Saturday, December 30, 2006

On A Roll!

Got word yesterday that both FP & RR finaled in the Hook, Line & Sinker contest! I'm so thrilled with FP's successes. It's finaled in 3 out of 5 contests so far with 2 more waiting on announcements and 2 more that I'm going to enter in January.

An unbiased reader spoke with me about FP the other day. She liked it enough that it left her wanting to read the next book. She said it caught her attention right away and that she likes the tension between the heroine and the hero. What she regrets is that I didn't give her lots more details about the village and how the community interacts with the heroine. I explained that in a short contemporary I don't have a lot of space to do that. She said she felt like she was there, she just usually reads books that have tons more details.

2007 is going to be a spectacular year for my writing. I feel it in my gut. That may not take the form of a book contract, but there are good things in store for me and I feel that I cannot afford to slack off with any aspect of my writing business. So, I've started writing the next book and I'm already so in love with it!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rounding Out 2006

The presents are all unwrapped, the candy is all eaten (or at least broken into), the Santa hat is packed away until next year. Christmas Eve and Day were wonderful. My brother and grandfather joined us (Mom, stepdad and me) for dinner on Christmas Eve and my best friend joined us for Christmas dinner yesterday. I got some wonderful presents and such peace within me. It's too hard to explain without sounding like an idiot. So, I'll not even try.

My thoughts now turn to New Year's Eve. I'm always the person pondering how my life and the world around me have changed over the last 12 months and I'm always making plans to improve in the new year. Where will I go? Who will be influential in my life in 2007? Will I make a difference to someone else?

Some questions are easy to answer. I'll go back to Texas to teach the 2nd half of the school year. I plan to go to Ireland for the first time and back to Scotland during the summer. I'll be in RI for my cousin's wedding next fall. For sure I'll be in Dallas for the RWA National Conference.

Some questions I can't begin to answer. Some I can only hope for the answer my heart wants me to give.

Will you reflect as we get closer to 2007?

Friday, December 22, 2006

An Early Christmas Present

As I struggled last night to pack too much crap into my too small suitcase, I got word that FP finaled in the Duel on the Delta Contest! Woohoo!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


It's over! School is out. I'm officially on vacation until January 8th. I'm so excited! I can read, write, wrap Christmas presents. Of course, first I have to stuff all said presents in with my clothes and be able to zip my suitcase!

Wherever you are, wherever you go I hope you have a wonderfully exciting and restful holiday!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ha, Ha, Ha!

I have beaten those sentences into submission! (Um, is that grammatically correct?)

Okay, no. I've merely finished my latest draft of my 2 page synopsis. I am sending it to the contest coordinator for the final round of the Romancing the Tome contest. I am not going to look at FP or anything to do with FP for at least another week. From writing, I am officially on vacation!

Now I just have to get through the next 2 1/2 days at school.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Poke My Eye Out With a Tree Branch

I guarantee that will be less painful than working on this synopsis. If you haven't already realized it, I HATE writing synopses. That's because I stink at them. I'm revising the 2-pager for the final round of the Romancing the Tome contest and it's killing me. I've got 2 pages and 8 lines. Yeah, I could change the font, but I'm anal about sending uniform entries. The manuscript pages are in Courier New so the synopsis HAS to be in Courier New as well.

In other news, I loved watching The Magic of Ordinary Days yesterday. Only watched once. I'm supposed to go with my sister-in-law to see Babel this evening. We're both huge Brad Pitt fans. I brought a whole bunch of stuff home to grade, but it's all still in the car. Oh well.

How is your weekend?

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Present For Myself

We got out of our staff meeting a bit early, so I packed up a bunch of stuff to grade, tossed it in the trunk and headed for the mall. Even though some nasty bug is trying to worm through my innards, I was bound and determined to continue Christmas shopping. Things were going along well and I realized I'd only have one more outing for gifts. I could've gone tonight, but traffic was already choking the highway. So, I decided to come home after my last stop in the Hallmark store.

Well, there I was searching for cute little gifts, when what should appear right before my eyes? A movie I've seen once that I absolutely LOVED and have wanted to own since it first aired. Even though the movie aired on the Hallmark channel, it never actually occurred to me to look for it in a Hallmark store. Yet, there it was whispering, "Here I am! Merry Christmas to you, Chris!"

I had a bunch of grand plans for this weekend to make it whiz by, but since this bug's messing with my stomach, I think I might just sit on the couch with a cup of soup and watch my movie, The Magic of Ordinary Days with Keri Russell and Skeet Ulrich. And maybe tomorrow I'll sit with a morning cup of tea and watch it again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Life Is Good

I can't complain.

Yesterday afternoon, I and a couple other staff members took the 4th & 6th grades to volunteer for Blue Santa. We got to shop for needy families here in Austin. I had a better time than I thought I would and the kids enjoyed it too. It felt so good knowing I was doing something good for my community.

We had our Austin RWA party last night and it was great. I got to see some people I haven't seen in months and I got to know the names of some of the new faces that have popped into our meetings over the last few months.

My lesson plans for the rest of the days before winter break are pretty much finished. I'm hoping to get a lot of grading done this weekend. (Next week I'm planning to sketch out my January lesson plans & work on report cards.)

I finished that kids' book, The Cay. It's by Theodore Taylor and it was AWESOME!! On my prep period today, I took the book and my cloak (Scottish, with the colors of the Black Watch) and I sat out front in the garden and sunshine. It was perfect and I was so relaxed for the rest of the day.

Another round of Christmas shopping tonight and I think I can safely say I'm almost done. Except for 1 or 2 people, I either have everything or I know what I'm getting them.

Busy weekend ahead, but you don't need all the details. Let's just say lots more Christmas stuff, a peek with my sister-in-law at Brad Pitt's newest movie, grading, and applying for my new passport!!! The post office is having a Passport fair, so I can take care of it now and not have to worry about it anymore for my summer trip to the British Isles!

I hope you all are doing well, staying sane and enjoying every maddening moment of this holiday season!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Losing My Mind (Or What's Left of It!)

I was sure I'd written a post since last Thursday. Guess not. Maybe I meant to. Maybe I formed one in my head. Or not.

It's been a busy few days. Friday after work I went Christmas shopping. Saturday I went grocery shopping and worked on crafting a 2 page synopsis for my contemporary. Saturday night we had our staff Christmas party for the day job at the boss's house. A good time was had by all and I ate enough for three people. Come to think of it, I drank enough for 3 people as well. Sunday I slept on the couch for 11 hours and then it took me a few more hours to pull myself together enough to keep my eyes open. I stopped by my brother's house to give my niece her birthday present and we watched The Polar Express. Cute movie. Then, they gave me my Christmas present since I may not see all of them together before my trip up to the frozen north. They gave me 2 of my favorite things-chocolate and a Barnes & Noble gift card! When I got home last night, I finished my 2 page synopsis. (I had a 5 pager and an 8 pager, but for the final round of Romancing the Tome I need a 2 pager.)

Tonight I went Christmas shopping again and started getting frustrated so I came home. Tomorrow is my Austin RWA chapter Christmas party, so I'm really looking forward to that. Then Thursday is our school winter program. So much to do, so little time!

I'm still not reading. I've decided that the week of Christmas I'm truly taking off. No school stuff, no writing, no business. (Well, I might actually draft some notes for the next book.) The first week of January I'll get back into the business end of writing and I'll work on stuff for the day job. I can't imagine doing absolutely nothing but reading, watching mindless TV and hanging out with family and friends, but it'll be so much fun!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Movin' Along

I hope everyone took a minute to remember Pearl Harbor. I brought it up to my homeroom class this morning and we got into a great discussion about war and how there's never just one reason for it.

I'm feeling better about my non-finaling (in this latest contest) manuscript. A friend of mine made a comment that I hadn't even thought about. When I told her the judges' reactions to my characters, she said, "Great!" I just stared at her like she had five heads. She went on to explain, "Your job is to make the reader feel something. They got invested enough to dislike the characters." Kind of odd thinking, but I like it!

Oh! Another co-worker read my Author in Waiting page and asked to read one of my manuscripts over winter break. (I gave my co-workers Tami Dee's website address and told them all about it during our last staff meeting.)

I put the Christmas tree up last night and went Christmas shopping tonight. By no means am I finished, but when I got tired I just came home. That was pleasant. AND I only bought one thing for myself-a Celtic CD.

I'm grading, planning and meeting with parents. I'm not even thinking about writing. That much. I started a new book from one of the kids in my 7th grade class. It's called The Cay and it's interesting enough to keep me reading. I read about 60 pages today during study halls and while my other classes were reading their books.

Tomorrow is Friday and I've got 2 weeks left before winter break! Yay! I cannot wait. Plus, this weekend is my niece's birthday (she's 5 and the only girl, I've got 6 nephews) and our staff Christmas party. Then I also plan to finish my Christmas shopping.

Oh! All is well with the family drama, at least for now. Hopefully it will remain so through my Christmas visit.

Happy writing, reading and holiday preparing!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


That's my word for the day. Or few days. I'm not reading, not writing, don't want to do either. I'm tired of mean kids. I'm trying to forget the judges' comments from my last entry (which didn't final) that said my hero was a jerk and my heroine whines too much. (CLEARLY those judges weren't from my target audience!) We've got some family drama that is hurting my heart and there's nothing I can do about it. I did manage to start my Christmas shopping and pull my decorations out of storage. After dinner I'm going to put the tree together and decorate it. Maybe that'll help me feel better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Life is Good!

Tami Dee's Website Go there. Look me up. I'm the December Author in Waiting. I had a lot of fun preparing for this. You'll see a picture of me (since I can't figure out how to post one to the blog), you can learn a bit more about me, and you can read excerpts from my latest award-winning suspense AND my first ever contemporary that I'm so thrilled with! Check it out! You have no excuses not to. It'll be up for the whole month.

I woke up this morning at 8:17. Work started at 7:45. You do the math. The boss wasn't upset though. I think in 5 1/2 years I've been late 3, maybe 4 times.

Turns out my Christmas lights weren't stolen. When I got home today they were up waiting for me to plug them in. Guess there is some good in the world.

I'm really, really thinking about a website as a Christmas present to myself. Plus I've got this great fellow ARWA member who designs them and has already started explaining all the techno-crap to me.

I've got a weekend of Christmas cheer planned---shopping, decorating and hot chocolate drinking. I brought a bunch of stuff home to grade too, which I really want to do so that life will be easier next week.

I'm off to have a cup of tea and read, but tonight I think I'll read Merry Christmas, Babies instead of Catherine, Called Birdy. You should go to Tami and I will love you for it!