Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TRIP TO JEKYLL

We did a day trip to Jekyll Island today, eating at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, then visiting the Sea Turtle Center and ending up at the Goodyear Cottage for the art exhibit.

Following are pix of Nan D. Arnold: one in the Grand Dining Room of the hotel, another with a stuffed turtle from the Turtle Center gift shop, and the last with the big turtle skeleton that hangs over the gift shop.

We got rained on a bit but not much. Next time we'll try to visit Driftwood Beach and eat at the Courtyard at Crane (the old Crane Cottage). Or maybe at Sea Jay's where the squirrels and birds come right to the table and beg!

There's a lot of history here. Wish I could have seen it in its heyday, when the cottages were full of families and servants bustling around, and the harbor was filled with the yachts that brought them down for the winter.





Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WAITING

Is there anything worse than waiting to hear back from someone? Whether it's the plumber, the doctor, the pharmacy, the kids.... Doesn't matter. It's always hard waiting for that letter, that email, the phone.

And waiting on submitted writing is even worse. But there's nothing you can do about it except forget it's out there and go do something else.

Like clean out the dryer. Or the dishwasher. Or start supper.

Yeah, sure. Ugh. I'd rather hang out on the computer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WIMPY HEROINE

Usually I have problems with my heroes. But in this latest, my heroine isn't coming across very well and I'm not sure what to do about it.

One suggestion was to make her more decisive, to get her to stop wrestling with what people expect and forge out on her own. I'm not quite sure how this will work but I'm game. However, I suspect the problem lies in two areas: her personality and the era.

The era is the early sixties, when women were still expected to be nurses and not doctors, teachers and not principals. And if a woman didn't marry after high school, or at least by the time she finished college, she was regarded as -- alas it's true -- an old maid.

So my heroine is toddling along in her career, uneasy because she's over thirty and not married, but unenthusiastic about committing to any man.

So now I have to figure out a way to make her attractive to today's readers.

Sigh. Can it be done?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DEATH OF A YOUNG MAN

It's true. Someone told me but I didn't really believe it until I saw the death notice today.

A friend's son - her youngest, her baby - died. He was only 27. I remember when I first met him. He was a sweet little boy you couldn't help smiling at.

Children grow up and sometimes lose their way. Despite all the efforts of his mother and the others who loved him, he did. Maybe he was close to finding his path again but now we'll never know.

It's a hard world out there today. If you have children, realize that at any point they can be taken away without warning. So protect them as best you can and forgive them when they don't behave the way you want them to. And love them always.

In the end, when it's all said and done, that love is all that matters. And when grief is overwhelming, that love is all we have to cling to.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NETBOOK

My critique partner got a new netbook. We met at Starbucks, both of us excited because we were going to see how it worked in a wifi place.

She got her wifi card, turned on the netbook, and tried to follow instructions. Nope. Nothing.

Nan went over and talked to a cute little Starbucks employee. She came back with Nan and sat down to work with it. Nope. Nothing.

Now Nan thinks it's the way the computer's set up. They did have a problem installing Outlook.

I thought I wanted one. Maybe not.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

LOCAL NEWS

I've mentioned before how entertaining the police blotter is in our local newspaper.


Today one report told about a man and woman spitting on another woman's car because she'd given a ride to someone they didn't like. Wonder if they had to wash her car!

And then there was one about a pickup pulling up, a man jumping out, urinating on the resident's mailbox, and shaking it hard (the mailbox). The resident came out, they started brawling, a second man in the truck intervened, then the men jumped back in the truck and left. They were later found, the urinator (???) intoxicated and the driver protesting he was only trying to stop the fight.

Wouldn't these little cameos work great in a novel?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ALLIGATOR FARM

Yes, we're going back to the Alligator Farm soon. The bird season is about over and my guy wants to shoot some last pictures of the little birds he's watched hatch and grow up. So I won't be blogging for a day or so. I'll be sitting in the shade trying to keep cool and watching the rangers feed the alligators while walking among them. Ugh.

A friend told me Alligator Farm was an answer on JEOPARDY the other night. The category was St. Augustine. I am amazed. I didn't realize it was that well-known.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cats in Bed

I turned over in bed last night and felt my guy snuggled up to me, all warm and cozy.

Then he started purring.

The cat. He was stretched out between us, taking up his third of the bed. At least he was stretched out lengthwise and not sideways between us pushing us off the bed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BANDSLAM

We watched this DVD last night. I never heard of it but somehow it got on our list. I'm still not sure I ordered it but I'm glad it came.

When we started watching, I thought, okay, another HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, which was fine as they were entertaining.

But this movie was quite good, with deeper undertones about a boy navigating between first love, fitting into high school, growing away from his ditzy mother, and dealing with feelings for a father who killed a boy while driving drunk.

I don't like depressing films but this one wasn't. It was cute. And the music was good.

I've always loved the old musicals and I'm glad to see they're still making them for today's generation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

UNASSEMBLED FURNITURE

The Art Gallery moved into new digs and my guy, sweet thing, offered to help put together the new desks and then hook up their computers.

The two desks came today. In bits and pieces. So he's down there working like a little beaver. Since he grabs every opportunity to use his tools (man thing?), I'm sure he's enjoying every minute no matter how he grumbles.

I'm lost in admiration. I can't even put together Barbie houses without help.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pipe in Sea

Sitting on the pier, enjoying the breeze and cooling off from our walk down to the village -- the weather's been in the high nineties here! -- we spotted this pipe coming toward the pier.

Excited, we hopped up to see if it was a scuba diver or submarine or anything else interesting but no, it was just a pipe. Sticking up out of the water like it was looking for something. It floated beneath us and came out the other side and kept going to who knows where.

Thank goodness it wasn't a pipe bomb.


Monday, June 14, 2010

UNGRATEFUL DUCKS

On our way back from the pool yesterday, we saw ducks on our end of the lagoon. Two drakes and a little hen.  They usually keep to the other end of the complex so I was excited. I went inside, got some bread and hurried back out.

The silly things looked at me and went back to picking off bugs or whatever it is they do when they bite at themselves. Finally the little hen waddled into the water and ate one or two bites. Very unenthusiastically.

A neighbor came by and noticed. "They must have eaten already."

"What, do they come up this way often?"

"Oh yes. I feed them every day."

Fine. I guess I'll save my bread for the turtles. They at least plunge into the water and swim as fast as they can for the bits I throw in. I prefer animals that are grateful for the handouts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OLD SONGS

I guess because there are so many older and retired people living on the island, the radio station here plays old songs. Not just golden oldies from the 70s, 80s or 90s. I'm talking about from the 20s-30s on up.

"Over the Rainbow," "Begin the Beguine," "Stardust," "Java Jive," "Rum and Coca Cola," "Sentimental Journey," "Blueberry Hill," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Brokenhearted Melody," and the list goes on and on.

I love them all! And since my WIP is set fifty years ago, listening to it helps set the mood.

And they do slip in some classical stuff occasionally, but that's okay. I like it, too!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

EREADERS

eBooks are the fastest growing segment of the book market according to several sources. People can download them to their computers, to their eReaders like Kindle and Nook, and even to iPhones. I'm waiting for the software to shake out before I buy one, but I'm looking forward to one day getting one.

But at the pool this afternoon, I noticed several people reading. Hardbacks and paperbacks. No Kindles or other eReaders in sight.

I bet water ruins an eReader device. So seems like there'll always be a market for regular books. Even if it's confined to people who read in the bathtub and by pools.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rejection

I got rejected again yesterday.

This rejection was for a manuscript I really loved but the agent didn't and I understand. She loved my humorous mystery and tried really hard to sell it, but can't feel the same about this one.

So now I'm going to have to find an agent who loves this one as much as I do. You'd think as many rejections as I've had, another one wouldn't hit me so hard. But the last one is as bad as the first.

My sweet fellow took me out to dinner and stopped by the candy shop for fudge.

I gave myself a pep talk at bedtime. Today I'm back at work. Guess if you write, that's what you do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hemingway's Reputation

I don't care for Ernest Hemingway. I always figured he wrote for men, and that his reputation came from the male reviewers of the day.

Then yesterday, my critique partner Nan D. Arnold gave me a different perspective. During a time of popular authors like Thomas Hardy, Henry James, John Steinbeck, Somerset Maugham, and William Faulkner, Hemingway must have been a breath of fresh air.

No long convoluted sentences, no pages of description, no in-depth character studies. Just simple blunt prose with characters speaking for themselves.

Doesn't make me like his writing any better though.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trees

On our walk this morning, we saw the dog trainer walking her trainee by the cedar tree and kids playing in the huge live oaks. The cedar is probably the most photographed tree on the island but the live oaks give it character.

There must be some basic instinct that makes us gravitate to trees. They offer entertainment, protection, shelter, comfort. No wonder the druids and other sects worshiped them.










I think I could take off my clothes and paint myself blue without too much encouragement.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Broken Plumbing

I flushed the john today and the contents barely went down. I took off the top and the water coming into the tank was like, dripping. The guy who lives with me was off shooting photos but I did not panic. We have another bathroom.

When my guy came in, I pointed out the empty tank and wrung my hands. Mostly because I just knew he would insist on fixing it which usually entails cursing and running out for extra parts and taking hours or days.

He said, "Call the plumber." I wanted to kiss him.

I called. The plumber showed up in two hours, spent fifteen minutes with us, and left fifty-two dollars richer.

My john works now. I love living in a place where plumbers don't wait two weeks to show up! I think even my husband is learning to be laid back like the other islanders.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Local Libraries

I volunteer at our local library each week.  Our library is small but has access to libraries all over Georgia so I don't feel deprived. In fact, small is nice. The librarians are pleasant and greet customers by name.

I like shelving books except for the nonfiction and children's. They are always out of order. Today a children's book fair was being held nearby so children kept coming in. They pulled books out and then left them for me to put up. At first I sighed, but then I realized, if a child cares enough to pick out a book and look at it, chances are one day s/he's going to be taking them down from the shelf and reading them him/herself. That's how they start loving books. And if it takes a little effort on someone's part, it's well worth it.

This is Miss Ginny who heads our local library; she always has a smile for everyone, even us grumpy people.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wally World

I don't think I'm alone in my hate-love relationship with WalMart. I hate them because they're always crowded, there are never parking spots, and it takes forever to check out. I love them because they have the lowest prices on just about everything we buy and we can usually find what we need there.

Like other relationships, you adapt. You go early on Sunday morning so that you can find a parking spot less than half a mile from the entrance -- only 3-4 cars up and two lanes over from the door -- and so that you don't have to wait in line long -- well, not over 5-10 minutes anyway -- and so that you aren't bumped by other people's carts -- although we did have to move out of one lady's way today.

In the same way, we adapt to our personal relationships. He hates the sofa you love, so you buy one both can live with. You know he likes taking photos at the Alligator Farm so you go with him but read all morning at the snack bar. He knows you're dieting so he doesn't complain about not having meat and potatoes. You want pets and he doesn't but he lives with the cats anyway.

A lot of give and take goes on in all relationships. When they balance out, the relationships are usually successful. When one gives but the other takes, they usually aren't.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Robin Hood

So the new Robin Hood is Russell Crowe. Seems like one comes along every few years. I enjoy Crowe's acting, but I think he's a little long in the tooth to fit my image of the "Take from the rich, give to the poor" rogue.

In fact, thinking back over the various actors portraying the Hood, I'm not sure anyone can fill Errol Flynn's tights.

Mmmm.

Friday, June 4, 2010

PD James Book

Prowling through the Village Bookstore the other day, I found an old PD James I hadn't read. I am almost through with it.

Though I like her, it seems to me she's gotten wordy over the years. I'm wondering if this happens when writers become big names. I noticed it with others like Elizabeth George and Anne Rivers Siddons. Their first few books were easy reads but gradually, the books got bigger and bigger. Not plotwise. Wordwise.

It's so hard to find a new author I really like, I hate to give up on the ones I do find but sometimes that's the case.

Maybe it's not the authors. Maybe the editors are overwhelmed and can't edit like they used to. Or maybe the author's allowed more leeway once s/he gets a following. Or maybe there's a demand for that kind of writing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Talking Pets

I've seen talking pets on TV before. Usually dogs. My cats aren't that smart but Roz is trying.

About 6 am she starts saying, "Meow-p," for "Get up."

Once I drag myself out of bed, it's "Meow-n," for "Come on!" as she hurries to the kitchen.

And once in the kitchen, she looks up and pleads, "Meow-t." "Eat."

I think with a little more training, I can put her on YouTube.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tight Tummy

Went for our usual walk today. For the past month I've been holding my tummy in as tight as I can while I walk. Someone said it's a surefire way to a flat, flat stomach.

I don't think it works.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Friend's Ebook Out Today

Gonna promote a friend's writing today.

Nan D. Arnold's second ebook, PESTO PACKING MAMA, comes out today.

It's a light entertaining read from Champagne Books. Nan calls her work Quirky Fiction for Boomers. I think it's more like hen lit. She's one of those strange people I talked about in an earlier post, but a real doll in spite of it.

You can visit her site by following the link on this blog. She's also being interviewed June 22 at http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/

Drop in if you get a chance!