Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ganging aft agley...

Here's what I get for actually getting motivated to write: a crapton of work.  Not only did a deluge of due-tomorrow (meaning today) plans arrive on my desk late yesterday afternoon, but our accelerator broke down and as our other physicist was not available, guess who got to babysit until the engineers came to fix it late last night?
So yeah, I didn't get to work on my first page/first 100 words for the BookEnds contest until I got to work this morning.  At 8:47.  With a 9 am deadline.
I finished a rough draft and rushed to post it in the comments.  It went through, thankfully, but the time stamp read...9:01 am.
FTR: my computer still said 8:59 and I was in the process of posting at 9 am no matter whose clock you go by, so hopefully they'll give me the benefit of the doubt.
If not, I'll keep working on my rewrites and just hope they like it when and if they see it as a result of my query.  And I will certainly be able to learn from their commentary on other entries.
C'est la vie.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oy. Oy. Oy.

After my timely entry into the first lines workshop over at the Forum, I kinda slipped off the radar.  I intend to get back into it, hopefully with my first page, but definitely with my first chapter.  To that end, I was BIC for the first time in over two weeks last night.  Unfortunately I didn't get around to actually working on my book, and I know why.  (Besides my little side-trip on adoption research.)
I know I will expend so much effort to get the first line/page/chapter *just so* that it's easier to not think about it on the evenings when I just don't have the energy/mental focus...which have been most evenings lately.
Because lets face it: in my subgenre, with my premise, I have an uphill battle.  There are whole groups of readers who - when and if I'm published - will buy my book on the basis of it being a Scottish time-travel alone.  (And believe me, I've met some - they're not NEARLY as picky as we writing types.  Some of the books in my subgenre that I thought were lackluster at best and terrible at worst they rave over.)  But they're not the ones who will determine if I get published, and agents especially, not to mention helpful crit partners, are generally predjudiced (that's too harsh of a word, but I can't think of a better one) against my setup from the get-go.  "Oh, another one of these?  It'd better be good..."  Which is actually a good thing, because it will make me work hard to get a perfect or nearly-so first page, and hopefully that will set the tone for all my rewrites and result in a better, tighter book overall.
With many thanks to my kind friends who have been helping me and the folks at CompuServe, especially Beth and Mark and everyone who's pitched in on my separate first "page" thread (the workshop is timely, but I figure since I am actually at that point in rewrites I can ask for direct, specific help as well) I have been mulling - and hopefully getting closer to - the proper format and setup for my first page.  I've been meaning to actually sit down and set-to but as I said, haven't been able to really "get into it."
And then this morning I see this post over at BookEnds.  (cf. the end of the post, and the new contest)
Oy. Oy. Oy.
I have until tomorrow morning to come up with some kind of decent 100 words.  At last, motivation...and a little panic.
Not the end of the world if I don't "win" but of course I'd like to do well, as I hope to query this agency eventually.
So...looks like I'll be fiddling with Elspeth's meeting with the "overly-perky" desk clerk on what should have been her wedding day off and on all day today.  Wish me luck (and good luck too if anyone else is entering!).
In other news, I've found a way to finance the commissioned portrait of Alec and Elspeth (it wasn't cheap) I wanted...I'm reprising my role as a professional lab rat.  Yup, the local university has quite a few research studies ongoing, and I've been in contact with a few.  They pay $50-$200 per study, for participation in 3-10 sessions of about an hour each spread over a few weeks.  If I can line up 3-4 of these, that will pretty much cover the cost of the picture.  Jason's backlogged with work and other commissions at the moment, so I should have time to get the money together.  His work is awesome; I'm sure it will be worth the wait and the various experiementation. *g*

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where's Jenny been?

So yeah, aside from the odd random post and a couple of memes, my online/blog presence has been practically nonexistent.

Thing is, I've been kind of avoiding my computer in the evenings.  Maybe it's a backlash against all the hours I spent practically chained to it for the past 6 months or so, and certainly the last weeks of my SFD-push.  I've also been working a lot, and I have stuff to do around the house, ranging from laundry to little projects to sitting on the couch watching DH play Assassin's Creed on his Xbox 360.  *g*

My "official" start time for rewrites will be after LB's birthday the first week of March.  I initially thought I'd take a month off, then decided to give myself until the end of February for an even six weeks (I think I've earned it!).  But his birthday is only another week or so beyond that, and it made sense to put major writing work off until after party plans.  And I've still got stuff to catch up on and some nights it's kinda nice to have *gasp!* actual free time.

(Even so, I'm doing a bit of story work here and there.  Some initial feedback is coming in, I'm doing the firsts workshop over at CompuServe, and I'm putting together lists of changes and arcs and added tension to hit the ground running when I do get started.  This week I really need to get over to the Forum and get into the first paragraphs thread before it blows out of all proportion, which it may well have already done, but first I have to rewrite my first page - again - so I know what my first paragraph is.  I hope to get to that tonight.  We'll see.)

All this isn't to say I haven't been online at all.  I have.  But for the past week or so (and to a lesser extent in the few weeks previous) when I've been on the internet I've been doing mostly one thing only: obsessively researching international adoption from China.

Yeah.  What's really crazy is that I'm doing so and we're not even eligible yet.  Minimum age for adoptive parents is 30.  We have 3 more years before we can even start our paperwork.

In that time, DH and I plan to have at least one more bio child (ideally in fall '09 after I pass the oral board exam for my medical physics certification).  But for years now, since about the time we were married - and before we started having kids - we have felt called to adopt a little girl from China.

I'll think about it from time to time, and research like I'm doing now, and then knowing I've got years yet before it's a possibility, the drive will go dormant until something brings it up again a few years down the road.  But over the years, the desire to adopt from China hasn't diminished, as an impulse would have.  In fact, the closer I get to 30 the stronger the desire is.

This particular go-round was prompted by the decision of a couple in our Sunday school class to adopt a little special needs boy (he's deaf, or partially so, but they think it can be corrected with surgery and hearing aids) from China.  Of course I told them of our plans, and I've been following their blog as they prepare their paperwork and hope to travel to get him this summer.  It's the closest I've been to the whole thing (it's slightly different for a special needs child, but large parts of the process are the same) in all the time since we made the decision, and it's sent me into a flurry of internet research - on the paperwork process, homestudies, the new requirements for potential adoptive parents, attachment issues and bonding, and transracial/transnational adoption attitudes within the adopting family and within society as a whole.  (I admit the idea of it being a "transracial" adoption hadn't really occurred to me.  I never thought of a potential adopted daughter as anything but that - a daughter, a child who needed a family, and one we would welcome with open hearts and arms.  But there are issues of "race" and cultural identity that international adoptive parents need to be sensitive to and able to help their child deal with as they get older, in addition to the issues associated with adoption in general.)

So for now I'm just absorbing the information and filing it away, following a few adoption blogs and websites, and trying to stay generally current without spinning my wheels uselessly for the next 3 years.  In case anyone is interested, here are a few of my recent haunts:
Shaohannah's Hope
A Helping Hand Adoption Agency
China Adopt Talk
Families with Children from China (FCC)
Half the Sky Foundation

(If you go to none of the other sites, go to Half the Sky.  Have a box of tissues handy.)

Anyway, looks like no writing tonight.  LB is still crying - he's been in bed for almost 2 hours, and one of us has been up to him at least 4-5 times now - and I may have to lie down in his floor till he falls asleep.  So I'll post this and try to get him to sleep and get a few other small things done.

Oidhche mhath.


1) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
If you consider lifelong committment serious.  *g*

2) What was your dream growing up?
I wanted to be a vet that specialized in cats.  Then I wanted to be a scientist.  (Scientist won out.)

3) What talent do you wish you had?
Telekinesis.  *g*  Seriously, uh, maybe singing.  Not professionally, just decently. 

4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
Whatever you wanted, but if I were picking it'd be a mojito or some kind of flavored daiquiri or margarita.

5) Favorite vegetable?

6) What was the last book you read?
Finished?  One Night for Love by Mary Balogh.

7) What zodiac sign are you?
Taurus (anyone surprised?).

8) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
Double-pierced ears, and one upper cartilage piercing in my right ear.  Tattoos...I have more than two but less than five.  Two involve roses, one a cross, one my son's name in Hebrew, and two of the locations are my ankle and my back.  Confused?  *w* 
9) Worst Habit?
I talk.  A lot.

10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
Depends.  Do you look like an ax murderer?  *g*  Honestly, I like to help people but I'm cautious when I'm out by myself.  So it would depend on the situation. 

11) What is your favorite sport?
Baseball.  (Not to play, to watch.  I don't play any sports.)

12) Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?
I can be negative but I think my overall outlook on life is optimistic.

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
Make conversation.

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
That's a tough one.  Some bad things have happened but I feel blessed overall and know a lot of people have had it a lot worse...

15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
I can move my eyes independently of each other.

16) Do you have any pets?
Four cats, two dogs, and some fish.
17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
I'd welcome you in but make constant excuses for the state of the interior.  Hope you don't mind fur on your clothes...
18) What was your first impression of me? (hmmm...careful!)
I got this from several people's blogs, so I'm skipping this one.

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
My thighs and butt.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
Heh.  What's the crime?  *w*

22) What color eyes do you have?
Dark brown.

23) Ever been arrested?

24) Bottle or can soda?

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
Sadly, pay off some debt.

What happened to 26?
A black hole.

27) What's your favorite place to hang at?

28) Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe in the supernatural.

29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Read.  Ceramics.  Write.  Garden.

30) Do you swear a lot?
Not much.  I didn't used to at all, but my husband is a bad influence.  *w*  When I do swear, I swear like a Brit.

31) Biggest pet peeve?
Idiot drivers.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
Gah.  No, that's not my word!  I mean I really don't know how to answer this one.

33) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
Heck yeah.  I've found my soulmate.

35) Do you believe in God?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Kilt Day!

Yup, that's right. Today, February 5th, 2008 is the Official Kilt Day!

Check out this site:

From the site:
You don't have to be a cowboy to wear blue jeans or a cowboy hat.
You don't have to be an athlete to wear a tracksuit.
You don't have to be a pilot to wear a bomber jacket.
You don't have to be a baseball player to wear a ball cap.
You don't have to be a hunter or a soldier to wear camouflage clothing.
You don't have to be a man to wear trousers and...

You don't have to be a Scot to wear a kilt.

Now if that would only work on DH...he's got great legs. *w*

A return to regular blogging soon. I've been trying to finish a promised beta-read and get stuff done around the house before starting rewrites. Those are looking like a major undertaking (which I kind of expected) but I really need to get everything else caught up because they will be taking a lot of my time once I start.

(And those of you waiting on me for Scrabulous moves, I'll try to get to them. *g* But I don't have as much free time on the computer at work lately, and I haven't been on the computer at all *gasp* at home in the evenings.)