Finally, Finished :-)

Yup. I have typed those magic words “The End” at the end of my epic chick-lit novel.

The final tally is 175,621 words and 550 pages. I realize I will now need to edit, according to some, about 10% out.

But, I finished! I finished! I can’t believe it!

Now to celebrate with a quick trip to the mall and later, a glass of bubbly…

Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m finished! *dances*

Chaotic Updates

1. The lady from the business card place finally emailed. She was called out of the country for a week, but has promised that my order is placed and will be forwarded posthaste to my son in San Francisco. She also implied there would be a little token enclosed for my tearing my hair out. I hope it’s a wig.

2. I finally hooked up with my attorney. He was in LA, then he was backed up with work when he arrived here on Monday. A vigorous volley of phone tag then ensued. Finally, I called his cell this morning, and he answered it! We had a nice chat, and he was quite helpful about my legal loose ends regarding the end of my book. As luck would have it, his firm has an entertainment lawyer. One of his clients is Elmore Leonard. He offered to read my chicky-book. I asked him “how much” and he said complimentary. I asked, are you sure? It’s a chick book, and he said yes.

3. Cosmetics. A boatload of them came in the mail today. Hallelujah. I hope I remember how to use them.

4. The ending. It’s drawing near. I think I’m a chapter and a half away. This means I should be typing those magic words “The End” by dusk on Sunday.

5. My cheerleaders have been busy cheering and urging (egging?) me on. I am grateful for it, because there were times I might have jumped under the covers and said “screw this noise” – actually, there were a couple of dozen times I’ve felt that way in the last 72 hours alone. So, keep nagging, cajoling, goading, pushing, harassing, bullying, coaxing, hounding, needling, badgering, bothering, spurring, hassling, heckling, riding, nudging, pleading, provoking and poking me along. (Can you tell my Thesaurus and I are close friends?) I need it.

Anyway, things are falling into place.

There is a God, and she is great… 🙂

Happy Belated Birthday to Me

I’ve been busy, but yesterday I noticed this post by Mr. Random, patting himself on the back for surviving yet another birthday.

I thought that peculiar, because as luck would have it, last week it was my birthday too. I only think it peculiar, because I share some sort of affinity with Mr. Random. This is not the same bond I share with my Internet-Boyfriend-Now-Friend. I think Mr. Random and I are brother and sister separated at birth.

I’m not going to tell you which day was the dreaded day. I like to completely avoid acknowledging the fact that I still have birthdays. I can tell you that I spend it the same way every year: I do nothing.

I don’t come into work, and I usually amuse myself somehow. In past years, I have trekked to San Francisco (or Alabama) for my birthday. This is because my family is so mean to me, I would much rather spend the day being somewhere I love.

Sidebar: I don’t really love Alabama, but my friend moved there, and she is very nice. She threw me a huge birthday party with her friends, even though they didn’t know me from a random guy at the Publix. I brought my violin and played with her cello friends.  She invited me this year too, but since I’m leaving for out of town next week, I declined.

My husband is nine months younger than me, and for three months out of the year, we are the same age. The other nine months, he is razzing me about me being so much older than he is, even though we graduated from high school in the same year. My daughter, Ms. MiniD, hopped on that bandwagon long ago. To hear the two of them, you’d think I was ready for a wheelchair and the nursing home.

This year, I wrote a chapter and a half and a piece for another forum I write for. Then we went out to dinner at a very chi-chi French place. It’s the kind of rich food that you must savor over the period of at least three hours, accompanied by wine and champagne. (Their housemade truffles are to die for.)

Something else also happened that day. (If you are of manly persuasion, you may want to fold up this post right now and move on.)

It was the return of The Curse.

Damn it, but I had been reveling in menopause for the last year! I practically told everyone I knew (including co-workers) because I was so happy to 1. not have that monthly thing going on and 2.  was finally warm enough at night that I didn’t need to hog the blankets. Of course, with over a year’s enjoyment of no need for feminine protection, I was caught with my pants down and no help. I even scoured Ms. MiniD’s bathroom, but to no avail.

I know if I go to Sam’s Club and buy the economy, jumbo box of tampons, my uterus will dry up completely next month, and there I will be. Of course, if I choose the other route and only buy as much as I need, I will have a great, big need for the jumbo box next month. (And the next, and the next.)

I was depressed before over the fact that I am again wintering in the Tundra. (In January, there were only three days – THREE – count ’em, that reached the 30 degree mark. That’s cold, people.) Now I am truly despondent. Here I am, 53 – friggin’ – years old and still not over it yet!

Well, that’s it for my birthday.

Happy Birthday to Me.

The Chicken Begins Running With Her Head Off

In eight days, I will be in San Francisco, in advance of a writers’ conference I signed up for last year.

I had good intentions. I paid for the conference back in March. I paid for my plane ticket back in September. I have lined up a rental car using gift certificates, so that’s taken care of. I even have my son dropping me off at the hotel location, because it’s in a very congested and chi-chi area of downtown and parking is $80 a day.

I have toiled at my novel full steam since the first of November. I’ve somehow managed to add an additional 100,000 words since then. There are three, maybe four more chapters to go. I’ve been good, even though I’ve done other things, like work, eat, play the violin, make jewelry, etc. There was the holiday and the extended stay of Ms. MiniD, always a disruptive influence. I’ve even had time to be sick.

Now comes crunch time, and I feel like a chicken with her head cut off.

I have been working with an online business card company that specializes in authors. I had trouble sending in my photograph (actually, the real trouble came finding one that doesn’t make me look like a serial killer) and my emails kept bouncing back. It’s been ten days, and so far no word. In a panic, I emailed again on Saturday. Nothing.

I still need to get with an attorney so I can wrap up the novel. That’s because an attorney plays a prominent part in the ending. I have emailed our business attorney, hoping for some free input. The guy is nice, but he’s one of those super-slick shyster dudes, and his office, in a very trendy neighborhood, likely has a high lease. However, I feel comfortable with him, so I even promised to pay. Hopefully, he’ll be like my other advisors and will take a mention in the beginning of the book instead.

Finally, I have new clothes and have been exercising like a fiend to fit into my old ones. Some writer who sends me newsletters suggested I get a smokin’ hot red dress. I don’t want to look like a hooker, so I bought some red cashmere sweaters instead. After my daughter returned to school (that was the longest six weeks of my life), I found out she raided my bathroom and all my cosmetics are GONE. (I might slap on some make up once in a blue friggin’ moon, so I expect it all to be there when I need it.)

I hope I don’t look like a boob. There’s always the possibility I might laugh too hard, look needy, or become unexpectedly mute.

GAH!

Conspicuously Absent

I’m not posting much here these days, but I’m not sorry. The Little Cat would be proud to know that I’ve been typing my fingers to the bone, working on my novel. I have given myself a deadline of my birthday (coming up fast) to finish this epic tome. I plan on shipping it to several people 1. to read to gauge the enjoyment factor, and 2. for editing purposes as soon as it’s complete.

At over 435 pages and growing (double spaced), I have the end in sight. I know how it’s going to end and am giving myself seven, maybe eight chapters to get there. Hallelujia and pass the friggin’ pitcher of margaritas. Well, maybe not yet. Maybe for my birthday. Yeah, I know that 10% will likely be edited out.

I am seriously trying to overcome my deficiency when it comes to time management, procrastination and general laziness. These are lifelong character flaws that I am finding difficult to correct. However, this is not to say that I’m rolling over and dying in the goopy soup that is my character. I may be old, but you can always teach an old dog new tricks.

Hmm… maybe not my old dog, Grace. She appears to be set in her ways.

Other news from the tundra? Well, the prodigal daughter is still here. Three more weeks. I’m not sure I can stand it. Yes, I love her, but she drives me nutty, as I am sure I am doing to her too. Plus, she tries to read over my shoulder. She knows I’m writing a book and wants to know if she’s in it. (No. That will be the next book. Bwaaahhh wahhh wahh…) Normally, I can’t work under that kind of pressure, but I’m trying.

So, I’m absent. Here, but not here.

See you later.

Notice: For Little Fluffy Cats Who Love to Nag

Due to a shortage of personnel (the Sick Man likely gone for good, my Number 2 in maternity leave, and my Number 3 on vacation), yesterday I worked 12 hours straight. I wasn’t totally alone, though. Ms. MiniD’s ex-BDJ (aka boy du jour) who used to work here, came back from college for Christmas break. He  was looking for something to do, hours, money, and lucky for me, he fell into my lap.

I didn’t realize that I would be here that long until about 12 noon, when I looked up and thought, “Oh, hell! I’m going to be here another seven and a half hours,” at which point I hastily left to make a pit stop at the Post Office and back home. I retrieved my laptop and brought it back to work with me.

This notice is for the Little Fluffy Cat who loves to nag: Last night, I pounded out a chapter and a half and 5,000 words while waiting for the phone to ring. (Obviously, it didn’t, or I wouldn’t have had the time to accomplish so much.)

The Cat is one of my biggest cheerleaders, and she also has a strong streak of momliness in her too. Lately, the momliness is more apparent than the cheerleader, but I don’t mind her continual chipping away at my bad habit of procrastination. This is because I know I’m being bad, and I need something nipping at my ankles, now more than ever.

Thank you Little Fluffy Cat. If you see me on Facebook, I know you’ll yell. Just remember, all work and no play makes the Pandemonic a sad literary figure.

November in a Nutshell Part I

I’ve had to chop this up, since November was such a huge month. So expect my life in nutshell installments over the next couple of days.

NaNoWriMo = a success. I told myself that I was going to use the month of November to get the lead out of my shorts and write a substantial amount of words for the novel that has been gathering dust in my brain. It took me a year and a half to write 70K words. It took me 29 days to write 50K. Yes, I am lazy. But that’s progress. If you’re a fledgling author, I would highly recommend the NaNo route for you next year. If you are highly motivated, as I was, you will automatically reserve a certain amount of time each day to write. I am hoping to continue with the regimen, but it’s hard to say. I have some personal issues that I must address shortly. (More on that later.) Plus, I’m lazy.

I used my real work time to play, so that I wouldn’t have to play once I started writing. This means I was on Facebook during the morning playing Scramble. For those who don’t know, Scramble is very addicting. If you like words, don’t go there; it will be hard to extricate yourself. Depending on the day, I would either leave the office at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. and go home and write. Silence works best for me. Weekends, I wrote in the morning. Most of the sessions were at least three hours long, but I did have a few days where I marathoned about six hours.

The thing about NaNo-ing is that you have a lot of cheerleaders in your corner. Not only did I have trusted friends online urging me on to victory (like the Little Fluffy Cat, Rochester, Dr. B, Corina and others), I also had some real people giving me some good advice. I reached out and did some research, which got the people I spoke to excited for me. They actually want to read the story now, even though my novel is quite chicky and these are old guys. (Well, a little older than I am.) I needed to know how much a guy like this would make if he had an office and agency of a certain size, and they were very helpful. These two guys were actually very funny. I told them that my protagonist had a son who went to school in San Francisco. I told them about the no-good husband, and warned that he wasn’t my real husband, the dear Mr. Demonic. Then they asked me where the family lived, and I said “in my house.” They thought that was hilarious. Research is a good thing, especially if you’re clueless like me. Well, I knew about the story lines, the emotions. Being a mom, being a daughter. But the technical jazz, yes, I needed help. The NaNo people also send you emails to cheer you on. This was beneficial.

I think I have about ten chapters to go before I can wrap this puppy up. Yeah! My character is making a cross-country trek to California. She’s in Colorado now. She must go deep inside herself to find herself, after trauma. It turns out her son has to do the same thing. All ends well in San Francisco, which is where all should end well.

While thinking about the mom-son relationship, I got to thinking about the mom-daughter relationship. So, guess what? As soon as this book is put to bed (and the crazy novella I’ve been working on that just needs an ending), I’m starting another book. It will have a grandma, mom and teenage daughter, set in my northern Tundra town.

Oh. I’m so excited about that.