-dimmed," which would be good to use in situations where the color of the cloth is brighter than the blood. Neon for instance.

Finally, there are the phrasal things that can go in place of bloody. Things like "red river," "drops of scarlet," or even "rimmed in ragged crimson." Those I just made up on the spot, so there are definitely more, but it entirely depends upon the situation in which an author finds a character.

An author should value the story and the clarity of the image for the reader. However, using the same word several times in a paragraph, a page, or even a chapter, can get very old. The repetition breaking the illusion of the story. Be creative, but be understood.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Missed Post

Get Well Soon Tweety by Sister Nightmare
If you pay attention regularly, then you will have noticed that I missed a day in posting. I had a very good reason to miss.

Thursday, Will came home from work injured. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to tell you. Suffice it to say that the injury was not life threatening in any way. However, he was in enough pain that we went down to the emergency room when he couldn't get to sleep. We were there all night. They gave him painkillers and told him to follow up with his regular doctor. However, we didn't get any instructions with the painkillers, and were told to come back in if things continued to develop.

We ended up going back to the ER on Sunday because he had not been taking them frequently enough. In addition, he had caught the cold that Robert brought home, and the coughing was exacerbating the injury. Now he has enough medicine to get to his scheduled appointment. However, they make him loopy enough that I am supposed to drive, not him. The early mornings that he has leave me feeling tired.

Don't worry too much, I will keep you updated after he gets his appointment. I just wanted you to know that there was a reason I missed a day of posting.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NaNo Wrap Up

NaNoWriMo is over for the year.


However, I managed to pull a win out of my hat this year. As did Will, this was his first win.

As you can see from the graph below, I started out strong and then sort of petered out. I could not figure out what the difference between the dark brown lines and the orange lines were, but it does show my word count.

You can see my word total: 58,563, and my daily average 1,952. I didn't do too bad.

I still do not have even a working title for my novel. This is also a zero draft, so it will not be visible for awhile.

My word total from October and November is 76,211 out of a total desired word total of 120,000. So, in order to help me achieve that goal, I am going to sign up for one of the winner goodies that a NaNoWriMo sponsor is offering. 4thewords bills itself as a "gym membership for writing." It gamifies writing. The first month is free, and now they are offering 60% off and three free months. That means that I can get sixteen months for $15.00. I will do the free trial month and if I like it then I will sign up.

In addition NaNoWriMo includes a "Now What?" page. This offers suggestions and benefits for dealing with the time between NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. Editing, following their blog, and more things are featured there. I plan to edit as soon as I wrap up the story.

Finally, NaNoWriMo is a non-profit that supports creative writing programs in schools. So, if you want to help then please donate, but something that I am contemplating for next year is joining the Stay Classy fundraising program that NaNoWriMo does.

In other news, I pulled Running for the Stars from WeBook, and am intending to expand upon it after I finish writing NaNo14 novel and before I edit it. That should give me a nice break after the writing and before the editing.

So, two questions:

1. Which one are you looking forward to reading more; Running for the Stars (Young Adult SciFi) or NaNo14 (SciFi Romance)?

2. I would donate if I had the money (and hopefully will next year), but would you donate in support of me?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Sonnet for the Postman

Image by Norman Rockwell 
On couches comfy, TV playing shows
Of no great import, buying happens now.
For packages to wrap with ribbons, bows,
Will come to doorsteps cold and wet. But how?

With clicks and clacks of keyboards goods are bought
For friends and children's Christmas gifts will come
From factory they ship o'er danger frought
Iced roads, in boxes brown and white are some.

The postman travels in cold and snow
To bring each box to house and home before
The night of Christmas Eve. The kids don't know
That throngs of Santas work days, nights and more.

So thank the postman bringing boxes thing
Deliveries which take them from their kin.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shopping Like a War

Each year they start much earlier than last;
From eight to midnight, now they begin days
Before the feast e'en starts. The sales do blast
On air waves wide and papers deep, a maze.

As stores stay open or they open doors
While turkeys roast, potatoes mash, and beans
Go into casserole. The shopping wars
Are kicking off with desp'rate shopping queens.

They wait with wild wide eyes 'round pallets wrapped
With cellophane. They guard their goods before
They have a right. These souls are tight, cash strapped.
The tension like the wait before a war.

So stay at home with family and live.
Make mem'ries, don't let life pass like a sieve.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Our Thanksgiving

We had a relatively quiet Thanksgiving. Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and green beans, cranberry sauce, apple pie and pumpkin pie were all on the menu like normal.

Like last year, we invited several soldiers that we knew did not have anywhere to go for the day, but only one took us up on the offer. He was kind enough to bring some butternut squash that he had cooked up with apple juice. It was delicious.

We watched the parade, and then we put on some Christmas carols. When our guest arrived we put on the football games. Interesting for them, but fairly boring.

After the meal and some discussion for digestion, Will wanted to take some of the left overs to the soldiers who were serving twenty-four hour duty. I was all for that plan, last year we threw out too much. If someone could eat it, then let them enjoy it. So we went to the place where his soldier was serving, only to find out that a mix up had been had, and his soldier was not there at all. Plus, someone had already been thoughtful enough to bring them food.

So we took the food to another location where the soldiers serve twenty-four hour duty. This time someone from his unit was there, even if it wasn't Will's soldier. However, no one had thought to bring them food, so we left our plates with them.

We still had more stops to make.

Normally, I am not big on shopping on Thanksgiving. However, we had planned for the food, but I hadn't realized we were running low on dish soap and dishwasher detergent. The commissary was closed, the PX was closed, the express was closed, H-E-B was closed. Wal-mart, we had to brave Wal-mart at 5 pm on Thanksgiving.

There were cops, and areas roped off, and large pallets still wrapped in cellophane. People were clustered around these with guarded eyes, warding off any other Black Friday shoppers who wished to try their luck. We got in and got out, with twenty minutes to spare, but the tension was starting to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as we were leaving.

Due to the tension, we dropped by Starbucks and grabbed a cup of coffee to take back home. Then we were in for the evening. A good day, with decent food, and we did a good turn for others as well.

How was your Thanksgiving?