Friday, November 5, 2010

Please visit me at my new site:

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Zombies are Back and Darkness Falls

I'm so excited, and on so many different levels --

First off, THE ZOMBIES ARE BACK! My current work in progress, Nevermore, started out an Urban Fantasy. However, while digging into my heroine's identity, I realized that the backstory I was researching WAS the story. I began writing and somewhere along the way, the zombie thread didn't seem to be working. There ended up being a fairly mundane explanation for the undead creature. Well, that was the FIRST draft. I'm now seven-eighths of the way through the second draft (where I make sure the back half of the story matches the front and that none of the threads have been left hanging) and amazingly, THE ZOMBIES ARE BACK in all their decomposing glory. Even better, the story works this way, the ending is much spookier, AND (this is the best part), I'm able to let the villain live to terrorize another day (or another book).

Secondly, I survived State Testing Week in all it's minimum day glory. Bored kids be damned, I even managed to get a little work done, although I won't be finished/finished with the second draft by tomorrow as I'd planned, I'm still making forward progress. Granted, three of the five school days next week are minimum days (is this some sort of conspiracy to drive parents to drink right before summer break when it's all kids/all the time?), but I'm optimistic that unless we have another viral outbreak, this book will be ready to start the submission rounds by June.

Thirdly, this blog will be going dark. What?!? No more posting, you ask. Heavens no. You know I love you more than that. I had an entire website overhaul done. The result has been to move the website and blog to WordPress. The site is stunningly gorgeous. Frauke, at CrocoDesigns, did all the work and I'm stunned with the gorgeous result. Come visit me at

For my MySpace readers, I will still be posting my blogs here, so i don't despair, the posts will still appear with alarming regularity (especially if I can figure out the RSS feed)

Oh, and I've been invited to be a weekly blogger at Written In Ink. I'll be starting there on Wednesdays in mid-May. Wow, with Monday Madness, Too True Tuesdays, and Frantic Fridays, I certainly hope I have enough to talk about on Wednesdays! LOL.

So, I'll see you "on the other side" of the internet and hopefully on a bookshelf near you soon!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Too True Tuesday

I missed posting yesterday. Why? you ask. Well, our school district has "conveniently" scheduled half-days for State Testing Week (i.e., week from hell). This has cut my writing time in less than half. Oh, and I had this brilliant plan to hire a babysitter for 3/5 days so that I could get a break. Ha...our sitter still has to work (although in HS, she's a teacher's aide at the elementary school). Today, I might be able to slip off for a few hours. Operative word is might...Drama Teen has girl friends coming over to try on dresses for an upcoming dance and I'm not sure they'll be able to adequately watch the Kinderboys while they are doing girly things (or worse, I'll come home to Kinderboys in makeup and hair curlers)'s my too true Tuesday offering.

The Wiggles (that kid's television show from Down Under) has made a significant impact on our family. Oh, not in the way of education or anything...but in our vocabulary.

We eat fruit salad (chopped up whatever I can find in the fridge) every night for dinner. And every night...someone says "Can you pass the fruit salad...(pregnant pause)...yummy yummy".

Thanks Anthony, Greg, Jeff, and Murray. (smooch!)

Friday, April 23, 2010


Wow, this week has shot by in a blur. Seems like just yesterday it was Monday and I had hours and hours and hours of freedom from tiny tyrants. Now, it's down to just a few hours to get redlines incorporated, edit a few more pages, and get ready for "Mom, can I..." "Mom?" "Mom" "Mom"...I swear, there are days when I want to change my name.

It's especially depressing when the upcoming week is State Testing at the school. Minimum days (home by noon) and yet another excuse for the school district to not teach our children anything. What, you say. Testing is necessary, blah, blah, blah.

Testing, I say, is a waste.

Case in point...I have two kindergartners. All next week is "testing"...there is no flipping way my kids are going to be tested for 3.5 hours each day on kindergarten lessons. Instead, they will test for part of the day, watch movies for an hour or so, and maybe do a lesson or two. For Kinderboy#2, school comes easy. He was almost ready for first grade the day he stepped into the classroom back in August. For Kinderboy#1, he'll be lucky if he even completes the testing he is supposed to do. Not so much because he can't, but because without the proper motivation (rewards of toys and candy), he won't want to. I've heard the treasure boxes are fully stocked in preparation, so I have my fingers crossed he's in a cooperative mood next week.

Then there is Drama Teen. School has never come easy for her. She has some ADD issues that have been around since her kindergarten days. And as for math...well, I still count on my fingers and she inherited her math skills from me. Need I say more? She "tests" although she can maintain A's and B's in any class except math, I'm sure her State testing won't reflect that. So, what sort of information is that going to give the bureaucrats in Sacramento? Nothing definitive, that's for sure.

If, as I suspect, there will be little to no teaching/homework at the high school level next week, I have a devious plan to get some writing done and get away from my children for a few hours. I'm going to hire Drama Teen's friend and have them co-babysit the boys while I sneak off to the library and/or Panera Bread for an hour or three at least 3 days next week. It's the only way I can think of to preserve my sanity because, oh, did I forget to tell you...the week after next is parent/teacher conferences and guess what...MINIMUM DAYS most of that week too! ACK!!!

Jeez...I wish it was Monday, last Monday....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Essie over at The Accidental Mommy has once again thrown down the gauntlet to tell the truth, the whole embarrassing truth, and lots of it.

Today, because Essie knows that even though it's true, some of us might not like to own up to the topic at hand, so she's given us a multiple choice selection.

1. The best secret you ever kept from your parents
2. Worst date stories
3. Annoying Significant Other stories
4. What I wish someone would have told me before I got married

Being as my parents won't ever read my blog (my dad has Altzheimers and my mother is severely techno-challenged), I'm going to tell you about our dog.

Tucker came to live with us when he was six months old. Marriage preparations between me and Mr. Wonderful were in full swing and for her bridesmaid's gift, Drama Teen (who was then only 10) wanted a Labrador puppy like in a popular toilet paper commercial. When a "puppy" was found on the flightline at Edwards AFB where I worked at the time, I thought it was fate and adopted him (after we tried unsuccessfully to find his owner).

Then, the trouble with puppies reared it's head. I've always been a cat person (we had two of them)...I never realized puppies did chew everything, pee on everything, and chase cats. Sigh. About a year into the relationship, pee spots began appearing in odd places. On the floor, a briefcase, puddles here there and everywhere. An examination of the walls with black light revealed lots and lots of pee.

Tucker had been "chemically" fixed. The vet determined it hadn't "took" (gulp), so Tucker had the traditional cut and snip done. Problem solved, so I thought. Still, pee continued to make occasional appearances on walls and surfaces. Then about six month later, I caught Tucker peeing on the wall RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Off to the pound he went. It was a Friday evening...

Saturday, I told my mom the dog was gone and what he'd been up to. She celebrated (she doesn't much care for pets, period)

Plagued by doubts about doing the right thing all weekend, I was alarmed when I found a fresh spot of pee on Sunday. Gazing around, my eyes came to rest on our adorable, loving, male kitty. Yep...seems like Pikachu and Tucker had been having a peeing contest in the house. Unfortunately for the dog, Pikachu was sneakier.

Monday morning, I offloaded a huge lie to the staff at the shelter and brought a tramatized doggy home. Pikachu, instead, had to be re-homed. And then, later, the other cat due to a similar problem. Our house has been pee free since and I've come to realize I really do like dogs.

So, where does the lie come in?

I sortof never told my mom that we picked Tucker back up. She was so happy to see him gone, and I have this insane need for "parental approval". Needless to say, it's almost five years later...and she still doesn't know we have a dog. When she's come to visit, it's been a bit of a juggling/magic act to keep him out of the picture... And after five years, I'm really not sure how to just "fess up to the matter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I could just cry...

First off, I know this is going to sound childish...but I have to rant.

After spending Thursday with a sick child, Friday contracting the virus (although I got a bit of work done), all day Saturday sick, Sunday feeling like someone wiped the floor of a NY taxi with me, I wake up this morning to....

Kinderboy#2 with PINKEYE...AGAIN. School rules...they can't come to school until they are treated. The Dr. has called in drops...they "might" be ready for pickup around 2 pm (oh, right after school lets out...gee, thanks)

So...yet another TOTALLY unproductive day. Oh, but there's the rest of the week...right? No...tomorrow is housekeeping...they'll be here for 2-2.5 hours, ruining what little concentration I have. By then, I'll probably have another 1 to 2 children home sick. I admire people who can write in the middle of chaos, but I'm not one of them.

Oh, and just in case I DO get any work done this week...the school has state testing next week...Minimum days all week, THEN, because they don't like taking care of the kids any more than the parents do and they have the power to foist them off, they scheduled minimum days for 3/5 of the next week for "parent-teacher conferences.

I could just cry...hell, I am crying...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Felled by the Virus of Doom....

And an "ah-ha" moment gone wrong

On Thursday, Kinderboy#1 came home from school with a stomach ache. The school nurse told me he'd thrown up. Then, she dropped unwelcome news into my lap (figuratively). "There's an awful virus going around. All the kids are getting it."

Friday dawned, Kinderboy#1 felt better, kidlets went off to school, all was well... yeah, that was just Fate having a good laugh at my expense.

4:58 am Saturday morning. I woke up, feeling like crud and crawled out the living room to sit in the dark, hoping the nausea and tummy ache would go away. It didn't. By 9 am, I was in full-blown sickness mode. Luckily Mr. Wonderful pitched in and ran to the store for lemon-lime full-sugar soda and various tummy ailment medications. He then took the boys out on their scooters to run around the neighborhood. When he got back, he collapsed on the sofa and gave himself over to the virus - it was noon. Drama Teen was the next to fall at 3 pm. Kinderboy#2 - 5 pm (right after he ate a huge plateful of mac & cheese - bleh)

It's now Sunday morning, it seems that most of us have recovered. Hard to tell with Drama Teen, she hasn't made her weekend appearance yet and probably won't until around noon.

Needless to say...I won't be eating Tyson Chicken Nuggets anytime in the near future. Sorry Tyson!

Sometime on Friday, I had a brilliant Ah-ha moment regarding my historical romance. Boy, would it up the tension, blah, blah, blah... it wasn't until sometime during my recovery last night that I realized the timeline is off, off, off...ten years off. So, unless I want to decrease the age of my heroine (which I am considering), I'll have to figure out what little bits and pieces I changed to "up" the tension.

I'm blaming the virus...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Maasketeers

Having attended a Donald Maass workshop (back in January, remember?) -- and about to begin "the GREAT agent search of 2010", I stumbled upon this video and simply had to share.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Too True Tuesday

I don't know about other people, but I simply will not finish a book that doesn't hold my attention. I have better things to do with my time. That being said, I found some authors I won't be adding to my auto-buy books.

I recently bought some books from new to me authors. They were all "name brands" and I had hoped to open myself up to a few new series to enjoy. Now, perhaps my mistake was buying books too far into the series...but honestly, an author should be able to garner new readers with their books and not just rely on repeat buyers.

M.C. Beaton, A Spoonful of Poison -- I simply could not muster any sympathy for the nymphomanic protagonist. What made it worse is that I had the solution to the mystery figured out by Chapter 3. I think I made it almost halfway through the book before I threw it against the wall.

Stuart Woods, Shoot Him if He Runs -- This was one of those books in a series that simply didn't have enough information about the characters. When two of the characters were inexplicably having sex (I'm assuming they had some sort of history, but it was never explained adequately), it gave me pause. AND I WRITE EROTIC ROMANCE PEOPLE. Seemed like the sex was just in there gratuitously. I had my suspicions of who the bad guy was...this one, I read about 1/4 of the book, was interested enough to see how it ended, and then threw it against the wall.

Sometimes I do struggle through a book, just because. I'm not driven to solve the mystery, but something about the story keeps me limping forward.

Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner was one of these books. I liked the protagonist (a bookseller). In the end, it wasn't solving the mystery that kept me slogging through the awkward shifts in POV, but the budding romantic relationship and the smattering of historical details and characters.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Social Networking Woes

As if it isn't enough to write & self-edit a book, promoting one's book is also an author's duty. For those of us who are a bit shy or technologically challenged, this can be a nightmare.

I do have a myspace page, a facebook profile, and a twitter account. I try to access all of them at least once a day. For whatever reason, the Facebook account gives me the most problems. Partly because they are always "tweaking" it, much like what Drama Teen does with her recipes. Today, none of my blog feeds are going to my Facebook account. And I'm puzzled as to how I get my updates from my profile page to link to my newly created fan page without having to cut and paste. Grrr.

As if I didn't have enough to do!

I spent 3 hours at Panera Bread yesterday editing Nevermore. I'm up to page 101 on the hardcopy but haven't hit page 50 yet in the electronic version. The nice thing is that as well as taking out extraneous "telling", I'm adding words. My goal, an additional 8K. I know that later on in the book I have 2 scenes to add....and the Chapter 4 rewrite should add a chunk as well.

The worst part of this whole process is I thought I had until the end of the month to get all of the editing done...however, the school district, has once again thrown a wrench into the works. Star Testing... a whole week and a half of minimum days at the end of the month! wonder our children don't learn anything -- Le sigh.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Just Another Frantic Friday

Wow - did this week go fast! The largest part of the issue is the Monday holiday, which caused Tuesday to be a Monday. Needless to say, I'm torn between wishing it was one more day long and being thankful that it's over.

I did get some work on Nevermore done this week. I've done a preliminary edit of Chapters 1-3 (reading it out loud, smoothing out the prose, etc.). Then I hit Chapter 4. Ouch. Now, I knew it had issues... During the Donald Maass workshop in January, it was the scene that I worked on during the workshop. However, despite all that, it still needed help. Help came in the form of a "eureka" moment weeks ago. At about 4:30 in the morning, I suddenly realized what my hero's "motivation" is. Now, I had a motivation to begin with -- and I'll still be using it as a sub-plot, but I now have his main motivation AND, even better, a way to tie the zombie issue in a bit stronger.

Amazingly, instead of being thrilled to bits to get my feet wet in editing and changing the manuscript, I've found that I'm dragging me feet. Why?


Yep. Even with over 30 short stories, 18 novellas, and two full-length novels under my belt (figuratively), I am afraid to finish this novel. Why? Well, mostly it's because I *think* this is, to date, the BEST thing I've ever written. THE BEST. It's not only a story from my heart but it fits commercial expectations of the genre. But, what if I'm just biased? What if I send it out to agents and publishers and it's not as good as I think it is? Worse, what if it sucks? I don't want to send my manuscript out with high expectations of finally catching that elusive agent/NY contract, only to have my dreams dashed.

Yet, if I don't finish it, polish it, send it out -- I'll never know.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

As for the family -- let's just say that everything went pretty well this week. Drama Teen forgot her change of clothes for picture day AND her PT clothes for ROTC today. But that's okay...I had to make a trip out to the school campus anyway since one of my sons, I shouldn't have to tell you it's Kinderboy#1, put his foot in the toilet at school because his friend told him to and I had to run a change of pants to the school. Only pants, you ask? Yep, because, of course, my little RADish lied and said he slipped and fell in a puddle of pee in the bathroom without letting the office ladies know that he had a soggy shoe and sock as well as pant leg. Sigh.

Kinderboy#2, well, he's just anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ice cream truck...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Too True Tuesday

What to post, what to post, what to post...???....
Oh! You're there! Sorry about that.

It's been a Tuesday disguised as a Monday around here, and I'm still scrambling to catch up. Last week, Essie, the Accidental Mommy was talking about the list. You know, the one discussed on the show "Friends" years ago. Five people, who if they walked into your life, could sweep you off your feet and out of your marital bed. I guess the idea is that Mr. Wonderful would turn a blind eye, because it would only be for one time, never repeated, blah, blah, blah.

My list is very, very short. I can't come up with five...only two.

Keanu Reeves (smooch)
Lou Diamond Phillips (swoon)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mystical, Manical Monday

Well, let's just say that I'm really not happy with the school district. Who's bright idea was it to give the kids a holiday on the Friday before Spring Break AND the Monday after? Who? Do they not realize that eleven days is too long for the kids to be off school, especially as I just got all of them BACK to school after a horrible winter of illnesses. To top it off, we went camping, and guess what? Two of the kids in the other family were ill! They holed up in their RV, but still....I'm holding my breath, wondering what tomorrow will bring...

We had a great time at the beach. Yes, the beach in April. It was a bit cold and blustery, especially at night, but the days were gorgeous and warm. We took a day trip to Solvang and ate Danish-type food, shopped, and rode a 4-person bicycle around town. My legs are still protesting.

Granny sent the kids money for Easter. Mr. Wonderful, because he really is the coolest Dad in the world and the most caring and considerate father, took the boys to Toys R Us to spend their moola after dinner. Yeah, it's a school night but I enforced a nap this afternoon. We'll be lucky to get their squirmy butts into bed by nine o'clock anyway.

Drama Teen, with her totally mad time management skills, waited until this afternoon to do ALL of the homework assigned for Spring Break. She did manage to get it all done and is now working on her hair for tomorrow. I'm assuming that indicated that she has the intention of getting up in the morning and going to school.

Writing, you ask. Yes, I dragged my book to the sat in the backpack the entire time. Needless to say, I really am looking forward to cracking the binding, so to speak, and editing it over the next few weeks. My goal is to start subbing it out to agents in May.

My Big Cat Shifter story got put on hold. Spring Break intervened (grumble, grumble, grumble) and honestly, I've realized that I'm not James Patterson...I simply cannot work on more than one book at a time. But I will work on my ONE book this coming week (germs allowing).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Too True Tuesday

I'm writing my post on Monday evening as we have a trip planned to the eighth level of hell tomorrow. Where is that, you ask? Chuck E. Cheese's, of course.

As the weather gets warmer, I'm instituting a new Tuesday rule in our house.

No TV Tuesday.

We'll see how long I can survive without the boob tube for kid anesthesia.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring into Spring with an Easter Egg Hunt!

Spring is in the air and we invite you to join us on an Easter egg hunt.

You can find complete information here:

There are a total of TEN sets of prizes shared between the sites - and prizes include: $25 Amazon or Gift Certificate, publisher GCs, eBooks, autographed books, tote bags, Easter baskets filled with goodies, T-Shirts so much more!

It's easy to enter. Each of our author sponsors has hidden an egg on their site -- you earn one entry for every egg you find!

I've donated a $10 gift certificate from Lyrical Press. So, hop on over and start collecting those eggs! Good luck!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Essie, the Accidental Mommy, didn't do a too true Tuesday challenge this week. So, I'm pretty much on my own. Hmmmm...

Today's will be an easy one.

My favorite flavor of M&Ms (especially the speckled Easter egg-shaped ones)is....Peanut Butter!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mystical, Magical Monday

Have you ever spent THREE WHOLE HOURS in Target? We did, yesterday. That's what we get for doing a family shopping trip. Everyone needed things (okay, I just *wanted* colored filed folders for my writing stuff) but Drama Teen needed new tennis shoes, Kinderboys needed new socks (theirs are always in holes), even hubby was shopping for a calendar/planner. He's picky and frugal (C-H-E-A-P, that spells frugal). He found a Franklin Covey planner that *might* be just perfect,'s $130 (I don't blame him, I don't think I'd spend that much money on a calendar). The $20 planners at Target/Staples/Walmart/Online have been calling for him to do some comparisons. So, we spent some time in the office supplies and then just meandered through the store enjoying our popcorn, sodas and together time. There were no temper tantrums, no fits, no....nothing. It was wonderful!

I spent most of the weekend not writing but doing craft-improving things...reading, reading, and more reading. Most of the reading was focused on writing-related articles; however, I took out a little time to enjoy Plum Spooky, by Janet Evanovich. Research, I tell you. It's all research!

After having had ill people in the house for a total of four weeks and being ill myself for almost two weeks of that time, the sun came out a couple of days ago and I think it's here to stay! Wahoo! I woke up still a little pink around the edges of my eyes but tossed in my contact lenses anyway. Then, despite the fact that I didn't want to, I went for a walk. Not my 2-mile version, but put in a little over a mile and am feeling darn spunky.

With that...I'm off to write. I have 14K to pound out in 9 days. I think I can, I think I can (even with spring break fast approaching)...then, I'm gonna print off my historical romance (working title Nevermore) and take it camping with me. I plan on editing the historical while the Big Cat shifter "cooks", the same way Nevermore has been simmering. This method is just an experiment on my part...I'm honestly not sure this is the way I *can* write, as my historical novel keeps bumping elbows with the shifter story in my mind (picture two kids in the backseat of the car shrieking "he touched me" and "he looked at me funny" at inconvenient times). I may end up being a one-story-at-a-time kind of gal. Which is okay too. Because you know there's only one rule a writer has to follow and that is:

To Write!

Friday, March 19, 2010

TGI Friday Update

I've got five minutes to blog before I have to dash to the high school to pick up Drama Teen. The rest of the afternoon will be spent waiting for the arrival of the ice cream truck, which, quite honestly, is about all I can muster the energy for.

I'm almost well again, except for my eyes. Being nearly blind, I hate wearing glasses. I've worn contacts since I was to be sentenced to wearing frames on my face for a week has been miserable. I'm not vain, but I feel downright dowdy and old in glasses.

Spring has sprung here in the High Desert. Night time temperatures have been in the high 30's and daytime temps have hit the upper 70s. Gorgeous sunlight! I'm excited to be able to tote my Alphasmart out to the patio and write in the evenings. Especially since Mr. Wonderful has been taking the boys out to ride their bicycles after dinner.

I've been doing the happy dance all week as I got an offer from for one of my books. I'll make a full announcement when I have a few more details about the when and where to share.

Now, I have to get back to writing the Big Cat shifter I'm striving to have written by the end of the month. In April, I will start hitting edits for my historical romance -- I'm hoping to start shopping it around in May. I'm hoping that by alternating writing and editing, it will give me a little more distance from the book and help me be a bit more ruthless in editing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Yep, I know you've been anxiously waiting for this post. Essie over at the Accidental Mommy has thrown out the gauntlet again this week to 'fess up to our secret indulgences...those things you would give up everything except chocolate to have. In fact, in order to keep these two things, I'd seriously consider going to boot camp.

Diet Pepsi. I was never a coffee drinker, but in college, developed a strong addiction to soft drinks. Then, I went to work for Frito-Lay for 5 years. The result, I simply cannot live without Diet Pepsi. When we went to Guatemala to pick up the boys, I had to subsist on Diet Coke. I lived...barely. Our trips to Canada and Sweden introduced me to Pepsi Light. I'm just hoping that if we troop off to Egypt next year that they, too, will have unlimited sugar-free Pepsi products for my consumption. If not...well, I won't NOT go, but I'll be grouchy until I get my hands around an ice cold can...

The next is books. Books, books, more books. Yes, it's true, I have heard that there are places they call libraries where I can pick up books to read for free. And I do...but honestly, they never have the exact titles I want when I want them. B&, click of the mouse and voila, I can have books sent to the house. Even better, e-books. One click of the mouse and "poof", they are right there for my eager eyes to devour.

Heaven is a Diet Pepsi and a book.

What about you? What's your secret indulgence? 'Fess up, you know you want to.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Got up this morning to pandemonium. Drama Teen got herself up, hurraye, hurraye. Kinderboy #2 awoke complaining of a sore throat. A glance at his tonsils determined that he needed another trip to the Dr. Unfortunately, having just come off antibiotics, they weren't willing to dish out any more to him. So, grape chloroseptic for kids it is. He was home all day (can you hear the despair in my typing?).

I'm bright-eyed...unfortunately, my eyes are bright PINK. Yep. So, I, too, went to the doctor to get eye drops. No sign of improvement yet...hopefully by morning (fingers crossed).

The case of the gift has gotten more complex, convoluted, and confusing. I figure my daughter will be lucky if ANYTHING arrives for her. Supposedly Ex- canceled the gift to be delivered today, then, told me that UPS called for an does that mean it's back on??? And the replacement gift that he purchased (because the first one was canceled) was supposed to just be a gift card (to arrive in the mail), but he supposedly canceled that as well and bought her a Jr. Drum Set (we suspect the first gift is a Jr. Drum Set as well). The problem...Drama Teen is 16 years old and the Jr. Drum Sets are geared toward children 10 and under. Hmmmm.... even if the gifts do get here (I'm not holding my breath), they won't be age appropriate. Thankfully, she's taken this in stride and doesn't seem too bothered one way or the other).

Drama Teen has a good heart...she was concerned for the Ex- and his wife that they were spending money they didn't have. So she convinced Mr. Wonderful to give the caged cobra (Ex-'s wife) a call to make sure she was cognizant of all the $ being spent on gifts, as from her experience, there was often a lack of communication that resulted in fighting over expenditures. For the heads up, Mr. Wonderful got an earful of spite and was told to mind his own business. Luckily, he, too, took all of that in stride.

The best part of the's all MY fault. I'm just amazed that without any effort at all on my part, I can screw up things 2000 miles away. Am I good or am I GOOD?

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Attack of the Virus and/or Dismal Word Counts

Despite this being week 2 of sickness, only one person in the family seems to have fully recovered. That's the child who brought it home and gave it to everyone. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

As a result, everyone has been dragging, sniffling, coughing, sneezing, medicating, coughing some more... I had the Lysol spray out this morning treating doorknobs and other surfaces, hoping to kill off some of those germs. I figure anything will help.

My word count has been dismal. I'm participating in the write a book in a month challenge hosted by Deanna Lee at Cobblestone Press. Luckily I'm just writing a tryst. I'm 3400 words into a 15K novella. If I can stop coughing and/or blowing my nose, I should be able to spit out 12K more by the 31st.

Writer's are people too...we all have lives outside of the books we write, some lives may be idyllic and some fraught with pitfalls. My major pain in the butt is an ex-husband. Drama Teen is the child from that union...I've posted her a little about her troubles with her bio dad and his new wife. For the past 1.5 years, things have been more than a little rocky with them. Just this past week, I made an appointment with an attorney to see what needs to be done to clarify some of the child custody terms and make them more favorable to our sixteen year old daughter being able to make the decision of when and where to see him.

I wrote a huge open letter to him this morning, just to get a few things out in the open. I probably won't ever mail it. He doesn't have "the time" to read "drivel" from me, and honestly, I just needed to get the words on paper so they were no longer jumping around in my head, competing for attention with my WIP. However, I thought this last part was simply too witty (and true) for it to go to waste. So, for your entertainment, I'll post it here...

To my ex-husband --

You have called for the past two mornings, not to talk to our daughter but to ask ME a favor. What about the word EX-WIFE do you not understand? What burns me the most is NOT you trying to charm our daughter with flowers and gifts. Hell, I expect that. However, did you HONESTLY think I was going to be an accomplice in getting you back into our daughter's good graces? You screwed up the relationship, you need to make it right.

So, you mailed her a package and put the wrong address on it? Do you HONESTLY think I'm going to fix the problem to make YOU, the looser dead beat ex-husband, look like a hero? SNORT. I don't think so!

UPDATE: The story gets EVEN better. When he first called yesterday, the Ex- reeled off the tracking number to Mr. Wonderful who scrawled it down on a post-it note. After we discussed our non-action on the issue, we discarded the post-it (trash pickup was about 9 am this morning). About noon today, I get another call from the ex-. He needs the routing number of the gift HE SENT through UPS so that he can change the delivery address. Could we please let him know what it is? WTF!?! You ordered it...why don't you have the tracking number? Repeat, what about EX-WIFE do you not understand????

Now, in case you're wondering, this man, my ex-, will be 50 years old in a few weeks. A half a century of ineptitude. Where is Darwin when you need him?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Once again, I missed my Monday blog due to illness. This time, mine. Yep, I've succumbed to the virus my family insisted upon sharing with me. Good thing they are "mostly" well, so I can stay home and rest.

I've been making coffin jokes...don't need a fancy one, or it'll only cost the price of a shovel to bury me, etc... Which brought to mind today's too true fact about me.

Do NOT bury me in socks!

I don't sleep in if I'm heading for eternal rest, don't put socks on my feet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday's Frantic Family Update

Remember last Friday, when I was soooo looking forward to Monday. This is one of those times when if I'd known what was in store for me, I'd have run away to Las Vegas for a week, or two.

Saturday, Ed took kidlets to the movies, everyone felt fine and dandy (well, except Drama Teen who still had lots of pain from her angio Seal/angiogram). Sunday, the first inkling that things weren't "right" began to rear their ugly head. Mr. Wonderful was dead tired. He's been fighting a cold for weeks and just never getting better. Then, on Monday, Kinderboy #2 had pink eye. I used Kinderboy#1's drops while I waited for his prescription. Kinderboy#2 also had a cough from the souls of his shoes, a headache, and an earache. By Tuesday, so did Drama Teen and Mr. Wonderful. A trip to urgent care set us up with all sort of medications. Kinderboy#2 started feeling better, even Drama Teen's eyes have finally started to clear up (we were late starting her drops because she's allergic to "everything" and needed to make sure her face wouldn't swell up if we used the boys drops. Ends up, that's all that was needed.

Wednesday night, I had my first oh-oh of symptoms. A cough that dug so deep I thought I'd spill my dinner. Woke up Thursday with a sore throat, ear ache, headache, congestion, etc. Just in time for everyone else to feel well...yippeee!

I'm blogging over at the Lyrical Press blog today about something...not sure what as it's still early yet. Perhaps I'll address the issue of how to write and meet deadlines when you feel like a zombie.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Too True Tuesday

If you missed my post on Monday, there wasn't one. 3 out of 5 of our family members have pink eye, ear aches, sore throats, runny noses, and...and...and.... I'm one of the lucky ones who isn't sick, the other one is only 6 years old. Guess you don't have to wonder who's been dispensing medicine, tissues, and lots of love. I didn't get any writing done either...but that's okay because the book is FINISHED. Well, it's out with critique partners and put away for a month while I tackle a book in a month challenge at Cobblestone Press (can you say erotic big cat shifters???) Luckily, I can plot and be a mom simultaneously (sort of).

Essie, the accidental mommy, has thrown down the gauntlet for us to reveal to the world our compulsive/obsessive habits. The ones that enable society to exist and keep us from sliding into a horror even Stephen King couldn't contemplate (Dean Koontz, now, maybe he could envision my sort of horror -- read Relentless).

My obsession came along long before I was an author, but I didn't "own" it (i.e., I lived by myself and no one else noticed) until I was an author.

I, um, constantly. Even when I'm writing, surfing the net, chasing spiders... my e-mail is open on my desktop. I've tried to turn it off when I write, but curiosity drives me to open it every one to five minutes. I found I spent more time typing in my virtually unbreakable password (which is near to impossible to type correctly the first time), every time I *had* to check my e-mail. So, it stays open so that I can see what has dropped into my inbox.

I'm also right on top of collecting phone messages & mail.

Now, the door? Someone else can answer that puppy, because I'll tell you, no editor/agent is going to come to my house, so I know whoever is standing on the steps is either Jehovah's Witness or for the kids.

So, do you have any obsessive/compulsive drive you'd like to share?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday already????

It's been a crazy, crazy week. Monday was pretty typical. The kids went to school, everything was great. Then, Tuesday came.

Drama Teen had a follow up angiogram at Loma Linda to evaluate her aneurysm. Is it blocked (fingers crossed that it is), has any titanium shifted (fingers crossed that it hasn't). When we were all caught up in the aneurysm scare, I looked at the angiogram as a blessing. It was a way to get a glimpse in there and find out what was needed to fix that bulging vessel. So, I've been amazed at my reaction to this last (hopefully last forever) angiogram.

It was at a new hospital (Loma Linda versus UCLA) although our beloved neurosurgeon, Dr. Nestor Gonzales, was in contact with the doctor performing it. It also took all freaking day. The appt was to have been at 10:30 but she didn't go in for the procedure until 1:30, was out at 3:30. I was prepared for a 5-hour lay flat period. Mr. Wonderful called at 6:30 saying they were being released (can you hear the screetching brake sound I made?) They pierced the femoral artery and they are letting her go now????

After some checking, we discovered that they were using a new type of seal for the artery. I made the mistake of Googling it. Damn scary. Now, I'm sure that the old sandbag/lay flat method is just as dangerous, but I hadn't googled that and didn't know. So, Damn!

They got back late and she was white as a sheet. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well at that night. I think I was up every half hour alternating with Mr. Wonderful, also up every half hour. That she got any sleep was a wonder. We also weren't prepared for the pain of this new closure. Before, it looked awful (bruising up the wazoo) but it didn't hurt. This Angio Seal hurts. So, instead of a quick recovery (used to be a couple of days of laying around and then she'd forget about the procedure)....she's been down for the count. Bruising, swelling, and general malaise. Instead of an decreased recovery time, it's been days longer. Yeah, it's great for the hospital. They get the patients "out" in a few hours instead of most of the day...however, the recovery time just gets pushed off onto the patient at home.

On Wednesday, Kinderboy#1 went to school and immediately came home with pink eye. I don't know if I just didn't notice the crusty eye because my own eyes were barely open or what. The drops have cleared it up noticeably and he went back to school on Thursday.

Yesterday, Kinderboy#2 got off the bus with his performance slip. He gets one every day that gives me an accounting of how good (or bad) he was at school. Oddly, a red pen had marked a "not good/not bad" block stating that he'd had trouble listening and had interrupted the class. But, the "Excellent" box had also been checked. Hmmmmm. Interrogation by me elicited that Kinderboy#1 had been coerced into marking that block for Kinder#2. Shouldn't that mean that Kinder#1 would get in trouble. Um, no... So, after an hour or so of crying and saying "sorry", I'm pretty sure Kinderboy#2 won't be pulling that stunt again.

As for me...I'm gonna be glad when it's Monday and they all go back to school, especially as it's going to rain most of the weekend and I've still got a bit to go on polishing up my work in progress. I'm still loving the story and I'm going to be a bit sorry to see it go. I'd be sad, but I know that I'll fall deeply in love with the next one, too, and I'm just a bit excited that I'll be meeting it soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Totally True Tuesday

Here it is, your tidbit of the week:

My mother raised me to believe that five minutes early is "on time". As such, I stress about arriving a few minutes late for any appointment. But, today, was my personal best for being early. One day...yep, a full 24-hours early.


Monday, February 22, 2010

TGI Monday

I am certainly glad to see Monday come, although the weekend was a good one. Saturday, we didn't do much. Just the usual cleaning, playing, and entertaining bored kids. Sunday was our Wedding Anniversary. Six years (don't ask why 2 out of 3 of our kids are older than our marriage -- it's one of those long, complex, blended family sagas) and they've been the best ones of my life. To celebrate, we went shopping. I know that sounds a little weird, but we don't often get time "alone" and this way, we got a weekend errand done AND got to actually talk to each other. After the household stuff, we went looking for a new chair for me.

Since I spend so much time with my butt parked in one, we decided the wicker rocker that wasn't good for anyone's back or legs, needed to retire and we'd get a proper computer desk chair. After lots of sitting, and shopping, and more sitting, we picked one out. But, guess what? They didn't have it in stock.

Grrr... luckily, there are two business supply stores in the area and the other one had two chairs in stock. So, we ditched our first set of dinner plans (Black Angus) to drive to Palmdale and pick up the chair. Proximity and time pretty much dictated our choice of dinner to a local Indian restaurant. Curry for our anniversary? Worked for both of us! Then, home to rescue Drama Teen and her friend, who were co-babysitting the boys (and devouring pizza, wings, and cheesy bread).

I was thrilled to send the whole crew out of the house this morning and dive into my editing cave. I'm taking a finished first draft deeper, adding details, characterizations, and fleshing out my characters. Honestly, this is the most fun I've ever had editing before. I have Donald Maass to thank for this...his workshop opened up new horizons for adding tension to not only the manuscript in total, but to individual pages, paragraphs, and even lines. Let's just hope it pays off in the sale of this story!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Frantic Friday Update

I love my children, I love them more when they are at school or asleep (or playing at a neighbor's house -- can you spot the trend there?). Despite it having been a short week, it's gone relatively well.

Drama Teen has had issues with her bio dad for over a year now. She's 17 months shy of 18 and anticipating that once she's passed that magical landmark, he will have nothing more to do with her. Honestly, I fear that, too. He threatens it often enough. Sad that the person who is "supposed" to love you repeatedly talks about rejecting you. Yes, this is why she's in therapy to improve her self-esteem -- grrr...

The Kinderboys have had a relatively good week. They've both earned ice cream...too bad it's supposed to rain tomorrow (another grrrr). Good thing we have a local Foster's Freeze (or, if I can get my act together, I might head into town and stop by Cold Stones -- can you say YUMMY!!!)

Kinderboy#1, our RADish, has been having trouble with the word 'No;. It's his automatic answer to any question (just to be contrary). Needless to say, he's missed out on some good snacks and one night's dinner because he didn't listen to the question. He begs for a second chance, but after the first couple of times giving him another shot at it (and still having him sabotage himself), we've run out of seconds. He's also having trouble *hearing* the word No, but I don't think that's RADish, just kidlike.

Kinderboy#2 is growing up W-A-Y too fast. I'm so glad that out of all my children I got one snuggler. Even now, he'll curl up in my lap right before bed, snuggling in just like a baby. I get tears in my eyes thinking that by next year, he'll probably be too mature to want to be rocked for a few minutes. Where does the time go?

Speaking of which, Sunday is my wedding anniversary. It's been six years of nearly married bliss. He's buying me a new computer chair for my gift...even better, we'll get a whole afternoon of shopping for a chair and a gift for him and then dinner after, without the kids! Wooowwweeee!

I'm running through self-edits on my finally finished historical (remember, the one I was *never* going to write?). Now that the "story" is written, I'm having a blast layering in nineteenth century details, slang, and fleshing out my characters. I look back on when I first started writing this book a few short months ago and marvel, wow, have my hero and heroine grown! Still, I'll be glad when I'm ready to send them out into the cold harsh world of publication. I have high hopes for their success, and I'm already thinking about my next book. It's one of those stories that pops into your head almost fully formed (thank you Madam Muse). I just have to get it from my brain to my fingers and then on to paper.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too True Tuesday

I'm counting down the days until Drama Teen turns 18. Not because then she'll be a grownup, but because after that date, I can block my ex-husband's phone number from our home and never have to speak to him again.

Sounds like a case of bad attitude on my part? You'd change your mind if you ever met him.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Marathon

Wow -- I forgot to do my too true Tuesday and my frantic Friday updates...mostly because there really wasn't anything all that memorable to write about. We saw Tooth Fairy (cute movie) on Monday, the kids finally went back to school on Tuesday (with a half-day break on Wednesday), and in between all of that I have been writing. And writing, and writing, and writing. My word count has been over 1500 words per day (my average is 500).

I can't seem to get the scenes from my head to the paper fast enough. Needless to say...I love it when this happens. It's almost as if I'm channeling the story. But I know the basis of the tale is coming from inside me. I've been dreaming about my characters, envisioning scenes while I'm driving the car, walking, picking up kids from the bus, taking a shower... the story seems to have taken over my life.

Now, this occasionally happens when I'm writing...but never to this extent. This particular tale has been dominating everything. I've managed to keep the household running...just. I have two, perhaps three scenes left to write for the first draft and my mind has been working overtime, reminding me of things I need to add, details/layering, and I have pages of notes to myself for things to correct in the second draft (already). To say I'm passionate about this particular story might be an understatement!

Valentine's Day was lovely. Gorgeous weather and I got to do some preliminary shopping for my wedding anniversary present (I'm hinting for a new desk chair, since my old one is in sad shape and I spend so much time with my butt planted in it.) Today, we're celebrating President's Day. Mr. Wonderful is feeling better (he's been fighting a cold all weekend) and has taken the boys to the park to feed the ducks. Drama Teen is tackling homework, so, I'm gonna cut this blog post short and bop on over to Word and write one more scene today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Darker Side of Valentine's Day

I should'a been writing...instead, I'm giving you a free read! Happy Valentine's Day and Enjoy!

As you know, I write seductive suspense and often my writing focuses on the dark side of life. Murder, mayhem, magick, ghosts, goblins, and even a zombie or two, they are all fodder to my imagination and my keyboard.

When I was single, I dreaded Valentine's Day. But thinking about it, that yearly visit from Cupid isn't only dreaded by singletons, but also by those unhappily married.

Take a peek at how the men of one family solve Cupid's mistakes in A Family Tradition.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flippin' it off Friday

I had Drama Teen home sick two days this week, and Kinderboy#2 two days...only one of those days coincided (Thursday, actually today, since I'm writing this post early in hopes of not having to do anything more than park my butt in a chair on Friday and bang out over 2000 words). Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit failed by the school system. Why? Because next week on Monday is a holiday and to add insult to injury, Wednesday is a minimum day. Listen, I love my kids. I would give my life for my kids. Too bad sick, whiny kids don't want your life, they want every waking moment of your life to be spent getting them drinks, tissues, food, more drinks, more tissues, more food (can you see the pattern developing here?)

And, if the sick, whiny ones weren't enough, I have Kinderboy#1. His play therapist asked how things were going and I unloaded on her. How he wouldn't get dressed on Friday and nearly went out the door with a coat on over his birthday suit to school. And how on Monday, he was soliciting the playground guards to take him home because his house had burned down and his whole family was dead. Thank goodness Kinderboy#2 was playing happily on the playground, evidence to the lie. Then, on Tuesday morning, after he asked me several times if his shoes were on the right foot (no, they weren't) and after deliberately putting his shoes on the wrong feet several times, I asked him why he always wanted Mommy to wear her frustrated face. I told him I didn't like wearing the face, why did he go out of his way to put it on my face. He said it was because I was an evil witch.

Now, I'm a firm believer that parents aren't a child's friend. And I've been the target of quite a few "I hate you's" and slammed doors. But, the way that he delivered it was calm. He likes me to wear that horrible frustrated face because it proves his belief that I'm an evil witch. It was a "kick him to the curb" moment for me. If he had been eighteen, I'd have packed his clothes, changed the locks, and told him "sayonara, have a good life." Unfortunately (or fortunately, whichever way you look at it), he's only 6. I think the therapist got a sense of my desperation and she's going to mix up the therapy a bit to give me some support.

Thursday, this morning remember, since I'm writing this early, started out much the same. Two sick kiddos and Kinderboy#1 doing his best to punch my buttons. I refused to take the bait. I put his clothes out for him, refused to let my husband insist that he talk to me instead of whispering in hubby's ear when I'd asked him a question. It's just so not worth engaging at this point. Intellectually, I understand RAD, emotionally, it hurts.

So, yes, Thursday he went to school with his pants on backwards and if the kids made fun of him, so be it.

Needless to say, I'm sooo not looking forward to the long weekend. On a brighter note, my hubby (Mr. Wonderful) has promised me dinner with my Alphasmart tonight (Friday) at Panera Bread and possibly a nice long stint at the library on Saturday afternoon. This book may get done yet...with or without the school's cooperation.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Essie, The Accidental Mommy, who's blog I stalk religiously 'cause she's funny, informative, and did I say funny?, has thrown out the gauntlet to confess our most shameful listening habit.

What music do I have on my IPOD that I'm embarrassed to admit to. Hmmmm...Now, I do have a Barney CD on my IPOD, but that's for the boys (really!). What I do have is a lose weight hypnotism session. I paid a small fortune for it one night when I couldn't sleep and got hooked into watching an informercial. Yes, I dialed the 1-800 number and waited anxiously until it came in the mail. Does it work? I haven't a clue. The session takes about 40 minutes for the first session which you are supposed to do daily for about a week. I don't think I've had 40 minutes to myself on consecutive days (when I'm not banging out my word count or shopping, or....). I tried using it a couple of times right after dinner, or right before bed, but my children are psychically attached to me. If they are home and I endeavor to exclusively use my brain cells for something selfish like reading or trying to lose weight, someone throws up, breaks something, clamors for attention, etc. I thought maybe, just maybe, this year I would give it a try right after lunch and before the yobs come home from school. In fact, I thought, oh, I'll try that today....well, best laid plans and all, I have one child home sick from school.'s that psychic connection thingy going on.

So, lots of money wasted... but I swear, I will listen to it and lose day....

Saturday, January 30, 2010


What do you mean it's Saturday already???

The week whizzed by, rather like a deadline, and all I heard was the whooshing sound it made. My excuse is that I'm running behind because of being gone all last weekend. Usually, on Saturday I make a meal plan for the upcoming week, plan my grocery list, shop... (gee, that sounds so organized). Needless to say, last week, it didn't get done.

I meant to do it on Monday, but I desperately begrudge having to give up any of my writing time for mundane housework. I write from about nine to noon on weekdays. Laundry I'll throw in and move around, but I don't fold it until kids go home. So, I didn't go shopping. On Tuesday, I had good intentions to clean out the car while the maids were here disrupting my schedule. It the car didn't get cleaned. Wednesday....well, you get the picture...housework/shopping/etc. just wasn't happening this week.

On Thursday, Drama Teen finally had her 1 year checkup of her brain surgery. I picked up the films (CDs really, although they still called them "films") and the reports. I could tell right off the bat that the test the insurance company had assured us was equivalent to the more expensive one the physician had ordered wasn't adequate. There was far too much discussion by the physician about not being able to make things out because of the scatter caused by the titanium wires blocking the aneurysm. Duh. Bad enough that we had to pay out of pocket to see the original neurosurgeon simply because his group had fallen off the in-network provider list and been replaced by an equally good group. Yes, the new group is as good...but the Dr. had never seen my daughter before. We wanted the surgeon who had done the surgery to see her for the first follow up. Two appeals later, we lost. Thank goodness we have a medical reimbursement fund through my husband's work. Lessens the blow to the pocketbook a little. AND, poor Drama Teen should still have the more expensive and intrusive test (a CT with angiography) done. Other than that, she got a clean bill of health.

And then, to top off the week, I subbed an online pitch to a literary agent for one of my books. They requested a full manuscript! Only thing, it needs a little more work before I send it off. Nothing like a deadline to set a fire under your bum! I know what I'm gonna be doing next week~

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Major Squee!

Crisscross won a Favorite Book Reviewed in 2009 award at Romance Book Scene. What a thrill!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Given the opportunity to go out or stay at home...I usually opt for staying at home UNLESS going out involves camping.

Now, I never camped growing up. My family seldom took vacations. My dad was in the military so we moved...a lot. There was never much need to take a vacation because about every two years we got to pull up stakes and live somewhere new.

When I first met my now-husband, we became friends first. I dragged him to movies, company picnics, the fair, all just as friends. So, when we first developed an interest in each other, he invited me to go camping. What I didn't know is that it was a TEST. Yep, one of those infamous trials that men subject women to in order to determine if they are "the one"....

So, we went camping. I loved much so that I invited myself to go along on the next outing (the following week). Used to be, we'd go camping four or so times a year. That dropped off once the boys came's much harder to camp with babies. However, now that they've grown up, we've been going more often. I just booked a trip to one of the state beaches over Spring Break and we're talking about a week-long road trip to Oregon this summer.

I may look like a girly-girl, but there's some pioneer spirit buried in there somewhere.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Donald Maass Workshop Recap

All I can say is wowza (or, in his words...DUDE!) What an incredible day! Eight hours of writing information, networking, and spending time with people who "get" it (the writing life, that is).

I took 15 pages of notes and came back to the room last night, enthused. Wasn't able to write a word as my mind was simply too full of information that still needed to be process and absorbed. So, I read a little bit instead. However, this morning, I woke up early and banged out over 1K before I packed my suitcase. Now, it's time for the long drive back home. I have Pirate Latitudes to keep me company on audiobook and if I run out of that, I have Angels by Marian Keyes downloaded as well. I checked out the first of the Walsh girls' stories (Anyone Out There?) on audiobook from the library. Even my hubby (who is also a big audiobook fan) loved, loved, loved the characters. Especially Mum Walsh. I'm hoping she makes an appearance in this book and I also hope the mystery of who Anna married is solved at some part during the series (the sooner the better, but I understand if the author leaves me hanging. Okay, no, I won't. I'll hate it...hate her for keeping me in the dark, but I will buy her next book. Sigh)

Anyway....I'm posting this early - Sunday-, so don't expect a Monday post this week...I'll be writing on my WIP instead!

So, hope you had a fantabulous weekend. I surely did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Too True Tuesday

As promised, here's one little nugget of trueness about yours truly that may (or may not) come as a surprise. Although I have a near legendary sweet tooth, I do not like ice cream. Now, the toppings. I could live on hot name it, I love it. It's just too bad the "toppings" have to accompany ice cream.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Unrealistic Expectations

Back in the summer, when I was thinking about the freedom I'd have once the kids went back to school has now settled into the reality.

I had thought I'd have five full, productive days to write. I pictured myself sitting down at 8:30 and writing until noon or so. Ha. It was a lovely dream. The reality set in with a thump. Since the kids have gone back to school in August, I think I've only had one or two "full" weeks to write. Holidays, minimum days, sick days, and the endless round of IEP meetings for one of my sons has whittled away at my productivity. Yesterday, I wrote 6 words. Yep...but it was a Sunday. I thought I would have the opportunity to get out of the house and go somewhere quiet to write. My husband beat me to it and took the boys out...leaving me with Drama Teen. Yes, theoretically, we could leave Drama Teen alone. She's sixteen and perfectly capable of sitting in front of the television and allowing her brain cells to wilt. Unfortunately, she doesn't "want" to do it alone. I mentioned leaving for Panera Bread and she brightened and wanted to go with me. Um...the point is to "get away"... it's not as if she would have anything to "do" there. The argument made sense to me, but not to her. In the end, it was easier to just stay home and get some busy work done. I backed up my files, finished a critique for a friend's WIP (jj Keller...if you haven't read her latest, Undercover Housewife, you are missing out. Do yourself a favor and hop over here and get a copy!)

I also got a first glance at my new website template. Frauke at CrocoDesigns rocks. There were just a couple of things I'd like fixed and then I'll be able to unveil the design. I cannot wait!

If all the kidlets actually go to school tomorrow (please!), I'll finally have a day to transport myself to Baltimore in 1849. My fingers are itching to get some words typed. Wednesday is a wash. An IEP late in the morning will throw a wrench into getting a lot of writing done. Thursday, I hope to have another full day and then Friday....oh, I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to Friday.

For at noon, my dear, darling, loveable husband is coming home from work early. I'm gonna throw my suitcase, my Alphasmart, a laptop, and my printed WIP into the car and start driving north. Not to Alaska...but to Sunnyvale. The Donald Maass workshop is on Saturday. I'm practically panting to "Put Fire in my Fiction"...getting away for almost two full days (Fri noon until Sunday at 4) and having to take care of only myself sounds heavenly.

And I comfort myself with the thought that just maybe for the rest of the year I can get more than two days a week to write....maybe....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Day Late and Somewhat Less Than A Dollar Short

After the wango-tango of Wednesday, the rest of the week was smooth sailing...perhaps because I headed off to bed as soon as Drama Teen was tucked in (a little after 9 pm) and slept until the alarm went off with very little wakeful times in between. Mama is soooo much happier with a normal night's sleep.

The ice cream truck, once again, skipped our neighborhood on Friday. He was out there blaring his annoying music on Thursday, so, I'll be mixing things up a bit next week and letting the kids have ice cream a day early (assuming he comes...the weather is supposed to be dark, gloomy, and rainy all next week). Being as we live where there are two seasons...summer and SUMMER...I relish the rain and the clouds. Makes me a bit reminiscent for home (Illinois). But, just to be on the safe side, I watered the lawn today. That should induce Mother Nature to dump some H20 in our direction.

It's a long weekend...the car I'll be driving north for the workshop next weekend was serviced early this morning and the boys are down for an afternoon nap (which they desperately needed). Tomorrow, we may try to take a day trip to Placerita Canyon for some hiking before the weather changes.

I am soooo looking forward to next weekend and the Donald Maass workshop. I'm hoping to see some of the wonderful ladies I met at the All Writers All Weekend conference last year. It's nice to network with people who "get it". Plus, I really need the kick in the butt. One of my e-publishers contacted me to see what books I'd be delivering to them this year. As I am now in the throes of writing my third full-length novel, I haven't been very focused on anything short/erotic. So, I grabbed a pen and a calendar this morning. If I can finish my zombie historical by the end of April, I could possibly write three or four novellas/short stories before the end of the year. So, I need to get cracking!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Surprise Wednesday Update

Why? Well, although this falls into the happenings of my Friday family update, I feel the need to post about it now. Maybe just to get it off my chest.

I've been up since 3:18 am. Not because I wanted to be, either. I brought the sickness home over the weekend (picked up in Walmart on aisle 6 or 7, I forget which one). I had hoped it was food poisoning, but in the wee sma' hours of the morning, it was obviously viral. Kinderboy#2 woke Daddy up (because I sleep like a dead thing) and some shuffling and turning on lights ensued. I turned over, trying to recapture the dream starring Keanu Reeves. Hubby flies through door and I ask him what's up. He murmurs something about a thermometer. I inform him that the viral-thing I had didn't come with a temperature.

CRASH, BANG, BOOM. I sat straight up in bed, heart pounding, sure it was the Haiti earthquake repeating itself here in California (the land of the impending Big One). But no, it was angry hubby searching for the thermometer. More crashing, more booming, and it's obvious that things are being pitched onto the floor.

Hubby departs and quiet ensues. I try, desperately to recapture that Keanu feeling. Hubby creeps back to bed but ruins the affect by giving me a lecture on what to tell the maids about hanging cords in front of drawers that must be opened in the night. Then he tells me I need a lesson in cord safety as well. WTH?

Now I know, and he denies, that this all started with the dishwasher incident 3 weeks ago. What, may you ask, was that? Well, my husband is a great guy. He works hard and doesn't grumble (too much) about the money I spend to keep the household running or snipe at me for the housework I should be doing, since I stay home all day and work in the house. I appreciate all that. So much so that he only had one lousy little chore to do every day.

Empty the dishwasher.

That's it.

Get up in the morning, empty the dishwasher, go to work, come home, eat dinner, play with family, rinse, repeat. Except since the programming contest in early NOVEMBER, the dishwasher duty kindof dropped out of the routine. I didn't say too much from Sept - Nov, knowing that the contest takes over most things. But after? So, one night after I'd looked at TWO sinks full of dishes all day and watched him give up washing his hands at the kitchen sink and then walk away from a dishwasher full of clean, shiny dishes to go to bed that I lost it.

Yes, I could, indeed, empty that dishwasher. When it's only once or twice a week, I can swallow it. However, it was going on day 5 of him just "forgetting". Now, I could understand if it were buried among a busy schedule of other household chores, but this is IT. The only daily one he has. WTF? So, around midnight, I unloaded the dishwasher with vim and vinegar, loaded it back up, and meandered (stalked really) back to bed.

He acted all surprised, apologetic, etc. but I still suspect there's something passively aggressive about not doing the chore. So much that I brought that up. He denied it, but I still wonder if the whole incident hasn't just been seething on his back burner. So, was last night payback? He claims it wasn't, but as for me...I'm not that sure.

All I know is surprise, surprise...I've forgotten to cook dinner tonight. So there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too True Tuesday

This week's topic is to "get your cheap on"...

I reuse plastic grocery bags for trash liners in the bathrooms

I bought hand soap pumps that dispense foam instead of pure soap. Now that jumbo bottle of hand soap refill lasts months longer.

I make our greeting cards (except Christmas)

I wear the same pair of sweatpants around the house for a whole week. If I have to go out, I change into a pair of jeans that also gets worn multiple times. Drama Teen has finally succumbed to wearing her jeans for two days instead of just one (partly because she has to do her own laundry). Mr. Scott, also, wears his pants for more than one day. The only clothing the boys can wear twice without washing is their PJs...their pants and shirts are usually dirty within minutes of being exposed to their little bodies.

Edited and Updated: Oh! I nearly forgot. I received a pair of hair cutting clippers for my birthday a few years ago and have been happily cutting my boys' hair (and saving 10.95+tip). Just last year, I got skilled enough that Mr. Scott now has me clip his hair as well (saving 8.00+tip -- he used to get his hair cut on the AFB where it's cheaper)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Best Laid Plans and All That Jazz

Well, this weekend certainly didn't go as planned.

It started out on a high point. Last year, I tooled up the coast to All Writers All Weekend hosted by the Silicon Valley RWA. It was tons of fun. This year, instead of a conference, they are hosting several agents to come in for workshops, etc. In two weeks, Donald Maass is having an all-day workshop there, Fire in Fiction. Despite the cold January temps, the weather looks pretty good for a road trip and I've booked a seat at the workshop.

I was planning on heading to the library but my friend called and wanted to know if Drama Teen and I wanted to go shopping with her and Tall Teen. Since I now need a nice comfortable outfit for the workshop (jammies would do for me, but I'm not sure that's the impression I want to leave with an agent), I ditched my writing plans for shopping. Tall Teen needed some black and white striped attire for a Beetlejuice-type costume for winter guard. What fun we had picking out shirts, skirts, and even some striped leg warmers! I found the perfect outfit for the conference (and even had a chance to give it a trial run for comfort at the kinderboy's award ceremony this morning). I even got all the accoutrements to redecorate the guest bathroom. Wow, did I feel like I'd gotten a lot accomplished, except writing...but I'd do that on Sunday.

While Drama Teen cracked open her cookbook and set about making a baked potato soup, I sat on the couch and realized I was dead tired. Not just the got up early and traipsed all over creation tired, but bone tired and I was feeling "off" in the tummy area. It wasn't until the kinderboys were in bed that I realized I felt a bit off. Understatement of the year.

By midnight, I had a raging tummy. I watched forensics shows into the wee hours, until some perky young thing wanted to sell me something to improve my abs, which were sore without exercising, thank you very much.

Sunday, I spent on the couch or in bed, unable to get up and "do" anything. Exactly 24 hours after the onset (how is it that happens?), I started to feel better and managed to eat a little of the pancakes my husband whipped up for dinner.

Today, I'm tired but feeling almost back to normal. Mr. Scott & I went to the award ceremony and cheered Kinderboy#1 when he received the Student of the Month award. Needless to say, no writing was done this weekend and if I don't get my butt in gear today, I will be hopelessly behind. Good thing this workshop is coming up...I certainly need the kick in the butt.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Fiasco...

Horror, upon horror - the ice cream truck didn't meander through our neighborhood today. I know. Most of the country is buried in snow and freezing temperatures; however, here in the high desert, it's sunny and warm. The temperature today topped out around 60. The ice cream man came where, oh where is he today? The kids are driving me nuts, especially kinderboy#2, who's got the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" syndrome. Sigh. On a bright note, looks like I might be sending daddy and the kid crew to Foster's Freeze after dinner for ice cream.

It's been an odd week. Kids went back to school (yay!), had a minimum day on Wednesday (boo!), had one kidlet try out playing sick on Thursday to avoid Math resource (grr~) and now the week has drawn to a close. I'm glad to get back into a routine, although I'm not sure I'm really liking those 5:30 mornings. I flirted with getting up close to six, but on two mornings, I had kidlets out of the bedrooms shortly after six. They must be drawing to a close on a sleep, back to 5:30 and having almost an hour to myself in the mornings. I just read e-mail, make lunches, pack backpacks and start breakfast, but I NEED that time to do it ALONE.

I didn't get much writing done. I started compiling all the information on my books that the webmistress I hired to redesign my website in Wordpress needed at the end of *mumble*. What? What month? Clears throat. November. She needed it at the end of November. Bad, bad me. Good thing the holidays threw everything off and she's of a forgiving nature. Since it seemed as if I were doing "busy work" and not writing, my muse took a few days off to chase cabana boys on her uncharted island in the Pacific. So, I only slogged through 600 words but...yes, there is a but, she arrived back this morning raring to go and left me with two or three additional scenes for my book and the idea to move the falling in love portion of the story until after the kidnapping & rescue... which will work she assures me. So, to celebrate, I finished gathering all that information from the four corners of my office (hard drive) and shipped it off to Frauke at Croco Designs. I still have a critique for a friend to finish but I can write and critique in the same work session (lucky me)... so I'm hoping to make good progress on both over the weekend.

I'll speed up my post here as it's about time for me to throw the pizzas in the oven. We were going to have lamb chops (yum!)...but no one but Mr. Scott & I would eat them. So, we're going to combine those succulent cuts of meat with the baked potato soup Drama Teen is going to whip up tomorrow night. Being as that left me with a blank spot in the week's menu - I did what I do best. Shop. Good thing the pizzas were on sale.

Speaking of sales, had a fantastic deal on pens a few weeks ago. Being as I was down to having only 5 left of the 300 I'd ordered last year, I splurged a royalty check and placed an order. They came today and are GORGEOUS! If you'd like to take a look at them, leave me a comment with your e-mail address. I'll gather names and addresses offline and ship out 1 *or 5* to your address (1 for you and 4 to share with your friends/neighbors/strangers on the street). Unfortunately, I have to limit this offer to US residents, sorry!

So, comment away and have a fantabulous weekend! I know I will...I have a date with a library carroll and my Alphasmart tomorrow and a belly dance baby shower on Sunday. I'll be back on Monday with more zany news from the writing front ~


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Too True Tuesday

Just to shake things up in 2010, I'm gonna post some true fact about our weird and crazy family on Tuesdays.

So, here goes the first:

We eat off paper plate every single night of the week (well, except when we eat out).

Sorry Mom!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Confessions of a blended family...

I is supposed to be my writing update...but I'm making an exception because today is our family day. Living in a blended family brings with it lots of stresses that bio-families don't deal with. But it also brings joys that greatly outweigh those problems.

Five years ago on a cold day in early January, we traveled to Guatemala to pick up two little boys. Our life has not been the same since! For the baby (kinderboy#2), the transition has been easy. Partly that's because he really is just a laid-back, easy going guy. For the toddler, (Kinderboy#1) the transition wasn't an easy one. The first 18 months were hell for me and for him. He'd been abducted by aliens that didn't speak his language and expected to him live by all these "rules". It also didn't help that in his 17 short months prior to coming with us, he'd had three disruptions (birth mother, foster family #1, foster family #2). We were his fourth family and there wasn't much trust on his part that we were "it". We're seeing that even five years later... So, we've signed up for counseling to help him deal with some of his issues and help bond him to us. But, for the most part, he's now a happy little guy who loves school and just doing boy things (riding his bike, playing in the dirt, video games, etc.)

But adopting the boys isn't the ONLY reason today is Family Day.

Two years ago, Drama Teen got her nickname simply by all the drama she induced in the family. Part of it was teenage angst, part was caused by her brain aneurysm being located in one of the emotion regions of her brain, and a large part of it was having to come face to face with her own mortality. Needless to say, we had a couple of rough, rough months. Like most children with an absent bio parent, she nursed fantasies about how wonderful it would be to live with her bio-father and the step-mother she adored. When her behavior escalated into some unsafe and illegal acts, I punished her. She called and complained to him. Granted, he and his wife are practically strangers to her...he's a Disneyland dad and although his wife has kids, it's "different" when it's a teenager you barely know. Drama Teen considered step-mom more of a friend than a mother. Bio-father had NEVER had to deal with day-to-day parenting-- he left when Drama Teen was a toddler and married his new wife after her kids were raised and gone. Over the phone, he undermined my authority, downplayed the seriousness of everything, told her I was over-reacting, and then played the "come live with me and step-mom and life with be rosy" card. So, she went for two weeks at Christmas on a trial basis. If she decided to live with him, I told her I wouldn't object (it would have broken my heart, but in all fairness, I knew I had to let go if that's what she wanted.) My biggest fear when she left was that she wouldn't want to go back. I, the worst case scenerio aficionado, had never envisioned/planned for what really happened.

One week into the visit, I'd had three panicked phone calls from her and a request to come home early, which bio-father nixed (although up until then, he'd told her she could come home whenever she wanted to). All was not rosy... There had been no honeymoon period. She'd stepped off the plane and into the embrace of a man determined to "set her straight" and undo all the "bad parenting" I had inflicted upon my daughter. Well, needless to say, fantasy and reality collided when she continued to act out there the way she had been at home. Bio-father and step-mom came down much harder and with much less understanding than they'd led her to believe they would. In fact, the entire visit became abusive...with bio-father hiding the abuse from the step-mom who wouldn't have believed my daughter anyway. It was a nightmare and all I could do was count the minutes until the visit ended. In retrospect, CPS should have been called and she should have been removed from the home. We were concerned that removing her to a foster/group home we knew nothing about and probably filled with juvenile delinquints until we could get across the country to pick her up would do more harm than good. We figured it would be three days to get flights and all the details worked out (babysitting for the boys, etc) and she would be home in four. Next time, we'll call CPS first and think later.

Drama Teen came "home" after that visit, crying and sobbing her heart out. When she turned to my husband, the man who has been in her life since she was seven, who's loved and supported her, who has been her "daddy" in every way except DNA, and called him "Dad" and meant it, that sealed Family Day on the calendar forever.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Some of the blogs I've read lately have given a glimpse of their year in review. I'm not gonna bore you with a blow by blow. All I can say is lots of stuff happened, some of it good, some of it not so good. Drama Teen has had a remarkable change in attitude. Was it the brain surgery or just a sprinkle of maturity? I don't know, but this glimpse of the young woman she's becoming makes me proud. Kinderboy#1 is continuing to take slow steady progress toward attaching to our family. It's s-l-o-w process, not gonna happen overnight, but for once in a long time I have hope that it will happen. Kinderboy#2 is a constant source of endless snuggles which I'm indulging in for as long as I can. In other words, life happened, is continuing to happen, and that's a marvelous thing in and of itself.

I saw this quote the other day:

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.-- Alfred D. Souza

The words resonated deep and reminded me of the challenges I face as both a person and an author. Currently, I am on the great agent search of 2010. I've sent out agent queries twice before (coincidently in 2008 & 2009 -- hmmm). I don't know if this time I will be successful, what I do know is that just the act of writing stories and submitting them for consideration/publication is an authors "life"...and I'm gonna stop worrying so much about the destination and start enjoying the journey.

Thanks for "reading" along. I wish all of you blessings for 2010!