255. A New Year Beckons

Saturday, December 31, 2005

"Yesterdays a memory, another page in history. You sell yourself on hopes and dreams that leave you feeling sideways. Tripping over my own feet. Trying to walk to my own beat, another car out on the street trying to find the highway. Yeah, are you going my way? This is the story of my life, and I write it everyday. I know it isn't black and white, and it's anything but gray. Anything can, everything can happen, that's the story of my life."

In just a few hours 2005 will be history, and a new year will begin. Where does the year go? I usually keep the starting my entries with lyrics to my personal journal, but I made an exception here this once. These lyrics are fitting for my state of mine as I transition from 2005 to 2006. When the year began, I was in a much different place than I am now. Everything was different. My state of mind was anywhere and everywhere.

I had made the decision at the end of 2004 to try to pull myself out of a deep depression I had found myself since 2003. I wanted to get back into my writing and I wanted to make it my life's focus. Between 2000 and 2002, I had done well getting things going, but I knew I could do better if I put my mind to it. I had sold one article in December 2004, and I saw this as a turning point. However, life decided to pull me back down, and it took until somewhere in March or April for me to really move forward.

I started this blog in March. I also began writing reviews for Blogcritics in March. I also began reviewing for Romance Divas in May, and then I sold my column reviewing the final season of Queer as Folk that same month. Things seemed to be moving forward. The summer months I kept working on my reviewing, but I put a huge focus on my fiction. I wrote a lot fiction wise over the summer.

By the end of the summer, I took a look at the fall season, and I wanted to branch out. I began my review blog, and from then on I was picked up as a blogger and forum leader for Media Village. My fiction has dwindled in recent months, but I expected it to be when I put my focus on my nonfiction work.

All in all 2005 was a very productive year for me. Not financially, but I see that picking up now. I never expected to make a full time living from my writing over night, but I see myself moving towards that goal each day. I see progress, and that is what makes me proud of the accomplishments I have made in 2005. Not only am I proud of what I've done, but my family is also now seeing that I am serious about this dream of mine, and they also see it should end up paying off for me. It is just taking time.

I have lot in mind for 2006. I have resolutions that I've made, goals in my mind for my writing. I want to make 2006 even better than 2005 for me. These are some of my goals for the year to come.

Personal Goals

  • I want to be a better daughter. I want to find patience with my father. He isn't getting any younger. He just turned 80 this month, and as much as I try to not snap at him when he can't hear me or I need to explain things over and over again, I sometimes do it without thinking, and I need to work on that.

  • I want to be a good friend to those around me. I need to work on not getting lost in my own little world, and talk more to those around me because I do cherish all my friendships dearly. I need to show that. Whether it is my blogging friends around the blogosphere or my friends here and elsewhere. I don't want any of my friends to doubt how much I care about them.

  • I want to be better at keeping in touch with my family elsewhere. It is so easy to pick up a phone and just say hello. I need to do that more often.

  • Writing Goals

  • I need to finish what I begin. My main problem with my fiction is finishing the stories I start. I need to do better. I know I can finish them. I've done it before, many times before when it came to my fan fiction in the past. I've finished stories this year too, but that is definitely something I need to improve on. I'd really like to submit two or more of my short novellas this year for publication with e-book publishers.

  • I need to work on my fiction in general. I need to continue writing it. I need to try to find some time every week to write fiction. I know my nonfiction is taking precedence at the moment, and it has to. I need to keep the fiction up as well.

  • I need to continue pursuing my nonfiction. I need to find other sites and publications for my nonfiction work. I need to keep up my current pursuits as well.

  • I need to continue improving my writing. The more I write, the more I improve, but I need to make that improvement important. I need to read the works of others and any resources I can that will help me to do this.

  • In general, I just want to be the best person I can be for 2006. I want to be able to look back next year at this time and be proud of what I've done. Have a wonderful New Year everyone. Be safe tonight.


    254. Goodbye AOL

    Thursday, December 29, 2005

    Last night, after seven years, my AOL connection was no more. I had canceled my service last week. I no longer needed it with my new high speed connection. What is the point of having both? I wasn't all that interested in paying a lesser fee to just keep their broadband service. When I called, the customer service rep I spoke to was quite nice, and he did do his best to keep me on as a user, but once he could see the only way I'd be ending the call was by canceling, he stopped pressing and did just that.

    I actually noticed when my AOL died because the connection to my email to my email client stopped working. When that happened, I checked the website and sure enough my email had been switched to their AIM service. Since AIM users now get free email by creating a screen name to use on AOL instant messenger, AOL is letting those subscribers that cancel keep their email account alive and accessible through web mail.

    Now I'm solely a COX HSI user. My only problem with the service I've had is with my signal dropping at random times at least once or twice a day. I actually have another tech coming out tomorrow morning to look at the problem. The last two techs have been helpful, but the problem keeps happening. The customer rep I talked to today said she thinks it might be an outside wire causing the problem, and I agree with her. I've actually thought it was an outside wiring issue the entire time, but now we have a supervisor coming out to check both the inside connections here and the outside connections as well.

    I'm not sure why the connections outside weren't checked before. I'd mentioned it possibly being an outside issue to the two techs that had come before, but they said they couldn't do much outside. Hopefully, the tech won't say the same thing tomorrow. The problem is intermittent, and the dropping of the signal only lasts a few minutes, and sometimes not even a minute, but it seems to happen at the worst times.

    For those other cable Internet subscribers is this the norm? It isn't a huge problem. I could probably get used to signal going out once a day for a few minutes, but it is just a bit on the puzzling side to me.

    253. Tell me something new ...

    I just took one of those IQ tests found here, and this is part of what it told me.

    You are equipped with a verbal arsenal that enables you to understand complex issues and communicate on a particularly high level. These talents make you a Word Warrior.

    Whether or not you recognize it, your vocabulary is your strongest suit -- use it whenever you can. Since your command of words is so great, you are also a terrific communicator -- able to articulate big ideas to just about anyone. Your word smithing prowess will also help in artistic and creative pursuits. The power of words translates to fresh ideas off paper too. Since you have so many words at your disposal, you are in a unique position to describe things in an original way, as well as see the future in your mind's eye. In short, your strengths allow you to be a visionary -- able to extrapolate and come up with a multitude of fresh ideas.
    So my IQ even recognizes the skills I have as a writer. My IQ came in at 126. I always love taking online tests, and I did my IQ last year, and I think the results were similar. I've had a headache on and off all night, and I'm a bit anxious about some writing related things to my nonfiction. It isn't letting me work on the short flasher I wanted to for this contest I wish to enter. The pressure will be off tomorrow though, so I'm hoping to put together some of my ideas into something I can work with and submit on Saturday. We will have to see. Right now, my head is still hurting a bit, so I'm cutting this short.

    Have a wonderful night everyone.

    252. A great day ...

    Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    Yes, today was a very good day, and I meant to post in here a bit earlier, but I got a bit distracted. I ventured into my first Divas Brainstorming chat, and I think I have ideas to work off of for a contest I am shooting to enter. I only heard about the contest back on Monday, and the deadline is Saturday. Good thing it is only for a 600 word erotic flash short, or I might be in trouble!

    I bounced off of some of the other divas in attendance, and it was good being in such a good supportive and fun environment with like-minded people. I love talking about my writing, the ins and outs of it, with other writers. Sometimes I think when I talk to my friends about it that we sometimes don't connect.

    Today, I received something in the mail that made all the work I've been doing the last few months worth it. Those that follow this blog regularly know how much time and effort I've put into both my review site and my work elsewhere. Well, today I finally saw the results of those efforts, and I am very pleased. I was able to show my dad, the ever doubter, that I was getting somewhere. It was just taking me a bit longer to get there.

    Now to get the fiction going. I'm working on it. One thing at a time. I hope you're all well. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

    251. Post Holiday Rush

    Tuesday, December 27, 2005

    Christmas has passed, and I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday; no matter the holiday you celebrate. With the passing of the holiday, it came time to change the look of my blog if you might have noticed. I also updated my blog sidebar, refreshing my blog links and changing a few other small things.

    Now with Christmas out of the way, my attention is now focusing on the year to come. 2005 moved at times slow and other times fast.  I started out this year with a determination that only grew more as the end of the year came nearer.  I know once January hits in just under a week, I'll be thrown back into my busy schedule. The last few weeks of downtime will be only a memory until May comes. Then I expect a bit of slow down because of the summer months, but right now my focus on the months ahead.

    I have a lot I want to do. I want to get back into gear fiction wise. I have been writing a scene or two, here and there, but my fiction is still a bit on the sluggish side. I signed up to mentored over at Romance Divas, and that program begins in mid-January. I'm hoping to find some assistant with my fiction writing, so I can pursue that in 2006 in addition to my nonfiction endeavors. I want to do both. I hope to find a bit of success in both.

    Today I braved the stores for a bit, but I didn't last long. I had forgotten how crowded the stores could be the day after Christmas. My father and I went to pick up some household items, and we even had to struggle to just find a shopping cart to pick up the few items we needed. It was enough to give me a headache.

    I'm really excited about the New Year, and I hope it brings about more good things for me. 2005 might have started off slow, but I'm hoping the take the momentum I've had in the last few months into 2006. I just want the year to start already.

    250. Happy Holidays!

    Saturday, December 24, 2005

    Where does time go? It feels as if it were Thanksgiving and now here it is, Christmas Eve. I've been a bit quiet this week. I'm taking advantage of a bit of the downtime I do have right now to regenerate myself for the New Year. I already know my schedule is going to be quite hectic. There are some upcoming changes with my position at Media Village that will take shape the first week after the New Year. I can't speak about them now, but I will when I can. I'm quite excited about the changes however.

    I've also been dealing with some connection issues with my high speed. The tech actually came out this morning, and he made some changes that I hope fix the issue. It isn't a huge problem, but it is annoying one. I seem to have a signal interruption certain times of the day, but the connection goes in and out in under a minute or two, so I might have to learn to live with it.

    This is the time of year one spends with family and friends. A majority of my family lives in California, so I can't really spend time with them. I have many friends, but not many live here where I am. Over the years I've spent online I've made many friends. We spend time talking to each other through journals, emails and instant messenger. Sometimes we find ourselves on the phone with the invent of free long distance and cell phones.

    I truly have some amazing people in my life, and the sad thing is I might not ever get the chance to meet them in person and tell them just how much I care. I hope to someday. I'd like to. There are some people I've had in my life for quite some time, years in fact. We met because of one thing or another. The reasons behind our meeting aren't what are important. It is the bond that formed between us once we did meet.

    There are a few special people in my life. We've had our differences. We've been mad at each other. We've even walked away or lost touch from time to time, but when it comes right down to it, these are the people that will always be in my life if I can have it that way. I know things change, and I know people change. As I've always said in the past, change is inevitable. However, I know my life would be a bit empty without certain people in it.  I want to keep those people close. Others may come and go, but the core will always remain.

    It's time like these that remind me of their importance in my life, and I count myself blessed to have such amazing friends. I want to wish all my friends, near and far, here and there a very happy holiday, whichever holiday you celebrate. May the days to come be filled with happiness and joy and nothing but the best life has to offer.

    Two last things before I go. Make sure to check my new feature post at Media Village tomorrow! Click on the link to Thoughts from the Couch to catch the first part of my four part series looking back and looking forward. Part one covers the hits of 2005! It should be up sometime tomorrow morning after 8am.

    Also, I have a new Blog of the Week. Check out Things that make you go … hmm on my sidebar!

    249. Finding that break ...

    Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Earlier tonight I was watching the finale for Martha Stewart's Apprentice on NBC, and it got me thinking. Martha hired on Dawna Stone as her apprentice. Dawna is a publisher of her own sports magazine with her husband. Looked like a nice operation what little they showed of it on tonight's show. I didn't watch the season because the show just didn't interest me. Plus, it ended up going against Lost.

    Dawna seems to have done quite well for herself. She is now working in a high-end job with one of Martha's magazine earning 250,000 a year. Now this is what it got me thinking. Dawna Stone had to start somewhere. Her magazine didn't surely start well. Publishing isn't an easy business at all when you think of it, and if we were all here in it for the million dollar pay checks we make for each book we sold then we have a problem, a big problem.

    Dawna started somewhere, and so do all of us that have chosen this writing path. No, it isn't easy. The pay may be low to start. You'll work more hours than you would if you had a normal everyday job. In fact, many of us will have to write at the same time we work a daytime job. I am fortunate enough (yes I don't know if fortunate is the right word here), but I can't work outside the home due to a medical condition.  If it weren't for this condition, I'd be a part of the work force for sure.

    Some may ask why we do this? Why do writers put themselves through the constant rejections, the nights of staring blankly at the computer waiting for that sudden burst of inspiration, and all the other little pitfalls we fall into in this profession we've chosen. I only know the reason why I do it. It isn't for the money, although the ability to somehow support myself with my writing would be nice. I do this because I know nothing else better.

    I've loved writing since I was a young child. Even before I was writing them down, I was creating stories. My mother saw my talent at a young age, and she bought me a tape player to tape me as I played house and school because she saw me creating intricate scenes and characters at the age of five, and possibly even younger than that. We had all my tapes saved until 1994, and then we lost them when we had to leave so much behind when our building was condemned following an earthquake in California.

    Dawna has it easy now, but she had to work hard to get where she is today. She found one big break and this break will launch her career even further than it is now. All you need is one break, one publisher to see your writing and be willing to take that chance on you. I believe you make your own breaks to though. It won't be handed to you. Hard work is needed in order to make it. You need to write. You need to get your writing out there. No, it isn't easy. We as writers know that, but if you keep at it, it can happen. You just need to work at it and that break will come.

    Hope you're all well. Have a great day everyone.

    248. Checking in

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    My schedule is all out of whack with the holidays it seems. Yesterday, I braved the stores to go shopping with my dad. Instead of exchanging gifts, we go shopping and pick up what we want the week before and that's Christmas. I thought the high-speed access was my Christmas, but I picked up a new computer game to occupy my free time with and some other necessary computer related items.

    I was out for the afternoon, and then when I came home I was busy trying to get the new software I bought to work. I had to install a few updates, and that took some time too. I was getting ready to come update here when I received some sad news by email, which I can't really mention here yet, but it sort of put a big dampening to my mood.

    I'm really enjoying my slow down from all the work I usually do each day. I'm taking some time to relax and enjoy the time, instead of looking for more to do. I do have a few things that need doing in the next couple of days, and I've also set some new goals for myself to get back into gear with my fiction writing as well.

    Right now, I just want to breathe and relax. I know once January 2nd hits, my schedule will once again be insane, so I better enjoy the time I have now. I'll probably end up going full speed ahead from January through May once this month is over.

    Have a great night everyone.

    247. Sunday Feature and Blog of the Week

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    A quick note before I hit the hay. My Sunday feature is up over on Media Village. Click on the link and scroll down to the second center box to read my thoughts on the changes cable companies are trying to make to become more family friendly after recent complaints by the FCC.

    Also check out my sidebar for my new Blog of the Week! This week's blog is from J's girlfriend. Get her take on life by clicking on her blog on my sidebar!

    246. Where are you Christmas?

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    I have been really slacking lately when it comes to this blog. I really can't blame it on the holidays either because I really haven't done much in the way of them yet this year. I haven't even sent out Christmas cards yet, and I know that is very bad with the way mail is this time of year. I'm just not much of a Christmas person.

    We have lights up, but they are only up because we put them up five years ago, and they never were taken done. I was actually shocked they still worked. They stood dead there for a couple of minutes after I first plugged them in, and just as I was ready to pull the plug they began to blink.

    There hasn't been any Christmas shopping here either. Our family isn't much into the gift-giving portion of the holiday either. Dad pretty much told me that the high speed Internet was my Christmas gift this year, and I have already received that. Even if the cable service did go out for over three hours today. No television and no Internet!

    In any case, I'm not a scrooge. I love the holidays. I just don't do much in the way to celebrate them. I try to. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving comes, and I'm all excited with the prospect of Christmas to come, but as the days of December continue on, my Christmas spirit seems to dwindle more and more.

    Now I'm at the point where it really doesn't feel like a holiday. Years ago, the holidays were so much different. That was before my mother passed on ten years ago. She made the holidays something special. We'd be shopping from the day after Christmas through Christmas Eve. The house would have a tree we decorated together as a family early on in the season.

    We'd have a huge dinner on Christmas day with all of our family stuffed into our tiny apartment. She'd make plates for those in our building we managed she knew were alone on the holiday. She'd even make a plate of food and goodies for the homeless man that worked at the Laundromat across the street. She'd send my brother over with it to make sure he had a good meal on the holiday,

    That was just her way. Every year we had a wonderful Christmas until she became ill, and then she did the best she could. She'd sit and watch me as I decorated the tree. She'd cook a smaller feast, and our shopping trips became not as frequent. The holidays just don't seem the same without her. I know it’s the same for my father because he just doesn't really try when it comes to the holiday. The dinner is even an afterthought. With her, everything was planned weeks in advance.

    I'm not sure where all this is coming from. When I opened up my Word program to write this entry, I didn't have any of these thoughts immediately in mind to discuss, but they all just started spilling from my fingertips. A friend of mine wrote this entry in his own journal about Christmas and the holidays, and it just got me thinking. I only wish I had half the spirit about the holidays that he does. Maybe in time I will. Maybe I'll even find some for myself this Christmas season. The day itself is still a week away. Who knows? Anything can happen right?

    Have a great night everyone.

    245. Burnt and blocked

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    Sorry everyone. I've been quiet here the last couple of days. I've been feeling a little burnt and frustrated, so I decided to give my mind a break as much as I could. I've been trying to get back into the flow of things with my fiction, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. I've attempted to write two short pieces the last few days, and I didn't get passed a few hundred words. I'm trying though, so I guess that is a good thing.

    Today I went to go see King Kong. I had been waiting for this movie for a long time, so I was quite happy that it came out today. I went to the earliest show I could manage, and I have a full review of the movie over on my review site, One Couch Critic. It really was an amazing film, and the length just seems to fly by for those that are worried about the three-hour movie time.

    I actually have more time now to work on my fiction, and I'll even more time the last two weeks of the month it looks like. However, now the situation has gone from not having any time to work on my fiction to being blocked. How frustrating! I'm hoping to chip away at the block because I'd really like to get back into the swing of things fiction wise by the beginning of the New Year.

    I hope you're all well. More soon.

    244. The reasons to quit writing

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    Earlier today, or yesterday because it is way past midnight now, Alison posted a link to a post to another authors blog containing a list of 20 reasons a writer should quit writing.  Angelle also discusses this list in a recent entry tonight.

    The list is as follows:

    1. You’ve been doing this for more than five years, and haven’t sold anything.

    2. You’ve got some kind of degree in writing, and haven’t sold anything.

    3. Writing causes you pain.

    4. You’ve been working on one novel for five years.

    5. You’re great at starting stories, but never finish them.

    6. You want to be a writer, but spend all your time going to classes and researching, but never get any writing done.

    7. You could live without ever writing again.

    8. You think that writing will make you rich.

    9. You believe that once you sell a book, it’s a cakewalk from then on.

    10. You truly feel that you have something important to say.

    11. You think being a writer is cool.

    12. You’re doing it to show your family and friends.

    13. You want to win awards.

    14. You believe that editing, rewriting, and revision are for the less talented.

    15. You have a thin skin.

    16. You think that writing will make you famous.

    17. You think that once you’re in print, that will be enough and you’ll never want more.

    18. You think there’s a conspiracy keeping you from getting published.

    19. You don’t live to write.

    20. At the end of your life, if you’re still not published, it will hurt you.
    This list interested me a great deal. By this list, I should quit writing. Well, yes I have sold, and I have been writing towards publication for the last five years. I've been writing much longer than that though, and when I began writing it really wasn't for the money, and that still isn't my primary goal.

    I write because I know nothing else but the love of writing. I've been writing since I was a child, nearly twenty years now, and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. I love putting words to paper or in this case the screen. I think it would actually hurt me more not to write.

    I know my goals for writing have changed in recent years. The monetary has come into play. I'm unable to work outside of the home, so the only way I can try to support myself is by my writing. Writing isn't easy, and I never thought it would be. Writing is actually one of the hardest professions one can undertake.

    A lot on this list can pertain to me though. I have trouble finishing stories, but I can write an article in under an hour. I can have a thin skin, but I'm working on that. I'm learning when someone is trying to help, and when someone is only messing with you with unprofessional behavior. I have been in the business for five years, and I've sold very little. I'm working on that too, and I'm selling more now. Everyone has to start somewhere right?

    The difference from a real writer and one that ends up quitting is that a real writer needs to write. They live and breathe words. It is what they want to do, and what they think they are meant to do for the rest of their lives. Some may never get published, and they don't write to get published. They write just for themselves, and that's okay for them. Just getting the words out of their heads and down onto some surface is enough for them.  

    Others want the world to see their words. They need to share what they have written. It might not be earth shatteringly important, but they do have something to say, and they will say it to whoever is willing to listen. Those are the ones that work towards publication, and they don't write to become a millionaire, but they write because it is what they love to do. That's the bottom line.

    Where do you fall?

    243. Dropping in real quick ...

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    I just uploaded this song for some friends, and I love this song very much, so I decided to share it with all of you.

    *Nsync - Guess its Christmas time

    I'm getting into the Christmas Spirit!

    242. A little self pimpage ...

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    I actually did have a reason to stay up til 6am today. My first headlining post was posted just now over on Media Village. Each Sunday, for now, I will have a different article on something of importance happening in the television or entertainment industries. Today I take a look at DVR and the way this new medium is changing how Nielsen will be rating the television shows you watch. Hop on over to Media Village to check my post out. It's linked on the main page of the site in middle TVFanBlogs section. While you're there take a look around! The site definitely has a lot to offer.

    Now that I've seen it, I can sleep.

    241. A meme

    Jennifer stopped by just now to let me know she tagged me, and since I was still up I decided to go ahead and do this now - the life of an insomniac. This is 15 thinklings about books.

    1. I read my first romance novel at the age of 13. It was giving to me by my best friend. I remember there were balloons on the cover but not much else.

    2. I wrote my first short story at the age of 10.

    3. My favorite author growing up was V.C. Andrews. I saw Flowers in the Attic, and I found the book. I became hooked, and I read all I could grab of hers there after.

    4. My favorite book by Anne Rice is The Witching Hour. I just never could get into the Lestat series at all for some reason, and I love stories about vampires.

    5. I wrote my first gay romance piece close to five years ago, at the urging of a friend.

    6. In my teens, I fell in love with Stephen King's writing. My favorite books of his were and are The Stand and It.

    7. I love to read a story that really gets into a characters head, but not too much because then it starts to really drag and gets hard to read.

    8. If given a choice between watching the movie or the book, where both are available, I'd choose the book first. Then I'd watch the movie.

    9. I used to totally love historical romance novels. I used to read them all the time in high school and college, but I just lost interest in them over the years.

    10. If I love a book, I can read it over and over again. I never get bored of my favorite books. I can read a scene over and over even.

    11. I can never read a book in hard cover. I rarely finish them.

    12. I recently learned the love of audio when it comes to reading. Sometimes having it read to you is just as enjoyable as reading, especially when it comes to e-books. However, if given a choice between an e-book or a print one, I'd take the print one first any day.

    13. I lost over half my book collection back in 1994 when my building was condemned following the Northridge earthquake.

    14. I generally read two books at a time. I have each one in a different room of the house, so if I'm in one and not the other I can read there.

    15. My room is covered in books. I have so many they don't even fit on my bookshelf.

    I never know who to tag on these meme things, so if you haven't done this meme yet, and you want to go ahead. Just let me know, so I can go check out your answers.

    Have a wonderful day everyone.

    240. New Blog Traffic Exchange

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    I just found this new blog traffic the other day while surfing over at BlogExplosion. I decided to give it a try, and I'm quite pleased with the results. BlogTraffic.org has a 30 second timer and a 1:1 surf ratio, which means for every site you view you get a hit back to your site. In order to get your blog in rotation, you'll have to surf 100 sites, and you don't have to do this all in one session either. The site is new, and is still in beta a bit.

    The only problem I had with the site is when I submitted my email to register, I got a blank page. This meant I didn't get my validation email. This problem was quickly resolved by just requesting the activation email to be resent. I've seen a steady stream of visits to my sites. In fact, I need to surf some more this weekend! Your credits don't sit and wait. Your sites will be seen. Check it out if you're interested. Another blog exchange I have used with great success, VirtualLoop.com has just upped its surf ratio to 1:1. BlogTraffic and Virtual Loop are the only two blog exchanges with that ratio right now.

    BlogExplosion is still by far my favorite exchange though. Much is happening with that exchange. Just this week, they have added free stat counters, and starting tonight they are having a holiday contest just for those that actively surf their site. For each blog you view, you'll get a point towards the Christmas contest. At the end of each day, the number of points you have that day will equal the chances you have to win cash and prizes! Blogexplosion members go check it out! Who wouldn't love a little extra holiday money? For those blogazoos out there, here is your new g-a-z-o-o.

    I have new Blog of the Week today! Check out my sidebar for blog of author Jeremy Shipp, Haunted House Dressing. He even has a Secret Santa program for bloggers up and running, but I'm not sure if its too late to jump in. Check it out if you're interested!

    239. Writing Everyday

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Yesterday I expressed my frustration with my fiction writing. It has been totally non-existent since some time in October. In my comments, Kelly said that at least I'm writing. This is very true. I've had many days where I have written absolutely nothing. I've even had months with the same. There was a year or two where I wrote very little. That ended about a year ago. I had suffered a deep depression, and the very thought of even writing a word was out of the question.

    There is a huge difference between this time last year, and an even bigger difference than a couple of years. I'm getting somewhere. I'm moving forward, even if it is slow. I have plans for after the New Year to approach some of the local newspapers to see if I can get some thing going here in this area. I'll talk more about that when I post my goals for 2006 sometime later this month.

    Another difference between this time last year and this year, I have to write every day. There is really no way around it now. My one site needs daily content. I spend a couple of hours each day finding news to cover that appeals to me and possibly will appeal to others. My review site is updated several nights a week depending on when shows air and I have other items to review.

    When you ask writers for advice they always say to write everyday, no matter what you write. Start a habit of it. See that isn't my problem though. I do write everyday. Could I be writing so much that my fiction muses have gone into hiding? I know it’ll get worse because I'll write for other publications or websites at some point. How do I train my fiction muses to work with everything else I do? I'm still working on that because I know I want to write both. I just need to figure out how to do it.

    Have a wonderful night everyone.

    238. Frustration!

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    A bit of a late post today. Wasn't all that busy, but I was just having a bit of a block when it came to this blog. Not sure how to say the thoughts swirling around my head. Although that seems to be the case lately – at least when it comes to my fiction. My fiction writing seems to be at a complete and total standstill, and it seems to be starting to frustrate me just a little. There is nothing.

    Usually throughout the day, I'd have random snippets of dialogue or description pop up out of nowhere, but now it is articles for my other blogs that seem to be popping up in my head at random times during the day. That just isn't going to work, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I know the whole sit down and just write approach, but when I do that I still find nothing. Not sure what the next step is. I'd really like to get back into my fiction writing because things are a bit slower this month, and I know next month is going to possibly be a bit insane. I'll keep trying.

    In other news, my latest book review is up over on Romance Divas. This review is of The Vampire Sextette, a vampire anthology of novellas. I really enjoyed the book, except for a couple of areas. Check out the review in the book reviews section of the website. There are plenty of other reviews to read while you're there!

    I hope you're all well. Have a great night!

    237. Plotting thoughts

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Last night, someone on one of the forums I'm on mentioned my plotting something out this month if my muses don't kick into gear. I'm not much of a plotter. I've never been a plotter. I jump in head first into whatever project I'm working on, traveling down the journey of the story as the characters present it to me. Sometimes I do wonder if I plotted more if I could write faster or more.

    I've never plotted though, so when I try to plan out a whole entire story from beginning to end I just got lost. I get ideas for stories in scenes, and sometimes those scenes don't come in any certain order. I'll jump back and forth for a bit until I find some kind of stride, and I go through to the end. Either that or I'll never find a good stride, and the story ends up getting shelved.

    I have thought about trying plotting more. Making use of some different software programs, techniques,  and good old paper and pen if necessary. What plotting techniques do you plotters out there use? Are there any specific programs or other things you use to help you along the way? Help s true fly by the seat of her pants writer out!

    In other news, I picked up Lindsay Lohan's new CD, A Little More Personal (Raw), recently, and I reviewed it today over on my review site. Check for the direct link to my review on my sidebar under the listening to sub heading. I've also added a Christmas sub-heading with some links to some of my favorite tunes and some Christmas fun stuff. So check those things out!

    Have a great night everyone.

    236. Getting back on track

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Well a bit of a late entry today. Blogger went down for about 4 hours today, and I noticed that fact just as I came to post. The blogger tools were up, but none of the blogs loaded. Very strange. Well, it is back up now, and I'm here. I was going to put this off until tomorrow afternoon, but I am on this getting things back on track kick now.

    The past week, I've been playing around way too much, and I let myself because first I was sick, and then all the cable Internet troubles came up. Then the high speed was finally working, and I allowed myself to have fun with it. I've done all the things I've always said I'd do if I had high speed. I've been on dial-up since I got my own computer in 1997, and I never knew anything different.

    Now that everything is up and running, I can put my focus back where it needs to be. Of course the day I decide to do that, blogger decides to totally crash and knock me off schedule. Sounds about right.

    Well, I have some more news in regards to my blog over on Media Village. A week or two ago, I mentioned how that site had named my blog Thoughts from the Couch one of the sites hot blogs. As a part of that, my blog has been named one of the top eight blogs on that site, and each Sunday my blog will be featured on the site's main page. If you go to the Media Village page, and check out the second center box, you'll find my blog listed with the other site's top blogs. On my page, you'll find a photo of me and a small bio.

    December is going to slow down for me in regards to my review site. I'll still have content, but a lot of my regularly viewed television shows are going off air for a week or two at the end of the month. Things will pick back up in January though, and I'll have to make some decisions about shows I'm covering. I'll add some shows to my coverage. One possible addition is American Idol. I also hope to be covering The L Word for Gaywired. I covered Queer as Folk for that site over the summer. L Word returns to Showtime in January.  

    I'm looking at scheduling for the other new shows coming in midseason. Bones also appears to be moving nights and going up against Lost for about a month or so, and that will make things a bit difficult since I review both shows. Of course, I can always download one of them, and just post my review the next day. I'll figure that out shortly I'm sure. The life of writer who writes about television. Trust me I never saw myself combining my two loves in this manner. I've always watched way too much television, and now I'm writing about it. Funny how things work huh?

    I think I might take it easy this month, keep up my blog on Media Village, and the bare minimum on my review site to keep interest in it, and then hit things hard in January there. I might also try to find my lost muses. I just know I need to get back into the swing of things. Last week felt like a vacation to me, and I'm still a bit sluggish.

    I hope you're all doing well! Have a wonderful night.

    235. More power ...

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    Well, it took a bit of work by a cable tech, and myself but I have high speed Internet. The guy was here bright and early this morning, 8am to be exact! I haven't been up that early in forever. The guy thought he had it up within 30 minutes but for some reason, it didn't work for him. So after another hour worth of work, he had it up – or so we thought. About an hour or so after he left, the connection dropped me. I called the support line, and they didn't even see my modem connected on their end. We set another appointment for them to come out – Tuesday! I wasn't happy. The connection was in and out, and I wasn't happy with waiting.

    So I asked for a few suggestions and I went to work. Nearly three hours later, I figured out the problem, and I had a connection. The connection hasn't dropped me yet, and I'm crossing my fingers. If my solution works, then he did an hour worth of extra work that wasn't even needed. He spent an hour adding another splitter, when that splitter seemed to cause all the connection issues. Once I took it off, the connection worked. I do know my way around a computer. The cable Internet problems just went past my expertise. However, I know my way around wires and connections pretty good.

    I've been playing with my new high-speed connection all day. I've downloaded all kinds of fun stuff, and this is like my brand new toy. I've also noticed it has definitely made things easier work wise, even with the limited amount of work I've done today. The connection is right now, and ten minutes from now like it was.

    This whole cable thing was weighing on my mind because it seems the Internet connection interfered with our cable television service the last day or two. With my writing gig, I need my television, and it had been going in and out since Wednesday night. All the problems are now fixed. Once I get some sleep tonight, I'll be good to go to get back on track with things I've let go a bit this week due to my being under the weather and the cable issues.

    I hope you're all well! Have a wonderful night and rest of the weekend if I don't make it in tomorrow!

    234. Headache headache go away

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Headaches are the worst things known to man. Back on early Thursday morning before I went to bed for the night, I was hit by a migraine. I signed offline and hopped into bed much earlier than normal for me, and I even woke up with the same headache. Headache stuck around until sometime this afternoon, but its finally going away. Almost thirty-three hours with your head going between migraine status to insistent pounding is not conducive to getting much done at all.

    Spending almost three hours on the phone with the cable Internet people didn't help either. If all goes to plan though, I'll have my cable Internet access tomorrow morning between 8 and 10 am. That is the appointment I've made because there is some problem with the signal here being too weak, so they need to come fix the wiring!

    I'm not sure what's involved, but I'm assured a trained technician will fix the problem quickly. Problem here is now they might need to charge me for installation. Something I was hoping to avoid by installing myself. If it does turn out to be an issue with the wiring on their end I won't have to though, and I am thinking it really might be on their end because everything is hooked up probably in here.

    I really have been slacking on my blogging here this week, but I've felt under the weather and stressed, so things have just not been the best here this week. I think things might be on the mend now though, so I should be back to my usual blogging schedule now.

    I'm happy to report my November writing progress report. During the month of November, I actually wrote 55,330 words. This was between all my various writing projects. So when you look at it, I won Nano without even participating. So many words!

    I hope you're all well! Have a great evening.

    233. The Waiting Game

    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    Waiting. We all have to wait for things in life. Some are harder to wait for than other. Right now what am I waiting for you may ask? For my high speed connection to go live. I went out today and purchased the modem and have the service activated in store. Now all we need is for the store to send the activation order to my new internet provider, which is also my cable television provider, so getting me on should be simple. Once the store transfer the order from their database to the cable company's computer.

    They say that will be done within 24 hours, so I am waiting. It might go live tonight, but more than likely tomorrow. I'm impatient. I want it now. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve, and I know I won't get much done until the connection goes up. I've been wanting this for years, but it took forever for the apartment building I live in to be wired for it, and then it took even longer than that to talk my family into making the jump. Today, my dad said to me as we walked out of the store, "why didn't we do this sooner?" I just stared at him for a moment, and then I got in the car.

    I never made it to my blog yesterday. I was feeling a bit under the weather, and I had a lot on my mind. I've tried to figure out how I'm feeling exactly these days into words, but when I try its difficult. I feel things changing again, and I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm letting the thoughts percolate for a bit, and I'm sure I'll come back later on tonight or tomorrow. I'm just so anxious right now waiting for the high speed to go live. Everything is up and connected. All I need to do is have the company to give me the go ahead, install the cable company software, and I should be good to go.

    Before I forget! I have selected a new Blog of the Week! Check out this week's selection on my sidebar. This week we have the blogging headquarters of Hohmann-Becker Production company!

    I hope you're all well. I might be back later.

    232. Cold weather and highway robbery

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Well somehow it has gotten very cold here. You would think living in the desert of Arizona means we're hot year round, but that isn't the case. We had our first winter freeze warning yesterday. Temp dropped down to 32 degrees, which is nothing for some people, but for people that live here in Arizona where he can get up to 120 degrees in the summer months, a drop down to 32 is cold. It didn't even go above 60 degrees today, and my hands are even cold. When my hands get cold, it gets hard to type a bit, but I can't wear gloves, so I just deal with it. Right now my weather bug tells me that it is 58 degrees outside. BRRRRR!

    For the past month, I've been trying to find out from Best Buy how much it would cost me to renew the warranty of my desktop computer. Can't believe it's been three years since I bought it, but it has. I'm not ready for a new one. I figure I have a year or two left on this one, and then I'll look into an upgrade. I'm also pondering buying a laptop as a secondary system once things get more situated pay wise. After a month long run around with my trying to call them, and the people there telling me story after story about why they can't give me a quote for the renewal I was finally given one today. They were supposed to call me back last week with it, but they didn't.

    Well, I'm telling you right now the price is outrageous. It is almost a third more than what I paid for my plan when I bought the computer, and now they won't do in home service. I'll need to take the computer in. Plus, they only offer a two-year or a three-year plan. The three-year plan is almost double what I paid for my original three-year plan. I'll pay it. Just because if this computer dies on me again like it did a year ago, it'll be covered another couple of years, but I'm still not happy with the cost.

    Good news is that sometime in the near future, I'll be jumping onto high speed. I've looked into things, and I think we'll be going to look at modems and services in the next few days. I'm hoping to get the service installed sometime before Christmas, but it might be sooner than that. I really can't wait for that. I've got some writing thoughts bouncing in my head at the moment, but I'll leave those for later. My hands are cold, and I have some television to watch. Fans of Grey's Anatomy check for my review of last night's show up on my review site. I'll have one up in a few hours for tonight's episode of Surface!

    231. Some useful software finds

    Sunday, November 27, 2005

    I'm on the tail end of my second football game of the day, but I while sitting here at the computer, I did a check for new software. It started off as me installing some software I hadn't installed since my most recent total system restore. I install the basics, and then install programs as needed.

    Today, I installed Adobe Acrobat 7.0. I had downloaded the file months ago, but I hadn't upgraded from the Acrobat 5.0 that came installed on my computer. After installing today, I took a look around some of the program's features, which I hadn't done before. I usually just start the program and open the PDF file. Well while looking around things, I found two features that I wasn't aware Adobe Reader had - one of them being the ability to save PDF as text files. I had been using a separate software program to do that task, but it was an imperfect solution. The resulting file had so many errors. I'm hoping the same isn’t the case with Adobe.

    I also noticed a read text aloud feature. Now, I never knew that Adobe could do that. I plugged in a file, and it started to read. This will definitely make things easier, and more time efficient. Instead of sitting here reading page after page, I can have the pages read to me. This will definitely make things faster for me reviewing as well. All you have to have installed is the Microsoft Agent and Text to Speech engines. You can download more voices as well. This site can tell you if you have the software needed installed, and if you don't let you download them.

    Once Adobe was installed, I checked out some other software. I noticed that Word Web, a freeware dictionary and thesaurus program, has been recently upgraded from version 3.03 to 4.0. This file can sit in your system tray just waiting for you to use it. It can be set to use with your MS Word and for those that use the Rough Draft Writing Word Processor, Word Web works directly from that program as well. Check for the link to the free download near the bottom of the Word Web website.

    A few other software programs I use that I think others might want to look at are Essential PIM, Slim Browser and Writer's Block.

    • Essential PIM comes in a freeware version and a pro version. The program has several features that make it the calendar and information organizer for me. It is small, and loads on your computer small. This makes it ideal to leave running in your system tray. I have it load at start-up for me. It has a calendar, to-do list, notes and contact manager. All of it can set to back-up every single time you minimize to a folder of your choosing. I have mine back up to my secondary drive in case of computer problems. If anything happens, my back up is still there, and waiting for me to reinstall the main program. You can import your contacts from Outlook or Outlook Express quickly and easily. I just did this today in fact. I use the Notes section to create files for the guidelines for all my up-coming submission calls, which are in my calendar. So many look for a good way to organize their lives, especially writers. This program makes it easy for me. For even more features, there is the Pro version, but I find all I need with the free version.
    • For those that like the tabbed browsing you find in Fire fox but are unable to use that program for one reason or another, I offer a solution, Slim Browser. This browser is a small download, and it uses the same engine your Internet Explorer uses. It has tabbed browsing, the ability to save your login passwords to sites, and even password protect that login information so no one else can use them, and a bunch of other great features. I've had little to no problems using this browser, and I have tried Fire fox. It didn't work like I wanted it too, so I'll stick with this one.
    • Writer's Block is a new program I've found for writers. I haven't had much time to play with this yet. It has a built in word processor, browser, journal and generators for almost anything you can think of. The word processor is a bit on the basic side, so I will stick with Word or Rough Draft, but I like the generators, and the program is free, which makes it definitely worth a look.
    What programs do you use on your computer? Anything writing related or at least makes the computing experience easier for a writer, like Slim Browser or Essential PIM? There are others I use, but I'll leave those for another time.

    I've made some more recent additions to my sidebar. As some of you might have noticed, I've added some sponsored advertising to my sidebar. I use a number of these sponsors on my review site, so I grabbed a few that thought might be of interest to my readers here, with some sponsors only appearing on this site. One of those sponsors being Fiction Wise, an e-book provider I recently discovered. The site has many books for download, and more are added on a weekly basis. Some are even available for free. I've also updated my blog links to include blogs for those blogging writers over at the Abolute Write Water Cooler. Check them out! This is my Blog of the Week's last night, so if you haven't checked it out, do so. It will then move to the Past BotW list!

    Have a lovely Sunday night everyone. I need to go break up a catfight, so I'm off!

    230. Finding our way ...

    Saturday, November 26, 2005

    Do you ever feel closed in, stifled, unhappy with the world around you? Something is wrong, but you can't really figure out exactly what it is no matter what you do or how long you think about it? You just know you're not happy, and you don't know how to fix it. Well, finally you figure it out, and you really can't fix it because that means doing something that is really impossible to do.  Then you try to figure out a way around it, a way to make things work. You try things, but you really don't find that all important key to happiness.

    I've been in the state for the last few weeks. Things have been so unbearably busy with my writing lately, that some days I feel like I'm always doing something. I'm always busy. If it isn't writing, I'm promoting any way I can. Sometimes I feel I spend more time promoting my writing than actually doing it.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, and it will never really happen. I won't make a go of this and be able to make a full time living from it someday. Doesn't have to be tomorrow, a month from now, a year from now or even five years from now. What I want to be able to see is a steady climb of progress with each day, week, month or year that passes.

    I want to share my words with the world because it is only when I do that I am truly happy. When I can't write fully I'm not happy. The past couple of months my fiction writing has truly not been there, and that has made me unhappy. I love to write, and when I began writing it was in fiction. The nonfiction came later, and that was out of necessity to somehow make a living from the thing I love doing most in the world.

    Since I decided to focus more on this blog rather than my other journal, I've felt like this weight of unhappiness has lifted off my shoulders, and I've felt a bit happier. I truly don't know how long it will last, but I want it to last. I want to write more fiction wise too. I need to get back into that. I've missed it.  I'm just learning you need to take things one day at a time. Things will happen. I'm just impatient!

    I hope you're all well out there in blogland. Don't forget to check my Blog of the Week. I'll be choosing a new one on Monday night!

    229. Progress Report

    A quick report before bed. Wrote a page and a half just now in my one currently untitled work in progress. This one is a bit of a ghost story with some erotic romance thrown in. The total word count for the manuscript is currently at 7,765. I think I wrote close to 400 words tonight. I also reformatted the file and did some spell checking and editing for errors. Now I'm off to bed. I think I'm liking posting to my blog whenever the mood strikes. It's a bit freeing.

    228. A Black Friday memory

    Friday, November 25, 2005

    I never understood why they call today Black Friday. To me it is just the day after Thanksgiving, a day like every other day of the year. When I was younger, I used to brave the crowds with my mother each and every year, but when she passed on back in 1995 I just didn't feel like it anymore. I lost the desire for a lot of things when my mother passed on. The holidays just seem like another day to me.

    Earlier I was sitting here thinking about today, and I was reminded of a day after Thanksgiving trip I took back in the early 90s. My mother and I had ventured out to brave the mall like so many others, but even with the holiday the mall was even busier than usual. I asked a couple of people why the mall was so crowded, and I soon learned that the then newly elected President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was making a special trip to the mall that day. I told my mother, and she grew very excited.

    Even though we lived in Los Angeles, and she had lived there her whole life, she became excited whenever she saw anyone that remotely be considered a celebrity. This just wasn't any celebrity though. This was our new President. She wanted to meet him if she could. I told her it would nearly impossible, and by this time she was already very ill, so the hours she would need to stand in line would be impossible. We had planned a quick trip with lots of rest that day.

    Well, she was adamant. She wanted to meet Clinton. We found a place to stand in line to wait, but an hour she just couldn't do it anymore. I pulled her out, and we looked for a store to sit and rest for a bit. We found one that happened to be on the route Clinton was taking through the mall, and the owner allowed us to come in and sit. I explained our situation to the man, and he was kind enough to let us both stay in the store until Clinton walked past. We then stood in the doorway, and he shook both our hands.

    My mother was so happy. In over her fifty years of life by the point, she had never been so close to someone so important. She died a couple of years later, and I know that was one of the most special moments in her life. It didn't matter to me that it happened to the both of us, even though meeting a President is a very important thing. It was the look on her face, and how happy it made her that made the moment important. That Friday was anything but Black.

    227. Some changes are coming ...

    Well the food has been had, the family has been spent time with, and the Thanksgiving 2005 holiday is now in the books! Now we're looking at Christmas and then the New Year, and then my thirtieth birthday will be here, and wow … where does the time go everyone? This year has just been moving very fast, and I'm shocked to see the holidays already here.

    Some of you that regularly stop by here probably noticed the new look for my blog. With the passing of Thanksgiving, it was time to make the blog here ready for Christmas. I like the new look, a little brighter than my Thanksgiving layout. I also made a few more small changes to my sidebar. Whenever I get bored or lazy, I seem to tune up the sidebar here or on my review blog.

    I just finished eating dinner. Leftover turkey turned into turkey chili. Yummy. We still have so much leftover from yesterday. The brother was in charge of our turkey this year again. Dad had bought a seventeen-pound bird for us. We originally had two more people coming, but they decided not to the day before Thanksgiving. More for the three of us! I was in charge of the stuffing, and I've mastered that art.

    Did I happen to mention that the extent of my brother's and mine cooking expertise is boiling water for spaghetti? Dad made the mashed potatoes, and we sat down to a lovely dinner around four in the afternoon. Topped it off with some pumpkin pie, and the day was perfect. Even if I did wake up at 9am, and who knows when the last time I did that was?

    It's been quiet this week, so its been giving me a lot of time to think about things, this blog being one of them. As I've mentioned in the past, I've had a journal on one or another of the journaling sites since 2001. My current journal is over on greatest journal, and it really hasn't been getting much attention as I used to.

    When I started this blog, I wrote in that journal every single day, and some times many times a day. Just as thoughts came to my mind or I heard of things that interested me that others might also find some interest in as well. As time passed, I started writing in my journal less and less, and my attention focused here on this blog. I never thought this blog would still be here nearly nine months later, but here it is, and this blog is now my online home for my thoughts. My home and center is no longer with the journals I've had on that one site.

    This blog is a bit different than my journal. This blog is public, and my journal was hardly ever public. I tried to make it public, but that experiment didn't work very well. Some of the people on greatest journal aren't all that nice, and they seem to have this ugly habit of mocking others for their own entertainment value.

    We see this on blogs too, but for some reason it is more prevalent on the free journaling sites that offer all these little features such as icons and friends lists. It becomes a competition of who has the most people on their friends list, who has the best icons in their journal, or even worse who icons who. "Oh no you can't icon her because I icon her, and she's mine!" Yes, people actually do that, and I've even fallen into the trap and done it myself. I smacked myself and stopped.

    I sometimes find myself wanting to come to my blog and post when I find something interesting or I have some odd thought that comes to my head. Sometimes even late at night after I find some sudden burst of inspiration and find a muse to write in one of my works in progress. I stop myself though because for some reason I've trained myself to write in here just once a day. I gather all my thoughts or try to in any case, and write them in here all at once. Sometimes I forget things I wanted to say, and then I'll remember it later on.

    So I think I might be making a bit of a change. Not sure how it will work. I'll still have daily entries, except for Sundays, like I've been doing. However, now I might pop in more than once a day. If I have something to say, I'm not going to stop myself and wait for the next day. If I find a link in the blogosphere, a story in the news that grabs my interest, a woohoo I wrote something that isn't television related or just any other random thoughts I'll just come in as I please. It might even be on a Sunday, but those days will not have big flowing entries - like this one. I ramble so much at times! My friends tell me they love my rambles, but sometimes I wonder if they just say that so I'll stop rambling!

    Well, right now I'm stopping them. I need to go write up the new movie releases for my Media Village blog. I might pop up here again in a bit. I have some more thoughts percolating in my brain.

    226. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    I hope all of you that celebrate this day are having good times with food, friends and family. I just wanted to post wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving once again. I should have a new layout up on this blog within the next 24 hours, so keep an eye out for that. And for you blogazoos out there, here is a new gazoo!

    225. The day before Thanksgiving!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Oh wow! I am being so unbelievably lazy today. Maybe it’s the before the holiday week sluggishness. I know tomorrow and Friday are going to be slow days. I won't have much I have to do writing wise. Tomorrow I'm cooking dinner with my brother, but other than that my weekend is going to be very long and very unproductive. I think I might pick up some of the slack on my fiction work. I haven't written anything since the two and a half pages I wrote last week. Been a bit on the busy side, but I'm getting things done, and that is the important thing.

    Today I had a pleasant surprise in my mail. The latest from Maria Isabel Pita. I had reviewed one of her books back in May for Romance Divas, and they sent me her next one, and then this one just out of the blue. I can't wait to read this one. It's a collection of erotic romance novellas called Cat's Collar. The book comes in just over 600 pages, and I know it's going to be good. Pita has fast become one of my favorite authors. The book in the mail was truly a wonderful surprise!

    Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I'm not much one to be big on holidays anymore. Not like when I was younger, but I am thankful for many things. I'm thankful for the amazing people I have in my life, both my family and friends. I am thankful for my health, and the health of those around me. I am thankful for the two little brats I call cats that bring me constant joy. I am thankful to have a gift for the written word that allows me to connect with so many others by sharing it. I am thankful for all of you that stop by my blog and leave me comments when you feel the desire too. I am thankful for each morning and each sunset that mean the coming or ending a day in which I was alive and I was able to spend time with all those that I love.

    Happy Thanksgiving to each and every single one of you. May you have a day spent with family and friends. I don't believe I will blog tomorrow, so I will see you all back here Friday.

    Fans of Bones and Supernatural can check for my latest reviews from tonight's episode on my review site. I'll have a review of tonight's episode of Lost up later tonight. Check back for that.

    Have a wonderful night everyone.

    224. And we're tracing ...

    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Do you ever wonder why certain people enter your life? Is it fate or destiny? Or is it just the way things happen. If you go left instead of right one day, are you taking the chance of not meeting someone that might have some huge influence in your life? The term destined or soul mate is something we see, especially when it comes to romance novels, but does it really exist? Are people meant to be in your life? Not only lovers but friends too. Is there such a thing as forever, or are things meant to be forever and always changing? Are things supposed to be fluid? If things stay always the same will things get stale like food does in the refrigerator after a few days?

    Not sure where all this is coming from. I sat here and stared at the blank space in my Microsoft Word, and I didn't know what to say. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and usually thoughts such as these would go on my personal journal where I can lock it away from a majority of the world and just allow a few to see, but lately I really haven't felt much like writing in that journal because it really hasn't been feeling all that personal.

    I have a small group of people I've met here online that I talk to semi-regularly. Lately though I've been feeling quite disconnected from them. I can count on probably less than the fingers on one hand that I feel some kind of connection to at the moment, and it isn't really anybody's fault we all don't talk as much as we used to. Things get crazy busy and people lose touch. It happens here in the world, both online and offline.

    I have some people in my life that I've had in my life for years, and I'd love it if they were always in my life, but sometimes things change, people change, and they end up drifting apart. Is it natural for this to happen in life? People may come and go, but there should be a reason for it shouldn't there? Are people meant to be in your life at a certain point and time to teach you some lesson of life? Once you learn it, are they then supposed to leave it?

    This entire train of thought sort of goes along with my post from yesterday about the solitary life of a writer. Over the years, I've had people come and go in my life. I've lost friends both the easy way and the hard way, and sometimes it makes you wonder if it would just be easier to be alone. As a writer, I usually am fairly content living with my own words and creations. Loneliness does strike from time to time, but those moments do end up passing. I'm usually content to entertain myself using my own devices.

    If things are always the same will it get old and stale? Do we need things to be constantly changing to liven it up some? Or if things are always the same will they be comfortable? Comfortable like an old pair of jeans you've had forever and fit you like a second skin.  I think I might be rambling now, but I've just had a lot on my mind lately.

    Last night, I updated my traffic exchange review. I added some new information for Blog Explosion, added one new service, and I also removed two because I've decided to discontinue using them at this time. The two sites I've stopped using are the surf for cash sites I had listed E-Profit Surf and Auto-surf.biz. Some recent changes I've heard about, and some problems I've had with my sites being listed have prompted me to stop using the sites. The site I added is called Surf Wizard, and bloggers especially might want to take note of this website exchange. You can check for my traffic exchange review here.

    I'm always trying out different site exchanges to get traffic to my sites. There are a few others I use quite frequently on my sidebar that I plan to add to my review at some point. Just today I joined one called Easy Free Traffic because they are currently giving new members 60,000 free credits. One credit equals one hit to your site. They do ask you to surf at least 5-10 sites a day, but that would take mere minutes. I just signed up this afternoon, but my sites were enabled for use in the system almost immediately. Shouldn't hurt anything to try it with the free credits.

    For fans of Surface, I have a full review of last night's episode up on my review site. Have a great night everyone.

    223. A solitary life

    Monday, November 21, 2005

    Writers seem to be a breed of people all by themselves. Writers live more in their heads creating the worlds of people that don't really exist outside their own minds. Some find it harder to deal with the rest of the world because even when they aren't writing, they are still thinking and more often than not their thoughts are centering on the next page, chapter, or story.

    A writer's mind never seems to quit. It is always working, and that sometimes makes it difficult for the writer. I've heard writing is a very solitary profession, and I never really understood how so until the last few months. Writing isn't easy. The only way the writing will get done is if you plant yourself in your chair in front of your computer or with pen and paper in hand and write. Write all the time. There are so many writers out in the world. So many that won't ever sell a book or have their own byline.

    For some that doesn't bother them because they aren't writing for any of that. Others want that, and it will never happen for them. For every published author, there is probably ten times that number that is unpublished. Probably even more than that. I've never really looked.

    Sometimes planting your butt to write means you can't do other things. Sometimes you'll have deadlines or schedules you must adhere to. That may mean you can't go out to do that one thing you want to do that day, but instead wait until another day. Sometimes that means you can't sit at your computer hopping blogs and forums or talking to your friends via email or instant messaging programs.

    Back in August, I made a conscious decision to pull back from some of the extra stuff I was doing throughout my days. I knew if I was going to do something with my writing, whether it be nonfiction or fiction, I needed to focus and get it done. I needed to apply myself, and I might even have to give a little in hopes of getting a lot. I started my review site, and then I picked up the position over at Media Village. My position at Media Village will pay me, but my review site is all me. All on my own time and doing. The only pay I get for that is comments and some random clicks to my site sponsored advertising, which doesn't add up to much.

    I lost some friends. I became a bit unpopular among people I used to be close to, but I knew that I had to do it. I didn't like doing it. It was a tough choice. Focus on my career and me or spend hours a day talking to all these people that I adored but were taking up way too much time that could be used writing. My days are so quiet now. It is a bit lonely and solitary. I can count on one hand the number of people I talk to on a weekly basis, and I can count on less than that the number of people I talk to on a daily basis online.

    My hours are spent writing and promoting my sites – all three of my sites, which include this blog. Many writers only have their website and blog to promote. I have three blogs that all need promotion. My work is paying off though.

    I just found out today that my blog Thoughts from the Couch is now considered a HOT blog by Media Village, which means it is one of the best blogs on the site. I began my blog with the site the last week of September, and I thought it might take some time and work to obtain that status, and I've now reached it. Now I just need to keep it there. A writer also never stops working, improving or writing. The work of a writer is never done.

    I've chosen a new Blog of the Week! This week we have Sir Dirge Thinking, a news blog with one man covering the news of importance in computers. I know a lot of writers like to keep up on computing news since we're on our computers so much. He covered the Sony scandal, and he also has some other stories recently posted that may be of interest. Check the site out!

    Fans of Grey's Anatomy can check out my review of last night's Thanksgiving themed episode over on my review site. Tonight is Surface, and I'll have a review of that show up on my site after the show airs.

    Have a great night everyone.

    222. A now rare Sunday post

    Sunday, November 20, 2005

    I never made it to my blog yesterday. My allergies decided to pick yesterday to act up, and I was also working on the layout for my review site. I tried a few different designs before deciding on one, and then I customized just for my site. When it was all said and done, it had taken several hours because for some reason it wasn't work right at first. Then once it was up, I needed to work on the sidebar a bit to lessen the load time for the site some. I didn't get to do much of anything else last night. No writing to speak of.

    I have caught up on some of the things that needed doing over this weekend. Turned in both my assigned November interviews back on Friday, and I also just tuned in my latest book review for Romance Divas, so that should be posted sometime soon. Last night, once the site revamp for my review site was complete, I posted a review of The Skeleton Key.

    Today is sports day. The morning was taken over by football, and the afternoon was as well. I just switched over to Nascar from the Colts/Bengals game, which has been amazing game. My best friend is a Tony Stewart fan, so I decided to check in with Nascar because if he does well, he will win the year. I'm not sure about Nascar all that much, so it is one of those things I watch in total and utter confusion. I know it is important to her, so if I throw in a little extra support behind her man then that is all that matters. And ... he was just announced winner as I sit here typing this.

    Do you watch sports? If you do, which ones? Nascar just ended its year. Football is deep into its season, but basketball and hockey are just getting started. Baseball will return in the spring. Do you have a favorite player? For me, I'm definitely the most in love with football. I play fantasy football each week with my brother, and I don't really know if I can pick one team.

    My local team here, the Arizona Cardinals, has disappointed me. I hear the Saints might make the move to Los Angeles next season, so I might root for them. Being born and raised in L.A., I often support those teams. As for football players, I enjoy Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, and I will always have a special place in my heart for Jake Plummer. As a Sun Devil alumni, he'll always be one of my favorite quarterbacks.

    I'll be choosing a new Blog of the Week in the next day or two, so check back for that, and if you're a member over at Blog Explosion look for my blog and place a bid. If you don't make it for this week, keep an eye for it for another one.

    Have a great night everyone.

    221. Grabbing muses ...

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    I really need to start doing this waking up before noon thing. I just get so much more done! Yes, another early day for me today. Went to bed last night at 5am after writing two and a half pages. Yes, I was able to snag one of my muses to write. I had an idea for a scene to add to one of my stories yesterday afternoon, and I was able to get some down by hand. I'll type it in sometime this weekend.

    I grabbed the first muse I could, and I blinked at him, then I stared for a moment, and then I was like … what's your name again? Yes, I forgot the name of my main character in one of my WIP's . It'd been so long since I looked at my manuscript. I was lost for a moment, so I had to go dig out my manuscript file on my computer to find the name.

    All was well though, and I did write two and a half pages. I'm going to try for more later on tonight. I still write best late at night when it comes to my fictional pursuits. I am hoping these muses start being a little more forthcoming. I have at least two of my WIP's that are still active in my mind, another idea I'm pondering on starting, and two WIP's I have on files that I'm not sure where they are going, but they are far enough along that I would feel bad abandoning them.

    Last week, I talked about Sony's new CD protection system and how it was causing problems for some users. Well, apparently Sony has backed off from the new protection system, and is offering to exchange CD's for new unprotected copies. Seems to me it would be nice if Sony gave you the CD for free, especially since they opened up your computer to hackers and might even have caused damage to some computers with CD drives possibly being disabled by the software. Seems only fair to me. Sony did receive a lot of pressure to do even this bare minimum of recalling the CD's for exchange. A lot of that pressure is said to have come from bloggers. EDIT: Here is a full list of CD's with copy protection. Check here to see if you own any of the CD albums in question so you can exchange them.

    Fans of The O.C. and ER can check out my reviews of both shows last night on my review site. Have a great night everyone!

    220. Just five more minutes ...

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    I'm sure we've all done it at one time or another. The alarm goes off and we slam it off with the words just five minutes. Then those five more minutes turn into ninety more minutes somehow, and then you're up and running late. Well, that is what happened today. I've decided to try getting up at noon every day because it seems things just move easier with less stress. Since I go to bed nearing 6am, which gives me six hours of sleep. That should work for me.

    So today I set the alarm to go off at noon, and when it went off I woke up, but I didn't stay up. I looked at the clock next, and it was 1:35, and I jumped out of bed. I need to do better at not saying five more minutes. The afternoons and the evening hours while my shows are on seem to be the busiest for me. Not the times they are on, but directly following I am off writing my reviews of that night's episode. I've got that down to a science now, especially since the shows I review are spread out over different nights of the week. I might add one or two of the new mid-season shows to my line-up, but I'm waiting to see about that. I need to see where they fall time wise.

    I keep playing with my sidebar on this blog. I've added a few things. Links to songs I'm listening to, what I'm watching, and the like. The song downloads work through iTunes. I changed the movie to The Skeleton Key, which I watched last night. Great movie. I should have my review of the movie and DVD up on my site at some point this weekend, with it appearing on Blogcritics as well some time after that.

    Speaking of reviews, my review of last night's episode of Lost is up on my review site now, and I'll have reviews of tonight's The O.C. and ER up later tonight if all goes to plan. This day has just gotten away from me. I have a bit to catch up on over the weekend as well. I need to write up my two interviews for ERRW and continue reading my assigned book for that site as well. Also need to write-up my book review for Romance Divas as well.

    So much to do. Just got to breathe and get it all done. Have a wonderful night everyone!

    219. The sexiest man alive ...

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    I've been up for hours already. I actually woke up pre-noon today. Yes, when one goes to bed at 6am every morning, noon is normal. I am not even able to function without at least six hours a sleep a day. I was going to say night, but I don't sleep at night, so that wouldn't make sense now would it?

    I don't even remember when it was that my sleeping pattern got so out of whack, but it happened, and some mornings I'm heading to bed just as the sounds of birds chirping and the sun is beginning to rise.  Some people might think that's crazy because I don't have a particular reason for staying up to all hours of the early morning. I just find the quiet nice, and when I'm actually working on my fiction … imagine me glaring at my muses here … those night time hours are the times I have the most productivity fiction wise.

    Today my brother decided to wake me up before noon though because I had a package waiting for me. I love getting stuff in the mail that isn't just your normal everyday junk stuff. This was a DVD though. Good stuff. I had requested The Skeleton Key through Blogcritics about a month and a half ago to review, and when the movie came out yesterday I had begun to wonder if I would receive the DVD. Well, it came by Fed Ex this morning, and I plan to try to watch it after I review tonight's extended episode of Lost. Last night I reviewed Supernatural and Bones, so fans of those shows check out for my reviews over on my site One Couch Critic.

    Today it was officially announced whom People picked for this year's Sexiest Man Alive. It is actor Matthew McConaughey. I just posted about this over at Thoughts from the Couch with a nice yummy picture of the man himself. He happens to be one of my favorite actors, and I've watched a lot of his movies. He seems to do well whether the movie is either comedic or action packed - a very versatile actor. I asked this question over on my other post, but I might as well ask it here as well. What do you think of this choice by People? There are so many hot men out there these days. A list of them comes to my mind – Josh Holloway from Lost. Brad Pitt is always a winner. Sigh there is so many men! I am sure picking one for this special twentieth anniversary edition of the sexiest man alive was difficult for the people at People.

    Where does the time go? I feel like I just woke up. I'm off. Have a wonderful night everyone!

    218. All I wanna do ...

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Last night I took a small trip down musical lane. I love music. I have songs for everything. I love all types of music too. If I like a song, it doesn't really matter from what genre it is, I just like it. Well last night, I put on one of my old mix CD's, and I found Black Hole Sun. This song takes me back to college, and more specially freshman year. I remember my boyfriend at the time was obsessed with this song, among many others. Hearing certain songs can automatically take me back to that time period and remind me of him.

    I listened to that a few times, and then I went digging through my CD's looking for other music from that same time period, and I finally pulled out my Sheryl Crow CD, and I just turned it off. I've been listening to All I wanna do on repeat since last night. Now I've moved on to my Bryan Adams CD because a friend mentioned him last night as well. This song is just in my opinion amazing, Star. All I wanna do is just so fun, and it has a great message too. It made me start to think some.

    The song is all about having fun and living life to your fullest. We're all really busy with our lives, and what we do on a daily basis. We may have full time jobs on top of our writing endeavors. Some have children on top of that, and then you know those little things called significant others. At times it can be all too much. My own life has been quite hectic the past couple of months too. Someone, I believe Barb, over on the Absolute Write message board said swamped seems to work for me. Well, I wish it would work just a bit better because I'm not getting certain things done. I know I'm behind on my book reviewing responsibilties and I haven't woke up my fiction muse yet.

    Life is busy. Everyone's life is busy, but that doesn't mean you can't find some way to make things fun. Even if it just five minutes where you stand in the middle of your singing along to your favorite song. For those five minutes you aren't sitting at your computer staring at the screen. You're doing something different, something you enjoy doing. Not saying that we all don't enjoy writing, but you know variety is the spice of life. What do you do for fun when all you have is a short amount of time to spare? Whatever it is, do that next time you feel yourself getting stressed and frustrated. It will make the stress ease up just a little bit. What difference is five minutes going to make?

    Two quick television notes. As I suspected Night Stalker was canceled. CSI was just too much to go up against. The show's creator posted about its demise on his blog Sunday, and official word came down from ABC last night. Check my review site for a recap of last night's Surface! Have a great night everyone!

    217. Busy Monday and Blog of the week!

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Happy Monday everyone! Another week has begun. How are those out there during Nano? The month is almost half done. How are you doing? Let me know! Monday is by far one of my busiest days, and I actually slept in today a bit later than normal, so I was behind schedule. Came down with something right in the middle of Grey's Anatomy, and I didn't feel all that great during the rest of the night.

    Dad came in from work this afternoon, saying he has a cold, and now it looks like I might be joining him. I'm trying to figure out if I have actually have one or if I only think I have one because he does. You know how that works right? One person gets sick, and the rest of the house follows or at least thinks they are sick too. I'll probably know by tomorrow. It has been colder here. It hit 55 here last night, and I had to bundle myself all up to keep warm.

    I had a nice quiet Sunday. I really love the weekends because everything is just so much calmer and slower paced on the weekends. There is no need to rush. My weekend ends though with the airing on Sunday night's episode of Grey's Anatomy. Last night's episode was really great, and I loved it. I was frustrated with the ending, but I think I'm just way too involved with that show. I have a full recap and review over on my review site, so check that out! Tonight is Surface, and the previews for this episode really looked great. I'm excited to see this episode, and I'll have a review of it up sometime tonight.

    I have chosen a Blog of the Week for this week! This week we have a personal blog of one man living in Singapore. He uses his blog to discuss many topics. His blog caught my eye when surfing last night when he spoke of the death of WWE star Eddie Guerrero, which I also covered today over on Thoughts from the Couch. Check it out on my sidebar!

    I need to go do some bloghopping, so I'm off. Have a great night everyone!

    216. Blogging thoughts

    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    This morning I woke up to check my email to find an email from someone that had stumbled across my blog at some point today. They were appalled by my writing and mentioned some spelling errors in my last post made yesterday. I went to check, and yes there was a typo or two. Actually the same typo made twice, which I quickly fixed. Somehow spell check didn't catch the error. My latest habit seems to be my typing a ' whenever I see an s at the end of a word. I'm not even sure when I started doing it, but it is a new typo for me, and I usually catch them with spell check or reading over.

    Well, I didn't catch it yesterday, and someone else did. With our blogs, we try to put our best foot forward at all times, but with daily entries sometimes we mess up. We're not perfect. Just the other day in Kelly's blog, she talked about blogging and how difficult it can be to keep a blog fresh and exciting. I've been blogging here since March, but I've had an online journal since July 2001. My early entries in my journal make me roll my eyes and laugh. Back then the purpose of my journal was the same as it is now. To meet other people that share a similar interest. Back then, that interest happened to be popular music and in one group in particular. Today the interest is much different and professional.

    We want our blogs to become a reflection of who we are, and editors and others may come across our blog. They might not expect perfection in our blogs, but blogs riddled with errors will definitely give them the wrong impression. What I'm learning is that spell check doesn't always catch every little typo. It should, but it doesn't. There are some things only an eye can catch, but even then the eye might not catch them until hours later. Sometimes you don't even realize it.

    I love my blog, and I love writing in it every day. It's my way of sharing my life with others. I know I might not always write about what people want to read about, but what I write about in here are the topics I happen to think about at any given time the day I write my entry. That does happen to be a lot about television, but television seems to have made its way into every part of my life.

    In yesterday's comments Kelly asked about Night Stalker. This isn't one of the shows I cover on my review site; so let me give you the 411 here. Night Stalker is on ABC Thursdays at 9/8c. It stars Stuart Townsend and Gabrielle Union. Two name actors. It is a remake of a 70s classic of the same name. This show follows one reporter as he reports the news for a small paper in LA. He always seems to find the stories that have some tie to the supernatural. The show has a bit of an X-files feel to it, and it is definitely a scare fest on a weekly basis. Bad news here is the show isn't doing all that well in the ratings. Only 3.9 million viewers tuned in this past Thursday, and the network has yet to pick it up for a full season. I enjoy this show a lot. Good actors and acting. Scary plots too. I just don't know how long the show will last with the terribly low ratings it is getting. We will have to wait and see shall we?

    I've made some minor changes to my blog sidebar again, repairing things and moving them around a bit. For those Blogazoos out there, here is a gazoo. If you stop by this blog tonight, don't forget to check my blog of the week. The space there will be open tomorrow for a new blog, but I have decided to start keeping up the links to past blogs of the week for a month past their week.

    Have a wonderful night and Sunday everyone. I'll see you back here on Monday, unless I'm drawn back here for some reason before then.

    215. And the weekend arrives ...

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    I don't know what it is about the weekends but things just seem to slow down a lot, and I just don't feel as much pressure to get things done as I do during the rest of the week. I know I have things that need to get done, but things just seem to move at a slower pace once the weekend arrives. Entertainment news and television programming also seems to slow a bit on the weekends so I have time to focus on other areas of my writing life. I have some authors to research this weekend for my November interview commitments over at ERRW, and I need to continue to read the book I'm reviewing as well. I need to write up the review for my Romance Divas sometime in the next few days as well because I want to get that out. That book is nearly read, but the last novella in the collection is really dragging and confusing me. So that one is taking me a bit to focus on.

    I also just applied for a DVD reviewer position at an online magazine, so I'll wait to hear back on that. Something I've noticed that not many publications looking for nonfiction work get back to you if you don't get the job, and sometimes even if you are one of the ones they are considering you don't hear back from them for weeks. You almost forget you even applied, and then you receive an email, and you're left trying to remember what position it was. The ones you never hear back from though bug me a little bit. How hard is it to write an email to let someone know they weren't right for the position. Even a mass emailing is better than nothing in my opinion. Depending on the writing job postings for that week I usually send out one or two a week. If I find time to peek at them. Things have been crazy lately, so I haven't been able to do a lot of things lately. Things really need to calm down. I'm getting better organized though. Developing a system of doing things so that everything ends up getting done that needs to be done each day. What can wait til the next day I push back if necessary.

    Last night, I reviewed The O.C. and ER, so if you are fan of those shows check those reviews over on my review site. A busy Friday for the networks because three shows got the ax today. Next season we won't see Arrested Development or 7th Heaven return. Freshman show Kitchen Development. I have a story on the FOX comedies up now. Check later on tonight for my news piece on 7th Heaven.

    Have a wonderful night everyone. I'm off.

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