Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - The Feast Remembered

You know, last night as I warmed up on the elliptical in preparation for working out, my personal trainer asked me about my Thanksgiving dinner.  I'd warned him that on T-day I didn't plan to diet and he'd laughed and said he didn't expect me to. 

So yes, I pigged out and yes, I gained weight.  Now I will probably have to spend the next month re-losing the pounds I put on.  Because, as you know, Christmas will roll around with another big family dinner and a few other get-togethers, so I'll be eating well again. 

Was it worth it?  Definitely.  I'd do it again.  My only regret is that I didn't have leftovers since it was at my mom's. 

The feast.

Part of the family, about to enjoy the feast

And lastly, my nephew and a random turkey decoration.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday November 29, 2010

So it's Monday.  Back to the real world.  Sigh.  The turkey is eaten, the family all visited with.  In my house, all the Christmas decorations are up (inside and out).  We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a lobster dinner and bought ourselves a flatscreen TV for the bedroom.

In the midst of all this crazy busy-ness, my daughter and I did Painting with a Twist.  It's the coolest thing.  You sign up for a painting you like, pay a fee, and show up on the designated day with your own bottle of wine.  They furnish the canvas, the paint, and the instruction.

What's really neat is that everyone's painting turns out completely different, even though we're all painting the same thing with step by step instruction.

This was three hours long.  Every time they ring a bell, you have to take a sip of wine.  It would be very easy to get tipsy, though since we had to drive, we didn't. 

I was quite please with the end result.  I had a lot of fun and relaxed for the first time in days.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving! 11-24-10

The big day is almost here - one of my favorite holidays.  And as a double bonus, this year for the first time in four years, I'm not hosting it at my house!  Nope, my mother is having the big meal and all I have to bring are two dishes - sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  It's so nice not to have to stress about feeding 12 people, but I confess I miss it a little bit too.

I have so much to be thankful for this year - my health, my career as a romance writer (my 31st book will be out in January 2012!), my family, my home, my lake place, my dogs.  I love me some dogs.

Most of all though - I'm thankful for my husband Lonnie.  He's my rock, the love of my life, the port in my every storm.  He's my best friend too.

So, as you sit around the table surrounded (hopefully) by your family and friends with a feast in front of you, take a few minutes to reflect on how blessed you are.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back - Monday November 22, 2010

It's Monday, I'm tired, but I'm back.  Home.  From Vegas.  And - it's a short week, so hopefully time will fly and before I know it I'll be staring at a plate full of turkey and dressing. 

There are a lot of street performers in Vegas and this year, many of them have taken to wearing costumes.  I saw this guy.

I also saw Elvis (naturally), Marilyn Monroe, Beavis and Butthead, and a few others.

We had a lot of fun, did a LOT of walking.  We had margaritas and burgers at Margaritaville.

Watched the A&M game at a sports pub (great fun, lots of Nebraska fans yelling "Go big N" and only a small table of Aggies - I totally enjoyed cheering for A&M. 

We ate a few good meals - nothing fancy this time.  We also gambled some, though I'm proud to annouce I came home $100 richer than when I left.  However my husband didn't fare so well. 

All in all, it was a nice weekend away.  My daughter sent me these pictures of my Mitchell (the Schnauzer) and her Tucker (the orange cat)

Isn't that cute?  Tucker is fearless (her other cats hide from our dogs)  and Mitchell is usually so scared of her cats that he hides. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegas, Baby! 10-19-10

All right.  Today we leave for our long anticipated trip to the bright lights of Las Vegas! 

I love Las Vegas - for a couple of days.  We used to go every year, sometimes twice in one year.  It's been two years since we went last, due to the economy.  But this year I didn't go to RWA Nationals or the NINC Conference, so I had travel money saved up.

We're packed and ready to go.  I've got housesitters/dogsitters coming.   This time we are staying at the Monte Carlo - a first for us.  We've stayed at NewYork, New York, the MGM Grand, the Venetian (my fav!), the Mirage, and the Luxor.  Some of those more than once!

I had a lovely rejuvinating weekend last weekend, recharging my creative batteries.  I got the idea for my next proposal (it's a Nocturne!), and even started the first chapter.  Now, hubby and I are ready to go play!

 See ya Monday!

(Sorry about the blurry pics!  They were all I could find from my last trip in 2008)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday November 17, 2010

More pictures from the retreat.  These will all be group shots and if you're on Facebook, they are posted to my page.

Me and Angi Morgan, who writes for Harlequin Intrigue

Me and Regina Richards, my roomie.

 A bunch of us at dinner the first night.

Breakfast in the breakfast barn on Saturday morning.

Again, dinner the first night.

Dinner the second night at the fabulous Storybook Cafe

 More dinner at the Storybook Cafe

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010 Back from Retreat

I had a very nice writing retreat this weekend.  I was able to figure out the next Nocturne, work up a rough synopsis, plus write nearly 2000 words on the actual book. 

I stayed in an converted railroad car.

It was very rustic, very beautiful, and I loved it there.    My room mate and I made a 'no speaking ' rule for designated writing times, which totally worked for me.  At one point Saturday I took a walk around the place and visited the animals.  There were all kinds - horses, goats, a pig, a sheep, a calf, a turkey, rabbit, pigeon, and geese.  There were rolling hills and trees and walking paths.  I could have stayed there longer.

In the woods, I discovered a chapel.  It must be a popular place for weddings - it's called Chapel in the Woods.

The morning I left, it was 32 degrees.  I walked outside in the foggy morning and startled a buck and two does in the meadow.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready.

I did get a shot of this guy though.  He's one bird that doesn't have to worry about Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Powerful Magic!

It's up, it's up!  Powerful Magic, the first book in my magic series that was originally published in 2001, reprinted in 2005, and hit number one on the Amazon.com Bestseller List, is now available for Kindle!


I got the rights back to this one and put it up on Amazon myself!  I'm working on getting it up for Nook next.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday November 9, 2010

This weekend I'll be attending a writing retreat.  My husband will be staying home with our dogs as I drive about an hour southwest.  My local RWA chapter is putting this retreat on and, though I've been a member since 1989 or 1990, I've never gone.  Also, because the membership constantly changes, I don't know very many of my fellow attendees.  I'll actually be rooming with a complete stranger, which for me is going to be very strange.

As I knew I would, the closer it gets to the retreat, the more nervous I get.  I've already come up with many reasons why I can't go - but I knew I'd do this, so I'm ignoring them.  Truth is, I WANT to go.  My muse needs recharging after finishing this last book, which was one of the most difficult to write on so many levels.  I'm sort of looking forward to getting back to nature, socializing with other people (on a limited basis), and writing.  I have a proposal due December 1st for a Harlequin Nocturne, plus I have this YA idea kicking around, as well as another fiction idea. 

In theory, taking a writing retreat removes all distractions.  No chores, no husband to entertain, no pets to take care of.  Nothing but the paper and pen (or laptop or Alphasmart - I'm bringing all three).  I don't know much about my fellow retreaters, but I'm eager to get to know them.  Maybe make a new friend or two. 

So, I'm counting down the days.  I leave Friday afternoon.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday November 2, 2010

You know, you hear a lot of writers talk about "deadline dementia" and being in the "deadline cave".  While I have gone through this too many times to count - focusing on finishing the book to the exclusion of everything else - this particular book was the worst.

It wasn't working.

No matter what I did.  I rewrote and cut and started over.  Finally, on version 5 (yes, FIVE!), about one month from the book's due date, it clicked.  Please note, on the four previous versions, I had already written enough to have one complete book!  

So here I was on October 1st, with 44 pages that I was able to salvage/rewrite from version 4.  From October 1 to October 31, I wrote like the wind. And worked a full time day job.  And wrote.  I ended up with 263 pages.  I slept, got up, wrote, worked day job, wrote, worked out, ate, and slept again. 

So now, here I am.  Book turned in on time.  I peek my head and look cautiously around.  My house is a wreck.  It needs dusting and mopping and vacumming and polishing.  My office needs reorganizing and I'm trying to learn how to put one of my backlist books up on Kindle (I got the cover done already!)  I need to put up the Halloween decorations, get out the Thanksgiving ones, take one dog for shots, go to the dentist, vote (today is voting day!), pick up a foam roller at Academy sports, etc etc etc.   Plus work.  Yesterday I spent the entire day catching up there.

So I think I actually might be more stressed now by ordinary life than by writing.  At least then, I was lost in the story. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm back!  As promised.  And yes, this morning I hit SEND and sent The CEO's Secret Baby winging to my editor in New York.  That book was probably one of the toughest books to write yet.  Whew.  Big sigh of relief.

Next up, I plan to upload Powerful Magic to Amazon and Barnes and Noble with it's newly designed cover.  I have a Harlequin Nocturne Proposal due 12-1 and I need to think about what I want to write next for them.

Oh, if I haven't posted this (and excuse me if I did - I plead deadline dementia), check out my January Nocturne cover.  It's one of my favorites of all time.