Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Well, it's the last day of November.  According to my mental schedule, I should be at 20,000 words right now in my WIP.  I'll end the month at 18,000 which is 2,000 short.  Not bad, considering I'm dealing with my mom's illness, trying to find my dad a house so he can move here (and daily phone calls from both of them as well as a realtor), a puppy with severe food intolerance issues, and my husband had eye surgery today.  So I'm frazzled and it's nearly two pm and I haven't written a single word.  To hit the 18k mark, I only need to write 600 words today.  So that's my goal.  I can make up the rest next month or one of the months after.  I have three more months - December, January, and February to go.  Since I have to be at 80,000 (or 85,000) by March 1st, that's how I came up with the 20k per month goal.   I still say not bad with all I've been dealing with and including the cleaning, cooking, serving, cleaning up, and then decorating for Christmas that I've done last week.

Onward, I say.  Onward.

On the exercise front, I've been nearly two weeks now without exercising.  That sucks.  I feel sluggish and fat and I've gained a pound or two over the Thanksgiving holidays.  So - no matter what - come Monday I am starting back to four days a week minimum at the gym. 

That's my tale of woe for today.  At least I have a goal to focus on.

Now, I've been promising a sneak peak at some decorations.  Here's one picture of my tree and my mantle.  I'll post more in another post.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sorry I have been MIA lately.  As I mentioned, I hosted Thanksgiving here at my house.  Last Tuesday I cleaned all day, Wednesday I cooked, and Thursday the family all came and we ate.

My table looked beautiful.

I had purchased these crock pot warmer things, plus had other warmers so all the food was hot.  Those things saves my sanity.  Since I'd premade everything, I cooked them Thursday morning and put them in the warmers.  No stress trying to get everything ready all at once and keep everything warm.

We all had a feast!  My youngest brother picked up my Mom and her oxygen tanks.  She was thrilled and so moved that she cried when she said grace.

Here is a typical plate.

I didn't put pics up of the family here because they wouldn't like it.  But everything was delicious and everyone at their fill.  After the cleaning, Lonnie and I drove my mom home. 

Friday and Saturday, as is our tradition, we decorated for Christmas.  I'll post pics later of that.  On Friday we also went and looked at a house for my dad, who is moving here in December.

Then Sunday was our wedding anniversary.  We've been married 24 years and together for 29.  We went to eat at Texas Land and Cattle (steak, as we were tired of turkey!).  I got smoked sirloin with grilled shrimp.  (I'd already eaten part of it - sorry!)

And for dessert, we had peach bread pudding.  Yumm!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today is cleaning day.  I'm really stressing about not writing, though I'm sure I'll get over it.  Maybe I'll just write 500 words to tide me over

I've made cornbread so it can sit out for me to make the stuffing tomorrow.  Next up is ironing the tablecloth and then I start.... shudder.... dusting.  And polishing.  And cleaning stainless and granite and...  yuck.  The one thing I miss the most from my having a day job paycheck is having the cleaning service. 

Ah well.  We can't have everything.

In case I don't pop in tomorrow (that's cooking day!), have a Happy Thanksgiving folks!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week!  One of my favorite times of the year.  And since it's at my house this year, I always do the same things in pretty much the same order.

Tuesday I clean.  All day.  And iron and starch the table cloth and napkins.  I pre-do some prep work for the cooking, such as boil the eggs for the deviled eggs. 

Wednesday I cook.  Again, all day.  And though my feet and back will be aching by the end of the day, I love it!   I am baking three pies from scratch (except the crust, which I bought frozen and pre-made).  Apple, pecan, and pumpkin.  I'm also making cornbread and sausage stuffing, my husband's pea salad that no one else likes , sweet potatoe souffle, corn casserole, green bean casserole, and butternut squash.   And of course, the turkey is at Red, Hot, and Blue, getting smoked, so all I have to do is warm it up.   My daughter, who no longer spends the night on Wednesday, is bringing over mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.  My sister in law is bringing a broccoli casserole and fruit salad, cranberry sauce, and pickle/olive tray. 

That's right, we are having a HUGE feast.  It's funny too, because the rest of the year I try to eat clean, but on this one day (ok, and Christmas), the hell with that! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm writing today.  While I usually try not to work on Saturdays, the upcoming holiday has me feeling the need to get some extra words in.  I already knew I'd be taking off Wednesday to cook and Thursday to eat , but I will also need to take off Tuesday to clean my house.  And believe me, it needs it. 

So I'm writing and it's oddly warm outside and my hubby is doing outside "stuff".  Once I hit my word count, I plan to iron the tablecloth - at least I can do the table - though I might do that tomorrow. 

I am very happy that my family is all going to be together. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Once again, sweet Friday rolls around.  Today - after I write my words for the day - I'm hitting the grocery store to buy my Thanksgiving meal.  That's always a long, convoluted ordeal, but strangely pleasurable too.

And this week, I learned someone got a hold of one of my credit cards and ordered themselves a laptop from Best Buy!  On Tuesday, I went into that CC account online to check my balance and saw a pending purchase from Monday for $503.74 at Best Buy.  Since I didn't make that purchase - hadn't even been near a Best Buy even online - I immediately called Discover and alerted them.  We cancelled my account and they issued me a new card. 

Last night, UPS rang my doorbell with - you guessed it - the new laptop.  It appears the dumbasses who ordered it didn't have it shipped to them.  I called Discover who told me to call Best Buy.  Best Buy is sending me a prepaid label to ship it back to them.  They did give me a phone number for the person who ordered it.  It's in El Paso, TX, but I did a reverse phone lookup and it appears it's not a valid number. 

Either way, in the middle of all this with my mom, and my dad moving here, and my foot, and my husband having eye surgery, and my puppy having food intolerance issues, some idiot tries to steal my credit card.  I'm pissed.  I hope the fraud unit at Discover catches them and they're charged with theft. 

Rant over.  Now I need more coffee and to get writing. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One week from today is Thanksgiving!  Tomorrow or Saturday, I'll shop for the groceries.  Since my mom still doesn't know whether she'll be well enough to come, I'm just going to go buy stuff and cook anyway.  If no one comes, then I guess I'll just have a lot of leftover food, right?

Here are the cute decorations I put on my mantle every year.

I got those several years ago and have used them every year. 

On the writing front, I'm back to writing today (couldn't yesterday, had to go to Dallas and my mom's doctor visit at the hospital there).

Also, I'm reading an absolutely fascinating book called Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Amazon named it one of their top books of the year, though I'd purchased it before that.  I bought it because of a Romantic Times review.  It's amazing - fresh and original and keeps me guessing.  Give it a try!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So, in my quest to stop gaining weight (and hopefully begin losing weight), I've been writing down all my calories.  It's always surprising how things add up. 

In the interest of healty, low-calorie eating, here's what I made for lunch yesterday.  With the fat-free dressing (measured out in tablespoons), it was as follows:  Lettuce - 0, tomato, carrots, mushrooms - 40, half a can of salmon - 60, sprinkle of feta cheese - 40, dressing - 30.  Total calories - 130.  Plus, it's packed with protein and Omega 3!

For breakfast, I cut my portion size in half.  I cooked a quarter of a cup of oatmeal with one mashed banana and added cinnamon and half a cup of soy milk.  Total calories - 215.  Very filling. 

And I had Greek Oatmeal for a snack.  At 120 calories, it has 11 grams of protein. 

For my afternoon snack, I'll have protein powder with water after I work out.  140 calories.

So my pre dinner calorie count is at a nice 605. 

I'm trying to keep my intake at around 1200-1300 calories.  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 14, 2011

It was 67 degrees F when I woke up at 6am this morning.  Yesterday we got into the mid-eighties.  What happened to fall?  I want the chill back, the crisp air, the sweaters and jeans and boot wearing weather. 

Today the Firefighters came and put up our Christmas lights.  We've been using the same people for over ten years.  They call us and tell us when they're coming and my husband gets out the lights and has them ready.  Thanksgiving is next week and I don't know if my mother is going to be well enough to come.  I haven't bought the turkey yet or the other food - kind of difficult to do until you now how many people are eating.  If my mom comes, we will have ten.  If not, it's all up in the air. 

Ah well, we're moving into the holiday season so fast, despite me digging in my heels.  And with this boot cast hampering my working out - especially the cardio part - I've had to start watching my calories again.  Joy. 

But the book is going well and the characters are interesting.  I'm still having fun writing it, which is good.

Back to it, I think. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

I've decorated my house for Thanksgiving.

Despite the possibility that my Mother might not be well enough to join us.

 Though I'm hoping she will be.  My entire family is supposed to come eat.  I'm cooking a feast. 

 And either way, I'm enjoying the decorations.  They look pretty and bring me happiness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Saturday, around eight a.m.  I got up at six with the dogs, like I always do, but instead of going back to bed after I let them out and fed them, I showered and ate breakfast like I do during the week.  My husband left to winterize the camper down at our lake lot and I have the entire house to myself (and dogs) for the rest of the day.  My daughter is meeting me for lunch and I need to buy groceries, but other than that... just me.

I love early morning Saturdays.  Yes, I love sleep, but there's something about the entire day stretching out in front of you that brings me joy.  Especially when there's nothing I absolutely HAVE to do, unlike a work day when I must make a daily word count.  Of course, I'm going to write, but because I want to. 

One thing I am liking about this new longer word count for the Harlequin Nocturnes (80,000-85,000 words) is the way I can really develop the characters.  Go into backstory much more deeply.  Plus there is room for a subplot or two, which I haven't got to do since I wrote the larger books for Dorchester.  It will be interesting to flex my writing muscles a little bit.

Speaking of muscles, this walking cast and limited cardio is messing with my weight.  I've gained 2 lbs in 2 weeks which isn't good, especially around the holidays.  So I'm guessing - no, I KNOW - the only alternative is to cut calories.  Back to writing everything down again.  I may even resubscribe to my BodyBugg.  Still thinking about that one.  Sigh.

Well, with this beautiful Saturday stretching tantalizingly before me, I'm going to sign off for now. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music is as integral to my life as books.  I have a huge CD collection and an even larger I-Tunes collection.  I tend to make playlists for each book I write, playing the same songs or artists over and over while I write.  I'm working on a Nocturne called The Wolf Prince, companion to a book I've already turned in called The Wolf Princess which is scheduled to come out in 2012. 

I'm listening to the music of my adolescence.  Journey, Bob Seger, James Taylor, Bob Dylan.  I'd forgotten how much I loved this music.  While the rest of my life is in sheer and utter turmoil and it's very difficult to find the words to put on the page, this music helps take me away.  A thought struck me as I typed that - occasionally I get a letter from a reader saying one of my books did that for her. 

Something else to be grateful for.

Random picture of the day - my puppy Liberty Belle, who is nearly 4 months old, asleep on my recliner.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So I went to see the podiatrist yesterday after wearing my walking boot cast for three weeks.  Here is what it looks like. (Bear in mind it's over six years old and kind of beat up, though it still works.  A new one costs $150, so I'll be using this for awhile.)

End result of the MRI, I'm going to have to have surgery.  Day surgery, but unless I want to wear some sort of metal brace the rest of my life, I have to do it.  Since I miss walking.... yeah, I'm gonna do it. 

I've been talking about the tree in my front yard and I finally uploaded pictures.

Here's the view from my writing office window.

 And here is the tree from the street in front of my house


And lastly, just because I like it, here's the cute Fall wreath I put on my front door

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today is going to be a random thought Monday. 

On Facebook, someone is doing a "thirty days of thankfullness" thing, where every day they post one thing they are thankful for.  I'm guessing they'll do this right up to and through Thanksgiving.  Not a single day goes by that I don't reflect on how thankful I am for my life.  For love, for family, for health, for pets, for material things, for blessings, for music, for that first steaming cup of coffee in the morning, a particular sunrise, the talented sound of a mockingbird.  From this amazing chance I have been given to be a full time writer, to the publisher that publishes me, to the readers who buy my stories.  I am well aware of how fortunate I am and believe me, I don't take this for granted. 

Food.  I love to cook, adore it in fact, and if I had time and the inclination, I'd take a gourmet cooking class or two.  Thus Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays - because it's unfettered cooking from scratch - no being lazy on this feast day! 

My mom is home now and slowly recuperating.  She will need all her strength for the battle ahead - chemo and radiation.  I ordered her some Pure Protein Powder and two books on how to eat with cancer.  I pray she will read them and somehow overcome the seven and a half decades of unhealthy eating. 

Lastly, to the Creator, the ONE, I Am who answers prayers.  Thank you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm starting a new book - yay!  Titled The Wolf Prince, this will be a Harlequin Nocturne and will be out in March 2013.  Don't worry - I have two more Pack books coming in 2012, one in January and one in October. 

Also, I'm still wearing the boot cast which severely impedes my exercising.  I can't walk or do elliptical or even exercise bikes - I tried the recumbant and my ankle ached that entire night.  I see the doctor on Tuesday, so I'm going to ask him what I can do.  I did work out my upper body - back and arms and chest, and got in some ab work, but I need to keep my legs and glutes toned as well.  I'm thinking I need to severely cut my calories too, because less exercise usually means a weight gain for me.

From weight gain, I'll transition to what has been obsessing me lately.  Thanksgiving.  It's 3 weeks from yesterday and I've already started planning the menu.  I've also realized that apparently I don't take a lot of holiday FOOD pictures, so I'll need to remedy that this year.  This pic is from last Thanksgiving, which was at my mom's house.  Yum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ok, so it's not as spectacular as what I used to see when I lived in the Catskill Mountains in New York.

But for The DFW area of Texas, it's not bad. 

Fall makes me happy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Ahhh, we are finally in November!  The beginning of my favorite time of the year.  The leaves are finally changing and will begin falling.  Often in the early morning, there is a hint of a bite to the air.   I sleep better when it's cool, coffee tastes better, and I can make soups and stews in the crockpot to my heart's content.

My mother finally got to go home from the hospital.  Because it was so late in the day and the hospital is an hour away from me with no traffic, my youngest brother kindly volunteered to go get her.  He delivered her safely to the house and she is still on oxygen, but finally home.  Also, I finished my book, did some last minute tweaks to the ending, and emailed it off to my lovely editor Keyren Gerlach. 

Finally, last night was Halloween!  We love Halloween here.  We decorate and often dress up (though we just wore Halloween t-shirts this year).  We sat outside in plastic chairs before moving in around 7:30.  I bought way too much candy and saw some adorable costumes.  I gave out candy until 8:30 or 9:00 and still have far too many bags left.  I'm going to see if there is somewhere I can donate those, since I sure as heck don't need to be eating them!