Monday, March 28, 2011

on Inspiration, Distractions, and Hometown Interviews

I need a picture for this post, so I'm going to pick my favorite picture from my cruise with Mother a little over a week ago.  In the middle of a 600 ft waterfall in Jamaica, on our ascent:

My head is swimming, in a good way.  I got an email this morning from the associate editor of the Plano Profile, Plano's glossy magazine (with a circulation of 50,000 a month).  They'd like to feature me with some other "women in business" with my author hat on. I'm to meet for the photograph session on Wednesday, followed by a brief interview.  I'm flattered and excited, but also hoping I don't wake up on a fat, bad hair day.  I'm inspired to go jogging this cold, damp afternoon.

With me, writing and inspiration move in waves.  I finished my second unpublished complete fiction manuscript around December 1st of last year.  I knew it needed major revisions, but it needed some time to breathe and I needed some time to get perspective before I returned to it to hack it to bits.  A few months ago, I sent out my other manuscript, which also needs major revisions, and now I have some feedback from an agent, who made some suggestions and offered to look at it again.  So I've had two manuscripts in my computer just waiting for me to open them and get revising.  I didn't know which one to begin with, so there they stayed, untouched for months. 

But this week, I felt the first flutterings of urgency to rewrite, so now I just have to choose which manuscript to revise.  Or....

I had a dream last night.  A dream about a YA story for  a novel.  And another dream about a young boy who, "Magic Treehouse"-like, has adventures with great scientists of the past.  No treehouse, though.  Two more stories, almost bursting out of me.  I had to jot down notes in my journal beside my bed. I spoke to my partner about these vague ideas yesterday, but the vividness of the dreams was, well, distracting. 

I'm supposed to be revising one of those other two manuscripts, not starting two more in two completely different genres.

What to do.  What to do...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Houston Rocks the Book Club

On Saturday, I'm donning my author cap and headed to Houston with my mother.
We're on a two-stop, double-the-fun road trip.

First, we'll head to my dear old friend Jaclyn's sweet town, Pearland, to attend her Spring Break Book Club party. I must say, my excitement about indulging in her famous guacamole is approaching weirdness.  What can I say?  I love guac.

It's curious to attend a book club.  Normally, a book club meeting is the appropriate time and place to 1) gush over the author's technique, the intriguing plot, and the original characters, AND 2) slam the writer for the author's cliched language, predictable plot, and tired characterization.  I think there's a healthy dose of disagreement at these meetings.  One person's brie de France is another person's cheeseball.
Will my presence make some of the readers feel they have to clam up about their reservations, force them to smile and nod and hold back the little ball of throw up in the back of their throat? I certainly hope so.  I'm exaggerating a little here, but really, I hope my presence is a good thing for everyone. 

And thank you, thank you, for selecting my novel for your book club!

Second, Mother and I are headed to Galveston on Sunday to go on our first cruise.  We both need this vacation.  We're both excited and giggly about being on a big boat for an entire week.  Bon voyage on your own break festivities!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Getting my kitchen-groove back

After I published my last post on this blog, I thought I'd  wait a few days and let you all build up the anticipation of "the big reveal."  You know, placing the "before" and "after" pics of the kitchen so you could go ooh and ahh at the perfection of everything.  But the days turned into weeks, and suddenly I'm looking at my blog saying Bloody Mary, it's been that long since I've written?!

There were illnesses. There were complications.  There were papers to grade.   All that is behind me now (well, I'll always have more papers to grade, but I've managed the flow).  So here are some updated pics.  I'll show the before and after pictures in all their glory in the next post.  Cross your fingers it will be this month.

I'll start out with the backsplash tiles.  These little slate beauties called out to me at The Home Depot: buy us!  they sang out to me, we're so lovely! we look so European!  So I did.  But between the time I laid the floor tiles and the backsplash tiles, we had a few days that we Texans call Sent By The Grace Of God, otherwise known as Snow Days.  And on one of these particularly icy days, the garage door decided to open back up and witness the entire frigid night itself.  As if it didn't quite believe what all the fuss was about.  I discovered too late 1) that everything in the garage was "nigh to freezing" and 2) what a good, hard freeze does to premixed grout: it stinks to high heaven and dries like a witch's broomstick.

So what if the grout stinks, I thought.  So what if there's a milky white layer on top of the gray mud.  What harm can it do?  So I used that post-freeze grout between the tiles.  The next day, all my pretty slate tiles morphed into some god-awful concrete-y sight:

After some advice from my long-suffering partner (he suggested vinegar, I scoffed at him, then had to apologize when I discovered vinegar worked like a charm), the cleaned tiles looked like this:

And here's the rest of the kitchen so far:

one wall cabinet up....
two islands are better than one
mood lights beneath the cabinets.  must paint the cord covers. both cabinets up!
the maiden voyage post electrical hookup
our view from our breakfast table
A VentaHood is still in the delivery process, and we have a few more things to do to yet, but you can see where we're headed.

I'm looking forward to a Girl's Night Out in my new kitchen.  Lovely ladies, I'll be contacting you soon.