Friday, August 31, 2007

Writing Exercises

Put your writerly thinking caps on and try your hand at these little exercises!

Choose A New Word:

1. Flat as a ___________________
2. Hard as a _________________
3. Nutty as a __________________
4. Soft as a __________________
5. Lazy as a _________________

Reinvent The Phrase:

1. All that glitters is not gold
2. Thorn in your side
3. Throw the baby out with the bathwater
4. Cry like a baby
5. Barking up the wrong tree

I'll be sure to tell you which one I like best or I think is most inventive.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Girding My Loins

I'm prepping myself for a battle of sorts. Girding my loins, as the subject line says. See, I have to go to Walmart today. We need groceries (seriously, if you looked in our fridge, you'd see a whole lotta light and not much else) and while normally I'm a Publix girl (I love me some Publix), we also need large quantities of bird seed and a hair dryer. Not for use together, I assure you. We need the birdseed because we feed two families of Sandhill Cranes. We meant to feed songbirds, but the cranes have taken over. We like them, though. But when we're out of food, they squawk rather loudly in protest. It's just best to keep them feed.

And I need a hair dryer because yesterday, as I was blow drying my hair, I heard these cracking noises and little plastic bits started shooting out the end of the hair dryer. Then the housing started to split open in my hand. I immediately yanked the cord out of the wall and tossed it. I felt like electrocution was the next step and didn't want to go there. Hence, new hair dryer is on the list. I liked my old one. If they still have it, that's probably what I'll get. I hate getting a new one because there's always a learning curve.
But wait, I'm getting off track. Walmart. I have to go to Walmart. That place is like a time suck. You go in for one thing and an hour and a half later, you've got a cart full of stuff you didn't know you needed. I must be strong. I will avoid the book section (especially since Amazon let me know this morning that my order has shipped - Undercover In High Heels is on its way!) I will avoid the make-up aisle. Mostly. There might be a new lip gloss I should have. Wait! See? It's happening already. Crap. I'm doomed.
On another note, let me offer you a small warning: Don't let your cat sit on your keyboard. Not only do they rarely add legible words of wisdom to your manuscript, but they're capable of making your computer do strange things, like the cursor highlighting everything, the right click function ceasing to function and new windows popping up everytime you try to open a link. I finally had to restart and fortunately that worked to set everything right.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Young Adult

As y'all know, I'm working on my first Young Adult (YA) book. I'm excited about it, but then I get excited about pretty much every book I write (with the rare exception of the book I wrote solely to pitch to Nocturne - ugh, total slog.) Before I started writing, however, I prepped myself by reading a slew of YA titles - stuff that was considered "hot" and best-sellers. I found some I loved, some that were just sort of "meh" and some that shocked me (language, topics, explicitness I didn't expect.)

Now, I find that YA's are a regular part of my reading diet. The next two on my TBR pile are Scott Westerfeld's Peeps and Gena Showalter's Oh My Goth. I almost enjoy them more than books from the romance genre, probably because I know I'm not going to get in-your-face sex and R rated language as a rule. Beyond that, the storytelling is SO good. Innovative, fresh, imaginative. Things I think have gotten a bit lost in the romance genre. Don't get me wrong, I love the romance genre. It's just nice to have a palate cleanser once in a while and YA fits that bill perfectly.

Have you tried YA? If not, why not? If you read YA, what are some of your favorites? I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Four jobs I've had or currently have in my life:
1. Maitre D'
2. English Teacher
3. Personal Trainer
4. Runway model

Four countries I've been to:
1. Germany
2. Africa
3. Spain
4. Great Britain

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. In bed.
2. In the pool.
3. At the spa.
4. In Hawaii in bed, in the pool or at the spa.

Four foods I like to eat:
1. Pasta
2. Bread
3. Cake
4. Kitten toes

Four personal heroes, past or present:
1. My grandma
2. My parents
3. Hotrod
4. My brother

Four books you've read or are currently reading:
1. She's No Angel by Leslie Kelly
2. Lover Eternal by JR Ward
3. Lover Awakened by JR Ward
4. The lover book after that. Can't remember the name.

Four words or phrases you would like to see used more often:
1. "We'd like to offer you a contract on..."
2. "I just bought it for you because."
3. "You look hot in pajama pants, a tank top, hair up and no makeup."
4. "Why don't I make dinner?"

Four reasons for ending a friendship:
1. Betrayal
2. Lies
3. I honestly can't think of any others that don't fall under those two categories.

Four smells that make you feel good about the world:
1. Freshly-mown grass
2. Bread or cookies baking
3. The smell of a bookstore
4. Kitty fur

My question: Four cosmetics you wouldn't want to be without:
1. Concealer
2. Mascara
3. Bronzer
4. Tinted lipgloss

I tag Lara Santiago, BE Sanderson, Sara Thacker and Louisa Edwards. Get on it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Home and Thanks!

So in the last week and a half, Hotrod and I have made the equivilent of two trips to Atlanta and back in the car. Road trips are great in theory, but they wear me out. I feel tore up from the floor up. However, I have now read the entire JR Ward series. They're pretty good. Very Kenyon-esque for me.

Still, I've got to get back in some sort of routine that includes exercise and writing. Today is a new day! And all that. What's your writing schedule like?

Thanks to all those who got their daughters to answer questions for me!!! That was awesome!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Talk Amongst Yourselves

I'm off on an extended beach weekend with some ladyfriends - try to behave while I'm gone, would you? (By the way, I'm about 300 pages into the second JR Ward book and plan to finish the rest of the series - which I bought yesterday - while I'm on my va-cay.)

If you have teenage daughters, would you mind doing a little research for me? I'd like to know what they worry about the most while at school and what secret/super power they'd most like to have. Cool? Cool. Thanks.

Okay, gotta run. Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oops, I Did It Again

Um...I now have one less book on my TBR pile. Needless to say, I didn't get much writing done yesterday. See, I spent most of the day reading. Starting right after I got home from boxing class and grocery shopping.

I'm a bad, bad writer. But there is such pure pleasure to be had in losing oneself in story well-told. And Dark Lover is a story well-told. I admit it, I'm hooked. Yes, there were some bits I stumbled over (the hero is so blind he needs his meat cut up for him, but he has no problem telling that the heroine is wearing a lace bra...) I'm sure I'll find myself in a book store at some point tomorrow, buying the rest of this series.

Still, great writing - great storytelling - inspires the creative mind. Renews it. So basically, I was working...

Hush. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Couldn't Wait

I was supposed to be saving this book for an upcoming beach getaway, but I'd heard so much good buzz about it, I took it with me on our trip to Hotrod's cousin's wedding.

On our drive up, I decided to pull it out and read the first few pages while Hotrod was talking on his crackberry. Many pages later, I had no desire to put it down. I didn't expect it to be funny! The Leopard Prince has to be one of the most entertaining books I've read this year. I finished it on the drive home. Delish!

I hope to pick up the first book, The Raven Prince, in this series next time I'm at the bookstore. (The third, The Serpent Prince, comes on out on Sept. 1st, I believe.)

Last night, after we got home and collapsed from the exhausting 8 hour drive (which included an hour of sitting in traffic backed up by a jack-knifed 18-wheeler), I started JR Ward's Dark Lover. Yes, I know I'm waaaaaaaay behind the curve on reading this series, but I'm not a big vamp fan. I'm still reserving judgement on this first book, but I'm only a few pages in.

Anyway, The Leopard Prince is a great read! If you like historicals (or even if they're not your usual go-to genre), give this one a try.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Goin' To The Chapel...

We're off to a family (Hotrod's family, not mine) wedding in Alpharetta, GA today. The last wedding I went to was the impetus for me to start this new weight loss/exercise journey I've been on. Wonder what this one will bring?

Here's to finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with! Blah, blah,

Happy weekend, y'all!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Third Party Candidate Emerges

Some people's children - cough*LaraSantiago*cough - have too much time on their talented hands. You may recall the previous political candidates that have shown up on my blog (such as Sam the cat and Scooter the cat)? Well, I give you Max, whose campaign has apparently been marred by controversy from the start. Poor kitten. I don't think his constituents are going to take this well... Just for reference, I thought I'd post the picture this pays homage to. Max seems to be taking it a bit more seriously, don't you think? LOL

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction

Yes, I know I'm little behind on movie watching but I finally saw Stranger Than Fiction. (Thanks to Lara Santiago and her awesome DVD collection. And her willingness to share.)

It was an interesting premise - the main character of an author's book turns out to be a real person, and her writing seems to dictate the course of his life.

Got me thinking. Of all my main characters, which one of them would I most like to come to life? Um...that's sort of scary when you boil it down. I'd have to go with my Texas-born Manhattanite chef hottie, because otherwise I'd end up with a half-elf mercenary, a 1000-year-old Viking chieftain, a nightclub-owning werewolf, a grim reaper...See what I mean? Of course, my heroines tend to be a little more normal.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet as a real person? Or most not like to meet?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yes, I'm a white girl

I may be Sicilian, Northern Italian and a little Greek, but my English and German genes were in full swing last night. Or not in full swing, as the case may be.

See, I took a new exercise class last night. Zumba. Yeah, it sounds like fun, doesn't it? According to the website, "ZUMBA is a fusion of Latin and International music" - think the Ying Yang Twins meets Ricki Martin. Uh huh. Hip hop moves and salsa swivels. Rump shaking and cha-cha-cha. Heavy on the "yo boy" hip-hop moves. For shizzle.

I felt like I should have worn hotpants and false eyelashes for all that booty shaking. Or maybe some bling. (While I am normally fairly blinged out, when I exercise, it's just the wedding ring that never comes off and the toe ring I forget I'm wearing.)

I'm not sure I can go back to this class with a clear conscious. My mother doesn't like me throwing gang signs in public. On the up side, I'm down half a pound this morning. That's two pounds in two days. I'm going to call this plateau officially broken. (I'm now down 21 1/2 pounds for those of you playing along with the home game.)
I think I'll give Zumba one more shot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Life is full of guilty pleasures, but when you're dieting (like I am) some of those guilty pleasures become, well, guiltier.
Take chocolate for example. I adore chocolate and all it's many forms: pure chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, body paint--*ahem* You get the picture - and I'm sure most of you agree with me on this one. Chocolate is a writer's friend, but lately I've been avoiding it like an ex-boyfriend. Sure, I've had a few tiny indulgences, but they've been so few and so tiny, calling them indulgences is being kind.
Since I can't/won't have chocolate, I have to get my "fix" elsewhere. And where have I turned, you ask?
To another guilty pleasure: reality TV.
The Hell's Kitchen finale was last night, but thankfully I've found a new show, Fat March, to sink my teeth into. It's a bizarre show, kind of like the Biggest Losers mets the Breast Cancer 3 Day (slight inside joke there). Overweight people are forced to diet (sort of. They're eating 2000 calories a day, which is more than I eat) and walk X number of miles each day. One day was 11.5 miles. Hah! During the Breast Cancer 3 Day, we had to walk 20 miles a day. But whatever.
Design Star is another truffle in my reality tv box of chocolates. Some wannabe designers get to compete for their own show on HGTV. Latest challenge was to design & decorate a room using only what they could buy at a Dollar Store. They had $399 to spend. Some of them did great and some of them wasted their money.

However, the show I'm most looking forward to is Kid Nation. Have you heard about this? A bunch of kids get dropped off in a ghost town and get to make their own civilization. It's like a supervized Lord of the Flies. Count me in!

Tell the truth now...what are your guilty pleasures?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Whatcha Reading? Whatcha Watching?

I just finished two fun, but very different books: The Break-Up Bible by Melissa Kantor (YA) and Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen (Popular Fiction - I don't know how else to describe this).

What are you reading or getting ready to read?

Lara Santiago and I watched a golden oldie yesterday - The Court Jester with Danny Kaye and a verra young Angela Lansbury. It's such a funny movie! I'm also in the middle of watching The Glass Bottom Boat with Doris Day. I love old movies!

Seen anything good lately? Looking forward to seeing something soon?

Saturday, August 11, 2007


That's what I spent the day doing yesterday. Just floatin' and readin'... I didn't even work out! I did get a little pink for my efforts (or lack thereof) but I think by tomorrow it will have turned into a lovely golden tan. There's something so wonderful and soothing about floating. And reading. Combine the two and it's like chocolate and peanut butter. Really hard to beat.
After the previous day's adventure in the airport, I didn't have it in me to do much more. Hotrod felt the same way, although he somehow managed to find the strength to make it through 18 holes of golf. He's such a giver, that man.
Anyway, I'm reading Carl Hiaasen's Sick Puppy. It's not the first Hiaasen book I've read by any means. I'm a fan of his work and it's such a nice change to read outside the genres I write. Hiaasen is a native Floridian and a huge environmentalist. To say he's not a fan of Disney would be putting it mildly. Pick up one of his books and you're guaranteed to find crazy characters doing whacked-out things in bizarre situations. His books are like vacations for your mind.
I'm almost finished with this book and it's really hard to stop reading. Maybe I'll do a little more floating today...
What's on your schedule?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Airtran Sucks

It's something else all right, it's a giant pain in my backside.

After a 9-hour plus wait in the Orlando airport, Airtran canceled our flight to Baltimore due to storms and ultimately, air traffic back up. That's right, I'm still in Florida, with no clear idea as to when I'll get up to see my family.

I understand that bad weather happens. What ticks me off is that Airtran took so stinking long to make the decision to cancel the flight. If they'd done it earlier, we wouldn't have been stuck in the airport so long and we might have been able to make other arrangements. As it stands now, getting up there for the weekend would be a very expensive proposition.

Why can't businesses be run with a little common sense and human compassion? Is that so much to ask?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'm Leavin'...On A Jet Plane...

I'm off to Maryland with Hotrod on a business trip. After his meeting, we're driving down to the beach to see the 'rents (my dad's birthday is coming up) and my bro and his wife and their remarkably adorable offspring. I'll think of you all while I'm chowing down on hot, spicy, steamed crabs! Mmmm...crabs....

Might even hit the OC boardwalk for my favorite frozen dessert of all times - KOHR'S FROZEN CUSTARD!!! If you've never had frozen custard, you are seriously missing out. It's so much better than regular soft serve ice cream. It's like eating a delicious frozen cloud. I hope they have the peanut butter/chocolate twist machine working. That's my fav!

And of course, no trip to the boardwalk would be complete without a big, salty, greasy bucket of Thrasher's french fries doused with a healthy sprinkle of vinegar. My mouth is watering as I type this. Thrasher's is a legend in OC. The lines are always long, but the wait is always worth it. Just ask the seagulls.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hispanic and Other Foreign Languages

So my inlaws were here for a few days (and by a few I mean the mental equivalent of 3 1/2 years), along with Hotrod's brother, his wife and their little boy.

Now, what you need to know, is that Hotrod's parents have been divorced longer than they were actually married. It's a bizarre situation for someone like me, whose parents are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

Hotrod's dad is one of those people who knows everything. Hotrod's mother is basically Chicken Little. In her world, the sky is always falling.

One day during the visit the women took the kids (the nephew and Hotrod's sister's little girl, the niece) to the zoo. The men went golfing. We met up for lunch at Moe's Southwest Grill. If you're unfamiliar with Moe's, it's like a Southwestern Subway. Made to order, fresh, really yummy.

I'm standing in line behind Hotrod's mother when I see this look of abject terror over take her. I asked her what was wrong. Staring at the menu board behind me, she waves her hands frantically and announces, "I can't read Hispanic!"

I stare right back at her, completely dumbfounded (if you know me, you know how infrequently I'm speechless.) When I find my voice, I say, "What? That entire menu is in English. What are you talking about?"

"Burrito, fa-gee-ta, kwes-a-deella...I don't know what any of that means!"
Deep breath. Exhale. Deep breath again. I proceed to help her order a soft chicken taco while the construction worker behind me giggles.

Long story short, she loved the food, even though (in her own words), she hadn't had Mexican food in 25 years. Which was the last time she went to a Taco Bell.

Aye Carumba.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cats & Cake

Eva requested more cats, so more cats it is. I am proud to say that I've made my first lolcat! And I've also finally figured out what my cat, Sam, is trying to say to me. I have critique partners for that, thank you very much. Brat.

Here's the four-layer chocolate banana cake I made for our recent family gathering. I so love chocolate ganache! It's dark and decadent and delicious. Mmmm... Anyway, I also love making cakes and I was pretty happy with the way this one turned out.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger thanks to visting family. That all changes tomorrow afternoon, however...then the blogging shall commence anew!

And I shall bring you cake.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


i am waiting for the cheezburger man. do you have any money?

oh hai / pass me teh towel?


If you haven't hear of lolcats yet, get thee to immediately. It's so freakin' funny!

Friday, August 03, 2007


Well, I'm not so much mad as I am disappointed. See, lately, my online shopping exploits (and how often do you get to use the word exploits, I ask you?) haven't been going so well.

First of all, I ordered a delicious pair of coarse gold Jimmy Choo flats. The minute they arrived, I slid them out of their delicate lavender-pink box and tried them on. That's when the choir of angels went oddly silent. If I didn't have toes, they would have fit like a dream. As luck would I have, I do have toes. I packaged them back up to be returned as pieces of my little fashionista heart crumbled away.

Then today, the sparkly leopard sweater arrives. You remember it, right? It was all leopardy and sequined and had rhinestone buttons. Completely over the top in a very me kind of way. Until it arrived. In pictures, so decadent and scrumptious. In person, more Long Island grandma does Vegas on a bus tour.

I guess I'll have to wait until I go to visit my mom next week to really get my shop on. Mom and I know how to make the cash registers sing. Who's your favorite shopping companion?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Would You Buy This Book?

I was fooling around the other day (when I should have been writing) and I made this mock cover of my WIP, Bad Seed. I know, I know, procrastination, thy name is Kristen. But I figured, since I made it, I'll see what y'all thought.

Would this cover get you to take a closer look? Would it intrigue you? This is a YA now, so keep that in mind. What are your first impressions of the book based on this cover?

Do you ever make mock covers for your stuff?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Woohoo! And Some Contest Info

*First of all, as of today, I am officially down 20 pounds!!! Can I get woohoo? Thx!

*The second important bit of news you need is that the Launching A Star contest is now taking entries. This is a great contest because the finalling entries will be judged by both an editor and an agent! Seriously! Here's the 411:

***Permission to Forward Given and Encouraged***

The 2007 Launching A STAR Contest has been re-vamped and we know you'll love the changes! Entries in this year's contest will submit the First Chapter, with no synopsis. Two industry professionals (one agent and one editor) will judge each category in the final round. All first round judges (2 per entry, one trained, one published in romance) will provide constructive comments on every entry. And we've added a new category, Erotic Romance. So, sharpen up your pencils or warm up your printer and plan to enter the 2007 Launching A STAR Contest!

Launching a STAR 2007
Sponsor: SpacecoasT Authors of Romance Chapter (STAR)

Fee: $25-$30, SASE

Deadline: Post-marked by October 1st, Received by October 8th, 2007

Eligibility: Unpublished or not published by RWA-recognized publisher in book length fiction within 5 years

Enter: First Chapter (up to 25 pages).

First round judges: One trained; one published.

Categories/Final round judges:
Series Contemporary: editor Susan Litman, HQ and agent Elaine English
Single Title Contemporary: editor Erin Galloway, Dorchester and agent Michelle Grajkowski
Historical: editor Keyren Gerlach, HQN and agent Elizabeth Pomada,
Paranormal: editor Heather Osborne, TOR and agent Laurie McLean
Erotic Romance: editor Angela James, Samhaim and agent Roberta Brown
Young Adult: editor Kate Seaver, Berkley/Jove and agent Elaine Spencer

Top Prize: A star named in your honor! FMI, entry form, and rules, <> or contact Lee Duncan, contest coordinator at leeduncan (at) bellsouth (dot) net