Friday, February 20, 2009

Between going and gone

Well, well, well. Three months ago I was looking for a day job. I found one. Actually, I found three. Korea and Japan came through on the same day. I waffled for a weekend and decided to go with the devil I knew. Japan would have been exciting, but after nearly being deported from Chile, I didn't feel up to more excitement. After I sent off all my documents to Korea, I got an offer from Dubai. Freakin' Dubai. They wanted me for a 2nd grade class and they wanted me in a week. Exactly 7 days from the arrival of the email. But - but Dubai! I said no which is why I'm sitting here in the cold on Friday night instead of sitting there in the heat contemplating my Saturday.

For the past couple of weeks I've felt like I was in an airport transfer lounge. Stuck between going and gone. I've got 2 suitcases half packed on the floor. My office half packed to go back to the storage unit where the rest of my stuff is living until I settle back in the US. And I'm only operating with half a brain. Yesterday my husband and I were talking about things I needed to do before I left. There were three. Dye my hair (which required getting dye, 2 boxes, on for now and one for 6 months from now.) Make a final decision in a DVD player. Find out if a phone purchased here will even work in Korea. (My mom is pretty sure there's going to be war and I'm going to be stuck in the middle of it. I keep telling her that A) any invasion by North Korea will stop at the first grocery store, those people are starving, political ideals are not going to overrule that and B) Youngsan military base is between me and the DMZ, if the first grocery store doesn't stop them, I'm pretty sure the US Army will. And look how good I am at staying on topic.) Husband and I went back and forth for about a half hour on our to do list. The moment I sat down to write it down, I could only remember 2 of 3. Even worse, I wake up every morning about an hour before the alarm goes off certain that there are about 800 things I need to take care of that I'm forgetting.

Frankly, right now, I can't remember the point of my post. I'll probably remember in the wee hours of the morning, along with those 800 other things I should have done yesterday. Sigh. Is it time to go yet?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?

No, I'm not channeling Joyce Carol Oates. I'm actually looking for a job. I teach English overseas so I'm perusing Dave's ESL Cafe International Job List trying to decide where I want to be next. Where have I been?

Seoul, South Korea - 2 years, 1 in the north east and 1 in the south west. The first year we lived at the foot of a mountain that had foxholes on it, the second we were down the street from the best Mexican restaurant in Asia.

The Philippines - 3 separate 1 week vacations. Dirty, slightly dangerous, but quite beautiful if you looked in the right places. The people were wonderful. I bet I could go there right now, a year and a half after my last visit, and there would be people who knew my name and would greet me warmly.

Thailand - a week and a half last Christmas. Agog. Still. Especially with the foot of snow in my backyard. I'm applying for a job there. Living in Thailand would not be a hardship even though they pay peanuts.

Concepcion, Chile - 3 months. The food was amazing, the people were wonderful, the cold was crippling. They aren't big on heating buildings and, contrary to the palm trees, it does get down to freezing.

I've traveled pretty extensively within the US too, but that just gets unwieldy to list.

So where am I going?

Well, I've applied for jobs in Dubai, Chiba Prefecture Japan, and Thailand. I was just looking wistfully at a job in China even though I promised my mother I wouldn't work there after some damn fool sent her an article about and ESL teacher who died under mysterious circumstances while I was in Korea. So far I haven't been qualified for the posts in Morocco and Turkey that have popped up. I applied for a school in Costa Rica, but never heard back. I'm not even sure my email went through. I'd love to teach in Belize, but they, inconveniently, already speak English.

So where do you want to go? Are you the type that always has a bag packed or are you more of a home body? Have any suggestions for places I should look at more closely? Do you think you know a place that more closely resembles heaven than Phuket Thailand? 'Cause I'll go check.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Symbolism? Me?

Dara blogged about whether modern literature is too shallow. I think you get what you give, but that's not my obsession right now.

In the usual pinball effect of my brain, I bounced from thought to related thought until I landed in the glorious multi-ball slot. I started dwelling on the symbolism in my own books. Right now I'm working on the third book in the Arden FD series. Yeah, Arden, my nod to Shakespeare.

Dan is a paramedic and a suddenly reforming playboy. He met Rebecca because she ducked into the station to get out of a downpour. That rainstorm changes Dan. Rain is a nice symbol for new beginnings. Rebecca is an illustrator and watercolorist who has been making fine art because it pays better, but she hates doing it. Her major piece is called "Broken Home" (it's a smashed dinner plate cemented to a board.) Now, about halfway through the story, she is cutting mats and the blade slips, slicing open the inside of her wrist. Not deep enough to do real damage, but a dead ringer for a serious suicide attempt. The art is killing her.

When I chose to have the characters meet because of a rainstorm it was because I got caught in a rainstorm one night while walking home and chose not to duck into the local station. The symbolism dawned on me about a month ago when I dusted it off to finish it. When I thought up Rebecca's major work, I figured it was funny and realistic. I only realized it was symbolic of her relationship with her parents and her fear of giving her heart to anyone yesterday. The cut was something someone I knew in college did. It was a plot device to get Rebecca into the fire station so Dan could work on her just like the rain was a plot device to get her in there in the first place. Now the snow globe she's about to make, that's totally on purpose, but I want Dan to decode it.

If you write, do you intentionally put in symbolism or do you see it later? Or do you never see it?

When you read, do you assume the author created the symbols on purpose or that they were happy accidents?

And if you're interested in the conversation about modern lit being shallow, head over to Amused Authors

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tigger On Speed -- or at least caffeine

I have Google set up to alert me when my name and the word "One Ring" appear together. I'm egotistical that way. After Publishers Weekly eviscerated me over Three Alarm Tenant in the Amazon contest, I'm a little hesitant when I get reviews. Yes, I was told the PW was brutal to every entry. I think having to read and review over 800 books would make me cranky too. Regardless, I walked around for a couple of days like Sylvester the Cat after he's had an anvil dropped on his head -- complete with stars and tiny Tweety Birds flying around my head. When a new review shows up in the inbox, I'm reluctant to open it.

I gotta get over that. Every one has been fantastic. One Ring To Rule has been called a delight and a must read.

"…my emotions swung from crying to laughing and back again." -Manic Readers
"…a strong, sassy style with plenty of sharp humour." -Cocktail Reviews
"…a refreshing story that spells thrills the minute it starts." -Coffee Time

So I'm springing off the walls with that and I decide to send the maligned Three Alarm Tenant to my editor at Lyrical. This book is near and dear to me. Katherine is afraid to give her heart to Jack because he's a fireman and she's already lost a fiance to death on the job. I worry about my husband when he's late and he's not going to a potentially life threatening job. Once I fell in love with Jack, it was only a matter of time before I fell for his buddies and wanted to see them happily settles down with spouses and mortgages too. Book 2 is finished. I'm working on book 3. But back to the story.

I email my editor with Three Alarm Tenant. She emails back the next day and says she wants it. I wonder if I made her cry again. She cried over the ending of One Ring. Then the publisher emails me my contract and tells me she loves me. She's really excited about the story.

Spoingy, spoingy, spoingy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Spy Candy is Coming!

When I was in the Gather First Chapters Romance contest, one other entry really caught my eye. The opening line was "Her panties were in a bunch." Believe it or not, it got better from there. I wasn't at all surprised when it went with mine to the semi-finals. I had it pegged for the winner because it was so funny and exciting. Well, it didn't win, but the author, Gina Robinson, got another book accepted with Zebra shortly after the contest ended. This one features a fantasy spy camp and a delectable hero named Torq Toricelli.

I haven't looked forward to a book coming out like this for a long time. That's a lie. I looked forward to my own book coming out, but for books that aren't written by me, this one is right at the top of the list. In fact, as soon as I'm done here, I'm headed to her website to preorder that baby.

Seriously, this is not to be missed. Check it out for yourself.
Gina Robinson

Monday, October 6, 2008

He's finally married!

My big brother got married yesterday! He's always been the marrying kind, but never met a good match. My sister met her hubby nearly 20 years ago. I have been hitched for 17 years now. Big Bro has been jealous the entire time. Several years ago he met his sweetheart, but she was married at the time so he, being the good guy that he is, didn't give her a second thought. Well, she wised up to the monster she'd married, got a divorce and after a year or so mutual friends started making a point of throwing them together as much as possible. It stuck.

Big Bro and the brand new SIL were married yesterday in a lovely outdoor ceremony with freakishly good weather for Ohio. The bees were in abundance and the minister called Big Bro Paul twice. Big Bro's name is not Paul. The best man's name was Paul. Oops. The florist forgot to deliver the throw away bouquet, so we had to invent one out of a centerpiece. The caterers screwed up and cut the top layer of the cake.

Of course this just gave my sister and I a chance to stand on the side lines and compare disasters from our own weddings. My dad got caught in her dress when he walked her up the aisle, a bee buzzed her flowered head piece in the middle of the ceremony, and she had a little too much champagne on the way to the pictures so she was standing up through the limo sunroof yelling all the way to the reception. I said 'yeah' instead of 'I do," tried to put Guitarman's ring on the wrong finger and we had a cloudburst in the middle of out open air reception.

While we weren't watching, Guitarman convinced one of my nephews to peddle cookies to the golfers on the neighboring course and my brother-in-law plotted revenge for the shaving creaming of his car 18 years ago. He bought 4 packages of sticky notes and we covered Big Bro's black Mustang in hearts, flowers and leaves. I can't wait to see the pictures.

So what's the funniest thing you've seen, intentional of accidental at a wedding?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Things that are making me happy RIGHT NOW

Am I a disgustingly upbeat person? No, be honest. Am I one of those people who makes you want to throw things at me when I start talking about the positive side of whatever disaster has befallen most recently?

So I've been struggling for self discipline lately. Doing pretty good on the food and exercise front, but not so good on the writing front. I got a rejection this week and sent it right back out - then I went and trolled message boards, played games on Pogo and found wonderful new things on You Tube. That's how I found the thing that is making me really happy RIGHT NOW.

4 out of 5 Cowboys Prefer Joe Boxer

This is why I don't get anything done. It's not my fault. There's just far too much fabulous stuff out there!