Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: S. J. Willing!

Scooping Gems from the Litterbox of Life

Life sucks better than a vacuum cleaner; the cat’s just hairballed on the freshly changed bed and the super-clumping litter decided to super-clump five minutes after kitty decided to dig it all out of the box onto your thirty-dollars-per-square-foot inch-deep pile carpet. Not to mention that your latest masterpiece of prose now lies broken, and rejected, in a full-sized manila envelope carefully sealed and ignored by all the industry professionals who can’t see the light under your bushel, mainly because no one’s found the candle wick yet…

Do we despair?

Do we give up life, strip naked, swim into the sea, threaten to shoot ourselves or look for the mystical Isle of Eroticus where handsome naked men and/or women will see to our every desire and need. (Well, maybe I’ll go for that last one…)

No, we don’t.

And why not?

Well…

*Mutters about dang hard philosophical questions before the morning coffee. Then pulls out the S.J. Willing’s Guide to Philosophy 10001.5.*

Okay, let’s talk this one out.

Life, aside from the Isle of Eroticus, is indeed full of Black Hole sucky moments. But isn’t that the beauty of it? I mean, not so much in the abysmal moment of being sucky, but in the wonderful ways that we learn how to deal with it. I am frequently amazed, when I research things for my writing, at how other people cope with the traumatic moments of their lives. There I am, whining and moaning about a splinter in my butt, where teenagers and adults who are paralyzed from the waist down enter into the special Olympics and do things I can’t even attempt.

Well, in my defense it was a rather large splinter, had to be at least an inch. Honest.

So it’s these marvelous moments regarding the successes of others that have inspired me to write. It’s knowing that people, my hero and heroine, would laugh at a splinter even if it was a foot long. “Ha! ‘Tis but a flesh wound!” And take whatever tragedy or hardship I threw at them, and make it right.

More so, perhaps, than even I can imagine since my stories are based on faraway worlds and in conditions where life and death hang constantly in the balance—here a skin of metal a few inches thick lies between the warmth of life and the cold sucky vacuum of space. Nope, using too long a nail to hang a picture on the wall there could easily result in the complete evacuation of oxygen from your living quarters. Yep, seems like space is kinda sucky too.

My worlds, though, are built by men and women who are willing to risk their lives to save their friends and colleagues. Those who live around worlds so hot they are simply balls of molten stone or colonies built deep into the bedrock to protect them against the blizzards and storms of a frozen landscape. Features that we’d consider luxuries, like central heating and air conditioning, are tools of survival for these lads and lasses.

What can you do when your travel craft is crippled and dying in the middle of a mountain range, and the temperature outside is minus a hundred and falling? I don’t know, but somewhere from in the depths of their souls my characters, like the people I’ve admired and studied, find the strength to fight on. And in forging their destiny they bring relief and aid to those who depend on them.

Yet, not all my characters problems have to be of a grand scale, which human, man or woman, could handle a whole life of world threatening problems? Sometimes the challenges are small, personal and as vital to their existence as the very air they breathe (or don’t breathe).

Fighting a broken heart in an isolated space station at the far rim of the galaxy is no different to fighting a broken heart at a lonely table at Starbucks on Main Street. Pain hurts, whether physical or emotional, and powerful science or advanced technology doesn’t make the hurt less. Yet my characters have to take this on head first, usually while fighting for everyone’s lives. They have to squarely face the betrayal by loved ones, the treachery of companions and the heart breaking loss caused by death of family and friends.

Gathering courage through tears they fight alongside each other, managing to rebuild trust, and learning to have faith in themselves in spite of previous bad decisions or choices. Decisions and choices all of us have made at some time in our lives.

Isn’t this, though, the lesson we can all learn. Yes, there are times to sit back and lick the wounds, misery loves company but seldom finds it. But there also comes a time where we have to combat our wretchedness and beyond that moment the Isle of Eroticus beckons and the cold, harsh realities of space can be overcome and defeated.

So, hey, maybe that pile of super-clumped litter on the carpet isn’t super-clumped at all. Maybe… Just maybe, like the heroes we read about in real life and fiction, we too can find ourselves kneeling down at our darkest moments and find out we’re scooping gems from the litter box of life.

Except for space colonies, of course, living in space will always have the sucky side beyond the dining room wall. J

What about you folks? Have you ever, or do you know of someone, who has scooped a gem from the litter box of life? Let me know and I’ll send you/them a PIACT pack. A small promo gift set, a tiny treasure to mark my respects for those who can be strong in a strange, forever changing, world.

S.J.

Oh, and if you wanna see or hear more about me here’s my favorite haunts on the web, feel free to poke amongst the scattered literary bones.

Web Page : www.sjwilling.com
Forum : ,www.sjwillingforum.com
LiveJournal : http://hundakleptisis.livejournal.com/
MySpace : http://www.myspace.com/sjhundak_sjwilling
Newsletter : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thewillingcourier/

What Day Is It?

You must keep your mind on the objective, not on the obstacle. - William Randolph Hearst

I've completely lost track of the days this week...I hate that. This morning, as I was uploading the days pages for The Long and the Short of It, I spent a good five minutes staring at the computer wondering what pages I was supposed to upload!! What day is it? It's a good thing I do that every day, or I'd really be in trouble. (Edited to add: I forgot the day so badly, I spaced my guest blog... so you get TWO posts today, for the price of one! LOL)...

We've had rain here for the past 2 1/2 days, and this morning when I stepped outside to put out my feeders and let the dog go potty, I nearly broke my neck: that lovely rain had frozen on my deck overnight! Yikes! I just checked the thermometer outside and it's only 30 degrees. Whee.

At least we'll be able to take the dog out to stretch her legs! She's been absolutely nuts the last couple of days, and she can't even run around the house because of the wood floors (trust me, she's tried -- and it's been disastrous).

Hey, starting tomorrow, there's a new contest on my website. I'll be having a supplemental contest of some sort to promote the release of "A Change Of Heart" on the 14th as well. So...whoo! *G*

I mailed in my contract for "Kitchen Matches" yesterday. I also heard back from my editor (:::waves at Deborah:::) who says, while she's not entirely opposed to the title of "Kitchen Matches" she suggests we change it because, "One of the things I like about your writing is the wit, and I'd love a title that showed off your humor.". Well, heck... I never was one to resist a compliment, so I'm brainstorming ideas (and so is she).

Mostly, though, I need to get writing again! I want to keep the ball rolling...

Today is dog school for Dakota. Wonder if she'll flunk again? *G*

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More Fun Quizzes at QuizPox.com


Dear heavens... say it isn't so...

Am I blue?..... la, la, la

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reading and Trees - Because I Couldn't Think of a Wittier Title

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing "Embraceable You" in spats. ~Woody Allen

I'm burned out on reading. I find that so hard to believe, but there are days I just do NOT want to pick up a book. I suspect it has to do with the fact that I "have" to read now, and may be a little of my natural defiance kicking in ("I don't want to, and you can't make me").

Still, I am reading. And, I typically enjoy what I read. I've been fortunate to have chosen some really good books... but just getting myself to start is the hard part.

Have you ever been there? I don't think I have, and it's weirding my out a little.

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Over the weekend, my DH went a little nuts with the chainsaw. Aside from the door, he also took down a birch tree in our front yard. It's the tree in the garden where I keep my bird feeders, and it seemed that the woodpeckers had all but killed it. Last year, the leaves died well in advance of all the other trees, and this year only the uppermost branches were budding out. Poor tree.

We actually bought a tree to replace it. All the other trees in our yard have been dug up from the woods and brought out. Or planted from seed. Birch trees, especially, grow amazingly fast. But, we didn't want a birch. And DH and I tend to keep the baby trees at a minimum (you'd have to understand how quickly things grow here...it's unbelievable), and the ones we leave are right where we want them.

So we bought a tree. A flowering plum. It looks so tiny, and the birds are very confused. They keep flying to where the old tree would have reached, fluttering around, as if they expect a branch to be there, and then flying off to the birch tree about fifteen feet away.

This tree will be lovely as it matures. But, to be honest, I really hope I won't be here to see it...

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More Fun Quizzes at QuizPox.com


LOL....

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Meme

Above all else: go out with a sense of humor. It is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. ~Hugh Sidey



1. You have just been introduced to Oprah. What one thing do you want to talk to her about?

Because I have a moratorium on politics and religion on the blog, I'll line through those questions. I'm left with: Why do you always choose such DEPRESSING books for your book club choices? Why not choose something fun or happy? In fact, I have some suggestions for you. Why not "One Love For Liv" or "Lost In Paradise"? Maybe "Sweet Forever"? Because, seriously....right now? When you recommend a book, I pretty much know I don't want to read it.

2. What is the most fun you’ve had so far in 2008? Be specific, tell us all about it.

Aside from the day-to-day silliness of things like watching my dog try to eat her ears:



...or my DD thinking she's Christine Daae (you know that one REALLY high note in Phantom... "Sing for me...!"... yeah. That one.), the most fun I have regularly is hanging out virtually with Judy, Michele and Chris -- my partners in crime at the Long and the Short of It. They are a hoot, and never fail to make me smile.

3. Do spelling and grammar mistakes in newspapers and magazines upset you at all? What about spelling and grammar mistakes on blogs? Do you stop reading if there are too many mistakes? Or do you just ignore them? What about your own writing/blog? Are you sensitive about using correct grammar? Do you proofread before hitting that publish button?

Mistakes in the paper and magazines? Absolutely. Blogs? Not so much, except when it's an author blog, and it's clear it wasn't just an accident of the fingers and the person really doesn't know the different between BRAKE and BREAK or CREAK and CREEK. I hate the misuse of words like there, their and they're -- drives me nuts because words are supposed to be their business. It's like a surgeon who doesn't know the difference between a scalpel and a butter knife.

Yes, I proofread my blog. Oddly, though, I tend to miss typos until AFTER I publish, and have to go back in and correct. That's not to say my posts are perfect, they aren't, but I do my best!

4. How early do you start planning your summer vacation? Now tell us, what ARE your plans for summer vacation?

I homeschool, and I am behind. So, we may not have a lot of time off this summer. Actually, I was frustrated at how much my DD forgot over LAST summer, and have plans to school at least one day a week all summer to help keep her fresh, regardless.

DH and I don't vacation, per se, we're both a bit too practical to spend a fortune on something that isn't tangible, when fortunes are hard to come by. We may have a week up at the lake in his Uncle's place again (like we did last year). Mostly, we just enjoy the entire season as we can. DH has his boat, and will more than likely take it out nearly every weekend. Depends on the weather and gas prices.

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Gummy Bears




You may be smooshie and taste unnatural, but you're so darn cute.




BLECH... I hate gummy bears. Ick...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

One Word

For an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. The riddle does not exist. If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered. - Ludwig Wittgenstein

So, last night DH and I had to go to the airport and pick up his folks truck -- they're gone on vacation and didn't want to leave it the entire time. This wouldn't have been a problem, except DH didn't get home from fishing until 9:30 p.m. Those of you who know me, know I'm in bed by then. THEN we couldn't find the blasted vehicle... so I got to bed very, very late...

Because I'm oh-so tired, it's time for A MEME!! From Groovy's blog post a couple of days back:

Here's the One Word Meme. You can only answer with one word. Try ir - it's harder than it looks!

1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Your significant other? Hubs

3. Your hair? Blech

4. Your mother? BFF

5. Your father? Cancer

6. Your favorite thing? Solitude

7. Your dream last night? Forgotten

8. Your favorite drink? water

9. Your dream/goal? Numerous

10. The room you're in? Dining

11. A hobby? Scrapbooking

12. Your fear? Daughter

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? California

14. Where were you last night? Home

15. What you're not? Rested

16. Muffins? Blueberry

17. One of your wish list items? Relocation

18. Where you grew up? California

19. The last thing you did? type

20. What are you wearing? socks

21. Your TV? Old

22. Your pets? furry

23. Your computer? Thinkpad

24. Your life? busy

25. Your mood? Sleepy

26. Missing someone? Mom

27. Your car? 4Runner

28. Something you're not wearing? tattoo

29. Favorite store? Staples

30. Your summer? short

31. Love someone? Yes!

32. Your favorite color? changes

33. When is the last time you laughed? dunno

34. Last time you cried? yesterday

35. Who? You!

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What Your Feet Say About You:



You are pretty average in your expressiveness. You can express yourself well, but you don't always want to.

You are a very passionate person. You are highly charged and easily inspired.

You are an assertive person at times. You'll pull out all the stops to get what you want, if it's worth it.

You take a while to fall in love, but once you do, you stay pretty attached to your partner.

You are not afraid of anything. You are brave and courageous, even when most people would be terrified.

You are very practical and down to earth. You're more concerned with action than thoughts.

You are an amazingly hard worker. You aren't spoiled and you don't mind getting your hands dirty.

You are easily influenced by other people. You're quite impressionable, so you should only be around people who are a good influence.



Except for the last (the easily influenced part... HA), this it pretty close.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Showing You The Door

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~Nancie J. Carmody

So, yesterday morning, DH said he needed to replace the wood beside and beneath our front door because it was rotting. He used a screwdriver to pull away the rotting part to see how much wood he needed to get. Some came off. Then more.



And more... and next thing you know he said these words: I need to break up the steps (they are concrete) because I have to replace what's behind them.

Ooooooo....kay...... but do you need me to move my bushes so they won't get squashed? Nope, they'll be fine.

In the meantime, he also made the discovery that we had both ants and wasps making their happy homes in the area so I took off to the local Agway for poison. As I was pulling out of the driveway, I saw him whacking at the steps with the maul. By the time I got home only a few minutes later, the steps were history. So was most of the stuff around the door. This wasn't looking good.



A little bit later, our BIL (who has construction experience) showed up, took a look and said these words: You need to completely replace the door.

Ooooooo....kay...... but do you need me to move my bushes so they won't get squashed? Nope, they'll be fine.

Off the boys went to Big Jims, and back they came a little while later, door, extra wood, weather stripping stuff and whatever else they needed, in hand (or, more specifically, in back of truck). And they got to work.

I asked, one last time: Do you need me to move my bushes so they won't get squashed? Nope, they'll be fine.

The old door won't come out? No problem -- use the maul.



I kind of liked the sunlight this gaping hole let in.



Got the weather stuff in. Time to put in the door. Uh oh. Door doesn't fit.

Ooooo......kay........

Sawz-all ran out of juice, and BIL didn't bring the charger. So, use the skill saw to cut off 3/4" from the top of the frame.



Blade isn't deep enough. What to do? Hmmm..... (((think, think, think)))....

DH has a GREAT idea!!!!



Yes. Yes, that is indeed a chain saw you see in his hand. Even better, the dust and the smoke it created set off the smoke detectors. Dog in crate = freaked out. Cat in basement = freaked out. Me = freaked out.

Done? Nope... door still doesn't fit. Chain saw is NOT a precision instrument. Try again. And again. And again.

After about twenty minutes of sawing and non-stop beeping from the smoke detectors, he is done. Me? I ran around fanning various detectors to get them to SHUT UP.

By now, the sun is setting and it's getting COLD. And I still have a gaping hole in my house, sawdust on absolutley everything including the sofa, no one has eaten since breakfast...BUT... the door fits.



And, thankfully... the bushes (thus far) are safe. Of course, the new steps haven't been built yet. Something I need to remind myself on a regular basis so I don't fall out the door.

How was YOUR Friday?

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You Should Rule Saturn



Saturn is a mysterious planet that can rarely be seen with the naked eye.

You are perfect to rule Saturn because like its rings, you don't always follow the rules of nature.

And like Saturn, to really be able to understand you, someone must delve beyond your appearance.

You are not an easy person to befriend. However, once you enter a friendship, you'll be a friend for life.

You think slowly but deeply. You only gain great understanding after a situation has past.



I AM hard to see with the naked eye!! How did they know?

A Review for "A Change of Heart"

I have a longer short story coming out on May 14th, I've told you about it before. BUT, to my surprise, I already have a review posted for it!

Returning to Wyoming after a six-year absence, Jake Langley finds more than just changes in the now run down family ranch. His warm feelings for a former girlfriend have cooled, and he finds himself drawn to her sister and his former best friend, Emily. His discovery of the sisters' well-kept secret, however, upsets his long-term plans and sets duty against his heart's desire. Now, four hearts and four lives will be changed, forever.

From Simply Romance Reviews the reviews says, in part:

I enjoyed reading this story right from the opening page! It’s a heart warming, moving and very enjoyable mild romance. Jake, the dashing cowboy every girl falls head over heels for, has a vulnerable side to him that makes him forgivingly lovable, no matter what his past holds. Emily, the elder sister of the two and a fiery redhead who still holds a grudge against him, keeps Jake’s feet firmly on the ground, and in more ways than one! And then there’s the lovely Casey, everything a man could wish for in a woman – but is she the one for him?

Hot without the sex? Definitely! Accuracy accounted for? Without a doubt! Wishing I had a cowboy like Jake to lie in the hay with? YES PLEASE!

A recommended read for sure with a wonderful storyline! Well done, Marriane!


Even cooler, I got this little button:



So... get ready for May 14th and the release! I'm really excited!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Questions Answered!

It's frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions. ~Author Unknown

To answer a few questions from yesterday:

Allie, "Kitchen Matches" is a short story of about 18,000 words. My previous editor mentioned that Samhain, as a whole, was a bit frustrated that they weren't getting many less-than-novel-length submissions, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Dru, most contracts specify the longest period of time you'll have to wait to have your piece published. For instance, The Wild Rose Press contract states they will have you pubbed no later than one year from contract. Really, it depends on the amount of editing necessary on a piece. My previous editor, Eve, was thrilled because "Liv" was relatively clean and needed little editing. My time from contract to publication was amazingly short. I'd like to hope the same will be true of "Kitchen Matches".

Chris, it took Dakota a while to figure out that she had to carry the stick in the middle... watching her get it jammed into the lawn when she had it from one end or the other was amusing, as was watching her try to get up on the deck with it in her mouth, because it is longer than the opening was wide. Ha....

====================

I had a bit of shock yesterday. I decided I was going to buy the movie "Phantom of the Opera" finally. My library's copy was destroyed, and they have another on order, but I wanted it NOW (it was the Andrew Lloyd Webber theme on American Idol that got me going, I think).

So, I went to WalMart first. Looked, but didn't see it. Went to the guy who worked there to ask him if he knew whether it existed in the store or not. This guy was probably about 20 y.o., and going to town with a feather duster.

Anyway... I said, "Do you have the movie 'Phantom of the Opera'?"

He looked at me blankly. And silently.

I said, "You know, with Gerard Butler."

He shook his head. "Never heard of it."

WHAT?? How can you live in the commercial world and not have heard of this show? I saw "Phantom" numerous times on the stage before I saw the movie. I love this show. I couldn't begin to believe someone hadn't at least heard of it. After all, besides being a huge Broadway hit, and a much touted movie, its music was on the hugely commercial hit TV show, American Idol (of course, Jason hadn't heard of "Cats", either. Clearly, we're raising out children wrong).

Color me shocked.

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What Your Front Door Says



You have simple tastes.

You like the classic basics, especially when they're done well.

Lots of space in your life is very important.

You don't like physical or mental clutter.



But see... here's the problem with this test: they didn't have my first two choices. ::shrugs:: Oh well!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Reviews, New Contracts, and Whodunnits

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. ~Larry Lorenzoni

First things first, I have to say: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DAUGHTER!!

She's nine today.

Nine!?!

How is that possible when I only had her last week??

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I received an email notifying me that "One Love For Liv" was reviewed by Romance Junkies. The reviewer, Dottie, gave it four ribbons and says in part:

ONE LOVE FOR LIV is an amusing romance of a socially prominent yet very naive woman who investigates her fiancé and ends up finding herself. The reader gets caught up in the story as Olivia discovers the freedom in making her own decisions, experiencing new things and finding that there really is only ONE LOVE FOR LIV. The witty dialogue, interesting characters and clever plot make this a delightful story.

So, yay! Another good review. PHEW.

For those of you who have read it (and if you haven't, why the heck not?? *G*), I'm planning to begin working on a sequel to Liv because, yanno, poor Geoff needs a HEA don't you think?

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I'm pleased to announce that I was (finally!) offered a contract from Samhain Publishing for "Kitchen Matches". YAY!!! My new editor, Deborah, said that she liked the changes I made and: It's a fun story and I'd love to work with you on this.

I'm so tickled, because I really do like this story.

Now, I just need to get something else DONE.

Speaking of which... re: "Return To Stiller Creek" comments from yesterday:

Dru, I like this story quite a bit. It was very different to write because I was dealing with not just a mystery, but a deeply wounded heroine and it's not a comedy. But, as always, I fell head over heels for my hero... I always seem to do that. I suppose if I don't love him, no one will, hmmm?? And, no, I haven't a clue where I'll submit it yet. Am still thinking about that one.

Diane, it's not that I don't know "whodunnit". I knew that from the beginning. I just forgot to put it in the book... so the READER doesn't know, no for certain. LOL... pesky little details.

As for the rest of you, I'm glad I could help make you laugh :-)

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My dog sets the bar high... she likes sticks, but not just ANY stick will do. Nope. She requires a small tree for her fetching pleasure. Just lookie what she found (click the pic to make it bigger if you'd like to see how much she's grown):



She trotted around the entire yard with this thing for a good twenty minutes. It was hysterical.

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Your Personality at 35,000 Says...



Deep down, you vastly prefer being with others to being alone. You love to engage people in conversation.

You don't spend much time thinking about your place in the world. You are who you are - and people can just deal with that!

Your gift is having good ears. You are naturally musical, and you pick up foreign languages easily.

You are inspired by what is possible. Real life is often too ordinary for you.

You are happy as long as you are given some personal space. It's important for you to have your own private life.



Um... no. I prefer being alone and I'm lousy with foreign languages. Otherwise, the rest is pretty close!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Michelle Cary

Today I want to talk about the benefits of doing research for your stories. Not only is it necessary to ensure you write a believable story, but you might just learn something in the process.

What if you're one of those people who hate to spend time researching and would rather just write? Not a problem. The great thing about research is that the opportunity to learn new things is all around you. While the library and the Internet are fabulous places for finding information, don't limit yourself to only these avenues. Think outside the box. Say you need to go to the DMV to renew your license. Take note of the procedures you need to follow, the wait, the people around you, because you never know when you might be able to use this information in a scene.

The same thing goes for anything you do from grocery shopping to doctor's appointments. Anything can be considered research if you're in the right frame of mind. I'd suggest keeping a small notebook and pen or two in strategic places such as your purse and car, because you never know what you might come across the opportunity to learn something, or have a moment of inspiration. If you write down the details as they happen, you're less likely to forget them. Trust me you'll be happy you did.

I recently used a trip to Las Vegas to see my brother-in-law get married as it an opportunity for research. I took tons of pictures and lots of notes and the great thing is, if I get the story written and accepted by the end of the year, I can even deduct my part of the trip off my taxes next year as research.

Speaking of taxes--under the right circumstances, you can deduct your research. Does that mean you can write off your grocery bill if you learn something at the store and use it in a scene for one of your stories? Not necessarily, though with the rising cost of food prices that would be great if we could. I'd advise you check with your accountant or even the IRS website for specific information on what is considered an acceptable deduction. And remember, when you're sitting in traffic frustrated beyond words, turn the moment into an opportunity for research. It will make the moment more interesting and less frustrating.

Oh, and one last thing. Thank you, Marianne for allowing me to hijack your blog for the day. It's been fun!

About the author: When Michelle isn’t engrossed in her favorite hobby of scrapbooking pictures of her family and friends, she usually can be found with a laptop attached to the end of her fingers. That is when she’s not working to maintain a functioning household or running her two children to and from play dates.

Artistic from an early age, she spent her childhood dabbling in different artistic media.


A lover of romance novels, Michelle decided a few years ago to try her hand at creating fictional worlds through words instead of paint. The result has given her an entirely new perspective on the world. Every day affords new opportunities for ideas and new ways to create the perfect happily ever after.

Raised in ‘small town’ Illinois, Michelle now lives in New Jersey with her extremely supportive albeit somewhat neglected husband and their two beautiful children. For updates on her latest work, check out her website at www.michellecary.com, her blog at www.michellecary.wordpress.com or visit her myspace page at www.myspace.com/authormichellecary.

A Quick Laugh

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~Woody Allen

It's guest blogger day, so I'll make this quick. I finished up the ending to my mystery yesterday--yes, yay me! But...--I realized that, although I'd vanquished the villain I hadn't really announced who had killed Laurie's mom, the murder that begins the entire book (Literally. The first lines are: No one deserved to be beaten to death. Not even someone as unpleasant as Gracie Newton.). Do you suppose people would like to know who did that and why???

Dear heavens.

This may be why I've never written a mystery. Oh yeah, I gotta say whodunnit.

Needless to say, I have a bit of work to do on this before it's actually done!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where Did Monday Go?

Time is what we want most, but... what we use worst. ~Willaim Penn

I've always contended that God has a wicked sense of humor. I do my best to never say never, because sure as shooting, the moment I do, "never" arrives. I've seen proof of that lately... you see: I've always said if you want to write, you'll make time. You make time for what's important to you.

Lately, I've had no time to write. I hate saying that, because it sounds like a cop-out, but.... ugh. If I get up any earlier, I won't be going to bed. I have to to the work on the LASR website, because I'm the only one who can (though I'm working on fixing that one). I have to homeschool my DD because, yanno, I'd prefer that the police didn't show up at my door -- and I would like DD to know how to do fractions (the current bane of her existence). The dog needs walking, the food needs cooking...next thing I know, it's bedtime!

In any case, that's my way of saying I STILL didn't get those last thousand words done.

So, I'm shutting up now, and going to write. I have 30 minutes before I have to go wake up DH. That should be good for a few words.

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From Tori:



What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You



You are intense, powerful, and dramatic.
People respect the things you do...
And they're not sure if they could do them!

You are emotionally expressive and sensitive.
You're effected by everything around you.
Your friends appreciate your open heart, but they are afraid of hurting your feelings.

You love being around people. Friendships are important to you.
You feel lost when you're by yourself... so you tend to avoid being alone.





I avoid being alone? Please... I live for my alone time. I am the epitomy of anti-social...LOL.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Snark Free

In light of all the nastiness going around in Romancelandia (various blogs have really become ugly, and no -- I'm not naming names but it's really depressed the heck out of me to the point I've stopped reading several blogs that I used to love), I hereby declare the following:



Feel free to swipe the picture if you'd like. Additionally, if you'd like one in custom colors, leave me a comment, and I'll have my A #1 Banner Babe, Judy, do one up for you. Within reason, of course :-)

Writing

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault

So... I'd wanted to finish "Return to Stiller Creek" yesterday. I had every intention of doing so until a surprise gathering was sprung upon me. Ahem. Let me explain that it was a surprise only to me. My SIL had told my DH there would be a family gathering to celebrate my MIL's birthday today.

Did DH deign to share the word? Nope. And, fact is, he never does. We've been married twelve years this August, and people still haven't learned that they need to talk TO ME if they want my entire family group to know what's going on.

Am I the only one whose husband forgets to pass the word on stuff like this?

In any case, a good time was had by most, and Dakota got to hang out, too, having received an actual invitation from my SIL. You'd have to know my in-laws to understand what a big deal that was.

So. I only got about 500 words written. But today? Today, there are no suprises planned *G*.

============================




Chance You'll Live to 100: 64%



100 is looking pretty likely for you right now. You've made your health a priority.

So kick back, keep doing what you're doing, and enjoy the great life you've made for yourself.

And you might get to see what the world is like 70, 80, or even 90 years from now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tagged and A Conversation With Myself

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Melissa tagged me yesterday. I've done this in the past, and so have challenged myself to think of something new and exciting to list.

Here are the rules:

Tagging Rules:
a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.


Here are my six Random things:

1. I've discovered that I don't mind squirrels at my bird feeders as long as they're on the ground, picking up all the loose seed from my "no mess" (aka without the shells) bird food. I've also discovered that this seed shouldn't be called "no mess" because it still makes a huge mess. But at least the seeds don't grow.

2. My cat and Amy's are twins separated at birth. Seriously. Here's my cat, Breeann:



And Amy has a picture of her cat here.

Eerie, isn't it?

3. I don't like white flowers. I think they're dull. They're quiet and fade into the background. I do my best to not buy white flowers for anywhere in my garden -- except white geraniums because they are toxic to Japanese beetles, so I buy those in bulk and plant them around the plants I own that attract beetles the worst.

4. I don't like white chocolate AT ALL. I would rather not eat candy EVER than eat white chocolate. White chocolate should be banned from the candy shelves or, at the very least, shouldn't be allowed to call itself "chocolate".

5. I have absurdly low blood pressure. Both numbers are always double digits, like: 80 over 60. My doctor doesn't seem concerned, and I'm just glad I love salty food, or I'd probably be dead. The doc says it may account for the fact that I'm always cold (yet another reason to get the heck out of the Northeast).

6. I apologize to plants when I prune them or pull them up. I feel oddly obligated to root and then plant any cuttings I can, which may account for the sheer volume of house plants I own. However, I discovered that my library will take plant donations. ((evil laughter))

And...I'm not tagging anyone, but if you need something to write about, feel free to consider yourself tagged!

=======================

So, yesterday I sat down and had a talk with myself. I have all these great, new ideas for stories (including a sequel to "Liv") and find myself drifting all over the place with my writing. It's been frustrating, to say the least.

I gave myself a harsh talking to: "Look at all these partly done novels! It's ridiculous to have these hanging around, nearly finished, all but ready to submit. Shame on you for starting them and not finishing them."

Myself hung her head in shame and agreed that it was, indeed silly to spend all that time and effort on a project, only to stop more than halfway through. So myself opened up the document closest to being completed yesterday, "Return To Stiller Creek", and wrote.

And wrote.

And wrote.

Myself nearly finished the book! I still haven't got a clue where to submit it -- it can't be Samhain because I recently saw that they don't want suspense novels particularly, and I don't want to sub to TWRP with it, because they don't print books less than 65k through Lightning Source and I don't want to be in print through LuLu. It's not suspenseful enough for Harlequin Intrigue, but too suspenseful for American.

It may be a complete waste of time, but at least it will be finished.

===========================




What These Orchids Say About You



You are exotic and intricately beautiful.

You possess a unique grace that's both delicate and strong.

You are thoughtful and refined. You are the definition of class.



Oh yeah. That's me, to a "T". Yep....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Give me an H! Give me an E! Give me an A!

True love stories never have endings. ~Richard Bach

Okay folks... looks like, for the most part, romance readers are looking for the H-E-A (that's "Happily Ever After". Glad to hear it -- cuz, well, I am, too (*G*) and that's usually what I write.

Mel wrote a blog post yesterday about this, too, and I had to go comment of course. I'm stealing what I said there to post here, because I think it does affect the whole "Does the HEA work" thing.

I imagine it really is all about the execution. I didn't love "Blood Brothers" (surprisingly... cuz I'm a wicked Nora fangirl) because I didn't feel the love. Yet, a good friend of mine thought it was one of the best Nora Roberts books yet.

So, apparently, it's also about the reader. I got a review for my short story "Now That We've Found You" that said they didn't believe the characters could fall so hard so fast, and then today Charity mentioned that the ending to that particular story is one of her favorites.

::scratches head::

So, when an author says she's doing something for her readers, which readers is she talking about? Clearly, no two people think alike.

Still, in the end, it's obvious from the sales numbers that romance resonates with people and that folks are looking for some sort of HEA -- whether it's a "happy" or a "hopeful".

And, that's what I tried to get across in today's blog post.

And, now I'll shut up about it.

:-)

=========================

It was a GORGEOUS day yesterday. I worked outside some, but would you believe it was TOO HOT to spend much time really working??? How is that possible?

Back in November, when my darling dog, Bailey, crossed the Rainbow Bridge, DH and I talked about a memorial garden for her. I had a place all picked out, and I knew I wanted to plant a dogwood tree (seemed appropriate *G*). Yesterday, I ran to our local Agway and took a look at the different dogwoods they had, and got shivers when I found the one I ultimately bought.

It was Bailey's Red Dogwood.

Yes. Really.

Give you goosebumps?

===========================

DH bought new chairs for our deck... six plastic green ones that recline just slightly. We'd both been gone in different directions, and I got home just after he did, not realizing he'd made this new purchase and put them out on the deck. I just went in and let Dakota out of her crate.

She went tearing downstairs and then, all of sudden, she was barking up a storm! I hurried to see what the ruckus was, and lo and behold--she was standing about four feet away from the sliding glass door, barking at the chairs! Her fur was all poofed up and she sounded vicious! LOL...I laughed until I cried.

She is an endless source of amusement.

============================




Your Inner Child Is Scared



Like a kid, you tend to shy away from new experiences.

You prefer what's tried and true - novelty is scary!

New foods, new places, and new friends are difficult for you to deal with.

Some say you're predictable, but you enjoy being comfortable.



Well... I wouldn't say I'm "scared", but I do agree that I like the familiar.

Friday, April 18, 2008

They Lived Happily Ever After

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder. ~Charles Morgan

So.

My blog post on Tuesday about HEA's and the length of time a H/H know each other garnered some interesting responses AND a blog post from Allie.

Mostly, folks thought it was okay and believeable that characters fall in love and want to get married after a short period of time. There were a couple of folks who didn't. Some simply didn't believe lasting love could occur in a short space, some believed that it could be the START of lasting love, but not that they'd be ready to leap into marriage.

Charity brings up the idea of a "Hopefully Ever After" -- the thought that two characters can agree to try out the whole relationship thing. That they can awknowledge their mutual attraction (to body, heart and mind, IMHO... don't want to put words in poor C's mouth) and decide to date exclusively or whatever.

The question is, though, for the typical romance reader, will a HOPEFULLY ever after be enough? Will the, "I really like you. I like everything about you. Let's give this relationship thing a whirl." ending settle comfortably with them?

Truthfully, I see more and more of those types of ending occuring in romance. They appear more frequently in series, of course, since the edge of your seat "will they or won't they" feeling keeps people reading. But I've seen them in category and single title (more often in single title) as well.

Is this where romance is headed? To end, not with a real committment but an "I'll try?". That is, after all, where the real world has gone. We live together, "try" starter marriages, etc. So, is a "hopefully ever after" realistic? Absolutely.

For, me, though... I struggle with it. "Hopefully" just doesn't feed my romantic heart... it's like eating white chocolate. Sure, it's sweet... but it isn't exactly what I craved. It'll do in a pinch, I suppose, but it always leaves me wanting more.

And, that's just my two cents, FWIW.

You?

==============================

Dakota... my little sweetheart.



She is stubborn. She is independent. She is smart.

Eventually, she will "get" what we want her to do. And when she "gets" something, she doesn't forget. From the time she was bitty, I mad her sit to get her leash on and she always does. I taught her to not rush the door, and she doesn't. So, I know she'll learn, but-- wowza-- is she STUBBORN. But I am MORE STUBBORN, and I'm the boss. So we'll get it pounded into her hard head eventually, or die trying. LOL.

A couple years ago, my SIL gave me a bag of miscellaneous bulbs, which I planted of course. I found a few blooming yesterday--does anyone know what these flowers are?



Or these:



It's just that they are lovely and bloom early and I'd love to find some more!

===============================




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.



That is SO NOT ME. I love to drive. If I didn't have a husband who worried, I'd be taking cross-country road trips all the time!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Booking It With The Dictionary

“Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne



I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

If the definition of the word can't be inferred by the use, then I'll usually stop and look it up immediately.

That said, as an author, I try not to use too many $100 words for just that reason. You don't WANT to have your reader stop reading your story for any reason. My job as a romance author is not to educate the reader (though, at least in the case of my vintage work, I imagine I do to a certain extent), but to entertain.

Thankfully, because of all the reading I do and have done I have a decent-sized vocabulary so I don't have to stop very often.

You?

=======================================

There are still two weeks worth of daily book giveaway's over at the Long and the Short of It's reviews blog. So far, sixteen people have won free books! Wouldn't you like to be one of them?

========================================

Dru, writing is not coming along well. The website is sucking all my time. **SIGH**. I did finish the article and will submit it today. Yay! At least that's something.

Thanks for asking :-)

=========================================

So...

Dakota flunked yesterday's quiz in her doggy obedience class. Color me frustrated. She did it fine at home, even with distractions (she's supposed to have learned "look" or "watch me" -- to maintain eye contact with you for ten seconds). In the class? I couldn't even get her attention at all. Not AT ALL. Not for one second. The teacher even gave me hot dogs (which gave her the runs later in the day -- so, I've learned). There is a little 12-week-old pug puppy in there who is, by far, the best dog we have. She listens, she obeys, she doesn't get distracted... and she's only 12 weeks! Puts the older dogs to shame.

**sigh**

This week we're supposed to work on loose-leash walking. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Actually, I've been taking Dakota out on my bike and running her to work off some of her crazy energy, and it seems to work. So, maybe I'll run her up and down the street first and THEN work on her leash training. Of course, she needs to be able to obey, even when she's keyed up, but it's a start.

I have a feeling we're going to be repeating the class. For a smart dog, she's awfully resistant to learning.

===============================




The Keys to Your Life



Anything good in your life comes from boldly confronting the darkness.

Illusions are dangerous, and you benefit from seeing the world as it truly is.

Anything bad in your life comes from sinking to the level of those around you.

Remember to lift people up, and refuse to participate in anything petty.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Congratulations!!

Congratulations to DENA -- the winner of this month's contest! She chose a copy of "No Greater Loss" by Diane Craver.

I'll have a new contest beginning on May 1st -- don't forget to check back then.

Thanks to everyone for playing :-)

Welcome Guest Blogger: Liana Laverentz

Balancing Your Anger

Today I’d like to talk about balancing your anger. Anger is not a bad thing. It’s a warning signal that something in your life isn’t going right. That something isn’t happening as you think it should be. As women, I think we are socialized to deny our anger. If not to deny it, then to suppress it. And when it seeps out, as it inevitably does—or explodes, as it often does--we are called names that nobody should ever be called. You know what they are. You’ve probably called yourself those same names a few times. See how well you’ve been socialized?

People have just as much right to be angry, as we do to be hungry or thirsty—or even afraid. God gave us anger for a reason. To spur us into action. To stand up for ourselves. To fight injustice. But it works just as well on the home level. It helps us to maintain our boundaries—and as writers, we need boundaries. How else are we going to carve out that precious time we need to write, without boundaries?

Feeling anger is okay. It’s what you do with that anger, how you express that anger, that may be questionable. Acting out, road rage, cursing someone out, being snarly and unkind, spiteful or sarcastic, or committing violence of any sort, is not an appropriate or acceptable means of expressing your anger.

But we all feel like it some times. I’ve expressed myself most ways listed above, and more, in the past. I still have my moments. And they tend to sweep over me without warning.

So what are we supposed to do with this feeling that bubbles (or sometimes roars) up inside us when it hits?

Believe it or not, we’re supposed to stop and think and try to figure out where it is coming from, and if it even belongs to us. What do I mean by that? Women are the caretakers of the world. Face it, we can’t help ourselves. We love to take care of the people, places, and pets we love. We love it to the point that we take care of them so much we neglect to take care of ourselves. But that’s a subject for another day.

What I want to talk about today, is making sure that when you feel angry…it’s your own anger you feel. Because just like you can do laundry for another person, you can get angry on their behalf, which gives them the luxury of not having to deal with their own anger--because you’re doing it for them. Ever get mad at how your husband is treated at work, while he calmly goes about reading the newspaper? Ever get furious about something that happened to your children or aunt or best friend that leaves you steaming long after the supposedly injured party has forgotten about it and moved on?

If so, you’ve been taking on the emotional baggage of others. Feeling things for them, so that they don’t have to, just like if you were doing the laundry for them—only at a high emotional cost to yourself.

Anger takes time and energy. It drains you, whether you express it or not—it drains you even more if you don’t express it—because it takes twice as much energy to repress it as it does to feel it and deal with it. When I feel anger coming on, I just let go with it…but rarely, if ever, in the company of others. I wait until I am alone. Like the other day. Saturday morning, and I was running errands, just like millions of other people. I went to the post office, picked up my mail, hit the library and two different stores for groceries, came home and unloaded the groceries, put them away, and made a cup of tea to settle in with my mail.

But there was no mail. Oh, the junk mail was there—it always is—but my personal mail was missing. I looked all over for it. No luck. I whipped out the phone book to call the post office. No luck. Finally I found an 800 number to call. I got put on one of those endless recorded loops. All I wanted was the phone number for my local post office, so I could see if my mail was there without having to make a special trip, gas costing what it does these days.

That option, of course, was not available, the recording told me ever so cheerfully, and sent me back to the main menu.

I literally screamed in frustration, slammed down the phone, jumped into the car and raced back to the post office, as it was Saturday, and they closed at noon. I had seen that mail. I knew it was out there somewhere. But I couldn’t call them, and I knew all weekend I would imagine it being run over in the wet and muddy post office parking lot if I didn’t go back there and check it out.

So I raced down the road, with only ten minutes before closing time, swearing like a sailor all the way. Not like me. Not like me at all. Suddenly I realized what I was doing, stopped and thought, what is going on? You’re not usually like this, and you’ve handled a lot more serious challenges than a few pieces of missing mail.

But by that time I had reached the post office. I sailed in to check my box, and voila! My mail was there. I had folded the junk mail over and my personal mail had slipped out and onto the floor, before I’d ever left the building. Someone had found it and turned it in, and the kind ladies there had put it back in my box for me.

Life was good again. But the anger I had felt on the way there was a huge clue that something was not in balance in my life. First I had to figure out what it was, what I was REALLY angry about—I mean, come on, a misplaced letter or two?—and what I was going to do about it.

I also had to figure out if the anger was mine to start with. Was I feeling it on someone else’s behalf, or my own? It had been a rough week, and I had spoken with a number of people about personal problems they were having. Seems like everyone has something serious going on in their lives, no matter which way you look.

Turns out this time I was feeling anger on my own behalf. But there have been times when I have felt it on the behalf of others. For instance, two of my closest friends are in prison. The things that happen to them, you would not believe. They’re both strong, silent types, so they don’t bother getting angry. Which leaves me susceptible to getting outraged on their behalf. I really have to watch out for it.

Because my getting angry gets them off the hook for feeling their own emotions. It makes me look like a raving lunatic while they go calmly about their business. It’s as real and tangible a service as it would be if I did their laundry.

And it keeps me from staying focused on my own life and goals. It steals my time and energy and creativity.

So the next time you feel angry, do not waste any time trying to deny that you are angry, or trying to talk yourself out of being angry, just be angry. Feel it, vent it, express it in a safe and appropriate way. Storms never last forever. The emotion will pass. Then, take a deep breath and try to step outside of yourself for as long as you can manage it, and--first of all--find out if your anger is your own, or if you are feeling it on behalf of someone else.

If it’s your anger, take responsibility for it and your part in whatever led up to it, and make the time to figure out what it is in your life that is out of balance and needs to be changed.

You deserve no less.

If it is another person’s anger you are feeling….hand it over to them (or God) and be done with it. You don’t have to hand it over like you would a laundry basket. You can simply hand it over in your mind. Or visualize putting it in a basket and handing it over if you want to. Visualize saying, “This is not mine. I am returning it to you.”

Save your precious time and energy for your creative pursuits. Don’t let the emotions someone else should be feeling steal your focus or future, as person or a writer. Don’t let anyone’s anger—yours or a loved one’s--steal your balance. Life is too short to spend it angry.



About the author: Liana Laverentz is the author of two contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press, NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE award-winner, Thin Ice, and Jake’s Return. Both deal with the subject of anger. For more information, go to www.lianalaverentz.com. Liana also hosts a monthly chat on the Long and Short Reviews Yahoo Group the first Thursday of each month, where we discuss ways to find our balance between writing and Life, which tends to get in the way of our writing more often than not. Read Liana’s articles on Finding Your Balance then mark your calendar to join us at the LASR Yahoo group .

Quickie!

We have guest blogger again, so I'm not going to have a "real" post -- just wanted to say: I'll be back tomorrow with responses to the comments from yesterday. Okay?

Also, I haven't done the drawing for the contest yet -- but the moment I do, I'll post the winner! Good luck, everyone :-)

Have a great day, and enjoy Liana's post!

M~

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My contest!

I almost forgot!! Today is the last day to enter my contest to win one of two GREAT books!

Click here for details. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Good luck and thanks for playing :-)

Dog 1, Bunny Slippers 0

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. ~ Francis Bacon

My feet were cold yesterday, and my other slippers had long since been discarded (they were plumb wore out), so I decided to see if Dakota had gotten past her bunny slipper fixation.

She hadn't.

I could NOT get her to stop trying to attack them. She'd finally stop after much "NO!"-ing on my part and shoving her away, but after a bit she'd slither across the floor and attack again.

I decided to put them away, freezing feet or not. My mistake was thinking I could walk up the stairs in them.







At least she had the grace to look ashamed.

===============================

So... I've been contemplating some recent reviews I've gotten, for "One Love For Liv", "Don't Fence Me In" and "Now That We've Found You".

All the reviews commented in a negative (as in "I don't really think it could have happened") way about people falling in love in a matter of weeks to the point where they wanted to get married.

I thought, Okay. I'm good with that, really, because IRL I wouldn't believe it either. I'm always horrified when a couple gets wildly serious that quickly. I had a friend who "fell in love" with her (now ex-) husband when they talked for three hours on the phone, before their first date. They were engaged in a couple of weeks. They were divorced in just over a year.

BUT... I write fiction. Odds are you're not going to see the things happen IRL that you see happen in fiction. That's why it's called FICTION.

Recently, I've been reading a LOT -- books for the LASR April Book-a-Day Giveaway. And, without exception, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the couples in these books falls in love quickly. The book I read yesterday only took place over a matter of four or five days!! These are books being published by big NY Print Presses (and not just HQ in case you wondered).

Days.

So...clearly my characters falling in love over a matter of a few weeks isn't that far out of the norm.

So, I'm curious. In FICTION (not real life folks), is it really that hard for you to believe people can fall in "forever" love in a short time?

Sound off here.... *G*

==============================




You Are 15% Fake



Fake doesn't even come close to describing you.

You're totally natural, and proud of who you really are!



Yeah... I dye my hair sometimes -- I'm going GRAY, y'all!! I admit it...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Melancholy Monday

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them. ~Oscar Wilde

I'm indulging in a small pity party, and you've been invited. I was missing my dad today... It's been seventeen years (February) since he died, and some days I miss him like it was yesterday.

Today was one of those days.

So, a little musical montage in rememberance...

The song he always sang to me. I used to blush and tell him to stop when I was little. Now, I'd give anything to hear it again.



The song that was released at the same time he was diagnosed with cancer... it's come to memorialize that phone call when he told me... the words... incurable... terminal... six months... and this song says all the things that are so important: don't wait until it's too late to say what should be said. Regrets are hard to live with.



And the song that always reminds me that we have to go on when we lose someone we love, and try to remember WHY we loved them.

Dear Author Review for "One Love For Liv"

Dear Author reviewed "One Love For Liv"... I was scared to open it. After a few deep breaths, I did.

I got a B-!

Color me thrilled.

There are some things I'd address, if I was the kind of author who addressed things in reviews. But I'm keeping my mouth shut, and just enjoying the B-.

Next book? I'm going for an A.

Still waiting on Mrs. Giggles ((gulp)). And, yes, I know she doesn't review everyone. Note to Mrs. Giggles: I'm totally okay with it if you choose NOT to review my book. Seriously.

:-)

Monday Morning Meme and More!

I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it. ~Charles Schulz

Worked like crazy yesterday... mostly on the website. I'd had big plans to garden but it ended up being COLD here. Dang it. Windy, too. I did get out with the dog a few times, all bundled up (warm coat, ear muffs... grrr... It's APRIL already), but mostly, I took the opportunity to work on my computer stuff.

I had a lot of work to do on the LASR site. We're now offering a limited number of author pages! I'm excited. Any chance to get a persons name out there and in front of a reader (and, honestly, we have about a 50/50 mix of readers vs. writers who come to the site, based on the emails we get) is a good thing. But, I'm not a visual person, so to figure out how to create something that has to LOOK good is very time consuming for me.

Because I'm running late this morning, tho, I'll give you a meme:




April 14th Questions:

1. If you had one week to do anything you wanted, unlimited means to do so, what are some of the things you would try to do?

Visit my mom. Visit my friend, Cathy. Both of them are in California -- how convenient is that? Take my DD to Disney World. Get a daily massage (maybe twice daily). Take the private jet to visit all of my online friends.

Probably this would take longer than a week. I think I'd need a time machine, too.

2. What’s the last thing you bought for yourself? Do you buy yourself things very often? If you were rich, would you buy yourself things more often? Why or why not?

A pair of jeans. I seldom buy things for myself...I feel strangely guilty spending money on myself. I imagine I would spend more on myself if I was very rich, BUT... I can remember the one time I received a windfall and I spent it all on other people. I had so much fun! It was right around Christmas, and I let myself buy what I WANTED to buy for everyone, regardless of price, instead of what I could afford. It was truly one of the best times I've ever had.

3. When was the last time you sang? What did you sing? Do you ever sing in front of people? Why or why not? Does your significant other sing well? If you were (are) a good singer and it was financially within your means to do so, would you ever consider auditioning for American Idol?

I sing all the time! I love to sing. I sing walking down the street, in my car, in my house...I've even been known to break into song in public. People don't like it, they can go away. I was in drama and choir my whole life, so don't get squeamish performing in front of people. Now...that said. Do I have a GOOD voice? I have a decent voice. I make a GREAT choir member. I'd never be a solo artist. So, no...wouldn't audition for American Idol (of course, I'm also a few years too old to do so as well, Ha).

4. If you found $1000 dollars in an unmarked wallet on the street, what would you do? Be specific. Don’t just say, “keep it,” Or “turn it in.” WHY would you keep it? HOW would you turn it in? (And if you turned it in, would you follow up to see if anyone claimed it later?)

I'd probably take it home and then place an ad in the lost and found saying something obscure like: money found in ((name of city)). Lost some? Call 555-9999. Then, they'd have to tell me how much, what denominations and where it was lost. I'm the kind of person who tells the cashier if they've given me too much in change (of course, I can actually figure out what my change can be -- unlike most of the younger folks today, sheesh... my favorite thing to do is to pay for something with a bill, wait until they ring in $20 or whatever and then say, "Oh, wait! I have two pennies!" and watch the slack or panicked look that comes across their face...LOL... I'm evil...).

If no one claimed it, I'm not sure what I would do. I don't think I'd feel right keeping it for myself. Maybe the red bucket of the Salvation Army would get an extra gift that year?

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Your Personality Is



Guardian (SJ)


You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented.

Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.

You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.

You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.

A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.

You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.

In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.

At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.

With others, you tend to be polite and formal.

As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.

On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Warmth! Sun!

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James

So... I worked like a dog yesterday (not MY dog, though, lol) and actually got HOT outside.

((dances wildly))

It was SIXTY DEGREES! The weatherfolk had indicated that a cold front was moving in and it was supposed to rain all weekend. Well, early yesterday morning, they amended their forecast. Sure enough, the sun came out around noon, and WOOT we all took the party outside.

DD cleaned out her corner of the vegetable garden. She's decided to try growing corn this year. It actually grows quite well, but we got worms in the ears last time we tried. I'd like to do potatoes, but that depends on how many wire worms I find when I till (bad, bad buggies... grr...)

I cleaned the leaves and gunk out of two gardens, and edged around both. I'm going to completely redo the one around my well pump, because I really don't like what I have planted in there. None of the tulips came back this year, either. It was a tough winter for bulbs.

We did have a short few moments of a scare last evening, tho. My SIL called to say her son (11 y.o.) was missing out in the woods behind their house. She was home with her 1 y.o and a 4 y.o who is handicapped, and couldn't go look for him -- but she had called and called and called and he didn't respond. DH suited up in his outdoor gear (the sun was going down) and we were ready to go hunting.

About 30 seconds before we left, she called. He'd come back. Phew. I'm telling you what, though. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes! DD observed all this, and I explained that this was why I always asked her to stay in sight of the house -- the rule is: if you can't see the house, you're too far. When she's alone, if she hurts herself there's no one to get help. I hope she gets it now.

So. No writing (bad, bad me... but dang! WARMTH! SUN! How could I resist??)

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You Are a Little Anal Retentive



Okay, so you're occasionally uptight, but it's not like you fill your day with little OCD rituals.

You just like to exercise a little control over your life, and that's usually a good thing.

As long as you limit your anal retentive ways to your own behavior, you're not annoying anyone.

Deep down, most people are exactly like you.



Because, yes, I do alphabetize my CDs. And my books are in order by author. Sue me.

LOL...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Funny and an Update

"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail." — Edwin H. Land

Oh man, I swiped this from Pub Rants because I thought it was such a hoot! You know all those musicals where everyone seems to know the words and breaks into song spontaneously? Check this out:





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Writing. Well.

Yesterday I worked like a dog on "Kitchen Matches". I edited and changed and added scenes. I worked with BOTH rejection letters I'd gotten from two different editors at two different presses, and tightened (I hope!) and made things clearer and gave Micah some more onstage time.

I found out that Sacramento no longer has a stadium football team which REALLY messed me up (where the heck did the Gold Miners go??). I discovered that Chopin's first name was Frederic. All-in-all, I had a good time.

I also realized there was NO WAY in H-E-double-toothpicks I would be able to make this story 55,000 words. Well, I mean... if someone kidnapped my DD and told me I had a week to increase the word count, I could probably do it. But, realistically and kidnapping aside, it just wasn't going to happen.

I'm really happy with this story. I like this story. I sent this story off to my editor at Samhain. I hope she likes the story, too, because my opinion really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

So. Phew. That's done...and I'm really glad to have it in submission again.

::::fingers crossed::::

I also discovered that my article is about 500 words too short for WoW. Before I send it to the Samhellion, I may take one more look at it to see if there is a legitimate way to add those words. After all, WoW is a paying market with HUGE exposure. The Samhellion isn't anything to sneeze at, though, with a subscriber count of just under 1,000. Either way, it's win/win for me.

So, now: It's time to hunker down and work on the HQA. And, possibly a very short story (10,000 words or less).

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We thatched the lawn yesterday. Piles and piles and piles of dead grass clippings, holy cow!!! Put some in my garden, but couldn't use them all, so started a compost heap in the woods. Of course, I really hope I'm not living here long enough to make use of it...

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What Your City Walk Means




You are adventurous and easygoing. You love life, as long as you don't have to do anything hard.

You are generally confident and friendly with strangers. You are well mannered and sociable.

Money is very important to you. You like to have lots of nice things... and you don't care if you're being greedy.

You tend to be organized, logical, and methodical. You're so efficient, people often wonder how you get so much done.