As family descends today, I want to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Life is precious and time with our families is one of the season's greatest gifts. Love and peace to all of you.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
:: BREAKING NEWS ::
Our resident Diva Briana has finally had her 7th child after the longest labor in history! And Romance Divas kept track (and bets) on it....
Sophia (no middle name at this time)
Born: Monday, December 19, 2005
Time: 5:21 PM
Weight: 8lbs 6oz
Length: 21 inches
Hip Hip Hurray!
Monday, December 19, 2005
I've just completed the re-vamping of Kristen's Website and now I've created a new look for her blog. I hope to have all the kinks worked out by the end of the day.
In the meantime, she's scurrying to clean and set up her once empty rooms to make room for her guests. I'm sure it's going to sparkle like a store's showroom.. she's a decorating freak... trust me. Also, I've begged her to pack up some of those homemade cookies to ship my way. After all, I've just spent most of the weekend doing work for her. Sniff sniff.
Have patience folks as I do tweaks in here...
Onto other news. Our very own Briana is having her baby TODAY! Finally the day has come and we'll know all the baby stats! It's the longest labor in Romance Divas history. I can also say it's our first Diva Baby since we created that place!
The big, bad hacker,
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Have you seen this book by Elaura Niles? I just picked it up yesterday and have been skimming through it. It's full of common sense advice, types of writers/critique partners/agents to avoid and suggestions on networking (not that I need those-haha). The author really stresses the importance of getting to know people in the business as a way of getting your foot in the door.
It's an interesting book but it raised some questions for me. Are there writers out there with great ideas, a good grasp of their craft and the gift of storytelling that are never going to make it because they don't ever go to a conference and chat up an editor in the elevator?
Very few of us live in NYC, the home turf of many an agent and editor. We struggle to distinguish ourselves from the rest of our peers in the slush pile, hoping at times for nothing more than a personalized rejection instead of the preprinted form. Is there hope? Or are we disallusioned against the truth of our chances?
The answer? NO. There is hope. I'm living proof. Am I published yet? In poetry and short stories, yes but not in novel length fiction. I do feel like I'm on the verge and I bet a lot of you feel that way too.
What makes me feel that way? In the short time I've been seriously writing toward publication I have garnered numerous requests for partials from agents and editors and recently fulls (the requeseted full of my second book sits at two major NYC houses right now), I've cultivated friendships with some wonderfully people, many of them multi-pubbed authors, some of them agents, some of them major publishing house publicists. The rejections I get aren't form letters for the most part, they're personal notes, hand-signed, with compliments on my writing and interest in other projects.
Do I live in NYC? No. But I've managed to do some networking and I put my heart and soul into learning my craft. I've taken the advice of critique partners and honed my skills. I've read craft books, taken workshops, attended conferences, entered and judged contests. I'm even working on building my repertoire of workshops that I can give. None of these things require residency in Manhattan.
How about you? Are you a writer who deserves to starve or a writer on the verge? What makes you think you're on the verge if that's your answer? How have you gotten there?
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Hershey's has a new flavor of kiss out. Cherry cordial. Obviously, the devil is now working in the R & D department of Hershey's because these little nuggets of chocolate cherry goodness are pure evil wrapped in pretty red foil. Delicious. But evil.
Great. My mouth is watering. I may need an exorcisim.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I'm at 95% of the way to being done with my WIP! I hope to finish today or at least get within pages.
On an odd note, I had to sleep with two paper mache reindeer last night. I bought them for Christmas and they were sitting by my bed in a bag (waiting for me to find them a home until after Thanksgiving) when, around 3am, I heard rustling. Naughty cat rustling. Someone black fat and fuzzy was chewing their ears off.
The reindeer slept safely beside me the rest of the night.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Time is ticking away to get my two Golden Heart entries in the mail.
I still have to write two synopsises.
I still have to polish both entries one final time.
I still have to finish the second ms. But I'm getting close.
What's up with your writing?
Monday, November 14, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Tomorrow is a big day. Why?
A. Tomorrow (Monday the 14th) in the Romance Divas chatroom, agent Steven Axelrod will be chatting from 9pm to 10pm. If you're interested in participating, simply register in the Forum section then email me (kbrunori at yahoo.com) for a password.
B. Also tomorrow, the Sun magazine with my short story, Sweet Beginnings, goes on sale! This is my first published short so I'm excited about it.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
This is one of my goofy cats, Sam. As you can see, he's a great help when I'm trying to write. (How do I get anything done? That's really what you're thinking, isn't it?)
The conference was great! I got a request from an agent, so there's one more thing I need to get done. Yikes, I have a ton of work to do!
Off to write. Have a great day!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Howdy, blog friends!
I'm off to Virginia to the Chesapeake Romance Writer's annual Fantasies By The Sea Conference. I'll be back on Monday (and yes, there will be a Goofy Cat Monday). I'll be sure to bring presents for everyone!
While I'm gone, here's something for you to discuss:
How do you name your characters? How do you name your villians? Are there underlying meanings to the names you give them? Spill it!
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Shadow is home and everything went fine. They showed me pictures of her teeth before and after the cleaning - not only didn't she require any extractions but the vet said she has the teeth of a much younger cat than her actual 18-20 years.
They also told me that because of the anesthisia and morphine, not to worry if she didn't eat tonight or even tomorrow morning. As soon as I opened the carrier door when we got home, she made a beeline to the food. Such a tough cookie!
So far, so good. I think she's enjoying the morphine. I keep hearing these little half-purrs come out of her. lol
Shadow (my eldest cat) is undergoing surgery today. I took her to the vet this morning, they ran some bloodwork and were surprised to see that other than her infected ear, she's in pretty good health for a cat of her years. The surgery will be as short as possible so she doesn't have to be under too long.
Poor sweet creature. I pray this turns out well.
It's hard to write romance when a member of the family is in hospital.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Today's pics come a little later than usual. It's been a tough day as my oldest cat is getting closer and closer to the point where I wonder if the quality of her life still outweighs her health issues. But looking at these sweet pics is enough to put a smile on anyone's face!
Friday, October 28, 2005
Only 68 pages to go and my current manuscript, The Perfect Dish, will be done! Well, the first draft will be done. There will be polishing to do but I am so psyched! I've never written a book this quickly. Pretty amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it, huh? I started this book the week before conference so that's 16 weeks of writing - although due to travel and moving from Virginia to Florida, there were many weeks I didn't write more than a few pages.
I can't wait to type "The End". It's such a great feeling! (I like edits best. I know, I'm a sick puppy.)
What's your favorite part of writing? The beginning? The end? The polishing?
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Just checked to see what keywords and phrases people are searching with that return my blog as a hit. Though you might enjoy this bit of oddness. Here they are:
why good girl like bad boys (I kind of like this one)
that's a wrap purse
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I actually managed 7 pages yesterday. That's a lot better than none, right? Then I woke up (or rather I was woken up by some very naughty felines) around 5 AM this morning so I decided to get out of bed and see what my sleepy brain could add to the page count.
By 6:40 I had six more pages. Happiness! Now if I can just write 10 more today I'll be in a state of complete and total bliss.
Side Note: Say a prayer Hurricane Wilma stays out of Florida will you?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Somewhere, deep down inside me, in my heart of hearts, I want to write. I really, really do. And yet I sit here bloghopping and web surfing like I have a year and half to write 157 pages instead of five weeks.
I really want to go watch Finding Neverland. It's been waiting for me on Tivo for about two weeks now. Or maybe I'll read the new book I bought today (because three shelves of TBR wasn't enough.)
Sigh. Or maybe I'll try to eek out a few more pages.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
At long last, Sylvia Day's Kensington debut anthology is available for pre-order! I've been looking forward to this book since I met Ms. Day in Reno. Click HERE to pre-order, you won't regret it.
This is your chance to get in on the ground floor with an author who is sure to make a name for herself. Don't miss it!
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
When you're still struggling to get published, there are times when being a writer really sucks. Like when you get a rejection from an agent you thought you made a connection with. That happened to me this week.
I'm not going to name names or rant and rave...that's not what this post is about. Granted, I would have liked something a little more personal than a form email after the previous correspondence we shared but hey, everyone has to do what's right for them, you know?
What this post is about is the why of writing. Why do I do this? Why do you do this? It can be soul-searingly painful at times.
Every rejection I receive makes me question why I write and if I should continue to write. Well, at least it does for about five seconds. I've been writing since I could hold a pencil, why would I stop now?
I will get published. I know that. Just like I know Christmas will be here on December 25th. In this business, those who persevere win.
And so today, four more submission packets go in the mail carrying my dreams and hopes and wishes to people I pray have the vision to see me for the uncut diamond that I am.
Polish me. I'm ready to sparkle.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Thanks to Michelle, I now have a new favorite website, Cats In Sinks. Stuff like that just makes you happy to be alive.
And due to popular demand, Goofy Cat Monday will be a regular feature. If you have pics of your own goofy feline and want to see them posted here, email them to me! I'm a firm believer in equal opportunity goofosity.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Have you ever clicked the Next Blog button on the blogger bar up top? I just did and a blog with a drawing of a foot and some interesting music came up. Check it out: http://elpozodelarana.blogspot.com/ I don't read Spanish so I don't understand it but I'm grooving on the music they're playing.
Then go click the Next Blog button on top of YOUR blog and report back here with the link. I challenge you to post this on your own blog too.
Let's see what weird and wonderful new blogs we can come up with.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Wrote my ten pages yesterday but I'm not sure it'll happen today. To much to do. Grocery shopping for one thing, but more importantly, Leslie Kelly (one of my new chapter's members) is doing a book signing at the local B&N, so I'm going to that tonight.
Ah, the life of a writer.
I'm okay with getting fewer pages written today. My pace is good and I'm where I need to be.
What do you do to motivate yourself to write? Do you offer yourself rewards for hitting a certain word court? Do you deny yourself things until you've written the pages you had planned? What do you do?
Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I plan on entering two ms into the Golden Heart this year. One is finished, one is not. So...I've added a word count tracker to help chart my progress. (Scroll down). If you don't see it moving, feel free to harrass me! (In a kind, loving way of course.)
Now, back to writing! Oh and thanks to Regina for giving me the site for the tracker!
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I cannot stop listening to Michael Buble's CD It's Time. It is just fabulous! As I professed in a post at Romance Divas, it makes me want to dance around the house in a strapless dress and kitten heels with a very dry martini at the ready. So swanky! If you're not familiar with Mr. Buble, make his acquaintance post haste. He is both easy on the eyes and the ears.
Now I must torture myself for 30 minutes on the treadmill.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Friday, September 09, 2005
Free Workshop with Author Of The Month Candace Havens:
Candace Havens presents Fast Draft: How to write your first draft in two weeks. Really.
Week of September 18th, 2005
Fast Draft is way to get through the terror of the first draft in a fast and efficient manner. Why draw it out over several months, when you can have a first draft in just two weeks? Using creative techniques you'll learn how to write more pages a day than you ever thought possible. This class works for new writers as well as seasoned professionals, and allows writers to flesh out a story fast to see if it will work.
Q & A with Deidre Knight:
During the week of Sept 18th, Super Agent Deidre Knight will be answering questions in a special section of the forum aptly titled, "Ask Deidre". Don't miss this opportunity to get those questions answer and get to know this fabulous woman!
See you online!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
So I've been a bit of a slacker, blogwise. In real life, I've been running like a mad woman, unpacking my house and traveling back and forth to Maryland to work in my family's business (my father's Sicilian - you don't say no to him).
I'm going to make a concerted effort to be more regular about blogging and writing. And of course, getting back to the business of getting published.
Here's to productivity!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I'm not writing. Between the unpacking, general house-setting up and lack of an office, I'm not writing. Not that my head is any emptier of stories - it isn't. My current WIP keeps spinning around, little scenes playing themselves out on my brain screen. My characters are nagging me. "When are you going to get back to us? We have things to do, trouble to get into, havoc to wreck!"
Hah! My hero just wants to kiss the heroine again. I know how he is.
Despite the need to write, I'm just not. I want to but I can't seem to get to the place where I'm capable of doing it. The stress (or whatever you want to call it) of moving and getting resettled has just sapped the creativity out of me. At least that's the way I feel. Maybe I'm not drinking enough coffee.
I will tell you this...the prospect of getting my office set up excites me. My new office furniture, including my new desk!, arrives Tuesday. I can't wait. I get the feeling when that happens, I'll be writing my little fingers into nubs.
Do you go through times like this? When you just feel out of sorts about writing because of other things going on in your life?
Monday, August 22, 2005
I know that romantica/erotic romance is the "hot" thing right now, no pun intended, but I can't get into it. I don't want explicit sex in the books I read...for me, that's a turn off. It's just too much infomation. I have a pretty vivid imagination and I prefer to use it instead of having every sweaty detail described to me.
Also, one wrong word and I get pulled out of the scene. I immediately go through this whole thought process of why did the author call it that or why would she say X instead of Y? I find it nearly impossible to get back into the scene when that happens.
So, is it just me? Or am I all alone? I realize the numbers for this genre indicate I'm in the minority but I'm just curious if anyone else feels this way.
Just wanted to add...I have many friends who write romantica - just because this genre isn't my cup of tea doesn't mean I won't continue to buy their books to support them as writers. A sale is a sale is a sale...even if the buyer doesn't read the book!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
In case you didn't know, since my last post, hubby and I have moved to Florida. The house is great and when I uncover the cable that connects my camera to my pc, I'll get some pics up and show you. The view from the lanai overlooking the lake is really relaxing.
Another truckload of crap...um, I mean household goods...arrives tomorrow. This is actually a good thing because this truck has the guestroom furniture on it and we already have several folks planning visits. Also, my treadmill will be arriving. Not that I have any energy left after unpacking boxes and finding homes for stuff all day. Man, moving sucks the life out of you! But someday, I'll want to work out again. I'm sure of it.
Meanwhile, the unpacking continues and I still haven't found our silverware. My kingdom for a sturdy spoon!
Monday, August 08, 2005
Sunday, August 07, 2005
From Lani Diane Rich:
As many of you know, author Marianne Mancusi (A CONNECTICUT FASHIONISTA IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT) returned home from the RWA national conference to discover that she had no home - it and all her belongings had burned to the ground while she was in
Items include signed books from...
Mary Jo Putney
Lani Diane Rich
And many, many more...
Also, critiques (NOT submissions, but who doesn't want to get their name in front of these people?) from...
Chris Keeslar, Sr. Editor,
Stephanie Kip Rostan, agent, Levine-Greenberg
Beth de Guzman, Editorial Director - Mass Market, Warner Books
Kelly Harms, former
Steve Axelrod - agent representing authors Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Alesia Holliday and more top hitters
And many more...
Not to mention critiques from authors...
Lani Diane Rich
Anyone who would like to donate to Marianne independently of the auction can find out how to do so at http://www.literarychicks.com.
This could quite easily be among the best opportunity this year for aspiring writers to get their name in front of big hitters, and it's definitely a great opportunity for readers to get signed books from their faves. So if you can promote, we'll really appreciate it, and if you can't but would like to forward this e-mail to people you think might be interested, that would be fantastic.
Thanks so much for your time. We appreciate you beyond the telling of it.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Author Marianne Mancusi came home from Reno to find her apartment had been struck by lightning and burned to the ground. She lost everything. If there is anything you can do to help please check out http://www.literarychicks.com/ for details of where to send donations and the like.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Monday, August 01, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
I'm off to Reno tomorrow morning! I'm nervous and excited. I'm sure I'll have lots of great stories to tell and tons of fun pics to share when I get back.
And Rebecca, if you're reading this...I promise some great pics of the earrings and bracelet you made me!
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Off my rocker? Off my nut? Off to frolic? No, none of those. Okay, maybe one of those but I'm not saying which.
I'm gone for a week. I (foolishly?) agreed to mind a friend's jewelry store the week before conference so they could go to a family wedding. What was I thinking? I wasn't. That was the problem. But I keep my word and a deal's a deal.
So, I'm headed to Maryland today. At least I can see the ocean from the store. It's beachfront. And they've promised me it's quiet during the day so I'm looking forward to reading the ARC of Candace Havens' Charmed and Dangerous. Can't wait!
Who knows, I might even get some writing done. I do plan to work on pitches for Reno. At the very least, I'll be surrounded by jewelry. For those of you who know me, you probably just started praying for my husband.
See you in a week!
Monday, July 18, 2005
If you haven't read this warning post from Deidre Knight, you need to. Go check out the sad, pitiful scam that's being perpetrated using her name (and reputation): http://knightagency.blogspot.com/2005/07/extremely-important-warning-regarding.html
Friday, July 15, 2005
1. Are you going to this year's RWA conference in Reno?
2. How many other RWA conferences have you been to?
3. Which one was your first?
4. If you've been before, what events are you most looking forward to?
5. Are you sharing a room or bunking alone?
6. How many suitcases will you be bringing?
7. Does the thought of conference make you nervous? If yes, what part?
8. Who, if anyone, are you hoping to meet?
2. Only one
3. Last year's in Dallas
4. Spotlights, Literacy signing, Moonlight Madness (because Romance Divas has a table this year), the St. Martin's publisher party (woohoo! I scored invites!), and of course, the RITA/GH ceremony so I can see if I won or not.
5. Sharing with Jax
6. Probably two checked bags (one with my clothes, one with RD merchandise) and a carry-on.
7. Yes. My editor/agent appointments. Eek!
8. Hmm...I've met a lot of my favorite authors, so I'm gonna have to say I'm most looking forward to meeting all the other Divas who are coming to conference!
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Although I'm not the Book Review Editor, I do distribute the books that come in for review to our reviewers. Fortunately, I have several assistants who help me with the many Romance Diva related mailings I have to do. I thought you might like to see them in action. Or rather inaction.
My staff aren't exactly what you'd call early birds. It's hard to get them motivated. They nap a lot and try to hide from me. Sometimes they do both at the same time.
They also like to play dead, thinking I'll give them the day off.
When I finally get them up, I get dirty looks. (Cranky employees aren't that productive, let me tell you.)
Occasionally, I do get some work out of them.
But usually they pass out in the middle of a big project and I end up doing it on my own.
I thought about looking for a new staff, but it's hard to fire family. Plus, they're a fat bunch of snugglers and mama's babies. LOL
Monday, July 11, 2005
On a recent shopping expedition to find a wrap and evening bag that would do justice to my fabulicious new gown for the RWA conference, I found myself distracted by the other choices in the handbag department. There were so many yummy bags! I almost hurt my neck twisting around to look at them all. I love all the colors but I really love the classic looks of black and white. I may be a junkie, but I'm a practical junkie.
One bag in particular wooed me with it's sleek lines, impressive hardware and extra interior pockets. I picked it up. Nice heft. Not too heavy but not so light it made you wonder what you were spending your money on. I've had my eye out for a studded doctor bag but nothing really clicked until this bag came into view. Sure, I'd given several a second glance but they'd all had silver studs. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a gold girl.
I slid the purse up my arm and over my shoulder. Good fit. I inspected the bag further. Michael Kors. Score! Checked the price tag. Slight eek. Not awful but considering this would purely be an impulse buy, not great either.
I couldn't part with it so I hung on to it while I shopped around for the items I'd actually come in for. No evening bag or wrap that would work. Time to go. I took another look at the purse, ran my hand over the mock croc leather and sighed. I wanted it but knew I shouldn't.
Reluctantly, I put the purse back. I tucked it way behind some ugly purses, hoping no one would buy it in case I changed my mind in the next few days.
And change my mind I did. It just so happened that although I couldn't get back to the store my husband did. By cell phone, I walked him through the handbag department to where I'd hidden my scrumptious Michael Kors find. He couldn't find it. I panicked. Maybe someone else had discovered it and snatched it up!?
I made him search the whole department. At last - success! He found it, purchased it and brought it home to its rightful owner. Me.
Isn't it delish? Ignore the price tag. That's retail. I rarely pay retail. Thank you, Marshalls!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
I shop, therefore I am.
Shoes are sort of an obsession of mine. Hasn't always been that way. I used to hate shoes. See, I've worn a size 10 since about the sixth or seventh grade. I specifically remember these awful brown wedge heel oxfords my mom bought me. Wasn't her fault, they were all she could find in my size at the time that fit my school's dress code.
Fast forward a couple of decades and shoes have become my friends. When did we make up? I'd have to say it was in college, when I was 18. My parents made the silly mistake of giving me a credit card for emergencies. I don't know why they didn't think the thigh-high black suede boots weren't an emergency. I did. You might not think such a pair of boots would be practical but I wore the crap out of those boots. So much in fact, I had to have them resoled a few years later.
I've been known to buy the same pair of shoes in several colors if I really love it. Or two pairs of the same shoe so I can put one pair away for when the first pair wears out. But I've resisted the urge to go "designer" until now.
My search for shoes to match my RITA/GH awards ceremony dress proved tougher than I imagined. (I abandoned the red satin dress I previously blogged about. Couldn't find the under-architecture to make that dress work. Yet. The new dress is a freakin' knock out though!)
I didn't want to spend a fortune on shoes. Already did that with the dress. But alas, I couldn't find a pair of shoes that lived up to the fabulousness of the dress! Until I did some online shopping, a little foray into designer land.
Here's what I found:
Sweet, huh? Charles David. Hot stuff. Check my feet at conference if you want to see them in person. I'll be sure to blog about their comfort level when I get back.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
We're offering a wonderful, career building workshop at Romance Divas this month. Author Jess Michaels will be hosting her "So I Wrote This Book... Now What?" workshop in the Forum. Just register to become a member and you're eligible for the workshop and the books Jess will be giving away. The workshop starts July 18th.
If you haven't checked out Romance Divas, what are you waiting for? It's the place to be online if you're a romance writer. See you there!
Friday, July 01, 2005
Not sure how it happened or who's responsible but the RD Forum is back up and running! Yeah!
I'd like to kiss whomever fixed it. Unless it was Jax and then I'll just hug her. I don't think our friendship is ready to move into the Britney/Madonna stage. *Gag*
Some stupid, braindead, jerkwad, dirty-diaper-scented idiot has hacked into the Romance Divas Forum and corrupted it. Thanks a whole freakin' lot, you flea-ridden, pus-infected moron.
What kind of complete and utter jackass gets his kicks from destroying other people's hardwork? I guess he had run out of kittens to torture and old people to steal social security checks from.
If I ever meet this fetid gob of pond scum, in this life or the next, I will go Old School Sicilian on his sorry hide.
I truly hope this can be fixed. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, June 27, 2005
When I was a teen (some *cough* years ago) I don't recall being so, well, whiny. Or boy crazy. Or needy. Or self occupied.
But then I was a nerd and books were my best friends so perhaps I am not the best example of what an average '80's teen was like.
The girls I was subjected to at the teen conference were, for the most part, all those things and then some. Fortunately, our room had no opening windows or I would have flung them or myself out of one. I'm genuinely surprised my hair hasn't grayed.
I had to explain why walking the halls of the hotel at 1am in the morning wearing pajamas was not advisable for thirteen-year olds. I had to listen to endless whimpered conversations about boys and what girls they'd talked to and how those girls "needed to get somewhere". I had to explain why leaving wet towels on the bed made for uncomfortable sleeping. Getting them to pick up after themselves is another blog in itself.
Like is, like, every other word. I'm mad serious. Or wicked serious, depending on which teen you might be listening to.
Worst of all, they referred to me as an "adult" numerous times. "You're, like, so easy to talk to, for like, an adult." Cringe. When did I get to be an adult? I don't really feel like one. I feel about 19. A really mature 19 with a much older bank account.
I've eaten enough pizza, hamburgers, sloppy joes and hot dogs to last a lifetime. And as for riding on buses, I'm good there, too.
But I survived. Would I do it again? Probably not. I was born with a limited amount of patience and they used up most of it. I have to save a little for when I get rejections. Like today. Sigh. But I'm an adult, so I'm dealing with it.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Why my husband and I signed up to chaperone the teen youth conference trip at my church I'll never know. We don't have kids. Perhaps there isn't enough chaos in our lives?
Anyway, I'll be out of touch until Friday late so your assignment while I'm gone is to stop by and comment on three new blogs you haven't been to before, then come back here and post the three you went to. Think of it as broadening your blog horizons.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I was standing in line at the checkout of the grocery store last week, hoisting the last of my fruits and veggies out of my cart and trying to ignore the Jessica/Lindsey fight all the tabloids were screaming about when I greeted the checkout girl. I try to be as pleasant as possible to people who do jobs I'm glad I'm not doing.
So I'm looking at her in that sort of looking/not looking kind of way. At first glance, there's nothing unusual about her. Mid-twenties, a little plump but cute, dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, a flower pendant made from pink stones hangs around her neck. And then I see it.
From the top of one ear over the crown of her head to the other ear there is a sweeping, slightly heart-shaped line that frames her face about an inch into her hairline. A scar. A really impressive, almost heart-stopping scar.
I stare at the cover of Woman's World and realize the secret to losing 20 pounds by eating ice cream has been discovered. I glance back at the checkout girl, still dutifully scanning my produce.
Now, I'm exceptionally curious by nature (perhaps this is the writer in me or I am part cat, not sure) and I have no problem asking questions. Even questions I shouldn't. I mean, you won't learn anything by keeping your mouth shut, will you?
I try to form the question in my head before I ask it, one of the rare occasions when I think before speaking but this is a special case.
Where do you get a scar like that? How do you survive it? Was it an accident? I think not - too neat. Plastic surgery? I don't think the scar from a brow lift is that big and she's too young anyway. A brain tumor? How long ago did it happen? Don't they usually shave a lot of hair for something like that? Her hair is long enough to go into a ponytail that hangs to the middle of her back.
I'm about to open my mouth when a mother with 2 or 5 children gets in line behind me. The kids are moving too fast to get an accurate count. I shut my mouth. I was raised with enough manners not to ask such a personal question in front of an audience. I know the answer would be different because of it anyway. Drat. I'm dying to know. Someday I'll be alone in her checkout line again. I hope.
All sorts of story ideas whirl through my head on the way home. She's an alien and that's the zipper for her human suit. She's the first ever brain transplant recipient and what's her life like now that the memories from the transplanted brain are her own? She underwent drastic cosmetic surgery to change her looks in an attempt to escape...someone. I haven't worked them all out yet.
What do you think the story behind that scar is?
Friday, June 17, 2005
On our recent trip to FL, DH and I went out to dinner with one of his old high school chums and this guy's girlfriend. High School Chum (HSC from here on out) is a really nice guy. A sweet, single dad of three, doing his best to raise his kids and make a good life for them. Tall, boyishly handsome with a thick head of slightly-in-need-of-a-trim hair. He's a regular beta hero.
His girlfriend, who shall here on out be known as Wench, was a real treat. You know the type: hard-edged blonde, a little thinner than she needs to be, hanging on to her youth with well-manicured claws. Apparently, she was a CFO or CEO of some company but has since retired and as HSC later explained to us in an apologetic email, she isn't dealing with retirement well.
Anyway, we met at her house (no freakin' AC and not a window open - does she not know she lives in Florida?) for drinks (wine or water) and appetizers (crab salad in endive leaves). I complimented her on her house and her apps (they were so-so but I said they were good) but her one dog kept jumping on me and scratching me with his nails so I nicely kept pushing him off me. I don't think she liked it when I told the beast to stop licking my toes, either, but I mean, please! I don't want dog slobber all over my feet when we're about to go out to dinner!
According to HSC, she was also supposed to be an expert in local real estate, since she bought, fixed up and resold properties in the area. DH and I asked her about several different neighborhoods we'd been house-hunting in to get her opinion but anything that wasn't "beachside" she just responded with a very clipped "I don't know" or "Couldn't tell you". Gee, thanks for the help.
We finally got to the restaurant. After ordering drinks and food, HSC and DH started reminiscing about high school days and what people were doing now, stuff like that. So I decided to engage Wench in conversation, eternal optimist that I am. We chatted pleasantly enough and Wench asked me what I did. I responded as I always do. Here's how that went:
KP: "I'm a writer."
W: Her eyes sparkle. "Really? What do you write?"
KP: "Romance." I smile and take a sip of my water.
W: The sparkle fades. "Romance? Is there a big market for that sort of thing?"
KP: Patient smile. "Romance accounts for slightly more than half of the books being sold."
W: Look of mortification. "Really?" Slight sniff. "Isn't that sad?"
KP: Help me Lord. I don't want to hurt this woman in front of so many people. That would definitely ruin the trip. "Actually, I don't think it's sad at all, considering that's what I write and a lot of what I read. After 9/11 people more than ever want a 'happily ever after'. There's just an intrinsic value in reading a book you know will end well. So no, I don't think there's anything sad about it."
W: Deer-in-headlights look.
DH: Tips his head towards me and puffs up his chest. "Her first book just won this big contest."
KP: I squeeze his leg and grin. "I didn't win yet. My first book finaled in the biggest contest there is for unpublished romance writers. It's called the Golden Heart and it's run by the Romance Writers of America."
DH: "Yeah and she's got some big agent looking at her stuff. And she runs this really big website for romance writers with a friend of hers. Romance Divas. They've won awards and stuff."
(Do you see why I love this man?)
KP: "Writer's Digest voted us one of their '101 Best Websites For Writers' and we've won a few other awards."
DH and HSC go back to chatting about a football game or something. The food comes. Moments pass in relative silence. Finally Wench leans forward. "That really is great about your writing. I don't think I could ever write a book. I think I would get bored with it after a while."
I chew my seared tuna and swallow, which gives me time to decide what would be an appropriate response and what wouldn't. I go with "Thanks" and leave it at that.
She got progressively less interested in attempting to look involved as the night wore on and instead spent most of the time whispering in HSC's ear, snuggling against him possessively (who was she marking her territory for? I'm a happily married woman) and staring out into the surrounding tables.
The night didn't end quickly enough for her or I, I can guarantee you that. And as I mentioned above, HSC later sent an email apologizing for her behavior (there was more but I didn't think it was necessary to give you a blow-by-blow).
Fortunately, we will NOT be living in her neighborhood. And the one we are moving into is gated.
And I don't think there's anything sad about that.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
I could kiss my ortho on the mouth. But I won't. At my appointment yesterday, he told me my teeth look beautiful and I am 6 months ahead of schedule!!!! He thinks he can have my braces off by Christmas! Christmas!!!!!!!!!!
If you've never had braces, this probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you but trust me, it's a big deal. Being 35 and having braces is a little odd, even though it's much more commonplace than it used to be. Even so...Christmas!!! That would be the only present I needed.
He did some minor adjustments to move my canines forward a bit and so today my lower jaw is achy but the rest of me is tickled hot pink!
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
We're back from a successful house-hunting trip in Florida. It was exhausting. Looking at houses wears you out. I think it's all the anticipation before you go in then the let down when you actually tour the home and realize that the current owners are madly in love with stenciling and faux-painting. (I'm not intrinsically opposed to either of those but blood red roses stenciled around a pee yellow tray ceiling really creeped me out.)
One house was mint green with teal trim on the outside and *shocker* mint green with teal trim on the inside. With teal carpeting. That was a Dramamine moment, let me tell you. Even a great pool and a view of the lake couldn't redeem that one.
Another, which I have fondly nicknamed the "Persian Drug Lord Starter House" had a predominate color scheme of gold and purple. Until you went into the masterbedroom. Where it was burgundy and bronze. That whole house had a freaky vibe, like vampires or Mary Kay saleswomen hung out there. The family room in that house was mirrored, floor to ceiling, so it probably wasn't vampires.
Yet another hummed with old lady vibes. Ignoring the smell of mothballs wasn't that hard but the overwhelming flowery pinkness was. The walls were pale pink, the carpet was medium pink and the windows all had some sort of flowery fabric draping them. I like pink. I really do. But not on the walls and carpet of every room. Okay, the powder room wasn't pink. It was wallpapered with foil fish. Felt like you were doing your business inside a disco aquarium. The kitchen counters in that house were the color of Barbie's skin. *Involuntary shudder*
Two homes had identical bright blue Corian countertops. Was this a fad I didn't know about?
What's most frightening is that none of these houses were under $700,000. Go back and read that again. Yes, that's correct. I didn't accidentally add a zero. Now, we did look at a few homes that were considerably less that we liked but when we wanted to make an offer on those, they were already under contract. So was another more expensive but perfect house we looked at. The good stuff doesn't last long in that area of Florida, I can tell you that.
Finally, we found two great houses in a fabulous gated community, both brand new and right across the street from one another. One had a pool, one didn't - but had room to put one in. We bought the one with the pool. It has a great view of the $1.9-million-and-up homes across the lake, walk-in his & hers closets, plenty of guest rooms, offices for hubby and myself, a three-car garage, a pool and a hot tub and best of all, no stenciling or fushia floor-coverings.
And it will stay that way. At least until the leopard carpeting gets installed in my office.
Monday, June 06, 2005
DH and I are off on a house hunting trip to sunny FL. Woohoo! I will finally get my house with a pool. I've always had this dream of getting up, putting on my bikini and heading out to write by the pool. Doesn't that sound grand? It does to me. Warm breezes, sunny skies and sparkling blue water -- what's not to love?
Added to my TBR pile today: A Conneticut Fashionista In King Arthur's Court and Beach Blanket Bad Boys (my friend Morgan Leigh has a novella in that anthology). I would have bought Enchanted, Inc. but Barnes & Nobles didn't have it in stock. I'll go to Amazon for that one. I also bought the newest Kelly Clarkson CD and it's awesome! I'll be listening to that on the flight down.
Since I won't get a chance to blog from FL (at least I can't imagine I will), let me leave you with some homework.
Homework: Where's your dream spot to write? Describe it so I can smell it, taste it, hear it and feel it.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Friday, June 03, 2005
No, I'm not announcing a sale. I wish that was the case but it isn't. Someday. Soon. I hope.
What I am announcing is that Romance Divas has launched a blog! We'll be spouting off a variety of dishy divaness, upcoming events at RD (chats, workshop, giveaways, etc.) and Diva Lisa, our Book Review Editor, will be offering up a lovely plate of "Must Reads" on occasion. There will even be guest divas stopping by to add their two cents. It's gonna be tons of fun, so add www.romancedivas.blogspot.com to your links list A.S.A.P.!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Yep, you read right. I'm back on the juice. Carrot juice, that is. I've eaten so much junk lately (Memorial Day Weekend saw me stuffing my gullet with M&M's like there'd just been a fire at the factory) I really had no other choice.
So I'm back to juicing and a diet of mostly raw veggies, fruits, grains and legumes. Mind you, this is not a hard diet for me to follow -- unless I leave the house. There are very few restaurants in this neck of Virginny in which you can order a glass of freshly made carrot juice with a side of crudite and hummus. Actually, there are NO restaurants around here where that would be possible.
Anyway, with conference coming up in July and my desire to still fit into my suits at that time, this seemed the most logical thing to do. Plus it's summer and there is no better time to indulge in fresh fruits and veggies. While I am most certainly a carnivore, going without meat for a while doesn't bother me one bit. This diet is really cleansing and, besides the weight loss benefits, does great things for my skin.
I had the juiciest cantelope for breakfast. Tasted like summer sunshine, despite the fact that it's pouring rain outside. Yum!
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
My friend, Gina Welborn, has started her own blog! There was much kicking and screaming involved but she's done it. Gina writes a column for us at Romance Divas and it's always a winner. She is also writing a fabulous historical. You may have even read some of her musings on Deidre Knight's blog recently.
Anyway, go check her out and add her to your links - I promise many interesting postings to come.
Now, I must away! I have about 50 people headed to my house for a cookout in roughly an hour and a half.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend! If you know a vet or see a person in uniform, thank them for the job they do. You'll make their day and feel pretty good yourself! GO AIRFORCE! (Love ya, honey!)
Friday, May 27, 2005
I finished the first draft of Out Of The Ashes last week. It was a great moment, because it proved that I had more than one book in me. Not that I ever doubted that, I didn't. But so many people never even finish the first one.
So the polishing process has begun - I go through the chapters on my own, adding, correcting, layering, etc - then I turn them over to a crit group to be eviscerated and the polishing begins anew. So far, it's working like a charm. There's much polishing left to be done, too. At least a month's worth (maybe less).
Meanwhile, the next book waiting to be written is completely plotted out. An utter anomaly in the world of a pantser but thanks to Judi McCoy (chaptermate and diva in her own right) and her plotting workshop, it sits ready and eager on a stack of green post-its. Staring at me. Write me, it whispers...I'm going to be great...
I even had a flash of inspiration about this new story last night. Up until this point it was a traditional contemporary (which didn't truly blow my skirt up) but a way to throw in a paranormal element came to me in the drowsy twilight moments just before sleep takes over. Good stuff. Fun stuff. And completely different than anything I've written before.
So am I sitting down today to get that first chapter started? No. I'm not prepping to write any of the seven - wait, just thought of another, make that eight stories currently torturing my brain.
Why? Because like a bad breakup, I'm still in love with the characters of Ashes. I'm not ready to let them go and get into the heads of another hero and heroine. I'm not ready to fall in love again. It's too soon. What if the next hero isn't as studly as my last? What if this new heroine starts whining and I don't like her? What if, what if, what if.
I've got the in-betweener blues. I know it will pass. After all, I started Ashes when I was still editing Heart of Fire and that worked out just fine. I guess I'll know when I'm ready.
Do you get the in-betweener blues too?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Pics are up on the RWA site to accompany the names and titles of the Golden Heart finalists. Sigh. Ick. Sigh.
I hate pictures of myself and having this one taken was especially painful due to the mouthful of metal I currently sport on my grill. I insisted on no open mouth smiling. I just didn't want my braces immortalized for this particular event, know what I mean?
Click here to see the pic: Photos.
One good thing...I'm at the top. At least you don't have to scroll to see me. And I know the picture will look better when it's blown up on the big screen during the actual awards ceremony but right now it's rather pixel-y. I wonder if I was the only one barefoot during their photoshoot?
All I can say is I write much better than I photograph. Thank heavens for that.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Total number of books I own: Uncountable. Seriously.
Last books I bought: Gena Showalter's Awaken Me Darkly, PC Cast's Goddess of Spring, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome and Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire. (If you hadn't noticed, ancient Rome figures prominently in a book I'm plotting.)
On the 'To Buy' List: Judi McCoy's Wanted: One Sexy Night, Sherrilyn Kenyon's Sins of the Night
Last Books I Read: I reread Karen Marie Moning's The Hightlander's Touch then started Stephen King's On Writing
Most Influential Authors: Shakespeare (don't laugh, I think he's the bomb), C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, Forrest Carter (If you haven't read The Education of Little Tree, you need to.)
Tag Victims: Jax, Michelle, A.D. Roland, Sela Carsen, Lynn Daniels
I was up past 1am last night reading Stephen King's On Writing. I read 116 pages in the first sitting. Actually, I was in bed, so it wasn't a sitting so much as it was a lying. Anyway, great book. I can't believe how interesting it is! I've owned it for a least a year and decided last night was a good time to start reading it since nothing on my TBR shelf looks that appealing. Besides, I'm sure Awaken Me Darkly will be here today or tomorrow and then I'll have something interesting to read.
What's your favorite book on writing?
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I can't read. I'm trying to, I really am but everything I pick up lately is just, well, dreck. (And how often do you get to use that word? Not nearly enough.)
Book One - A paranormal I took with me to Spain and read through only because I had nothing else to read. Seriously. If the potato chip bag had been in English, I would have pitched that book into the Mediterranean. As it was I left it in Spain. Reading this book was like swimming through nettle-embedded mud, a long painful process. The characters were so poorly drawn and lacked any depth of personality that by the mid-point I was routing for the bad guys.
Book Two - A historical I picked up when I got home from Spain, ready to sink my reading molars into something juicy. The opening scene was a very hot, sexy description. Of two horses mating. ICK! Get real! Even in my most desperate reading moments, I wouldn't read that. It totally skeeved me out. That book is now marked for the yardsale.
Book Three - A regency that I am still reading. But not for long. The book features a rape scene between the hero and heroine. Yes, a rape scene. I'm trying to read a little further, just to see how it's handled before I make my decision whether or not to mark up my wall by pitching the thing into it. So far, neither the hero or heroine have endeared themselves to me. He's a boorish clod, she's a ninny. Not really my kind of book.
Where have all the good books gone? They are not, I assure you, on my TBR shelf where the rest of these winners came from. Fortunately, most of these books have either been given to me or won. I haven't paid for most of them. Small comfort, really.
I guess I'll have to wait for my next Amazon shipment of tried and trues. Or June, when Gena Showalter's Awaken Me Darkly finally hits the stands. (Actually, I've preordered it from Amazon so it may come sooner. I love when they surprise me like that!)
And will someone please pick up Catherine Spangler's new series? I need something good to read!
Sigh. I guess I'll go write...
Monday, May 16, 2005
A new Mega-Blog is about to be unleashed and if you write or read paranormal, you need to know about it.
All hail Out Of The Blogosphere featuring authors Catherine Spangler, C.J. Barry, Robin D. Owens, Gena Showalter, Jaci Burton, Marianne Mancusi, MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight, Morgan Hawke and super agent/author Deidre Knight. Check it out at www.outoftheblogosphere.blogspot.com.
Don't forget where you heard about it!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I know I said I was going to write about my trip to Spain, but I lied. We did a lot of lounging poolside, site-seeing, shopping and eating. There, now you know everything. Oh and I had my wallet pickpocketed by a short, lying, pregnant Spanish girl. Now you really know everything.
We travel frequently (last year we went to England, Germany, Australia, Hawaii, Texas, Florida and Nevada) so I've developed the discipline necessary to write on the road. I've written violent scenes surrounded by the hubbub of a busy airport. I've written tender scene in the dark cabin of a redeye flight. I've written in hotel rooms, by resort pools, even jotted notes at a sushi bar. I can write anywhere. And I do.
But not this time. I wrote very little while we were in Spain. It was almost as if my muse decided to take a vacation too. Frustrating, because I desperately want to finish this book and start polishing. This is the book that will get me published. I know it. I can feel it. I've even had others tell me this. The premise is truly unique. At least I think it is. (Those of you who've read snippets would probably agree, no one else is writing this story at the moment.)
So, we're home. And I'm finally recovered from the jet lag/time change. And I'm writing. Not just in dribs and drabs but in half-chapter chunks. Twelve pages one day, fourteen the next. And I'm editing too. One hundred ten pages in a single day. Then thirty on another day. WOOHOO! I'm back and so is my muse. Apparently, the vacation did wonders for her.
If I keep this up, the rough draft will be finished next week and the first few chapters (which a lovely agent is currently waiting on) will be polished and in the mail. I'll have this manuscript shiny and sparkling, ready to pitch in Reno. Of course, that's if I don't sell it or get an agent before then.
It could happen. And if does, you'll be the first to know. Well...right after my husband and my mom and dad and my best friend and my brother and my chapter and all the divas at Romance Divas and...