"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shh... I'm not supposed to be here

I'm writing this from my horse trainer's home office while she and her hubby are out at a movie. I've been working for Tina every other week for a coupla months now, and I'm kind of officially off-duty but I need to hang around because Duffy-puppy is in her Monday night obedience class.

Mostly, I'm here to tell you how much complete and utter fun the Southern California Writers Conference LA (Newport Beach) was this weekend. I drank a little too much wine and my eyes feel like they're full of ground glass, but damn, I'm energized! My workshop was superb. Right people for the message, right message for them - does it get any better? They were so lovely and willing to listen and take a chance on the funny side of life. I'd have 'em all over to dinner if I knew how to cook. I sure hope Michael and Wes invite me to do the San Diego conference, if Gordon decides not to do it. That'd be the bomb.

But back to the ranch -

I was going to call up some school districts and ask them if they're interested in field trip information because we're offering ranch tours to children's groups, BUT... after Googling all the districts and getting phone numbers, I can't find Tina's phone in her house to call anyone. I can use my cell phone except it sometimes decides it doesn't want to hear me now and flakes out on me. I did go out to the barn office to try to make the calls but it's hot out there. As in, 113 degrees hot. As in, a dress rehearsal for Hell. I made one call from the barn phone, and said, "Dear God, why am I out here?"

So I'm sitting here in Tina's home office, using her computer, which is a Mac but it's okay, I'm bilingual. Tina's left-handed, which means I'm reaching across with my right hand to click on the mouse. And I'm wearing my bifocals, which means I'm craning my neck up so I can look down through the correct part of the lens.

And Duffy-puppy could be laying outside in the kennel with his friend, Buddy, under the misters, which make it very cool and pleasant. Instead, he's standing at the kennel door, barking and making me miserable.

Yeah, the life of a writer is a glamorous one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm ready!

Starting tomorrow, I'll be at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach for the 8th annual Southern California Writers Conference - LA, and I'm really excited. Okay, I'd be slightly more excited if I was actually staying at the Hyatt, but who can afford those rates?

I'm teaching a workshop on humor, Sunday morning at 9, and I'm looking forward to sharing whatever knowledge and tools I have about writing funny. For the past few weeks, I've made notes and gathered information and quotes. Today I finished getting ready: I got a haircut, a manicure and a pedicure.

I get a haircut fairly regularly, but I haven't had a mani/pedi in well over a year, possibly two. Every time I think about getting one, I tell myself, "Your nails will be ruined tomorrow when you go to the ranch. And forget the toenails. They won't survive the cowboy boots."

But today I went to Glen Ivy Spa in Brea, where Emma (from Romania) helped me choose a nail color, then gave me a wonderful manicure, which included a mint scrub and an arm/hand massage. Afterward, she handed me over to Amanda (from California), who scrubbed and sanded my feet, and painted my toes the same color as my nails.

Emma took the nail color selection very seriously. She wanted to know what I was doing this weekend, what kind of conference, what sort of presentation I would be making. Would I be holding a book? She took all these things into consideration before she offered me two choices, a light pink and a ruby red. My decision?

When I first saw my nails I thought, ooh, shiny. Then I thought: "I've had two years to grow nails, Mother - Jungle Red!" (Norma Shearer in The Women)

Then I stopped by California Pizza Kitchen to pick up dinner for Dale and I, and the waitress said, "Wow, I like your nails. They remind me of the ruby slippers."

Yes. Ruby slippers. Kind of like my favorite purse.

So, the question is, should I use the purse this weekend to match my nails? Or should I just stop obsessing on my nails and focus on the workshop?

Ooh. Shiny.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let this be a lesson to you!

This is a lesson in letting opportunity slip through your fingers, your little calloused, carpel-tunneled fingers.

I'm a fairly notorious blog lurker. I like to comment on thought-provoking blogs, or even silly ones. One of the blogs I read regularly is Murderati. The writers are all interesting and have good information about writing, about publishing, and about how their lives intrude/enhance their work. Two weeks ago, Toni McGee Causey kicked off a two-week journey through people's workspaces. She shared pictures of her work area with descriptions, and invited 'Rati readers to do the same.

How could I refuse?

The Gods-honest truth is, I write all over my house, with the exception of my bathroom (um, no) and my son's bedroom (teenager, smelly, um, double-no). So I should have sent this photo:

This is the recliner in the family room. I spend a lot of time thinking and writing, writing and thinking, here. Usually, Turner Classic Movies is in the background.

Or, I could have sent in this photo. This is my very pretty desk with my writing books (Bird by Bird, On Writing, The Writer's Book of Days), a cute little lamp and my printer. I write here sometimes, although I can't really write in the mornings because the sun is too bright and I'm too cheap to buy a shade for the window.

Also, this guy stands by the fireplace behind me and he kinda creeps me out. A friend "gifted" him to me years ago and he didn't have any mane or tail, so he looked like a sheep. I bought doll hair and ribbons from the craft store and made him look like a horse again - a holiday horse, but I don't know what to do with him now. So far, all of my friends have avoided being "gifted."

I ended up sending this one, since it's the one place I truly feel my butt is in the chair and I'm working. I gave Toni a description of what's on the table, which I would repeat here, but then you might not go over to her entry on Murderati today and see my picture and blurb, mixed in with all the other 'Rati characters. If I'd known I could submit multiple pictures, I'd have added this one.

The puppy divides his time between trying to get me to play with him and looking like this. So sad.

Here's where I had a moment of true, epic failure: LOOK AT MY COMPUTER SCREEN in the picture. It's my Facebook page. My freakin' Facebook page.

Why didn't I have my website? My book cover? Why didn't it scream "This is Gayle Carline and what she writes?" Oh, oh, and to top it off, I didn't ANYWHERE mention that I'm the AUTHOR OF FREEZER BURN.

Gaaahhhh, what the hell is wrong with me?!?!?!?!

Learn, Tadpoles. Learn from my mistakes. Never miss an opportunity to tell the world about your work.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The ball, she is rolling!

I just got off the phone with the lovely folks at Amazon's Createspace, and I can officially say that I'm on my way to publishing my first book of columns. I say "first" because I'm hoping there'll be more.

I had to talk to a representative because I seemed to be in between the menu options they listed - I have cover art, designed by the wonderful Joe Felipe, but I feel unsure of myself when it comes to formatting the manuscript to look as professional as it can. So they figured out a "one from Column A, one from Column B" program for me, along with some phone numbers to call if I needed help. I'm guessing they mean help with my book. I could use some help emptying the trash and cleaning the patio...

ANYWHO. Here's my cover. I love it. More later.

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