Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Bickering Blogfest/Bratty Kids and Best Friends No More

The Bickering Blogfest is tomorrow, June 30th. That's my birthday, so I'm posting a little early. Kind of an advance celebration if you will. If you're not already following my blog, I'd love it if you would!

Thank you to Kristen, at Take It As It Comes, for hosting. When you're done reading and commenting here, please click over to read the other entries and to follow those guys, too.

Quick aside: I had set a goal for my manuscript of 22,000 words by tomorrow, which means, hmm, another 1,596 words to go. Almost there, yeeehaaa! I'll get a few more in the bag tonight, then the rest tomorrow morning. Which means I'll have the afternoon for a birthday lunch with friends at my new best fun place to eat, PicNic Cafe and Dessertery. Yep. You heard that right. DESSERTery! Bet they'll have some kind of yummy cake for the birthday girl! Then either a massage or a movie after. Or both. Why not. It's my birthday after all. :)

This entry is an short excerpt from my novel, Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's. (For those who asked, chichi's is another name for ta ta's or breasts.) The MC, Sammy, is just home from Hollywood after twelve years away to take care of her mother who's had a heart attack. 'Home' is a rural community in North Georgia. Gracie May was Sammy's best friend through school until they had a falling-out their Senior year.

Walmart was just as she remembered it; big, noisy and full of cheap stuff. Already Sammy had seen two of her classmates, Shonda Sparks, who was now Shonda Fitts and had five kids in tow, and Seth Ball, who was in charge of the Garden Department and had helped them reach a planter from the top shelf. Neither of them had left Piedmont, and neither of them saw any reason to. Thinking of it made Sammy shudder.

She found her mother in the freezer aisle of the grocery section, reaching in the case for frozen berries. Those would be for Sammy’s morning smoothies. She couldn’t eat bacon, eggs and biscuits every morning or she’d never get a part when she got back to L.A.

She waved the jumbo package of Northern tissue at her mother, “I found it over in the Health and Beauty aisle, though Lord knows why they keep it there, this stuff isn’t healthy. We’ll have to go to Kroger for the chlorine-free stuff. They don’t have it.”

Living in California had changed Sammy’s eating habits and made her aware of her health. She chose not to rub chlorine bleach in her coochie every time she peed, or support a practice that was so obviously bad for the planet.

“Well, I’ll be. If it isn’t Samantha Eubanks,” a voice drawled, dripping with venomous sarcasm. Sammy knew before turning who the voice belonged to, and sure enough, it was Gracie May.

“Why if it isn’t Gracie May Williams,” Sammy returned, mimicking Gracie May’s tone. “My, but haven’t we grown up.”

Out was more like it. Gracie May had put on fifty pounds if she’d put on an ounce. Her double chin rested on pendulous boobs and her hair boasted a jet-black dye job, a bad one that frizzed around her head.

Two snotty-nosed kids writhed behind her, slapping at each other and fighting over something the boy was holding. Just then the girl, the spitting image of Gracie May at eight, reached out and slapped the boy in the face. He squealed and attacked her, using his fists in retaliation.

“See ya later, Gracie May. Looks like you’ve got your hands full,” Sammy said, grabbing the buggy and dragging her mother with her.

“Oh. My. God.” Sammy laughed when they were away from the ruckus. “Let’s get out of here, Mama. Whatever else you need we’ll get it at Kroger.”

“Come on,” she hissed when her mother hesitated to look back in the direction of Gracie May’s bellows.

Sammy pushed the cart to the far checkout lane and got her mother out of Walmart as quickly as possible. Gracie May and the terror twins were nowhere in sight as she bundled the groceries in the trunk and slammed the lid.

Making sure her mother was buckled in, she put the bug in reverse and skedaddled.
I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. Please click on the comments below and leave your thoughts as a momento, uh, birthday present. Unless of course you hated it. And, yes, I want to know that, too.

Thanks for stopping by! Olivia
P.S. Don't forget to click over and read the rest of the entries.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Festival of Trees, Inspiration

Trees are a source of inspiration, not only for writers and other artists, but all living creatures (you know, that stuff we breathe and all).

The Festival of Trees is a monthly blog carnival for all things arboreal. July’s is hosted by Yvonne Osborne of The Organic Writer blog. Please click here to read the other posts (I think they'll be up on the 1st), and click on the button to the right for the ongoing festival.

What would literature be like without trees? In Star Wars, there would be no Chewie, and no Wookies, no ferocious warriors living in the tree tops of Kashyyyk. The Rebellion would’ve fallen flat without the tree-dwelling Ewoks on Endor and Han and Leia would never have survived to get married and have Jedi babies.

Pandora would be a soul-less moon without the Hometree or the Tree of Voices or Tree of Souls and Jake Sully would still be a bitter, crippled human with no redemption.

Without the Ents, Middle Earth would have been destroyed by Sauron and Saruman and the story would have ended then and there. Frodo would not have made it to the Crack of Doom and Aragorn would still be Strider.

Would Ashley Wilkes’ beloved Twelve Oaks be known as Twelve Cotton Plants? And where would the Swiss Family Robinson have lived? Paul Bunyon would have had no origins and Johnny Appleseed no purpose without trees.

I grew up in the woods of rural Georgia, spending hours in the mimosa trees in our front yard. I played Barbie, read books and perfected my own brand of aerial acrobatics. The sweet aroma of their soft and delicate pink blossoms still invokes memories of lazy summers spent in their boughs.

Once I climbed to the top of a young sweet gum tree because I longed to know what it felt like to sway in the wind. It was utterly divine, yet slightly terrifying.

Today I live in a mountain cabin with a forest as my backyard. The susurration of the wind in the hardwoods is the closest I now get to the ocean and to home.

I haven’t climbed a tree in a very long time and, until I wrote this post I had forgotten what it feels like to spend time up there. Thank you, Yvonne, for reminding me.

And to quote Joyce Kilmer's immortal line, I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

P.S. I have an award to accept from Suzie over at the Writer Junkie blog, be on the lookout for some link love coming your way soon. Thanks, Suzie!

Pictures from top to bottom: leaning California oak taken in Oak Canyon Park, Oak Park, CA; the morning sun reflecting on our back yard on New Hope Circle, Dawsonville, GA; Falcon Heights in Big Canoe, GA, after a rain storm; clouds after a fall storm taken through a red plum in Oak Park, CA.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farewell My Friend, Dr. Eugene O. Poindexter

I just found out that one of my heroes died on Wednesday, the 23rd. The service was today and I didn't even know he had passed until about 30 minutes ago. I signed on to Facebook and his wife had posted a message on my wall.

"Call me tomorrow at the old number."

I immediately knew something was wrong. I've prodded her over and over on Facebook this last six months, never getting a response. Why oh why didn't I call them to see what was up?? Why oh why do I have 487 friends on Facebook, most of whom I barely know whose silly posts covered up her more important ones? The ones since May about him being ill.

When I saw her post I immediately clicked over to her FB page. And there, her last post, was his obituary.

His name was Eugene O. Poindexter. I used to know what the O stands for. After all, O's are unusual as names go. That was one thing we had in common.

I remember the day I met Gene. It was my first Finance course at West Georgia College (now University of West Georgia) and this dashing man with a colorful past made me fall in love with his subject. Oh, was he passionate about finance!

I was an accounting major and his course was a requirement. At his urging I declared a double major. His classes kept me going in the middle of all those brutal accounting courses. Anything but boring, he challenged his students to think, to question. That was right up my alley.

I worked as his research assistant, spending time at his home with both he and his wife, hearing stories of his days in Iran as a Lt Col in the Air Force, part of the military advisors to the then Shah.  His son was my age and we ran together for a while. I even got s**t-faced at a faculty party at his house and passed out on their bed amongst the coats and purses, waking up just in time for my boyfriend to take me home.

He was there at my college graduation and couldn't have been prouder of me than my own mother. In fact, I always thought of Gene as my family, a father to replace the daddy I'd lost to booze long before he had died in '77. He wore his doctorate robes and walked in my graduation. He walked proudly and tall. He was there the same day for my initiation to the Phi Kappa Phi honor fraternity. In fact, it occurs to me now that it was probably Gene who nominated me for that honor. Wily devil never once let on, but I now recall the pains he'd taken to explain to me what an honor it was.

Over the years we kept in touch, off and on. He was at my wedding in 1996 ( though I'm pretty sure he missed the divorce.) I'm sorry to say I hadn't seen him or talked to him in probably eleven or twelve years. But he was always in my universe. Always.

And now he's gone. My tears, that had been plugged up since Kayla died, won't stop flowing.

Goodbye, Gene, Dr. P, Dr. Poindexter. Goodbye my dear friend. You touched my life in so many ways, as a teacher, a mentor, a father and a friend.

Godspeed. You will be missed by those of us left behind.

But we shall surely meet somewhere on down the line. May God bless you and keep you until then.

There's a new star in the Heavens tonight.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looks Matter in the Blogging World

I read a great post today by Elana Johnson, Author, in which she shares tips about what makes her not just read a blog, but READ a blog. At the top of the list was length, her preference being no more than 300-500 words.

After that was plenty of white space, meaning short paragraphs. Long paragraphs get read, not READ. Hear, hear. The last thing she mentioned was video and why she doesn't typically use them. Or watch them.

The comments, and there were 65 before mine, were helpful, too.

A few other things people mentioned having a hard time with were:
  • Light words on a dark background. 
  • Pictures that take a long time to load.
  • Backgrounds that take a long time to load.
  • Having to search for a buried Followers button.
  • Posts about things other than writing, blogging or getting published.
  • Blogfests, Blog chains, contests.
I probably left some things out, so please go by Elana's blog and read the post (which is short) and the comments (which take longer but are well worth the time).

The more blogs I read, the more I discover that my blog isn't working for me. Based on the above, I have made a few adjustments. We'll see if it has the desired effect of attracting more readers, followers and commenters.

How did you come up with the look of your blog? Does it represent you and what you are bringing to the world? Or did you, like me, just throw something up there, hoping that it would stick?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Christi Goddard's 106 Followers Contest

I just signed up for Christi Goddard's 106 Followers Contest. According to the rules, I am to submit a short story, 500 to 1000 words. The deadline is July 4th and anyone can join in, so please go to Christi's website, read the very simple rules and sign up for the contest. If you are motivated by payola, there are gift certificates involved for the winners. So go on. Sign up. You know you want to.

I need this contest. First, I've never written a short story. As a writer I should be able to do that. Yes, I've written stories for writing exercise. But I don't think those count.

Second, I want to write a tribute to one of my favorite earth angels, Kayla, who left us on May 4th at age 13. She was one of the bravest people I have ever known. Kayla visited my office twice a month over a two year period and we grew very close. She learned to trust while I learned to listen. Somewhere along the line, we fell in love.

She was quite the talented little writer. On most visits she would share her latest short story or a poem or novella, complete with illustrations. One time she brought a catalogue she was working on, with fabulous clothes of her own design. It was my gift and privilege to watch Kayla's metamorphosis from scared little girl to confident young teen.

In December of last year I left California, which meant leaving my patients behind. When it came time to say goodbye, Kayla was the strong one. Her mother and I were in tears. When a family friend called to tell me the news, I was struck dumb. I had come to believe Kayla would make it, because Kayla had believed that she would.

I have to be honest and tell you that I haven't grieved this loss. I couldn't. I was worn out from three years of grieving my mother, followed by several months of grieving my beloved California. Grief had held my hand for so long that I couldn't bear to dance with it anymore. So I pushed Grief aside, refusing to acknowledge it by feeling it, or even looking at it. Which means: I haven't called Trish, her mother, because I just couldn't bear it. How do you give solace when you have none for yourself?

But I have not escaped grief. I am held, a hostage to this silence.

So, yes, I will write a short story. For Kayla. For Trish. And for me. And I will make that long overdue phone call. Because my silence honors no one. Certainly not a little girl who was so brave.

So I ask you a question: do you owe yourself or someone else a short story? If so, click on over. Use this as an opportunity to get it out. Join me. Sign up for Christi's contest.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Blog No Longer Fits, Now What?

I prefer to write in quiet these days, though this was not always the case. My muse is best heard with no interference, a lingering side-effect of the lost ability to multi-task. She whispers. That said I’m sitting in a cafe on the square in Dahlonega where the fare is sandwiches, ice cream and lattes.

The Picnic Café and Dessertery is exactly what I was looking for when chased from my home by a cacophony of hammers and saws. While a necessary annoyance that arrived yesterday and most likely will stay until tomorrow, the noise plays havoc on my ability to create. Even here, I’ve discovered I need ear plugs. It’s quite a busy place.

(The food is heavenly. Generous chunks of homemade chicken salad made with a mustard sauce and apricots is the main event, accompanied by crunchy, cheesy toast points, wedges of summer-ripe oranges, grapefruit and cantaloupe, a few squash rounds and finally, a warm poppy seed muffin. Mmmm. Life is good. My tummy and palate are happy.)

Similarly, I’m being chased from my Rebel home, though not, thank goodness, with hammers. It just doesn’t fit who I am anymore. My home needed a new roof after a tree crashed through it and my blog needs a revamp, an update. I’m a writer, after all, and nowhere in the title does it say this.

It says I’m a rebel, which I am, both by nature and by upbringing. It says I muse, and I do. It says I’m Southern and that I’m fried, both applicable. And it says that I’m an earth-angel, which is true, too. But it does not say that I’m a writer.

So this is where I need your feedback. I’m thinking of having a naming contest, a contest to name my blog. First place sees that name on my blog and credit for their bodacious creativity, plus a gift certificate to Amazon or some such. Second, third and fourth get more certs. Deadline maybe August 1? The specifics can be hammered out (hehe), but any input you have on those, too, would be helpful.

I’m also bumping up against 100 followers (or Beautiful People, now sitting at 74). From what I’ve read around Bloggertown, this is a good reason for a contest, and I could actually combine the two.

So I’m throwing it out there, to you all. What do you think? Should I have a contest? Would anybody show up, would you participate, would other people? Or is my idea to have a contest to name my blog totally lame? Send me some blog love, oh Exalted One, and skip down to the comments section and let me know.

Enjoy Michael Buble's Home while you're commenting, the accompanying video has some beautiful sunsets and beach scenes. This was playing as I left the cafe today.

Thanks a trillium! That Rebel, Olivia Herrell

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bad Boy Blogfest/Pretty Packages Don't Always Contain Pretty

During an afternoon of census work in the mountains of Dawsonville, I fell in love with a place called Eagle Ridge. When my bestseller hits, I'm buying a cabin there. It runs along a mountain top that's just wide enough for the road and the houses perched along either side. In both directions there is a view that makes my heart soar.

I've been up there twice and both times a thunderstorm rolled in. The first time I drove only a third of the way down and found it lovely. Today I went all the way to the end. And fell in love.

One day I will have a house there. This I know.

Now, down to business. It's Blogfest time again. This one is hosted by Tina Sandoval, of Sweet Niblets and it's a Bad Boy Blogfest, so go check it out!

Tina Sandoval's Bad Boy Blogfest

I recently introduced a real bad boy to my manuscript and needed to develop his badness, so entering Tina's blogfest gave me a deadline. I wrote this a few nights ago and edited it tonight. I hope it conveys the badness to come. If not, I probably didn't do my job as a writer and will need to tweak it a little.

Bad boys come in all shapes and sizes. Some monsters don't kill or maim. If you don't normally read or watch R-ratings, please don't read this. Consider yourself forewarned.

This excerpt is from my in-process novel, Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's. The main character, Sammy, recently returned to North Georgia to help take care of her mother. She just met this guy in the local grocery.

William watched in his rearview mirror as Sammy Starr exited the store with her mother. She was much hotter in person than she was on screen. This babe was seriously scorching and smacked of Hollywood, even dressed down for Piedmont.

What luck that he’d run in to her already, without any effort on his part. Even better that she was attracted to him.

When Alistair had mentioned she was coming home, he had immediately started planning. He couldn’t wait to get her clothes off. And seeing wasn’t the only thing he wanted to do to that body.

The timing was perfect; his latest lover had turned out to be boring and predictable, as they all invariably did. He preferred them married, there were less strings attached. But Sammy was different.

He watched the petite blond as she sashayed across the parking lot with her jeans hugging her butt and her breasts pushing the limits of her sweater. He felt his pants get tighter as she bent over to help her mother in to a convertible VW and her derriere kissed the air.

She closed the door and opened the trunk to deposit a bag of groceries. Returning the cart to the receptacle, she turned and shook shoulder-length hair from her face. Every move seemed sensuous and deliberate. And he was salivating.

A shiver ran through him when she crossed back to her car and eyed his jag appreciatively. His 2009 XK convertible was definitely a chick magnet and had been a damn good investment. From the looks of her own ride, Sammy appreciated a convertible. He’d find a way to get her in to his soon enough.

Though her eyes were hidden by Audrey Hepburn sunglasses, he saw the telltale start of recognition. She had read his license plate and realized the jag belonged to him. She saluted, as he had done in the store, and then climbed in to her car. The heat in his loins was unbearable.

Oh yeah, Sammy Starr was one helluva woman. He had been fantasizing about her for years. But he sensed the real thing would be far better. Soon, very soon, she’d be his.

He waited until the VW had pulled out of the parking lot before starting his jag. He sat there for a minute listening to the purr of its motor, then rubbed a wet palm on his crotch, repositioning.

Patience, he thought. Patience. Good things come to those who wait.

In the meantime, he’d call Raylene. It had been a few days and he was beyond bursting after running in to Sammy. They would swing by that hot tub party the colonel was having tonight. His hot tub parties meant wet, naked women, all drinking and uninhibited. And that always made for a lusty combination, more fuel for the fire in his belly.

There you have it. Please leave me a comment so I know what's on your mind. Your opinion matters.

Don't forget to click over to Tina's blog to read the posts from the other entrants to the Bad Boy Blogfest. I'll be doing that myself. See y'all tomorrow!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Awards, Confessions and Writerly Love

I got an award, yeehaa!! Thank you to Suzie, the Writer Junkie, for awarding me The Versatile Blogger Award. I am thrilled and honored.

Ain't it purdy? My favorite color green, too. Heck, my favorite color, period.

I met Suzie last weekend through Slushpile Slut's Next Top Title Blogfest. Suzie has three WIP's going, a Paranormal Romance and two Romantic Suspense novels. I don't know how you guys with multiple's do it, my one kicks my bohunkus. Anyway, click on over to Suzie's house and check her out.

Now, down to business. The rules, yes, there are always rules attached to these awards, they're all about sharing love after all. I've cheated a bit (ooo, already cheating!) and copied the rules straight from Suzie's blog:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (check)
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who think you are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Okay, here goes for #2.

1) I recently moved from Southern California to North Georgia and spent three excruciating months wallowing in self-pity before picking myself up and getting on with Life.

2) I've known since I was a peanut that I am a writer. Unlike many writers, though, I didn't always write. At age 12, I started writing poetry and quit about 20 years later (except for every now and then).

3) I began journaling in 1991, something I still do several days a week. I have every single one of my journals and have lugged them cross-country twice (to CA from GA and back again).

4) I wrote a children's book (that I never intended to write) while in CA (2004/5) because the two main characters kept hitting me over the head and made me do it. I shopped publishers for a minute (not agents) and got one really encouraging hand-written rejection amidst the flurry of form rejections. I had a blast writing it and realized then and there that I have way more free time than I had thought.

5) 2006 was the hardest year of my life. The recession hit hard in the beginning of that year, slashing my income in half (too bad it didn't do the same to my expenses). In July, my stepfather died. In October, my mother died, and THAT was the hardest thing I've ever lived through. To date. Harder than losing my dad (who passed in '77) and my brother (in '91). Three years later, I was still reeling, though finally regaining my bearings. The stress of that year was so great that I literally got sick, but managed to stay upright and functional and continued slogging along. I still suffer a tad from leftover PTSD, though the biggest remaining symptom is #6.

6) As a result of #5, I lost the ability to multitask. Which isn't such a bad thing once you get used to it. It forces me to live in the moment and be present in the now. And isn't that how life's best lived anyhow?

7) I have no ties. Minimal possessions. I rent. My car's paid for. My cat is my fellow vagabond. I work three part-time jobs, two of which I can do anywhere.

I have finally stopped doing the more, more, more dance. I got off the merry-go-round. I have lots of time to devote to writing. And I can write anywhere. Except, ah-ha, here's the except. This novel I'm writing? It's happening where I've been planted. Or rather, where I've planted myself. It was spawned in the red clay and green hills of North Georgia and I can't leave until it's done.

This blogosphere, this glorious blogosphere? What a world. Who knew that through my computer, I'd meet you? Each time I click over to a new blog, I meet a new comrade in arms. I get to bump keyboards and fall in love with other writers every single day. Who knew.

With that, I'll get back on track, and on to Rule #3. I don't know if these guys think I'm fantastic (as the rule says), but I do know that I think that THEY are fantastic. So, I'm sending some high-test link love to each and every one of them. Some have directly touched my life, some my writing, and some have touched both. Please carve out a bit of time and tip-toe your way through these writer's blogs:

1) Roland Yeoman, Writing in the Crosshairs
2) Eric Trant, Digging with the Worms
3) Postman, The Sententious Vaunter (who should be back from England soon)
4) Angela, Slushpile Slut
5) Raquel Byrnes, Edge of Your Seat Romance
6) Susan Fields
7) Bryan Sabol, Time Guardian Blog
8) Christine H, The Writer's Hole
9) Zoe Courtman, No Letters On My Keyboard
10) The Genie of the Shell, The Magic Nutshell
11) Lilah Pierce, Thoughts by Lilah Pierce
12) Ashelynn Sanford, A World of My Own
13) Melanie Sherman, Meanderings of Melanie Sherman
14) KM, Katie M. Stout, Writer
15) EJ Fechenda, EJ's Rants and Ramblings

There are quite a few others who also deserved this award but, alas, I'm at the magic number 15, L.A. is about to win the NBA Finals, yeehaa! and I don't think I've got the steam left to go tell everyone.

Sooo, I'll visit you all in the morning!

Lots of Love, Olivia
Go Lakers!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Blogfesting

I just discovered and entered two more Blogfests for the month of June.

The first is hosted by Tina Sandoval, of Sweet Niblets and it's a Bad Boy Blogfest, yaahoo! I have just introduced a real bad boy to my manuscript and am in need of developing his badness, so this gives me a deadline. The Bad Boy Blogfest is slated for June 20th.

The second is being hosted by Kristen, at Take It As It Comes. Hers is The Bickering Blogfest and it's on my birthday, June 30th. My word count goal is 20,000 by that date, which means another, hmm, only 3515 words! Wow. Maybe I should up my word goal to, say, 22,000? I mean, it's a goal, right??

Anyway, these should be fun-filled fests. I'll undoubtably meet some great new writers, get some excellent feedback on scenes from my novel, push my manuscript forward, get out of my comfort zone, and hopefully get a few more followers to boot.

Win/win/win, right?

BTW, I am apparently finding out about both of these rather late but, if you haven't already, go on over to Tina and Kristen's websites and enter your own scenes for their blogfests.

Oh Yes! And thank you to Suzie, the Writer Junkie, for the link over to the blogfests so that I could find them!

Slang and Euphemism

One of my favorite reference books is Richard A. Spears's, Slang and Euphemism, A Dictionary of Oaths, Curses, Insults, Ethnic Slurs, Sexual Slang and Metaphor, Drug Talk, College Lingo and Related Matters. Yes, my fine fellows, it is a dictionary slash thesaurus of off-color terms.

The first time I saw this little paperback honey, it was sitting on my ex's behometh of a coffee table. I didn't pay it much mind, at first. Not until one day when I came over and he was reading it. Curious, I had to ask.

"Whatcha reading?"
"A book of slang."
"Lemme see."

Being a nice guy, and all, he obliged.

I read the outside cover with glee, then opened this newly discovered jewel with undue reverence. Flipping through, I marveled at the wealth of words contained within, many of which I had never even heard. How long did it take Richard Spears to amass all these words, and what possessed him to put them down in a guide? For those of us wondering or writerly sorts, he gives the definition of the word in question, then the related synonyms.

There are almost seven whole pages of synonyms for woofled, a term attributed to Ben Franklin, from the early 1900's, meaning intoxicated.

Did you know that the word penis is derived from the Latin word peniculus, meaning artist's brush? Hmm, do guys really paint with that thing?

Okay, now that I've amused some of you, put some of you off and completely driven others of you away, here's my point. A few of you were brave enough to ask what chi-chi's are. Here's what S&E has to say: chichis the breasts. For synonyms see BOSOM. (U.S. slang, mid 1900s-pres.)

Chi-chi's are breasts, boobs, bezongas, gazongas, headlights, mosquito bites, mountains, peaches, pellets, piggies, upper decks, wallopies and wamdanglers, and about a hundred other terms I didn't include. Interestingly, one of my favorites, ta tas, is not in my edition, which is dated 2001. Maybe it's time for an update.

Also, it appears my spelling of chichis was incorrect, so my work is in need of a little update, too. Sometimes it does not pay to google, not when you have the real thing at your fingertips.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh No, Don't Let the Rain Come Down

This evening a thunder boomer blew in to Dahlonega, a rowdy one carrying copious rain. I opened the sliding glass door and the living room window to settle in and enjoy the storm. Within minutes, rain blew in both openings, so I scrambled to shut them.

I sat down to Facebook, on my unplugged laptop, and had just typed 'We're having a glorious' when my cell phone rang. It was roomie, on his way home from work. As we discussed the ferocity of the storm, I stood in the living room looking out the sliding glass door.

Suddenly, there was a crack and a boom, and a tree fell across the deck right in front of me. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled, wind lashed the trees and torrential rain fell from the sky. The crown of a white oak lay across my deck, while water poured where the gutter had been ripped from the house.

In the middle of freaking out just a tiny bit, I hung up and realized that Bugsy was out there in that maelstrom. I opened the door to call him, then slammed it shut against the rain. Running to the basement, I threw open the door that is sheltered by the deck above. I heard the franticity in my voice as it competed with the storm. No Bugsy.

To make matters worse, cherry-sized hail began falling. My poor little one.

I ran back upstairs and saw his tail flash in the corner of the slider, then was gone. He wasn't at the front door so I raced back to the basement, where I'd left the door open a few inches. No Bugsy. I called and he shot out from under the car, soaked to the skin and frightened to the core. He ran in and up the stairs, but stopped and cowered about three steps from the top. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around him like a body turban, drying him and comforting us both .

Just then, Randy came in, almost as soaked as Bugsy. He went in his bedroom and water was pouring from his ceiling fan and from the middle of his closet door. In the insanity, it hadn't occurred to me to check there for damage. But damaged it was. We called Pat, our landlord, to give him an update. Around 9:00 p.m., Pat's son-in-law, Daniel, came by to look in the attic. And, boy oh boy. We have several holes in the roof. That oak tree did quite a number.

It's hours later and still raining. So far, there's just a round wet spot on the kitchen ceiling, no break through. And the dripping seems to have stopped in Randy's bedroom. For now. I sincerely hope the insurance company gets here first thing in the morning so they can get it patched, and fixed quickly.

Remember me blogging a couple of months ago about them cutting all those trees around our house? Pat had asked them to take this oak down, but they didn't. It turns out the darn thing was hollow inside. What I thought was lightning and thunder, was the tree cracking and slamming in to the roof. If they'd taken it down then, this wouldn't have happened. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

It was quite an exciting evening, one that will not soon be forgotten. Certainly not by Bugsy, who got a much-needed bath. He's all soft and curled up in the chair beside me, waiting patiently for me to go to bed. We're all safe. And that's a good thing. Now it's late. And way past my bed time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beach Jones

My new design is brought to you courtesy of the enormous beach jones I've got going. And thanks to a slight case of ADD. I bore easily and quickly and I was so done with the old one.

So, don't get too fond of this one either, peeps, because, well, this too shall pass. Besides, I want to completely redesign by blog so that it looks more like a writer's blog.

But probably not until I finally make it to salt water. I have reservations for a week in New Smyrna Beach, Florida at the end of August. Egads, that's two months away! My only saving grace? Time flies. Even when you're not having fun, which I AM.

I wonder if I could sneak off for a five-day weekend in SoCal over July 4th weekend? That would be heaven. And a great way to celebrate my birthday.


Pictures from top to bottom (including the title pic): Pelicans feeding in Dana Point, CA; near sunset at Zuma Beach in Malibu, CA; surfers at sunset in Solana Beach, CA.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stuck No Longer!

Did I tell you I got a new laptop? It's paying off already. A few days ago I posted about being stuck. I am stuck no longer. Thank you to Eric and Roland for unsticking me. And to Angela and all the participants in her Next Top Title Blogfest for commenting on my title and propelling me forward.

On Friday, I shared that I upped my word count to 14,054. Today I made it to 16,285. That's the most words I've written in one day in quite a while! And I'm not in pain like I would've been had I sat at my desktop all day. Yeehaa!

So, all in all, I've had quite a productive weekend. I put in several hours of census work. Visited my sister, Carolyn, down in Hiram and saw Sex and the City 2 with her. Helped my friend Ginny, and her husband, Dave, in Douglasville. I unveiled the title of my manuscript, Churches, Chickens and Chi-Chi's, and got some great feedback on that. And I met some new writers and got to help them decide on titles for their own works in process.

Lastly, I moved my own novel forward in leaps and bounds. What a fiercely awesome weekend.

I wanted to end it on a perfect note. With another post. To say thank you. To all of you. I'm so glad you're out there. I'm so glad you're in my life.

Here's a song for Sammy, my main character. She's back home helping take care of her mother and in need of some serious rock and roll. Turn it up. The louder the better.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Next Top Title Blogfest

As promised yesterday, I forged ahead on my manuscript today and broke out of the 13K zone, finishing up at 14054, yeehaa!

Tomorrow, June 12th, is The Next Top Title Blogfest hosted by Slushpile Slut. This one has to do with titles, so today, I am unveiling the title of my book, the one I've been working on since March of this year, the one that currently is up to 14054 words.

I won't be giving you any loglines or background. Just the title. And you 'get to give me your impression as to what the title invokes for you' according to the rules as set forth by our Stilleto Queen. Hmm, I'm guessing we'll be looking for things like genre, voice, plot, storyline, etc.

Okeedokie?? Here goes. The title of my current novel is:

Churches, Chickens and Chi-Chi's.

Some of you have the advantage of having read a few snippets in previous Blogfests. Some of you don't. Either way, hit me with your best shot. I'm not giving any alternate titles because, well, the title inspired the book, soooo, the title is the title. If it sucks, I'm up a creek.

And don't forget to click over to Slushpile Slut's house to read all the other entries and to enter your own.

Love to all y'all!

~That Rebel, Olivia

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time for Another Blogfest, Coming Saturday, June 12th

Okay, it is time to get unstuck. I never not have words. And today, I had none. Spooky. Eerie. Scary. Freak-Ed Me Out.

After entering a couple of blogfests, I connected with some really great writers and as a result my reading list got overwhelmingly huge. Then, between blogging, reading yours, three part-time jobs and my manuscript, suddenly there was no time. So I stopped blogging a couple of weeks ago. And I stopped reading blogs.

The next thing I know, my manuscript is grinding to a halt. Because That Rebel is where I come to sharpen my pencil and my writing skills. And it's apparently where I come to whet my writing whistle. So, duh!

Tonight I threw in the towel and peeked over Eric and Roland's way. Eric was posting about editing and how not to get published and getting unstuck. Roland was posting words of wisdom given by Churchill and other genius writing ghosts and almost allayed one of my big fears about sharing pieces and parts of my manuscript. He also reminded me that we never know who might be out there reading our words and hanging on by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins.

So apparently my writerly prayers had been heard. Because they were certainly answered.

I left their houses and whipped out my manuscript. And moved it forward a wee bit further. I can even see where it's going again. Big Phew!

I'm at around 13700 words and am vowing right now to push that OUT of the 13k mark tomorrow. Not Saturday. Not Sunday. Tomorrow. My lips to God's ear. And yours.

I also clicked over to check out the upcoming Blogfests, something else I had abandoned to free up time. The next one is Saturday, June 12th, hosted by Slushpile Slut. And this one has to do with titles, The Next Top Title Blogfest.

So I will be sharing the title of my book. With no logline or backstory. And you'll 'get to give me your impression as to what the title invokes for you' according to the rules as set forth by our Stilleto Queen.

Come back by on Saturday for my title. And click over to Slushpile Slut's house to read all the other entries and to enter your own.

On that final note, I'll leave you with your very own, big, big, BIG pile of gold and one of my favorite all-time movie songs. Which kinda fits with where my novel sits right now...

I'll Be There

So much rattling around in my head. Colors. Feelings. Directions. But no words.

There are songs. Pictures. Dreams. Connections. But no words.

No words for my blog. Maybe it's been too long.

I mustered a few. Spent thirty minutes getting them down.

Then poof. They were gone. Now I can't (or don't have the heart to) get them back.

So, here's Michael. Young Michael. The Michael we grew up with.

For you, my readers. Till the words are back again. 'Cause they will be. Don't you doubt it. Not ever....

For Harold...
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