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.

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