Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Well, it's Friday and also the last weekend of July.  The unrelenting heat has me down and the ozone alerts are messing with my asthma in a bad way.  Two more months.  Two more months of heat - here in Texas, the temps don't really start dropping off until October, unfortunately.  August is much like July and often hotter, 100 plus days, blistering sun.  In September, the temps actually drop into the 90's, and then usually late September/early October, we start to see 80's and even - gasp! - 70's, if we're lucky. 

Have I mentioned I hate Texas summers?

I turned in my chapter, after doing a round of edits from both my friend and critique partner Anna Adams and my agent, Lucienne Diver.  I'm happy with it and planning to start on the second chapter (may as well get a head start on the book, right?).  On a plus note, I'm going to see the movie Cowboys and Aliens this weekend and grab some dinner at PF Chang's.

I have been making some awesome salads for lunch though.  I plan to repeat that again today. 

Speaking of food, due to the bad cough/my laziness/the heat/writing, I've been skipping out on the gym this week.  I only went once, on Monday.  Which has caused the end result of me gaining 2 pounds, which I will have to sweat off starting next week.

For now, I plan to enjoy the AC and get started writing chapter 2.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday, July 27,2011

I finished up the line edits for my January Nocturne The Wolf Whisperer.  It was so amazing to be able to work on them UNINTERRUPTED (for the most part) and not try to juggle them with the day job.  Even though I had to add several things and do a completely new ending, the job went smoothly and I finished up in a day and a half. 

Then, because I no longer have the office copier, I had to go to Office Depot and make copies.  While there, I bought a small copier/scanner/printer (Canon) and my husband installed it in my office.  No more having to run to Office Depot!  I sent the line edits winging their way to NYC via USPS Priority Mail. 

Then I started on the first chapter of my next HRS.  The Powers That Be at Harlequin are working on my next contract, but my editor has indicated to my agent that it will be 6 books.  Yay!  I'll be gainfully employed again.

Meanwhile, our super heat streak continues.  I think we're at 25 straight days of plus one hundred.  So staying in the house and writing sounds wonderful.  Add in the summer cold/allergies that is haunting me, and I'm *very* grateful for air conditioning.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

We survived the garage sale.  After spending all day Wednesday and all day Thursday setting it up, the garage sale was over in 4 hours on Friday.  As soon as I opened the garage at 8am, truckloads of Mexicans pulled up and pretty much bought everything. And there was a lot of junk - er, stuff.   They had teams of people - I've never seen anything like it.  Four or five people per vehicle and they fanned out, snatching up stuff they wanted.  They were competing with each other and at one point very early on, we had fifteen to twenty people in our garage. 

By noon, we were done. We ate lunch and then hauled what was left (one truck load) to Goodwill and got a tax donation slip. We made $336., which is not bad. We could have made more if we'd priced stuff higher and been willing to sit in the blistering heat for two days, but I didn't want to do that. So I said one dollar to most everything. And it's all gone and the garage is back to normal.

Thankfully, my daughter came over and helped on Thursday and honest to God we couldn't have done it without her help. So Friday night we took her to dinner - her choice - at Spring Creek Barbeque.  It was very good.
Now line edits have arrived on my January book and negotiations are underway about my next contract with Harlequin.  So it's back to writing work for me, and I'm glad.  Especially since the forecasted high today is supposed to be 106.  Yikes!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lonnie and I spent all day Wednesday carrying stuff into the garage to get ready for the garage sale.  The garage is a MESS.  There is so much JUNK!

It's embarassing, really.  Yet there is so much stuff I actually think we might make some money.

I advertised on Craigslist, in the local newspaper, and on   We stopped by Home Depot and picked up signs.

Today, I will be organizing everything by table, emptying the boxes.  The sale starts Friday and goes thru Saturday.  I'm already ready for it to be OVER.  Have I mentioned it's super hot here?

I wonder how long it will take to get all this stuff in some sembalnce of order?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday July 20, 2011

I always watch the weather on the nightly news.  Despite the weatherman being wrong as much as he (or she) is right, these days I've become competitive about the weather.  As in, if I'm going to be stuck in this awful heat, might as well go for a record.  Each night when the weatherperson announces yet another triple digit day, I nod.  Satisfied, I can then brush my teeth and go to bed. 

That doesn't mean I like this heat.  Oh no, on the contrary.  Especially since my darling husband wants to have a garage sale in the middle of it.  (I know, right?)  It's too hot to swim and because I have asthma, the ozone air thingee has me coughing a lot and doing my rescue inhaler as well as my daily Advair.  I still cough though.  It's a mirace I made it through watching the new (and last) Harry Potter movie yesterday without coughing, but I did.  This cough does make working out interesting, to say the least.

I'll leave you with a scene from this past winter.  I feel cooler just looking at it. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The heat blast - er, wave - continues.  However, in happier news, today is my beloved Boxer dog Mac Macadoo's fifth birthday.   I fell in love with his puppy picture on a Boxer Breeder's website.

Mac then.

Mac now

Mac then

Mac now

Mac then (when his dad thought it was cute teaching him to sit in the recliner with him)

Mac Now

Mac still thinks he should be able to fit into the same small size dog bed
Mac then

Mac now

He loves to play

Mac with his lake toy

And with his most favorite toy of all - his frisbee!

Happy 5th Birthday, Mac Macadoo!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 16, 2011

It hit 107 yesterday.  Tied for a record.  It's so hot that even my native-Texan, heat-loving husband hates it.

That said, since I'm pretty much stuck inside except for going to the gym, I've been working.  A little.  I found an old story that I'd started awhile back.  It's around 50 pages.  I like it a lot and I'm going back through it and revising.  If it works out, I'm going to make it into three chapters and do a synopsis and send it along to my dear agent to see what she thinks.  If not, at least I'll have been writing and getting reaquainted with those skills after so long a time off.  (Nearly 3 months!!!)

Anyway, even though I posted an entire photo album up on my Facebook page, I promised to post a few more Biloxi pics, so here they are.

Us at the Half Shell Oyster Bar

Fried Green Tomatoes and Crab Cakes at The Half Shell Oyster Bar (can you tell I loved this place?

Outside the Hard Rock Hotel.  Love their sign!

And inside next to a suit that Freddy Mercury of Queen wore to one of his shows.  Queen was one of the bands I loved as a teenager.

That's it for pics today.  I've got some writing to do while hiding from this awful heat.  Talk to you on the other side of this weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sorry for my absence, but I've been out of town.  In Biloxi, MS to be specific.  It was lovely there - 95 or 96 compared to 105 here.  And even with the higher humidity, the sea breeze made it feel much cooler than this hellhole that is DFW in the summer.  Did you know that so far we are 2nd in the records of having the most consecutive days where the temp was over 100?  The first was the summer of 1980, the year my daughter was born and it was MISERABLE.  They even made t-shirts that said "I survived the summer of 1980"  From Wikipedia - In Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, high temperatures exceeded 100 °F (38 °C) a total of 69 times, including a record 42 consecutive days from June 23 to August 3. Dallas/Fort Worth reached an all-time high when the temperature hit 113 °F (45 °C) for three consecutive days on June 26-28. In all, the Dallas/Fort Worth area saw 29 days in which the previous record high temperature was either broken or tied. Seymour, Texas, would hit 119 °F (48 °C), a record for Texas at the time and still the second-highest temperature ever recorded in the state. Ironically, Seymour also holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in Texas (-12).

So it was nice to escape to the gulf coast.  We had some lovely raw oysters that were so good we went back a second day.

I've got a ton more pictures to post, but here are some random ones.

Our hotel

And here's me on the awesome boardwalk from our hotel to the beach.

Oh, and the beach itself

And finally, the shrimp boats all docked behind the Hard Rock Hotel.

 I'll post more tomorrow - I'm still recovering from the trip (hotels - especially ones with casinos and cigarette smoke - tend to make me a touch ill).  But I had a great time and I'm glad to be home, if I could just get rid of the awful heat!  Give me ocean heat and humidity over this furnace any time!

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011

 Scenes of summer.  A Mockingbird made a nest in one of my baby trees down at the lake.
My Boxer Dog Mac, going all shark-mouth on his lake toy.
 Oh, and I promised to show you my new office.  I haven't organized it yet or cleaned it, so I'll have to post more pictures after I do that.  But for now...

Once I get it better organized, I'll repost.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7, 2011

This morning, as I'm looking at another 100 plus degree day looming, I saw a lovely winter scene on my good friend Anna's blog ( She's like me about the summer heat, maybe worse. I can take it to a point - and that point is sitting in the shade under my covered patio with the two ceiling fans on high and misters on and being able to jump into the pool when I can't take it any more. And yes, when it's this hot, the pool water temp is around 90, which is sort of like bathwater. But it's still cooler than the outside, so I love it. Though I confess, these days are often so damn hot that I can't even venture outside to swim. It's air conditioning all the way, baby!

And I do plan to write more today. It may not be on a contracted book, or even a book that anyone will ever read, but I'm going to do it just for me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday, July6, 2011

Lazy? Or....?

Taking a step back from myself to ponder. I haven't written anything more than a couple of synopsis's since I turned in a book on May 1st. It's now been two months of not writing. I haven't done this since... ever, I think. Since first getting published in 1997, I've written a minimum of two books a year while working a full-time day job. Some years more than two books. People that know me personally have heard me say many times that I wanted time off. That I was burned out. That I wanted to take a break and just read and do other things.

So I have. Even though I've been incredibly busy since May 1st, what with closing the office and all, and have some major travel lined up for this month and next, I've enjoyed the break. Sort of. I must confess, I've felt the occasional twinge to write and have actually kept my Alphasmart by the recliner so I could type whatever when the mood hit me. And I did.

But now I'm feeling serious withdrawal. And guilt. Such as - why didn't I take advantage of this time without a contract to do a serious proposal for my agent to shop with another publisher? I want to make a go of this writing full time gig, don't I? Then why have I been so lazy? Or was this - gasp - something I needed? Time off. Time to refill the creative well.

Maybe I'm just trying to excuse my uncharacteristic laziness, but I honestly think I needed this break. But it's time to call an end to it. Time to put my butt in the chair, my fingers on the keyboard, and get back into writing. I've brought the Alphasmart here into my new office - which I LOVE by the way - I'll post a picture soon - and plan to upload all the files and see what kind of stuff I've randomly written. See if anything germinates from a seed into a story. And in the meantime, avoid the blistering heat outside.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saturday night, my daughter and I did Painting with a Twist again in Grapevine, TX. That's me in the front row, second from the right. My daughter is directly behind me, slightly left. Painting with a Twist, for those of you who don't know, is a unique concept. Attendees view the proposed pictures online and select the class that's painting the one you like. You register online and when you arrive on your scheduled day, a station is set up with the canvas, paint and brushes all ready for each attendee. The instructor takes you step by step through the process to create the painting. Each person can add their own individual flair, as you can see. The kicker is - every time the teacher rings a bell, you have to take a drink of whatever alcoholic beverage you brought with you. Most people bring a bottle of wine (and a designated driver). Last Saturday night, people brought wine and beer and coolers and I think I even spotted someone making screwdrivers with OJ and vodka! It's fun and relaxing and a nice way to spend a few hours. I thoroughly enjoyed myself (and was glad my daughter drove!)

Today we visited my mom for several hours. I brought her a computer leftover from our business (and a flatscreen monitor). We hooked it up for her and in return, she fed us spaghetti and salad for lunch. Very fun and relaxing.

Now I'm home and I've talked my husband into postponing the garage sale. Quite simply, there is way too much stuff and not enough time to get it ready for this Friday. Especially since I have a hair appt on Thursday, plus the dogs have to go to the groomers, plus he has a dentist appt on Thursday - it goes on and on. We go to Biloxi this weekend also and it would be a mad rush to wrap up the garage sale and get ready to go. The only downside is that we have to live with all the junk for a few more weeks. But we will survive. And who knows, maybe the heat wave will break by then! One can only hope, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July! Despite the heat, this has been a great long weekend. We've swam, played frisbee, watched movies, grilled, made homemade banana ice cream, cut up watermelon, drank beer, wine, and margaritas and bloody marys (not all at the same time). Today, on this holiday celebrating our Independence Day, we pledge to do more of the same. A break, if you will, from sorting through seemingly endless boxes of junk we brought home from the now defunct office. That will resume again tomorrow as we get ready to have the ginormous garage sale next weekend.

Stay safe, celebrate, and have fun!