Friday, 23 January 2009

The Joys of Self-Checkout

I suspected something was afoot when the cashiers no longer had those convenient bag holders so they could drop in the soup cans and juice boxes without a thought. Now, they struggled to place the items in floppy plastic bags left in a pile beside them. They were frustrated, we were frustrated.

Later, I discovered management was discouraging the use of plastic bags to force customers to buy their reusable ones. Okay, that's fine with me. I'm into recycling. Problem is, I keep forgetting my reusable bags at home.

Next trip, we decide to try out the self-checkout. After all, they have a carousel simply chock-full of bags aching to be filled.

I scan the easy items first. The lovely lady in the box says, "Please place the item in the bag."

I place the item in the bag, apparently not fast enough. The lady says again, "Please place the item in the bag."

I mutter at the screen, "I DID put the goddamn item in the bag." I take the item out and put it back in.

"Please scan the item you placed in the bag."

Gah! I already did that! I hesitate. Speaker chick says, "Please check with the attendant."

I look at the attendant. She sits behind a podium, chewing gum and texting her classmates.

The speaker box lady finally shuts up and I proceed to the produce. I place a bag of red peppers on the scale. The touch screen shows a variety of items. Red peppers are not among them. I stumble my way through the whole produce department before finally locating the peppers somewhere in the squash family.

When all the bags in the carousel are filled, I choose my payment method. Debit card poised, I wait for the cue. "Please swipe your card, stripe in."

I swipe. Nothing. I swipe again. "Please see the attendant."


Next time, I'll remember my reusable bags and visit my friendly cashier.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Here's the story in a nutshell

Stephen Parrish posed an interesting question in the comments section of my previous post: Why would I deliver an unpolished manuscript?


New e-pub, Ravenous Romance calls for short stories. I submit If The Shoe Fits for their Sex & Shoes anthology. It is accepted. I am now in their author stable.

Later, same pub asks for ideas for novels. I pitch The Toast Bitches, a story about four women in a large media company.

They like the premise. When can I deliver chapters? Oops. I haven't started writing it yet. I ask for a couple of weeks and whip something up.

They like the three chapters. Here's a contract. When can I deliver the manuscript?

Like an idiot, I say December 15th. That should give me about two months for a 50K novel. Unexpectedly, a month-long ordeal turns my world upside down; I can't bring myself to write a hot, sexy novel. So I ask for an extension. They say, okay, no problem. They knew about the situation and are very understanding.

So, like an idiot, I only ask for an extra month when I should have asked for more time. Christmas happens, New Years. Afraid to ask for another extension and look like one of those 'difficult authors' people talk about, I work my ass off to deliver by deadline.

Lesson learned: Ask for WAY more than three months to deliver a manuscript contracted on spec.

I Did It - The Bitches Have Flown

I have crawled out of my hidey-hole. After three months of wearing my laptop like an extra appendage, after countless take-out and microwave meals, after waiving offers to go to the movies, after refusing to give my kids rides to the mall... I finally finished The Toast Bitches.

At 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 15th, a mere thirty minutes before zero hour, I hit Send. I just hope the book isn't complete drivel. I didn't have time to edit, to polish, or to make sure characters didn't suddenly switch spouses halfway through the book. Editor gods, don't fail me now.

That's the trouble with being a pantster. When I pitched the book, I knew the premise but not the plot. I was thinking, "Sex in the City meets Thirty Rock." I think it turned out more like, "Sex in the City meets Steel Magnolias."

It's supposed to be erotic but I don't know if it's steamy enough. I figure the lovemaking scene in the canoe tipped the balance, haha. (Dad, I'm sorry but you can't read this one.)

In other news, yesterday my aunt and mother phoned me long distance to help straighten out some banking stuff. They could have emailed me, but my mom's funny that way. She'll call long distance to inform me that she wants to send an email. Just send the email!
My aunt told me Mom is always on Facebook. I was stunned. Mom? On Facebook? She can't open her email! They begged me to join, too.

I dragged my heels. I already have Blogger, and a website, and all the other flotsam in my life. Would I need another pet to feed and take care of? When
Pat Wood emailed an invitation to join, I gave in to my stubbornness. I joined.

Now I'm going shopping.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Romance Junkies Contest

If there are any blogging buddies out there who don't yet own a copy of Bad Ice, here's your chance. You guys know me better than anybody else!

Check out Romance Junkies and participate in their Valentine Contest. There are lots of books up for grabs, Bad Ice included.

Oh, and tell yer friends...

Thursday, 1 January 2009


The Spumante Bambino $6.95) was right beside an unnamed vintage ($69.95).

I cracked open the Spumante about thirty seconds too late to wish you all a glorious 2009.

2008 was bitter and sweet. Bad Ice experienced a hiccup during its print release due to a family tragedy. I am eternally grateful for the support I received during this difficult time.

My daughter attended Sheridan College for her first semester of her Bachelor of Animation and Arts. She earned a 3.93 grade point average.

My husband, after a drought of approximately 3 years, obtained full time status as a Desktop Support Specialist, allowing us to have a fairly decent Christmas. He really rocks as a computer nerd.

My son had a growth spurt and his first real job (besides paper boy).

My blogging buddies made me feel special -- a feeling I hadn't felt in a long, long time. Thank you all, and may 2009 bring you fortune and joy.