Celebrity Cafe

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Good Old Days?

Shirley’s post got me thinking. She mentioned the age of computers. I remember way back when I was in school in Philadelphia and there was this huge article about a computer that had been build at the University of Pennsylvania and that it was so incredible and so fast that it was able to process information in less than a day. Wow! I was amazed. The article also stated that it only took up a single room. Wow! I was truly amazed. Imagine something so small taking up a single room and able to compute information in such a short amount of time.
I’ve actually told my kids about the good old days, they’re easily amused and since they seem to think that I was born in the Bronze Age anyway, they were amazed that any I could even remember that far back.
Yes, things did occur back then. There was no ATM, we banked Monday through Friday 9 to 5, there was no daily lotto machine, we used the number’s man on the corner, no Playstations games, we jumped rope, we had transistor radios, there was no cable or dish television there was NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and UHF. Remember the bunny ears on top of the television? Okay, maybe not.
Now cut to 2005, the whole idea of, the good old days, seems like a joke. We have computers that are nearly microscopic and are able to process information in milliseconds, banking 24 hours 7 days a week, CDs, DVDs, satellite radio and nearly 300 television stations. But I can’t help but wonder how difficult (by our current standards now) it must have been to write a novel. Yes, I’ve tried using my typewriter but really, there’s no delete button. How do you erase? Ribbon? White-out, what’s that? And where are all the games?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Blinded

Whether you’re writing you first novel or your fiftieth novel, a term paper or even a quick note to a friend, a blank piece of paper or rather a blank computer screen can easily become Mt. Everest. Snow blinded by the white, climbing it can become daunting.
Yesterday I sat here at the desk looking at a blank screen for almost an hour. Yes, I knew what I wanted to say, but for some reason I just couldn’t get started. So I sat and stared like a rabbit in headlights hoping to be hit with brilliance.
Then it hit me, no not brilliance, an idea, loosen up. So I did, for two hours I loosened up with music, solitaire and about six other computer games. But all the while a small icon at the bottom of the screen constantly reminded me that somewhere tucked away in cyberspace there was a blank page waiting for me.
Mind you I’ve yelled at my kids often enough about procrastination and their infinity to play Xbox and PlayStation instead of doing homework, but of course it’s different for me, I was still loosening up.
After lunch I finally started writing but of course the whole morning was shot. I can’t help but wonder what others do either to loosen up or to get started when they sit down at the computer.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Heading To Reno -- No, Won't Be Gambling!

I’m heading to Reno next week to Romance Writers of America’s annual conference (7/27-7/31). It’s where 2,000 or more writers descend on a city for a week-long of workshops, seminars and parties, including a literacy autographing that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars toward that cause.

As far as I can remember, this is the first hotel/casino that the organization will use for its meeting. Once people hear that I’m going to Reno, first they say – it’s not like Vegas. Then they say, don’t spend all your money – wink, wink.

But I’m not a gambler. I’ve been to Atlantic City. I’ve been to Vegas. When I used to go to Atlantic City, I was in college and under the legal age of 21. I spent most of time dodging the security guards. Don’t know how they would spot me when I was trying to look 21 yrs. old – what does a 21 year old do that’s any different than a 20 year old. At the time, I was probably 18 or 19 yrs. old. Once, I did get caught. The security guard asked to see my ID, I showed it and he said that I’d have to leave. I told him that I just wanted to look. Very nice man, but I couldn’t stay. I realized that my mistake was standing still. I had stopped to watch Black Jack. After that, I kept roving. My boyfriend, now husband, was four years older than me, so he didn’t have a problem. We’d go with his roommates who were in his age group. Then we’d get kicked out because of me. Talk about peer pressure.

By the time I hit Vegas, I was in my thirties with two kids. The guards didn’t indulge me by asking for my ID. The bags under my eyes must have been a dead give away or the one piece bathing suit I wore among the thin young girls in their two piece skimpies. But I went to Vegas, again with the warnings about not spending any money. I kept imagining that I would walk through the casino and a spell would be cast on me. Then I would sit at a table and gamble away the life savings – that should take a quick hour. I told my husband that if a millionaire offered a million for me to go on his yacht, feel free, but the offer didn’t cover him going off with a female millionaire. We’d have to go broke before I rent him out.

I was so concerned about losing my head to gambling that I only had $20 in my pocket book at any given time. On the very last day of our stay, I played the slots. I lost lots, won few, until the $20 dwindled away. Once it was gone, I was finished. I walked away without feeling the need to go to the ATM or thinking that one more try was all I needed. I don’t know what it’s like to have a gambling addiction or how it’s triggered. I, personally, don’t like the feeling of taking money that I worked hard to earn and handing it over to someone else who is living larger than me in an activity disguised as an adult playground.

Since my conference expenses will take me easily into the $1K mark, I know that I’m not parting with a penny for the gambling experience. Sorry Reno!

Michelle - 41 Celebrity Circle
http://www.michellemonkou.com

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Throwing Out My Printer

No, I wasn't angry with my printer. I loved it. The two of us had gone through eleven years of wedded bliss. But I'm a pack-rat, and with the advent of HGTV, where I can find ways to use all the trash/treasure I have around the house, I can't ever move or die. There's just too much stuff for me recycle into something fanstastic.

I'd been working on a novel that was due July 1st. I finished it and sent it off to my editor. Then yesterday I decided to clean up my office. It's amazing the amount of things that collect on the floor when you're writing, not to mention I was also sleeping there since we had no central air and I'd installed a window air conditioning unit in that room.

Anyway, I folded up all the blankets creating my pallet when the heating and cooling company got the air working. Then I started on the other stuff. I threw out old papers, magazines I'll never read again, mail I'd answered, old cards and thank you notes, I emptied a box of supplies putting them on shelves and filling the box with manuscript papers to send to the Library of Popular Culture at Bowling Green University in Ohio. At that point I unearth my printer.

It had been sitting, broken, on the floor for six months blocking the closet and forcing me to lean over it to reach my printing and promotional supplies. I got a new printer at the beginning of the year and this old one I just couldn't make myself get rid of. I told myslef I was going to fix it (liar). It was an HP Laserjet III. When I bought it it was state of the art, cost $1,000.00 and worked like a horse. Many letters, articles, and books flowed through the mechanisms that were unknown and invisible to me as to how they worked. My first published novel came off that printer. It moved with me to two houses. And I had a brand new cartridge just waiting to begin printing up to 5,000 additional pages, but a decision had to be made.

It was trash night. Friday. I decided, pumping my fist in the air, I was going to throw it out. I took a final look at it and left the room. The printer must weigh 50 pounds. I couldn't lift it and carry it all the way from my upstairs office to the garage where the huge trash bin was. My son even said it was way too heavy when he brought it down for me and dumped it.

I don't know why it is that we feel the equipment we've bought and used for years past its useful life has the same worth as it did when we bought it. But I did. To me I was throwing a $1,000.00 in the trash. And it hurt.

This morning, as I went out to retrieve the trash bin and return it to the garage, I knew the printer was well and truly gone. But on the floor in my office, sunk into the carpeting, is the footprint it left me as a reminder.

Shirley Hailstock - 39 Celebrity Circle
You Made Me Love You - Dafina - April 2005

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Welcome

This is so exciting. Like Shirley, this is my first blog and I spent the last few hours off and on chatting with Michelle to get my part working. She is such a life saver. I am the absolute worst when it comes to computers and if I could get away with writing my novels on an old fashioned type writer I'd do it. But unfortunitally there is no delete button. So please bear with me.
Shirley's hug idea was a great one, sometimes that's all you need to save a miserable day. I love hugging my kids. It's a morning and nightly ritual. My daughter is more accepting, my son, at 13, thinks that he's too big. But every now and then he reaches over and makes my day.

39 Celebrity Circle - HUG YOUR KID!

Greetings,

This is my first blog. 37 Celebrity Circle is not anywhere near Wisteria Lane. We are not Desperate Housewives. I've never seen the popular TV program. I don't have much time for watching television. I write novels and my television time is limited to four hours a week. I'm extremely busy with life as we all are. One of the relatively new time-consuming additions to my life is adoption.

I'm in the process of adopting a three-year-old. It's a girl and she's been with me since she was five-months-old. She's a part of the household now and we're in the throws of potty training. This is pulling teeth are two things I hate about and otherwise wonderful experience. My little one is a job. She just ran over and hugged me for no reason. A wide smile and only the need to be loved is paramount in her day.

Remember that feeling of unconditional love? I cherish it. And I never refuse a hug, even when she'd done something I don't like. By eight years old they no longer want you to hug them in public. So I gather these hugs and remember each and every one of them.

So if your child is one day or 80 years old, hug them. We're never too old for a hug.

Shirley Hailstock
39 Celebrity Cirlce

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

WELCOME TO THE CELEBRITY CAFE

Welcome to the Celebrity Cafe where you will meet and chat with four authors of women's fiction: Shirley Hailstock, Michelle Monkou, Celeste Norfleet, and Candice Poarch.

We each reside in the virtual cul-de-sac called Celebrity Circle, East Coast, USA.

Shirley Hailstock is at No. 39 Celebrity Circle

Michelle Monkou is at No. 41 Celebrity Circle

Celeste Norfleet is at No. 43 Celebrity Circle

Candice Poarch is at No. 45 Celebrity Circle