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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Did You Change Your Clock? Winter's coming.

Just a reminder to everyone that you need to turn back your clocks, if you haven't already.

I didn't get an hour extra sleep because I spent it watching horror flicks. I can't believe I watched Creepshow last night. For the most part it was boring, but I don't like to begin a movie and not finish watching to the end. I'd forgotten that Stephen King played in this one.

This morning I had a clearer mind so I was able to get the weather posted on my blog. Thanks, Jill for all these great features you find to add to blogs. :) Now I can check my blog for weather before stepping outside. It's cold here. Winter's coming.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thank you, Jill and Dawno.

I received my daily e-mail from Jill's blog today and noticed her subscription had been changed to Feedblitz. What a great subscription feature. You find such great helpful things, Jill. Of course I had to add it to my blog. Thanks.

Also, thanks to Dawno, while reading her blog, I saw she had a link for a site meter, so of course I added one to mine. I also subscribed to Dawno's blog. I had added her blog link to my site about a week ago and have been reading her blog, but now I'm subscribed. Thanks for the link, Dawno.

You gals are getting great at adding new and interesting, whatchamacallits to your blogs. Now if I can just figure out how to get a weather channel up. ((scratches head.)) I'll figure it out tomorrow. On my way to watch another horror movie.

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KIA Marathon Rocks!

It got me writing again!
I completed an old manuscript this morning!!!!
Sunday night, October 23 began the fourth and final week of the KIA marathon. I’d been in a slump since the Absolute Write Idol contest ended and the KIA marathon was exactly what I needed to get me going again. I’m so happy I signed up for the dance!

Yeah, I know, there are still nearly nine hours left, but I’m finished for the week!

The first week of KIA I hopped back and forth from one manuscript to another. Yes, I managed to write a bit and edit some.

Week two and three I concentrated on one manuscript that I started years ago. I left it hanging at 175 pages in 2001. It’s been collecting dust ever since.

Week two, I added 81 pages to that manuscript. Week three, I added 62 pages. That’s a total of 143 pages. At the beginning of this week, Week Four of KIA, my manuscript was at 318 pages and I still needed to finish the story. Yeah, it’s a big one! Mom’s been sick this past week, spending a lot of time curled up on the couch and watching TV. I was able to sit in the living room with my laptop, be in the same room with her all day, every day, write, and still take care of her. Then, after she was in bed for the night, I’d write even more. I was determined to finish!

Well, fellow Nookie Ninjas and fellow writers, I finished that book early this morning. I’m not saying it’s a great book, but I love the story line. (I’ll reread it and edit it later and find out if it was worth the effort.) It totaled out at 452 pages and nearly 100,000 words. Which means from last Sunday at midnight until 9:00 a.m. this morning, I wrote a total of 134 pages to complete this novel.

Woo Hoo!!!! My manuscript’s complete and I have 134 new pages to report for Week Four of KIA.

I need some coffee and chocolate and a whole bunch of energy boosters. (And some Ben Gay for my fingers and wrists. LOL)

I’m ready to start “NaNoWriMo” in a few days with a book I have 19 pages of notes (not an outline) just notes.

After “NaNoWriMo” I have two other books to finish. The first has a total of 14 pages I wrote three years ago. The other has a total of 10 pages, written about the same time. Lots of notes for each, so I have three more novels in my mind waiting to be put in manuscript form. When these three are complete, I think I’ll concentrate on writing a query and synopsis for all my novels, rather than start a new one. What editor or agent wouldn’t want to hear that I have seven completed novels and three more I’m working on? At least they’ll know I’m not a “one book” wonder. :)

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Milestone # 7

I’m on a roll! I’m writing until my fingers hurt. I'll probably write all night. :)
This week will be another milestone for me. I’m determined to complete a novel I began in 2001. I’m nearly finished. Tomorrow is the last day of the KIA marathon and I think I’ll be turning in my weekly tally early. When this novel is complete, it will be #7.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Own Horror Movie Marathon

Usually every year during the month of October one TV channel holds a horror marathon to celebrate Halloween. This year I haven’t seen many horror movies listed at all, so I decided to hold my own horror movie marathon.

This past week, after I’ve tucked Mom in bed each night, I’ve gone to my room upstairs and slid a movie into my VCR.

Here are the movies I’ve watched so far:
Wrong Turn
Jeepers Creepers
Jeepers Creepers II
Phantom
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Saw
Silver Bullet

Last night I started to watch Dreamcatcher but fell asleep. Tonight I’m going to rewind it and watch it from the beginning.

I have a very large collection of movies on VHS and DVD. My daughter jokes that when I die, the only thing she wants is my movie collection. Last year she counted 300 movies. That number has grown since then. One day I’ll have to count them again. And yes, Kira, I keep my movies in alphbetical order under genre. ;) I even have a printed list, but the list has only 260 movies on it…it needs updated.

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Lulu -- Stories of Strength Anthology

Jenna Glazter decided to go with Lulu.com to publishStories of Strength, an anthology of short stories, essays and poems. All proceeds (100%) will go to several charities for hurricane relief efforts. My essay, Perseverance, is in the anthology along with many writers from AbsoluteWrite.com Well-known writers Wil Wheaton, Robin Lee Hatcher and Orson Scott Card have contributed pieces to the anthology as well. Stories of Strength is in its final stages of editing before publication. Thank you Lulu for all the wonderful things you’re doing.

A lot of people worked very hard to get this project where it is now. See the Stories of Strength website for all that's going on. Thanks to Dawno and her friends for the flashing banner, too. I tried using it, but it wouldn't flash for me. :(

We’ll keep you posted so you can help the efforts by purchasing a copy of the book from Lulu.

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Tagged--meme

Thanks to Mac my eyes have been directed to my “to be read” pile. I picked the first five in a pile of - you don’t want to know how many. :)

So, here was the meme:

1. Take first five novels from your bookshelf.
2. Book 1 -- first sentence
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to "cheat" to make it a better paragraph.
9. Name your sources
10.Post to your blog.

Here are my results:

Terror held thirteen-year-old Harlow Anastasia Grail in a death grip. I threw the lock and then the change had me. The growth’s burning, itching, humming, was almost too much to handle and Alan suspected he felt like a real drunk. The covers were on the floor, pulled off and on the floor, and Sweetie was caught in her thoughts, and she wasn’t startled, hardly even aware, when the bottle of cough syrup, the glass of water, and the spoon hit the floor. Although his imagination spun a thousand bloody scenarios in mere seconds, he says that he did not anticipate what was about to happen, and of course he could not foresee how the events of that night would reverberate through the next thirty years with such terrible and astonishing consequences in his life and mine.

Sources:

Bone Cold by Erica Spindler
Hunter’s Moon by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
Stories of Terror and Madness From the Borderlands by Bentley Little, Whitley Striebre, Stephen King and others.
Trace by Patricia Cornwell
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Tagging:

Kira
Ray
Poppy

Thanks Mac, this was fun.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Nookie Ninjas Still Dancing

Our team didn’t make the winner list this week but we’re still in the running. The Week Four Challenge has been set.

The challenge is fifteen pages and a bonus of twenty-three after that. I’m not doing so well in week four. We’re two days into the challenge and I have only four pages. Hopefully my brain will kick in before midnight on Saturday.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

KIA Marathon page counts—Week Three.

Luckily with everything else that took place today I remembered to turn in my page counts for the KIA Marathon.

Not nearly as good as last week, but I’m still motivated.

October 17 -- 6 pages
October 18 -- 7 pages
October 19 -- 13 pages
October 20 -- 28 pages ++ 40 edited pages
October 21 -- 5
October 22 -- 3

Total this week 62 new pages ++ 40 edited pages

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Making Good Memories.

Some days go along so wonderful that you never want them to end. Today, I spent the morning and afternoon doting over Mom. I lit a fire in the fireplace, sat in the living room with her and talked about everything that left an impression on our lives. I took notes each time she mentioned an event in her life and she asked me what I was doing. I said, “Writing memories.” Mom loved the idea. The smile on her face was brighter than the flames in the fireplace and the warmth of the flames didn’t hold a candle to the warmth we shared.

We spent the afternoon turning pages of the family album--giggling and commenting about pictures of days gone by. It sparked memories of events she’d forgotten and she enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I did too!

My oldest daughter and her husband were coming to visit this evening and we planned to go out to dinner. As Mom and I waited for them to come, I wondered if I’ve left enough good memories for my daughters and their families to enjoy. I decided then that I needed to become a memory maker…a good memory maker.

I realized later why this thought struck my mind.

Just as we finished dinner at Eat ‘N Park, my brother and his wife walked in. I hadn’t noticed them but my daughter nodded in their direction and said, “What are the odds of that?” My answer was, “You’re with me. Do you need ask? My luck.” I smiled and added, “Oh well, I’m happy. At least I was able to finish dinner before I lost my appetite.”

A month ago, I chose a path to follow. Part of that path is not acknowledging people who go out of their way to irritate and hurt me…particularly my brothers. I let each of them know that I do not wish to speak to them if they choose to play their foolish games.

This is where I put the “good memory” thought in my mind.

My brother walked up to our table, bent down, leaned into my face and said, “Didn’t you see me come in?” I said "no", stared straight at my daughter, smiled and continued talking. He then leaned in closer, within inches of my face and said, “Hi, Joanne!” Several people at tables around us looked our way because he was so loud.

I must say I was quite impressed with my self-control. I didn’t lower myself to his level and make a scene. My gut feeling was to say, “Get out of my face” and punch him. But I kept my mouth shut, my face expressionless, stared straight ahead, and held my clenched fist in my lap.

I sat…not yielding.

He left our table and walked to his table and sat with his wife. Poor Mom. Her response was of paranoia. “How did he know where I was?” One more thing I have to deal with because of my brother’s ignorance.

Another reason I miss my dad. He kept the boys in line when he was alive. He would have made a good memory…fists and all!

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Memories to cherish

Migraines--I hate them! I especially don’t like the ones that creep up on me after a long hardy cry. Holding back tears makes migraines even worse.

Yesterday’s tears are affecting me today. And today’s “holding back tears” makes my head hurt even more. Today I realized my tears of yesterday were not only tears of joy, they were tears of sadness and anger as well. Yes, yesterday’s tears were of wonderful memories of my dad, but also they were tears of anger and heartache to come.

Tossing half full bottles of Dad’s cologne and items no longer needed jogged memories of good times with him; it also reminded me that I’ll be doing the same thing with Mom’s things one day. Dad had a stroke, which led to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Mom has Alzheimer’s, too. That’s where the heartache comes in. That’s where the little voice in the back of my head says, “Don’t think about it. Enjoy each day, make those memories that you will cherish the rest of your life.”

Today, I sit and wonder how I can be so caring and loving of my parents, yet have such distaste for my brothers. My brothers have no need for me in their lives. It didn’t take long to figure out the difference in feelings; my parents loved me and showed it every chance they had…I need say no more about the latter.

That’s where the anger comes in: all these years, I’ve let my siblings’ childishness hurt me. No more! I’ve finally come to accept that I am an only child.

I know that on the day I say ‘goodbye’ to Mom, I’ll be alone. For the only people who truly gave a damn about me will be gone. Aside from my two daughters and grandchildren...I’ll have no family. Until then, I’ll enjoy each day to give them wonderful memories to cherish once I’m gone. And that I can live with!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Holding Back the Tears.

Last week I cleaned out my mom’s kitchen cabinets. This week, I took on the challenge of cleaning out the bathroom closet and medicine cabinet. Not much of a challenge, really, considering I had to toss most of the four shelves full of medicinal items with past expiration dates.

The real challenge was to hold back the tears. Mom hadn’t cleaned out the closet or medicine cabinet since my dad passed away more than seven years ago. That’s why this was a challenge. Every morning, when I’d pick up my toothbrush and toothpaste to brush my teeth, my dad’s razor and combs stared back at me from the front corner of the second shelf. Each time I opened that damn closet, his aftershave bottles reminded me of his fresh clean-shaven scent of “Old Spice”. As a little girl, I used to stand and watch Dad shave and comb his hair. He’d twist and turn and push and pull his face in different directions and I’d giggle the entire time until he was finished and wait for him to say, “Okay, Peanut, it’s time for you to step out.”

It took only an hour to clean out the closet. Took a little longer for a few other things though.

My dad is with me every day, in my heart and in my mind, but certain things just set me off, and I knew I didn’t need a constant tug at my heart every morning. What took the most time was gathering my wits and wiping the tears after sitting on the bathroom floor for nearly an hour sorting through Dad’s precious items and stacking them neatly toward the back of the shelf behind the towels.

When I came across the unopened box of aftershave I’d bought for him the Christmas before he died, I lost it. Yes, I miss Dad. And yes, I cried, but they weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of joy for all the wonderful memories he left for me to smile about.

Watching you shave was just a little thing we shared, Dad. And you always told me, “It’s the little things that matter.”

Thank you, Dad for reminding me this morning that you’re always with me.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Tomorrow Will Be Better!

Real life has taken numerous twists and turns these past two weeks. So I chose to ignore all the drama and get cracking on my novels and writing in general.

I stepped up to the plate and joined the RWA Online KIA Marathon. No, there are no prizes, no cash awards, no editors or agents examining our prose. The award is in knowing you’re keeping in heart and mind a fellow writer who has passed and you’re continuing to accomplish adding pages to your WIP. Another award is encouragement from other writers for putting words on paper/screen.

Week two I came in at second place and the Nookie Ninja team took second place as well. What a rush!

And the rush couldn’t have come at a better time.

Just when I said I chose to ignore all the drama in my life…

I managed to slip in two pages in the wee hours of the morning Monday and today I've managed to squeak out four pages. Total so far is six. This isn't much compared to what I did last week, but today didn't start out well :( so I didn't get much writing done.

For those who don't know, in February I moved in with my 83 year old mother who has Alzheimers.

This morning we had a leaky water pipe in the basement and water all over the floor. Plumber came within an hour of the call, so that's fixed and drying.

My SO brought one of our spare TV's from my house so I could watch it upstairs after Mom goes to bed. When I was hooking it up this afternoon, it fell on the floor and smashed...so my SO brought another spare TV from my house. That installation went much better. :)

Then, after ten months, I finally got the log in straightened out to get onto the RWA national site. But...my Pro bootcamp registration was denied because they couldn't verify that I'm Pro status. They're still trying to figure it out. I'm hoping Theresa Stevens of the Pro Ed Team and those coordinating the Pro bootcamp get this fixed prior to the bootcamp. I'd hate to miss out over a paper trail mishap!

Did I say this hasn't been a good day. LOL
Oh well, so I'm out one TV, but I'm up six pages.
And I'm still smiling. :D Tomorrow will be better.

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2nd place in Week Two KIA Marathon.

Week Two of the KIA Marathon ended Saturday night at midnight.
I’m pleased that the Part-Time Nookie Ninjas made the ranks of 2nd place in the Team Division. I’m thrilled that I took 2nd place in the Individual winners.

Part-Time Week Two Individual Winners
Judy Soifer of the Ladies of Legend (with 181 pts)
Joanne Kiggins of the Nookie Ninjas (with 155 pts)
Mel Francis of In Contempt! (with 109 pts)

Part Time Week Two Team Winners
Historical Hotties (with an average of 71 pts)
Nookie Ninjas (with an average of 56 pts)
Chick Litters (with an average of 38 pts)

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Keyboard Dancing (KIA Marathon)

Nookie Ninjas didn’t place the first week but I’m hoping to put our team on the board with my totals this week. I’ve been a writing fool and loving every spare minute my fingers tap that keyboard. I'm keyboard dancing! Woo Hoo!

Here’s this week’s total.
October 9 -– 3 pages
October 10 –- 4 pages
October 11 -- 25 pages
October 12 -- 20 pages
October 13 -- 12 pages
October 14 -- 5 pages
October 15 -- 12 pages

Total Week 2 – 81 pages

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Stories of Strength Anthology Update


Received an e-mail from Jenna Glatzer with the Stories of Strength manuscript attached. She and her wonderful crew of volunteers have done a wonderful job on this anthology. I’m proud to be a part of such a worthy cause. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to disaster relief charities.
My essay, “Perseverance,” is good to go and will appear in the "Strength to Start Over" section of the anthology. I began reading the stories by other AW members…need to get more Kleenex before I continue. Wonderful compilation of Stories of Strength! AbsoluteWrite and its members rock!

Here is the link to the Stories of Strength anthology website.

Meet the contributors.

How you can help.

Keep an eye out for updates.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

KIA Writing Marathon

Another reason I haven’t blogged recently: I joined the KIA marathon at the RWAonline site. It’s a writing marathon in honor of a RWA member who passed away. She was an inspiration to all.

The KIA Marathon is a writing marathon named after and held in honor of Kia Cochran, a RWA member and author of contemporary romance. Just prior to her death, she'd turned her hand to attempting mystery romances. She passed away in August of 2000, but she left a memory of her caring and a reminder that the most important thing a writer can do is tell a story that will touch the readers' hearts.

The KIA writing marathon has been an inspiration to me as well. It was exactly what I needed to get my juices flowing again. I thrive on deadlines and miss them since the AW Idol competition is over. The KIA marathon began October 2 and runs the entire month of October.

I'm on the Part Time Nookie Ninja team. (Nevermind the name! It's romance. :))

I’m happy to report my first week’s work.
October 2 -- 10 pages
October 3 -- 7 pages on Ancestral Promise
October 4 -- (28 pages) 10 pages on Unearthed, 10 pages edited on Roadkill, 4 page column, 4 page article
October 6 -- 2 pages
October 7 -- 15 pages
October 8 -- 3 pages
_______________
Total to date: 60

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Tossing the Garbage.

Today is the day to put the garbage at the end of the driveway for pickup. I decided it’s time to clean out my mom’s kitchen cabinets. Not only could I not find anything I needed to use for baking or cooking, but also every time I opened a cabinet I’d get hit in the head with needless plastic butter containers and lids. Coupons and box tops fluttered their way to the floor and the jammed-packed cabinet door wouldn’t close properly.

Not a bad day’s work. It only took me six hours and four garbage bags to toss container after container, can after can and box after box of expired food products, and all the miscellaneous odds and ends type stuff that were saved “just in case they’re needed”.

What a refreshing feeling it is to be able to open a cabinet and find the mixing bowls, measuring cups and baking pans easily and not get thumped on the head by flying debris.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Romance Writer Pro Status

I’ve been so wrapped up in taking care of business, I forgot to mention I received my Pro status with Romance Writer’s of America. Received my Pro pin in the mail on September 24th.

My co-authored and dear friend, Jo Gregory of North Carolina, and received Pro status for completing and submitting "Unforgettable Journey." It may have been rejected but shortly after won fifth place in the "Grand Beginnings" contest. We'll get that baby published, for sure.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

My daddy raised me proud.

It’s been an absolutely horrendous week. I won’t go into the gory details, so let’s just say; I’ve had my fill of “country club wannabes.” Thank heavens I’m a country girl and proud of it. My daddy raised me proud. ROFL

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stories of Strength: An Anthology Benefiting Red Cross

My personal essay about strength and starting over, entitled "Perseverance," has been selected to appear in the upcoming anthology, Stories of Strength. Stories of Strength is the brainchild of Jenna Glatzer, proclaimed author and Editor-in-Chief of AbsoluteWrite.com. She approached the AbsoluteWrite community, and received an outstanding response.

Some well-known names of those who have contributed stories include: science-fiction guru Orson Scott Card, famed actor/author Wil Wheaton, Robin Lee Hatcher, Jenna Glatzer, along with many other prolific freelancers and authors.

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go directly to the Red Cross for the hurricane relief effort. All authors and editors are donating our work for this worthy cause. This book would make a wonderful gift for any occasion and it is a gift that will keep on giving. For more information, please visit: Stories of Strength.

I'll be adding links to my blog and my web site where you can purchase the book when it is officially released. Please be sure to buy a copy!

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