Thursday, May 31, 2007

BTT - Paper or Plastic

It's time once again to Book It!

Booking Through Thursday

Do you read e-Books?

Yes. Sometimes. I can't stare at a screen too long, so the shorter stuff from The Wild Rose Press is right up my alley.

If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?

On my computer. Some day I wouldn't mind getting one of those nifty eBook readers that are back lit and look just like a book. My eyeballs might be able to handle that!

Or are you a paper purist? Why?

Honestly, I really prefer paper. I like to be able to tote them wherever I choose, including the bath tub. And too much computer makes my eyes and head ache something fierce, so mostly I bloghop or write on the computer and not much else. I would like the convenience of having a ton of books in such a small space, though! And it's nice that the eBooks are so much less expensive.

Note to self: Look into that eBook reader again. Anyone have suggestions for eBook readers?

Note for my regular blog readers: there are two more new posts below this one!

Have a great day :-)

It Happened at the Bank...

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling” -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Warning: weak stomached people should just stop right here. Okay? Really.

You've been warned.

So... It started innocently enough: a trip to the bank.

We stood in line, my DD and I. The teller said, "May I help you?" and we moved to the window. Then DD tugged on my shirt and said, "Do they have a bathroom?" and made a face that I recognized far too well.

I said, "Do you feel like you need to throw up?"

She nodded.

Dear God in heaven.

I turned to the teller. "Do you have a bathroom? She needs to throw up."

The woman says, "I'll need to escort her." and scrambles for her keys.

Too late.

Bleh. DD presses a hand over her mouth as if that will hold it in. She grabs my hand to help.

Nothing in the world would have helped. She spewed gallons all over herself, the floor, it splashed on the walls, on me, my shoes, my (now broken in but formerly BRAND NEW) shirt... heave. Breath. Heave again. Breath. Heave some more. Will it ever stop? And will she ever stop holding my hand under the flow??

No, I don't have a weak stomach at all, but that tested it something fierce.

The teller says she has the door to the bathroom open. Oh. Well. Thanks.

The worst part? DD had STRAWBERRIES for breakfast. Yeah. You get the picture, right?

The best part? People are very kind.

When I came out of the bathroom, one of the men in line was on his knees helping a teller clean up the mess (I felt horrible -- I should have been the one to clean it, but by the time I was done with the DD and myself, they were almost finished). One of the ladies in line said she had a shirt in her car and I could have it if I needed one. The tellers were terribly sweet and understanding.

I took DD home and put her in bed. Gram (my mom) watched her while I finished my errands. I picked up a potted chrysanthemum from the store (it was gorgeous with these neat curly petals and white with bright pink tips -- I really wanted to keep it for myself, but I resisted the temptation) and brought it to the bank. They were surprised to see me again and really grateful that I'd brought the plant.

And that made me think: wouldn't anyone have done something for these wonderful ladies who cleaned up my DD's bright pink vomit? Wouldn't you?

DH suggested that I also send a thank you card to the manager to bring the tellers service-above-the-call-of-duty to her attention. I will. It's true, isn't it, that people are quick to complain but so very slow to commend good behavior?

So, I challenge all of you: look for good behavior, great service, a nice smile, a helpful employee and then TELL THEIR MANAGER. It'll really make their day.

So... my QOTD has to be this: have you ever had anything happen in public that utterly mortified you? C'mon, share it and make me feel better. You're among friends.

Have a fantastic day!

The Wild Rose Press Announces...

The Wild Rose Press Announces...a new line called Climbing Roses for Young Adult readers and writers!

The line is open for submissions. You have follow the same submnission guidelines as for any other line -- send your query to: Please put Climbing Roses or Y/A in the subject line so they know where it's going.

It's an exciting time and I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Editing and Dedications

"Writing has made me rich--not in money but in a couple hundred characters out there, whose pursuits and anguish and triumphs I've shared. I am unspeakably grateful at the life I have come to lead." - Wright Morris

So ... My husband keeps poking at me, "When are you going to get a BOOK published??" and "Your stories are nice, but what about a BOOK?".

He showed my a real estate listing for lake property and said, "When you get your BOOK published, we'll buy this." I laughed hysterically, but it was a nice thought.

He looked at a map and said, "When you travel the country on a BOOK tour, can I go with you?" And then he pointed out the places he'd like to visit.

Yesterday, I worked on editing my novel -- the third one I've completed as an adult (I wrote three as a minor). And edited and edited. I got through about 10,000 words and have only about 16,000 left to look at. This is the second round of edits for me.

I need to do at least one more for three reasons:

1. Because I there is still more stuff I know I've missed that needs fixing.

2. I need to break it into chapters (this little problem is why my promised "closings" post on Friday may be a challenge. When I write a first draft, I don't do chapter breaks.)

3. I'm approximately 6,000 words short.
It's that last that has me worried the most. I lost quite a few words via this most recent edit and will need to find them somewhere. A new scene? Possibly. And the ending, which I hope to tackle today at some point, needs a lot of work according to the one person who's read the entire thing. Maybe I'll gain some words there.

DH thinks I should dedicate the first book to him. He said I could make it such a long, in depth and wonderful dedication it could take 6,000 words.

Maybe I will -- though not 6,000 words worth (even though he scored the dedication in "Miles From You".

We'll see.

If it was you, who would you dedicate your first book to (if you're already published, who did you dedicate your first book to) and why?

Enjoy your day :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Books and Soda In the News

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~ Gilbert Highet

This weekend, as I contemplated the fact that my library held nothing of interest to me except that which I've already read, I made up a list of books I enjoy and like to reread and plan to hit the UBS down the street. I already went to WalMart, BJs, Sams and Target for the ones I could buy new at a reasonable price, as I do prefer to buy new whenever possible. But, SAHM=Limited Budget.

Then I saw this: Kansas City Bookstore Owner Burns Books to Protest Decline in Reading

Apparently this guy wanted to thin his stock and has several thousand books from his UBS to give away -- and says he couldn't find a place who would take them!

This is such a tragedy, it makes me want to cry. Literally.

My DD didn't do her chores last week -- and if she misses too many, she loses privileges. I've tried taking away TV and making her bedtime earlier along with a decrease or loss of her allowance, but none of that seems to matter to her. This past week? I took away reading before bed and at meals (yeah, I know it's a bad habit, but I do it, she's learned). Now, she's distraught.

"Mommy, could I please read? Just today? I promise I'll do my chores."

AHA! Found her weakness!!

Too bad more people wouldn't miss it if you took their books away.

While perusing the online news, I also came across this:

Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health

This article indicates that there is strong reason to believe that a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Diet Pepsi has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA, eventually leading to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.

Now, I don't really drink that much soda, but when I do, it's typically diet Pepsi so I'm impacted by this. Could I give it up? Absolutely. Do I want to? Not really... but still... Parkinson's? Ugh. I'm keeping an eye on this for awhile.

What about you? Do you drink soda? Could you give it up if you discovered it caused severe health problems?


DH is strongly encouraging me to get a novel published instead of "just" short stories. So, this weekend I've worked on editing one of them. If you look at the sidebar, you'll see that I'm about halfway done. Then I have to write the synopsis and query. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I'm not sure if this one will get a complete read through by anyone. I won't have time to post it all in my group, and it's awfully long for anyone to get through and nit in one reading. It's already been looked at in its entirety by one good friend and that's what I'm working through now. I may take a chance and hope it stands as is. We'll see.

In any case, that's what I'll be working on for the most part in the week to come. I also have a short story with characters I really love, so I may pull that out now and then when I'm going cross-eyed over the novel.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead. ~ Robert G. Ingersoll

A salute to those living and dead who served or continue to serve our country in times of war.

I am married to a Desert Storm veteran, the daughter of a World War II veteran and support and respect our troops.


We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.
They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here 'neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.
Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you've given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore

~By C W J (C W Johnson)- May 1975~

Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pirates and Veggies and Autos, oh my!

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead. ~ Mac McCleary

So... I saw the newest "Pirates" movie yesterday. First off -- my advice to anyone planning on seeing it: Watch Number Two right before you go. Seriously. I was utterly lost for the first thirty minutes.

Without giving away spoilers, I will say this: It was long, there were several plot strings that didn't get tied or just sat there and did nothing (Calypso being the biggest... build, build, build... splat) and, though technically a HEA, it wasn't my idea of a HEA.

And, of course, there was a very short scene after the credits, but the credits are LONG. Get up, go to the bathroom and come back. That's what I did, and I still had to wait through about five minutes of credits.

Was it a waste of time? Nah... Johnny Depp still got some great lines and Orlando Bloom is still a hottie (but would someone PLEASE feed Kiera Knightly?). Would I see it again? Probably not. Too bad.

When we got home (we went to the first showing at 9:00 a.m.), I finished my first round of edits for "Pregnancy Cravings" (YAY!) and then went outside and put in most of my veggie garden. We're limiting it to just the basics this year. After I go get more tomato cages today, our totals will be:

4 zucchini squash
7 burpless cucumbers
9 big boy tomatoes
25 tiny tom cherry tomatoes
misc. peas and beans (however many seeds we can stick along the back of DD's garden. She loves having peas).

So... I've been told I plant too many tomatoes. I don't think you can have too many tomatoes. In the summer, when they begin to ripen, I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tomatoes are quite possibly my very favorite veggie (though, technically, they're a fruit -- but if you wouldn't eat them on your cereal or cook them in a cobbler, I call 'em a veggie).

What vegetable can you eat constantly? If you could have an ever-producing plant of something, what would it be? Or, conversely, do you hate veggies? Which is your least favorite (mine's lima beans, if you're wondering)?

And, for a little fun: the Saturday Six on Sunday, because the Sunday Seven isn't up yet.

1. What color car do you drive?

Currently? Red, unfortunately. I hate red. But, when you buy used, you buy for how it runs (and that it's rust free out here in the salty NE), not what color it is. And my baby runs like a dream (even with 250,000 miles on it).

2. How many cars have you had in the past of this same color?

None, though DH had two red pickup trucks (again, not by choice).

3. What does this particular color mean to you?

It means I have to wax it constantly or it turns pink. It means I can find my vehicle in nearly any parking lot (though not as easily as my first car: a BRIGHT ORANGE Mercury Bobcat).

4. Take the quiz: What color car should you drive?

You Should Drive a Green Car

You're the type of driver who sees driving as a necessary evil. You much rather be biking or taking a pleasant walk to where you're going. And because of this, you tend to be a "green driver" - as best as you can. Whether this means driving a hybrid, supporting alternative fuels, or simply not littering out your window.

The first part of this is utterly wrong. I love to drive. Driving is an escape. When I'm upset, I'll drive somewhere and it calms me. Though, it is true that litter along the roadside drives me batty. But, I'm not getting a hybrid anytime soon.

5. Would you ever consider driving a car the color the quiz suggests?

Not bright green. My SIL has a gorgeous forest green vehicle and I could see driving that.

6. Do you consider yourself the most-aggressive driver on the road, the least-aggressive, or something in between?

I'm not terribly aggressive, though I do have my breaking point. I can recall driving up the highway from Santa Cruz to Sacramento -- it's this narrow, curvy road and always just packed with vehicles bumper to bumper. Once, as I and everyone else sat patiently edging along I look in my rearview mirror to see this guy zooming up the shoulder. There's no exit coming up, he's just in a hurry. Apparently the guy a couple cars in front also sees this and edges out onto the shoulder and blocked the way. The guy in front of my stays right on the tail of that guy, but still in the lane, so I did my part and edged out so that the guy was boxed in.

In retrospect, I suppose I should be glad the guy didn't have a gun. I imagine he was well and truly pissed.

OTOH, I will let practically anyone in if they're courteous and I nearly always drive the speed limit (which makes some people crazy -- but I have this conscience in my back seat saying, "What's the speed limit, mommy? How fast are you going?")

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

All About the Brand?

“The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.” - Marcelene Cox

Hey folks -- for those of us left here at home during this lovely weekend, I have a contest to share: Judy is giving away your choice of a book from (up to a $20 value), just for helping her with a problem in her latest WIP. Go here for the scoop. Contest ends Monday night, so hurry on over!

Since I imagine so many folks are away, I thought I'd play a little.

The Saturday Special

~Your Brand is Showing!~

1. Food: Do you buy brand names or go for the cheaper store name brand?:

This one really depends. I *mostly* buy organic or all natural, whole grain, no additives stuff, so it's next to impossible to buy generic and include that. However, the stores are starting to come out with store brand generics (Yahoo!!!!), so I'll buy those if they're less expensive. I definitely shop with price as a consideration and will buy whatever is less expensive that fits inside the health guidelines I set up for my family.

2. Clothes: Wear designer jeans/slacks with a brand name or regular department store jeans/slacks?:

Once again, that depends. DH only wears Wrangler jeans. So, yeah, name brand for him. Me? I don't care what the label reads. All I care about is that they're a classic jean and long enough. I HATE HIP-HUGGING (STUPID) FLARES. I lived through the 70s once (does anyone remember Ditto pants?) and have no desire to do so again. I also have really long legs, so need a really long inseam which is hard to find. DD doesn't really wear jeans and has to have pants with an elastic waist because she is stricken with the same disease I have: no waistline (or is it "no hips"?). If the pants fit my/her butt and thighs, they're too tight in the waist and if they fit my/her waist, they're ridiculously baggy everywhere else.

3. Handbags: Buy a designer bag or look for a less expensive copy?:

I use a cheap WalMart fanny pack. I hate regular purses. Period.

4. Shoes: You got the drift, designer or a cheaper copy?:

I used to worry about wearing good shoes because I was on my feet all day. For awhile, I was a cocktail waitress at a place called The Peppermill (anyone out west recognize that place?) and we were required to wear two inch black heeled pumps (I won't even talk about the "uniforms" - the place started in Las Vegas if that gives you any idea). UGH. So, yeah, I spent a lot on those shoes. Now? Who cares? I don't have the slightest shoe fetish. I don't get that whole Manolo thing -- I looked at their website once and UGH. I wouldn't pay ten cents for most of those shoes.

Did I just loose my standing in the "woman" community?

So, what about you guys? Does brand matter to you? I'd love to see your answers to those same questions...


Yesterday was, as Ceri said, about 2000 degrees here. We went straight from winter to spring via an entire week of rain. Despite the heat and humidity (and I'm not going to talk about what it's done to my coarse, thick, naturally curly hair except to say that my DD asked me why my hair was a big fuzzball), it's been doing wonders for my gardens. I have my tomato plants all ready to put in, but it's been TOO HOT. Ironic, isn't it? I'd put them in at night and let them get settled in the cool night air but there are battalions of mosquitoes doing kamikaze runs as soon as the sun even hints that it's going down.

I'm going to see Pirates today. Despite the bad reviews its received, I'm still really excited!

Have a great day :-)

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Friday Fifteen - Openings

"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties." - Bonnie Friedman


Fifteen Opening Lines From My Writing
(Both Chapter and Story openings):

1. Her obsession started innocently enough.

2. Jed had heard it said it wasn't the fall that got you, but the sudden stop at the end.

3. Trisha wore red to the funeral.

4. With a last look at the receipts on her massive oak desk at the Pamper Me Salon and Day Spa, Olivia Leslie Leigh tugged the faded Boston College sweatshirt over her head, careful not to dislodge the wig that covered her platinum blond hair. (NOTE TO SELF: That's a mouthful... might need some editing!)

5. Petunia swiveled the huge Easter bunny head that balanced precariously upon her slim shoulders until she could see through the slit in the mouth.

6. Julia Mae Ryan mumbled a protest as the morning sun pried its warm fingers under her leaden eyelids, closed only a few hours before.

7. No one deserved to be beaten to death.

8. It wasn't going to happen, not by tomorrow morning anyway.

9. Tish yanked off her hockey jersey, slipped the black dress over her head, and with a little help from Minerva managed to tug it into place.

10. Derek was seething when he got outside.

11. I leaned down and gave the half-grown, shivering dog at my feet a scratch behind the ears.

12. Corinne Weathers squinted at the tiny lines on the measuring cup.

13. Jemima folded her legs underneath her on the overstuffed love seat and leaned back, spooning double chocolate fudge ice cream into her mouth.

14. Nothing good ever happened at Christmas.

15. “Disgusting.” Cass Edwards wrinkled her nose against the stink. (Yes, I know, that's two lines...)
Next week: closing lines!

Mary listed some books off her "keeper" shelf the other day that sounded interesting to me, but they're old and I'm having a terrible time finding them. My library doesn't have them, so I headed for a nearby used book store (UBS) I'd never been to -- I've bought most of my stuff online over the last several years. They have a TON of books, especially the kind I read, and they're neatly organized. But they didn't have the ones I wanted. DD, OTOH, found the Mattimeo (she's a Redwall freak!) and was more than happy to part with $3 for it. I'd like to go back there when I have more time to browse and don't have a DD who is easily bored.

What about you? Where do you buy most of your books? Do you patronize your local UBS? Barnes and Noble/Borders? An indy?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Kind of Dame?

Your Score:

Katharine Hepburn

You scored 19% grit, 33% wit,
38% flair, and 14% class!

You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.

Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Very cool -- grit and wit, two of my favorite characteristics. I'm good with this. What about you?

Booking it Foreign

“That is the circus of American Idol . We go for the very, very best and the very, very worst. It's the boring people that we don't want to see on television.” - Nigel Lythgoe

It's that time again!

Booking Through Thursday

I had an idea for a BTT question when I was taking a peek at one of my bookcases yesterday and spotted my old copy of the Aeneid in Latin sitting there. Maybe this question has already been done—but if not… Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them?

This one is easy: NO. I used to speak and read French pretty well, but never had the desire to expand into foreign language fiction. I read for pleasure -- and that would've been more like work. The shame is that Americans typically aren't taught to be fluent in another language as a matter of rote. That's too bad.

On a side note, this made me think of spelling. While teaching DD spelling I keep coming across all the exceptions to spelling rules. We now have this: "I before E, except after C and when it sounds like "AY" as in neighbor and weigh, and science and foreign." I can't help but wonder what other words I'll tack on to the end
So... I'm not giving up my coffee. Melissa, the problem with my chocolate soy milk isn't the "milk" part, but the evaporated cane juice used to sweeten it. Though it isn't technically "refined" sugar, it's still sugarish, and given the book author's feelings on fruit juice I can only imagine how he'd feel about this.

I decided coffee with chocolate soy milk was the deal breaker for me. I did go shopping yesterday and spent $67 on fresh produce (oh... minus $9.98 for two packs of organic, nitrite free hot dogs for the DD). SIXTY-SEVEN DOLLARS. I didn't buy that much: two heads of romaine, one of iceberg, 5 lb carrots, a pack of baby bellas, five bananas, 3 lb apples, 4 green peppers, 2 english cucumbers, some grapes, 2 lb strawberries, 3 tomatoes, 2 pints grape tomatoes. That's it. Yeah, a lot, but ... not really.

"They" want us to each better and bemoan the obesity epidemic in America (I'm more likely to bemoan the cancer epidemic, but that's a topic I won't get into here), but then price healthy food so high that many people can't afford to eat properly and fall back on ramen noodles.


I did get some more revising done on my short story, "Pregnancy Cravings". I have them nearly finished (the first round, anyhow) and will send it back to the editor this week. I wonder what will happen first: my story will be sent to production OR it will actually show up on my author page as "coming soon".

If you don't know what happened on "American Idol", don't read any further.

So, for my QOTD:

If you're an American Idol fan, what did you think of this years show?

I'm happy Jordin won. I wanted her to win from about the middle of the top twelve. I LOVED Melinda... she was my absolute favorite because she could sing absolutely anything, never hit a wrong note and always surprised me. She wasn't *so* great during Bee Gees week, but no one was.

When she was voted out last week, I have to admit to being furious. A finale with Jordin and Melinda would have been amazing. I would have taped that to watch over and over and over. I always believed that Jordin would make a better "American Idol" -- she's young and cute and bubbly. But I always believed Melinda was the better singer.

Blake? He was my third fave. When they hit the top three, it was exactly as I had hoped. But he wasn't consistent. When he was good, he was GREAT. But when he was bad, he was utterly horrid.

I still haven't watched Tuesday's show. Nor have I seen last nights. I got my info on the winner from the online news page. I'm not sure I WILL watch the finale. I'll watch Wednesday's show because of all the guests, but ... I'm still mad about Melinda.

You? Or are you not an AI fan?

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Give it Up?

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~ Orson Welles

Because I'll forget if I don't say it now: Go visit Allie's Blog for Writers Wednesday and read a great writing tip. Even better? Leave a comment, and be put in a drawing to win a $5 gift certificate!

I ran out of words yesterday. It was the strangest thing. I had nothing to write. Not a thing. Do you recall that my blog entry was mostly pictures? I couldn't do revisions, couldn't write, had no inspiration and nothing seemed to help.

I can't recall if that's ever happened to me before. I hope it doesn't happen again today. I have stuff I want to get done.

"Miles From You" is number five on the bestseller list at The Wild Rose Press. And number five at All Short Stories for TWRP. Not bad. I'm kinda bumming, though, because I have two reviews up at that last site, and they're "good" and "okay". I know, it could be worse, but I want "great"! I really loved that story...

Melissa has been dieting (in preparation for the RWA conference) and is using a particular program from the book, "Eat to Live". I've been reading through the book and I agree with pretty much everything he says, and I'm certainly going to add more fruits and veggies to my diet immediately (not that I'm not already eating a lot, just not as much as he recommends: 1 or 2 HUGE salads and 4 fruits daily)...


I don't think I could keep on his program for any length of time. Not because I could only have a little cheese or yogurt. I have no problem eliminating animal foods from my diet (though he says you can have them in moderation).

It's the coffee and chocolate part.

He says you can have 1 cup of coffee occasionally. But I LOVE my coffee and really don't care if it's regular or decaf, I just like the taste. And I drink it with chocolate soy milk. Every morning I drink an entire pot of coffee with about 1 1/2 cups of chocolate soy milk. I spent all night thinking about it and again this morning (as I sip at my mug of java).

What about you?

What would be a deal-breaker for you on a diet? Seriously -- what would be one thing you simply couldn't give up?

BTW, it was interesting to see that the gardeners and non-gardeners were about evenly split yesterday. I just always assume everyone must love getting out there and weeding and planting and tending as much as I do.

I attacked our woods a bit yesterday afternoon. There is one thing good I can say about New Hampshire -- stuff GROWS here. Like crazy. If we didn't fight with our back woods, our entire lawn would be forest in only a few years. It's truly amazing.

Here's hoping I find some words today. I'm going to give it a go. Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In the Garden

Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed. ~ Lewis Gannit

It was, indeed, sunny yesterday. Windy as all get out, but at least it was nice to look at. I took a turn around the yard to look at my flowers - it's been more than a week since I've really been able to look at the yard. Lots happened.

The forget-me-nots bloomed:

The pink and white striped flox is mutating:

My favorite tulip has bloomed and almost gone by (why can't it have a dozen babies??):

The chives in my front garden are in bloom (I have these specifically for their flowers, and another HUGE bunch in my herb garden for eating):

I have a TON of flox around my house -- but my favorite is the pink:

And, my favorite part of the yard :

Is it any wonder I write for "The Wild Rose Press" -- whose tag line is "In the Garden with..."?

What about you?

Do you like gardening? Or maybe just enjoying other peoples work? Do you like being outside or do you prefer indoors? Do flowers make your heart smile, or does something else really do that for you?


I got my first round of edits for my most recently accepted story at The Wild Rose Press, called "Pregnancy Cravings". I'm working with a new editor (again!) and she has challenged me quite a bit. For the most part, I happily agree with her points, but have found one or two that I'm planning on negotiating.

I need to get to work on more short stories. I only have two out in submission land (only one with TWRP) right now. Yikes!

Have a great day... sunshine here again! Woo!

Monday, May 21, 2007


We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one. - John Updike

The weather forecast promises sun today. I'll believe it when I see it! LOL... I found it interesting that most of you are okay with a bit of clouds. That, in fact, some of you prefer it that way. Me? 100% sunshine all the time is okay with me.

Moving on...

I spent a great deal of time contemplating my writing yesterday. I had an unbelievably bad headache pretty much all day, so couldn't do much reading or looking at the computer or watching TV, so I contemplated.

Sometimes this isn't a good thing.

I blame much of my mood on the recent weather. Rain and gloom really, really bring me down and a full week of it -- sheesh. It got ugly. During my contemplations yesterday, I decided that all of my novels (and my novella) were complete crap and why did I even bother trying?

Anyone else feel that way? (About your own stuff, I mean. If you feel that way about mine, keep it to yourself...)


I still worked on editing one of them, but the whole time I was thinking stuff like, "Who's going to believe this could happen?" or "I should change that really awful thing, but then the whole story has to be trashed." or "The feedback I got on this confirms that I'm a no-talent, idiotic person who has no business thinking she'll even be published at novel length."

Please keep in mind: I'm not looking for sympathy or reassurance, because I'm a moody person and I recognize a mood when I see it. It'll pass (especially if there really is sunshine for awhile), but the flavor will linger for a bit. And it will most certainly revisit.

So, on to my Question of the Day:

Many of you are writers. I imagine many more of you are creative in other ways -- drawing, knitting, etc.

When you have an enormous avalanche of self-doubt smack you in the face, what do you do?

All answers greatly appreciated.

And, to leave you with a laugh, I give you this video from YouTube - from "Who's Line is it Anyway?":

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rain, Rain, GO AWAY

There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends. ~ Arnot Sheppard

So... Anno wins, hands down, in the dentist stories from yesterday. I'm still shivering at her response.

It's still raining here. It's been raining here for nearly seven days. I spent yesterday building an ark and putting lotion on the new webbing between my toes.

DH and I are still looking at places out west in the hope we can relocate. His current employer has a place in Beaverton, OR so I checked it out. Take a look at this graph I found at regarding how many sunny vs. cloudy days there are in Beaverton:

You see that thin line of yellow at the top? Those are the sunny days during the year. I quickly advised DH that, despite my nearly desperate desire to relocate, Beaverton was out of the question.

I need sunshine almost more than my plants do and these lengthy spells of gray drizzle are enough to make me curl up in a ball and cry constantly. I hate them. I can't imagine living somewhere that offers this type of weather as a norm. It makes me cold to the bone.

Additionally, I far prefer the nearly uncomfortable heat we had oh-so briefly, the 90 degree weather that finally cleared the winter chill from my bones (though it's b-a-c-k) to cool weather.

Which leads me to my QOTD:

How do you feel about the weather? Do you prefer bright sunshine or is a little bit of gray okay with you? Do you prefer heat or cold (and, no, you can't say "I like it 70 degrees" because we'd all prefer perfection...)? Does the weather affect your mood and behavior?


On the writing front, I finally got a bit more done after having hellaciously bad days on Thursday and Friday (big goose eggs). DH and DD went away for a few hours and I hunkered down and got more than 1,000 words written on my mystery and a couple hundred on a short story I'm working on.

Wonder if today will be as productive?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Oh No, Dear Dog... Say It Isn't So!

Miss Snark is Retiring

Pamela S. Thibodeaux's Virtual Tour & the QOTD

“What is difficult is the promotion, balancing the public side of a writer's life with the writing. I think that's something a lot of writers are having to face. Writers have become much more public now.” - Kazuo Ishiguro

Remember yesterday I mentioned a nifty new marketing idea? Well.... it's the Internet Virtual Book Tour. How cool is that? Here's how it all began:

When "Miles From You" was released, I started really thinking about promotion. Though it was "just" a short story, I felt that I could learn a lot from marketing it. Each of my stories has sold successively more copies and I imagine that the latest one is no exception.

While searching the world over for inexpensive marketing ideas, I stumbled across a fellow Wild Rose Press author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux, who has embarked upon a Virtual Book Tour for her book, Tempered Dreams. The idea intrigued me, so I asked her about it.

First off, since she has authored more than one published book, I asked what other types of marketing ideas she's tried. She replied:

"Banner exchanges, interviews, listing my books at every free site I can find - though I've probably missed 1000's. Since Tempered Dreams is actually a reprint, I haven't solicited new reviews from any online review sites, however some have been posted. Here's a review from a reader, Lucille Robinson, on her blog. I've posted press releases and done book signings and speaking engagements. I mail out mall flyers with my bills and hand them out wherever I can and I talk to everyone I can when possible about my books!"
So how does she like the Virtual Book Tour so far?

"So far the book tour has been great and the questions interesting and challenging. As for sales, I have no way of knowing yet, but I believe what the Bible says about God blessing the work of our hands and giving us the power to create wealth. He also promises that if we commit our works unto Him that He will direct our steps and make straight our paths. Therefore only good can come out of this tour."
I firmly believe that online marketing is the wave of the future, and find the idea of a Virtual Book Tour fascinating. Pamela is hoping to have a spot somewhere in the virtual world for every day of the month and this is her schedule for May (of course, she's HERE today!):

May 1 - Writing on the Edge
May 2 - Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion
May 3 - The Book Peddler
May 4 - The Writer's Life
May 8 - Night Owl Romance
May 11 - WOW! Women on Writing
May 15 & 16 - Virtual Book Tour de Net
May 17 - Alison Kent's Blah Blog
May 21 - Over the Hill Boomer Chick
May 23 - Mary Emma's Potpourri of Writing
May 25 - Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion
May 29 - Conversations with Writers
May 30 & 31 -

So… support the tour and help pass the word. And, if you get a moment, head over to Pamela's blog and tell her hello and happy birthday… that's right. She's celebrating her birthday today, so send her a virtual piece of cake.

Even better: In conjunction with the tour she's offering a 25% discount coupon off of any Tempered title. Simply email her with "Virtual Book Tour Discount Coupon" in the subject line and she'll send the coupon with instructions on how to redeem.

In the meantime, I have to admit that her "Tempered" series sounds fascinating. If you like to read inspirational novels, maybe you should give them a try.

Hey Pamela, thanks for letting me pick your brain!


Moving on...

I find that most men would rather have their bellies opened for five hundred dollars than have a tooth pulled for five. ~ Martin H. Fischer

A couple weeks back, I had to cancel my DD's dentist appointment because she had a cold. I finally rescheduled for this coming Monday (we were on the cancellations list) and when I got off of the phone to tell her, she cheered.


She WANTS to go to the dentist.

Now, I'm not dentist phobic, and am a little anal about my teeth (I can trace this back to my braces years when the orthodontist showed me that picture of the gross yellow teeth with the white squares in the middle because the person with braces didn't brush well), but I don't cheer when I go to the dentist. I have VERY temperature sensitive teeth, and they can never seem to remember to not spray that ice cold water directly on them. Why can't they have room temperature water in that little squirter???

So, this leads me into my Question of the Day:

Do you like going to the dentist? Hate it? Never go? Are religious about your every-six-month cleaning? Tell me your best or worst dental story.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Another Contest

The ladies of 5MinutesForMom are having yet another contest! Apparently Nexcare has a whole new line of bandages. You can check out the deets at their site. And, while you're at their site, enter to win 45 boxes of the new bandages! That's about a lifetime supply unless you're injury prone...LOL...

Whatcha waiting for?

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm A Winner!

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~ Gilbert Highet

I am SO excited... I opened my email yesterday and found this:

Congratulations! You've won a copy of Return to Winter.

I entered Lynette Rees HEA contest at her blog last week (I included it in my list of contests... did you go enter?) and won a copy of her book. Woo! It sounds really interesting and I can't wait to dive in.

I got a comment from one WordPress blogger yesterday who said my comment ended up in her spam folder. The frustrating part of this is -- these are places I comment at regularly. Why am I suddenly spam now? URGH. And... why is it that they block me, but they don't block the real spam? I often wonder what their filtering requirements are.

I got about 600 more words written on my mystery. My poor heroine just got to see her first (and hopefully her last, in her opinion) "floater". Ugh. I'm not certain I'll make my goal of 30,000 words this month, but I'll come close. AND, I really like the ladies I'm working through MayNoWriMo with. They're talk of doing it again next month... Hmm....

Yesterday's question was fun! I'm amazed at the wide variety of tastes. Many of you went with the norm: pepperoni. There were a few Hawaiian pizzas (which I can NOT stand... I don't like sweet meat, and I'm a fruit purist). My faves? Anno's and Melissa's... yum.

Melody commented on the fact that I can check out so many books from my library. And it got me thinking... My "home" library allows unlimited books to be checked out, but does restrict DVDs. The next closest library I go to only allows you to checkout 12 books (this drives me crazy and is why my DD now has her own card). But the biggie ... the one I talked about yesterday, has NO restrictions. If I can find enough books that interest me that I haven't read, I go a little crazy. Typically, I can read 3-4 books a week on average, usually even more, so I need to have many on hand.

I can remember bumping in to my neighbor at the library a few weeks ago, and he checked out one book.


I can't even begin to imagine.

So... what about you?

How many books do you check out at the library during your visit? And, if your library restricts the number, then make believe they don't -- how many WOULD you check out if you could? Why?

Oooh... while I was puttering around last week checking out promotion ideas, I came across an interesting one. One of the Wild Rose Press authors is using it, so I pumped her for information. I'll be posting it tomorrow, if you're interested.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Don't Know Why...

...but I can't leave comments on Diaryland or WordPress blogs today. I've tried umpteen times. I couldn't leave a comment on the Booking It blog, which really ticks me off. And I have several eFriends with blogs that I can't talk to. If you're one of them, I'm not ignoring you. I'm here at my computer tearing my hair out.

Humor me... go answer my QOTD (aka Question Of The Day) at the end of my last post.

Booking it Bookless

“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.” - Robertson Davies

It's time once again folks...

Booking Through Thursday

It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?

Once, I drove to a library about 45 minutes from here because they have the absolute best selection of paperbacks. I must have checked out fifty books and brought them home. And yet, when I dumped them out, there wasn't one I wanted to read.

The thing is, I don't own a ton of books. There aren't THAT many I love to read over and over, and the only reason I'll purchase a book is if it's a keeper. I usually read from the library first and then go buy. I did this recently with "Enchanted, Inc." and the series. I read the book and loved it -- so promptly jumped on my computer, headed to Amazon and bought all the books in the series.

So, when I put down the book I'm reading and find that nothing in my TBR pile interests me, what do I do? I head for my old favorites. If a book is really good, then reading it hundreds of times doesn't make it any less so.

I am never without something to read, even if it's "just" an old friend.

Yesterday I was contemplating dinner. We'd had thunderboomers off and on all day long complete with tornado warnings. Um, I'm not in Oklahoma or Kansas, folks. I'm in NEW HAMPSHIRE. This is not the home of tornadoes.

Anyway, I hadn't really given much thought to dinner, so considered making a pizza. This can be a challenge in my house (like all meals, really). My husband prefers a thick crust pizza topped with every meat known to man. God Bless DiGiorno for coming out with their "ultimate" pizza -- four different kinds of meat.

I, OTOH, prefer thin crust veggie. Bell peppers, olives, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms... mmmm... my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

DD, OTOH, prefers a pizza made with pesto sauce and just cheese.

I wasn't up to making three pizzas last night, so we had something else. But this leads me to my QUESTION OF THE DAY:

What's your favorite kind of pizza (including crust and sauce)? Are there some ingredients you can't do without? Are there any that would make you throw an otherwise perfectly good pizza away?

Let me know in the comments and have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Super Choices

I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me that they are wonderful things for other people to go on. ~ Jean Kerr

I finished editing my next story with The Wild Rose Press yesterday, with the exception of the last page -- the story builds up to this moment, and the editor believes that I let the reader down a bit with how it's handled. Honestly, I agree with her. But because it is such an important scene, I want to make certain I handle it right. So I set it aside to work on when I'm nice and fresh.

Several folks have asked me whether or not all of my short stories will eventually be available in a print anthology. I have no idea -- but think it would be a great idea. I'll have to pose it to Rhonda and RJ.

A couple days ago, my best friend since forever (we met in ninth grade -- 1980, YIKES!) who lives in California sent me a card. I'd sent her an email bemoaning the fact that circumstances arose to stop our attempt to move out to Washington state. I haven't seen Cathy in six years and miss her terribly. The card had a picture of an adorable dog on the front, and inside said, "If I could fetch you, I totally would."

I don't fly anywhere on vacation because I can't (all right won't) take my dog, and she's never been boarded. She's big, so would have to take the trip in the baggage hold, and I've read the mortality figures for that. I'd buy her a seat for herself if I could, but people are funny about dogs. I'm telling you, I should start my own "pet friendly" airline. Anyway...

Some time ago, I read a question that pertains to this situation (sort of, bear with me) and I present it to you as my QUESTION OF THE DAY:

What superpower would you choose and why?

I think I'd like the ability to teleport myself anywhere in an instant. I thought about super strength or speed or bouncing bullets off my chest (or my magic armbands, LOL) and I contemplated the "Heroes" powers. Some are pretty cool -- and, of course if I could I'd be Peter Petrelli and just absorb them all, but that isn't an option here (because I said so, that's why).

If I could teleport anywhere, I could go visit folk or places with ease. No worrying about lost baggage or missing flights or crashing planes. And I could meet for a few hours every week or whatever, so wouldn't have to worry about the dog. I seriously think teleporting would be an awesome power to have.

What about you?


Incidentally, the votes on eating in bed yesterday:

Those who do frequently: 5
Those who never do: 4
Those who do occasionally: 1

So it seems eating in bed is more common than I thought!

And the Winner of LOTS OF FREE STUFF IS...

“If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?” - Vince Lombardi

I had over ONE HUNDRED entries in my contest. Woo! Many folks took advantage of every opportunity to win -- and I thank every one of you for buying my stories. I appreciate your support more than I can express.

Now, on to the good part - I fed all of the names into and am happy to announce that --


(the crowd applauds loudly)

I wish I could have given something to every one of you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


This post will remain at the top until 5/15/07 - SCROLL DOWN FOR NEW ENTRIES.

I'm celebrating my third release from The Wild Rose Press: "Miles From You" and YOU'RE the winner!

It's 1948, and thirty-four year-old diner owner Millie Townsend is well on the shelf. Millie's fallen hard for regular customer, Paul Whittier. When she discovers he's accepted a new job out of state and it's their last evening together, how can this ultra-shy spinster find the nerve to show she's interested in more than just friendship?
Earn entries for my special celebration gift giveaway - drawing to be held Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 7 p.m., with the winner announced the following morning on this blog. The special prize package contains:

Your choice of either a Wild Rose Press Commuter Mug or a $5.00 Wild Rose Press gift certificate along with a bunch of goodies to pamper yourself: Avon Naturals raspberry shower gel, a 1/2 pound Hershey's Chocolate bar and a Harlequin Romance novel, plus a few other goodies I'll throw in.
Multiple entries can be earned! How? It's easy - click here to find out!

Edits and Eating

“Being married means I can [break wind] and eat ice cream in bed.” - Brad Pitt

I've been working both on my MayNoWriMo story (I'm behind... BUT I did get just over 1400 words written yesterday) and working through edits on my next short story, "Magic".

I really love my editor (sending XOXOXO's to Leanne) because she challenges me to excel. Apparently, I'm learning stuff pretty well, because I'm not getting caught on the things pointed out before, so that's good. But, it seems as though I'm finding new and exciting things to do in their place.

This time through, she said one thing that stuck in my brain: "look" and "walk" are first draft words. When you polish your story, use something more descriptive. She's right -- both look and walk are just begging for adverbs, aren't they? Don't do it! You character mustn't walk quickly, she should march. Nor should she walk slowly, she should drag her feet.

She also pokes at me to make things more interesting and specific. My characters didn't just go to a restaurant, they went to a quaint family restaurant with an outdoor patio. And they didn't simply order food, they requested two of their appetizer combos, with a side of steamers.

Moving on...

Yesterday, I headed over to Charity's blog where she mentioned carrying pie to the bedroom. I asked, "why are you bringing pie to the bedroom?" and she responded, "To snack on in bed, doesn't everyone eat in bed?"

That got me to thinking... and I decided once again to post a Question of the Day (did you hear the trumpets in the background when you read that? Dum-dum-dum-DUM!):

Do you eat in bed? Why or why not? And if so, do you have something that you WON'T eat there?

I don't eat in bed. I never have. Of course, part of this may be because I've never had a TV in my bedroom -- and I'm willing to bet most people who eat in bed watch TV. Oh... I just remembered: way back when (1987, yes I remember the year because it's the first and only time I'd ever purchased a brand new vehicle) I lived with my grandma for a while... and I'd eat in my room. Because it was a mobile home, my room was tiny and I had no choice but to eat on my bed. And, yes, that is the last time...

So -- what about you? C'mon, give it up. And if you have a question you're dying to have answered by the tens of people who read this blog, leave it in your comments.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 14, 2007

What Do You Do?

“The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.” - Sydney J. Harris

The other day, Charity wrote a blog post at The Wet Noodle Posse about what she does to relax... and it got me to thinking -- what do YOU do?

I love to weed. Most people think I'm a little crazy, but I really do enjoy it. There's something very satisfying about cleaning out the clutter in the garden and leaving the plants I love plenty of space to grow. I enjoy doing a thing that has a visual result -- where I can stand back and see that I've accomplished something. And, when I'm by myself weeding, my thoughts can drift. I get a lot of brainstorming done when I'm out in the garden. It's a good time for me.

So, what do you do to relax? Where's your best place to brainstorm?


A quick aside: If you read "Miles From You", would you mind terribly going to the Wild Rose Press site and leaving a review? Thanks!

Dance On His Grave

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I've been DYING to announce this tidbit (but wanted to wait until you could actually buy the thing): My good friend, Sylvia Dickey-Smith, has her first book available for purchase!! WOO!

The book is called "Dance On His Grave" and is the first book in the mystery series "The Third Eye".

Sidra Smart, disillusioned ex-wife of a fundamentalist preacher, never imagined herself running a PI business, until she inherits her late brother's detective agency.

Soon, a woman stumbles in with vague flashbacks of a 30-year-old murder. Intrigued by the story, Sid takes the case and soon plunges into a surreal world where the flames of Creole superstition and passion burn as hot as the memories of child abuse, arson, and murder
I was privileged enough to receive an autographed copy of this book about a week ago and have just been waiting for Syl to tell me that the rest of you could get one, too.

It is now available at any online or brick and mortar store.

Even better, Syl has a monthly contest to win a Third Eye mug -- and the best part is you can get one that is left- or right-handed!

I'm in the middle of this fabulous book and didn't want to put it down last night. Go over to Syl's blog and give her a hearty congrats!

BTW, how was your Mother's Day? Mine was quiet, but I did get a chance to go and sit for a while alone with my mom. We don't usually get time all by ourselves, so that was a nice treat.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Where would we be without our Mothers?

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~ Tenneva Jordan

My mom is stubborn and taught me to persevere.

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. ~ Ambrose Bierce

My mom loves her children more than herself and made sacrifices for us that she wouldn't have had to do otherwise. She gave up her own life so we could have ours.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone

My mom told me I would never understand the love a mother has for her children until I had my own. She was right.

But then, she's been right about a lot of things.

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” - Sophia Loren

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I love you!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What's Going On...

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. ~ Earl Nightingale

The last few days have been crazy. I've been promoting like crazy, trying to write on my MayNoWriMo novel (I'm about 2100 words in the hole, and need to get busy!), editing my novella (which is actually at a couple of my writing friends, awaiting a verdict -- I'm a bit worried the storyline isn't as plausible as I'd like it to be, and that the ending comes too fast), and working through edits on my short story, "Magic".


I'm pooped.

BTW, thanks to each and every one of you who purchased my story -- it hit number six on the overall best-sellers list at The Wild Rose Press and it's because of you! I appreciate the support. I'd love a review from you, if you have the time. It's quick and easy to leave one at the Wild Rose website. Thanks!

Today, I'll probably write and edit. I may submit "Miles From You" to a few more review places -- I got responses back from all but one that I sent to on Wednesday and the story is in their hands. Hope they like it... the waiting is a little nerve wracking.

My husband plays hockey on Friday nights, so it's the night I typically play catch up on all the show I have in TiVo. Yesterday, though, I discovered something -- I didn't want to watch anything depressing... and most everything is. I deleted the "Criminal Minds" episode I had without watching it (I looked at the first five minutes, and couldn't stand the thought of watching any more -- and I usually LOVE this shoe). I considered "Robin Hood", but the next episode I have to watch is about Marion getting engaged to Guy, and I wasn't up to that. Next was "Heroes" -- I'm two weeks behind on this one, and it's all depressing, too.

Where's my light and funny fare? When I was younger, all I watched were sitcoms of some sort: "Cheers" or "Family Ties" or "The Cosby Show". Even though M*A*S*H* was occasionally dark, it was still funny. Even the one hour "dramas" I enjoyed were lighthearted: "Simon and Simon" or "Magnum, P.I.".

TV isn't like that anymore. The sitcoms are stupid and rely on bathroom or other crude humor. And the dramas are dark. One exception, IMHO, is "NCIS" which makes me laugh every week despite the fact that people are murdered.

Anyone out there have any suggestions for something that would entertain me without depressing the snot of out me?

On the reading front, I finished a book called "Enchanted, Inc." yesterday -- and it was such a fun book to read! I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to get to the next couple of books in the series. Fantastic! It's the first time I've been really, really excited about a book in a long time. Nothing deep or dark, just light and fun and sweet. Shanna Swendson... if you're out there. Thanks. You did an awesome job.

Now... I'm off to try and get caught up on my writing. Have a great day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

And the Free Book Winner is...

Hey... Bet you forgot about that free book from my library giveaway, what with all the partying going on lately. But I didn't! And, we have a winner...


Woo Hoo!

Charity, send my your choice of a book from my library and I'll pop it in the mail.

I'm not going to hold a free book contest this week due to my LOTS OF FREE STUFF contest currently underway, but check back next Thursday, May 17, 2007 for the next weekly book giveaway.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More Contests!

While running around the blogosphere on Wednesday, I found MORE CONTESTS for you to enter! Woo! Don't you love free stuff? I do, and you can bet I'm entering every last one of these because they involve BOOKS. I love contests.

Lynette Rees is giving away a copy of her eBook, Return to Winter. All you have to do is give your opinion on "happy every after" at her blog. Easy enough, right?

Lauren Delany is giving away a genuine purple moonstone pendant much like the one in her story, Dark Encounter. Just go here for the rules (don't worry, they're really easy, too!).

Terry O'Dell is giving away a copy of any of her Wild Rose Press stories -- YOUR CHOICE! The contest information is at the bottom left of this blog page. Again, easy-peasy.

Free books, free jewelry... what more could you want besides chocolate? And, hey, I'm giving that away! Have you entered yet?

Where I Don't Book It

It's that time once again to Book It (Dano...LOL):

Booking Through Thursday

So, judging by last week’s answers, apparently the question I should have been asking was:

Where DON’T you read??

I don't read when I'm driving. Or in the shower (but I definitely do in the bath).

I'm thinking...but... I read when I cook, while I wait anywhere, I read when my DD is taking her tests, while I watch TV... so, really, there aren't many places I don't read. If it's dangerous or will ruin my book, no. Otherwise, yes.

The Day After

Whatever your sex or position, life is a battle in which you are to show your pluck, and woe be to the coward. Whether passed on a bed of sickness or a tented field, it is ever the same fair play and admits no foolish distinction. Despair and postponement are cowardice and defeat. Men were born to succeed, not to fail. - Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday burned me out. I didn't write at all, though I did manage to edit about twenty pages of my novella. Mostly, yesterday was all about promotion. I'm trying to see what works and what doesn't in preparation of actually having a novel to promote. My DH asked when he was going to be able to retire -- tongue in cheek. Then he asked when I was going to have a novel published -- this time in all seriousness. He's finally getting excited about my writing, so it was a refreshing conversation, a conversation that started by my telling him that my latest story "Miles From You" was in the top ten overall sales at The Wild Rose Press. Thanks to you...

Alice wrote up a nice review yesterday of the story, both on her blog at at TWRP. She's been my biggest fan lately and I appreciate it more than I can say. So, thanks, Alice!

This blog is a little late today, because I forced myself to sleep in until 5 a.m. I know... shocking, but true. Then I had to make coffee and put the bird feeders out. Yesterday, I forgot to watch the time in the morning, and since I work in the basement I can't tell when it gets light outside, so I forgot to put the feeders out until after six a.m. (I have to wait until it's full light, or the bear out back takes them out -- he already got them once this year when I fudged and put them out at the crack of dawn). I had a tree full of birds, waiting: finches, chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers and a couple mourning doves. The chickadees harangued me something fierce about my oversight. I love those little birds. They are so cocky and brave.

So, today I need to dedicate to writing. I also got my second round of edits for "Magic" (a story to be published by the Sweetheart Rose line at TWRP) and the editor is asking for a major change. I don't disagree with her at all... I'm just not entirely certain how to fix it. So I have some hard work up ahead.

And... It just occurred to me that it's Thursday, so I'm going to finish this up and get a blog done for Booking It. I can't miss my weekly fix!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'm Excited!

Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. - Mark Twain

Every other time I've had a release from The Wild Rose Press, it's not been posted until eight o'clock or later. So imagine my surprise to find that "Miles From You" is already available for purchase! I'm tickled...

Of course, I can't seem to settle my brain down at all now, so I'll just babble (my DH would say that I do this very well).

Charity has a post on her blog about a dialogue with her kids that made me crack up. Check it out.

This is my favorite comic strip ever. I have one from the Sunday paper cut out and stuck on my wall.

My DD is learning Spanish. So am I. Okay, so I know a little (I grew up in California, you learn some by osmosis) and know basic pronunciations, but still... it's fun teaching her and learning as well. BUT, do you know how hard it is to find a reasonably priced foreign language curriculum for her age? Sheesh... why do we wait until high school to teach our kids a different language? By then it's almost too late for them to be fluent. I took three years of French, and remember almost nothing. She'll learn Latin, too. But, for now... Spanish.

Along with striving to meet my MayNoWriMo goal for the day yesterday, I turned to my novella and opted to edit the pogees out of it (how do you spell "pogee" and is it even a word?). Instead of increasing the word count, I decided I want to edit out about 3500 words and bring it down to a miniature rose size for The Wild Rose Press. I think I can do so without affecting the content. So far I've deleted about 600 words. It's painful.

I've discovered something interesting about squirrels and chipmunks. The squirrels will sit on the feeder (or on the ground below) and eat and eat and eat... for an hour or more. The chipmunks will scurry to the feeder, fill their cheeks and scurry back. They are endlessly entertaining to watch. Who needs TV when you have wildlife?

Anyway, I've spent enough time blogging this morning, and need to go update my website. Have a wonderful day! I will -- it's going to be EIGHTY DEGREES!! Woo!


I'm celebrating my third release from The Wild Rose Press: "Miles From You" and YOU'RE the winner!

It's 1948, and thirty-four year-old diner owner Millie Townsend is well on the shelf. Millie's fallen hard for regular customer, Paul Whittier, a veteran of World War II and a civil engineer. When she discovers he's accepted a new job out of state and it's their last evening together, how can this ultra-shy spinster find the nerve to show she's interested in more than just friendship?
Miles From You has been released, and I want the world to know. So, I'm giving away a gift collection to one lucky person.

Earn entries for my special gift giveaway - drawing to be held Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 7 p.m., with the winner announced the following morning on this blog. The special prize package contains:

Your choice of either a Wild Rose Press Commuter Mug or a $5.00 Wild Rose Press gift certificate along with a bunch of goodies to pamper yourself: Avon Naturals raspberry shower gel, a 1/2 pound Hershey's Chocolate bar and a Harlequin Romance novel, plus a few other goodies I'll throw in.**
Multiple entries can be earned! How? It's easy:

1. Just leave a me a comment here and get one entry.

2. Every person who buys my latest story, "Miles From You", and emails me with the answer to the following question will earn one entry: To what city is Paul moving?

3 & 4. Folks who have purchased my previously released stories can earn extra entries by emailing me answers to the following questions:

In "Now That We've Found You", what does Duncan tell Melinda she could feed the brachiosaurus?

In "Tickle Fights and Barbecues" what is the type of rose bush Tina plants in her mother's memory?

5. Go to my website and email me the answer to this question: Where did I meet my husband?

6. Write a blog post to announce the release of "Miles For You". Just leave me a comment with the link to your blog and you'll earn another entry.

Not enough?

7. Tell everyone you know to come here and leave a comment -- if they mention your name, you get yet another entry!

What could be easier? Ready, set, ENTER!

** Please note that this contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only -- if you are from outside these areas, you may still enter, but the only prize you can earn is the Wild Rose Press gift certificate. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Contests Galore

A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done. — Cardinal Newman

I'm glad yesterday's quote resonated with everyone. I love it, too! And to answer a few thing from the comments:

Anno asked for pictures of my garden when it matures a bit... Okay!

Groovy offered me a new murder weapon on her blog -- I'm trying to figure out a way to use it. Muh-ha-ha...

Ceri, I'm a plant freak. Gardening is how I relax, despite the fact it's work. Want me to come help you with your roses? :-)

Moving on....

The weather here has been lovely (although still cold in the mornings -- we've had frost on the ground when I put the feeders out) and it's difficult to concentrate. DD asked for the day off from school yesterday and got it (we take off one day every week, but observe no long vacations. No spring break, etc), which was fine for her, but not so good for me. I had no time all day to write, except what I took first thing in the morning. Thankfully, I squeaked in the bare minimum to keep up with my writing goal, but I'd prefer being ahead.

I've been getting postcards from the Debs at the Debutante Ball. So far I've heard from Eileen, Mia and Anna -- it's fun and they'll be stuck inside their books as I buy them (I have to admit to looking forward most to Eileen Cook's upcoming book, but Judy has two others and seems to have enjoyed them immensely, so on the wish list they go). If you didn't enter the Debs monthly contest, you should!

Speaking of contests, a few Wild Rose Press authors are giving stuff away. Free is always good, don't you think?

Donna Michaels is giving away giving away a matching set of rose stationary, notepad, things-to-do-list and three coordinating ink pens.

Donna Dalton is giving away a $5.00 Wild Rose Press gift certificate!

Sara Freeze is giving away a $10 gift card to Borders, a Jane Austen action figure and a copy of her Wild Rose Press release, "The Earl's Enchantment."

And the best news of all??? I'm holding a contest to celebrate the release of my latest Wild Rose Press release, "Miles From You" -- tune in tomorrow to find out all the ways you can earn entries for the collection of stuff I'm giving away!

Oh, and don't forget about my ongoing contest to win a book - you can enter here.

See you tomorrow -- I can't wait!

Monday, May 07, 2007

What A Nice Thing To Say

Alice, the winner of last weeks contest, received a copy of my story "Now That We've Found You" in lieu of a book from my library because she lives outside the USA. She wrote about it on her blog.

Alice, I'm glad the story touched you. It's one of my favorites. Thanks.

Monday Mumbling

When people say to me: "How do you do so many things?" I often answer them, without meaning to be cruel: "How do you do so little?" It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever. ~ Philip Adams

Call for help:

I got a juicer this weekend. It was a used one from my husband's aunt who no longer wanted it. This particular aunt is very well-to-do and discerning in her purchases, and this juicer is top of the line.

I've always wanted a juicer, but wasn't willing to spend the money on a really good one. Now, I have one and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. Anyone out there do juicing? Send me some recipes, would you? Thanks!

Moving on...

I gardened this weekend. It was wonderful. I completely redid the two gardens in front of my house. I wish I'd thought to take before and after pictures, so I could show them to you and you'd all ooh and ahh. Well, maybe not, considering most of the plants are about two inches tall. Nearly everything in the northeast goes to ground for the winter so things have only just begun to emerge. However, in another few weeks, it'll look stunning. And I really love the smell of cedar mulch (actually I prefer the smell of cocoa shell mulch -- mmmm, chocolate --- but it gets too hard and plants can't grow up through it after a while).

I did manage to get some writing done, and met the weekly MayNoWriMo goal by the skin of my teeth. I was remarkably uninspired this weekend and mostly stared at the computer or played games.

I have discovered one thing: writing a murder mystery type book gives me the opportunity to have my characters say things they wouldn't otherwise. Like, "That isn't rust, it's blood." Yup, the hero just advised the heroine that the innocent looking implement she found is not old and beat up, but is instead a murder weapon. They don't know who was murdered yet ... but they will soon, because a the heroine gets to find a body in the next scene! Nothing but good times ahead...

The ladies in my MayNoWriMo group posted goals recently. Here's what I wrote -- y'all can help keep me accountable :-)

I plan on having my novel (My 2005 NaNoWriMo novel, BTW) polished and ready for submission by July. I plan on having my MayNoWriMo novel first draft done by June 2nd. I have a novella of 25,000 words that I just finished and want that polished and ready for submission by October.

Not to mention my standing goal of submitting two short pieces every month somewhere... though with the craziness this month, I may not make

As I read over what I just wrote, I wonder if I've lost my mind...
I want to have my novella submitted by October if possible because November is NaNoWriMo month, and I don't want to miss it. I even have the story idea for it -- it's called "The Cartoonist and the Cat Lady". Okay, that title will probably change, but you gotta start somewhere.

And those are the days of my life. What did you do this weekend?

Have you entered my contest yet? (C, I put your name in this week for you). If you haven't, leave a comment here. Good luck!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tagged for Eight Things...

If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others. ~ Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld

Mary tagged me yesterday, so now I have to tell all. Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

8 random facts/habits about me ...

1. My left ear is about 1/2" lower than my right one. This wreaks havoc on my ability to wear glasses of any kind. Recently, I've taken to putting the arm of my suglasses right side on my ear so that the glasses are level. What a pain.

2. Aside from dogs, I firmly believe that rats make the best pets. They are affectionate, cheap to feed and wicked smart -- my last rat was allowed free roam of the apartment (despite my three cats who never bothered him) because he was litter box trained and came when I called. Even my dog doesn't do that half the time, LOL.

3. There are very few creep crawlies that freak me out -- the hissing cockroach is one I can think of off the top of my head. Ick. But spiders, wasps & bees (I don't love them, but we co-exist pretty well most of the time -- I don't count the three times I've been stung out here), worms, snakes, etc. don't bother me at all.

4. I love to move. As a kid, my folks had itchy feet -- I lived in nine places by the time I was eighteen, and we weren't in the military. It must have rubbed off. Before I was married, I lived in ten different places. DH and I have lived in this house for almost eight years now, and I am DYING to move. It's the longest I've ever stayed in one place.

5. I don't make friends easily (I'm actually quite private), but will talk to anyone. This constantly mystifies my daughter who talks to no one (I successfully drilled the "don't talk to strangers" mantra into her head, apparently). I strike up conversations with strangers all the time -- in line at the store, while pumping gas. Last week I was standing at the checkout/return area at the library waiting for DD to finish finding books, and I stopped everyone who came in to return books and movies to ask if they liked what they'd read and seen. I'm desperate for good reading material. Most people were amused, one was not. His problem, not mine. Of course.

6. I'll eat nearly every veggie out there, but have yet to find a way to cook lima beans to make them palatable. They are, quite possibly, the most disgusting vegetable known to mankind. I'll eat brussel sprouts, gag down beets, but lima beans? UGH... seriously.

7. I never follow recipes when I bake or cook. Even the first time. Again, this is a trait that mystifies my daughter. I use handfuls of this, a spoonful of that, a sprinkle of something else. Then I'll add this thing that sounds like it'll taste good in it, while omitting that thing that isn't as yummy. The only thing I measure carefully are leavening ingredients. And, for the most part, everything I make is quite edible.

8. Despite the fact that I'm a little cluttered, I know where every last thing is. OTOH, my DH is a neat freak who never puts things away where they belong -- as long as things are "away" so you can't see them, that's all that matters. Drives. Me. Nuts.
Hmmm... I'll tag: Charity, Judy (again), Anno, and five other people who want to join in when they read this! LOL...

Don't forget: I've got a book giveaway contest in the works again this week - don't forget to toss your name into the hat!