Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Wonderfully Creative Day

Today I did not put one word down on any poem, story, or the novel currently in progress, yet today has been a most creative day. How? Because ideas have been simmering and words have been playing and romping inside the brain. Atmospheres and descriptions have been noted and people observed who can add more flavor to the stories currently in progress. It is my hope that Monday, Labor Day, I will finally be able to get this short story out of my brain that is currently simmering there on one of the closer back burners - getting all of the flavors out into the mix for something I hope which is most good. Yes, although one word was not written, it was still a most creative day.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Just a Quick Ramble

Sorry for not posting yesterday, Dear Readers. It stormed a good deal of the day and prior to the storming there was much computer maintenance to be done. Today is the remainder of the computer maintenance and hopefully that will be help yours truly get back on the curve. When husbands are home and unused to how much they do on the computer and how much clean-up is required have a tendency to slow things down. Still, he is happy and reading a novel at the moment. Maybe he is finally enjoying just a wee bit of his time off? One can only hope.

On the writing front, the new novel is progressing very slowly. Some days I am getting down a good solid thousand words and some days if I go above 500 I am quite happy, nay, elated!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

20 Worst Agents

Check out Sartorias is helping spread the word from "Absolute Write" about the top 20 worst agents/scammers out there and for all writers, especially young writers, to stay away from. Please read her journal entry for the day to make sure you have all of the background. Now, to help spread the word, here is the top 20 worst agents out there, so beware!

THE LIST (in alphabetical order):
The Abacus Group Literary Agency
Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
Sherwood Broome, Inc.
Desert Rose Literary Agency
Arthur Fleming Associates
Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
Brock Gannon Literary Agency
Harris Literary Agency
The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
Children's Literary Agency
Christian Literary Agency
New York Literary Agency
Poets Literary Agency
The Screenplay Agency
Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)
Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
Martin-McLean Literary Associates
Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
B.K. Nelson, Inc.
The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency and Simply Nonfiction)
Southeast Literary Agency
Mark Sullivan Associates
West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

The Child's Voice

The Child's Voice
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2006 by H.A. Handy

Emma had told him then she was working on a new novel. She didn’t tell him what it was about though. She never did.

“Will you read it?” she had asked softly.

“Of course! I read everything you send me!” he had declared. Emma had looked up at him then with a sad, little face.

“I remember when you used to baby sit me,” she said.

“You do?” She had nodded. “We had a lot of fun didn’t we.”

Emma had turned back to looking out into the hollow just below them.

“Yeah, we had a lot of fun sometimes. It seems so long ago now, and just like yesterday,” she said softly.


There was a certain ritual Billy went through when preparing to settle down with one of Emma’s stories. First, there was food. Billy went through the bags and the freezer and selected two very large fried chicken frozen dinners. These he promptly slid into the oven while he hastily put away the perishables.

Next came a shower and clean clothes. Since he didn’t have pajamas and a smoking jacket, Billy settled on clean sweats, a clean white tee, and a UK Wildcats’ sweatshirt. Billy combed back his thinning red hair carefully until it as good as it was going to be. Once this was done he shaved.

Billy didn’t like to shave. His skin was very sensitive, but Emma didn’t like beards, so he made a point of shaving before he read one single word of any of her books. It was silly, he knew, but he didn’t want anything out of place when he started reading. It was OK if the stubble appeared once the book was finished, but nothing could be there to begin with.

Billy looked at himself in the mirror. He remembered when she started reading big thick books and understanding them. She was four years old, and he had been as proud of her as he would have been of his own baby sister. Sometimes she would even read them to him, but he rarely ever understood her enthusiasm and interest in history and paleontology. She had researched and read so many books the local library had to start getting books from other libraries to help keep her head filled!

Billy could understand why she read so much: the pain had been almost unbearable for her. There were times when she had been unable to physically hold the books themselves, so others had volunteered to hold the books or read them to her. He had never read the books because he was afraid of making too many mistakes, and he didn’t want to look stupid in front of the smartest little girl he had ever seen.

Billy patted his face dry carefully and gave himself a once-over in the mirror, just to make sure. Satisfied, Billy headed back to the kitchen. The frozen dinners were ready, so all he needed to do was get something to drink.

Beer, though his favorite, would not do for one of Emma’s books. Billy went under the sink and brought out two bottles of port, Taylor Sinclair to be exact. Next came the good wine glass he had just for these occasions.

Now, with food on the table and the port breathing in his glass, Billy got the reading frame from the sink’s third drawer and positioned it before his food. He had seen Emma do it a thousand times, but he had not done it himself until he had found one just like her old one, and now could not begin reading one of the Emma Williams novels without!

Billy seated himself and reached for the bright orange envelope, which, up until now, had been waiting ever so patiently on the kitchen table. With treasure in hand, Billy bowed his head and said a humble prayer of thanks for all the good things he had. Billy was smiling when he opened his eyes and ripped the end of the envelope open. Turning it on its end and giving it a good shake, a thick, hard backed volume slid easily out to land with a soft thud upon the table. be continued

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Karate Chim?

Karate chimp.

I don't believe this is such a great idea.

Call for Submissions

The Kentucky Mountain Girl News is open for submissions.

Length = 5000 words, for non-fiction and fiction, but if the piece is good it can go longer and we will serialize it.

Poetry = 40 lines

I do not purchase rights so you are free and clear on all the rights to your stories.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rediscovering Neverland

Last night hubby and I watched Finding Neverland and I must admit I was smitten. It was more than a love story. It was more than just reaching out for a dream. It was about believing dreams could come true.

Johnny Depp plays J.M. Barrie, playwright and author of Peter Pan. This is one of the finest performances I have seen Depp do. It was serious and yet humorous in the way he let J.M. Barrie's character come forth and be believable.

I hurt with him over his failed marriage. I hurt with him over the loss of his dear Sylvia, and I rejoiced with him over his love and acceptance of the four Davis brothers. This movie really should have been quite sappy and sugary, but the truth is it was poignant and filled with creativity and imagination.

Not only were the characters creative and filled with imagination, but there was something about the movie that touched the creative spark in me and helped me to see just how important my writing is to me. Yes, I know it is important to me, but sometimes it is wonderful to be reminded just how much so that when picking up pen and paper or looking at the blank computer screen there isn't a sense of dread, but of deepest joy!

Normally movies about writers and writing don't appeal to my B, but this movie was one he truly got into. Although he married a writer and lives with her (me), he doesn't truly understand how writing affects the writer and how difficult it can be sometimes to actually do the writing. Now, perhaps, he understands how some things, simple things, spark the creative juices and the words flow. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it, especially for all of the dreamers out there who also just happen to be writers.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Plottings and Plannings for the Normal Way of Life

Today is Sunday, this means that tomorrow is Monday.

Normally Monday would mean hubby is heading off to work, I would do some work on the kitchen and then I would begin working on the writing and, of course, playing with my babies (my dogs). Now, since hubby isn't working, Mondays aren't exactly Mondays you know? And if the truth be known - and admitted - I miss them. I miss the normalcy of them. I miss the regimen of knowing what I am going to do in a given day.

So, if it is possible, tomorrow I am going to try and reach "normalcy" by getting into a different routine, and, hopefully, keep it even though B is not working and has not found a lead on any jobs. The routine is simple: do yoga, do some quick job hunting for/with B, and then start writing and write like mad until he takes needs the computer!

See, there is a plan!

Friday, May 19, 2006

S.M.A.R.T. Goals, or Some Things I'm Learning from My Yoga Book

OK, let's get something out in the open. I have arthritis. I have had arthritis since the day I was born, literally. I use a power chair most of the time because I am in bad shape physically. I am doing yoga.

For a while I was almost apologizing to people because when they found out (usually because my very proud husband told them) they would look at me with a mixture of sadness (poor thing, she thinks she can do something like yoga), incredulousness (how dare she even undertake to try something so strenuous or can she even do any of those poses close to correct?), and something very close to anger or at the very least upset-ness (why should she even attempt anything like yoga when I won't!?).

Seeing their expressions and hearing their sometimes confused and oh-so-polite questions afterwards made me more than just a little self-conscious and uncomfortable. This would encourage me to apologize for doing the yoga by saying, "I have to modify some of the poses, but, yes, I am doing yoga." It wasn't until recently I realized I was apologizing at all. That I must modify some of the poses should be a given. That I have to modify them is a necessity, but this does not mean I am not doing yoga.

Since realizing this I sat down and re-read my yoga book and more things clicked than they had before in the first reading. One of those things was just how I had set myself up to fail in my weight-loss attempts before by either being too rigid and unbending in the goal setting as well as being too vague on what I wanted to accomplish: to lose weight and not gain it back.

"SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-framed." (Yoga for Weight-Loss: the 4-Week Slimming Plan, Celia Hawe, Barnes & Noble publishers, p. 34) I had to read and re-read this a couple of times before it really fell into place for me, especially after reading an example of the un-SMART goal setting she listed:
My Yoga for Weight-Loss goal is to
lose 10 lbs.
I will have achieved this by
2 weeks from now
I know I will have achieved it because I will
weigh in on my bathroom scales 10lbs lighter
and feel

This is a very familiar way of setting goals for my weight-loss and one the author, Celia Hawe, is also familiar with. I had to really think about why this was not a SMART goal. It fits into the categories of specific and attainable, as she points out, but it isn't realistically attainable because other factors we cannot foresee weigh in - what if it is time for the monthly or what if it was a very stressful week or few days in the time frame? This makes it far more difficult to lose weight and you retain water. Even though it has a time-frame for the completion of the goal, it isn't SMART, which means all factors need to be in place.

Now I have begun setting myself Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-framed goals, just not far into the distant future. I am not going to lose weight or get into better shape by doing the yoga in the future, it is done by doing it one day at a time, and this is how I am setting my goals: one day at a time. So far it is working, even though I am having to almost constantly with the impatient part of myself that wants to have an out-lined plan of what I'm going to do and when I am going to do it.

Each day comes with goals, not a to-do list of all of the things I need to accomplish. I have a to-do list, how can you get by without one? But, I look at everything before me and distinguish between what goals I need to set for my own personal self and not as a part of a to-do list that I can have a better chance of letting go or telling myself I can catch up on that tomorrow, or the next day, or next week.

For example, a couple of my goals for today included doing my yoga routine and take my morning meds. This was on my goal list which was totally separate from all of the other things that make up tasks for a day. In setting goals and tasks each day has begun to move along more smoothly and I am accomplishing things for myself and not just the household, B, or writing. In accomplishing things for myself my confidence is growing and I am seeing a positive change in my attitude at times (of course I can't see it all the time because I am not perfect and do not change as quickly as I would like to); my body is changing to the positive and is looking better, and although it will take a while to get to the body I want, I am more confident I will achieve it, and if I don't I know I am going to feel better.

Another interesting thing Celia Hawe says in her book is, "...many diet program advocate sticking up a photograph of someone whose body you wish yours could look like, in a place where it might prove a timely reminder, such as the fridge door. But you are not Julia Roberts or Kate Moss, and never can be." (Ibid p.33) This released me in so many ways from feeling like I had to be a certain way. It gave me room to be me. I needed that. I needed the space to be myself, to discover my own body and shape and size and feel more like I was on an adventure than the horrific I'm-on-a-diet-and-exercise-plan-to-lose-weight mentality.

I like SMART goals, and this book. It is helping me change, mentally and emotionally, what needs to be changed in order to progress, not just get caught in the yo-yo weight loss I've done forever in the past. In short, I am encouraged to the core of my being, and I like that. I've needed this encouragement for a very long time, and even though B has tried to instill it in me, I had to discover this for myself. Never fear though, he did help: he got me to buy the book!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Good Movie, Bad Movie

Since my dear B has been off work we have reverted to staying up late and getting up late. Both of us realize this isn't a good thing, but sometimes it is just too much fun to play a video game for a few hours and discover it was two o'clock in the morning.

A couple of nights ago we were up late just watching movies. The first movie we watched was really quite good, The Black Mask starring Jet Li. B had said it was really a hokey movie but when he watched it again he liked it. I had no preconceptions about the movie so liked it from the very beginning. After The Black Mask we watched, Team America, World Police.

Honestly, I had no intention of EVER seeing that movie, but once we started watching it there wasn't any turning away. It was like watching a car wreck, or a train wreck in progress and being so horrified you couldn't look away.

There were some funny moments, but only moments not most of the movie. To say this movie was "juvenile" is actually giving juveniles a bad name and an even worse connotation! The humor was base, the sentiment gross, and at its deepest level it was making fun of what people believe in, whether that is peace, war, pride in your nation, or religious zealousness. It made fun of the people doing the actual fighting in Iraq and elsewhere. It made fun of the people who wanted peace. It made fun of actors who actually stand up for their beliefs, regardless of popular opinion - not as actors, but as individuals.

Watching the movie just made me sad. It made me sad because this piece of so called "entertainment" encouraged apathy toward ideals and beliefs and morals. It encouraged ridicule of everything that made people, especially young people, uncomfortable.

The question arose in my head upon laying down to sleep after seeing such a piece of trash, would I have liked this movie twenty years ago when I was just in my twenties? I hope not, but I fear I probably would have laughed along just to make sure I belonged, just to ensure I was a rebel. The thing is, even when I was in my twenties and doing this very thing, I always felt uncomfortable because I was uncomfortable with the person I was discovering I truly was.

I also understand what the writer(s) were trying to do with this movie I think. They wanted the American people to see how the U.S. had become this self-proclaimed police force for the world and how we should really be sticking to our own shores and let the rest of the world police itself. How this policy of "world police" had gotten us on the bad side of many nations. Still, it failed. It failed horribly.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Child's Voice, fiction

The Child's Voice
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2006 by H.A. Handy

The house was good and warm which caused Billy to shiver suddenly with realization of how cold he really was. Ritchie went to his rug which was in front of the fireplace which was glowing with ruby embers. Bill deposited his beer close to the corner of the fridge and put his mail on the kitchen table. First things were first, he decided, so turned his attention to the wood box close at hand, and began to put wood onto the glowing embers.

He loved a good warm fire. He didn’t need it, of course, since he had had heat and air installed a couple of years back, which was a lot more economical than the coal stove the house had been heated with for so many years prior. Even then his mom had had him build a fire for her. It made it all feel like home. Cheery.

Emma had also loved the fire. Billy could remember her from when she was about two years old, nothing but a toe headed toddler. She had looked out at the world at the tender age of two with blue eyes so intelligent they almost made him afraid. When she had been diagnosed with Lime Disease at three and the subsequent medical trials the family had faced since then, it seemed amazing, a miracle she had survived year after year. Finally, at the age of four the doctors said they had misdiagnosed the symptoms and what Emma had was really juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, it seemed as if all hope of the beautiful little girl having a normal life had vanished. Already her limbs were trying to draw into unnatural shapes, but Susan and family worked ceaselessly to try and correct that. Emma had been in and out of hospitals constantly with dangerously high fevers for years.

Still, Emma had lived. She had had a wonderful imagination and had indeed begun to live her dream of being a successful writer. When Susan and Parker had fallen victim to kidney failure and Alzheimer’s respectively, Emma returned home to care for them as best she could. It had nearly broken Emma’s heart when they had had to place Parker into a nursing home, but she still stayed with her mother unfailingly until the bitter end. That had been five years ago, but Emma still came in dutifully for her mother’s birthday all the way from Arizona.

The fire was popping and crackling when he finally left memory lane and returned to the present. Outside it was already falling dark. It was time to get supper started, as well as the new book Emma had sent him.

Emma was really good about sending him one of the author’s copies of her books. She sent one to Jimmy as well, but he never sat down to read them. Billy shook his head. Emma loved Jimmy with a loyalty he felt was undeserved. True, Emma was family and Jimmy would do anything for her, but the truth was, Jimmy was more concerned with finding some oxycontin, or OC’s as they were known on the drug market.

Oxycontin had nearly taken out the pot trade in the mountains. They had almost destroyed the young people themselves. According to everyone Billy had talked to who had taken them, snorting an OC or two made you forget about all of your pain and problems, but when you came down you came down hard.

He didn’t want Emma to know the truth about Jimmy. Not yet. It would break her heart and cause her to worry. Billy didn’t want Emma to worry any more than necessary, she had already gone through enough. Losing her parents within a year of each other had almost devastated her beyond any hopes of recovery emotionally. He had seen that the last time she had come in to put flowers on her mom’s grave. Emma’s normally well-groomed hair just hung limp and straight down her back, and her eyes looked haunted and lost. She hadn’t said anything much to him then, so they had just sat side-by-side at the grave where he had put a bench for her, and shared a joynt. When she was beginning to get a little high her smile returned and her eyes didn’t look so distant and empty. As she relaxed, Billy saw the dark circles forming under her eyes from loss of sleep. She was also quite bony, not shapely like she normally was. be continued

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Underfoot or Bored?

When husbands don't work they sometimes become worse than children with needing entertainment. It is understandable - they are used to going out every day and being gone, and feeling, usually, as if they are doing what they need to be doing even if the job they have isn't the best or one that makes them happy. When this feeling of being useful and doing what needs to be done goes away for a bit, they are lost and try and fill their time with as much as possible of something else, anything else, just so the day passes.

I don't have proof of this, but in observing my dear hubby for the past couple of weeks makes me believe this is so. It doesn't help that he gets underfoot and I get annoyed and aggravated at him for always taking up time I usually have for doing the things I need to be doing and that make me feel useful. So, slowly, I am learning how to entertain and grab time to myself to get the writing done and feel like myself. It isn't easy, but it is beginning to get easier...I think.

Monday, May 15, 2006

(How do you say "no" to such cute puppy eyes? Any way, No - mommy is writing today.)

It has been a while hasn't it, Dear Readers? I apologize. Since hubby is currently not gainfully employed there isn't a good schedule or even a moment to attempt a schedule any more. He has downloaded a program called "ProShare" which lets him download music and he is always on the computer downloading music now. This means no writing for me, of any sort, and as for up-dating The News or LJ means, well, it just means it is relatively impossible. So, today while he is out, here I am explaining what has been happening. *sigh* Hopefully this week will not be as lax in updates as they have been.

The Writing Front
The new novel is almost snail crawling forward, but it is progressing none-the-less. It would move faster if I had the computer to use during the day hours as is usual. At the moment it creeps forward on paper with pen. Today I am putting as much of it to the screen and a computer file as I can possibly do.

"The Child's Voice"
I know, I missed several installments of this story, but it is going to be appearing this week come heck or high water (with all of the rain we've been having, hopefully the high water won't appear where we are).

All right, that's it for me for the moment. There will be more later this week, if not today.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Still trying to get things organized. It is proving quite difficult because B has a program on the computer now he wants to play with and I need to get some writing done. I believe we are turning into a two computer family.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tired, but Determined

Have not fully recovered yet from traveling so here is something for the writerly folks: Writer's Weekly.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Made it to Columbus

Made it to Columbus.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Michael Yon Before Traveling

We are pretty close to heading out the door, so I am posting quickly. If you have not checked out Michael Yon's blog by now I highly recommend it. With so much mis-information that is coming out of Iraq, it is good to read the real news, or as close to the real news as we can get.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Since the weather is warming and I and my girls go outside, I keep a wary eye out for any signs of fleas attacking them. Yes, they are big girls and can defend mommy without much problem, but when fleas attack they are miserable and thus it makes me miserable as well. So, for those dog owners out there, here is an article I discovered on the 'net and it may be of use to you. Also, if you have any other flea remedies, please let me know. It would be most appreciated by all concerned.

Natural ways to get rid of fleas.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Some Words from Stephen Hawking

"When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have."
– Stephen Hawking

Friday, May 05, 2006

Energy - 1.0, Potassium - 3.3

I apologize all: It appears my potassium has dropped down to 3.3, which is very low. At least this explains the lethargy and draggy-ness I have been experiencing. I was able to take some potassium supplements yesterday, so I am feeling a bit better today, though I think I could sleep quite a few more hours.

However, I can report I have a good idea for my newest novel. It is that SF adventure I was telling everyone about, howbeit extremely vaguely. It is here, just at the back of my brain, nudging me forward and encouraging me I won't be sorry if I give it half the chance it so rightly deserves. So, I am.

If all goes well, I will be putting more words down on it today. It would help if I would be able to do more of that tomorrow and the rest of next week. Hopefully on Tuesday I will get some words down because I will be in Columbus and will have to borrow Cheyenne's computer. Still, thanks to, I should have everything I need to get some more words down. Just to be a little on the safe side, I am putting what I currently have on disk and taking that with me. You can never be too careful these days.

B gave me an idea, although quite unintentionally for a zombie story! I shudder at my own horribleness. I do not want to write that twat, but, at the same time, I would like to see what happens with the story, just to see if I can pull it off. I will see. I will work at it...maybe.

OK, time for another potassium pill and a little more food - then on to writing, and getting the rest of my life back into some semblance of order.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Turtle-like and Writing - Somewhat Related

Yesterday I did not have enough time to sit and just let myself Be. I enjoy doing this in the sunshine. Sometimes I compare myself to a turtle and sometimes to a cat because of their love for the warmth of spring and summer. Mostly I think, I am a little more turtle-like than cat-like because a) I don't move very fast at all; and b) turtles have a tendency to just sit and Be: they are in their own moment, their own portion of the world, and don't truly see a need for moving too quickly. (But when there is a need, you would be quite surprised to see how quickly a turtle can move!) So, yesterday, I didn't get to experience the zen of the turtle enjoying the sun as much as I would have liked.

Today I will not get to be as turtle-like as I would like either - because B and I will be doing things away from home today. This is really an extra shame because a new story, a new novel has presented itself. It is a science fiction adventure and I am pretty sure it is a novel, or will be a novel length piece before it is finished.

At the moment it resides in one of my beloved moleskin journals. Since I am not going to tear the pages out, this means I will be writing there and then transcribing until the story becomes so large it isn't feasible to keep it there. Before all is decided and done, I may just transcribe what I have now and continue on the PC. Sadly, now is when I would love to have a laptop just so I could go outside and write. The tools of the trade become necessary at some points. When I have my first big sale you can pretty much guess my first big purchase.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Note for Those Out There Who Understand

When playing a really good video game - do not get jump happy!