Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Again!

I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend.  It started Friday night, when Lonnie and I met my brother and his wife at a local Mexican restaurant for drinks and dinner.  I could tell they didn't like my new haircut but hey, that's the thing about hair.  It grows!

Then Saturday Lonnie and I went to the mall and he very patiently waited while I got measured at Victoria's Secret and tried on bras.  I had received a $10 gift from VS for my birthday, and I got a nice bra.  I also had a $20 gift card for Gap and they had shorts on sale for $25, so I got a pair of those.  Then we went to the Coach store to look at purses.  We also went to Dillards, because they often have last season's bags on sale.  I ended up getting a beautiful purse that I adore for almost half price!  I'll post a picture once I get it on my birthday. 

Once we'd finished at the mall, we stopped in BJ's Brewhouse and had beer and shared an appetizer.  Then we went shopping for groceries.  Once we got home, I whipped up some shrimp and sausage gumbo and white rice.  Delish! 

Sunday was chore day - laundry, mop kitchen, do facial.  Still, the weather is lovely and I'm happy.  Refreshed and ready to go back to work writing today.

Everything is blooming in our back yard, celebrating Spring!

Friday, April 27, 2012


I'm trying to be more organized in order to get more writing done.  So I made up a plotting board, a writing tool I used to use and then kind of stopped.  It has big squares for each chapter and you go through and write down what you think will happen in that particular chapter.  Since I turned in a fairly detailed synopsis, I was able to use that to guide me. 

I've just about finished and I think I'm going to like writing this book.  I'm just on chapter two - my second attempt at that chapter.  I trashed the previous attempt.

And the Powers That Be at Harlequin have not yet approved it.  So if I write a bunch of it and they say no - I'm screwed.  But if I don't write it, because my deadline is July 1st - two months away - I'm in even worse shape.  So I'm writing it.

This past week I've been sort of lazy.  Ok, no sort of.  Really lazy.  When I left town I had 5549 words done.  I can back and cut stuff - down to 4287.  I've just now got back - an entire week later - t0 5506.  Next week I've got to get back on track and put the petal to the meal - or the fingers to they keyboard, as the case may be.  But for the past couple of months I've been writing 2000 words a day and it just wore me out.  So I needed the break.

But it's looking to be a great story and I love the characters.  So we'll see.

Friday Again!

Ok, I did it!  Yep, totally whacked off all my hair, changed the color (darker) and I love it!

The beauty of this cut (beside being easy to take care of) is that I can fix it several different ways.  I can make it flip out or curl it under.  Do it perfectly straight with a flat iron.  Let it air dry, or blow dry.  Perfect for summer, for camping, and for me.  Bonus - Lonnie loves it.  He kept wanting me to get my hair cut short.  Now he's  happy, I'm happy, and it's a win win.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


It's Thursday, one week from my 51st birthday, and I'm in the mood for some change. I'm getting my hair cut.  It's long and unorganized and uncomfortable in the Texas heat.  Plus I think I might be a bit too old for long hair - I feel like a "sister wife" or something.  So I've decided to go with really, really short.    Here's my hair now (admittedly bad Iphone photo I just snapped).

I'll try to post an "after" picture tomorrow.  But what I'm going for is this (and yes, I wish I looked like her )  I'm even going to darken my color closer to my natural hair, which is very dark brown.

I've also got an eye doctor appointment this morning and plan to get new glasses.  I've even toyed with the idea of getting a second tattoo - something small - but decided against it for now. 

Today will be a busy day.  Unfortunately, not much writing will get done, but hopefully some.  I'll be back tomorrow with a new picture - unless it looks awful, in which case - no.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back To Reality 4-25-12

Sorry I've been MIA.  Friday we took off for our first camping trip out to our lake lot.  It was WONDERFUL!  Temps in the 50's at night (one night it even got to 46!).  During the day highs in the 70's.  We picked up our boat from the boat shop where it was being tuned up.  It was filthy, so Saturday I spent a little over 2 hours scrubbing mold and mildrew.  When I got done, it nearly looked as good as new.

So of course we took it out.  This is me, enjoying the ride.

We fished and fished and drove all around.  The catfish were biting and we caught a bunch, though sadly only 3 were big enough to keep.   Lonnie cleaned those and I froze them, so we can add to them next time. 

Here's Lonnie piloting the boat.  (Doesn't he look happy?)

It was a fun and relaxing weekend.  And yes, I wrote.  I brought along my Alphasmart and wrote.  Not as much as I probably should have - don't know the word count yet as I haven't uploaded it to my computer - but I did. 

I also read.  I finished a fantastic book called White Horse by Alex Adams.  And I'm in the middle of reading The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O'Neal.  Another great read.

And so now I'm home.  Groceries are bought, laundry done, emails caught up.  Hopefully this morning I can dive right in. 

One last shot of our camper and lake lot from the boat pier.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This year is the 18th year we've lived in our house and the 17th year we've had a pool.  For the first time ever, a mated pair of Mallard ducks has visited the pool.  Continuously.  You never know when you go out there what you'll find. 

The dogs want to kill them, so we have to check before we let the dogs out.  And we chase them off and they fly away, but eventually they always come back.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yesterday I was working away on the next book and She-Who-Always-Helps-Me aka Anna Adams sent back her critique of my first chapter.  As I'd suspected, I had a good handle on the heroine and not so much on the hero. 

So I made all her corrections and then I deleted everything I'd written in Chapter Two, which was the hero's point of view.  Line Edits arrived from my editor for my next Nocturne, and they're do the 27th, so I have to get busy on those.  But I was thinking, thinking, thinking about my hero (Matt the Ricky Martin look-a-like).

As I was cooking dinner, it hit me.   Exactly waht I needed to do with him.  Amazing how one small change not only deepens his character (and fixes it) but strengthens the conflict and will provide the perfect black moment in the story. 

I just wish I could work on it instead of the line edits.  Crossing my fingers in the hopes it will go smoothly!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday April 17, 2012

Things I've learned since becoming a full time writer:

Yoga pants are way more comfortable than jeans.

Flip flops rule.

I *can* go an entire day without putting on makeup.

The weather is way more enjoyable now - rain or snow - cup of hot tea and my computer and I'm good to go.  Sunshine and warmth - outside swing, chilling with the dogs and my Alphasmart.

Scenes get written way easier without interruptions.

My husband still hasn't learned not to interrupt me when I'm writing.  I now understand why so many writer friends go to Starbucks or Panera Bread to write.

My dogs love having me around all the time.

It's easier to plan out my writing day when I don't have to schedule it around a day job.

Dr's appointments are easier to make.

Other people (aka family and friends) don't understand that just because I work from home, I'm seriously not available to run errands for you or meet you for lunch.

I no longer dread Mondays.  I still love Fridays though, for whatever reason.

I have the best job in the world!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday April 16, 2012

After a rainy weekend (just rain here, thank goodness), this morning has dawned sunny and cooler.  My kind of weather (sixties and seventies).  I raided my towering rose bush.

And can't wait until the buds open.  One or two of them have already started

And I'm on Chapter Two of my next HRS book, this time in the Hero's POV.  I'm always a little nervous at the beginning as I get to know the characters.  Since it's such a lovely day, I'll probably use my Alphasmart outside again this afternoon.  But for now, I'm at my inside desk.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday April 13, 2012

OMG, It's Friday the 13th!  I didn't actually realize it until I typed today's date.  I've been emailing with a friend and we started talking about reading tastes vs writing tastes and I realized I don't read anything similar to the kind of books I write.  I rarely read Paranormal, unless it's YA. Mostly what I read for pleasure is Fantasy, Single Title Contemp, Thriller, Horror, or YA. I don't know if that's good or bad, but the instant I start reading a book that is in any way similar to mine, I can't read it. I don't mean in plot or anything, I mean in writing style.  It's like I'm reading my own stuff, which is very difficult for me to do (especially after writing it, revising it, doing line edits, doing final edits!)

Some books I've recently read are:
The Hundred Thousand Kingdom Series by NK Jemisin (3 books)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Home Front by Kristin Hannah
Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (reading this one now)
11-22-63 by Stephen King
Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinski
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen

As you can see, none of these is even REMOTELY like what I write. In fact, they're all different from each other!  Shrug.  Kind of like my taste in music.  On my Ipod I have heavy metal, pop, hip hop, rock, country, soul, R&B, folk, classical, and even a few rap songs.  

In my music and my books, I like variety. 

Speaking of writing, even though Harlequin hasn't yet approved my synopsis, I'm going ahead with writing the next Harlequin Romantic Suspense book.  I'm really liking the characters and the story so far - just about finished the first chapter.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Already

I can't believe it's already Wednesday!  And still Spring!  And exclamation points CAN be overused!!
(Sorry)  Here's a picture of flowers in my backyard to make up for it.

Anyway, I finally chose a start for my new book.  After I did that, I got my Alphasmart and went outside.
I sat in my outdoor "office" and wrote.

Since it was in the 80's, I put shorts on.  I just sat there and swung and wrote and loving life.

Yesterday I even cut out pictures of my hero and pasted them in the notebook - I set up a notebook for each book.  I chose Ricky Martin (yes, I know he's gay, but he's still hot and can be my imaginary hero, so there!)
For my heroine, I haven't found the picture yet, but I will.  Soon, I'm sure.  Meanwhile, I'm just thrilled to be starting the book.  Finally.

I've also been hitting the gym.  I worked my back and abs on Monday.  Yesterday, I just did cardio (elliptical and exercise bike) and read.  I've started reading an amazing new book on my Kindle.  It's called Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and it's set in the 1400's and is about an assassin nun.  Fascinating book and well written.  I'm truly enjoying it.  I've also recently finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdom series.  That one was three books and truly enjoyable.  If I ever write a "just for me" book, I think I'd like to try a fantasy novel rather than romance.  Shrug.  Not sure I can pull off all that world building, but still. 

I have over 200 unread books on my Kindle - I keep getting the free ones as well as buying ones.  So I'm set for reading material.  How about you?  What are you reading?  Anything amazing that you want to share?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So I started a new book yesterday.  Sort of. Beginnings are tricky for me.  I don't like them.  I don't yet know the characters.  I know the story and their background because I've done a detailed synopsis.  I know the scene where the story has to start.  It's those dang first words. 

There are so many possibilities!  Like a raccoon with a bunch of bright and shiny objects dangling from the trees, I go here and there and over there and try to snatch them all up. 

Yesterday I wrote four beginning paragraphs.  All different.  I'm not sure I like any of them.  I'll probably delete them and start over. 

This is my nemesis.  I literally have to force myself to just write.  Tell myself I can always go back and tweak the beginning.  Go forward.  Which I'm doing today.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Today (yes, it's late on Sunday) was a very unusual Easter for me.  Usually I cook a ham and have the entire family over or we go to visit my husband's family and have a huge dinner with them.  This year, I am exhausted and couldn't handle it.  My mom is still sick and I really wanted to be at the lake camping, but didn't.  My brother and his wife were going to her parents house, and even though it's my dad's first Easter here with us, I told him I wasn't up to doing anything big.  He very kindly said he wanted to take us all out for Easter dinner and specified a very nice restaurant - he wanted me to make the reservations. 

I chose Reata in downtown Fort Worth.  I'd heard good things about it.

The decor was very western and very nice (that's my dad above with the cowboy hat on!)

The food was marvelous.  They also had $3 Mimosas or Bloody Marys.  We started out with scallops for an appertizer.  Yum.  My daughter and husband each had salads.  For the main course, my dad and my husband had steaks (Lonnie's was carne asada with cheese enchiladas, my dad's came with shrimp.  My daughter had a grilled cheese sandwich with four cheeses and bacon and fries.  I had Chilean sea bass.

It was yummm.  The green chili sauce was particularly marvelous.

Then for desert I had chocolate cake with drunken berries and my dad had a berry cobbler.  My husband was too stuffed for dessert, as was my daughter.

All in all, we had a wonderful Easter.  Family, good food, and western atmosphere!  Can't get much better than that, right?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Here's a pic from last night - Friday night.  Need I say more?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday! April 6, 2012

I'm sure I mentioned this before, but I adore Fridays!  I have to say they're my favorite day of the work week, maybe the entire week.

This day has the added benefit of being a Good Friday.  My father brought me an Easter Lily yesterday.  I'm finished with my AA's on The Cop's Missing Child and about to type them up and email them to my editor.  I made some changes to the Kindle version of Powerful Magic after reading some of the reviews.  I plan to get a pedicure and get groceries then eat out somewhere tonight.

A great day as far as I'm concerned!

And I'm hoping to go to the lake soon.  And fish.  In the boat. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Today dawned sunny and in the upper 50's, temp wise.  It's supposed to get up to 80 today, not too bad.  I've been slogging through the AA's (Author Alterations) on my September book and - clap, clap, clap - have made it to the gym every day this week so far.  I've been doing at least 20 minutes of cardio, some interval, though I'm limited with my ankle tendon.  Plus I've been easing back into the weights and resistance machines.  I've worked arms and back and abs.  I need to do legs and butt, but still can't do lunges or squats (pulls on the damn tendon).  I'll do some of the leg machines today. 

Other than that, I'm planning to work on AA's all day, cook salmon for dinner, and hit the gym later.  I'd really like to try to walk the dogs this morning too.  While it's still reasonably cool.  We'll see.

Then tomorrow I'd like to get a pedicure.  And possibly get groceries.  Again, we'll see.    I need to finish up AA's and start on the next book.  So.... better get back to it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yesterday was a frightening day, weather wise.  It started out a little bit overcast.  I picked up my brother at his house in Bedford at 9am and we headed to Mesquite to visit our mother.  The drive is long, nearly an hour.  We got there shortly after 10 and had a nice visit.  Around noon, we headed home.  It began pouring rain.

At 1:00 or so, my husband called my cell and told me about the tornados.  Apparently they were everywhere.  Sirens started going off right about then and it was still raining.  Lonnie wanted me to get to my brother's house and stay there.  So I did. 

Once we got inside and turned on the TV, which is satellite and kept going on and off, it began to hail.  At first, small hail, then larger.  My car!  Oh, my car was parked out in my brother's driveway and it got hailed on.  (I have to look today now that it's dry to see if it was damaged. )

Here's the hail from my brother's back patio.

The sirens kept going off.  The TV showed tornados in Arlington, where my youngest brother lives.  I called my dad, who is new to Texas (having moved here in December from Colorado).  I called Lonnie again, and my mom.  The TV also showed a tornado in Mesquite.  They had to take cover in the bathroom of their house.  Luckily, they were not hit.

Finally the rain let up.  I consulted with Lonnie and my brother and decided to try and head home.  I'd barely gone five miles when it got dark and green and started pouring again.  There were floods too, but nothing too bad.  I got home, got my poor car in the garage, and came inside.  Lonnie had the TV on.

I was exhausted.  But safe.  As was everyone I love.  So when the storms were really, truly past us - according to the TV - we headed to the gym.  I did cardio for 30 minutes and read.  I needed that. 

Today I will tackle the final edits - called AA's (Author Alterations) for The Cop's Missing Child.  Or at least start them.  They're due on the 10th.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

So I finished the book and emailed to my editor.  Yay! 

Then, wild ducks showed up in my backyard. 

 I guess they thought my pool was a lake!

The dogs went wild - barking at the back door.  The ducks didn't care.  They just swam.

Finally, Lonnie went outside and chased them off.  They flew off and then we took the dogs out. 

Unfortunately, they simply circuled the house and landed back in the yard.  Apparently, the dogs didn't frighten them at all. 

We had to rush the dogs back in the house to keep any blood from being spilled. 

Now it seems they've gone for good! 

That's excitement at the Whiddon household!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

I spent my Sunday working in the yard.  It was lovely - a tad bit warm - but sunny and nice.  After we read the Sunday paper, I cooked a great breakfast (corned beef hash and poached eggs with English muffins), we went to The Plant Shed.  Picked up 15 more bags of mulch (after the 30 we put out a few weekends ago) and a bunch of flowers.

Then we cleaned up the front flower beds, which were a mess.  And planted flowers and mulched.

Yes, I still need to replace those sickly bushes.  I will, I promise.  But Lonnie got a ton of errant monkey grass out and we pulled weeds.  It looks SO much better.  And yes, we do need to trim up the monkey grass we kept.  But still...

 And then, with seven bags of mulch left, we went back to the back yard.  More flowers, and added mulch to the areas that were a bit thin.

The flowers look nice.

 Really nice, if I do say so myself.  And they'll be even better when they get bigger.

I'll try to remember to post pics. 

So tired and happy, we showered and then ate.  And watched Once Upon A Time.  A great day, even If I'll be sore today as I do the final read through before sending the book in.  On Time.