Friday, February 26, 2010

Thankful Friday

Wow! I love this cover. Ms. Bennett is so lucky. I hope whenever I get published, one of my books have such a sexy cover. The guy with his shirt caught on his arms. Oh, my. And, yes, covers can make you decide to buy a book even without reading the back.

I'm thankful I'm a woman. LOL!

And now a beautiful Irish saying, "May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silken Sands Conference

I’m looking forward to the conference at Pensacola this March. The last few years I’ve gone to several conferences but when I have a stretch like this (July to March), I get a little charged up. I wish I wouldn’t. Why? Because when I get there I get disappointed. If I keep my expectations low, I enjoy it more. And with each conference, I get a bit sadder. Why? Because I feel stagnated. I’m going in circles. Sure I’m still writing and sending out queries on a couple of my finished books, but I’ve been on this merry-a-go-round before. The only change is books and location. ::sigh::

I do miss the excitement I felt when I first started out on this journey into madness.

Monday, February 22, 2010

God Is A Mathematician

I believe God is a mathematician. Why? Because every time I turn around numbers are trying to tell me something. Of course, when my bank account shrinks to small digits, it’s telling me I need to quit spending money. That’s an easy one. We know that computers are run on numbers. Thus the zeros and ones used in programming. I’m not sure how it’s done, I’m just grateful they exist. Just as I don’t understand how scientists can measure black holes in space when they’re merely theory. So for now, I’ll stick to things I know on earth.

When I was expecting my first daughter her due date was 08.08.80 (M.D.Y). Yes. Pretty neat, wasn’t it? Well, she was born on 08.06.80 at 1:12 a.m. instead. Actually she missed being born on my grandfather’s (maternal) birthday by less than two hours. Then my second daughter’s due date was 01.11.88. She was born 01.01.88 at 2:24 p.m. Okay, pay special attention to the time. Youngest daughter was born in the afternoon and double the numbers for the elder’s time. Seeing a pattern?

Not directly related to numbers themselves, but my birthday and my girls’ birthdays, though all on different dates of course, always fall (except leap years) on the same day of the week. This year they’re on Fridays.

Even my cell phone number plays a part. The last four digits are a combination of the year I was born and the year I was married. So easy to remember.

Yes. I do occasionally dabble in numerology. I try to be careful for as a Christian it’s consider to be too close to witchcraft. Yeah, yeah. People can tease about living in a modern world. But considering how numbers play an important part in my life, I know there’s a lot more out there than any of us understand.

Who would’ve ever thought 100 years ago, heck! 20 years ago, because of zeros and ones people around the world can read this simple post within seconds of me posting it?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Me, Myself and I

The other day, I watched the clip for THE UNITED STATES OF TARA. It's a series on SHOWTIME about a woman with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Click here to check our more information on the disorder. They use to call it Multiple Personality Disorder. One person with two or more unique personalities.

When I was a kid, I watched THE THREE FACES OF EVE. I found it fascinating how a person could split off into different personalities to deal with stress or situations her mind could no longer handle.

I believe we all have the capability to do this and some of us (if not all) do this in small ways.

Let me explain further. As an adult, when we visit with our parents, we're often seeking assurance they love us or we're reverting back to being the child, wanting their approval. Anyway, the way we talk and respond to our parent is different than the way we would be to a co-worker or our child or a stranger. True, we wouldn't be different to the extreme as Eve or Tara, but we change and show different aspects of our united personality.

I've thought about this quite often over the years for as I was growing up my parents divorced and dated and/or married different people, I found ways to cope with the different personalities coming and going out of my life. And this includes my husband's parents and his brothers and sisters and their different spouses. Lots and lots of people as some were married several times. Like many people I wanted to get along with everyone and learned how to deal with many of them. How did I do this?

Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I stopped at a local gas station to pick up some ice. The ice maker in my frig no longer works and I've paid twice to get it fix over the years and refuse to do it again. I want a new one, but I'll have to wait. Anyway, the woman behind the counter was talking with another woman and I could tell they were what you could call Earthy. Me, being the type with unrealistic goals (have everyone like me), I say, "Howdy," and proceed to lay on a thick Southern accent. I'm told that most of the time my accent isn't heavy. It's there but more of a city version. I don't drop many g's and rarely say ya'll. In this case, I was using the Red Neck version. The woman smiled and we talked about the beautiful weather.

I don't really think about, I just do it. If I was meeting with customers, no matter where they're from, my accent is in the background you could say. Hovering nearby and noticeable but not overbearing.

When I use to work for another company, I called the company's other factory in Belfast almost every day. During the conversations, I'd make sure to speak clearly and distinctly. My co-workers use to tease me and say by the end of the call I even had an Irish accent. LOL! All part of trying to fit in.

Okay, now to come to how this pertains to writing. As this facet is part of all of us, we all do it in our own way, we need to make our characters do the same. Now if you think this wouldn't make your character believeable or consistent, think of this. How often have we seen the big alpha male get all soft and tender with a baby or child? He can act like a jerk with the heroine (hopefully for a good reason) and be the hero for the little boy. It's all part of layering, changing that cardboard character into a real person, good or bad.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Deep Point Of View

I'm constantly working on improving my writing. One of my downfalls is deep point of view. I'm better than I use to be, but I want to get better. So the things I've learned is this.

1) Pretend you're the character (whoever's POV) and you're looking around. Describe what you see in regards to action including dialogue. E.g., Lisa traced the scar on Rick's chest. "Did the other man live?"
2) Be sure to SHOW emotions. E.g., Lisa kicked the garbage can and then shook her fist in the air. "My stupid boyfriend better not break another date with me!"
3) Avoid TELLING how the character feels. E.g., Lisa was hungry. Instead SHOW. E.g., Lisa's gaze followed the spoon as it traveled to the man's mouth and back to the bowl.
4) Don't forget to include the result of that emotion. E.g., Lisa's stomach growled. She wiped the corner of her mouth on her sleeve.
5) Be sure to avoid wherever possible words such as she saw, watched, thought, decided and so on. Remember that you wouldn't think "I'm thinking..." instead you think it. E.g., Lisa wiggled her fingers. Every swell and muscle on Rick's chest would be like well-sanded oak, warm to the touch and rock hard.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thankful Friday

I'm thankful for my friend Sherrlyn Kenyon. Not only does she write wonderful entertaining books, but she put together a book I use quite often. THE WRITER'S DIGEST CHARACTER NAMING SOURCEBOOK.

Plus without hesitation she accepted my invite to be Southern Magic's keynote speaker at the 2011 Romance In The Magic City conference. She's such a sweet, giving, kind, talented woman.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Still Want To Be Published

I was talking with a buddy of mine of how J.K. Rowling is being sued for plagiarism. Click here to read about it. It's a shame a person can’t become successful without everyone trying to get a piece of the pie by any means. Of course, even big authors mess up, but from the way the article reads, the reporter had doubts. Plus the article mentions "plagiarised themes" and as far as I know, a theme(s) cannot be copyrighted. Then again, I'm not a lawyer.

Then my buddy said something I hadn’t thought about. She wants to buy the other book to see if it was true. At that point, she turned to me and asked, "What if part of the reason for the lawsuit is to beef up sales for the accuser’s book?" Whoa! I’m usually the cynical one but she out did me this time. Good one, girlfriend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Nature...From The Other Side of Glass

In Mary's blog yesterday, she mentioned she hates camping. Me too! I've tried it twice and I can tell you it left a lot to be desired.

My dad loves the outdoors. He use to hunt (rifle & bow) and fish. He loved driving his boat, pulling skiers or just checking out the scenery. I never got the guts up as a kid to try water skiing. In my twenties I tried it and I never could get my butt up out of the water. It was the strangest enema I ever had. Yeah, yeah, TMI.

But thankfully Dad never acted like he was interested in camping. His idea of roughing it was in an double wide mobile home next to a huge lake or in a RV.

After my hubby and I got married, his friends asked us to go to Talledega (NASCAR race) and camp out. Since we were poor and barely could afford the tickets, there was no way we could buy a deluxe tent or rent a RV (I can't remember if you could do that back in the 70's). So he bought us a pup tent. Yep. The type you crawl into and have to back out of because it was so small.

The evening was sort of fun. There were about ten of us and we cooked out, talked and drank (sodas for me) and laughed a lot. One of my hubby's friends owned a chopper (fancy motorcycle - think EASY RIDER) and we rode it around, enjoying the feel of being young, free, and hippies. Hey, it WAS the 70's.

Then bedtime came. I like to brush my teeth, wash my face and...uh..."use" the bathroom. The area we were camped at didn't have restrooms or port-a-potties. Nothing. Someone in the group nailed a tarp on a tree and worked the edges out to make a makeshift teepee. (Get it?) Yep. You guessed it. That was our restroom. Yuck! It was stinky and grossing. I hated it.

Well, that night as we snuggled in our little pup tent (everyone else had deluxe fancy ones), it rained. I woke to a cold snap. Not freezing, thank goodness, but it wasn't pleasant. Damp, cold everything. Double yuck! I felt dirty all day long. In fact, I didn't go back to Talledega for twenty-something years and I can promise you, no camping out.

Now you would think that was enough, but noooo, I let my hubby talk me into going out camping again a year later. Once again, we had the ugly, smelly pup tent and the other couple had the luxury suite tent. But my hubby thoughtfully brought along two air mattresses. How sweet, huh? Wait for it.

We had a pretty good time. We cooked out, laughed, joked around, drank (I had sodas) and we even had a restroom just up the hill from our camp about 20 yards from the lake. That's much better.

When we stretched out on the air mattresses that night, it felt so good. No hard ground. Even when it started to rain, I was okay with it as I was dry and it was summer, so no worry of it getting cold. Wait for it.

Next morning I woke up and realized the air was out of my mattress. Then I noticed my back and arms were wet. I WAS IN AN INCH OF WATER! I kicked my hubby and told him I had been SLEEPING IN WATER! When all he did was grumble and turn over to go back to sleep (his AIR MATTRESS WAS FLOATING!!), I unzipped the tent and stepped out into the lake. Yes, the frigging LAKE! **There it is.*** It had rain so much that night the lake had overtaken our campground. By the way, the other couple's tent didn't leak and they were dry.

After I did some stomping around and screaming...yes, I don't take well to waking up in water in the middle of the frigging LAKE! I got into the car and refused to get out. I wanted to go home and that's exactly what we did. Yes. I wasn't pleasant. I'm not a morning person, but this was beyond crazy.

That was the last time I ever camped. RV's, hotels, and cabins are for me. Everyone else can keep the tents...pup or super luxury. I don't care. Stupid frigging camping.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You Said What?

I know sometimes on my blog I'll fuss about contests or even the odd book that comes out I'm disappointed in, but thankfully I never mention names unless in a positive light. It's so important if you have a blog to keep all of that in mind. Whenever I read someone else's blog and the author gives names, publishing houses and uses the foulest of language, I cringe.

An editor with Ellora's Cave talks about such behavior and I'm not surprised by what she tells us.

Hmm, maybe I need to go back and check on my old posts and see if something should be deleted or modified. :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Funny Commercial

I posted this commercial over on the Romance Magicians' blog, but wanted to share it here too.



I can't help but laugh everytime I watch it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being a Fan

I'm a fan of a good many authors. Almost all of them you're heard me mention on my blog. Just for the heck of it, I'll see if I can list those who are automatic buys for me without missing too many: Anne Stuart (Love her bad men heroes. She teeters on that dark edge so well.), Susan Elizabeth Phillips (New author to me I've been going on and on about. I never loved football before, but she's making me reconsider.), Victoria Dahl (My goodness I love her sense of humor and her books are hot! The latest hero has tattoos that just make you melt.), Jenna Black (I don't usually like demons as good guys, but hers are hard to resist.), Kresley Cole (Ditto what I said about Jenna's, plus her books are so fast pace, I have to remember to put the book down to breathe), Shannon McKenna (Hers is like crack sex and her men are so alpha male.), Debra Webb (Her single title books are my favorite. She gets on the gritty side with those and I love that.), and Christy Reece (I love spy/undercover books and she does them right).

There are others but I don't read everything they write, mainly because they write such diverse books, the stories don't alway hit the spot with me. Some of these authors I've read for more than twenty years. Maybe they've changed and I've changed and we've kind of gone our separate ways. I do still keep an eye out for their books but costs of books being what they are, I've learned to look at the story first.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow In The South

We rarely get snow in the South. But we did Friday. Thankfully, the ground was warm enough for it not to cover the street. It was pretty. The stuff fell all day Friday. The pictures below start from my job (top of my car) and continue through downtown on the interstate, down a highway and then the street I live on. I live 20 miles from work. In the picture of downtown Birmingham, the foggy looking picture, there was so much snow falling it appeared to be smokey.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cutting Up

Nearly every second Thursday is my time for a trim and touch up of my gray roots. Yes. Gray. I use to look in the mirror and see dark roots but no longer.

I love the lady who fixes my hair. (In the South, we use the word fix a lot. E.g., I'm fixing to go to the store. I'm fixing supper now. I'm fixing to shoot you if you don't get out of my yard.) Anyway, not only do I love this woman because she's so talented, but because she jokes with me and never acts surprised or embarrassed when I say something risqué. She's so much fun and I'm lucky my friend, Sande, introduced me to her.

Side note about the blog: I guess you noticed I'm not blogging every day. I still have a lot to say, but I decided to not push myself in blogging that often. If I have something to say, good. If I don't, I'm not beating up myself. I'll probably still blog most days than not. I just figured I place enough pressures on myself and this one isn't as important.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Duh!

I've mentioned before I play Scrabble during lunch. It's been almost three years now and I believe my lunch/Scrabble buddies was getting tired of it. I know I was mainly because I got frustrated with not winning often. No. I'm not being a poor loser, but I'm a writer. Words will one day be the way I make a living. Even if it is just for a supplement to my retirement check. I probably only win maybe 15% of the time. My daughter wins 4o%. My friend wins 10% and our only male lunch buddy 35%. Drives me nuts.

So we started playing Boggle. I thought for sure I could do better wth this one. Nope!

Geez, Louise! I'm beginning to worry about my brain. But I keep telling myself knowing a lot of obscure and three and four letter words aren't important. Hey! It works for me. Makes me feel better.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Oldie But Goldie

I don't know what jarred my memory on this, but out of the blue I remembered the magazines I use to sit for hours and read of my grandmother's. She subscribed to TRUE LOVE and TRUE CONFESSIONS along with a couple movie magazines I can't remember the names. OH, MY GOODNESS! I had so forgotten about them. I remember reading them and getting a little warm (you could say). They were my truly first romance stories I ever read. I remember how my grandmother would say something about them not being age appropriate, but she never stopped me. LOL! I guess she was just happy to see me reading, unlike my other cousins.

Anyway, here's a link to check them out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another Day In Paradise

One of the guys in my section has gotten a new job in another department. He will be moving to another building and his office will have a large picture window. From what I understand, it’s not a promotion, but a lateral move. It’s just that this department has a section of the building with several offices and each office has a window or two in it. Last time I was in the department, meeting with a couple of people, I noticed something that disturbed me. The men are in the offices with the windows and the women in cubicles against a blind wall, no windows. Only one of the men is in a position to be considered to be management. And if you’re thinking the women are secretaries, no. Only one of them would be considered in that type of position. From what I know the women’s jobs are as important as the men and in some cases, not much different.

Though I’m not in the same office, I know I would love to have a office. One where I could close the door and have some quiet time to finish working on a job or finish a call without interruption or being over heard. But especially to have a window. I sit in a cube in the center of a building with no windows with five cubicles around me and the complete room has around fifty people in it. It gets plenty noisy in there.

I’m thankful for my job, but it still disturbs me with the unequal treatment I continue to see in the workplace between men and women.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Now That Looks Good

Overall I have a hard time turning down food. Thus the reason I have weight issues. Or like the new PC way of saying it, I’m weight challenged. To me that sounds like what my mother and sister’s problem when they were younger. They were underweight. That’s not the case for me. Remember I said I have a hard time TURNING down food. Why The Lord decided I would be only one of my siblings to have the problem, I have no idea, but even my brother is tall and skinny as a rail. I’m not only the tallest one sideways, but the shortest lengthwise. I get my weight challenges from my dad’s side of the family. He had two sisters who were well-rounded individuals - yes, a play on words.

I was standing at the candy vending machine, slipping in coin after hard earned coin into the slot, anticipating the taste of one of my favorite candy bars, Milky Ways. The creamy caramel and nougat all covered in milk chocolate…awww…cho…co…late. It was wonderful.

Sorry. I’ve got my eyes uncrossed now. While standing there I was thinking of my favorite foods that I cannot turn down unless I have the stomach flu and even then I’ve learned where’s there a will, there’s a way, and decided to list them on the blog. Yes. Another list. You know me. I love lists.

10. Cotton candy and caramel popcorn.
Though two junk foods, I feel they belong together on the list.

9. Anything with cinnamon in it.
Especially “cinnamon toast.”

8. Cheese
Especially gouda.

7. French fries

6. Chicken and dressing
My mom’s in particular.

5. Apple strudel or baked apples.
Remember the cinnamon above?

4. Coconut Bon-bons
Coconut centers with a thin layer of flavored fondant.

3. German Chocolate cake
The coconut and pecan icing is to die for.

2. Pie
Pecan, lemon, apple, etc., but preferably chocolate. Not surprised, heh?

1. Donuts
Krispy Kreme or a little bakery near where I work called Fultondale Bakery. They could give Krispy Kreme a run for their money.

And I wonder why I’m so…plump?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Let The Sunshine In


I’ve learned when I get stumped in my writing to move my laptop to another area in the house. The room upstairs I normally write in has one small window while the rooms downstairs have large floor to ceiling ones. Daylight helps me write. I’m like a bug. More sunshine, the more active I am.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Remembering Why I Write

I took a few days away from the blog to get a little more writing done and even finished reading another book. I'm still enjoying Susan Elizabeth Philllips's backlist. Between hers and Victoria Dahl's newest one, I've been laughing so hard. Great romances, good laughs, heated moments and tear-jerker emotions.

My goodness, I haven't had so many wonderful books to read in years. There is a benefit in finding a new author who has been writing for several years.