Monday, February 27, 2006

Life is Still Good, But...

Conferences are over. I've got Spelling lists for the rest of the school year. I've graded every single piece of paper I could find and I even managed to toss myself into this century by creating a spreadsheet with my grades. Yay! I don't have to rely on my math skills anymore! Epson's sending me a new printer. My contest entries are on their way, I still have some cash and tomorrow is payday. So what could be wrong, you ask?

I'm at another crossroads. Yes, ANOTHER one. (Somehow they seem to be coming more frequently as I get older!) All this work for an ESL job is wearing me out. My heart isn't in it full-time. I'll still apply for jobs when I see them (always be looking, I'm told), but I feel like I should be tossing myself into the mix of writing related activities. Ultimately I want to be published. This is not a new concept for me or any other unpub. But, I think about actors and musicians who work tirelessly at their craft, who work a regular job and then do auditions or acting lessons or practice sessions or gigs. Yes, they have something to pay the rent and keep food on the table, but they never lose sight of their ultimate goal. I'm feeling that the ESL thing, although it is important to me, was an outlet to pursue after my last rejection. It was something I liked at a time when I really needed something to really like. But where am I? Writing again, revising my strategy toward publishing and jumping back into the publishing circus with both feet without checking to see how deep the pool is. I'm feeling that I should stick to teaching middle school English and still put everything else I have into my writing. I don't want to give up. I don't want to do things that take away from my writing time. Does that make sense? Any thoughts? Advice? Suggestions?

In the meantime, I'm off to usual.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Life Is Good

It's Friday. That alone is enough reason to celebrate. Monday is Parent/ Teacher Conference Day and my work day is over at 2. That's another good reason. No ESL class on Monday. And of course, there is the fact that spring break is a mere 2 weeks away. I love my kids, but I can't wait to be without them!

Life is finally starting to slow down. Not a lot, but some. It feels manageable again. I'm going to see the Black Watch and the Band of Welsh Guards tonight. I'm mailing off a contest entry tomorrow morning. I'll mail off my revisions to the GOTCHA coordinator either tomorrow or Monday for the entry to go to the editor.

I had a job interview this morning for a summer job at an ESL camp in Spain. It went well enough, but now I'm kinda crashing. I think I've been thinking about it for so long and now it's over. Either that or I don't really want the job. Well, I'll find out by the end of March whether I get it or not.

I'm also applying for a job in Tokyo through the University of Montana to teach English to adults for a year. Don't know if anything will even come of it, but it can't hurt to try, right? I asked a co-worker to write me a recommendation and we ended up talking about ESL and jobs. Just from what I've told her about both the Spain and Tokyo gigs, she thinks the Tokyo one sounds more up my alley. Deep in my heart I wonder if she's right? Still, I'll continue to fill out applications and see what else pops up. You never know. My absolute dream job could materialize in my dream location. I'll never know unless I try.

But in the end, if I stay right where I am doing exactly what I'm doing now...that would be okay too. Truly, truly the best of both worlds.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Why Can't This Be Life Imitating Art?

Now, why can't this be real life? I have a zillion things going on around me, so much so that I'm exhausted and my work week hasn't even started yet! And what's happening? My latest romantic suspense hero (the one whose story is already 100 pages long) is whispering in my ear again! He's not being demanding, not even asking me to get back to work on his story. He's just letting me know he's there, content to cause a ripple in my otherwise calm writing waters. I'm in the middle of my writing challenge and knee-deep in my contemporary hero's dilemma! I don't have enough time to talk to Aidan, never mind dealing with Ryan again! Not yet, anyway. Eventually. Some day. You know, when things quiet down...

Oh, what I wouldn't give to have two awesome guys competing for my attention!

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Tagged by Elisabeth. (I'll get you back!)

current clothing: flannel plaid pajamas
current hair: half in a clip, half down
current refreshment: hot tea
current annoyance: My wrist--still sore
current avoidance: query letter
current smell: Nothing. I'm stuffed up
current thing you ought to be doing: working on my CP's prologue
current thing or things on your wall: My writing awards, my cork board with pictures of hot guys and some Scottish inspirational stuff.
current IM/person you're talking to: No one.
current jewelry: Diamond earrings, opal earrings, Celtic knot ring
current book: That I'm reading? Julia London's Highlander Unbound. That I'm writing? My untitled masterpiece set in Scotland.
current worry: Keeping my sanity until spring break (2 weeks and 6 days)
current favorite celebrity: Peter Wingfield (from the Highlander TV series & last movie), Vin Diesel, Eric Close (from Wwithout A Trace)...I could go on and on.
current obsession: bagpipe music
current love: the hero in my current manuscript!
current longing: To be finished with the school year
current disappointment: That the weather is cold and dreary (actually, that is perfect for me to write and read all day. What am I thinking?!)
current lyric in your head: "When you dream, dream big..." (Not sure who sings it but the CD was a Valentine's gift & that's my favorite song).
current music: Bagpipes of Scotland (A Lifescapes CD)
current favorite book: Anita Shreve's, Strange Fits of Passion. I finished it in January but I'm still thinking about it.
current favorite movie: North & South, a BBC film (romance) about a woman who moves with her family to the North of England in the late 1800s and how out of place she is. (Just watched it last night) Also loved Crash.
current wish: A publishing contract
current happy thing: Getting an interview for a summer job overseas
current undergarments: NOYB
current desktop picture: blue screen
current plans for tonight/weekend: To write, watch TV, clean the bathroom (Yuck!)
What are you currently doing? Thinking about working on my CP's manuscript...after another cup of tea.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sh! Don't Tell!

I'm blogging from work! I just had to take a few minutes to myself today. I'm still running around like a chicken with my head cut off. My car started acting weird last night, my wrist is killing me (for no good reason), I'm reduced to writing the bare minimum on my writing challenge (100 words), I've got to ship my printer back to Epson, and it's only Wednesday!

On the positive, a blogging friend Elisabeth Naughton won 1st Place in the Romancing the Tomb contest. Congrats, Elisabeth!

Also, it's only 3 weeks and 2 days until spring break. I bought 2 books over the last weekend and I'm saving both for my trip. They are Surrogate & Wife by Emily McKay and Something Wicked by Evelyn Vaughn. Can't wait to read them!

Now, if I could only sleep until the morning of March 10th, all would be wonderful!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Creativity and Connections

Saturday was a busy day. Did normal stuff like grocery shopping, a teeny tiny bit o' cleaning, and spent an hour and a half at the gym. The bulk of my day was spent (besides eating lime sherbet) typing up the pages I'd handwritten over the last few days and then working on today's pages. I say pages because I typed a couple and then I handwrote 7 1/2! I'm so in love with this story and the idea of falling in love. Wonder if it could have anything to do with Valentine's Day coming up? Or the Valentine's Dance last night?

The dance was cute. The kids didn't do much dancing for the first 30-45 minutes and then they got into it. I found out a few of the "couples" within my 3 classes. I taught some of these kids when they were in 2nd grade and to see them now as 5th and 6th graders is just so weird for me. It just boggles my mind how fast they're growing up. It's going to break my heart a little when they have to move on to another school.

I'm the type of person who detests change unless I'm the one orchestrating the change. Since graduating college (the first time), I've moved an average of every two years. Before college, I can remember living in four different homes. When I chose to be a teacher I figured it would be good for me. I'd have the kids for a year and then send them on their way to another class. I'd have a change every year, but I knew that going in. It was something I could expect, be sure of and it was supposed to keep me from getting attached. I never imagined that I'd end up caring so much.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Love on a Friday

Well, tonight is the BIG 5th, 6th & 7th grade Valentine's Dance. Yay. Can you tell how excited I am? We get out of school at 12:30 on Fridays so the teachers can have staff development for a couple of hours. But now it's 2:30 and the dance doesn't start until 7. I could go home, but I don't think I'd come back. So, I'm here in my classroom, thinking about doing my lesson plans for next week, listening to some Celtic music and thinking about writing. I plan to do a bit of work for about an hour or so and then I'm jumping back into my manuscript!

For the last couple of days I've only been writing less than 500 words on my challenge simply because I don't have time. There was the night I spent 3 1/2 hours writing progress reports. And ESL teaching. And my ARWA meeting. And last night I read my CP's last chapter for a last chapter contest. (What a great idea! I liked it so much I'm thinking of entering it as well!) I'm so looking forward to a weekend filled with wonderfully creative scenes. And maybe a bit of exercise.

Oh! I got my certificate for the GOTCHA contest yesterday. Now I just have to get a frame and stick it up in my office. I got pretty good comments and saw that I only won by 2 points. Wow! What a tight race! One of my judges said she'd judged part of my entry before and noticed how much improvement there was. That made me feel great. My dreams of one day being published aren't forever beyond my reach! I'm planning to work next week on revising my entry and constructing my query letter for the editor. Then it's on to a load of agent queries and hopefully getting closer to 100 pages on my current manuscript.

Okay, I really need to get to those lesson plans...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Time's A-Flyin'

Here it is Sunday morning again. I can't believe I haven't blogged in a week! Course, not much is happening. I've successfully written at least my 100 words a day everyday for my Austin RWA writing challenge. Work is keeping me busy. I went into my classroom today for 2 1/2 hours to get some work done. I won't say "to get ahead" because (if you're a teacher, you know this) getting ahead is really not possible. There's always something I could be doing. But, I choose to have a life and get behind instead!

I'll be watching the Super Bowl tomorrow even though my Patriots aren't playing. My step-family is filled with Steeler fans, so I decided to convert just for tomorrow. Well, since it's Sunday morning I guess I'm converting for today.

The diet has NOT been going well and I'm running out of time. It's just under five weeks before my spring break! I SOOOO cannot wait. Oh, and only 15 weeks of school left. I'm ready to be out for the summer.

I'm having printer problems YET AGAIN. But, now I'm thinking that maybe it's me and not the printer. There's got to be something I'm not doing or not doing correctly. Stupid, rotten technology! (Just kidding, favorite computer gadget o' mine!)

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect pen name for my contemporaries. I've come up with a few ideas based on my favorite place in the whole wide world (Scotland, in case you've forgotten) and some of my favorite fictional characters. My CP likes the names I've come up with but can't choose one over the other. My best friend can't seem to get her e-mail working well enough to send me a response (yes, Nancy, dig intended!). So, I'm forced to continue the quest alone. No worries, though. Something will come along that matches me perfectly. Of course, I could just use Christina Lyn since this is pretty close to my own actual, legal name. But where's the fun in that???