A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in review

I do a "Year in Review" blog post every year.  I think it helps put things into perspective with the old year and to bring new ideas and goals into focus for the new year.

2010 has SUCKED.  At the end of 2009 and for the first few months of 2010, my life was pure hell.  I lost pretty much everything and some very well loved people left my life for a very long time.  There is a chance that 10-20 years down the line we'll meet again.  I don't know...I can't predict the future.  I'm not a psychic, I don't have a crystal ball - and believe me, I DON'T want that job.  I'd make a lousy Oracle.

BUT...as I was thinking about 2010 I came to realize that in spite of my depressed maundering, this year wasn't all bad.  I made a bunch of new friends - both IRL and on Twitter/Facebook/Blogger.  *waves to everyone in the virtual world*  I was able to reconnect with a couple old friends I'd lost touch with through IM.  I've made huge strides in my writing and with some personal projects of my own.  I've emerged out of my shell and tried some new things.

For 2011, my goals are pretty simple.

  1. Finish revisions, edits, and polishing ONLY A NAME by June so I can pitch it at Mayhem in the Grove and start querying it.
  2. Get my query letter written and polished by June so I'm not totally embarrassed when I set out to query my novel.
  3. Polishing some of my shorts and either publishing them as mini-ebooks or doing a full on anthology and e-publishing it by the end of April.
  4. Lose another 20 lbs so I can reach my goal of losing 60 lbs by the end of 2012.
  5. Learn how to use my DPNs and my crochet hooks.
  6. Crochet an afghan for my bed and a shawl for me.
  7. Knit fingerless gloves for myself.
  8. Continue with my social networking and get to know all my online friends a little better.
  9. Keep my job and possibly try for a different position within the company if one opens up.
  10. Finish writing CRACKED WORLD, and get the revisions started by the end of 2011.
  11. Work enough overtime to save up enough money to move into our own place by the end of 2011.


Hope everyone has a fun night and I wish everyone success and happiness in 2011.

And to end this post...a couple music videos I love.


SKILLET - Monster

SKILLET - Awake and Alive


Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Favorite Blogs

I just thought I'd stop & give a major shout out to some blogs I love that I've found throughout the year.  If you don't already follow them, I'd highly recommend chasing them down and tagging them.  ;)

My 10 Favorite Blogs on Blogger are:

1. Go-Go-Rach's 'Living the Dream' - This woman has something to say and she's not afraid to say it.
2. Rachel in the OC's blog...her Mancode is hilarious!
3. Unedited - Jen Daiker's fun blog (her contest is just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned)
4. Query Shark - Writers, follow this blog because it's awesome for tips on how to write queries
5. Writer's Beware - One of the most useful & informative sites for writers
6. The Rejectionist - Always has something interesting to say
7. Diane Amy's blog About Writing is full of good info and she's also a social media consultant
8. The Character Therapist - Jeannie takes us on a psychological journey through the minds of characters...she even did two of mine for me :)
9. Amos' blog seems dark & strange, but it actually a fascinating read
10. Pub Rants - A politely worded rant about the usual things you see in publishing, and other random coolness

I follow so many, but those are just the top ten that I love here on Blogger.  If you really want a long list of interesting people check out the list of blogs I'm following and peruse at your own pace.  I'd highly recommend any and all that I've got as something interesting to read.  I also have a lot more from personal websites and WordPress that I haven't linked here.  There's just so many interesting people out there that I highly recommend getting to know everyone you can and read their blogs.  It's a great way to make new friends.

*waves to KD, Rachel, Diane, Jen, and everyone else who's taken time to get to know me & become friends*

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday 'fess up...a.k.a. [insert something witty here]

Wittiness is not something I'm very good at.  Holidays were...okay. Got enough gift cards to get us gas & some new clothes, which are much needed, so many thanks to friends and family for that.


Ah yes.  Writing! That thing I do when I'm NOT swamped in dealing with real life, Twitchy, and being a total nut case and trying to knit a bunch of Christmas presents in three days.  Well, I did it - and I got some writing done too.

ONLY A NAME is still under revision.  I was told in #writechat today that the process is actually write/revise/edit/proofread so the official name for what I'm doing is revising.  It's all editing to me, so if I keep referring to it as "editing the MS" please understand that I'm just trying to get the damn thing ready to submit/pitch at a writer's convention.  (Yes, I intend to do both next year.)

CRACKED WORLD got cracked open and two pages written on it.  I've hit an impasse with that story so I'm focusing more on ONLY A NAME (dear Flying Spaghetti Monster I need new titles for these stories...LOL).

I've also edited and put up the three stories in a short story arc I wrote some time ago that I'm rather fond of.  They're tied in to the events of ONLY A NAME in the sense they're during the same time period and reference some of the characters/events from the novel.  They're over on my WordPress page.

The Rescue
The Soldier and the Boy
The Pigeon and the Fiddler

I'm probably going to end up revising the timeline a little in these once I finish ONLY A NAME, to make them fit in a little better once I've completely established the chain of events in the novel.  But those will be small edits.  I'm always happy for C&C, so if you'd care to leave a comment I'd love to hear what you think.

That's it for this week's 'fess up.  New vlog will probably be coming some time in the next week (I'm REALLY curious to see how well I can do those.)  Another 'fess up next Sunday as usual.  And maybe even another short up at the Dragon's Lair on WordPress.  *waves*  See y'all next week!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Me vlogging as well as blogging...and other stuff

If you've been following my Twitter feed, you'll know I've made an attempt to start vlogging as well as blogging.  It's not exactly my forte as I'm not very good with face to face stuff but I figured it wouldn't hurt to learn.  So...I've got exactly TWO vlogs up on YouTube right now.  I'm already planning my third one.  They're nothing fancy and honestly, I don't know if I'll make them fancy or not.  I like things simple so I might just keep them that way.

Anni's Vlog, Ep 1

Anni's Vlog, Ep 2

I've also got some of my writing going up over on WordPress.  I'm eventually going to purchase the domain name and use that as the start of my webpage.  Right now it's a good place to find some of my stuff.  I've only got two posts up there right now.  But I'll have a third up before the end of the year, and then I'm going to TRY to get something up every week or every two weeks.

Going to my dad's house for a little bit tomorrow (I expect to have to post a family rant later), then to our friend Katey's house, and then on Monday over to dad's again so I can play with my niece's two boys before I head to work.

I'll be posting my usual Sunday 'fess up this week also, so be watching for that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday 'fess up...a.k.a Anni's NOT in trouble this week YAY!

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone.  This week has been a lot better in terms of writing.

First, ONLY A NAME has gotten some serious love this week.  I wrote out a torture scene to bring home the kind of conflict that is plaguing Sorcha and her friends.  It's the whole reason why they're homeless and what motivates them to do what they do.  I edited out the prologue because it gives away part of the "big secret".  I adjusted the beginning to once again play up the violence of the world that Sorcha lives in and how it's personally effected her.  I've tightened up a couple scenes at the beginning and now it's flowing a lot better.

Second, while I haven't been tweeting much in the way of positive stuff - though I've gotten a few tweets in there - I am posting a "Happy thought of the day" to my personal Facebook page.  I'm going to try to incorporate that next week into my tweets too, so if you see a hashtag that says #HTOTD that's what it's about.

Third, I'm thinking that I might get ONE of the seasonal pieces written.  And it's not going to be a Christmas story per se, but it will deal with winter and finding hope when you think there is none.  It's also not in Aleran but dealing with one of the characters in one of my UF stories.

Fourth, in order to show that I am following through with my goals I came up with another method for accountability.  I'm going to post once a week (unless reality leaps up and swallows me whole......again) to a WordPress page I set up specifically for my writing.  In fact, I've got a short bit already posted as my first post there.

Chronicles of the Fallen

Fifth, I just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU to everyone who's encouraging me, supporting me, and helping me in this.  As I've stated before, this time of year hasn't been a good one for the last few years and all of you are making it better for me.  I really do appreciate it and one of these days, when things are better, I might just surprise you all with some cool and awesome handmade gift or something.  :)

That's it for this weekly update.  Catch you next week for the next episode of "Sunday 'fess up".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday 'fess up....a.k.a. Anni's in trouble

Hoo boy.  I posted about my goals and asked you guys to keep me honest.  Well, I'm being honest.  This first week of me trying to take care of these goals...is a failure.

I haven't been able to get anything done with the seasonal pieces.  ONLY A NAME is sitting there looking forlornly at me, although I did manage to get a page of edits done.  I didn't even open CRACKED WORLD.  And I haven't been very good about tweeting positive things.

I can say that one good thing happened this week - I got a 5 day weekend.  I don't go back to work on Tuesday, and I'm getting paid for 2 of them.  (Two days vacation, regular weekend, and a "volunteer" day where I volunteered to take it off unpaid because they got overstaffed.)

Another good thing that happened is I got my Sims 3 game to work, and redownloaded all my purchases from the store.  I discovered I've been playing since June of '09 with that game.  At least, that's when I made my first store purchases.  I've got World Adventures to also load in but with all the trouble it caused me I'm holding off on that until I get my own computer again.

So while this week was mostly a failure, I have high hopes for the next week.  I'm going to get something done on either the shorts or ONLY A NAME, and I WILL tweet something positive every day.

Keeping this short so I can get back to writing.  Going to put some hours into ONLY A NAME, and if the inspiration strikes for the shorts I might work on them instead.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The whole "cablegate" and WikiLeaks drama has got to stop

Dear WikiLeaks Supporters,

Okay, we get it.  You're pissed that the government is trying to prevent the release of private documents that WikiLeaks has no business releasing.  We get the fact that you think that information is vital and needs to be released.  We get the fact that you're upset because *gasp* the government wants to hold someone responsible for taking information that wasn't theirs to begin with and releasing it to the public.

I DON'T FUCKING CARE!  I don't care who releases what, who objects to what, or if any of this really embarrasses anyone (and I don't think it will...let's be serious here folks.  Those uber secret documents?  Were probably all over the desks of other ambassadors and intelligence agencies long before WikiLeaks got them.)  The WikiLeaks founder is in jail because of a completely unrelated crime.  I don't hold with the conspiracy theory that these are trumped up charges to pigeonhole him until someone can figure out how to bring him up on more serious charges related to the WikiLeaks thing.

These denial of service attacks that some of you are performing to "prove your point"?  They're going to have the OPPOSITE effect that you want.  You want the internet to stay free and independent?  Then stop with the attacks.  You're GIVING THE GOVERNMENT AMMUNITION.  They're going to start pushing for tighter regulations on the internet now just to prevent another denial of service attack from taking down a major corporation's servers.  What happens then?  Tighter restrictions on downloads (not that they aren't already stifling as it is).  Preferred service packages that were shot down earlier this year.  The blacklist that we so recently got rid of?  It'll be back.

And you know what?  Because of you fucktards swearing this is a "data war" and you want all information to be free and easy to access?  THE FUCKING GOVERNMENTS ARE GOING TO GET THEIR WAY.

Please use those brains you've got for something other than hair growth and bleating uselessly about "freedom of information".  All you're doing is denying other people the same right to enjoy that freedom.

No love,

P.S. To the various Facebook pages supporting Julian Assange and WikiLeaks....NO I WILL NOT SIGN YOUR PETITION/LIKE YOU/FRIEND YOU.  I think the vast majority of you are MORONS.

P.P.S. To those of my friends on Twitter and Facebook who support this whole thing, I don't think YOU'RE morons.  I think the people who started this whole mess are.  I also think it just needs to be dropped from our tweets and our Facebook pages because this is a battle that should never have been taken to the public forums in the first place.  If you continue to tweet about it or post to FB about it, I won't do something juvenile like block you.  I'll just do what a reasonable person would do and ignore that particular tweet/post.  But can we please do with a little less of the WikiLeaks stuff?  Please?

P.P.P.S. To the rest of you media moguls out there who are capitalizing on this, shut the fuck up and let us all get back to our daily doses of conspiracy theories and bemoaning the fate of the economy.  I know I'd prefer that to all this WikiLeaks shit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December Goals

My husband and I got into a long discussion the other day while both of us were battling our depression.  One of the comments I made is I no longer wished/hoped/dreamed for good things to happen because let's be honest: my life hasn't exactly reflected very many positive things lately.  Everything good that's happened has been unlooked for so daydreaming about the good stuff that can happen has gotten me absolutely nowhere, except even more depressed.

My husband looked at me and said, "So?  Stop daydreaming and start DOING.  Make some goals for yourself."  That's how he's managed to lose weight over the last few months.  He set his goals, set the steps for those goals, and he's actually succeeded.  This has inspired him to set other goals and work towards them.

I am not a goal-driven person.  I'm a "go with the flow" type of person.  However, that hasn't been working out so well for me.  Going with the flow means I'm circling the drain.  And I don't want to completely get flushed by my depression and by how badly life drags me down some (most) days.  So...I've decided to set a few goals.  Mostly to do with my writing, since that's where I've lost the most focus lately.

Now I'm sure you're wondering why I'm mentioning them to you, my dear followers.  (And even if you're not, let me have my delusions. *grin*)  The simple truth is: I'm lazy.  Without someone to keep me in line and demand a report of my activities I'll set my goals and then ignore them and fall down again.  I'm closer to achieving my first goals at work which will lead to me getting OFF the phones the majority of the time and into something more like management (which is what I want).  My manager is forever checking up with me on this, making sure I'm doing what I need to do.

So I'm going to use my blog as a way to account for my actions - along with the usual rants, whines, ecstatic exclamations, social commentary, etc.  I've got some goals I'm setting for December and I will be updating once a week (probably on Saturday or Sunday) with how I'm doing on accomplishing these goals.

So...my list of goals for December are:

1. Finishing the first round of edits on ONLY A NAME.
2. Start & finish the holiday themed short stories I've been meaning to write.
3. Make some progress on CRACKED WORLD, which has also stalled because of my inability to focus on my writing.
4. Find something POSITIVE to tweet/blog about every day instead of focusing on how bad everything is going.  (I probably won't blog about the positive things EVERY day, but I might make a list when I do my Sunday goal check posts.)

So, next Sunday expect to have an update of how I'm doing on these goals.  Also, if you follow me on Twitter, I'll be posting a bit about my goals there too.  So hopefully someone here will keep me honest and be after me to keep up the work on my goals.  After three months of this, I probably won't even need the watchdogging because for humans it takes 3 months for something to become habit.  So if everything goes well, by March I'll have this down as a habit.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter sucks...and so do the holidays

Before I get jumped on about how the holidays are "wonderful" and are the time of year to "be with one's family", let me make one thing clear...I DON'T HAVE A FUNCTIONAL FAMILY.

I come from a very dysfunctional background.  The only members of my family who give a DAMN about me are my husband, my oldest sister, my oldest sisters 3 kids, and one of my brother's stepdaughters.  Everyone else would be very happy if I fell off the face of the planet.  They sure as hell won't be spending the Christmas holidays with me.  I have 3 other nieces and a nephew out of my brother and other older sister.  They're not talking to me either because their parents aren't.  So the whole "Christmas is a time for family" bullshit pisses me off.

My husband doesn't have any family to spend it with either.  His sister is married and moving to the Netherlands - and hates us for not following her and my mother-in-law to Texas like good little sheep.  His parents are divorced.  His dad is in Florida with his new wife and has nothing to do with us.  His mom isn't talking to us either, much for the same reasons as his sister.  Long story about the move from Washington to Texas with us stopping in Idaho.  I might even share it some day.  Not today.  I'm already in a bad enough mood as it is.

What makes the holidays even worse is the emphasis on kids.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE kids.  I want kids.  I desperately want kids.  I can't have them.  Not capable of having children.  And because of the state of our finances, and the fact we're living in a 3 bedroom house with a total of six people sharing very limited living space, we can't adopt.  We haven't been in a position to adopt for a long time, and I don't see that changing any time soon either.

But having the fact that I DON'T have children shoved in my face at every opportunity by people around me sucks.  My workplace did something where co-workers and managers could nominate families in need and everything would stay anonymous but gifts would be purchased based on what the nominees who were chosen needed/wanted.  I nominated a single mom on my team at work because she's putting in overtime just so she can pay rent and buy groceries.  I also know she was chosen.  I'm glad because this means she'll get some help for the holidays for her and her three kids.

I ALSO know, due to having overheard a conversation I probably shouldn't have, that I was nominated for help because of the fact I barely break even most months on bills even with both of us working.  We don't have much in the way of appropriate work clothes and it bothers my boss (in a sympathetic, not nasty way) to see me wearing the same worn out work clothes day in and day out.  He nominated my husband and me because he felt we too could use some help.  He was told by HR (and this is the conversation I got to overhear since I sit right next to his cubicle) that because we don't have children WE DON'T QUALIFY FOR THE COMPANY'S HELP.  Their whole goal is to help "families in need" and because we don't have children we don't count as a family.

What the FUCK ever.  I'm not upset because we didn't get chosen.  There are a lot of people who need help more than we do.  It's the REASON we weren't chosen.  Because my husband and I don't have kids, we're not a REAL family.  That's what pissed me off about the whole situation.

We've had a lot of snow dropped on our heads.  I almost didn't make it to work alive yesterday because people around here don't know how to drive with snow on the ground.  I'm grateful my husband does because he's the one driving and he kept us safe yesterday.  I half jokingly asked my boss what would happen if I called out for today because of road conditions.  He said, "The company doesn't care if you can't drive in. If you don't have any more sick time, you'll be fired for calling out."  I just stared at him.

"You mean they'd rather you DIE because of bad weather conditions than call in because you can't make it to work?" I asked.  He just nodded.  He looked as upset as I was.  Apparently he got an email from the center manager telling him that if anyone called in because of the weather, and if they didn't have the time to cover it, he was to tell them to swing by when they could and get their stuff from security.

When I was told I had 3 planned days left and I needed to use them before the end of the year, I jumped on the chance to take today off.  I also have a 4 day weekend next week (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon).  I need the time off so I can get some writing done.  I also need the time away from the "YOU RUINED MY KIDS' CHRISTMAS!" from parents who have NO concept of managing personal finances.

I'm doing handmade Christmas gifts this year.  I'm knitting hot pads for dinner tables, glasses cases (pretty much everyone who's still talking to me in my family wears glasses), and trying my hand at a purse.  I'll probably scrap that one in favor of the easier presents and do the purse for a birthday or something.  I don't know.  I'm at the point where I don't even want to do Christmas presents.  Just send everyone a Christmas card and call it good.  It's not like they don't know how hard hit we've been in the last several months.

*sigh*  It doesn't help Twitchy (the roommate who owns the house) has a house full of people right now.  They've been here since before I got home from work last night.  They were loud and obnoxious all night and I finally grabbed my Benadryl and took four of them to get to sleep.  (Two doesn't work on me anymore. I've used them as sleeping pills way too often in the past 9 months.)  Apparently my husband went out and ranted to one of our other roommates - his best friend Parker - about the whole situation because HE was pissed off by it too.  Also about the fact that he was told he couldn't say even a quarter of the stuff he wanted to say in response to Twitchy's younger sister and her two boy toys' bullshit.

My husband and I both have to worry about random piss tests for drugs and alcohol.  It's part of life right now for us.  Twitchy's younger sister's boyfriend SPIKED MY HUSBAND'S SODA.  It was just a damn good thing he noticed and spit it out.  The boyfriend thought it was freakishly hilarious, even more so when he found out the consequences if hubby got caught drinking.

The two boy toys also set off my "creep meter" big time.  I didn't even get a good look at them before bolting for  the bedroom.  Twitchy was rather offended by the fact I didn't stick around to talk to her and the others hanging out.  My husband reminded her I suffer from social anxiety.  Twitchy's response? "But these aren't strangers!"  My husband pointed out that to me, since I didn't know anyone except Twitchy's best friend, they were.  There were four people I didn't know (and three I did) drinking in our rather small dining room/living room area, being very loud, and two of them set me off so bad by just being in the same room that I ran for it.  Yeah...not going to stick around for that.

Twitchy asked me if I was going to make my white enchiladas tonight.  I told her only way I was making them is if the house guests were all gone.  I'm not leaving the bedroom while they're still here.  She got all butthurt and told me if I couldn't handle her family being here then maybe I should learn to get over it.  I wanted to smack the shit out of her but I restrained myself.  I told her that since she was so inconsiderate to NOT pay attention to the fact that she has FOUR ROOMMATES and that she's inconveniencing all of us with her house guests, why should I care about her being upset I'm not making one of my all time best dishes to serve them?  They're not my house guests.  They're not my friends.  And after that shit last night, I don't trust them.

Winter makes me all kinds of moody.  I'm not a summer or winter person.  I like spring and fall - it's neither too hot nor too cold, and there's always something pretty to look at.  The only pretty thing in winter is the mountains and it's just too damned cold to go outside and enjoy looking up at them.  Inconsiderate roommates and nasty ass bitches at work piss me off.  Not having anyone I can trust to rant to aside from my husband (who's already heard all of this, by the way) wears me down.

My husband and I hit a very rough patch about 2 years ago.  During the intervening 2 years, I've lost almost all of my so-called "best friends".  There are a few people who've stuck with me but I hate whining to them all the time about life because I'm sure they've gotten sick of hearing about it.  Just like I'm sure all of you, my dear readers, are probably tired of listening to me whine on this post.  So I'll stop here with this.

Just be aware that I am VERY moody at this time of year and you may get another rant post or two.  You may also get to see the first draft of a new short story I'm working on (not ranty, not anti-holidays, and NOT fan fic...LOL) if I ever get it done.  Heading off now...hopefully they'll all shut up enough my sound canceling ear phones will do their job and I can focus on writing.