Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Hi there! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and you're all geared up for 2008! My vacation is going well. Although, there's been no newfallen snow...yet. Santa was good to me, although he also left me with a cold. Never mind. I'm battling it. Sitting on the couch, reading, relaxing and listening to the wind howl against the windows. (If it were nighttime, it would be kind of creepy.) I'm planning to do some reflection today about my 2007 experiences and then some planning for 2008. I'll be back home in a few days, so I'll give you the update then. Until then, take care, be safe and may 2008 bring you much love, happiness and success!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Holiday Message

I'm off to RI to be with the family this morning. While I'm away, I'll post if and when I can. Until then, I wish everyone a safe, happy holiday. Thanks to all of you who visit my blog, whether you leave comments or not. I appreciate your time, effort and support. I look forward to sharing more amazing and wonderful times with you in the new year.

May Santa bring you lots of fun surprises, may the love of the season be with you and your family and may 2008 ring in with lots of hope and promise!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Poem For Writers

This came through my Kiss of Death online chapter loop:

By Petrina Aubol
(With the usual apologies, especially to the poets out there.)

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house'
Not a creature was stirring, only me and my mouse.
The family snuggled, all ready to dream.
Me, I just struggled with my electronic machine.
"Should I use tockety tick or tickety tock?
Now which goes better stocking or sock?"
My thoughts got knocked out by noise on the roof.
Those pigeon pests sounded like each had a hoof.
Shaking my fist, I inserted ear plugs,
Picked up my beer and chugged a few lugs.
And with a resoluteness hardly ever seen,
I returned my attention to that dratted blank screen.
When all of a sudden banging on the door,
Penetrated my earplugs which I threw on the floor.
"Go to hell," I shouted to the intruder outside.
"I'm writing an opus in which I take pride.
My hero's heroic, my heroine's a dream,
The villain is the worst rascal ever seen.
My conflict's conflicting, it's all in my head,
But 'twill be in the computer before I hit the bed."
"Open up!" hollered a jolly voice in the hall.
"I've brought you some presents, both big and both small."
"Don't want any, go 'way," I told him with a roar.
But at his insistence, I opened the door.
There stood a fat clown dressed in fur and in red
With a white beard and pointy hat on his head.
A sack full of packages flung over his shoulder,
He stared me down, couldn't have been bolder.
I remembered my subplot that needed a boot.
What a great hook, an old joker in a red suit.
"Come in sir," I said flinging open the door.
"Sit down and please tell me what you're here for."
"No time to sit, writer, I've a long way to go,
But you sit down, I've goodies to show."
Speechless I sat in my desk chair pushed back,
And watched the old guy go through is sack.
He flipped me a card, "An appointment in New York City,
With a literary agent who'll read your new ditty.
Here's a Random House contract for you to sign,
Six-figure advance, put your x on that line.
Next is the route of your book tour with paid fare,
And your own eager publicist, who'll accompany you there.
Here's a brand new printer, thirty pages a minute,
With a lifetime supply of top grade paper in it.
Here are some cartridges and if you need more,
Staples will send them, pre-paid from the store.
His sack was lighter but more goodies he did find,
"A brand new thesaurus and dictionary combined.
A tape recorder so you can write and then jaw,
And a word processor program that works without flaw.
And last but not least from the Times of New York,
A book review claiming that you are no dork,
But a literary genius of the greatest acclaim,
Whose work will be bought out as your rise up in fame.
I'm taking your first draft which I will critique,
And leaving my life story which is most unique.
Then you can ghost write it, I'll finish it quick.
But we must use my by-line which of course is Saint Nick."
"I believe in you Santa," and in spite of myself.
I hugged the geezer, "You're the greatest old elf."
"Merry Christmas, Writer," he exclaimed as he left my sights.
"I'll be back next year to discuss Movie Rights!"


Friday, December 21, 2007


Hooray! I'm on vacation! That means lots of time for reading and writing. Well, once I get the Christmas shopping done, the house cleaned, this cold under control, the packing done.

There's not much to tell you. I started reading a Silhouette Romantic Suspense this morning. I love it so far! I'd like nothing more than to sit here all day and finish the story. The book is called Holiday Heroes and it actually has 2 shorter stories in it, one by Rachel Lee and one by Catherine Mann. I expect to finish the Rachel Lee one tonight. Yes, it's that good. The hero is on leave from the Marines and is struggling to keep from getting "soft" during his leave. The heroine is a park ranger who's more at home in the woods than among the people of her hometown. I feel the pain deep within each of the characters and I love the power of healing building within the pages. I can't wait to see how it ends!

How about you? Reading anything right now that grabs your heart?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

T Minus Seventeen

Hours, that is. That's how long until I'm officially off work for the holiday!

I'm holding the cold off, keeping it from taking over my life. Although I think I'm feeding it way too much chocolate from our class parties today.

Tomorrow I'm going to finish up the work stuff, maybe do a little shopping. I'm thinking Friday will be my official "Oh, I've got HOW MANY days left to shop for Christmas?" day.

Saturday maybe I'll visit the stepbrother and family, write, read and pack for the trip up north.

Of course, somewhere in between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning I need to do some cleaning.

Next time you hear from me I'll be FREE until January 7, 2008!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Wanted Soup, So I Ordered Pancakes

I'm sick. It's just starting, but I already feel it coming. Nothing major yet. Just achy, stuffy nose, exhausted. For a while I felt sick to my stomach. Nothing sounded better than a cup of soup. So I went out in search of dinner. We had our "Holiday" program tonight at school and I didn't want to come home in between the school day and the program because I wouldn't want to go back. So I drove around and searched for a place that would give me soup. Oh, and the sandwich I was craving as well. So I stopped at IHOP. I haven't been there in years, but it sounded good. Of course, they'd run out of soup. As I looked at the menu, the pancakes looked awfully good, so I settled on those. They went down easily enough and filled my stomach...until I got back to school for the program and my stomach started to pitch a fit. Nothing major, mind you, but uncomfortable enough to remind myself that I'm sick. I need lots of rest, lots of fluids and plain/bland foods until I'm 100%. Which better be by the weekend because I'm flying into some snowy, cold areas. I don't need pneumonia or bronchitis or the flu for Christmas.

Still Christmas shopping, still got the check engine light on (but no symptoms), still not reading (except bad essays), and still no writing. Come on Thursday. Hurry up and get here already! Once our staff development is over, I'll be free! (Free to finish my Christmas shopping, wait out this cold, take the car to the mechanics, pack my winter clothes for the trip up north.) Just 2 1/2 days with the kids to go! I can handle it!

For now, though, I'm going to bed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

And What To My Wondering Eyes Should Appear?

I was out shopping today, feeling generous and stocking up on gifts for the holiday and extra foods and drinks to share at my work Christmas party tonight and what do I see?

The SERVICE ENGINE SOON light! Again. Less than a week after I picked up my car from the mechanics. Ho, ho, ho! Tis the season to spend money.


Positive #1: The week is just about over! I have one more Christmas party tonight and then my hectic days will slow down. (Good, because I'm exhausted still!)

Positive #2: I got an agent rejection Thursday on my 1st short contemporary. Why positive, you ask? She said she liked the story, but she was already representing something similar.

Positive #3: My Celtic Hearts online Yule party was fun on Thursday! I'd never participated in an online party before. It was interesting...and calorie free!

Positive #4: There's snow in New England. This means I may get my wish to have a white Christmas when I'm up there. (Only 1 more week before I leave!)

Positive #5: I can get back to reading today and even working on the suspense! Now THIS is the most exciting part for me because I haven't been able to get those characters out of my head.

How about you? Any big weekend plans?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Almost Over

One more day of work this week. One more shift at the book fair. One more Christmas party. I could really use a solid 10 hours of sleep right about now. More tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here I Am!

Okay, I can take a breather now. Whew! This week is packed full of stuff to do and yet it's flying by. Before we know it Christmas will be here!

Today our 100 words a day for 100 days challenge ended. (Thanks to Elisabeth for talking me into it.) I'm proud to say I made it every single day. I'm also proud to report that 6 of my students wrote until the 100th day with me. TWO of them wrote every single day. All together I had 23 students participate. We had a party where I raffled off prizes and a parent donated pizza and drinks for us. Then, one of the kids challenged me to do another 100 day challenge in the spring. Evil children! Of course, I said I would. By that time, I hope to be finished with the rough draft of this suspense and working on a new manuscript. We'll see how many of the kids join again.

I got my car back Monday and it was actually a little cheaper than I thought it would be. Yay!

My Austin RWA Christmas party was last night. I had a blast. We have a book exchange each year, so I came home with a new book to read! Can't go wrong with that! Plus we had some awesome food and lovely company. I managed to control myself and not inhale the desserts people brought. (One meal at a time, goes the diet!) I'll be happy if I just don't gain weight this week.

My students took practice tests for state monitoring this week and I'm happy to report I do know what I'm doing! For the most part, the kids are on track with what they're supposed to know. (I'd still rather be a full-time writer than a teacher though.)

Tonight I get to relax, curl up with a good book and maybe write some on my own manuscript. Since I haven't been sleeping well, I plan to go to bed early and catch up on some zzzz's.

Tomorrow is the online Christmas party for the Celtic Hearts RWA chapter. I've never participated in an online party before, but I've heard nothing but good things about the experience. We exchanged gifts through snail mail and made a promise to open it during the party. I'm so excited to open the gift I got yesterday. I'm also excited to hear what the lady I mailed a gift to has to say about it. I'm pretty sure she'll like what I sent her and I know she'll appreciate it. (I'll tell you tomorrow what both gifts are.)

I'm off to have some dinner and read this awesome book! Have a good night and take care of yourselves! Don't let the craziness of the holidays destroy your sanity!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Waving To You As I Pass By

Hi! It's busy, busy here but I wanted to stop in and let you know I'll post to the blog tomorrow night. It'll be Wednesday and I'll be halfway through my hectic week. I'll have a few extra minutes to get you updated. I hope all is going well with you! I'm off to bed since I'm exhausted and I haven't slept much over the last two nights.

Catch you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday Already?

Another weekend over. Another weekend closer to Christmas. I hope you had a good weekend.

Mine was productive...but not on the writing front. I've THOUGHT about writing quite a bit and I'm actually working through my GMC stuff. Jan Hudson is helping me. Thanks, Jan! Anyway, I Christmas shopped, cleaned a bit in the house (okay, I only did the dishes and vacuumed, but it's something!), worked for a couple hours, finished reading another book, critiqued for my friend Jenna, grocery shopped and blog-hopped. Yes, I'm doing my 100 words a day too.

Oh! I also won a copy of a Delores Fossen book from the Intrigue Authors blog. All month (or most of it I think), they're having giveaways and great blog topics. I started going to this blog because my friend Carol Ericson's first Intrigue just came out. I wanted to support her, but I also want to learn more about the authors and the line since that's the one I intend to gear my next manuscript toward.

Tomorrow I get my car back and fork over a chunk o' change to the mechanic. This coming week is my busiest outside of the classroom. I'm taking things one day at a time so I don't freak out with the pressure.

Oh! I am a one of a kind woman for sure! Here it is December and I've managed to LOSE 9 lbs in the last 2 weeks. Of course, the next 2 weeks are the crucial ones, but with this much success already I feel like I have my incentive to keep it going. Like my busy week, I plan to take my diet one meal at a time. I know I can do it!

Okay, I'm off to do my 100 words for the day. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Yay! I got to see Men in Trees last night. I didn't think it was on and then there it was! Cash wasn't in this one, but in the previews I see he's part of next week's episode. I'm looking forward to that!

I got some more Christmas shopping done yesterday after work. I'm slowly chipping away at the list. My 6-year-old niece's birthday party is today so after that I'll be able to shop some more. Hopefully I'll find the December Intrigues somewhere for me so I can pick up my friend Carol Ericson's first book. I follow the Christmas shopping rule that I buy something for myself with each trip out for presents. It motivates me more!

I've got to go into work on Sunday to do some stuff to make my next week easier. At least it's only 9 more days with the kids and 1 staff development day until we're off for the holidays. We also have our book fair next week and I got suckered into chairing that so I have to make sure it's ready.

Yesterday during my shopping spree, I found some certificates of participation for the 50 words a day for 50 days challenge and I found some cute journals for each of the kids who has made it to the 100 days with me. I decided that I'm going to have 3 drawings for "grand prizes"- 1 for the kids who did the 50/50 challenge, 1 for the kids who did the 100/100 challenge and one for all the kids who wrote every single day. Oh and we're also having some kind of ice cream treat during the party, which is on our last day of the 100 days (Wednesday).

YAY! I get my car back on Monday! And the bill? During my last conversation with the mechanic, he said something like, "What we found will add another $100 to the bill." I've had a week to prepare for it so it's not so bad. At least it's a mechanic I trust, which is always half the battle, right?

After the b-day party, the shopping and the cleaning of the house (well, part of it anyway), I plan to play with my suspense characters. Yes I'll write my 100 words, but today I want to work on the hero's goals, motivation and conflict.

What about you? Any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

So Little Time

Again I have some AWESOME ideas popping into my head for my suspense, but I don't have enough hours in the day to do everything! ACK! My hero has just given the heroine an ultimatum and it's soooo agonizing for her to choose! Of course she's going to choose him, but that opens up a whole other world of trouble for her!

6 more days on the 100 words a day challenge. Well, 7 since I haven't finished for today yet. I'm so thrilled that it's almost over. Of course, now that I'm getting into the plotting of this suspense, I'll be writing almost daily anyway. But I think having the pressure off me to write every day will be WONDERFUL! As for my kids, I've got about 5 or 6 still writing. I'll let you know the outcome next week when it's over.

With all this reading I've been doing and all this concentration on my new suspense, guess what's happening? I'm going into withdrawal from my fictional Scottish village.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Charlie Brown Would Be Proud

I call my Christmas tree a Charlie Brown tree because it's pretty cheesy. Yes, it stands about 5 1/2 feet tall, but the branches are uneven (it's artificial and I can't space them very well), I forgot lights and there are very few ornaments on it. Still, the ornaments I do have all have a story, which is what I like. Pieces of my personal history are stored in those ornaments, from the little yellow ball I stole from the employee pub Christmas tree when I worked at the Grand Canyon (yes, stole. What do you want? I was young and stupid.) to the seashell ornaments from one of my first students. Every place I go on vacation I try to buy a new ornament. If I don't go anywhere spectacular, I buy some special ornament that reflects who I am that particular year. This year I'm adding the Irish drum with the shamrocks that I bought in Ireland.

What's on your tree?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Suspense Fans, Listen Up!

If you're a suspense fan, drop by the Harlequin Intrigue Authors blog today. My friend Carol Ericson is blogging about redeeming bad boys. She's also giving away a copy of her debut novel, The Stranger and I.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Miscellaneous

Car trouble. It's not a good sign when the mechanic calls and says, "What you're describing and what the computer is telling us don't match." Oh, and, "I'm thinking it might take longer than a day to figure out what's wrong with it." Can you see the dollar signs here?

Football. My Patriots play tonight. Hopefully they'll play better than they did last week. Yes, they won, but it wasn't pretty. Tonight better be pretty. I'll be taking myself out to dinner and then drowning my car sorrows in a couple of drinks.

Work. A good day. No kids were killed. No teachers went bald.

Christmasy stuff. The tree is in parts (it's a fake one) in the living room. The cards are half written. The decorations are scattered around the house. Maybe tomorrow I'll finish getting ready for the holidays. You know, after I get the bill for fixing the car, when I have no money to do anything else fun...

Reading. I'm really enjoying Margot Early's version of A Christmas Carol. I'm about halfway through the book. I wish I'd brought it with me.

Writing. I have to wait for my friend to get off work to give me a ride home. I could sit here and get some grading done. Or I could work on my suspense ideas. Hhhmmm, which do you think I'll do?

Later that same evening: Stinking rotten Patriots. Yes, they won and moved to 12-0, but they played like crap. Tonight I think Baltimore was the better team!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Brad Pitt Gets Bumped

I love Brad Pitt. Even after all the crap over his marriage to Jennifer Aniston, I still love Brad Pitt. I think I always will. I especially LOVE him in Troy. Last night I was searching for something to watch and I noticed Troy was on. Before I could change the TV Guide channel, I noticed that The Bourne Supremacy was also on. Jason Bourne won out. Not only did I watch The Bourne Supremacy instead of Troy, I watched it twice! Then guess what I did? I wrote some awesome stuff on the suspense and came up with some more plot ideas. I'm psyched to get back to it tonight at some point.

I managed to start my Christmas shopping yesterday, write out some cards, and pick up some more Christmas stories for myself. Today I had some work for school to do, then I picked up all my Christmas decorations. I see a very fun and relaxing evening in my future. What a great way to end the weekend!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Random Thoughts About The Holidays

Ho, ho, ho! I am officially entering the holiday spirit! This is my FAVORITE time of year. For the next 3 weeks I'll read only Christmas stories. Today I was going to go to my storage unit and pull out all my holiday decorations, but it's raining and yucky and I think I'll wait until tomorrow. Today though I can start writing out my holiday cards, which is no small feat (sp?). Of course, if I want to read more than one Christmas story this will require a trip to the book store. I might have to break down and go. Who knows? It's still early enough in the day I might change my mind about getting the decorations. I should also start seriously thinking about my Christmas list. And shopping. But shopping on a weekend in December scares me. I could watch a Christmas movie or two. Or I could start reading that Christmas book I already bought. Hey, my suspense takes place at this point in the year, I could sketch out a scene involving Christmas with my fabulous hero and heroine! (Actually, I already have one in mind.) Too many choices and too little time!