Thursday, June 30, 2011
Yes, I got my Tuesday blog out - finally. I am still dragging from school, but this means I'm improving. It's the last day of June. The slow humid heat of summer has arrived. The scent of green and growing things-so different from the sharp cold scent of winter. The lake is alive with unseen critters, leaving concentric circles where they skim the surface. The sky is blue and white and hazy. The color less sharp more pastel than what we see in winter when the air is full of ice crystals. Birds are constantly singing their territorial markers. Children are out of school, running and screaming and filling the air with the loud importance of their games. The woods is lush and full blocking the view with shadows, shades of green, rocking of the wind. The wind is lazy, softly blowing gossamer, sheer curtains in and out. Flowers bring color to the green along with dragon flies, butterflies and insects of all varieties. Coffee out on the deck before it gets too hot and I'm chased inside. Summer.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sorry- am exhausted and not getting to posting. I keep thinking if I just take a five minute nap...and two hours later I drag myself up. Life is funny that way. Little dog and I need to recover from our adventures. I should have been smart and taken Airborne but nope. I didn't think of it.
The wonderful author Shelley Bates not only spent the week at school as an instructor and a student and a graduate, but now she is in NY at the RWA conference signing books. I want whatever pill she's taking. :)
How's things going with you?
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
The view from my window this morning is onto an indoor swimming pool atrium. I keep the curtains closed.
Today is the big day- presentation day. I'm ready. I'm going to do it whether I mess up or not and then I'll be done. Yay! I think it wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't being graded/judged. I don't do well with the whole judging part. Oh, maybe I'll make up cards and ask three in the back to raise them at the end- you know- 10,10,10. That will make me smile and remind me that I'm being silly.
Have a fabulous weekend my friends!! Cheers~
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Up at the crack of dawn- no wait my window looks over the indoor swimming pool atrium. Hmmm, so up at the splash of dawn? *takes peek out* Nope no one is crazy enough to be swimming at 6 a.m. on a Thursday. Today is another easy day of learning and critiques. Tomorrow is the BIG day- of my giving a workshop and then presenting my thesis for defense. Then it is all down hill to graduation. YAY!
The people here are wonderful. I've made some friends that will last me a life time. So cool to be with a bunch of genre writers. No matter how out there we are-we all understand. That is kind of cool.
Hope you day is great. Cheers~
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Day one of my final residency for the Master's degree program is over. We talked about the homework book and writing series-what the pitfalls were and how to avoid them. There was a class on prepping for our thesis reading plus practice. There was lunch and then a great afternoon seminar on using acting techniques to help you gain a deeper point of view. Right now it's dinner and I'm watching little dog on puppy cam at Camp Bow Wow. There are a trio of boy dogs mixing it up. Little dog is the girl next door. Sort of like a soap opera.
This evening is full of thesis readings. Then I need to do more homework and practice my own reading and teaching presentation. Hope your day is fab!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today I think I used every mechanical mode of transportation know to man- took a car to a train to a bus to a monorail to a plane to a subway to a car. Ah, the wonders of the modern world. I bought a new suitcase with four rolling wheels in hopes of being less beat up and bruised from dragging said suitcase through numerous modes of transportation. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out. Yes, the suitcase did not tip over like my previous suitcase, but it beat me up just the same. I think I need a couple of strong guys to haul my stuff around for me. Any volunteers? :)
Monday, June 20, 2011
Blogging may be hit or miss this week as I begin my last week of the Master's degree program. I'll let you in on a secret, I am constantly worried I'll make a fool of myself in public. Thus, it is easier for me to write books because revision is always possible before things go to far. But when it comes to this week at school-I have to step out and face the terrifying prospect of screwing up. I have a teaching presentation and my thesis reading and defense. What me worried? No. Petrified. lol I'll get over it. When giving presentations I find it's easier to simply fall down right off- then the worst has happened and everything is up hill from there. Of course, I never plan to do something stupid-it just comes out. Everyone laughs and the tension breaks and we are on our way to having a good time. So- no worries- right?
What do you do when faced with stage fright?
Have a great week. Cheers~
Friday, June 17, 2011
Little dog spent the day at Camp Bowwow- a doggy daycare. I spent the day running her to camp, shopping and errands. Now we are both home and pooped. She goes so that she will be comfortable boarding whenever we are out of town.
We are supposed to have a rainy weekend. I hope yours is lovely. Cheers~
Thursday, June 16, 2011
My good friend and wonderful writer, Carolyn Brown told me yesterday that her latest book, "Love Drunk Cowboy" made the NYT Bestseller list. Then this morning she found out it was on the USA Today Bestseller list. I am so very happy for her. She and I go way back to when I first published. She published 36 books with Avalon before she went to Sourcebooks and started her wildly popular cowboy books. This proves that persistence does pay off. Carolyn is a fabulous writer and her stories resonate. Even better she never gave up. I am so inspired by her and happy for her, I had to share with you. Seriously in this business you just never know. Congrats Carolyn and keep writing my friends. Cheers~
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
It was a cold and rainy day...(not unlike a dark and stormy night.) I made no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. The problem with no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies is then I do nothing but eat said cookies. Oh, my~ The baked cookies are better. I put the raw dough in the freezer and take them out two at a time to bake for fresh warm cookies that don't sit on the counter and make me eat them every time I walk passed the kitchen. I've tried covering them up, hiding them in jars. It never works. They call my name and I walk out with one in each hand and if I'm sneaky eating a third. It's wrong, I tell you just wrong.
How's your Wednesday going?
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
It's flag day. If you are a USA citizen I hope you put your flag out today. I like to wave it proudly. We have a flag attached to a pole that we put out at the entrance to our house.
My parents have a tall flag pole at their new home. I went out with my mom on Memorial Day weekend and tried to hang the flag. Of course, having never done it before I didn't have the imagination to figure out the ropes. Our first attempt was unsuccessful. So we went back inside and asked the guys if they knew how to put up the flag and before they could answer I figured out what we were doing wrong and how to fix it. Funny how a the mind works. After that it was a matter of going back out and unhooking the rope, drawing down the clips and attaching the flag. We were proud to be successful in our flying.
Some tips for handling flags: 1) don't let it touch the ground. 2) if it gets ratty and worn, take it to your VFW where they will dispose of it properly- a flag should never get tossed in the garbage. 3) if it starts to rain, bring the flag in.
Show your respect for the flag because so many men and women have given their lives in order for you to fly the colors. Happy flag day!
Monday, June 13, 2011
This Monday has shaped up to be a true Monday. Got up late and have had phone calls and problems to solve and no food so I had to make muffins-blueberry, yum! But I wanted to make this sour cream blueberry coffee cake I made last month. So, I spent 20 minutes searching for the recipe and couldn't find it-looked up and it was 11 a.m. and I needed breakfast. So I ended up making muffins. It's Monday.
I read a recent article where they surveyed a small group of bloggers- only 40 participated. They asked what kinds of blogs interested the reader the most. Surprisingly, people wanted to know the day to day living of an author more than they wanted to know writing craft tips, etc. This news surprised me because I don't find my day-to-day living as anything special. I am like any other person with good days and bad, housework and cooking and calls from my agent and PR to do and books to write. Oh, well, I guess that is a bit different-but not so much if you were here living it. Thank goodness they don't do reality shows about writer's lives. It would be a giant snooze fest. They would have to write in a visit from a Snooky or some other crazy reality TV person just to liven things up.
What do you like to read when you read blogs?
Friday, June 10, 2011
I got my first look at my contract for Gluten For Punishment, Berkeley Prime Crime. Yay for contracts. I'm glad for a good agent and all those years of looking at less complicated contracts. One of the best things about the writing community is how many groups will give you contract tips and pointers. Thank goodness for a good agent with a legal department who is up on all things contracts- and for those who prefer, there are wonderful literary lawyers who will also help you figure out what the contract means and how to make it work for you.
The best advice ever is to never, never sign a contract without reading every line-ensuring you understand each and every clause and how it impacts you.
What is the best contract advice you've ever gotten?
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Little dog is at an interview for doggie day camp. I took her this morning and she passed the "meet new doggies" test. The next test was for Mom to leave and for her to enter the play yard with all the other doggies her size and play. I am feeling anxiety separation-lol- they have web cams so you can go on-line and watch the doggies play. It is awfully addictive to watch the doggies. Sort of like the puppy bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. (If you have never seen this, on Animal Planet TV channel, they have three hours of puppies playing in a small scale sports arena. Crazy.)
This is good socialization for little dog and she will be much happier playing at day camp when I'm at school than sitting at home alone in her kennel. So, this crazy human wants to believe.
The things we do for our pets.
Have you ever taken your fur baby to a day camp or a boarding hotel?
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Note: this is a housekeeping post to catch you up on what is going on in my life.
I think I must have received close to 16 documents via e-mail this morning for the residency week at Seton Hill University Master's program. I'm still sorting and printing them all out. That put me a tad bit behind in all my daily tasks-such as writing this blog. The good news is that this is my last residency. I graduate June 26th with an MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Yes!
I hope that come July, I can put more effort into on-time blog posts and visits with other blogger friends. In the meantime, I'm treading water, trying to keep my head up. If I am slow with a blog or a message please put it down to my head in too many clouds.
I have a number of writing friends with new releases and I hope to put some time in celebrating their work~along with my own starting in July.
If you are waiting for "The Counterfeit Bride" please note that while it has a June release date, the publisher tells me it will be mailed out in August.
One last note: This weeks Craft blog is on procrastination- you can find it at www.nancyjparra.blogspot.com
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The woods behind the house is so thick with foliage that it is dark and medieval looking. Mosquitoes hang out in the shade. Small critters move about unseen. The dark blue lake ripples with the wind. A big blue heron, fishes at the bank while 24-inch, snapping turtles come out to sun themselves. Dragon flies so tiny you can mistake them for mosquitoes flit about mixing with dragon flies so large they make humming birds look small. The air is warm and heavy with moisture and the scent of lilacs. Cottonwood fluff floats by tickling the nose and pretending to be snow flakes. The sky is a hazy brown from heat and far off wild fires. The deck is too hot for bare feet and smells of heated cedar wood. Ants scurry in long lines. Bees and wasps bump around attracted by the flower scents. I saw our garden snake. He is now four-foot long. I think that may be the reason I haven't seen any toads, yet. Early summer is so full of life- large and small. Cheers~
Monday, June 6, 2011
I've noted that the on-line presence has dropped in the last month. I have fewer blog hits, see fewer tweets, and fewer people posting on Facebook. Why? Is it something that I have done? Is it because I have spent the last six months immersed in school and am not giving good content? Not visiting enough blogs? Not tweeting well?
Or is it simply that the shine is off social media and people are not reading as much? Have you seen a dip? (I know my friend Judy has not- congrats to her for getting so many people to view her blog and to enter her launch contest. Yay for her new launch.) But Judy and all her hard work aside, how is everyone else doing?
Do you think more people are spending time outside now that summer has come? More people on vacation? Or have we lost a portion of the audience to the tornado damage, floods, fires, etc. that are going on in the USA right now? I mean, seriously, if you home and life are endanger you're not going to be tooling around the internet.
Or is it a positive thing? Are more people back to work or working on new projects that they don't have time for social networking?
What do you think? Is your experience positive?
Friday, June 3, 2011
This weekend is Chicago's Printer's Row Lit Fest. I have gone a few times and it is great fun. There are tents and tents of books for sale. There are authors speaking and groups to join. One year we went in the rain- blah. One year it was so hot I almost died. This year I have a couple of friends who will be there talking on panels, signing books and supporting their writer's groups. If you are in the area, you should go. The whole thing is free-like a street fair and if you love books, it's the place to be.
For my friends from other parts of the world, do you have a lit fest near you?
I hope you have a fabulous weekend.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
We are having a weather war here- one day it's turn on the heater- the next it's air conditioning-then heater- then AC. There seems to not be any temperature that is not extreme this year. What happened to temperatures in the 70's? The plants and animals seem to take this in stride as everything is green and growing. As a human being I am spoiled. I can keep the ambient temperature from getting too hot or too cold simply by pushing a button.
I watched a Bruce Willis movie last night called Surrogates. The concept being that sometime in the future human beings live in their pajama's, rest on an easy chair and live their lives through the beautiful, always perfect robot they control with their minds. According to the movie this is done because people feel safer. Their robots can get in an accident and they will simply buy a new one. As they say- "you can be anyone you want to be." Creepy really. While it's convenient to have central heat and AC, and as a writer I tend to live my life in pajamas, I really am glad to be able to go outside and feel the air on my skin. Hear the birds singing. Dig weeds. Meet my neighbors. Live life in a very real way. Cheers~
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
We are twenty days away from the beginning of summer and twenty days away from the time the days begin to grow shorter. I do love long days and can't believe that the time is closing in to where they begin to shorten again. The years slip away so quickly. This month is already filled with events- along with my final week of residency and my graduation from the Master's program. I'm sure you will all be relieved when I am done and can talk about something else-like the tiny turtle we found crossing the sidewalk looking for a new pond.
In the meantime, I'm hoping to keep my head above water and promote my new release, work on my presentation and write a proposal for a new series. The devil is in the details and there are a lot of those lately.
Do you have summer plans? Please share~