Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Forum Update

Spoke with tech support. Looks like we're still 24-28 hours away from things being put right, but I'm hoping it's sooner.

I'm off to Hawaii in the morning, but plan on keeping up with this until we're back up.

Forums Still Down

It's being worked on, that's the best I can tell you.

On another note, Delia, if you're reading this, I don't have your phone number since it was in my RD messages and now I can't get to it. Sigh. Email me with it? I really want to meet up in Hawaii!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


If you're a Romance Divas member, you may have noticed there's an issue with the forums (you can read posts, but not respond). I can tell you it's being worked on and has been since yesterday. Hopefully we'll see a resolution today.

Feel free to spread the word.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stuff To Think About

Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in".. . but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"?
Where's that extra penny going to?

Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did "cured" ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wiley E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME junk, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Trying Again

Here's the view from our backyard of the night launch. That fiery ball is the space shuttle ascending.
I know, not the best shots but my digital camera isn't exactly set up for night time photography of this magnitude. It was so amazing in person, I think few pictures could do it justice.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I had a whole post ready to go with pictures and commentary from last night's space shuttle launch and blogger ate it. I don't have time to redo it now, but I will soon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Four Things

Four jobs I've had:
1. Candy seller
2. Pearl stringer
3. Hot truck driver
4. Advertising exec.

Four places I've lived:
1. Tunkhannock, PA
2. NYC
3. Ocean City, MD
4. Carrollton, VA

Four favorite foods:
1. Fried chicken
2. Spaghetti & meatballs
3. Cream puffs
4. Cobb salad

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. A Christmas Story
2. Better Off Dead
3. LA Story
4. The Princess Bride

Four TV shows I enjoy:
1. Ugly Betty
2. Bones
3. The Office
4. House

Four places I've traveled:
1. Kauai
2. Berlin, Germany
3. Morocco
4. Canberra, Australia

Four places I'd like to visit:
1. Japan
2. Tahiti
3. Paris
4. Moscow

Four websites I go to daily:
1. Yahoo
2. Google
3. Romance Divas
4. Pogo

Four people I'm tagging to do this too:
1. Lara
2. Mel
3. Babe
4. Sela

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Four Years Ago Today...

Hotrod and I said our vows. I adore that man. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me. And I'm not just saying that because he spoils me silly. I think to celebrate, we're going to watch the nighttime launch of the Space Shuttle this evening!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I was on my game this morning. As a result, I have photographic evidence. In fact, he's still in the tree as I type this. Note: the black blob in the midst of the tree is the perpetrator in question, Max. The glowing eyes in the lower corner belong to Scooter, the enabler. I think from the second picture, you get a pretty good idea of Max's attitude in general. Which is to say, he's decided the tree is his new home and what I think really isn't being considered.
There is kitten maddness in my house, folks! Kitten maddness I tell you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blog Round Up

Haven't done this in awhile, so I thought I'd give you a heads up on what's happening in the blogosphere.

Collateral cops out.

An attorney confesses.

A Wiki challenge.

Character is king.

Using a map to get to the end. Crusie style.

And for those of you playing along with the home game, the cat was in the tree again this morning. I think he's building a fort.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Should I or shouldn't I?

Yesterday, I discovered our youngest furbaby, Max, staring back at me from the top third of the Christmas tree. Thankfully, it is as yet undecorated. (<--- This is not our cat or our tree, but it's a perfect illustration of the misbehavior I was looking at.)

This poses a dilema. Do we leave the tree inside (as opposed to putting it into the garage) while we're off to Hawaii for a week or not? I think it goes without saying that decorating the tree would be sheer insanity.

I hate to think that our lovely and gracious catsitter, Lara Santiago, will have to right the tree every day she comes over.

What to do, what to do...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yea or Nay?

Have you tried this? The new Peppermint whipped cream by Land o'Lakes? I bought some the other day and have been using it in my coffee. (Okay, maybe a few times the canister accidently went off as I was holding it over my open mouth, but let's not split hairs.) It's pretty good, not to heavy on the mintiness. Kind of like having a Christmas glacier drifting across my cup of joe. I'm thinking it would be extra delish on hot chocolate, but I still have to do the research.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Joy Of Writing

After finishing Death Becomes Her, I can now return to the book I was half-way through, Date With The Devil. I put that WIP down to write Death, due to some interest in seeing the finish work, but I have to say, it was a weird experience.

You see, when I write, the characters take up residence in my head. Little scenes come to me periodically as though I'm watching scenes from a movie. I get involved in these characters and as odd as it might sound, they become a part of my life.

So the entire time I was writing Death, the characters from Date were in my head as well. It was like trying to watch two TV shows at once. Very distracting and not exceptionally fun. (To those of you who write more than one thing at a time, I don't know how you do it!)

Now the Date characters have free reign. And they're verra happy. I am really looking forward to getting back into that book (by rereading everything I've written so far) and writing it to the end.

Because it just so happens, the characters from the next book I want to write are already whining to be heard.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Can you hear the singing? That's because I finally finished the rough draft of Death Becomes Her.

22 pages yesterday. That's a personal best. Of course, by the time I hit the 12th or 13th page, my spelling was completely shot. I could see the words in my head, but they weren't translating into my fingers.

Ah well. The first draft is DONE!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Can you say "wolfishly delicious?"

Need a calorie-free, fat-free treat to get you through the holidays? Who doesn't?

Try The Cursed One by Ronda Thompson. Not only is it a great read, but it contains vitamins D (dark & delicious), S (sexy), and H (hot read), so that makes it good for you!

The Blurb:
Wed and widowed in one day, stunning socialite Amelia Sinclair’s honeymoon is anything but typical. Then again, neither is Amelia—rebellious and impulsive, marrying Robert Collingsworth was the one sensible thing she ever did. Now he’s dead and she must escape the vicious creatures stalking her—even if it means relying on a stranger. Well, maybe not a complete stranger. Amelia first glimpsed Gabriel Wulf years ago on the busy streets of London; since then he has haunted her dreams. But in the flesh, Gabriel is much more tantalizing than she ever dreamt, and much more complicated…

Gabriel Wulf, the strong one, the sensible one—the, and the curse that plagued them, were his only priorities; there was little time for women and none for love. Now, he must protect an enticing beauty—and not just from the dangers that prowl the woods around them. Gabriel has secrets, dark ones he’s sure Amelia must never know and could never understand. But she has already awakened his heart...and the beast within. Will Amelia be the key to his salvation, or the architect of her own demise?

I had the priviledge of reading the ARC of this several months ago and I promise you, this is a great read. I have loved this series from book one and The Cursed One lives up to the hype.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a book that will give you your time and money's worth.

I'm Back!

Hotrod and I returned home late last night to a cat hair laden home, but thanks to the dedicated efforts of Lara Santiago, none of the little beasties were any worse for wear.

I love spending time with my parents. It's a very relaxed atmosphere filled with great food, good natured ribbing and down time. The only unrelaxed part was when I borrowed my mother's BMW to return a movie - driving a car that cost more than the GNP of a small, foreign nation intimdates me. This car was especially ordered for her and took nearly three months to be built and delivered from Germany. And while I know that sounds excessive, it's probably one of the most surprising things my mother has ever agreed to. My brother and I firmly believed it was high time she did something like this for herself.

On another even more amazing note, I managed to write 11 pages while away. This gives me just 29 more to go before the first draft of my WIP is done! You'll hear the hallelujah choir when that glad day finally arrives. I'm hoping to type The End on Thursday, so keep your ears open.

A quick get well wish to a friend of mine, Carolyn O. Apparently, her Thanksgiving vaca ended with a fractured wrist and broken jaw. I know the crowds on Black Friday can be insane, but body checking is completely uncalled for if you ask me. Hugs and prayers to you, Carolyn! Get well soon!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Have a Great Thanksgiving!

I'm traveling today, yes, today, the day of all days, the biggest travel day of the year. Thank you, Hotrod, for making my reservation for today. Bleh.

Anyway, as I'll be a "guest" at my parents, I thought I'd discuss the "tips" Reader's Digest suggest guests follow:

*Arrive no earlier than the time the host has announced and no later than half an hour after the time.

> Since I'm staying at the house, this doesn't really affect me.

*Plan to stay about an hour after dinner unless travel plans or sleepy children necessitate leaving earlier.

> It goes without saying that I'll be sticking around longer than an hour. Besides, that's when we start eating again.

*Bring a gift and write a note of thanks afterward.

> A note of thanks? What, you want my mother to faint with shock? Seriously, though, I already sent flowers ahead. I'm not a complete heathen. And I come bearing a duffel bag's worth of goodies for my neice and nephew.

*Offer to help set up for dinner and to clean afterward.

> No way, dude. If it weren't for setting and cleaning up, my dad and Hotrod would do nothing all day.

*Notify the host of any special dietary needs -- if you are a vegetarian, diabetic or allergic to common foods. You can tell the host how to prepare a dish you can eat, or even better, offer to bring that dish yourself.

> Already done. I told my mother about my special dietary needs that include an extra pumpkin pie and a spiral ham.

*If you're going to a potluck Thanksgiving, bring a serving dish with your contribution. Remember, the best potluck dishes are those that need minimal preparation in the host's kitchen, can be served at room temperature and require only a fork to eat.

> Sorry, pie doesn't do well on a plane.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What Cute Looks Like

My four-year-old niece has been chosen for a part in this year's Nutcracker Sweet being put on in Orlando by the Russian Ballet Company. This is especially cool because she was adopted from Russian when she was just 9 months old.

Is it any wonder we love to spoil this child? Look at her! Could she be any cuter? I feel compelled to tell you that Hotrod is her slave. The man will play princess with her, ballet dance with her...whatever she wants, she gets.

Of course, I've had that market cornered for years.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Stay away from these two special edition Hershey's Kisses: Candy Cane (see picture above) and Cherry Cordial (see picture below) . They're of the devil (and Lara Santiago) and should be avoided at all costs - including the cost of new jeans, if I keep eating them at the rate I have been. I guess I should ask Santa for willpower. Or lipo.

If Hershey's ever comes out with a coffee-flavored kiss, I may have to move to a country where they aren't sold. (By the way, I just found out there's a new Kiss available filled with coconut creme. Anyone seen these yet? It's the blue-wrapped kiss below. These might actually be my downfall, but I need to taste them first. Repeatedly.)

Is there any holiday candy that you find irresistible? Please tell me there is because I desperately need not to be alone in this madness.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Since You Asked So Nicely...

In celebration of being elected my chapter's Vice President Elect, here is the cookie recipe!

Wolfgang Puck's White Chocolate Cranberry Cookie

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I like dark brown)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon & nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, orange zest and spices, then stir that into the creamed butter. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Side note: I actually use one of those cookie scoops - like a mini ice cream scooper. I highly recommend them. You get even sized cookies and they look a little more professional to me.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. I always take them out when they're still a little doughy, because I like my cookies on the chewy side. If you like them crisper, bake them an extra minute. Allow cookies to cool a bit on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks or brown paper to cool completely.

Christmas Cookies

I love cookies. LOVE them. Any kind, but especially homemade. Mrs. Fields has nothing on the regular woman, trust me.

Some of my favorites are:

Italian wedding cookies - these buttery, crumbly powdered-sugar covered snowballs fat with finely chopped pecans. Oh my - they melt in your mouth! So delicious.

Chocolate Chip - a standard favorite. I love the Toll House version. It's a classic! And please, no nuts in them, okay? Let's face it, that's just bothersome.

M&M cookies - the beauty of these badboys is that by using holiday color M&M's, they work for any occasion. Especially good when warm and the chocolate is a touch gooey inside its little candy shell.

Oatmeal raisin - what other cookie counts as breakfast? Done well, with fat raisins and a touch of cinnamon, there isn't a better cookie with coffee. This is also the one cookie I'm okay with having a lot of extra junk. In fact, in my oatmeal raisin cookies, I usually add toffee bits. Seems to work.

Sugar cookie - two things make or break this cookie - the flavor of the cookie itself and the icing. I don't care if your four-year-old decorated it, as long as the cookie has the right consistency (should be a little cakey in my opinion, not a slab of sheet rock) and the icing is sweet and delicious (not stale and oddly cheesy).

I also make a white chocolate cranberry that I learned when I worked for Wolfgang Puck. With enough prodding, I might be willing to reveal that recipe. Might.

Of course, now I want cookies. Mmm...cookies. What kind do you make for Christmas and do you need my address?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thanksgiving Traditions

I don't think my family has any weird Thanksgiving traditions - other than an hour after we eat, my dad is ready to go again. When it comes to traditions, we're pretty standard in what we do. Although I do know families with odd habits like making a certain dish every year even though no one eats it. I don't see the point in a tradition like that.

Do you have any interesting traditions? Do you always have turkey or do you do ham? Odd dishes your family serves?

Share your secrets!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stuff You Didn't Really Want To Know

My herb garden is doing really well. I say garden lightly - it's a window box insert (sitting on the pool patio) filled with cilantro, Thai basil and regular basil. I love cilantro, regular basil and Thai food, but I'm not sure what to do with the Thai basil. I'm going to stir fry tonight, maybe I'll throw some in there.

I made chili last night. A huge freakin' pot of it. I think I'll freeze some. I get very excited about food like that when the weather gets cool here (think 50's) but when it gets close to or into the 80's during the day, very hard to think about eating chili.

I'm pushing to finish my WIP this week. I have to. It's driving me nuts being so close to finishing - I just want to type "The End", you know? Plus with the holidays coming up and all that means, there will be so much other stuff to do! And I don't want to write while we on vaca in Hawaii. Edit yes, read YES, write no.

I'm drinking peach Crystal Light. Man, this stuff is good!

Monday, November 13, 2006

How Do These Names Make You Feel?

Just give me your first gut reaction to these names:

1. Wyatt James

2. Cannon Smith

3. Jason Macarthy

4. Frankie Stormer

5. Carl Forbes

What makes a great name? Which of these guys sounds "date-able"? Like the best attorney? Like a bad boy?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

RD Forum Down

We've overload the server or some such thing, so hang tight. I've already emailed tech support. All should be well soon enough.

Go write or something.

And The Winner Is...

"Hey, Daddy -- now that I've eaten all the candy, can I puke in this bucket?"

Robin Rotham! Congrats!

Send me your mailing address and I'll get the book out to you!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Chat with Siren Authors!

Siren Publishing is having a Chat with Siren Authors on Saturday Nov. 11th.
There will be drawings for free books and my friend and co-troublemaker, Lara Santiago will be there. It's bound to be a good time! Lara writes hot futuristics so if that's your thing, you really should check it out.
Here's the info:
I'll announce a winner in the caption contest tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Caption Contest!

The best caption for this photo of my darling nephew Ben (seen here in his Halloween rhinoceros costume): ...Wins a copy of this book:
Get posting!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Day!

Have you voted yet? I'm going this afternoon. Get out there and be heard!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Hot Read for a Chilly Night

What Lies In Winter
by Cassidy Kent
ISBN-10: 1-59279-628-1 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59279-628-1 (Electronic)

When workaholic Hayley goes on a much-needed holiday to her favorite cabin hideaway tucked deep in the mountains of the Mammoth ski resort, she doesn’t expect to meet the beast of a man occupying her rental.

Bestselling mystery author, Nicholas Rhiordan, happens to have the same plan in mind, vacationing in his luxury cabin. He wants nothing better than to be left alone to finish his next novel, but when Hayley makes a surprise appearance, he discovers she’s hell-bent on disrupting his peaceful balance. Like any feral beast, his only recourse is to throw her out on her ass in a heap of snow and hope that she gets the hint.

When a relentless blizzard forces them to share the same quarters, their fiery personalities and equally combustible attraction could melt the ice caps off the snowy mountains. Once the storm blows over, will their connection fizzle like a snow flurry or will they pen a perfect ending?

Genres: Contemporary / Voyeurism / Interracial
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (22k words)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Seven Weeks and Counting

So...started your Christmas shopping yet? I'm determined to be done early this year - I have to be, since we're going away the week before Christmas. When do you start? Do you brave the stores the day after Thanksgiving? Is there a method to your madness? Share! I need tips and ideas.

Friday, November 03, 2006

5 Interesting Things

Thanks to Mel Francis, I've been tagged to reveal 5 interesting things about me. Hmm. Five is a big number...

1. My brother's been bitten by a shark, fallen into a fire, run through with rebar, had a fish hook embedded in his foot, gotten poison ivy on his face and broken his ankle. I rarely get colds.

2. I once baked a cake for a cake auction that not only went for the most money but was purchased by Miss Wheelchair America. It was a seven-layer pound cake.

3. Even when it's 95 degrees outside, I will mostly likely be wearing socks. My feet are always cold.

4. My secret desire is to be a jazz singer. Or a mermaid.

5. I've seen the original Star Wars 27 times and used to wear my hair like Princess Leia. Unlike my brother, however, I did not sleep on Star Wars sheets. Yes, Matthew, you've been called out.

I hope some of that was interesting. I hereby tag Lara Santiago, Deidre Knight, Shannon McKelden, Jax and Babe to take up this challenge!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Click on this link and help me out!

One of the divas got me started playing this RPG and by clicking on this link you help my character out. If you decide to sign up yourself, use Madame Nocturne as your "friend" and you'll really give me a boost. By the way, if you decide to join, there's a Romance Divas clan - do a search and join us!

Yes, I know I should be writing. This is for when I'm not writing. Really. It is.

So Many Books, So Little Time

I have so many books to read and so much writing to do. How am I to find the time? I even have books to read that must be reviewed (so obviously, they're first up). I'm hoping to tie up some loose ends in my writing and be able to take December off (not that I won't write at all, but I won't have any more self-imposed deadlines hanging over my head) and put a serious dent in my TBR pile.

How do you balance writing and reading?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Marie Antoinette

I don't want to ruin this movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but trust me when I say wait for the rental. Unless you've got two hours to kill and there are no good sales at Macy's.

Our (Lara Santiago and I) expectations were high after seeing the trailers and hearing the hype. We anticipated something between a "Remains Of The Day" and "A Knight's Tale" - period, yet rock and roll. And it was somewhere in between the two, but not in a successful way.

Although the settings and costuming are mindblowingly delicious, the pacing really makes this movie drag. There are several moments during the movie where you actually find yourself thinking, "couldn't they have shortened this scene"? There's a lot of non-action. Pensive scenes where Kirsten Dunst does little more than emote. Or walk. There are a lot of walking scenes. Granted, I didn't expect carriage races or black powder shoot-outs - it's Marie Antoinette, for crying out loud, but still.

Her life is interesting to say the least. And the movie does a great job of making her a sympathetic character early on. But as the film unspools, some of that sympathy turns to apathy.

Now the spoiler and one of the most disappointing parts of the movie (it's in black, so you'll have to highlight the block of text if you want to read it):

We all know Marie Antoinette buys the farm under the guillotine's blade, right? So it's basically the assumption that's how the movie will end - with this dramatic finish. You wonder how the director, Sophia Coppola, will handle it. Could end the movie in a way that stays with you for a long time. But that's not how the movie ends. Not even close. Instead, you get to see Marie and Louis riding off in a carriage. That's it. That's it! Sheesh. Talk about a downer.

Anyway, I so wanted to like this movie more than I did...but...well...c'est la vie.

The Walk - Day Three

Okay, finally, the wrap up.

So on the second night, we didn't have the freezing temps to deal with. Because it rained. Hard. Fortunately, some nice woman (who was leaving the walk altogether) had given us a plastic drop cloth, which we'd clothespinned over the tent along with the mylar blanket in hopes of keeping ourselves dry.

It basically worked - and the mylar helped darken the tent (don't get me started about the mysterious glow). However, with the rain coming down, neither Lynne nor I were in any rush to get out of the tent. We packed up all our stuff (sleeping bags, sleeping bag mats, clothes, pillows, snacks, etc.) without getting out of the tent. The tents were supposedly 6'5" x 6'5", however I'm 5'9" and couldn't stretch out. You do the math.

When we finally emerged into the wet gloom, the landscape had changed. The sea of blue tents was leaking away as tents were being taken down. We were instructed to tear down and pack up our tent as well. Hah! I scoffed at that. I was wet, sleepy, cold and in need of caffeine. Take down the wet tent and pack it up? I think not. Some man came along and offered to do it. I told him to knock himself out and Lynne and I headed off to the gear trucks to unload our duffel bags.

We reconvened with Deidre and Janice under the main food tent with "breakfast" in hand. Deidre had been put on medical restriction and wasn't allowed to walk. The rest of us decided unanimously to hang with D and ride the bus. Best decision we ever made. After a long wait, we finally got on the tour bus and took a nice comfy ride to the lunch stop, where we sat on the bus and watched The Negotiator with Samuel L. Jackson. Great movie with some unexpected twists! I totally didn't figure out the red herring until the end.

As the day came to a close, the bus dropped us off at Piedmont Park, site of the finish line and closing ceremonies. We limped through the finish, collected our t-shirts, then soon gathered our gear and decided (Janice, Lynne and I) not to wait until the closing ceremonies were over to take the shuttle buses. Instead, we called a cab.

He dropped me off at my hotel then continued on to take the girls to their vehicles. Within 10 minutes, I had the tub filled with steaming hot water and was up to my neck. Pizza and salad soon followed. I fell asleep shortly after 8pm, happy to be in a real bed.

And so concludes the 3 Day adventures. Tomorrow we return you to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Walk - Day Two

Before you chastise me for skipping a day on my re-telling of the walk, let me just explain that yesterday I was knee-deep in farm animals and four-year-olds. That's what you get for volunteering for "Farm Days" at your niece's preschool. But I digress...

The first night of sleeping in the tents was interesting. I periodically woke up because a.) every time I moved, I found a new sore muscle, b.) any part of my pillow not covered by my head was freezing, c.) I keep having dreams I was being swallowed by a giant snake, only to wake up and realize it was my sleeping bag, and d.) one of my tent "neighbors" - who shall forever remain nameless - could beat Hotrod in a snoring competition.

When we finally got up (which is to say we returned to a vertical position, not to say we awoke), there was more fun. My sleeping bag had collected so much condensation, it was wet to the touch. Our breath was visible in the tent - odd, until we stepped outside and found the glistening sheen of fresh ice on all the tents. Apparently, "Hotlanta" it ain't.

Once we got on the road, we quickly made a stop at the QT. Having never been to one of these before, I must say I was fairly impressed with their selection of male-centric ball caps and soda selections. Our illustrious leader, Deidre "look at my crocheting" Knight, soon realized her already injured feet were in need of more medical attention. We (D, me and my brave tentmate, Lynne Simpson) flagged down a sweeper van to take us to the next pit stop. There D received some much needed medical attention (did I mention her baby toes were so badly hurt her toenails were separating?) From there, we decided to take the bus to lunch.

After some rest and lunch, we hit the road again, this time with the addition of American Title winner and team mate, Janice Lynn. (No one could keep up with the inhuman pace set by bionic wonder kids Elaine and Julie. Dastardly 23-year-olds!) Another mile or so and D was down for the count. I was amazed she made it as far as she did - if my toenails were falling off, I wouldn't have been on a bus back to camp, I would have been on a plane back home!

Lynne, Janice and I pushed on, walking through some pretty neighborhoods and amazing groups of people cheering us on. At one point, we had to stop and get some moleskin for my side since my sportsbra gave me a nasty abrasion, but other than that, the remaining eight miles were incident free. About half a mile from camp, a large contingent of walkers behind us veered off into the local sports bar. Tempting to say the least.

After a quick shower (no hair dryer this night!), some school cafeteria chicken for dinner and a little conversation with the team (it's amazing what one can do with washcloths and rubber bands when love motivates you, but that's not really a story I can share since it didn't originate with me), we were back in our sleeping bags by 7:40 pm.

But that night was not to be full of slumber either...stayed tuned for the dramatic conclusion!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Walk - Day One

I left Thursday to spend the night at a hotel in Alpharetta and the lovely Janice Lynn arrived shortly thereafter to share the room. We woke up bright and early, went downstairs for a quick bite of crappy free breakfast, then came back upstairs to gather our things and get ready for day one.

We boarded the shuttle bus which took us to the Northpoint Mall for the opening ceremonies. This was a very cruel coincidence for a woman like me. I never walk away from a mall until I've left my mark inside. But that was not to be on Friday. After meeting up with the rest of Team Parallel Heat (and my tentmate, Lynne Simpson) and going through the opening ceremonies (which were both touching and a little cheesy), we started walking.

About two hours in, we took our first major detour. Into a Starbucks that ajoined a Barnes and Noble. Hey, we're writers. What did you expect? Needless to say we were soon back on the course, mocha lattes in hand. (It's good to know TKA values caffeine as much as I do.)

By lunch, the dogs were barking, but we pushed on, determined to make the day. Many hills and long hours later, we limped into camp. Lynne and I found our tent easily, since it was the only one of about 2500 that was not set up. I knew then that this whole experience was going to be some sort of test. I am not a camper. I bought all my camping supplies for this trip the day before. Now they wanted me to put up a tent? It happened, that's all I can say.

After a hot meal (institutional spaghetti not fit for the gullet of a true Italian, but I was hungry and tired and past caring) and a hot shower, I headed for a crew member to find out where I could plug in the hair dryer I had been given special dispensation to use. Fortunately for me, I brought the chain of emails that had led to this special permission. After much discussion and a promise that I would be apologized to, I was shown to a plug. Did I mention the emails were confiscated? Oh yes, kittens, they were. But my hair was bone dry and sparkling clean.

Stay tuned tomorrow for tales of the ice tent and Day Two.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm Home

It was a long, interesting weekend. There was ice, rain, sunburn, blisters and some detached toenails.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I'm Off!

I'm headed for Atlanta, with my real pillow packed (thanks to Mel's suggestion) and good thoughts for a great walk.

See you with stories and pics when I get back! Although you can check the Knight Agency blog during the walk. I'm not sure but Deidre might post once from her blackberry.

A few other tidbits:

1. Bella, if you're reading this, I've emailed you but still haven't heard which book you want or what your address is.

2. Congrats to my brother and his wife, for making me an aunt again! Little Reese was born late Tuesday night. I'll share a picture of her when I get back. (Assuming they've sent me one by then.)

3. There's about to be a new addition to the Painter family as well - and no I'm not pregnant. I hope to have pics of him for you next week too. He's a cutie!

4. Thanks to Lara Santiago for the ride to the airport.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Journey Begins Tomorrow

I leave tomorrow for the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk. 60 miles in 3 days (or as I like to call it, the end of my life as upright being)...but I digress. It's not really the walking that has me worried, it's the two nights of sleeping in tents.

Me in a tent. In a sleeping bag. It boggles the mind.

Those of you who know me can probably guess I'm not really a camping kind of girl. Camping for me would be a hotel that doesn't have fluffly robes in the room or an on-site spa. I'm not exactly the outdoor type, you see.

This should be interesting. I plan on taking pictures. My biggest concern? The pillow. I bought a camping pillow, but I'm not fooling myself that it comes anywhere close to the pillow I currently use. Any thoughts or suggestions on this particular subject from those of you who have braved a night sans walls?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rock On!

This just makes me laugh.

In other news, I'm prepping to leave for the 3 Day Cancer Walk. Much to do and unfortunately, it doesn't really include writing. I want to write. There's just so much going on I'm not really getting the time at the keyboard I'd like.

How's your writing going?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is There A Doctor In The House?

Alpha, Beta, Gamma...we've all heard the hero "types". Let's look at them in way that makes them easier to understand:


Dr. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan (actor Eric Dane) is about as Alpha as you can get. He's a lover and a fighter, full of machismo and swagger. A bad boy with a bad attitude and sex appeal you can't deny. There's a mystery about him. (Why would a guy sleep with his best friend's wife?) He seems wounded and in need of fixing, if only he could find the right woman. When it comes to work, he's the boss. His rules apply because he demands perfection. He is not the boy next door, which is why you shouldn't expect him to be there when you wake up in the morning.


Dr. George O'Malley (actor T.K. Knight) perfects the Beta hero. He's everyone's best friend. He's sweet, sensitive, not afraid to show his emotions - or confess them, regardless of the outcome. There's a bit of the underdog in him - we root for him to get the girl and feel his pain when he doesn't. Although he doesn't seek out confrontation, when pushed (enough) on a subject that means something to him, he'll eventually rise to the fight and defend what he believes in without even the slightest hint of arrogance. He is definitely the boy next door and the kind of guy who will always be there for you.


Surprised Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd (actor Patrick Dempsey) is the Gamma? You shouldn't be. He combines some of the best elements of the Alpha and the Beta. He falls into the role of best friend easily, displaying his overload of charm, but confront him with a situation that requires action and you'll see his Alpha side come spilling out. He is strong and vunerable...probably the only thing he can't handle is the heroine. McDreamy might be the boy next door, but only if you're living in a romance novel or television show.

So...who's your favorite hero?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fly-By Posting

Hope you all have a great weekend! I'm working on a fun blog for Monday, so don't forget to stop by then.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tell Me A Joke

I had to put my eldest cat, Laura, to sleep yesterday morning due to her kidney disease. It was a long, rough day. Anyone who ever got a chance to "meet" her, knows what a sweet, loveable creature she was. She had a loud purr that was unmistakable. Many people thought she sounded like a dove.

I'd appreciate a good joke or a link to a funny site...anything that would put a smile on my face is welcome.

Rest in peace, baby girl.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Something To Think About

Success is the result of preparation meeting opportunity.

I think that's especially true when it comes to writing.

We prepare by learning the craft of writing, editing and revising our work until it shines, by participating in networking, no matter what level we're at, and of course, reading in our genre to know what's being published.

The opportunities that come to us might be querying an article, short story or full manuscript to an agent or editor, or perhaps even entering a contest.

The success comes in the form of a request for a partial or a full, an article or story being accepted, placing in a contest (or winning!) and the big one, selling that full manuscript. However, success comes in other ways, too. Even the small successes, like meeting your word count for the day, finishing a chapter, finishing a manuscript, or fixing a sagging middle, are important and should be recognized.

This is a tough business. We need to celebrate the small victories to keep hold of the joy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Writing Blog Round-Up

Why your contest scores are low.

All about book trailers.

Are you ready for representation?

My diet-induced crankiness rears it's ugly head.

On another note, I worked out twice yesterday (weights in the morning, cardio in the evening) and I am sore. However, according to the scale I'm down two pounds. I don't care if it's water weight or I've lost brain cells, I'll take it

Monday, October 09, 2006


I'm starting a new diet and exercise program again, so if I'm cranky, you know why. Speaking of why...why aren't mashed potatoes with butter and hot fudge sundaes diet food? Why doesn't typing burn more calories? Why isn't size 12 the new 6? Why isn't being curvy more acceptable? Why do I care so much?

Well, I do care. I care that my clothes don't fit the way they used to - and that some don't fit at all. I feel sluggy sometimes and I know that's partly due to the A.) extra weight I'm hauling around and B.) the lack of exercise I'm getting.

Yes, I've been working out and training for the big 60 mile Breast Cancer 3 Day walk I'm participating in, but it's nothing like I once did. I'm trying to get back to that level of activity.

Worst part is...I'm getting weighed today. Oh mercy. I just know that isn't going to be pretty. I also know it just might be the black and white motivation I need.

Sigh. Why wasn't I born with a different metabolism?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

You Put The Lime In The Coconut...

I just found out Hotrod is taking me to Kona, HI in Dec. Neither of us have been to the big island yet, so we're really looking forward to it. I'm most excited by the possibility of whale watching and doing the volcano trek. Other than that, we're looking for tips from folks who've been.

So...any advice, recommendations, spots to see, places to eat, shops that must be shopped at?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Victory Dance Friday!

Woohoo! I not only hit the halfway point on my WIP yesterday, but I surpassed it! This means I've written about 75 pages in 9 days. I didn't know I had it in me!
What are you victory dancing about this fine Friday?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Little Thursday Diversion


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dropping Your Pants

It's time for me to get rid of a pair of pants. They're great pants--well, they were. A nice medium-light blue (softer than robin's egg, brighter than powder), very comfy, perfect for yoga. Except thanks to a few eaten-through bleach spots, a fraying drawstring and what looks to be a red Crystal Light stain, they haven't been out in public in a year or so.

The real bummer is there is a very cute zip-up hoodie with three quarter length sleeves in almost perfect condition in my closet that matches them.

But I'm a realist. That jacket is in such great shape because I stopped wearing it when the pants were no longer fit for public consumption. The chances of that jacket getting worn now are even slimmer. It's very cute with the pants, but on its own...well, there are so many other jackets to choose from in my closet.

This all reminds me of the first book I ever wrote. Sure, I will always think of it fondly (it finaled in the Golden Heart for pete's sake), but there comes a time when you have to put something away and move on. I know it won't get published and I'm okay with that (and have been for a while). Just like I know the sequels in that series probably won't ever see the light of day either.

As writers, we have to know when to shelve a manuscript (and its sequels) and move on. How many times do you edit something before you know it's just time to stop? How many submissions do you put it through? What's your process for declaring a manuscript DOA?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pretty Sparkly Things

I love sparkly things. Love them. So much it's probably unhealthy. Actually, loving sparklies can't be unhealthy, can it? It's not like I give up food or sleep for them. (Seriously, have you seen me? Does it look like I've skipped a meal or an opportunity to nap?)

Boil it down, along with my fascination with clothes, shoes, hair, makeup...and basically you'll find I'm a girly girl. I love flowers and chocolate. Candles and perfume. And of course, romance.

Which is probably why I love the ugly duckling heroine so much (and probably why I tend to write heroines that go through some sort of transformation). The process is what I love. The choices are limitless, so what will be chosen and what will be tossed aside? (I'm a sucker for make-over shows, too.)

Most importantly, the hero has to be able to see the beauty in her regardless of what stage of the process she's at - the before or the after.

What are some of your favorite themes in romance?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Move

There's not a writer among us who doesn't get tired of sitting. You shift and twist, your butt falls asleep, your back aches. The fidgeting doesn't stop. I am the poster child for this but I know I'm not alone.

Here's a move to give you a boost:

While sitting, raise your arms over your head and put a hand on each elbow. Then breath in so you inflate and lift your chest. Keep your spine tall and lean back until your shoulder blade area touches the back of the chair. Stay here for a few breaths. When you relax, you should feel ready to tackle a few more pages.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shout Out Saturday

First shout out goes to my friend, Lara Santiago, for getting 4 stars from Romantic Times for her book, The Tiburon Duet! Second shout out goes to my friend, Cassidy Kent, for her fabulous new cover - check this out! And how great is that title? Pretty great.Third shout out goes to St. Martin's for sending me this ARC yesterday. I actually squealed in joy when I opened the package. Ronda Thompson's Wulf Brothers series has been one of my all time favorites and I am dying to read this!
Have any shout outs of your own to share?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Get this breakout author NOW!

You may not have heard of Eden Bradley yet, but you will. She's about to be launched by Bantam Dell and Berkley as one of the hottest erotica authors to hit the scenes. But Isle of Desire is your chance to sneek a peek at her lush, evocative writing without waiting for those other books to come out in '07.

Isle of Desire by Eden Bradley

Is it really possible to fulfill the fantasy of a promise made in the passion of youth? On a beach on the small Venezuelan island of Isla de Margarita, Isabel Asher meets once more the love of her life, Rafael Cruz, the man she left behind twelve years earlier. Desire ignites, but can the sultry tropical nights spent in his bed lead them back to love? She’s about to find out, and maybe to have her heart broken in the process.

Available September 29th from

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How Kristen Got Her Groove Back

I've been completely out of the swing of writing lately. Too much traveling and then being sick for a week...I just felt disconnected with my WIP. I'd write a page here or a page there, but nothing worthwhile, nothing substantial.

I also hadn't been working out.

Both of those things changed at the end of last week. I got my butt on the treadmill Saturday morning by 6:30 so that I could work out before my chapter meeting. It felt great! And I've kept it up, pushing myself to do crunches, push-ups, lunges...all the stuff I know I should be doing.

Funny thing is, my page count has gone up dramatically.

Monday - 6
Tuesday - 16
Wednesday - 9

I'm thrilled! It's great to find that rhythm again. And the best part is I'm on track to meet my goal of 100 pages for the month. Now, I'm not 100% sure the two things are related, but I'm not going to overthink it. Have you ever had an experience like this? A change of routine that jumpstarted your production?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Drive-By Promos (Bit of a rant)

As most of you know, I'm the co-founder of a delicious site called Romance Divas. Our forum is close to 2100 members, so to say we're a large site seems fair.

Like any forum, there is a core group of members who participate, are active in discussions, take the time to answer new member questions, help moderate...all the things that make them more than just a screen name and a true "member" of the site.

And then there are those who register only so their first (and many times, last) post is a promotion for their latest release. (This is kind of a moot point now, as we've basically decided these posts will be deleted until the member has 50 posts total.)

What are these authors thinking? Posting once - at least on a forum like RD that is basically a family (don't believe me? ask any Diva what RD means to them.) won't get you anywhere. No one knows you. You've made zero effort to introduce yourself and become part of the board. And these are the people you supposedly believe to be your target audience! So why can't you spend five minutes a day saying hi, wishing a Happy Birthday here or there, or a congratulations on a full request. Laughing at a joke. Encouraging someone. Is it that hard?

Imagine how many books you'd sell if people actually knew you.

Many authors say they don't have the time for forums and loops, it's too hard to keep up. RD is the premier forum outside of RWA online chapters (and even then, I'm not so sure...). For a place with that kind of potential, I'd think you could make the time.

Rant over.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And The Winners Are...

First place: Toni Nichols
Second place: Bella McFarland
Third place: Melissa Francis
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to the 3 Day Cancer Walk I am participating in at the end of October with my team, Parallel Heat. I am happy to announce I am only $170 away!
Winners, please email me at with your address. Toni - you get first choice of the books, Bella - as soon as Toni choses hers, I'll let you know which two are left to pick from.
Thank you all!