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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

Baseball and Writing--
We Won! We Won! The game at Dodger Stadium was great! I'm still in a little bit of awe at the way my nephew pitched a two-hitter, keeping his composure after giving up a homerun in the first inning, then retiring 17 consecutive batters after that. They won their high school baseball championship that day at Dodger Stadium, with Tommy Lasorda shaking everyone's hand and my nephew won a special award for Player of the Game. It's something we will all remember for the rest of our lives. A very special day.
And now back to writing. After days of being away from the computer, I had planned on writing all morning. But late last night, I couldn't sleep and the computer and my story, beckoned. So I sat down and the words flowed. I kept thinking how strange life is, how we never know what will happen and how, if I'd fallen asleep last night, the Tuesday morning version of my story would have been entirely different. I wrote things I hadn't planned on writing, and learned more about my characters last night. And I KNOW that if I had waited until today, the story and my characters would have taken a different course. I'm in the early stages of the story, as you might imagine, and have only the glue of the synopsis in my head. Once I write these three chapters, I'll finish with the synopsis. And once that's written I stick close to the story proposal. So now, in these first three chapters, I have leeway. I have room to change and to grow. I liked what I wrote last night, though it hadn't been planned and it just goes to show that when the need arises, go with your heart. It'll never let you down.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Friday's Finds

I've been too busy these past two days to post, so I'm writing this on Thursday night for Friday. I'll be out very early and back late in the day, hoping not to hit a lot of freeway traffic on my way back into town at the start of Memorial Weekend.
Every writer should have a non-writer friend, plot buddy and someone to bounce off ideas with, regardless of their age or gender. For all my writing life, my husband has been a great help to me. He's a great chess player, meaning that he can foresee moves well in advance. Did I mention that plotting is hard for me? Well, when I get stuck (I'm unsticking myself as we speak) I sit down with my dear hubby and go over my idea for a story. I tell him what has to happen, what I want to happen and when I can't get the story to work. He, in turn, looks into his crystal ball, sees the future of my story and helps me sort things out. Even if I don't use his exact idea, just talking it through spurs my own imagination and usually I can find a solution. There hasn't been a book I've written yet, (going on 14) where I didn't use his help. And you'd think that with all his creative input, he'd actually read my stories. But no, he's not a romance reader. He's a behind the scenes (or should I say, behind the computer man) and he's a great guy to boot, so I've given him advance forgiveness for not reading my next story! A girl can't have everything. Hey, that's a great title, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Wednesday's Words

Ever since my nephew was four years old, I've watched him play baseball. Those early T-Ball days exhibited his great talent, even as a very young boy. I'll never forget the triple play, where he made all three outs! It was little league baseball, mind you, but unbelievable to see his little mind work so quickly and make all the right plays. He has lived, slept and breathed baseball for as long as I can remember and now he's come full circle and I think I've been waiting for this day, like my sister and brother-in-law for a long time. He's in high school now and the team has won the league play-offs and are going to the final game, against their longtime rivals. And my nephew, the ace pitcher will take the mound at Dodger Stadium on Saturday for the long-awaited championship game. It's nail-biting time for a pitcher, who has the most to lose or win, and I'm both excited to see him perform and dreading the nerves I'll experience that day. It's only high school baseball, I know, but it's also a dream come true. And then, of course, the place with be packed with baseball scouts, television crews and commentors, so there's good reason to be nervous. The only good thing about this, is that my nephew keeps his cool under pressure, he thrives on it and so I'll take comfort in knowing that. Can't wait.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Monday's Musings

It's Monday and the start of a very busy week. Yesterday, we went to the Freeway Series, Angels vs. Dodgers baseball game. And I have to say that getting there and getting home was more trouble than the game was worth. The freeways in Los Angeles have become virtual nightmares lately. What used to be a forty minute drive to see a weekend game, has now become a 90 minute trip and we missed the singing of the National Anthem. It's gotten so bad lately that you have to overcompensate for time because you never know how long the drive will take you. The freeways are packed and there never seems to be a tangible reason why the traffic slows to almost a stop except that there's simply too many people on the road. Well, it was triple digits weather-wise, the field seats we had, normally a great view, too hot to sit in for hours, so we were up and down, cooling off in the shade. And when the game was over, getting out of the stadium took one full hour. Literally, a full hour of working our way out of the stadium traffic, and then another 45 minutes on the freeway getting home. It's easier and more comfortable watching the games at home -- minus all the hassle. And the hot dogs are free! Well, almost. :)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday's Finds

There's nothing better than feeling that sense of accomplishment when your work is accepted, understood and maybe even a little bit admired. This month I've had a lot of "ups" and I have to say, it more than makes up for the "down" times in writing. Yes, we all have them, ups and downs, just like any other profession I would assume. But my ups have been really good this month, and I'm feeling somewhat redeemed in chosing a career in writing. I've had a nice 4 star review from Romantic Times Magazine for my July release, Like Lightning. More so, than the excellent star rating, the reviewer "got" my story, the humor and snappy dialogue came through which means, hopefully, that when the book finally hits the shelves, the reader too will understand what I was shooting for. And I received the acceptance of my next Desire with no revisions. The 2006 Heiress Beware -- a Dynasties continuity was tied into 11 other stories and all the authors got together to make sure our stories blended the way they should. It was a first for me and quite a welcome challenge. Knowing that I got it right, without any major flaws, gives a lift to my writing spirit. Last, but certainly not least, my single title attempt is going more smoothly than I had hoped. The synopsis is flowing and I'm well into Chapter Two of the 3 chapter and synopsis proposal. So, all in all, May has been a good month for me. I can only hope it continues. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Thursday's Thoughts

I had such an enjoyable day at Disneyland yesterday that today I KNOW I have to sit down to write. I didn't get anything accomplished ... due to a fun day to celebrate our anniversay, so now I have to start on the synopsis to my next story. Now, if you're like me, when I'm not writing down the synopsis, I'm thinking about it and the words seem to flow easily in my head -- catch phrases, beginning hooks, etc and then when I finally sit down to write this "easy" synopsis, it doesn't always work. It becomes harder than what I had in my head -- darn, I thought it had been brilliant ... but it hadn't been, or I missed something, or I've forgotten the exact words that had been in my head to make the synopsis shine. So the reality of it is, it seems, that there's no easy way. It's like trying to lose weight. No matter the "all fire" cure ,what it takes is hard work, exercise and eating smart. That's the bottom line with working up a synopsis for me -- hard work, exercising those skills I have crammed in my head and being smart. So off I go, putting a fun day of Pirates, Indiana Jones and BuzzLightYear away and concentrating on making sense of the story in my head.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

Today I'm reflecting on 31 years of marriage. Yes, to the same handsome guy I fell in love with almost 35 years ago. He was my high school sweetheart and now not only he is still that, but he's my rock and my best friend too. We're going back in time to celebrate our anniversary tomorrow. We're going to Disneyland! Seems like the time just flew by -- honestly. And when I teach my childbirth and babycare classes, I look out at the group of expectant parents envying them a little for the joys and trials they will encounter raising a family, but also holding back the old cliche, it goes by so fast. It surely does. But I loved every aspect of our marriage, from before children, to raising the babies, to college years and now this time that we have, to simply do what we want to do. This time is for us. Finally. We're still young (teen-bride here, well, almost) and we still want to indulge in some silly childhood things -- like taking the whole day off to visit the Magic Kingdom. But mostly I'm looking forward to spending the day with my husband. Happy Anniversary!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Monday's Musings

Too bad most restaurants don't serve decaf tea or I'd be sleeping now! But I did go to High Tea at a prominent hotel in Beverly Hills -- think Pretty Woman and you've got it -- and though the company, four good friends celebrating a birthday and decades of friendship was great, the service and pettiness of the hotel was quite appalling. I don't care if you're in Beverly Hills or in middle class suburbia, when you order a glass of ice water, that's what they should bring you. No, not so, apparently. Instead we received a bottle of cold, not iced water poured into a wine glass. We were so busy talking and having fun, we didn't make a big deal out of not getting that iced cold glass of water, but later, when we again asked for water, what did we get -- another fancy blue bottle poured by no other than the waiter. Now, I'm not a suspicious person normally, but it occurred to me that we might be getting charged for fancy water we didn't order. And sure enough we racked up a $12.00 water bill. It wasn't the money, though that was quite a shocking amount of money, but the principle more so than anything else. How much more clear could we have made it? We wanted iced water, like any other restaurant would serve. So we spoke up, and the manager came over with a newly adjusted bill. No apologies were made, only that he had to charge us for "one" bottle of water, so he made a magnanymous gesture in crediting us for the other one. Well, I have news. A two-bottle adjustment would have made us grateful -- you know, that sense of rightness one feels in being justified and we'd have walked away satisfied. But that pettiness cost the manager more than he knew because none of us would go back there again for High Tea or anything else. And to top it off, I had planned to make another reservation for another friend, party of 5 for the next month. That didn't happen. The ill will generated over that $6.00 cost the hotel, big time. Don't the managers get that? Or maybe they don't care. Either way, I still had a great time with my friends. I'd do it all over again -- at a different hotel. :)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday's Finds

We have a busy weekend ahead. Our washer and dryer are on the fritz. It seems the appliances don't last much longer than 20 years or so. :) My washer is harvest gold, remember that color? I think I had it before my children were born. I can't complain, it's given me years of service. The dryer on the other hand, was purchased while my kids were in high school, the classic almond color, and one that decided to squeak with every round of clothes it dries. We can't dry clothes anymore at night, the noise loud enough to wake the dead. So, tomorrow we're out and about searching for new appliances. Never a fun way to spend money, but then, maybe we'll hook up with those new-fangled jobs, you know the ones that look like the belong in a space station orbiting the universe. We'll see.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I've been thinking today about Walt Disney and his absolute genius. Since it's the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, his story has been all over the news and special reports. I never really knew the entire story and how Walt wanted to create a safe, fun place for his children and children all over the world to play. Thus, the theme park was invented. But I learned that so many of his endeavors were inspired by fairy tales and the very own characters Walt had created. The Sleeping Beauty castle still stands today and is one of the landmarks of the park. The Dumbo ride, Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean, all based on characters from books . The Mark Twain steam ship was extensively researched and recreated exactly how the original ones were made. His "Lands" still amaze me. Not that he built them, but the vision and forethought he had in creating them. Tomorrowland has changed some, but Frontierland (my favorite - imagine that, a western historical writer's fav) and Fantasyland and many others haven't changed much, although many have been added too. I still love the corny Jungle Cruise, and climbing the Treehouse, like I did as a child. When I think about Disneyland, I always smile remembering how much going there impacted my childhood, the school trips, the Fourth of July adventures and as an adult, the best vacation my family has ever taken, in Florida to Disney World. Great memories created by a great man. Even his name has a bit of whimsy. Can you imagine Disneyland, with a different name attached? Webberland ... Schneiderland ... DiMatteoLand. Nope, don't seem right, does it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wednesday's Words

Well, I finally got my next two proposals off. It's such a great feeling to have labored for months and finally have the finished product to send to my editor. I'm keeping good thoughts for those stories, hoping they go over well. And the wait isn't overly long to hear back. But in the meantime, I've started my next story, something so different than what I usually write -- a long single title contemporary that has some unique qualities. It's something I've been wanting to write for a few years now, and now, finally, I have some time to devote to it. It's a challenge, I must say and though the story's in my head, the words have to fit just right and I have to make sure each plot point is worked out perfectly before I move on. I did say it's a challenge, one that requires more thought, than merely sitting down and writing. But I find, if I work a little and then get away from the story, those plot points become more clear to me. It's something I count on, being able to distance myself somewhat, then come back later to find the answers I'm looking for. So for now, I'm distancing myself after writing a few pages, and later, I will go back. Hopefully, I'll be hit with the inspiration I need. Those of you who write -- I know you can relate.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Monday's Musings

Happy Belated Mother's Day all. It was a great day with the family. We had in-laws and outlaws :) as I refer the boyfriends and girlfriends of my children. We played Texas Hold Em, watched baseball, ate outside and it seemed we had more food than on Thanksgiving. And that's saying something. My hubby was great, helping with everything, but with 14 for dinner, it's still a chore. I loved having everyone over to the house, instead of going out. Mother's Day is the busiest for restaurants and we've done that often. This time, with many watching our weight, we decided a buffet wasn't the best choice. So we catered in. And ate, and ate, anyway. Doesn't seem like it's our family unless we have at least five different desserts. I think I counted seven yesterday, and of course, I had to taste each one -- a small taste, but a taste nonetheless. So this morning, I rode the treadmill for almost an hour, burned lots of calories and I promised myself to be good the rest of the week. Ah, it's great to be a mom. Flowers and balloons from my son and my favorite perfume from my daughter. Even the hubby gave a gift -- my favorite romance DVD. Until next it's back to work and getting that proposal proof read before sending to my editor!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Wednesday's Words

When my cover of LIKE LIGHTNING first arrived, I have to say I didn't much care for it. It was different. It surprised me. It wasn't what was in my head. I can't say what it should have looked like, but I didn't think they'd hit the mark with the cover. I know the story, the characters, the theme of the book and I expected something completely different. But then I learned that Harlequin/Silhouette are doing more mainstream looking covers and mine is certainly that. I've lived with it now for more than a week, and it's completely grown on me. I not only like it, I love it. It's amazing how if we change our prospective and our expectations, our tastes change too. It's a fabulous cover, with my two characters silhouetted in the window of the ranch house as a storm is brewing outside. I love the metaphor! I love that fact that I don't have to deal with a clinch cover this time. And I love that the title depicts how the hero and heroine feel about each other, a sort of stormy, forbidden, jolting kind of love. For me now, the cover really displays the whole theme of the story. Thanks to my Hussy and Desire friends, who have helped me see that. Oh and to Debbie and Tanya, my partners in crime too. All have been supportive. :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tuesday's Tidbits

I'm finally done with the "synopsis" and boy was that a struggle. I would find myself doing everything and anything to postpone sitting down and writing it. But I have to say, that once I forced myself, not allowing myself any more excuses, then the thoughts really came to me. Did I mention, I'm no good at plotting? It's really my weakest point and once I nail down the plot and write the synopsis, it's pretty much clear sailing. I'm hoping to do a final read through and edit then send these two proposals off to my editor by the end of the week. I'm a goal-setter and I like to have a plan in mind and something to shoot for. Once those are off, I'm free, I'm free. I can finally work on the new story I've been trying to get to for a few years now. It's something different than I've written before and I hope, something that will be fun to write.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Monday's Musings

Got some great things accomplished on Sunday. Mostly loved working alongside my DH as we made up magnets for my latest -- LIKE LIGHTNING. We do it all, but the credit goes to my husband. He resizes the image of my cover, then prints it out, cuts them precisely with our paper cutter, and I sign the backs before we laminate and put the magnetic backing on. It's a process we've done since my fourth book and my first Harlequin Historical, LILY GETS HER MAN. I love giving away these business card size refrigerator magnets with my cover on front and my sig on the back. Then we packed up the box for the winner of my "Love in Bloom" contest. It was fun putting all the items in and making the prize look pretty and presentable. I'm off later to mail the box to the Post Office. My new contest "Summer Rain" starts today and it's up on the website now. So join in and take a chance. The prize this time is a silver bracelet similiar to the one that Trey gives Maddie in LIKE LIGHTNING, along with some other great items. I'm off now to work on the Desire synopsis again. Wish me luck!