Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Day!  Ok, now that I've pointed that out, I must also point out that today is mid-way through the week.  So far, I've had a good exercise and good writing week.  At the gym on Monday I did 30 minutes of cardo and yesterday I did cardo and weights.  I worked my arms, chest, and back.  One of my favorite workouts ever.  Today my body is pleasantly sore. 

I also overdid it on my stupid ankle.  I've so missed squats and tried just doing "a few".  I also did "a few" mountain climbers (these after my upper body workout).  Evidently a few is too many, because I had major swelling and pain last night.  A bag of frozen peas and an Alieve helped somewhat, but today I'm going to have to be careful.  Much more careful.

Today is supposed to be really Springlike, so I might take my Alphasmart and sit outside.  So far I've continually made my word goal of 1700 per day, so I'm happy there.

Powerful Magic went back to 99 cents yesterday.  So far it's sold 16,178 copies (mostly free, sadly.  So I don't get paid ;(  Ah well.)  It is #64 in the IBook store for Romance and is still on the Amazon bestseller list for Paranormal, Futuristic, and Fantasy Romance (number 18 or something).  So maybe I'll make a little bit of money from this experiment, though 35% of .99 isn't much.  Shrug. 

Everything else is going well.  My mom got good news - her cancer has NOT spread out of her pancreas as was originally believed.  So the doctor is scheduling her for The Whipple Procedure sometime in March.  My father seems to be settling in well.  My husband just had his annual physical and got a clean bill of health.  And my daughter has a birthday on Friday - we are both getting massages and maybe pedicures, then dinner at PF Chang's (her favorite place). 

Life is good.  I'm happy today.  Happy Leap Year Day, everyone!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Since Powerful Magic went free on Friday, it has "sold" 13,418 copies on Amazon!  Too bad I don't get paid for them!  But I wanted to try this free thing for a short time, just to see if it would drive sales of the other books.  I even put up a boxed set of all five of the Magic books. 

So far, it has driven sales - not as much as I expected/hoped - but some.  This will be my biggest royalty period at Amazon in months.  So that's good.

It's another gloomy, overcast day here in north Texas.  My sister in law (Happy Birthday Lavenia!) is up in Vail skiing - I'm so jealous!  Ah, but Friday is my daughter's birthday and she and I are going for massages and then out to dinner.  Not a ski trip, true.  But probably as close as I'm going to get to one these days. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Finally Friday, February 24, 2012

For whatever reason, Amazon has put the Kindle Edition of my book Powerful Magic as FREE.  Overnight, there were over 1326 downloads!  I was stunned.  Currently, it's #161 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)  and #4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Fantasy, Futuristic & Ghost !

This reminds me of when the print edition first came out and it climbed to the #1 spot on Amazon.  I printed a screen print of that, I was so excited.

You can get it - FREE! - here

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday February 23, 2012

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I read several blogs every morning.  Over on Drunk Writer Talk
( my friend Stephanie is talking about Single Title Contemporary Romance.  As I posted in the comments there, I just finished reading Kristin Hannah's HOME FRONT.  Kristin is an auto-buy in hardcover for me (as opposed to buying it to read on my Kindle).  I adore her books, partly because I wish I could write like her, and partly because I so enjoy the stories.  They're a slice of everyday life for her characters, and always fascinating and heart-wrenching and emotionally satisfying.

Another book I just finished reading, which I think would be Single Title Historical Romance, was WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen.   Now I'm not a big circus fan and I actually resisted seeing the movie (despite loving Reese Witherspoon).  But once I saw - and loved - the movie, I had to read the book.  I bought it for my Kindle and *devoured* it.  Amazing research and sense of detail and beautiful, beautiful writing.  And set during the Great Depression.  Most importantly, we fall in love with the main character Jacob Jancowski and the elephant Rosie. 

Now I'm ready for some lighter fare and I am making my way through Kristin Higgins backlist.  Her books would also be classified as Single Title Contemporary Romance.  Next up on my Kindle is JUST ONE OF THE GUYS.  Her books are always satisfying in a humorous, laugh-out-loud, kind of way. 

My friend Anna Adams ( mentioned how rarely she has time to read for pleasure anymore.  I told her about my little secret - reading at the gym.  I take my Kindle and get on the recumbent bike and before I know it, I've been pedalling for 30 minutes!  I suppose you could also do this on the treadmill.  I've done it on the elliptical machine too.  It won't work for resistance training because you have to focus, but for mindless cardio, it's fantastic!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Changes - February 22, 2012

My most productive writing time used to be in the morning.  I would sit down, all fired up, and words would flow from my mind to my fingers to the keyboard (or page, if I was hand writing.).  Yeah right, I know this is every writer's dream, but it occasionally did happen.  And it used to happen more in the morning than any other time.

Not so, these days.

Of late, I find I spend my mornings checking email, reading my blog roll, checking sales on Kindle and Nook and Smashwords.  I log these, play a few games of solitaire or whatever, have a mid-morning break of Greek yogurt, and THEN I start work.  And though I work until lunch, it isn't until after lunch that I really get going. 

I'm not sure why this has changed.  But that's the way it is now.  I still have the best job in the world.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When Old Becomes New

Years ago (in 1997), I sold my first book.  That book, DESERT FIRE, was published by Kensington Publishing under their Precious Gems line.  All told, from 1997 until 2000, I sold five contemporary romances to them.

Today, I sent those books off to be scanned.  Once I get the files back, I'll read them over, tweak them, design covers, and e-publish them for a new generation of readers.  It's very exciting to me, yet daunting too.  My writing skills have changed and improved in the years (and number of books) since I wrote them.  I'm aware I'll have to do some major editing and rewriting before they're ready for the world to read.  And, with my personal life crazy and having back to back book deadlines for Harlequin, my time is limited. 

Still, I've taken the first step.  It took me two years to decide to do this.  Hopefully it won't take another two before they're ready to be put online.

That said, I headed back to the gym yesterday.  I did ten minutes of cardio to warm up, then twenty working my legs (I do miss those squats and lunges that I can't do because of my ankle!).  After that, I did fifteen minutes of cardio - would have done more, but my ankle tendon was really hurting, even after I switched from treadmill to bike. 

Today I'll be going back and working arms, chest, and back.  And abs.  I always tack on some ab workout to whatever body part I'm working. 

Amazing how much better working out makes me feel!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Monday - February 20, 2012

Yes, it's Monday again.  Despite various vague promises to myself, I didn't write over the weekend.  And today was weigh day and my weight stayed exactly the same.  Of course, I'm actually lucky I didn't gain weight.  I didn't go to the gym at all last week - between running to court and my mom's and the attorney's, I'm lucky I even had time to write.  Plus I ate out a lot last week - and not always healthy. 

So this week, I'm getting back on track.  That's a promise.  I feel better when I work out and my muscles have missed it.  Hell, my entire body has missed it. 

Lonnie went to our lake place on Sunday to check on things.  There were weeds as tall as his waist.  He had to mow and weed-eat and edge.  He texted me pictures on the phone and there is water in the cove, but not enough to even reach our retaining wall.  The lake level stops about six inches before.  We need a few more soaking rains in that area, because I plan on spending some serious time there camping, fishing from our boat, and just loving life. 

Here's some pics from another summer.

Sigh.  I so miss that.  Now I need to go and write.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I read doctor blogs, nurse blogs, and vet blogs (vet as in DVM).  If I knew of a good attorney blog, I'd probably read that too.  I read Dr. Grumpy and Nurse K, and The Homeless Parrot, to name a few.  (And there are more.  MUCH more.)

I'm in awe of these people.  Doctors and nurses and vets and lawyers.  I imagine all the education they've had, and the way vets can look at your dog and immediately know what's wrong with him/her, or a doctor can diagnose various illnesses almost instantaneously.  And how a nurse knows exactly who is really sick and who is just trying to get drugs.  I could go on and on. 

But I won't.  Mostly because I don't want to bore you. 

But if you're a DVM or an MD or RN and you're burned out, sick of your job or feel it's become routine, know that there are people out there (like me) who are in awe of you.  Who respect you and feel gratitude because you make a difference. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Writing Through the Bad Times

Sometimes, writing is my salvation.  Other times, I can barely make my mind focus enough to concentrate on the work in progress.

When your personal life is in turmoil, as mine has been since mid-October, finding the right words and motivations for a bunch of imaginary people could be theraputic.    It should be, right?  And it was, until I got detailed, intensive revisions on another book. 

I lost myself in those revisions.  Dove in, lived and breathed those characters.  Rewrote, cut, wrote new, until the book sparkled and shone (I hope).  And then, once I'd turned that book back in, I returned my attention to the book I was now quite a bit behind on writing. 

I cannot focus.  The story, once so intriguing and fun, no longer holds my interest.  So I started at the beginning, just as if I was doing revisions.  I cut 20 pages, rewrote, and wrote new.  And now I'm on Chapter 3 (of 9 written so far) and have to force myself to open the book file every day.  I'm typing this right now as a sort of avoidance technique. 


On the wake of dealing with more stuff with my elderly father and even more stuff with my terminally ill mother, I feel spent.  Exhausted.  Without a single creative bone left in my nerveless body.  I've tried listening to music, watching good movies and TV shows, and reading.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

So maybe I need to try praying?  I just asked my agent to ask for an extension, as there is no way this book is getting done on time. 

Speaking of which, I'd better get back to it.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tarrant County Courthouse

Recently I had to go to downtown Fort Worth and visit the Tarrant County Courthouse.  It's an amazing building, full of history and beauty.

The outside

Inside, it's even more amazing.  The woodwork!  The marble!  The round stairwells!

Just visiting is like taking a trip back in time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!  I adore this holiday, mainly because it involves things I love - flowers, chocolate, and jewelry (sometimes).  Oh, and dinner out.  Always dinner out. 

As much as I adore chocolate, it's not good when you're trying to lose weight.  So I'll be rationing these truffles - one a day, two at most.

And I can smell the beautiful roses.

I also got a stuffed dog for my collection. 

He's very cute!  I'm very thankful that I have such a thoughtful husband!

Here's a shot of everything.

Happy Heart Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a chilly, rainy Monday.  I've got a ton of things to do, many of which have nothing to do with writing.  One, I can't get out of.  But once that is done, I have an AFS to do for my October book, then it's back to writing The Wolf Prince.  I'm revamping chapter 3 now.

Oh, and I lost - drum roll - 2 pounds!  Yay!  That Lose It app on the phone is freakin' amazing! 

I was sort of depressed yesterday.  Whitney Houston passing away made me sad, especially since she was younger.  She was so beautiful and so talented and it's sad that she lost her life most likely due to drugs and alcohol. 

Watching the Grammys last night, I enjoyed the Jennifer Hudson tribute to Whitney and loved that LL Cool J led the audience in a moment of prayer. 

Well, it's nearly time for me to go.  I'll be back.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Friday!  I freakin' love Friday.  Not sure why, except maybe it's a holdover from working the insurance job full time.  Shrug. 

Shortly after I posted yesterday, I shifted my weight in my desk chair and BAM.  My hip/ITBS/whatever muscle went out.  That's the part of my body I (and anyone actually) use when climbing stairs.  Especially climbing stairs holding a 40 pound puppy.  Or lifting said 40 pound puppy in and out of the SUV.  Yes people, I'm not 20 (or even 30 or 40) anymore.  I overdid it and sprained/messed up my hip.  Badly.  As in, iced for 20 minutes on the couch moaning in pain.  I could barely walk, never mind climb the stairs or lift up the puppy. 

I ended up taking one of my husbands prescription anti-inflammatories and icing.  After a nights sleep, it's better, though still not good.  But better.  What pisses me off is I couldn't hit the gym.  First the ankle, then the hip - what am I, 90?  Come on.  So I skipped the gym, read some, and didn't write a single word on the book.  Bad me.

Today, will be different.  While I still don't know if the gym will be a good idea, I'll wait and see.  But I will write.  I will.  Starting.... now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I bought a lot of music on I-Tunes yesterday.  I wanted more exercise songs, so I bought 6 singles and added them to that playlist.  Then I discovered a band called Gotye and a song called Someone That I Used to Know.  I ended up buying their latest album.  This song resonates with me for some reason.  Love it.

Yesterday I finished revamping my first chapter of The Wolf Prince.  I ended up cutting 20 pages so far and rewriting what I kept.  I like it though, so now I'm moving into the second chapter.

Today I went to the foot doctor, then came home and ate lunch, so at 1pm I'm just now sitting down at my computer.  I'm having a custom brace made for my foot - he (the doctor that is) keeps pushing surgery, but I want to try all options before I do that. 

The weekend is approaching!  Yay.  I feel so far behind on this book, but for some reason I feel relatively serene.  Makes no sense.  Sometimes, life is like that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My baby Libby is home!  The vet made an exception and let us pick her up last night.  She was, of course, out of it but they sent home pain pills (Rimadyl) and detailed instructions.  So far she's doing wonderful, though it's going to be a challenge to keep her from running and jumping.  I'm carrying her up and down the stairs as my husband can't lift due to his surgery.  She weighs 40 pounds now, so thank goodness I lift weights!  Still, it's a challenge. 

She ate this morning and drank water and went to the bathroom outside - on a leash, as she's not allowed to run.  She had a pain pill at 8am.  She's on the road to recovery.

Also today my mom has two scans to find out if the Chemo and Radiation shrunk her pancreatic cancer enough to be surgically removed.  Praying she gets good results.

Yesterday was another good day, both writing wise and exercise/food.  I'm still using the Lose It app to track my calories and exercise.  At the gym, I did pretty much what I said I would - ten minute warm up, twenty minutes of free weights and machines (in reps of 3) to work my arms and back and chest.  Followed by fifteen minutes of cardio.  Felt good.  It's actually amazing to me how much happier I feel when I work out.  I feel much more in control and my body appreciates it.  How is it that I manage to forget this?

Writing went well as well.  I'm pleased with how the book is coming.

Today is a grey, gloomy looking day.  We did have a full moon this morning when I took the dogs out before dawn and it was beautiful.  I'm looking forward to another productive day, both creatively and physically.
How about you?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ok.  I kept to my 1300 calories yesterday AND went to the gym for 45 minutes.  I warmed up for 10 on the elliptical, then did leg machines (3 sets of 3) for 20 minutes (using 4 different machines).  I also did 30 crunches, then 10 each with one leg up (working the obliques).  Then I did 15 minutes of intervals on the recumbant bike.  Intervals are brief periods of going full out followed by a shorter rest period.

I felt fantastic after, even though my legs were wobbly.  Today I'll work on arms and back, plus keep up the cardio.  On the plus side, I lost a pound already.  If I can lose 1-2 pounds a week, which is a safe, healthy rate, I'll be at my goal weight within 2 months. 

Also, on the writing front, I'm reworking the book (The Wolf Prince).  Basically, I created a second file, kept the opening, and moved everything else to a storage file.  I can pull stuff from it as needed.  Even though I've already written 165 pages, I could not for the life of me get back into that book.  One month of deep revisions on The Cop's Missing Child and when I came back to this one, it was like ???? WTF???? 

So this is the method I'll use.  Hopefully I won't lose too many of the already written words, but if I do, I do.  So be it.  I'm going to have to ask for an extension, which hopefully won't be a problem since the book isn't scheduled until 2013. 

My sweet Boxer puppy Liberty Belle (Libby) gets spayed today.  I had to drop her off at the vet at 7am.  I couldn't sleep, so I got up at 5 and showered.  I love her so much.  I can call after 3 and see how she'd doing - my vet does surgeries from 11-2 or something.  They want her to stay overnight, but I'd prefer to bring her home.  I asked and we'll see what my vet says.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Start

It's Monday, and the Superbowl is over.  Though I'm not a big sports fan, I occasionally enjoy a good football game.  More so now that my father has moved here.  I grew up with the sound of sports on TV - my dad used to watch every single game on the weekend.  My husband could care less, so in my house there isn't much football.  Until lately, that is.  It's been kind of fun though and I'm sorry it's over until fall.

I've got to get back on the eat healthy - eat clean - exercise - bandwagon.  Back in 2009 I got the heaviest I've been (except for pregnancy) and started working out at the gym with a personal trainer.  I lost 15 pounds then.   For all of 2010 and most of 2011, I kept most of that weight off.

After the cruise in 2011 and then my posterior tibiual tendonitus, I've slowly gained almost every bit of that weight back.  Here in the beginning of 2012 I'm very close to my heaviest weight of 2009. 

The bad part is that I know what I need to do.  Interval training and clean eating.  Unfortunately, with my still injured body, I'm limited on the interval stuff.  Ok, I can do the exercise bike and the elliptical, but no running, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jump squats, or any of that.  However, the time has come to quit making excuses and do what I can.  Clean eating first.  Exercise - weight training and interval cardio - next. 

I'm much more comfortable at a size 4-6 then I am at my current size. 

So, though I don't make resolutions, there are two things I want to focus on for 2012.

Writing the best books I possibly can
Getting my weight/health/body back in shape.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2011

So today I'm back working on my Nocturne.  Actually, I'm having to re-read it, to see where I was and what I was thinking.  It sort of feels new to me now, because I was so immersed in revising The Cop's Missing Child. 

Ahhhhhh.  Deep breath.  Wolfs.  Royalty.  Totally different from cops and missing children and intrigue and danger.  Though there is that in this book (danger) as well.

Today is Groundhog Day, I think.  I believe I read (on The Facebook) that Phil saw his shadow and we have six more weeks of winter.  If so, BRING IT ON!  Here in Texas, we have not had a winter.  At all.  Our newscasts keep showing us last year at this time.  The temps plunged to 10 degrees (that's what killed my baby palm tree) and we had snow and ice and a high of 22.  I stayed home from work and had a fire in the fireplace and wrote on my laptop while lounging in my recliner.  Drinking hot cocoa.  Ahhhh.  Bliss.

Not so this year.  Temps in the 70's close to 80. I actually had to turn the AC on last night to sleep.  Pfhhht.  I do like a touch of winter.  Come on now.

Anyway, I'm almost done reading my Rita books - I have one left to read.  I had an eclectic crop of books this year.  Nothing surprising, at least not yet.  But mostly enjoyable reading. 

Ah well.  I need to have lunch and then figure out my afternoon.  You know me, with my love of schedules.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Random thoughts:

It's much easier to buy books on Kindle, just like it is to buy music on ITunes.

Kindle Fire is easier to read at night but can't be read in daylight outside with sunglasses on.  My original Kindle is much better for that.

I'm loving life today because I've finally finished the revisions! Yay!  All I have to do now is put in the chapter breaks and spell check, plus re-read to make sure it still makes sense.  Then it's back to work on the Nocturne.

I finally went back to the gym and two people (my former personal trainer and another personal trainer) said things like "You're a once-a-weeker now" and "We sure haven't seen you in awhile."  Made me feel horrible.  Even when I offered up "I had family issues", I still felt like a slacker.

However, it sure felt good to go back to the gym.  I even talked my 80 year old father into getting a free membership (called Silver Sneakers).  He went yesterday and walked on the treadmill for the first time ever.  My goal is to slowly (very slowly) get him to exercise each day. 

I've been tracking my calories with a fantastic IPhone app called LOSE IT and am freakin' amazed at how quickly calories add up.  I've also learned (like I didn't know this already, sigh) that I waste a lot of calories on beer.

Speaking of food, I made the most amazing, delicious, healthy lunch yesterday.  A packet of Albacore tuna, one English muffin, a dab of Fat free mayo, lettuce, tomato, top with shredded cheese, broil in the toaster over (I pre-did the muffin before assembling it).  Delicious and not too bad in the calorie dept either!  Win for me!  Lonnie even liked it.

I miss shopping for shoes.  The ankle thing kind of prohibits this, though I have bought two more ankle braces.  Shoe substitutes?  Maybe.

I've read three of my Rita books.  All three were good.  I've got the fourth one ready to start reading at lunch today.

I'm such a slave to schedules.  I don't know why, but I feel better when I stick to one.

My mom has gotten pneumonia.  Not good when she just completed her Chemo and Radiation treatment for her Pancreatic Cancer.  I'm praying for her and I've taked to her twice yesterday.  She has another doctor appt today.  So far, they're allowing her to stay home.  Fingers crossed that she's making a good recovery and doesn't have to go in the hospital.

My female Boxer puppy gets spayed next week.  I'm very nervous about it - she has to stay at the vets overnight.  I've had several male dogs neutered in the last fifteen years, but they didn't have to stay overnight.  The last female I had spayed was 13 or so years ago (little Daisy Mae) and she passed away last August.  Weird how I'm so freaked out about little Liberty Belle (Libby).  My vet is beyond competent, so I have no reason to be concerned.  Yet I'm letting this add to my stress.

I need to go help my dad organize his garage so he can park his car in there.  I also need to bathe my two Boxers.  I also need to work.  I need a clone.  Yep, that would do it.

If I think of anything else, I'll add to this Random Wednesday post.