Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Well, it's nearly the end of an era.  The new owner of our insurance agency came by on Sunday and picked up the files.  Today the phones flipped over to his agency.  I did have to call one customer back on my cell phone because she was upset that she hadn't gotten to talk to me.  Sigh. 

With no phones or internet, I started packing stuff and throwing out stuff.  Lonnie and I went out to the local barbeque place and ate.  Then I came home and let the dogs out.  We brought home a long table and the fax and Lonnie is bringing home his work computer so he can work out of the house until everything is settled with the new owner.  Then we have to sell all the furniture and move everything out of the office space.  Crayzee!

On the holiday, we had a busy weekend.  My nephew graduated high school.  We went to that and then a cookout and celebration at his parents (my brother and his wife's) house.  After we got home, we sat out by the pool and swam.   Sunday we met the new owner, helped him load the file cabinets.  One of our tenants, a young massage therapist, also had a friend come and get her stuff.    We cooked bratwurst and swam.

Monday we cooked ribs and yes - swam.  My daughter came over.  Fun day.  The dogs were exhausted from all the frisbee playing and swimming.

Today was a wash - though I have personal training at 5 pm tonight.  Still haven't been able to touch the synopsis's - maybe tomorrow.  I really want those done and sent to my agent.

Wish me luck.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Friday and I'm exhausted.  Still fielding calls from customers wanting and explanation.  I did work out last night with my trainer and it was rough.  But good, in a tired muscle, sweaty kind of way. 

This is Memorial Day weekend - a three day weekend.  Usually, we'd go camping for this.  But tomorrow my nephew graduates from high school and then Sunday the new agency owner is coming to pick up the files.

And there are my synopsis's - halfway done.  I need to finish them.  Soon.  Once I sleep.  And this is over. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things are crayzeeeee at the day job . We are in the final throes of transferring the business to the new agency. Letters and phone calls have gone out to the customers. The General Agents have been notified, both verbally and via email and snail mail. The phones get forwarded tomorrow. The new owner is coming up this weekend to pickup the files and transport them to his agency.

It's been so busy that I haven't had time at all to work on my synopsis's. Or work out. I keep telling myself not too much longer.... And tonight I have the personal trainer, so I know I'll be working out then. Which is good. Right?

Finally, the guy who lives behind us has such a junky back yard (with chickens and rabbits - and no, I do not live in the country, but in a nice suburban area) that he has rats living in his yard. They come in our yard to eat the bird seed. Since we can't put out poison because of the dogs and because I hate to kill anything, we set humane traps. Yesterday we caught a really fat rat and my husband drove it to a non-populated, wooded area and set it free.

Today we caught another one, not as fat as the first, but longer. I took a picture of it with my camera phone, so I could share it with you. But the image thing doesn't appear to be working on blogger, so I'll try again later today if I get a chance.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I wrote a post for yesterday, complete with images.  But everytime I uploaded it, the images disappeared.   I even tried again this morning and no luck, so I just deleted it and am starting over.

I had a perfectly lovely weekend, even though we didn't go to the lake place. We didn't go because the weather forecasters were prediction bad storms with chance of hail and tornados. Quite frankly, the last place I would want to be in weather like that is a camper trailer.

So, we stayed home. I went shopping for a dress to wear to my nephew's high school graduation and also got groceries. It was hot - the humidity level was through the roof and even sitting in the shade could make you perspire.

We did swim a bit - or at least the dogs and the hubby did.  I sat in the shade under the outdoor ceiling fans and sweltered.

The sale of the business is going well.  Today we should receive the contract and down payment from the buyer.  Then I have to send notice to customers and get everything ready for the buyer to pick up this weekend.  Then we have to liquidate the furnishings, after we move the things we want to keep to our home.

Oddly enough - even though I'm ecstatic to get to write full time - it's sort of bittersweet too.  I guess because I've devoted 12 years of my life to this business.  Shrug.  I'll get over it, I know.  And, after a well-deserved vacation, I can focus on my writing career with a single-minded dedication.

Now THAT's going to be weird.  Talk about an adjustment.  I have to learn a new routine and let my creativity come back full force rather than delegating it to a certain time period of the day.

I can't wait.  And, as I've mentioned before, one of the first things I'm going to do is redesign my office.  I'm bringing my awesome desk home from the business.  I'll probably be selling this one.

Ah well, back to it.  I don't think I'll post any pictures today after the way it wouldn't work yesterday.  Maybe next post.

Now I'm back at the day job, trying to work on the two synopsis's that I need to turn in by the end of the week. Oh, and blogging, of course.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday May 19, 2011

Last post, I told you about my collection of stuffed dogs.  Now, I'd like to tell you a little about my REAL dogs.

I have three.  Because my daughter is grown, my dogs have become my children, in a way.  My fur-babies.

The Boxer to the left is Mac Macadoo.  He's my baby, the youngest dog in my small pack.  He will be five this July.  He's a big-hearted clown, full of energy and mischief.  He's also very smart, and was easy to train.  I honestly think that if I'd had the time and inclination, he would have made an awesome obedience competition dog. 

Mac loves to swim, play frisbee and ball.  Everything he does, he does with gusto - playing, eating, even sleeping.  He's the first Boxer I've ever loved, but he certainly won't be the last.
Another picture of Mac.

Next up is my Mitchell Thomas.  He's the middle child (he'll turn 10 in August) and he's my lap puppy.  He's great to go anywhere, because all he wants is to be with me.  He can sleep on my office chair all day while I work, he loves car rides, playing tug of war, swimming, and most especially watching TV.  Yes!  He loves to watch TV and videos, especially those with animals.  He whines at them, barks at them, and has been known to run up to the TV to try and get them.  I love this little guy so much. 

Here's one more of Mitchell sleeping.

And finally, we have my oldest dog.  Her name is Daisy Mae, and she turned 12 last April.  She has Cushing's Disease and has to take medication, but she can still be fiesty.  Until recently, she was the Pack ruler, but lately since she's slowed down, the Boxer has taken over some of her duties.  She's still fiesty!

And here she is again. 

I love my dogs.  A lot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

 I collect stuffed dogs.  Yes, I confess. It's silly, lame, and childish and a lot of fun.  And actually, I do it for my own pleasure, so who does it hurt? Plus, now that I'm - gulp - 50, I can do whatever I want!  Right?

I've collected my dogs over the years at various places, some soveniers from trips, others random purchases at grocery stores or on Ebay.

Each one brings me pleasure.  Many of them have memories.  Some of them represent dogs I've loved and had as pets.

I love every single one of them.  Even the whimsical ones.

Or the ones that don't look completely real.  Like this bulldog, dressed up. 

The stuffed dogs are the reason I've decided not to move my writing office downstairs to what is now the formal living room.  I think once I'm writing full time, I'll switch out with the exercise room (formerly my daughter's bedroom).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday May 15, 2011

I had the most wonderful weekend.  We went to the lake and basically just lazed around.  Lovely.

The weather was gorgeous - mid-seventies.  I read and fished and drank coffee and read.  Later, I ate and drank beer.  And fished some more.  We visited with the neighbors, played with the dogs, watched the birds, and hung out.

Lonnie and our neighbor Charlie, who is a fishing guide.

Here is the lake at night.

And here is the view toward Charle's place.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

As I'm struggling along on the synopsis for my next Nocturne (have I mentioned that I don't enjoy writing synopsis's?), I think about how lucky I am to write for this line (and the Romantic Suspense line).  Despite what you might have heard elsewhere in rumor land, writing for Harlequin is enjoyable because they let me write the stories I want to write.  Since I've been published with them some 20 odd books ago, they've not once turned down a synopsis.  Sure, they've suggested changes here and there, but in my case I think they know the finished book most often doesn't match the synopsis all that closely.

Yet I put a lot - and I mean a LOT - of thought into writing a synopsis.  The past several contracts, I've sent my agent one synopsis for each line - RS and Nocturne - and she's come back with a six book contract.  The four other books have been "blind" books, meaning I will have to submit a synopsis for them before I write them.  They even divide up the advances that way - 1/3 at contract signing, 1/3 at proposal acceptance, and the final 1/3 at delivery and acceptance of manuscript. 

I enjoy getting paid, so this motivates me to write the dread synopsis.  I enjoy being under contract (which I'm not right now, having turned in the final book on my last contract on May 1st).  So I'm working away. 

All rambling aside, what brought this post to mind (other than escaping from the synopsis writing - LOL!) is that I love introducing new elements into my Pack world.  I've gradually introduced a Healer, a curse, Vampires, a covert agency called The Protectors, Halflings (half shifter, half something else), a race called Tearlach's (half shifter, half vamp, who have other powers besides shifting).  I just turned in a book about royal shapeshifters and enjoyed writing it so much that this new proposal is the brother of that book's heroine.

Oh, and I'm toying with adding another species to the mix.  Just for fun.  Because I've always wanted to write about them.

We'll see.  Going to get back to it.  But before I do, what type of paranormal beings do you most enjoy reading about?  I'd welcome your comments.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday May 10, 2011

Well, I've been 50 an entire week now.  It doesn't feel any different that 49, really.  I took an entire week off from working out (bad Karen!) and went back to the gym yesterday.  I work out with my trainer tonight. 

I also took some time off writing.  Sure, I did writing related things - the Art Fact Sheets for the covers of my two 2012 books, a blog or two here and there.  Now I've started working on the synopsis for my next Pack book.  Once I finish that, I have to do a synopsis for the next Romantic Suspense.  I'm mulling over ideas and characters, which is a lot of fun for me.  I hope to finish rough drafts of both these things within seven to ten days.

One of the things I love to do when I'm not writing is read (of course!)  I adore Kristan Higgans and have been reading her backlist on Kindle.  Fun, light-hearted books!  I highly recommend them.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!  I had a lovely day, even though my daughter felt too ill to make it.  My youngest brother had a cookout and we all got together and ate and hung out and (we're Irish) drank.  Here's me and my mom.

Debbie (my brother Shawn's girlfriend) cooked lemon pepper chicken, ribs, and oxtail, which is one of the native dishes of Haiti, where she's from.  I brought potato salad, baked beans, and broccoli coleslaw and rolls.  There were also devilled eggs, home made sweet potato pie, and beer.  Lots and lots of beer.

Here are my two brothers Scott and Shawn.

Here's Debbie, getting everything ready. 

And lastly, here are my two brothers, me, and my mom all together.

I'm not sure why everyone wore stripes except me, but that's how it turned out.  I missed my daughter a lot, but I talked to her on the phone and hopefully we'll get together once she feels better.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a fun day.  Here are some pics of us at dinner last night (we sat on the patio as the weather was gorgeous!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today is my 50th birthday.  I've been stressing about it for months, but so far it's been very nice. 

My daughter took the day off from work (she's a 5th grade teacher) and came over.  We went out to breakfast at IHOP (they'd sent me a coupon for a free birthday breakfast).  I had cheese blintzes and fruit, which is my favorite.
My daughter also brought me a really nice juicer, which I wanted.  I can't wait to make healthy juices.  She also brought me a really cool necklace and this hilarious t-shirt.  I love it!

After breakfast, we went shopping.  I got two new pairs of shoes (that I didn't need!) and some personal things at Victoria's Secret.  Then I went to James Avery and purchased a necklace and earrings to commemerate my half a decade.    My husband gave me a new camera, the awesome Nikon D3100.  I can't wait to start using it.

Lastly, I got these beautiful flowers.

Tonite, we're all going out to dinner at Blue Mesa, which is a Mexican place.  I plan to drink some margaritas and chow down on some good food.

So far, a very nice day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's cold and rainy here in Texas.  Storms all night long.  High today of 50 or 55.  Really weird weather - not the rain, which we get a lot of in May - but the chilliness.  Completely unexpected.

However, I reworked the last chapter last night, ran spell check this morning, and emailed it off to my lovely editor.  She's already emailed back to let me know she got it and is looking forward to reading it.

So I came into the day job at 7:30am so I could close out the month of April and get caught up.  I've been working furiously - it's nearly 11:30 now.  I will be caught up before I leave today.  Because I'm taking tomorrow off!

PS - I'm also going to the gym after work and working out for an hour with weights and machines as well as cardio.   Because there's no way I'm working out on my birthday!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

So yesterday, I finished the book.  FINISHED!!!  Around 3:30 or so.  Today I'm going to read through the final chapter and tidy it up, and then first thing tomorrow morning, I'm emailing it to NYC to my editor.

My husband took me to BJ's Brewhouse last night to celebrate.  I had a couple of their awesome beers and a half of a burger (take note, personal trainer!). 

Very, very happy with the story.  It's one of the longest ones I've ever turned in, but it's a good story (I think!)

Now on this rainy, chilly first day of May, I'm doing laundry and preparing to do some proofing.