Monday, September 30, 2013

Starting Over

It's Monday and I'm trying to get back on track.  This was a long weekend.  My mother being gone made everything off kilter.  We had to meet with the funeral home.  All three of us "kids" had to grieve in our own way.

The same day my mom passed, my publisher Harlequin Books made me a new contract offer.  They want 8 more books - 4 Romantic Suspense and 4 Nocturnes.  This will keep me employed for two more years.  I couldn't really celebrate or even process this news - it still seems unreal to me - but that's a bit of sunshine in the midst of so much sadness.

Also, on Friday I'd intended to announce my foster dog for Legacy Boxer Rescue was adopted.  We took our sweet Katniss over to her new forever Dad's home on Thursday night.  I've been missing her like crazy - it was more difficult than I realized to let her go.  She had so many little quirks that I loved and I was used to her being on my recliner every night with me while we watched TV.  That, tied up with missing my mom, made for a couple of sleepless nights.

So on Saturday when a beautiful 6-8 month old Boxer puppy went on the urgent list at a shelter, I stepped up to take him home as my second foster dog for Legacy.  The Animal Control Officer met us there on Sunday morning and we picked him up.  He's nearly as skinny as sweet Katniss was, though not as sick.  He'll fatten up in now time, now that he's on puppy food and getting fed three times a day.  We named him Peyton, for Denver Bronco's quarterback Peyton Manning.  Tomorrow he goes to the vet's for his exam and shots.  After he's cleared, my personal Boxer Libby is raring to play with him!

So here he is - a bright ray of hope in this sad time.

And now, I've got to do my best to return to a semi-normal life.  It's weird, being without my mother.  I wrote her obituary and met with the funeral director yesterday.  I'll always miss her.  For now,  I've got books to write and a new foster dog to love on.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tonight I'm Gonna Cry.

Tonight I'm drinking.  Despite some early morning commitments, in full awareness that I will have a hangover and feel like crap, I'm drinking.  And tonight, I'm gonna cry.

My mom died today.  Despite knowing this was coming after her nearly two year battle with Pancreatic Cancer, it's not easy.  She's in a better place, she's pain free, I know.  But my mommy is gone.

I can't pick up the phone and call her.  No more Christmas dinners and talking about our favorite meals.  Yes, we had our differences.  All moms and daughters do.  But I still miss her.

My day today was spent running between funeral home and nursing home and my mom's house.  Making phone calls, answering phone calls, and dealing with everything.  I freaking wrote her obituary today, for Christ's sake.  And yes, Keith Urban's Tonight I Want To Cry is playing right now.

Luckily my own daughter took off work to be with me and help me.  She drove me and was there for me and I appreciate it more than she can know.  She kept me from breaking down.  She kept me from totally losing it.

It's gonna hurt bad before it gets better.  Per the Keith Urban song.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Yesterday, I finally sent the two synopsis's to my agent, so I'm done with that.  Yay me!

I'm still a bit down.  It's really hard adjusting to trying to live off the income a writer makes as opposed to making a good salary plus the writing income.  My husband keeps saying I need to make more money.  I also feel like I haven't done enough - picked a really awful time and maybe that's part of this - and I should have written a single title by now for my agent to shop around.

I wish I could help my mother, but I can't.  It's really hard to watch her suffer so.

And once again, this post is a big downer.  So.... to improve that (and to cheer myself up), here are the tings I'm grateful for:

My husband, who loves me and allows me to have a housecleaning service come in every other week.

My daughter, who still wants to have mother-daughter nights even though she's grown.

My brothers, who both share the burdens and listen.

My friend and critique partner, Anna Adams, who is always there for me.

My dogs, whom I adore.

Legacy Boxer Rescue, for caring so much and letting me help.

My home and my pool and the fact that I do have the ability to write.

The fact that I have a lot of other interests as well - I want to relearn how to knit, I like to read, and paint, and train dogs, and cook.  I also have certain television shows I follow.

My imagination, which supplies me with a never-ending array of writing ideas.

My amazing editor, Patience Bloom, who truly cares.

My wonderful agent, Lucienne Diver, who is always looking out for me.

And my belief in what exists after death, so that when my mother does pass, I'll be somewhat comforted knowing she's out of pain and in a better place.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


It's been crazy busy around my house and I'm tired.  The kind of deep, all the way to the bone, exhaustion that is party mental.  I know part of it is depression due to what's going on with my mother and separately, my father (note, I wrote a LONG whiny post about them and didn't publish it.)

I still have not turned in the two synopsis's.  The one for the Romantic Suspense is fine.  I need to redo the Nocturne one.  It's way too dark.

I'm trying to help out Legacy Boxer Rescue by volunteering on the Shelter Committee, but my software and computers are complicating things and I'm frustrated.  It's tempting to quit, and I'm not a quitter EVER, but maybe I picked a bad time to try and do more and I've bit off more than I can chew (cliche alert!)

Anyway, over at one of my favorite blogs, they are talking about Milestones.  What they hope to achieve in the next few months.  Check out their posts HERE

In that vein, here are mine;

1.  Continue to walk, monitor calories, and lose one pound a week.  Introduce weights again.

2.  Set aside some time to work on a separate book project from my series ones.

3.   Make sure and  take time for me and try not to feel like I'm responsible for everything and everyone.

4.  Find my foster dog Katniss her forever home.

There.  That's it for now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patriot Day

Back when I had a Wordpress blog and had hundreds, even thousands of readers per day (not sure why that changed when I went to Blogger), every year on 9-11, I'd post a picture of a flag, with four simple words under it - Always remember, never forget.

This year, while of course I will always remember and never, ever forget that day in 2001 when our entire world changed, two years ago I made a happy memory to help with a sad day.

Two years ago on this day, Lonnie and I drove to Oklahoma and picked up our new puppy.  We named her Liberty Belle in honor of this day.  She has been the sweetest, most wonderful dog I could ask for.

Here are some pictures from that day.

She turned two in July.  We love her.  She's a great dog.

Happy Gotcha Day, Libby!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Today I got two emails about my October book Texas Secrets, Lovers' Lies.  Both came from an email address at earthlink.  Different email addresses, but the EXACT same email.  Different names signed the email - one was a Kathy, one a Paula.

It was the most hateful email I've ever received in 38 books.   Supposedly, this person spoke to the Editors at Harlequin and received an apology as my book is not up to the standards of the publisher.  She called my book garbage, my characters sex-starved (though she complained about my sex scene), and many other things.

I won't bother to rehash everything this person (Kathy, Paula, whoever) said.  All I can say is I'm super glad I'm not a beginner writer.  Otherwise, having received an email like this, I might never have written another book.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  So much anger and hate.  Over a book.  A fictional book.

I'm dealing with my mother slowly dying.  In my volunteer job for Boxer Rescue, I see people dump off dogs they've had for 14 years just because the dog is old, or abuse puppies, or starve dogs.  I see all kinds of awfulness, and yes it does eat at my soul.

I needed this vile letter - twice - like I needed a hole in the head.

So today I'm going to put it aside and move forward, because that's all I can do.  I'm not going to respond, because I suspect people like that feed off generating drama.

On the plus side, I got a third email from someone else on my September book who loved it and called it a keeper.  I did reply to that, and thanked her.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Well, on Friday the hospital transferred my mother to a nursing home.  Today I visited her.  It's pretty awful, as her physical condition is such that she can't even sit up on her own.  She can raise her arms, but that's about it.  She's just too weak to do much of anything else.  She has a huge hernia and is still on IV antibiotics.    Her mind is still sharp, and I think part of her knows she won't be going home to her house again.  We don't talk about it.  As in our entire relationship, a lot of it is surface only, never going too deep.

And my 82 year old father, who moved down here nearly two years ago and lives totally alone - no friends, no other family but me and my two brothers, is also dependent on me, and I just don't have anything left to give right now.  I can only do what I can do.

Meanwhile, I'm battling the feeling that I'm underwater.  Fighting to rise to the surface and catch my breath. It's hard to be creative - to write new synopsis's.  I can't even motivate myself to exercise - and until this last crisis, I was losing a steady pound a week by counting calories and walking 10,000 steps a day.  Not enough, I know, but something is better than nothing.  I'm down 9 pounds since I got back from the cruise.  

So I'm struggling with two synopsis's.  They should have been done by now - it was a week ago tomorrow that I turned the book in.  I feel lazy, unmotivated, and wish I could go on a shopping binge.  But I can't.  

Tomorrow is doctor and dentist, and then more struggling to finish these darn things.  I have to like them, since I will have to write whatever book they outline.  Sort of.  Sometimes, I veer from the synopsis.

Anyway, back to it.  Dog paddling.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Another Day

So far, today has been a pretty darn good day.  I slept well last night - for the first time in awhile.  I got up, walked, had my coffee, and sat down in my office.

I checked my email, and then got to work on writing a synopsis or two.  I finally had an idea for the Nocturne one - I've long wanted to write about angels, and I had a character from the book I just turned in (The Wolf Siren) who wanted to be my heroine.  I happen to have an excellent resource book on angels, so I began leafing through it, and found my hero.  Nice.

Happily, I began writing their synopsis.  And after lunch, I got a germ of an idea for the Romantic Suspense, which will have to be the next book I write.  So I started that synopsis.

Great day so far.  I didn't go anywhere today.  Just piddled and worked.  Hung out with the dogs and my hubby.  I hoping to finish up at least one synopsis by tomorrow.  I'd like to get both of them to my agent as quickly as possible, so we can start working on a new contract.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Brain Dead (Me)

I'm brain dead.  Between the stress of what's been going on for the past week with my mother and turning in my book on time (and worrying that I missed something), my brain is fried.  I've been making the hour drive every other day to see her, and trying to keep life normal in between.  My foster dog Katniss is halfway through her Heartworm treatment, and that is a bit stressful too.

And I need to come up with two new synopsis's.  Pretty dang quickly.  So I can get a new contract with my publisher Harlequin.  I need on for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and one for Harlequin Nocturne.

Granted, I just turned in the book yesterday.  Granted, I haven't been sleeping well.  And yes, I drove to Dallas this morning, visited my Mom in the hospital, and drove back, all before lunch.  In between that, I've done several blogs to promote my September release.  Here's the latest one.  This blog is about THE LOST WOLF'S DESTINY & asks "What's your favorite redemption story?"  Check it out here:     Latest Blog

And I did one yesterday.  Yesterday's Blog

And I wrote yet another one, which will be out on September 13th at Harlequin Junky.  (No link yet.)

I'm tired.  Bone tired.  I think I just need to go read a really good book and try to refill the old creative well.

Or something.  Not sure what.  I really wish I could sleep.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I turned in The Wolf Siren today.  In between dealing with my mother's illness, I wrote.    My editor, the wonderful Patience Bloom, mentioned in passing that writing might be my escape from the real world.  I'd never thought of it like that, but you know what?  It is.

Because the situation with my mother is so touch and go, because I don't know when that phone call will come, I knew if I was going to have a prayer of turning that book in on time and keeping my Feb 2014 slot, I'd have to totally immerse myself in it and just finish.  (Or, as is the joke between my husband and myself, as Ricky Bobby would say "Get `er done!")

So I went to the hospital for a visit on Friday and got up at 6 am on Saturday, and sat down and wrote.  And wrote.  And wrote.  I came up for a quick break to go get dog food and visit my friends at the Pet Fair for Legacy Boxer Rescue.  I came home and wrote more.  All day.  I wrote an amazing amount of words - for me.  Close to 5,000.  I cut around 1300.  The book came in at around 81,500 words - 364 pages.   And I'm happy with the story.

I finished up around 4:30 pm on Saturday, so Lonnie took me to dinner and then we got groceries.  Sunday, I read it over, made some changes and adjustments, and added more description to secondary characters - I tend to forget to do this sometimes.  Monday, I went back to the hospital to visit, came home, read some more, swam and cooked out, made some margaritas, and enjoyed the rest of Labor Day.

And here we are today.  I did a few final changes, and emailed the book to my editor, Patience Bloom.  She is the kindest person - she saw my post about my mother on Facebook and emailed me not to worry about the deadline.  That gesture meant so much to me - but this is my job and my livelihood, plus I'd already finished.  So I thanked her and let her know the book was done.

And it's sent.  I emailed it a few minutes ago.

Today I'll clean up my desk, as I always do after completing a project.  I need to get back to exercising - that fell by the wayside when my mom got taken to the hospital at midnight after a call to 911.  Though I have continued, by calorie counting, to lose my one pound per week.  Slow and steady, but eventually I'll be 20 pounds lighter. Which should help my cholesterol.  

This book The Wolf Siren is the final book of a six book contract.  Now I need to work up a couple of synopsis's and get with my agent.  It's time to see about a new contract.

Finally, I'll close with a note.  The Lost Wolf's Destiny is now out!

Buy it on Amazon HERE