Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Shot Of Confidence

So I've been a reading fool these last 3 days, finishing 2 books. Today I decided to look back at Broken Promises' 1st chapter because my ARWA goal for the next meeting was to finish a chapter of something. (After that I do plan to start on FP's revisions.) So I'm sitting here rereading the 1st chapter and....damn, it's good. Out of my mouth comes, "Did I actually write this?" Huh. Guess I'd forgotten how good I can be when the muse is with me, all my ducks are lined up and I'm focused. I'm tickled!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The weather today in Austin is near perfect. It's sunny, in the 60s, and with a blue sky. The wind could be a little less...vicious, but it's not nearly bad enough to really complain. I'm still reading Elisabeth Naughton's book, hoping to finish this weekend. I've got an appointment with the phone company this afternoon (you know, one of those "they'll be there between 1 & 5" deals) and absolutely no other urgent plans. I'm actually going to sit on the couch and read! I think I'll also do some cleaning and grading and then later this afternoon I'm going to WRITE!!!!! Oh yeah, and order new business cards for nationals. Stupid me threw away my short contemporary ones when I thought I was only going to write suspense. That'll teach me to think twice before I act!

Whatever you do today, have a great one!

UPDATE 5:30: @!%#@@! Phone company never showed or called! That's all right. I cleaned most of the house and I'm down to 65 pages left in Elisabeth's book!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Week Down

Less than 10 weeks until the school year is over for us. Woohoo! Although, I'll be crying my eyes out at the graduation since I've known one of our 7th graders since she was in Kindergarten and a couple others I've known since 2nd grade. All 3 of those kids were in my class the last year I taught 2nd grade.

I'd forgotten how easy it would be to waste four hours on the internet. I've been updating my website, working on some of my VP duties for Celtic Hearts and critiquing for a new critique partner who writes suspense and thrillers. Still I'm happy with what I've accomplished and I'm looking forward to spending some of this weekend actually working on Fractured Paradise. I still have some grading and other school stuff to work on too, but I should be able to work on what I love as well. YAY!

I think between my CP getting the Golden Heart call, me getting the Picture This e-mail and getting feedback on 2 stories, I'm getting ready to start working as a writer again. It's been a while, but it's time to get back into it. After all, I'll never get published if I don't write something good enough to publish, will I?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Golden Heart & RITA Day!!!!

Good luck to everyone who entered the RWA National Golden Heart and RITA contests! I'll be watching to see who the finalists are! Try not to stare at the phone.....

AND AT THE END OF THE DAY....Woohoo! Three cheers for my AWESOME CP, Jenna Stuart, who finaled in the RWA Golden Heart with her manuscript Highland Honor! This is your year, Jenna! I'm so psyched for you and proud of you!

Kudos go out to other people I know or read and love:

Jill Shalvis got a RITA nomination for her romance novella "All He Wants for Christmas."
Julia London, an Austin RWA member, got a RITA nomination for her romance novella "A Snowy Night With a Highlander."
Sherry Thomas, an Austin RWA member, got TWO RITA nominations- Best First Book and Historical for Private Arrangements.
Katie Graykowski, an Austin RWA member, finaled in the GH Contemporary Single Title category with Summer in Austin.

I'd also like to send a shout out to Elizabeth Devlin who finaled in the GH Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category with her manuscript, Home Waters! I judged this one and LOVED it! This was the first time one of the ones I judged actually made the finals.

CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL. I can't wait to cheer you on in DC!! (Okay, especially Jenna! Hey, I can't help it! I'm biased!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

I SOOOOOO Needed This!

Happy dance with me! I got word through the night that my Scottish short contemporary (from a couple of years ago) Fractured Paradise made the cut for the first round of the Picture This Contest! It's a contest of a specific scene anywhere in the book that you think is most compelling. I've been toying with the idea of entering this particular scene in this contest for a couple of years and decided to do it this year! I haven't been really writing or focused on anything since December and this is just what I needed!

So now the finalists from this 1st round go through a 2nd round and then those that final in the 2nd round will go to a Harlequin editor.

So guess where my focus will be now that I'm starting to write a bit more?

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I just finished reading Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis and WOW! She never lets me down, that's for sure. This is a GREAT story! More than that, it's helped me figure out my writing focus. I'm in the mood to work on a contemporary, so Fractured Paradise will be getting a reread and then I'm going to dive into its revisions! Thanks, Jill! Oh, and blog readers, seriously, you need to pick up Jill's book!

AND BRILLIANT critique partner, Jenna Stuart, FINALLY put up a website! She writes awesome historicals and I'm sure she'll be selling soon. Check out her site and let her know what you think!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Whisper of Warning

A Review by Lexi Connor

When Courtney Glass reluctantly meets her ex-boyfriend, she doesn’t count on watching him get murdered. Neither does she count on all the evidence pointing to her as the killer. But feisty Courtney refuses to give up her freedom without a fight. She struggles to prove her innocence while dodging a killer who wants her silenced forever.

Her only ally is an unlikely one. Will Hodges, a new detective in the homicide division, knows Courtney isn’t completely honest with him, but his gut tells him she’s innocent. Or maybe that’s another part of him talking because he can’t seem to get Courtney out of his mind. He knows he shouldn’t act on their mutual attraction, but Courtney Glass is a hard woman to resist. Soon Will is taking chances with Courtney that could possibly end his career before it even has a chance to get off the ground.

I loved everything about this book. Courtney is such a wonderfully complicated character, a true underdog heroine you’ll love from page one. Trouble finds her wherever she goes, but she never gives up. She makes mistakes and decisions that can drive you insane, but in the end, you’re still anxiously waiting to see her turn her life around. And Will is the absolute perfect man for the troubled heroine. He’s everything she needs and everything this reader adores in a hero. If you’ve liked Laura Griffin’s previous works, don’t miss this latest book. The suspense and romance will grab your heart right from the beginning and not let go until the last word on the last page. Whisper of Warning absolutely gets a spot on my “favorites” shelf!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Overwhelmed But Excited

I've decided to keep working on both my Scottish contemporaries and my suspenses. When I think about writing and working on a story, I'm still having trouble choosing one to work on. I've got some contests I want to enter in the next few weeks, so that will direct some of my work. But today I'm hoping to sit down, write down what stories I've got, what work needs to be done on each and to come up with a plan so that I can get back into writing. This has been a challenge for a while now and this isn't so overwhelming. I mean, how awesome to have SO MANY stories to choose from!

The challenge now is to find a way to revise my website to reflect both the contemps and the suspenses. My line "Suspense to leave you breathless, romance to soothe your soul" on my website doesn't really fit for both. Also, the look and feel of the website is geared toward suspense. I need to revise it and especially before Nationals if I plan to pitch and pass out business cards. (Which all comes back to what will I be ready to pitch, what will I work on, etc.) Anyway, it all feels overwhelming right now, but I want to get started. Nationals is only a few months away. And I've been in limbo/mourning for long enough. I need to get my butt in gear and get back to work!

So, any words of wisdom for me on anything? The 2 types of stories? The website? Keeping myself sane?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I hope you all have a great day today and stay safe! Me? I'm taking a cab to a party that starts at 11 and goes all day. I plan to eat, drink, be merry, make new friends and do some people-watching! Just below, I thought to share some of my favorite pictures from Ireland again with you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

Hello, gang! I'm back from England. The trip was good despite the cause and I didn't want to leave, but here I am. I'm on spring break this week and already have a TON of things to do. I fell off the writing wagon on the day of the funeral and haven't written anything since. I've been reading at least, so that's something. I'm really hoping to get the fire back sometime this week.

As for the rest of my England trip: The weather was good, just a bit too windy on some days. I LOVED being with the extended family and eating all those full English breakfasts. Our hotel was right on the seafront in a part of Sunderland called Roker. Literally, you could look out the window, see the main road and across the way was this lighthouse and the North Sea. Very beautiful, don't you think? (And we actually saw a rainbow here!)

I managed to get to Edinburgh for a day on my own and that was quite relaxing. I traipsed up and down Prince's Street and the Royal Mile. I shopped a bit, had tea and scones, haggis and pints.

The funeral ended up being on....Friday, the 13th. I did well with my reading (that my mom had asked me to do one of the other times we thought he was going to die)...after a whisky. Then I had a few more drinks after the funeral with the family. Saturday night we had a party for all the family to get together for a happy occasion. I stayed up since the last people didn't leave until after 1 and my taxi was picking me up at 3:30 yesterday morning so I could make my 6 A.M. flight. But, I'll be back there in June and that'll definitely be a happy visit.

Oh yeah, and I thought my plane was going to crash in Austin when we BOUNCED on the tarmac coming in. I'd slept on the short flight from Houston and burst out with a few choice "metaphors" when we landed. I swear, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I think somebody was practicing landing...

So now I'm back to reality with lots to do this week, but at least I'm on spring break!!! I thoroughly plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day tomorrow and THEN I'll get back on my diet. Ugh, I gained 5lbs eating and drinking on this trip!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Connor Curse Continues

My travel curse is still in charge of my life. My flights from Austin and Amsterdam last Thursday and Friday went well, so well I thought to myself, "Wow, this trip has been uneventful." Of course, I immediately reminded myself of my travel woes. And sure enough, I got stopped at passport control in Newcastle. I got asked a bunch of questions, given a slip saying I'm being detained for further questioning, and asked to sit down while they clarified a few things. I didn't really worry about it because I had done nothing wrong. (They were asking so many questions because I didn't know the name or address of the B & B we're staying in.) So they paged my mom, asked some questions (who are you meeting, why is she here, where are you staying) and then they let me go. They told me I could throw away the slip that says I was detained, but I kept it. Who would believe this actually happened without proof!

Oh!!! The travel curse extends beyond me. The airline lost the casket on its way up from London. And then it was so big (because apparently American caskets are bigger/wider than British ones) they had trouble transporting it. AND the funeral director had to drive a few hours to Manchester to pick up the casket!

Since then the trip has been going well enough, although my grandfather still isn't buried. The funeral is set for Friday, almost 3 weeks after he died. I've seen a bunch of family, wandered around town with my mom getting things ready for the funeral and eating candy. There are so many details to take care of! The weather has been cool (in the 40s), but clear and sunny. Yesterday I took the day to myself and went up to Edinburgh. It was wonderful to listen to bagpipes, wander along the Royal Mile and Princes Street, and have a bit of haggis. Today we've got some other family coming up from London and more errands to run. I'm going to try to finish Terri Brisbin's book. As for my own writing, It's coming along. I'm getting a clearer picture of what story I want to do next and I'm still writing at least 100 words a day. For now, I'm still taking things one day at a time.

Catch you later!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

England Via Amsterdam

In only a few short hours I'll be boarding a plane to take me to my extended family, to my mom and to the final goodbye to my grandfather. I'm feeling kind of...odd. I'm not upset, but I'm not happy either. I'm not content, but I'm not ready to fall apart. I'm the moment. I have a 4 hour layover in Amsterdam and then I'll actually arrive in Newcastle, England tomorrow around 4 p.m. local time.

I don't know what kind of Internet access I'll have, if any, so this may be my last post until I return. Take care and stay out of trouble while I'm gone. Knowing my extended family, I can't promise to do the same.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Reality Hits

Wow. Today was my last day at school until after spring break. The kids were great and my co-workers were even better. One lady brought in a black dress for me to try on. It fit pretty well and everyone liked it. (AND it has long sleeves!) Then, someone left me an envelope on my desk and it had some lovely messages from my coworkers. AND they'd taken up a collection and gave me some cash to put toward my expenses. I about cried! How wonderful and humbling to be the recipient of such kindness!

The reality of my trip is starting to hit me, although I'm not crying yet. I imagine I will be when I see my mom on Friday afternoon. Everyone at work kept saying, "Have a great time...uh, I didn't mean it like that." I know what they meant. My grandfather had a long and glorious life doing what he loved, going where he wanted. We should be celebrating his life. And we will, I have no doubt. I promise soon I'll stop talking about all this, but right now I need to. So thanks for listening.

As for me, I'm off to finish my laundry, my packing and reading Tracy Wolff's book. I'll chat at you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Got a dress that's simple but nice and cheap. Also picked up a black raincoat that's nice...not so cheap. But I justified it because every single time I wear a nice outfit and have to wear a coat, I always have to wear my leather coat, which is not exactly dressy. A friend of mine also loaned me a black dress to see if I wanted that one. Um, thanks to my friend, but I won't be taking that one. I tried it on at home and promptly couldn't get it unzipped! I had to go to the neighbor for help. Of course, said neighbor couldn't be a young stud. She's a very nice retired lady who will be picking up my mail while I'm gone.

Still managing 100 words a day for my writing challenges. Don't know what story I'll be working on, but I imagine I'll figure that out once the plane rides begin. I was telling one of my students today that when I go away I like to take a fresh notebook or journal to write my story. I'm using a journal that said student gave me for my birthday back in October. One of the couples will take control while I'm away, I'm sure. And if not, maybe I'll just write about my relationship with my grandfather.

I'm kinda nervous now about this trip to England. Since my grandfather died, I've been focusing on school work. It's been sad sometimes, but mostly it's just been like he's away. Once tomorrow's school day is over, I'll have nothing to think about BUT the trip. I haven't been doing much mourning yet. I imagine that'll come when I'm with the family. And then there's the reading I'm supposed to do for the funeral. I foolishly agreed to read one of my grandfather's favorite Bible readings. At first I was worried because I didn't think I could hold it together long enough to do the reading, but then I figured no one will fault me for stopping to compose myself if I have to. And plus, I wanted to do it to honor my grandfather. And hey, I could always take a shot of whisky before the service, right?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

No Big Black Moment

Okay, I knew this trip to England was coming. I knew I had to go shopping for a black dress. So why did I wait until NOW? I spent most of the afternoon going from one shop to another searching for the perfect funeral dress. I found some clingy cocktail dresses, which won't do for this but would be great for a date! I found some beautiful suit-type outfits. Of course, nothing that would be absolutely perfect for the trip to England came in my size. Who knew that after losing 16lbs I'd still be stuck between two sizes? I did manage to get a bunch of stuff I needed for the trip, though, and I've done some more school work tonight. But now I need to leave work right on time tomorrow and venture out again in search of a black dress in which to honor my grandfather. With only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to go, I'm cutting it awfully close. Wish me luck!