Contest Alert

I know I’ve been quiet – been reading most of the weekend away, though I should have been writing.  I’m getting things out of the way while I’m at work today, though, so I can write tonight.

I’d like to draw your attention to literary agent Nathan Bransford‘s Stupendously Ultimate First Line Challenge, in which all are welcome to submit the first line from a project in hopes of winning a partial manuscript critique.  I’ve entered, though I have to admit I used a line from a short story idea currently about four paragraphs long, and it wasn’t even the first line, but then I realized it ought to be the first line, so I kidnapped it and will rework the rest to fit it as I have time.  You know, all four paragraphs.  It’ll be torture.  And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll actually finish it.

Stranger things have happened.

Not often, but they have.


Vicks’ VapoTurp?

Did you know that Vicks’ VapoRub has turpentine in it?

Yep, that’s the same kind of turpentine you’d use for paint thinner.

It’s listed as an inactive ingredient, but it was actually used in ancient times, mixed with animal fat, as a primitive chest rub just like VapoRub.  So how inactive is it? I’m not willing to make a guess.

Incidentally, the famous Biblical balm of Gilead?  You guessed it: probably turpentine oil.

Crazy, the things you learn when you write a book…

Just for Variety…

Since I wrote last Saturday about how the creative muse drops off the face of my brain by 2pm (hah! I don’t even know how many mixed metaphors I got in there), I find it necessary to explain that there is a significant exception to that rule, and that is that on Wednesday evenings when I tag along with Matt to the church building while he helps run youth group, when I can hole myself up in the youth min office, I’ve had some of the more productive writing sessions of my writing career.

Given, most of the time I don’t write earlier in the day on Wednesdays, for one reason or another, but it is exceedingly odd.

Also, the car alarm has taken up its old hobby of going off for no discernible reason.  Excitement, excitement.  Actually, so far it’s been related to the almost dying in Kansas incident a year ago, but we thought we’d taken care of the last bit of problem back in June.  *sigh*

In other big news, our house is for sale.

No, we don’t own a house.

But we take lots of walks through nearby neighborhoods, and we have a few favorites, and the one we always walk past and say “yeah, if that one actually had a yard, we’d really really like it” is officially for sale.  And since we’re curious little buggers, we took a flyer from their box and it turns out there is actually a decent back yard.  Better than we thought there was, anyway, and all enclosed, which is nice in its own way.  Of course, we promptly looked it up on ReMax (I think this link should take you there) and found out that we have incredible taste.  It’s a bargain at only $910,000!  Hahaha.  Ah, but it’s fun to window shop.  I haven’t got a clue what I’d do with a house like that.  If I’m gonna have that much space, I want a real, old-fashioned farm house.

Anyway, still 300 words left to meet my daily word count goal (300? A trifle!) so it’s off to write, off to write…

This and That

Adding work to the already-challenging mix of writing, school, blogging, keeping up with things like laundry, and interacting with the real live people who are our friends (yes, we actually have some of those) has been quite the adventure. I fear the blogs (all three) have suffered as a result.

On the up side, I have been getting things done away from the computer.

Also, the mukluks we ordered when we were in Alaska in June came in the mail yesterday – they’re fabulously warm, and I’m looking forward to winter so I can test them against my toes’ tendency for being extremely cold. I’ll take a picture and post it later, so don’t think you’re getting away without seeing them. They’re lovely, elk hide lined with soft pelt (I forget what variety) and a rim of beaver fur around the top outer edge.

Hmm… seems like there was something else on my mind, but it’s escaped for now. That just means I’ll have something more to say later.

His Majesty’s Dragon

I just finished Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon.  Wow.  Definitely a fan.  More later, but it’s highly recommended from me.  Unfortunately, I have a lot of other things to do before I can justify picking up the second and third in the series, but rest assured it will happen in the next month.

Go now.  Fall in love with Temeraire.  You’ll be glad you did.

Early Morning

I have to say that I feel a little bit nuts for being awake at 6:40 on a Saturday morning – and I feel even crazier for having been awake for an hour already.

Ostensibly, there are three reasons for this.  The first is that throughout the summer my sleep schedule slipped farther and farther toward “bed at 1am, wake at 9”, which is lovely for late-night reading (nothing like finishing a book in the middle of the night and sneaking into bed) but horrible for my productivity.  My brain begins its shut-down process for creative endeavors at about noon, and by 2pm I’m usually toast if I’m trying to write.  If it’s a really good day I might last until 4.  This is regardless of what time I start working.  I’m not saying I can’t work on creative projects (like quilts or editing) after that time, but the designing or creating bug just goes to sleep.  I can continue projects in process, but have a hard time coming up with new material.

So if I wake up at 9, by the time I’ve eaten and dressed and done everything else that needs to get done before I get to work, I have maybe four or five hours of productive creative time.  That just doesn’t cut it.

Also, I have to be at my day job by 7:45am, which conflicts with sleeping until 9.  And I do best waking up at roughly the same time every morning.  It’s annoying, but I’ve tried all sorts of things and I just work best on a regular sleep schedule.  So.  Here I am at 6:45 on a Saturday morning, awake for my own good even though my body says “Please, please let me go back to sleep!”

Oh, and I missed the required SHU chat session on Tuesday night, so I’m waiting for 7am to log in this morning and talk to someone about something.  I’ve never actually done one of the make-up chats, so I have no idea how many people might be there.  Lucky east-coasters get to make up their chat at 9am, but that means 7am out here.  I’m betting pretty much none of the west coast people ever miss a Tuesday night chat, just so they don’t have to get up at 6am to make it up.

And since I’ve officially slipped into rambling, I think it’s time to go make me some breakfast and tea before the chat.

First Day

Today was my first day of training for the new part-time job. I very much doubt it’s going to be a very hard or stressful situation, which is very good. I like easy and low-stress. Tomorrow is going to be incredibly boring… I’ve learned most of the essentials for the job, and it really only requires 1/2 of a person dedicated to it, but we’ll have 2 tomorrow (me and the woman who is training me). My trainer is really nice, and usually covers Mondays and Tuesday… but I have to say I’m glad I won’t actually ever be working with her. She has a tendency to fill any silence with some kind of talk, which means I wouldn’t get a thing done. So… probably not much productivity in terms of my own projects tomorrow, but I’ll just deal with that. Thursday and Friday, though, watch out. I’ll be on fire.

So yeah, it’s a decent gig. I should be able to live with it, and hopefully come out ahead. Everyone at the office is really nice. Big challenge will be learning names, especially since I’ll need to know who’s in the building so I can transfer calls to the right place even when someone’s out of the office. That’s about all.

I’m going to go make a baby quilt, because if I don’t do it now it’ll never get done. To the quilt!