Monday, December 31, 2007

What will I read 2008?

Books for 2008

I have a HUGE stack of to-be-read books. I would LOVE to make a huge dent in them during 2008.

I’ve already begun compiling a HAVE-TO-READ list. I won’t say to much about the books (since I haven’t read them), but I’d love it if you’d read some of them along with me.

I’ll commit to blogging about each of these books as I read them.

This is my to-die-for-list:

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer. Bella and Edward are my new obsession. I can’t help it. If I become too enthralled, please virtually slap me.

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. It’s supposed to be out in the fall of 2008. This 4th book makes me nervous. If Edward is the Eclipse, then I also know who Breaking Dawn is. Oh dear, Bella, what are you doing?

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas. Hardy Cates. I have to know what happens to Hardy Cates. I won’t spoil Sugar Daddy (which I read in 2007) for those of you who haven’t read it by telling you about Hardy Cates, but he is the reason I’ll be reading.

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. If you haven’t read A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels, you should. Gemma is a delightful heroine. I think she and Kartik will…… well, again, you’ll just have to read along.

Blood Fever by Karen Marie Moning. I love Moning. I’ve read all her books but this one. I'm third in line on the wait list at the library – much better than 20th, which is where I started.

This is a list of books sitting in the TBR pile already. I’m committed to reading them, too.

The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (our next Affairs of the Pen book club selection)
Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

What's on your list?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What color should your toenails be?

Mimidish posted this at her blog. Thought I'd check it out, too!

Your Toes Should Be Pink

You love to dress girly and work your feminine charms, with a bit of an edge.
Your ideal guy: Is confident enough to get any girl he wants
Stay away from: Jerks who only see you as eye candy

What Color Should Your Toenails Be?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Books I LOVED in 2007

I promised to write about the books that really struck me this year. I've read a few that had me turning pages too fast and staying up too late. I love books like that. I thought I'd mention a few of them. Keep in mind that alot of books strike a chord with me. These are the most powerful from that list.

1. Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. I've read and reread some parts of both Twilight and New Moon. I've started Eclipse, but I'm doing my best to really wait to read it for several reasons. The biggest reason -- I'll get completely sucked in and be unable to do anything but read until I finish. Then, I'll be terribly disappointed when I'm finished and no other book will really speak to me for a bit. I haven't been this completely enamoured with a story line in a long time. I relate to Bella -- even if I never dated a vampire. Edward is perfect to her, but to the rest of us, he's completely flawed. She loves him anyway. Wasn't there anyone in your life when you were 18 to 25 like Edward? I had an Edward. (Sigh.) Anyway, I get it. Stephanie has it. Wow. Someone recommended her to me over a year ago. I kind of thought "whatever". I'm glad I waited, though, because now I have less time to wait for her new one. (Big Sigh.)

2. Lisa Kleypas's Sugar Daddy. What a joyous time I had at RWA Nationals. I'd never been before. I guess there's nothing quite like your first time. I'm still trying to wade through all the books I collected. One that surprised me was Sugar Daddy. I have the sequel -- Blue-Eyed Devil -- pre-ordered already. I'd never read a Kleypas book before, but I will now. I have one of her historicals awaiting me. I loved her characters, and again, I related to them as real people. I can hardly wait for Blue-Eyed Devil. (It will be on tomorrow's list of eagerly awaited books for 2008.)

3. Finally, there was Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. As with Twilight, when SEP was recommended to me, I kind of thought "whatever". Boy, was I wrong. Match Me if You Can turned me into a fan overnight. I've read three SEP novels this year, but Match Me is still my favorite.

I don't know what that "it" factor is that keeps me turning pages so fast in these books. If I could discover it and replicate it, I would no longer be pre-published.

Maybe someday, but for now, give me the next "oh-mi-gosh" book. I'm ready to be carried away.

What were your favorites in 2007?


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Books read in 2007

This is the first year I kept a running list of all the books I've read during the year. But the year isn't over yet, and I may well add to it over the next day or so.

You can see in the side bar that I've read quite alot. I've stopped reading alot of other ones, too -- too bored with them to finish.

When I read, I really read. I read to savor every word. I don't fly through just to get it done. I want to revel in a great story.

Most of what I've read this year has been great. Some only good. A few I finished out of sheer will power.

I'm going to blog sometime between now and New Year's Eve on the books I've read this year that meant the most to me and why. I'm also going to put up a separate blog about what books I'm hoping to add to my list for 2008.

I want to challenge you to blog about the books you've read that really meant something to you this year -- the ones that grabbed you with a darn good story or at least had you staying up too late and turning pages too fast.

Also blog about your TBR list for 2008. What are you determined to read in your current pile? What are you waiting on pins and needles to buy?

Happy reading. Macy

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What kind of book are you?

I recently took a fun little quiz. You can take it by clicking here.
What kind of book are you?

Not that my results were a surprise.....


You are very creative and tend to have a liking for things of a more magical persuasion. You find the things in life that have some magical qualities in them and sometimes reality is too much for you. You get into trouble sometimes with your daydreaming, but you love it anyway! Unicorns, fairies, Elves, Dwarves, and all sorts of fairytale paraphernalia are your blood and sustenance, and you don’t like to be told that they aren’t real. There has to be something more than this, right? Life disappoints you sometimes with the numbers of people who scoff at imagination and who are more concerned with what works instead of thinking outside the box for a change. You strive for others to see the magic in things, and if they only opened their eyes, they might see the beauty that you do. If only there were more creative people like you! Books you might enjoy: The Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks and the Incarnations of Immortality by Peirs Anthony

Monday, December 10, 2007

Harry Potter Personality Quiz

I am so not telling my family the results of this......

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.


Friday, December 7, 2007

The "It" Factor

We’ve been having an interesting discussion on our Affairs of the Pen loop.

Let me tell you how it got started. I recently read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Perhaps, read is the wrong word. Devoured might be a better choice. I couldn’t get enough. I loved the mystery of it. The characters were three dimensional and very real. The setting and mood were perfect – almost characters themselves.

Alyson read it in one night, too. It has well over 900 five-star reviews at Amazon. From conception to astronomical book deal took a mere six months for someone who never really thought about publishing. Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s fallen in love with Edward and Bella.

Samantha is reading it now – and not liking it at all. Now, for the record, Samantha is a brilliant writer. However, we don’t always like the same books.

She is also currently reading The Golden Compass and loving it. (It’s a favorite of mine, too.)

That brings us to the discussion. What is it about a book that really resonates with some people, but really doesn’t with others? Why can some people think a certain book is the best thing ever written, but others think it’s so bad they can’t finish it?

Any ideas?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Post Nano Recuperation

I hadn't realized Nano would take so much out of me. I've written maybe 500 new words since then and edited about 12 pages.

Ok, the day job has really picked up, too.

All in all, it's just making me really tired -- so tired in fact that the only Christmas prep I've managed is mailing a few presents to Rome and dragging a few Christmas boxes out of the attic.

Bah-humbug, huh?

I'll get some sort of interesting post up tomorrow, and we'll start commenting on Nano over at AotP.

Until then......


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Nano Winner!

I'm done.
I won.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nano update

Two days and 5K to go. I can see the finish line. Now if only the day job will calm down so I can push on through.

For all you Nano participants, here's a little quote from The Devil and Ms. Prym by Paulo Coelho:

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is that you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.

See it. Focus on it. Want it. Achieve it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Tuesday Ten

I’m feeling completely uncreative tonight, so my Tuesday Ten will be 10 things besides Nanowrimo that I love which start with the letter “n”.

1) New clothes. Especially if they are a size smaller than I thought I'd buy. Okay, that never happens, but it would be great if it did.
2) New shoes
3) Nutella (Just discovered this. Doesn’t help with #1.)
4) A day to do Nothing
5) Naps
7) Norepinephrine. (Seriously. Have I mentioned I have 2 degrees in science?)
8) My Nieces
9) My Nephews
10) Our amazing Nation

Yes, yes. That was all very lame, but at least I blogged.

Three nano days left and 6k to go.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

I need a title

I'm horrible with titles. I think every title I come up with sounds stupid. However, at 36k into my Nano novel, I need a better name for it than TBA or "the first circle book". (Yep, there will be more -- 2 which I see pretty well, 2 for which I have basic ideas, 1 about which I'm still clueless.)

There are six heros, six heroines, one ruling table with twelve seats for these "arc angels" of the light. All twelve seats must be filled by the right people with the right gifts in order to defeat the dark and maintain balance.

The first book is about the demon slayer -- the one on whom the final battle will hinge. Funny, though, she's fallen for a half demon who doesn't know about that half just yet. Oh, just when they get together, he gets sent off to spy on the dark. He is 1/2 demon afterall, so who would be a better spy?

Anyway. I have no title and no good ideas.

But I have no time now to throw my lame ideas out there. I've got another couple thousand words to compose tonight.

Gotta run. Maybe we'll just go with In the Circle of the Slayer for now.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


So, I missed my Tuesday Ten.

No big deal. I’ll do a Thursday Thirteen instead.

And, since it’s Thanksgiving, I’ll do thirteen things for which I’m thankful.

1. I’m thankful I live in a free country. I know that freedom isn’t free – the winning of it or the keeping of it. I’m thankful for the freedom to both disagree and agree with the government because I have a choice. I’m thankful for the men and women who aren’t home with their families tonight, but who rather guard our fence, watch our back, and protect our freedom.

2. I’m thankful for my husband. As a kid, I wasn’t able to watch good examples of couples in love. I didn’t know if it was possible to be in love ten years later, but it is. I have an amazing husband who loves me despite my quirks and who wants me to reach my dreams just as much as I do.

3. I’m thankful for my step-kids. If I could have chosen children for myself from all those in the world, I would have picked M and J as my own. I’m so happy to be watching them grow up and have them in my life.

4. I’m thankful for by mom, dad, and brother. We don’t always agree and we haven’t always had smooth sailing, but I am who I am because of all we endured because of, in spite of, and along with each other. I love them.

5. I’m thankful for four furry canines that give me pure joy – Cipy, Alice, Maggy, and Rex.

6. I’m thankful for the bill-paying job. I get to work at a place I love with people I love – who are more like family than co-workers. Most people aren’t so lucky. I never want to take for granted that I am.

7. I’m thankful for a great home with peaceful and relaxing scenery in a safe area where I’m part of a strong community.

8. I’m thankful for my little church – Summit Church. I looked for a long time to find a place where I was comfortable worshipping the God I love. I’m so glad I found it.

9. I’m thankful for a wonderful savior and a graceful God. I need both.

10. I’m thankful for my talents. I never want to waste them. I want to always be mindful that God gave me gifts for a reason. Whenever my bill-paying job or this writing gig seem hard or too much to bear, I want to remember I have something important to offer and something important to say. I’m glad I’m able to do both.

11. I’m thankful for the abundant family and friends that gathered in my home today. I’m thankful I have a home where we can gather and the abundant means to do so. I know I am rich beyond measure compared to most of the word. The bible says to him to whom much has been given, much will be expected (Luke 12:48). I have a responsibility to a world in need. I’m grateful for that knowledge and for the means to help.

12. I am thankful for AotP and my very dear friends there.

13. I am thankful for my health and that of my family.

Tag: What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Update and stuff

I decided I need to update my blog. I’m trying to blog at least once a week during Nano, but that’s been difficult lately. Perhaps, the hopefulness of the Thanksgiving holiday looming just around the corner has given me new energy. Perhaps, I’m finally settling into my new role at work. Who knows? However, I’ve experienced a good writing weekend. On Friday, when I woke up, I had a measly 17k of the nearly 26.5K I should have had at that point. Today, I have 26K. (I should have 30K, but being 4k behind is alot different than being almost 10k behind.) I’m up over the 100 page mark in my new WIP.


I’m still in love with my new WIP. I’m writing it all over the place – I have the prologue, the beginning, some middle, and the resolution. Very cool stuff.

What’s it about? Well, I’ve finally decided to write that book – the one that’s been calling me for awhile, the one with my true themes.

What’s the theme, you ask?

It’s about the epic fight between good and evil, between the dark and the light. At the story’s core is the concept that everyone has some darkness in them, but what’s important is what you do with the light that’s there, too. It’s about the battle to overcome the darkness within so that light can prevail. It all starts with just one person’s light.

I got some good chills today. I found someone else who thinks like me. I was already starting to fall in love with Anthony Horowitz’s series about Alex Rider – a teen spy. In a little reward trek to the bookstore today, I picked up the first in another of his series – the Gatekeepers series.

The series sounds right up my alley. The series is “a thrilling, chilling tale of world-changing secrets, terrifying truths, and a full-power fight between good and evil.”

I love that stuff!! (See themes above.)

The first book is called Raven’s Gate. It has a bonus ‘after words’ at the end which includes an interview with Anthony. Of course, I read the interview.

Here’s an excerpt:
Q: What’s the story behind the origins of Raven’s Gate and The Gatekeepers? What made you return to the idea after all this time?
A: Raven’s Gate is based on a series of books that I began – but never finished – almost twenty years ago. I’d always had the idea that it might be possible to write a story like The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia that took place here, in the real world. I love the idea of demons and devils, monsters and ghosts battling it out in a modern-day London or New York … but always round the corner, just out of eyesight.
Why return to it now? Part of the answer lies in 9/11 and the Iraq war. It seems to me that if ever a battle of good versus evil was taking place in the real world, it is happening now.

I think I might love this man in a total author-hero-worship sort of way!

For those of you who know me well, you know that LotR and Narnia are two of my all time favorite stories. Why? Epic battles of good versus evil resonate with me. You may also know my paranormal/fantasy fixation, but not with vampires and werewolves. No, my fixation is more with demons and devils and creatures that symbolize evil and the warriors that fight for the light. (Have I mentioned that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my all time favorite TV show?)

Anyway, I think I found an author with a similar sense. I might have to go order the rest of his books at Amazon tonight. (I could wait for Christmas, but waiting is so not my virtue.)


Off to see if I can knock out some more words tonight. Good luck fellow Nano-ers. See you on Tuesday with a new Ten.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Ten: Ten author sites I love

This week’s Tuesday Ten is ten author sites I love. I won’t even bother to state why. Check them out and see what you think.

1. Anthony Horowitz: I love the Alex Rider series and can't wait to dive in the Power of Five series.
2. J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter. Seriously. Need I say more.
3. Cherry Adair: I haven't read her books, but I do have one in the to be read pile, but her website is great.
4. Libba Bray: Love the Great and Terrible books.
5. J.R. Ward: I just love diving into the Black Dagger Brotherhood world.
6. Sherrilyn Kenyon: Talk about a comprehensive site. Wow.
7. Stephanie Meyer: Intriguing series of books.
8. Roxanne St. Claire: She's adorable and so are her books.
9. Barbara Samuel: Love her. Love her. Love her.
10. Alison Kent: So much helpful stuff for writers there.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A TV Tuesday Ten

What I'm Reading: The Devil and Miss Prym by Paolo Coelho

I don't watch much TV. I have immersed myself in NanoWriMo and have an impending trip to sea camp with more 13 year olds than I care to count, so my minimal TV watching will probably dwindle even more.

That said, I do love to escape in a really great show. I love getting addicted to one with such great storytelling that I'm helpless to pull myself away. I love that ones that make me want to do anything to make it home in time to see it.

I recently stumbled across a Tuesday Ten of Ten TV shows you'd like to have or already have on DVD. I thought it would be interesting to see if a girl who is hit or miss with TV could come up with ten.

Here goes:
1) Buff the Vampire Slayer. I'm a huge Buffy fan. I announced the other night at dinner that I'd like the first three seasons on DVD for Christmas. My husband chuckled. My teenager was agast.
2) Heroes. I've seen this enough to really want to see it more, but I'm so far outside the story now I won't be able to catch up without the first season DVD's.
3) Angel. As far as all-time favorite TV shows, it ranks just a little under Buffy (which is #1).
4) Felicity. Another show that I used to watch pretty regularly back in the day when I watched TV. I LOVED it.
5) Grey's Anatomy. Never seen it, but I've heard such great things I'm sure I could become a complete addict. (And Patrick Dempsey is a total hottie.)

So far, so good.....

6) Supernatural. It looks really interesting. I like fantasy. My husband has seen it a few times and likes it, so why not?
7) The Dead Zone (with Anthony Michael Hall). I did watch this back when I watched. Great premise and conflicts. Very sci-fi/fantasy.
8) Veronica Mars
9) My So-Called Life
10) Lost. Everyone who started with it seems to be continuing. That's a good sign.

I did it. Ten.

I'm tagging others, too. At least this will give you all an easy blog topic during Nano.
Dara, Alyson, Jacqueline, Julie and Mimidish -- you've been tagged.

Happy writing,

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Brain color

What I’m reading: Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey.

A note on this book: It is one I've been very excited to dive into. It's the only fantasy Horn nominee. Here's what author Kathleen Duey had to say about it and the two follow up books in the trilogy: "Skin Hunger--and the rest of the trilogy, in progress now--contains a lot of my heart and my intellect. It is so close to the bone for me that it has been hard to write at times..."

It's good to know Horn nominees can feel this way, too.

And then onto brain color......
While I may be a blue crayon, my brain is apparently purple. I think I like being purple-brained.
Check it out:

Your Brain is Purple
Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic. You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.


What I’m reading: The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

Although I've been in a red mood lately and the muses have been pointing out all the great things we can do with red in the Nano WIP -- blood, fire, sunsets, candles, eyes, hot warrior clothing -- I'm not surprised I came out blue in the crayon test.

What color are you?

You Are a Blue Crayon

Your world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors.
You are a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find.
On the inside, you tend to be emotional and even a bit moody.
However, you know that people depend on you. So you put on a strong front.

Your color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but you feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying.
Take the quiz here!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The romantic suspense MIP

What I’m reading: The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Song of the day: Monster Mash

In a break from the dismal mess known as my MIP, I decided to throw up another blog.

I got an email from my little bro today. He lives in Rome…. Italy. He works for the government. He just got back from a horrific job, in a horrific country, doing horrific things in horrific heat. He had to eat dog because that’s all there was.

And I wonder where I get my love of espionage and military suspense…..

Anyway, I’ve been pretty down on my romantic suspense MIP that’s in rewrites – again. However, reading his email gave me new perspective. I reread a portion of my story that a reader once called unbelievable because it could never really happen. I’d been thinking of taking it out. I changed my mind.

The incident I wrote was based on something my very brave little brother experienced as part of his job. It not only could happen. It did.

My ideal romantic suspense readers will never doubt the validity of such scenarios. Everyone else, well, they have no idea what people really do to keep us safe.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I've decided I'm fickle.

Actually, I've known this for awhile now -- like since I was 18. However, such non-flattering self-evaluation sometimes takes 20 or so years to really sink in.

Sunk. I'm sunk. I'm the most fickle person I know.

What were my first clues? Let's go back to high school and look there.
How about the fact that the moment I got a boyfriend -- really got one interested in me -- I lost interest and the next athletic hottie caught my interest. As soon as he got interested in me, I lost interested because the next athletic hottie caught my eye. And so forth and so on.

Pathetic? Yes.

Let's move forward.
I wanted to be a teacher, researcher, teacher, researcher, teacher, researcher, and ended up ....... well, you get the picture.

Nothing has changed. (Well, I've been with my husband for over 10 years, so I'm no longer fickle in the boy arena.) However, I am feeling very fickle about what I should write.

With Nanowrimo just around the corner, this fickleness is frustrating me. Can't I just decide what to write already?

Let's see, when I began to think I wanted to do this writing thing, I started in childrens' and YA. That was what I was going to write. I was eventually (when I was good enough) going to move into YA fantasy, and then maybe adult fantasy. Then it was literary. Then romance. Then romantic suspense. Then straight romance. Then for about 3 seconds, it was erotica. Then romanctic suspense. Then paranormal romance. Then fantasy with strong romantic elements. Then women's fiction with magic or fantasy elements. Now, I'm buying all YA fantasy again and thinking maybe............

What the hell?

However, I've decided to write a story I've been tinkering with -- one where a demon hunter must escape one demon only to discover the man she's falling in love with is demon himself. It's romance and fantasy and dark and maybe more strong romantic elements than romance. But, at least I know what I'm writing next.

...... at least for today.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

My good friend Alyson posted about Blog Action Day, a day for all bloggers to raise environmental awareness in some way that pertains to their blog topic.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

I'm in.

As a participant in Blog action day, I decided to list a top 5 environmentally interesting works of fiction (well, four works of fiction and one really important ecological masterpiece). Originally, I’d said 10, but I was really stretching for that. I can guarantee all of the following are good, thought-provoking reads.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn. I used this book the first year I taught AP Environmental Science. From the synopsis posted at B& "The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. "You are the teacher?" he asks incredulously. "I am the teacher," the gorilla replies. Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a story to tell, one that no other human being has ever heard. It is a story that extends backward and forward over the lifespan of the earth from the birth of time to a future there is still time save."

Hoot by Carl Hiassen. From B&N: “Carl Hiaasen, bestselling author of Basket Case and other hilarious Floridian capers, serves up a high-spirited fight for the environment in his first work aimed at younger audiences.” Several of my students chose burrowing owls as their research project after reading this.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Simple. Poignant.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. This should be required reading for everyone. From B&N: “Rarely does a single book alter the course of history, but Rachel Carson's Silent Spring did exactly that. The outcry that followed its publication in 1962 forced the government to ban DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson's book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.”

The Missing 'Gator of Gumbo Limbo: An Ecological Mystery by Jean Craighead George. This book started some great conversations back in the day with my step-daughter. For years, it was one of her all-time favorite books. From B&N: “Liza Poole lives with her mother in one of the last balanced ecosystems in North America -- the Gumbo Limbo Hammock deep within the lush kingdom of the Florida Everglades. Some may think it strange to live outdoors, but Liza feels lucky to live in her small yellow tent amidst tropical birds and exotic plants. And at the center of this natural paradise lies Dajun, the majestic alligator who protects Gumbo Limbo's environment. Then, one day, a state official arrives with frightening orders. Dajun is scaring people nearby -- he must be killed! Liza takes action to save the invaluable 'gator, but suddenly, he is nowhere to be found. Now, she must find Dajun before it's too late, and her search will lead her into the heart of an exciting eco mystery!”

Happy Eco Reading.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm blogging at affairs today....

I blogged about Autumn and Allegory over at Affairs of the Pen today. Check it out.

Monday, October 8, 2007

If only I could write in the shower......

If only I could write in the shower. If only my plot board was waterproof. If only my computer could sit on a little stand and not short out if the hot water splashed it.

If only.

Well, one thing is for sure: I'd be pretty darn prolific.

After an hour and a half of torture at my computer, I managed to write a measly 1k.

Twenty minutes in the shower and another 15 minutes at the computer afterward, and I manage to write nearly 1k of IDEAS that really help fill out my plot board.

Go figure.

If only I could stay in the shower all day.

Where to you get your best ideas?


Sunday, October 7, 2007

3000 words per day

I need to write or revise 3k per day to meet my goal of having a submission worthy 50k to give to my writing group on October 22. This is one small step in getting my manuscript off to Harlequin and getting it off to Golden Heart.

Needless to say, I'm doing some serious rewriting.

Is it doable? Yes. Will I lose alot of sleep? Probably. Am I now past the stage where I alternately hate then love then really hate my MIP? Hell no.

However, for the first time since I started this story I feel like I now have a plan that works -- sort of. I have a plot -- sort of. I truly understand what motivates my characters -- most of the time.

So, expect daily check-ins here.

Today, I've completely rewritten the first chapter. That's 15 pages when you count the prologue. Almost 4k.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, October 4, 2007


Yep, I did it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo 2007. I'm a NaNo virgin, and I'm very excited. I've been adding friends at the NaNo site.

Are you doing NaNo?

If so, let me know so I can add you to my friends' list.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Writing group, book club

My girls and I at Affairs of the Pen (our writing/crit group) have recently begun a book club. It isn't the traditional, read-a-literary-novel, book club that meets for coffee and sits in comfy chairs. Since we are all over the country (literally), we meet via chat. Since we all write romance, we select books to read that relate to what we write. We have a complex yet haphazard process for selecting books, but it seems to work well for us.

Our first book was Barbara Samuel's A Piece of Heaven. The second was Kresley Cole's Rita winner -- A Hunger Like No Other. We'll discuss Cole's book later this month. However, currently we are nominating two or three choices each for next month. After nominations we'll use a unique process to whittle it down to a few selections, and then we'll vote.

My nominations for next month are:

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman:
In lyrical words that "unfold like white flowers, petal by petal, each in its own time and season," Hoffman introduces us to Green, a gentle teen whose name reveals her connection to the earth and a peaceful beauty that contrasts with her sunny sister, Aurora. Yet when Aurora and her parents perish in tragic, fiery events in town, a solitary Green transforms herself into Ash: hard and closed, cropped hair, thorns on her sweater, with ink roses and ravens drawn on her skin. Facing an apocalyptic future of looters visiting her garden and suspicious looks from townsfolk, Green has only the family dog to keep her company. But when a ghostly greyhound and a hooded boy suddenly appear for companionship, she slowly realizes that "Ash" is only temporary, while "Green" is her soul, her life, healing all this time inside, waiting to be reborn.
Weaving magical words into images that caress the spirit, Hoffman's Green Angel is no less remarkable and awe-inspiring than nature itself. The author has not only told a life-affirming story about a girl who must survive on her own, she's captured emotion itself by using language to enchant and teach. Readers will be absorbed by the book's transcendent power, and as Green begins a new future that takes shape at end of the book, readers will come away feeling rejuvenated and uplifted themselves.

the Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff:
An achingly beautiful account of a young woman forced to bend loyalties, deny truths and betray her own beliefs . . .
With luminous simplicity, Jenoff's breathtaking debut chronicles the life of a young Jewish bride during the Nazi occupation of Krakow, Poland, in WWII. Emma Bau, a shy librarian, escapes the city's Jewish ghetto with the aid of the underground resistance movement that Jacob, her activist husband, has already joined. Emma assumes a new gentile identity as Anna Lipowski and goes to live with Jacob's elderly aunt, a wealthy Catholic widow who has also taken in Lukasz Izakowicz, the only surviving child of a famous rabbi and his murdered wife. As Anna, Emma catches the eye of Kommandant Georg Richwalder, second in charge of the General Government, at a dinner party. The handsome Nazi is so impressed by her German language skills (and her beauty) that he asks her to become his personal assistant. Emma accepts, hoping to secure valuable information for the resistance, but the chemistry between them presents challenges that test her loyalties to Jacob and her heart. This is historical romance at its finest.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Look

Like Alyson, I decided I needed a new look to go with my new voice revelations. I've played with this layout for a couple of days now. It isn't perfect. Someday, I'll pay someone to design exactly what I want, but in the meantime, I like this.

I love the red.

I used to like red less, but lately red is a color for which I have great affinity. Perhaps it has to do with my new boldness as a writer. I took a silly little color test online. Of course I picked red first as the color I was currently most attracted to. This is what the test said about me: You are likely an emotional person who experiences strong feelings. The fact that you chose Red first also indicates that others probably see you as a passionate and vibrant person.

I like that. I have decided that I have an emotional voice. And color is important to me. And I really hope people experience strong feelings when they read my work (about which I'm very passionate).

(Of course, I didn't post the other color test results that said I was over-stressed, trying to do too many things, and was experiencing some serious procrastination as a result. I mean... that's not me. I would NEVER procrastinate with silly little online tests or anything like that.....)


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

10 things I love that start with the letter H

I've been tagged by Julie Scott at Julie Says.
She posted 10 things she loves that start with the letter P.

She tagged me with the letter H.

Here goes:

1) Hot showers: These are especially great after a long, wet, Friday night, high school football game where the hubby's team loses and everyone is miserable.
2) Holidays which get you out of the bill paying job: Enough said.
3) Harry: Potter
4) A Hotty Hero in a good romance novel.
5) My Home on my little lake with the great views and new kitchen.
6) Horses: Have I ever told you my totem animal is a wild mustang? I love them.
7) Howling: With my pack of writers. For those of you who've taken Barbara Samuel's "Girls in the Basement" class, you know just what I mean. For those of you who haven't, you should considering taking it. It's worth every penny to learn how to howl.
8) High heels
9) Houston's -- the restaurant, not the city; I love meeting friends for good steak and good wine at Houston's.
10) (I'm saving the best for last) My Husband. I never thought it was possible to keep falling more and more in love, but it is.

If you want to participate, let me know and I'll tag you and send you a letter.

Also, check out my post over at the Affairs of the Pen blog. I posted on voice -- yet again.


Monday, September 17, 2007


We had to write a statement that described our voice for the final week of voice class. I wrote a "real" one that talked about writer sorts of things, but I like this one better. It illustrates my "just so" thing, along with my intense love of color and nature. I guess it's a writer sort of statement, too.

My voice is crimson and burgundy and just-before-a-storm-blue muted with fog and twilight and lit with candles on stone pillars that threaten to go out in the gusts of the impending storm.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What do I write?

I write allegorical women's fiction with paranormal elements about quests of self discovery and freedom and discovering one's inherent power.

(I'm trying that on for size. It actual feels pretty amazing against my skin.)

As you know, I'm in an online voice class taught by Barbara Samuels. I don't recommend taking it unless you REALLY what to know what you should write and unless you are REALLY willing to make that leap.

I'm ready. I think -- in between minor panic attacks since I so didn't have it all figured out up front.

I had little pieces, but not the whole picture. Now, I'm trying to wrap my head around something much bigger.

Thank you Barbara and voice class buddies.

However, I think my very astute friend Alyson hit the nail on the head for me. This is what she said about my voice:
(Thanks, Al.)

...allegorical women's fiction with paranormal elements about quests of self discovery and freedom and discovering one's inherent power

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Update from my voice class

My good friend, Julie, pointed out that since my last post -- the haircut post -- my hair has probably grown out.

So, that's what's wrong with it.....

I have a great excuse for not being up-to-date. I'm taking the amazing Barbara Samuel's voice class online with most of my writing group. The exercises and the epiphanies and the comments and the commenting are all taking alot of time. It's time I don't really have but which I gladly give anyway. I'm learning so much about myself and my friends. My writing will benefit greatly from it.

I only wrote 11 pages last week. This week -- zero. But what are Saturday and Sunday for?

It isn't just the voice class. The day job has been busy, busy, busy. I hope it will slow down soon.

However, I want to share an excerpt of something I wrote and something Barbara said about it.

It's about one of my favorite places. Here goes:

When it rains, I open all the French doors along the back of my house to let in the breeze off the rain, to let in the scent of its freshness. I stand on the porch and watch the dark clouds roll in with ominous majesty. I see lightening dance and hear thunder roll and watch as the wave of falling water moves toward me across the lake. Big, hard drops roar across the lake bouncing like a thousand marbles off the glassy water, each making their own little splash. The dragon flies sweep up out of the grasses to find a tall stalk of weed to alight upon and spread their wings – dozens of them, holding on for dear life in the wind. The Annihingas swoop and dive into the water as it boils with the relentless pounding of the rain. The opposite side of the lake becomes obscure as the wall of water impedes the view of it. The grass and trees and lily pads seem to assume a Technicolor appearance, their greens accentuated against the gray-blue of the sky.

Here's what Barbara said about it:

The whole thing has a feeling of really good women's fiction, the connection point between emotion and nature and a woman. Lyric detail.

I'm still reeling over the visual of those dragonflies. That's what happens when you tap into things you madly, madly love--the writing is fantastic and natural.

Ok, um, Barbara -- that Barbara with the beautiful lyrical voice -- said I (me!) have lyric detail. Lyric detail!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that it feels like really good women's fiction.

(Ok -- that part's scary. I hadn't really thought "women's fiction" before. But... well, I guess I had sort of. But I was saving it for when I became a really good writer. No time like the present, huh?)


Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I got a hair cut yesterday. It's much shorter now -- not quite shoulder length but almost. It's lighter and thinner and takes half the time in the morning. And I'm pretty sure it lightened the load in my brain and boosted my creativity since I wrote nearly four pages this morning in about 30 minutes. Maybe I need to get a new hair cut every time I get stuck on the MIP. Of course, I'd be bald pretty rapidly, but ......

Ever had any little changes like that really boost your creative side?


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fun stuff

I've got some really exciting stuff going on this week. My writing isn't progressing as fast as I'd like. A migraine knocked me out yesterday and my new job as been busier than expected. However, I am writing and I have some really, really cool stuff going on.

Check it out.

1) I just started Barbara Samuel's voice class. I'm so excited! I've been waiting to take this class for a long, long time. Five of the six girls in my writing group are in the class with me. I took Barbara's 12-week Girls in the Basement class in January, and some of my friends from that class are in my voice class, too. Yippee!!!!!

2) There's a plotting retreat in the works. I have some great ideas and I can't wait to work on the plots with my friends. Did I mention that they are all very talented?

3) I bought a $75 Ann Taylor black suit on Sunday at the outlet mall. $75!!!! That's like a $225 savings.

4) The husband promised me I could go to San Fran for RWA next year. His exact words, "Even if I have to work a second job, you're going to that conference."

5) I got some really hard scenes for WIP out of the way last week. Now, I'm just that much closer to submission (and PRO).

That's all! Macy

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

19 pages and 4,400 words later -- REVISITED

I thought I'd respond to a few comments from my last blog -- about my 19 page sex scene. I guess that was a bit misleading. It isn't 19 pages of sex. It's 5 pages of lead up. Then 8 pages of undressing and shower foreplay followed by 2 pages of getting to the bedroom. THEN four pages of actual lovemaking. Finally, a couple of pages post lovemaking.

The good news, however, is that the love scene is done. It's really wordy. It isn't all sex, but it's 19+ pages. It starts when the hero and heroine leave the hospital where Kat's uncle is. He's in serious condition. It relates to Kat and Cris's case. She's in shock. This case was already personal, but now it's more so. She's so cold, not because its a bitter winter in Russia, but more of a soul cold. Cris knows it. With the emotions of the evening, their guards are down and both rationalize it's just a bit of comfort. But it isn't. They've already discovered that they can't trust anyone. They aren't ready to trust each other, but they've had no choice.

Kat's scars keep her from willingly letting go and it takes some work on Cris's part, but when he wakes up in the middle of the night next to her, he remembers Ray's words to clean up any loose ends and is reminded of why he doesn't work with anyone: working with Cris can get you killed. So he's resigned to make their first night, their last night. He's going to get the case solved and leave so that she can have a safe life. He still hasn't figured out that her life has never been safe, but he's about to find out.

It's all that stuff -- all that emotion, all that baggage, all that angst -- that takes up 19+ pages.

I'll have to cut it some, but I'm letting it ferment for awhile.

In the meantime, I'm playing with a new beginning.

Yes, I'm crazy. But I've felt for a long time that it's missing something. I've already cut the scene that inspired the whole book. So what if I cut the first two scenes and make it one high impact scene?

Maybe I'll just play with it and see what happens. I may do that for my pages tomorrow. I'm behind on the 70 days. I didn't write the last 3 days since I was at a work conference. But tomorrow, I'm back in for the week. My reduced goal this week is 20 pages.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

19 pages and 4,400 words later

Today, I'll update you a bit and show you how, um, my plans never turn out quite right.

Last week, I said my goal was to finish Byron and Jade's story over the next 2 weeks -- to get it ready for someone to read so I can get my Brava Novella entry off in a timely manner.


Just after I declared that, Kat and Cris of Cold Truth hit me with their big love-making scene. Until now, I had written "Kat and Cris make love". Very exciting. They both have so much emotional baggage, so many demons, so many secrets, which made the scene hard to write. It is very emotional for Kat. She has to let go of so many things, and she is such a guarded person.

On a side, a recent contest reader said that she was very mysterious and asked if I wanted her to be so mysterious. Um, yes. I refuse to dump backstory upfront. Boring. But if she seemed too mysterious to you, then she's exactly where I want her to be.

The love scene I just wrote is a huge hurdle in her character arc. I think I have some good bones down for it. It's actually 3 scenes -- one from her POV, then his, then hers again. I'm sure I have way too many words -- uh 19 pages. That's alot o' loving. But I had to put all that emotion in there. On edits, I'm sure there is repetition that will need to be removed. I'm sure it will get cleaned up. Pages will be cut. I'm wordy. I always have to cut.


It's out there. It's on paper (or flash drive) now. They've finally made love. Things are changing fast. It's a wild roller coaster ride to the end.

Hang on.


PS. If you're reading this and you're a romance writer, what's the longest love/sex scene you've written?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Check out this site

I'm going to post a very short blog today. A truly Random Raving.

I'm at work. I'm the only admin here. I had to be here to make up a day I missed for RWA Nationals, so I'm not complaining. I'm just bored. Don't get me wrong. I have stuff to do. But the air is down for repairs. It's hot as Hades. I have a headache. And there isn't any chocolate in the entire building.

So, instead of the work that really needs to get done, I've been looking for writing info I can use.

I found something great.

I found some old blogs by Lynn Viehl. There are three in particular. Scroll down to find the ones you want. They are worksheets for plotting a single novel, a trilogy, and a medium length series. How cool is that? It's just what I needed. I printed them and have been reading. I have no idea how I found this site, but I bookmarked it so I can come back.

Hopefully they will help you, too.

On to sweat ... in the literal way by actually sweating while I write my 70 days of sweat pages.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Speculations

This week's Sunday Speculation is going to focus on the writing challenge to which I've whole-heartedly dedicated myself: Seventy Days of Sweat. It ends September 20th (as everyone so wonderfully pointed out -- thank you!)

I putting my goals out here so that anyone reading my blog can hold me accountable. (Do it!)

We are entering the second week of seventy days of sweat. My end goal is 85 to 90K total words written. After RWA Nationals and some family time, I'm behind. Of the past 14 days, I was off at the conference or vacationing for 8. My average page count for the other 6 "normal days" where I actually got to write was about 4 pages a day. I had hoped for 5 per day, but that's okay. I can still reach my goal by simply writing 5.5 pages per day for the rest of the challenge. Very doable.

You shouldn't expect me to come away with a 90k novel after this little endeavor. I'm working on multiple projects right now, so I interchange the MIP getting my attention. As of today, I have about 18k to go on my Brava Novella contest entry. I'd like to finish it up over the next two weeks so that I can have a few brave souls read it and give me their opinion of the 750 best words of the 25 to 30k. Yikes. Today, I've been working on it. However, it was mostly backstory stuff. It helps to get a ways in -- the first several scenes -- and then go back and write backstory. Obviously, this stuff is just for me, but to get to the end, I always have to go back to the beginning.

I also have to get some of COLD TRUTH rewritten -- about 10k I just have to recreate from scratch and alot that needs rewriting. I've got a request out there now for the first 3 chapters to go to Denise Zaza at Intrigue. But, I've been wading through those Daphne comments from my final and, well, they contradict each other. On a bright point, however, Cindy Gerard, who I LOVE, judged it and gave me some great compliments! Yippee.

Having focused my morning writing time on Jade and Byron from the as yet unnamed novella, I'm now getting Kat and Cris vibes. It seems my COLD TRUTH characters are giving me some gritty low down and I think I have to switch gears and write at least the scene they're handing me. (And all this after dedicating myself to the novella this morning. The best laid plans.....)

And then there's The Circle Series. I've been thinking it might be a good fit with Silhouette's Nocturne line. I went to the spotlight on Harlequin's paranormals, and all I could think of was this sounds like my sort of thing and my voice would fit in here. For those of you who've read my writing, check it out. They want stories that are dark and sexy, entertaining, fast and action-packed, mission oriented, with powerful dark tortured heros, and life and death issues. The thing will be holding it to 70 to 75k. So, even having brought home over 20 free books and 6 purchased at the literacy signing, I hit B& today and ordered 4 Nocturne books (and a Cindy Gerard book, too.) I've already read one Nocturne book and have one ready to go on my Ipod (downloaded from Audible). At least by the time I get books one and two written, I'll have a good idea if it fits or not.

I'm a ways in on Book 2 of the Circle Series. Yes, I'm writing them out of order. So far, the heroine has managed to take the villian's power and turn it back on him to escape her sexual slavery to him. She's found herself in the last place she was before she agreed to the slavery and she's just run into the hero, who should be dead, but who really isn't who she thinks he is. And, honestly, he's about to find out that he's not who he thinks he is, either. Fun stuff.

This leads me to my last speculation for the day. I'm at the point in the Circle Series where I need to do alot of backstory stuff. I have Tara (heroine), Kevin (hero), and the archfiend Vinostoceses who are getting impatient to tell me how they arrived in their predicaments. That means that a significant portion of my word count may be backstory, but that's okay. I'll have to eventually put all that into the book -- when I can't keep it out anymore -- and I'll have it ready to go.

Back to the writing. I'm at the bottom of page 4. Kat and Cris are ready for their scene. Gotta go.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Post RWA Nationals

If you're a writer and you've never been to an RWA Nationals, you HAVE to go. It is one amazing ride. I went for the first time this year. To say it was amazing would be selling it short.

Besides being my first RWA conference, it was a first for several other things, too.

1. The first time any of the members of AotP met in person. Alyson, Katrina, Jacque, and I shared a room. We had a blast, or at least I did. All of them were exactly as I had expected they would be – sweet, gracious, smart, upbeat, energetic, quirky (Ok, yes, we all are. So what?), and wonderful. I could have picked them out anywhere. And what’s more, I think our voices are really developing because they were just like their online voices.

2. The first time I’ve been to an awards ceremony for a writing contest I’d entered. I got Honorable Mention in the Daphnes, which was a disappointment, but it was my first entry and my first book, so I’m okay with it.

3. My first time to attend the Rita’s. My friend Roxanne St. Claire won the Rita in the Novella category, so it made it even more special. Another of my favorite authors also won – Jessica Bird, aka J.R. Ward, also won one. I met her. It was so cool. She was gracious, chatty, and wonderful. Definitely a highlight.

4. My first editor pitch. I got a request for the first 3 chapters. Not everyone in my group appointment was so lucky. Honestly, I attribute my luck not so much to having a great story, but to having done my homework. I knew where my story fit, and I pitched it correctly. But then, I’ve always been good at homework.

5. My first really big investment in my writing career. I came away motivated and excited and ready to pound through the Seventy Days of Sweat. It's really 75 days since we had 5 off for Nationals. I took about 4 extra days off since I stayed in Texas to see family after Nationals. However, I'm ready to hit my goal of 5 pages everyday -- no matter what. (Does anyone know the official ending date of the 70 days of sweat? If so, post it in my comments section. Thanks.)

That's all for now.
I'll have some more firsts later this week -- the first results I've received from the Daphnes. My big envelope with the 3 prelim rounds and the 2 final rounds (editor and agent) came yesterday.
When I've had time to analyze, I'll post the things I've learned from their comments.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

First night at Nationals

It's our first night at our first RWA National conference. It's also the first time that any of the members of AotP have met. Katrina, Jacqueline, Alyson, and I settled into one hotel room within an hour of first meeting.

Well, not really. We've known each other via our writing for a year and a half. Our writing and emails truly gave us a good sense of each other. Everyone was just as I'd expected. And, honestly, I felt like I was meeting up with old friends.

The highlight of today was the literacy book signing. We loaded up on books by our favs and a few new ones, too. Katrina bought 11 books, and I came in a close second (well, not so close) with 6, but it did get us through the 6 or more book line much faster than anyone with fewer books.

It's currently 1: 20 am Florida time and tomorrow is an early day with workshops and luncheons, and meeting up with old friends and new, and the Daphne's!! I'm up for one (under another name of course) and I'm completely okay if I only get honorable mention (really). Ok, yes, I'd love to win, but I'm trying to be very zen.

Finally... (isn't this all very random -- but it is very late) ... in the Sevently Days of Sweating Challenge, I've written 3 of the last 4 days. (Yesterday was the exception. Honestly, how many days does it take to pack?) So far, I've written about 11 pages -- not bad for conference week.

Okay, off to bed.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Seventy Days of Sweat

I read Alyson's post over at Alys on Love this morning. She mentioned that she'd signed up for Seventy Days of Sweat sponsored by Alison Kent, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler, Jo Leigh, and HelenKay Dimon.

I won't include all the details here since you can read them at the links above. However, I signed up, too. I have 3 projects in the works. We were asked to list the title, hero, heroine, setting, and length of the project(s) we'd be working on. Here's what I posted about them.

I’m trying to finish up and start a couple of projects:

First, finish my Brava Novella entry.

1) Love to a Different Beat

2) Hero: Byron Andrews — photojournalist for aRolling Stone type mag

3) Heroine: Jade Ramsey — drummer in a famous rock band (the only female member)

4) Mostly NYC

5) 30K (only 20K to go)

Second, a series. (I can’t write them linearlly, so I’m working on 1 and 2.)

1) Working title — Circle of 12, Books 1 & 2 (I’ll get more creative later.)

2&3) Working on names — there are 12 heroines and heros in all. I won’t make this any longer than necessary now.

4) our world and an alternate that seems more like Camelot that here

5) Each one approx. 90k

Third, finish rewriting the completely scrapped ending to my category length romantic suspense (target: Intrigue)

1) Cold Truth

2) Cris Mason — CIA undercover in Russia

3) Ekaterina Sakovia — Scientist turned spy

4) Novosibirsk, Russia — biomedical lab

5) 60k (I have 12k to completely redo for the scrapped ending)

I'm going to work on them interchangeably. When I hit a wall with one, I'll work on a different one and then go back when my subconscious has figured out how to go over the wall.

My goal: Regardless which MIP I'm working on, I want to hit 90K by the end of the 10 weeks. We have 5 days off for Nationals, so we're really under the challenge for 75 days. In order to reach my goal, I need to write 1285 words per day -- 7 days a week. That's roughly 5 pages a day or 35 per week. I can do that. I have to. This is going to be my career (as soon as I sell) and I have to write like it's my career. A few weeks ago, I accepted Kiss of Death's (online RWA romantic suspense group) BIAW challenge. I wrote 46 pages. It was intense, but I wrote that even with a horrible cold. And, back when we had the 10k challenge at AotP, I really wrote then.

I wish I could say that I could just write intensely, pumping out the pages, under my own volition. But I can't. I truly need those outside motivators. And, this is a great one.

If you haven't joined the challenge, head on over to Alison Kent's blog and sign up.

Oh -- Alison says this guy is our personal trainer.
uhmm. I'm glad he's just a picture because if he was REALLY our personal trainer, I'm not sure how much I'd write.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Circle of 12, Book 2, Opening scene

All rights reserved. You may not use this passage in any way, shape, or form without the express written consent of its creator.

She ran.

She almost wondered if this wasn’t some illusion he’d created to tease her. To punish her for even wanting to escape.

Wanting. She wanted. God, she wanted to escape. She hadn’t wanted anything but him in so long. But, now she wanted to eat. She was starving. She wanted a soft pair of nearly worn-out jeans. She wanted to lounge around on a Saturday afternoon in them. She wanted a Saturday afternoon. And a Sunday afternoon. And one on Monday, too. She wanted. And not him. Not the magically induced drunken wanting of him in which she’d found herself since they’d bonded.

She even wanted the pain of her bloodied feet.

Her feet bled, and she loved it. She embraced the sharp spikes of pain which intensified with each foot strike. It meant this wasn’t an illusion. His snares had nothing to do with pain -- unless it was pleasure. But this pain in her lacerated, bleeding feet was a different kind of pleasure all together. It was freedom, not his erotic gluttony.

The pain helped her focus and overcome the lazy lull of his power still clinging to her. However, the pain was increasingly hindering her speed. Fleeing as far from him as possible was the most important -- no -- the only thing in her life now. She wouldn’t have a life if she didn’t get away.

She cut into the corn field. The rich, dark dirt was damp and cool and soothing to the hot aching burn from running barefoot on a roughly-paved farm road for hours. At least it seemed like hours.

She plodded as fast as she could. Her body was in tip, top shape so she kept going through the pain, through the impending sense of loss that whispered to her.

She could use her magic and end up in a thriving throng of people, but he’d be able to track her, and as long as she didn’t give him anything to track, she had a chance.

The corn fields went on forever. The last remnents of the magic she’d used to temporarily bind him were fading. It meant he’d be able to look for her. It meant he wouldn’t be able to find her as long as she used neither her own magic -- the possession of which had surprised her -- nor his. Their magics were bonded and he’d be on her in an instant.

She crossed a narrow stretch of country road and continued her marathon pace through the next field.

As the magic evaporated, her muscles shook. Her dry tongue occuppied to much space in her parched mouth. The overwhelming need to sleep hit her with a vengence. She hadn’t slept in decades. In that magical palace of pleasure-pain -- of erotic torture -- no one slept. There was no need. There were no clocks. No time. Everything was as it had always been.

The pull of everyday magic, of sleep, seduced her now. How many decades of that glorious natural healing time had she missed?

She slowed to a walk, the pain in her feet unbelievable. She glanced down to see warm, fresh blood caressing the caked dried blood.

She needed to rest. She was safe. Her heart fluttered with the fear that she’d never be safe, not really. But for this afternoon, with the sun mercifully hidden behind heavy clouds, she was safe. And she would sleep.

Nestling herself into the cool restorative dirt of the corn field, she settled the airy layers of her sheer black dress around her. She pushed her mangled feet under the soothing rich soil and tucked her head into the crook of her arm and slept.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Conference clothing neuroses

At last check, just a few minutes ago, we had 31 messages on the AotP email loop about clothes for RWA Nationals. Not 31 total. No, there are far more than that. Thirty-one in 24 hours.


This really is understandable. Of the six of us, four are going to Nationals – for the first time. Alyson, Jacqueline, Katrina, and I will be rooming together at our first RWA conference.

This is so exciting. I have to agree whole-heartedly with Alyson’s post at the AotP Blog about the top ten things she’s looking forward to.

Ah, but back to 31 messages about clothes.

We are women. We’re all attempting to make a good impression on agents and editors (we’ll all need one someday soon), on each other (we’ve never met in person), on new friends we have yet to meet (we don’t want to look like total losers to others), and on those famous writers that, frankly, I’m hoping to get near enough to gush openly about their greatness.

We’ve beaten the clothing thing to death. We’ve hit shoes, business casual, comfortable travel clothing, bras, bags, writing notebooks (yes, it qualifies as an accessory) – oh, gosh, we haven’t talked about jewelry yet. How are you accessorizing your Rita outfit?

We’ve talked white pants and skirts and shoe size. We’ve mentioned that our mid 30 to mid 40 year old bodies don’t dress up quite like they used to. We’ve lamented fact that hair is an issue and Dallas is humid. We discussed layering for warmth in frigid conference rooms. We’ve talked about the length of the dresses we’re wearing to the Daphne’s and Rita’s. Someone even mentioned tan lines.

Tan? I’m so not tan. I’ve been in an office all summer. Tanning booth. I have to find a tanning booth. I haven’t done that since college.

Oh, my nails. They are awful. Do you think editors notice nails?

Get the picture?

Yep, we’re all a bit high strung. (I hope no one’s offended.) After all, we are artists. But, I for one, feel very comfortable knowing that I’ll be surrounded by other neurotic friends.

Well, that’s enough on the clothing thing. I need to go ask who's wearing panty hose. I hate those things. I don’t own them, but if everyone thinks they’re necessary for formal events……..


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Black and white

I've been taking a hard look at story and characters this week. I've been trying to nail down in my head some themes in my writing. I want some universal concept/truth to stamp on my books.

I've made a few discoveries. My universal truths/themes don't necessarily have to be something with which everyone can agree. I don't even have to always agree with them. However, a recurring theme keeps popping up for me. It pops up in all my stories. Even back in March, I wrote an "I believe" list as part of Barbara Samuels Girls in the Basement class. In that list I said, " I believe that black and white are overrated, and the world is full of shades of gray."

Well, I'm going to embrace a slightly different version of this for my theme in most of my stories. The wounded characters that seem to populate my ideas are pleased.

Do you think we can find room on the back cover of my novels someday to put this tag line?

In a world where black is black, but sometimes white is gray .....

Thursday, June 28, 2007



I speak from experience. I’m reading my second book by her and inhaling it faster than I did the first – which was pretty damn fast. I’d been avoiding it for weeks. It just sat on my desk, and I mostly ignored it – even when I was sick for a week. I wrote, and I ignored it and all the other books in my to-be-read pile.

Then, yesterday, I felt well enough to start running again. The music in my iPod didn’t thrill me. I remembered I had the same SEP book that was on my desk on my iPod. I briefly thought that maybe I shouldn’t. It could be a distraction. Then with a few quick flicks of my fingers, I was hearing “This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips”.

One hour later of jogging/walking combination, I reluctantly came home and swore to myself that I would not “read” anymore until my next workout.

I promptly sat down at my computer – still covered in stinky sweat – to edit 5 scenes. But SEP called to me. She whispered my name (well -- her hero, Kevin, did) and I glanced at the actual paper book inches from my keyboard.

In my own defense, I really don’t have much of a vacation this summer. I’ve been to England, but it was a quick trip and we pushed ourselves to see a lot, so I didn’t come home rested. I’m going to RWA Nationals and staying for 3 extra days to see my family, but that’s still not vacation – not lay in the sun, sleep in, sip Margarita’s on the beach vacation. And if you aren’t getting the beach, shouldn’t you still get the beach reading?

So I grabbed the book. I opened it. I drowned.

I took a break for late dinner and a little conversation with Marcus, but then dove back in. I didn’t do the quick skimmy read – for some books that’s okay, but this is SEP, and frankly she’s a brilliant study in how to keep your readers hooked for hours. I’m about ½ way done now, and my fingers are itching to keep reading at work.

I mean, really, if I can’t be at the beach…….


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Speculations and a Few Ravings

I'm back for Sunday Speculation. I missed a week. Now, I'm at it again. However, like Alyson, I think I must revise my still very new blog schedule. And, like Alyson, I can really only commit to two days a week for the summer. If I blog more, that's just a bonus. I'd like to commit to Sunday so we'll try to continue Sunday Speculations.

First, I'm going to rave and ramble a bit, then we'll get to the speculations.

I had a goal to write 50 pages this week, then I felt bad when others' goals for BIAW (book in a week) were higher, so I changed it to 60 pages. I'll probably only hit my original goal -- 50 pages -- which ought to teach me to listen to myself. I have a pretty good grip on my capabilities.

I think 50 pages is pretty good. I had a low total one day -- the worst day of my now 6-day old cold. Friday, I didn't write at all but devoted it to spending time with the hubby instead. Yesterday, I wrote periodically all day long, for my biggest day yet. And today.... not a damn word. Oh, I'm going to write after I post this blog, but I'm going to write 4 pages and call it a day.

Could I do more? Probably, but I need a day to recuperate from the work week, the writing week, and the lingering cold.

However, I think I'm going to try for 50 pages again next week. I wonder if I can make that a weekly goal.

Okay, speculations:
First, there is something therapeutic about wondering around a book store, looking at covers and reading back blurbs. I always feel better after that. I did that today. I hadn't done it in a long time, but I finally went to pre-order the final Harry Potter and just hung out to wonder around.

Second, I'll be visiting my mom this summer. My nieces will be visiting, too. My mom has decided to invite my dad over one afternoon -- the afternoon that we're going to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- to see my nieces and me. My parents been split up for 20 years. This ought to be interesting. My dad lives about 3 hours from her and I don't see him that often -- I think five times in 10 years. When she called to ask my opinion, I told her it was up to her. I'm going to see her after all. It's her time. She can choose how we spend it. What was her defense of her idea? Well, I think it would be good for both of you and that is the type of movie and book he always liked. Yep -- I come by my fantasy/paranormal/science fiction fixation honestly (er, maybe genetically). But it does seem fun to see the movie with him. After all, he bought me the Hobbit when I was pretty young and then kept buying me science fiction all the way through school.

Third, I don't dream up normal people for novels. They aren't all paranormal, but so far I have a CIA spy, a scientist/spy, a female drummer in an all male rock band, a photojournalist, an empath, a healer, a demon-hunter, a half demon, a powerful sorceress and her equally powerful arch enemy sorcerer. Not all in the same book, of course, but I've decided to just accept that I shouldn't write about the girl next door, unless of course she's the powerful priestess of an ancient extra-terrestrial tribe and she's been called to defend this world and the next against a powerful demon insurgence. Uh, but if she lives next door to you, you need to move.

Happy writing.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I missed my Sunday Speculation -- on the second week. Really, I'm much better at sticking with a plan than that. I probably won't blog much this week -- again, I'm not a quitter. I haven't quit my new plan to blog 3 times a week. It's just that this week is different.

This week I'm participating in a "Book in a Week challenge". My goal is 8. 5 pages per day -- everyday -- even the busy ones like tonight when we're taking a friend to dinner for her birthday. (Her husband is out of town and last night my husband called her husband on his business cell, but he'd accidently left it at home and taken his personal cell on the trip and she talked my husbands ear off about making soup and their dog and a mutual friend and her cousin --- get the idea --- for 30 minutes.) She's lonely. He's gone until July 8th. It was her birthday Monday. I can postpone writing a few hours to do something nice for a friend.

But.... the blog is all about me and writing. It can wait.

Therefore, until I get my ultimate end goal of 15k written this week, no more blog entries (except Saturday at AotP). BTW, 15K will be exactly 1/2 the novella I'm writing. (Then hopefully, my creativity will be restored and I'll be back to fix Kat and Cris with a vengence.)

Oh, and yes, I know I could pound out pages like this everyweek, but this week our daily totals are being posted on a huge loop for all to see. I just don't want to be DFL (dead f*&%$ng last).

Gotta go. Monday I did 7 pages. Yesterday 10. Today? None yet, so I better get started.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Colors and such

You can probably tell that I think Blogthings are fun. Those little memes can be surprisingly on target.

For example, the following one paints a pretty accurate picture of me.

You Are A Green Girl
You feel most at home in a world of ideas.You're curious and logical - and enjoy a good intellectual challenge.You're super cool, calm, and collected. Very little tries your patience.Your only fear? People not realizing how smart and able you are!

Of course, this one on thinking is me, too.

Your Dominant Thinking Style: Exploring
You thrive on the unknown and unpredictable. Novelty is your middle name.You are a challenger. You tend to challenge common assumptions and beliefs.
An expert inventor and problem solver, you approach everything from new angles.You show people how to question their models of the world.

Finally, I was checking out the Golden Compass website in eager anticipation of the movie based on one of my all-time favorite "thinking" books.

I have a daemon. I guess it's pretty much like me. Marcus think it's funny because he's a tiger.


Monday, June 11, 2007


As I scrolled through a ton of email from the loops to which I subscribe, I can came across some wisdom notes. The title of the post was “Comfort”.

My first reaction surprised me. Want to know what it was? (Too bad. I’m tellin’ ya anyway.)

“I don’t want comfort yet. I don’t ever want to be too comfortable.”

I wonder how many people feel that way.

I’ve been trying to listen to my intuition, to my first response to things. That first response is often the most honest. And, honestly, I don’t want to get too comfortable. If I get too comfortable, will I become lazy? Will I sit on my haunches and watch the world go by?

I can not think of anything worse.

Discomfort in moderation (as with everything else) is a good thing. It’s that thing that spurs us to alleviate the discomfort. It gets things done.

I’m uncomfortable with my writing in so many ways, but it spurs me to learn, to stay up late to “fix” something only to “unfix” or “refix” it tomorrow. I don’t want to forever call myself pre-pubbed, so I continue to work for a story that will alleviate that particular discomfort. I don’t want to be midlist forever, so I’ll always be working for that best-seller. I don’t want to just have all I imagine on the paper pages of a book, so I’ll strive to write something that would make a great movie.

Nope. I don’t want to be comfortable.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
--- Dylan Thomas ---

That’s me. I want to rage against the comfort that would keep me from pushing forward for one more achievement. I want to fight against where I am to get where I want to be.

So what did I do with that “comfort email”? I deleted it.



Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday speculations

I’m thinking that I should have some sort of a schedule for this blog. It’s unrealistic for me to blog everyday. I don’t want to hold my self to that tight a schedule. However, I do want to aim for a minimum of 3 times a week. One blog will be completely writing related. The other ---- Any ideas?

Sunday’s will be Sunday Speculations. That’s broad, isn’t it?

Here are today’s speculations.

First, a meme. This one is about whether you’re right brained or left brained. I’m a mixture leaning to the right brained side. I like that. It fits.

You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Second, some critique group speculation. At the CFRWA Saturday Blitz (3 mini-workshops), 2 members of a multi-pubbed crit group gave their takes on crit groups. I’ll probably share more in this week’s writing related post, but I have to say that I came away feeling GREAT about AotP. I think we’re going to be one of those groups that people look at someday and say, “Wow look at that group of multi-pubbed writers and they’re all such good friends. No wonder they write so well. Look at the group they are in.” But you know, we’re how those groups got started. They got together as beginners once and grew up together. Very, very cool.

Third speculation. I tend to postpone those things which make me most nervous. Currently, it’s my pitch for nationals. However, I’m going to write it this week as part of my writing time, and I’m going to post it to the AotP loop for critical review. Hold me accountable.

I think 3 speculations ought to be enough for Sunday.

See ya later this week.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Rewards and gifts

Sometimes life gives you an unexpected gift. Perhaps it's karma. I don't know.

Most of the time the best rewards or gifts aren't those tangible things you can hold in your hands. Rather, they are those intangibles that reside in your heart.

I got one today -- an email. It went straight to my heart.

Some of you know that I teach -- under a different name of course. Whether it be writing or working with teens, the reason I do it is to make a difference. I hope my writing will someday provide that escape for readers that gets them through another day. I hope via teaching I will influence the teens in my life in a way that grounds them and makes them better people.

Anyway, the names of the college and the young man have been changed, but this email was the best gift I've had in a while.

Read on:

Hey XXXX (protecting my nom de teacher),

Sorry i've been so bad at keeping in touch this school year. It has gone by way too fast for me... I can't believe i only have one more year of college left. School is pretty hard but im doing well. I had my best track season ever this year and Jumped 16-4 (in the pole vault). I placed 6th in the ACC (which i found out is the hardest conference in the nation for the pole vault). If XXX-University was in the Big East I'd be in the running for a conference championship by now -- haha -- but oh well. I also got my first collegiate win this season which was so fun. It felt so great to be the only one left vaulting at the end of the meet...just like high school. And it gave me a lot of confidence and I placed high in the rest of my meets for the season. I heard about your new admin job and i'm very happy for you...Its good to know that the school will have a normal person in a high rank for a change. I miss you as my coach a lot...Having you as a coach really spoiled me for college -- haha. But I still use everything you taught me every time i train and am in a meet. I just wish i could train with you every day.

I miss you a lot coach and i hope this note finds you well.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I returned from the UK last night. I'm still not sure what continent I'm on. My body is very, very confused about when to eat and sleep. Being up for 21 straight hours didn't help, either. But I wouldn't have missed it!

I'm sure our holiday will be the subject of more than a few blogs, so sorry in advance if it gets old.

We roamed around the English country-side for a week. We spent some time in London. We stayed with friends that live near the North Sea, so we got to see England from a few different perspectives.

I made a few astute observations via these perspectives. Here are a few -- in no particular order.

1. I've been cursing like an Englishman since we've been home. "Bloody" to the English is like the F-word here. I love walking around calling everything a "bloody this" or "bloody that" and no one in the States realizing that I'm just having a juvenile good time with my new 6-letter word.

2. London is the most expensive place I've ever been. Five of us ate pizza. Each of us had one of those little indy pizzas and a soda or water. The bill? 50 pounds. Doesn't sound bad until you convert that at the $2.10 per pound conversion rate, making our pizza lunch over $100 dollars. We dropped $500 in London in one day. Can anyone say bloody hell?

3. We visited Westminster Abbey. Beautiful. In the Abbey, there is a Poet's Corner where Geoffrey Chaucer is burried. Other poets and writers are remembered there. I had to pause. Rudyard Kipling. He wrote "If" which is my favorite poem. See my previous post. Dylan Thomas. He wrote "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" -- another favorite. Lord Byron -- I have a lit snob friend. She's a huge Lord Byron fan. Charles Dickens. To name a few. Very cool area. I milled around. We talked books -- one of my favorite topics of discussion.

4. I acquired an illness there. It's called the travel bug. I'm afraid the only cure is another trip. Rome at Christmas (I couldn't be more excited about this since my little bro just moved there and I just read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert), Dallas for RWA, some island somewhere this summer for a weekend to celebrate Marcus's belated 41st b-day, hopefully a trip next summer to Iceland (one of the hubby's top 10 want-to-go places), and if I'm lucky a trip to South Africa to work with AIDS education with a group sponsored by my church from Thrive Africa. Yep. I think it's chronic. I'm going to need lots of treatments.

....and finally, astute observation #5. Perhaps these should have been random observations. I'm not sure any of them have been astute.

5. I arrived in London from the country on a train into King's Cross station. (Can you see my excitement? A few of you are getting excited, too. Those of you that aren't excited about King's Cross probably have no idea of the release date for the next Harry Potter, either.) Below is my picture at Platform 9 3/4. Now if only I could have managed to catch the Hogwart's Express. Bloody hell.


Monday, May 28, 2007


I'm posting my all-time favorite poem today. I've thought alot about it lately. It's a poem that has guided much of my life. I think about the poem when I have tough decisions to make. I think about it when kids I love graduate, and often give framed copies of it as grad gifts. It reminds me to trust myself, to be open-minded, to live and love big, to count everyone as equals, to listen to my own wisdom, to believe.

I thought of these words as I made the leap to a new job:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If I dare and succeed, everyone will be better for it. And if I lose, I start over. How bad can that be?

Here's the poem in its entirety.

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!