Friday, May 30, 2008


I've calculated the last set of grades for the 07-08 school year! Woohoo! I'm almost done! We have 3 1/2 day next week, but we'll be cleaning, packing, partying and getting ready for summer.

The staff appreciation dinner was most excellent last night. It was so good I didn't want to get up for work this morning. My alarm went off at 5. I apparently got up, turned it off and went back to bed. I woke up at 7:16. Luckily school doesn't start until 8. I got ready within 15 minutes and made it to work in time to eat breakfast.

Tonight I plan to have a cup of tea, watch a little TV and then finish reading No Ordinary Man. Tomorrow I expect Caitlin to return and for the two of us to get organized with a plan for revisions AND a plan for my summer writing.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's Official

Caitlin is on an unauthorized vacation. She sent me a postcard that arrived yesterday. She plans to be back sometime this weekend, but she refuses to be more specific than that. But she's looking forward to our work on Danger though, so I guess I should be happy with that.

As for me, I'll just keep busy until she returns. Last night I kept busy by watching a soccer game between England and USA. Then I read for a while. Tonight we have our annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner. Plus, I plan to finish my latest read as well while I'm sipping a margarita and waiting for the rest of the school's staff to show up at the restaurant! Then, if Caitlin doesn't come back Friday, I can busy myself with averaging report card grades and finishing up last minute grading. She just better be back Saturday. I'm really starting to miss her!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Two Things

While Travis, Cat and I hunt for our muses, have a peek at:

1. Elisabeth Naughton's blog. Elisabeth just got her first cover for her first book Stolen Fury, a romantic suspense due out in December from Dorchester.

2. Teri Brown's blog. Teri's first young adult book, Read My Lips, comes out next month from Simon Pulse, and she's got a really neat book trailer.

So come on, support two new authors and click on the links! I guarantee they'll both be worth the clicks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Caitlin Is MIA

Has anybody seen my muse? We haven't argued, haven't snipped at each other. We've got plenty of work to do and I was really looking forward to working together again. I thought this past weekend she and I would have a grand old time and kick some serious butt on this manuscript. But when Saturday rolled around, Caitlin was missing. So I read. She stopped by for a little while in the afternoon and we started working, but then it was time for me to go to the gym. When I got back, she'd disappeared again and I haven't seen her since. Sunday I read and thought about searching for her, but the book I was reading got really good. So I stayed on the couch and figured Caitlin would be back by Monday morning. Yesterday she still wasn't around, so I forced myself to work alone. But that was boring. So I set the manuscript aside to wait for her (we have such a great time together usually!), and I picked up a new book. Now that Tuesday morning has rolled around, I'm going back to work. We've got 7th grade graduation tonight, so if Caitlin comes by then, we'll miss each other. Caitlin, I know you're out there somewhere! I've got Wednesday night free and I'd really, really like to get together with you. What do you say?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

As you enjoy the bbq and have a drink or two,
as you gather with friends and family,
as you welcome this unofficial start to the summer season,
take a moment to remember the men and women who have given their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today I get to wish my grandfather a happy 89th birthday! Twice this past year I thought I was going to lose him, to the point that I cried for hours and even thought of flying back up to RI to see him one last time, but both times he defied the odds. This man has nine lives and he's only on number 7! My mom is having a party for him today at his assisted living place and I wish I could be there. Yes, his stories of when he was little in England, when he worked and moved to the US, and when my mother was growing up ALL get old, but they are as much a part of my life as he is. Happy Birthday, Granda!

As for me, I'm going to celebrate by reading, going to the gym, going to the grocery store and writing. He often asks about my writing and sometimes it's, "Aren't you done with that book yet?"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life Is Good!

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, I've got 3 days off and no pressing plans. I met with some friends for dinner and drinks last night and had an Amazon box waiting at my door when I got home. My family is happy, my job seems to be secure and my credit cards are coming down. Oh, yeah, and my weight's dropping too!

So now I'm off to have another cup of tea, read Wicked for a while and then decide whether I want to write or go to the gym.

Have a great start today to your 3-day weekend (or 2 day weekend if you don't have Monday off)!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Online Danger

I broke down and ordered books from Amazon for the first time ever. I don't do much online shopping, but I wanted to buy something so I could start posting my book reviews on the site. But I got a little carried away. What started out as buying only an inexpensive "short" by Laura Griffin soon became a much more expensive outing. I bought The Trouble With Paradise by Jill Shalvis, Rivals For the Crown by Kathleen Givens, and 3 Suzanne Brockmann books- No Ordinary Man, Forbidden, and Freedom's Price. I had a couple more on the list, but they were by new-to-me authors and I figured I'd be better off getting the books I KNOW I'll love. I just hope Amazon doesn't become my newest best friend. My bank account couldn't take that kind of abuse!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nim's Island Take Two

Because I've been working my butt off at the day job, I decided to take today off and play. Today I'm only in writer-mode. I intend to work on Danger for quite a while this afternoon and evening. Before that, I intend to go see Nim's Island.

Now, I tried seeing Nim's Island one weekend and I left half an hour before the movie started. I missed it. The theatre was one I'd never been to in a part of town I don't frequent and I couldn't find it. Not even an hour after I left the house. But today I will win! I'm going back to the same area and I will find that theatre! I'm leaving an hour before the move starts and I won't come home until I find it!

Wish me luck on my adventure!

LATER: I found the theatre, wrote for a bit, watched the movie (it was cute) and came home. Then I dove into Danger. I'm excited again about the story and all I plan to do to make it awesome. But do you notice that greatness often starts with chopping huge chunks, sometimes pages, out of the manuscript?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I just put the final period in my 100 words for today. Okay, I wrote 114. I've written at least 100 words every single day for the last 100 days. My grand total number of words is 41,655. My students and I started on February 11. I think 8 of them made it to 5o days and 3 of them made the one hundred days with me. I'm not sure if any of them wrote every single day, but I'm mighty glad I did! Most of my words were for Danger. Probably only the last few weeks have been snippets to get to know new characters.

This started out as an exercise with my local writing group, Austin RWA. I've always taken the challenge because I'm willing to try anything that might help my creativity. Will I do more 100 words a day for 100 days challenges? Sure! Just not anytime soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Monday!

I'm a giggling fool today! Our students have to take standardized tests each year and today we got our scores back. 2 of my classes had everyone pass and another of my classes had 13 out of 14 pass (with 11 of those 13 getting commended!). I know this doesn't mean much to A LOT of people, but just take it from me. It's a GREAT thing! It means I know what I'm doing!

I managed to get all the stuff graded yesterday that I brought home, so my grading days for this school year are almost over. Yippeeeee!

I'm very much enjoying Terri Brisbin's book too. I hope to get another good chunk read tonight.

My "food plan" is back in business and I haven't felt this good in a long time. The weight loss is the perfect incentive to go to the gym!

As for my writing...well, my 100 words a day with my students ends tomorrow. I'm thrilled about that. I haven't done much with Danger lately, but I intend to. Don't roll your eyes at me. I know I've...hey! Don't give me a hard time. I'll get there. When, you ask? This week. Definitely this week. I'll get chapters 2 & 3 ready to send to my CP by the end of next weekend. No, really. Will you stop already?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I'm sending a HUGE Happy Birthday to my big brother who turns 43 today! Woohoo! I hope this next year is a good one and I hope he got to do something to celebrate today!

As for me, I celebrated his birthday by grading papers, doing laundry, grading more papers, cleaning a little, reading a bit guessed it, grading more papers. I'm hoping to get a lot more done tonight, as well as some reading in (I LOVE Terri Brisbin's books!) and writing of my own.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Firefighter and the Single Mum

A Review by Lexi Connor

Sometimes a girl needs a good old-fashioned romance and this book by Laura Iding fits the bill for me. The sexy firefighter is Austin Monroe, a man with the reputation of breaking hearts all over town. The single mum is Lindsey Winters, a nurse who’s been trapped in a loveless marriage to Austin’s partner. When Lindsey’s husband dies at work the day after she tells him she wants a divorce, Austin vows to take care of her and her young son, Josh. But Lindsey pushes him away, determined to take care of herself. Months later, Austin is called to a fire where he finds Lindsey and Josh. He insists they move into his house until their house is renovated. But living with a woman he’s secretly wanted for so long soon releases all sorts of emotions and confusion for Austin. He realizes he wants to settle down and Lindsey and Josh are just the family for him. Now all he has to do is convince Lindsey how perfect they are together.

Ms. Iding brings us two realistic characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. Austin and Lindsey are people we can easily relate to who experience love, pain and hope through the course of the story. At times I was frustrated with them and some of their decisions, but I kept turning pages, eager to see how the author brought them together after events that could clearly drive two people apart. I had faith in Ms. Iding, though, and she didn’t let me down. The Firefighter and the Single Mum is 100% a feel good romance, one I’m so thrilled I had the chance to read!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shh...Be Very Quiet!

I'm at work and I probably shouldn't be blogging, but I wanted to. My day is almost over and I'm still in a good mood. I've got plans to grade lots of papers this weekend, but not today. I'm doing a little work today, but after our staff meeting, I'm going to turn into Lexi Connor, Super Author!

I've missed not working on Danger this last week and I'm eager to get back to the story. My writing challenge with my students is almost over. Lately I've been writing snippets of scenes with my new hero and heroine. Theirs will be an awesome story when I can get to it. But to do that I have to finish Danger.

So I'll be in Danger this weekend and I'll be a grading fool AND I'll be a reading freak. My latest book to read is The Firefighter and the Single Mum, a Mills & Boon medical romance written by my friend Laura Iding. She's AWESOME! We "met" online a few years ago when I asked a medical question on one of my writing loops and she answered. We've kept in touch ever since and we finally met in person last year at Nationals. I'm so lucky to have her in my corner! I started reading the first few pages of her book last night and I can't wait to get back to it today.

Okay, I think I should go do something official, you know, earn my pay.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lonely, I'm So Lonely...

I've got to tell you, I've been feeling kind of lonely lately as I check for comments on my blog. Then I thought maybe I'm just hormonal. Maybe people are busy with their own lives. Or maybe they're writing! I'm okay now.

The week is almost over and it can't come soon enough. I'm physically exhausted. Last night I was up until 1 doing stuff for work. I'm gearing up to do a weekend of personal work and school work. Hopefully those weekend plans will include some serious Danger time too!

The school year ends three weeks from today! Woohoo! I've been reflecting a lot lately on what I was doing a year ago. I had my surgery (for that humongo fibroid), visited Ireland for the first time and spent some quality time in my happy place, Scotland. It doesn't seem possible that a year ago I was recovering and praying that I'd be well enough 4 weeks after surgery to get on a plane. I could go into a lot more detail about how my life and my view of life have changed over the last year, but I'll wait on that for a bit. Gotta figure it all out in my head first. Plus, it goes more with how I want my life to be in the next 365 days!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Miscellaneous

Writing: I've got one more week until my 100 words a day for 100 days is over. THEN I'M TAKING A BREAK! Well, not much of a break. I'm going to focus my energies on Danger's revisions. The next book is already percolating. The last few days I've been writing scenes for that book during my 100 words a day challenge. That hero and heroine are going to be perfect for each other. I can already tell!

Daphne: I entered the Daphne and was upset when I didn't final (because I'm a KOD member, and I LOVE the chapter and the party they put on at Nationals). Today I got my scores back and I'm totally okay with not being a finalist. The judges' comments were very helpful and I agree with many of their points. My scores weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. Plus, some of the suggestions the judges made I've already corrected in the current version of the opening! I'll enter again in '09...well, I really hope I won't be eligible next year, but you know what I mean.

School: I'm taking an online class on sexual tension through Celtic Hearts. Wow! What an awesome class! I don't post to the loop, but I read all the e-mails that come through. The instructor gives homework, people post their homework, then the instructor posts her critique of the scenes. That's where I'm learning the most. And it's not like I don't know this stuff already. As I told the instructor, I've got some scenes that are absolutely charged with sexual tension (or just general tension for a suspense) and then some scenes later on that lack any kind of spark. I'm really looking forward to putting what I'm learning to good use when I work on Danger's revisions AND start playing with the new couple.

Auction: I surfed Brenda Novak's website to take a peek at the auction she's having for diabetes research. Some of the items being auctioned off are phenomenal! I wish I had money to spend! You should check it out if you haven't done so already.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mom's Day!

If you are a mom, I hope your family treats you well today. I hope everyone remembers the sacrifices moms go through for their children. Make sure to give praise today to the women in your life who have made a difference, be they mom, grandmom, stepmom or someone like a mom.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday At Last!

No one wanted to be at school today. We're all still worn out from the field trip. So instead of teaching, I had the kids make thank you cards for the trip organizers and Mothers' Day cards. This will be the first weekend in a LONG time I don't have to go into work or spend countless precious weekend hours on school stuff. I'm so excited! I'm hoping to go to the movies and see Nim's Island if it's still in the theatre. Of course I'll work on my manuscript too, and I want to finish this book I'm reading.

A Woman in Berlin is a very different book. It's the diary of a German woman from the spring of 1945. It's very depressing and sometimes downright disgusting, but I can't walk away from it. I hate to say I'm enjoying the book because the topic isn't a happy one. In truth, it makes me sad to read that people can be so cruel to each other.

From a writing perspective though, this is an excellent book. I've been sucked into this woman's world. I care about her. I hear the bombs, the soldiers running up the apartment stairs to raid her "home". In my stomach, I can imagine the pain of this woman's hunger and thirst. I'm horrified by the events, but I want to keep reading. I've even done some research to help me understand World War II better. To me, a book that can elicit these kinds of responses in me is definitely one worth reading.

Have you read anything that affects you like this?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Honey, I'm Home!

We got back about 1, 1:30 today. The trip was wonderful and we had no major problems. We managed to have a few good laughs too. The kids seemed to have a good time, but they were all exhausted when we arrived back at school. We had some undesirables camping not too far from us, but it's a free country and they left us alone. So now I get to work on progress reports for tomorrow and lesson plans for next week. 4 weeks today the school year will be finished. It can't come soon enough!

What've you been up to in my absence?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

And Away We Go!

This morning I leave for a three day field trip with 14 other adults and 34 middle school kids. The most difficult students aren't coming on the trip (Whoohoo!) Most of them lost the privilege after doing something stupid. We're going to a couple museums here in town and then we're going camping, only we're sleeping in bunkhouses. I'm actually pretty excited. I wasn't until I started packing last night. I'm taking a book and my notebook so I can keep up with my 100 words a day. I was worried for a bit there because I thought I'd have to spend every waking minute watching kids, but the activities coordinator (our awesome Spanish teacher who used to work on a cruise ship) has built some "down time" into our schedule. So, I'm off for my adventure now. Have a good couple of days, stay out of trouble and I'll check in with you Thursday night when I get home!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday, Monday

Well, I did get my Charter Oak contest entry revised and in the mail today just like I said I would. (See? I can do deadlines!) Now I just have to wait until the end of June to hear the final results. Good thing I have PLENTY to keep me busy until then- lots of school related stuff, more contest entries to print and send, more revisions to do.

Speaking of revisions, I wanted to chat about Danger's revisions and what's different for me with this manuscript than any other one I've completed. I'm absolutely floored by the work I'm doing. As I updated and pulled together my synopsis for Danger yesterday, it was so much fun to see where the story is going. Events I thought were going to happen have now changed because I know my characters so well. Also, in revising the first chapter for the contest AND working on chapters 2 & 3, I'm making a conscious effort to remember all the aspects of writing that are drilled into our heads- using the five senses, not overloading on narrative sections, deep POV, paying attention to conflict and how characters change over the course of the book. It's like this is the first manuscript where I see all of that stuff coming together and enriching the story. I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but the satisfaction I'm getting from working on this book is overwhelming, even when I only have a few minutes to work on it.

I'd planned to have this book finished by my July vacation, but I've decided not to hold myself to that. If it works out, great, but I'm not going to rush this masterpiece. I want to enjoy every glorious moment of putting this story together and maybe make this one "The One".

Sunday, May 04, 2008

And Later That Same Day....

Ugh. The weight of my title (Queen, not Danger) bears down on my shoulders and threatens to crush me. I've been working on this synopsis since about 10 this morning. Yes, that's right. TEN A.M. I took a half hour to eat some lunch and that's it. But I've got a synopsis I like, some new story ideas for my revisions and I'll meet my deadline. Now I need to get away from the computer screen for a while before I go through the synopsis again one last time. I tell you, I'm going to need that 3-day field trip this week just to get away!

It's Not Always Good To Be Queen

I claim the title Queen of Procrastination. Some may argue, but I'm pretty sure I have what it takes to reign.

For the Golden Acorn final round, I have the opportunity to revise my entry and synopsis. I have to send them to the coordinator by Monday, 5/12. Since I have a 3 day field trip this coming week, I decided I'd mail the contest entry on Monday, 5/5.

All last week I thought about my revisions. Saturday, 5/3 I got down to business and worked on revising the entry. Um, wow. I'd made a lot of changes since I sent this in originally. So much so that my first chapter is now an extra 2 pages. But I really love how the chapter ends, so cutting it short wasn't going to work. So I've been working steadily on this for 4 1/2 hours. I just finished. Yay.

Then I figured I'll knock out the synopsis revisions tomorrow. Um, I shouldn't have peeked right now because I'm a bit panicked about finishing on time. Yes, I have all of Sunday to work on it, but I'd planned to grade and do progress reports and read and visit the brother & his family. Yikes! Nothing like waiting until the last minute! (But hey, it's a deadline and I have every intention of meeting it.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

I Am Sandra

Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality. No, not the beautiful Sandra. The BEFORE Vic Sandra.

I've still got whatever it is that started last Friday night. My ears are partially blocked and they seem to be taking turns working. I spend a lot of time trying to unblock them. I'm still sneezing and coughing (although not as much), my nose is stuffed up and no matter how much rest I get I'm still tired. So what does all this have to do with Sandra?

I had a professional development conference today for work so I got to wear jeans and a T-shirt (with my school's logo on it). After the conference was over, I decided to stop at the grocery store. When I got out of the car, I slammed the door shut with my foot. Then I put my purse strap over my head so that the purse fell diagonally across my chest and I adjusted my sunglasses. My hair, which is in desperate need of some life-support, flew around my face. As I walked toward the store, I thought, "Oh my God. I'm the ugly Gracie Lou Freebush!"