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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Need a catchy title! Win a book!!

Well, I recieved the news earlier that my book Shanghaied Groom needs a title change. That's to be expected, except that this title fits the story exactly and is referred to a few times in the story as well as in the ending lines. BUT, if I must, here are a few that I tossed out to my editor. We need to get final approval from the senior editor and won't know until early January.

For those of you lurking and would like to win an advance copy of my February release
RENEGADE WIFE, simply post in the comment section the title you think is going to be the winner.

If none of these are picked and a totally different title is chosen, then the very first one to comment will be sent an autographed copy of RENEGADE WIFE!

Here are the choices:

Counterfeit Groom
Abducted at the Altar
Stealing Shane's Heart
The Education of Dorie McCabe
Marriage of Deception
Mistaken Groom
The Reluctant Groom

Good luck! I hope they chose my favorite, but I'm not telling which one that is!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Holiday Recipe Nut Cups

Here's a great recipe for a delicious dessert that'll keep them coming back for more.

It's really easy, but a little time consuming and you'll need those mini cupcake tins. These
are small, but oh so tasty!

NUT CUPS (recipes from Charlene Sands )



Monday, December 19, 2005

Romance News and Reviews!

I'm pleased to say that I've joined my good friend and fellow Desire author's new E-Zine, an online magazine featuring great articles, reports and reviews geared to entertain and educate writers and readers alike. To check out Barbara McCauley's great new free online magazine go to: . I'll be writing articles for the magazine and my books will be featured soon. I'll keep you posted.

And Reviews are in for two movies. Yes, I said movies! I'm starting to catch up on my holiday viewing and thought I'd share with you my thoughts today.

KING KONG was very well done. I'm pleased to say this movie (unlike those in the past) was short on corny jokes and long on the understated -- at least as far as the ape/girl relationship goes. The special effects were magnificent. Never once did it appear fake, even when the ape carries our heroine all over the island, in the palm of his hand. That was a glowing achievement with the movie. Jack Black was great as the overly ambitious film producer too. He was perfectly cast. But where the movie went a little wrong and long was the over the top fight scenes with stampeding dinosaurs. Dinosaurs? Yes, it's a mysterious island with all sorts of creatures, but the original movie had one or two wandering about. It almost felt like we were in a 30 minute version of Jurassic Park. Too much, too long. And the islanders themselves weren't your typical natives. No, these people looked like they came straight out of a Steven King novel. Spooky. I had to wonder about the wisdom of parents bringing their young children to this movie -- as I noted many leaving the theatre with frightened children in tow. All in all, it's worth the price of admission. But the movie, like the ape - has its flaws. It was beauty killed the beast!

And my first time seeing RENT will certainly Not be my last time. Oh, the music, the story, the depth of emotion. I loved it. Not having seen the original play, I can only imagine how great this story would play out on stage in front of a live audience. My daughter, a RENT addict has seen the play at least four times, raving about the music. She knows the lyrics to every song by heart. So, we had to see this movie together. And perhaps that was part of the allure, seeing RENT with someone I love, who in turn, loves the story. Even a die-hard action movie buff like my husband enjoyed it. Definitely a movie worth seeing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Be Prepared to Laugh

I wanted to share this with you! It's a hoot. Enjoy!

> > Why, Why, Why

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized? <>

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That hurt, you stupid idiot?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

And my FAVORITE......
The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good Friends - the best kind

Yesterday, I was sitting at a restaurant at lunchtime, waiting for my lunch dates. It's something we try to do every month or so to keep in touch. And as I waited in this adorable cafe, sitting by the window facing out, I had my head down in my yearly calendar plotting my next week of appointments and fun things, like holiday parties. Deeply concentrating on my pocket-sized calendar, finally I heard a knocking on the outside window right in front of me. And when I looked up, there they stood, laughing, making faces in the window, knocking wildly to get my attention -- and I realized at that moment, we were all sixteen years old again. Those beautiful faces of my friends whom I've shared my life with had never changed. Our bodies might have aged some, but our minds and hearts are still those of our youth.

That's what it's like to have grown up with friends from grammar school. I feel fortunate for having kept in touch with many of those dear friends. We've been through marriages and divorces and deaths and babies and we've stayed close and loved each other throughout. It's not exactly the Desperate Housewives or Sex and the City kind of friendship, it's more subtle than that. We don't see each other every day and sometimes weeks go by without communicating, but our friendship never wavers. And no matter how long it's been since we've talked or seen each other -- when we do see each other, we pick up right where we left off.

Being sixteen again never felt so good!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Ups and Downs of a Writing Life

Being creative isn't the problem. Most of us who write, have no problem coming up with stories in our heads, developing characters, making a plot work -- okay, I spoke too soon. We have those problems, but through careful thought and consideration we can overcome them to create a story we are proud of, to move a reader to tears, or tease a laugh out of them and even write a book for their "keeper" shelves. But what's so hard sometimes, is the publishing world in general. Nothing is constant. It keeps changing. And with those changes, come publishing woes, missteps and a reversal of policy.

It's a sink-or-swim life in the writing world. I know. I've almost drowned, only to have been thrown a rope every so often to keep me afloat. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I've weathered bad storms and managed to keep my head above water. For example, I started out writing for Kensington's new author program, Precious Gems. With the PG line, I got my feet wet as an author and I'm very proud of those three books, but when the line folded, I moved on to write historicals for Harlequin. I thought to myself -- now, I'm secure. Harlequin is successful. I won't have any worries. But after writing four books for them, the news wasn't good. The HH line (Harlequin Historicals) was almost executed, only to have been given a reprieve. Lucky me, I had just sold to Desire - a line I love, BTW, so I knew I'd be okay. Well, luckily, the HH line is holding its own and I just turned in my seventh book which will be out in the next year or so. But, lo and behold, the Desire line is now revamping, and the changes are challenging for the writer.

And most recently, many other lines in other publishing houses have folded, to never be heard from again. The newest line to fold with Harlequin is the Signature Select line which has been cut entirely. This doesn't have too much to do with me, since I don't write for that specialty line, but are you seeing a pattern here? It's a smart move to write for more than one line and for more than one publishing house. One never knows which ship will appear to toss you a rope once you splash down and you need to keep all of your options open.

In this crazy business, I've learned one important thing: The only consistency is the inconsistency. I'll keep reaching for those ropes, as long as someone out there is willing to toss one to me!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Charlene's Newsletter for Dec 2005

December 2005

Happy Holidays to all!

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season filled with love and happiness! It’s a gearing down time for me with writing and a gearing up time for the holidays with shopping (not my favorite thing) decorating and getting together with friends and family.

There are some new happenings on the horizon in 2006. First of all, the new Desire Dynasties Series, The Elliotts, will launch with Leanne Banks’ “Boardroom Proposition” in January and will continue on for entire year with my story Heiress Beware coming in June. See what happens when a sexy small town sheriff falls for a mysterious amnesia victim he promptly names his Jane Doe. There will be more news about that one coming later on!

And if you haven’t seen the cover for my new Harlequin Historical Renegade Wife, take a look at my homepage at It’s my favorite cover to date and will be hitting the stores in early February.

For a hot summer read you won’t want to miss Bunking Down with the Boss coming this August! It’s another Hope Wells, Texas Desire that will be sure to please.

And check out my newest From the Heart Contest where you could win great prizes and copies of my latest books! Haven’t posted the prizes yet, but there’s jewelry involved – so be sure to enter soon!

I look forward to hearing from you and again,
Happy Holidays!!!

Charlene Sands

Stop by for chat.
Enter "From the Heart" contest.
Read Charlene’s daily blog.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


December 2005

Happy Holidays to all!

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season filled with love and happiness! It’s a gearing down time for me with writing and a gearing up time for the holidays with shopping (not my favorite thing) decorating and getting together with friends and family.

There are some new happenings on the horizon in 2006. First of all, the new Desire Dynasties Series, The Elliotts, will launch with Leanne Banks’ “Boardroom Proposition” in January and will continue on for entire year with my story Heiress Beware coming in June. See what happens when a sexy small town sheriff falls for a mysterious amnesia victim he promptly names his Jane Doe. There will be more news about that one coming later on!

And if you haven’t seen the cover for my new Harlequin Historical Renegade Wife, take a look at my homepage at It’s my favorite cover to date and will be hitting the stores in early February.

For a hot summer read you won’t want to miss Bunking Down with the Boss coming this August! It’s another Hope Wells, Texas Desire that will be sure to please.

And check out my newest From the Heart Contest where you could win great prizes and copies of my latest books! Haven’t posted the prizes yet, but there’s jewelry involved – so be sure to enter soon!

I look forward to hearing from you and again,
Happy Holidays!!!

Charlene Sands

Stop by for chat.
Enter "From the Heart" contest.
Read Charlene’s daily blog.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

For those of you who are Online a lot, have you noticed that you're spending more and more time on the computer for various things? I'm a pretty sociable person. I like people and up until a year or two ago, my phone was always ringing. Nowadays, I communicate almost primarily through email. Whether for business -- speaking to my editors and critique friends, or personally, setting up lunch dates, telling jokes and keeping up on the latest gossips between best friends -- lately it's mostly done on the computer.

Is that a good thing? I'm not sure. My house is more quiet than ever though. The phone only rings when it's my kids -- and even they tend to email me alot lately. So, whether it's a good thing or not, it's happening more and more. And I'm wondering if that's the case with all of you too. Do you miss the phone calls?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Monday's Musings

I'd almost forgotten how nice it is to sit down and read a book! I know it's hard to believe, but if there was one, and only one thing not great about being a writer, it's that when you're constantly on a deadline, you don't get the chance to read. AND the love of reading is how we all got into this business in the first place. Reading was the road that led many of us down the path to becoming writers.

It's pure joy to sit down with a good book written by many of my friends and acquaintances now, put my feet up and get totally immersed in a story. Lately, I've been doing that. Finished with my deadlines now, with more than half of my Christmas shopping done, and sending off a new Desire proposal this month, I now how the luxury of reading. And I'm enjoying it so much. It's the best way I know how to relax. The other day, it finally got cold enough in Southern CA, so we lit a fire in the fireplace. I sat by the fire and read a book from cover to cover. I know that this won't last. As I'm writing this a new "bible" for the continuity I'll be working on next is winging its way to me, but hopefully the mail will be slow and I'll have a few more days to enjoy my favorite pastime. I do love writing, but sometime I need to be reminded of why I'm doing it. After reading a great story, it becomes vivid and clear. And the inspiration is something that can't be bottled or described. It just IS.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday's Finds

Did you ever notice that when you were in school, you always knew the day/date? It's because you had to write it on all your papers and homework. Seems like I NEVER know the date anymore -- which tells you it's been a long time since I've been in school. I'm always asking the grocery clerk or bank teller or department store saleslady, what's the date today? Is today the ...? But yesterday I knew it was December 1st! I didn't have to look it up. I didn't see it on a calendar. It was the day, I could officially start decorating my house for Christmas. I've got the outdoor wreath up already! And when my hubby gets our Christmas boxes down from the garage attic, I'm all set to do up Christmas.

If you've read one of my last posts, you'll know that in my neighborhood, already we're behind schedule. Gosh, I still can't believe how many people put up their lights and outdoor decorations so quickly this year. The day after Thanksgiving, I saw a live Christmas tree being carted home in the back of a man's truck. My husband shook his head. "That tree will be dried out and a fire hazard in two weeks." It's true! It's why we sleep better at night now -- we caved in and bought an artificial (but very life-like) tree. It only took one neighbor losing their home to a Christmas tree fire to put us all on alert.

So, I know what I'll be doing this weekend. Anybody else doing the decorating dance this weekend?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thursday's Words

Online shopping is going to be my best friend this holiday season. As I wander aimlessly into the malls and shops, I'm finding less and less I want to buy. Most of the things I see aren't unique enough and it's so time-consuming. Like I said in an earlier post, I really like to find gifts that are different and fun for my family and friends. So aside from those day trips I'll make, most of my shopping will be on the internet. This worked so well for me last year too. It means sitting at the computer for long intervals sometimes, but usually I find exactly what I want and if I order it early, it comes well before Christmas.

I guess I'm just not a mall shopper anymore and when I do go, it's in the later evening when there are no crowds. My mother loved shopping. She was born to shop. She would walk my feet off in her earlier days. She'd go and go from one end of the mall to the other and back. I remember those days so clearly. But now, I'm into making life simple. And the internet certainly does that!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday's Words

The holidays are upon us and this year, I'm determined not to get stressed out. I'm planning ahead, shopping early, pacing myself. Don't you find that at times, there's so much to do around this time of year, that you don't find time to simply enjoy the season?

Well, this year, I am going to enjoy everything. I'll make time to go to holiday shows, see my niece's holiday chorus performance, decorate the house at my leisure, cook and bake in advance when I feel like it. It's taken me years to learn how to do this -- but I have a plan in action and it's working. I managed to gear down. I have nothing pressing to do workwise in December. I'm not killing myself finishing a deadline. I'm not going to teach classes after mid-December and I'm not going to do last minute shopping. My hubby has agreed. We're going to do late-night shopping at the malls to avoid the rush. We actually tried this last Friday night when our mall stayed open until 11PM. We went out at 8:30 and shopped without crowds and a big fuss until after 10PM. Most people aren't aware that our malls stay open very late during Christmas time, but it's the way to go.

I love to shop at unique places. A few weeks back I bought Christmas gifts in the scenic town of Ojai -- I found some great gift-buying ideas there and we lunched at a little English pub and had tea sandwiches. Very relaxing and fun. In the next few weeks, I plan on making a shopping trip to Solvang, a Swedish community that again, is a fun place to visit, eat and enjoy the wonderful Christmas atmosphere. They have wine-tasting cellars, great bakeries and shops you can't find anywhere else. That's my idea of mixing business with pleasure this holiday season. Hope you find a way to de-stress this holiday season as well. It makes all the difference!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday's Musings

Did you all have a great Thanksgiving! We made two turkeys and tons of side dishes as well as some incredible desserts. Trying NOT to eat it all is the hardest part. But it was a fun day with our extended family. The weather cooperated so we played outdoor games -- bocce ball (an Italian bowling game of sorts) and a bean bag toss. My hubby gave out prizes for the winners and nothing makes our competive family more eager than knowing there is a prize at the end of the game!

But this blog is really about the early Christmas decorations going up this year. It's not even December yet! I know the stores and malls have a monopoly on getting out their Christmas decs right after Halloween for goodness sakes! But our neighbors have already put up massive lights, the newest giant inflatable snow globes (have you seen them? They are wonderful!) and their holiday scenes. Wow! Is this true in your neighborhoods too? Or are my California neighbors simply getting into the holiday spirit before everyone else this year? Last week we had 80 degree weather, so maybe they needed something to get into the mood. But this week it's in the chilly 60's. Cold for southern Californians! Well, whatever it is, our decorations won't go up until it's offically December. It's my husband's firm and fast rule. I guess we'll be behind the Jones'.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wednesday's Words





Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday's Finds

We just made some adjustments to our website. Look and see my great new February Historical cover that's up there! I'm so happy with it. I really love the colors, the scene and the back cover description. It fits the story so well.

And Congratulations to the winner of my Autumn in the Air contest for 2005, Cindy Marciel! The goodies are on the way. And the new contest is up and running for 2006, so don't delay, sign up to win. I'll be gathering new prizes and posting them up in January -- but an autographed RENEGADE WIFE will certainly be in the list of new prizes!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday's Words

Thanksgiving isn't even upon us yet and already I'm thinking about Christmas and all the shopping and decorating I intend to do. In our neighborhood, I'm amazed at how many homes are decorated with Christmas lights, reindeer, Santas in a bubble and much more, already! This is the earliest I've seen decorations go up EVER. Wow, people must really be in the holiday spirit. Or, with the soaring temperatures here in CA reaching record heights, maybe they are trying to compensate. :)

The shopping malls keep reminding us it's the holiday season and we're all aware that we should start on our Christmas lists soon, if we are to get in the great one-day sales! I'm not a shopper by any means and I do make lists so that I'm not going crazy in the stores, but last year I did a good deal of my shopping online. It worked out great as long as you do it early enough to get the goods in proper time. It's easier to navigate some of the sites and buy, then fight the crowds in the malls. This year I'm sure I'll do both, but as our kids get older, it's harder and harder to find the right gifts for them. My hubby said to put the fun back into our gift-giving, this year we're all going to get one "toy". Either a game, puzzle or something different that we can open up and enjoy on Christmas day. I like the sound of that!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tuesday's Thoughts

It's the middle of November already and here in California we're having our Santana Winds and very warm weather. Yesterday it was in the mid 80's. Today the temps should soar even higher with those warm winds. It's hard to believe it'll be Thanksgiving soon!

For those of you that haven't entered our contest, today's the last day. We'll be picking a winner tonight! So don't delay. There are some great prizes in the package that go along with a copy of Like Lightning and The Courting of Widow Shaw. There's still time to enter!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday's Musings

Had a great weekend, meeting up with my high school friends and catching up on news! It's funny how much more your lasting friendships mean to you when you get a little bit older. Some of the girls I've known since grammar school! But it was a nice surprise to get together at the last minute to have lunch -- all of us living in different areas and doing different things in our lives.

And now, as promised here's another great recipe for Thanksgiving. This one is borrowed from one of the Harlequin Hussies -- our online chat group -- and it's a nice alternative to regular cranberry sauce.




It makes a colorful addition to your table when you surround the mold with fresh leaves and orange or lemon slices. Try it! And enjoy. Let me know what you think! (Do I sound a little like Martha Stewart?)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thursdays Thoughts

Shanghaied Groom, my latest historical is happily winging its way to my publisher. So, with this year's work completed, my focus is on the holidays. I love to bake and will share some of my favorite holiday or any day, recipes with you.

This is one is easy, but a little time-consuming since there's a few stages. But you'll love the outcome. They're pretty and so delicious!

NUT CUPS (Great for the holidays!)







Hint: Be sure to use cooking spray for the muffin tins.
Sometimes those smaller paper cups are hard to find. If you can't find them, they are pretty without them too, just be sure to sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Anybody care to share their favorite recipes?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday's Musings

It's done! It's done! SHANGHAIED GROOM is finished. I'm feeling a great sense of accomplishment with this book. It's the fastest I've completed a longer book and though I didn't rush through it, I worked super long hours to finish it. And I'm happy with the result -- that's the most important thing. My goal for this week is to do a thorough read-thru, make sure all details are correct and in place, edit any errors and off it goes. That's the easy part. On a nice day, I'll print out and do the read thru all at once in my backyard. It means sitting for more than 4 hours, but that's my way of knowing for sure that the book flows from scene to scene, from chapter to chapter. While working on it, I only see small segments at a time and often I wonder, is this tone and theme consistent with the earlier scenes?

And I'm off to print out review copies of RENEGADE WIFE to send to various review sites. It's hard to believe but Feb isn't that far off and most reviewers need at least 60 days to read and post a review. And I received the cover art and I love it. I'll try to post the new cover soon -- for all to see! I've gotten the nicest covers lately. Not one complaint in that department!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Monday's Musings

Happy Halloween, everyone! While I have to admit, it's never been my favorite holiday, I've been enjoying it much more lately. We have our ghouls and skeletons up, our witches and ghosts that our children made in grammar school dangling from rafters outside, our house is decorated with full fall foliage and soon Frankenstein will be singing and dancing inside our front window. Last night, our kids came over for our traditional pumpkin carving. My hubby does it all, while we watch, supervise and compliment his artistic ability. This time he carved the face of a wolf in shadows. It's very cool! And a more traditonal Casper type ghost holding a pumpkin. My daughter seasoned and baked pumkin seeds and we had them later on in the evening. I do love seeing the children dressed up in costumes coming to my door. But mostly, what I love is the traditions that we've instituted over the years -- and how our out-of-college children, still enjoy coming over to keep those family traditions going strong.

Happy Trick or Treating everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday's Finds

Baseball season is over and I'm having withdrawals already. It's funny when you have a passion for something -- it's quite overwhelming and you can't hide it. All of my friends know how much I love baseball. Many of them called to console me when the ANGELS lost in the playoffs to the White Sox. Well, at least they lost to the best team. But we had a great time going to the games all season and watching them on television. We even went to two play-off games and the excitement in the stadium wasn't to be compared. It'll be a long draught until April and I do have enough to keep me busy. I'm just not into basketball, or football or tennis anymore.
And I do get a chance to see my nephew play year round. I'm so proud of him. He received a full baseball scholarship to a UC college. Just one more year of high school baseball for him and then I'll be doing some traveling to watch his games.

Okay, so if you're not a fan, you can't relate. But we all have our passions and I might add, obsessions. And I do have a few more ... I might share those with you at another time. Right now, allow me my mourning time. I'll be happy again ... come April.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

I'm not complaining really, considering how long it took me to get to this place in my career, but just when I thought I'd have a break for the holidays, I'm getting more and more work. Yesterday, after writing at least 20 pages and the pivotal love scene leading up to the dark moment in my story, (Yes I'm finally nearing the end of Shanghaied Groom) I received my copyedits for my June Desire. It's a cycle I know, once the book is finished, we see it at least three more times for edits. Copyedits need to be done pronto, the turnaround time is just a week usually. So, I'm not going to get to finish my story this week as planned. And I had such great momentum. I'll change gears and go into edit mode. But I do LOVE all that I do having to do with writing. It's just not fitting into my plans. And next I know, I'll receive my Bible for the Fortunes Series and have a month to work up my synopsis -- all before January.
It's the nature of the beast, deadlines! I don't mind them, but hey, I just wanted some free time to enjoy shopping and decorating for the holidays. Maybe, if I work faster -- I'll get there. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wednesday's Words

It's almost Halloween and fall is definitely upon us. I can't say that I love this time of year weather- wise, I'm not a fall/winter person, but I do love decorating the house for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Already up are my fall wreaths and faux pumpkins inside the house. My vases hold fall colors now and there are fall leaf decorations in abundance all over. I've put up our singing Frankenstein and skeletons and the paper mache ghost that my daughter made while in grammar school. Real pumpkins are on the way and we'll be carving those over the weekend. My husband is a master carver - he's done the most amazing things like carving a witch on a broom flying by the big moon and a big black cat arching its back. We've had tricks before treats when the kids come by and played scary music. We've made a "grab" house where the kids don't know what they'll get when they put their hands inside.

Don't even get me started on Thanksgiving! I have it every year and I've collected some great decorations over the years -- it's my favorite holiday. Though it's a ton of work, I still find it more relaxing and less stressful than other holidays. I love the warmth and comraderie and what better way to enjoy the day than spending time with your loved ones ... eating!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

I just got the news that I'll be working on the Fortunes Continuity for a 2007 series. Now, I have to admit, I didn't read the Fortunes of Texas books and I'm told that these stories will take place in North Dakota, not Texas. Anyway, I'm thrilled to be working on another continuity for next year -- they are always a challenge and fun to network with the five other authors in the series to make our stories gel together. I'll be book four, so the book is temporarily scheduled for April 2007. Wow, doesn't that seem sooo far away? It's interesting to me that I've never had a fall or winter book release. All my books tend to come out in the early or mid part of the year. The latest I've had a book release was way back in 1999, I believe and that was a September book.

Has anybody out there read the Fortune Desire series? If so, can you give me clues, hints or insights. Did you enjoy the books? And if so, why? Just curious -- I think I'll have to do some research!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Monday's Musings

I just received word that my Desire - Caroline's Man Friday has been scheduled for August 2006 and the title has changed to Bunking with the Boss. I like it. It's one I had sent into my editor along with a dozen other titles and it's growing on me. Usually, it's hard for me to give up a title that's been staring me in the face the whole time I'm writing the book. But for me, and I might have mentioned this before, only one of my originial titles have ever stuck.
And that was the very first book I wrote called Chance in a Million. Yep, the hero' s name was Chance so the title fit perfectly! But I'm happy with my new title for the most part and am extremely happy to see that I'll have 2 summer reads out, one in June and one in August as well as a February 2006 Harlequin Historical. Lots of words, lots of work -- but worth it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday's Finds

Wow, it's Friday again. The week flew by and I got a good deal of writing done. Looks like I'm in the home stretch of my story. This is when it gets exciting -- when the story comes to its blackest moment for H/H and then we get to resolve both the internal and external conflicts. This one has a surprise ending that I'm hoping to pull off without too much trouble. Still and all, the story has moved to Virginia City, Nevada, one of my favortie western ghost towns. I'm using research I've done for my last western - The Courting of Widow Shaw, but in a different way for this book. I'm just fascinated with Virginia City and love the lore and history there.

And on a different note, for those who had trouble getting into my website mailing list or contest, everything is in working order again! Please submit for my contest- with great prizes - there's still time! The contest ends in mid November. Good Luck!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday's Musings

My trip to the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday night, brought back some amazing memories of my childhood, when I saw Jim Morrison and the Doors, known then just as the Doors, along with the Rascals, of "It's a Beautiful Morning" fame. I remember sitting in box seats then, true box seats where four seats were boxed into a wooden frame, two in front, two in back. At the time, I don't think we knew how famous Jim Morrison would be, or how long those memories would stick with us. But they did. And on this past Saturday, those memories came rushing forth. At the time, there was no Staples Center or huge outdoor venues. Anyone who was "anyone" would play the Hollywood Bowl. It was "the" arena for rock groups.

But it's a calmer place now and I was amazed how easy it was, traffic wise to get in and out of the facility. Though we showed up 90 minutes early, as you have to do these days to avoid the masses. My friend and I had dinner in our box seat, with waiter service and all. We shared a nice meal and a bottle of wine before the show and I wondered why it had taken me all these years to go back to a true Hollywood icon. Loved every minute of it. Tim McGraw, was great as usual. We don't expect anything less from him or his band. And we even got to see a few stars as Scott Hamilton and Rick Schroeder, strolled right by us.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday's Finds

It's Friday again and I swear I don't know where the week goes. But TGIF, as they say and the weekend is upon us. I'll be heading to the Tim McGraw concert this weekend and I'm hoping the weather holds up, since it's outdoors. For those of you who know me, you know I'm a huge fan. I've never joined a fan club in my life. Never, not even for Elvis Presley, the KING, but in my middle age, I decided, why not? I love Tim's music and his style. I've even met him once in Pasadena, when he signed his book. I never thought I'd shake his hand, but oh, that was a moment in time I'll never forget. So once a year, he comes to my area in CA to do a concert and I always go with my other "Tim" fan friend and fellow writer, Tanya Hanson. We always have a blast!

So the fires in my area are out, the ANGELS are on their way to the League Championship, I hope, I'm going to see Tim McGraw this weekend and I made my deadline of writing 40 pages this week. All in all, not a bad week for me. Now, if only Faith shows up to sing with her husband, it'll be icing on the cake!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wednesday's Words

It's been a tumultuous few days and I took a little break from writing. The fires are out in our area, but Mother Nature isn't cooperating and we're having those Santana winds again. For those who don't know they are warm winds that blow at rapid rates and in my neck of the woods that usually means brushfires. Last week's fires are under control now, but there are hot spots up in the hills that the experts are worried about. I saw evidence of this yesterday when I drove out of my neighborhood only to see five fire engines (from other counties) come up our way. It's signiciant to note that these are not our firefighters, because it means that some of the 3000 that had come from all over, are still here, anticipating. So, we sit and wait and hope that the winds die down soon, and that some sicko arsonist, won't be tempted to go up in the hills. With all the firefighters now on the scene, I would hope that we'd only have to worry about what Mother Nature intends.

And on an entirely different note, my hubby and I went to the Angels play-off game last night. We arrived early and enjoyed the stadium goings-on. Lots to see and do there, before the game. And for the first time, I ate Hooters Chicken strips. And yes, they are very GOOD. But, when a guy says he goes there for the food -- I still don't believe that! We had a great time just being in play-off mania, but our team lost. So, we'll be sitting and watching the next few games on TV and hoping the team makes it to the next round. Go ANGELS!!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday's Finds

I guess I'm an optimist at heart, because for the past two days and nights, our little community was plaqued with raging fires, but I never thought that we'd actually be involved. There were fires to the west of us, to the east and to the south. Smoke billowed from the mountains just blocks from our house, but no flames. We knew the flames were on the back side of the mountain. For days and nights, helicopters flew above us, making water drops, but our sky remained blue. But yesterday afternoon, that all changed and the sky became an errie black and orange. Soot and ashes fell to the ground as the winds changed. And soon flames erupted on our side of the mountain.

I've never seen anything so frightening in my life. All the neighbors watched, looking up, trying to decide what to do. The night before we'd had voluntary evacuations. No one left, we watched and waited. I didn't want to leave my house. No one did. My optimism was tested though when the flames atop the mountains starting a downward decline towards our homes. It was only then, that we decided to pack up our valuables. Our kitties would be a problem. They don't travel well and that limited us to where we would go. But as all the neighbors watched and waited, the amazing firefighters did their jobs expertly. And we saw those threatening flames diminish in the hours to come.

The fires still rage in other cities surrounding us. It's 20% contained they say, but the firefighters lit backfires and are making sure the flames don't cause damage to any homes and that they don't jump the freeways. This is very good news, but it'll be days before the fires are put out entirely. My optimism is restored and I'm thinking that with no loss of life and only one house down, (I say that with compassion for that one homeowner) it's truly a miracle.

I can't say enough about our firefighters. They worked day and night and tirelessly, to make sure we were all safe. They are truly heroes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday's Words

It's been a busy week with life sometimes getting in the way of writing. But at least, this time, it's a measure of good things that's taking me away from my writing. I'm a little off schedule, with hopes of catching up this week to make my 40 pages a week goal! I'd love to finish Shanghaied Groom before the middle of October. But I did have copyedits to go through recently for Heiress Beware, my June 06 Desire and then my Author Alterations for my February historical, Renegade Wife. It's always fun to revisit a story, once you've put the on the final "THE END" and with AA's and Copyedits, you usually see that story months after turning it in. So, I'm going to work doubly hard to achieve my goals this week.

But on another happy note, the ANGELS won the American League Division championship. They clenched it last night against Oakland and though I didn't see the game, I was able to see the champagne celebration afterwards. Thrilled that our team is going on to the playoffs, my hubby and I will take a day off to see one of the games, up close and personal. Sometimes, LIFE gets in the way of writing. And thank goodness for that!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday's Finds

Hurricane Rita -- It seems the worst EVER hurricane season. As I'm watching the news and seeing people evacuate their homes and livelihoods, I'm amazed at the power of such natural forces. Being an historical writer as well, I often wonder about the people living back in the day when there were no warnings, no doppler readings, no television. How did they survive? IF they survived such powerful forces of nature. Were whole towns and cities wiped out? With more primitive housing and no walls for protection in the sea, did any of those living on the gulf coast regions survive? Or has our weather changed so much lately (it seems so) that people living in the "olden" days didn't have too much worry about drastic hurricanes hitting the shore? I'm sure if I studied the facts, I find my answers.

But as I tried today to enter the RITA (pardon the pun) but that's the name of the Romance Writer's of America's most prestigious award contest- I realized that they are based in Houston. The site is shutting down for the time being as people there are evacuating. Who knows what might happen to our RWA -based offices? And just this morning I received an email from my web designer whose is on crutches right now and having to either have her parents move in with her or live in their house, until the hurricane passes. She's going offline until all of this is resolved. (My prayers to you, Shelley! I'm keeping good thoughts for you and your family. )

So, though thousands of miles away, the hurricanes hit us all in some way. They affect us and make us worry, and pray and hope for a good outcome. And I certainly do! As I know many of you are feeling the same way. Keep good thoughts coming. Let's not go through the alpha-bet of hurricane names this year. PLEASE !

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

Well - I watched the season premiere of LOST last night. I love that show and it didn't disappoint. It kept me on the edge of my seat. We finally got to see what's down in that "hatch" and what we saw didn't give us answers, but rather more questions. The show is "theme" based which as a writer, I love to see. There's always metaphors, and correlations between the characters present lives on the island and their past lives. The writing on that show is wonderful and it's what originally drew me in. I didn't start watching it when it first premiered last year because I had visions of Gilligan's Island meets Frankenstein. But one night, I caught it and that's the marking of a really good show, it only takes one episode to reel you in because the characters are so interesting and the writing is superb. I cheered when it won the EMMY. I felt it truly deserved that praise. So, now the new season has begun and between watching a few favorites and cheering on the ANGELS baseball team vying for their division lead, I'll have to adjust my writing schedule! I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but certain shows I hate to miss, LOST being one of them. Any fans out there? What's your take on LOST and other shows coming our way?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

There are so many charities in need right now, that I'm not sure how to donate, but recently I saw a spot about Habitat for Humanity and how they have built over 200,000 homes across the nation. It's an incredible charity that provides homes for those in need. For the victims of the Gulf coast region, they are building what they call "houses in a box". I think people from all over can build the frames and then they collapse them and send them to be finished in the home town in need. Sounds like a good way to put roofs over people's heads in a hurry, especially with fall almost here and winter just around the corner.

The Today Show this morning talked about the homes being built and if you want to see one of these "houses in a box", they will be building one next week on the show. I think it would be great to find out where else they are doing these. I wouldn't mind taking hammer to nail to help out -- right now, here in California seems all we can do is send money. Money is important, and heaven knows it's going to take a whole lot of cash to see these cities rebuilt, but I think many of us would love to dig in, and actually do something physical to help out.

I keep hearing of these great organizations and decided instead of picking one, I'll donate what I can to each, since all seem to be doing a particular service, from feeding and clothing the victims, rescuing animals and rebuilding homes. All are equally important.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday's Finds

I find it amazing how little things we see and do end up in our books. When they say, "Write what you know", how can you not? Our stories are reflections of our life's experiences and it doesn't matter if your book is about forenics and you know nothing about that topic. You'll do the research and make it all plausible, but it's the little things, the nuances in our stories that seem to mirror our lives and what we know.

For instance, writing for me is very intuitive. I simply know what it takes to make my scenes work and for this one particular scene, I needed my hero and heroine to come together somehow, and for the hero to admire her gumption. As I watched Animal Planet, a show I enjoy about all kinds of animals, they showed a father and son, rescuing a heifer who was having a difficult labor. The two worked together, delivered the calf and saved both their lives. Hmmm, I thought. Wouldn't that scene work for my historical story? The heroine will dive in to help our hero deliver the calf -- a messy job, for sure, but it worked and the hero begins to admire our heroine for all her traits, but mostly because she wasn't afraid to lend a hand. The bonding they share as they care for the new calf is one of those "aw shucks" moments in the story too. Just a little five minute clip on the Animal Planet helped me design that scene.

And I find that a writer is always writing. You take in everything around you, log it away in your memory bank or make yourself a note, to use for another day. This happens to me all the time. I use my life experiences, what I witness, what I read, what I watch on television and it all comes together somehow to give me the inspiration to write my story. I bet many of you are the same. I wonder what we'll learn today that we'll use in one of our stories ... tomorrow?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

Challenge Your Brain -- I just read a great article on how to improve your memory skills so that you'll be less likely to have memory loss in old age. I'm not old by any means (not yet!) but I do find myself forgetting things I should be remembering. It's usually nothing of great importance, more an annoyance than anything else and I've NEVER had a great memory. But these are some tips for challenging the brain. See if you do any of these things: Work on crossword puzzles and brain teasers. Take a class, learn a foreign language or a new skill. Change your pattern of shopping at the grocery store. Work on a hobby or craft. READ A NOVEL, (I like this one best) or articles or magazines.

And the article goes on to say it's okay to use Memory aids. I do these things all the time. I love making lists. So, mark you calendar of important events, birthdays, appts. Keep a day planner. Use sticky notes. Make up TO DO lists, especially for the husband (wink). It also goes on to say that you should exercise, eat a healthy diet and try to get your allowance in of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Both are good for the brain.

I guess it's time to work on some crossword puzzles! All these things promise to keep our memories sharp. Hey, I wonder if writing a morning blog, counts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

Do you ever find that some days you simply have to tune out the world? Lately, the stress level from watching the news about the hurricane disaster and all the controversy surrounding it, just gets to be too much. I found myself tuning in for hours in the beginning, to see a disaster of proportions almost to terrifying to imagine and I think most of us watched with open-mouthed stun. We simply couldn't believe the scope of the disaster. Then -- when all of our efforts should be on the rescue, so many found time to point fingers of blame. The political fallout from something that should know no politics, has been hard to watch. I tend to focus on the positive, the people who risk their lives to save others, the incredible generosity of Americans sending aid and money to help the cause.

But sometimes, it's all too much. Sometimes, even an hour a day, is too much, and though I don't like being uninformed, for peace of mind and my own sanity, I tune it all out. I'll watch baseball. My team, the ANGELS are in first place and I'm already having baseball withdrawals that the season is ending soon. Or I'll watch a repeat of LOST or DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, talk about escapism. Or sometimes, I'll simply read. That's the most relaxing of them all.

I think many of us don't realize we need to DE-STRESS the way some need to DE-TOX. We need to allow ourselves time to sit back and relax and enjoy something. We need that "vegging" time. Do yourself a favor and tune it out, once in a while.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday's Musings

As I'm sitting here, finished for the morning's worth of writing, with my kitten Skittles, always trusty and atop my computer, I'm thinking of all the animals yet to be rescued by the hurricanes. It saddens me to think of those animals left behind and how hard it was on those evacuees who had to say farewell to their pets. True, nothing is more important than saving human lives, but I know how difficult it would have been to leave my pets behind. They are like small children, helpless and vulnerable and that's the hardest part. I think of them starving, frightened and perhaps injured and not knowing what to do.

Where dogs might come out and let their presence be known to the rescuers, cats tend to hide when frightened. I know my kitty does and no amount of cajoling or bribery will get her to show her face. So, I'm hoping that the cats do have nine lives and that they find ways to survive. They may have used up eight lives in the hurricane, but I still hold out hope that they are as resilient as I know them normally to be.

Thank goodness to all the rescuers out there and to the Humane Society and other such organizations looking out for the animals.

So I hug my little Skittles a bit tighter and let her drink my coffee. Yes, she likes coffee, don't ask me why. She doesn't eat or drink anything else, but the special cat food we feed her and water, but for some odd reason she likes my coffee. It's a struggle when I'm at the computer to keep my mug away from her and after I set it down once I'm through, she finds a way to get to it. It's uncanny really and it baffles me, but it's part of what makes up her cute personality.

So, I'm hoping that many other pets are found and rescued out there. It's hard to think of them going without food. Prayers to all, humans and pets alike whose lives were greatly affected by the hurricane.

Let's hope the storm Ophelia dies a quick death out at sea. We don't need another disaster.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday's Finds

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of information one can get from going ONLINE. This morning, as I woke very early, unable to sleep, I logged on to check email. And I found some very interesting items in my email. Recently, I subscribed to, an inspirational non-denominational site, where I receive all kinds of messages of inspiration. Today was especially interesting about the power of silence. Now, I've never given this much thought, but as I read this inspiring piece, the words so beautifully written about the silence of the ocean, and the Indian power of healing through silence, I realized that much of what was said can be true. The ocean is like a living being, and just watching the waves in early morning or at dusk, when it's you and nature alone, can be pretty awesome. It went on to say how just like all living things, the ocean breaths, through the coming and going of waves hitting the shore. It was truly an early morning inspiration for me.

Then I moved on to a health site and learned a little bit more about preventing breast and ovarian cancers by the foods we eat, our lifestyle and other tidbits. It's terribly amazing how much powerful information is out there, and how diverse it all is. I figure, if I can learn just one new thing every day, I'd be better for it and sometimes I seem to absorb everything I read, like a sponge, wanting more.

And my last exploration was to head to my favorite country western radio site. There, I read about upcoming concerts and of course, I entered a contest to win free tickets to a show at Disneyland! Well, one can always hope. Those were my pre-dawn exploits -- nothing too fancy or provocative, but it helps while away the time, waking me enough to begin my writing day.

It's early - early and my trusty "attack" cat Skittles is by my side as always, up on my desk, cuddled next to the computer. She's an inspiration in itself!

Off to work now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wednesday's Words

It's late in the day, but I thought I'd post a quick thought. I've been working on my historical story Shanghaied Groom and I must admit that after writing a few contemporaries and having two more ideas floating around in my head, I'm finding it difficult to get "into" this story. It's a great story, don't get me wrong, but I've been away from it now almost a year. And so, I remembered something "classic" that Susan Elizabeth Phillips taught me in one of her workshops. You can't work with a blank sheet of paper. Put something down, even if it's garbage and fix it later.

I'm not good with garbage. I tend to throw my garbage out every day. I like clean trash, so this is really hard for me. Yet, I'm doing it. I'm writing and you know, it's working! Putting something down has helped me formulate my ideas and the story is now flowing much better. I'm committed to writing five to ten pages a day, so I can't afford to go "blank."

Another thing I thought to do, was to go back and study some of my research books. I have these great easy reads, that look a lot like coloring books, but they are filled with valuable information. I sticky-note a page when there's an idea I think might work, and then sure enough, I'm able to go back and use it.

I still have nearly 300 pages to write, so I know I'll use these techniques again. Anybody else out there have clues and hints as to how to KEEP GOING when your mind goes blank?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

It's back to work now and blogging after a brief absence and very nice weeklong vacation. It's been a tumultuous week, hasn't it? I've been gone for most of it, but the news wasn't very far beyond and we kept up on the day to day struggles of those caught by the worst disaster I can remember.

The pictures of what happened to the gulf states couldn't have been more horrific. And unlike many who seem to want to point fingers and blame, I'm going to spend my time today, praising those remarkable people who lent a hand, risked their own lives and saved thousands of people. Yes, some died and my prayers go out to those families who are suffering and have lost loved ones. I guess, in a disaster of this magnitude, death is inevitable, no matter how fast the response time.

But to those wonderful people who got out there quickly and stayed I have to say you're our true heroes of the day. I keep seeing pictures of water rescues from boats and helicopters and those airlifts -- oh boy -- I'd be scared myself, I can just imagine what some of those senior citizens felt like being hoisted up and onto the helicopters. There will be, I'm sure, some of the most inspiring stories that come out of the disaster of saviors, of fearless courage, of the great humanity of our country.

Today, I'm dwelling on the positive. I'm thinking of and thanking heaven for miracles, both big and small. While I know that things were chaotic in those first few days and the level of frustration we all felt, in watching many suffer and wondering why help didn't arrive faster, I also know that the people out there sent to rescue did their level best. Let's not forget them. Let's give praise where deserved and not discount their sacrifice.

I know of one woman in RWA who lost her home and while this was happening her husband, a member of the Coast Guard, was out saving lives. Their family is thankfully safe, but they lost everything. In the face of disaster, the human spirit and the American spirit, glows with warmth and love. That's what I want to dwell on today.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday's Finds

TGIF -- It's Friday again. How the week flies by. We're in the process of remodeling our bathroom. My husband is quite handy and he's been stripping our very sorely in need oak cabinets down to the natural wood. It's amazing how much patience he has in making sure it's stripped, sanded, stripped, sanded. As I watch him use every tool he has in his arsenal, from razors, a newly-purchased sander, stripping solution to a wet vac and compressor, I think that his patience with his passion of building and restoring only matches my own with my writing.

I know it's a weird analogy, but it's true. While he might not be the most patient of men in general, (self-admittedly) with his craft, something he thoroughly enjoys, something he wants to take pride in when finished, he takes his time, goes through the necessary, often tedious steps, to make sure the job is done right. The outcome is usually something beautiful. Hey, he's the co-creator of our children, and they DID come out beautiful. But back to the analogy.

It's that same sense of patience we have when we write our stories. We strive to use every tool in our arsenal to get it right, and beautiful. We take our time, some things just can't be rushed. And when it's not working for us, we know it immediately and undo what isn't perfect. In a sense, we're builders too, and reshapers and restorers. We can't rush the steps or process. Some of us move faster than others, dedicate more time each day, but the end result is usually the same, if we're honest to our story -- it shows.

Well, I'm getting a new bathroom soon and I'm also getting that sense of accomplishment in finishing my story. Both are creations of the mind and heart. Both took time and patience. Both will bring a measure of pride and accomplishment. Creativity isn't exclusive to writing or art or music, but rather a universal trait that we can all find in even the smallest of things, if we look hard enough. Agree?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

It's getting really close to the end of my story and I'm sailing through. The ending is paramount to the success of the entire story so it is important to make sure it's going where it needs to go. For instance, tying up all loose ends is one thing that's necessary. Then you've got to go for the resolution to the external problem. I finished external problem. I'm now drawing up in my mind the blackest moment. I say that because I realize that in this book, there was one black moment already which put my heroine on guard and made her wary of the hero. But they are on even ground now and now I'm writing that gut-wrenching moment in the story and the scenes that make my hero realize what's truly at stake.

I figure I have one more chapter to go but it's probably going to be the hardest chapter to write. But I always enjoy writing the ending. True to my romantic nature, I want to see my hero/heroine happy again. Isn't that fun? We live and breathe these characters for months and struggle with them. And at the end of the book, it's time to bring them together. Who's a sucker for a good ending? Anyone out there read the ending first? I have one friend who does that and I constantly wonder why? What are your feelings when a book you love, ends?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

We finally made it to a Home and Garden Show over the weekend and it was great! I couldn't believe all the wonderful displays they had, from gorgeous ponds and fountains, to kitchen set-ups to fabricated houses. Seeing those houses set up inside the convention center was amazing. And it sure gives you a good idea for decorating. We entered at least five, but there were many more. These homes were regular sized homes, the smallest being 350 square feet, (more like a motor home) and the largest being over 3000 square feet. In today's market the sticker price on these homes would get someone into a very comfortable setting at affordable prices, but you need to have your own land and make all the improvements before they'll come and set the house up for you. All in all, it was quite an eye-opener.

And for two people looking to do some remodeling, we sure found lots to chose from. We'd love to redo the kitchen and master bathroom for now and later on, set up a great BBQ station outside in our backyard. My mind's clicking away at the cost, wondering if we shouldn't just buy another house, but we love our place and love our neighborhood. And getting ideas from a home show is a lot of fun.

My husband got inspired and handy man that he is, he stripped our bathroom cabinets down to the natural oak wood. So now instead of replacing our commodes and cabinets, we're going to keep that gorgeous wood in it's natural state, which lightens up the room considerably. Tonight, I'm helping. I'll be out in the garage, gloved and ready to finish stripping the doors. Next, I would love to have him put marble tiles down. Then we'll tackle our other bathroom. After going to that home show, my Honey-Do list is growing!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday's Finds

How quickly the week flew by! And now it's Friday and yes I'm babysitting the kitty today. It's been a little bit of a challenge keeping the three cats separated. My two don't like each other, so one sleeps in the laundry area, the other has free reign of the house, but usually sleeps with us. BABY on the other hand slept under my bed last night and I had to wait up until she decided to come out to put her in her "designated" room. She's all set up in our exercise room. It's funny how you accomodate the different cat personalities. My Skittles won't be put out of our room, she scratches behind the door and is very persistent. So, it was a room switch late last night without either feline realizing what happened. They haven't seen each other yet, I've made sure of that. My cats are very jealous, but I'm sure that with their keen sense of smell, they know there's another animal in the house.
My job is to make sure they don't find each other!

Too bad it has to be that way. But cats definitely have personalities and mine don't like intruders. In the mean time, BABY is having fun exploring the different rooms and right now, she's again, under my bed, un-locatable.

And soon, they'll all be in their designated spots, away from each other. I'm taking a little break and going shopping! You all have a good weekend and share any cat stories you might have ... I'm a sucker for kitties.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

Lots of thoughts today. Mostly, I'm pleased with the way my story is developing. Yesterday I was awakened at 4:30AM when the phone rang and since I couldn't return to sleep, I began writing. I kept going until 1PM with little breaks for coffee and breakfast. When I get near the end of the book, I can't wait to finish. Every scene is etched in my head and I want to get it all down. It's a great feeling, because I'm on a roll, know where I'm going and can't wait to get there. So, yesterday was my most productive day ever. I think I wrote 20 pages. And to give you a guideline, my normal workday involves writing 5 pages a day with some editing thrown in there. All in all, it makes for one very happy writer when the story moves smoothly and every scene seems to work. The struggle for me is more in the middle chapters, keeping the pace and keeping the story interesting. In writing circles it's called the "sagging" middle. So just wondering how many writers out there, experience a sagging middle, or steamroll ahead? Anybody get the same feelings of urgency to finish the story when it gets near the end?

And today is the day I get to babysit my new grandbaby. No, don't get excited, it's not a real grandchild, but my son's kitten. He's going out of town for the weekend, and BABY is staying with us. I'm looking forward to it, but my other 2 cats already expressed their displeasure. I'll have to separate the three of them. Wouldn't want BABY to feel unwelcome. Still, though it'll be a trial having all three in the house, I'm looking forward to it. If we didn't have coyotes in the area, I'd have 10 cats and they'd live outside in our backyard. Then I'd be one of THOSE women. I can't help it. I love kittens. Anybody else out there a cat lover?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

It's getting to that time in my story, when I can't wait to finish it. I hate to be away from the computer and if only my eyes, my brain and my fingers would cooperate I could steamroll ahead to the end of the story. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. But yesterday I worked five straight hours and made significant progress. Today, I have only a few hours to write and wish that I could spend more, but LIFE intrudes sometimes and our obligations come into play. Still and all, I'm happy with the story. CAROLINE'S MAN FRIDAY, is working out great. All the ducks are in a row for the HEA.(Happily Ever After)and I'm looking forward to writing those last few chapters. Usually by now, I have my next story on the brain too, but I'm on a double deadline right now, so that means I can't conjure up anything new, but have to finish my other story, so far titled SHANGHAIED GROOM. It's fun, but requires a lot of research since it's set in the 1800's in Nevada. Well, I'm off to work those few hours I can this morning. Happy writing and reading everyone ... Feel free to add your comments about working toward the end of a story. Or reading toward the end of a story and how that makes you feel.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Monday's Musings

There are highs and lows to being a writer. Believe me, all of us, even the best of us have had our share of both. But not too many things recently compared to the "high" I experienced on Saturday afternoon when I met Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Now, it might seem a bit anti-climatic, since I attended her workshop and listened to her Keynote speech in Reno at our convention, but on Saturday at our monthly Orange County Chapter meeting, I actually met her.

It was a day that was crammed with personal goings on in my life, but I didn't mind the 90 minute drive to Orange County and waiting while she was stuck in traffic. All of us, a group of over 100 eager members, waited patiently, getting minute by minute updates as to when Susan would be in the building. And when she appeared, nearly an hour late, the room broke out in applause. Wasn't her fault. The delay at LAX always inevitable but even it if was her fault, she would have still received the warmest of welcomes.

She moved quickly and gave us her an abbreviated workshop on Million Dollar Writing Tips. I'd heard most of it before in Reno, but she was in a smaller group and we were able to ask questions. I raised my hand and asked a few. And then, when she was through, she signed her newest hardback book. I met her then, told her she was my inspiration, from her first book on and that I was thrilled to meet her. I told her that I've since written 15 books and she asked for my writing name. She signed a book for me and for my friend and we spoke briefly. She's as "real" as real gets, funnier than anyone I've ever listened to, and such a sweetie.

The thrill is still with me and only readers and writers alike would know the feeling of meeting and speaking with somone whom you truly admire. It's a movie buff meeting their favotite actor or actress. It's a sports fan, meeting the SuperBowl hero. It's a music fan meeting their favorite rock star. Or pop singer. Or country artist. I once met Tim Mcgraw. He shook my hand and said hello. For those of you who know me, you know he's number one with me. And meeting SEP was that "high" all over again, but in a different, awe-inspiring, I-want-to-be-just-like-you, kind of way.

I spent the entire next day and I mean, I didn't get dressed until late afternoon, reading her newest, Match Me If You Can. I couldn't put it down. She writes with such clarity, the characters appear so real, the story flows so smoothly. She's a seat-of-your-pants kind of writer. I LOVE that about her. And she admits to having to take a long time with her books, not knowing exactly where the story is going until she gets there! I LOVE that about her too.

Today is Monday and I'll plant myself back in my computer chair. I'll get a great deal of writing done today. Her words and stories will stay with me.

I am inspired ...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday's Finds

It's amazing the kind of research you can pull up through the internet and books and magazines about any one related subject. As I'm writing Caroline's Man Friday, my newly contracted Desire I needed to find out pertinent things about horses and ranches. Well, since this is my area of expertise since most of my books involve those very subjects, I thought I knew quite a great deal. But in this modern day story of refurbishing Belle Star Stables to what it had once been, I found out some interesting facts about horses and horse rescues that I didn't know. For instance, and this will be in my book, horses get bored and frustrated real easily when they're not out in the pasture where they can roam. Some horses chew wood on the fences and stables. And some horses are prone to cribbing. Again a way of letting go their frustration. They suck in oxygen, making weird air sounds and then gnaw on any wood structures they can get their teeth into. Thus, destroying the surrounding wood surfaces if allowed to continue. It seems to be a big problem among stables who board horses and it's imperative that they get proper exercise and pasture time to help prevent this. Cribbing was something I'd never heard of before I started this book.

And I've also learned a great deal about horse rescues and adoptions. Apparently there's quite an extensive application process where the rescuer must supply lots of information about their capability to sustain and nurture the horse. They must give references in some instances, must agree not to sell, loan, lease or euthanize the animal at any point. And if the adoption doesn't work out, then they are obligated to return the horse. It's a good way of protecting horses, who might otherwise become neglected or abused. What I didn't know is that with some rescue sites, an adoption might occur, but the new owners, never really "own" the horse. The rescue site retains full rights on the horse. Again, I imagine another way of protecting the horses.

I love learning these little tidbits of information and though they say 80% of our research never gets into our books, for fear of sounding like a travelogue or advocate, it's always great to learn something new. Much of what doesn't go into the book stays with me. I wonder how many out there have fun doing research and find what doesn't get into the book just as fascinating as what does?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

It's amazing the kind of research you can pull up through the internet and books and magazines about any one related subject. As I'm writing Caroline's Man Friday, my newly contracted Desire I needed to find out pertinent things about horses and ranches. Well, since this is my area of expertise since most of my books involve those very subjects, I thought I knew quite a great deal. But in this modern day story of refurbishing Belle Star Stables to what it had once been, I found out some interesting facts about horses and horse rescues that I didn't know. For instance, and this will be in my book, horses get bored and frustrated real easily when they're not out in the pasture where they can roam. Some horses chew wood on the fences and stables. And some horses are prone to cribbing. Again a way of letting go their frustration. They suck in oxygen, making weird air sounds and then gnaw on any wood structures they can get their teeth into. Thus, destroying the surrounding wood surfaces if allowed to continue. It seems to be a big problem among stables who board horses and it's imperative that they get proper exercise and pasture time to help prevent this. Cribbing was something I'd never heard of before I started this book.

And I've also learned a great deal about horse rescues and adoptions. Apparently there's quite an extensive application process where the rescuer must supply lots of information about their capability to sustain and nurture the horse. They must give references in some instances, must agree not to sell, loan, lease or euthanize the animal at any point. And if the adoption doesn't work out, then they are obligated to return the horse. It's a good way of protecting horses, who might otherwise become neglected or abused. What I didn't know is that with some rescue sites, an adoption might occur, but the new owners, never really "own" the horse. The rescue site retains full rights on the horse. Again, I imagine another way of protecting the horses.

I love learning these little tidbits of information and though they say 80% of our research never gets into our books, for fear of sounding like a travelogue or advocate, it's always great to learn something new. Much of what doesn't go into the book stays with me. I wonder how many out there have fun doing research and find what doesn't get into the book just as fascinating as what does?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

Tuesdays are my favorite days. I usually have the day to myself, with no outside work. Did I mention that I teach baby care and childbirth classes two nights a week at a local hospital and have for the past twenty years? I love the work and usually spend Monday and Thursday nights at the hospital teaching. So for me, Tuesday is more of a play day. Oh, yes, I always have some writing to do, but that's a given. And it doesn't count. By the afternoon, I'm free to do something fun if I want to, or run my errands and I'm not on a timetable for dinner either. We can eat early or late, doesn't matter. I don't have any place to be.

In the fall, my Tuesday mornings are designated for my all-girls bowling league. I've been doing that for ten years plus and will probably bowl with a cane when the time comes. It's a way for me to get together with my dearest friends and my sister for a few hours of fun. And we're good. We won first place this year!

So today is Tuesday and I've done my writing for the day. I'm having lunch at the beach with my daughter. It'll be great to get out of the 100 degree heat in the valley and of course, spending time with Nikki is always one of my favorite things to do. I'm wondering if any of you have favorite days? And how do you spend those days?


Monday, August 08, 2005

Monday's Musings

Some things are just not worth it! That's my take on trying to get somewhere, and a comedy of error ensues. We're in the planning stages of remodeling our kitchen, so dear hubby sees an ad for a giant home remodeling show in San Diego. Well, we hop in our car and make the trek, a good two hour drive(on an good traffic day - this was not the case with us) and find ourselves reaching our destination three hours later. Well, how hard can it be to find a huge football stadium in San Diego, Qualcomm? Seems our maps aren't too accurate, the traffic in town is horrendous and we're hungry. Very hungry. We try to stop at a mall along the way and can't find parking. Not one space in all the mall. The place was packed! No healthy eating for me that day. Okay, we resigned ourselves to junk food at the Show and proceeded on, trying to find signs leading us. When we nearly reached Sea World on Mission Bay, we knew we'd made a few wrong turns.

Now, we love San Diego. We've been there a hundred times, but the freeways intersect in ten different places, the city is divided by those intersections and I must say, though we love the town, they don't have good signs. For a place with more tourist attractions than any one city I know, the signs ... suck. There simply aren't any pointing you to main attractions. But finally, after an hour and a half of searching, fighting traffic and getting better acquainted with the freeways, we find Qualcomm! The traffic getting into the stadium is unbelievable. Don can't figure it out. Why so many for a home remodeling show? Are they giving something away? Are there that many fools, like us, driving a hundred miles for this show?

The show must be great, we decided.

As we walk into the stadium, it's odd that no one is taking tickets, but there is a security guy happy to go through my purse. And finally, when we get inside and reach the field level, much to our surprise -- it's not the home remodeling show at all, but about fifty men in Charger uniforms on the field practicing! The stadium is packed with fans!! Oh, the mystery is solved. Not such a great show after all, the white tents in the parking lot,we discovered, must be the show we traveled for three hours to see! Well, by that time, all we could do was laugh. And with our stomachs growling, it's now 2 PM and we haven't eaten since 8 AM, we decided to skip the "great" show under the white tents in the parking lot, head to OLD TOWN, my favorite spot in all of San Diego for lunch and a very large margarita.

Sometimes, you just gotta know when to give up!
And I bought a great terra cotta pot for my patio palm tree in Old Town at a very good price! So ... the day wasn't a total loss.
Guess I'm a glass-half-full, kind of girl.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday's Finds

What I'm FINDING this Friday is a way to put off the inevitable. I've been so busy since our Reno conference, that I haven't yet sunk my teeth into anything tangible. Isn't it hard to get going, when there are so many distractions? Not frivilous ones by any means, but when the business of writing, becomes a business and not the craft, I have to take a step back. I find that half of my time is spend on business matters now, keeping up with current trends, staying abreast, reading pertinent business related posts and articles, not to mention contacts with agents and editors.
Oh ... I miss the good old days, when all I had to do was sit down at my computer and create my special worlds, with characters I had come to love. But it is a business and only a very select few can opt for a business manager to do everything that needs doing so that the writer can do what she does best.

Don't I wish that would happen one day? How about you? Are any of you writers out there feeling the overwhelming tug of war, between business and craft? And what do you do about it?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

I think I'm finally fully recovered from the conference now. It's been days of work and falling into bed early, unable to keep my eyes open. But the good news is that I picked up a few new things in Reno to add to my SUMMER RAIN CONTEST ending next week. Aside from the prizes mentioned on the contest page, I'm adding a wonderful cookbook I found at our Midnight Madness Bizarre. Meals to Remember is a lovely compilation of recipes I couldn't resist. All proceeds go to the Alzheimer's Association, a charity near and dear to my heart. Along with this fabulous cookbook, a wonderful READINGEAR Bookbag is included. And some other goodies from Harlequin.

If you haven't entered SUMMER RAIN, there's still time. The contest ends August 15th!Good luck and happy reading all!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

About Reno ... I would love to know what those of you who went felt was the absolute highlight of your trip to the conference. Whether published or unpubbed, what was the one or two things that stuck in your mind, and made you glad you actually spent the $$ to go?

For me, there were many memorable things, like spending time with ladies on my Hussy and Desire loop, that I hardly ever get to see. Susan Elizabeth Phillips' workshop couldn't have been more funny -- what a concept, to learn about the craft while she makes you laugh. Her workshops are always SRO. And she's worth it. I loved meeting my new editor and speaking with my past editors, all very hard-working nice ladies. And I loved seeing friends like Mary Burton, Terri Brisbin and Barbara Macauley nominated for the Rita. The ceremony was very entertaining but went way loooong. Seeing Barbara win made the day!

I know I'm forgetting some other highlights, but my brain is mush right now. And I actually have to get back to my manuscript and write! Feel free to add to my list of highlights. I'd love to know what made your conference special and worthwhile. Until tomorrow ... keep writing and reading!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday's Musings

Well, it was a whirlwind trip to Reno for the RWA National convention. And a fun one. I think I accomplished all I set out to do. It's amazing how much one can find to do at a national convention, from workshops, to networking with old friends from other states, to parties, receptions, more parties, and an added bonus for those of us who indulge, a bit of gambling. I want to say hello to the Wheel of Fortune machine. We sort of bonded -- that machine never let me down. But enough of that.

I have to say that there were several highlights for me. Meeting my new editor and having dinner so that we may get to know each other was definitely one. Hi, Jessica! And meeting so many of my fellow Desire and Historical authors that I hadn't before, was another plus. Sharing a room and time with my friends, Debbie and Tanya, rated high up there. And seeing my good friend Barbara Macauley win her first RITA was definitely another. The champagne flowed at our Chapter Suite after that -- all of our OCC friends celebrated Barbara's win.

Then there were the great speeches by Debbie Macomber, who made us cry and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who made us howl with laughter. Late nights were a must, I didn't want to miss anything. I hardly slept. Hardly at all. So, today I'm going to try to get some writing done, before exhaustion kicks in. No, that's not right. I'm going to fight through the exhaustion to try to get something accomplished today.

Like Lightning hit #6 on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list. Now, that's enough inspiration to keep me plugging along. I couldn't be more pleased.
More tomorrow about Reno ...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday's Musings

I have decided that buying tickets to any event in California is an absolute undoable thing. Each time I try, I'm sorely disappointed in the seats I get. I've tried different strategies, but the bottom line is, if you want to see your favorite sports team, singer, show or whatever, money talks. There are scalpers out there with "legitimate" companies, selling tickets for three and four times their worth. Somehow, and I have yet to figure this out, those companies seem to get their hands on the best seats, the best tickets, selling them for the highest price.

Those of you who know me best, know I'm a huge country western fan. I love the new country groups, and the songs that tell a story. But my favorite is Tim McGraw. And I discovered him, and country music quite by accident one day while listening to a Faith Hill song. I had no idea that man she was singing a duet with, was her husband and soon to be my favorite artist.

Back to the ticket thing. Well, I joined Tim's fan club to see where and when he'd be in town and to get hold of his pre-sale tickets for his CA tours. Mind you, I've never joined a fan club for anyone, not even Elvis when I was a teen! But this pre-sale opportunity sounded pretty good. The only problem was, when I planted myself in my chair, waiting for the exact moment the tickets would go on sale online thru the pre-sale, something happened on THEIR end, and I couldn't bring up the page for 30 minutes. Well, by that time, all the good seats were gone. GONE. Not only that, the next to good seats were gone too. There was nothing worthy coming up on that online site. So, off to my next plan. Ticketmaster was selling Tim Tix in a few days. Luckily, I was home that morning. I planted myself by the computer and waited until the exact moment the tickets were released. And to my amazement, within a few seconds I pulled up some really good seats -- this has never happened before. I've never gotten decent seats from Ticketmaster. Well, I didn't hesitate, but plugged in all the information needed and had tickets in hand within five minutes. Now, mind you, I'm not going to be able to look Tim McGraw right in the eyes, but these seats are pretty good! I'm almost center stage with only one section in front of me, and I didn't have to pay scalper prices! That's the best of all.

Still and all, it's a jungle out there when trying to vie for good seats. I'm wondering if it's like this throughout the entire country? Have any of you had to fight and claw to get good seats for a concert, show or sports event? And have any of you been pleasantly surprised when you actually did get those seats?

I won't even discuss those lucky few who have WON Tim Tix on the radio. Nope, not going to discuss them at all.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

I had great news today. My editor emailed to say that I'm approved for my most-fun-to-date historical story, Shanghaied Groom. The story was due back in May, but because of many delays, I've only just heard from the senior editor. Which means, now I'm on two deadlines. I've done this before ... once. And it actually wasn't too bad writing a contemporary story and doing an historical at the same time. I just have to make sure that I keep names, hair and eye color in check. I'm not one for lists, but this time, I plan to make up a list so I don't confuse my characters. Oh and I just realized that my heros' names are close. Sam and Shane. That could be a problem. I'll have to check and double check. In the past, I've worked on one story for a few days, then shifted back to the other. Or, I've worked on one in the AM and the other in the PM. I'm not sure how I'll work this one, but honestly, I have such a busy, busy weekend, the Janet Evanovich book is calling my name so I doubt I'll get too involved until after my visit to Reno and the national convention. Then, it's back to work ... with a vengeance!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wednesday's Words

Ever notice how we set mental priorities? I know I always do. I'm pretty disciplined in my approach to my craft and to life in general. At times, being so disciplined can get a little bit ... tense. So once in a while, I let myself go and give in to what I REALLY want to do, rather than do what I know I must. There aren't too many things that get me to change my priorities. Except yesterday, when a friend of mine handed me Janet Evanovich's 11th Stephanie Plum novel, I knew I'd be rearranging my priorities today. Even though the copyedits are finished and I should be working on the Desire that I just sold, I'm going to give myself a break, sit down with a cup of coffee and read! I started the book last night, but after a full day, I couldn't keep my eyes open as long as I would have liked -- all night. But I knew this morning, I'd be up early and reading. Like I said, there aren't too many things that can get me to change my plans. Reading a Stephanie Plum novel is one of them. I'm afraid I'm woefully addicted and hey, we only get one per year. So I'm off now ... with coffee in hand to read.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

I finished my copyedits yesterday for RENEGADE WIFE and while reading through I discovered that I had 2 running themes in the story. Now, usually an author finds it hard getting one theme out of their story, but I seem to have two. And if you ask me to explain theme, I'd have to hesitate and pause and think, what exactly is "theme?". Well, to me it seems to be an underlying running thread in the story that takes you all the way through. It's not something I consciously do -- it's part of how I write. All good books MUST have a theme. I remember when a bestselling author gave a workshop about Theme -- and it's true. As she says, if you don't really know what your book is about, "theme-wise", then you haven't done your job.

Does that make sense?

And if you really think about all the good books you've read recently, haven't they all had one underlying running thread that tied the book together. Whether it be faith, truth, deception, redemption ... all of those things can play into the theme of the book. And any rate, theme is really hard to describe, but you'll find it when you read from your favorite authors. If you look hard enough. But that's the thing with theme - you don't have to consciously recognize it and say "Oh, so that's the theme", but it has to be there, the undercarriage of the story, whether the reader is aware or not. It makes all the difference.

Now, have I confused anyone?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday's Musings

The Joys of Exercising --- Have any of you gotten into the swing of an exercise routine and just when you're really getting into a groove and enjoying it (yes, I said ENJOYING it) your body breaks down? Well, if it's age or wear and tear, I'm not sure, but we recently bought a treadmill, and this has been happening to me. I have to admit, while I don't like any other form of exercise, I don't mind walking on the thing. I turn the TV on and do half an hour or more, using the weights and incline and when I'm through, I feel pretty darn good.

That is, until a while ago, when my hip starting aching so badly, I thought I was in serious trouble. I couldn't figure it out. Luckily for me, when I complained to an aerobics instructor I know, she figured it out immediately. Seems I was walking on the threadmill incorrectly. Yes, there's a right way and wrong way of walking -- and I was doing it all wrong. Walk heel to toe, keep a straight upper body and tuck in the tummy. Don't use the incline more than 30%. I had the thing up to almost max -- as if I were climbing Mount Rushmore. Well, sure enough, I began fixing the way I walked and the hip pain vanished. A happy camper I was, I was.

Until a few weeks ago, when my knee starting aching. I could visibly see the swelling underneath. The Dr. put me on Motrin, a knee brace and no more treadmill for a while. Ouch! That hurts. I was really in that groove again. So, while my intentions have been good, my body isn't cooperating. This time, I can't figure out why my knee gave out, but I'm not giving up. I'll be treadmilling again as soon as the Dr. says it's a go. Anybody else out there have an exercise story to share?

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Real Friday's Finds

When it comes to home repair, I'm finding that nothing comes easy. The other day I put a roast in the oven and an hour later when the timer went off, I was ready to set the table only to find that the oven never went on. No cooked roast and worse yet -- my trusty oven of 20 years decided to retire, right then and there. It had put in it's service and that's that. No amount of pleading, cajoling or shouting would convince the thing to ignite again.

Well, that meant going shopping for a built-in oven. Needless to say, I dreaded the whole procedure having doubts in my head the entire time. And I wasn't wrong! It seems things have changed a great deal in 20 years. Gas ovens are almost a thing of the past. This, I can't understand because electric costs run 4 times higher than gas, yet we were lucky to find two companies still making our size oven. Now, the doubts are filtering in. Should we go with gas, or with the more popular, easier to find, more expensive electric? Seems only two states still use built-in gas ovens in their new homes, California being one of them. This was news to me.

And now, without an oven, we're feeling pressure to do our kitchen remodel a lot sooner than we planned. Again, though the outcome of having a new face to our kitchen is appealing, I know I'm not going to enjoy the journey. There's so much to consider, but right now, we're getting out the BBQ grill. It's summer after all -- I'll improvise. It's going to take at least three weeks to get someone out to the house for an estimate, anyway.

Geesh, ain't home repair grand?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

If you can't laugh at yourself -- then what's the point? Okay, I blew it! All morning long I thought today was Friday! As you might notice, my last blog, posted on July 14th says Friday's Finds!! Twas not meant to confuse you, just a sign of how confused I am. :)

We are creatures of habit and NO I haven't lost my mind completely! It's just that I usually teach my childbirth and babycare classes on Thursday nights. (Did you know that's what I do in my other life?) And last night, on a rare occasion I had to go into the hospital where I teach and do some work. So ... needless to say, since it was a work night last night, today HAD to be Friday! Okay, and I did get up super early this morning-- still a little groggy. But, Friday's Finds speaks of all the good things and new prizes added to my "Summer Rain" contest. THAT hasn't changed. Be sure to enter and good luck!
As for me -- I'd better get another cup of coffee!

Friday's Finds

Love In Bloom Contest -- The contest is going strong and looks like I'll be adding to the list of prizes posted on the Summer Rain Contest page! I keep finding wonderful things in my daily travels to add to the contest. And I plan on returning home from Reno with some great books that I'll include from my own personal list of favorite authors. Of course, you can't go to Reno -- The Biggest Little City in the World, and not go shopping! I'm planning on adding a "Reno" gift or two to the "Summer Rain" contest as well. We've set the contest to end on August 15th deliberately so that we'll have time enough after our convention to add things to the prize package. If you haven't yet entered, now's the time. And remember to add your name to the mailing list as well. There's be some fun things and surprise giveaways in the near future!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wednesday's Words

It's time to do my copyedits for my Feb 06 book, Renegade Wife. It's amazing how much I've forgotten about my stories once I turn them in and move on to something new. The copyediting process has you really reading every single word and it's great to see when you get a light copyedit, meaning you've sent in a pretty clean copy AND your editor trusts you enough not to change much in the text. It's makes the process easier and quite frankly, if they didn't give a rush deadline of having it back when I'm in RENO, then I'd have to say I don't mind them. But TPTB need these edits done before the end of July, which means I have to devote all my writing time to them. It's amazing how you wait and wait and wait, and then once they begin making your story into a book, everything has to be done yesterday.
Well, I'm off... more reading and editing to do. But I do love this historical. It's perhaps the most witty and best researched story I've ever done. If I can toot my own horn, here. Toot. Toot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

The last minute "stuff" I have to get done before my trip to Reno is mind-boggling. And yes, the RWA National Convention isn't until the end of the month, two weeks from now exactly, but there's so much to do and I find that I'm making lists and rethinking my wardrobe, fretting over small stuff while I try to pace myself. Each day I try to accomplish something significant. Yesterday, my friends and I changed our travel plans and that took the better part of the day trying to coordinate. Now, I have the task of cancelling the old plans, taking clothes to the dry cleaners to make sure they are ready to go, decide whether I need new luggage or borrow from my daughter's new set.

I write for two lines and each line has decided to run a contest during the Literary Signing on Wednesday night -- it's a great cause and I love participating, but that means remembering all kinds of "stuff" again, like extra books, magnets, bookmarks and this year I hope to have my guests sign a book so that they might be included in my newsletters. A guestbook I have yet to buy. Little things. But they add up. And our OCC Chapter is running a contest also, so I'll have three in all -- it's a good way to meet people and interact but again, if I don't stay focused, use my lists, I'm gonna get confused real quick.

It's a challenge for those four days just to show up in the right place at the right time, dressed appropriately! I think the stress factor is kicking in already. I woke up extremely early this morning, thinking and rethinking all the things I need to do, hoping I don't forget something! I know it sounds like a hassle, no fun at all, but going to convention is usually the highlight of my professional career. It's a blast really, once you get there, with your clothes, notes and MIND intact. Then you can kick back and have a good time. It's the "getting there" that's the problem.