Thursday, May 31, 2012

Random Thoughts

It's raining here, a slow and steady drizzle.  Earlier the rain was accompanied by loud claps of thunder, shaking the house.  Our power went out briefly but came back on, for which I'm grateful.  It's a good day for brewing a pot of Chinese tea and writing. 

The weather also suits my still somewhat somber mood.  The funeral yesterday touched me and made me - once again - think about my life.  Martha (the woman who passed) did everything right.  She worked out, trained with a trainer, did yoga, ate healthy, and was in touch with her spiritual side.  Yet the cancer still took her. 

I've let a lot of things slide lately and not so lately.  I'm trying to get back on the working out/eating healthy mindset, and I really know I need to quit drinking beer if I want to lose weight.  But what struck me the most was how much I've let my spiritual side go.

I'm not talking about a church -  though it's rare for me to find the connection I seek with the Higher Power within church wall, it has happened.  I'm talking about my relentless quest for the ambiguous "truth".  When I was in my late teens and early 20's, I was on an all-consuming search.  I'd tried various Christian religions and gradually discarded them, unable to fit their often rigid theology into my core beliefs.  I had an Irving library card in those days and I'd push my baby daughter's stroller there and check out books.  I read about all different kinds of religions and beliefs, and from that I cobbled together a somewhat wobbly belief system of my own. 

Content with that, I retreated from the search.  I felt no need to try and convince others or try to sway them to my beliefs, nor did I have patience when others didn't give me the same courtesy.  I celebrated the connection with my God in things of the earth - the beauty of an inky night sky, the roar of a waterfall, the pure love I saw in my dog's eyes.  This I still do. 

I've felt no need to attend a church, well aware that there are no Christian churches that share the same set of beliefs I do.  Because I was raised Catholic, I find the most beauty and comfort and - yes, connection - in the Catholic church, even though I no longer subscribe to all their beliefs.

Yesterday, when the minister spoke about Martha, she mentioned that Martha had attended to all her earthly needs well - eating healthy, exercising, etc - but realized she'd come to take her spiritual needs for granted.  Now understand, Martha had been attending this church for over 30 years.  But in celebration of the spirit - of the Higher Power, whether God or Goddess - Martha realized she'd let that joy stagnate.

I have as well. 

One more area I need to improve on.  Back to re-reading my beloved books - Many Mansions, by Gina Cerminara (which I've had for over 30 years), the Edgar Cayce readings (again, 30 years), and many others.  I am going to venture a bold guess and say that this will be yet another way to refill the well - that creative space that so often seems to run dry. 

So I'll close.  Perhaps I gave you food for thought.  Perhaps this is just the rambling of a middle-aged woman who is still sad from a funeral.  Who knows.  But this is what I wanted to write today, so bear with me.   And now I'll return you to your normal day, and I'll return to my fiction writing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mid-week Sadness

I just got back from the funeral of a wonderful woman I used to work with.  The service was beautiful and after the reception was lovely.  I spoke to both her grieving daughters and her husband and it was good to see my old boss and co-workers.

The service started at 10:30 - I left at 10 and started getting ready at 8.  I didn't get home until 1:30.  Now it's nearly 3 and I'm drained and sad and tired.  

I haven't been to the gym in weeks - literally.  I've been walking around here and frequently making my 10,000 steps, but last weekend at the lake, I was a slug.  Getting dressed up to go to the funeral today, nothing fit, even with my Spanx.  I felt like a sausage crammed into clothes.  Not a good feeling.  But only I can change that, so I need to quit whining and start doing.

On the writing front, my editor liked my revisions on The Wolf Prince, so I'll get the Delivery and Acceptance payment!  Yay!  Now I just need to hear on the HRS proposal.  Tomorrow my plan is to start back on the Fast Draft writing and see if I can get up to par.

I just made some hot tea - my favorite soothing drink.  I'm hoping it will vanquish my headache and give me a bit of an oomph so I can finish out this day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Melting, I'm Melllllting....

Not to say that I'm a witch (though some would disagree with me there), but this Texas heat is killing me.  I've lived here now for over 30 years and I've NEVER been able to get used to the summers.  They start in May.  Sheesh.  Even with a pool, it's still too damn hot to be outside.  Just venting.

Anyway, I went to the lake place on Friday.  We left Friday morning (thus my lack of a blog that day) and came home today (Tuesday).  Now I'm doing my usual catching up - laundry and emails and food - and stressing.

But we had fun.  Got sun, swam, fished, boated, drank beer, listened to music, danced under the stars, you name it.  My brother and sister-in-law joined us on Saturday and stayed until Sunday, which was fun.   We grilled burgers and took them all around the lake, including the marina bar where we had a beer. 

After they left, we boated some more, fished, swam in the lake, cooked T-bones on the grill  We also fished from out dock - the lazy fisherperson's way.

It was really, really hot.  And windy.  Sunday afternoon, we loaded the boat up and hung out around the camper. 

Here's my girl Libby in her first lake picture.

Anyway, I hope to get back into the swing of things.  But tomorrow I have to go to a funeral - I got the sad news that a woman I worked with for almost 15 years passed away on Sunday.  She was the same age as my mom and she died from Pancreatic Cancer - the same kind my mom has. 

I still have tons to do to catch up around the house, and I'm tired and sunburned and trying not to stress too much. 

I'm going back to the Fast Draft writing hopefully tomorrow.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Confusion of Riches

I have too much.  Too many books I want to read.  There are over 300 on my Kindle, another 300 in my physical TBR stack.  I've gotten to the point where, unless it's a book I MUST read (Like Wife 22 which comes out on 5-29 and sounds fascinating), I've been putting them on my "wish" list at Amazon instead of adding them to my overcrowded Kindle. 

Occasionally I'll stumble across something I really want to read, only to learn - yes, I have it, and it's been sitting around unread for months. 

With the explosion of free books, and the fact that I help my fellow authors and download their free book when they ask, it's gotten ridiculous.  It's like when you go to RWA National and they give you tons of free books and you bring them home and never read them, unless it's some author or story that strikes your fancy.  I admit, I have discovered new authors that way.

And therein lies the rub.  What if I miss out on a great book, just because my Kindle is cluttered?  Arrrgh.  And it seems like I never have enough time to read anymore.  I work (ie; write) all day, then exercise and watch TV at night.  I used to skip the TV and just go and read while my husband watched, but now there are quite a few shows I like and I enjoy the together time with him. 

When he had to get a minor outpatient medical procedure done on Monday, I was excited because I'd get to read in the waiting room!  Pathetic, isn't it?

Ah well.  It's a holiday weekend.  I sent the revised Nocturne in to my editor yesterday.  I plan to send the revised HRS synopsis and first chapter today.  Then it's back to writing and .... hopefully I can sneak in a little reading too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mid-week Wednesday May 23, 2012

I am nearing the end of the revisions.  These - maybe because I did two sets of them (my agent's and my editor's)- have felt particularly brutal.  But I know the story will be better when I'm done.  There are two major issues I have to go back and weave in.  I've fixed some of the other major ones and just about finished the minor things.

It's exhausting and confusing but... I can see the end.  Probably another full day (today) of revising. (Please!)  Once this is done, i need to resend that first chapter of the HRS (done!) and the synopsis (must be revised).  Then hopefully they can pay me for delivery and acceptance of one and synopsis approval on the other.

 Then I can go back to the Fast Draft thing, even if the group has moved on to revising there.  The way it's looking, it will probably be this weekend before I can start any of that.

It's Memorial Day weekend.  I'm ready!  Whether I spend it at the pool or the lake, I'll be around water and outside.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday May 22, 2012

So last night was the final House MD episode.  Prior to that, they did a one hour Swan Song where Hugh Laurie went over the 8 years the series has run.  It was entertaining and interesting and made me love Hugh a bit more.   I've always faithfully watched House, even bought a couple of seasons on DVD.  This year I was getting tired of it and I agree that they had run out of story and it was time for it to end. 

SPOILER ALERT *** If you haven't watched the finale yet, read no further.

The finale was perfect.  Until the very end.  I could live with House going out like he lived, up in flames.  They should have left him dead.  After all - we see him standing there trying to get out of the burning building.  We see the roof fall in on him and then the building explodes.  There is NO WAY IN HELL he got out, even a back door like they said.  The writer should have stopped there - had the funeral and maybe fast forward to Wilson's death and have House waiting for him.  NOT - have the funeral and have House text Wilson to Shut Up.  And the final scene where House gave up everything - miraculously not only surviving the fire (I still can't buy that) and switching dental records (without being seen - leap of faith there too ) with the heroin addict so everyone believes he's dead.

Everyone except me, apparently.  Sigh. 

House writers = Fail.  Sorry. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maniac Monday

As I may have mentioned, I had to quit doing the Fast Draft writing and focus on revisions for THE WOLF PRINCE.  So I'm doing that instead of new writing.  Once I complete those and send that manuscript back to my editor, I have to send also a revised chapter and synopsis for the THE MILLIONAIRE COWBOY.  Then - and only then - will I go back to Fast Draft writing.

I'm in love with the process.  If I can stick to it, I'll write a rough draft fairly quickly and have the luxury of doing lengthy revisions and polishing until it shines! 

Friday my lovely agent Lucienne Diver was in town.  We met for a drink (a glass of red wine) and chatted.  I haven't seen her in a few years I think, so that was lovely.  We talked about future projects and - good news here - Harlequin has asked me to do an online free read.  I'll write a 50 page short story and readers will get to read it free, to introduce more people to my stories.  I'm more than excited about that.

Today my husband has a minor medical procedure, so I'll be in and out. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday (Finally!) May 18, 2012

Yes, I wrote another 20 pages yesterday.  Candace Havens, if you ever see this, I owe you a drink!  Love your fast draft method!  It works for me!

Today I am having to dig in to the revisions.  There are a lot of them, and the way my contracts are set up, everything will be tumbling like a stack of dominoes if I let them slide until the Fast Draft thing is over.  So no new writing today - just burying myself in revisions and hoping to wade through.

The good news is that Harlequin just asked me to do a Free Online Read for their website.  This would be to spotlight my October book and can lead to new readers and new sales.  I'm very excited about this opportunity!  And, thanks to Fast Draft, I can write it fairly quickly! 

My wonderful agent Lucienne Diver is in town tonight and I'm gonna pop by her hotel and have a drink with her and catch up.  I haven't seen her in awhile and I'm really looking forward to that. 

And tomorrow my daughter Steph and I are doing Painting With A Twist.  This was my Mother's Day present from her and I can't wait. 

So my life is full right now and I'm busy.  Yay!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday May 17, 2012

Sorry I forgot to post yesterday. It was Day 3 of The Haven's Fast Draft workshop and yes, I wrote 20 more pages!  Plus I worked on revision for my Nocturne.  Today is day 4 and I'm getting a late start (due to a killer headache among other things), but I fully plan to revise the Nocturne AND write 20 more pages, no matter what! 

This has been both liberating and empowering.  Scary, a little bit, but writing always is.  I was upset that I missed the gym yesterday, but something had to go and that was it.  Every day this week, I've hit all my goals - writing AND steps (10,000 steps a day per my pedometer, which is *way* more difficult than you'd think!)  Except yesterday, I only hit 9371 so fell a bit short, but didn't have one ounce of energy reserve to do that extra 629 steps.  I regret that today, but life must go on.

Anyway, despite the late start, I'm ready to dig in.  I'm going to start off working on revisions, then transition to a 30 minute timed writing session, then revision, and so on.  That seemed to work so well yesterday.

Wish me luck.  PS, if you're a writer and you're reading this, I seriously advise you to take the next Candace Haven's Fast Draft workshop.  Best $20 I ever spent! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day Two Success

Once again, using the timed writing with no editing, I wrote 20 pages today.  It's freaking amazing. 

Today also my revisions came on the Nocturne that I turned in on April 1st.  I also have revisions on the HRS proposal I turned in on 3-15.  When it rains, it pours.

I have no choice but to work on the revisions since I don't get paid until they're done.  But I want to keep on writing in the Fast Draft.  I'm gonna see how it goes doing the revisions, but it's my plan to try and keep on keeping on.

After all, there are no excuses allowed in this Fast Draft class!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Writing Fast

As I mentioned, I signed up to do Candace Havens Fast Draft Workshop.  Basically, it's timed writing.  You announce in the loop your page goals and then when you've finished, you announce what you've accomplished.  Candace says you can write a rough draft of a book in two weeks if you write 20 pages a day.  Then you spend the next two weeks editing.

I'm all for that, especially since my next book is due July 1st. 

I must say, I surprised myself today.  I set the timer and tried to write in 30 minute increments.  I ended up having to do this on my Alphasmart because the lure of the internet on the computer is too strong.  Sadly.  I learned that I can write in 20 minute increments but 30 is too long.  Like Candace said, it took me about two hours of dedicated writing to get 20 pages.

Of course you've got to have a rought outline/synopsis/chart - something to make sure you go in the right direction.  I had the plotting board, so I used that. 

But I did it.  Early too.  I finished by 3 and actually had time to go to the gym and work out for 30 minutes!  Yay me!

I hope this continues to work this well for the next 13 days.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Late Sunday

It's Sunday night and tomorrow I start a "Fast Draft" writing class put on by Candace Havens.  If this class works, I'll be writing more than I've ever written before - and I'm looking forward to trying it.  However, to meet the insane page goals (20 pages!), I may be a bit scarce on the old blog.   Or not, if I truly get into "the zone". 

Anyway, today was Mother's Day and I had a good one.  Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love tea.  Hot tea.  I have an entire rack in my pantry with all types of tea.  I drink a cup a day, minimum.  I used to bring a thermos of hot tea to work everyday. 

Well, on my birthday, I discovered a new store in the mall called Teavana.  (Nirvana, but tea - get it?)   My daughter said it was my kind of store and she's right.  Oh.  My.  God!  On my birthday I bought two different kinds of tea leaves and one of them was the best black tea I've ever had.  They have expensive tea ($25 for 2 ounces) all the way down to reasonable tea (3.80 for 2 ounces).  They have green tea, black tea, red tea, white tea, herb tea - you name it, they have it.  I bought one black and one white.  I lusted after these cast iron tea cups (and a cast iron tea pot, but that will have to wait as it's sooo expensvie). 

I mention this because for mother's day, my dear husband took me about bought me six of the cast iron tea cups.  Sigh.  He also (very patiently) let me go to Macy's and try on dresses until I chose two sun dresses.  And Charmin' Charlies, where I got a few earrings, a necklace, and two rings.

I also got to eat at Chili's with my amazing and wonderful daughter, who bought me tickets to painting with a twist - we're going together. 

Great day - and tomorrow I'll use tea to fuel my writing!  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My First Book

Awhile back, I got the rights back to my first five books I ever published.  These were with Kensington Precious Gems.  The first one came out in 1997.  The other four were 1998, 1998, 1999, and 2000. 

I paid to have them scanned, as I no longer had the files on my computer (that was a LONG time ago).  I paid extra to have the scans proofed (hah!  Don't waste your money).  I purchased images and designed covers.  Then I procrastinated (I'm actually on deadline pretty constantly for Harlequin) and messed around, not realizing how much work I'd have to do to make them readable (the OCR on the scans picked up bt for ly and rn became m, etc). 
I accidently put all five up before they were done (don't ask - I was messing around and got carried away!)  I pulled them down, but around 15-20 copies were sold.  If you bought one of these and you cannot read the text, email me privately at and I'll try to have amazon replace it).

I finally put the first one up yesterday and it's for sale now at 99 cents!

Here's the cover! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Middle of the Week

So yesterday, due to the aforementioned ankle/leg/hip/back soreness, I did not exercise at all.  I didn't write either.  What I did was go over five of my previously published books.  I have the rights back and had them scanned.  I had to search them for scanning errors and that took all day.  By the end of the day, I had a head ache, neck ache, and was completely irritated.  But done.  So I went to Jimmy Thomas's web site and purchased 5 cover images @$15 each so I could use my Photoshop program to make covers.  But Paypal was glitchy and, even though the purchase went through, I didn't get to download the images.  Which sucks.  Because I'd planned to do the covers today.  Ah well.  I am working with Jimmy via email trying to get this resolved.  In the meantime, I guess I'll write. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A New Plan

Written Monday afternoon - Ever since I could even begin to dream of writing full time, I used to think about how cool it would be to walk the dogs in the morning, while everyone else was leaving for work.  This morning, I did!  I took the Boxer puppy and my husband took the older Boxer and we walked one mile.  I've been gradually strengthening my ankle/tendon but without the brace, one mile was the most I could do.  Oh, when I got back I took my Mini-Schnauzer to the end of the street and back because I didn't want him to feel left out.  But after that walk, I went to work and wrote, met my word goal, and then went to the gym and did weights and resistance training for thirty minutes.  A little sore, but not bad. 

My pedometer as of right now shows 9082.  I'll be making that 10,000 steps easy today!  That makes me smile.

Written Tuesday morning - I ended the day with 11542 steps.  However, I way over did it on both my ankle and my other leg/hip.  I spent much of the night in so much achy pain that I couldn't sleep.  Which sucks.  This morning I took a prescription anti-inflammatory.  I sadly won't be going walking today and am not sure I'm even going to the gym. If I do, it'll just be weights, which I can do at home.  I guess I just got over-confident on the ankle/tendon.  Whenever I overwork that and it hurts, I favor that leg and it throws my other side out of whack, thus the persistant nagging back ache and hip/leg ache. 

Wah!  Stinks being old

Monday, May 7, 2012

First Swim

Yesterday, the pool temp heated up to 80 degrees.  So we decided to go swimming.  It's sort of early to swim, but this has been an unusally warm spring.  All of my dogs are accomplished swimmers - except Libby, our 9 month old Boxer. 

She had her first swim yesterday.

First, we helped her on to the top step.

Then into the water.  She can swim!

And swim.

And swim some more

She had a great time.  Her desire to swim was helped out a lot by the other two dogs and their  love of  swimming.  They jump in over and over and over.

Still, it was our baby's first swim.  Hard to believe she looks like this now.

And she used to look like this

Friday, May 4, 2012

Post Birthday

I had a marvelous birthday.  First up, Lonnie took me to breakfast at IHOP.  I had cheese blintzes.  Yumm.

Then my daughter Steph came and we went to the mall and shopped.  I spent an inordinate amount of time in Charmin' Charlies.  Then we went to BJ's Brewhouse for lunch. 

After, we went the local Chevy dealership so she could test drive the new Camaro.  That was fun.  The car was awesome. 

Lonnie got me a new Coach purse. 

And my dad got me this amazing thing that converts the old vinyl LP's to CD's.

After, we went to dinner at PF Chang's. 

And then came home and watched TV, full and pleasantly exhausted and dreading stepping on the scale tomorrow.   What an awesome birthday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


If you read this blog on any sort of regular basis, you know I struggle with my weight.  Last week, with camping and then catching up once I got home, I didn't make it to the gym at all.  This week, I went Monday and did cardio.  Yesterday I had to drive to my mom's, as mentioned in the previous blog post, and I left at 11 and got home after 4.  Before I left, I managed to get in 1000 words.  Today I made up the difference and wrote 2088.  Woohoo!

But I didn't get to the gym yesterday or today.  Which sucks. 

I'm sure you've read how it's considered healthy to get 10,000 steps in a day.  Recently, I bought a pedometer out of curiousity.  Hmmm.  If I walk 10-15 minutes at lunch AND go to the gym for 30, I can make 10,000 steps.  Otherwise - not even close.  Like right now, I'm at 3751.  However, on Saturday I went to the mall and went grocery shopping after and hit 10,000.  By the end of the day I was only at 7541. 

Writing is sedentary, so not much stepping going on there.  I have heard about people who write while on the treadmill or exercise bike, but I don't know if I can do that.  I've pondered bringing my elliptical downstairs so I can do that while watching TV at night on days I don't make it to the gym.  Honestly, I though not having the evil day job would give me so much more time - to exercise AND write.  I've got to figure out something, like walking the dogs in the morning maybe?

I have a treadmill, an elliptical, weights, exercise ball, steps, yoga mat, all the things I need.  But here it is, at the end of the day, and I'm still in front of the computer, just having met my word goal. 

What do you do?  Any hints would be apprciated.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today is my mother's birthday.  She's 77.  She hasn't started her second round of Chemo for her pancreatic cancer yet.  I picked her up yesterday to take her to lunch since she likes to play bingo on her birthday.  She's lost another five pounds, which I believe makes it around 50 pounds total.  None of her clothes fit her anymore and her rings (she wears them on just about every finger) kept falling off, so we finally put them in my console so she wouldn't lose them. 

She chose Red Lobster and we had the Festival of Shrimp.  After lunch, I took her to Macy's (per her request) so she could get new shirts for her birthday.  I'd given her a Macy's gift card.  But she couldn't find anything to eat and the lunch started messing with her stomach, so I took her back home. 

Today she said she's getting a pedicure and manicure and breakfast out, then her beloved Bingo.  Should be a fun day for her.

I wrote like crazy yesterday morning since I had to leave at 11 (it's an hour drive each way to where she lives).  I managed 1000 words out of my required 1500, not too shabby.  I'll try to do more today, since tomorrow is MY birthday and I have a lot of fun stuff planned with both my husband and my daughter.

I guess I'd better get to it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kindle Romance Novels: Powerful Magic by Karen Whiddon

Today my former bestselling Paranormal Time Travel Romance is featured on the Kindle Romance Novel Blog.  I'm still offering this book for .99, so it's a great deal.

Kindle Romance Novels: Powerful Magic by Karen Whiddon: Look what we found! A Kindle Romance Novel for 99cents/72p! In the US Kindle Store In the UK Kindle Store Kenric of Blackstone is...

If you do Twitter and are so inclined, I'd really appreciate a tweet.  Here's a samle: 
Karen Whiddon's bestselling Powerful Magic featured @Kindleluv 5-1 RT Pls