Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Last night at 12:15 am, my nightstand telephone rang.  And rang, waking me from a sound sleep.  I answered, my chest tight with dread.  My mother has been fighting Pancreatic Cancer for nearly two years (she was diagnosed October 11, 2011)  She has survived a botched endoscope where they tore her small intestine, gallbladder removal and surgery to repair her intestine, two surgeries to insert stints to carry away waste, two rounds of chemotherapy, septic shock from which her survival chance was 20 percent, and has been under hospice care at home since early July.

Her significant other called me to tell me she'd called 911.  My mother was taken to the hospital.  I tried to go back to sleep as there was no way I could drive to east Dallas in the middle of the night - not only had I taken Melatonin, but my night time med also make me sleepy.  But I couldn't.  I was up until 3, when finally I was able to clear my head to sleep a little until I got up for good at 6.

I drove out there this morning.  She's in ICU, has a blood clot on her heart, and a tumor on her liver that has caused it to swell.  She has a fever and her organs have begun to shut down.  She can barely breathe, though she told me she has no pain.  She can't talk, and can barely keep her eyes open.  They kicked us out of ICU saying they had limited visiting hours and only two people were allowed at a time.  (My husband, me, her significant other, and my two brothers.) This was probably for the best as she needs to rest.

I fear her time has come.  After so much suffering, her battle-scarred body can finally rest.

I whispered in her ear that it would be okay to go home when she is ready.  She misunderstood and told me there was no way they'd let her go home now.  This broke my heart too.

I am trying to finish my book, and it is very difficult to concentrate.  I'm waiting - and dreading - the next phone call.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Manic Monday

It's the last week of working on The Wolf Siren.  The previous week, I knuckled down and wrote 10,758 words.   That's a lot for me.

I have to do less than that this week to make my word count, then I've got to go back and ramp up the descriptions.  And then - I can turn it in!

Last year at this time, I was working on The Millionaire Cowboy's Secret and the Friday before Labor Day was when I, having just gotten Dropbox, managed to over-write a file and went from "Yay, I'm finished. Gonna have a beer!"  To "Scream, curse, curse.  I can't believe this.  I just deleted the last two chapters!"

I'd scheduled a pool party and cookout at my house for the Sunday before Labor Day.  I cancelled that and spent the weekend rewriting the last two chapters from memory.  I'll never know if they were as good - or better - than the first two.

I do know one thing.  I will NEVER make that mistake again.

And once again, I've invited my brother and his wife over to swim and cook out.  Only this time, I'm positive I will be able to enjoy the day.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


It's Saturday and I'm at my computer.  My book is due 9-1, which is a Sunday and since 9-2 is Labor Day, I'm turning it in on Tuesday 9-3.

It's going well.  I've been writing like the wind.  It's easier when you figure out the ending.

On another note, I got a box full of my October Book, Texas Secrets, Lovers' Lie.  I adore this cover.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Favorite Time of the Day

I love mornings!  Especially mornings here in Texas, since the summer days often are unbearable.  I love getting up as the sky is growing lighter, but the sun hasn't yet risen.  Outside, the birds are just starting to wake.  Sometimes, the cloud display in the sky is gorgeous, back lit by the coming light.

It's great that I can walk in the morning.  Think about whatever book I'm working on at the time, and about other things.  I feel gratitude more strongly in the morning, and give thanks for my life, my home, my family, my pets, and my friends.  I love my job as a self-employed writer.  Though I sometimes miss my formerly hefty salary as VP of an insurance agency, I don't miss the stress and the time sucking job.

I love that I can be outside when I once was leaving to begin the long drive to work.  I love that I can be with my dogs all day.  And if I get stuck on a part of a book, I love that I can take the time to work it out.

Before this, I spent my days rushing around.  My blood pressure was high and I was miserable.  Even the larger salary can't compensate for that.

That's one of the things I can honestly say is great about being over 50.  I can honestly say I truly know myself and what matters to me in this life.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mid-Week Musings

My friend and critique partner  Anna Adams is used to getting panicky and/or whiny emails from me when the writing isn't going well.  The books I'm working on now, The Wolf Siren, was a joy to write - at least for the first half.  Then a family crisis erupted (my mom got septic shock, almost died, spent some time in a nursing home, and I had to arrange hospice and get her back to her own house).  I missed two weeks of writing due to that, then too a much needed vacation and missed another week.

When I came back to the story, it wasn't the same.  At all.  I couldn't get back to it, and began trying to slog through writing it.  I'd lost my mojo and my joy in the story and couldn't seem to get it back.  I whined to Anna, because this book will be my 28th for Harlequin and my 38th published, and by now you'd think I'd know what I'm doing.  Right?

Nope.  Sometimes I make it harder on myself than I need to.  I created outlines, stuck to them, and gradually got back into knowing the characters.  Then a secondary character (who I'd planned all along) walked on to the stage and BAM.  I had to go back and insert stuff about her so she can have a bigger role.  Because I can see the next book is going to be about her.

I love when stuff like that happens.

So here I am, 11 days away from deadline.  I'm on track again and hopeful the story will turn out all right.

Wish me luck.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Again

It's back to work time for me, though not to a day job, just to my writing job.  Which is fine.  After spending years working outside the home, I zealously guard my weekends and don't even like to sit down at my computer for very long.  Until it's close to deadline (like now!) 

So I wrote a little bit on Sunday, but more importantly, I fixed a plot problem that's been nagging me.
And I enjoyed the beautiful weather - waking up to high 60's, low 70's and having highs about 91 or 92.  For August in Texas, that's pretty amazing.  So we grilled out, hung around the pool, and swam.  The dogs played.  It was lovely.

This morning I got up at 5am rather than my usual 6 and took my little foster dog Katniss in for her Heartworm treatment.  We had to leave her at the vets and she gets shots of poison to kill those nasty worms.  She will be very sick  and once she comes home, she is on absolute crate rest for 30 days.  If she moves too much or gets excited, the dying worms could cause a blood clot in her heart and kill her.  Note - I just tried to post a picture of Katniss and every dang time I do, the web pages shuts down.  Not sure why, but it sucks. 

UPDATE - I found out it's a compatibility issue with IE, so I'm using Chrome.  And voila, picture.

Here's Katniss

I was also going to post a few pictures from the Heart concert I went to on Thursday night.  But there goes that idea.  It was a lot of fun and good music.  I was surprised at how much the opening band, the Jason Bonham Experience, sounded like Led Zeppelin.  Amazing. 

Ah well, I do have work to do.  The book is due 2 weeks from today. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Yes, I know.  I such at blogging lately.  I've been working full tilt on the Nocturne THE WOLF SIREN which is due on 9-1 and will be out Feb 2014.  I turned in the short story for the online read, and did the line edits on it, so that's done.  I've managed to make it over to my mother's house twice to visit.  She's on hospice now.  And I'm continuing to try and manage my elderly father. 

Plus, I'm counting calories and losing weight.  Logging everything in the Lose It app on my I-phone.  I lost the cruise weight almost immediately, and lost two pounds this week.  I log my weight every Monday.  I still walk - mornings now as it's hotter than Hades here in Texas. 

And I'm doing my volunteer work for Legacy Boxer Rescue (  I did a home visit this past weekend for a lovely family who wants to adopt one of our dogs, and now I'm helping set up what we call Meet and Greets with the three she's interested in so far.  I finished foster sitting a dog named Pollock (after some college football player they said) and my own foster dog Katniss got spayed and will have her Heartworm treatment on the 19th.  After her two days at the vets, when she comes home she will be confined to her crate basically for one month, only allowed out to eat and use the bathroom.  Heartworm treatment is awful and as the worms are dying, they can cause blood clots.  Worse, it's entirely preventable with one little pill one a month. 

After Katniss recovers from this, I plan to put all my energy into finding her forever home.  And getting back to resistance/weight training.  And submitting two new proposals to Harlequin since I'll be out of contract. 

I'm going to be busy.