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out of pocket to see the original neurosurgeon simply because his group had fallen off the in-network provider list and been replaced by an equally good group.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!