Busy summer

Posted on July 15, 2009. Filed under: farm tours, TheHorseySet.Net, writing | Tags: , , , |

We all could write that same headline. I just wanted to update y’all on what’s been going on since I got my bermudas in a bunch over Uhura.

Trip to Virginia

A friend and I went to Virginia for the Hunt Country Stable Tour. I’m milking the trip for all it’s worth for posts for The Horsey Set Net. That link is the gateway to more links to the previous entries, if you’d like to read them. Photos, too. 🙂 I have two (maybe three?) more planned.

BISW (Book in Six? Weeks)

In our case, it’s Book in Seven Weeks. The Charter Oak Romance Writers group, one of the two RWA chapters to which I belong, is having an amass-pages-like-a-maniac event from early July through the third week of August. Even though I’m too repressed to be much of a maniac, I’m moving forward. Last week? Crazy good. This week? Oh, not so much.

I pretty much set aside the summer to work as much as I can on my long-standing WIP.

I reduced my posting schedule for the horse blog to twice a week, after having posted daily during the Triple Crown races.  Curiosity about those races drove a lot of traffic to my little horsey blog. Some of those readers have stayed on to become RSS feed subscribers.

More travel planning

I’m going to Saratoga for the first time during The Season. Heck, I’m just going to Saratoga for the first time in the nearly 30 years that we’ve lived here.

I’m also working on a strange combined trip to Kentucky and Indianapolis for the fall. Fly into Louisville, drive to Indianaoplis for an event, drive back to Kentucky for a few days, then fly home from Louisville. It seemed like a good idea when I dreamed it up.

At-home feline health care

Our 12-year-old kitty Amber has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. First, we had trouble figuring out how to get the meds into her. Now, we pulverize the pill and mix it into soft food. Twice a day.

Soon, she got too much of the medication and turned into Yoda with itchy ears. We got her meds balanced (more like, reduced by half). She has  mellowed out and looks fluffy again, but she’s getting a bit dodgy about the meds and her “treat.” It’s ongoing. When I finish this, I’ll lure her out for her morning’s dose. I hope.

In case you’re wondering, she lets DH give her her “treats.” But we’re the only ones. Travel as a couple may be out of the picture for a while. And I don’t want to really think much beyond that. 😦

Frankly, how she is while I’m in Saratoga and after my return will tell me if I should go hrough with my travel plans to KY in October, let alone next October for the World Equestrian Games (like the Olympics, but rarer – it’s never been held outside Europe.)


I’m battling genetics (a long line of British bulldog women), leftovers from three years on steroids and the menopot. I’m not sure that boot camp at Parris Island would take this off. But I’m doing what I have the strength to do.

* Oh yeah, DH and I scored tickets to see Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig on Broadway in “A Steady Rain.”

I know, I know – some of those spill over into fall. But I have even more big plans for fall, including setting up a blog on my author (to be) website, which is now dormant.

When that finally happens, I’ll link there from here.

But, first, I need to amass many more pages on that novel. And keep that kitty stable.

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Oh no – not “You Betcha!”

Posted on October 9, 2008. Filed under: writing | Tags: , , |

We all have words or phrases we overuse. Or use in certain circumstances.

I used to use “You bet!” or “You betcha!” for those moments when I am agreeing but have reservations. And not “the good kind” of reservations that come with menus and waiters.

Usually, I say it if I’m trying to feign enthusiasm, either to bolster another’s energy or my own. When I say, “you bet” I’m trying to be supportive but I have my private doubts.

Which now have gone public, now that I’ve blogged about it.

After all, if you smile enough, you might make yourself happy. At least, that’s what conventional wisdom sez.

So, if I exude a positive attitude with a cheery “you bet!,” I can be supportive with a bit of energy.

People like it. I look like less of a crumudgeon. Win-win. Especially when I’m working one-on-one.

Now vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has made it sort of her wanna-be superhero catchphrase. “You betcha!” — with a wink.

Imitator Tina Fey chirps that phrase and flashes that wink like a hyperactive flamenco dancer with castanets.

For the record, I don’ t do the wink. Besides, I think a wink is like the winky emoticon. That 😉 tacks on a “just kidding” to the previous statement. It lightens up the meaning of any previous statement.

I wouldn’t dream of using it when speaking about serious matters. Unless I’m engaging in serious tough talk and I don’t want to get flamed.

So, watching Palin do it makes me wonder. I know that I’m BS-ing when I chirp “You betcha!” at someone. Is she?

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A New Start to the Day

Posted on September 23, 2008. Filed under: blogs, writing | Tags: , , |

This is how my mornings used to start.

Around dawn, Max the cat would come get me. He would whimper or meow. Or knock knick-knacks off the dresser. Or chase one of the other cats in a hissing screaming yowl down the hall.

So, I’d get up but not be able to go back to sleep. I would go sit at the computer to see what was waiting in my Inbox.

No more.

I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’s lifestyle management book titled “The Four Hour Workweek.” In it, he says that we should not start the day with email.

He recommends a bunch of other techniques, including only checking email twice a day. ::gasp!:: And to avoid the news. (Yeah. Right. Dude, it’s a US Presidential election year – and hurricane season.)

I now close off my email program before bedtime so that I won’t be tempted by its siren call in the morning. “Who sent me something??? Anything good????” Hmmm???

So, I get to work with the horse blog or even the novel. But, then, I realize that I need to open Outlook to get a URL stored in an email storage folder.

To continue being productive, I have to open my mail.

So far, I’ve been able to delay the inevitable until mid-morning. I can’t seem to stop at just looking for what I need. I am compelled to hit “send/receive” to see what came in while I was sleeping.

And so it begins.

But one thing I hadn’t anticipated is that I rarely get anything over night that truly needs immediate attention in the morning.

Who knew? 🙂

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Joining the Equus Posse

Posted on September 3, 2008. Filed under: blogs, writing | Tags: , , , , |

Yes, I’ve joined the bajillion newsies making bad puns about Daniel Radcliffe (yes, Harry Potter) soon to appear nude on Broadway in Equus.

Not only that, I’ve bought tickets, too. I go in late October.

I’m a little suprised that I did. I had considered the ballyhooed nude scene So Much Hype. So many young stars decide to torpedo their childhood images with a blatantly adult role.

And nothing does that so thoroughly than playing the unstable former (I’m assuming he got fired, considering what he did in the backstory) stable boy in “Equus.”

And that’s another reason why I wasn’t eager to go at first. I’m squeamish. I know that they won’t “go graphic” when they dramatize the crime that Radcliffe’s character committed.

If you don’t know what the play is about and you’re squeamish, too, skip this next line:

The play is about the stable boy’s psychotherapy sessions after he had blinded six horses with a hoofpick.


Good Gawd, Rhonda, why do you want to see a play about something like that?!?

Good question. And I’m still figuring it out. I had been researching for the blog post and I thought, this looks like a damn good play. Maybe even a bona fide dramatic event. And I live close enough to go.

I picked my companion with care. Another horsewoman, a sister English major and a fan of serious drama — and, with a click of the mouse, we have tickets.

So, I finally got my post up to the blog, my pretty little blog with the rotating header photos. Each click brings up a different photo of the ten available. Trick, huh? I had carefully selected stock photos according to composition, emotional content and color scheme to insert into the WordPress theme.

Anyway, while I was working on this post, I went over to The Horsey Set Net to check the link. Imagine my surprise — when you consider the play’s synopsis — to see the close-up photo of the paint horse’s eye pop up in the header on the “Equus” article.


Poor taste and bad luck can happen when you least expect it.

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FTP Follies – learning as I go

Posted on August 21, 2008. Filed under: blogs, TheHorseySet.Net, writing | Tags: , , , |

I’ve neglected this blog as I wrap up BISW (or, more accurately, Book in Eight Weeks) and fine-tune the look on The Horsey Set Net .

I think I got about 64 additional pages done on BISW. Not exactly a book, but it’s good progress and I forged ahead into the dreaded Act III. I now know it’s not going to bite me. Right now, it doesn’t have to set the world on fire, either.

As for THSN (the horse blog), working with WordPress.Org has taught me a lot of lessons. I love to learn new skills, so I’m trying to do everything myself. Sometimes to varying degrees of effectiveness.

I didn’t go with this blog’s theme after all. I went with another free theme called Amazing Grace. I wanted the option of banner photos, so I wouldn’t have to come up with as many images for posts. So, I’m downloading stock photos to replace the ones that come with the theme. I’m about halfway through the process.

Since I’m using my own domain name and had to go through WordPress.org, I have to use FTP. A File Transfer Protocol program.

That FTP makes me nervous. It’s too easy and I feel like I’m gonna screw up all the time. It works like a split screen – half the page is what’s on my computer here in CT and the other half is what’s on the website at my host in LA. I drag files from my computer to drop onto my web host. If the file names match, Voila!

If not, if there’s a typo, it’s, “What happened?” And if I can’t seem to find the file I need to replace, it gives a new meaning to the term “hunt and peck.” Which now is more like “hunt and click.”

Is it this one? Click. Nope. What about this one? Click. Uh, no. etc. Ad infinitum until …

I call in DH, my own personal live-in IT guy to help me figure out where I went wrong. Only he’s more of a hardware dude than a software dude and knows less about WordPress and blogs than I do. We managed to trial&error the new theme onto THSN. And he helped me figure out why I couldn’t find another file.

Sometimes luck fills in for skill. And with any luck, I won’t have to call him in to bail me out so often.

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Fadtastic Blog Renovations

Posted on July 28, 2008. Filed under: blogs, Uncategorized, writing |

Yes, I’ve re-decorated the blog.

Actually, I’m trying out this WordPress theme. It’s called Fadtastic, and it’s one of the free themes. Once I get my horse blog up, I plan to use this theme until I can afford some blog-designing artiste to wave the magic mouse and transform it into a unique virtual place.

Until then, I like this one. I like the cheerful colors and the clean lines.

I didn’t forget about the horses. Nyuh uh. Got me a domain name, some hosting, picked me out a free theme (this one), been planning content. I intend to launch it this fall. When it’s up, there’ll be a link right here, if you’re interested. Stay tuned …

But, first, I want to play with this theme for a while. Get a feel for how it works. Already, I see that I need to write an “About” page. So, this blog is a great place to practice.

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Part of a Entertainment Distribution Revolution?

Posted on July 14, 2008. Filed under: SF TV, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , |

Courtesy Mutant Enemy Productions

Courtesy Mutant Enemy Productions

As part of the fallout from the Writers Guild of America strike, some entertainment content producers are using the Internet to reach their viewers directly.

Among them is producer/writer Joss Whedon (of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly). His upcoming mini-series “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will be releasing in installments over the Internet. For free.

How are folks getting paid? The freebie installments from July 15-20 are intended to build excitement for downloads and an eventual DVD. Which won’t be for free. But we want artists making a living, right?

All, and then some, is revealed in the “Master Plan” page available at the Dr. Horrible website. Mr. Whedon was so kind to offer desktop resources, like the image above, for us to spread the word in Net-appropriate viral fashion.

(BTW, I wish more content producers would do that, offer us buttons and banners and desktops.)

You’ll see recognizable faces in that poster at the top. Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) plays the title character “Dr. Horrible” while Nathan Fillion (“Desperate Housewives,” “Firefly”) plays the-less-than-super super-hero out to stop him.

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Confessions of an Occasional Blogger

Posted on June 12, 2008. Filed under: blogs, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , |

I seem to be falling behind with this blogging thing. My last entry was three weeks ago. Uh oh.

However, the novel I’m writing is making excellent progress. I have no idea how authors, especially those with the book-a-year contract, juggle both. The longer I do this, the more impressed I am with that end product, a book that’s a satisfying read.

I have a feeling that I overthink my blog topics. I have about seven unfinished drafts that I couldn’t get off the ground, let alone post in a timely fashion, so they’re outdated now. A prime example is a post about my pre-Belmont thoughts on Big Brown.

Also, for some topics, I have another venue in mind. I don’t want to debut them here under my basically, intentionally anonymous personal blog. So I save them. I hope they don’t end up like the magazines on my coffee table, the ones I insist I intend to read but secretly fear that I’m just hoarding.

Plus, part of me likes the idea that I have a relatively anonymous venue in which to post thoughts and interests. But that defeats the purpose of the promotional author blog. Although our little circle here is kind and generous, I wonder if I might be too thin-skinned to be a blogger, like a NYT best-seller who discontinued her blog after getting crisped in an accidental flamefest. I think I’ve managed to build a shield over my fiction for critique purposes, but maintaining that facade takes a lot of energy. I’m not sure I’ve got the strength just yet to extend my mental shield to works on the blogosphere, too.

So I’m comfortable here with our little circle and feel a bit guilty that I don’t contribute more.

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Newbie Mistress of My Domain

Posted on March 29, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , |

Late last year, I finally snagged my name as a domain. Someone who shares that name must have let it slip through her fingers. Claiming it was satisfying, but I can’t help wondering about her. Is she out there somewhere kicking herself? I would be.

But mostly now, I’m in the process of coming up with a website that says “I’m a writer and I’m legit.” Potential sources that I cold-call will be able to look me up, even though I don’t have any published books yet. I probably should have done this a long time ago.

A web-savvy friend offered to point me in the right direction, even though I can’t afford his services to design the thing outright. He sent me to draw up a site map, write up “assets” (copy) and click through templates and stock photos.

Building a website seems to have something in common with building and decorating a house. All the decisions to be made about what will be comfortable, yet make a good impression.

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RSS to the Rescue?

Posted on March 9, 2008. Filed under: blogs, writing | Tags: , |

Squirrel in Our Backyard

Photo by Rhonda Lane

I try to keep up with my favorite blogs but it can be tough. Real Life gets in the way of Virtual Life.

So, it’s RSS to the rescue. Because I don’t check my Google and Yahoo accounts often, I have it sent to my main email. Apparently not all blogs do that. So, I just click on over to the over to the blog itself where I do my reading. A post from several days ago, especially on a busy daily blog, may catch my eye so I might comment. But then I get a knuckle-rapping message for being late.

My virtual tail drops between my legs as I slink back to where I feel more welcome. Maybe there’s something good to be said for blogs not posting every day? A little laid-back atmosphere?

So, I RSS when I can. But then there’s something else I miss in RSS posts — the fancy design layout (theme/template) that so many bloggers pay such good money for.

Those layouts, to me, are like a restaurant’s decor. Yup, I go for the food and the fact that someone else does my dishes, but I also go for the atmosphere. Otherwise, I’d just order takeout and eat at home in
front of the TV. Some RSS feed posts do show up with some design elements, but I still feel like I’ve pulled up to the Chili’s To-Go window again.

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