Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Year Over

Say goodbye to 2008. It's been a wonderful year! Everyone, be safe tonight ringing in the new year. Have you made a list of your New Year's Resolutions yet? I still need to make mine. Ah, well. I still have a few hours left.

Take care tonight and I'll have a drink for you while I sing Auld Lang Syne!

AROUND 5 PM: It's SNOWING!!! I'm still in RI and we've got snow...lots of snow. I think it was supposed to be 6-8 inches. i'm LOVING it! Although, I don't have to drive in it or go out in it except to make some snowballs and possibly a snowman.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Romantic Suspense Author!

Happy Release Day, Elisabeth! To the rest of you, if you like romantic suspense make sure to check Elisabeth's debut, which hits the shelves today!
Share image! Enter today!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Checkin' In

Hi! I hope all is well as you wait for the New Year to take over. Christmas has been...interesting for me. I got some wonderful gifts and have spent some wonderful time with family and friends. I got FIVE Barnes & Noble gift cards!!! Can you believe it? I was giddy as I opened the last couple. I thought about how if I worked it right I wouldn't have to actually PAY CASH for a book until the last quarter of 2009.

I haven't done much writing, but I've done a bit of brainstorming and I've been reading a lot. I've got about 6 pages on the new suspense that's going to take place in Scotland, No Surrender. Today I started reading Tall, Dark & Lethal by Dana Marton. It's my 5th book since leaving Austin. I tried to put it on the blog, but I can't for whatever reason. I'm hoping to get some more writing done in the next week, but if I don't that's okay too. Everyone needs a break once in a while.

My grandfather has been in a nursing home for a week now (after a week in the hospital) and he is continuing to fail. More is wrong with him every few days and he's starting to say things that make no sense. I've been to the nursing home six out of seven days. It's painful enough to watch him go through this, but to be next to my mom and know I really can't do anything to help her is a vicious pain. As for me, I'm all right. I know change is coming in 2009 and I'm just trying to wrap my head around all the possibilities. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and give an extra hug to those important people in your lives.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope it's a wonderful day for all my blog friends. I hope Santa brings you everything you ask for. I have already received my best gift...your friendship. Thank you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Travels

I've spent the last few nights watching the Bourne movies as I've revised my manuscript. I mentioned yesterday that Danger was done. By the time you read this, I will have consumed a few Guinness beers and sent my manuscript to my AWESOME CP. Danger will be out of my mind, but I don't think this one will ever be out of my system.

And yet now I'm on my way to RI for Christmas. My grandfather got out of the hospital on Saturday and went straight to a nursing home. He's better, but not well. I'm just thankful I'll get to spend some more time with him. My oldest brother called and made plans to visit with me during my 2-week visit. One of my best friends will be joining my family for dinner. Later this week I'll visit with my aunt, uncle, cousin and cousin's wife (who's pregnant!). In my suitcase, I have notes for Broken Promises and the Scottish suspense, LOTS of warm clothes and 6 romance books. There will be no day job talk or work until I get back to school.

I'll get online when I can and check e-mails and blogs. Until we "meet" again, take care, stay warm (or cold...yes, this is especially for you, Tez!), and enjoy the season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Um...What Does This Mean?

My favorite show (The Unit) is about to come on with a new episode and I really don't want to watch. I'd much rather follow the insanity my hero and heroine are forced into in Danger!

I'm Done!!!!!

Woohoo! I JUST finished the revisions to Danger! I'm in that "I'm so excited because I'm surely a genius" stage. I LOVE this feeling! I'm going to run some errands and start packing for my trip to RI and then this afternoon I'm going to reread the entire manuscript for any last minute changes. Then it's off to my CP and I get to celebrate...and start pulling Broken Promises together (or play around with the Scottish suspense that my muse is reminding me I have).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Check This Out!

My blog friend Elisabeth Naughton has her first romantic suspense coming out this month and she's having a contest to spread the word. It's kinda fun, so if you've got a minute or two in between shopping, baking and wrapping have a look.
Share image! Enter today!

Rollin' Along

The start to my vacation has been WONDERFUL! I worked for a few hours at the day job yesterday, but then I came home early afternoon and worked on Danger for hours. Have you noticed the Danger progress meter? It's looking pretty good, if I say so myself! It's still going to be tough to finish the revisions today with all the Christmas shopping I still have to do, but I really want to finish Danger today. My plan is to reread the entire thing tomorrow to make sure it flows and all my "t"s are crossed and my "i"s are dotted.

I'm really excited to keep writing once I get to my Mom's. I thought about taking a break from writing for the next 2 weeks, but then I realized I've virtually had a 2 month break since the day job wouldn't let me do much on my manuscript. So I'm going to take advantage of the school vacation and I'm going to write, write, write! My muse, Caitlin, is VERY happy about that! She's got tons to share with me. I can feel it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I'm FREE! I got a couple more wonderful gifts, my 7th graders did an AWESOME job on their play and now I'm free for the break! Well, okay. I've got to go in for a few hours tomorrow, but it'll be an easy day. I was going to go Christmas shopping this afternoon for a bit, but the weather is foggy and drizzly. So I'm staying home with my Christmas music, my cup of tea and my manuscript!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thoughts & Prayers

If you're the praying type, please say a prayer for my grandfather. If praying isn't your thing, then consider keeping him in your thoughts. He's 89. We joke that he's got 9 lives because he's had some close calls in his life and he's managed to survive.

Last weekend he went into the hospital and he's still there. Each day they talk about releasing him, they find something else wrong. He's always been a very proud man and going through this has been very difficult for him. It hurts my heart what it's doing to him and to my mom who is an only child.

Early But Not So Bright

Good morning! (It's cold, dark and dreary here, hence the title of the post.) I'm very excited and I wanted to share it with you. Nothing earth-shattering. Just that school is almost out for the holiday!!! I have today and a half day tomorrow, and neither day has any real teaching in it. Kids making up work, packing up the portable for the move, our Christmas party, the 7th grade play of their version of A Christmas Carol. I'm almost done my grading for the semester. I should be able to finish in an hour when I get home tonight. Then guess what? I get to work on Danger!!!! THAT'S what I'm so excited about. Ok, I guess I better finish getting ready for work and head out. I'll catch you later. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Word Woes

Well, it's definitely a Word thing. I can open other applications on the computer and obviously I can still get on the internet. So I'm e-mailing important documents to myself and my friend/ computer expert is trying to arrange a time to help me reinstall Word before my vacation.

In the meantime, my campus is moving to the main school campus. (We've had separate campuses for about a year now.) So we have to pack everything and take valuable items out of the classroom for the move at the end of this week. Guess what I get to bring home? The PC in my room! So, if nothing else I'll be able to work on Danger's revisions (you know, all the revisions I've done by hand over the last week or so AND the last 2 chapters AND the Epilogue). I desperately want to finish it up and e-mail it to my CP just so I can have a true vacation and not worry about it over the holidays. (No, that time will be devoted to reading and working on one of the other two stories.)

But what did I do tonight after dinner? I did work for school, work that I could put off until next week. I finished reading the book I'm assigning 6th grade for break and then I started reading the book for 7th grade. This could easily be done AFTER Danger's revisions. Yes, friends, it's true. Tonight, I was guilty of procrastinating. I know, it's a shock since I've been doing well about NOT procrastinating, but the queen has to retain her title, right?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm Back, Baby!

Yay to my friend who's a computer GENIUS! She played with some buttons, read some instructions on the computer and there ya go! Although, I'm afraid to turn the computer off now.... Maybe not until I go away for Christmas.

The first thing I did when I got on the computer was to back up all my manuscripts, notes, synopses and queries. I won't lose anything important! I won't!

The next thing I did was cruise through some of my blogging buddies' blogs to catch up on what I've missed. Let me tell you, I realized just how much time I spend on the computer and how much time I put into blogging. Hhhhmmm, maybe in the new year I'll limit my blogging time and concentrate on...oh, I don't know...WRITING???

I'll be chatting at you more this week as my workload at school decreases. YAY! I'm off now to continue grading papers.

LATER: Too good to be true. I can use the internet, but I can't go in and do anything with my word documents. Sigh. Good thing I backed EVERYTHING up this time!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Almost... done with school for this semester. I'm still hoping to get a bunch of grading done today and tomorrow.

Almost... done with my Christmas shopping. I've got a bunch of places to go today and I think it'll only be a few more nights next week of shopping. Then I can relax!

Almost... done being without my home computer!!! A friend of mine who used to work for a computer company is coming to my house tomorrow to get my computer working again! I can't thank her enough! I'll post from home as soon as I can! (Um, enough exclamation points???)

Almost... done reading one of the books I'm assigning for vacation homework. Every teacher is assigning a book for her class. I decided to read all 3 of the books I assigned. It's only right, after all, that I know what the kids are reading.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And So It Goes...

Still without my home computer, still no sign of getting it fixed anytime soon. Spent the last 3 days in Washington, DC for a work conference, which renewed my enthusiasm for teaching. (JUST what I needed!) Got a school holiday program tonight, babysitting tomorrow night and I'm going to work like a dog this weekend to grade and record everything I have so that I can start to relax for the holidays!

During my Washington trip, I read one Harlequin Romance book about Christmas and I managed to revise chapter 6 & 7 of Danger AND I started revising chapter 8!!! (Hhmmm, maybe that has a part in my good mood today too!) I hope all is well with you. I'm checking blogs when I can but not leaving messages. I'll keep you updated on the computer...stuff.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Computer In ICU

Well, I went to work on my revisions last night and the computer was acting kinda funny. So I shut it down. And now I can't get back in. It won't accept my password. Reverts back to my old password and then won't accept that either. The box for entering the information shakes. And of course now I can't check e-mails or get to ANY of my documents. And of course I'm not one of those who learned her lesson about backing up stuff the LAST time this happened! I'm afraid to do anything in case I ruin whatever chance I have to retrieve my documents.

But a couple days before I did e-mail to myself my query and synopsis for Danger. I also e-mailed the last revied version of Danger right after I sent my Golden Heart entry. So all is not lost....

I'll keep you updated...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas is A-Comin'!

I'm in the Christmas spirit! I started my shopping. I've written some cards and plan to write the rest tonight. Yesterday I pulled out the decorations and started putting them up around the house. I found and am LOVING my Celtic Christmas music. Naturally I watched the cartoon version of the Grinch the other night and tonight is Rudolph! My 7th graders have written their own version of A Christmas Carol (my favorite story of all time!) and we're practicing it so they can perform it during our campus Holiday Party in 2 weeks. I love everything about this holiday season and I intend to enjoy every minute of it! Except for the HUGE commercialization of the holiday (which I don't allow to interfere/ruin my holiday), what's not to love about a season of giving?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Honey, I'm Home!

I'm back from Beaumont and my relaxing Thanksgiving vacation. I hope everyone who celebrated had a great holiday too. Now it's back to the chaos. School plans and grades, putting up Christmas decorations, planning and packing for a school conference next week, Christmas shopping, writing out cards, reading and of course writing! I managed to get a few pages of Danger revisions done and I LOVE where my characters are taking me. I'm trying to focus more on making sure they're properly motivated. No easy feat, I'll tell ya! I also figured out that I'm gong to take the last 2 weeks of December off from writing and then in January I'll be jumping into Broken Promises because that story deserves to be told next!

Oh, and speaking of stories that deserve to be told, I read Private S.W.A.T. Takeover by Julie Miller during my Thanksgiving break and WOW! I absolutely loved it. The hero is a sharpshooter with 3 other brothers (who naturally have their own stories too). You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be reading the last in the series and then hunting down copies of the first 2!

So, what's new in your world?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble, Gobble!

Wherever you are, Americans, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Eat lots of turkey, enjoy good company and toss back a few drinks!

I'm thankful for:
the friends I have (in real time and on the net)
my wonderful family
my health
my talents that I promise I'm not going to waste
my great set of students (although some of them could work a little harder!)
the best co-workers ANYWHERE!
the roof over my head
the food I've been eating all this week with a bunch of special events
the founding fathers of my country and all the sacrifices they made
the men and women in our armed forces who sacrifice for us as well (Hi Jess!)
and I'm thankful for the simple fact that I have choices when so many people in the world do not.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This morning I'm officially off work until Monday, 12/1! Woohoo! Can you hear me cheering and giggling all the way out where you are? Are you sure? Because I'm pretty sure you can.

Today I'm off to Beaumont, TX until Sunday. My sister-in-law invited me to go with the family to her parents' house for the holiday. They, her brother and his family are a great group of people and I'm very excited to spend some time with them. I'm also excited to get some more time with my hero and heroine of Danger (still making more changes after working on my latest contest entry). Plus, I'm bringing notes on my new Scottish suspense story and I'm bringing two books to read! There will be no school work done until at least Sunday! Oh, and I have some college football to watch too! And lots of food to eat and several adult beverages to consume. I don't know about you, but it looks to be a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, Monday...Or Tuesday, Rather

Here I am, fresh from printing my Golden Heart entry for the Romance Writers of America Contest! I foolishly left it all until the very last night. Although the deadline is 12/2, I wanted to mail my entry Tuesday before I head out for Thanksgiving. I started double and triple checking my entry at 7 p.m. Monday. It's now after 1 a.m. on Tuesday and it's still printing. But you know what? I absolutely LOVE my story and honestly believe this will be the manuscript I sell. (Hopefully the first of many!)

And now I'm wondering if I should go to bed at all tonight...this See, I have to be up for work in about 4 hours. I usually fare A LOT worse if I try to grab a few hours of sleep. So I could stay up, have A LOT of tea, pack for the holiday, read, grade some papers (okay, that last one was meant as a joke) and watch some Jason Bourne. Then tomorrow afternoon (this afternoon?) I can swing by the post office and mail my GH entry, pick up some treats for the holiday weekend and then sleep.

Hhmmm, decisions, decisions. I think I'll see what time it is when the GH entry finishes printing and then go from there.

UPDATE: Here it is 5:04 and I'm still awake. I did start to doze for a while on the couch, but then I had 2 cups of tea, I finished my laundry and then I popped in a Bourne movie. Now I'm trying to talk myself into getting to the grocery store before work so I won't have to think about it this afternoon. Don't know if that'll happen though.

ANOTHER UPDATE 2:37 p.m. : WOOHOOO! I'M FREEEEEE! Didn't sleep, didn't really teach much, ate good food at our Thanksgiving feast, mailed my GH entry. Now I'm off to do some chores before I think about finishing my packing for my Thanksgiving trip!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Thanks, everybody, for your thoughts and comments! I never expected that many people to weigh in!

As I'm sure you realize, I'm still weighing all my options. I imagine I will be for a while. There's so much to consider. I'll keep the poll up so that more people can weigh in and I'll keep you updated on my thoughts and progress.

I went to Houston this weekend for a whirlwind trip. We left Friday and came back Saturday. One of my brothers is turning 40 and his wife threw him a surprise party. On the trips to and from Houston, I managed to get through 2 chapters of Danger revisions! It's more than I've been able to get through in the last 2 months! I'll be going away for Thanksgiving with family too, so I'll have more travel time to work on Danger. I'm tickled that I'm making such good progress. Right now I'm thinking to finish revisions by about the middle of December. Then I can play for the rest of the year or work on the new Scottish story. Or not. The joy will be in not having any pressing writing work until 2009.

But first I need to finish checking my Golden Heart entry and get that puppy in the mail!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wanna Weigh In?

I've always been a wanderer. I've moved on average every 2 years, whether new house, new city or new state. After I graduated college the first time, I looked into teaching in Japan, but emotionally I wasn't ready for such a commitment.

When I went back to school to get my master's in education, it was with the intention of working with English as a 2nd Language students. I took classes for that and loved it all. But I moved to Austin and got a job teaching 2nd/3rd grade. Then I moved up to the middle school. Then I got the additional duties of the ESL Coordinator at my school. While this has been wonderful, it no longer feels like enough.

So, I started thinking about teaching overseas again. I've continued to talk about it for years and it's feeling kinda right for next school year. I've started researching a couple of programs. There's a worldwide certification that I can get that will open countless doors (or so I'm thinking), but I'd have to take classes for a month to get it. Then they'd help me find a job. My friends and co-workers are telling me to go for it, saying it's an investment in myself and something I've always wanted to do.

And then I think, wow, what a blog readership I could get with blogging about my life in a foreign country and how cool would that be to have all those readers ready for when I sell. PLUS think of all the intriguing plots I could come up with!

I just don't want to wake up on my deathbed and regret that I never went overseas to teach. I just have a strong pull to this and I'm thinking I really want to jump off the roof and see if I can fly.

So, wanna weigh in?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nope, Not Tellin' Yet

Chuck E. Cheese was fun, but I was glad to get home. And now I'm free until Sunday afternoon! I have tomorrow off, got some plans this weekend (which include talking to some friends about my life-changing possibility). I'll also be putting the finishing touches on my GH entry so I can mail it early next week! Yay! I'll probably spill the beans over the weekend about my "possible situation" simply because I wanna share! I promise not to string you along for too long. Have a good weekend and I'll catch up with you Sunday if not sooner!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dangerous Delays

Update: Wednesday night. Still haven't touched Danger since at least the weekend. PTO board meeting last night, family in town tonight, Chuck E. Cheese school fundraiser tomorrow night. Oh, and I've been grading and working on sub plans for Friday for my day off.

On a personal note, got some "stuff" going on that I'm looking forward to sharing with you soon and getting your opinion. It might be very positive and exciting and it could DEFINITELY change my life. (And no, it's got nothing to do with a book contract.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

And Now Back To Me

What's Going On In My Writing World:
Tuesday 11/18-Thursday 11/20-- Finish revising chapter 4 of Danger
Friday 11/21- Saturday 11/22-- Revise as much of chapter 5 of Danger as possible
Sunday 11/23-Monday 11/24--Review & revise Danger for Golden Heart entry, prepare entry
Tuesday 11/25--Mail Golden Heart entry to RWA Nationals!!!!
Thanksgiving Break-read, relax, read, write on the yet-to-be-named Scottish suspense and continue Danger revisions (2 chapters? 3?)
I'd like to have Danger revisions "completed" AGAIN by the time I get out of school for winter break, which is 31 days! Then I guess I better think again about another round of agent queries. Over winter break I'll also play around with Broken Promises OR the new one. Or maybe I'll just take the 2 weeks off to play and be a normal, non-neurotic individual. Nah. What fun would that be?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enough About Me

I thought it was time I actually talked about someone other than myself for a while. There's so much good news around me.

This one is a bit overdue, but the sentiment and good wishes are still there! My blog buddy and recent returnee to the Austin RWA Avery Beck sold!!! Congrats, Avery! Click here to find out the details.

Another Austin RWA member, Skye, received her first offer too! Woohoo, Skye! (I'd give you a link, but I don't have anything to link you to.)

Emily Mckay's new book, Baby Benefits, is a great read! And one of my favorite suspense authors, Laura Griffin, signed a contract for 3 more books! (And both of these ladies are also members of the Austin RWA chapter.)

Jess Dawson (yep, ANOTHER Austin member!) gave us a great talk about life in the Army at last week's meeting. We celebrated Jess that night because she's being deployed to Iraq in less than 2 weeks. (Please keep her and her family in your prayers.) She's got a blog that she plans to keep up while she's deployed.

Nita Wick has a release date for her new book, The Wagonmaster. The excerpt on her blog sounds great! You should check it out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm a Libra

That's my defense when I can't make up my mind. Recently I whined and complained that I couldn't write new stuff, I wasn't getting enough Danger time and that my writing challenges were causing me too much grief.

Today I've added a new progress meter for my newest manuscript.

My thoughts are like this: Danger is coming along. I know I haven't updated the progress meter in a while, but I've been revising a few pages of my hard copy each night. It's coming. My writing challenge with my Austin RWA group to write at least 100 words a day is over. Woohoo! Great weight off my shoulders. Yesterday I only wrote 13 words. I also realized Broken Promises is as done as it can be until I can spend some serious evening time revising and rewriting. In other words, the hard part is up next for that one. So, it stays at almost 38,000 words until Danger is revised or close to being finished. At the same time, I've had an urge to get back to writing a Scottish story, so the new suspense is set in Scotland. I'm getting so excited about it and I love just jotting down whatever I can on it. So why not do so when I can?

The bottom line is I have to keep working toward my goal of eventually getting published. As long as I'm doing SOMETHING toward that, I can't complain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Christmas Wedding

A Review by Lexi Connor

Tracy Wolff knows how to suck a reader in with the first pages of her novel, A Christmas Wedding. Jesse Rainwater, the world’s best horse trainer, hands his wife divorce papers. On their daughter’s wedding day. Triple H Ranch owner Desiree has always tackled trouble with an iron fist, but Jesse’s bombshell makes her realize this may be a problem she can’t fix. However, Desiree refuses to give up on her marriage, on the only man she’s ever loved, without a fight.

A Christmas Wedding is a fantastic story that immediately piqued my curiosity about how the author would tell the tale. Right away Ms. Wolff made me care about Desiree and Jesse, and then she pulled me on an emotional roller coaster straight through to the end of the book. I didn’t read it all in one sitting, but each day when I got home from work, I looked forward to curling up on the couch and uncovering the next layer of Jesse and Desiree’s story. I laughed, cried and sighed as I followed their journey and watched them revive their hope for an everlasting love.

I admit I’m much more of a suspense reader and the thought of reading about people involved in horse racing at first gave me pause, but wow! The time I spent reading this book was well worth it. Tracy Wolff is definitely an author I’ll read again.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Already?

Hi, hi! This weekend is flying by. Yesterday I watched college football ALL day. (My Texas Longhorns kicked butt, too!) I also read more of Michelle Gagnon's The Tunnels. Good story! I've got about 85 pages left. I can only read it during the day though. It's too freaky to read at night when the house is making noises and the scene is about the killer torturing and killing the college girl victims. (Ooh, I'm getting a shiver just typing about it!)

Today I have a BUTTLOAD of grading to do. And progress report grades to put into the computer. And yet I'm going out to lunch. Hhhmm, maybe later on the school work.

Only 2 more days in my Austin RWA writing challenge (where we commit to write at least 100 words a day in between our meetings). I swear, I'm pulling my hair out and it's like pulling teeth to get 100 words done. And remember that 50,000 words by 12/31 challenge I joined? Well, I have done some serious soul searching and I've decided to drop out. I'm at a point in the new story where I really don't like anyone. I've got almost 38,000 words on the rough draft and I can't be bothered to write on it anymore. I've learned that I really can't work on two stories intensively at the same time while working at my crazy day job. If I was just writing notes on the new one while revising Danger, then that wouldn't be bad. But trying to revise Danger AND mold the new one into a great story WHILE spending countless hours on school stuff has become too difficult. So, my new goals are....

Finish as much of Danger revisions as I can by Golden Heart deadline.
Finish the rest of Danger revisions by 12/31.
Figure out which story is actually next.
Relax and take a writing vacation when Danger is done.

Part of my problem is I really, really, really want to focus on Danger. (I sound like a broken record, don't I?) I think another part of my problem has been that Broken Promises feels like it's morphing into two couples with two very different stories. It feels like I've been forcing it and therefore ruining it and my motivation. So my new goals are really in my best interest (and the best interest of my characters too!).

What's new with you?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Out Of The Ashes Of Despair

This morning there was a shooting a few miles from my school and 3 of the suspects ran away. The neighborhood was blocked off, the helicopters and SWAT guys were out in force. Six other schools in the area closed. We stayed open.
The whole situation gave me a GREAT idea for a new book...
Then it worked itself into a character I already had and loved, one of those that had his story way back when I didn't know anything and I planned to someday rewrite it.

Huh...such awesomeness to come from a tragedy.

In the end, a couple of the criminals are still on the loose, but we're pretty sure they're LONG gone from our school neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Exercise Your Right To Vote!

If you didn't participate in early voting, make sure to let your voice be heard today. Go out and VOTE! And now I'd like to share with you my version of the perfect political ticket:

President- Jack Bauer (from the show 24) because he's always willing to do what he thinks is in the country's best interest, even sacrifice himself.
Vice-President- Jonas Blane (from the show The Unit) because he's calm in a crisis, sensible, brilliant and I think he would be the perfect person to talk Jack OUT of sacrificing himself for the good of the country.
Secretary of State- Patrick Jane (from the new show The Mentalist) because he can read people in a flat second and can tell people what they need to hear.
Secretary of Defense- Jason Bourne (I shouldn't have to tell you where he's from) because he kicks butt, outsmarts the CIA and he's always thinking at least two steps ahead.

What about you? Which characters would you want running our country?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My New "Job"

Celebrate with me! I just became the Vice President of the Celtic Hearts online chapter! I offered to run because I wanted to make sure we had enough people to take over the board. Turned out the VP position was the only position that had an actual race. All the other positions only had one person running. It was very humbling to know that enough people had faith in me to vote me into office. I'm very excited about this, although I don't think I thought it all the way through when I offered to run! But still, I will give it my best because it's a chapter near and dear to my heart.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Austin Celtic Festival

Woohoo! My students that came to the Austin Celtic Festival had a GREAT time. We got pictures of them "fighting" with soldiers with wooden sticks and shields. They ate, they bought stuff and they didn't want to leave. Sadly, several of my "yes" students didn't bother to show up so I had 8 extra tickets.

Once I passed the kids off to their parents after the field trip, I went back to the festival by myself to have a few Guinness pints and listen to the music. Since I had all those extra tickets, I decided to stand just outside the gate and look for someone who might want them. I spotted a woman with three little girls. I stopped her, explained I was a teacher and had extra tickets and that I wasn't trying to scam her. She took the tickets (and one for her husband who was parking the car) and thanked me. I can't tell you how AWESOME it felt to give to someone else. Their tickets would have cost them $60.

After that I looked around again at all the things I wanted to buy. I stayed until it closed (about 45 minutes ago) and I had a BRILLIANT idea while I was listening to the musicians. I've still got one extra ticket left, so I'm going back tomorrow! I've decided to start my Christmas shopping there, have a few more pints AND I'm bringing my stories (Danger and Broken Promises) so I can sit, listen to the band and work. That may seem strange to you, but the atmosphere at the Celtic Festival is exhilarating for me. It makes me want to go back to Ireland and Scotland. It makes me want to work on a story set in Scotland. It makes me feel like anything is possible!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Isn't that an AWESOME blog entry title???? I couldn't think of anything more creative. After my 3-day writing weekend, I've barely done 6 pages of revisions and 4 pages of new stuff on Broken Promises. I've been to the gym and taking care of myself so that's good. I've been reading Tracy Wolff's book and that's awesome. I just got out of an online party for my Celtic Hearts group. Tons o' fun! Saturday is the Austin Celtic Festival and I've got 12 students and 3 chaperones coming with me! I usually go with the kids for a few hours and then I go back on my own once the kids have all been picked up so that I can relax, enjoy the atmosphere, do some shopping, listen to the music and have a pint or two! I'll catch you later this weekend and let you know how it went!

Monday, October 27, 2008

3 Day Recap

Oh I had a WONDERFUL time as a full-time writer for the weekend! I ended up revising 27 pages on Danger. I wanted to get to an even 30, but my brain shut down and refused to work any more tonight. I'm amazed with how much more structure and detail I've been able to add and WOW what a difference!

As for the new manuscript, which is now called Broken Promises, I wrote 17 pages over the 3 days. I hadn't planned to spend so much time with the new one, but I figured as long as I was writing something then I was in good shape.

All in all, I'd say I had a VERY productive weekend!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not So Bright, But Early Sunday

Got 5 pages written on the new manuscript and 12 pages revised on Danger! (Well, and I did watch the Texas Longhorns football game too.) Woohoo! I hope to do even better,, later Sunday. Keep your positive thoughts coming my way!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Later That Same Day...

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....
I know I can, I know I can!

Danger revisions are slow as far as page count, but the QUALITY is what matters and the pages I've been working on are shaping up BEAUTIFULLY!

I Am A Big Danger Slacker!

Been up since 8:30 and haven't touched Danger yet. I have written over 700 words on Borrowed Time though. Must run errands and then get into Danger! Come on! Guilt me into getting the Dangerous job done!

Friday, October 24, 2008

3 Day Weekend!

Woohoo! We had a fall festival at work tonight that went really well. We made a nice chunk o' cash for the school and we had a lot of fun. One of the games was to pay two tickets to put someone in detention. Then kids had to go find that person and escort them to detention. I was sent to detention a couple times, but I got them back! I spent a nice bit of cash sending people to detention!

BUT the best part of tonight? I came home, wrote my words for my writing challenge and now I'm officially off for the next 3 days! I took Monday off as a mental health day. My plan all weekend is to revise as much of Danger as I can. My goal is at least 3 more chapters. I'll let you know how it's going. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Me Need Chocolate!

Another agent rejection today from someone I really like. I think I'll take an hour (but no more time!) to soothe my wounded soul. This calls for a fudge popsicle and some Jason Bourne. Later I'll get back to Danger.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rollin' Along

I'm making slow progress on Danger's revisions. I'm just not ready to update the progress meter yet. But keep checkin' back! I think I'm on a roll, though, and I'm so excited about BOTH my stories right now. I put in a request to take next Monday off as a personal day so I can spend a whole 3-day weekend doing nothing but revisions...and some exercising, of course!

Got another rejection today from an agent I'd love to work with, but it was a GREAT rejection! She actually said she's not as familiar with Intrigue as she'd need to be to make a decision about my manuscript, BUT THEN she gave me the name of another agent and told me I could use her name when querying the new agent! As far as rejections go, that's been one of my best!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Than Enough To Do

And of course, not enough time to do it all! Honestly, I don't know how those of you with families get any writing accomplished. I admire you all!

A crazy friend of mine (Hi, Monika!) challenged me to write 50,000 words by December 31st. We both knew we wouldn't be able to participate in NaNoWriMo, but we wanted to do something. Foolishly I said yes. So now we have to write an average of 650 new words a day between now and 12/31. Um, WHAT WAS I THINKING?????

But, I'm amazed with how much more writing time I'm finding in the day. I write for a 1/2 hour before school, which puts me in a great mood. Then during my lunch hour I write when I finish eating, which keeps me in a good mood or puts me back in one.

However, I really need to focus on Danger's revisions now. My CP, brilliant woman that she is, has been reminding me that I really need to take a glance at this whole situation from a business standpoint. I am no longer a hobby writer. I haven't called myself that in a long time, but now I've passed into another level I think. Danger is a good enough story to publish. I firmly believe that. Of course, I still need to finish revising it so someone will want to represent it AND someone else will want to buy it.

So, after tailgating for the UT/ Missouri football game today and watching the game tonight, I'll be jumping into my "new life" with both feet tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shopping Treasures

Last night I'd planned on telling you what books I picked up at the bookstore. Finaling in the Finally A Bride Contest kinda gave me something else to think about.

So, here are the books I bought with my birthday gift card and the reasons behind the purchases:
Laura Iding (the blue book) and Emily McKay are two friends who happen to have books out this month, so naturally I'm supporting them and getting a great read too!

I loved Kerry Connor's 1st Intrigue so I wanted this one.

Jeff Abbott was our guest speaker at my Austin RWA meeting a couple of nights ago and I confess I actually bought this that night so I could have him sign it.

John Hart is new to me, but the cover caught my eye, the back cover blurb got me to open to the first page and the writing kept me interested. So I had to buy it.

Julie Miller's Intrigue had a great cover and the story sounded just right for me.

I'd already checked out and was at the front of the store waiting for my friend and I saw this Lisa Scottoline book. I've heard wonderful things about her writing, so I figured I'd check it out while waiting. Well, before I knew it I was giggling in the front of the store, so I got back in the check-out line and bought it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good News!

After a wonderful evening buying books with a birthday gift card, I came home to an e-mail that I finaled in the Finally A Bride Contest!!! I got 2 perfect scores, wonderful comments, and a chance to revise before it goes off to the final editor judges. AND, one of the final editors just gave Danger 4th place in the Heart of the West. The Heart of the West entry was written and sent months ago. Danger's had a face lift since then. I'm excited to see what she thinks of the latest revised version of my opening.

Monday, October 13, 2008


It's been WEEKS since I watched one of the Bourne movies. I hadn't even been playing the soundtracks until today. I got out of work earlier today than I thought, so while I'm working on Danger (yes, you read that right!) I might have to watch a few scenes of Jason Bourne. Or maybe it's Matt Damon. Or both.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another Stab

It's Sunday night and I've spent a huge chunk o' the day on school stuff. I sort of did it to myself because after I left work on Friday, I decided to write instead of doing any day job work. Then yesterday I worked at school for an hour and then went to my brother's house for a party, which lasted for me for about 12 hours. I stayed at my brother's and fell asleep watching the Boston Red Sox. By the time I got home today, I wrote my 1oo words for the day and then dove right into school stuff. It feels good to get so much accomplished, but of course I've still got tons more.

Tomorrow though, I'm going to try to take my life back again. I've got parent conferences all day, but once I leave school in the afternoon, I'm not bringing papers home. I intend to go back to the gym and FINALLY get back to Danger. I have to put Danger back on the top of my priority list. If I don't get much accomplished this week on my manuscript, I'll definitely be taking a day off just to work on the book. My writing is too important for me to neglect it, especially now that I feel I'm closer to publishing than ever before.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Later That Day...

Woohoo! What a day! I started with a serenade from an Australian relative who called me early this morning. Then I opened my gifts from my mom & stepdad and my grandfather. $$$$ and jewelry, and a girl can't complain!

When I got to school, the kids kept yelling happy birthday to me and one of my sweet 6th grade girls gave me a beautiful picture frame and a beaded journal. I wish I had a digital camera so I could post the picture and show you.

Some more kids drew me pictures, which I promptly taped to my board for everyone to see. My co-workers gave me a cake during lunch and a card they're still signing. :)

Then one of my sweet 5th grade girls gave me the most wonderful card that almost brought me to tears (one she made herself) and a bag with presents: a stuffed pig that I'm going to name Allie after one of the characters in my next book, a plastic Mardi Gras type necklace she said I should wear so I feel like a queen, and a copy of Tom Sawyer.

Then when I got home, I talked to my grandfather, opened my mail (more cards and money!), went out to eat (had dessert and a few adult beverages), and then talked to my big brother who keeps trying to convince me there's only 4 years between us and I'm really 2 years older than I am.

OH! And I got another agent request for part of Danger, which I promptly e-mailed. What an awesome present, huh?

Now I'm off to write my 100 words for the day, have a cup of tea and think about going to bed.

THE BIG 3-7!!!!


I still get excited, although 40 is scaring me a bit already. (Don't know why. 30 wasn't a big deal.) I scheduled easy lessons for my classes, I'm having a "party" with my homeroom during study hall, my mom & stepdad came into town and I'll be going out to eat. I'm trying not to have to do ANY school work tonight and I just might put it off until Sunday. Oh and Saturday I'll get together with some other family too in order to celebrate! I pretty much celebrate for a straight week. And why not? I'm happy (for the most part), healthy (almost to my goal weight) and I have so much to be thankful for. Oh, and 30 years ago last month (That's September 1978, people) I had open heart surgery and I've been very fortunate since. I truly am lucky to be alive!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Coming Up For Air

The Austin RWA retreat was FABULOUS. I read, relaxed and wrote a lot. I plotted the new story. It's a loose plotting, but enough to get me going and give me a map of where to go.

Heart of the West-Danger and I got 4th place in the Romantic Suspense category. The good news is a lot of the comments from the final editor were things I'd already addressed in my latest round of revisions. (The contest entry was sent about 4 months ago.) But my friend Jessica Dawson won FIRST PLACE in the same category! AND she got a phone call from a different editor a couple days later. Congratulations, Jess!

Day job is kicking my butt again. I'm having trouble getting my life back, but I LOVE teaching. The next few days are a bit hectic too, but I'm really hoping to pull myself back together (and my writing life) by Sunday.

But I will find time tomorrow to post because it'll be my birthday!

For now...back to grades and other day job work...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Celebrate the Weekend!

Wheeee! My local RWA group, Austin RWA, has their annual retreat this weekend. I'm SOOO ready to ditch the day job and focus only on my writing and reading. I'm going to work on Danger revisions and I plan to brainstorm/plot Borrowed Time. I'm trying to get my school work done tonight, or mostly done, so I can skip out early and head to the retreat location. I'm also bringing a couple of books with me. The plan is to relax, have fun and concentrate on my 2nd job for a while.

Saturday the winners of the Heart of the West Contest will be announced. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Of course, I won't find out anything until I get home Sunday because we don't have Internet at the retreat location. I'll let you know as soon as I can.

Finally, this week has been better than last week. I managed to get to the gym 3 times, I've been limiting my school work and I've been focusing on more things that make me happy. We're still overworked at my school, but taking control over my life again has made a huge difference in my attitude and my sanity this week.

Have a great weekend whatever you do and I'll share the highlights of my writing retreat with you when I get back!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thread of Fear

A review by Lexi Connor

Laura Griffin strikes gold with her third book, Thread of Fear. Fiona Glass is a forensic artist, the best in the business. She no longer wants her job. The haunted faces of the killers and victims she’s sketched over the years have taken their toll. But police chief Jack Bowman isn’t an easy man to deny. Jack needs Fiona’s expertise to help put a serial killer who’s targeting young girls behind bars. He appeals to Fiona’s sense of justice and successfully convinces her to help him. But as they work together, Fiona becomes more important to Jack than he ever imagined she could.

Thread of Fear is the first book I’ve ever read more than once. Yes, it is that good! The writing is tight, the story is explosive and the tension kept me turning pages long into the night. I had no choice. I had to find out what happened. Right from the start, Ms. Griffin’s talent took me inside the story and gave me a front row seat to all the emotions Fiona and Jack experience while tracking the killer and fighting their attraction to each other. And I have to mention Fiona’s sister, Courtney. Ms. Griffin created such a wonderfully complicated character in Courtney, I couldn’t help but like her and I’m already looking forward to her story in Whisper of Warning. The next time you’re in the bookstore, make sure to pick up Thread of Fear. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thus Begins A New Week

And I have a new attitude. I will NOT be controlled by my life. I will be in charge! So I've made a plan to do a bit of school work each night, at least an hour of exercise each night and 2-4 hours writing/reading each night. Weekends will be different, but I'm no longer trying to get everything for the day job done. You'd think after 7 years in the classroom I'd remember the job DOESN'T END. So, I'll do what I have to, be diligent about my work (for both jobs) and make sure to have the life I enjoy as well. Thanks to all who gave me words of encouragement. Your help often keeps me sane! (Well, as sane as I can be. I am a writer, after all!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Become One of Those Weeks

Stress from all angles, but I refuse to be defeated by it! I'm taking things one day at a time. I'm knocking out one job, one responsibility at a time.

The day job work is over for the week. I'm going to relax tonight. Tomorrow I'm babysitting for my niece and nephew for the entire day while my brother and sister-in-law go the Austin City Limits Music Festival. While with the kids, I hope to get some revising done, some learning done and some reading done. Sunday, it's back to day job hell. BUT, I'll work my butt off Sunday through Thursday so that Friday (10/3) after work I can head right out to the Austin RWA writing retreat! A whole weekend with no day job responsibilities! Whoohoo! I'm SOOOOOOOOOO ready for that!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just One Of Those Days

The day job is swamping me. My CP's comments are FABULOUS, but have me scrambling to revise for my query submissions. The mechanic sucked a HUGE chunk o' change out of my pocket today. And after a call from my mom who's on vacation, I feel like I'm ten-years-old and I've broken her favorite vase.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Golden Heart and Rita Day!

Today opens the 2009 RWA contest season. I'm so excited! I will be filling out my online entry form for the Golden Heart contest when I get home from work. (Golden Heart is for unpublished people, Rita is for published people.) Are you entering this year?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Checkin' In

Challenge is going well. I've updated the progress meter. No, I haven't written all that in the last few days. I added in the pages I'd typed up during the last challenge.

Work is EXTREMELY busy still...when will it change???? I've got lots of grading and lesson planning and research to do. Yikes!

Agent queries- Got 1 rejection and 1 request for the first 30 pages and the synopsis. Keep your fingers crossed the lady loves it and wants the whole thing!

I've got the family in from Houston for the weekend. We're meeting up with the family from Beaumont (here in Austin) later today. The Houston family says it looks like a war zone. It took them an hour to travel 18 miles last night on their way here.

What're you up to this weekend? Whatever you do, enjoy yourself!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And We're Off Again!

Happy Wednesday! Today marks the beginning of my 50/50 Writing Challenge with my students. (They will be doing 50 words a day for 50 days.) Amazingly I have about 40 kids starting this with me! It should be interesting.

As for my participation in the writing challenge, I'm officially beginning my new manuscript. I'm calling it Borrowed Time for now. I don't know if I'm ready to jump into this couple's world yet, but I don't have a choice and I know I'll have a GREAT time when I get there! When I get home tonight I'll update the new progress meter. Wish me luck!

And as for (my older baby) Danger, I'll officially start the query process tonight too. I'm going to send some e-queries. I would've done it last night, but I want one more quick read through when I'm not so tired.

UPDATE- 10:21 Wed Night: 4 agent queries sent out for Danger, 2 new pages written on Borrowed Time, 1 critiqued synopsis (for Danger) returned. Oh and I signed up for a Book-in-a-Week with Kiss of Death. Woohoo! I am a writing fool and I'm LOVING it!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Query Is Killer!

I got the green light from the people helping me with me query. It's AWESOME! I'll be submitting soon! Got some other CPs taking my synopsis apart too.

I brainstormed a bit with Jan Hudson one of my (old but new) stories. I'm looking forward to finding out for sure which of my couples will really be next.

Wednesday I'll be starting a writing challenge with my students and my Austin RWA group. The kids have to write 50 words a day for 50 days on some creative story. The adults are writing 100 words a day for 4 weeks.

Nothing else exciting to share. I stayed up until 12:30 grading papers and preparing progress reports only to find out we're postponing them until next Monday. So I'm tired tonight. I did want to work on the query and submit a couple by e-mail, but I'd like to be coherent when I hit the button to send it. So, another day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Curse Of A Suspense Writer

Am I a bad person because I'm picturing manuscript possibilities as I watch the news reports of Hurricane Ike's destruction?

Icky Ike

Please keep the people of the Texas coast line in your thoughts and prayers. The news is saying this could be the worst storm in Texas in 50 years. At last check, the wind gusts were 1 mph from making Ike a category 3 hurricane. Already parts of land are under 4-6 feet of water and 275,000 people are without power and they might not get it back for weeks. All this and the hurricane's eye has barely touched Galveston.

UPDATE 10:30 Saturday morning: Family in Houston still ordered to stay in their shelter on Rice University campus. Family in Beaumont-most came to central Texas, one couple still there riding it out but with no power and no backyard fence which blew away. A young man was swept out to sea last night and rescuers couldn't get to him. It's still bad, but it could have been so much worse. Did you hear about that freighter with 22 crew members that got stuck in the Gulf of Mexico? Miraculously they are all safe and only have to wait to be pulled into shore.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Shouldn't Have Had That Coke

Coke: We had Open House at school tonight so I stayed at school until it was over instead of coming home and going back. If I came home, it would take an act of Congress to get me back the same night. I had a tiny Weight Watchers meal for dinner and I was still hungry. So I went to the convenience store and got some peanut M & Ms and a Coke. As I drank the soda, I thought about how caffeine keeps me awake. So yep, I'm wired now just before 11. Hhhmmm, what will I do?

Query: I wrote one. It was horrible. I did research. I'm ready to tackle it again. Today I started thinking I've come so far and Danger is such an AWESOME story I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY A LOUSY QUERY LETTER! Tomorrow I'll start another round of revisions on my kick-butt query.

Ike: There's a hurricane a-comin'! Most of the school districts around central Texas are letting out early tomorrow in preparation for the storm. My brother and his wife work at Rice University in Houston and they have to stay for the kids in the dorm that they manage. We had other in-law family members from Beaumont who evacuated and are staying with another brother and his wife outside of Austin. I'm hoping the boss will let us go home early instead of having our scheduled staff development. I went to the grocery store tonight to buy some basic supplies in case our power goes out and wow, the shelves down the bread and water aisles were almost empty. Already. Good thing I went when I did! I'll give you updates if I can over the weekend and let you know how it's going. Good grief! I thought I left the hurricanes behind when I left Rhode Island!

To those of you in the path of Ike, stay dry and safe!

UPDATE 7:05 a.m. Friday: I fell asleep about 2:30. Got up at 6. Had some more caffeine. I'm good for a few hours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back To Work

I've been celebrating the completion of Danger for too long now. I've pigged out with treats, gone out to eat too many times and had more than my share of Guinness beers. So today, I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm back on my diet and exercise routine. I'm back to taking care of myself mentally and physically. And I'm buckling down to get back to work.

This week I expect to have my query written. Next week I'll revise and expand the synopsis and the last full week of September I'll focus on brainstorming the new story. Then I go back to Danger revisions...again. But I want to keep up with my year-long plan and stick to it so I have to get my butt back in gear. Just wanted to share that with you all. Carefree time is over. If I want to sell, I have to focus on my next steps.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Queries, Agents And Middle School Boys

Now that Danger is finished, I've turned my efforts to the glorious job of writing the query letter. No, make that the KILLER query letter. The super talented Laura Griffin offered to help me with my query so naturally it will be awesome...when I get it written...well, and revised. I spent part of today just throwing out phrases I thought might work in the query and tonight I tried to pull them together. When the words weren't coming as quickly as I wanted, I shifted gears and started researching agents.

It's been quite a while since I queried anybody on anything, so I'm taking my time and really trying to find out as much as I can about the people I'd like to query. I used the agent list given out at Nationals, the agent list on RWA National's website, and the website Agent Query. I do plan to look through Preditors and Editors too at some point this week. Anybody got any other places I can use for research? Or any recommendations?

Oh, and school? The glory of boys continues: In a matter of ten minutes I gave out 4 referrals for stupid play fighting (which led to real fighting) and throwing balls at girls over and over even after the girls asked them to stop. Uh, seriously, how long until our first break???

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Celebrate With Me!

I've officially finished Dance Away, Danger! (And amazingly I'm not depressed about saying goodbye to my hero and heroine. Maybe because I know I've told their story to the best of my ability and it's time to let others read it.) I'm sending it to my CPs as I type this post. For the rest of September I will focus on the query and synopsis for this AWESOME thriller and then start approaching agents. While doing this, I also intend to brainstorm the next story. Then in October I'll revise Danger according to suggestions I get from my BRILLIANT CPs. But the BULK of the work is done...until an agent or editor steers me in another direction.

I'm off to celebrate with a trip to the grocery store and then I get to come back and...grade papers.

If you want to practice your voting skills, click here. There's a contest for the best kiss scene and my blog friend Nita Wick is in the running. Even if you don't choose hers, exercise your right to vote!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Art Of Relaxing

That cupcake I had after I finished my book wasn't as good as it looked. Hhhhmmm, I think I might have to buy some different cupcakes when I finish the next round! (Danger and I have a date for revisions again this weekend. Then I'll send it to my CPs.)

Since finishing Danger, I haven't been doing much. I watched 2 Masterpiece Mystery movies that I taped over the last couple of weeks. (Inspector Lynley, if anybody wants to know.) I started rereading Laura Griffin's newest book, Thread of Fear. I want to be able to write a review for her and because I read it so fast the first time around, I'm taking my time this time around so I can write a thorough review. And today I took a new exercise class called Zumba and it kicked my butt! But it was a lot of fun and will definitely be part of my gym routine now.

Not much else to tell you except I keep getting the urge to enter more contests, but I've been good so far. I have specific reasons for entering and I'm being very strict with myself and NOT spending more cash than I need to.

Hope all is well with you. I'm off to read for a while, although I could easily go to bed now after that dance class!

Monday, September 01, 2008


I typed the last pages of DANCE AWAY, DANGER and added those sweet words "THE END"! I'd hoped to have it completed by Tuesday night and so I'm psyched I finished early. And the ending? It's so ABSOLUTELY perfect for my hero and heroine! I'm celebrating with a cupcake after I finish this post. (There's a cupcake in one of the scenes I wrote, Sunday.)

So Monday (which I guess is already "today"), I'll focus on school work. Then Tuesday through Thursday nights I'm going to READ! Then next weekend I'm going to read through my story one last time before I send it to my wonderfully brilliant CPs (who will then tear it apart).

This manuscript completion is special for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this is the first manuscript I've completed since December 2006. I wrote another story in 2007, but it had such holes and I got so distraught I never revised it. Another reason this one is important is it's the first suspense I've written since 2005. (I ventured into the world of short contemporaries for a while, remember?) During this writing, I realized without a doubt that suspense is my niche. Of course, this one is special too because it's absolutely the best story I've ever written. (But I do tend to say that after each manuscript) I can totally see my growth as a writer in this manuscript and I hope others will as well.

So raise a glass, lift up a cupcake and celebrate with me!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I See The Light And It's Brighter Than Downtown Las Vegas!

I've been a writing fool since Friday night. I'm now on page 188 of my revisions (with the final manuscript being somewhere between 220 & 240) and I'm so giddy! Danger's ending is around the corner and I'm blown away with what my characters are giving me to work with. My muse is definitely sitting on my shoulder this weekend! I hope to be typing two of the sweetest words (THE END) soon! Wish my characters and me luck!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday At Last!

1 week of school finished.

36 1/2 to go.

My entire day can be summed up with this: I dropped my chocolate.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Striking Gold

WOW! I thought I needed a break from Danger, but turns out that wasn't really the problem. I'd been struggling a bit since Monday with the opening to chapter 7. Turns out I had it in the wrong point-of-view. After I switched it last night, TONS of awesomeness took place and I managed to get through 12 pages before I HAD to go to bed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

School is...different. I now have 20 students in my homeroom (used to be 17) and 15 of them are boys. It's day 3 of the school year and I've already had 2 parent meetings about boys pushing and shoving each other. Life is grand. As I keep saying at work, BRING IT ON!

With so much school stuff to do, my writing time has suffered a bit this week. I'm still reading Lillian's manuscript a chunk of pages a night. I haven't worked on Danger since Sunday, but I needed the short break. Tonight I plan to get back on the revision wagon. I also started reading Flashback by Jill Shalvis again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last Of The Daily Posts...For Now

Here it is 11:20 Sunday night. Tomorrow morning begins my 8th year teaching. I'm as ready as I can be and I'm kind of excited. My homeroom has 13 boys and 4 girls. It'll be good to get back into the routine, just not the sleeping routine.

With the start of school, this means I'll not be posting every single day. I've got a big mouth though, so I'll still have plenty to say so don't disappear on me!

Danger's still coming along, but I've started to realize that my time with this couple is almost over. I don't want it to be over, but yet I do want to finish and send this baby on her way to contests/agents/editors.

And now with school starting again, I want to get right into my "routine", which includes gym visits, LOTS of writing time and reading every night.

Wish me luck for tomorrow and I'll pop in tomorrow night to let you know how it went!

MONDAY NIGHT: Um, how many days until Thanksgiving break?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

The weekend is FINALLY here! This first week of work has been packed with information, but I'm excited about this new school year. After 4 years, I no longer have to teach Science! Guess what I get to teach instead! WRITING! I'm in charge of preparing the 7th graders (all 9 of them) for the writing standardized test in February. Most of these kids have known me for a while and they know how I am about writing. What they don't know is they're in charge of helping me shape the Writing class this year.

Today the Austin RWA is having a workshop on writing queries and synopses. This is perfect timing since I'm more than halfway through Danger's revisions and in a matter of weeks I'll be writing the killer query and synopsis for my book. Jane Myers Perrine is leading the query section of our 4-hour workshop and Julie Kenner will be helping us with our synopses.

After the workshop, I'm sneaking into the bookstore to try and pick up the category romances I still need for this month. Shhh. Don't tell anyone because I still have a HUGE TBR pile! Then I'm coming home to put some serious time into Danger's chapter 6. Oh and then I'm also critiquing the lovely Lillian Dawson's manuscript. Sheesh, I'm exhausted just looking at this Saturday schedule!

Tomorrow I have to spend some serious time finishing up the last minute details for my 1st week of school. Nothing too strenuous, just time-consuming. And of course, time is already a limited commodity.

Okay, enough chatter. I need to try to get something done on chapter 6 before I leave for the workshop. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Had A Dream

Last night, I had a dream that I finaled in Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. I didn't win, I know that, but my name and my manuscript title were up on the electronic board they were using as they announced the finalists. Hhhmm, what do you think that means?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sleep Update And What's On Tap

Well, after I posted the update yesterday afternoon, I tried really hard to work on Danger. You know what happened? I was falling asleep at the keyboard! So I logged off, got comfy on the couch and...fell asleep. When I woke up about 7:30, I panicked because I thought it was 7:30 AM TUESDAY. I was going to be late for the 2nd day of work! Of course, it was only Monday night. So I fell back to sleep on the couch until after 10 and then I went to bed and slept through until this morning.

So tonight I'll be doing the work I was supposed to do last night AND tonight's work on Danger. I'm STILL in love with my story and it's usually this draft or the one before that really gets me aggravated. But so far so good! Okay, enough chatting. I'm off to work!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's 3 A.M. Here. Where Are You?

I should be sound asleep. I've been trying for a week to break myself of the habit of going to bed between 2 & 3 in the morning. I've just spent 3 hours lying in bed thinking about my story, my schedules (day job and writing), and my pen name. If I get less than 4 hours of sleep, I'm worse off than if I got none. So, when the clock closed in on 3, I decided to pull an all-nighter since I have to be up for work at 6:30. Maybe THAT will help break me of my summer bedtime schedule!

So now, I'm printing off a section of Danger to work on while I have a strong cup of tea and watch a Bourne movie. I'll check in with you later today and let you know how I managed through my first day of staff development for the 2008-2009 school year.

LATER THAT SAME DAY: It's hitting me now (4:15ish), but I'm going to try to stay up until 9 so I don't fall asleep now and wake up at 2 and start the whole vicious cycle over again. First day at work was relatively pain-free. Tomorrow we tackle all the Human Resources paperwork. All I can think about is Danger and when I'll be able to get back to it. Seriously, this has been the easiest story (so far) to write and it's by far the best piece of writing I've ever done. I'm so psyched! Okay, armed with a caffeine-loaded cup of tea, I'm heading back to Danger.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Still Working

Hi! My afternoon and evening with my brother and his family were wonderfully relaxing. Today, I'm working on my synopsis. I had planned to go into my classroom for a few hours and get some work done, but I really, really, REALLY want to get this synopsis done. So, I'm probably not going into work, which means I'll have to stay late tomorrow night. BUT I don't care. When the muse is here, I'll do what I have to in order to spend time with her!

In other news, Utah RWA finally put the list of finalists from the Heart of the West Contest up on their website.

Okay, back to work with me!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Danger and I are rolling along! One of my CPs LOVES the latest version that I'm going to start entering in contests. I've got a published author helping me with my synopsis (when I get it done tomorrow). My life is on a tight schedule and so far I'm keeping up!

I got my latest scores back from the contest circuit and my 3 judges (all published in romance) were very kind! As usual, the things marked low with one judge were marked high with another. But take a look at these comments:
"Your opening raises several issues for the reader...Good job! Best of luck with this."
"This is a grabber of a beginning...the situation is intriguing and stomach clenching. Best of luck with the story!"

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my cousin who's in his mid-twenties (Isn't it sad I can't remember?) and to one of my brothers who turns 42 today! I'm heading off to his house to celebrate and visit with him and his family.

Have a great weekend and remember to do something fun for yourself!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bloody Blogger

If you were in my "Addictions" section and you're not anymore, don't take it personally. I was playing around with the blog and deleted my "Addictions" list on accident. I think I covered all the blogs that were on there before. If I'm still missing you, let me know and I promise to add you back in!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To Do Before 2009 Nationals

1. August-Finish Danger revisions, get it ready for CP duty
2. September-Write killer query for Danger, polish synopses (both 1 pager and longer one), start the query process, brainstorm next story called Passages
3. October-Revise Danger according to suggestions from my BRILLIANT CPs and any judges I get contest feedback from, enter more contests
4. November-Enter GH, join the NaNoWriMo...or whatever it is. Yes, I'm actually planning to do it this year with the 1st novella-turned-novel story, Passages! Those characters are still haunting me. I finally believe enough time has passed that I can objectively rewrite it. (It's been about 9 years!) So, that will be my next manuscript once Danger is finished.
5. December-Take it easy after NaNo, report cards and Christmas stuff. BUT, I might be creating & polishing the Passages query and synopsis (Or take care of those in January)
6. January-Revise Passages, start entering contests with it.
7. February-Continue Passages revisions, work on brainstorming the next story (either a brand new suspense I'm thinking of or rewriting the 2nd novella)
8. March-Query on Passages, Draft the next story
9. April- Continue the next story, Enter Passages in contests
10. May-Revise the next story, get it CP ready
11. June-relax, vacation, draft the rewriting of my very first suspense (which also haunts my heart even after 11 years) and prepare for Nationals!

Ambitious, huh? Yes, I want 2 completed (and EXCELLENT) manuscripts ready for DC as well as at least a partial of a 3rd story and I would like to have pitches for 2 more. I realize a kazillion things could happen to throw this plan off -track, but the important thing is I have a plan AND I'm going after what I want!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goals And Stuff

A couple of the ladies at my Austin RWA meeting last night talked about how important it is to set goals, state them out loud and figure out how to make them happen.

Today I haven't been able to write anything on Danger and I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I'm now starting to get back into teacher mode. I spend several hours today doing paperwork and tomorrow I'm getting up early to go and clean my classroom.
Tonight, I decided not to beat myself up about not working on Danger. Instead, I'm going to organize my goals. I have high hopes for next Nationals, so if I want it to be big, I have lots of work to do and no time to sit around like a slacker!

After I write down my goals, I'm going to read. What am I going to read? A novella I wrote years ago with most excellent characters who have never left my mind. Since they've been knocking on my brain more lately, I've decided to see if I should pursue their story for my next manuscript. More on that later if it works out.

LATER THAT SAME NIGHT...Thanks to Tracy Wolff, Cat Schield, and Lillian Dawson for giving me the swift kick in the behind I needed to get excited about writing and get busy working again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nope, Nothin' Yet

I stayed up last night reading Laura Griffin's book. Every single time I finished a chapter I'd look at the clock and say, "One more chapter." (Yes, it's THAT good!) I ended up falling asleep on the couch at 3 AM.

So when I got up at 10, I decided my day was pretty much shot and I kept reading. I'm now about 140 pages from being finished and I've decided I will finish this book today.

Danger will come back into play tomorrow. Laura's awesome story is getting me geared up to work on Danger again and at the moment I'm having an e-mail brainstorming session with my wonderful friend Lillian Dawson to work out some critical plot details.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Slacker, I Am

Yep, as far as writing goes I've been a slacker. I'd planned to get back to work today, even had a written schedule of my day's activities starting at 7:30 this morning. When I woke up at 10 because I forgot to set the alarm correctly (I'd put 7:30 PM instead of AM), the whole day's events got turned around. So I did no writing today (yet) and I spent most of the day on the couch with Jude Deveraux's The Summerhouse.

The Summerhouse is an excellent story about 3 women who are about to turn 40 and are completely unhappy with their lives. The book is about the women getting a chance to "redo" their lives, rediscover themselves and get their happily-ever-afters. My thought as I closed the book when I finished? Why can't I have that???? (Although, I've got a pretty good life, so there's not much I'd want to change.)

Okay, going back to the writing: I've been putting off starting the revisions and I really don't know why. I know what needs to be done and I know that as a writer I have to write even when I don't want to. So, I figured if I changed the progress meter to show that I've been a big slacker and have NOTHING done yet on the 3rd draft, then maybe I'll guilt myself into starting. I'll let you know if it works.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

As If I Don't Have Enough To Read Already

Today, Austin RWA author Sherry Thomas had a workshop/book signing. I went because I wanted to support her and because I wanted a refresher on the topic she covered. I'd planned to buy her second book, Delicious, which I did. (Isn't that a beautiful cover???)
Of course, at a book store I can't buy just one. So I searched for the Harlequin books and picked up two of my auto-buys: Terri Brisbinand Jill Shalvis.Gee. Guess I better get back to Jude Deveraux's The Summerhouse!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I'm A Winner!

Earlier this week someone mentioned this new blog called The Kill Zone. It's a group blog created by several thriller and mystery writers. Since I'm convinced I'm writing romantic thriller manuscripts, I decided to check it out and ended up commenting.

Today I got an e-mail from Michelle Gagnon that I won a copy of her book The Tunnels just because I commented on their new blog! How cool is that?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

One Step Closer

Yay! I finished the 2nd draft of Danger! I still have a buttload of work to do on it, but I still love the story and I'm still excited about making it the best manuscript I've written to date. It's scary how well the writing and revisions have been going. The story flows, the character arcs are showing through, I know EXACTLY what my characters want and what's stopping them from getting it, and the romance is unfolding naturally and easily. These things have NEVER happened so painlessly in any of my other manuscripts. I can feel inside how much better a writer I've become and it makes me so proud! (Especially when non-writing friends say, "You're not published yet?" Seriously, they don't have a clue what goes into writing a fabulous manuscript.)

So now I'm planning to jump right into the 3rd draft. My plan is to have the manuscript ready for CP duty by the first week in September. Then while my CPs (critique partners) are hacking it to pieces, I'm going to revise my synopsis and write my killer query. Then I'm going to start approaching agents. AND I'm also going to play around with the 2 new ideas I have to see which one is stronger and must be told first.

What are you up to?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Nice Suprise

I was out running errands this morning and when I got home, I found this book in my mail from fellow Austin RWA member Laura Griffin. I was thrilled! I read and reviewed Laura's first 2 books and I've been so looking forward to this one.

This book doesn't officially come out until September 30th, but if you like romantic suspense make sure you put it on your "must be bought" list for next month! And be sure to check back with me closer to September for my review.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pics From The Trip

I have some pics I wanted to share with you from my vacation. First we have the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina. This one is still open and about half the family went up to the top. I didn't, but later I wished I had.
We also visited the Bodie Lighthouse (also in NC). There are five lighthouses in NC and each one has a different pattern.Next is a picture of the Sam Adams statue in Boston.
Also around here is Faneuil Hall, which was constructed in 1742. It has two levels. One one level was a meeting place for the town's leaders. On the lower level was a marketplace with the space divided into "stalls" for people to buy and sell goods. It's still a beautiful building and carries so much of our country's history!

Last but not least, I leave you with a picture of me when my best friend Nancy and I went out to lunch at the British Beer Company Restaurant in Massachusetts. I know you can't really see me too well, but I'll see what other pics I can share with you tomorrow!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Another Heart of the West

Join me in congratulating my friend Lillian Dawson! She found out this morning that she also finaled in the Heart of the West Contest and this is her very FIRST final! Lillian is a soldier for our country and she writes amazing military romances.

Trip Particulars

I wanted to share with you the titles I read and saw:

Jill Shalvis- Flashpoint
Jill Shalvis- The Trouble With Paradise
Suzanne Brockmann- Forbidden
Suzanne Brockmann- Freedom's Price
Shalvis and Brockmann are 2 of my auto-buys and they NEVER let me down!)
Kerry Connor- Strangers in the Night (Most excellent research as I write my own thriller)
Teri Brown- Read My Lips (As a teacher, I'm thrilled to read an awesome book for YA!)
Robert Ludlum- The Bourne Identity (Um, hello. It's Jason Bourne. Need I say ANYTHING more?)
Ann Voss Peterson- Wyoming Manhunt (More great research for Intrigue thrillers!)
Rita Herron- In the Flesh (A chance to get to read something new and enjoy it!)
Julie Garwood- Shadow Dance (I've been a lifelong reader of Garwood, but this one didn't grab me like most of her previous books.)

The Painted Veil- Most Excellent! It's about a cholera epidemic and the English doctor and his wife when he travels to the village (Chinese, I think) to help with the epidemic.
The Pursuit of Happyness- An extremely gut-wrenching story, but I knew it had a happy ending. Good thing. I went through too many tissues as it was!
PS I Love You- Wow! A wonderful romance and inspirational story about a woman finding out who she really is.
Casino Royale- I'm not a big Bond fan to begin with, but I wanted to see Daniel Craig in the role simply because I know a lot of people didn't think he should be the new Bond. I'm looking forward to the next one!
Death at a Funeral- If you like off-beat British comedies, you'll love this. I laughed so much and I'm so glad we picked it up.
Mama Mia- I haven't seen the Broadway show, but I wanted to see the movie. What a fun time and almost a week later I'm still singing the songs! The story was so uplifting and gave me hope for my own happily ever after someday. (Where are the good guys hiding???)

My diet went well until the last 2 weeks of the trip. UGH! But I'm not discouraged. Yes, I would've liked to stick to the same weight or lose a bit more, but that wasn't realistic. So, I jumped right back into it yesterday when I went shopping. Today I'm going to the gym. Quite honestly, the biggest incentive is the fact that I liked being 16 lbs down. I liked the way I felt, the way I looked and the clothes I could fit into. My new goal is to be at my "goal weight" (which is a total of 25-30lbs from my highest weight) by Christmas. I can't tell you yet how far I have to go because I'm not getting on the scale until next weekend.