Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This morning we left early and headed to San Antonio for a couple of days.  We arrived at our hotel and they said we'd been upgraded to a River Walk balcony room

Here's our room.

And the view from our room

More of the view from our room

And my husband standing in front of our beautiful hotel

I love San Antonio!

More tomorrow!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lake and Heat

Friday morning we took off for the lake.  It was hot and forecasted to have record heat, but the camper has AC and we have the boat and the water and beer - what more do we need, right?

This big guy paid us a visit on our arrival Friday.

It was so hot on Friday, too hot to grill, so we took the boat over the the marina restaurant/bar and shared a pizza and beer.  Mmmmm.

The dogs had a blast, though they spent more time in the AC than outside (it got to 106!)

Our neighbor Charlie is a fishing guide, so he's damn good at it.  He had his grandson and family in, so when they brought back a huge cooler full of fish, he invited us for a fish fry on Saturday night!  Yum!  Everything was delicious!  This was the first time ever that we didn't cook any food at all for supper while camping. 

Saturday and Sunday we got up early and went fishing.  It was lovely being out on the lake as the sun came up.  We even caught a few fish, though we tossed them back.  In this picture, we tied up to those trees and fished straight down.

All in all, it was fun.  But hot.  We got home Sunday and Lonnie headed for the pool with the dogs.  Me, I headed out to get a pedicure!  Hey, a girl's got to have her priorities, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Week Almost Gone

So here it is, Thursday.  Another week almost gone, hell - another MONTH almost gone.  We're almost done with July.  And we move on to August, which - despite my husband's birthday - is my least favorite month of all. 

August is a lion, which in addition to being astrologically correct, also refers to the heat.  Blazing heat, waves of it, that feel never-ending.  I hate August (oh yeah, sorry - I know I already said that!)

And I'm writing and sitting inside in the air conditioning, but I miss sitting outside in the swing and writing (can't - too hot).  The pool is even warm, like bathwater.  I happen to like that.  Shrug.

Camping is even miserable.  Yes, we have the lake and the boat but still....  You can't really enjoy sitting around outside when it's this hot.  Really. 

It's that time of year when clothes don't seem to fit right and my hair is always yucky.  My skin feels oily and damp and uncomfortable. 

If I was rich, I'd fly away during these months.  Vancouver Island.  Ketchikan.  Maine.  Somewhere where it's not this hot.  I've lived in Texas now for 34 years.  I still haven't gotten used to the summers.  Blech.  That's why I always scheduled our vacations for August.   Here's a pic from last year's cruise (this is Grand Cayman)

Rant over.  I'll return you to your regularly schedule program.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's nearly August - the hottest part of the year here in North Texas.  The heat is oppressive; it sits on you, wrestling you into submission.  Lazy, fat, and perspiring, the Texas summer is my least favorite time of the year.  In August, even the pool is too warm.  I yearn for Northern climes - the soft mist of the Pacific Northwest, the oceans breezes of Maine's rocky coast.  The moutains, with snow still covering their peaks.  Ahhh. 

Actually, anywhere cooler than here.

I was reading last month's Romantic Times magazine and saw an announcement that Mermaids are the next big thing.  Really?  So last year when I turned in a proposal for a Harlequin Nocturne that had a mermaid as the heroine, and they said "Uh, no.  Mermaids never sell.", does that mean they were.... WRONG?

Ah well.  I've had that mermaid story knocking around my subconscious for years and I finally wrote it, but turned the mermaid into a Fairy. 

Meanwhile, I was watching mindless TV last night (Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef) when I realized what I needed to help bring the current WIP (an HRS) into focus.  So I'm going back and adding the pet.  Yes, a dog.  Much needed to help tell the story.

Gotta get to work.  Once I get back on track, I also need to start a little project on the side.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Time Flies

Monday again. Huh.  One thing I have definitely noticed about this working from home gig is that time goes by WAY quicker than it did when I was schlepping into an office every day. 

So I've got a lot of work to do and yes - I'm still in pain.  Despite seeing a chiropractor - which did help - the Sciatic nerve thing is bad.  Mitchell is better - he's out of his crate and allowed to walk around.  Just no climbing stairs or jumping up and down on furniture.  So I've been carrying him around.  Luckily he only weighs 20 pounds.

Mac had to get his booster shots today.  And that's about it. 

I've got a lot of work to do - MUST push through and get this book done. 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So I'm all caught up - except for the complete book that was due on 7-1.  I turned in the on-line short Nocturne and did those revisions.  I turned in the synopsis for my next full Nocturne, which is due on 12-1.  Now I simply have to write the rest of the HRS that is past due.

Simply.  Um, yeah. 

Because of three rounds of revisions to a synopsis (which I normally never even glance at again one it's approved), I am having difficulty getting back into this story.  If I had endless time, I think I'd start over, but since I don't (and since I've already written nearly 200 pages), I can't do that.  So I've got to get into it.  Now.

I'd better get back to it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Morning

Once again, Monday rolls around.  When I worked a day job at an office, I used to hate Mondays.  Hated the whole end-of-the-weekend thing.  Now, my life is totally different.  I like Mondays.  Might even love `em.  I look forward to the entire routine, sitting down at my computer in my office with my first cup of coffee, surrounded by my dogs.  Checking my email.  Reading my blog roll. 

And then opening the file and getting to work.

Today I'm revising the short story for the Harlequin On-Line read.  Once that's done, it's back to work on the late HRS which has finally been approved!  Yay! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunny Sunday

We need rain.  Badly.  It's been raining around us - to the east and west and north and south.  Especially the south - Houston got 6 inches or something. 

Meanwhile, here it's humid and sunny. 

Yesterday I had hope.  These clouds came.

And the wind picked up.  Oh joy, would it finally rain?

But then the clouds went away, no doubt to rain on someone else.

And we're back to sunny skies and humidity and heat. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

My Friday the 13th started yesterday.  My little mini-Schnauzer Mitchell hurt his back.  Badly.  My daughter had stopped by to swim (I kept working - too busy).  My husband joined her along with the dogs.  Mitchell LOVES to swim.  We aren't sure what happened (I was inside, so I didn't see) but he got hurt.

He was arching his back like a cat and his hind legs wouldn't support him.  I called the vet and they said to bring him in and they would work him in.  Because they are busy, this involves a long wait, so I was prepared.
I got there at 4:21 and was seen close to 6:00. 

The vet says that Mitchell is in danger of rupturing a disk.  He gave Mitchell a couple of shots (cortisone and morphine derivative) and pills to take home.  Mitch has to stay in a crate all the time and is only allowed out to eat - and I have to carry him to and from the food - and to go potty.  When he goes potty, he has to be carried out and on a leash.  He isn't allowed to walk, run, jump, or anything that could worsen his injury. 

This morning I gave him his three pills again and fed him.  He got to go out.  He's been in his crate otherwise, which doesn't make him too happy, but there's no alternative.  He moans when I go to pick him up.  My poor little boy!  He's only 10 years old (turns 11 next month) and this is his first major health issue. 

We're hoping to heal him this way.  The vet says if this doesn't work, the only other alternative is surgery.  Yikes.

One last pic of Mitchell guarding his yard.  He looks so stern.

Other news, we were supposed to be going to the lake today for the weekend, but cancelled due to Mitchell's injury.  I've gotten revisions on the short on-line read, so I'm working on them.  I've nearly finished the synopsis for the Nocturne - was closing in on it yesterday when Mitchell got hurt, so that's good. 

And... drumroll, please.  I finally made a chiropractor appointment.  I go in at 2:15 today!  Let's hope he can help me.  (No, it's not that quack place I tried several years ago.)

Now I've got to get back to work!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I've got a lot going on in my life these days.  My mom's cancer, my elderly dad moving nearby, the normal things like my husband and daughter, my dogs, the weather, the house, the yard, exercise and eating clean (trying), and the pain (still) in my tendonitis and whatever the hell is wrong with my other leg/back/hip (sciatic nerve?)   And there's the writing job.

Some nights I don't  get much sleep, mostly due to physical things (the above mentioned pain plus menopause).  Other times I can't sleep because I have a lot on my my mind. 

When I can, I escape into the pages of a great book.  I've read some good ones lately, and I am in awe and envy of those authors who can write so well (you know who you are Barbara Samuel O'Neal).  With my own writing and constantly being under deadline with Harlequin, I have been finding it increasingly difficult to write through all the pain, both physical and mental. 

When I was doing the Candy Haven's Fast Draft Workshop, that was the closest I've gotten in a long while to pure writing joy.  Plus pages.  Lots of pages.  I still haven't gone back and edited the stuff I wrote during that time - I had to stop for revisions on another book, and since then I've been redoing proposals and writing a short, on-line Harlequin Read. 

Now, I've turned in the third (yes, third!) revision of a Harlequin Romantic Suspense proposal that will be my 25th published book with them.  I'm working on a Harlequin Nocturne proposal that I really like (one I push past the massive doubts in my ability caused by the above synopsis revisions.)

When I turn this Nocturne proposal in, I'm going to finish the Romantic Suspense that was due 7-1 and hopefully get to writing the Nocturne.

And then maybe things can get back on track, work-wise.

But I'm going to also get my lazy behind to work on something else - a single title that I'm going to write completely on spec and then send to my agent to shop.  Heck, if it doesn't sell, I'll pay someone to edit it and then put it up online.  I'm making at least a car payment on the backlist I've put up, so who knows?

I read on another blog - not a writing one, but a travel one - the most amazing quote.  I copied it down and printed it and taped it up in my office.  The blog is called What's Dave Doing (here's a link:
http://.tinyurl.com/6wg8ugl )  On it, he quotes someone named JD Roth.  The things you DO are your priorities, not the things you say you want to do.

Pretty clear, isn't it?  In other words, walk the talk.   I have not been doing this.  I've been talking for what seems like forever about writing another single title.  Since I first went with Harlequin in 2003 or 2004, and with my last single title coming out from Dorchester in 2006, I've focused all my energy into writing for one publisher.  Or, I put all my eggs in one basket. 

So even though I'm just saying it here, not doing it (yet), I am going to write a single title on spec (which means without a contract) and still manage to meet my multiple deadlines for Harlequin.

Wish me luck.  Oh, and PS - I have finally fixed the problem with the comments that was keeping so many of you from commenting.  

Your turn.  What are YOUR priorities?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


We finally got rain last night, after a week of forecasts promising it.  We were watching TV when the satellite went out and we checked and it was POURING!  Yay. 

I worked diligently on the synopsis yesterday and think I finally have a premise.  Now I need to hammer out the story.  Once I finish that, I'll let it sit for a day or two (it's due Monday) and then tweak it more before emailing it off.

Then - even if TBTB haven't approved it - I'm going back to work and finishing the HRS.  I can easier fix a completed book and it was due 7-1.

Today promises to be a beautiful day, weather-wise.  Let's hope it can be a productive day, work-wise!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

I have worked at an outside job since I was sixteen.  The only time I took off was in 1980 when my daughter was born - I took 18 months off then before going back to work.  In 1988, I had six weeks off because I had to have major surgery.  Lastly, in 1998 I took one month off when I had temporary custody of Lanessa and Alyssa, the step-granddaughters.  Other than that, I've pretty much worked outside the home continually.

Now it has been one year since we sold the insurance agency and I started working from home as an author.  I wondered if I would be bored - nope.  I wondered if I would miss working with other people - sometimes, but mostly nope.  I still have a routine - I get up at a certain time, start work at a certain time, take a break, have lunch, go to the gym, etc.  I can't really see a down side.

But I get more time with my dogs - which is great.  Since my husband retired at the same time as I became a work-from-homer, we still see each other every day. 

And I'll admit, it is nice to be able to work for longer stretches and not be interrupted like I was when I tried to fit in writing with the day job.  And I'll also admit I do miss having the two paychecks - the regular job one and the writing one.  It's a lot different when your "play" money becomes your only income. 

Other than that, my life hasn't really changed.  I still don't get to read as much as I'd like.  That's partially my fault, as I used to let Lonnie watch his television shows and I'd go into another room and read.  Nowadays, I plop right down with him.  Sometimes if I show is really boring, I'll get my Kindle and read, but I watch a LOT more TV than I used to. 

 I go to the gym, but I'd really planned on exercising more at home.  I have the equipment - need a few more weights, like 15 lb ones and at least 1 20 lb one, but I have learned this about myself - left to my own devices (ie; without a personal trainer), I'm really lazy. 

Ah well.  I have writing to do and need to get back to it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Again

It's Monday yet again.  I didn't sleep well last night (at all) so I'm tried and sore and groggy.  It's overcast, supposed to rain, but the weather forecasters keep teasing us with promises of rain and it never does. 

This morning when I made my oatmeal and banana for breakfast, I was so out of it that I poured half and half on it instead of milk!  I had to throw it away and start over.  No joke.

This is the weekend.

This is Monday

We swam and I read  - Right now I've just finished Insurgent by Veronica Roth (the second book in the Divergent trilogy) and am reading Barbara Samuel's The Sleeping Night.  We cooked out on the grill and ate out too.  I got sun (with SPF 50 on of course) and rented a couple of movies. 

The Weekend:


Now I've got to get back to work - I have a synopsis due on the 15th for my next Pack book.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Musings

I had a nice Friday.  My daughter came and took me to lunch at Chili's and then we went to see Magic Mike.  You know, the stripper movie with Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum.   And while the eye candy was pleasing - was it ever! - the plot and acting was bad.  Very bad.  As in I contemplated leaving early bad. 

But we stayed until the end.   Got home by 4 and she went home.    Then later, Lonnie and I went to one of our favorite places to eat - BJ's Brewhouse.

As you can see, I ate healthy.  That is a Thai Chicken Mango Salad with avocado.  The dressing was a light vinagerette.  It was under 500 calories on their light menu.  (I also ate light for lunch).

Here's a close up of the delicious salad.

 Lonnie had a burger.  However, when he ordered the dessert, which is a wonderful berry crumble with vanilla ice cream, I couldn't help myself and so I ate some. 

All in all, it was a great Friday.  Now today, I'm back to the regular world.  Groceries and laundry etc. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Yet Again

The summer heat makes me tired.  Lately, I've been groggy and exhausted.  I haven't been sleeping well, and it seems like I manage to inadvertantly piss people off no matter what I do, without even trying.  I think of that old song lyrics - can't remember the artist or even the title - "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself."  It's more difficult to do that than you would imagine. 

I have work, and I'm very grateful for that.  I have a wonderful husband and family, and ditto on the gratefulness.   But it seems like I need a clone (I know I've said that before) so I can be in more than one place at one time.   Since I can't, I can only do what I can do.  People being mad at me and trying to make me feel like crap or guilty, I can't handle that right now.  I need less drama, more calm.  Repeat after me.  Less Drama.  More calmness.  That's it.  Calm.  Ahhhhh.

I turned in the novella.   A bit early even (it was due the 10th).  My wonderful friend Anna Adams critiqued it for me - thank goodness for her eyes.  I fixed it up and sent it in.  The editor (not my regular editor) said she will get back to me with any revisions within ten days.  Then I have ten days to do them.

Next up - I need to come up with a synopsis for the next Nocturne.  The synopsis is due 7-15.

Oh, and on the HRS?  No word from the editor on approval for the synopsis that I first turned in on 3-15.  I've revised it twice now and that book - that poor, abandoned book - was due 7-1.  It's sitting in my computer at 45,000 words, waiting on approval so I can keep writing it and fix it to their specs, and make the target word count of 70,000 words.  After I do the Nocturne synopsis, I'm going to go back to work on it either way, because hopefully I can go back and fix whatever else they might want changed.

However, it is nerve-wracking and a bit of a confidence buster.  This HRS will be my 25th book for Harlequin.  They've never done this to me before, so it's kind of shaken my creativity.  And yes, I'm having a lot of difficulty trying to do a synopsis for a Nocturne. 

Ah well.  It's nearly the weekend.  I'm still mulling over Pack ideas for the next synopsis.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Almost Independence Day

Tomorrow is the 4th of July.  I'm going to be busy as we're having several people over for a pool partry and a cookout (huge pork ribs - yum!).  I've got to make potato salad, pasta salad, and baked beans.  Lonnie is grilling the ribs.  My sister-in-law is bringing peach cobbler (we have Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream!), rolls, and chips and dip.  At last count there will be 8 people.  Should be fun!

In years past we've spent a lot of 4ths at the lake.  They do a really amazing fireworks show and it's always been a blast.  Though last year, it was too damn hot, so we stayed home but didn't do anything special to mark the occasion. 

Not so this year!

Here's Mitchell, my Mini-Schnauzer, enjoying a boat ride at the lake.

Other years we've gone to Colorado and spent the holiday with my Dad.  Now that he's moved here, we no longer have that option.  I will miss going to Boulder, even though I only went up there every other year.  It's a beautiful city and I love the vibe there.

But this year, we're staying home, here in hot, sizzling Texas.  Perfect for a pool party, right?

Anyway, in case I don't make it to the computer to post tomorrow, Happy Birthday, USA!