Friday, October 29, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

 As baseball season has ended and fall is thick in the air.  My schedule has slowly slowed down.  Sure the kids still have activities to keep up with, but no way near as many.  These days consist of CCD (and since I'm teaching I need time to prepare for the day's lesson), and piano.  Throw in there my allergy shot and these days we are busy two to three times per week instead of four or five.  So why am I still behind on my writing? 

I have to admit I haven't been as diligent with this novel as my first.  Maybe it's because I have a clearer idea of where I want to go so I'm taking my time, maybe it's because I find other things that need to get done, like now I should be spending time writing instead of working on an article for my blog, but this needs to get done too. There always seems something that needs tending to. The point is,  I'm going slower.  I wanted to be done by Christmas, well that is not going to happen. 

While I'm trying to stay afloat and stay on target with my writing many people are gearing up for What I call the greatest feat in writing.  NaNoWriMo.  That's National Novel Writing Month.    This is the ultimate challege for writers, especially for either newbees like me, or people who have a lot on their plate as it is (also me and the rest of the world). Yeah, life might have gotten slower, but not much.

I would love to join this group of people and type away all day on my novel for a strait month, but reality says, who is going to do the laundry, go to work, help the kids with their homework, feed the dog, cook dinner,etc...  I can go on and on.  The biggest for me is work and family.  I squeeze writing in when I can as it is.  To accomplish a whole book in a month when I average six months on one is just asking to much right now.  Don't get me wrong.  I'd love to do it.  In fact I do plan on doing it, just not this year.

I want to shout out to all of you out there who are up to the challenge this year!  Way to To!  Good for you! and Best of Luck! 

I hope to be right there with you next year!  Maybe I'll even have an agent by then! Hey, it could happen!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nostalgic

Fall always seem to be a good time to get some heavy cleaning done. Getting rid of all the dust and cobwebs before the air conditioners and storm door and windows go up always is a good idea. It's best to get it done early because before you know it the holidays will be here and you'll have no time to do it.

After all the house will be closed up from the cold air all winter long. These past few weeks my husband and I have been doing exactly that.  It's never a fun thing to do, but once it is done it feels so nice to sit back and look at what you have accomplished.

For me it's the time of year when I take down all the curtains and wash them.  I hate this job.  It wouldn't be so bad if every room in my house only had one or two windows like many houses today, but my house is a beautiful colonial built in 1946.  I have five windows in just about every room.  When we moved in I bought curtains for one room per year.  Curtains can be expensive and I have expensive taste.

Curtains and windows weren't the only things that got cleaned.  My husband tackled the garage while I tackled the craft draws and the curtains, then  I helped him with the basement.  Now we have two boys and like any kid, kids accumulate toys.  Some things you are convinced you will keep for the grand kids while other toys get thrown away.  The you have the crib, and the changing table, and the rest of the big toys like easels and kitchen sets,etc...  Before you know it your house is over taken by toys and things that you no longer need.

We made piles, and made a trip to the dump or the in-laws who thankfully agreed to take the unneeded stuff for my husbands brother and wife.  They now have a baby boy and can use some the the stuff for him. I have to say it felt good to get rid of so much stuff that the boys will no longer use, and we as parents no longer need. 

By the time we were done, my craft draw now hold table cloths again and my garage and my basement almost looks pre-kids.  Looking around at the basement and the garage part of me felt a relief, a sign of the times that the kids are growing up, and moving on to different actives. Although there is a small part of me that yearns to see the toys back where they were, taking up space in my garage and basement showing signs that they were there.  After all the chaos  means kids and activities.

I'm glad the they are gone though,  I  have no plans to fill the space with something else.  No, I like it clean the way it is. No, just knowing they were there at one point is enough for me.  My family has moved on to a new stage, and that is going to be exciting enough. 

I'm looking forward to what comes next for my kids and my family.  Sure I'm nostalgic for how it was when the kids were young, but I'm ready to move on to new adventures in parenting, and I think my family is too.

Doesn't that turkey look good?  Sorry if you thought this post was about cooking, it was the best fall picture I could find without people in it. Go figure?  What about you?  Do you get a sense of relief when you throw away unneeded things?  Do you long the for way life used be be?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rascal Has a New Trick

I'm sure many of you have read that my family has a new puppy.  He is a tri-color King Charles Cavalier. His name is Rascal, and so far he has lived up to it.  Rascal is and I take this quote from  Melinda Long's children's book How I Became A Pirate, "He's a digger he is."  I love that book!  Anyway  Rascal loves to dig when ever I take him to the ball field to watch the boys practice.  He'll digs like crazy, then pick up his face covered with dirt, sneeze out the dirt and continue to dig.  He can sniff, sneeze and digs for hours, or at least until  he gets tired.  Then he decides to curl up on my lap and take a nap.  It's our usual routine.

Well as the weeks have gone by I have told you that Rascal has gotten bigger.  My baby puppy is now a toddler, and oh what a toddler he is.  The other day Rascal gave my whole family a scare.  We were eating dinner and all of a sudden we heard Rascal cry.  Yes, there is a difference between a dogs' bark, and a dog's  cry.  This was definitely a cry.  We all jumped and ran to see what happened.  Turns out Rascal had climbed onto a folding table that my husband was using to work on and fell off of it.  He hurt his paw when he landed. He's fine now, but oh what a scare.  That's Rascal for you,  he's a digger he is, and turns out a climber too.

Well now Rascal has a new trick.  Yesterday I had the boys put Rascal in his crate before we left for school and work.  Now, Rascal goes into the crate for his SAFETY.  I don't think I need to explain that one.  I came home at lunch for Rascal's lunch time walk, only to be greeted by Rascal at the door.  Of course I asked him what he was doing out of his crate, but he was too busy wagging his tail and licking me to answer. So I put on his leash and gave him his much needed walk.   When I came in I did a quick inventory of the house, after not finding anything that needed to be picked up and cleaned I was very happy.  I put Rascal back into his crate and locked it.  When I came home Rascal was still in his crate.

The following morning the boys put Rascal in the crate again before school and work. Again during lunch I came home to give Rascal his lunch time walk.  Guess what?  Rascal ran into the room so fast to welcome me home that he skidded into me.  Yup, Rascal got out again.  He wagged his tail and jumped at me in excitement.  I just shook my head and put his leash on.  After our walk I put Rascal back into the cage and investigated the house again.  Once again nothing was to be found. Yay!

So, now I'm suspicious.  Is Rascal spending his morning tampering with the cage trying to figure out the locking mechanism so he can run around the house sleeping in all the sunny spots?  Is he really that smart?  Or is he getting help from the boys?  Interesting.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Apple picking

Apple picking is one of  the north east's favorite fall past times.  There is just something about walking through rows of apple trees with a bag and a picker in hand picking your own apples right off the trees.  My family likes to go every year.  We might be late in the season one or two years, but we always seem to fit it in the schedule. This year we tucked in between buying new shoes for my boys and their base ball game. 

It was a quick trip, probably our quickest yet, but that didn't mean it was any less fun.  We went with a friend of ours as usual, a yearly ritual you might say.  To add some fun to it the kids switch cars.  The kids love to change things up, that way they get to spend more time with their friends.  It's nice, and everyone enjoys the change, even for a few minutes drive. 

At the orchard we do our usual.  We never pick the apples in the front of the orchard.  That's too easy, and not worth the trip.  We go to the back of the orchard and pick our apples there.  We walk the rows looking at each tag to see what type of apple is on the trees, and once we find what we like, we pick.

This year I brought my phone and took some pictures of the kids picking apples.  I was especially excited because I never had a phone that had that application.  Okay so I did, but I didn't have it on my plan.  Now I do.

Once our bag was full, we walked back through the rows of apples, trying to stop the kids from picking more apples and putting them in the bag, and made our way back to the front of the orchard.  My husband paid for the apples and then the kids were like vultures going at the bag.  They just had to have one of their apples to eat right away.  It's always fun watching them eat their fresh picked apples walking back to the car.

So now I have all these apples and I'm just hoping they all get eaten or put into a cake or pie, before they go bad. Yeah, like that's going to happen.

What about you do you find you pick to many apples when you go apple picking?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Excerpt of a Novel

I decided to dedicate this post to my new novel that I am writing. Since I have been actively writing and submitting to agents, I thought it would be nice to give everyone a chance to get a preview of my new novel and hopefully get some feed back.

Let me give you the preamble:  This is probably not the kind of writing a lot of you would expect from me. That said, I hope I pleasantly surprise you.  Lightweight (It's a working title),  is a YA novel about a high school boy who is in a gang.  Tony wants a better life, a better future then what he sees around him, and will stop at nothing to get it.  Getting out of the ghetto isn't going to be easy though, and breaking free of the gang can be deadly.  This is a work in progress so this is only a draft. Please pardon any mistakes in this draft. Feel free to add a comment and let me know what you think.

Working title:  Lightweight


Chapter One The Fight#
The punch came before I saw it coming. I saw his fist in front of my face and the next thing I knew I felt was his fist smash against my jaw. I never felt such pain. I swear I saw stars. I didn't have time to focus on the stars dancing around my head because I felt my body smash against the brick wall behind me. I lifted my arms to block my face, I need to ward off his powerful angry blow at my face. I knew I couldn't stand much more. I thought about how I got here. It was stupid really, if you really thought about it. All I did was try to do the right thing.
Flash back#
I saw Jose bothering this poor girl sitting alone outside by the steps at lunch reading a book. I told Jose to leave her alone, she was minding her own business. I saw no need to cause trouble that day. I wasn't in the mood.
You're not needed here Tony, get out of here. I'm busy. Can you see I'm talking to Michelle here?”
I saw Michelle hunch her shoulders trying to ignore Jose and go back to her book.
She doesn't look like she wants to talk to you Jose.” Tony stood between them.
Come on Michelle, put the book down and let's go for a walk. What do you say?” Jose said trying to take the book out of Michelle's hand.
I'd rather not.” Michelle said bravely looking up at Jose.
That's enough Jose.” I said getting upset.
Come on Michelle, let's go to the parking lot.” Jose grabbed Michelle's arm and pulled her along.
Leave her alone.” I pulled Jose's arms off of Michelle.
Stop being such a wimp. You can have some too, I'll share.” Jose smiled.
Don't even think about it Jose.” I glared at him.
Hey, here come's Kevin. Move it.” Jose said before running off.
I'm sorry about that. Are you okay?” I picked up Michelle's book that dropped on the floor.
I'm fine. Thank you.” Michelle smiled shyly.
Hey, Michelle, this low life bothering you?” Kevin stormed over from the cafeteria doors.
No. Kevin. I'm fine.” Michelle started to answer.
Get the hell away from my sister you scumbag.” Kevin spat and stood in front Michelle.
Kevin, you got it all wrong.” I tried to explain.
Oh do I?” Kevin laughed looking at his friends for support.
No body comes near my sister do you understand me?”
You really don't want to do this Kevin. My brothers will back me.”
I'm not afraid of your gang.” Kevin stared at him.
You should be.”
I don't see your gang members here to back you up now?” Kevin laughed.
You're lucky then aren't you? Because if your looking for a fight, you just got one.” I stepped into Kevin's face and glaring at him. If he thought I was scared of him he didn't know who he was dealing with. I've dealt with much worse then him.
I don't a fight with your gang. I want a fight with you.” Kevin said not backing down.
You got it then. Meet me here at five o'clock.”


Present Time#
I staggered at the next blow. I regained my balance and faced Kevin. Now he pissed me off. I charged at him and forced him against the same brick wall he had thrown me into. The guy could fight. I hadn't expected that he would be able to fight back so well. I've had my fair share of fights and I have won every one of them. My opponent usually ran home crying with a bloody nose, broken ribs, or arm. This guy was different though, I couldn't break him. I wailed at his face, and his gut. I tried to get him in a chock hold, but he kept coming back. I knew it wasn't because of his sister he fought, he liked to fight, and he was good at it. I lost the upper hand again and I blocked my face and danced around him as he kept coming at me.
I could hear the crowd around us now cheering us on. Who they were cheering for I couldn't tell and I really didn't care. Kevin and I were locked together, we both fought for the upper hand. There was no tricks here, not now. Right now it was all a matter of who was stronger, who could keep up the endurance. Our eyes locked, our breathing was heavy and labored and as each second passed, I could feel us both weakening. I held on to him, tightening my hold as I felt his tighten his on me.
Then there were arms yelling at us, pulling us apart. Screaming to get off each other and to knock it off. As if it were that easy. Suddenly I was free of Kevin's grasp and he was free from mine. I glared at him as someone pulled my arms behind me pulling me away as I tried to lung at Kevin again. A large blond man was pulling Kevin back off me, pinning his arms behind him as Kevin tried to lung for me.
Knock it off I said damn it.” The blond man yelled as he pulled Kevin further away from me.
Settle down now.” The blond man look at each of us. “The show is over everyone, go home. Go on, get out of here.” The man behind me shouted to the crowd who came to see us fight.
I left my body slump against the man holding me back, but only enough to get my footing before I stood tall and broke free of the man. I turned on him ready to fight.
Go for him Tony.” Jose and George cheered me now. “But I was tired and only wanted to make sure that he wasn't going to lung at me. I stared at the man willing him to attack me, ready to prove that I was still ready to fight if I had to. By this time the blond man had let go of Kevin and Kevin paced in a small area spitting blood out of his mouth.
Get out of here boys.” The man who held me back said to Jose and George.
You don't tell us what to do.” George sauntered up to the man ready to fight.
One fight for tonight is enough.” The blond man said waking up to us.
Get out of here before I call the cops.” The blond man glared at all of us.
we're going, were going.” Jose said pulling my arm and George along with him.
I was tired, but I was still ready to fight, and I walked backward a few feet watching them until I was sure they weren't going to follow and attack. I caught a glimpse of Michelle standing away from the dwindling crowd standing with a few friends. She stared at me as I walked backward our eyes met. I turned then and walked faster trying to catch to Jose and George and the rest of the gang up ahead. 
 Like what you read so far?  If so let me hear from from you.