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Monday, January 30, 2006

A Monday Morning Laugh!

Thanks to my friend Debbie Decker for passing these on to me. If you remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when "Hollywood Squares" game show responses were spontaneous and clever, not scripted and (often) dull, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course. Please enjoy and Happy Monday!

Q. Do female frogs croak?

A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?

A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.

A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?

A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is
attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?

A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.

Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?

A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?

A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. What are "Do It," "I Can Help," and "I Can't Get Enough"?

A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?

A. Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?

A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?

A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?

A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?

A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.

Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?

A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?

A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?

A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?

A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?

A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?

A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?

A. Charley Weaver: His feet

Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?

A. Paul Lynde: Point and Laugh

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Getting Organized

When it rains, it pours, they say. And lately it seems that my workload has increased in leaps and bounds. Today, for instance I have a full schedule and everything has to be timed just right. I've learned to organize my time to get the most out of every minute, and frankly, I hate the days when there's no down time. I NEED down time every day. But when these days arrive, I have to buck up and follow my schedule. And aside from work, of course as you know, life happens. Our kitchen remodel is in the works and I'll be dealing with workman and shopping for "fun" things like a new sink and faucet and tiles etc, etc.

So this morning, I'll be working on copyedits for Bunking Down with the Boss, (there's a tight deadline) getting dressed in time for workmen to come and inspect the kitchen cabinets that arrived a week early, write up a synopsis for my single title story, (if time allows), work some more on the copyedits (I need to break it up, too tedius otherwise), read my Rita books in between times, have a perm this afternoon, dinner will be something easy and off to the hospital I go to teach a pediatric CPR class.
Up at 7 AM, home at 11 PM.

Thank goodness, these days don't happen often, but without the schedule in my head, I wouldn't be able to get it all done. Whoops, it's time for coffee and start on my copyedits. I have an hour before the workmen come!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Here's a novel thought. My kids are grown, my career is building, my house is nearly how I want it to be (but for the new kitchen coming very soon)and my husband and I have never been closer. Isn't funny how we come full circle?

First we fall in love and marry and spend our days playing. We learn about each other's talents and desires and spend not only a vast amount of time together, but really quality time. Then the children are born and our lives take a 180 degree turn. We find ourselves becoming parents. It's Mommy and Daddy time. And we love every darn minute of it. We're truly blessed to have this little people in our lives. We play with them, nurture them, teach them, discipline them and it saps all of our energy and most of our time. And then, these molded shaped wonderful beings leave the nest and we find ourselves empty ... but for a time.

But once the empty nest shock is gone, we renew. We find ourselves again -- the people we once were before the children came into our lives. We laugh, we joke, we play games, we become intimate and we find our bond strenghened through it all. We are a family first and foremost, but we are a couple once again ... truly and forever. It is how it all began.

We are renewed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What Makes a Good Book GREAT!

Right now I'm in the throes of judging seven books from all categories of romance for our prestigious RITA award. For those you haven't heard of this before, it's the highest honor, complete with gold statue, that a romance writer can achieve. And the contest is judged by peers, authors who are members of RWA and write romance. I'm through three books already and all are very very good. But two of them ( and I do consider myself fortunate since it's not always the case) are really great!

I stayed up very late reading, unable or willing to put one of these books down. Even as my eyes started to cross and words blurred on the page, I wanted desperately to finish the book. Today, I asked myself why? Why was this book, and the other I read a few days ago, so darn good? Why did I feel compelled to finish it and at the same time hate that it had to end?

The books had all the usual things to make them Good. Good emotion, good sexual tension, good plotting, good pacing, good dialogue ... you get the picture. But what I realized is that the two books I loved, had something more.

Nuance. Yes, they had nuances in the book that made them special -- a cut above. Something that said this author didn't rush through this story, but had really given it great thought. Whether a quote from Keats that fits the situation perfectly, or a metaphor to the same end or tiny bits in characterization that spoke of how well the author knew her hero and heroine or a small subplot that allows for comic relief. It's amazing how these tiny nuances sprinkled throughout the book make the story more intriguing, more compelling, lighting a curiosity in the reader to want to continue, to find other sparks of genius in the story. It sounds like such a small thing, but believe me, it's really what sets a good book apart from something wonderful and turns a good story into a delightful read!

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Blogger on Blogging

Just over a year ago, I didn't really know what a BLOG was. I remember bugging one of my fellow authors to help me get the gist of blogging and what it does and why on earth anyone would want to do it? She was very patient with me as I tried to understand the simplicity and complexity of blogging.

Now, blogging has become a daily occurence in our Internet society. I hear news commentators say how a blogger broke a big story - or how political activists get their messages out by blogging, one blog at a time. It's a forum for people to speak their minds, share opinions and remark on other's comments.

Now, our Desire authors, with a little bit of arm twisting are blogging on our newly designed Desire website. And my chapter, the Orange County Chapter of RWA has developed their own blog site, one I will be blogging on in February.

It seems that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. And that's a good thing. Communication is key to keeping abreast on your interests from the ground up so to speak. For me, blogging is a unique tool to say hello to my readers and say what's happening in my writing life. It's a way to share experiences, insights or simply tell a funny joke to the masses. It's a live update, where I can get your opinions on my new titles, yes, even run a contest and to share with you my triumphs and uh, not so glorious news.

I guess I'll stay on the bandwagon for the long haul.
Until the music stops playing.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Yes, it's official. The editors have made their choice! And the new title of Shanghaied Groom is ABDUCTED AT THE ALTAR! I have a good feeling that this was chosen when I sent in my Cover Art Fact Sheets with a suggestion of poses in front of a church or altar, with my heroine holding a gun behind her back, ready to steal Shane away from his intended bride. I love this title, but would have also been happy, like so many of you, who had chosen STEALING SHANE'S HEART.

So, I'm happy to announce that I'll be sending an autographed copy to D'Andrea, Joyce and Crytal G. Please email me privately with your full names and addresses and I'll put the books in the mail quickly.

Thanks to all who participated. Look for more blog contests in the future and don't forget to sign up for my FROM THE HEART CONTEST today too. There's some great prizes being given away!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Taking the Day Off -- not!

Okay, so I woke up this morning and thought that I've been in a rut. The weather outside is beautiful and I'm stuck inside glued to my computer. I thought that I deserved a day off. So when I woke, I made myself a cup of coffee and read one the books I'm judging for the RITA's, the booklover's version of the Academy Award. It's a big deal in our industry and you have to be an author in order to judge the books. Well, it was a sheer joy to allow myself the time to read and I really liked this book. I read a few hours last night and today, I finished it.

Then, what to do? What to do? Yes, I found myself back at the computer. Well, there are countless things to do around the house, especially since we'll be in the throes of a kitchen remodel soon. But, no. I opted to sit down and do some fun things at the computer. I read and answered my email and lo and behold, I picked up the bible for the continuity I'm doing, and decided that I could work on that for just a few minutes today. I really had an idea brewing in my head that needed someplace to go --like in the synopsis. So here I am -- on my day off, writing my blog ... working on my story.

But I promised myself, I'm off the computer before lunchtime. Yes,that's good. I'll do that. Then I can do WHATEVER else I want to do on my day off.

Unless, I get a burning idea that needs my attention. Then, I'll open the window. That's sort of like being outside on a beautiful day, isn't it?

Oh -- and on the TITLE CONTEST -- Still waiting to hear about the official title from my editors. Check back tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have a winner or two!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Researching your book, the joys, the pitfalls

I'm in major research mode for my next Silhouette Desire Continuity series, The Dakota Fortunes set in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Usually, I have free reign when I'm writing a story because I use a fictional setting and create my own town or use a place I know inside out and backwards. For my historicals, I always have to know certain things about the time period, regardless, but for a contemporary set in a real city, the research has to be accurate. I spent the better part of yesterday researching South Dakota, the climate during certain months, the geography, charitable organizations in the region, (for my heroine's story) and the history. Needless to say, I really enjoyed learning about the history of South Dakota. I'm always fascinated to see how a township got its start, how the people earned their livings, how the region has changed and why. So that part of my research is fun. I've got pages of notes already.

But sometimes, researching an area isn't as easy as you want it to be. For instance, I spent hours trying to find out the average temperature for Sioux Falls during the month of March. Well, they posted every month at the weather service, BUT March. Maybe it was an oversight or a mistake, but it wasn't there. What I do know is that February is decidedly freezing cold and April is quite a bit warmer. You see the dilemma? March is one of those iffy months in between, so I'll keep trying to find out, but I won't let it hamper my story. I figure any place I write about can have fluke weather, warmer than usual or an unusual snow storm might happen anywhere in that region. And if all else fails, I can always pick up the phone and call the Chamber of Commerce to get my answers.

But all in all, I find researching a new area I've never visited quite exciting. With the use of Webcams and other internet tools, one can really get the feel of a city without being there.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Setting Goals and keeping to them!

Yes, I'm afraid I'm a goal setter. I don't know if I've always been as organized both mentally and methodically in setting my goals, but I've always had a long range future plan. But since it's January and it's a time for resolutions, I thought this topic might of value to discuss.

Lately, it seems I don't get anything accomplished, unless I set my mind's clock. Today I'll clean the kitchen, write a scene, send off that proposal, write a letter to my friend, etc. If I don't mentally make a tally of what I need to do, it seems it doesn't get done. Sometimes, I write a list and sometimes, the list is in my head. So my daily goals, obviously are smaller ones. But I keep bigger long range goals in my head too. And I try really hard to accomplish them. But I find that I'm one who works really well under a deadline. So with writing and with life in general, there's always a date in mind, or I'll turn into a pumpkin.

I have to admit for those of you with small children, or outside obligations, it's harder to keep your goals. Your children come first. I recall many a day when I just couldn't get to everything I needed to do. It was frustrating to say the least, but raising a family is a full time job and often, my writing and my goals suffered. It's the way it should be. I'm not complaining. My family has always come first, but now I have the luxury of time. My kids are grown and have moved out of the house. My husband is gone until the late afternoon.

Now if I don't meet my goals, I can only look to myself. There's a good deal of discipline involved. And one of the first things people ask me is, how to do it all? How can you write so many books and run your house and still have time for friends. It's not easy, but it's the only way for me. Put me under a deadline anytime. It's how I work best.

Still time to add your comment for the TITLE CONTEST! I'll announce the winner at the end of this week! Post them here or on the December 22 Blog. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year Traditions

Wishing all of you out there in blogger land a happy new year. Let's hope that 2006 brings us all good things. It's been a strange holiday, without the usual traditions for one who lives in California. I have to say I sorely missed the Rose Parade on New Year's day and the Rose Bowl game. Everything got spread out and I spent New Year's Day taking down my decorations and getting the house back in order. I did stay up until midnight just to see Dick Clark do the honors and I have to admit it was both heartwrenching and endearing to see him on television again. But traditions are important to us, aren't they? We like to have the same routine around the holidays especially, to see our favorite movies like It's a Wonderful Life and eat the same holiday meals year in and year out. We find comfort in doing the same old, same old, and if we deviate from the original plan, more often than not, our family members give us grief. At least that's how it is in our household.

And here's the news for 2006 -- the reviews are in for RENEGADE WIFE -- my Harlequin Historical due out in February with Romantic Times and Cataromance giving it a 4**** rating. The reviews will be posted on my website soon!

And keep those suggestions for titles coming in. See the DEC 22 post and add your favorite title for my September historical to win an advance copy of RENEGADE WIFE! We'll know next week what the official title of Shanghaied Groom will be. Post in the comments section for your chance to win.
Once again, here are your choices:

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