Thursday, April 24, 2014

Take a Chance

It's Take A Chance Day.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

What person, goal, or thing are you going to take a chance on?

B.E.:  I've taken a lot of chances in my life - some of which turned out well, like marrying my husband after such a sort acquiantance and buying this house sight unseen.  I also took a chance recently and sent a submission off to a publisher.  Here's hoping that turns out well.  Not sure if I have any new chances coming up today.  Maybe I'll take a chance and send out some more queries today, after all it's been about a month.

JB: I'm not much of a gambler, so you won't find me buying a lottery ticket or anything. I AM going to take a chance with Armani Vasquez from the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN books. I'm not quite ready to make a certain project public yet, but she figures heavily in it.

Also, while it hasn't panned out (YET!!) I'm glad I took a chance on the possibility of the books becoming a tv series. If nothing else, it's been an interesting experience.

Tell us Killer Friends, what are you taking a chance on?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Those Goals We Can't Quite Give Up On

If you've been following me for a while, you probably know I'm a big believer in setting goals and going after them. You probably also know that I don't always achieve my stated goals (sigh).

Some of us have goals that we fail to meet year after year and yet we're loathe to give up on them.

For some it's Reading More, for others it's Writing More, for others it's Lose Weight, and for others it's Stop Wasting So Much Time on the Internet (not that you're wasting time now).

Back in January of 2013 one of my publicly stated goals was to run multiple times with someone other than my husband or my dog.  (If you're a stalker, you know that I tried this once, failed dismally because I'm so slow and was thoroughly disheartened by the whole thing.)

Now it's April of 2014 and I no longer have the dog, and I no longer have the husband. And yet, because it was one of those things I couldn't give up on, I've finally achieved my goal of running multiple times with others,

And guess what? It's pretty freaking wonderful. Not the running (I'm still not a huge fan of that) but the camaraderie.  I've found a group of people who are more than willing to cheerily slow down and cheer others on. I've FINALLY achieved this goal and it's more awesome than I imagined.

I'm telling you this because I suspect you have at least one of those nagging goals rattling around in the back of your head. I'm telling you this because maybe you've given up on trying to achieve it because you've failed so many times before…and yet you really haven't because otherwise it wouldn't be hanging out back there, poking you with the "what if" stick.

I'm telling you this because I want to drown out the "I can't" voice in your head.

You CAN read more.
You CAN write more.
You CAN lose weight.
You CAN stop wasting so much time on the internet. (but again, you're NOT wasting time now, lol)
You CAN run  a marathon.
You CAN raise a ton of money for charity.
You CAN start a business.
You CAN quit the job you hate.


I'm not saying this just because I finally found a running group. I'm saying it because after having watched two dear friends struggle with their respective books for years, I'm witnessing them preparing to publish them.

I'm saying it because I'm so tired of hearing people (including myself -- myself most of all) saying they can't do things.

Tell me Killer Friends: What CAN you do?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Fear Itself

Time to jump into the wayback machine and post the beginning of my very first novel Fear Itself.  Yes, I picked out quotes for the beginnings of every chapter.

Chapter 1
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.”
– Daniel Boorstin
 “We’re on in two.” 
Scanning the copy for tonight’s broadcast, Alex McKenzie couldn’t bring herself to believe what she was reading, not that any of it was new.  The world she once thought was so constant—so stable—was falling apart. 
She reported on the same types of things for the past two months, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling something wasn’t right about it all.  As if the action would erase her unease, she ran a trembling hand through her hair.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of movement; a monitor just off the set showed a woman’s profile.  Her long black hair was perfectly coiffed, but hung limp around her pale face.  Her slender fingers quivered over the papers in front of her.  The corner of her mouth twitched as though she held back a tide of tears. 
At the edge of her consciousness, Alex heard the lead-in, but she couldn’t seem to focus her thoughts.  The camera in front of her indicated she was now on-air.  The woman on the monitor straightening to speak.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” said a familiar voice, “and welcome to GBC News.  It’s Friday, May 1st, and I’m Alexandra McKenzie standing in for Craig Jamison.” 
The woman sat rigidly behind the news desk and looked, for that brief moment, as if she would rather be doing anything else than reporting the news.  It took a moment for Alex to realize the woman was herself.  Shaking away the detachment she now realized was visible on her face, she replaced her harried expression with the steely gaze of the hardened reporter she used to be.  She looked directly into the hearts of her audience and began.  “What would normally be a day of celebration for the coming of spring is instead a day of trepidation.  This time of year we should all be thinking of beaches and bikinis, cookouts and ball games,  but instead our thoughts are of Fenrir and its rapid descent toward Earth.” 
Her face twisted as she fought against the pain coursing through her chest.  She had no hope to offer about its course and no new reports of anyone who could divert the catastrophe headed their way.
She looked at the text in front of her.  It couldn’t be true.  If she didn’t read the words, it wouldn’t be true.  But it was her job.  “Tonight, Paris is in flames.” 
The whole world was a gigantic jigsaw puzzle being dismantled bit by bit; one more piece taken out and tossed into the jumbled pile that once made a picture and now only made a mess.  “Over the past few days, a mob has moved across the city leaving death and destruction in its wake.  This morning, we showed footage of their attempt to destroy the Eiffel Tower.  As of late this afternoon, that same mob focused their anger on the Louvre.  Beginning with the glass pyramid that has become as familiar a part of Paris as the gallery itself, a full frontal assault on the historic structures ensued.  We have reports several of the mob’s members were trampled in the crush to escape the pyramid’s falling shards.  At least two have been pronounced dead from their injuries.”  She stopped, swallowing hard while the director looked on, horrified.  Motioning nervously, he tried to get her to resume, but she sat battling against a twisted urge to burst into hysterical laughter. 
After several more seconds and many more gestures from the director, she took a deep breath and forged in again.  “The assault on the museum escalated with an attack on three security guards who were attempting to barricade the doors.  Our thoughts go out to them and their families, but at this time hope for their safety is bleak.”   She paused as a lump in her throat threatened to choke her.  Each word drained a little bit more color from her face and a little bit more light from her eyes. 
Her hands shook as she pushed past the pain.  “Once the mob entered the museum, the carnage was overwhelming.  Attempting to save such famous artifacts as The Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, several noted historians lost their lives.  Men on the scene report nothing of significant artistic value made it out of the blaze.”  Splaying her fingers on the desk, she nodded curtly in response to a signal from behind the camera.  “I just received word GBC’s reporter on the scene is coming through.  For up to the minute news on the fires, we go now to John Clanton.”
As the feed began, the on-air light flickered out and Alex surrendered to her misery, sagging in her chair, her head slumping forward to rest on her arms.  Even as she tried to block it all out, she could hear the GBC reporter speaking and the sounds of the scene behind him.  The cries of the mob were like a thousand hyenas in her ears. 
She felt the urge to run, to get away from the horror she reported day after day, but a single thought held her in place:  “Tomorrow someone… anyone… may come forward...”  She never finished the thought; she didn’t know what was left to hope for.  Like the billions of people around the world, she once held out hope the scientists were wrong, but as time passed and the comet came closer, her hopes withered.  
“I don’t know why hope doesn’t just die,” she thought. 
No matter how bad everything got,  she knew she had to be there to report the news; to relieve the minds of the millions and speak the words: “Fenrir is no longer a danger.”

Yes, there are flaws, but this was first written in 2004 and edited ad nauseum between 2004-2008.  I don't think I have the heart to edit it again - not without some kind of industry interest anyway. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

You Can Take the City Manager Out of the City...

...but you can't take the Manager out of him. 

That's pretty much the refrain here at Sanderson, Inc.  Last year, about this time, my husband retired from being a city manager and we moved to our 'retirement' home.  I put the retirement in quotes because even though he's officially retired, he's still working.  Now instead of managing a city of about 3500, he's managing a city of 2 (four if you include the cats).  Instead of dealing with a large infrastructure where there are 4 wells, an electric distribution network, a drainage/sewage system, park, recreation, library... you get the gist... he's dealing with a small infrastructure in one house.   (I'm in charge of Parks and the Library.  LOL)

Anyway, he left the city behind, but he's still got projects.  Just now instead of 30-some employees, he just has himself (and me, when I can be helpful).  Right now, he's working on the insulation project.  I don't know how many rolls and bats he ordered, but here's pretty much what it looks like in the garage:

(And yes, that is Max up there on top of the pile - or as he likes to think of it, his new extra-comfy cat bed.)

Lest you think he's the only one who can't let his old job go, though, look at me.  I haven't worked for other people in ten years, but I'm still doing my secretarial duties when it comes to backing up the Manager.  I'm also still working the sales angle, and I haven't done that as an occupation for 13 years.  It's kind of engrained. 

I think our occupations kind of become who we are - if they weren't who we were already.  And even if someone told me I had to stop writing books, I'd still be writing something somewhere fifty years from now. 

What about you?  Do you have an occupation you no longer work in that you find yourself doing anyway?  Do you think if you left your current occupation that you'd still be trying to work it?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fab Photo Friday - Easter 21 Years Ago

Which was actually the Kid's first Easter.

Whether you celebrate or not, have a lovely weekend, Killer Friends.


And eat some Cadbury Eggs for me. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

National Humor Month

Since it's National Humor Month, it's time to break out the jokes.  (Just keep 'em clean, folks.)  And tell us about your favorite comedian(s).

B.E.: Personally, I'm a fan of Steven Wright.  "I spilled spot remover on my dog and now he's gone."  "I read the dictionary.  I thought it was a poem about everything."  "On the other hand, there are different fingers."  I also love Robin Williams.  And Gilda Radner.  But my lifelong favorite has to be Bill Cosby.  My parents had a record of his when I was growing up and I still quote it from time to time.  I even found a copy on CD for my very own, so I could share it with the Kid. 

And one of my favorite clean jokes goes like this: What do you get when you cross a German Shepherd and a giraffe?  A watchdog for the second floor.

JB: Sooooo….did you hear the one about the humor writer who really isn't into comedy? The one who dislikes sitcoms and has never seen a full espisode of Friends, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men or Modern Family?  Yeah, that's me.

Jokes aren't really my thing, but since B.E. is an avid birder, I thought I'd share the one about The Foo Bird, but then she said to keep things clean…and it's not…in multiple ways, so I'll just link to it. ;-)

Like B.E.,  I like Bill Cosby, but I think I'll have to bestow "Favorite" status on Tim Conway.

Tell us Killer Friends: What your favorite joke?  Make us laugh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Characters and Personality

I've been trying to figure something out about Armani from the CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN series.

The semi-psychic has been in seven stories, but I couldn't get a handle on something about her. (Could I be any more vague?)  

Finally, pretending to be her, I answered a bunch of questions for the Jung Typology test which can be found here.

Armani, it would seem, is an ENFP ( Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving).  You can read the whole description of her personality type here. (But I found this description easier to read.) Here's just a bit of it:

The Inspirer

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.
ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.

Sure some people might think this is as accurate as reading tea leaves (or Scrabble tiles) but it did the trick for me. I figured out what I needed to know about Armani based on something on this description.

The method might be a bit unorthodox, but I thought some of you might find it to be an interesting experiment. You could play with it for a character or for yourself. Or maybe for someone you're pissed off at, so that you can better understand them….

Tell me Killer Friends: Have you taken a Personality Test? Do you believe in them? Or do you use/believe in horoscopes, numerology, or psychics??

I've taken a few of these tests and I always get the same answer for myself. I'm an INFJ. Yeah, most of the description is pretty much me in a nutshell. **eye roll**  Go ahead, take it and let me know what YOU are.