Tuesday, December 30, 2008


What are your plans for tonight? Anything big going on? A party? A gathering of friends or a blow out bash? I've spent New Year's Eve in Times Square, the rockin' streets of San Antonio, the bead-trashed avenues of New Orleans, on a ship in the Bahamas, the beaches of the Cayman Islands...many different spots. But tonight, we're staying in.

I'll probably be in bed by 10 pm. With a book. Hey, it's my New Year's Eve, I can do with it what I want. Not to mention Hotrod will be snoring by 11 PM at the latest anyway.

In other news, it's Day 3 of the Master Cleanse and I'm down another pound. (2 days, 6 pounds for those of you playing along with the home game.) I got out for another 35 minute walk yesterday - man, that feels good! It's so nice to be out in the sunshine.

So, tell me about your NYE plans.

Cranky old writer

I'm over at Fictionistas today, being cranky. Come hang out!

And if you're wondering, this is Day Two of the Master Cleanse and I'm down FIVE pounds. Yep, you read that right.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Can I get a woohoo?

I did it! I read 50 books in a year and have actually started on book #1 for 2009 because I plan to do it again. It's pretty awesome to accomplish a goal like that. Too bad it wasn't lose 50 pounds in a year. *sigh* But I digress.

Other than a run to the post office and Lowe's, today begins my new writing regime. I'm going to try to write for 3 uninterrupted hours. That means no email, no checking blogs, no games, etc. If I start to twitch I intend to seek medical help. But seriously, I need to get more disciplined and this seems to be a good way to move toward that goal. How do you police your writing time? What time of day do you write best? I haven't totally figured that out yet.

I also started the Master Cleanse today. I did this last year and lost 17 pounds in 10 days. Granted, that's mostly water weight (okay, and poo), but it's a great way to kick start a diet. And I'm hoping to lose about 10 in 7 days this time to really get me pumped up to get back to working out and eating right.

What's your Monday look like?

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Moments before I took this picture, Max was asleep in this position. I wish I had half that flexibility.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Sales...

So I hit Target this morning to see what fabulous sales I could find. It was a little underwhelming saleswise, although I did pick up some gifts for next year's Christmas for the kids. Got Hotrod some iPod speakers for $2.50, which seemed like a good buy to me. Other than that, the crowds weren't too bad until it got later in the day (I was in there for about 1 1/2 hours) and then I called it quits.

Hotrod and I are going to a movie tonight. Not sure which one yet, but hopefully Quantum of Solace. We are woefully behind on movies. Obviously.

Now it's back to reading for me so I can make my 50 books in a year goal! And at some point, I need to clean the house. Exciting life I live, no? What are you up to today?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve And Counting...

Christmas seems different this year. Less loud and colorful, more peaceful and pensive. Perhaps it's that we as a family (both on Hotrod's side and mine) decided to only buy gifts for the kids this year. That means for the first time in a long time, there is nothing under the tree for me.

And I'm perfectly okay with that. Shocked? Don't be, I'm not nearly as materialistic as I think some of you think I am. I have more stuff than I need already. Are there things I would like to have? Always. Things I need? Not so much.

Instead of all the usual Christmas running around, I've had time to think. Mostly about the coming year and my trials as a writer working toward publication. This is a hard business. One that hasn't been kind to me. I am blessed to have a wickedly intelligent agent and a fabulous agency representing me, but so far editors haven't responded to my work. I've sold shorts and articles, but the book eludes me.

Could I quit writing? Probably not. The stories would keep coming and with no outlet, I'd probably go insane and have to be institutionalized, and let's face it, I do not look good in those hospital gowns. (Oh, who am I kidding? I make everything look good.) Still, I've had those thoughts this past year. Those "what am I doing?" thoughts that come with rejection after rejection. Do I believe 2009 will be my year? Yep. Just like all the years before it.

This time it feels different, though. Like it really will happen. What about you? How are you feeling about the coming year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Release Day!

A good friend of mine has her first book out with BookStrand Publishing ( A division of Siren Publishing) under the name Rachel McNeely, and I'm pleased to give her some blog pimping! After you check it out, stop by Fictionistas and talk to me about your favorite Christmas song. Here's the blurb:

Jake Andrews and Katie Weber are the only beneficiaries set to inherit the valuable Sandstone Ranch property. But who wants it more? Jake needs the property to further his successful business and plans to tear down the old house. Katie wants the house to remain and is willing to fight for it.

The people of Treehaven believe the old farmhouse is haunted. Katie and Jake have thirty days to discover the truth and print the findings in the local paper.

Jake doesn't believe in ghosts, but since Katie's first visit to the old farm house, she's been convinced that not only does a ghost reside there but also it doesn't want company.

Together they battle the growing attraction between them, a not so friendly ghost, and the hidden secrets that will expose an enduring love story and a person willing to kill to keep the secrets of Sandstone hidden forever.

And here's the trailer:

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Contest

C.L. Wilson is having a big contest over on her blog. Go check it out!

This is a light post, but with Christmas only a few days away, you have better things to be doing than hanging out here. Shopping done? Cookies baked? Christmas dinner completely planned and purchased? No? Get going!

As for me, I'm reading like a mad woman, trying to finish the last 3 books of the 50 I planned on reading this year. Will I make I? I'm certainly going to try.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Why is faucet water so much better than bowl water?

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Stuff From Costa Rica

One of the interesting things we tried in Costa Rica was a new fruit, the granadilla (say grana-de-ah). It looks like an orange on the outside but the moment you pick it up, you know it's not. It feels like a small, deflated soccer ball. You can tell it's hollow and it dents easily. Inside it looks like this (one without flash, one with):

See what I mean about the frog's egg thing? Not the most appetizing thing you've ever seen, huh? Next is a shot of my brave father (hi Daddy!) aka The Sicilian about to taste-test it. Don't you love the way it hangs from the spoon like mucus?

The Sicilian said it wasn't bad so I tried some. It wasn't as slimely as it looked. More like loose Jello with soft sunflower seeds in it with a sweet-tart citrusy flavor. Not bad, but not something I'd wake up craving at 2 AM.

Would you have tried it?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Costa Rica - Post 2

The Wildlife! Costa Rica teems with wildlife of all varieties. Considering the country houses both rain forests and cloud forests, it's no surprise. Here are a few of the things we saw on our travels:

These guys (along with their brother) were strolling the beach like they owned the place. Apparently the raccoons in the state park are no longer nocturnal since there are only people on the beach during the day. And no people means no bags to rummage through. Seriously. They were more thorough than TSA.
These lovelies were clogging up the brackish river beneath one of the bridges we went over. There had to be at least 20 or more of them. You're welcome for the close-up. Makes our Florida gators look downright cuddly. Saltwater crocs are mean. Sort of like TSA again.

And this little fellow was scampering around at the outdoor pitstop were we took a drink break. A young boy (17-ish) there pointed out a few more to me. Those were running up and down a tree with surprising speed. I said to him, "Como se dice iguana?" (How do you say iguana?) He just laughed and said, "Iguana." Yeah, my language skills are made of awesome.
By the way, doesn't he kind of look like he's wearing a sweater?

Tomorrow...more pictures of random Costa Rican goodness. Including a fruit that looks like frog's eggs.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Costa Rica - Post 1

On Wednesday, we (the 'rents, Hotrod and moi) headed to Jaco (say huh-co) and Quepos (say capos) which is the Pacific shore of CR. Check out that bridge. Can you say bumpy and scary? I knew you could. Hotrod drove the whole day and did a fabulous job. Those years he lived in Boston really paid off! The Ticos drive like it's a competition sport. Passing on a double line on a narrow two lane highway on a curve is nothing to them. Seriously.

It was about a 3 - 4 hour drive each way due to the road conditions and the heavy traffic in some spots. Our main goal was to hit Manuel Antonio National Park and see some monkeys, with a stop a El Gran Escape in Quepos for lunch. El Gran Escape is nice enough to provide a roving selection of dogs (at least five) in their outdoor restaurant so anything you drop is instantly cleaned up. Genius! Hotrod made good friends with one named Snoopy who proceeded to lay at his feet and paw him when the scratching stopped. (Yes, I made him use Purell before he ate.)

That's El Gran Escape on the corner. The food was good and plentiful. I had chicken rice, which was like a CR version of fried rice, but with black beans and plantains. Is it any wonder I need to diet?

Of course, by the time we ate lunch and got to the park it was almost 3 and the park closed at 4. A young American couple told us that if we walked around on the beach, we'd come to a couple of guys in boats who would ferry us to the back side of the park for a couple of bucks - instead of paying $10 each to go through the front. Whatever. We were game.

The "boat" turned out to be a large sieve that held off water long enough to cross the narrow but deep inlet dividing the beach from the park's backside. I think my dad gave the kid $4 America for the ride. That photo is after our return trip. By then the water had receeded with the tide quite a bit and was at least half the width it was originally.

Apparently, this boat crossing is illegal but completely ignored. This seems to be a unwritten rule for Costa Rica.

Tomorrow I'll show you some of the wildlife we saw. Including one thing that not even the locals really seemed to know about.

This Is Not A Post

This is just a post to say I'll be posting later today. After I workout. (That gallo pinto isn't good for the waistline.) And download the Costa Rica pics from my camera. I think today's post will be about our illegal boat trip. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm back from Costa Rica and over at Fictionistas talking about my vacation from email - could you do it?

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Caturday cats go exploring. Whether their owners want them to or not.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random Things To Do On A Friday Night

As I am still in Costa Rica, I will probably be eating rice and beans and waving to the howler monkeys. You, on the other hand, might need some ideas. Here are some random things to do with your Friday night.

1. Make some of those handmade Christmas gifts you keep reading about.
2. Whip up a batch of rice krispie treats. Who doesn't like those?
3. Rent a movie, then make a coordinating dinner.
4. Write someone a letter. That's such a lost art.
5. Play with your kids/cats/dogs.
6. Prank call your friends.
7. Make a popcorn and cranberry string for the birds.
8. Read that book you've been meaning to.
9. Take a looooooooong hot bath.
10. Turn on your favorite tunes and dance like no one's watching.
11. Play a board game. Seriously. These are a lot more fun than you remember.
12. Break into a friend's house and clean it.
13. Then hard boil all their eggs and put them back into the carton.
14. Invent an alibi.

What other random things can you come up with for a Friday night?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mysterious Objects

One thing Costa Rica is known for is these large stone balls. The largest is estimated to be over 16 tons. In other words, LARGE.

No one really knows what the balls were used for. Some speculate navigation or astronomy, but others have postulated that the balls were originally kept indoors, making the whole map/landmark idea impossible.

There are several hundred of them, and they are considered endangered. Some have been cracked or broken open by people thinking they might hold treasure. Most the remaining ones have been moved, making it even harder to figure out their intended use. In fact, there are two of them in the States: One in the museum of the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., the other in a courtyard near the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If I see one, I'll get a picture.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas On The Cheap

As you know, I'm in Costa Rica, so this was a pre-planned post (say that five times fast). Hope you get some good ideas out of it!

63 Gifts Under $10
Frugal Gifts
Getting Everyone To Give On The Cheap
Eleven Tactics for a Cheaper Christmas
Cheap Christmas With Kids

Share your own cheap Christmas ideas!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Favorite Time Waster

Today I'm over at Fictionistas talking about wasting time. In an awesome way.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hola, Tico!

A Tico is a native of Costa Rica (which is where I am this week with Hotrod and my parents), in case you were wondering. I, however, am obviously a gringo. Hola is about the extent of my Spanish but I'm guessing I'll come back from this trip with a few more words under my belt

Costa Rica, while not a large land mass, has an enormous amount of flora and fauna. About 25% of the land is protected as national parks, which helps keep the diversity of animals and plants high.

I really hope I get to see a monkey.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Before: Happy sleeping kitty

After: Not-so-happy woken up kitty

Today's Caturday lesson: Let sleeping cats lie.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Slept In

It's not that my alarm clock didn't go off - neither Hotrod nor I use an alarm clock unless we have to get up at 4 AM to catch a flight or something. I didn't sleep well last night, meaning I woke up at 4:30 AM and decided to head to the couch to watch some TV and see if I could fall back to sleep.

Around 6 AM, I was just starting to drift off when Scooter, our 18 pound monstrosity of a cat, knocked something off the counter in the kitchen. Totally awake. Again.

Hotrod heard the noise and woke up too, coming out to see what had happen. At that point, he made me go back to bed, where I promptly fell asleep and didn't wake up until 9:30 AM!!! I haven't slept in that late in forever. I feel like a punk. Now I've got to scurry and get moving to finish all my chores today. At least I don't have to make dinner. Hotrod and I are going out to a place called the Mango Tree for our 6 year anniversary tonight. It's actually on Sunday, but with the trip to Costa Rica, we'll have no time to celebrate.

What's the latest you've slept in recently?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Great Read!

I just read the most amazing book - The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristofano. You know when you're reading and you stop to reread a phrase because it awes you as a writer (and you deeply wish those words had come from your brain)? That's this book. In spades.

Unfortunately for you all, this book doesn't come out until March 2009. Go to Amazon and pre-order. You won't be disappointed. Reading a book like this makes you a better writer.

In a nutshell, it's the story of girl in the witness protection program, but it's so much more than that - a story of finding yourself, of realizing freedom, of falling in love, of understanding fear and forgiveness and moving on. It's just amazing. I don't want to say more for fear I'll ruin something.

Do yourself a favor. Get this book.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

That Mission Trip

A couple of you asked for more info about the mission trip Hotrod and I and my parents are going on, so here's the deets:

We're off to Costa Rica, where my parents have some friends who are missionaries there. They've been there for ages and have established several churches. One of those churches is in a fairly poor area and the people need clothes. This is where we come in. Over the last few months, we (me, Hotrod & the 'rents) have been collecting clothing donations from our respective churches. Those clothes have been sorted and bundled up so that each couple is bringing 200 pounds with them.

That means all our checked baggage is donated clothes and our own stuff will be in the carry-ons. Can I pack for a week in a carry-on? Totally! Can Hotrod? That's where it gets interesting. I'm sure at some point in the packing process he'll ask me if I have room. He always does.

Anyway, while we're there we'll be seeing the sights and so on. They have a lot of monkeys in CR, so I'll be looking for them. My dad, who's been there several times, keeps talking about the spiny lobster. My dad + food = typical

Have you been to Costa Rica? Heard anything about it?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cheap Gifts

Hey y'all! I'm over at Fictionistas today talking about some great cheap Christmas gifts you can make! Feel free to offer up your own suggestions.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy Monday!

It's December and that both thrills and frightens me. I love Christmas, but the amount of "stuff" that remains to be done before the year is over boggles my mind.

Mostly, I need to finish the book I'm writing, get it polished and turned into my agent. Hotrod is out of town for a few days, so I'm hoping I can really get some pages done to make up for my pitiful lack of writing while we were up at my folks this last week.

We're also traveling again this month - a mission trip to Costa Rica. Then there will be some Christmas prep when we get back, parties to attend, ballet recitals to see, etc. This is just a busy, busy month. (Not to mention I have 7 more books to read to hit my goal of 50!)

Today, before I can write, I've got to run errands (we have no food in the house since we've been gone a week). Then I'm gluing myself to the laptop and getting intimate with the keyboard. What are your plans for today?