Friday, November 30, 2007

NaNo Humor

This cracked me up this morning.
I hate to see National Novel Writing Month come to an end.
One more look at my NaNo page.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

White rabbits

Ever feel like the White Rabbit? You know, the one in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? While I'm not running around checking my waistcoat pocketwatch and muttering, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" I do feel rather frenzied.

The White Rabbit, as seen in Lewis Carroll's book "Alice in Wonderland

Why? Because we're heading full-tilt for the end of the month and, as usual, I've got a ton of stuff on my November list that hasn't yet been crossed off. While I've finished my NaNo novel, and put "The End" on one or two other things as well, I've still got stuff on my list that needs to be dealt with. Stuff that has a December 1st deadline.
Ugh. I'm thinking I may have to re-evaluate this whole list thing.
What do you think? How do you do what you do?
List? Or no list?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One more thing...

Have you all been paying attention to th Brava Novella Contest? They've just posted finalist numbers 5 and 6. The entries are all well written and wonderfully intriguing. Why not head over to the forum and take a peek?

357 entries, 20 finalists. One talented writer will be offered a contract with Kensington. Doesn't get much better than that!

Anyhow, the forum is here if you're interested.

Lucky again!

I'm still shocked over my winning Allie Boniface's new book, Lost in Paradise. Imagine my surprise when I realize I've won a copy of Cami Checkett's The Broken Path. Thanks, ladies! Now I know what I'll be doing this weekend...especially since I've finished writing Seaside Shimmy.

I love the feeling that comes with writing "The End"... because, believe me, I always allow myself the pleasure of writing those two words at the end of a first draft. It feels fabulous!

Thanks again, Cami and Allie! You've both made my week more special! :)

I did it.

Winner Icon

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday News

I did it.

That's all.

If you know what I've been doing, you don't need to ask. And if you don't,'ll just have to wait a day or so to find out. For now, I'm being selfish and savoring the moment. All I can say is...

I did it.


Lucky Monday

Just tickled to find an email from Allie Boniface this morning, telling me I've won her weekend trivia contest. The prize? A copy of her new book, Lost in Paradise from The Wild Rose Press. I've been waiting for this to come out, looking forward to reading it. I read Allie's first book, One Night in Boston, and it was super. I know this one will rock, too.

What a way to start the week! Thanks, Allie!

I honestly never expect to win contests. I just like to play. It always seems to be the polite thing to do. I mean, if no one plays it's sort of like someone throwing a party that no one attended. Too sad, even thinking of it! So, I always try and play along. Right now, I'm really glad I do. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What's for breakfast?

I love baking. On a chilly, snow-kissed morning like this I like to have something warm and yummy for breakfast. This morning? Applesauce Muffins.

Applesauce Muffins

Muffin ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 tbaking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup chopped nuts

Topping ingredients:

2 T granulated sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan.

Combine flour, powder, soda, spices and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs and brown sugar. Then add butter a little at a time, whisking until mixture is creamy. Add applesauce. Add flour mixture and nuts and stir. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Combine topping ingredients, then sprinkle over batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Real life calls

I'm still basking in the glow of a quieter, gentler holiday. My husband and I spent the day at home, something that, although unexpected, was a true pleasure. We watched the Macy's parade, cooked while we giggled over silly things, ate until we could hardly move, then danced in the kitchen while we waited for the apple pie crust to turn the perfect shade of brown. Until the wee hours we held hands before a roaring fire, watching scary movies and eating chocolate cake. Does it get any better than that? I think not.

But today, real life calls. My NaNo novel isn't writing itself. It's going well, but I've got to put in a few hours of writing time. I've got to get that body from point a to point b! Get my suspects scrambling! Build tension and point fingers!

Yeah, real life calls. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I can't resist. I just can't.

This cracked me right up. :)

Thanksgiving turkey.  Funny but clean picture

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!
I love this holiday! Friends and family, food and fun. Does it get any better than that? I think not.
I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with everything you love most.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Paperwork. Seems like it would be part of the job of being an author, right? I mean, books are written on paper so working with paper just seems logical, doesn't it? But really, until I get a print test copy I don't see my words on paper, just on the screen.

There's no escaping it--paperwork is what I'll be dealing with on this rainy, gloomy day. Tons and tons of it, it looks like. Yeah, I've got stacks of the stuff. Contracts, review files, tax purpose bits and pieces. Ugh. I've got to admit that paperwork is one of those things (like cleaning the basement) I put off. Just love it, can't you tell?

Hmmph! Paperwork, blasted blankety-blank paperw--hey? Wait a minute! Paperwork? Rainy day? Hey, that means that tea and Oreos should be the snack of choice, right?

This day just got a lot less gloomy. And the stack of stuff beside my desk doesn't look nearly as daunting--or irritating--as it did a few seconds ago. Yes, this day is definitely looking up. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chasing Dreams

We all have dreams. We wish for happiness, personal satisfaction, health for ourselves, family and friends. Some people dream of wealth, fame, success. The list is endless. Individual dreams are no more countable than the grains of sand on a beach. Each person's aspirations are as valid as the next's.

And whether or not we're willing to admit it, the fact still remains: we're all chasing dreams. Each one of us. All the time. From birth to death, at any given moment we're on our own personal quest to fulfillment. There are times when that journey is apparent, when it seems to consume us. Other times it is so delicate, subtle and unspoken we may have a hard time recognizing the dream being chased--even if it's one of our own.

This past weekend I got a chance to get a bird's-eye view of dream chasing at its best. My husband and I were spectators at a soccer game! At the Soccer Hall of Fame, even. The big time, the "show", the whole enchilada in soccer world, I think. I imagine that simply playing there at all would be the realization of a dream.

I realize there are a gazillion "soccer moms" (and dads!) out there but I'd never before seen a soccer game. Not on television, and certainly not from the stands. I had, of course, a general idea of the game and how it's played. A big grass rectangle, men in soccer uniforms running around with a ball. Lots of kicking and ball rolling, stuff like that. Right? I'm not so sports challenged that I couldn't figure it out ... or so I thought. Live and learn, huh? My idea of soccer was just a hint at what an actual game is like.

To say it was an exciting event would be an understatement. The roar of the crowd, vibration of the stands and almost-tangible thud of hearts as players ran across the field pursuing a speeding blot of white ... it was all almost too much to take in. I forgot the chill in the air as soon as my bottom hit the frozen seat, the warmth brought in the hearts of family and friends watching enough to make me forget my behind. My husband and I were both instantly caught up in the excitement, and amazed by the talent of the players.

Of course we were there to cheer on one player and his team but as I watched I knew every player deserved applause for his effort, both individually and as a member of his team. I was proud of all of them, and although I wanted Patrick's team to win I didn't want the other team to fail. A definite Catch-22, don't you think? Not easy to watch one team's dream elude their grasp while another clutches it firmly to heart.

So many things go into chasing a dream. Commitment, determination, ambition and hope, just to name a few. I saw all that, and more, on the soccer field this past weekend. My husband and I loved the experience and between you and I, I wouldn't be at all surprised if soccer games find their way into our television programming. I'll just have to figure out when "soccer season" begins.

Honestly, I don't think it much matters who won or lost-- I know, I know, you're all screeching about winners and losers right now. Going on about the object of any game, or chasing any dream, being success. I hear you, and I understand that point. Really, I do.

But I believe that every guy on the field won. Did you hear me? Every guy. Each and every one of them. Why? Because success can be measured in as many ways as dreams can be chased. There is no more definitive measure of success than there is absolute certainty of the weight of a cloud or the number of grains on that beach we spoke of earlier. They all won. They had the guts, drive, ambition and glimmer of hope that let them chase their dreams. They worked hard, played well and warmed the hearts of everyone lucky enough to watch them play.

I loved my first soccer game. Can you tell? The experience gave me memories that will make me smile for a long, long time. My husband and I have been reliving the game for nearly two days now and the excitement is still as fresh as it was when we were on the frozen stands. Doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Chasing dreams is something we all do. Getting invited to watch dreams being chased is a privilege.

Our weekend was incredible. I hope yours was, too.

The Lark Journals

Fast question... Are you all reading The Lark Journals?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Fun

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart.
You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer...
And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories.
As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Days of the Week Panties

I don't know if you had them, but when I was a little girl I had Days of the Week panties. Big deal, that. Made me feel wonderfully adult since I reasoned that beneath every smart, savvy woman's hiphuggers lurked a pair of Days of the Week panties. Well they did, didn't they?

The most appealing part of the Days of the Week panties was, naturally, the way they made me feel. Ah, isn't it amazing that sophistication can come so easily to the young? Sigh... Oh, and the other fab part of wearing these panties in their proper order was that I always knew what day it was. Monday? Pink panties. Wednesday? Lavender. Every day had its own color, with the day embroidered across the hip in contrasting thread. Lose track of the day halfway through? A quick trip to the restroom and I'd know whether it was Monday or Tuesday. Easy as pie, and perfectly logical.

Now that I'm an adult I often long for those Days of the Week panties. Honestly, I hardly ever know what day it is. I just don't. Between us, I'm generally surprised by whatever day it turns out to be. Like now. Here I sit, wondering how on earth it could be Monday when it feels like Friday just started. Where did the weekend go? I'm gobsmacked that it's Monday morning already. Wouldn't have known it if I hadn't read the morning's headlines and saw the date--and day of the week.

But if I'd been wearing those Days of the Weeks panties, there would have been some warning. I'd have taken note of the weekend passing, be ready for Monday instead of sitting here puzzling over days that sped by as if on wings.

Just can't beat a trusty pair of panties, can you?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sue Grafton's NaNo pep talk letter

By now you know I'm working on a NaNo novel. We're on day twelve of writing the 30-day novel. The NaNo organizers, in their infinite wisdom, realize any writer's enthusiasm can flag during this wild and crazy month. So they've got wonderful pep talk letters written by some very talented, and well known, people that have been arriving in our mailboxes periodically. I love getting these letters. Even though I'm not feeling angst over the writing frenzy, I love reading these encouraging letters. They make me smile. :)

The latest is from Sue Grafton. I'm sure she won't mind my sharing a bit of it:

"...Literary quality is in the eye of the beholder and who's to say your novel won't be right up there among the greats? All you have to do is work. All you have to do is push. Focus on the job at hand. Ignore the urge to second-guess yourself. This is not the time for introspection; it's a time for charging on. Believe in yourself. Be determined to keep the promises you made when you first began. Your commitment to do th is will see you through, even over rough ground.

So. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and write. You said you would do this so nod your head and say, "I will do this. I will do this. I will do this." And then do this."

Sue Grafton

Writing a novel is a rush. These letters make the experience even more fun.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A new diversion

I've discovered another diversion that I'll have to put on my list. You know the list, the one I keep in my mind and peruse during those moments when whatever I'm writing has me stymied--even for an instant. What's on that list? The usual stuff...Free Cell, blog-hopping, cruising the internet in search of "research." Research! *snort* That's the neverending list of useless information I've tucked away in my mind to be used someday in a story. Or a book. Or to compile the grocery list.

Anyhow, I have a new diversion. Hmm? What is it? I've been enthralled. Really, truly, enthralled. Pulled under the spell of the NaNo excerpts. I can't stop reading the damn things. Some of them are so well written it's amazing. Others, funnier than fuzzy slippers on an elephant. I've read a few that made me gag, but I won't tell you why. You'll have to read for yourself. And still others that leave me breathless.

Yep, my new diversion is, at least, an entertaining one. More entertaining than that stupid Spider Solitare game that lurks in this computer, just waiting for the right moment to entice me into its time-stealing web.

I challenge you to read some of the story excerpts. You, too, just may fall under the spell of my latest diversion.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Thinking numbers this morning. Not words, but numbers.

9,125 -- The number of words I've got written on my NaNo novel, Seaside Shimmy.

8 -- It's day number eight of National Novel Writing Month.

5 -- Snowdance is number five this morning on the Whiskey Creek Press Hot Titles list.

3 2/3 -- Number of months before my second novel, Vineyard Mambo, releases.

And the number of times I've felt my heart jump since I saw my name at the top of someone's NaNo profile Favorite Authors list? Countless. And, undoubtedly, I'll get countless more joyful moments from that one. Thank you, Vickie. :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fat fingers, tired fanny

That's what I'll have by the end of today, fat, swollen fingers and a tired, aching fanny. Ah yeah, the life of a writer is sooooo glamourous! My husband will be out all day today--without me, that is. It's an unusual occurance at our house, so I'm taking full advantage of the seven or eight hours he's gone to--you guessed it--write. I think I'll work on Sandswept, really give it hell and see how quickly the story moves along.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Must Be Nuts emerges

Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour or so on my NaNo novel, Seaside Shimmy. I've got the first chapter first-draft done and am ready to jump into chapter two. Just poking along, but I did work on Sandswept for a few hours and am closing in on writing "The End" on that one. Once Sandswept is put to bed I'll be able to really concentrate on the NaNo novel. I hope.

Anyhow, I got the chance to poke around the NaNo site--finally. Each year I forget how much fun it is, with its forums and lounges, author pages and the rest of it. I get such a kick out of seeing what others are writing. What they've written. I especially love the young NaNo-ers, the kids who attempt to devote themselves to writing during the November flurry. I silently cheer them on, hoping each and every one of them completes what they've started so they, too, can know the satisfaction that comes with telling a story.

I posted the first unedited bit of Seaside Shimmy, the second Anna Romeo mystery. It can be found here. But please remember this is a seat-of-your-pants writing frenzy. No polish yet.

While you're there, check in on my writing buddies, Marianne and Wendy. Cheer them on! We all need all the help we can get. Right, ladies? :)

Monday, November 05, 2007


I did it. Too stubborn to hire anyone to design my website, I did it myself. I won't even tell you how long this whole thing took me, how many times I swore (in several languages!) or just how close I came one afternoon in October to pitching my computer out the window. I'm going to take a deep breath, sit back and listen to the angels singing (and my husband sighing) and tell you it's done. For now, at least.

Want to check it out?

My website, is open!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Must Be Nuts lollygagging

Sigh...I admit it. I'm lollygagging on my NaNo novel. It's already day four and I should have nearly 8,000 words complete but I've got ... ugh, loads less than that. What I've got came easily but I've been working on Sandswept these past days, too. One novel is lots easier to write than two.

So Must Be Nuts is letting Seaside Shimmy lag behind, for now. Tomorrow morning I'll give it hell but today...well, today's one of those lavender sky, looks-like-snow sort of days. Perfect for playing chess beside a roaring fire. Yep, that's the thing.

Tomorrow I'll get Must Be Nuts in gear. Today, I'll let her coast...

Decisions, decisions, decisions

How to choose just one?
We considered.
We studied.
We rolled,
Only one?
Can't do it.
Can we?
No, we couldn't.
Two seemed just about right.
One tall and thin.
One short and squatty.
Just right.
Only two?