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?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gifts For Writers/Agents/Editors

Since I mentioned Christmas shopping yesterday, I thought I should help the cause and offer some ideas for fellow writers, your agent and your editor(s). Let's begin, shall we?

What agent or editor wouldn't love this handy rubber stamp? Think of how quickly they could get through their slush piles!

This one is perfect for that aspiring writer who is just waiting for that big sale to tell their boss adios! Or perhaps this Jane Austen finger puppet would be nice for the historical writers in your circle of five.

Personally, I think this book would make a great gift for any of the strong women in your life. Who wouldn't want to know how to choke a man with their bare thighs or win a catfight? (Feel free to buy this one for me.)

This fabulous board game could be for anyone who loves books. It's an all-purpose writing-related gift. And one you can suck your non-writing friends into playing with you, only to decimate them and laugh while you do it.

Lastly, these PJ's are covered with books (I know it's hard to see in the pic) and would be perfect for anyone, provided you have the kind of relationship that allows for giving sleepwear.

Hope this helps you in your quest for gifts!


What are you working on in your writing life? Or are you between projects and just whiling away the hours with a good book?

I'm in the throes of some minor revisions. I hope to have them done by the end of the week or middle of next, then they'll need to be proofed. Beyond that, there is one thing hanging over me like a big red and green cloud.

Christmas shopping.

It must be done - actually, it must be finished. I have a few things, but I need to finish soon since we're driving up to my folks this year. I have to have everything for Hotrod's side delivered early and everything for my side ready to go for the trip.
A trip that will include our three furry beasts. Yes, that's right, the kittens are coming with us. My parents have room for them and it's better than leaving them home. Besides all my usual cat sitters are going to be away too.
Should be interesting. I promise to take pics.

Monday, November 12, 2007

If You Can Read This, Thank A Vet

The veteran's in my life include:

- My husband, who retired after serving 21+ years in the Air Force.

- My great uncle, who gave his life on the beaches of Normandy

- My father, who served in the Army

-My brother, who served in the Coast Guard

-My father-in-law, who served in the Navy

- Numerous friends and husbands of friends in the Army and Air Force, several of whom are currently in theater.

Who are the vets in your life? When's the last time you thanked them for their years of service? They deserve our gratitude and for those still serving, they deserve our prayers.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vegas Report

Hi! We're having fun!

We saw Hung, the winner of Top Chef, in the airport on our way in. I would have gotten my picture taken with him, but he was on the phone. Very cool.

I've been shopping. Lots of shopping. Bought a wicked cool belt and some Betsey Johnson pj's.

Last night, we went to see Spamalot! SO much fun! Really a great production with lots of special effects and singing. Even a singalong at the end.

More later. I have shopping to do.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Hey hep cats (that's Vegas-speak for y'all), Hotrod and I are boarding a jet plane for Vegas tomorrow, so try not to miss me too much, ya dig?

We haven't been in a long while, so I'm looking forward to visiting again. Vegas and NYC are tied for first place as my favorite shopping destinations. Seriously. Think about it - NYC has great shopping, I don't deny that for a moment, but Vegas probably has more sparkly things per person than anywhere else on earth. (I'd love to know what that city's annual rhinestone bill is.) Me and sparkly things go together like grilled and cheese. If you know me at all, I'm sure you can see the lure Vegas shopping holds for me.

See, I don't gamble. If I'm going to drop buckets of cash, I want to come home with something. Manolo's or a LV purse or some bling. Something. And there are lots of somethings in Vegas. Pretty, sparkly, shiny somethings.

Sure, I'll be working a little. Might even try to post a few pics. We'll see. Hotrod's there for a conference, so I'll be left to my own devices during the day. I figure work a little/shop a little/see the sights. I also need to do a little research for a book idea I have.
Yeah, that's what I'll be doing...working...

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Go 'way, Iz sleepin'.

Srsly. Sleepin'. It's Caturday! I doan gotta get up!

Why you wake him up? He's hoggin' my windo.

Friday, November 02, 2007

TBR or Not TBR?

My To Be Read pile is enormous. Ginormous. Ridiculously so. I can't roll my chair back too far for fear of crushing the books that line the wall behind my desk. Book are everywhere. Spilling out of the bookcase (which is packed to within an inch of its life), stacked on the floor in several spots, on my desk, on my's out of control.

I had a good hard think about it yesterday. Am I ever going to read all those books? No. So why do I keep them? There are many answer to that.

1. After a publisher has sent me an ARC to be reviewed on Romance Divas, they will usually send another copy of the book once it's been released. These extras fill my shelves. Some I give to friends, but any that seem like something I might be interested in, I hang on to.

2. Free books from conferences. I have scads of these. I defy you to attend a conference and not come home with a few free books. Unfortunately, many of these aren't something I'd actually read. They end up being giveaways for chapter raffle baskets and such.

3a. Books I spent money on and want to read. These days, that pile is smaller and smaller, because those are *surprise* the books I read. Then they get moved to a different bookshelf with all the other books I've read. Or given to a friend with the demand that they read the book too.

3b. Books I spent money on and don't want/intend/have time to read. These are usually books bought at a signing to support the author because they're a friend or sometimes, in the case of the RWA Literacy signing, they look so sad and alone that I feel compelled to buy their book and make them smile. Yes, I'm soft like that. Deal with it.

These books are hard to part with because 99.999% of them are personally inscribed to me. My name is on the title page. How do you get rid of a book autographed to you? I know it can be done, but it seems...wrong.


I have to weed through these books or I will be forced to move out of my office. I think it's time to get serious about what I want to read and what I don't want to read. How do you whittle your pile down? What do you do with the books you don't want? (I don't believe there's a used book store in our area.) Help! I need suggestions/advice/answers.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And The Winner Is...

No one, unfortunately - I should have given clues. My fault for not helping you out more! However, I'm awarding the prize anyway to Celia Kyle for her answer "Kit Cat" since it's a food product and closest to what Scooter was:


He didn't mind wearing the little ribbon belt I made for him at all. He wasn't nearly as patient with the vet, though, and the shots she had to give him. When it was over she replied, "Well, at least no one lost a finger." That Scooter - he's a handful. And nearly 18 pounds if the vet's scale is to be believed.
In other news, I want to give a birthday shout-out to my friend Carolyn O'Neil. Her birthday's not until the 3rd, but close enough.
And lastly, have you been to the party on Gena Showalter's blog? You really ought to go. See you there!