Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing the best to all at the holidays. May we all have peace and joy, and may we find delight in each new day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

How the year's flying...

and I kind of hate it because these are my favorite months (cold weather--and the promise of more). I'm trying to live "in the day," and for the most part I am, but I've discovered a drawback. When you work outside an office and your beloved has retired and your daughter is home from school, living in the day means that no one knows tomorrow's date. Somehow, it's almost the holidays, and I'm way behind.

I've finished crocheting a scarf for a friend. (I made up the pattern. Pardon a prideful moment, but it's so pretty my girl wants one like it.) I still need to mail it. I've sent out a few cards. I've bought a few more gifts, and we have company coming and we sort of have a menu.

But I'm one of the few people I know who thrives on carols. I don't care how many times they're repeated--I love them. I love the calls of "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas." I love walking my 2-miles per day at night by the shiny lights of the neighbors' decorations. We've finally plunged our rather tipsy-looking snowmen into the unseasonably warm sod along the sidewalk, and we put up our snowman firescreen in front of the fireplace. I'm really excited because I found the block o'glass light shaped to look like a gift our older girl gave us last year.

I'm just sad all the lights will go away so soon. I started my live-in-the-day philosophy because I tended to feel as if I were always waiting for something, instead of appreciating the here and now. All of a sudden, in a most uncharacteristic turn, I'm pushing tomorrow away. I don't want anyone to put my shiny lights back in the attic!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Late to the Post


I could not talk my sweet child into getting me off the hook, luncheon-wise, and I'm glad. It was good to see old friends and catch up. I won a candy dish at the giveaway, and now that I'm back in town, the girl and I are in the coffee shop. She's catching up on The Office, and I'm catching up on work. (And looking kind of crazy!)

I still have so much to do, but I'm happy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday in a Rush

This is a terrible thing, but I'm wondering if I can persuade my daughter to take my place at a holiday lunch with her pop tomorrow. I love seeing the folks who'll be there, but they'd also love seeing her. College girls don't visit around the way they used to, and I feel as if I can't break away from my work.

People tell you--enjoy yourself--take some time off. But I've become too good at that. I need to stay in this story while it's talking to me.

So--I'm off to beg for a reprieve. :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ooops--Waylaid!

With the Internet moving verrrrryyyy slowllllyyy again, I started to update all my electronic stuff, and opened a book to read in the wait times. Big mistake!

A few hours later, I find myself in love with The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain, and I'm oh so sorry to have reached the end. I had definite misgivings about this heroine. I don't want to cover any of the plot because talking about anything would give big parts of everything away, but oh--what engaging writing! And I ended up loving the heroine. I just spent several minutes gazing longingly at her next on eharlequin.com.

Sadly, I have my own work to do. But I bookmarked that page!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Writing with a Pen Again

I saw something at Target yesterday--a notepad in which you write with a pen, but the words can be transferred into a file. I love writing longhand, but I'm far too lazy to type the story in. I'd love to try this amazing, miraculous, whimsical piece of technology, but I also have a pen and paper fetish. What if the rather pricey configuration included a pen that wrote so smoothly I did not possess the moral fiber to resist?

It only works with Windows, but we have plenty of Windows systems around this house, and transferring a file from a Windows system to a Mac is a piece o'cake.

It's a quandary.

I love to write longhand.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday--Holiday's are a-Startin'


The holidays are starting because my girl's coming home. In an ideal world her brother would be here too. And her sister would be coming for at least a visit. But one of the offspring will be home for several weeks, starting today! Yay!

One member of our household will not be thrilled. When she's not here, her room belongs to Kitty. I'm not sure why, but the second she goes back to school, he hotfoots it up there and spreads his voluminous girth upon her bed. (That picture's obviously not Kitty spreading out, but one of the girl's friends made it for her, and it looks so funny, so I put it in.) But the second the girl comes home, the Kitty flees "his" room and becomes a couch ornament in the family room.

Rambling again, post-wise.

Today is also two of my brothers' birthdays. They're not twins. They were born a year and an hour apart in my family's tradition of hardly ever producing a child with his or her own birthday. (Another brother and I are two days--and four years--apart, and around our birthdays are two cousins, so that four of us celebrate four days in a row. Anyway, I must call the brothers.

Tonight, the girl and I are going for pizza and then walking the square because the lights and the deco are so beautiful. Hope you'll be enjoying some holiday cheer, too.

For now, I need to write so I'm not walking the square, thinking "I should have..."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inspiration

Where do you get it?

Today, I passed a driveway, fronted by two wooden gates, painted white. The drive curved under dripping trees, but disappeared. I didn't see the end of the drive or the house it led to, but I have a story forming in my mind, complete with a house I've made up--or maybe it made itself up--and a quirky family I'm already beginning to love. You know things will change, but I'm excited about the start--new ideas bubbling away.

I've read that P.D. James always knows her setting before she knows the rest of the story. It doesn't usually work that way for me, but today, I want to wander back into the notes I'm taking as often as I can.

I've just realized the holidays are closing in. I have three gifts, ideas for three others, and I've bought cards which I haven't begun to address.

Better get back to work so I'll have some time to work at fun!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fir

Yesterday afternoon I had to visit the grocery store, and I managed to walk between two rows of fir trees. Oh, the memories of that scent. Blinking Christmas lights and warmth against the snowy, blowing cold. Playing pool with my little brother on his Christmas present of a table-sized pool table. Another brother making popcorn with his favorite gift that year--a real popcorn popper.

I love the scent of fir trees. I could not breathe in enough. No matter how hard I tried. Until I scared the lady actually shopping for a tree. She looked at me as if I were pervy, but nope. Just trying to imprint some more fir tree on my memory.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Musing on Monday


This is weird. Our Internet access is up. I'm going to concentrate on not talking about our service as much. Anyway, I normally have to leave the house to work because the beloved is here, wandering around, expecting responses to his "observations."

Today, he's taken my car to do some stuff for his Harley Owner's Group. I should be hard at work, head down, not making (ugly) low cal/low fat banana pudding and a fresh pot of coffee while I page through my favorite crochet patterns and Teach Yourself to Knit.

I could take the beloved's car and wander over to a non-wifi spot where people will be annoyed if I want to chat them up. I could go look up a lovely game we learned with friends this weekend. Okay, I did look up Crud. It originated with military pilots, but neither my husband nor I had ever heard of it. Odd, since he did ten years active duty and ten more in reserves, and I did four years of active duty. And both of us were in Naval Aviation. We even spent time on a NATO base so we hung out with the Air Forces of several different nations, and still never heard of Crud. (A kind of modified pool game played by teams, using a cue ball and another ball--at a really fast pace. And can I mention, naturally less-than-graceful people need not apply unless prepared to be mocked?)

Hmmm. This post tells you how disciplined I am today. I'm going to shut down everything and get back to work. Or I'm taking the beloved's car (we call it the "sacred car" around here because we must treat it as if it's made of--something really fragile and precious. When you're being that careful, you know you're seconds away from a major crash!) and I'm going somewhere quiet. Maybe I need a librarian to force me to hush!

Note: Added Romance Writing from the Edge to my favorite blogs. JoAnn Ross is an amazing writer! Her blogs are as entertaining as her edge-of-the-seat novels!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday on the Square

Today's the market! Folks buying and selling in temps that I'm not sure I could have faced when they were setting up this a.m. 21 degrees F? I don't even have a coat that works for that. Well, technically, I do, but you can guess where it is when I tell you I have a daughter.

I love our square, love our town, love the twinkly lights and the ribbon and the wreaths. And I love the coffee in this shop.

My wish for everyone is a quaint square that inspires you to write a series of romance novels based in a small town where love really matters.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Few Changes

I'm doing some blog-keeping and look at the header! My cousin took that photo--of the house that belonged to my many-many-greats-back-grandfather. He built it in 1825, and I visited in the fall. The family ghost, his wife, whom the current owners swear has visited, kept her distance. Not sure whether I'm glad or sad about that!

Anyway, I'm having Internet access problems, as always, so I'm blogging sporadically, but we're told a company of good reputation will be coming as far as our street around February. Wouldn't that be lovely? You can't imagine how you take good access for granted until you think "I'll google that," but you'd be better off driving to whatever it is you're googling and looking it over yourself. That includes, search terms like "tundra" or "Galapagos." Funny, how geography sprang to mind though I'm geographically challenged!

Anyway, I do have a few things to google, so must get at it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Day of December

We've had snow flurries today! Yay!

And I'm enduring Internet trials again. I hate being cut off from the Internet. As a writer, a lot of my friends are online, and we don't get out much, but we do a lot of chatting via email, Twitter, blogs, etc. I'm at a coffee shop. Again. I feel guilty for spending so much time on their wifi so I haven't actually been out to connect lately. Aaargghh! Hate to complain, of course.

So--it's December. I'm still working on proposals, though not dawdling any more. Actual hard, is-this-emotional-enough work. And that's good. I'm excited about writing. And I can say that without fear that it just means for today. Here's hoping the funk is beaten back!

Good lord--the Internet access just went down here as well. I'm a jinx. I'm going to try posting this and then shutting off the Internet entirely.

Snow and a working proposal--good things--things to rejoice about!

Bad Internet access--who needs to chitchat with friends anyway? ;-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday--Busy!

I've been working so hard I forgot to blog. What a nice feeling! ;-)

What are you doing for the weekend?--

Oh--wow--a man in the coffee shop's phone rang with my cousin, Bill's ring. I looked around for Bill, but he wasn't there. Wish he had been!

Anyway--back to the weekend. Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving? I just found myself trying to slow down these flying fall days. I love this time of year, can't wait for it, and every year it seems to go faster. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it means family to me. Just family. Lovely.

We're getting ready for our celebration, planning the meal. We're having dinner with friends, but then because we truly love Thanksgiving at our house, we're going to have our own meal on the Friday as well. How else would we have the yummy leftovers? ;-) That is kind of crazy though, huh? But I can't wait!

Back to work so I can take a few hours off next week without feeling guilty!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tagged!

Yay! Debby Giusti tagged me at the Craftie Ladies of Suspense. I never get tagged so I'm pretty excited. I hope I can be interesting! I'm supposed to offer 7 random facts about myself.

1. I was once questioned by the Icelandic Police because the beloved and I ended up locked in a church after everyone else left. This church was started, but not completed, because a volcano erupted and the money for the church was used to repair people's homes. I like that about the wise Icelandic people. Anyway, instead of completing the church, they did build an observation deck in the spire. It was lovely, but noisy in the wind, so when everyone else left and the church was locked up, we did not know we'd begun to trespass.

2. I was once almost dragged out to sea in an effort to save my little brother as he was swept away during high tide. (Fortunately, my father saved us both!)

3. In another act of pure heroism, when a guy put out his cigarette on my best friend's coat at a high school football game, I laughed hysterically (panic reaction) instead of mentioning the flames rolling up her sleeve. (I did however pound the flames out while I laughed. And no--just in case you're worried--I never sit in the exit row on an airplane.)

4. I put that same best friend's cat in my second book, The Marriage Contract. He was a battling, black tom, one ear torn off in a past fray, no one's pet--who adopted my heroine and showed her love. (Thanks, best friend, for the inspiration!)

5. My husband and I never agree on anything--politics, which furniture to buy, what to name our son. We had a name chosen the night before he was born. While I was in labor, my beloved said "I don't really like the name Jared." I won't tell you what I said because I've already confessed enough bad stuff about myself. We finally agreed on a name just before we left the hospital, three days after our boy was born. And we both love his name--he was born to be a supreme court justice. Seriously, trust me! Justice ? ? ? Adams sounds perfect. Only the boy hates his middle name and he's a musician.

6. My daughter is a nursing student, and she cleans stuff that literally makes me faint when I think about all she faces. But when she walks into a grocery store where they have chickens on the rotisserie, she gags at the aroma! (If you're not nauseous enough yet, she's the girl who sounds as if she's calling football "Huts" as she passes the chicken roasting section.)

7. When I have free time, I go to a coffee shop and watch 27-year-old episodes of my long-canceled favorite soap opera. (I'm way behind, and I have this horrible fear they'll take it off the net, too.)

I'm supposed to tag people, too, but I'm not sure I know enough people who blog. I'm gonna try to browbeat friends, but please, consider yourself tagged and leave a link in the comment section so that people can follow you to your blog!

Oh--and don't forget it's report day at Sven's.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday

Lots of things to love about Tuesday. For one thing, it's only 41 degrees outside, and the wind is really blowing. With a few gray clouds, it'd be a near perfect day. Also, The Mentalist is on tonight. Yay!

Here's my bad Tuesday problem. I'm lacking in writing inspiration. I've been so excited for several weeks about writing, but today I'm just tired. I want to be in the middle of a story I love, instead of wrestling conflict into proposals that are hammering me as hard as I'm banging at them. For how long?

Sometimes I feel as if I should just send them, but why put my editor through a pointless exercise? No conflict=no satisfying resolution=no story. I don't want that. I want a story I can be proud of, and this is just one of those bumps in the road every writer faces. Can't wait till the bump smooths out.

But just in case it doesn't, I'm going to take my own best writing advice. And keep writing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

MySpace, At Last

Well, sort of. I've finally started a MySpace page. Some awfully nice people helped me because I'm apparently MySpace-challenged. One friend said she finds it so much easier than Facebook. I find I'm flummoxed! But there's a page, and I've updated it a bit. And I plan to update some more when I go out to a place that has decent wifi. (Same old, same old whinging! Sorry!)

For now, it's back to proposal land where the watchword is: Conflict, and oh yeah, some more conflict, please! That's a bunch of watchwords, but I'm digging for as much as I can get right now! ;-)

Happy Monday to all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Thursday!

I've got a blinding headache, but I will not be denied! (Writing-wise.) I've dosed up on the caffeine and the aceta--okay--can't spell that. But I'm expecting to be able to think without pain at any moment. ;-)

No reading last night. Started to watch a new passion--Ghost Hunters. Must thank my friend, Kim for yet another television addiction! ;-) Between that and WWII movies on Veteran's Day, the DVR is nearly full.

So--I can't start clearing off DVR'd programs until I get a good word count. So--heeding the siren call of one and one-half unwatched episodes of Ghost Hunters, I must away to the appropriate files!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Check in Day at Sven's

I have been sweating, though not yet today. I had some errands to run that included buying a new red phone. Okay. It didn't have to be red, but I sort of coveted a red phone. A red, sturdy phone. Yay--not only is it lovely, but I can finish a whole conversation without dropping the call, and I can hear the person I'm talking to. Isn't it wonderful when things work the way they're supposed to?

Gotta go crank up Gosford Park (although nerdsnark, I'll be asking the girl to bring her copy of Back to the Future home so I can see how that works) and get to sweating!

Check out everyone's reports at Sven's place. You'll be inspired if you're having a hard time getting into your own work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Listening to a movie while I write

Don't you do that? It has to be one I've seen a billion times so that I don't pay attention other than taking comfort in the sounds. Conversation, rain, footsteps on wooden floors, spoons and glasses clinking. Singing.

That's what I'm hearing today because I'm listening to Gosford Park. I love cozy, period mysteries from the so-called Golden Age. So-called--it was the golden age for me--Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie (whom I didn't always love), Leslie Ford. Anyway, as I love them so much, I was disappointed in Gosford Park when I first saw it. The plot was not a puzzle. But I watched it again because it looked so beautiful. And then I watched it again because it looked--and sounded--so beautiful. And then--again--because I looked forward to certain moments when certain characters offered glimpses of who they were. Before I knew it, I loved it.

The moment when "Ivor Novello" sings to another character whom everyone else dismisses touches me every time.

And it's excellent writing background. I managed 1,491 words yesterday in my first Sven day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time to Sweat

With Sven again, which is why I'm blogging so late! For some reason, I thought Sven began his regimen tomorrow. I've set myself a goal of 1 k a day, but for today, I have about 1.6 so far, and I'm still moving.

Happy sweating! Even if you aren't joining in, it's fun to do a blog tour and see how others are doing. You might find some of your favorite writers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blogging in Other Places

If you're a writer or a reader of romance, you probably already know and cherish the Pink Heart Society blog. I'm hanging out there today.

Drop by, particularly if you have some tips about finding words when you feel as if they've deserted you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Time Management

I'm cackling even as I write those two words because I clearly don't use them together! Before I quit the day job, I managed to raise two children, still in school, deal with a husband who traveled most of the time, work a demanding day job as a tech writer for a software company (read demanding deadlines/long hours) and produce books. I never understood writers who said they couldn't find time when they had the lovely comfort of all day to write with no one demanding anything of them.

Guess who I am now. Part of it is the inability to say no to folks who think my time is so much my own I can rearrange my schedule. The thing is, I want to rearrange because I like to spend time with the people who need me to do that. But I also have to manage my own work time when I'm using it to have fun or do errands that need to get done.

I saw an ad yesterday for a class on time management for writers, and I thought--oohhhh! But hard on "oohhhh's" heels, "I don't have time for that!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where did Tuesday's post go?


I thought I'd saved it in a draft, but apparently not. It must have been vital. I don't even remember what I was saying.

I didn't write as much as I'd planned yesterday because I went to a girly lunch (you know, much more ladylike than I'm accustomed to) and an IMAX movie with a friend. Ya gotta fill the well. That's all I can say. I know I filled the well for a week--last week--but this friend rarely gets a day off work. We had to strike while the free day was available!

I thought I'd post another photo of last week's well-filling site. Again, you gotta fill the well, and you can't get too much beach. That's a philosophy to live by.

I love this photo. I forgot to take a camera with me, but one day, while toiling at the words, I glimpsed the camera built in to my laptop. Now, if you're looking to procrastinate, you can hardly beat setting up your laptop all over a house to take pictures!

Week before last, I mentioned I was suddenly enamored of cozy mysteries? Not so much right now. I think I want everything to measure up to The Diva Runs Out of Thyme. Since they don't, I'm reading Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros. It starts at a roaring pace and continues at same. I'm really enjoying it.

But I need to put down excellent books and blog posts and write some words of my own!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday, Monday


This is where I was last week, writing and writing and writing. I needed that week away. I've been fighting my own doubts for too long, and finally, hanging out with two of my writing friends, working till whenever, I began to remember how to write. I mean, the instincts that have carried me this far somehow deserted me in the past year, but I feel as if they're easing back in. Maybe I just needed to be head down in writing mode for seven days. Couple that with restarting my critique relationship with the world's best critique partner, and I feel as if I'm starting over. I'm excited!

So--to share my excitement :-) I'm doing eHarlequin.com's version of NaNoWriMo (I think that's the way they shorten it). Come, look in on everyone's progress!

And then, November 10, Sven starts sweating again. It's not too late to submit to Sven!

Since I have some word count to make today, I'd better doctor up my far too vibrant coffee (I like a little coffee with my milk and cream) and get back to work!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ohhhhh, a Rainy Friday


I love any rainy days, but Fridays... And the girl coming home, and the kitty having done well at his recheck--and graciously allowing me to keep all my digits. (That's him with the beloved--K is no doubt contemplating how best to take out the ceiling.)

Ahhhhhh. A good day.

What a sad thing to be a vet, though, if you love your patients. Our amazing doctor literally saved Kitty's life, and how does Kitty thank him? A multi-syllabic growl the second his hero pushed a hand his way. And then, in case anyone was in any doubt as to his feelings re medical care--he hissed at me (administerer of antibiotics).

Good thing Kitty is such a charmer when he's not destroying all about him with those eye-beams!

About writing--ignore the smooth transition--this has been an excellent month for education. I've been taking an online class with Allison Brennan and Patti Berg that has me second guessing, but in a good way. I'm going to treat myself to re-reading all the lectures tonight. And I belong to a loop called AskanAuthor (I think--can't get into that address when I'm working in this one), and CJ Lyons did the answering this past week. She explained The Hero's Journey and pinch points in a way that finally made me understand them. Even better, I can see how to use them. Amazing. In gratitude, I went to buy her book, Lifelines, but our B&N doesn't have it. I'll have the opportunity to check other stores this weekend, but I may have to order--which means I'll have to order enough to get free shipping. It's a vicious circle!

I love these times when I feel as if I'm actually absorbing, not just listening (reading the lectures, I should say). You can never learn enough!

Must go! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mental about The Mentalist!

Okay, that was pretty cheesy.

I DVRd the Tuesday episode and watched it again last night. I have to say, I've known the "bad guy" each episode within seconds, but I don't even care. Patrick Jane was heartbreaking in the first episode, and I've loved him more with each showing. I love that he doesn't admit why he doesn't have children, and he didn't explain how his wife died, though the confidence might have made the villain more open to him. I love that he can't help making sandcastles. I love that he'll risk everything to catch a bad guy, and that he knows he can't stay home and be alone sometimes. In the first episode when he went home to the bare house and the mattress on the floor, I knew I was hooked for as long as the show runs.

Doesn't hurt that Simon Baker is gor-ge-ous, either!

Anyone else watching? (Just a year or so ago, I hardly ever watched network TV. Suddenly, I'm running that DVR half to death. It started with Top Chef and then So You Think You Can Dance. I'm spiraling!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dosing the Cat


This is Kitty. He doesn't like antibiotics.

I'm scared.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sick Kitty, Not Feeling Too Well Myself

There's a reason I'm not a nurse. The reason is: I'm nuts. And I feel bad for cats or people stuck in my care.

Writing, writing, writing--and getting a few steps ahead! Yay, Karen! Thank you! :-)

Spending too much time on Twitter.

Reading Cozy mysteries in the middle of the night instead of sleeping. Check out The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis! As I'm about to say I truly enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the next one in the series, I'm also mulling over some recent brushes with book snobbery. I don't really get why people find one sort of book more valuable than another. I have an English degree--I was taught by book-snob professors in classes filled with book-snob student, but I don't love snobbery of any sort. I do love a good read. Back to the diva. The book starts with a bang. It's set in Old Town Alexandria, one of my favorite places on earth, and it's filled with quirky, lovable characters. You can't go wrong!

Back to work!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday at Panera

I'm lurking under my headphones trying not to hear the college kids behind me talking about their love lives. I think they want to date each other, but they're both insulting each other's SOs. It's interesting--and also none of my business!

I've been traveling. Had a conference, not far from home, but far enough to stay at the hotel and talk writing to my heart's content. And visit with my excellent editor. And eat too much good stuff. And miss my little family. (How weird is that, only an hour or so away?)

Then my family had a reunion. I love seeing my aunts and uncles and my cousins. And this time, I got to meet the newest baby in the family--totally adorable--despite the handful of hair he grasped. Seriously, how cute can cute really be? That's him!

Then my girl and I got to hang out with our only girl cousin. We chit-chatted and solved most of the world's problems. Turns out we have no expertise with the economy.

And, finally, my nephew, who works on the Dublin, GA newspaper, had an article picked up by the AP. I must link because I'm so proud I could bust! Man--the article's already gone. So--if you're looking, Winston, I tried, and I wish I could have shown you off! ;-)

Back to my own work--unless Winston will maybe take over for me! ;-)

*Update! Found a paper that still had the article. Read and enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Back, at last!

Our satellite dish had simply tilted out of tolerance. Huh. Naturally, I blamed it on the neighbors who've appropriated our yard to: build a bonfire, periodically store their trampoline, build a fort, build jumps for their ATVs, run a trail for their ATVs.

Most of that has stopped because we don't really take it well, though they still use the trail behind our tree line. The oddest day was when they got upset (families on both sides of us) that we didn't want their fort in our yard. (Picture dragging of boards and metal into our yard via ATV's/sawing/hammering, etc. that is often more acceptably done on land a person owns.) Imagine our arrogance.

So--I was arrogant. I assumed they came over and moved our dish to protest our refusal to house their fort. But they didn't unless they brought tools and hung around a while. I feel a bit mean and ugly about suspecting the worst, but honestly, this will be the second time in our married life that we've had to build a fence to keep neighbors from appropriating our yard. (Okay, it's a three-acre yard, but that just means more fencing to pay for.) Come on, winter! Because these rather annoying kids seem to stay indoors if there's a chill. Wouldn't it be nice if their parents suggested they stay out?

Now this has turned into a whiny post, but I'm actually glad to have access to my blog again. I've missed rambling, and I should delete the whining. However, I'm busy, and I'm not starting over.

Has anyone seen "The Mentalist"? It's my latest TV-fave. I keep the old one (there have only been two episodes, but I'm in luuuuuuuvvv!) until the new one comes on cause I have to watch it again. I see a DVD set in my future! (Shhh! Don't tell the husband. You know the economy's not that good lately, and he doesn't think we should demonstrate confidence that spending money makes money!)

Anyway, I'm taking a class online, and today's lecture is about characterization. I've recognized the bad guy immediately in both episodes, but I cannot look away because they're doing very clever things with characterization for Patrick Jane. He breaks my heart, and yet, I find myself laughing out loud more than once a show. Witness: Hero and sheriff playing intense rock/paper/scissors on this week's epi.

Gotta go. Gotta write. Gotta vacum, cause company's coming! But it's nice to be back!

Note: I have long owed several people books, but I couldn't get into that email address to get snail mail addresses. I'll get the books out next week. Sorry! ;-( (Shamed smiley-non-smiley)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not gone; just disconnected

The satellite finally gave up. Hopefully, repairs will make all better.

Until then, I wish everyone well!

I hope the coffee shop doesn't start charging rent.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spoke Too Soon

The Internet's down at home again. Fortunately, the car's working, and the coffee's flowing. (I can't wait until hot-chocolate weather. They draw the cutest little designs on the steamed milk here!)

Last night, after dinner my friend and I drove around town so I could show her the courthouse square I "borrowed" for my Welcome to Honesty series. She'd read Her Reason to Stay, and I didn't even have to force her to look at our hometown, including the coffee shop where I wrote a good many of those pages.

That's friendship! Seriously, we talked about family, both the ones we grew up with and the ones we've made since. We've both traveled the world since marriage and babies, but every time we meet, I look at her face, and I'm taken back to those days when no event was complete or anywhere near as much fun until I'd shared all the shocking details with her.

I just wish Denver was a little closer! I'm actually a bit startled when I meet people who haven't lived everywhere on earth, and I envy them--the connections that time and distance never strain, the time they get to spend with the loved ones they love best. On the other hand, I'm wise enough to just relish the hours I got to spend with my friend and look forward to the next time! (Even if I'm pretty sure next time can't come fast enough!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back in again!

I can't believe it. Yay!

Clouds are hovering overhead, even, but shhhhhh--don't tell the satellite dish. I'm a little bemused, in the middle of about four projects, at a stage where I need to finish two right away and get them out. Sigh. (Car troubles and girls who live far enough away to need car swappings!)

And tonight I'm meeting one of my dearest friends for dinner. I rarely ever get to see her, and I can barely type for dancing.

However, I'd better get back to those pages so I don't have stories running through my mind during dinner.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday in September

The trees are really changing now. Yellow and a few red. The weather's not cooling, really, but the sun is angling in that Autumn tilt. Didn't the summer days fly by?

But the girl's back at school, and Labor Day went by. Fall's starting soon, and I expect to be excited, but right now, I feel a little melancholy because the girl's room is empty, and I miss all my offspring.

Better take this to the wip, huh?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday, and the Weather is Changing

Slowly, but surely. Last night, as I swam, cool air kind of made me chilly as it hit my shoulders. The first sure sign of fall. Actually, the leaves on a couple of our trees in the front yard are changing, but I fear that's bad news as no other leaves anywhere have begun to turn yet. :-(

Today, I'm meeting writer friends for lunch. Writers work so much alone that meeting friends and talking about the whys and hows we work is always a treat. Talking to someone who shares your passion and that strange hunger to put words together... Well, you know how they say that people who think like you always feel like your best friends!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday at the Library

First, it's much quieter than usual. I guess the schoolkids are all occupied again. I always dreaded this time of year when our offspring were younger--hated that I couldn't spend all day hanging out with them. (I cannot swear they felt the same.)

Second, one of the nicest people I know has a book out this month. Leanne Harris, who has been writing for Silhouette Romantic Suspense, has a Love Inspired Suspense out this month. I already grabbed mine at WalMart this morning. Check out the book on Leanne's website and see if you don't need to read all about it! ;-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Catching Up

I'm at yet another coffee shop. When, oh when will our Internet access be usable? And I don't really love to hear myself whining, but what ever happened to the concept of customer service?

Enough of that.

Summer's coming to an end. I can tell because I have an urge to bake. And a soup sounds good until I realize it's still in the 80s, but some of the leaves are starting to turn, and the schoolbus arrives on our street every morning. I'm going to miss my girl, but she's promised I can come down to take her to lunch at regular intervals. (Ain't she thoughtful?)

I'd love to hang out and gab, but I managed to pack for the coffee shop without a power cord so time is limited today. Wishing everyone a happy weekend!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gotta Type Fast!

Who knows how long this will last? We're still suffering Internet connection issues, but I've gotten this far....

Yay, the Olympics have started! I actually enjoy the Winter Olympics more--because of snow and cold weather. But I love the swimming and diving. Not wild about the other events until they start, and then I get all wrapped up in the competition. Yay--the games have begun!

Speaking of competition, was anyone else mesmerized by So You Think You Can Dance? I thought I was fine with whoever won, I liked all the dancers so much, but when they called Josh's name, I was startled because I expected to hear Twitch. What a great show. I need to thank the friend who suggested I watch it. But how long till the next season? And can it possibly measure up? :-)

Gotta hit post quickly. For one thing, how long will I stay connected? And we have friends coming to stay the night after the hot water pipe burst at their house. Do you ever notice the abode looks okay enough until you have folks coming to stay?

Also, I'm in the middle of a revision, but Harlequin Historical is doing a new ebook series called Undone. The stories are only 10-15k words, and I've always wanted to try a historical. I'm using my "spare" time to work up a shot at that. So--better get back to all kinds of work!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Internet Problems

I'm not even sure if this will post. Our service is so unreliable, I hit post and the wheels just turn. Anyway, service will be restored as and when available.

I've recently signed on to Twitter.com and I can't post at all there, but it's a fun site--like updating your Facebook status whenever you like, instead of going to the trouble of posting. ;-)

Reminds me of the six-word story.

Hope everyone else is having a lovely time!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random Friday



I had a family photo as the background on my laptop, but it was from our trip and the girlo felt bad she wasn't able to go. So, I altered reality a little. Sometimes, I amuse myself. (The girlo, while laughing, suggests it's good that I'm amused because perhaps she is not.) She also said I did a lousy adding-of-her job. I tried to point out that was the point.... It still makes me laugh. Isn't she handsome floating over her pop's shoulder?

Busy finishing excellent contest entries. I love when I get the good ones! Most lucky!

No swimming yesterday because a snake was using the pool. The beloved was out so I begged the neighbor to come down and de-snake us. This would be yet another thank you to the most heroic man on our block. I'm not sure why the girl and her father have to mock me because so far our pool snakes have been small. I recognized the scorn by the laughter when he did get home... It wasn't a 14-foot python, and I did feel wimpish. I'm usually no wilting lily, but all I could manage was a yip like a scared rat and a dash for the door, lest the snake uncurl itself from the bucket handle in the skimmer and attack.

Then I had to put my head between my knees.

I can sell a house, buy a house, pack a house, move a family, drive thousands of miles in the middle of the night alone, make decisions and never look back, move a stinking washing machine--all right. None of this sounds very strong. I'm trying to say I don't beg for help easy. When my editors have to suggest my heroines are taking that same quality to a too-stupid-to-live extreme, I'm never surprised. (Sadly. At least that's an easy fix. In the fictional people.)

Back to my rambling tale o' terror. Bring me face to reptilian eyes with an 18-inch snake, as thick as a fat pen, and I throw my all into a bad Jerry Lewis imitation.

Oh, it was a proud moment.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday? Already?

I've been so busy I'm falling behind on blogging. So, today, I'm borrowing a thing that's going around the Internet. I love stuff like this anyway, and it made me think. When I was a kid, I learned to read, literally from my father's bookshelves, so I didn't know I was reading "classics." I think everyone should learn to read this way. I never understand folks who put down any kind of book. The books on my dad's shelves were just good stories. I'm just glad there are still so many to read!

The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. How do you do?

The idea is:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (Only the first 1 and 1/2--not sure why I stopped.)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (Reading this list, I realize that I think this is one of the greatest stories. It does so many things on so many levels. I almost think the fact that it goes on school reading lists does it a disservice because children who should be devouring it see it as a "job.")
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (This one hurts. I’m just not sure I’ve read the complete works.) Yet, I revere him.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (Again, I've started--why haven't I finished?)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (I get past--past, mind you--that first battle scene, and it's as if I need a long vacation.)
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (My nephew insists I'm a barbarian because I haven't read this.)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (Am reading right now)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (I read this one the summer I was 5. The Cheshire Cat scared me so much I never touched it again until I was forced to in college, and now I re-read it so often I'm on my third copy.)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (Another start/stop)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (This book opened my eyes to Charles Dickens. I loathed Great Expectations and thought I didn't like Dickens because of it. This was assigned in a class, and afterward, I ran through Dickens with delight!)
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen (This book continues to amaze me. I dislike Emma for so long, and then, all of a sudden, I love her. That Jane Austen! She's amazing!)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (Whattsa matter with me?)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (An astounding book. I'm in the middle of it; I keep reading bits. This is one I literally don't want to finish. Talk about reading pleasure.)
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (If I had to read two Steinbecks in a row, I'd also have to avoid bridges.)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (I never would have chosen this, but a friend whose taste I trust implicitly recommended it, and it was wonderful.)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (My son loves, loves, loves this book. I get a touch impatient with the Beat Generation.)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (I'm not sure I've finished, but I get closer to the end with each attempt--and I distinctly remember holding a section of end pages so small, the book kept shutting.)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (Another recommendation from my boy)
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Only recently started dipping into the stories.)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Hmm--I didn't underline, because I kind of forgot I was supposed to. I'll let the constant commenting suffice.

Do you notice no Hemingway? (I don't see his viewpoint except in the Nick Adams stories, but I've read every word of his I could get my paws on. The way he puts words together--a sensual pleasure.) Plenty of others are also missing.

Gotta go get some words of my own!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Need an Alarm Clock and Some Page Count

My daughter just isn't herself unless she has her regulation 12 hours of sleep. (Okay, the regulation is 9, but I'm not sure I've ever--I mean ever--slept for 9 consecutive hours. I can't even imagine. It would be like losing a day.) Well, apparently, even when she sets an alarm to wake herself up for work, her body still demands those hours. For two work days in a row, she's sleep-walked across her room and turned off her alarm.

So, my job, and I've chosen to accept it, is to buy another alarm clock which she will have to set in another direction across her room in the hope that she'll wake up at some point in the process of turning it off.

And--gotta get that page count. I don't want to say this too loudly, but I'm enjoying my revisions. There are times when revisions are an exercise in trust for me, believing the editor knows the right direction and just following it. But this time I'm enjoying the characters and loving the writing. (In a blogging flash of the Freudian slip, I just typed "righting" for writing. Normally, whenever I think "right," I type "write." But yes, that must mean these revisions are right.)

I'm going to put this brilliance (how do you indicate a flinch in writing?) to work on the book!

Hope Monday is treating you well!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday

And I'm heading to Starbucks while I still can! I read an article not too long ago that rather sneered at "MacBook Novelists" having to find somewhere else to go now that so many Starbucks are closing. I was taken aback because I do have a MacBook, and I am a novelist, and I have spent many working hours at Starbucks where the coffee may be pricey, but it's tasty, you can stay all day and no one bugs you about taking up space, and the soothing music is conducive to work no matter what conversations go on about you.

I had no idea I was going to rant about that.

Now that I have ranted, I'll suggest that sneering isn't vital to an entertaining article.

And maybe I'm wrong about what I do. Last night, a friend I truly love asked me what I was working on. I said I was doing revisions as well as proposals for new SuperRomances. She asked me if I was also working on a novel. This question always throws me, and you'd be surprised how often friends and loved ones ask it of the romance novelists in their midsts. What are the books I've been writing, if they are not novels? And why do people I love ask this question without blinking an eye?

I should delete this. I sound cranky. Better curl up with the kitty before I head out to Starbucks. I may have to use his catnip addiction against him. He doesn't really love curling up with the humans unless he initiates the cuddle. He loves catnip, though.

When we were in Maine recently, we met a guy walking two massive dogs that work as therapy dogs. I wish I could remember what type they were because I'd love to add a photo. They had kind of golden lab coloring, longish, wirier fur than labs, and the fur kind of curled a little on their spines. They had heads bigger than bowling balls, and they were so tall they could go into a hospital or nursing home and just drop their heads on the bed so that patients can visit with them without a lot of physical strain.

We asked if we could pat the doggies, and the man told us he brought them out for walks so that they would get more interaction with strangers and he was happy for us to make friends. Talk about sweet-natured. (Truly wish I could remember the breed.)

Anyway, I didn't realize it, but maybe I need a nice doggie to make me kinder today. Kitty has just nodded off across the room. If I bug him now, his idea of therapy will result in sore fingers. :-)

Sorry for the "tetchiness." Happy weekend to all!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday, Musing

Greg Norman is leading at the British Open. He's 53 years old, and leading. That is so cool. (And, completely beside the point, I'm thinking he has a Dorian-Gray type painting withering away somewhere.) I hope he keeps it going on the weekend!

My friend, Debby Giusti, has finaled in ACRW's contest. Yay, Debby! Crossing digits for a win! (I linked to one of Debby's blogs because her website appears to be down.)

I have revisions on my November 2009 book. Big, huge revisions, but more than worth it. As my editor said, the characters are there. I just need to make the last half measure up to the first half. This is one of those books where I'm so grateful for revisions. I knew something was not working when I finally gave up and mailed the book, and I literally tried so hard to fix it that I rewrote the good stuff out of it. I'm alarmed that I'm making beginner mistakes I didn't make as a beginner--this many books into a career I'd just as soon not sink.

And, yesterday I learned that I get to visit a house one of my ancestors built in the early 1800s. It's not just exciting to think that we'll get to walk the floors and touch the walls he built. (What a kind man the latest owner is--he's refurbishing, and he doesn't mind if descendants show up.)

There are also stories that my great-great-great-great--however many it is--grandfather's wife still visits the house from time to time. When people are in stress. After a car accident, etc. I hope she'll visit us. (I think I hope that.) Anyway, we get to do that soon, and I'm feeling so lucky! We drove past the house last fall and would have begged to visit if anyone had been there to be begged, but my cousin took matters into her own hands and found the new owner and got in touch. Yay, cousin! ;-)

Better get to those revisions so I have free time to visit houses and relatives.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday at the British Open--and Other Stuff

Well--via TV. I love watching golf. I love watching golf in wind. I love watching links golf in wind. The DVR will be working overtime for the next 4 days. I miss Tiger, though. Wonder if the other players are secretly relieved, or if they feel as if they're missing a chance to show their skills against the best.

Wouldn't you hate a job where you had to fly all the time? I started my early adulthood with a job where flying was necessary. I even liked it. At one point, I lived a forty-five minute flight from home. On Fridays, I'd be walking out of work and suddenly think, "I'm going home for the weekend." And it was that easy.

For some reason, I developed a fear of flying in the early 90s that really made me queasy about it. And the only thing worse than being afraid to fly is being irrationally panicked about it when it's become a test of will and patience to manage it at all. I wonder if the early western settlers approached their wagon trains with more dread. A wagon train might be more uncomfortable.

Anywhooo--that's a wrap on the rant!

And, finally, I've discovered Helen MacInnes. She was really popular when I was focused on a different type of book, and I somehow never read her. But I'm enjoying the heck out of The Venetian Affair. She does such a fine job, it's like watching a movie from the 60s. I'm thinking of the image of a graphic artist toting her portfolio across Paris, wearing immaculate short white gloves.

Gotta go toss dinner in the crock pot and get my own work done so I can watch the British Open and then top off the evening with a little Helen M. ;-) Too much excitement?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday in July

We've had wonderful weather this year, mostly in the upper 80s. Too hot for me, but I'm always aware that last year it was in the 100s regularly by now. Today, it's hot. It was hot at 3:00 this morning, when I went out to dump the garbage. (Couldn't sleep; might as well clean. Doesn't everyone?)

That's my chitchat today. Not very interesting, but ever since we lived in Hawaii, where no one had weather-folk on the news or the radio, I love to investigate the weather. I dreamed of rain or snow or a chill in the air. Must remember: not everyone is as vitally interested as I am in the swoop of the jet stream!

So--off to cull some spam. Spam, by the way (in the can, not the blog), was a popular form of eats in Hawaii. Used to come in a ZipPak from Zippys. I could use a ZipPak right now. Not so much the spam.

See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Fun

That would be slithering a path through the crowds at the grocery store. I'm also judging contest entries, trying to work the proposals that I ought to just send already, and just now, my beloved girl put The Women in the DVD player. I love this movie. "They're" remaking it. Why must they remake it? Shouldn't we leave some stuff alone?

I am a little curious about how they'll move a so-1939 movie into 2008.

Also--a new link to a great blog, Romance B(u)y the Book. Enjoy! I have been!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cycles, Tennis, Monday Again

The cycle has to do with John McEnroe. I remember being upset when he'd get to the finals of a tournament because his temper was rather shocking to such a repressed person. And I so admired Bjorn Borg for his play and his attitude.

Yesterday, wasn't John McEnroe amazing, too? How exciting to see/hear someone so excited about his passion. (I'm assuming everyone was planted in front of Wimbledon yesterday.) And considering the matches McEnroe played, to see yesterday's as the best ever. Well, the cycle has turned for me--I admire JM. (And it's not just cause I've already fallen for him in the cereal commercials!)

I also wondered yesterday, what could Borg have done if he hadn't stopped so young?

And I was so excited about the match yesterday, I'm going to watch it again tonight on ESPN Classic. I stopped watching tennis in the mid-80s or so, after a childhood of being enamored. It seemed that the rackets got larger, the play got shorter, just jab and return, point end. Yesterday, that cycle turned (for me--I'm pretty sure it must have turned a while ago) as well. I can't wait to watch some more tennis!

But, since it's Monday, I'd better get back to work. That cycle turns as well. ;-)

Wishing you all a happy Monday!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

To all!

And to those who look in from other places, thanks for visiting. I wish you a wonderful day in your home, too!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Busy Thursday


Is everyone busy for the Fourth of July? We have friends coming for a cookout, so I have to buy the victuals. Also, our kitty loves to decorate the rug. With his fur. I hate to offend his artistic taste, but I'd better get that up. Gotta persuade the beloved to clean toilets.

Gotta set up the deck furniture so we can see the town's fireworks over our trees tomorrow night. (I love the pretty lights and colors, but I don't care for the crowds.)

I hope everyone else is busy in such happy pursuits!

My little town locks every commercial door on the fourth--which I like. It's a big day! But that makes for big traffic jams on the third, especially at the checkout lines in the grocery store. I'd better go now unless I want to spend my working hours manning a line that starts at the eggs and cheese, and makes its way up the frozen food aisle before you catch sight of a cash register!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday Already? Time to Give a Book




I'm always a little confused when the week flies by. And the summer itself seems to be flying this year. Though, as you can see, from the gratuitous (I just like looking at my family and water and trees) vacation pic above, summer is flying at a fun pace.

I have a book out this month, but I haven't done much to celebrate. Anyone who posts here or sends me an email in the next twenty-four hours goes into a hat for a book. It's a good story, I think. Let me know if you'd like to read it, free! ;-)

Off to do fun stuff with my girl and a friend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Memory


We went to Gettysburg while we were away. I've never been there before. I never thought I'd get to go. (I'm saying that in reverent tones because I've always wanted to go, but it's far away.)

It's such a beautiful place, so remembering what went on there in those lovely rolling hills and green fields can be difficult, especially when there are children leaping from the signs that warn parents to keep their children from leaping on the rocks (clliffs, for pity's sake!), and buses are gathering their wayward passengers, and skateboarders are zipping up and down the roads between battle sites.

Yet, beneath the noise and the chaos and the semi-revels, remains the inexorable truth. On that ground, the men of this country, north and south, struggled for our nation. There'd be no parties to preserve (that annoys me--I'm just going to commit the blog unforgivable, and say--preserve the union again--not the party--whatever it may be) without the fight that happened there.

It was odd being the one southern voice I heard, and I don't sound very southern. My ancestors fought on both sides of the war. In fact, my mother's family marched with Sherman through Georgia and South Carolina and burned out my father's family. That should make me confused, but no.

I'm glad the right side won. I just can't believe that anyone needed a war to see the right side. And I'm grateful to those men who fought and saved our union.

I love the south. This red, hard ground, these birds and crickets and the frogs that sing at night, the magnolias that glint in their green leaf armor, even this stinking heat that sucks my soul out daily, is a part of me. But I am so grateful to those union soldiers who fought and died and turned the tide at Gettysburg.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday, Remembering




I love traveling, but isn't home nice, too?

Here are photos! One of my boy and his beloved. And then, my boy's beloved. Finally, one of my boy, my brother-in-law, and my beloved. Unfortunately, since we were on a ferry, I didn't manage to get our daughter-in-law into the same pic with the fellas. If only I remembered to force folks to pose!

While we were on this island, I kept trying to concentrate on really remembering--being in the moment--because I get so few with the boy and his beloved, but at the same time, I was mauled by the idea muse. (Muses are generally a bit of a frou frou concept for me. I'm far too pragmatic to partake, but it was like being bombarded.)

I guess concentrating on being in the moment worked because I can turn over the seconds of that day like sparkly gems--sun glinting on water, the scent of salt in the air, the crunch of gravel beneath our feet as we climbed toward the island road. The amazing perfume of antique roses that grew along the road, and my daughter-in-law talking about the roses her mother kept. Mine did, too.

Finally, the laughter. My husband and his brother sound so much the same. My son's grin before he laughs. He's always taken that slow approach to laughing. It makes the unexpected burst that much more contagious.

I loved that day with my family, but I also won't soon forget my hunger for something to write on. I leave purses anywhere they go with me, so normally, I just try not to take one. But, you know, that far from home, you need stuff--a camera--I did have. Wallet--yup--managed to keep a grip on that. All in a suitcase-sized bag. That was a mistake. Who needs a big, old pink suitcase when she's climbing rock cliffs? I just hope there were no other writers, gathering character quirks whilst I lugged that thing around as if it were attached with industrial-strength glue.

And the one thing I didn't take? Paper and pen.

But isn't the family beautiful? And did you notice the sky and water? Maybe sometimes a writer has to put down the paper and pen (or forget to stash some in the pink, lug-me-anwhere bag) and do some living with the family under sky on water.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back Home

My Internet service was not so much interrupted as abandoned. We went to visit our son and his sweet wife--and it was--amazing, actually. We get to see them so seldom that I feel lucky to have spent time with them, but I'm so sad to say goodbye to my boy and his awfully welcoming beloved. (We couldn't manage to choose a date to go, and then we headed there without much warning. Who wouldn't want three in-laws to pop up with a "Here we come!")

Along the way, we visited Gettysburg, which I'd never seen before and am still absorbing. We rode a ferry and walked in freezing ocean water and ate lovely shellfish. Our boy's beloved said, "Why don't we cook the lobster in wine?" And she added tasty things. I'm surprised their whole neighborhood didn't join us! (Imagine thinking up a recipe on the fly!)

The only bad moment in the trip was watching them get smaller and smaller on that sidewalk. Kinda breaks my heart to see it in my mind again.

Yesterday we drove home, only to be stopped by a very kind policeman who just asked us to slow down as we were about two miles from home--after driving for about twenty hours.

So--I may go back to bed, but I'll definitely post pictures when I unpack the USB cord.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Internet Service...

Interrupted until Saturday.

Will post again then.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Pool is Hiding Shadows

I love to swim. I don't love exercise, but swimming isn't exercising. Swimming is gliding through the water as if you were flying, and oh--look--it's an hour later and exercise time is over. I love swimming.

But the heat has done something to the pool. It's so murky, monsters could be hiding down there in the shadows. We've tried so many chemicals, I'd be afraid to get in even if the water cleared up. But we must find a way to clear it up. Shadows, murk, dangerous levels of scary murk and shadow-inducing whatever--I must swim.

Not really. I'm scared of germs, and you know there must be germs in that murk.

Personally, I believe our crazy neighbors--you know the ones we had to lock out of the pool after they broke in--have somehow been tossing murk bombs over the locked fence!

See the problem? I'm not paranoid when I swim.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Visit Julie's Blog!

Julie Cohen's having a blog party. You should visit for fun and prizes--and just because she's a great writer with a cool, redesigned site!

Don't forget to read excerpts!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For a Cold Day at the Beach


I'm not going to whine about the heat again, but I remember this day. Magical day, with foam swirling at our feet--the beloved's teeth chattering--the girl saying, "Let's walk a little farther," and the birds calling as they fluttered and tumbled down the hard sand.

I'm gonna write a beach scene. Set in winter. But I must be careful not to wish summer away. That would be crazy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'd love to be interesting every day

But I'm not.

Days like this, I think blogging should not be an every-day effort because I tend to run out, but, as with my other writing, if I stop, I find starting again difficult.

Not to mention the part where blogging requires the blogger to assume even subconsciously that she has something interesting to say.

In a high school English class, I had to keep a journal. It was a writing-intensive class. We could write about anything. My school was set up in pods, with short screens separating the classrooms. We grew used to hearing another class going next door--to ignoring the class next door--but one day, I was so dry as far as a journal entry, I started listening to the class next door, where they were dissecting "The Constant Lover" by Sir John Suckling.

My first thought was "They're not discussing Henry VIII, then." And I managed a whole journal entry on history and people who make an unintentional name for themselves. You just have to latch on to inspiration and ride it till it throws you off--possibly in disgust!

But the poem still makes me laugh. Take a read if you have time. ;-) Thank goodness Sir John Suckling is interesting!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!


To all the dads.

We call this one Pop, and he's the best dad in the world. Ask my offspring! ;-) (And the kitty, of course.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

No.

I cannot believe Tim Russert has gone. I don't watch a lot of celebrities, but today I feel as if we've lost someone in our family.

I loved his smile and his enthusiasm, his aura of compassion. I loved believing he was trustworthy. Today, my brother-in-law and I regretted all those Sundays when we didn't watch MEET THE PRESS.

I feel for those who really did know him. He should not have gone so soon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Here Comes the Brother-in-Law!

I love when he visits, even though it means I end up writing in the car, on the way to do stuff, or in the middle of the night, when everyone else has finally dragged off to bed. It also means my sides hurt from laughing and I get to gaze about my family with contentment because one more of us is here. :-)

Must make nefarious plan to ensnare the whole bunch. Living in the same town would be perfect. Why can't they see that?

Anyway, gotta figure out what's for dinner. Gotta make sure the girl's home-from-the-dorm stuff leaves room in his closet. Gotta stock up on his favorite ice cream. You can't imagine the way the beloved and anyone genetically linked to him feels about ice cream. It's almost shocking. ;-)

And--oh, yeah--one more day of word count before midnight would be amazing!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Things on Tuesday


We have wonderful friends coming for lunch--in about an hour and a half, and I still have to vacuum, shower, and work some sort of magic with my face (and product from the Clinique counter)!

Anyway, I'm updating my own website. It's bare bones still, but I'm making slow progress.

And, two, I'm running an ad on my favorite blog, ever, to advertise my new release this month. As always, first thing this computing morning, I logged into Chickens in the Road, and there was the ad for Her Reason to Stay . (I realize I should have made my name more prominent in the ad, but here's hoping people click it anyway.) Anyway, I'm crazy excited! (Crazy cause it is, after all an ad, but--on my favorite blog! What fun to have it there!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday in the Heat

Had to stop in the middle of errands because I cannot take the heat. My girl had a lesson for me while I was swimming--after the sun went down yesterday. Essentially, the tough-love girl told me to "get over" my heat dread.

Easier said than done. Does Iceland take well-meaning, heat-loathing immigrants? Hold on. What is the temp in Iceland today? 55 F and partly cloudy, and tonight they get showers. Sigh.

I don't think the beloved, who loathes cold, will be coming with me. That's a bit of a quandary.

Anyway--better get back out in it--even though it makes me ever so slightly cranky!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Loving Robert Ludlum

I was reading a romance--a genre-changing romance from the early 70s, but I found the attitudes toward the heroine so upsetting I had to move to something else. Robert Ludlum? Still--not particularly attractive attitudes toward women, though the hero is broken early in this book, and I'm thinking, true to Ludlum, he'll cleanse his soul and come to his senses by the end.

However, I'm loving the "old" Ludlum. I'd never read anything by him until my brother-in-law and mother-in-law told me they enjoyed him in the mid-80s. The first one I picked up was The Aquitaine Progression, and I'm pretty sure I opened that book, read the first page, and didn't budge as I raced for the finish. This is The Chancellor Manuscript, and I've never read it, though I binged on Ludlum after that first one. I'm still within the first 50 pages, but I'm so seduced, I don't want to do anything except read. (This is a glorious feeling, one I should definitely stop to enjoy.)

However, I have my own work to do. The girl is at work. The beloved is behind his newspaper right now, but soon he'll be on a brief road trip on his motorcycle, and I need to jump into my own stories. If only I could infuse my work with the energy and charm of a fine Robert Ludlum!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Want to Talk About Distractions?

I'm curious about how other writers handle distractions so I'm blogging about them at the Pink Heart Society blog. Drop by and share yours!

When I went to visit the PHS blog I posted, I realized another distraction I need to work on is my sadly out-of-date website!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Crazy Days

Stopping between errands!

Gotta buy a coffee pot that doesn't spew its contents all over the counters. Must exchange girl's bridesmaid dress for something else. Must, must, must have car inspected.

Must never move to a small town where all those tasks require driving, especially on a back country road that is being torn up and replaced in sections. We have to wait for a pilot car to take us to un-torn-up road. I didn't even know what a pilot car was the first time I had to wait for it! ==;-0

That girl will be requesting my presence soon. Can't blame her as I only meant to log in for a second!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Insomnia...

makes you think. About people who aren't plagued with insomnia. As I'm hanging around, wide awake while the world around me sleeps, I can't help noticing the nightlife of my neighborhood. I live in a small subdivision, and I'm not the only one awake in the very wee hours.

We hardly ever see movement from the house across the street. Folks--maybe one folk, come to think of it--moved in last fall. We saw the contractors getting the house ready for it's walk-through. We saw moving vans and lots of people who looked like family. One day a car full of those family-looking people let an older man out at the bottom of the driveway, which resembles Everest a little. He made it up that driveway, which taxed me as I climbed it when we looked at that house.

Anyway, we looked forward to a busy family in our small selection of neighbors, but no one goes in, and no one comes out. Until about midnight-to-twelve-thirty each night/early morning. When a car starts up the driveway and then hits the gas about midway, finding it less easy to climb that man did.

About the same time, a kitty drops by the front door to taunt our kitty with its freedom. My family is often long since asleep, but Kitty, shouting abuse at the free spirit flaunting its liberty can wake them up.

Around two-to-two-thirty, a car comes into the neighborhood, circles the cul-de-sac, and goes back out. I always mean to station myself at the windows to see if the police are doing a patrol, but I never have.

I'm so used to this cycle that I notice when it's broken by a strange visitor, or when the usual arrivals are early or late. It doesn't sound like a lot when I write it down like this, but to someone waiting for sleep, it feels like a lot of life outside my windows, and I'm always glad for the company--for anyone who's also awake while most of the world sleeps.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Late Start/Writin' Duds/Story Decisions

I've tried to be more constant about blogging, and I'd love to do it early in the day, but today, I'm meeting a friend, and I got distracted at the sweater clearance rack. Temps dropped after I left home, and I got chilly. ;-) Who can resist sweater clearance racks?

This sweater is short, black, swingy, and it has a rolled neck. It's also a small, which I haven't worn in such a long time, I may take a photo of the tag and post it! It's soft and warm, comforting and cuddle-worthy. I think it may be my new writin' sweater.

I have certain clothes that feel so comfortable I feel more creative in them. I also feel more creative in the fall and winter, when it's raining, and when it's cool enough to wear a sweater. I ought to take advantage of all these propitious conditions!

Hey--does anyone else watch Top Chef? I'm hooked, and last night's final five-into-final-four episode leaves me bemused. I seriously don't respect Spike or Lisa, but I'm not sure whom I wanted to go home.

The mistake that led to the loser's leaving seems like such a foul lapse in judgment it has me thinking of the creative decisions I've been making in my burgeoning proposals. It turns out that chefs are as quirky as writers any day, and they have to feel certain to really carry out a tricky recipe. And they rarely play it safe.

Sounds like the writing life to me. Why did the person (trying not to "spoil" for anyone who hasn't seen it yet) make such a strange decision? (I'm one of the world's worst cooks, and I could see it was a mistake.) And how many strange story decisions have I made/defended/survived? ;-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How'd it get so hot?

The girl and I were chatting the other day about our abrupt entrance into summer. One day, we grabbed sweaters as we ran out the door. The next, we hung the sweaters in the closet for the duration. Over night, the quality of the heat and the light changed. It's summer around here. Nice for the pool temp; not so nice for hanging around in the heat.

I wish I loved summer more. My dread of the constant sun seems not only "not fun," but a little unnatural. (I mean most people love summer.) The beloved comes to life again. He basks in the heat. I'm not sure he has a concept of too hot. But that's the way I feel in winter, so I guess it shouldn't seem so bemusing.

Gotta move furniture. New sofas are coming, and the old ones have to be out of the way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday

Meeting with writer friends today. I love to chat writing, but the time always flies when we meet! Which is bad for the person who drives 45 minutes in neverending road improvement traffic--but I'm ashamed to admit that despite her traffic pain, I always have such a great time.

My girl starts her first job today. She's nervous because she doesn't care for change, the unknown, or a first day. I always loved the first day at a new job. New pencils, a new desk, new paper and pens. New product to write copy for, software to explain, or books to edit.

Oddly, even though I still love the first day I'm working on a new book of my own, I'm always a little anxious, too. That I won't do justice to the story--that I'll get to the end and realize all the places I went wrong, but won't know how to fix them--that I'll realize three years from now just how I should have fixed the problems. (That could happen to anyone, right?)

I have a couple of errands to run before I meet my buddies. Gotta go!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

I don't like being so far from my mother's family on this day. I tell myself I'll be able to visit them soon. Last fall my cousin showed us the various family cemeteries, and I'm seeing those leafy, quiet, hard-to-reach places in my mind today. I guess it's a day to "visit" with those members of my family. It was called "Decoration Day" when I was a kid.

We're hanging out with friends later today. The beloved has made two--count 'em, two--kinds of ice cream. Yummo--except that I'm not wild for either flavor--which is sadly a good thing. Now, if he'd made vanilla or peach (both of which, he considers bland, thank goodness), I'd be in trouble. I still have to do up the salads, but the girl and I are going to Wally world for floaty things.

Floaty things for the pool--yay! We both swam yesterday. There's a moment when all I can think is COLD, but that goes by. Eventually. Seriously, I forget swimming is exercise because something so wonderful can't possibly be good for you!

Hope everyone's having a wonderful holiday.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hello, Friday!

Looking forward to the weekend! Rain expected today, and I'm either hearing thunder, or someone's throwing a wheelbarrow up and down the street.

We're hoping the pool water will be warm enough to swim any day now. Monday, we're having fun with our friends up the street. And, good heavens, National Treasure 2 is out on DVD! Who knew?

No time to blog much. I have a few more errands to run with the girl. She starts her job next week, and I have to be more constant about mine, too.

Wishing everyone a happy, peaceful Memorial Day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Testing on Tuesday?

I never pass on these tests, but this one's Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare, and I was surprised at my score.

Which Sheakespeare play are you? I turned out to be A Midsummer Night's Dream, my favorite, and I'm still startled.


Your Score: Midsummer Night's...


You scored 33% = Tragic, 51% = Comic, 39% = Romantic, 38% = Historic




You are A Midsummer Night's Dream. Blending elements of comedy and romance, A Midsummer Night's Dream tells the story of mischievous fairies who conspire to make everyone fall in love with everyone else, often with disastrous, yet humorous consequences. You are most likely haphazard in love, but good natured and friendly. While you may also have a mischievous side to you, it is most likely all in good fun. We have no doubt that you are an outgoing person, who may also be a bit of a klutz. And while you may not always get it right, you always try to do the right thing. We applaud you!




Link: The Which Shakespeare Play Are You? Test written by macbee on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(macbee)

Monday Tasks

Since the girl's home we're catching up on tasks we've put off while she's in school. Not all work, though. We need new furniture for the family room. Tables with drawers. Lots of drawers. That's my priority. Drawers in which my clutter-bound husband can store his clutter and clutter to his heart's content.

After so many years with the beloved's clutter, I fear I'd sterile up the house fit for operating if left to my own devices. It's good to marry someone so different from yourself.

Gotta keep going on proposals, too. My friend and I talked writing all weekend, watched my Bette Davis marathon and perused the "writing books" at the bookstore. I was tempted, but held back because I actually need to write, vs. reading about writing. However, my friend bought a couple, and we had some good chat about what we both took away from the ideas in each. We both love exercises, but at this point, the only exercises I can afford must directly pertain to the stories I'm writing. Any other time, I love the challenge of writing "out on a limb." Just flying with an idea that changes the way I approach work.

Right now, I must approach work with the idea of submitting new stuff.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday!

The baby's home from college. One of my best friends is coming to stay the weekend. We've planned writing and movie-watching and talking. I hope everyone has such lovely weekend plans!

Now, if only my garden would plant and weed and nourish itself.

I keep staring at the pool and sticking my toes in. And then running inside to warm my toes before they shatter and drop off.

Off to stock up on coffee and "healthy" nibbly things. I'd rather it were ice cream and marshmallow-topped cookies. I'm craving a Pinwheel! My much healthier-minded daughter actually looks upon pinwheels with the horror most often reserved for--well--you know--horrible things.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stranded with Bette Davis

My girl's car is making a "funny" noise. ("Funny" to us. I doubt the beloved, our first-line car guy is amused.) Anyway, he's busy this week, so she's taken my car, and I'm somewhat stranded till Friday. Perfect writing time, you suggest?

It should be, but I had myself a Bette Davis marathon. Not her more well-known stuff. A Stolen Life, where a "good" twin takes over a "bad" twin's life, and Glenn Ford turns out to be surprisingly attractive (though one must suspend disbelief to think he wouldn't catch on). The Letter, which is just an amazing movie. Woman shoots in self-defense, although I don't ever remember believing her self-defense story, so I'm not sure you're supposed to. And The Great Lie, in which Mary Astor has Bette's husband's baby, but Bette becomes his mother. This may be my favorite. It's a good story, but also, it feels like a slice of 1941 life.

What an actress. These are definitely not all a-list movies, but there are moments in each of them where I forget Bette's acting or someone's telling a story. That's the funny thing about telling stories for a living. Forgetting you're watching/reading/hearing one grows ever more difficult--even though that's any storyteller's goal.

To get out of the way and let the story live its own life.

I put that on its own line so I'd remember. "Pretty" writing can be so seductive! ;-)

Note to self: No movie marathons today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Got a little distracted

I've been writing like crazy. I'm just supposed to be doing proposals, but I fell in love with my hero and couldn't stop! What a lovely feeling. It's the best thing about writing.

We've had a busy week. Uncovered the pool. Had pool trespassers. Learned how to take a padlock apart to change its combination. (I couldn't believe that actually worked!)

Someone has been impersonating me around the web. Very annoying. If I suddenly send someone a nutty/cranky or nutty and cranky email, please come here first and ask if I actually sent it. (What kind of person does stuff like that?)

Have been dodging tornadoes. (Must learn to spell the plural of tornado.)

And I finally broke down and bought the new laptop. It's beautiful and fast (and it waits for me to ask it to do stuff--and it's not trying to self-combust) and I'm totally in love. All writers should use a MacBook.

So--back to my distraction! :-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Company for Breakfast

The beloved, who's an amazing cook, is doing breakfast for our friends up the street. We've fallen into the habit of going out for breakfast at least once a week with them. (Getting to know them has been one of the best parts of this move back home!) But today, the beloved is showing off his skills with the kitchen stuff.

I could never cook breakfast for anyone except our family, and frankly they prefer the beloved's cooking. (Wise, wise family.) I need recipes, time--plenty of time, and a plan. How do you manage all that before at least six in the evening?

Then again, the beloved knows he can yank a few things out of the fridge, weave some magic with the spice cabinet, add some heat, and there you go--deliciousness!

I have access to all the same stuff, but oops, there you go--a fire!

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Review

I never remember to put up reviews, but I'm gonna this time. Romantic Times gave Her Reason to Stay a 4. Yay! And here's the text:

Raised in foster care, Daphne Soder is thrilled to find the twin sister she never knew she had. But when she meets Raina Abernathy, she learns Raina was raised wealthy and isn't sure she needs a sister in her life. With attorney Patrick Gannon's help, Daphne soon convinces her sister that the only thing she wants from her is a relationship. Anna Adam's HER REASON TO STAY (4) is a heartwarming tale about finding family, even when you're sure there's no one left for you.

I believe the reviewer is Alexandra Kay, and I'm so glad she liked Daphne and Patrick!