Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #1

Dumb Utah Laws

It is illegal to detonate any nuclear weapon. Apparently, you can have them (is this true?) but you just can't detonate them.

Birds have the right of way on all highways. (Which may explain why my daughter used to always yell at me for almost hitting birds!)

It is against the law to fish from horseback.

When a person reaches the age of 50, he/she can then marry their cousin. (Oh my.)

It is illegal not to drink milk. (I may be in huge trouble.)

In Kaysville, you must have identification to enter a convienence store after dark.

In Logan, women may not swear.

In Monroe (there's a Monroe here???) daylight must be visible between partners on a dance floor. Hmmm. What happens if you're dancing at night???

In Provo, throwing snowballs is gonna earn you a $50 fine.

In Salt Lake City, it's illegal to walk down the street carrying a violin in a paper bag. I can't even imagine what would prompt lawmakers to put this one on the books.

In Trout Creek, it's illegal for pharmacists to sell gunpowder to cure headaches.

A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife while she is in his presence. That seems only fair since so many of them also consider themselves responsible for every good thing their wives do.

It's against the law to hunt whales. So darned inconvenient when you're living in a landlocked state!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Give a Busy Person a Job ...

Maybe one of you can explain something to me. Why is it that the busier I am, the more I get done? Doesn't it seem like the opposite would be true? Shouldn't the opposite be true?

I have a deadline in less than two weeks, and no, I'm not ready to send the book to my editor yet. I have every intention of getting there, though. I just may run a bit short in the sleep department before I'm through.

A year ago, I agreed to teach an online class this month, which requires that I post two "lectures" every week and answer questions as they arise. There have been lots of questions this month, and I'm not the kind of teacher who answers briefly. I want to make sure I've explained myself clearly, so I tend .... I won't say I tend to ramble, but I do try to be thorough.

I've had some family issues to deal with. Nothing, thank God, having to do with my kids or the Incredible Miss Abigail, but still troublesome, and they've led to more phone calls in a day than I'm used to taking while I'm supposed to be working.

Two weeks ago, the galley proofs for PEPPERMINT TWISTED arrived on my doorstep with instructions to read the proofs carefully, check for typesetting errors, and return the package to my editor in NYC by last Friday.

I'm heavily involved in the administration of a non-profit organization, and the president is out of town this week, which means that in my spare time I've been drafting statements and approving things I generally don't get involved with on a daily basis.

So why is my writing humming along so well? Why can I write two chapters a day without really breaking a sweat (now that the cooler in my house is fixed and the temperature no longer hovers near 100 inside.) Why do I get so much more done when I have a lot to do?

This isn't the first time I've noticed this phenomenon at work. Years ago, while working at the Evil Day Job 50-60 hours a week, I consistently wrote 3-4 books every year. I was one of the most prolific authors I knew. I wrote through everything that came my way -- family issues, surgeries, moving, kid troubles -- and I never seem to have any real trouble getting a book done. That's not to say that my manuscripts always arrived sharp and crisp on the morning of my deadline, but I wasn't ever far off.

Then (joy of joys) I quit the Evil Day Job to write full time, and what happened? I suddenly developed "issues" that had never plagued me before. With all the time in the world to write, I suddenly found myself spending less and less time at it. A thousand excuses presented themselves every day and, unlike the excuses that came my way when I worked the EDJ, these suddenly seemed Too Important to Ignore.

Don't get me wrong ... I haven't been a complete slug since I quit the EDJ and became a fulltime writer. Every so often, a month like this one comes along and nudges me back on track. But what I don't understand is why it's so damn easy to slide off track again, and why I never feel myself sliding until I'm avoiding my work in progress to catalog my DVDs -- again.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

During the past few weeks, I've been almost completely focused on finishing the fourth book in the candy shop series, so I haven't really lifted my head for much, except to moan about yet another day where the temperature soars over 100 degrees. One thing that has caught my attention, though, is the story of the trapped coal miners who are buried in the Crandall Canyon mine about 150 miles from my house. Six men have been missing since a mine cave-in for the past eleven days, and rescue efforts have met with one setback after another since the beginning. Tonight, they met with the biggest setback yet. Apparently, the mine experienced what's called a "bump" -- an explosion inside the mine where pressure relieves itself. Nine rescue workers were injured. One of those nine has now been reported dead. News crews cut into regular programming at about 7:30 tonight as ambulances and medical helicopters began arriving. As I write this, injured rescue workers are still being transported to hospitals in the area. My heart aches for the families and friends of the miners, for the whole close-knit community that has been affected by this mining disaster, and I watch the news, and I'm torn between natural human curiosity and the revulsion I feel when I listen to the news people and watch the footage on the TV. I was with my kids, standing on the lawn of my ex-husband's house while the paramedics tried to save his life. I know what an intensely private thing these kinds of things can be, and I am furious at the cameramen who are aiming their cameras through the windows of the ambulances so they can get the most exciting shot possible. I listen to news reporters speculating wildly about things they don't know, creating issues out of things that might mean absolutely nothing, and I want to knock some sense into them. Yeah, I know, the public's right to know and all that. But the public doesn't need to watch someone's loved one being given CPR as the ambulance flashes past. Isn't it enough to be told? Can't we allow those injured people some privacy? A hint of dignity? A little respect? And what does wild speculation have to do with the public's right to know? Do we really have to waste fifteen minutes or more of airtime wondering if that was a Colorado license plate and making up stories about what it might mean if it was? So, okay, it's not really about the public's right to know. I get that. I also get that it's about ratings, and scooping the other guy, and getting the biggest chunk of the advertising dollar. And I'm sure I'm just being a prude about it all. After all, I've now just learned that the Mayor of Price, Utah, was eating macaroni and cheese when tonight's disaster occurred, and that's something, I think we all needed to know.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Cover

I'm on deadline, trying to get the fourth candy shop mystery finished, polished, and onto my editor's desk by the 1st of September, so I'm trying hard not to spend a lot of time online right now ... but I recently received the cover for PEPPERMINT TWISTED (coming December 2007) and I wanted to share with my readers!