Thursday, September 27, 2012

Retail Therapy

What a nice Thursday!  I'm in such a good mood, despite the unrelenting heat (still in the 90's folks!)

As I mentioned before, I have a writer's conference in late October.  Since I can't wear high heels anymore due to my tendonitus, I took a couple of pairs of my dress slacks over to the tailor to get altered.  Then, while I was out, I stopped at Ross and bought a pair of jeans, a black skirt, and a top.  I also went in and checked out Clothes Mentor, the new used clothing store that just recently opened next door to my gym.  I bought a necklace there and looked at a bunch of clothes.  The store was packed!

Then I came home to a sparkling clean house.  No, my husband didn't clean it - though he did mow the lawn.  This was the day the cleaning people come, so they'd put in their two hours (two ladies) and my house is spotless. 

I made lunch, and now am catching up on stuff as I prepare to write.  I've been consistently hitting my 2,000 word a day goal (roughly ten or eleven pages), so I'm on track.  I've also marked a straight week of 10,000 plus steps EVERY SINGLE DAY!!  Yay me.  No backsliding on that  - if I'm not there at bedtime, I go for a walk until I am there.

In other news, for the first time ever, one of my self-published books has sold over 1,000 copies in one month on Amazon!  This is one of my old Precious Gems books, Want You Back.  Another old Precious Gems book, Desert Fire, is gaining with close to 700 copies sold, but the month ends in 3 days, so I don't know if it will make it.  Pretty exciting to me!  This will make for some nice royalty checks.  I'm thinking of doing another promotional push in October, so we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I do have a Nocturne to write.  Better get to it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mid-Week Rambles

Once again, Wednesday has rolled around.  It's the last week of September (Wow!  Time sure flew.)  So far this month, I've written 21,181 words on the new book, 5,027 on the book I turned in on 9-3, plus done four or five blogs as guest posts. 

So I have been busy. 

Now sometimes, it's difficult to write - personal life and family intrude, especially when I have a parent with a terminal illness. Watching my mother attempt to deal with this has made me think about my own life.  Specifically, how I'd want to spend my final months if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

I'd have to say, there are places I want to see before I die.  But more important than that, I'd want to see them with the people I love.  My daughter and I have taken several trips together - most notably a ski trip and a trip to Washington DC, so I'd get with her and let her choose someplace that she really wanted to see (like Nashville).  And then I'd take her, just her and me.  Watching her experience this would bring me great joy and knowing I'd shared that with her and that she'd have that memory of me after I was gone would give me a lot of comfort. 

My husband and I have a list of places we'd like to go.  Places we want to see together.  But once again, I think I'd let him choose the place he most wanted to see, even if it had been someplace I'd been before.  Because I'd want the experience of watching him see this place and would love that he'd always have the memory of sharing it with me.

Because the people I love and their memories of me and them together are very important to me. 

Other things that bring me joy are listening to great music live.  I'd attend as many concerts as I could and failing that, I'd buy new music and listen to it until I had the words memorized (I do this already!)   And reading a good book.  I'd make more time for reading and less time for television, though there are a few shows I couldn't give up. 

I'd write my life story so my daughter would have more insight of what my life was like.  (Note to self - still must do this regardless.)

I'd do the volunteer work I've always wanted to do - at least until my health made me unable to do it.  Rescuing dogs, helping them find loving homes. 

I'd cook more - oh yes, I'd cook delicious fattening things that aren't good for you because at that point, what would it matter?  I'd eat cheesecake for breakfast if I wanted.  And lobster and hamburgers and cake.  All the things I now have to eat in moderation to watch my weight.

What else brings me joy?  I'd visit my friends, at least once.  Those that live across the country in Georgia and New Jersey.  I'd ask them to show me their town, their homes, their lives, and when I left I'd know they'd have that one final memory of me. 

Of course, I would have to do these things before my health declined.  And this is assuming that I got enough notice.  So I'd have to prioritize, but I'd try to do as much as I could.

This is just me musing.  None of us really knows what we'd do in this situation. 

What would you do?  Think about it.  I'm curious.  Even if you don't comment, what would be most important to you in the final days of your life?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thinking About A Vacation

So it's late September, nearly October.  Yesterday the temperature reached 97 degrees.  Yep.  You heard that right.  Meanwhile, my friends on the east coast are talking about highs in the 60's and 70's.  I WANT THAT WEATHER. 
There.  Got that out of my system.  I know it's coming - we usually start cooling down in October.  I just need to be patient.    Ah, but it's soooo difficult.  At heart, I'm still an upstate New York kind of girl who always adored autumn. 
Next month I'm am traveling to New York for the Novelists, Inc. conference.  So I'll get some of that weather, hopefully. 
And then... and then in November, it's Lonnie and my 25th Wedding Anniversary.  We've decided to take a short trip - Vegas or an All-Inclusive tropical thing, or even another cruise (though probably not for 7 days like before as we have to board the dogs.)  We haven't been to Vegas in a few years, but honestly if I had my druthers I'd pick somewhere like Chicago to explore and eat, or California.  Still, I'm looking at Mexico or Jamaica or something - just a chance to get away and hang out with my hubby and celebrate a quarter of a century together.
Below Pic is Biloxi, MS - we went July 2011.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Going Easier on Myself

I'm so hard on myself lately.  I can't do everything and be everything to every one, yet I manage to feel guilty.  I have to tell myself daily that I have a job and just because I work from home, doesn't mean I can act like I don't have to work. 

Yet I keep disappointing people without even trying.  

All I can do is keep on keeping on. 

I want (expect) so much from myself.  I want to be in better shape, to do the workouts my old personal trainers had me do, but with tendon injuries, it's not possible.  So I do the best I can, making sure I get my 10,000 steps a day and lifting weights a few times a week.  I did a total body workout on Tuesday after work, and am still feeling it two days later.

I want to be able to write effortlessly, but have to continually remind myself it's butt-in-the-chair, plan scene ahead of time, sheer work. 

I want to do more promo, but I've already done six or seven guest blogs (some will appear by the end of the month) and my own as well. 

I still have one more backlist book to put up on Amazon, but it needs editing and I simply don't have time.  Yet.  I will, someday.

And have I worked at all on that YA idea I have?  No.  All my writing time is (as usual) dedicated toward contracted books.  Yet I want.  I want.

I want to read more.  I have over 300 unread books on my Kindle and probably that many in my TBR stack.  Yet I am reduced to reading during commercials while I watch mindless television like The Voice and The X-Factor.  I have several workout books I'm dying to get to as well, plus I just ordered The Plot Whisperer and Workbook and I *need* to read those to see if they will help me plot.  (Thanks Anna Adams for the recommendation).

Writing is hard when life throws you curve balls.  I try to find a balance of normal in my life, I have found I thrive with routine rather than chaos, and yes - I did get some sleep last night.  Thank goodness.

I feel constant pressure to do more.  It's worse now than it was when I actually worked a day job and wrote in my spare time, though I had longer deadlines then.  Some of it is the fact that my mom is so sick and also that my elderly dad moved here and is now alone since his wife died.  He knows no one, so I feel bad for him.  At least my mom has her life partner - they've been together 35 years.

Ah well, I'm human.  I work, try to maintain a great relationship with my husband, take care of my dogs, and myself.  If I ever figure out a way to clone myself, I'll be able to do more, but until then, I just keep on keepin' on.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mid-Week Insomnia

I have a friend who often battles with insomnia (hi Anna!).  Me, I wake up in the middle of the night around 2 am and then can't go back to sleep for an hour or two.  But last night, I couldn't go to sleep at all and then when I finally dozed off around 1, I woke up at my normal 2 and was awake until 4:30.   So I got maybe 2 hours of sleep last night.  I partly blame the diet Coke I drank after lunch, forgetting that any caffinated beverage after two will haunt me. 

So anyway, I'm groggy and achy this morning.  I walked this morning, but not my usual mile or two with the dogs, just laps around the swimming pool area.  I woke up craving protein, so I cooked eggs instead of my usual oatmeal.

And I'm running late on everything, despite getting up at my normal 6 am. 

But this morning was 58 degrees when I got up - lovely!  I know the weather people say we will hit 90 again before the First Day of Autumn (which should be a holiday in my book), but I'm hoping we're finally, truly done with heat and summer.  I'm ready.  (Photos is from a prior year!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Yesterday I didn't get much work done.  We had a bit of a set back with my mom's health and I couldn't concentrate, so I didn't write much.   I also had to take one of my dogs to the vet.  Today has been a flurry of family phone calls so thus far, nada, zero, zip on the writing front.  As a matter of fact, I'm writing this while on the phone. 

I will leave you with a picture of my two dogs.  I have three, but these are the two Boxers at the lake this past weekend. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Again

Cooler weather is FINALLY coming and we spent last weekend (and Friday, at the lake.  The temps were lovely and the rain held off until we left.  I got a lot of writing done on my Alphasmart (2,000 words).  Unfortunately, I don't have Wi-Fi there, only my cell phone, so I'm still playing catch up here with email and blogs and stuff. 

I am ready for autumn.  More than ready. 

Today is the day my online short Pack story goes live at  It's under Extras and they post one chapter per week for eight weeks.  This is to celebrate my October Nocturne called The Wolf Princess, which comes out soon.  I've been guest blogging all over the place too.  Plus tweeting and Facebooking etc.

So I'm frazzled and tired and ready to sink myself into my writing.  Here I go.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Writing Stats

I just looked at my writing stats for last month.  In the month of August, I wrote 31,792 words.   That's just book words, on The Millionaire Cowboy's Secret.  It doesn't includes blogs or emails.

On September 1-4, I wrote 5,027 (redoing what I lost on the above book).  I turned in that book on September 4.

Wow!  No wonder I feel like I need a vacation.  Sheesh.

Then, on September 5, I started the next one The Broken Wolf.  As of Tuesday September 7th, I'd written 6,309 words on it.    I try to take weekends off (except at the end when a deadline is looming).  I have a minimum word goal of 1500 a day, so there you are. 

Now I don't feel so bad.  That was a bit of self-motivation for me. Because I am SO having a problem getting started on this next book.  Now I see why.  Sheesh.

On the exercise front, I have been making my 10,000 steps a day goal pretty regularly.  The exceptions were a couple of days when I hurt my stupid ankle, so had to not walk.    And then yesterday we had company all day, so I didn't make my steps.

Every day is a new day.  Onward.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

It's been eleven years now, but I still remember that day like it was yesterday.  The shock, the horror, the tears, the terror.  How the earth seemed to come to a complete halt, while everyone panicked and tried not to.  Skyscrapers in Dallas were emptied, because there were rumors of more planes.  My daughter was at college at Texas A&M and my dad was still working at the Hardware store.  I called them after the third plane hit the Pentagon and told him we were at war.  He didn't know - he freaked out and said he had to call his wife.  I tried to call my mother but got her machine (and she doesn't turn her cell phone on).

We were at work and the normally busy phones stopped ringing.  I remember I had one guy call for a quote and I thought it was weird, but I got him one. 

That night, stunned, heartsore, and frightened, we watched the news coverage replay the twin towers over and over and over.  I wept.

That day, something broke inside me.  Something broke inside a lot of people.  Time does heal all wounds, but I still tear up when I remember that day.  My voice breaks when I try to talk about it. 

Never forget.  Ever.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Starting Out Right

For as long as I can remember, I had this plan of how my days would be once I was a full time writer.  Of course, I thought my husband would still be working - I had no idea it would take until he was retired for me to be able to have my dream.  But it's good, it's all good.  I just wish the publishers paid a bit more promptly, but it's been over a year and so far everything has worked out fine.  I'm truly blessed.

This morning I got up and took the dogs for a morning walk.  Lonnie took Mac Macadoo and I took Liberty Belle.  We walked one mile instead of our usual two, and then I came back and got Mitchell Thomas (the Mini-Schnauzer) and walked a bit more.  The weather is fabulous  and I feel absolutely wonderful!

Yes, I'm very late sitting down at the computer, but what a way to start my day.  That way, if I get busy and can't make the gym, I know I got my exercise (plus I can lift weights here if need be.)

Now I'm off to check email and get back to the business of writing.  I have a word count to make!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Finally Friday

I love Fridays.  Adore them.  Maybe it's a hold over from when I worked outside the home, but Fridays are the gateway to the weekend.  We always eat dinner out on Friday night (date night!) 

This week was a short one, due to Labor Day.  Though not for me, as I worked most of last weekend and Monday.

I'm writing away on the next Nocturne and really loving the story.  So that's good. 

This month (the 22nd) has the first day of Autumn.  I wish we'd get some Autumn like weather, that's for sure.

So, I have nothing to say really.  And I do have work to do. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mid-week Ramble

This morning in addition to checking my sales numbers, I logged in to Bookscan.  And yes, I was thrilled to see my Harlequin Romantic Suspense, The Cop's Missing Child, had made the top 100 of Adult Fiction Overall Romance!  Number 94, to be exact!

Very cool news and a much needed shot in the arm after all the drama and craziness with the book I just turned in yesterday. 

Especially since I have to immediately start work on my next Harlequin Nocturne The Broken Wolf.
I love the story and the synopsis has been approved, but what I really want to do is take the rest of this week off.    I'd like to sit down with a book and let another author's words carry me away.

I'm reading two different books right now - the #1 NYT Bestseller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (which is ok), and the amazing YA book AngelFall by Susan Ee.  That book is one of those books that, the entire time I'm reading it, I'm wishing I'd been the one to write it!  If you're a writer, you know what I mean!  It is good - so good.  It's really strange, but I have been finding the most groundbreaking, different, and well-written books in Young Adult these days.  So many amazing finds!

So that's what I wish I could do.  Sit down and read. 

Instead, I'm going to be writing down scenes I need to write for The Broken Wolf.  Then I plan to start using Candace Haven's Fast Draft method and see how much I can get done.

Because as I've mentioned before in this little blog, I do have an idea for my own YA.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Random Tuesday

So here it is, the day I turn in the book.  Ok, I admit it - I've already sent the email.  After so many mishaps starting with just getting the synopsis approved, this book is one I want gone.  I worked on it Monday and planned to do so today as well, but.... Decided it was safer not to.  I emailed it to my editor and then went and gave myself an at-home facial. 

Now, skin taken care off, I've read all my email, checked all the blogs I read daily, and am posting on my blog.  I've organized my desk, put all the papers pertaining to The Millionaire Cowboy's Secret in a file folder, printed the synopsis for the next book, The Broken Wolf, printed the senior editor's notes that she wants me to keep in mind as I write, and counted days until it's due, so I know my minimum daily word count. 

Since I'm going to the Ninc Conference this year (you might remember last year I was all set to go and my Mom got diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and had to get rushed in for emergency surgery when the doctor accidently perforated her intestine).  Mom is still doing chemo and as of today the cancer hasn't spread, so I'm optimistic I'll actually make the conference.  Best of all, my friend Stephanie Doyle is going to room with me!  I haven't seen her since 2009 at the RWA National Conference in D.C., so I'm looking forward to that greatly.

I'm trying to have a calm and restful sort of day before I dive back into the writing grind.  I figure since I worked most of the three day weekend, I deserve it. 

I'll probably do some pre-work, like sketching out scenes etc. 

Oh, and I did put up another one of my old backlist (from 1998) on Amazon.  Here is is on Amazon

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Labor

Well, the panic has finally subsided.  I worked all day Saturday and rewrote the missing stuff - or as much of it as I could remember.  I came 585 words short, I think.  A couple pages.  I've now decided I will continue to write in my MS Word and then save to a memory stick AND to Dropbox.  I still don't trust Dropbox, but I really like the concept of stuff being there if the computer gets fried. 

Yesterday (Sunday) I worked a bit more, but had weird panic attacks everytime I saved the mss.  I finally gave up and did laundry and went and got groceries, then swam, ate salmon cooked on the grill, and watched a movie.

Today Monday, I slept a little late, but the rest of the day I'm treating like a regular work day rather than a holiday.  I'm rereading the book from beginning to end and fixing, tweaking, adding, etc.  I plan to do this most of the day and then tomorrow as well, which is when (at the end of the day, thus not being late), I will email it to my editor. 

Wish me luck.  Because I sure want this book to be the best it can be, despite it's really rocky start and extremely crazy end where it almost vanished. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

At Least I Know

Now at least I know what I did.  It doesn't make it any easier, and the file is not recoverable, but at least I know.  Note to self - NEVER try new software when finishing up a book.

So... I've learned that in order for Dropbox to save a file, you have to be working out of the Dropbox folder on your desktop.  Not out of the Word folder, but the Dropbox one.  I wasn't.  That's why, when I emailed the file to myself, thinking I was sending the most recent file, I emailed from Dropbox and of course it sent the one I worked on there last, which was 8-29. 

When I finished my book, jubilant - I shouted to my husband I was done.   72,211 words, 345 pages. I saved it, promptly emailed it to myself (not noticing I sent an old version), and emailed by BFF Anna to tell her I had finished.  I then thought of something, went into Dropbox, opened the (wrong) file, and then hit save.  To be fair, the warning did come up.  But I, still thinking I was in the most recent version, hit save anyway.

And thus overrode (and destroyed) the old file.  It's gone.  Not recoverable.  I have tried everything, including calling a computer repair shop. 

My beautiful ending - disappeared.  I have to try to recreate that, plus all the explanations and stuff that I wove back through the story.  I am now at 321 pages, no last chapter yet.  Very sad.  Still sick.  But a little bit wiser.

Oh, I wish I had waited to try Dropbox until after I'd finished the book.  You lose the first chapter of a new book, no big deal.  But the ending?  The tying up all the threads - the suspense, the romance, the secondary character's romance.  Aiiiiiyyyyyyy.

So now you know.  A word to the wise.  And that's how I'm spending my holiday weekend. Rewriting and praying I can remember what I did and didn't do.