Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb. 28

Another month done and 20 days until Spring. Do you think Mother nature will tell the weather that? I kind of doubt it this far north, but hopefully for the states south of here you'll see trees budding and snow flowers rising up. Someone on Facebook said they had peepers already in their pond. (Peepers are frogs.) Our lake is still frozen so no peepers here. I look forward to the snow melting, but then we'll battle mud for a while before things settle into Spring and Summer. I hope you are having a sunshine filled Sunday. Cheers~

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feb. 27

NYT bestselling author, Julie Garwood once told me that you aren't a writer unless you write everyday. I understand the logic behind this, but I tend to try too hard and over do things. So years ago I gave myself permission to take the weekends off from writing--unless I was under deadline. Example: if I got a request for a full or partial, revisions or galleys on Friday night. Then I'll work the weekend to get it out by Monday. This has worked for me for a long time.
Recently life has crowded my time and my breathing room. And so I have made the decision that starting Monday- March 1- I will only blog during the week. My goal is to stay away from the computer on the weekends as much as possible and tend to life. So, I will be moving my Sunday blog to Mondays and starting next weekend I will not post on Saturday and Sunday.
Time off is a good thing- even God rested on the 7th day.
My goal in doing this is to lessen the stress in my life, find more joy and make room for daydreams. I hope you continue to follow me during the week. Cheers~

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feb. 26

Today is the release day for my friend author Linda Kage's debut novel. It is a Young Adult novel title The Stilburrow Crush and available as a paperback or e-book from The Wild Rose Press. Congrats to Linda for seeing all her hard work pay off. I'll be posting an excerpt and interview on my Sunday blog this week.

Last night I read a great article about living in the moment. It is hard work to embrace your emotions, to care for yourself and to stop and think about right now. To think about how your feet are connected to the ground. How your seat is connected to the chair and your fingers to the computer keys. To breathe in and out and stop and think about what it means to breathe and to be alive. I think I'm going to add small bits of mindfulness to my Lenten journey. To help me understand that God is in the moment if we only take the time to notice. Cheers~

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feb. 25

Congratulations to my older brother Pat and his wife Sherry. They are new Grandparents. (Of course, I, personally, am too young for that. lol) Little Taylor Ryan Williams came into their lives last night and I know they are excited. Hugs and congrats to my niece Alisha. I haven't forgotten how much work you did to bring him into the world. May you all be blessed with many years of happiness and joy.

Babies and family are the heart of women's fiction and romance. It is that simple joy that brought me to the genre and keeps me writing happy ever afters. Cheers~

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb. 24

Woke up this morning to find two deer just beyond my fence. They look like a mother and baby-although the baby no longer has spots. I think the baby may be the deer that was a playful fawn last summer. I watched while the mother nibbled on shrub and the baby ate a portion of the same fir tree it danced around when it was little.
Big dog George wanted out very badly but I won't let him. The deer stayed. Baby bedded down in the snow and then mama followed. Little dog Gracie (boo,boo) rang the dog bell because she had to go out to potty. (I hung a bird bell on the door handle and trained the dogs to ring the bell if they have to go out.) So I carefully let Gracie-a bichonpoo-out keeping 80 pound George inside. The baby deer got up and watched as Gracie did her potty dance. The expression on the deer's face was priceless. It looked as if it was trying to figure out what the heck Gracie was.
For her part Gracie ignored the big scary deer-did her business and came back in. The deer are still bedded down in the woods. They look like the donkey in a manger scene. I love wildlife. My son on the other hand would think- yum, dinner!- and go looking for his gun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feb. 23

Rejections, rejections rejections-such is the life of a writer. It seems I write too "out of the box" and when I write something that is inside the box its "overdone and too common." lol
Of course these are opinions but writers live in a subjective world. What one person thinks is too common another thinks is too out there.
My latest book Dream Man, was originally written in 1998. I was told it was too series romance by single title publishers and not at all series by series romance publishers. It was too paranormal and not paranormal enough. But I kept revising and sending it out. By the time I was ready to send it to The Wild Rose Press, technology had changed. Cell phones, dvrs, mp3, and digital recordings had replaced video tapes, vcrs, and cds. But the story itself was worth the work and I updated it and sent it in and here it is today available to readers who have given it very good reviews.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Feb. 22

I spent the morning shoveling what is called heart-attack snow because it is thick and melting and very heavy. Now I am in my warm office listening to the robin sing, a cardinal and a crow. The dogs are asleep at my feet worn out from watching me shovel. :) Oh, to live a dog's life.
It's the last week of February and I had hoped to get to some requested revisions on a story, but time slipped away. Well, rather my motivation for the story slipped away and I use time and snow as an excuse. I tend to put off starting something-like revisions or a new story, but once I start I'm okay. So I guess I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps and just start.
How about you? Are you procrastinating? If so, do you know why?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feb. 21

This week I was awarded the Sunshine Supportive Commenter award by blogger L. Diane over at Spunk on a Stick's Tips. I want to thank her so much for the award and to share her blog with my readers. L. Diane writes YA, is an inspirational speaker, a wonderful photographer and a supportive guide in the world of writing. Her friends call her Spunky. I've learned a lot from her blog and enjoyed her Sunday Sillies as well as solid tips and links to other good blogs.

Part of a blog award is to pay it forward. I know that some bloggers aren't keen on awards and see them as chain letters. lol. But I want to recognize a few friends who are supportive commenters on my blog. Please take this award and add it to your blog if you are so inclined. A special thank you and blog award goes to:
Linda Kage
Heather Snow
Marilyn Brant
Jane Kennedy
Jessica Nelson
And to those who comment via e-mail:
Aunt Marnie, Mom and Dad, and my friends Brenda and Joelle.
Please forgive me if I left you out--I appreciate all my readers. Cheers!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feb. 20

I woke up to more snow today. I went out and pushed the two inches off the drive and listened to the first of the early spring birds calling out for mates. I understand more snow is on the way-sigh-but this week it was 32 degrees and felt balmy. Spring can't be all that far away. We're seeing more sunshine--oh--and I found a lady bug on my kitchen counter-so I tossed it outside.
Spring is hope and hope comes around every year without fail. Cheers~

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feb. 19

I'm out of the office today-which means I'm writing this on public wifi. I find it so much fun to get out some days and people watch. People are far more interesting and resilient than you think. Working in a different atmosphere can spark new thoughts and interesting ideas. Sometimes when you are stuck in a story it is best to get out of the house. If that isn't possible, try changing where you write. A change in scenery can make all the difference. What is your favorite place to go when you need a change of scenery?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feb. 18

I'm going over critiques on my thesis novel. I can't help it- even after nearly 20 years of critiques-I always feel as if my story is Cinderella and the critiquers are the wicked stepsisters pulling apart the dress the little mice and birds made for her.
I know it has to be done. I know I'm very bad at commas and spaces and then vs than. But all the little things they find make me sigh. The small child in me who likes the "let's play pretend" of storytelling wants to say-but, wasn't it fun? didn't you like it? Wasn't it cool how the scene played out? "Of course," they say. "We're only making it better."
But they also pick away the magic of the mice and birds.
I guess that magic is only for me. The gift I get from God for practicing my talent. The tearing the work apart to make it better is what must happen to create a "professional" work so I can shared the gift with you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feb. 17

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Christian time of atonement called Lent. On this day the fast means simple small meals--no snacks. Unlike other religions where the followers don't eat from sunrise to sunset, we are allowed small simple meals.
If you see people with ashes on their foreheads today, they have attended church services where the palms from palm Sunday are burned to ash and placed on the forehead in the sign of the cross to remind the followers that they are nothing without God.
One of the special gifts of being human is our ability to see outside ourselves and to realize that we can change. We can grow. We can be better than we imagined. That kind of sight begins with deep introspection as to what we have done, where we have been and how that differs from where we want to be. So no matter your religious practice--our ability to fast and atone makes us special. Allows us to grow and believe that we can be better than we ever imagined. Cheers~

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feb. 16

Today is Fat Tuesday- or pancake Tuesday. I bought paczki (pounchkey) at the store- it's a Polish traditional pastery made only today. It is the last day before the Christian tradition of Lent- 40 days of fasting to commemorate Jesus's time in the desert and to prepare for the Passion and Easter Sunday. Many cultures celebrate by cleaning out their cupboards of sweet treats and rich food-thus the making of pastries and celebratory feasts. And the partying like it's the end of the world. Think about how many people plan to diet and the day before they start, they pig out on all the foods they have decided never to eat again. That-in essence-is fat Tuesday.
I find it all silly fun. I mean, it's not like we'll never eat again.
To me, Lent is a deeply spiritual time when we look inside and try to make positive changes. Either by changing bad habits or adding good habits. As kids we used to give up sweets. It was a small sacrifice to remind us of the bigger sacrifice Jesus made for us. Of course, it doesn't feel small at the time. :) But it did make Easter Sunday all the more wonderful. Do you have Lenten traditions? If so, what are they?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb. 15

Happy Birthday to my nephew Brandon! May all your birthday wishes come true. Enjoy your day and remember--its not over until all the cake is gone.

Yesterday was St. Valentine's Day and the Chinese New Year. Here in the US we let the Chinese new year date slide in favor of hearts and flowers. :) but I think that is an advertising thing. It's the year of the Tiger. I hope that means it's going to be a better year than last year. Today is President's day where we as a country celebrate out founding fathers. Banks and the post office are closed, but I'm not certain anyone cares except teachers who are trying to make George Washington and Abe Lincoln relative in today's world. (As they should.) Kids are overloaded with information. There is always something new and shiny to catch their attention--history is put down- as in "That phone is sooo last year. You need this new cool one." I think that is a bad precedent. A culture not anchored in the past will tumble like a tumble weed with rotted roots. But then again you all know I love history and research. :) So I may be biased.

So- happy valentine/new year/president's day everyone! (It's also Mardi gras (sic?)- but we'll save that for tomorrow.) Cheers~

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb. 14

Have you been watching the Olympics? I am always sad when they are being held close and still I can't see them in person. I imagine you get to see more at home than you do there, but wouldn't it be wonderful to actually be there?
I like speed skating-not the short track with a bunch of skaters pushing and shoving, but the long distances with two athletes going around the track. I get mesmerized by the rhythm of their pace, the swing of their arms, the glide of their skates. They make it look effortless-and yet when they near the end you can see the pain and hard work of it on their faces. Awesome.
What are your favorite winter Olympic sports?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Feb. 13

Happy Birthday to my older brother, Pat. We're no longer twins~ (We are twins for nearly three weeks each year as I was born before his first birthday.) Pat is expecting to be a Grandpa any day now. So double congrats to him-much love and happy blessings.

I don't get to read all the blogs I like to any more- since I'm swamped with school work and such but I try to touch base once or twice a week. I have really enjoyed the blogs out there and worry that my blog is dull in comparison. I've read interviews with cool musicians, great book authors, reviews of movies--it seems people are out and about in the world. While I'm mostly in my office-thus the view from my window and the worlds I create in my head. I'll work harder not to be too dull. :) cheers!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Feb. 12

I started writing this morning about contests and conferences, about 300 words in I realized it is a better subject for my Sunday writer's blog. So I'll be posting on that on Feb. 21st. Today I have critiques to do for my group from school. It is always a pleasure to read what other people in the master's program are writing. I've got work to do on the many manuscripts I'm pitching and I have reading to do for school. It is a pleasantly busy day. Do you have those kinds of days? The kind where you have things to do, but not so much that you feel rushed. If so, do you prefer that or do you like to be super busy-or super slow? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feb. 11

Things have calmed down here- no further snow. The sun is out today and the birds are out in force. I can hear the robin, a red-wing black bird, blue jays and a cardinal. Snow or not, the birds are thinking about Spring and territory and babies. Unfortunately they'll have to wait until the snow melts out of the nests.
If you're writing a novel, do you take note of the seasons? One of the workshop presenters at the residency suggested that you visit your location once in every season and take note of your surroundings. A sort of crib sheet on what the light is like, how the wind sounds, what birds are out, what smells, plants, etc. then keep the crib sheet handy for anchoring your novel setting in reality. I sort of like the idea of taking four research trips. Maybe someday I will. In the meantime, I have my window and the view from my neck of the woods. cheers~

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feb. 10

Well, the car trouble turned out to be three holes in the radiator and the temp gauge was bad. Sigh. It's an old car but a trooper for us so we fixed it up. The snow kept falling. I went out this morning to blue skies and high winds and pushed the last six inches off the drive. We got close to 24 inches around our house. I think we live in a low spot. The little dog walks in the trails the big dog makes. The snow is over her head. :)
The snow plow happily pushed a ten foot drift onto the sidewalk in front of my house. We live at the end of a cul de sac and it all ends up in our yard. I wisely decided people would just have to go around the pile. I'm not attempting to shovel that. Besides there is no where to put the snow. The banks around my driveway are neck high and I can't throw it over any more. The snow simply slides down.
I want to share the coolest thing I saw this morning. In my neighbors apple tree are two bird nests. The nests were filled with snow about four inches over the top and the snow domed so the two nests looked like ice cream bowls sitting in the tree. Now that is cool, isn't it?
I must admit that I threw my back out shoveling the two foot heavy snow the plow pushed into the driveway. So I'm on muscle relaxers and pain pills. I hope this blog makes sense. :)
Stay safe everyone and have a happy Weds!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feb 9

What a morning. Got up and pushed 3 inches of snow off the drive and sidewalk. Then drove an hour to a doctor's appointment-that went well. Except that the car overheated on the way there and we had to stop, in the middle of the snowstorm of the season. sigh. We were only 5 minutes late so no big deal. Drove another hour to take people to work-more car overheating. Then back 35 minutes to the local garage for emergency car repair where they are shorthanded, of course, due to weather but hope to fix the car today. Faced with a couple mile walk home in the "snow storm of the season" :), the guys there offered me a lift. Arrived home and pushed ankle deep and higher snow from the driveway. By the time I got to the end there was a half an inch covering the just cleared parts. *shakes head* The snow is falling at an alarming rate. I gave up and came inside to blog and write. I'll go back out later to push some more around. It's all part and parcel of this beautiful day. cheers~

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feb. 8

I heard a robin this morning as I settled into my office to work. It is a sure sign of spring as the robins are the first birds to return after the dead of winter. Of course we are expecting 10 inches of snow but I doubt anyone told the robin.
This week is all about my Master's program as I have a deadline for the next thirty pages of the book, along with pages to my small group partners.
The mini blog tour for DREAM MAN is done and was quite successful-thank you to those who were kind enough to host me. A couple of opportunities have come up to visit/write for other blogs. We'll see how much time I have. Blogs are wonderful ways to meet new people but are time consuming and I have a request for revisions book I need to work on.
I hope you all are warm and dry and have a great day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb. 7

It's snowing here. Not as much as Philadelphia or Washington DC but snow all the same. The weather man told us last night it would start late Monday and snow until Weds and yet this morning I woke up to snow. :) Weather is not an exact science. Perhaps the 4 to 8 predicted inches will end up being less or even over with by Tuesday. In the meantime, it's best to stay inside with a good book and enjoy the pretty view from the window. 41 days until Spring. Cheers~

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Feb. 6

We rented the movie, Whip it. It's a cute coming of age/into your own story. The protagonist is a 17 year old highschooler who has been letting her mom put her in pageants. One day she sees a flier for a roller derby game and so she sneaks off with her best friend to see what the derby is all about. She tries out for the derby on a dare and gets on a team. While she discovers a passion for the sport, she has also lied about her age to the team--you must be 21 to be a member--and to her parents telling them she is studying for the SAT while sneaking out to derby games. So, of course, it all hits the fan when the truth comes out. It's a fun little story set in small town Texas with solid acting. Drew Barrymore is the director and did a good job. The story picks up the true flavor of the area and the sport. I would give it a solid three out of five buckets of popcorn. :) Cheers~

Friday, February 5, 2010

Feb. 5

The wind is up today. I can hear it whistle through the trees, bending the bare brown branches back and forth, whirling little snow devils across the frozen bits of lake. It rattles the windows and teases the curtains. Cold and sharp as broken glass it plays with anything not hunkered down. I went out to mail a letter and tasted the ice on its wing and the foggy wet of my own breath behind a wool scarf. It's a good day to huddle under a blanket and read a book. I'm reading "A Bad Day for Sorry" by Sophie Littlefield. How about you?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Feb. 4

Today I'm over at Linda Kage's Blog on the last stop for my mini blog tour. Linda interviewed me and a few of the characters from DREAM MAN. Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a prize. (click on Linda to view her blog)

Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb. 3

This week I'm working on rereading/revising/copy editing(for the 1 millionth time)/ printing out of two of my single title books. I have requests for fulls on both books from an agent. Before I send out any book-even one I've polished and sent out before-I reread it and check for typos, etc. Yes, it's a lot of work but amazingly enough there is always something to find. Even work that has been read by a number of people. In a way that's good. It means people get caught up in the story and forget the words on the page (which is the author's end goal) but it does mean that the work is never perfect. But then again what handcrafted item is perfect? After all it was made by human beings not a machine. I kind of like that, don't you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feb. 2

I spent an hour this morning shoveling snow. We have 4 inches and it's still coming down. While I was out pushing snow around, I was thinking about my SHU friends from Florida. Kathleen had only seen snow once when she visited the alps. She was so enthralled with it's beauty. So tickled by how light and fluffy and sparkly the snow was. She took all kinds of pictures and her joy was infectious. In fun contrast her daughter Irene told me about he first week in SHU snow. She reacted in the opposite. The snow scared her. It freaked her out to look out the window and watch it come down. When people teased her about it, she said, "have you people not seen The Shining?" lol
Happy Groundhog's Day, everyone. Six more weeks of winter. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb. 1

It's a busy Monday. How was your weekend? Do you have any crazy full moon stories? They say that this past weekend held a Wolf Moon. A Wolf Moon means that the full moon was closest to the earth and therefore largest. My weekend was busy but the craziest thing that happened was I had a tire crack probably from a pot hole and had to get two new tires. I don't think that had anything to do with the moon. It was lovely to see. Happy Monday!