Monday, March 29, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

I FINALLY got a full night's sleep last night. If you'd consider heading for cover at midnight and waking up at 6:30am a full night...

Princess is feeling better. Turns out a few drops of warm olive oil in her ear soothed the pain. Ah, gotta love simple home recipes. (I'm gonna ignore the irritation creeping in--I paid $40 for a teeny vial of ear drops last summer that had the same reaction as the olive oil. Grrrr...)

Friends are coming over tonight to watch the UFC fight from a few nights ago. GSP is fighting--and we don't even need to mention who he fought against--he wiped the floor with that dude like it was the easiest thing for him to do. I loved it. Yeah, I'm kind of a testosterone-loving-freak. Any sport where guys get pumped up, disrobe, sweat, and take out their aggressions on another person I'm all for!

I mean seriously, how could you turn down watching him...

Work his magic on some unsuspecting fool like this...

Okay, okay, Matt Hughes really isn't unsuspecting nor is he a fool. But I'm a hardcore GSP fan, so I'm gonna stick with my first comment. It's pretty amazing! And I'm talking about the fighter as well as the fight. *wink

I'm finally finished with the editing I started last week. I completely rewrote the hero/heroine meet. The consensus from my readers/critique partners is that it's much hotter. And hotter is always better isn't it? So then of course my hero and heroine would feel differently in every situation where they were thrust together, wouldn't they? That one scene change led to a rewrite of pretty much page 50-150. Not bad for a week's work, eh?

Now I'm back at it. I'm headed to the beach for a few days and hope to get at least some writing done. It's difficult to delve into the computer when the sand and waves are calling and I'm sure as hell not taking my laptop to the shore. My poor keyboard will get sand in all its cracks...and that's never fun.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A conversation with Sun

Last night I stayed up late watching Time Travelers Wife with a friend. I didn't let sleep take me until about midnight figuring maybe I could sleep in a little this morning...

...and then at 12:30am my five year old daughter (what a Princess she is) woke up screaming at the top of her lungs, holding her ear. Ear infection time.

Once upon a time I had drops that would soothe away the ear ache pain and Princess could go right back to sleep. I tore this house apart from 12:30am-3am looking for those drops. I swear the Easter Bunny made an early appearance and hopped away with them. So, I did the next best thing...I curled in bed with her and tried to quiet her to sleep.

No dice.

Princess stayed up until 4:30, kicking and squirming in pain. Poor little thing. When she finally dozed off I stole another 30 minutes of sleep until I heard my two year old son (who's a Tank) start crying as well. Luckily, he just wanted some milk. That was an easy-do.

I remember standing at my kitchen sink at 5am, watching the sun light the eastward sky light a bright, happy orange. I seriously had a nice, bitter chit-chat with the sun while washing out a kid cup. It went a little something like this: "Listen here, Sun. Stay down. Another hour or so. I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. There's nothing wrong with being a few hours late. Why do you gotta be so punctual all the time, huh? Cut me some slack, would ya'?"

Yeah, that was me getting all up in the Sun's face. It just stared back like I wasn't even talking to it. How rude. It could've at least flickered to acknowledge my feelings. Hmph!

Of course I was up at 7am because Tank wanted breakfast. Princess is still sleeping in. So here I sit at 9am, groggy as hell, still trying to find those darn drops before another night is upon me and I'm left empty-handed. Again.

Good Morning World! Happy Saturday! And that Sun can just light up someone else's parade. Today I'm holding a grudge.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ah, the Golden Heart

Great contest hosted by RWA. Great finalists, I'm sure. Sadly I'm not one of them. And now that I look at the finalists again I've realized none of the entires I judged finaled either. HOWEVER, there were SFARWA pals that finaled for the RITA! (I'm proud in a tremendously jealous sort-of-way and can't wait to watch them take to the stage in Nashville. And I still can't get over the excitement that I'll actually be there! Eeeeck!)

I wish I could be standing among the finalists' ranks right about now and really long to read their manuscripts to see how far off I was. I haven't received my scores yet but I'm sure when I do I'll have a clearer picture of where I went wrong.

Then back to editing manuscript 2 I go...while writing and revising manuscript 3. By the way, for those who continually email me about my progress (hello dear, sweet family), I'm stalled on page 165 (43,000words) because I had to go back and make the hero-heroine's first encounter sizzle off the page. Oh, I could seriously do this forever. *grin

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oldies but goodies

Alright, so I told you I'd post some pictures of my Titanic oldies but goodies. I'll post my absoulte favorite today and maybe some more a little later.

Oh, and I should preface this post by saying my books are rare, but not that rare. They're not worth much, if anything at all. They're simply valuable to me. I've researched all things Titanic since I was 10 years old. (My obsession has absolutely nothing to do with the movie fyi, although it was great.) I'm intrigued by all the tiny details that went into the building of the ship and the subsequent failure of its structure. That's it.

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce my baby. The book I searched out for YEARS. I mean YEARS, people. I scanned antique shops, old bookstores up and down California looking for this one. It's a 1912 edition called "The Wreck of the Titan or Futility." You may be thinking to yourself, "But it's not about the Titanic, so why would she care so much about this one in particular?"

Wait for it...

In 1898, Morgan Robertson published a little novella about a triple screw steamer, 800 ft. long, rumored to be "unsinkable", traveling at 25 knots, that struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank losing nearly all passengers due to low numbers of life boats.

Wait a minute. Did you hear what I said? This was a novella. Fiction, people, fiction. And it was published in 1898, a full fourteen years before the Titanic sank.

Let me give you some details again. Robertson's ship the Titan was rumored to be "unsinkable" just like the Titanic. Both ships were triple screw. Both ships were 800 ft long (although the Titanic was actually larger at 882 1/2 feet--and yes I know all this stuff off the top of my head). Both ships were travelling the same speed on impact at the same time of year. Both ships struck an iceberg (although the Titan hit head-on and the Titanic glanced the side). And both ships had tremendous amount of life lost due to lack of adequate lifeboats.

Pretty prophetic, don't you think? A little eerie to boot? Absolutely.

I'd L-O-V-E to get my hands on that 1898 novella. But I can't find one for the life of me. So I settled for second best. After the Titanic's sinking, certain publishers realized the comparisions between the novella and the grim reality, and republished it the year of the tragedy: 1912. That's the copy I have. They also republished it in 1991...and I have that copy too although it's not nearly as special to me.

That's why I love old books so much. That little red book slumped in the corner of a glass case may not look like much perched on a shelf with other, newer, more sparkly books. But inside, deep within its pages, lies a mystery. And to me, it's one of the greatest mysteries of life.

How could a man predict what would happen that fateful night of April 14th, 1912 with such haunting accuracy? How was it revealed to him? And how did we let such a horrible tragedy occur knowing all we did? Alright, I could go on and on...perhaps I will in April when the 98 year anniversary of the sinking rolls around. For now, I have to get back to editing my work-in-progress.

Hope you have a great week! Oh! And if you happen to come across that 1898 version, feel free to mail it to me! LOL

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Huxley is home

Today is a glorious day! Why, you ask? Because a one-of-a-kind find just happen to land in my hands. My father-in-law has been a collector of old books for years. Last night he decided to go through the stacks and hand-me-down!

I absolutely love old books. They're delicate and precious, almost like a newborn baby. If you pick up one in my house you'll hear me instruct you in the ways of handling them like a proud, but nervous mother...

"Hold the book carefully and don't let the binding stretch."
"Those are threads holding it together, not glue, so be gentle."
"Stroke the cover with care, and pay careful attention to the pages as you turn them."

So far my collection has been limited to 1912 1st editions of Titanic books that were printed right after the sinking. I've collected them over the course of 18 years in antique shops, garage sales, and auctions. I'm always excited to add another to my bookcase. I'll have to post some pictures tomorrow, being I'm on the old-book kick.

But last night's find floored me. I looked through the stack he brought out, admiring the aged wonders, scoping out a 1905 almanac, reading about animals from the late 1800's...very interesting stuff.

Then my eyes spotted this:

It's called, "The Art of Seeing" by Aldous Huxley. Every English teacher knows Huxley. (And if they don't they should be whipped with a ruler!) He's the author of the 1932 novel Brave New World (usually 12th grade curriculum), which was about the dehumanizing aspects of the scientific process. This is a ground-breaking author, people. Google him. The movies Demolition Man (1993, starring Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock) and The Island (2005, starring Scarlett Johanson and Ewan McGregor) were both based on his writings. He was even credited for screen-writing the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudie for crying out loud!

I held the treasure delicately in my hands, stroked the letters on the cover, and opened to the first page....and saw this:

I seriously freaked out and let the book fall closed. I said, "This is a signed copy! Why do you have a signed copy from Huxley?" My father-in-law said, "I don't know, but if you want it, it's yours."

Aaaah, be still my heart.

I opened it again for a closer look.

It reads, "For Iris Ann Homer with good wishes, Aldous Huxley 1942." Then there's another signature on the bottom, Ethel Williams.

(Side note 10 minutes after this post I discovered Ethel Williams was the daughter of the founder of William's Book Store--rumored to be the oldest bookstore in LA)Check out their website here if you're interested.

I already have a case this puppy is going to go in. I have the spot reserved on my bookshelf. This thing is going to be cherished alongside my Titanic greats.

The CRAZY thing is in my work-in-progress, my villain is named Savage...plucked straight from Brave New World. He keeps the book on his desk in his study and my plan was to continue to make small references throughout, including carry-over themes.

It's almost like the book was meant to find me at this exact moment in time. Huxley and his themes have been on my mind for the last two months. I hadn't thought about him in years...and suddenly there he is. It's seriously one of the coolest feelings ever. I feel like a giant puzzle piece just kerplunked into place. Huxley is home. *grin

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Do I have your attention yet? I thought so. Today's topic has this Portuguese gal blushing--and do you know how bright a pink blush has to glow in order to encroach on olive skin? I don't either because you can't ask a flush of skin color anything, but you get my point. It's a rare sight on my chubby-cheeks. Anyway, I can talk about s-e-x, without being looked down upon, can't I? Heaven forbid the Crude-Police shut down the blog...

As much as I'd like to share those scorching-hot scenes from my manuscripts (I really wouldn't--I'm blushing merely talking about them), I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to let you in on two ways to prepare your sex that will have party-guests licking their lips in approval.

Sex in a Pan
You'll need:
1 cp flour
1 stick margarine, melted
2-8 oz. pkgs cream cheese at room temp
2 cps powdered sugar
cool whip
2 bxs instant chocolate pudding
3 1/2 cps milk

How to prepare:
Mix flour and melted margarine and pat down in 9x13 pyrex dish. Bake at 350 degrees until golden (around 25 min); let cool.
Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1/2 cool whip together then spread on cooled crust.
Mix pudding and milk then put on top of cream cheese layer.
Spread cool whip on top. Refrigerate until served.

Sex on the Beach

You'll need:
2/3 oz. peach schnapps
1 1/3 oz. vodka
1 1/3 oz. cranberry juice
1 1/3 oz. orange juice

How to prepare:
Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass.

So there you have it. I cooked Sex in a Pan for dessert on St. Patrick's Day and got rave reviews. People ooh'd and aah'd and moaned in delight. In fact, it was go good I should've passed around second helpings.

And Sex on the Beach is good for any occasion. Oh, there I go blushing again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

San Francisco Trip

Okay, first let me tell you that the How to Knit a Love Song's launch party was great! Almost a hundred people turned out...go Rachael! She was positively glowing...and rightly so. The book is awesome, and knitting fans everywhere are celebrating! I joined in as one of them and got her autograph.

And then I blabbed about something like how many people turned out. I look nervous. I don't know why. I gotta stop holding my hands like that...

Before the party, my friend Aggie and I strolled around Pier 39, had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, and you know, pretty much did the whole tourist thing. I had to take a picture of the Pier 39 sea lions...or lack thereof. They disappeared a few months back and are slowly returning. For those of you familiar with how many there were before, this picture will shock you.

Those docks used to be full of I counted ten. Maybe.

I've read that the same sea lions have chilled out on those docks for over 50 years and have only left one other time--the month before the loma prieta earthquake. When they recently disappeared I was a little worried "The Big One" was gonna hit. I'm just glad they're making their way back. Maybe this means the earth will stop rockin' for awhile. God, I hope so.

And last but not least, HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! Go pinch someone not wearing green, eat some corned beef and cabbage, and drink until you're silly!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writing Hoopla

Tonight I'm heading to the city with a friend for the launch party of How To Knit a Love Song. There's going to be fabulously talented company, flowing drinks and a reading from Rachael Herron, herself! I'm stoked.

I entered the Daphne Du Maurier contest for my latest paranormal romance yesterday. The link to the RWA Kiss of Death Chapter site is: I was more nervous to enter this one than the nationally renowned Golden Heart. Seriously. Daphne Du Maurier wrote Rebecca, my favorite book of all time. That's my go-to book. The one I've read too many times to count and could still pick it up this second and get lost in its pages.

To final in that contest (let alone win it--ah, my heart's swooning) would mean so much to me...not to mention the awards ceremony takes place this summer at the RWA National Conference in Nashville. Oh, what do you know! I'll be there that night anyway! What a must be kismet.

Speaking of Nashville, I'd like to share with you all the great things Tennessee has to offer a Californian like me:
Nobody can pass up a chance at seeing Graceland, the home of the King.
And I've heard the Country Hall of Fame is a hoppin' place to visit if you're around those parts...

The night skyline is a sight to behold, I've heard. Certainly worth noting.

And let's not forget Nashville's Hermitage or the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park.

Too bad I won't be seeing any of those things...that's right. I'll be seeing the inside of my hotel room, a dozen conference rooms, probably a nearby restaurant or two...and that's it; the whole enchilada And I couldn't be more fine with the idea.

Because inside that hotel, lecturing in those conference rooms are great sights too..

And just in case you don't recognize any of the faces (the shock! the horror!), they are romance writing greats Nora Robers, Linda Howard, JR Ward, Gena Showalter, and Allison Brennan. Nashville has more to offer me this July than ever before. Can't wait!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Mysteries

I found this tidbit in a 1905 anthology called HeartThrobs. This particular piece was written by James Hunt Cook and it's called The Mysteries. It's too beautifully written not to share...

"The early sunlight filtered through the filmy draperies to where a wondering baby stretched his dimpled hands to catch the rays that lit his face and flesh as dawn lights up a rose. His startled gaze caught and held the dawn of day in rapturous looks that spoke the dawn of Self, for with the morning gleam out came the greater wonder. It was the mystery of Life.

Across a cradle where, sunk in satin pillows, lay a still, pale form as droops a rose from some fierce heat, the evening shadows fell aslant, and spoke of peace. The twilight calm enclosed the world in silence deep as Truth, and on the little face the wondering look had given place to one of sweet repose. It was the mystery of Death.

At head and foot the tapers burned, a golden light that clove the night as Hope the encircling gloom. Across the cot where lay the fair, frail form, his hand reached out to hers and met and clasped in tender, burning touch. Into the eyes of each there came the look that is the light of life; that spoke of self to each, yet told they two were one. It was the mystery to which the mysteries Life and Death bow down-the mystery of Love."

Ah, the visuals this gives. Amazing. Gives me chills every time I read it. I could only dream of writing something this beautiful. Maybe someday...

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's raining, it's pouring!

Prime example of why I love the rain. How could anyone deny the beauty rain brings? Makes me want to curl my legs up under a blanket with a good book or my word doc and a hot mocha.

So enjoy the rain today. I know I am! When it pours, my fingers fly over the keys! Yippee!

*Disclaimer: Yes, these photos were taken while driving. And No, you should never break out your camera while on the road, it's very dangerous.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Random blurb-e-blurbness

The eclipse trailer came out today. Did you know that? I bet you did. Just in case you haven't seen it yet...

I feel a cold creeping in this morning. My throat aches so bad I can hardly swallow. Ugh! Everyone tells me I should drink a shot of whiskey when I feel a cold coming on. Sounds great except 1-I HATE the taste of whiskey and 2-I have to drive this morning and I'm an embarrassing lightweight. (I'm serious about the lightweight thing. I could have the bottle neck of a bud light and feel woozy--no joke.)

I have a post MRI visit with the orthopaedic surgeon next week. We know it's torn yada-yada-yada, now I just have to go in, let him take my co-pay, then schedule surgery.

The good news of the day is I'm going to RWA National again this year! It's the place to be if you're a romance writer. It's being held in Nashville, Tennessee over the summer. I can't wait to take a few days to focus on learning the craft, listening to the greats talk about what makes them great, pitch my novel to editors and agents (and it will be complete by then! yay!), and make new writer friends! They are seriously the best kind to be had.

So that's what's on my mind wrapped up in a short blurb. Oh! And the writing's still going smooth. I'm on page 118 and my hero and heroine are growing closer, then pulling apart, then growing closer, then pulling apart, then...well, you know.

It feels great to be the mastermind behind their struggles...Muah-ha-ha! Yeah, I'm evil. I know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Off then back On the wagon

I know I mentioned in a post this week that I went vegetarian for the month of March. Today is Day 8. And now I wonder if I just like punishing myself. Allow me to explain...

First, you must know my reasons for doing this. It's not to protect animal rights (which are important, but I like me a juicy steak every now and again), and it's not because I want to lose weight (although I really, really do). It's because the hero in my work-in-progress is struggling with his changing diet. Going from shapeshifter to vampire must be hard...I mean, when faced with a decision--drink blood or blow your cover, what do you choose?

I removed meat, dessert, fried food, fast food, excessive salt, and soda from my diet in order to put myself in his cranky-ass shoes.

Depriving myself of these goodies has not been fun, let me tell you. I cook pot roast and steak A LOT. In order for you to understand just how much beef I cook, I'm going to show you a picture of the freezer in my garage.

This is no joke. Therein lies 1/2 beef. I don't mean the freezer is 1/2 full of beef...I mean those packages contain 1/2 of Betsy. (Let's just hope it's her good half.)

Yeah, we're carnivores over here. To make matters worse, I'm continuing to cook the same for my family. Oh, I'm sure their eating habits will change as a result of my methods and that's fine and dandy, but for now they're doing the same-ole.

In the first week on the diet, I went to a birthday party (hello coffeecake, ice cream, chips and cookies, I admire you from afar). Then to a baby shower (we meet again butter cream frosting, cake, chips, soda, I'm blowing kisses from across the table). And then I was invited to a BBQ.

A BBQ! For the love of God I must be smitten for punishment.

There was tri-tip, sirloin steak, potato salad, chips, sugar cookies and chocolate pound cake. That night topped the cake. No pun intended--okay, maybe a little itsy-bitsy pun.

The point is, I survived, my diet-change intact.

Until last night. I went out to celebrate the publishing offer at Macaroni Grill and had their chicken and spinach cannelloni. I thought I could pick out the chicken. Little did I know, they shred it and mix it with the cheese inside the pasta. Yeah, there was no way I could pick all that stuff apart.

So I ate a tiny portion and LOVED IT.

But I realized there is ALWAYS SOMETHING. There's always going to be a birthday party, baby shower, wedding shower, graduation celebration, BBQ, get-together, and on and on and on with yummy-delicious treats that are far-too-good to resist.

I used to say yes to everything offered at these shindigs. Cake? The biggest slice, please! Ice cream? Sure, add another scoop! Not anymore.

Seriously, I think the lightbulb went off. And for pity's sake I added another week to the diet-change to make up for the chicken last night. I'm smitten I tell you--smitten.

As a side note, my hero is still struggling alongside me. Yeah, I feel your pain, buddy. Suck it up and keep on chuggin'!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ah, Language, How I Don't Need Thee

Found this little tidbit on aolnews. It delves into the secret language of Johnny Depp. What I find funny about this video is that he's not making a lick of sense...but I don't care. He's just too pretty.


Happy Saturday; let's kick it off right. Heeeere's Johnny!

Friday, March 5, 2010


1-I've reached my first turning point in my current work in progress! Yay! It's smooth-sailing for me and conflicting as hell for my hero and heroine. I love it.

2-I got a partial request-Yay! Then a full request 9 minutes later from the same person-Doubly-Double Yay!

3-This month my Golden Heart Score sheets come back for Dark Tide Rising. I entered this puppy in December. I've been having all kinds of anxiety dreams since then...I'm ready to hear. And I'm tempted to do something drastic in the case that I final--I'm gonna have to think about it.

4-Everyone in my house has now caught the cold that's been going around Internet-world. Thank you facebook friends for passing that along through the keys.

5-And I know I forgot to post something about it (horrible-horrible-me) but I went vegetarian for the month of March. (Oh, and I cut sugar, white flour, soda, sugary-Starbucks goodies, and salt too--Lisa, you may have had something to do with that. Darn you and thank you at the same time.) I had some crazy idea about depriving my body of something it's so used to in order to gain perspective for what my hero is going through in my current book. Today is Day 5 and I woke up craving tri-tip.

Odd to think about oatmeal, granola, coffee and red meat as a tantalizing breakfast...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's a great time to be a romance writer

Big things are happening. Big big things. I just have to share.

Rachael Herron, who I'm proud to call a friend, celebrated the release of her debut novel How to Knit a Love Song yesterday. You can buy the book from bookstores near you or order from Amazon.I can't wait to get to Barnes&Noble to pick up my own copy.

Sophie Littlefield, another friend (aren't I in phenomenal company?), was nominated for an Edgar Award! GO SOPHIE! Her novel, A Bad Day for Sorry, rocks. Her heroine will leave you rooting for backwoods justice! You can buy it from Amazon or your local bookstore. Here's the link.

And last but definitely not least, my critique partner Lisa Sanchez got a publishing offer! I'm so excited I'm squealing right along with her! Check out her blog to share in the good news!

It is a great time to be writing romance. These three amazing ladies are headed for Bestselling status, I know it! I can't wait to join their ranks!

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's all subjective

I volunteered to judge the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest for unpublished writers and the scoresheets were due back yesterday. When I first signed up to read the six romantic suspense manuscripts I was pumped. From 2002-2005I read 9th and 10th grade expository essays, people. Can you say monotonous?

I was hyped to actually read something with some meat to it. Something written by my peers.

But as I started reading I found myself doing the same things I did to the essays I graded years ago.

Writer X was overusing certain verbs and losing my interest. Writer Y had a problem formatting dialogue. Writer Z was making comments that didn't make sense at all. And I started to notice something else, was VERY easy to see who was a beginning writer and who was more experienced. It was odd. I never thought that reading a single chapter, a single page, could show whether the writer was green or not. But it did.

I also got a little insight into what agents go through on a daily basis. I told my husband, "If I were an agent reading the first page on manuscript 1, I would have declined it right away because of xyz. Was it a good submission? Yes. It earned one of my higher scores. But I wouldn't be passionate enough about it to fight for it out of 500 others that came across my desk." When he asked me why I didn't really like it the only answer I could give was that it wasn't my cup of tea. (And I don't even drink tea!)

Judging these manuscripts taught me things I'm going to take with me as I continue my publishing journey.

If you want to be published, you have to continue to write and perfect your craft. It's painstakingly obvious who is a newbie to writing romance. Then once you have a solid piece of work, you have to get it on the right desk at the right time. Those personal rejections that read "I just didn't feel passionate enough about it," shouldn't be disheartening. They might actually like the writing, but just wouldn't fight for it like the work deserves to be fought for. (I guess I need to find someone who doesn't drink tea, either! Ha! Wouldn't that be a hoot!)

As a side note, I got some good news on my Work In Progress. I sent out 50 pages to my friend/early reader/critique partner and the email she sent back simply read:


I like that. Much better than a paragraph about what didn't fit and what needs to be taken out, revisited, remastered, who didn't connect with whom, etc, etc, etc.

Just Wow.

And with that, I'm back to the keyboard.