31 July, 2010

Writing Conference

I'm going to be at the Montezuma All-Iowa Writer's Conference on Sept. 18th in Montezuma Iowa. Here's what info I have to date:

Make plans to come to the 2010 Montezuma All-Iowa Writers’ Conference! It
will be held in Montezuma, Iowa at the Montezuma Community School on
Saturday, September 18 from 9 – 5, with registration starting at 8:30.
Join us for an all-day event where you can learn writing tips, get advice
on how to choose a publisher and learn new ways to market your work. Iowa
authors scheduled to attend and inspire include: Donald Harstad, Shirley
Damsgaard, Kathy Bacus, Leigh Michaels, Tamara Siler Jones and Kali Van
Baale. Admission is only $25! If you have ever dreamed of writing a book,
this is a must-attend event! Email debwrite@zumatel.net for more details
or look us up on Facebook at Our Front Porch Books Publishing Company.
Details and a registration form will soon be available at

Our Front Porch Books is sponsoring a fiction writing contest! Winners
will be announced at the 2010 Montezuma All-Iowa Writers' Conference (you
don’t have to be present to participate). Entries must be 1500 words or
less, no more than 2 entries per person. Fee is $5 per entry. Mail to: Our
Front Porch Books, P.O. Box 902, Montezuma, Iowa 50171. Deadline is
Friday, Sept. 10. Good luck!

29 July, 2010


Not words, it's my stupid allergies.

I've had a pretty much constant headache for a week or so, around my eyes - especially on my brow-line - and I'm just full of gunk. Urgh.

Counting the days until frost.

26 July, 2010

It's morning! It's morning!

Well, if you consider 11am morning. Which I guess I do. Because I just started my day.

I keep really weird hours, partially because I'm a night owl - I get energetic and awake around 4pm until, oh, 2 am or so - partially because Bill works nights so our life-schedule has kinda shifted in that direction. Bill, however, is one of those leap out of bed when the first pale line of pink appears in the eastern sky with a hearty 'What a beautiful day!' a laugh and a stretch before bounding out to meet the world.

I, however, will groan and roll over and hide my head under the pillow. Then, later, when I do mostly wake up, I'll stagger to the bathroom, yawn through my shower, and stumble through the day until about 4pm (stealing a early afternoon nap if I can) then I'm busy, busy busy until I finally get sleepy sometime in the wee hours of the night.

I keep trying to change and it's just not working. Strange thing, isn't it, our own natural rhythms? When I worked paycheck kinda jobs, I LOVED working second shift, 4pm to midnight, it was a natural fit for me, but my husband doesn't take night work as well. He will convert, almost instantly, to daytime hours on weekends and vacations. Heck, he's outside right now with the weed-eater while I'm sitting here bleary and blogging. And he worked all night. Sure, he took a 2 hour nap with me after he got home, but still. He worked all night and he's outside right this moment being energetic and productive.

Things like this make me wonder sometimes what other preferences are naturally wired into us. Is our sense of taste (for example, I much prefer crunchy/salty things over sweet things) natural or learned? Creativity? Work ethic? Political beliefs? Fitness habits? Vocabulary? Problem solving?  Kinkiness? Questing for knowledge? Loyalty? Depression? Music?

Bill's the only eager early-riser in his family. I'm my family's night owl. Why is that?

It's something for me to think about as I stumble through making lunch for my busy family. I hope y'all have a great day pondering your own ponderings.

23 July, 2010

Yup. That's my laptop clacking.

I've written about 20 pages this week, which, for me lately, is freaking awesome. M is in a bit of a pickle, and her whole life - or at least the primary assumption she's counted on to live it - has been turned upside down. And she's stranded. And stuck. And it's pretty cool. :)

I've joined two real-life writing groups. Sisters In Crime - Iowa and a local group which I don't want to mention here on the blog because I'm still trying to convince myself that I have some remaining anonymity in the great, green north of Iowa. Yeah. Go ahead and laugh, I certainly do. ;)

Anyway, all that's good. What's not so good is all this RAIN.

We've had rain every day or two since, well, about Memorial Day, give or take, and while the near constant dampness in the basement isn't a huge big deal, the two times we've had actual WATER down there have pretty much sucked. We're lucky in that nothing vital has been ruined, and it is just ground water in an unfinished basement (my friend Tanya had sewer backup in her finished basement!  Yikes!) but it's still a pain in the butt. Bill's been awesome at dealing with it, though, including fixing the sump pump this morning when it quit working. Our back yard, especially the dog pen, is a sloppy, muddy mess and the newer dog, Taylor, is addicted to splashing and rolling in water and is coated in mud, so we don't let him in the house unless by some miracle he's dry. Stewie hates the mud, and Gozer hates the flies, so it's been a bit of a juggle with the dogs, especially since we have all these kittens FREAKING OUT at their presence when they are in the house.

I've also been sewing, quite a lot, because the quilt show is coming in October and I must have things ready. Of course all the things I want to enter are either unfinished, un-started, or so complicated they make my head swim, but that's pretty normal for me. I'll post pics as things are completed.

The kittens are GREAT and the black ones are ready to go to their permanent home, we just have to get them down to Des Moines and drop them off. Gonna miss the little fluff-buckets.

And, oh, I'm trying to clean my desk today. Wish me luck. ;)

21 July, 2010

My other blogs

I have other blogs (if you click on my profile, you can see most of my list) but I'd like to take a moment to plug TamboCooks, where I've been typing up some of my regular recipes, and new things I'm trying. Some of them are healthier than others, some are quick and easy, some super cheap, it just kind of depends on my mood that day.

Anyway, if you're looking for something nummy, you might find it on TamboCooks. ;)

16 July, 2010

You Suck, Your Story Sucks, Why Have You Wasted My Time?!?

The title of this post was the entire critique I received for a story I'd started, oh, about the same time I sold Ghosts, and it's stuck with me ever since. I had it stuck to the top of my computer monitor for a long, long time, and, strange as it may sound, the comment gave me strength and, stranger still, comfort.

I tell myself that I suck often enough, so maybe it was the familiarity that struck such a cord with me. Maybe it was something else. But it has stuck in my head all these years - I received the comment in the fall of 2001, perhaps that following winter.

Yep. Nearly a decade ago. But I still remember. Because it's important.

Nathan Bradford writes on his blog how, often, the untalented believe they're awesome and the talented believe they stink. That's certainly true for me. The pieces I think OMG! This totally rocks! fall flat with readers, and the pieces that I'm unsure about, that seem like steaming doggy doo on a plate to me, others squee over and gobble up. Why is that? Why can't we see our own brilliance, or our own madness?

I haven't written anything of note since Valley of the Soul, its revisions finished in the spring of 2006. More than four years ago. Oh, I've nearly completed Stain of Corruption twice (once stopping about 3 scenes from the end and scrapping the whole thing), and I've started several totally unrelated books (Spore, Morgan's Run, Paul's Story, Katie Rose, and I can't even remember how many more), but nothing is grabbing me. None of it. There isn't one single story that's screaming You must set all else aside and finish me! 

Why? Because they all suck. I suck. Why am I wasting my time?

Why am I wasting your time? Why do I so this?

I must stand in the shower and ponder these things a while.

13 July, 2010

Creating the Creativity Habit

My friend Jess posted a link on facebook today about how the internet can hinder creativity (I swear, sometimes I can feel it suck the brain cells right through my forehead) and I was happily surprised to see that article link to another article on one of my favorite sites, ZenHabits, which I don't read as often as I should anymore.

If you're struggling with your creativity, or simply feeling overwhelmed and exhausted (and less productive) from spending too much time online, please take a minute to check out these two articles. :)

(And, yes, I do get the irony of blogging about limiting internet usage. I do. Really. I'm rolling my eyes at myself this very moment. Honest. ;) )

04 July, 2010


We bought some pie cherries at the farmers' market yesterday, and, me being me, decided to try something new. I found this recipe on FoodWishes (one of my fave foodie sites) and it's OMG YUMMY! And easy! And cheap! So what's not to love?

The super cool thing is that you can substitute most any fruit, whatever's in season or on sale, and have a nice, somewhat-fancy yet simple dessert. :)

Fruit {cherry) Clafouti (instructions written from Food Wishes video)

1/2 c flour
2/3 c sugar (divided)
1-1/4 c milk
3 eggs
1 tb vanilla
pinch salt
12 oz fresh cherries (or other fresh fruit)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Whisk flour, 1/3 c sugar, salt to distribute. Add milk. Whisk till smooth. Add eggs. Whisk. Add vanilla. Whisk.

Butter 2 qt casserole. Pour in about 1/2 of the custard. Bake 12 min. While baking, pit cherries if desired (or prep other fruit).

Arrange cherries on custard. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 c sugar (I added bit more since I had sour cherries) Spoon/ladle on remaining custard. Bake 45 min. Serve warm.

02 July, 2010

It's all in the eyes

My surgery went great! I've tested twice at 20/15 vision in both eyes, and there hasn't been any real pain or problems. My left eye aches some times - kinda feels like a sinus headache, just all around and behind the eye (supposedly normal) - and there was some bleeding on my eyeballs from the suction thingy (also normal, and fading) and, lastly, it sometimes seems like I'm looking through plastic wrap. Things are in focus, just... slightly obscured. That's normal too, and at first it was like looking through milk, so plastic wrap is a definite improvement and it's getting better every day. Been driving just fine, going through my day to day life just fine, but I need reading glasses to pull stitches out of my sewing, and for some - but not all - reading. The coolest thing is having DEPTH PERCEPTION and I spent a lot of the first day or so boggling how bumpy things were, or tall, or thick, or all of these textural nuances I hadn't really ever seen before.

So two thumbs up on the eyes! (more below the cut)