Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Back Control

I went through a rough couple weeks this summer. My house was constantly trashed, the kids were around constantly and becoming increasingly irksome with their boredom of summer vacation. I was constantly stressed, unemployed and broke and my agoraphobia and social anxiety was at a peak. I'd lost control of my life, and worst of all, I was in danger of losing the novel I'd been working on.

Getting a job helped a lot. It's a low paying part time janitorial job, but it's perfect for me. I get to work alone and I have time to think.

I've been reading a book a friend gave me called THE SLIGHT EDGE. It's a pretty good book and makes a lot of sense. One of the points it makes is that the right thing, whether it's exercising, eating the right thing, picking up your living room or working on your novel is easy to do. The problem is that those little things are also easy not to do. Especially when you're exhausted from kids and work. But when you actually do those little things, you feel so much better about yourself, and so much more in control.

I am getting back control. So far, I've managed to get my house clean and I'm keeping up with it. My story is returning to me and I'm getting a minimum of 500 words a day written...which will hopefully increase to 1500 when the kids go back to school. I'm working on keeping up with my blog (stay tuned, there's going to be an exciting guest post!) and I'm working on a plan to get my finances back in order.

These are all little things, but I'm feeling the difference more and more every day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Fun Facts about Cats

I haven't done one of these in awhile. So, for your edification, here's some more interesting facts about the most awesome animal in the world. Yes, I'm biased.

1.) Cats have 2 noses. They have a "Jacobson's Organ" in the roof of their mouths like a snake. When you see a cat curl up its upper lip and stick its tongue out a little, they are smelling with that other nose. The action is called, "flehming"and they usually do this when smelling a potential mate or something they've never smelled before.

2.)Cats have 3 eyelids: The third eyelid, which is transparent, is called the "nictitating mebrane." It's there to lubricate the eye by spreading tears across the eye while simultaneously acting as a dust shield. This helps their efficiency in hunting since they don't have to blink as often.

3.) Cat brains have been shown to be more similar to human brains than dog brains. The part of the brain for emotions is the same in both cats and humans. Their visual memory retention is comparable to monkeys, but their short-term memory is a little less than dogs.

4.) At least one cat was documented by a scientist to have adapted an object for use as a tool. The cat thought her food was too dry so she used a hair scrunchie to sop up water from her bowl and then placed it on her food.

5.) Cats shed their whiskers and claws a couple times a year. My husband believes they are lucky.

6.) The darkness of a Siamese cat's points depends on temperature. The colder it is, the darker the points. That's because the pigment is only produced in cooler temperatures. And that's why a Siamese cat's points are at the cooler parts of the body: The tail, feet. ears, and face.

7.) A female cat is called a "Queen." Much better than a female dog's title :) However, a male's title depends on whether or not he's for breeding purposes or not. If you want him to make kittens, then he is a "Stud." If he's some stray determined to impugn your Queen's honor, then he's just a plain old "Tom."

8.) The oldest documented cat lived to be 38. Her name was "Creme Puff." Awwwww.

9.) A litter of five kittens could have five different fathers. That's because the female drops the egg during mating instead of before.

10.) Cats are still a part of the international fur trade. OMG, I just learned this today. Apparently Cruella DeVille is real in a manner of speaking and 24 cats have to be killed to make a fur coat. Fortunately, this practice is being outlawed in many countries.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You must read a lot to write a lot.

"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." ~ Stephen King

I totally love that quote, but when he was speaking of aspiring writers claiming they don't have time to read, I thought Sai King was joking. And then I heard someone say it. Almost as bad are those that say they "only read so-and so and so-and so" or only "(insert genre)."

This is bad, people! If you don't read at all, how are you supposed to expand your vocabulary? How are you supposed to be able to tell why a certain sentence works while another falls flat on its face? How are you supposed to know what's been done and what hasn't?

And for those of you that slavishly stick to a handful of authors or one genre, you will likely never get the inspiration to put a creative spin on your story. That goes for you especially, romance authors. It's not enough to branch out to a western romance or a romantic suspense for inspiration. Read a "real" western or a real "thriller." Observe what the author does when there is no romantic relationship at stake.

A good romance often has another plot besides that of "will they get together?" But many fall flat. If your characters are on a spaceship in danger of being attacked by aliens, it would likely do you good to read a sci-fi or six for inspiration on descriptions of the experience. Also, you get the bonus of falling in love with new authors and new stories.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What if Print Books Die?

I still haven't read an e-book yet. I have no Kindle, Nook, or i-anything. I'm too poor. Which brings me to a concern, although it's probably far-fetched.
With e-books being the "wave of the future," what if print books die? Some people talk gleefully about it happening. But would that be such a good thing?

Let's picture this scenario for a moment. And please permit me to be extremely hypothetical. Let's say that there are no more new print books. You can still get them off e-bay and at antique stores.

Suppose that school textbooks are digital and an e-reader is on every kid's school supply list, which many people can't afford. Or, say the school provides the e-readers but taxes the hell out of the district to pay for them.

Prisoners won't be able to read anymore because I don't see the taxpayers paying for e-readers for them.

Retirees on a shoestring budget won't be able to afford them.

People in rural areas and third world countries (who already have a hard time getting print books) won't be able to download anything even if they could get an e-reader.

So, the bottom line, in my opinion would be that if print books go away, illiteracy would rise with poor people, prisoners, and people in undeveloped countries.

Your thoughts?