Thursday, March 27, 2008

Out Of The Country

I do a lot of traveling. I've travelled for my work as a writer, and I've travelled due to farm work, usually showing, and usually pulling a loaded trailer behind me. All experiences have been rewarding, and usually enjoyable. One thing I found shocking the first time I travelled outside the U.S. is that regular insurance won't cut it if you have an accident, or other related problems. You need special travel insurance that will cover out-of-the-country incidents. I don't think that's something a lot of people think about when planning a trip. Probably even less so if it's just a vacation. It's a pretty big thing if you need it though. Just like any other insurance, chances are you won't ever have to use it, but on those occassions when you do, you're awfully happy you have it.

In The Blink Of An Eye

It may be coincidence but it seems like everytime I think of something, I magically get presented with the link for it. I have seen some ads on tv for different versions of the walk in tub and thought lately it might not be a bad idea to get something like that installed. I am CONSTANTLY hurting myself, yes, I'm a clutz, and as I get older, it takes longer and longer to heal. I'm not old... well not exactly, but over the winter with the last injury I had, I could have really used that type of situation. I couldn't take anything but showers for months, and I MISSED not being able to soak in a bath. It's only been the last few weeks that I've been able to enjoy that pleasure again, and I swear if I get into that situation again--and its likely--I'll be having a walk-in tub installed before you can blink an eye.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Brand Yourself

I've been playing around with a new logo design for our farm with Logo Yes and it's a lot of fun. This is the second one I've made. You can try their logo maker free and create a logo and matching business card to accentuate your style for all kinds of different types of businesses. As a writer we all know how important it is to 'brand' yourself and get your name out there so people will look for your work. This is a great, and very easy way to do it. All you do is follow the five steps, that's it, but inside those five steps is a myriad of options to create just the right logo for yourself, and then several different style choices for a business card.

Here is the logo I made this time, and a picture of the creation template to show how easy it is

And this is the finished product, the choice I made for the business card.

I did a different style in red too. Red and white are actually our farm colors, but I liked the blue one too and wanted to see how it would look. I did a completely different logo for the red one. It's so easy, I could play with this all night, but then I'd never be able to make my decision on which one to use.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Financial Toll Of Owning A Home

Do home repairs ever end? I'm beginning to think the answer is a definate no. I had a bit of a conversation with someone else on a forum I go to about how there's always something that needs to be done, repaired, replaced, changed, and what have you. Our house isn't even that old by home structural standards, yet I swear, there's always something going on here. I feel like I live in a constant state of construction. Maybe it's just because I live on a farm and for some reason, farms and constant construction seem to go together. I'm not sure. But I am sure that I need a membership to a company like directbuy. The cost of doing all this work is starting to really take a toll on our finances. Hum, either that or it's all the horses, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, cats, and such... okay, I'll have to think about that for a bit.

Mind Where You Are Standing

I had a very interesting conversation recently with another horse person on SADDLES. It was interesting to me, but probably less to someone who doesn't own a horse, but what might be of interest is the mental conversation I had afterwards on location.

When we write, many times people all over the world read our work, and yet, what seems pertinent and completely understandable to one person, may seem odd halfway around the world. Something like a 'saddle'. Here in America the Western saddle is considered 'manly'. You rarely see a writer putting their hero on a horse in an English saddle, and yet for large portions of the world that's the saddle of choice for any sex rider. I guess it's because in America the Western saddle was the 'cowboy' saddle, or even, if you will, the poor man's saddle, as English saddles were primarily used by the rich who could afford expensive hunters or racers. This isn't exactly the case with Western saddles anymore and a good show saddle can far surpass the cost of a good English show saddle, but it's probably how the bias got started here in this country.

All things horsey aside, there are alot of things that come into play when considering where you are in the world. Sometimes things you might not even think about. I remember on my very first book I had a reader write to me out of the blue, laughing because I had refered to 'soda' as 'pop'. They said they'd never heard of such a thing. They'd used soda, or cola, but never 'pop'. I wrote back and asked where in the world they were from. They responded 'California'. So much for some far away part of the world--or maybe not. LOL I came to find that 'pop' was a fairly midwestern term for soda, and people in other areas of the country might never have heard that reference.

When you write, mind where you're standing.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Sign of the Times

Do you remember when as teens we got so excited by the new 'video' craze PacMan? You had to go to the arcades to play it though because video games only came in these huge consoles... then came the PC and 'at home' versions of those cool games! Wow. And of course soon to follow were the video game units. I remember having a ball playing that ping pong game, it was just a simple little box that you bat back and forth across the computer screen with to 'v' shaped paddles... remember? It seemed like such an amazing advance.

I'm thinking about that now as my adult son sits downstairs playing his xbox 360 and some game about car theft. The action is so amazing on that thing. You can make your character do all kinds of things besides just steal cars and run from the cops--why does it seem like all video games largely have to do with breaking the law, or wiping out the enemy? Anyway, he can just stroll along a street, and stop in at a convinenece store if he wanted to. He can have his 'car theif' steal a car and then tune into his favorite radio station on the car's sterio, or even play a 'cd'. Talk about realism. And I thought two 'v' shaped paddles were something to be amazed by.

Technologically Inept

When it comes to cables I don't know an HDMI from a CAT or a Coax (except that I do know the TV has a coaxial cable, I don't know why it's differnt). You could say I'm technologically impaired. Go ahead. I say it all the time. What's scary, or maybe exciting is that my 5 year old grandson could probably tell you, in detail. Watching him on a computer is quite amazing. My 7 year old granddaughter too. They've been computer literate since they could talk. In fact, somewhere on my hard-drive I have a picture of my 2 month old granddaughter sitting on my lap 'typing' on the keyboard. They learn in school, they learn at home, computers are such a part of their everyday experience. When I was there age none of this existed. Even my own kids didn't know what a computer was until they were in their early teens. They're still better at it than I am when it comes to the technical stuff though. The world is limitless now for the generations growing up in it. Europe is as close as the mousebutton. It's amazing... and scary.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is It Freaky?

I took a walk through all the rooms of my house yesterday trying to determine what it is about surroundings that make for mentionalbe pieces in a story. What does each piece of furniture say about me, or my family, etc. Does one particular thing say more than another. Does something in a room create an ambiance that makes that room what it is, or give it a character that shows something about the person living there. Even when I go to friend's houses I kind of take mental notes about certain elements in their homes that do the same. It helps later when I'm trying to show something in a novel about a particular character and his/her surroundings. Do you find yourself more in tune to things like that in your own home and others as well since you started writing? Do you watch people on the street or in stores now not because of them, but because you're developing future character studies? I do... maybe that's freaky, but I do.

How Long Is Too Long?

I have a character in my newest WIP that is going into drug rehab. I have to say this is my 'grittiest' work so far. I hope I'm not going too far over the edge on it. Trying to stay compasionate for the character has been tough. I wonder sometimes if it's always necessary for the main character to be compassionate throughout the book, or can you manage a time period where he/she may fall out of favor with the reader? How long would that last? Can you take it when a character you know you're supposed to root for is exhibiting traits that aren't 'rootable'? If he/she is exhonerated in the end does that work? Will you carry on the read until you get to the part where you understand?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

State Of Depravation

When I was young, in my teens and twenties I'd stay up all night long, for days on end writing. I used to think some of my best writing was done that way. When I look back at what was written during those marathons I realize that most of what I considered 'the best' was probably sleep deprived hallucinations. It really isn't all that great. Of course, over time as we mature writing becomes better just from experience, but sleep is something we also learn is much more important to creativity than we give it credit for as 'young'uns'. Lately I haven't been getting a lot of sleep for other reasons. One of which is I need a new mattress. Even though I no longer purposely stay up all night writing, I find myself drawn to my computer when I can't sleep at night. Staring at a blank page is a lot worse when you're in a state of deprevation.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Dream Vacation

Getting a vacation when you have a farm, and are self-employed can be really tricky. If I were to get away I'd go to Las Vegas. There just seems to be so much going on there. I saw an episode of a show I watch all the time last week where some of the contestents went to Vegas and went on this really cool looking ride that shoots you up 100 or something feet in the air then drops you back down at the speed of light repetatively--that's my new dream--to go on vacation and get rocketed into the Vegas skyline several times. Even though there's so much to do, even I could afford a vacation there between discount hotels Las Vegas and all the buffets that are so reasonable. I keep telling hubby that, and he keeps saying, well, okay, if you can find one of those hotels that will let us bring all the goats and horses, we're there. Okay, it might be a little while.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Can't Be Replaced

I've been reading a lot of books lately since I hadn't been able to sit up and do my own writing until just recently after a couple of injuries. I love to read. It's a way of visiting foreign lands, new places, and even imaginary places without ever leaving home. I love to write and create those places, and enjoy reading others versions of their 'places'. I always have. It saddens me some that reading has become a less popular pastime. I know that the Internet, video games, and even movies have taken over the pleasure of reading, but in some ways it's kind of a cheat, even movies. I love movies, but you don't have to use your imagination to see the places or allow your imagination to take over, you only have to accept the version played out for you on the screen. Have you ever read a book and pictured the characters, only to see a movie version of the book later and it was nothing at all like what you imagined? It's because with a book, even if the description is very detailed you still have leaway for your mind to create its own images. That's part of the rare wonder of reading, something that can never be replaced by an image on a screen.