Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back

Well, this was my first year not being on Southern Magic's board of directors and it has been so productive. During the previous five years, I finished only two books, but started probably around ten. But as I said, I'm now talking about 2008. So here's my list of accomplishments.

1) Completed three books.
2) Was a finalist in two contests: Maggies & Golden Gateway
3) Have a partial request from an editor in one of the contests. (Going into the mail Saturday.)
4) Attended three conferences: Written in the Stars, Shreveport, LA; Silken Sands, Pensacola, FL; and Moonlight and Magnolias, Norcross, GA.
5) Met with editor who placed my entry at first place in a contest last year and who had requested a full. (Though later rejected.)
6) Two editors recognize me on sight. (I hope this is a good thing. They always smile real big when they see me, so I hope so.)
7) Received rejections from two agents. One was a query and another was a partial. Believe it or not this is an accomplishment. It means I'm working it. Next year I plan to ratchet up.
8) Entered the Golden Heart.

I believe I'm on the right track now and believe 2009 will be the year for me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I've Got A Problem, Sorta

Today, I went to the book store and bought three books. When I got home, I realized 1) I didn't buy not one book I had planned to pick up -- they weren't out yet. 2) I have about ten books scattered in my bedroom and living room waiting to be read or to be finished.

I've admitted before and will do so again. Yep. I'm a book-a-holic.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Friendly Skies

I love to fly. Wish I didn't have to do it in a plane, but heck, that's still not bad. LOL!

There's a scene in one of my books that I used my one time experience of traveling in first class. It was in 1999, so things could've changed but I bet not by much. I have to say it was wonderful. The seats were wider. The utensils were stainless steel, not plastic. And the food was delicious. Considering I've flown on the same airline, going to the same destination several times since then, I know they no longer serve even the measley little meal they had before to business class. They still close the curtain between business class and first. How much you want to bet first class still gets food with real plates and stainless steel?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day Off

I took a day off from writing, but I was still on my computer. Updated some websites I'm webmistress over and then upgraded my software for those same websites. Such a peaceful day after all the craziness last week.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thankful Saturday


Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Forgot again. When I had decided to do thankful Friday, I thought it would be so easy to remember. We're all thankful for Fridays, right? The start of the weekend and all. But for some reason it slips my mind. Well, anyway...

I'm thankful for soft pillows. Those that are like the down-type but aren't feathers. When I was a kid, the doctor decided I was allergic to them and I haven't slept on one since. But then hotels started putting in those extra soft pillows (not feathers - too many people like me) and then I found them in Wal-Mart. Oh, my. I have two just for me. It's wonderful.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Pastime


I love watching old movies when I'm on vacation and hanging out at the house. One of my favorite actors is Audie Murphy. In real life, he was the most decorated combat soldier in American history. When I was a kid, my dad would take me to his movies. What I especially like about this magazine cover is it was published on my birth date, July 16. But not the same year by the way.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas From All of Me

Subtitled: The Many Voices in My Head Wishes You A Merry Christmas!

All authors have Dissociative Identity Disorder. In other words, they hear voices in their heads and not just one or two, but many. Thankfully authors have learned to deal with the problem by letting the voices tell their stories to the outside world.

Well, some of my voices would like to wish you a Merry Christmas...

“Hi, I’m Mary from THE PREACHER’S SON. While Dusty and Mom are arguing over who gets the last piece of the apple pie I baked, I thought I would wish you a Merry Christmas. Christmas in Alabama is so much more about the true meaning than it was in Las Vegas. Sin City was more about lights and sequins. Anyway, that was then. Now...I couldn’t be happier. So Merry Christmas, everyone.”

“Hey, J.T. here. My story’s in A SHERIFF TO CALL HER OWN. While I’m sitting in my patrol car outside the Sandbox, waiting for Molly to grab her brother and toss him out on his skinny, drunken ass, I figured...” Frowning in disgust, he watched Devlin stumble out of the bar’s double doors and fall to his hands and knees. Molly walked up and shoved her brother to the ground and stood over him, shaking her finger and fussing. Times like these, J.T. was glad he was a teetotaler. “There’s my girl now. I better go and help, so have a safe Merry Christmas and a sober Happy New Year.”

“My name’s Larisa. I spilled my guts in DEADLY TEMPTATIONS or whatever Carla or an editor decides to name it one day. I’ve been taught about many religions and I guess I relate to Christianity the most. Even though there’s a lot of crap about how crosses and holy water can burn vampires. They’re just like you and me, only stronger, sexier and drink blood, and...anyway, Merry Christmas! Gotta go. Triton’s waiting to take me snow sledding tonight. I do have to say, I love making him wait, then he’ll get mad enough to flash some fang! He’s absolutely yummie when he does that.”

“I guess I’m the last one and the oldest of this bunch. I’m Tori. My tale is called THE CHAMPION. Ah, I don’t have much to say. It’s getting late and time to hunt for the perverts out there and make them pay in blood.” A little bit of fang glowed in the dark as she looked over her shoulder. “Sorry. Ah, I mean Merry Christmas! Be sure to hug those you love every day as you never know if you'll get another day with them.” Then she was gone.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

**Let your characters wish everyone a Merry Christmas too.**

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Good Christmas Eve

The girls came over with kids, husband/boyfriend in toll. We ate a lot (though my biscuits are awful) and opened lots of presents. We're all blessed. All are in good health and have jobs. My youngest is still in college and may one day graduate. Yep. I'm blessed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crazy Golfers

I know I have an obsession with writing and reading romance as many of my friends do. And I understand there are many people who are obsessed with sports: football, baseball, basketball, soccer (called football everywhere else in the world) and golf. Yes. That little white ball that's hit from yards away to a little cup in a smooth, very green area.

Across the street from my house is the second hole for one of the local golf courses. None of my immediate family were golfers. So I was rather shocked to learn how crazy these people were for their sport. My first Saturday morning in this house, I kept hearing the buzzing sound of the golf carts running along side the road. Nothing really wrong with the slight buzz except it started at six a.m. I peeked out the window that morning thinking, "Are they nuts?"

Then the first rainy Saturday. Ahhh! Peace and quiet. I can sleep late. NO! There was the buzzing again. At 6 a.m.! They held umbrellas over each other and most rode in the carts to keep the rain off.

Later the temperature dropped into the thirties, below freezing. Ahh! This is going to be nice. NO! There they were in the carts with plastic hanging down the sides, towels wrapped around their heads and over their noses. Are they freaking kidding me?

It took only one year for me to realize only high winds (like hurricane five type) and temperature in the single digits will keep them away in the mornings and evenings. That's right. Come the afternoon, no matter the weather, they're there. LOL!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wasteful Day

I should be ashamed of myself. All day long, I just puttered around. Read a little. Wrote even less. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow even though I need to go to the grocery store for 3rd time in two weeks - eeek!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thankful Sunday

Once again, I forgot to say what I'm thankful for yesterday. So here it is. Better late than never.

I'm thankful for indoor plumbing. LOL! You ask, what brought that up? The other day, a couple of my friends were talking about their experiences in going to their grandparents. I mentioned my grandparents didn't have indoor plumbing. When I was little and would stay a week, I would have to take baths outside. I hated it. I was terrified someone would see me...naked!

Considering how cold it is outside now and how much of a hassle it would be to fill a tub with warm water, I'm so thankful for my indoor plumbing.

***added Monday 12/22/08 **** Too Funny! I'd just realized I called this post "Thankful Saturday" and it should be "Thankful Sunday". That's what happens when you're on vacation. LOL! Now corrected.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Obsess...Uh...Show

When the show was first promoted last year, I had wanted to see it, but of course, I try to limit the time I watch TV. Writing is so much more fun and productive. But now that I've found so many shows on http://www.youtube.com/ and http://www.hulu.com/, I find myself watching one after another whenever I get stuck in my writing or just want to relax.

The new show I've been watching? GOSSIP GIRL. Love it! And my goodness, Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) is a young, modern Mr. Darcy. Dark and brooding plus the added heat of an anti-hero. He has so many issues and takes them out on those standing in his way, but every so often you see a glimpse of his vulnerability. And of course, he's gorgeous. In the actor's interviews, you find out he's English.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Damaged By Life


I've been reading J.R. Ward's THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: AN INSIDER'S GUIDE. Enjoyed the novella in it and found the writer comments interesting. But as I was reading a portion of it today, I was thinking how we all love a damaged hero and/or heroine. Just makes them real.

Of course, if you look at your friends and the strangers on the street, you will find more people damaged by life. Guess that's why editors and other writers say to write true to life. It makes your characters breathe.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Be Nice

I really wish people would remember to clip their emails when they answer someone on a loop. As a member of ten plus (use to be over twenty when I was president of my writing group) loops, it gets so tiring to keep scrolling down (while on digest) and sometimes confusing, when people leave whole emails or even their digests on the reply. Just plain lazy and rude.

Sorry. Had to vent.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Don't Get It

Have you ever told another person about a book or film you like and they say, "I didn't get it. There's no way they can do [fill in blank]"?

I have. And no it wasn't about one of my books.

But I just figure 1) the person doesn't have an imagination, 2) the book/film isn't their thing, or 3) I wanted to like the book/film so much (usually because the actor/hero is HOT), I overlooked inconsistencies or/and black holes of the suck-in-worlds design.

What made me think about the above recently? I watched the second episode of LEVERAGE last night on Hulu. Maybe it was me or they had several things happen that didn't connect very well. I also kept thinking, didn't anyone notice them walking out together? How did they get off the container with guards all around? And a few other questions. Now, none of the questions or missing plot links stopped me from enjoying the show, but I had to keep reminding myself, this isn't my story and I over explain too often anyway.

I do enjoy the show. Reminds me of the old Mission Impossible TV series.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Love Dogs

I love dogs. For years, we always had an outdoor dog. We've had a German Shepherd mix, a Dachshund mix, St. Bernard mix, pure St. Bernard, Great Dane, Labrador Retriever mix, and a Beagle. But for now, no dogs. We travel too much and don't want to bother with boarding or taking one with us.

Though I do plan to get an indoor one when I get older and rarely travel. I probably won't make up my mind of what type to get until then. Click here for a good website to check out the different types. For now, I'm thinking of this one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Word Lover

I'm always excited when I learn a new word. It's the height of geekiness, isn't it? I'm also fascinated when I realize I didn't know the correct meaning for a certain word.

Today's word I mistakenly thought meant new was noir. For those like me, didn't have it right or don't know it, it means "Of or relating to a genre of crime literature featuring tough, cynical characters and bleak settings."

Ahhhh!

Maybe I was thinking of the word neo. No. Not of the Matrix. It means "recent or new."

Now after that lesson, why do I believe it's time for little muppets to come dancing out of the shadows?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Been Workin'

I've been editing and adding words (came up short 6,000 words and now I'm needing just 4,000 more) on one of my finished manuscripts. Got to have it near perfect in case the editor asks for a full.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Christmas Party

Last Saturday was Southern Magic's Christmas party and we met at the Cheesecake Factory instead of someone's house. Some years, it's the best way to get people to show up.

Today, I went to the Heart of Dixie's Christmas party. I'm so lucky to live near two great RWA chapters. We played dirty Santa. I was the only one brave enough to "steal" Linda Howard's present she'd opened. She has a mean stare. LOL!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thankful Friday

Considering how many times this week I called different customers to talk about orders and product questions they had, it was so sad to find out several of them were laid off. So with that said, I'm not only thankful for having my job, I'm thankful my company's not laying off anyone before Christmas. Of course, I have to add, that I know of.

I understand why companies have to lay off people before a new fiscal year -- been there, had it done to me in 1997 (I was told in December but my job continued until May. I was the last inside sales person to walk out of the building.) -- but it really stinks when it happens before Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fighting

You know how men love watching women fight? I never understood it. I imagine it has nothing to do with the hope women will tear each other clothes off or apologize by kissing each other. ::smirk:: Yuck. ::gag:: I just think it's stupid.

On the police shows my husband loves to watch, nearly every episode has a couple of drunk men swinging at each other. I can promise you, they do nothing for me. Besides, they usually look like crap. But even the well-muscled men of boxing and wrestling do zilch.

Now give me a couple of well-muscled men dressed in some skintight pants and no shirts with swords or rapiers and my heart's all a fluttered. Just call me an old-fashioned girl.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Early Christmas Card


Merry Christmas!
May all your dreams come true! I know mine will.
Carla

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It Totally Like...You Know...Blew My Mind, Dude

I’ve blogged about songs that inspire me to write a book. Music has always been a part of my life. And there’s one song I can’t get enough of it. In particular, this one lyric just blows me away. The visual is intense. Any romance writer can understand it.

If Dreams Were Thunder
Lightning Was Desire
This Old House Would’ve Burnt
Down A Long Time Ago
By John Prine

Is your house still standing? Mine’s all ashes flying in the wind.

How about you? What lyric just blows you away every time you hear it?

In the meanwhile, listen to this version sung by Susan Tedeschi. You need to check out her CDs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Season

I like how television has three seasons now. Fall, Winter and Summer. The new show Leverage was great. I've always liked t.v. shows with a lot of twists, especially if I can't guess them all. The only show I couldn't guess any of their twists (until the last season or two) was Le Femme Nikita.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes


Why is it so hard for a woman to find PRETTY shoes during the winter? First, who in their right mind wants to wear stilts when there's a possiblity of ice on the ground. It's hard enough to walk in those torture devices, no less, worry about what's beneath them. E.g., forementioned ice and not counting heavily waxed floors! Second, most do not have toes. Why would I want my toes to freeze? Nuts! It's men who want to punish us for making them pay for the meals and beg...well, anyway.

As you can tell, I've been looking for some good winter shoes. The ones I wear most of the time are beginning to look sad. So I adventure on line for new shoes. I hate shopping and shoe stores are the worst. They have tons of the most ridicious shoes (spike heels, straps going everywhere and NO TOES) and some of the most freakingly ugly low heel shoes (ballet? -- not every woman wanted to be ballerina when they grew up!).

So I go on line to this website that only has shoes -- loads and loads of them -- and type in my info of what I'm looking for. The first two pages are freaking boots!! Hello, people! I live in the South, it can get cold, but not THAT COLD! Plus I'm short and not skinny. I would be all boots and torso.

Why can't a low heel shoe be pretty, functional, and comfortable? Is that asking for too much? Can you tell I hate shopping...even on line?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yes, I Love to Read Bumper Stickers











Though I don't place them on my car's bumper, I do love reading other people's. Like "Paddle Faster, I Hear A Banjo," or "Gun Control Means Using Both Hands." Even a character in one of my paranormals loves to wear hearse humor tee-shirts as he owns and drives a 1960 Cadillac hearse, such as "Friends Help You Move, Real Friends Help You Move Bodies."

Have you see any good ones lately?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh, Yeah, Hot Chemistry

I've talked about alpha heroes before. Somewhere in my blog or Romance Magicians'. In one of my favorite series (Jenna Black's Devil books) the heroine has a secondary character who's very alpha. He's a demon possessed male who likes BD/s and has a gay lover and we've just found out in the latest book, he swings the other way too. Okay. I know for some you out there this is TMI (too much info). The point I'm getting to is he shouldn't be a character I normally would be interested in, but I find the "relationship" between him and the heroine to be interesting. He's for sure an alpha. And she is too. He's a cop who helps her even through they dislike each other. But there's a hot chemistry between them the author has worked in that I want to examine and bring out in my books. Oh, yeah, I want to examine it long and hard. LOL! I couldn't resist saying that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Peer Jealousy

Now something to get you in the mood for the holidays...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Rare Review

I just finished this book and enjoyed it so much. I love bodyguard books. Though I didn't care for how they left a couple strings dangling (tied in with a multi-author storyline), the characters and the rest of the plot was wonderful. The hero was macho and sexy in that quiet and hunky sort of way. (LOVED the part where he's waiting for her and is caught reading a romance - hey there wasn't nothing else for him to read. LOL!) The heroine was delightful and passionate. In other words, real.

Normally I don't review books here, but I was so happy with the book, I couldn't help it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Audio Books

Over the years, I've bought a few audio books. Only one was a romance, most were self-help. I prefer holding a book and reading it with different voices in my head. Admit it. You do the same thing.

Well, a few months ago, Karen Marie Moning's newsletter provided an opportunity for fans to download free on iTunes the first FEVER book via PodCast in installments. LOVED IT! I've listened to it twice. The series is wonderful and listening to it on my iPod was so much fun. I even exercised to it. Hard to believe considering how much I hate exercising, but the installments were in roughly 20 minute segments and matched the length of time I'm on the treadmill. Each day I couldn't wait to hear the next installment. It was like having a carrot on the treadmill.

Since I finished the PodCast twice, I've slacked off the treadmill. It's not the same without a book. I've used music of all types. Still not the same. So I bought an audio book off iTunes yesterday. Lisa Kleypas's A WALLFLOWER CHRISTMAS. I can't wait to exercise tonight. LOL!

Sides notes: The woman narrating Karen's book was okay but when she did the male parts, her deep voice was irritating and all the men sounded alike. Of course, I'm sure she did better than I ever could. I would've bought the next two audio books in Karen's series, but they were over twenty dollars each. Too pricey for books I've already read (in hardback no less) and still had on my bookself.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let's Hear It For Italy!

I receive RSS feeds from MSNBC and every so often I get an off the wall one that I'll blog about. Here's one I thought was pretty interesting. Men in Italy are considered to be the most handsome. In the poll, the number one requirement to be handsome was good hygiene. LOL! Goodness, I hope so. The second requirement was a "great smile."

I wonder where a good butt fell in the list? I use to work with a girl from Puerto Rico and she said that was one of the saddest things about men in the U.S., they didn't have butts, flat as a pancake. So true. That's why I can't help but admire those few I see on occasion.

Anyway, click here to read the whole article.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Weekend

Well, I guess I took yesterday off. When I woke up around 6 a.m., (I said woke, not necessarily got up) the thought hit me. I FORGOT TO POST! LOL! I thought about it only once yesterday, but that was it, just thought about it. :0D

After listening to the news about all the fatal shootings, bloody noses (my daughter's friend actually saw two women go at it over an Elmo doll) and other craziness, I'm always happy I don't participate in the mad rush to the stores. Frankly, I can't think of anything I need that bad or want to save money on that much. One of the things I've learned, if someone wants something in particular, most of the time you can go direct to the manufacturer (Apple) or find another brand with the same design (child's bed) on-line.

I did go to a couple stores this morning -- my husband twisted my arm...really -- and one of the stops was Lowes (see, only guys go there to Christmas shop). Anyway, I saw a wonderful sale on a washer/dryer combination at near to half price. I want them so bad, but my washer and dryer are okay. I did say something about giving my old ones to my daughter in college, but she's not moving into a rental house until next year. Her apartment isn't set up for them. Oh, well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Query Letters

For two days I've been working on a query letter for agents. I've completely revamp my old styled one by reading several articles/books written by agents. Though overall agents and editors are all about the story, the agent wants a little more. Considering my bio isn't exactly one to make an agent jump with joy, I was surprised how it's coming together. The suggestions I found in one free PDF download on Amazon was most interesting and helped a lot.

If this gets me some requests, I'll place a copy on this blog. But until then, I rather wait. Of course, query letters are like published books, there are all types for every reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What More Can You Do?

You know I'm always surprised when people talk about getting their name out there and don't write articles for their (RWA) chapter's newsletter. I've written over 70 articles and had them published in over 300 newsletters. Let's say the average membership of each RWA chapter was 25, that means around 7000 people may have read my articles.

Something to think about, huh?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Retiring Before Forty

Wouldn't that be nice? To retire before you're forty? I'll miss him in the movies.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Huh?

I usually don't comment on hot topics, but I'm a little baffled by a few things. Everyone knows how much I want to be published. I've done everything I believe is right in the way of getting published. 1) I write all the time. Completing books and sending them out to contests and editors/agents. 2) I network, going to conferences, hanging with like-minded published/unpublished authors, talking with editors and agents. 3) I read what I want to write. This will let me know what is out there and what editors are looking for (with my own personal twist). 4) I have web presence to get my name out there, includes a website, blogging, and writing articles for my local chapter's newsletter. 5) I study my craft by reading books and articles on writing and attending my local chapter's meetings.

So I expect one day soon I'll get that all important call that will be followed by being a published author. Because I'm a member of the RWA, my member status will changed to PAN (Published Authors Network).

Now for the hot topic, I was reading on another blog about some wording RWA changed on the RITA awards. They claim it boils down to ebooks vs. printed. (If you email me privately I'll give you the link, otherwise, I rather not attach it to this for now.) I'm a firm believer there are two sides to every story and I've only heard one. Since I remember last year’s (or was that year before last) discussions on various loops and blogs about the change RWA made on PAN membership of "recognized" to "eligible", I know a lot of misinformed and blown-out-of-apportion observations were made then and I’m pretty sure they were made this time.

Several of the comments on the blog were from former members of RWA saying they had dropped out of the organization because epublished authors were being discriminated against. I’ve heard that song and dance before. I’m not a epublished author, but I read them. Does that count in knowing what I’m talking about? No? Then let me say, I’ve been discriminated against because I’m female, white or overweight. I understand what is perceived as discrimination can hurt. Everyone at one time or another, if not every day, has experienced it. But sometimes what is perceived is not always directed at you. It can appear to be but until you have the whole picture, you may be wrong.

My baffled part is if you’re satisfied with who you’re published with (epublished, POD or whatever), why does it matter if RWA recognizes you as published? I assume it’s because of the RITA. I understand how a RITA can make the difference in being acknowledged by other writers and even editors and agents, but it’s not the be all, end all if you don’t win or even final. I guess it can make your sales improve if you only have a 500 or 5000 print run. Then again I rather “win” the title of NYT best selling author. I know Linda Howard and Sherrilyn Kenyon and many other NYT best selling authors never won a RITA and may never have been a finalist. RWA doesn’t show finalists on their webpage.

But when it comes to being PAN or not being PAN, I believe the benefits are not that much different than being PRO or a general member. Sure you can’t go to some of the workshops at National. Considering I’ve only been able to afford one National conference, I don’t believe it mattered. I go to more and sometimes better workshops at local conferences. Heck, I get more editor/agent appointments at the local conference too. Sure as a PAN member, you get to be on the internet loop with other published authors. Whoopee-do.

I guess a lot of this uproar has to do with ego and what that certain person believes is fair. Everyone repeat with me, LIFE AIN’T FAIR! If it was, I would’ve been published twenty-five years ago with my first book. But thank goodness I wasn’t because it was a stinker.

For those who are PAN, besides declaring to other RWA members you’re published by an eligible publishing house and what it means to your ego (and we all have an ego and it’s okay), what does it do for you? Just curious. And those who are not published, besides the declaring and ego thing, what does it mean to you? Remember, I'm talking about the PAN part, not the published part.

Oh, if you’re wondering if I’m PRO. Yes. Why was it important for me to send in the paperwork for that? 1) I get editor/agent appointments whenever I go to National conference before general membership. 2) I got the cool little pin. 3) Self-satisfaction in knowing I’m really working toward the goal of getting published. If not for 1) and 2) number three would’ve been plenty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Isn't It Neat?


I love fruit. Back when I was a little kid, my dad was a VP with a produce company. This is before he owned another produce company and later a trucking company. He would bring us a box of miscellaneous fruit and veggies every week. For a few years, our house was the favorite place to stop at on Halloween night. We gave out apples and oranges.

Hard to imagine kids going crazy over fruit, isn't it? But at the time, you could only find fruit in the stores and farmers' markets during certain months of the year.

One of the best things about nowadays is that we can get fruit all year long now. Yumm.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kiss Me!

This is a beautiful clip of some of the best kisses in the movies. Enjoy.

and another one...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Day Early


Usually, if I don't forget, I write about something I'm thankful for on Fridays. But I felt the need to tell everyone today that I'm thankful for my dad. I get my love of reading from my dad and his dad. Sadly, he suffered another stroke a couple weeks ago and his speech and balance has gotten worse. Considering he cannot talk clearly, get his thoughts out of his mouth, or even read, he's become terribly depressed.

I plan to see him Sunday or Monday. Though I won't stay but a couple hours as I don't want him to worry about feeding me and my husband. My dad always loved to cook for us. But I plan to take him a copy of my latest contemporary romance manuscript.

My book, A Sheriff To Call Her Own, has a female trucker in it. My dad owned a trucking company and drove them himself until he had his first stroke last year. By the way, he's 77 and didn't have any health issues until this happened. Anyway, I also have a character in the book who's a FBI special agent who has my dad's name. I figured he'll get a kick out of that.

Knowing he can't read now, I hope to read some of the book to him. And maybe I can get his wife to read some of it to him too. I doubt very much he'll ever see me published and he's been my biggest supporter during my journey to madness. So at least he'll get hear one of them.

I plan to encourage him to stick around until I do get published and then he'll need to stick around until I'm on the New Times Best Selling list, and then...in other words, a long, long time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Love Cars!

Do you know how much TOTAL these cars cost?




























Aston Martin $2.3 mil+
Bugatti Veyron $1.2 mil+
Ferrari Enzo $1.5 mil+





Over FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Collage Your Book

At our last writers group meeting, one of our authors, Laura Hayden, gave us pointers on putting a story collage together to help you in writing a new book. She has such energy and imagination and I knew whatever she came up with I would probably have a good time doing it.

I did. It was loads of fun. We all were laughing, teasing each other about the pictures we were looking for out of the ton of magazines we all brought. And the hour or so we had set aside to do it flew by.

Well, tonight I came across my collage and I found myself energized by it and I can't wait to start writing the story. So doing a collage works!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reading Level - No! Not On A Flat Surface!

Several years ago, I came across an article that claimed the average reader read at a ninth grade level. Though overall, the U.S. is probably better educated today, I feel the reading level is most likely the same or no more than tenth grade level.

Some of the NYT best sellers I've read appear to meet that criterion. Don’t get me wrong. I prefer books I can get lost in and don’t need a dictionary handy to get through the thing. I just thought it was interesting and thought I would share.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Dash In and The Dash Out

Yesterday, I did like thousands do in the U.S. every Saturday. I went to Wal-Mart. I hate shopping. So you can imagine I doubly hate going to Wal-Mart. Thankfully, I have learned how to go in and buy what I need and not add no more than one to two items more into my buggy. It's hard, but it's called, "I'm broke and don't want to be in debt further."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yes, I'm Definitey Mad

I've lost my ever-loving mind. Of course, that's a given as I'm a writer. And we all know about my kind of people. LOL!

Why am I saying I've gotten a step closer to the looney bin? Because I've agreed to blog with another group. So that's blogging in three different places. Patricia, the lady who asked, no, not beg, she just asked and everyone knows me. I have a hard time saying no. Thus me being married...if you're wondering, my oldest was born two weeks shy of my 6th year wedding anniversary. So it had nothing to do with that...sorry, I've gotten off track. Anyway, I will be blogging at The Damsels In Distress blog on occasion.

I don't usually have a problem finding something to write about. Part of being a big blabber mouth. So I really don't mind and feel honored she asked.

Don't you think the title of the blog is cool? When you look at the blog you'll understand why it's call that. The title got me to thinking how at times my imagination doesn't kick in. Like this blog. I just named it after me, nothing snappy or cute or poignant. Though I have to say I wasn't slacking in the sub title for my blog.

Oh well, that's just crazy me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thankful Friday

Last Friday, I forgot to do my usual thankful post. Well, this Friday I'm thankful I still have a day job, considering the economy. But the silver lining is, I've been able to do a lot of writing and editing, even a little of reading. Yeah, yeah. I know if my boss reads this he'll have a cow. I do my job and I'm pretty darn good at it too and at least I stay in my cube and don't go wondering off like some of the guys...whatever! :::nodding head with hands on hips:::

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday and the kids are coming home. We're having chicken and dressing with whatever veggies I can whip up. The dressing is bought from a little restaurant in Warrior, AL called The White House. Only my mom makes better. Sure we'll have her dressing in two weeks, but my husband's been craving it and as I said, it's his birthday.

Happy Birthday, old man!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Do You Say...

Yesterday, one of my old lunch buddies who had retired a couple years ago came by to say hello. He’d read an earlier manuscript of mine and had said nice things like the writing reminded him of James Patterson. Did I mention he was a friend? LOL! Well, he asked me if I was published yet.

Do you know how much it hurt having to say no? People who never tried to get a book published don’t understand why it takes so long. They expect if you write a book and finish it, presto! somewhere an editor will buy and publish it. Maybe there is if I decided to go the self-published route. To me, that would be saying I give up. Sure I could get a few family and friends to buy and read it, but I want my book on the shelves of every book store in Birmingham and the world!

How do you tell a person in a five minute conversation you had written three books in one year (they would believe everyone does this) and you had a book final in two contests, one considered to be a biggy? If you tell them about the contest, they believe you mean it will be published now. As you can tell, I already had a similar conversation with someone else not in the writing business about it.

They also don’t understand how you’re still maneuvering around the publishing world with query letters, partials and the like in getting your books and name out there. Of course, during the whole conversation with yourself after he leaves, you’re convincing yourself you’re not delusional, fooling yourself about your chances of getting published.

As they say about writing, it’s a lonely business but a part of you must love S&M.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hit The Ground Running

I'm like a lot of people, I like a story that hits the grounding running. In other words, the action starts on the first page. In my Sheriff to Call Her Own, the Heroine is sitting in a jail and fervently claiming her brother's innocence.

Then in The Preacher's Son, the heroine is watching the hero fight in the streets. But in Shadow Healer, the heroine is trudging along Atlanta's streets with a slow build of action. That worries me. But at the same time, some books need a slow start for the big ending and SH certainly does that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Respect

You know, one thing I don't see as much as I would like is RESPECT. People are so busy giving their opinion about something, they forget they need to respect the other person's. And emails are the worst in conveying feelings. It's not like fiction where you have the heroine showing tears in her eyes when she tells the hero he's wrong. Or where you show the hero's hands shaking and his face stricken when he tells the heroine to go away.

Yeah. Respect can help and go a long ways.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Bang Theory

I know I've already talked about this show, I love each one of the characters. It's laugh out loud funny. My favorite scene so far this season...



Something about those long legs sticking out slays me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Decisions

At my day job, I have no problem making decisions. I can see my way clear on what is needed whenever a situation or question comes up. During my time on my chapter's board, I rarely had a problem making decisions. But when it comes to my writing, I feel like a badminton birdie, being batted back and forth across the publishing net. Category? Single title? Romantic suspense? Paranormal? Harlequin with no agent? Or agent with more possibilities?

Geez Louise, I hate not having a plan. Not knowing where I'm going. Every time I'm certain something will happen and I make a plan, it gets all screwed up.

I hate this uncertainty. Others may thrive on the dangerous thrill, but I'm of German descent, I need a plan to achieve my goals.

This sucks lemons.

::sigh::

I feel better now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Educating Men


I went to one of my most favorite places to be in the world today. Books-a-Million. While checking out the titles in the romance section, I overheard an employee helping a customer find Charlaine Harris's books. The customer was a man. The employee (male) said the books should be in the fantasy section. They were checking that section one aisle over from where I stood. When they couldn't find it, I heard the employee say in a lower voice (an attempt to keep the customer from being emarrassed I'm guessing), they might find it in the romance section. The employee almost sounded like he couldn't imagine why. LOL!

Seeing series like TrueBlood on television has boost the romance paranormal genre for sure. Maybe we'll see other great works (Linda Howard, Anne Stuart, Sherrilyn Kenyon) no matter the genre on the little and big screen.

Anyway, it's time men finally see what women read/write can be thought provoking and wonderfully entertaining.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Is Romance?


Dictionary.com reads “a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.” That was the most common definition at number one. Number four was “a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.” Encarta Dictionary said something similar. Same as Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary.

Hmmm, I believe there's a trend here. Are you feeling that the definition needs updating?

Well, American Heritage Dictionary has got it together. It reads “1.a. A love affair, b. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love...” BINGO! By George, I think they got it!

Why are these definitions so important? One, I look up words on Dictionary.com often and depend on it to get them right. Two, I overheard a reader say romance was sex. I disagree.

Sex is a by-product of romance. Most of the time. I believe there can be romance without sex. Just as you can have sex without romance. (Yuck!)

Romance is the best part of the books I love to read. The emotions, the way the man and woman become attached to each other. The need to be closer, to connect, even if it is only to hold hands. Or maybe they can’t touch, can’t be together. The hunger in their eyes, the wary glance, the need to hear a voice or brush shoulders. The gentleness in their tone when they say that special someone’s name. The tremor in their fingers when they finally touch for the first time. The way they sacrifice a part of themselves to be together.

Oooh, romance.
There’s nothing more satisfying to read.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Margarita Time!

Well, I got another rejection today. Boo-hoo. I liked the agent but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, right? So now, I’m off planning my next strategy and preparing to send a query to another agent.

No time for a pity party, though I did stop for about five minutes and felt sorry for myself. That'll be a pity pause, wouldn't it? LOL!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Historicals

I love reading romantic historicals but I rarely read them anymore. Why? Because I'm tired of those set in Scotland (or with Scottish heroes), in the Regency period, and have women who are goldsmiths or other mostly male dominated professions, rich/poor spinsters solving crimes, or dressing like a man.

Now I'm not saying there aren't books out there without the above elements, but then they have paranormal in them or "actual" historical figures as the hero or/and heroine.

There are two kind of historicals I've really missed: 1) western and 2) medieval.

In a western, I want the man to be a gunman, sheriff, cattleman, anything that would make him tough with a lot of baggage. The woman better not be a newspaper reporter (Yuck!) or a citified rich b***h. She can be strong but recognizes a real man and happy to let him take care of her.

In the medieval, I want the man to be a knight with scars and all. He knows what he wants and knows how to fight for it. (Think Ivanhoe.) And the woman is a woman, knowing a man can be changed with kindness and love. I missed the pageantry of a good medieval. The jousts, armor, horses and beautiful gowns.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I should write the books I want to read. Maybe one day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Well, I went to city hall and voted today. I had expected a city block long line like last time, but was pleasantly surprised. I walked straight to the table and signed in. Amazing. That was about 6:15 p.m.

One year, the lines were horrendous. I guess everyone thought to do like I always did and wait until 6:30 p.m. to vote. A local TV station came out and filmed us. The police surrounded the group at 7 p.m. to keep others from coming in after the cut off time. I think I finally voted at 7:30 p.m. that time. It was crazy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

If There's Anything I Can Do...

I love it when people say, "If there's anything I can do, just ask." Have you ever taken them up on their offer? I have and, boy, it's funny watching them scramble to get out of it. LOL!

Then when I was president of my writers group, I would hear, "Why don't we [fill in the blank]?" And when you tell them they had a great idea and how about heading up the committee? They start backpedaling and stammering, it's too funny. Yes. I have a cruel streak at times.

I'm a firm believer in saying what you mean.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Winding Down

I'm cleaning up the synopsis for the last book I finished this year. Once I'm finished, I'll get the three entries into the mail for the Golden Heart. Then I could edit them further or start on something new.

Sure would like to start something new, but what? This is where I would love to have an agent. She could give me suggestions on what she would like to see more from me. I've got ideas for paranormals, romantic suspense, contemporaries, and even historicals.

Oh, I do need to decide on what to send to the LH AoE contest. Hmmm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day Dreamer

Today was my chapter's Romance Readers' Luncheon. If you've never been to it, you should plan on it next year. Anne Stuart will be the keynote speaker. I never had the pleasure of meeting her but from the way everyone who knows her acts when her name is mentioned, she must be a hoot.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and Christina Dodd was fantastic and delightfully funny and charming. And she's more beautiful in person than the pictures on her website. The woman's got it all and talented too.

I'm looking forward to the day I'll host my own table as a published author. The first few years, I'll be begging people to sit at my table, probably mostly family and friends, but hopefully when I become a New York Times best selling author, I'll have fans clamoring to sit with me. LOL!

As Christina said, "You have to be a dreamer." And that I am.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Thankful Friday

Well, I'm thankful I still have a job. Business is terribly slow. Some people read during the off time, better than sitting around and talking and then have the manager fuss at you. Myself? I write. Six pages today. I've never had time to do that during my job. A true indicator things are bad. But that's my silver lining. I guess I could then say I'm also thankful I have time to write.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, My, Look At That!


I came across this article about the Hubble Telescope and it had some awesome pictures. It looked all science fiction but was frightfully beautiful.

Click Here For Pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Party Time!


I have something to celebrate today. I finished my third book for the year. The most I had ever done before was one in six months and only that one for the year. So I’m very tickled.

Now it’s time to redo the synopsis on A Sheriff to Call Her Own. Much has changed including the murderer. In this one, the bad guy was obvious but he wasn’t the true evil. In an odd twist he actually saves the hero and heroine. In fact, I had another twist at the end that made perfect sense and was what I thought of as the Yang to the beginning Ying. Full circle. All connected.

And of course, I need to edit the manuscript plus my other one, Shadow Healer. But before I do any editing, I have to get my entries into RWA for the Golden Heart contest. I’d lost my mind and entered three. When one or more of my entries are finalists (saying when instead of if for confidence) they will give me a chance to send in edited manuscripts. Only a 24 hr window opportunity, but by March they all should be well-edited and ready.

For those who don’t know what Golden Heart is, it’s the Oscars for the romance writer. There’s two divisions. One is for published authors and their published books, and the other one’s for unpublished authors and their finished manuscripts.

Two of my manuscripts were finalists in the Maggies (one in 2007 and the other this year). A contest many consider to be like the Golden Globes for romance authors.

Well, wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween

History Channel's history.com has some great info on Halloween.

Check it out - click here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Twilight

I'm still sick, but feeling better. Thankfully by late afternoon I felt like sitting up and typing. Surprisingly, the medicine I'm taking must be helping my concentration. LOL!

Neither here nor there, here's the movie trailer for the most anticipated movie of the year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yesterday

Missed blogging yesterday for two reasons: I was sick and the internet server was sick. Plus I'm still sick and getting ready to go back to bed. Terrible, terrible sinus infection that includes a sinus headache.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Do Men Want...

...To Read? HA! Gotcha!

As I probably mentioned before, I enjoy Stephen King’s articles in Entertainment Weekly. His humor, intelligence, and plain ol’ horse sense always makes me think and see things from another prospective. Now, it doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says, but I usually learn something new.

Last month his article was “What a Guy Wants.” You can imagine it caught my eye. I’m all the time wanting to infuse in my book what guys want, along with how they think and react to certain situations. Well, we know what all men want...but this article had to do with reading material.

One aspect I find in all of Mr. King’s articles is his respect for women writers. He tells us the publishing industry believes the male readership is shrinking, and because of that, editors are looking for the next breakout female writer. Then he points out “seven out of 10 New York Times hardcover fiction best sellers were by women” in the last week of August. (Click Here to See.) My chapter's own Sherrilyn was Number 3 then; the week before she’d been Number 1.

Then he went on to say women objectify men, as men do women in fiction. I agree we can do that at times. He also says men want the same thing women do when they read, “escape and entertainment.” True.

He talks about how many recent male writers have included female secondary characters who are more than sex kittens a.k.a. James Bond’s BHB (Before Halle Berry) babes.

Okay, I know you’ve been waiting for me to tell you what men want in books. As Mr. King said, “...men like to imagine going to war against an army of bad guys with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun (grenades hung on the belt optional).”

LOL! I love men. Ooh-rah!

Oh, it's Friday. I'm thankful for MEN! What did you expect? BFG!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Favorite Bird


Something made me think about this today. I love cardinals. Whenever I see one I smile and think how lucky I am.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Long Summer

I bet all of us at one time or another stared at billowy piles of clouds drifting on a sunny day and fabricated in our mind’s eye snowmen, elephants, dogs, and magnificent castles. As a child, heck, even as an adult, it is one of my favorite pastimes.

My childhood was one long summer. It’s funny but I don’t remember a lot about school but the summers I remember in clear detail. Playing in the woods, building tree-limb forts, catching lightin’ bugs, minnows and tadpoles, climbing trees, and floating in Smith Lake on a Beany and Cecil float. Cecil was my favorite sea-sick sea serpent.

We spent our summers and a lot of fall and spring weekends at that lake. I would gaze at the dark green water, imagining large man-eating catfish and waterlogged coffins--all depending on what tales old Mr. Hightower would entertain me with that day. My sister and I found Indian arrowheads by the red wagon loads. I always wondered why watermelons didn’t pop up in the yard like dandelions after we had one of our seed spitting fights.

At night, bonfires next to the lapping water were for ghost stories, singing and burning marshmallows. Lights from other homes would shoot across the moving water, giving my imagination more fuel as I speculated about the lives of the people on the other shore. Laughter was magnified by the vast openness of the water and the cicadas’ song filled the air, lulling me to sleep each night as I curled up in the top bunk with my little roll-out window open.

Ahh, with a childhood like that, how could I not be a writer?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Superstar!

Lately, I've been reading a favorite author of mine's backlist. I have all of her books and several of them I haven't read in a long, long time.

WOW! She changes POV in mid-paragraph and on occasion mid-sentence. Loads of back story shows up in the beginning along with lengthy passages of narrative throughout the book.

But her voice shined through like the sun. The stories still pulled me and made me forget everything around me. The emotions were deep and hot. Oh, yeah. She was definitely a superstar waiting to happen.

Plus it gave me hope.

Monday, October 20, 2008

No, It's Not July

Over the weekend I went with my husband to his niece’s 3rd birthday. She had a castle birthday cake and wore a tiara to blow out the candles. Cute, cute, cute.

The party made me remember my children’s birthday celebrations over the years and though we couldn’t afford a lot of things when they were little, I have to say we did a pretty good job of making them fun. I hope they were wonderful memories for them.

You know as you get older, birthdays should still be important, but it’s really up to you to make sure they’re special. I’ve had birthdays at the beach, in the mountains, at home, work and partying until the cows came home. Now, I try to have my immediate family around me, wishing me many more.

Yeah. That’s it. Family. They make every birthday special and I’m thankful for each one that comes around.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Three Amigos!

This is for Diane and JoAnn. I'm the Martin Short character. Hey, it stands to reason, I am the shortest.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's All About Attitude

Yeah, yeah. I know you're tired of reading about good attitudes and positive outlooks, but I had made the decision a few months ago to work on mine. So everyone will just have to suffer along with me.

Not that it's hard to do. It's only you have to play a lot of pretend. And since I'm a writer, I feel I'm rather good at hiding from the hard facts of life.

To keep a good attitude, you have to decide you won't worry about the things you can't change. By myself, I cannot make the price of gas go down, the cost of groceries, taxes, power bills, etc. Instead I think about the things I can change about me. So I bought a treadmill and tell myself it's fun to walk a mile each day while listening to books on my iPod. And I work hard on enjoying the beautiful fall days, love stories on TV, writing on my books, and seeing my children.

Today when I was at the grocery store (which I hate to go) I made myself get into the oldies they like to play and made myself smile (including my eyes) at strangers. You know it's kind of odd people take you smiling for no reason at them. Some smiled back (mostly the older women). Some looked at me as if I planned to steal their purse (younger women). While others would quickly look the other way (men of all ages - the younger because they probably thought I knew their mother and the older because they thought I was flirting with them. LOL!).

Anyway, I came away from a chore I hate doing, feeling pretty good. Yep! Attitude is important.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Young Adult Books

In my heart, I'm still a young adult and I have to say I love to watch the teen movies that come out each year. Still my favorite teen movie of all time is TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. The music, the heroine (Julia Stiles), the hero (Heath Ledger), and the comedic relief (Joseph Gordon-Levitt & David Krumhotz - who both grew up to be hunks) were perfect. The Taming of the Shrew was never better.

The real point I'm getting to is if you want to relive your youth, read a young adult book. The angst of the young has changed little in the past 20-30 years. And I would recommend one of the best and funniest, Jennifer Echols. Check her out!
Oh! In spirit of Thankful Friday, I'm thankful for Jennifer Echols!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Doom and Gloom

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today and the agent was warning of cut backs in book sales, advances, royalties, new contracts, and renewing contracts for some authors. All because the worry people will stop buying as many books as they have before.

Yes. I agree we may see some of this, but I know it will be cheaper for me to buy books online, paper and e-format. I'll probably go on vacation nearer to home and spend about the same as I did last year, or maybe go to fewer conferences. But I doubt I will cut back on books. That's the cheapest vacation I can take.

Things should start getting better next summer. We probably won't recover fully for a couple years. I can go into details about what will probably happen next but why depress everyone.

The important part for me is that books will still be there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cravings





I've been craving my favorite hamburger. A Milo's cheeseburger. If you ever come to Birmingham, you need to check it out. Even Linda Howard loves them. She included them in her book Dying to Please.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is There Anyone Out There?

LOL! I woke up with that title running through my early morning cloudy mind. The next thought was "That will be a fast, easy blog." And then promptly forgot what it was to be about. LOL!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Web Presence

Besides my personal blog, you can find me at other locations...

Writing Group Blog: romancemagicians.blogspot.com
Website: www.carlaswafford.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/carlaswafford

Plus you can find me on FaceBook. LOL!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Won!


No. Not a contest. LOL! I bidded for an item on eBay for the first time ever. It was fun. I had to bid two more times at the end. Nothing big. Only 50 cents each time. What did I win? Scrabble tiles. LOL! I'm so much about the words. :-)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thankful Friday a Day Late

I keep forgetting to do my thankful Friday blog.

Here it is...I'm thankful I have the type of day job that I don't have to work on the weekends. There are times I have to work overtime but never on Saturdays or Sundays.

I'm thankful and blessed to make enough money to go to conferences and vacations. That wasn't always so.

When I hear several of the members in my writing group talking about working weekends and making just enough to cover their day-to-day living, I wish I could help them. Maybe when my youngest is out of college, I can do something about that. :::sigh:::

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peggy Webb and Elvis


Well, I'm going to Books-a-Million in Brook-Highland tonight to see my buddy Peggy Webb. Her latest book, Elvis and The Dearly Departed is out and I can't wait to buy it. She writes heart warming, funny books. And she's a wonderful person.

She told me once how her grandson announced to the world, "GeeGee, I love you more than bacon." Now that's true love. LOL!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How Do You See Them?


I was thinking today of when I was growing up I thought of my mom as Lucille Ball (I LOVE LUCY fame) and my dad as John Wayne.

When I told my mom that, she was upset. All mom could think of was how nutty Lucy acted. But if you look at Lucille Ball, really look at her, you will see a beautiful woman. I remember when I was eight or so my mom wore her hair in a French twist and dyed it red. She also loved to play card and board games. In fact, still loves to play games, but her hair is blonde now.

Then there is my dad, six-one, broad shoulders, barrel chest, small hips with a deep voice. I know for a fact he can shoot and ride a horse. I've seen him do both, but not necessarily at the same time. From what I read about John Wayne, he was a wonderful father but not so good husband.

What about you? Does your parents remind you of anyone famous?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Synopsis: Even The Word is Not Fun to Type

I'm working on the synopsis for my latest book. The WIP is almost complete. I'm at the climax and finally know who the villain is and how it will end (happy, of course, I'm talking about how did it gets there). So why is it so hard to write? Because I don't want to put too much of the details into it and make it too long. Or make it sound too heavy in mystery/plot and not show the romance. I need to find the perfect balance.

Then again, the synopsis's beginning is better than my old one. The one I wrote before I was even halfway thought the book.

Whoa! The story is so much better now!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thinking Positive Takes Help

A little over a year ago, depressed with my writing and how long it was taking to break into publishing, I knew my attitude needed to change. What editor or agent wants to talk to a Gloomy-Gus? As I do whenever I’m trying to deal with any unknown area in life, I look for a book on the subject. So I was looking though the inspirational section of Wal-Mart and found The Secret. The book itself was beautifully designed but I purchased the CDs as I’m more apt to listen to self-help books in audio while driving to and from work. I rather read romance in my spare time when I’m not writing.

Now it was a little new age-y but the message was positive and, from everything I read and heard elsewhere, right. It basically said you can have anything you want (money, friends, health, material goods, status, etc.) if you believe you can. And you should start everyday being grateful for what you have and what you will have.

So I started applying the principles with a little revision for my faith and I realized my attitude improved. Then in June I received an unexpected rejection and my spirits fell. Now I knew my depression wasn’t no way as deep as it could’ve been if I wasn’t thinking, working on being positive. Though I do admit it was hard to stay on the path. But it wasn’t just the CDs, it was also the many friends I had in my writing group.

Friends really make the difference.

They’re the ones who email you and ask if you’re okay and tell you when you ready to talk about it, they’ll be there. They’re the ones who tell you when a line in your book is the best they'd ever read and make you believe it. They’re the ones willing to listen and join in your contest judge bashing. They’re the ones who cheer you on when you picking up your not-number-one certificate and make you feel like you’re the next Nora Roberts. They’re the ones who buy you champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries (along with cake) and stay up to two in the morning listening to oldies and talking about old boyfriends and make you feel young again!

And they’re the ones you make a pact to continue to be friends with even when we’re all highfaluting New York Times bestselling authors.

I raise my glass, filled with love and appreciation, to the very best friends I ever had in my life! This is to you, JoAnn Weatherly and Diane Richmond!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Networking

I find people-watching to be the most interesting part of going to a conference. And on top of that, I enjoy meeting new people and saying hello to those I already know. The last two things are part of what is called networking. I'm so happy something I already enjoy doing is important in the writing business.

So hello again to Teresa Medeiros (thanks for remembering me & we'll treat your buddy, Christina Dodd, well), Margie Lawson (the interstate near Tall-a-dega was clear after all), Tanya Michaels (thank you again for wishing me luck - it worked), Wanda Ottewell (the partial will be sent soon), Jennifer Schober (the email will be coming soon), Anna DeStephano (thank you for your kindness on the stage), Nicki Salcedo (thank you for wishing me luck with my appointment), Emily Sewell (I hope you're getting well-deserved rest), Cathy Mann (you're sweet as ever), Trish Milburn (I'm looking forward to seeing you again November 1 at Southern Magic's Luncheon), Gannon Carr (just let us know if you want to come to the luncheon), Anna Adams (you have one of the nicest smiles), Carmen Green (good to see you again), Pat Trainum (Congratulations on your win!), Patricia Robertson, Jennifer St Giles, Missy Tippens, Debby Giusti, Jacquie D'Alessandro, Susan Goggins, Suzanne Adair, Juli Heaton, Regan Loyd, Heather McCollum, Dianna Shuford, Mary Marvella, Nancy Litzau, and several other wonderful writers.

Third Ain't Bad When You Got Friends

Okay, my book came in 3rd place at the GRW's Maggies in the Unpublished Long Contemporary. At least, Wanda Ottewell asked for the partial. I'm okay with that. I did better than last year. Plus my good, sweet buddies bought me this...

Chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate cake, carrot cake and other sweets with champagne! Are they the best friends ever? Love you JoAnn and Diane! And it's not the champagne talking!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking A Second

Sorry. Working on my pitch for the agent tomorrow and need some rest. Plus been trying to Bluetooth some pictures, but they wouldn't connect. I'll try tomorrow. See you then. AND YES I'M HAVING A FUN TIME!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Conference Bound!

Well, tomorrow I head for Norcross, GA and the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. My book, A Sheriff to Call Her Own, is a finalist in the Maggies, Long Contemporary category. Wish me luck!

Hopefully I'll find time to blog while I'm there. If not, you know I'm having too much fun. LOL!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oldies But Goodies


I'd forgotten I love old movies. Today, while cooking supper, I was changing channels and came across Turner Classics. A Yul Brynner movie was on. Many of you probably have never heard of him. He shaved his head before shaving your was cool. If you like old movies, you probably saw him in the King and I.

With his accented deep voice, beautiful eyes and lips, he was oh so sexy. In the movie I watched, he played a Communist officer who falls in love with a married Englishwoman. As always, he's all alpha male. The kissing scene was hot!

The kiss is in the trailer. Click here to check it out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Every Woman's True Love - Shoes

The other day I decided to buy me a new pair of shoes. Easier said than done. Due to breaking several bones in my feet over the years and not having them seen to (I thought I had pulled muscles or had a bad bruise), I have spurs in several places. So I don't wear heels.

Have you ever tried to find fashionable and pretty shoes without heels? Not fun at all.

You can find tons of sandals of all types with rhinestones, shiny material, and all kinds of colors, but look for pretty feminine shoes without heels and covers your freezing toes and you'll be looking for days. I've seen some of the most gosh awful shoes. All I want are shoes without heels that makes me feel girly. And NO I don't want a ballerina type or loafers.

Well, I'll let you know if I find any.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Know You're Beginning to Wonder

I really do watch regular shows, but lately I do believe ad agencies are getting the hang of making entertaining commercials. If they don't want people to TiVo pass them, they need to make them entertaining. NASCAR sponsors have done a good job for years. But even the other guys are getting better, e.g. GEICO commercials with the cave men.

This next commercial is so funny because of Chris Kattan at the end. I loved the movie, Night at the Roxbury. It had such heart. And of course the Saturday Night Live skit was so funny. All such an 80's thing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We'll Miss You, Paul Newman


Paul Newman died Friday at the age of 83. Even at that age, he was still a good looking man. My heartfelt sympathy goes to his beautiful wife, Joanne Woodward.

They were a true love story.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Favorite Commercial

I love history, so this commercial was right up my alley. Funny!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mad Men

I've been torn between watching Mad Men and not watching. I want to watch it because I've heard about the great acting and writing. I didn't want to watch it because it was an era I grew up in. Even when I started working quite awhile after all the bra burning, men still treated women the same way. "Go get me a cup of coffee, Carla." The only change was they didn't say honey anymore and it was okay to fix myself a cup too. (I don't drink coffee.) I had one boss tell me it was okay for me to call him by his first name when I was in his office, but when others were around, I'm to call him Mr. LastName. We weren't allowed to wear pants, only skirts or dresses. Some of the women wore rather short skirts. Made filing in the bottom drawer interesting for the guys. Yes, people smoked in the office, but we weren't allowed to have sodas or food at the desk. No radios but there were piped in elevator music.

There are more subtle things that happened I won't get into, but as you can imagine it's not a way of life I would like to return to. Though for the last several years I thought all of that was behind me, I've had a few instances come up recently that prove chauvinistic attitudes at work are still alive and well in the U.S.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One of The Signs You're Grown Up

Today, I had my yearly physical and I've decided I may have to change doctors. Oh, my doc is a nice man, but last year I found out he's my age and you know what? Every since then that has given me the creeps. I would like you to know if he and I dated in our twenties, he would've had to at least fed me dinner before he could get his hands where he did.

Just had to say it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Nerdy Heroes Can Be Cool!

My favorite sitcom. So very funny!! Love those nerds!


Plus a buddy of mine blogged about Geek Love. Check it out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

When a Boy Hits On You

When I was little and a boy hit my arm or pinched me or later snapped my bra, my mom would say "He likes you." Well, I can tell you I never thought he liked me. I never equated that to anything resembling fondness. That was a boy not understanding his emotions and his mom or dad telling him it was okay to hit.

I told my girls it was never okay for a boy to hit them and for that matter, they weren't allowed to hit boys (or girls). Big no-no.

Why am I blogging about this? Something someone said today made me think about it and I felt the need to blog about it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Rant About Writers' Contests

Each time I enter a contest, if I final or not, I usually find a comment or two a judge makes to be crazy or downright ignorant. Like the one a few years ago wrote there weren't malls in the seventies. She didn't say "she thought" but she told me without doubt there wasn't any. Well, Birmingham's Eastwood Mall opened in the sixties and was torn down just a couple years ago. Or the one who said there were only stone floors in castles. I'm sure she's been in every castle in England and knew this for a fact. ::snort::

If they're not giving incorrect information, they're trying to change my manuscript. Like the one who said the heroine's mother would never comment on how the hero is sexy. Hello! How would she know? I know the mom. She came out of my imagination. Goodness! I'm a mom of a two grown girls. They can tell you I'm very verbal about who is sexy and who isn't. Then there was one of the more recent judges who marked up my manuscript to the point little white remained on the pages. If she wants to write a paranormal, she didn't need to start with my book.

Some judges need to remember the basic story should stay, only the readable of the story should be scored. Thankfully more and more judges overall like my stories. Thus the reason I final in over 20% of the contests I enter. But after doing this for a few years, I've learned to toss out most of the junk they mention - like underline instead of using italics. Geez, like the editor would really care. It always amazes me what's so important to people.

Be prepared. If I enter any more, I'll be blogging on the stupid things they say. But be aware, I'm cutting back on contests even more than I did this year. They take up precious time I could be finishing or polishing books.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh! Grow Up!

Okay, okay, okay. I know I talk too much about General Hospital on this blog. But this week’s episodes had a couple threads to do with parents and how as an adult you’re still controlled by the way they treated you in the past.

Of course, the drama is over the top sometimes and I would love to say to the grown kids, “Grow up! Take responsibility for your own actions!” Then I would like to add, “Parents are human too!" In many romances, the hero and/or heroine have issues left over from their own childhoods. Grown men with trust issues, especially in their relationship with women, are that way because their mom cheated on their dad or left them on their own. And the women may have grown up without a dad and have daddy issues (thus dating much older men) or their dad preferred a son over the daughter, so the daughter acts like a boy.

It's a wonderful way to add depth to a character. There are many ways to play it, but the most important part is to handle it in a subtle way. Who likes a whiner? Otherwise, your reader would be shouting the same things I did at the TV.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yes, sir!

The other day I was reading a very sexy book in which the woman said, “Yes, sir,” to the hero. And when I say he liked it, I mean he really liked it.

Living in the Deep South and working in a male dominant day job, I’ve never thought anything of including the respectful address of sir in responding to a customer’s yes or no question over the phone. Now since I’ve read this book and enjoyed it tremendously – talk about hot! – whenever I say “Yes, sir” or “No, sir” I can’t help but wonder in the far reaches of my mind if certain customers get a thrill out it. No. I’m not wanting a response like in the book, I’m just curious.

Just as I’m always surprised when they comment on my accent. Of course, it takes me a couple seconds of “What accent?” tumbling through my thoughts before I realize they’re talking about my Southern drawl.

Hmmm. It’s something to think a little more about. Little tidbits to add to my books.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Misleading Words

As a writer, I'm always on the lookout for new words. Most I can use. Some are just too odd and would only confuse the reader. Did you know the most popular fiction books are usually written geared for a reader with an average of a ninth grade education? Not saying those who read books have a ninth grade education, just at that level the reading is easy and doesn't take a lot of concentration. Besides the average person uses language any ninth grader would understand.

Anyway, a couple words I like and do not use because 1) most people do not use it in their everyday speech and 2) they look dirty but aren’t. You knew there was a catch to it. It always comes down to sex for me. LOL!

They are cogitate (to think hard; ponder; meditate) and masticate (to chew).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Luxury Items?

With the cost of gas getting out of hand and the stock market reverting to percentages echoing 2001, people are cutting back on trips and avoiding buying big luxury items. Thus the car manufacturers' layoffs. I know I don't plan to buy a new car for at least three more years as my youngest is still in college. All my extra money is going to Jacksonville State. GO GAMECOCKS!

But will they cutback on their "home" entertainment? I don't think so. Since they're not traveling far, they will be going to the movies, renting DVDs, watching PPV and buying books. Yeah. I believe the economy will help sales, especially e-formats. Am I psychic? Heavens, no. I just know with the money I'll save in not traveling (I love to fly and I haven't been on a plane in over a year - longest time I haven't in, ohhhh, ten years), I'll spend on gas, groceries and books.

With Harry Potter's popularity, I believe the fans will look for similar books. Paranormal will stay strong.

Then again, I may be off my rocker. LOL!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Day

Well, I realized this morning, I had forgotten to blog yesterday - I fell asleep at my laptop again. LOL!

In two weeks I go to Georgia Romance Writers' conference, Moonlight and Magnolias and I've been so excited about it since I found out I'm a finalist in the Maggies. So many of my friends will be there and that makes it so much nicer.

So write it on your calendar and pray for me. :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Harlequin Stories

Have you ever wished you could tell Harlequin what type of stories you would love to read? Then check out www.tellharlequin.com and tell them all about it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Role Models

I was thinking today about my role models when it comes to being a writer. Luckily I have several and most I see on occasion.

A special thank you to Sherrilyn Kenyon, Linda Howard, Kelley St. John, Peggy Webb, Debra Webb, Paula Graves and Lyn Randal.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thank Goodness for Fridays

A few weeks ago, I had wrote I would blog my thanks for something each Friday. Then I completely forgot. LOL!

So today I'm thankful I'm one of those people who love to make up stories. I have people yakking in my head who believe their lives are so important, and of course, I get all wrapped up in their problems. I feel what they feel. I see what they see. And I love the guy just the same.

Thank you, Lord, for making me a writer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good News!

I found out my book, A Sheriff to Call Her Own, is a finalist in the Golden Gateway! YEAH!!! Things are looking up! Now to revise and get it back to the contest coordinator!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thank Goodness For Videos on Demand


No. That's not my lips. I just realized today I missed True Blood. Planned on watching it. Excited about it coming on. Then BANG! I forgot. Sigh. Oh, well, thank goodness for VOD. That's how I watched all the Tudors last season.

If you're wondering what is True Blood. Click here to find out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Walking and Listening


Last weekend I finally put together my new treadmill. Love it! I get to walk in airconditioning, without worrying about dogs, mosquitoes, or cars running over me. This poor old body needed excerising so much. We have a gym at work, but with my hours, I would have go in extra early in the morning and shower in their "open" locker room. The guys can do it, but not me. With this body? Hell no!

Anyway, the treadmill has a connection where I can hook in my iPod. Love it! The first two times I used it, I listened to music. Soothing. But today I decided on something different. I listened to Karen Marie Moning's free podcast of her first Fever series, DarkFever. Made me remember why I love this series so much. I can't wait for the third book to come out. Her new website shows there will be two more, plus you can click on the link to her free podcast. I'm in heaven! She's doing such a wonderful job on them.

Thanks, Karen!