Friday, October 26, 2007

When Words Fail

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t think of the right word for something. I’ll say to my husband, “Would you mind taking a look at the thingamabob? It won’t stay closed.” (As you know, he’s not exactly Mr. FixIt, but he can handle most of the little stuff.)

If I’m lucky, he knows exactly what I mean. If not, I get a blank look. So I try again. “You know, that whatsit under the counter in the laundry room?”

“Oh,” he says. “That thingamabob.”

We writers are particular about our craft. We would never substitute the word thingamabob for the correct word (except when a character might use that word in dialogue). Can you imagine? Editors and readers would have fits!

Writers choose words carefully. When a needed word fails to come to mind it can be terribly frustrating. Luckily, fellow writer friends are there to help. If they don’t know, either, or if I don’t want to bother them, I turn to a reverse dictionary some kind soul once mentioned on one of the writing loops.

At this wonderful website you can actually find the word you want by typing in its meaning. When I needed the name of a particular kind of bench for my March 2008 book, I typed in “bench with upholstered seat.” The word I sought was at the top of a list of possibilities: banquette. Problem solved in mere seconds!

If you’re interested in checking out this little gem of a site, here’s the address:

Now it’s your turn to share. Are there any useful websites you recommend?

Until next time,
Mitch Takes A Wife, August 2007
All I Want for Christmas, November 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All Work and No Play . . .

. . . makes a Jane a dull girl, or so the saying says. It also makes me a stressed-out basket case.

October has been an all-work, no-play kind of month. I’ve had a full-time albeit temporary job and I’m working on my next Harlequin American Romance. For both family and professional reasons, I’ve also had to go out of town for three consecutive weekends.

Of course the great thing about a temporary job is its temporariness. Much as I’ve enjoyed being a fill-in personnel administrator, I’m counting down the days to October 31, when I go back to being a full-time writer. And I won’t be sorry to trade in the pantyhose for a pair of sweat pants either.

When I came across this picture of Winnie the Pooh and friends playing in the autumn leaves, I was inspired to schedule a fun day to help me make that transition. Doesn’t this picture make you want to take a day off and have some fun? So November 1 is officially Lee’s Play Day.

I don’t plan to play in the leaves, but I’m already giving some thought to what I will do, starting with a walk on the beach. I’m lucky to live near the ocean and like to take advantage of it every chance I get. I’ve also booked a massage appointment for mid-morning.

Sometime during the day there’ll be a trip to the bookstore, and maybe an hour or two spent prowling through a couple of my favorite secondhand shops. Not looking for anything in particular. Just looking.

My day will wrap up by going out for dinner with my husband, because a play day does not involve time in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure there’s even a law against it.

I’m not sure what else I’ll do but I love to try new things. What do you like to do for fun and relaxation? I’m open to suggestions . . . as long as I don’t have to wear pantyhose!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mars and Venus Never More Apparrent

Men and women are different. Yeah, we all know that. Different in the way we look, feel, and think. That became very apparent to me the other day in a quite humorous situation I just have to share with everyone.

I was invited to speak at a local Christian writers group by one of my good friends. This is a multi-genre writing group and as a result, boasts several male members. One of the men was wearing a ball cap with the saying, "Center for Domestic Preparedness" on it. Now quick, tell me, what do you think that means?

If you're like me, and EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IN THE ROOM you figure it has something to do with marriage. A joke maybe. I was envisioning a place where men go and prepare themselves before entering the noble and honorable state of matrimony.


As the fellow wearing the hat explained to us when one woman made a comment, the center is part of a military base in California and domestic preparedness is a term for the training soldiers go through in order to ready themselves in the event of an attack on the U.S. Could anything be more different than marriage?

When every woman chimed in that she, too, thought the saying was marriage related, the men there looked at us as if we were freaks or alien beings. We, on the other hand, looked at each other and burst out laughing. It really was funny.

So, I guess when it comes to sayings on baseball caps, women truly are from Venus and men from Mars.

Cathy Mc
"His Only Wife" 6/07 Harlequin American
"The Family Plan" 2/08 Harlequin American

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hot Dog, Anyone?

Friday night was wrestling parent concession night. For those of you who haven’t been blessed with this activity, it means that last Friday was the wrestling parents’ turn to help sell concessions during the Friday night Varsity Football Game. We didn’t actually volunteer for this job. The parent liaison called our home late one night and my husband caved in. You know how it goes-every parent in a high school booster club has to do their part.

There were twelve of us in there, each given stations. Some had ‘nachos’. Others had ‘popcorn’ or ‘Gatorade’. Another was the runner, passing hot dogs and pretzels to the ticket windows. One poor gal had the thankless job of hot chocolate maker (it was cold and windy on Friday night). My husband and I were given Window #2.

The job was pretty easy. Basically, tons of people line up, tell us want they want, we make sure they get it, and take their money and give them change.
That’s how it was supposed to go.

In reality it was like something out of an old Saturday Day Night Live ‘Cheeseburger!’ episode. Things moved at a frantic pace. Tom and I each waited on kids and parents and got pretty good at yelling out orders. Well, enough to do any diner waitress proud. It was noisy. It was windy. I had to be loud. “Two hot chocolates, one popcorn, one walking taco, and a Pepsi!” And then I had to add it all up in my head. And give correct change.

Of course, we had lots of people who changed their minds. Two popcorns. No one hot dog. No, two pieces of pizza. Don’t even get me started on the kiddos with one wadded up dollar in their hands and twenty kinds of candy bars to choose from. The game finished at 9:45. We got out of there about 10:30-anxious to get off our feet and drink some hot tea. I had lost my voice during the last two minutes of the game!

What did I learn? 1) All of us parents, no matter what we do for a living, can come together and make a stand run like clockwork. No egos can be involved in the tricky dance of delivering three plastic containers filled with steaming cheese sauce and over-flowing nacho chips to antsy eight year olds! I got pretty good at telling the president of our local bank to hurry up with the purple Gatorade.

2) Kids, by and large, are polite. They stood in line and didn’t push and shove. They asked for their order politely. They said thank you. Even the kids who wore letter jackets. Even the kids with the earrings through their eyebrows. Even, uh, my kids.

Finally, I learned what I sometimes forget-that there’s a whole lot of volunteers out there who work really hard and deserve my thanks. So, here’s to volunteers!
This week, I’m going to rest for a little bit—finish a book! Because, well, the spirit sale is next weekend and I’m on the list for that, too.

Any one else have a volunteer story?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Cousin's Wedding-2

I added the link in the comments in the post below, but figured it would be easier if I just posted a picture of the plane we flew in to get to Greensburg, IN.