Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas, Y'all!


Supermodel Dog is back (you'll remember her as Pilgrim Dog) to help me wish you all a Very Merry Christmas! And I'm proud to announce that Supermodel Dog's secret identity is a secret no more - she's the proud owner of best-selling author Roxanne St. Claire! That's right, faithful reader - this is a celebrity dog! Supermodel Dog's real name is Pepper. Just Pepper. A dog of her rare good looks and photographic talent needs only one name.

All silliness aside, have a blessed Christmas. Peace on earth, goodwill to men!

Project Snozzberry

Word on the street says tonight's Project Runway will be a sweet treat. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It was cold here yesterday. Like, actually cold, not just chilly. It was 39 yesterday morning and only warmed up to about 55 during the day. My Floridian blood couldn't cope. I piled on the layers and made a massive pot of chili. (Which was de-lish!) I also drank lots of hot chocolate and coffee. I had socks AND slippers on. Still froze half to death.

I know, I know, I'm a bit of a weather wimp. What really worries me is that we're headed up to my parents for Christmas. Where the highs will be mid to low 40's. My father has already warned me to bring my fur (faux, not real) coat because he swears the thermostat will not be turned up past 68.

I'm doomed, aren't I?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Party Online - With Presents!

Hey y'all, stop by the Knight Agency chat room at 12:30 today for an awesome holiday party with tons of giveaways! It's going to be a blast! There's sure to be lots of authors, readers and general holiday cheer.

Click HERE for all the details.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Diva Withdrawal?

Thanks to our craptastic hosting company screwing up the Romance Diva forum, we're currently without a workable forum while they (we think) try to repair it. Or not. It's pretty hard to tell since their customer service sucks monkey butt.

In the mean time, feel free to catch up on the diva madness, share a brag, get some support - you know, all the diva goodness there is - at our temporary Yahoo group:

Thanks for your patience while we deal with idiots.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Makeover

First of all, let me say thanks for all the condolences offered. Means a lot to me. Now, on to the show...

Project Runway this week was all about transformation. The challenge was to make an outfit out of the favorite clothing of a woman who'd recently lost a large amount of weight - the women pictured are the actual women used in the challenge. I think the least amount one of them lost was 59 pounds, some as much as 100 or more. This should be a reason to celebrate, right? Except when you look at the outfits, you wonder if the designer understood that. This is just okay for me, doesn't knock me over with excitement, you know? I mean, it looks like something you could get at Target or maybe even Walmart. Just ordinary clothes.

This is big giant NO. Granted, it started life as a long velvet tank dress, but how is this better? Hey, the 80's called, it wants its mother of the bride dress back.
For me, this should have been the losing outfit. It's ghastly. Hello, this woman just lost 100 pounds, why do want to put her in layers and a ruffled jacket that ends at her hips? Call attention to every woman's least favorite body part much?
This is cute. I would totally wear this. I give this dress an A+.
Another great, sexy outfit. I would totally buy this top. I do think the leggings make it a little 80's a-go-go, though. I would pair it with straight leg black dress pants - that would rock!
This dress got its designer kicked off. Now, you might not think it looks that bad, but keep in mind his starter outfit was a heavily beaded, pearled, sequined, laced wedding gown. And this is what he came up with. I can describe this dress in one word: mumsy.
Okay, this is sort of cute, but who thought black stockings was a good idea with this? Seriously? It makes this dress look like a mullet. Party from the waist up, business from the waist down. Stick to bare legs and strappy sandals with an outfit like this.
Another cute, cute dress that's actually styled well (bare legs and strappy sandals anyone?) but didn't win. I'd wear this. Would you?
I'm not crazy about this outfit. I think it looks cheap. I hate that the top is sheer enough that the waistband of the pants shows through. A touch tacky in my book.
Anyone else channeling Olive Oyl here? Popeye must be designing this year...

This is the winner. Cute shirt, but all he did for the jeans was take them in and crop them. Not much of a redesign. Whatever. I'm still waiting for this show to get interesting, although this week's episode was better than the last few have been.

Still watching? What's your take on the designers?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No Blog Today

My sister-in-law's dad passed away suddenly yesterday from a heart attack. This was a man in his 50's with a real love of life who had once run the Boston marathon.

Prayers are welcome at this difficult time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is it Monday already?

I'm wiped. It's been a long weekend. Saturday was the TARA Christmas party in Tampa, then yesterday after church Hotrod and I headed to Orlando to meet his family at Disney for Mickey's Christmas Celebration or some such thing. Basically, for a slightly reduced ticket price we got to be in the park from 4ish until midnight. Which we were. Which is why I'm so beat. It's an hour drive home.

I did get a great pic of Cinderella's castle all lit up in Christmas lights though. (And some of the fireworks, which were SO awesome.) Not to mention the two main reasons we were there...

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Historical Day

Today is a very special day, for two reasons. One, it's Pearl Harbor day.And two, five years ago on this date, Hotrod and I said "I do."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Project Wake Me When It's Over

I hate to say it, but this season's Project Runway has been one big snoozefest. Mostly, I think the fault lies in two things: A. The designers picked to be on the show are almost all established and working in some sort of related industry. For this reason, they're all playing it rather safe. There's no craziness, no just-out-of-design-school need to prove themselves. No real fire. B. The challenges they're being given are kind of lame.

Take this week's, for example. They were divided into 3 teams of 3 and given 3 previous fashion trends that are now fashion don'ts and told to remake them. Um...for the most part, these fashion don'ts weren't really something any of us wanted to revisit, were they?

The winning team, who had overalls, poodle skirts and something else I can't remember, came up with these three outfits. Very nicely made. I might actually wear the dress.

The worst two outfits of the night are the following two. The first one got its creator kicked off. Odd, huh? Especially when you look at the satin crapfest that follows it. I can describe that outfit in one word - NO. Granted, the first dress might be a bit "meh", but the designer's fashion don't was shoulder pads. What else was he going to do with them? Make a hat? At least the dress has an air of elegance about it. Unlike the other one...
In this second outfit, the designer had underwear as outerwear, cut outs, and neon. And his outfit basically looks like it belongs on a futuristic hooker. Wow, way to reinterpret those fashion don'ts!

Please Project Runway, get some good challenges! What ever happened to the days of making clothes from plants or trash? Why not have the designers make a wedding dress? Or just a fancy dress? We like to see that stuff, not be reminded of all our previous fashion sins. Do you agree? Are you as unimpressed with this year's show as I am?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Charmed, I’m Sure

A little note from Candy Havens:

It’s difficult for me to believe that I just turned in my fifth book, “The Demon King and I,” in five years, and now “Charmed & Dangerous” is coming out in mass market on Dec. 4. I still remember sitting on my bed at two in the morning, the night before my very first meeting with an editor. Another writer friend told me I needed to have more than one idea to pitch to the editor, and I was frantically trying to make something up.

It was a strange feeling when I finally wrote about a character who had been dancing around in my head for some time. I’d just heard that “Buffy” was going off the air, and I was angry with creator Joss Whedon for not going one more year. In retrospect they ended at the right time, but back then I was mad. What would I do without my weekly dose of “Buffy?”

That night before the meeting I put pen to paper and created a character who had the attitude of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) but the power of Bad Willow (Alyson Hannigan). She would use that power to protect important people, and to save the world. I can’t remember how I came up with the idea for the prime minister, but I wanted a really powerful, cool leader. So of course I had to make one up. (Smile)

That one-page synopsis became a book just a few months later, and crazy stuff happened along the way. A love triangle between Sam, Bronwyn and Sheik Azir developed out of thin air one day. Azir met the Prime Minister in what was supposed to be an information finding expedition, but as I described Azir, I fell for him. Funny how that happens when we least expect it.

The powerful wizard Garnout came from the need for Bronwyn to have some sort of mentor. I love Garnout. He’s one of my favorite people. I also wanted to create my dream town. A place where magic abounds, but overall people are friendly with one another. And of course, great food can be found on every corner in Sweet, Texas.

Even though I’ve moved on to new characters that crazy witch Bronwyn is still dancing around in my head. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever run out of stories for her, and I hope to write many more. It still freaks me out a little when I realize these funny stories have turned into very real books. I’m so grateful to Bronwyn and to all the adventures we’ve had together. - Candy Havens

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Favorite Christmas Treats

These are a few of my favorite Christmas treats:

1. Holiday color M&M's - yes, I know they don't taste any different, but they're so festive and pretty. Eating the Christmas colored ones seems less like a cheat.

2. Eggnog - but only in small doses. Too much and I lose my love of it quickly. Unless it's homemade - for some reason, that goes down easier.

3. Cookies - so many varieties, so little time. I love all cookies. Sugar with thick icing especially. And those peanut butter ones with the Hershey kiss in the middle. And good ole chocolate chip. And M&M cookies, with the Holiday colors, of course.

4. Ham - Ham is good eats no matter the time of year, but Christmas seems about the only time when I get my fill. We rarely have it otherwise. Bacon would be a subset of this treat, but not as special since we have it more often. Mmmmm...ham.

5. Hot cider - the perfect thing for when you come in from playing in the snow. (Obviously not here in FL.) I talked to my mom this morning and she said they have fat flakes drifting down - warm up the cider!

6. Mashed potatoes - See ham. Love them, rarely eat them. Holidays are all the excuse I need. Plus there's butter involved. What's not to love?

7. Panettone - like Italian fruitcake, but more cakey and less chopped gross candied fruit. So good with coffee. Leftovers make an awesome bread pudding.

8. Godiva chocolates - somehow (maybe a Christmas miracle) a box of these always ends up in the vicinity during Christmas. I adore Godivas, but hate to share them. I know, I need to work on my Christmas spirit.

9. Cheese - another thing that seems to show up in abundance around Christmas, maybe because cheese and crackers is such an easy snack to hold off the ravenous crowds trying to eat dinner before it's time. Behold! The power of cheese!

10. Meatballs - Not a traditional Christmas treat, but when Christmas includes my dad, there are bound to be meatballs. And let me tell you, my dad's'd kill for them. They are little balls of meaty heaven on earth. Sicilians just know how to cook, what can I say? The fact that meatballs usually means pasta is also involved is not to be overlooked.

What are your favorite Christmas treats? Anything out of the ordinary? I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Random Thoughts

I don't really hate Mondays, but how cute is that picture? Mondays aren't that terrible, really. After all, they mean a fresh start to a new week. How bad can that be?

I'm doing what I hope is my last and final Christmas shopping trip today. Then the wrapping begins. Ick. I don't like wrapping at all.

I dreamed about Jerome Bettis last night. Do you think that means I'm watching too much football?

I have so much to do in the next two weeks, I don't know where to start. Christmas functions to attend, presents to deliver, ornaments to make, cat accessories to buy (for the road trip), presents to wrap, packing...this time of year is so stinkin' busy! But I've resolved to fit some writing in there somewhere.

How do you balance the holiday madness with writing?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mission Impossible

I'm going Christmas shopping today with some of my chicas, and I hope to finish it up as much as possible. Some of the people on my list are easy to buy for, like my mom. She's like me - sparkly things are alway welcome. My dad on the other hand, not so easy. He's my toughest person. I have a few ideas, but nothing truly inspired or different.

Who's your hard to shop for person? Any thoughts on what to get them? What have you done for them in the past?

Project Running Back

Last night's Project Runway was kind of a snoozefest. The contestants had to design an outfit for Tiki Barber, which was cool, I love Tiki, but except for maybe two of them, it seemed like they didn't listen to the challenge directions.

Tiki is fabulously dressed man who always looks like a million and two dollars. He asked them to design an outfit he could wear on the Today Show, told them he wasn't afraid of color, loved details and about his specific fit needs.

The contestants then basically ignored that and did whatever they wanted to, which in most cases meant making a suit. Fine. Great. Good. But if you've never made a suit before or haven't even thought about doing menswear, why pick perhaps the single hardest piece of clothing to reproduce? Why?

Not only that, but the fabrics most of them chose were bor-ring. And the style of some of not Tiki. Let's discuss.

Okay, what is this? Tiki as Oliver Twist? I think not. And the crotch on those pants is the funniest thing I've seen all day.

This wasn't the winner, but it was in my book. Yes, the colors a boring, but the jacket is made of fleece, not suiting material, which gives it a casualness that works. The pants drape nicely, too. I would have gone with a patterned shirt and some nice buttons on the jacket to jazz it up.

This would be great for Tiki. When he moves to Sunset Village and takes up canasta. Hello! He's not 70! Quit trying to dress him like he is.

Um. Yeah. Nice, um, neckline. (Actually, if this had been made better, it would have been in the running. The pants were great, but from the waist up it's a disaster zone.)
Tiki Barber in a cravat? Are you freakin' kidding me? Did you look at the man? Does he look like he ever wears a cravat?

Anyway, there were more I wanted to talk about, but Blogger isn't letting me upload and more pictures. Grrr. Any thoughts on the show? Did you watch?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Meme

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Mmmm, both please.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just put them under the tree? Wrap! Are you nuts?
3. Colored or white lights on tree/house? White.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, I'm not really interested in kissing Hotrod's relatives.
5. When do you put your decorations up? This year, never, since we're traveling.
6. What is your holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Standing rib roast
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: The dollhouse my dad built me.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? We were never raised to believe in Santa. We knew what a big fat liar he was from day one.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? On my side of the family, we open everything but the stockings on Christmas Eve. Why? See #8
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Usually in burgundy and gold with a lot of individual handcrafted ornaments that work in that color scheme.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it, but I also don't have to live in it.
12. Can you ice skate? Yep, but I haven't done it in a few years.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Yep, roller skates when my dad insisted I wasn't getting them because I'd break an ankel. My mother is so sneaky!

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Time with family.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve candlelit service at church.
17. What tops your tree? An antique gold star
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving. To myself and others.
19. What is your favourite Christmas song? Mary, Do You Know?
20. Candy canes: Pointless as a food, great as a decoration
21. Favourite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story. You're gonna shoot your eye out!
22. What do you leave for Santa? Chapstick, so he can gloss up before he kisses my butt.

I tag Louisa Edwards, Jax Crane, Lara Santiago and Jennifer Shirk

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Public Displays of Whinery

There's been a lot of public whining by generally well-known authors lately. Patricia Cornwell ring any bells? Jacqueline Frank and now Adele Ashworth are being added to the mix. Read the whole story here, then come back and tell me what you think.

Should authors shut it and man up? Or do they have a right to spout off on the web (where everything becomes a permanent record) about this stuff? Would you do it? If so, why? If not, why?

Personally, I think it must be very tempting for the big bad author to take on the lowly reader, royalty statements in hand, waving like some strange proof of authority. However, I hope that I would never do it. The authors just end up looking sad and petty in my opinion. It's a lot like Miss Piggy and Kermit. She was always karate chopping him for not loving her, but who knew better than Kermit how he felt? If a reader doesn't like your book, beating them up isn't going to change their minds.
Seriously though, talk to me. What do you think?

Monday, November 26, 2007

And The Winner Is...

"As soon as they is not looking, I is going to eats garbage til I pukes on this dress." - Sela Carsen
Congrats, Sela! You win the caption contest. Your book will be headed out to you shortly.
In other news, anyone else get the sense that pirate historicals are about to make a comeback?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Caption Contest!

Caption this photo:

Pilgrim Dog says the winner of this caption contest will win:

Sold into slavery in 1683 Boston and renamed Thankful Seagraves, a Latina woman is brutalized and raped until giving birth to her daughter, who is turned against her by her master's wife, before Thankful is swept up by the hysteria of the Salem witchcraft trials.

Contest winner will be announced Monday morning on this blog. Get your brains working now before the turkey makes them sluggy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Observations of a Contest Judge

I've recently judged about 15-16 contest entries in a very short period of time. Like hours. I did this to help with my chapter's contest because we're getting close to announcing the finalists and there were many entries (thanks to a change we overlooked) that needed discrepancy judging.

One thing I learned reading so many entries in such a short time is that the good ones stand out early. You don't need to read to page 18 to know if it's got potential or not. Sometimes page 4 or 5, but usually by page 1, 1 1/2 maybe, you pretty much have a feel for whether or not someone can tell a story that will keep you reading.

Out of those entries I read, there was really only one that I could imagine myself curled up with on a rainy day. Am I a hard judge? Yes, because I judge against my own standards for my own writing, and those are very high, let me tell you.

Still, I enjoy the judging process. It shows me a slice of what's being done out there in Writerland. What themes are popular, what historical time periods are still holding interest, what paranormal elements show up time and time again.

Now, however, I must read something already published, because reading only the first chapters of 15 books can give a person a real need for closure. What are you reading right now?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday To Do's

Ahh, Monday.

All I can say is I'm glad the weekend is over. Friday, as you all know, I cleaned until my digits were bloody stumps. The house looked spectacular, though. It's all ready begun the downhill slide towards needing to be cleaned again unfortunately. Thanks to everyone who commiserated with me.

Saturday was my chapter meeting featuring the fabulous C.L. Wilson and her take on worldbuilding. I was also elected Vice President again.

Sunday, I was recovering from a massive allergy attack and didn't get out of bed until after 12. Once I did get out of bed, Lara Santiago and I headed over to our chapter contest coordinator's for a massive Discrepancy Judging-a-Thon. About six of us dj'ed more than 30 entries. It was a long day. I'm glad Lara does math, because all that adding of scores made my head hurt.

So today is a fresh start on a new week that ends in fabulous meal that I (YAY!) don't have to cook or host or clean up after. I do have a few goals this week that I'm hoping to accomplish before that happens. Such as:

1. Some crits for my CP's.
2. Some final polishing on something of my own.
3. Some polishing/updating on a potential article for the RWR.
4. Laundry.
5. Trip to the post office.

What's on your list?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hazel I'm Not.

Today is that day. The day when I either have to clean the house or become utterly and officially shamed by the cat hair tumbleweeds rolling past me.

Cleaning is, well, let's just say it's not my forte. I do it, but with malice in my heart. And I'm not a good cleaner. I'm the kind who dusts around things as opposed to picking them up.
This results in the occasionally, but necessary, Big Clean. And that's where we are now. In need of the Big Clean. *sigh*
Adding to this need to clean is the fact that Hotrod comes home from his business trip today and I hate for him to come to a house that looks like it needs an intervention. So, after I set up my coffee IV and have a bowl of porridge, I will begin this arduous task. With malice in my heart. I will, however, be taking some solace in the calories burned. And of course, the happiness of the final product.
Do you hate to clean? Love it? (Sicko) Or do you have someone do it for you? I've tried that in the past, but I rarely find anyone who cleans any better than I do, so why not keep the money for myself and buy shoes?
Any words of cleaning wisdom?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Project Runway

Project Runway kicked off season 4 last night. I'm a sucker for this show, having attended The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and loving all things fashionable as I do.

This definitely seems like the most talented bunch of designers so far. Most of them already have some sort of business going and have been designing clothes for some time. Should make for interesting competition.

Last night's designs includes some real ups and downs. Let's take a look...

First of all, a few of the designs were just plain derivative. It's great to love another designer's work, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that, but this is a design competition, honey! You need to be original. These three outfits show the clear influence of Vivianne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and even touches of Betsey Johnson.

This third one is actually my favorite, even though I don't think it's all that original. It looks like something Cyndi Lauper might have worn back in the day. I like it! I don't love the shoes.

My winners (as in clothes I'd actually wear) are:This is the cutest day dress ever. I could totally see this with flats and a kicky cropped jacket for a lunch with the girls. Soooo cute.This dress is FAB. I would wear this in a heartbeat. First of all, it's purple. Score! Purple is such a great evening wear color and yet you see so little of it. Every thing about this dress is great. It's elegant without being stuffy and tres chic. It drapes beautifully and shows off the shoulders. Win! (No, this is not the actual winner, but it's the one I would have chosen.)

Did you watch last night? Did you have a favorite?