Thursday, December 31, 2009



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Perfect Holiday Present

I got a LONG e-mail today from a student I taught in the last 3 school years. She was one of my brighter kids with so much potential. I had some good times with her class and I cried like a baby at their graduation. When they left our school, I told some of them to keep in touch. This girl has consistently e-mailed me on and off since May. Today's email was all about her family and their holiday (I'd gotten pretty close with the family too) and she sent me pictures of them during their celebrations. At times like this I remember why I love teaching.

Gearing Up For 2010

Lots of stuff happening. Still reading and relaxing on school vacation. Still stuffed from Christmas dinner. Started spending my gift cards I got for Christmas. Almost done with house renovations (well, the contractor is, not me). Planning for new blog design and possible website renovation. Gearing up for revising my writing business plan for 2010. Writing my end of the year lists- accomplishments in 2009 and goals for 2010. We're supposed to have bad weather tomorrow, so I'm planning to stay in most (if not all) of the day and get some of this stuff tackled!

What about you? What are you up to?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve and may Santa bring you all you wish for!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dalliance With Dickens

A Christmas Carol is my ABSOLUTE favorite story. When I was younger, I'd go to the local theater and see it performed every year. My mom took me once to the Nutcracker just for something different, but I didn't care for it as much. As I've grown up, I've watched TONS of versions of A Christmas Carol, from the Mickey Mouse version to the Lifetime "Ebbie" version, from the Flinstone version to my favorite, the 1951 Alistair Sim version. I teach the play every year and have the 7th graders write their own versions (and sometimes perform them). And yet, in all that time, I never read the story.

About 2 weeks ago, one of my 7th grade girls pointed out that our school book fair had the book. I jumped at the chance to check it out. I didn't want someone else's version, though. I wanted to read the actual words Charles Dickens wrote. Sure enough, that's what we had in the book fair. So I bought it and tomorrow I plan to read it! It's only 122 pages. I'm sure it'll go fast. What a great way to spend Christmas Eve, huh?

iPod Update

I'm competent! I've gotten several of my favorite CDs added to my iPod ALL ON MY OWN! I'm so excited! Next up...hitting the iTunes store!

Monday, December 21, 2009


So far Christmas break has been wonderful! I've still got some shopping to do, but I'm not in panic mode yet. I'm hoping to finish up today. I've been reading-2 1/2 books so far in 3 days. It feels so good, although my eyes don't necessarily agree. This afternoon I'll be seeing Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol with my mom, stepdad, niece and nephew. Then some shopping and a bit more reading. And maybe a hot chocolate somewhere, although our temps are supposed to be close to 70 today. Not really hot chocolate weather. Although I imagine some of you are making hot chocolate with tons of snow around your house. Take care of yourselves!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another New Toy

To celebrate getting through the first semester without killing anyone, I went shopping and bought this. I took a 3-day teacher training in the summer that paid me and an online follow up survey last month that also paid me. So, the money went to a good cause. Just think. All those one-hit wonders I've loved through the ages will soon be at my fingertips! Now if I can only figure out how to work my new toy...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm almost free! Kids got out at 12:30 today. We (staff) have to go in for a few hours tomorrow, which I don't mind, and then I'M FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE until January!

Tonight I'm just relaxing, looking over the cool Christmas presents I got from my students and their families, and watching a little TV. Tomorrow I'll work hard and then I won't think about or do anything related to school for 2 whole weeks. Imagine that. Two weeks of reading, sleeping, writing, cleaning, sleeping, reading and writing. How better to spend the holiday season and to begin the new year???

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Busy, busy! With school winding down, Christmas shopping to finish, a cold/allergies/sinus infection/whatever this is to battle, I've been away from my reading and writing. BUT not for long! I'm working extra hard at the day job now so that come Friday afternoon I can put all my school related books, papers, clipboards, etc. away and not touch them until we go back January 4th. We had our school-wide winter performance tonight and tomorrow are the class parties. So I'm off to finish wrapping some presents and writing out cards. I'll let you know in a day or two how it all went!

Stay safe, warm and happy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The New One...


A writer with a looming deadline and no heart to write new pages.
A Scottish gillie eager to restore his tarnished reputation.
A bond forged in a season of miracles.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Week And A Half

NaNoWriMo ended for me in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 29th. After that, I decided I wouldn't write a thing for the month of December or until the itch to put new words on a page hit me.

A week and a half later, the itch returned. I've been thinking about my fictional Scottish village from Fractured Paradise and the next story I'd planned to write in that series. I've reread the 20 pages I already have. I've been brainstorming ideas while driving and listening to conversations in Scottish accents in my head while watching Christmas movies. Now I'm thinking I might have to start drafting the synopsis and 1st chapter (or at least outline the turning points) in the next week or so in between shopping trips for Christmas presents and grading terrible essays. (Okay, they're not ALL terrible!) And then I can write to my heart's content over Christmas break.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ok, Done Whining

I'm over my rejection. Yes, it's sad, but she had some positive things to say and someday I'll find the exact person I'm supposed to work with. So, I'm moving on. Today I have to clean my house and put my Christmas tree together. This afternoon I'm going to my brother's house to watch college football and to hang out with them. Then tomorrow, my niece and nephew will be coming over to help decorate the Christmas tree, make cookies and color Christmas/winter scenes. My aunt and uncle used to take me every year to help decorate their tree and I ALWAYS had a great time. So, since I moved into my own place this year, I figured I could start the tradition with my own niece and nephew. Have a great weekend whatever you do!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Got a really wonderful rejection from an agent today. Positive things she said were, "I think you have a really great writing style and your voice is also very compelling...." But it's still a rejection. And I really liked her. So I'm allowing myself to wallow for 24 hours. Then I can't whine about it or be miserable. I need to jump back on that horse and gallop toward the next...hurdle????

Monday, November 30, 2009

Still Celebrating

It's been so wonderful not having to worry about word count! I've actually had to FIND some things to do around the house tonight. Of course, reading Laura Griffin's new book is the perfect way to celebrate and relax.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Welcome, Welcome!

Click here for a peek at my new baby! I'm updating this blog on my brand spankin' new laptop computer. It weighs a bit over 2lbs and is so small and cute! I'm so excited! Now I can travel anywhere, check e-mails and work on my masterpieces! AND I got a good deal considering everyone's trying to sell stuff for the holidays! I'm off to play some more while I work to finish my NaNo words.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Freaky Friday

Are you one of those mad Black Friday shoppers? If so, good luck to you! Well, since it's 10 o'clock I guess you might be finished. So I hope you got everything out of the experience that you wanted.

I ate too much yesterday and had a very stressful time watching the Texas Longhorns play last night. I went to bed early and I only wrote 689 words. That part is okay, but now I've still got 4,748 words to go and no new ideas to play with. UGH. Add to that, my blog friends are hitting 50,000 words and that's making me anxious to join them across the NaNo finish line.

Today is another day with the family, but I'm bringing my notebook and I intend to get at least 2,000 more words done.

Have a great rest of Friday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm Back In Business

Got my computer back from the computer docs tonight. I'm thrilled! So now I can check up on everyone from home again instead of staying late at work to surf the 'net.

NaNo is almost over. I'm almost finished! I'm bound and determined to be done early, too!

Lots of family plans for Turkey Day and I gotta tell ya, I'm already overwhelmed! But it'll be a good time, for sure. I'll have plenty of food, drinks, football and family drama, I'm sure. I'm taking my parents' laptop so I can keep up with my NaNo words.

Mailed off my GH entries (yes, plural. I entered two stories this year) yesterday. Since I'm in Austin and they're going to Houston and I sent them Priority, they'll be there in plenty of time for the deadline.

Okay, I really need to get back to my NaNo word count. And cleaning. Yeah, maybe over my 5 day holiday I'll get around to cleaning the house. Maybe, but only if there's time after the NaNo words, the food, football, drinks and drama....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Still In Computer Limbo

Took the home computer to the shop on Saturday. They said I needed to replace the battery. I should hear from them by Wednesday. I'm still keeping up with NaNo. I can't believe I've got just about 10,000 words to go! I've got today and 1/2 of tomorrow for teaching and then we're off for the rest of the week. Family members are in town, more coming tomorrow. Should be a good week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Computer Problems

A family member used my computer while I was at work and now I can't even get it turned on. GGGRRRRR. And I haven't printed my GH entry yet. And I have NaNo to keep up with. GGGRRRR. Is there a computer fairy out there to solver my technical issues??????

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back To Bourne

For those of you who have been around here for a while, this will not surprise you. For anyone new, I'm a HUGE Jason Bourne fan. I love the movies, have watched them countless times and have all the soundtracks. I ADORE Matt Damon in this role and I get all giddy when talking about him or the movies.

Earlier this week (Thursday, I think), I took out my His Reluctant Witness soundtrack (AKA Nickelback's Dark Horse CD) and popped in the soundtrack from the Bourne Ultimatum, which promptly sparked new ideas to flow through my fever-ridden brain. Now, truthfully I don't know if it was the specific choice of music or just the change in tunes that has helped me link scenes and expand on new ideas, but I'm going to say it's specifically the Bourne influence. What do you think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Chance Meeting

Just met a strong, new character in His Reluctant Witness. She's got a nose ring, an eyebrow ring and she dresses in black. And she's only 14. That's all I know except she's playing an important role in the lastest NaNo pages. Hmmm, when she grows up she might have to have her own story...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And The Next Day...

Maybe it's the heroine who gets shot...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And Later...

All is well in Nanoland. I shot the hero.

Coming Up For A Breath

NaNo is....starting to kill me. I'm closing in on 20,000 words and I can't think of any new scenes to write. Add to that, I'm starting to feel like what I'm writing I've written before. ACK!

BUT I have to remember that crap is okay in this situation. As long as I keep writing about these two particular characters, I'm good. New ideas may flow, no WILL flow, if I just keep the pen to the paper (or fingers on the keyboard).

Other things adding to the now building NaNo stress: I'm sick. I feel just bad enough to be grouchy but not bad enough to stay home from work. Although, yesterday I did beg the boss to let me leave early and I came home and slept all afternoon. I went to work today, but I'm popping pills and trying really hard to avoid double ear infections.

Day job work-I'm starting to feel a wee bit overwhelmed...

Oh, and going back to the story and NaNo, I'm actually wondering if my hero and heroine are meant to be together for a happily-ever-after. I know they're great together here, but I don't know if it can last. ACK!

What's up with you?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

One NaNo Week Down

I'm back from my FABULOUS Austin RWA writing retreat and what an AWESOME time I had! I laughed, wrote and ate. Then I did it again. Then I slept. Then I got up and laughed, wrote and ate a bit more. I knocked out almost 5400 words and I've got some GREAT ideas for future NaNo days. I started to get into the heroine's background a bit and, wow, that villain is a sick, sick man. I actually got disturbed and had to stop writing for a bit. (That's where the laughing had to come in.) I'm actually thinking I might be able to finish 50,000 words in a month. Granted, it's only the first week, but if you had told me last month that I'd have 15,000 words of a new story written in 8 days, I wouldn't have believed you either. I'd love to continue writing now, but I have school work to do (Yuck) and I think I might be getting a wee bit sick (Yuck). So I'm going to bed early after a cup of tea and some "down time" with my remote and my grade book.

Friday, November 06, 2009

NaNo Friday

I'm learning quite a lot from my Nano experience and I already feel like a winner. I've never before written close to 10,000 words in a six day period. It can be done. I'm finding time I didn't know I had to write. I can get the juices flowing if I allow myself to write some crap. And the most important lesson so far in my NaNo experience: This is NOT for the faint-hearted!

Kelly Boyce was my inspiration for joining NaNo. She spoke of it on her blog back when I had no idea what it was. Since then, I've read her blog posts about the experience and thought I definitely wanted to try. So here I am, having a GREAT time (so far) and thanks, Kelly!

Tomorrow is my Austin RWA writers' retreat. I'm psyched about getting to spend the entire weekend with like-minded individuals AND with my characters. I'm taking a few CD's for inspiration, a couple of books to read in case I need a break, and all my notes on the WIP. Oh yeah, and a notebook. No, I haven't bought myself a laptop yet so I'm relying on pen, paper and sharpened pencils to get me through the weekend. (And some good food, good company and good beer.) I'll check in with you when I get back on Sunday. To those of you doing NaNo, good luck! To those of you enjoying your weekend doing something else fun, have a great time!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hey There!

I thought I'd take a few seconds from my NaNo writing to visit with you. I'm hard at work and so far I've kept up with my 1667 (or more) words a day. Granted, it's only Day 5, but I'm feeling pretty good about this project as of right now. I've discovered I really can write even when I don't want to. I'm having fun getting to know my new characters and seeing where they're taking me. How's everyone else doing (NaNo or not)?

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNo Day 2

I'm doing good! I'm about halfway to where I want to be for today and I have plenty of time to get exactly where I want to be! (Okay, yes, it's only Day 2, but still....) Plus, I'm LOVING what I'm working on right now. I've been reacquainted (sp?) with another character I love. He's a police captain who showed up in the 1st book in the series, Her Reluctant Protector. I knew he'd be in this one too, but I'm really feeling that he needs to have his own story eventually. He's a bit older than my average heroes, but he's such perfect hero material and I'm looking forward to making him come alive even more in this story.

But back to the hero and heroine of His Reluctant Witness because they are explosive together and have so much to share with me!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

And We're Off!

It's November 1st and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has begun! I stayed up extra late last night so I could start writing right at midnight. I knocked out over 1400 words before I went to bed at 3. I expect to get back to it later. First I have to finish my synopsis for FP so I can mail that off and then there is the dreaded day job grading to do as well. And the house could be cleaned. And I should go to the grocery store. But what's more important? WRITING! If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, let me know so I can check in with you! Good luck!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm Sliding Toward Home!

I'm through 10 more pages! Another new 1-page scene added. Only 30 pages to go! (And part of that is the epilogue that won't need much work at all.) I'm getting excited now and since I can't update my progress meter from home, I'm going to post my numbers throughout the night so you can see and perhaps throw a cheer my way.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ugh Revisited

I've been adding scenes to FP (roughly about 10 pages) and it's soooooooooooo slow going. I LOVE what I'm keeping, but finding those last few lines to transition the new scenes into the "old" scenes is maddening! I'm so close. I can almost taste it. And yet, I can't get those damn words off the tip of my tongue!


Monday, October 26, 2009

What's In A Name?

I have a habit of thinking faster than I can type. As a result, I come up with:


I don't know about you, but all I can think of when I see these is: PORN STAR. What do you think?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


NaNo is pretty much a go for me.

FP revisions are still coming along. I'd hoped to spend a solid day yesterday working on it, but I did little writing and much celebrating. One of my nephews had a birthday and a soccer game and then I stayed over my brother's house. (I know, bad Lexi!) I'm in a difficult spot with the revisions because it's going well, but I know I need one more new scene to bridge where I am and where I next need to go. I believe once I tackle this scene the rest of my revisions should come easier (notice I did not say easy). It feels like I've been stuck for days on this particular section...and I have. But slow and steady progress is better than no progress at all. I'm hoping and praying I can finish this manuscript before November 1. If I can't get enough done this week, I might have to skip out on Halloween festivities and work.

For now, I'm off to work on lesson plans, report card grades and grading papers. A teacher's job is never done!

Friday, October 23, 2009

To NaNo Or Not?

For a few years now I've toyed with the idea of trying NaNoWriMo. I've usually been too busy with revisions to consider it, but this year I SHOULD be done with FP revisions. Also, the new suspense is clamoring in my head for more time with the muse. So I'm wondering if I should join. One of the local libraries is having a bunch of NaNo events that I can totally see myself joining and enjoying. I know that I won't be able to write a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days, but I am interested in pushing myself and my muse to see just how much I can accomplish without killing myself or my muse, or neglecting the day job. So, what do you think? Anyone else joining?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rollin' Along

I'm making steady progress on my revisions now and I'm pleased to say I'm ahead of my new schedule a bit. (Tomorrow morning I'll update the progress meter. For some reason I can't update it from home anymore. Technology is great when you understand it and it works.) I expect to finish the heavy duty revisions by the end of this weekend. Then I'm going to revise the synopsis next Monday. Then I'll take one more read through to make sure all my ducks are in a row. THEN I'll mail it! Of course, after that will be a big celebration...with a margarita or two. Or perhaps a scotch since the story is Scottish.

Monday, October 19, 2009


After grading some papers, plotting my weeks' lessons and watching football yesterday, I took up the pen again for FP revisions. Got some sound advice and encouragement from Cat and Jenna (Thanks, ladies!) and I think I'm starting to head in the right direction to save my last 50-60 pages. I'll force my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard this week for some late nights re-crafting of the glorious story I'm slowly falling in love with again. I'm behind the schedule I'd planned for myself, but I'd rather it be late and awesome than on time and just ok. I want a chance to "Wow!" the editor and hopefully the time, effort, and energy (not to mention the blood, sweat and tears!) I'm spending will do the story justice.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You Know It's Bad...

...When you'd rather clean the house than work on revisions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Painful Decision

I've decided to stop playing the new CD I bought for my birthday that is basically inspiring me to daydream about my new characters. I'm putting it back in the case and storing it on a shelf until I hit the "send" button with FP. The hero and heroine HAVE to understand!

Hey, World!

Just coming up for air. Some stuff is going on in the family (other people, not me) that's taking my concentration...or most of it. But it's no excuse! Tonight I'll get back to FP (cuz I wanna). My new goal for having it ready to mail is next Friday. I SHOULD be able to meet that goal providing the world doesn't crash down around me!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Morning After

The birthday was wonderful! I had a lot of fun. Now it's time to get my butt in gear and finish my Scottish masterpiece, Fractured Paradise.I'm NOT going to be overwhelmed. I'm NOT going to run screaming like a wild woman from the revisions. I'm NOT going to be a slacker! I'm going to take one step at a time, one chapter at a time, and give the manuscript the finishing touches it needs so that the editor loves it as much as I do.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Yes, that's right! 38 years ago today, I decided to make my presence known to the world! I'm celebrating today with my students during lunch (okay, I bought cupcakes for us) and then dinner & drinks with some friends. Have a Happy Friday wherever you are!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I Got Nothin'

For the last 2 nights I've done nothing on FP. I've been overwhelmed with the day job and last night I fell asleep on the couch around 9:30. Tonight, I just wanted to read someone else's work so I finished Tracy Wolff's book and started one by Emily McKay. I'll get back to FP, probably tomorrow night for a bit and then at the weekend I expect to get a lot accomplished. But I really needed the break.

The break has also been good because I started another 50/50 challenge with my students (at least 50 words a day for 50 days) and this has allowed me to create new material. I haven't actively written brand new material in almost a year. It feels wonderful!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Be My Music

Just a note. I've got this Celtic CD playing and this one particular song on it ("Be My Music") I love. Well, I LOVE this Scottish story for so many reasons and I've been working hard for the last few nights on it. My goal of getting it out there by 10/9 is gone. As usual, I've gone through the "Why do I bother? Why not just send it on the date I picked regardless?" stage. I'm not frustrated with it, I'm just "overwhelmed" in a way, but not the regular way I get overwhelmed. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm sitting here thinking I should go to bed and face this tomorrow night again with fresh eyes.

And then that song came on. It's a ballad and very pretty. And in my heart, I realize that I owe it to my characters, to my CPs who have worked so hard on helping me, and to myself to finish this story the right way. I can send nothing short of my best to the editor even if they don't buy it. And if I have to wait another week after my deadline before it's ready, then that's what I'll do.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I'm Tellin' You

Go ahead. Poke something in it! It will hurt less. I know this part of the revision process is necessary, but I still hate it. I'm so tired and so want to be done, but the light at the end of the tunnel is way out of my reach. I'm still perfecting chapter 1.

LATER: Not on chapter 1 anymore! It's coming...slowly but surely.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Once Again...

Must kill all my babies. Excuse me while I go sharpen the knives....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Letter From A Friend

My dearest Lexi,

I am not ready to come back to work. I'm having too much fun with my sisters and friends while on vacation. Now, don't worry, my wonderfully unpublished writer. You start working and perhaps tomorrow evening I'll be ready to rejoin you. BUT never fear, lass! You know I won't let you down and together we'll make beautiful stories!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Almost Time...

I'm reading tonight and last night. For research, of course. Both my CPs have sent back at least part of Fractured Paradise. I'm planning to start the 3rd and final round of revisions tomorrow! Yes, I mean it! I've got no time to waste now. My self-imposed deadline for e-mailing it to the editor is October 9th, my birthday. I've got 11 chapters and an epilogue to work on, not to mention a synopsis to totally rewrite since the last one no longer fits the story (and well, I deleted it in a fit of exasperation). Hopefully my muse, Caitlin, will be ready to join me on my Scottish short contemporary adventure!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In Memory

Kensington editor Kate Duffy died. I met her once a couple of years ago at RWA National. She was a pleasant person, a kind woman and from what I hear an amazing editor. I will say a prayer for her and her family tonight.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hump Day

Well, I'm not quite this lazy, but I feel like it at times! I've been reading the last few nights and watching season premieres. I've done a wee bit o' grading, but I've been trying to leave most of it at school. I was going to start work on Fractured Paradise's synopsis revisions yesterday, but I decided another day or two wouldn't hurt.

So tonight I have some work to do for the day job, the Criminal Minds season premiere and dinner with the 'rents. Maybe tomorrow I'll work on the synopsis. Or Friday. But definitely no later than Saturday. Oh wait. I'm going to a football game Saturday. Hhhmmm, maybe I'll force myself to get back to work on my writing tomorrow night. Yeah, that will work. Maybe...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Round Two Is Done!

Admit it. Wouldn't you want to read a Scottish short contemporary set in a glorious place like this? Yes, folks, that would be my Fractured Paradise and I JUST finished round 2 of my revisions. The manuscript is now in the e-mail "In" boxes of my critique partners and I'm officially on a writing break until Tuesday (when I start revising the synopsis).

What will I do with my time? Read, exercise (yes, I'm going back to the gym), school paperwork (because they apparently don't think we have enough) and read some more. I'm still on target to get the requested manuscript to the editor before the middle of Ocober. I'm aiming for somewhere between the 5th and the 9th, with the 9th being the latest. Right now it depends on my CPs and they both have work to do for their agents. I thought about sending it without their expertise, but what's another couple of days?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My New Addiction

During the revision process of my Scottish story, I've been forced to stop at convenience stores on the way home from work to buy a bottle of coke and peanut M & M's. I can't seem to get enough! I figured the coke might be to keep me awake long into the night, but I can't figure out the reason for the M & M fascination. BUT, I'm not worrying about it too much. I'm giving in because the revisions are working and I want to get the work done. To stop now might jinx my muse and Caitlin would not be happy. I'm a smart woman. Don't mess with success. Feed the muse!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Having Loads Of Fun!

No, I'm totally serious! I'm knee-deep in revisions and I'm so in love with these characters and their journey! My only regret is that I can't spend all day every day on it. (Dang day job!) But for 2 nights now I've stayed up until after midnight working. And stopping is always the hardest part. The revisions are coming along well, but I don't think I'll make my deadline of sending it to my awesome CPs come Saturday. Perhaps by Monday. For now, though, I'm enjoying what changes I'm making and how the story is progessing. But I'm thinking if I take the time to finish this round like I should and e-mail it on Monday, then maybe I'll have less to fix when they send it back to me.

Okay, I really need to go to bed. I'm not even sure I'm making sense anymore!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ready For Round 2

Today I played with revision ideas and WOW!!! I went through section by section in my head and jotted notes about what the heroine's conflict was and how I could relate it/show it in each of the key scenes. The hero is more well-defined so I'm not as concerned about him. I ended up going through the entire novel and recognizing the heroine's attitude at each key scene, how she gets there (emotionally) and how it propels her to the next scene. I'm SUPER excited to put it all together and make it work in the final draft! After so many years of focusing entirely on the suspense elements of my stories, I feel like I FINALLY understand the importance and delivery of internal conflict and the unfolding of the romance.

Oh, and my "high" has almost made believe I can write the 1600+ words a day required in November to finish a brand new suspense during NaNoWriMo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Out Of The Murky Waters

In finishing this round of revisions, I found my joy again. I love the story and all it can be. It took me over 200 pages, but I finally feel I have a firm grasp on the characters' conflicts. But I still have lots of work to do. I'm just not as overwhelmed as I have been over the last few days. There's a reason the full was requested off the partial. I have to remember that as I prepare the rest of the manuscript for editor eyes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Revisions Suck

Should I poke something in it? Guaranteed it will hurt less!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Later That Same Day...

She has to die, but it won't be a violent death. In my gut I feel it has to happen otherwise too much of my original idea changes, and I'm not willing to let that happen. I did get a spark of an idea to make the death work in relation to my other revisions, though. So I'm going to run with it. Deets later!


Trouble, trouble! I decided to keep all the deaths in my suspense stories. This has caused a major overhaul in certain chapters of my Scottish short contemporary and it's kinda freakin' me out. Why? Because I'm not really sure yet if it's the right decision to keep that character alive. Must study some more. Will let you know what happens.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Again???

The weeks are whizzing by! I've been hard at work on my Fractured Paradise revisions. They're coming along and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to send the revised edition to the editor BEFORE the middle of next month!

School is going well enough. We had Back-to-School Night last night. I got home close to 8. 3 weeks down. 35 to go!

Tonight I get together with a few friends after work for drinks and dessert. It's always a good time. Then I'll go home and work on the next couple of chapters of Fractured Paradise.

Other than revising, grading some papers (okay, A LOT of papers), and moving the last bit of stuff from my old place, I don't have many plans. What about you?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Well, I'll try to explain this simply. I sent a partial manuscript 2 years ago to an editor. I got the tracking number for it and assurances it would be read in due time. Then I never heard anything. So when I met with the editor at Nationals in July, we talked about that submission and the manuscript. The editor promised to look into where the communication breakdown happened. Today I got word that they had read the partial and had requested the full but never received it. I, of course, never got that request otherwise I would've sent it A LONG TIME AGO. The lesson here? Don't be afraid to check up on your submissions if too much time has passed. (I promised to have the revised full sent to her by the middle of October at the latest. Time to get back to work!)

I updated some pictures on my website and I added a snippet of a new story. Check it out!

I shopped for some things for the new home, including a DVD player, a 2nd phone for upstairs, and a few lamps. Can you guess what the first thing I watched was? The Bourne Identity!!!

Don't forget to enter my "I finished a manuscript and sent it off!" contest. Details are below.

Gotta go work on Fractured Paradise's revisions!

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Dance Away, Danger is D-O-N-E! I'm printing it out as I type, and unless there's a crisis at the post office tomorrow, my manuscript will be on its way to the requesting editor! Saturday will be spent celebrating, debriefing and gearing myself up to switch over to the revisions on my requested Scottish short contemporary.

Now, here's the important part. Danger is very near and dear to my heart. I've been working on this book on and off for at least FIFTEEN months. I've learned some very valuable writing lessons with this story and I know this is the best story I've written. (I tend to say that with every book, but it's always true! I learn and incorporate so much with each one.) So, to celebrate finishing and sending my story off (and FINALLY being able to move on), I'm running a contest! Leave me a comment on this post and you'll be in the running for some free books (remember, I just moved so I have TONS of books to get rid of!) and another little treat! Writers, share something about your last submission and how you felt through that experience. Readers, feel free to tell us about how you felt when you accomplished something really important to you. I'll take comments until midnight next Friday (September 11).

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy Friday!

I managed to get about 100 pages done last night and went to bed close to midnight. This morning my brain, my eyes and the rest of my body are a little slow to get moving, but I'm so excited to be so close to finished with Danger. I've got a little less than 60 pages left to revise after work today. Then it's on to review the synopsis (which shouldn't need much work, if any) and to write the cover letter (which I've been constructing in my head for 2 days).

In school, my kids are taking tests today. So it'll be quiet in the classroom and the grading of those tests shouldn't take long this weekend.

I've got no big plans for the weekend except have some fun. With Danger in the mail, I'll be celebrating a bit. I also want to move some more stuff around in the house. AND I want to spend a good chunk of time working on day job stuff that will make my year go more smoothly. Then, of course, I also have to start reviewing Fratured Paradise.

What about you? Big plans for the Labor Day weekend? We're expecting rain and cooler temps. Whatever you do, enjoy and be safe!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rollin' Along

See the progress meter? It's been moving and I've been kicking butt on the final revisions of Danger. I expect to get a HUGE (that's H-U-G-E) chunk done tonight! Come hell or high water, this puppy's going in the mail Saturday! I'll check in later and let you know how it's going.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Waz Up?

Not much to share. I started reading through Danger today, but my parents came by to help "fix up" the house and then use the Internet. I wanted to work more, but how could I say get off my computer when they've been moving my stuff and doing so much for me? So I did what I could and sucked it up. Tomorrow they leave for another vacation so I'll be able to concentrate on my revisions. (I have to take them to the airport at 6 AM!!!) Anyway, check the progress meter Wednesday night. I'm really hoping to have a lot accomplished by the time I go to bed!

Oh, and today marked the 7th day of school. I already made a 6th grader cry. (To be fair, she was having a bad day and I was just the straw that broke the camel's back.) So, who's life are you ruining lately?

Monday, August 31, 2009


Whoohoo! Another round D-O-N-E!!! Now my plan is to start tomorrow and read through the entire thing ONE more time to make sure my t's are crossed and my i's are dotted. I've got a list of things to follow through the novel and make sure everything unfolds the way it should. I expect to be finished with this by Friday night and I'm mailing it on Saturday!!! (I did tell the editor I'd mail it to her around the end of summer.) I'm so psyched!

But no rest for the wicked. Over Labor Day weekend I need to buckle down and outline my revisions for my Scottish contemporary so I can send that off to the editor that requested it. More on this next weekend.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life In Connor World

I haven't done any writing since I finished the synopsis and partial. I took Thursday off to move more stuff from my old place to the new. Then yesterday, after a week of actually working at the day job and various trips moving, I truly was too tired to think. So I watched the Patriots last night and a few hours of Criminal Minds. And I fell asleep on the couch!

Today will be a busy day. I've already cleaned up my living room/dining area. Now I'm off to work for a couple of hours in the old place packing and cleaning. Then I'm going to run a bunch of errands. Then I'm going to work on revisions for Chapters 4 & 5. Tonight my parents will arrive with the van (driving from RI) and more of my furniture!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Danger's Gone!

Yes, it's true! I FINALLY finished the synopsis and I have e-mailed the agent the requested material! Whoohoo! Now it'll be onto the rest of the book. I'm actually thinking I could probably finish it by the first weekend in September. I'll post an actual deadline probably over this weekend. For now, at 12:48 AM, I must go to bed. That alarm starts screeching at me in about 5 hours.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And I Couldn't

Bad Lexi! I fell asleep on the couch last night. I'm cruising the internet and sending e-mails now. (Read this as PROCRASTINATING.) I absolutely plan to finish a halfway decent synopsis draft tonight before I go to bed no matter what time it is. I intend to be finished with this request tomorrow so I can get back to revising the rest of the book!

UPDATE: 8:05. I'm working! And it's SOOOOO much easier than I thought it would be. After all, who knows my story better? AND writing this synopsis is giving me MORE ideas where I can tighten the story!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Danger Ahead!

The manuscript revisions are coming along so well!

It's that crappy synopsis that's throwing me for a loop. I had an awesome synopsis, but the story changed. I'm thinking to just scrap the whole thing and rewrite the synopsis with the revisions in mind.

Or maybe I'll just go to bed early since the 1st day of school was draining!

Okay, no. Can't do that. Must work for another hour or so. MUST MAKE PROGRESS! My 1st of 3 deadlines is just around the corner and I don't want to miss it!

I think I can, I think I can....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Technology And Such

Spent part of the morning working on Danger and finished revising the partial. Whoohoo!

Spent another part of the morning fiddling with my internet service and getting the computer frozen. No whoohoo.

Spent 5 1/2 hours at school gearing up for the first day tomorrow. Whoohoo!

Spent part of that time (about an hour) organizing lesson plans for the 1st 2 weeks and LOVED what I had. Whoohoo!

Spent the last fifteen minutes before I left school swearing at the computer when I lost all the lesson plan work I'd done. This better not be an omen of what my year is going to be like!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Heehee...I'm In!

All hooked up, tons of food and awesome neighbors! I've been busy moving today and now I'm setting up my office. Of course, that's the most important room! My new home is 2 floors and two balconies. I've got plenty of sunshine peeking through and a very competent air conditioner. I'm in limbo right now because the stuff that's still at my old place needs a place to be. BUT my mom & stepdad are driving from RI next week with furniture that used to be in my grandparents' house. (I'm the type of person that would rather have an eclectic mix of furniture with stories for each piece than a fancy matching set that just came from the store. Hhhmmm, maybe this is why I love reading historical romances????) I switched to Internet through my cable company and I can't get over how much more competent this digital stuff is compared to my old dial-up. I'm having so much fun! But now I'm off to find homes for some of my knickknacks and then I'm going back to my Danger revisions. I've made a good chunk of progress today while I waited for the cable guy. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stay Tuned...

The next post I give you will be from my new home! In the morning, I'll be moving and unpacking with the aid of my brother and his family. Then I'll be doing a big grocery shopping for my new digs. Then the cable, internet and phone will be hooked up tomorrow afternoon. While I wait for the installer (who's coming between 1 & 5), I'll be working on revisions. (Well, probably some unpacking too.) I'll post when I can! Oh, and then Sunday I'm hoping to start posting some of my vacation pictures from my work computer (since my home computer chews up the CD and refuses to spit it out in a timely manner!). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Still A Student Myself

See what I learned in teacher school today! Click here!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Just Like Jill

For those of you familiar with Jill Shalvis, you'll appreciate this. For those of you who aren't familiar with her, well why not? Jill is one of my favorite authors who happens to have "I Love Lucy" moments WAY more than any human being has a right to, and she often shares those with us via her blog. Today, on the first day of staff development for the new school year, I took a page out of her book.

I decided to wear a skirt, to pretend to be a professional for at least the first few hours of my school year. We had meetings and meals and good times catching up with each other. Some of us also had to move school supplies out to our portable classrooms.

I wanted to take everything I could so I wouldn't need to make another trip, so I packed up the dolley (sp?) and proceeded to maneuver it around the halls of the main building. I got to the door that led to the parking lot and yanked my load through. My left foot decided to fall off the ramp. I fell backward, banged my head, my butt and my elbow. My skirt? FLEW UP. And guess who was behind me? Our new custodian. A nice guy who jumped to my aid, asked if I was okay and offered to pull me to my feet. Since I've gained a chunk of weight (that another coworker pointed out), I didn't want to hurt him so I just took his help getting to a sitting position. While my cheeks heated and I fiddled with my skirt, our nice custodian repacked the dolley for me with all my boxes and bags. He was nice enough not to look at me as I struggled back to my own feet. He did ask again if I was okay and he waited until I walked away with my load.

Tomorrow I think I'll wear jeans.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Well, I managed to get my CD out of the computer and I didn't break a thing! Still no chance to post my vacation pictures. Maybe next week? I'll keep you updated.

I started working on my stuff for school and it turned out I had done a lot more than I'd thought. So, I don't have to stress as much today. I'm going to spend a couple hours working to get myself back in the school mood. Then I'll also take some boxes over (and maybe get some help from a friend emptying my storage unit) and I'm actually going to work on my Danger revisions! There's no time like the present to get started. CP Cat and I have talked about what needs to be done and how far my story has come since the 1st draft. I now feel ready to tackle the final round of revisions so I can send this requested puppy out the door!

What're you up to today?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

And Today...

I can't even get the CD out of the computer. I need to walk away before I break something.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I can't get my photo CD to work on my desktop computer. I'm going to try later to use the laptop and start posting pictures from my trip. If I don't start posting pics today, you'll know why.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stay Tuned...

Since I'll be busy with my move, getting ready for school and finishing up my last round of revisions on Danger, I thought it would be a good time to start sharing my vacation pictures. I'll post a few every couple of days (beginning tomorrow) starting with the first leg of my journey in Berlin. Now, where did I put that photo CD?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And STILL More...

Three more trips from the storage unit to the house today and two more big boxes of "books to keep." Then I decided to pack the books in my current place to move them because there really can't be many, right? Um, yeah, suuuuuure. And you know what's worse? There are a lot more books I want to keep than books to give away. I've got a bigger place now. I should be able to find space for all of them. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

It's HOT here in Austin! It's averaging around 100 degrees with very little rain in sight. And guess what I get to do? Move! I bought a place and now I get the fun times of unloading my storage unit and setting up house and home. I've already done 3 carloads of boxes and met one of my neighbors (who seems very nice). I decided to take a lunch break and then I'll tackle actually unpacking some stuff.

OH! Speaking of unpacking, guess what I've found in my storage unit? 2 boxes of books I knew about and...THREE more I'd forgotten! All the boxes say "Books to Keep" on them, but you know what? I can't keep all those! I have tons where I am never mind all the boxed ones. So I'm going through them and making a pile for donating. I'm only keeping the ones I really, really want to keep. (Like the ones I still think about, those I'd like to reread and those signed by the author for me.)

Needless to say, I'm not writing or revising right now. I am reading, though, to keep Caitlin happy until I get back to revisions. I've got my Austin RWA meeting tonight and our guest speaker is Christie Craig.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Morning After...

Ten pounds overweight on my luggage.

Brain hurts.

Eyes tired.

No computer work for me today.

Be back tomorrow. Must go pack a second carry-on.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Whoohoo! Celebrate with me! I finished Danger only minutes ago.

Next up, flying home tomorrow and switching to my Scottish village and revising Fractured Paradise for a short while until Danger comes back from the CPs. I will NOT start work on a new suspense. I won't. I promise.

Friday, August 07, 2009

So Close Now....

As of right this second, I've got 42 pages left to revise! I surpassed my goal for the day and if I'm lucky, I'll get through a significant chunk between now and when I go to bed! Working like a dog today so I can party tomorrow, my last full day in RI. I'll check in later!

Pluggin' Along

Okay, I've got 2 days left for Danger revisions now. I've been making progress and I LOVE what's appearing on the pages, but today I have to buckle down and get through around 60 pages. I know, that's a lot, but I'm hoping it will start to go easier this afternoon since I'll be heading into the last 1/3 of the book, which should be closer to "ready." No time to procrastinate! I'm even logging off the Internet so I can totally concentrate. And right now no one else is in the house. I've learned over this trip what it's like for those of you who have families. I'll be at the kitchen table typing away with my earphones in and family members will start conversations with me and ruin my concentration. Sheesh, how do you people get any work done with other people in the house???

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Kill All Your Babies

I see now how important it is to kill all my babies. I've got scenes, sentences and phrases that I LOVE in this book, but with my revised heroine & hero motivations, my original words of wisdom no longer fit. So, chop, chop! In the end, I'm realizing what I've cut wasn't that masterful and the new product is a thousand times better for my story. And no, I'm not keeping the snippets because they're specific to these characters and they don't work anywhere else in the manuscript. Back to it!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Workin' It Wednesday

Well, I didn't make it through both Chapters 3 & 4, but Caitlin and I strutted our way through those 2 difficult scenes in 3! I got all the way through Chapter 3. I don't know how much work 4 will need, but I'm planning to push myself to get through 4 & 5 tomorrow. Now I'm off to get my beauty rest!

Banging My Head Against The Wall But It Feels So Good!

I've been working since about 10 this morning and I'm still on the same 4 pages. Yes, you read that right: F-O-U-R pages. I've cut, added, rearranged and changed the same two scenes ALL DAY. But I am making progress. I shifted points of view and opened one scene up to a whole new interpretation that will work to strengthen my hero's character arc. I may not get all the pages done today that I wanted, but I will work through these two scenes until Caitlin and I are satisfied!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Day 2

I got through about 12 pages, but this was great because I hadn't planned on getting anything done today! I ran errands and then spent the afternoon and early evening with an old college friend. So I figured any pages I worked through today would a plus!

I did want to share this tidbit of info. I was rereading a scene I'd originally thought was really suspenseful and important. Tonight I decided to cut it down to the bare bones and only use what was absolutely necessary to move the story forward. What made me decide to do this? As I read the scene, I kept getting up to do stuff in the kitchen. If I'm bored, there's no hope for my readers!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Day 1

Okay, I admit I'm a little sad NOBODY stopped by and gave me encouragement or a rundown of their weekend. But I'll forgive you all because Caitlin and I managed to get a HUGE chunk done and I'm so very pleased with it!

Monday Memo

Good Day, people! My weekend of celebration was wonderful. I visited my best friend and partied for her birthday. Yesterday I raced to finish Carla Cassidy's Heiress Recon and L-O-V-E-D it! Great book! Great time and I've decided Carla Cassidy must be an auto-buy for me from now on! Her talent reinforces why I want to write for Harlequin Intrigue. And on that note, I'm starting my next round of revisions for Dance Away, Danger. I'm expecting to read through it this week, make sure it flows and all my latest updates make sense. I need to check my characters' motivations and make sure my hero and heroine are sufficiently motivated to fall in love. I intend to send this puppy to my CPs at the weekend, so let me get busy. I'll keep you updated! In the meantime, feel free to leave words of encouragement or share stories from your weekend activities.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Party Time!

Whoohoo! Another round of revisions on Danger are D-O-N-E! I'm going to relax the rest of today (well, and celebrate being so close to finished!) and then tackle one more peek at the entire thing starting tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Book That Didn't Work For Me

I finished a suspense story last night and I didn't like it. But I kept reading it because I wanted to figure out why I didn't like it. I'm not going to announce the author or the book, BUT let me be clear it was NOT the BJ Daniels book on the side. (I've read a couple books since Big Sky Dynasty. I just haven't been able to change the picture on the sidebar of the blog. So the following information DOES NOT have to do with BJ Daniels' book. I actually liked that one!)

In analyzing this suspense that I didn't like, the author's word choices felt way over-the-top. Every sentence felt like it was over-exposed with description. Events, some even minor, had elaborate, dire need type descriptions. And cliches. All of these things left me feeling...immune? When it came time for a "dire-need" scene, I didn't feel the "dire-need" danger of it.

The romance. Why were these people together? Why were they soulmates? What kept them apart from each other emotionally? I could identify the reasons, but I couldn't buy into the romance. The romance wasn't well motivated. Frankly, the characters got on my nerves with their unmotivated attraction. (And some of the attraction scenes left me feeling skeevy, like I needed to take a shower! On more than one occasion I found myself saying, "Eeewww!")

The last thing that got to me was that I didn't feel part of the action or the story. I like stories where I feel I'm actually in the street with the people or listening to them argue or running with them as they escape certain death. I miss that deep POV.

The point of bringing all this up is simple. Analyzing why a story works for you or doesn't work for you can make you a better writer. For me, this book shows me what I have to be sure to do in my own writing. All in all, it was worth spending the hours I spent reading the book. Research. Lessons. What not to do. As I read, I thought of Danger and asked myself if I'd motivated my characters well enough for the reader to buy into the romance and to cheer the characters on toward justice and their Happily-Ever-After.

Speaking of Danger, I'm going back to my revisions.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Workin'!

Got the house to myself.

Got The Bourne Identity soundtrack in the CD player.

Got Danger on the laptop.

Got some good mojo from Caitlin!

Woohoo! I'm running with it while I can!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Not a slacker anymore. In truth, I think I was feeling guilty since I still have 2 weeks before I go back to TX and there's absolutely no reason I shouldn't be done in that time. My original goal (after my pitches) was to finish Danger revisions and send it off to the CPs again by the time I left for home. So I opened the document today and just started reading, fixing a few things here and there. Then I reorganized my revisions plan and jumped in with both feet! I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Still a slacker....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Swift Kick Needed

Conference ended Saturday. I checked out of the hotel Sunday. I stayed with an old friend until Wednesday and I've done...NOTHING! I keep claiming I'm relaxing because I'm SOOOOOO exhausted. But am I just procrastinating? Tomorrow I'll get to work. No, I mean it. I promise.

Monday, July 20, 2009

End Of Conference

Another RWA National Conference has ended it and was good. I'm exhausted. I've got too many books. I had to add another carry-on for all the goodies I got at the CIA, FBI, Postal Inspectors, and the RWA Goody Room. I ended up with a wonderful editor appointment and a request for Fractured Paradise, along with some ideas to tighten up the conflict. I'm sad the people I wanted to win in the Golden Heart and Rita Contests didn't win. I got to spend some time with some wonderful people and I'm so thankful!

Now I'm visiting an old friend for a few days and we'll be relaxing. (Yess!) I'm giving myself today to return to the land of the living (since I've been so tired and on the run) and then tomorrow I'll continue working on my revisions. When I get to RI and get my film developed, I'll share pictures with you. (Did I already say that????)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here I Am!

Hi, hi!  We had an Internet snafu so I haven't been able to get on much.  But I'll give you the short version of what I've been up to.  Tuesday's tours to the State Department and the US Postal Inspector's were great!  I got lots of information from the State Department about embassies and consulates and what their jobs are.  Then the postal inspectors were absolutely wonderful.  They had snacks for us, goody bags, name tags that said "Welcome to Mystery Writers' Day" and they were so forthcoming with what they do.  

Wednesday we went to the CIA.  It, of course, was AWESOME!  Although, I didn't see David Webb AKA Jason Bourne.  We had a briefing with a couple of female analysts who told us how the organization is structured and what the departments do.  Then we had a tour of the museum.  Then we had lunch where we had CIA officers sitting at each table answering questions.  It was all very eye-opening!  Then I spent way too much money at the gift shop.  

That night, I met my dear friend Cat who is rooming with me here in DC.  We've been online friends for a couple years and this is the first time we've met in person.  

I also had the booksigning, where I was well behaved and didn't spend too much money.  Then I ran to the Celtic Hearts Annual General Meeting, which was more like a party.  Not too many people came, but it was fun with the ones who did.  I got to meet Eliza Knight, who is the President (I'm VP) and more people I've been chatting with for a while!  Eliza's awesome, BTW!

Yesterday was Linda Howard's side-splitting and inspirational speech during lunch.  She talked about her dysfunctional family and how if she can keep writing with all the nuts around her, then we should be able to do it too.

Today I had my first pitch.  This one was with an agent and it went very well.  I got a request for Danger.  (Gee, guess I really better get my butt in gear after Nationals and get to work!)

I'm off in a few minutes to some more workshops and booksignings.  More later.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Shot A Glock!

Our Kiss of Death tour to the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA was AWESOME!!! The people there were great. They gave us fantastic information and answered all our questions. (Well, all the ones they could without giving away classified intel.) And did you know that the FBI Academy shares space in Quantico with the Marines? The property actually belongs to the Marines. The FBI and the DEA just use some of the property.

We went to the shooting range and had a chance to shoot three different weapons- a Glock, a shotgun and I'm sorry I can't remember the last one! I only shot the Glock because, quite honestly, it was all a bit unnerving for me. Until today I'd only held a gun when a friend was giving me a lesson on guns and gun safety. Listening to the shots being fired had me flinching at first, but then it wasn't so unnerving. I won't say I got used to it because I didn't- not in one morning session. I admit the feeling (of power?) was addictive and today's experience has made me interested in learning more and checking out the local firing range for more lessons. It also gave me a deeper respect for the men and women in law enforcement and the military and all they do for us on a daily basis. They carry guns so that people like me don't have to.

Another cool aspect of being a shooting virgin today was that I feel like I have a new understanding of my heroine in Dance Away, Danger. I feel closer to her and her experiences or at least to her feelings during her experiences. I can't wait to toss that into my revisions!

We also got to go to the training place to watch a simulation of the agents arresting someone. Someone commented it was like being on a movie set, watching the actors and waiting for someone to yell "Action!" I kept waiting to see my favorite FBI agents Don Eppes, Colby Grainger and David Sinclair, but none of them showed up! (They must've been listening to Charlie, Amita and Larry explain some math somewhere.)

Then we had a working lunch where we heard a man who was Saddam Hussein's interrogator for 8 months. He was inspirational to hear and the stories of his time with Hussein were moving. In the afternoon we heard from a couple more agents who spoke of espionage and undercover operations. The last part of the day was a short tour around more of the facility (including the Hall of Honor dedicated to agents who lost their lives in the line of duty) and then a trip to the gift shop. Of course I bought a T-shirt, but I'm guessing I shouldn't wear that to the CIA tour on Wednesday!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back Home To The USA

I'm in Washington DC for RWA Nationals now! Got here today and (Yippee!) I can get online. Travel back to the States, as usual, was eventful. Yesterday I had the metro close down on my way back to the hotel from Heathrow Airport. So instead of taking me 30 minutes to get back, it took me 3 1/2 hours because the city had "planned ahead and organized bus service" for us between metro stops. Oh yeah, and my suitcase fell apart on the way too. Today on my flight across the pond, we had such bad turbulance at one point that I spilled half of my warm tea on my hand and the tray table. The people around me were tossing me napkins. LOVELY!

But I'm here now and gearing up to go from tourist mode to writer mode. I'm jet-lagged now (since it's 12:30 AM in England now), but I'll be hitting the sack soon enough. My first Kiss of Death tour leaves the hotel at 6 tomorrow morning. This one's to the FBI! I can't wait!

Since I'm able to get online during Conference, I'll share details of this week's happenings with you via blog posts. Once I get to the next leg of my summer journey, I'll start sharing pictures and details of my European vacation.

Hope you're doing well! Drop me a message and let me know what's new with you since I've been away. And if you're coming to Nationals, make sure to look for me!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Still In England

Hiya! I'm still in Northern England and will be for another couple of days. I'm having loads of fun with the relatives and seeing some sites as well. The weather has started this week to be more like what we expect of England- cloudy, drizzly and a bit cool. Tomorrow I'm heading up to Edinburgh for the day with some friends. Should be fun! Saturday we head back to London and Sunday I fly straight to DC for RWA Nationals! Busy, busy! I'm not still reading the same book. I just can't change it. I'm on my 4th book on the trip. This one is Dianne Emley's The First Cut. I've been slacking on my writing lately, but I've been focusing more on getting ready for Nationals, where I will meet with an agent and an editor. Well, I'm off to guessed it, a pint! Talk to you later!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

North of England

Hi there! I had an AWESOME time in and around London and can't wait to share the details with you later. I went to Hampton Court Palace, the London Eye, Shakespeare's Globe, the British Museum, and along the Thames on a river cruise.

Now I'm in Northern England visiting the relatives. I'm here for 2 weeks and we rented a flat by the water. The weather's cooler, but still great. I'm eating too much, drinking too much and having a great time all around! I'll share more details when I can. Oh and the writing is coming along too! While I'm away, remember to stay out of trouble...or at least remember enough details to share with me later!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hi From London!

Week in Berlin was FABULOUS! Lots of food, lots of walking, lots of drinks! It was hard to leave the cousin and her husband that live there, but it was wonderful to be with them.

Reading and writing is going well too!

Arrived in London yesterday and checked my e-mails. First time I've been able to get online. Weather is wonderful, visiting family is great and tomorrow I'll be visiting some of London's great places.

Gotta go! Only a bit more time on the internet on my £1! Hope you're doing well without me. Catch you when I can!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Dream Comes True...No, Not THAT One Yet

When I began graduate school in 1998, my goals were to work with people (kids or adults or both) learning English for my day job and to spend my summers in Europe working on my books. In the past when I've gone to the UK, I've taken notebooks to write if and when the ideas came at me, but I was first and foremost a tourist.

This time, I feel like my dream is coming true. Despite the fact that I'm not yet getting paid to write books, I still consider myself a professional and I treat my writing as my 2nd job. As I've been preparing for this trip, I've realized I'm getting a chance to do just what I wanted when I started "teacher training." No, it may not be EXACTLY as I'd planned eleven years ago, but this summer I am living my dream! I have this laptop and I have two manuscripts to revise. I've thought about sitting in a cafe, a pub, or the flat and working, and the idea of doing that makes me giddy. Of course I won't work every single day, but the idea that I can take a day off from playing tourist and pretend to be a local with a job is something that makes my heart sing. And that, boys and girls, is the greatest gift I could ever receive!

Take care while I'm gone. Remember to check on me every once in a while because I'll post when I can. Those of you going to Nationals, look for me in DC!

Friday, June 12, 2009

And So It Goes...

Still packin'. Finishing up laundry. Found my passport. Running a thousand errands today (including getting the plugs to use the laptop in Europe) because I'm the world's WORST procrastinator! Oh yeah, and I only slept for 1 hour last night. I was too excited! I'll check in with you later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I've Started Packing

Has anyone seen my passport?????

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hurray For Friends!!!

I am SOOOOO lucky! Thank you to those of you who left comments here and to those who e-mailed me. I had a lot of good suggestions for my digital age dilemma.

In the end, I have a good friend (Hi, Monika!) who happens to have an extra laptop so she's loaning that to me for 2 months. I'll buy the converter so I can plug it in across the pond, but that's all I'll have to shell out. That's good since I'm not comfortable buying something without adequate time to research. This way too I can see if I like it and if a laptop is something I want to invest in. So thanks to Monika I won't lose my momentum on my revisions and I won't have to retype pages and pages of handwritten material. Oooh, I can already see this is going to be AWESOME!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Can I Pick Your Brain?

Methinks me need a laptop or, at the very least, some contraption that will allow me to work on my manuscripts during my 8 week vacation (a month in Europe visiting relatives, a month in the States visiting relatives). I spent some quality time with Google trying to find a place in Sunderland, England where I could work on a computer. While I'd love to have internet access on my European leg of the trip, I can live without it. But as I've worked on Danger today, I've realized that too much needs to be changed and I won't be able to do it all in 3 days and I REALLY don't want to wait until July to get back to it. Of course, I'd have to buy something in the next 3 days and jumping into a big purchase on a whim has never been "my thing." And then there's the Scottish contemporary, Fractured Paradise. I have to work on revisions for that too for when (see? when, not if) the editor requests that GLORIOUS story! Of course, I could always chuck them both for a month and work on a completely new story! What do you think? Guide me, people!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Getting Back On The Right Path

I've been working the last couple of days feverishly trying to get my Danger revisions done before my vacation. Yesterday I got a lot accomplished, although it may not seem like it with the updated word count. But then today, with the bright eyes of a fresh morning, I started cutting left and right again. A few of my new precious scenes, while wonderful in their own right, just don't fit my story. I had momentarily slipped back into author intrusion last night because it was easier than solving my writing dilemma and that NEVER works. So, tonight I'm revising chapters 7 & 8. Hopefully I'll make them both fit the characters and do the story justice.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Hi, Hi!

Just checking in with you! Nothing much to report here. I've been in staff development for the last 2 days, celebrating the end of school with meals out and a few margaritas. I FINALLY finished reading Lisa Scottoline's Daddy's Girl. Loved it, but I took way too long reading it. Tomorrow I'm going to a family reunion...for my brother's wife & in-laws. He and I are going to sit in the back of the patio, sipping our drinks and watching the family drama take place. (Hhhmmm, maybe I'll get some good stories!) I'm running out of time for my Danger revisions. One week to go before I send it to my CPs! Chapter 7 started giving me as much trouble as chapter 3 was a few weeks ago. So I skipped it and started working on chapter 8 earlier this week. I'm making slow progress with 7 now and hopefully this weekend (well, Sunday, really) I'll be able to work through a rough idea of 7 AND finish 8. I figure if I'm still not happy with chapter 7 it's not a big deal. I know my CPs will be able to brainstorm me through the rough patch!

What's on tap for your weekend?

A LITTLE LATER: Chapter 7's working!!! I LOVE this story...again.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

In The Words Of Alice Cooper

As of 12:30 today,

Whoo-hoo! My fellow teachers and I will be celebrating with a luncheon happy hour of our own!

Monday, June 01, 2009

I'm A Winner!!!

So during the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, I managed to bid on several things until they got out of my price range. BUT there were two items that I won!

First is a lunch at RWA Nationals with suspense author Dianne Emley! I admit I haven't read her books yet, but before I bid on the lunch I checked out her website. She seems to be a really neat person and her excerpts are fantastic!

The second item I won is extra special to me. I'm getting an autographed ARC from my idol,

This man single-handedly set me on a course to become a writer. He is responsible for my love of suspense and justice. As a 7th grader, I wrote my first 100+ page story, which turned out to be A-Team fan fiction. The years that followed had me writing fan fiction for many of his other shows (Hardcastle & McCormick, Wiseguy, Riptide, 21 Jumpstreet, Hunter, Silk Stalkings, just to name a few). These shows sparked creative stories of my own, with characters I always hoped would be worthy of Mr. Cannell. To a sick child who couldn't always do what the other kids did, his TV shows offered me a world to which I could belong, a world I could help create. I still get giddy talking about his influence on my life. And now, to be getting this autographed ARC, I'm twelve again, star-struck and emotional. So thank you to Brenda Novak for having this auction, letting me help the community with my donation, and for connecting one girl to her idol even in a small way!