Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thanks, Travis! And Now, More About Me

So I was surfing the net, visited Travis Erwin's blog and promptly decided to borrow this:

1)What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
My Blarney Stone Examiner article. The Illusive Intruders, a 7th/8th grade suspense story about 5 kids solving a mystery and the bad guys who "ran pretty fast for 30-year-olds."

2) Write poetry?
Not if I can help it.

3) Angsty poetry?
In high school and college.

4) Favorite genre of writing?
Romantic suspense.

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?
Jared, a cop in Boston. Never did finish that story.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?
Probably Her Highland Champion, a Scottish short contemp I'm working on now. I think it's the first story that has a solid story before the rough draft is complete. Or maybe I just plotted it well.

A successful mystery writer with a proposal meets his tour guide, a self-proclaimed ugly duckling who'd rather escort him right back to the airport.

7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?
I still love the plot twist where an American ESL teacher working in Thailand gets caught up in human slave trading.

8)How often do you get writer’s block?
Every book.

9) Write fan fiction?
Not any more. My 1st completed story was A-Team fan fiction when I was in middle school.

10) Do you type or write by hand?
Both. I start writing by hand and then as I get closer to finishing I spend more and more time typing.

11) Do you save everything you write?
Almost everything.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?
Yep, all the story/scene ideas I've had that haven't found a home are sitting in a file waiting for a home.

13) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
A short story about an American grandmother telling her grandkids at Christmas time how she met their Scottish grandfather.

14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?
I've had people tell me they loved the ESL teacher in Thailand story and my 1st Scottish story, Fractured Paradise. I've also had friends say they can't wait for me to finish one story I've plotted, Her Reluctant Partner.

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
Romantic suspense and short contemporary romances are pretty much all I write.

16) What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?
I just entered a contest with 2, but I'm not writing much because I'm trying to rearrange my life this spring so I can spend more time on my writing.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Yes-RWA chapter contests

19) What are your five favorite words?
We're offering you a contract.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?
I'm a part of each heroine. I'm probably most like my character Bridget Grainger,(heroine in Her Highland Champion) although I'm still writing her story so she may not be much like me.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
Everywhere. Real life, movies, TV, music.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

23) Do you favor happy endings?

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Not in the first few drafts, but definitely before I send it to anyone else.

25) Does music help you write?
Absolutely and usually I end up with a soundtrack for each book.

26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.
"Samantha Maitland had traded the gates of hell for the devil’s own fireplace. She was sure of it. Two weeks ago she wouldn’t have believed it. But here she was thousands of miles away from everyone she knew and loved, suffering in an outfit that made her look like an extra in a Victorian movie. What in the world had she been thinking when she accepted this job?" (1st paragraph from Survival 101, the ESL teacher in Thailand story.)

Lenten running total: $6.70

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's All Good

It's Friday! Yay!

I bought a cell phone today! (Yes, it's true, folks. I joined the 21st century!) Yay!

I'm almost done tomorrow's Examiner article on Blarney Castle! Yay!

I've reconnected with TONS of people on Facebook this week from my past! Yay!

I get to write on my stories some this weekend! Yay!

I'm making plans to get together with my friend Emily sometime this weekend! Yay!

Only 2 weeks until spring break (and Matt Damon's new movie)! Yay!

What's up with you?

Lenten Running Total: $6.20

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Facebook Is Evil

I spend WAY too much time trying to find people I knew from years ago. Although I love getting in touch with them, I can't begin to believe how much time I spend on my Facebook pages, time I could be doing other things like...oh, I don't know, writing? Reading? Job hunting?

But do I plan to stop anytime soon and walk away from Facebook? Nah!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Good News!

Whoohoo! Two hour delay for school tomorrow. I get to either stay up later tonight or get up at the regular time and enjoy the morning! We don't have any more snow, but we've got a lot of slush and freezing temps tonight. Since people in Austin don't know how to drive on ice, we get to wait until it warms up and starts to melt!


The RWA Kiss of Death chapter "unofficially" announced the tour for Nationals in Nashville this year. We usually have a tour the day before the national conference starts. This year we get to hang out with the local ATF agents!

Okay, I'm off to do....something....

Am I Crazy???

Okay, those of you who know me are probably nodding right now, but STOP IT!

One of my writing groups has been discussing ways to promote our authors. I started thinking I could start a blog devoted completely to author interviews and promotion. I figured I could ask "standard" questions. Then I thought, why not see about doing it as another Examiner page? That way the author would get free promo and I could earn a few pennies in the process. I could do one or two a week to start, regroup and see how it's going and then revise as needed.

So tell me, should I pursue this? If you are an author, would you want to give something like this a chance? If you are a reader, would this be something you'd be interested in? PLEASE weigh in with your thoughts!


Yes, folks, we actually have snow in Austin, TX. We obviously couldn't teach anything, so we stopped and took the kids outside to play. Now we're just waiting for all the parents to pick them up so we can all go home! WHHOOOOHOOOOOO! I'm looking forward to a free afternoon.

As For That Snow Day I Was Hoping For...

Nope. Hell. Maybe an early release day????

Lenten total: $4.30

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tuesday...With A Chance of....Snow?

Yes, that's right. They're predicting snow tomorrow in TX. A lot of TX. Not so much in Austin, although we're hoping! The kids didn't talk today about a "bad weather day" off from school, but I can promise you all the teachers were praying for it! There are just too many variables right now to pinpoint what our weather will be. We're right on the cusp between the snow and sleet line. I'll let you know what happens.

Sent off my contest entries for my new suspense and my new short contemp. (Did I tell you that already?) I had a WONDERFUL day writing yesterday, well morning anyway. I love my new stories, too, although my muse and I are still in the "Honeymoon Stage" with both stories. The knock down drag out fights are coming.

Watched one of my favorite shows tonight, 24. Now, I love Jack Bauer, but this whole secondary plot is horrible. At one point tonight I got all excited because I thought one of the regulars (a chick I can't stand) was going to get shot. Sadly, she's fine and continued to do stupid things. And drag her fiance into her stupidity. (What is he thinking???)

Lenten total: $4.20 (mostly from me yelling at that stupid chick!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fun!

Heehee! I've been writing fiction tonight and I sooooooooooooooo miss it! But I keep reminding myself that my current hiatus from "official" writing is so, in the long run, I can write to my heart's content. Keeping my eye on the prize, so to speak. (Of course, when I actually have the time to write, my muse will probably go AWOL or I'll take the award for Procrastination Queen.)

I also added a new article to my page. This one is about my experience riding an elephant in Thailand.

I intend to start reading a new book this weekend. It's Wings of Desire by Arianna Skye. Arianna is a fellow Celtic Heart and I actually won a copy of her book from a contest she had to celebrate her first release.

Tomorrow I intend to finish my 2 short contest entries to send to one of my critique partners AND I'll be working on a longer contest entry for the suspense. Then I hope to draft all 3 of my Examiner articles for next week.

Sunday I'll be grading papers, as usual, and planning next week's lessons.

Like last year, I'm going to keep a running total of my Lenten cash fund so you can laugh at how much I swear and how many dimes I have to stick in the box. Judging by the numbers so far, I'm sure I'm going to make some charity very happy with my donation!

Lent total: $2.80

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Swearing Away

I'm Catholic so that means I'm supposed to give something up during Lent, which started today. For the last few years I've given up cash for every swear word that's flown out of my mouth during Lent. Originally it was going to be a quarter for each swear. That quickly changed to a dime that first year otherwise I would've given up my paycheck for the month. Still, I managed to get $20. Last year I came out with close to $25. This year's not lookin' too good. The first word out of my mouth as I woke up to that obnoxious alarm clock was a swear word. Great way to start the day and the Lenten season.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm Better

Not 100%, but the ear doesn't hurt and I got in to see the doctor today. So I've been grading papers, writing my latest Examiner article, and catching up on some stuff around the house. Hopefully soon I'll be able to get back to the job hunt AND the tiny bit o' fiction writing I need to be doing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Time To Whine

Ear infection. Pain started while waiting for my flight back from El Paso (where I had teacher training). Lesson plans not done for this week and all I want to do is stay on the couch and whine like a baby. For me, this is the worst pain. I had a lot of ear issues as I grew up to the point that I'd call the doc, tell him I was getting an infection and he'd call the prescription in even if it was a few days before I could get to his office.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Almost Valentine's Day!

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend with your significant other. And if you're single, like me, I hope you spend some quality time with some friends.

I spent most of the morning today cleaning house, working on my Gretna Green article for and thinking about my next articles. I'm supposed to be going out tonight, but I really, really don't want to go. Sadly, I think I'm turning into a hermit because I'm perfectly happy sitting in my house from Friday afternoon until Monday morning when I go back to work. BUT I'm pretty sure I'll have a good time once I get there. I usually do.

For now, I'm going to relax a bit, write on one of my stories and think about what book I'm going to read next. I'll let you know how it went when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feeling Wacky

Hey there! I'm keeping busy with my job search, plotting and planning for my new life, working at the day job. Right now I'm at lunch after an ESL conference. Good stuff! (The info, not necessarily the food. Although that was good too!) I'll be working on my next Examiner article tonight and watching 2 of my favorite shows, Leverage & Criminal Minds. I hope to write a longer, more detailed post soon about all the crazy thoughts swirling around my head. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and don't forget to say hi!

PS. Only 71 school days left with the kids!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Glorious Day

Today I went out to breakfast with my mom and then we took a road trip to a lovely little town called Fredericksburg about an hour and a half outside of Austin. We stopped in a few wineries, wandered down the main street glancing in cute little shops. We had lunch at a German restaurant and then continued walking, talking and shopping. I bought a couple of neat little treats for my house. It was a spontaneous day but I'm so glad we did it!

Now I'm off to have a cup of tea and to finish the Kay Thomas book I've got on the side. Tomorrow I'll worry about all the school work I have. Tomorrow I'll work on writing my next 3 articles for

Speaking of, don't forget to visit my travel writing page and remember to leave me a comment! Today's article is about my visit last summer to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp outside Berlin. It was a very moving experience. I'm trying to figure out a way to list my articles on the sidebar so that you know what's coming up and I don't have to shamelessly plug for readers here. It's coming....

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Week So Far...

Following lesson plans? Check
Attended textbook fair? Check
Enjoyed myself there? Check
Studied Spanish? Uh, not yet
Read for fun? Check
Wrote for fun? Check
Cleaned house at all? Uh, nope
Found a contest to enter? Check
Published more articles? 1 Monday, 1 tomorrow
Applied for jobs? Check
Fallen asleep on the couch? Twice...before 8

Monday, February 01, 2010

February Already????

Keeping busy over here. How about you? I've been applying for other jobs, not studying much Spanish, writing and proofing articles for my examiner page. (London Eye went up today, Hampton Court Palace Thursday and Sachsenhausen concentration camp Saturday!)

I did start reading that Kay Thomas book I have on the side. Sad to say I have yet to finish a book this year. I can't seem to find the time, energy or interest to sit and read. This one had a pretty good beginning so I'm hoping it'll work.

I did actually write a bit on Reluctant Witness today and I realize how much I miss writing more creative stuff. BUT, the desire to be creative keeps me searching diligently to find another job that will allow me to write more.

I've pretty much decided that I want to enter the new suspense in the Daphne and the short contemp (and possibly the suspense) in the Golden Claddagh. Both stories start out with fantastic openings and I'm pretty sure I can whip the 1st chapters into contest shape before the deadlines.