Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

We don't have any real big plans for New Year's Eve. Earlier in the evening, we'll be heading across the Columbia River and taking the kidlets to see Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. It's the final night and something we've been meaning to do especially since we missed it last year.

Yesterday was hubby's birthday and we had a busy day. Here's a recap, especially for hubby's brother in So. Cal, who knew more about hubby's birthday than he did due to reading this blog!

The baptismal was lovely followed by a yummy luncheon. Everyone including the priest wished hubby a happy birthday. The kidlets hated to leave. Where else could they find approximately 30 other kids to play with at one time? I was amazed the family could not only pull something like this together right after Christmas with a week year old baby (and nine other children ages 16 years to 15 months), but invite and feed over 50 people in a spotless house. Only in my dreams could I manage something like that!

We ate dinner at a German restuarant in NE Portland called The Rhinelander. The Bavarian decor is charming. Accordian players stroll around entertaining diners with songs and they take requests. The food is tasty and the servings large. Cheese fondue is included with each meal. There's no way you can walk out hungry. Here's a picture of hubby with The Rhinelander's executive chef.

Our charming waitress serenaded hubby with a song Elvis Presley wrote when he was stationed in Germany. She sang the lyrics in both German and English, not only feeding him a bite of apple struedel but dabbing a spot of whipped cream on his nose.

After dinner, we drove a few blocks east and went to The Grotto, a beautiful sanctuary dedicated to the Sorrowful Mother that is taken care of by Servite friars. Each year, the Grotto puts on a Festival of Lights. One of the highlights is beautiful life-size Nativity scene that was carved in Italy.

In addition to all the lights strung around the grounds, there is a petting zoo with bunnies, sheep, goats, a miniature pony, donkey and llama. The kidlets loved the puppet show about the Christmas Donkey. There are also carolers, biblical-time reenactments and concerts in the Chapel of Mary. The Grotto is a wonderful place to visit no matter what time of year you're in Portland.

After the Grotto we drove through Peacock Lane, a street with charming gabled houses decorated with lights, figures, you name it. And then it was home for cake!

Hope everyone has fun celebrating tonight! I still have pages to write so that's what I'll be doing later. Though I will take a break for a glass of bubbly and a kiss when the clock strikes midnight!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hubby's Day

Today is my hubby's birthday. Our plans for the day changed when we were invited to our friends' new baby's baptism today. We didn't want to miss that. Besides winter just started. There will be plenty of time for snowshoeing in the coming weeks. So all of us, including Tom's youngest brother, will be going out to dinner tonight instead.

Last night, the girls made cards and I baked a chocolate cake. This morning we'll have waffles, sausage and Krispy Kreme donuts. And best of all, hubby wants to do something with the kids after the baptism so I can write. Yes, I married the most wonderful man!

Have a great day!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Fun

So I'm taking a break from my book to blog. I've been working on a scene that's required lots of googling and that's been taking a lot of time. Not that I mind. Research is one of my favorite things to do.

In this case, I had to figure out how to get my characters from Guatemala City to El Calafate, Argentina. For anyone interested: Guatemala City to Panama City to Buenos Aires to El Calafate. There are also routes through Houston, DFW, Miami, San Jose and Lima.

Doing that research I learned why teams on The Amazing Race always catch up to one another. It's not just too keep things competitive (though I'm sure that plays a large part), but that most of the flights to a certain locale depart around the same time. But I got my characters there (all seven teams to be exact.)

My hero, Jace, and heroine, Millie, are currently standing on the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia/Argentina. She's not feeling too comfortable standing on a chunk of ice with pieces of the glacier creaking and crashing into the lake. I've never worn crampons myself and walked on a glacier, but I'm guessing one not used to doing so could feel a wee bit nervous. Anyone know for sure?

I also need to figure out how easy it is to slip/stumble while wearing crampons. Sure would be nice for the hero to catch the heroine and then hold her hand as the trek to the clue box to receive their next instruction. Although the cold weather would be perfect for a kiss, I think it's too soon still. Since I write sweet/traditional romances (i.e. no sex unless married) the longer I can stretch out that first kiss from happening, the better. Especially since these two already know each other and have kissed before the book started. I'm afraid once they start, there will be no stopping them. Oh, wait. That's what conflict is for!

Okay, back to the glacier! I can always fill in the details later, but I want to get this scene roughed out. Hubby and boy kidlet are off to a Blazer game tonight, so it's just going to be us girls at home which will mean no writing until after bedtime.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sledding and swimming

I'm back! We ended up spending the night at a place called Kahneeta that had hot springs mineral pools. Quite a nice treat after a chilly day on Mt. Hood. I even got writing done!!!!

Here's a trip report:

We arrived at Snow Bunny Sno-park on Mt. Hood around eleven. The drive took us longer than we expected due to having to put chains on. Highway 26 was a sheet of ice. The temperature was a cool 28 degrees with snow falling from the gray sky. A brisk wind blew, making it feel colder than it really was, but the four inches or so of fresh powder on the sled hill more than made up for it.

Very few people were there when we arrived. The kids (ours and another family who joined us) couldn't get enough sledding. Well, all the kids except our youngest. The wind and the snow hitting her face were a bit much. I dragged her all over the sno-park in her little baby-boggin, but that only made things worse. She hated the cold, the snow, the sled, everything. She said she wanted to go home. Now. And she never, ever wanted to go skiing.

I handed her over to hubby so I could sled a time or two. He took her down the hill, too. But she was so miserable I finally took her back to the minivan. Once inside she was back to her normally happy self. She ended up falling asleep, and I spent the next two hours in the front seat working on the book.

Her reaction was a one-eighty from our sledding trips last year. I know the weather was the biggest factor, but I also realized that my dream of having all five of us on skis this season wasn't going to happen. She's just not ready even though she'll be four in a couple of weeks and old enough for ski school. Picture me totally bummed.

As hubby and the kidlets continued sledding, the parking lot got really crowded and so did the hill. At one point the kidlets moved to a smaller hill and were rolling down sans sled. Luckily we only had one instance of blood (lip) and somehow the same kidlet ended up with scratches under his left eye. He has no idea how he did that, but I'm sure the many face plants had something to do with it.

Instead of going home after sledding, we followed our friends to Kah-nee-ta where hubby had booked us a room for the night. Kahneeta is a resort near Warm Springs. As soon as Rose saw the pool, she perked up. The warm mineral water was a perfect escape from the 38 degree temperature.

The pool was perfect for the kidlets with a shallow end where even the littlest one could touch bottom and go on a small slide by herself, a deep end with lap lanes for me and a huge slide for hubby and the other two kids. No one wanted to get out, but we had dinner reservations. All of us crashed by nine-thirty.

After breakfast, I stayed in the room and wrote while everyone went back to the hot springs. We headed home, happy that we didn't have to chain up and relieved we weren't in the line of traffic heading up to Government Camp.

I'll post the page tally after I have a chance to figure it all out or just wait until tomorrow. I still have some work to do tonight. I do know I revised 9 pages of Chapter 5 on paper and wrote two new scenes on my Alphie. Not bad for being away from home!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Snow day

Tuesday's Tally:

New pages written: a lot but you wouldn't know it based on the lost pages (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 20 pages (chapter four)
Pages of revisions typed in: 20 pages
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 7 pages lost if you look at total, but it's really a lot more than that (unfortunately)
Total page count to date: 95 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: 36 days
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: A piece of Williams Sonoma peppermint Bark (stocking stuffer)
Junk food consumed: Slice of Baskin Robbins ice cream cake (but I would have rather had a bottle of Jubile ale)
Exercise: none (stayed in bed most of day and actually got dinner in bed. Love my wonderful hubby!)
Television watched: none
Tears: none (but wait, they'll be coming soon!)

I checked back in the archives to see where I was with the book I wrote in six weeks back in 2005. The good news is I'm not to far off from that page count. The bad news is I'm not to far off from that page count. If you're new to this blog, 10/05 was a very hard month for me. Totally my own fault, but I promised myself I wouldn't get myself in that situation again, yet here I am. Ready to enter panic mode.

Maybe I'm worrying about nothing. The first four chapters are really solid. Chapter five is almost there. I have the rest of the book outlined by chapter, too, including what countries will be visited. Next up, Argentina where the racers will learn to tango, eat bbq (not just your typical ribs) and trek across a glacier.

I'm guessing if I just had book#1 to write, I wouldn't be so concerned. But this multi-book thing is brand new to me and it's going to take some real planning. I still need to write a new synopsis for book #2 which means I'm having to do some research now. Luckily, I found a great pilot, who is helping me find an emergency landing spot in a remote wilderness, and I'm hoping to connect with some search and rescue (SAR) types.

Of course, instead of writing today, I'll be playing in the snow on Mt. Hood with the family so I really can't complain too much! I figure I can always write on my alphie during the drive. Plus I love being in the mountains so I'm justifying the day by saying it'll be a good way to fill the creative well! Something I'm definitely going to need to get me through my Jan 31st and June 1st deadlines!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Aftermath

After nine in the morning, I'm still in my jammies in bed with my iBook and listening to music on iTunes. Hubby corralled the kidlets so I could rest, but as soon as they heard the music I was treated to a rush of kisses and hugs. What a great way to start the day!

I have yet to walk downstairs. I really don't want to look at the mess we left last night. Imagine games, stocking stuffers and toys everywhere. But I'm getting hungry so I'll just have to get over it. Or close my eyes. Or ask for breakfast in bed. Hmmm, that's an idea.

I still have no voice, and a wicked cough is setting in. We're heading to Mt. Hood tomorrow for some fun in the snow so I need to recover. Fast. I've got too much to do, too many pages to write, to be sick. Plus I have to find our cold weather gear! That'll be a task in itself.

I also have to plan hubby's birthday that's coming up. When I asked what he wanted, he told me he wanted me to buy myself something from Victoria's Secret. I'll happily do that, but I still need something for us to do.

Here's what I've come up with so far. (He doesn't read the blog so I'm not giving anything away!)

Idea #1: Get snowshoes for all of us, go on a hike and have a picnic lunch.
Idea #2: Get a babysitter and go out to dinner.
Idea #3: Bowling and lunch/dinner at Big Al's

What do you think? Any of those ideas look good to you? Any other suggestions?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Love's Pure Light

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful day whether you celebrate this 25th day of December or not.

Last time I checked NORAD, Santa was heading West so I'm about to crawl into bed and hope I wake up this Christmas morning with my voice back! Those late nights may have finally caught up with me. Reading stories to the kidlets before they went to bed didn't help, but it's tradition and they enjoyed the stories: The Polar Express, The Donkey's Dream, The Night Before Christmas and What Star Is This.

Later today, after the presents are opened and the kidlets have settled down, we'll read the story of Jesus' birth in Luke and let them act it out using the figures from the Nativity scene we have set up under the tree. Speaking of which...

Sitting in Mass at my parents' church, we watched children from the parish process down the aisle dressed like figures from the Nativity scene. Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a choir angels, shepherds and a whole lot of kings (with a couple queens tossed in, too!) Following the priest's Blessing of the Crib, we sang Silent Night. The third stanza really resonated with me (love is what this day is all about!) so I'll leave you with that:

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.


Wishing you peace, joy and love!

Melissa
xoxox

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Okay, it's actually the day before Christmas, but somewhere east of us in the world it's night!

Yesterday, I ended up cutting Belize as one of the race locales from the book. I had a couple of really cool tasks lava tubing and descending on ropes through this cave. But I realized I needed to be in Guatemala instead. So I cut ten pages (that really hurt I will admit) and took my hero and heroine to Guatemala City and then onto the market at Chichicastengo. It works better now, but with such a tight deadline I hate losing pages. I wasn't planning to write today, but it looks like I might have to since I'm even further behind. But I'll see how I feel about it later.

We're about to head down to Salem, the capitol of Oregon, to spend the day with my family, then we'll be home tonight to open one gift (always pajamas) and leave a plate of cookies out for Santa.

Good luck with all your last minute preparations!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The Christmas To Do List is almost complete. The kidlets visited Santa last night. The line was long, but they didn't mind. The picture actually came out pretty cute, too. Much better then all the other ones with a crying or pouting little Rose!

Hubby surprised me this morning. I woke up early (6ish) and he was already up. When the littlest one wanted to climb in bed with me, I asked her to peek downstairs for Daddy. He was gone. So I called his cellphone. He was on his way to the mall. Two days before Christmas!

This is huge. Not that he waited until the last minute to shop. That's a given with hubby. I will never forget my first birthday after we got married. He literally ran into a store and bought the first thing that was on display. I know this because my sister and I couldn't believe what he'd gotten me when I unwrapped the package so I asked him if that's what he'd done. The sheepish expression on his face was my answer.

Anyway, that little backstory should tell you my hubby is a man who if he walks into any store that doesn't sell something he can eat or drink immediately wants to walk out. That's why I was so shocked to find out his plan for today. He wanted be at the mall (one that's near our old house in Lake Oswego, but a bit of a distance from our new one) when it opened. He wanted to get in and get out. Oh, and stop by REI, too.

I expected him to come home cranky and wanting to rip somebody's head off. The guy is my hero, but let's face it, shopping brings out the worst in him. Boy, was I wrong!

He was back by 11:30 am. His mission accomplished. And he didn't look as if he wanted to kill someone. He grabbed the kidlets and headed back to Portland for Irish dance class. He's mellowing with age or he's got his game face on.

Either way, I can't wait to see what he bought!

I'm off to the store myself to get groceries for our Christmas feast-a very kid-friendly meal. Appetizers: cheese fondue, beef stick and crackers, goat-cheese wontons and Fig marscopone phylo wraps. Dinner: Prime rib with twice-baked potatoes, green beans, salad, bread. Dessert: chocolate fondue w/fruit and other goodies, ice cream birthday cake and a cheesecake.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Under the Christmas Tree

Last night was our traditional sleep under the Christmas tree night. I've done it every year since I was a little girl. Even when I lived alone in my apartment in SF's Marina District.

Of course, I didn't get to sleep until late due to the book. By then the kidlets and cats were all fast asleep. I was so tired I just plopped down on the couch with my pillow. My youngest covered me sometime during the night with a princess blanket.

On the writing front: I managed to put together a very good (if I say so myself) chapter yesterday. I hope I feel the same way when I read the pages today!

On the holiday front: I have a few more Christmas cards to send out. I meant to yesterday, but never got around to it. Today I'm taking the oldest to see OBT's The Nutcracker. One of the dancers from her 8-hand ceili team is dancing the lead. We're also going to try and squeeze in a visit to Santa. Gotta get that picture for the scrapbook I'll put together someday after I finish the two remaining baby books I've yet to start! And I have a couple more items to pick up and wrap.

Hard to believe Christmas is only a few days away! Are you ready?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A beautiful day

I thought a new storm was expected to blow in so I was surprised to awake to a clear blue sky. Surprised, but very happy! The temperature was in the thirties, but has creeped up to the low forties. A gorgeous December day! Just what I needed after going to bed late (2 am-ish.)

I wanted to take the kidlets for a hike around the lake, but we ended up with an extra kidlet last night because a friend is giving birth to #10, and though we had enough gloves and hats, the only extra coat was pink and purple. No go for an nine year old boy. So instead of a hike, we went to the Portand Children's Museum. Lots of children laughing and crying. Pizza Schmizza for lunch. The kidlets had a blast.

Hubby is watching them ride their bikes right now. The littlest one is napping next to me. And I'm finally getting a chance to put words on the page. Well, the screen if you want to get technical.

Hope you're having a great day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WANTED: Happy Ending

With Christmas so close (and the kidlets back home today), I won't be doing the page tally again until after the 25th. I'm writing, but not nearly as much as I should be. Story of my life, I know. But this third week of Advent is about joy. Worrying about pages written or not isn't what I need to be doing.

I don't know about you, but my heart aches for the families of the three climbers lost on Mt. Hood. Yes, they are strangers. Yes, people go missing every single day. Yet something about this story affected not only my family, but people across the nation.

The happenings on Mt. Hood riveted us. Watching the three families during the press conferences for the past week and seeing their dignity, their grace and most especially unwavering faith touched us. We wanted a happy ending for the climbers and their families, a different outcome from a few weeks before with James Kim. And, however unlikely that may seem now that the mission is in recovery mode, I still want it. I want that Christmas Miracle for the families, for the searchers, for all of us.

But then again, I'm a romance writer and happily ever afters are our specialty. I just wish I could have been the one writing this ending.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sad Day

One of the climbers was found in a snow cave on Mt. Hood today. His identity hasn't been released, and his body will be brought down tomorrow. My condolences to the families. Let's hope they find the other two climbers tomorrow. I'm still praying for a Christmas miracle for this story!

Even though I'm behind on my page count, I took Sunday off. I did, however, teach a class, finish addressing my Christmas cards and watch Beauty and the Beast's Christmas video with the kidlets. They are heading to my parents tomorrow for two nights so I'll be writing as much as I can and wrapping all the presents.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Places I've been

My friend, Tori, had this on her blog. These are the countries I've been to:


create your own visited country map

And these are the states I've been to:


create your own personalized map of the USA

As for what else is going on, addressing Christmas cards and writing about covers it. I've been following the drama on Mt. Hood since the hero and heroine in the next book I'll write are stranded in the mountains following an emergency landing. I had a nice view of the mountain today and that filled me with hope that the three will be found soon. It looks as if the weather will be better tomorrow. Here's hoping the searchers bring them home!

If you want to know more about what's happening on Mt. Hood from those who actually know what they are talking about, check out this Cascade Climbers forum topic about the three missing climbers here.

Okay, back to work! Writing that is.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Windy Weather

A windstorm has hit the Pacific Northwest. We already lost power once tonight so I want to post this in case we lose it again. The news said we've yet to see the really high winds!

Anyway, no tally for Wednesday. I didn't write. I think I was home approx. 45 minutes between 8:30 am and 10:00 pm. I then spent the rest of the evening (if you consider 1 am evening) wrapping gifts that needed to be passed out at school and packaging up those I still need to send.

I'll post Thursday's tally once I'm finished writing for the night.

And please pray for the three climbers-Kelly, Brian and Nikko-missing on Mt. Hood, their families who must be worried sick about them and the searchers, real-life heroes waiting for a break in the weather so they can get up the mountain and do their job. My heart goes out to all of them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Non-Writing Wednesdays

First the tally for Tuesday:

New pages written: 5 (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 10 (revised only for the art museum-see yesterday's post for more info)
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 102 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: 49 days (if I counted correctly)
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Mr. Goodbar
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: none
Television watched: Borrowed Hearts (one of my fave Christmas movies!)
Tears: none

Although I was a page short of my goal, I'm psyched. Things started to gel. The words flowed, and I'm finishing the day with one scene that needs very little revisions and another scene that's started but not quite there yet. I'm hoping this means I've made it over the brick wall I always hit when I reach chapters 4 and 5. And it always happens. Every single book. I hate it!

This evening I went with my sister and brother-in-law to meet their new puppy. The plan was for us (me, hubby and unknowing kidlets) to give the puppy on Christmas Eve morning when we have brunch with my family. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that would be a really bad idea. How could I tell my kids that we had bought their cousins a dog for Christmas and not gotten them one, too? My kidlets would be devastated. I just couldn't do that to them, especially since my kids want a dog more than anything. They play doggy all the time. Sometimes it's snow dogs (Siberian Huskies like the ones in Eight Below). Othertimes it's mutt puppies. Either way, the kids dream about having a real dog.

So when we were meeting the puppy, an adorable chocolate lab, I explained my dilemma. Sure, I missed out on seeing my niece and three nephews reaction when they saw the puppy, but I had to think of our Christmas ruined by three sad kidlets. Luckily the puppy was old enough to take home so they left with a dog! They stopped by our house so my kidlets could play with the puppy (Hershey is his new name!) Of course there were tears when they had to leave, but I realized it was so much better the way we handled it. Those mommy instincts really come in handy.

As I watched the movie tonight, I wrapped and boxed up all the gifts I need to mail. Now to get to the post office! I need to go tomorrow (well, today, if I glance at my clock) but Wednesday is the one day I have no free time. I was so busy with all the packages tonight that I still haven't planned the lesson for my class tomorrow. That's the number one item on my To Do list right now.

How are you doing with your holiday preparations? Almost there?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday Trouble

So here's the tally for Monday:

New pages written: 6 (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 97 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: still haven't counted. It's over a month and a half away which seems so far away right now.

Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Chocolate coin
Junk food consumed: Chocolate donut
Exercise: none
Television watched: 30 minutes of the live version of A Year Without A Santa Clause
Tears: none

So I'm the kind of person who follows the rules. I believe the adage, "it never hurts to ask," especially when it comes to researching a novel.

Well, in this case it did hurt. I had emailed an art museum asking some questions back in early November. I got a reply yesterday telling me they do not provide assistance for works of fiction nor would they permit a reality TV show to be filmed there. They also said "we actively exercise our rights in our name and site, particularly if we believe a work of fiction infringes on those rights." I replied telling them how I had used the museum in the scene and would change the name of the museum thinking that would be enough.

This morning I received another email (this time cc'd to two other people internal to the museum) telling me I cannot use anything that would imply their name in my book including the names of artwork displayed there or the tram to the museum. The last thing I want to do is infringe on anyone's "copyright and trademark infringement" as was stated in today's email. Legal fees are not part of our household budget.

So instead of writing my new pages, I went back to the first three chapters. I took out the three pieces of artwork that made up the race clue, rewrote a new clue with three fictional pieces of art and changed the setting to the now fictional Art Center. I also rewrote the scene removing anything that might suggest the new setting is anything like the old one. I took out the incredible view of the mountains to the ocean, the beautiful travertine stone architecture, the four pine trees greeting visitors and the named gallery that housed two of the named art pieces. It's a bummer, because the clue was a really good one that I was proud of and the setting absolutely perfect. But what's a writer going to do?

I have to wonder what would have happened had I not emailed them asking those questions especially since I eventually found the answer to one of them myself. Would my Harlequin novel had flown under the radar after its publication or would the museum have "actively" exercised their rights when the book was published? And if so, what would that have meant? If anything I've realized I don't know enough about Fair Use or copyright law and have added that to my To Do list.

I wonder how other writers deal with this. Dan Brown comes to mind. Did he ever have this problem with all the artwork and places he used when he wrote Da Vinci Code? Or did he just not ask?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Monday

I haven't been posting, but I have been writing. Weekends are really hard for me with the family (not to mention dance and swim practice) so I don't know if I'll be blogging on Saturdays or Sundays. We did do a game night with three other families on Saturday night and played Catch Phrase. It was really fun and of course, the women won!

I ran into a snag with the book. Okay, it was actually a huge wall that I could not climb over. I realized I had no idea where the race was going past Los Angeles (where Chapter 3 ends.) So while I didn't write on Sunday, I did pull out the book 1,000 Places to See Before you Die and google a lot of things to make a race itinerary. It's not complete, but at least I have a framework to follow now. I also wanted a place where I could get my heroine into a swimsuit. Next stop Belize!

On the Christmas decorating front, all the villages are up. The only left to do is the front yard. I'm leaving that to Hubby. I'll give him a week before I do it myself!

I actually checked off two more items on my top ten list by getting a family photo taken (hubby did it with a remote in front of our fireplace) and having Christmas Cards made at Costco (hubby picked them up today.) The only thing left on that original Top 10 list is writing (which will always be there) and mailing my RITA books (they are packaged and ready to go. I just need to take the time to go to the PO.)

So here's the tally for Friday and Saturday:

New pages written: 12 (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 91 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: still haven't counted. It's over a month and a half away which seems so far away right now.

Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Brownies and cookies
Junk food consumed: Eggnog shake from Burgerville
Exercise: none
Television watched: Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman
Tears: none

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Back on track

Thursday's Tally:

New pages written: 6 (goal: 6.2 pages)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 79 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: still haven't counted. It's over a month and a half away which seems so far away right now.

Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: 1 gold covered chocolate coin
Junk food consumed: Filet of fish meal at McDonald's
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: none

Okay, I'm doing better. Even though I hadn't written all day (had youngest kidlet with me and was busy making sure my sister and her family would take the AKC puppy I foolishly put the opening bid on at an auction to get things started-yes, I learned my lesson and will never do that again and we all went to Irish dance tonight so we could drive through Portland International Raceway and see the Winter Wonderland showcase of lights), I had been thinking about the book.

When we got home I put the kids to bed and checked my email. Here's what my nano buddy Tiffany wrote:

I read your blog - I'm going to start sending you a** kicking e-mails! Two days without writing? Get back on the wagon! I'm looking forward to seeing some pages reported written on tomorrows blog. (insert U.S. Marine cadence chants here for inspiration!)

Gotta love friends who tell it like it is. That's just what I needed to get motivated again. I wrote my six pages tonight. Thanks, Tiff. I owe you!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not much better today

New pages written: 2 (goal: 6.2 pages)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 73 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: (too tired to count them right now, but the manuscript is due January 31st.)

Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: gold covered chocolate coins (Today was St. Nicholas day!)
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: none
Television watched: News
Tears: I few when I heard the news about James Kim's body being found. I really wanted a happy ending to the story. Prayers and condolences to Kati, Penelope and Sabine Kim. I've been following the Kim's story very closely because my heroine and hero in the continuity book are stranded.

I didn't get a lot of writing done today, but Wednesdays are always tough days for me writing wise. I have about thirty minutes not accounted for during the day. I don't even get naptime to write because the youngest kidlet naps in the car on our way back from NE Portland.

But I still managed to get a lot accomplished, non-writing stuff that is. Tonight I decorated. (I'd been putting trimming the tree off even though the tree has been up with lights on since Sunday.) I hung the stockings. Replaced items in our bookcase with Christmas themed items. I even started taking out all my Dept. 56 villages. I collect the New England Village Collection. I also booked two of the kidlets birthday parties, one in March, the other in April. Now to get the one in January figured out!

All of those things needed to be done so I don't feel bad about the lack of pages today. (Yesterday, however is another story.) I'll need to catch up on the missing pages! And fast.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bad day

No tally because I got absolutely no writing accomplished today. The two oldest kidlets were home. I went to hear Mike Rich speak at the Willamette Writers Meeting at the Old Church in downtown Portland. I had to make 20 miter (think bishop hat) treat bags and put together a burlap sack full of grain for St. Nicholas Day tomorrow. And I still have to get things ready for our family celebration here.

I'd better do a lot better tomorrow or I'm going to be in big trouble.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday's Tally

Okay, here's what I did today:

New pages written: 7 (goal: 6.2 pages)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 71 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: (too tired to count them right now, but the manuscript is due January 31st.)

Emails from editor in UK: 1 (I asked if she had any revisions/changes to the proposal. Answer was not yet.)
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: M&Ms, both plain and peanut
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: none
Television watched: Heroes (am I the only one who felt a strong chemistry between Peter and Claire?)
Tears: None, though I felt like crying when I found out the two older kidlets had school cancelled tomorrow due to know water. And also was very relieved when they found the mother and her two daughters who'd been missing in Oregon since Thanksgiving weekend. Prayers that her husband is found safe, too.

A good start to this book. I'm worried about tomorrow though. Writing with the kidlets around doesn't happen for me unless hubby is home. I may try to put together an arts and crafts project for them to do so I can at least get in a little writing. And I'm still taking youngest kidlet to preschool even though I know she's going to want to stay home with the big kids.

Tomorrow night I'm going with my friend Tiffany to hear screenwriter Mike Rich talk about his new movie The Nativity Story. I haven't seen the movie yet, but really want to. I also want to see The Holiday. What about you? Any movies you want to see?

And did anyone watch Heroes? I love that show. I knew someone was going to die, but I wasn't emotionally attached to Eden so it wasn't that big a deal. I was worried it would be Matt. Huge sigh of relief it wasn't.

Okay, it's almost midnight and time to close out day 1.

Meet Jace Westfall

I'll post a tally once I finish writing for the day, but for those of you who wanted to see the inspiration for my new hero, Jace Westfall, in LAST MAN ON EARTH, here's a picture for you.

Special thinks to my good friend and fellow Hayden fan, Michelle, who downloaded this picture of actor Eric Close from a website and sent it to me when I couldn't figure out how to do it myself.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Preparing the Tally sheet

Okay, I've been trying to get more stuff done around here (buy Christmas tree, make Advent wreath, etc), reread and revise my proposal and prepare for a writing blitz to knock out a first draft of the book. I used a similar formula that my friend LauraP came up with to help me write Plain Jane's Prince Charming in six weeks:

Pages already written = 64
Total pages needed = 200
Need to write = 136 pages

I want the complete done by the end of the month, but I know I won't be writing on Christmas Eve, Christmas day or my hubby's birthday and I'd like to take each Sunday off so that leaves me with 22 days. So I need to write 6.2 pages a day to have a complete by January 1st so I'd have a month to revise the manuscript and start figuring out my storyline for the next book. This page goal isn't a lot different from Plain Jane, which had a goal of 6.4 pages a day, so that's a good thing.

Also here's what I kept track of during the last time I had a tight deadline to reach:

New pages written: (goal)
Old pages revised on paper:
Pages of revisions typed in:
Pages lost or gained due to revisions:
Total page count to date: (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day:

Emails from editor in UK:
Emails from agent in NY:

Chocolate consumed:
Junk food consumed:
Exercise:
Television watched:
Pictures of Hayden downloaded:
Tears:

Since Hayden is not who I am using for inspiration for this hero, I'm debating whether to keep him in the tally. What do you think? Does anyone have any changes or things they'd like to see?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Here we go again...

So it's official! I've sold three books to Harlequin Romance. The three books, part of two contracts, consist of the continuity book I mentioned awhile back, the LAST MAN ON EARTH proposal I sent in before Thanksgiving and what's known as a "blind" book, meaning there is no book or proposal or even an idea yet. It's something I'll come up with once these other two projects are done.

I'm excited, yet nervous. LAST MAN ON EARTH is due on January 31st. That's two months to write a book with a little holiday called Christmas falling during that time! So starting tomorrow I'm going to be tracking my progress on the diary. I need something to keep me on the straight and narrow so I get this done. ON TIME. There is no wiggle room with this deadline. And as soon as I finish, I have to start on the next one that is due June 1st. And that one doesn't even have a proposal. YIKES!

I wasn't totally insane, however. I got more time to write the third book since I'll have the kidlets home with me during the summer. The final book is due December 1st, exactly one year from today. An entire year of deadlines!

Be careful what you wish for is all I can say. Please wish me luck and send me lots of virtual chocolate. I'm going to need it!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A week off

I took the week off from blogging to catch up on all the stuff I've been putting off. My Top Ten list is down to four items:

1) Write
2) Take family picture for Christmas Cards
8) Send RITA books to RWA
10) Order Christmas Cards from COSTCO with family picture on them

Plus, I crossed off about twenty other items, including Christmas shopping, cleaning the toy room and kids' room and starting to decorate the house for Christmas.

A good thing, too. My agent called me and it looks like I may have some news to announce very soon!

NaNoWriMo is over and I didn't do very well with it. But I did do better than in previous years where I signed up and never wrote a word. My buddy, Tiffany, made her 50K words early in the week. Go Tiff! We'll see if I can do better next year.

At least my turkey came out great. I used Martha Stewart's Turkey 101 recipe. And I had a really fun time on Black Friday. I was up at 4:30 am and at the store by 5 am. I love a bargain and I got plenty of them.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

As God is my witness...

Here's a snippet from my favorite Thanksgiving sitcom episode. Enjoy!



If you can't see the screen, please go here to see the clip!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish I could say that I've been plugging away on my NaNoWriMo project, but unfortunately all I've been doing is getting ready for the influx of family for Thanksgiving dinner.

I spent Tuesday shopping and cleaning. I spent Wednesday doing what I always do and then had to start cooking on top of it. Right now, Shirley Jump's Sweet Potato Casserole, whole cranberry sauce and blanched green beans are in the fridge. The tablecloths are washed. The flowers arranged. And even the ice is already in the cooler. Of course it's past midnight. Which means...

It's turkey day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

I'm very thankful this year. My writing has been going well and all of us are healthy and happy. Can't ask for much more than that.

I'll be curious to hear what everyone says as we go around the table and say what we're thankful for tomorrow. What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Feised Out

I am so glad this weekend is over even if it means getting back to the daily grind. The kids did great at their competition, placed in most of their dances and the oldest even moved up a level in one of her hardshoe dances. Still hubby and I are ready to be done with competitions for awhile. I think the littlest one is, too. At least until she's old enough to dance herself.

Now it's back to NaNoWriMo, preparing for Thanksgiving and checking things off my To Do list. It's a list that keeps getting longer and longer. Top 10 items:

1) Write
2) Take family picture for Christmas Cards
3) Order photo calendars from Lillian Vernon
4) Make shopping list for Thanksgiving Dinner
5) Shop for Thanksgiving Dinner
6) Call Rita (friend who's birthday I completely let slip by)
7) Buy Nutcracker Tickets (Mackenna Irish dances with the girl playing Marie/Clara)
8) Send RITA books to RWA
9) Send out my yahoogroups newsletter
10) Order Christmas Cards from COSTCO with family picture on them

One thing I can say is I've already started Christmas Shopping. My godson, a niece and three nephews are all finished. That leaves my goddaughter and nephew to buy for. I'm probably just going to do what I did last year and send all the adults on my list something from Harry and David. They have my gift list with all the addresses so it's easy and fast to do. I wonder though if people prefer receiving something to eat rather than a gift they can keep.

Of course Harry and David won't work for my editor in London. Last year I sent her Moonstruck chocolate and a cat ornament. So far I'm drawing a blank. Anyone have any suggestions for her this year?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oireachtas

The Oireachtas (aka Western Regionals for Irish Dance) are taking place at the Portland Convention Center. That's why I haven't been blogging. I needed to get some stuff done before the weekend hit. I managed a bunch of pages for NaNoWriMo on Friday. But I still haven't come up with my Thanksgiving menu. Yikes!

Anyway, this competition is considered a major event because you can qualify for the world championships and nationals. The pressure on these kids is intense. I remember one of the parents I know saying Nationals is borderline child abuse. Today didn't seem that bad, but there were tears. And one girl was throwing up in a plastic bag held open by her mom. At that point, I think it's safe to say it's no longer fun for either dancer or parent.

We were lucky. Today was all about having fun for the eldest kidlet. She isn't a champion dancer so doesn't qualify for the solo competition, but since the Oireachtas was in our own backyard, she was asked to be on a ceili team with four girls and four boys. Mainly the team was put together to give them experience, but they spent extra days in the studio to prepare. Their competition wasn't a world qualifying event (too young) so they didn't have the same pressure on them. Plus I think we were all hoping for them to get through the dance without bumping into each other and falling down!

Well, they did better than that. The team placed second! We are so proud of them!

Now to see how tomorrow goes at the feis for all the non-championship dancers in the Western Region where the two older kidlets will compete. I'm taking my alphie with me since hubby will be there to help with the kidlets. Today I was on my own so writing during the down time wasn't possible. Still seeing the smile on my daughter's face when she stepped on stage after their team was announced was better than any pages I could have written.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Turkey Planning

In one week, I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Not just for the kidlets and hubby, but my parents and my sister's family. I haven't cooked a turkey (not counting ones I've bought pre-cooked and just had to heat to the correct temperature in years.)

But I have a thing about turkeys. They must be natural. Organic. And fresh.

One year, I told my mother to buy a free range turkey. She did and I've yet to live it down. I'm still teased about the much too expensive turkey who walked free among the grass while listening to classical music. This year's turkey that I ordered has one up on that last one. This one was not only fed organic feed, but apples and all sorts of other yummy, healthy things. Let's see what the family thinks about that!

I found a recipe by author Shirley Jump for sweet potatoes at eHarlequin, but I need some more to round out the menu. Does anyone have any great recipes for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Madness

NaNoWriMo is now the priority. Well, after the kidlets and hubby and furbabies and field trip and speech. Oh, I can't forget the eldest's extra dance practice for the Oireachtas (Western Regionals) coming up on Saturday. And that's just today.

I found out on Saturday that I'm hosting our family Thanksgiving dinner, too. The holiday season hasn't arrived yet (though the stores don't realize this) yet my organizer already looks like it needs a vacation. I know I could use one! How about you?

In spite of a severe lack of writing time, I'm not giving up even though I have to be realistic. 50,000 words by November 30th just isn't going to happen. Still I'll keep plugging away. Miracles do happen and at least I'll have something to show by my efforts. I really do like this project, and with a new book due at the beginning of May, there won't be a lot of time to work on it come the New Year.

Before I forget, there's a contest on my website this month. Just click on the button on the right. If you read my diary, you'll have absolutely no problem answering the question!

The kidlets don't get up until after seven so I still have time to write. Have a great day!


Goldrush update: My nightmare came true. Okay, not exactly. I wasn't locked out of the game, but pretty close. I couldn't type the answers so I had to type them in my browser window, cut and paste them in the answer text box and submit. I was so bummed. I'm guessing no T-shirt since they were such easy questions. Oh, well... There's always Gold Rush 2!

Friday, November 10, 2006

One more chance!

I have been writing (with the exception of Wednesday.) I have been checking items off my To Do list. I even found out the Harlequin continuity is a go and I have a May 1st deadline for my book!

But now AOL has thrown a huge wrench into my plans for today and totally ruined any hope I had of being disciplined by adding a bonus round of Gold Rush today at noon. Three people will qualify to compete for $50,000. Five thousand people will win T-shirts. Which means today will pretty much be a wash.

You see, I really want a T-shirt. How badly? Last night I dreamed about playing the round. It was actually a nightmare since my computer froze. I couldn't finish and came in dead last out of roughly ten million people.

Crazy? Most definitely.

You're probably thinking, "What is the big deal? It's some on-line game."

It is, and I wish I knew why this has become an obsession with so many people (just so you know I am not alone in this.) The boards and chat rooms were buzzing last night as people found out about the bonus round via Entertainment Tonight and email alerts sent out by Gold Rush.

If you thought about playing (or even if you didn't) give it a shot today. Just head over to goldrush.aol.com and register. Make sure you put a cell number down as a contact. If you qualify, but don't answer when they call, they move on to the next person. It's really fun. Trust me! Plus you can win a T-shirt or better yet compete for the 50K!

If you do decide to join me in the quest for gold, please let me know how you did! And if you don't, please wish me luck in my quest for a T-shirt!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Glad it's Thursday

The book is out. I've been good about updating the blog and writing and even folding laundry and then Wednesday rolled around. I got absolutely nothing done yesterday except losing my patience, getting frustrated and soaking wet in the rain.

Wednesday is the worst day of the week. Well, my week. Yesterday I had to throw in a couple extra errands/meetings/etc. I realized at six o'clock last night I hadn't eaten all day, just grabbed a bite of something not good for me. The only saving grace to Wednesdays has been the television shows I watch that night. Of course, I was trying to watch last night with my iBook on my lap (didn't work!)

LOST both redeemed itself and totally frustrated me. The whole Jack-Kate-Sawyer triangle took an interesting turn (redeeming) in last night's episode, which (this is the frustrating part) was called the Fall Season Finale. The show is on hiatus until February. How stupid is that? Of course, if they hadn't have done this viewers would be complaining about all the repeats and schedule interruptions between now and when they'd show a new episode (probably February anyway) so at least ABC's come clean about their plans. Not that said plans make any sense with falling ratings and loyal viewers like me ready to switch the channel to watch the smartly written, well-acted, ties-up-loose-ends Criminal Minds on CBS. Let's just hope the writers on LOST have enough planned for February to bring us back!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Muse Remembered

Today my book PLAIN JANE'S PRINCE CHARMING is officially on sale. To mark the occasion, I'm uploading a couple of pictures from Reno, July 2005, when I met my muse, Hayden Christensen. As luck would have it, I happened to be in Reno for the Romance Writers of America conference when the Bullrun rally stopped there.



Unfortunately, the picture of us posing for the cameras so you could see our face turned out blurry, so you'll have to settle for these. The first one shows Hayden autographing a page of my manuscript and the other is him signing my official Bullrun T-shirt.

If you want to read about the now embarrassing meeting where I acted like a giddy teenager, go to my blog archives for July 2005 and check out my entry Meeting the Muse. I'd love to have a do over, but since that's not possible I only pray that if I ever see him in person again I'll be able to say something intelligent and coherent. And, most importantly, get a picture of the two of us so I can see his face next to mine!

Have you ever met someone famous? Or a crush? How did it go?

Monday, November 06, 2006

NaNoWriMo

I've mentioned National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) before, but I figured I'd post the link to the site as well as the link to my profile in case anyone was interested in joining me in the insanity.

You can find a brief excerpt of the book I'm writing though it's very rough. No editing/revisions are really possible when trying to write 50K words in a month. Of course I'll be trying to do it in less than a month.

I still have one more scene left on the proposal before I can dive into NaNoWriMo so I'm behind on where I should be. Way behind. Many people have surpassed the 5000 word mark. A few have over 10K words. Me? I have a little over 1600 words. A lot to make up, I know, but I'm being disciplined (a new concept for me) by working on what needs to be sent in first rather than go for personal glory and win at NaNoWriMo.

But I'll get there. I hope!

Have you ever wanted to write a book? If yes, and you haven't, what's stopping you? Consider NaNoWriMo!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

First Page Challenge

Harlequin author Julie Cohen challenged writers to post the first page of their books and comment how we created character and conflict right away. I decided to give it a go.

From PLAIN JANE'S PRINCE CHARMING on shelves November 7th:

"Mr. Ryder." Standing in the foyer of Cyberworx's state-of-the-art meeting facility, Jane Dawson couldn't believe how steady her voice sounded when inside she felt like a coffee bean being ground into tiny bits. Still she managed to smile at the gray-haired businessman. "I would like to speak with you. For a minute. That is if you have time. Please."

Here I wanted to show Jane's nervousness. She thinks of a coffee bean because she manages a coffee house.

Jane winced.

I wanted to show her being self-conscious and trying hard not to make a mistake.

So much for being smooth and collected, but this was different from speaking with customers while she managed The Hearth, a trendy coffee house in downtown Portland, Oregon. That job required patience, a smile and making sure the staff at the counter got the orders right, not cultured eloquence and grace.

This paragraph was intended to be a snapshot of Jane's character. Her job, where its located, what she's capable of and what she isn't.

"You want to speak to me?" In spite of his tailored suit, he looked more like a doting grandfather than the successful CEO of a multinational hi-tech company. "Chase...Ryder?"

He sounded surprised.

Looked more like a doting grandfather, sounded surprised and his dialogue were clues who the man may or may not be.

Of course, he did. People like Jane, college drop-outs who brewed coffee all day, didn't usually approach people like him. And normally she wouldn't. Especially when picking up after a catering job. On her day off.

She's a fish out of water here. "People like him" shows she stereotypes people and may have an us vs. them mentality which could come back to bite her. A key bit of characterization comes in with "college drop-outs who brewed coffee all day." She went to college, but never finished for some reason. "Normally she wouldn't" shows this was something very different for her to be doing. And to be there on her day off was to suggest it was important for her to be at Cyberworx and talk to Chase Ryder. The question now becomes why?

Interesting exercise. Thank you Julie for suggesting it. Doing this, I realized I've put way more character than conflict on that first page. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ladies Who Lunch

Yesterday I met my good friend Tiffany at Mother's Bistro in downtown Portland. I love going out to lunch. The conversation, the food, just getting out of the house for an hour or two. We celebrated her birthday and caught up on life, family and writing. We discovered both of us had signed up for NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) which means we must write 50K words this month. We talked about meeting at a coffee shop to pound out words together. I even found out Tiffany would love to try out to be on The Amazing Race! As I left the restaurant and walked through the pouring rain to my car, I realized I need to come out of the cave more often.


Julia Cameron talked about "filling the well" in her book The Artist's Way. We need to have a full well to draw upon as we create. If we don't have that full reservoir, we can find ourselves feeling worn out, empty or blocked. I haven't cracked open the book in years, but yesterday I thought about it and how little "well filling" I make time for in my life. I used to do weekly "artist dates" (another Cameron idea) with myself. I remember one day I spent two hours walking around downtown Half Moon Bay when I lived in California. Another I tried to learn to waterpaint. Another I went to a movie that no one else wanted to see. Those were the days when I started writing full-time. I was a total newbie and nurturing my creativity in as many ways that I could. Of course, that was easy to do with a hubby who back then spent six weeks at a time in Japan and no kidlets or cats to worry.

Granted lack of babysitting is a huge deterrent these days (the nanny days have been over for months now), but that shouldn't stop me from getting together with friends or simply "filling the well." With a proposal to finish and 50K words to write this month, I'm going to need every ounce of creativity I can muster.

Do you have a special "me" time set aside? How do you fill your well?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Anatomy of A Cover


If you want to see what I sent, including the actual words on the AFS (art fact sheet) and pictures of my inspiration, to Silhouette for the cover art of Plain Jane's Prince Charming , check out http://pinkheartsociety.blogspot.com/2006/11/thursday-talk-time-with-melissa.html. I'm the guest blogger.

So did anyone watch LOST last night? I was sure Eko's words to John we're going to be that he saw the white light, too. Not they were next!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

D-Day Remembered

A year ago today, my manuscript, then titled NOT SO PLAIN JANE, was due. I called November 1, 2005 d-day for deadline day because I'd been given six weeks to finish the story. I tracked my daily writing progress and chocolate consumption on this blog.

Hard to believe that same book, now titled PLAIN JANE'S PRINCE CHARMING, is hitting the shelves on November 7th!

It was an interesting six weeks. There were great writing days and horrible writing days. Weight loss and weight gain. A returning television show to keep watching and a new show to fall in love with that's unfortunately no longer on. And all the while your comments kept me going. I dedicated the book to a little girl, Taylor, from my son's preschool, but please know without your support the book would have never been finished. So thank you!

Today is the start of something called NaNoWriMo. It's a national writing challenge that takes place every November to see if you can write 50,000 words. I signed up last year, but was too worn out to do it. And even though I'm still plugging away on the proposal, I'm going to try it this year. I've been researching a new book and I think it's time to put words to page. My only caveat is that I must complete the LAST MAN ON EARTH PROPOSAL first. Wish me luck! On both writing endeavors.

Oh and before I forget, I must boast about something non-writing related. Of course that means it's AOL Gold Rush related! I'm on the AOL Gold Rush Top 100 finishers for Round 11! I'm not sure where I fell for Round 12, but I had a really fast time during yesterday's final qualifying round (seconds away from qualifying for the million dollar round) so I hope to be there again for Round 13!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

The pumpkins are carved. The orange bowl is filled with candy. Our front porch is strung with spider webs. And we did it all last night! Yes, I'm behind. Again.

Youngest kidlet has a fever. Two oldest kidlets had an eleven hour Irish dance feis on Sunday. And I'm trying to write.

I also realized this morning that I sent all the updates (including a new contest) to my website to the wrong address on Saturday. I never received a kickback message, but I never received a reply either. It's been that kind of week.

Speaking of the feis, the two older kidlets competed together for the first time in an anything goes costume reel. They dressed up as Padme and Darth Vader and danced the reel while fighting with lightsabers. They placed 4th out of 75! We were so proud of them.

Today's the final day of AOL'S Gold Rush, the last time to qualify to win a million dollars, too. That's what I'll be doing at noon! And remember that great website I told you about a couple of days ago Steeple Media? I'm helping out on a round robin novel writing forum there. I wrote the opening of the story. It's at Steeple Media's Round Robin Story Forum and you can win prizes (including autographed books from me!) if you add a line to the story.

Hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Tonight we'll be taking out our grecian princess, Xmen Wolverine and either Sleeping Beauty or Puppy (depending on how she feels and what mood she's in) trick or treating. The first time in our new neightborhood. Will you or your kids be dressing up tonight? What as?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fall Back!

Did you remember to set your clocks back an hour? Hubby did it before he fell asleep so now I don't feel quite so bad staying up later tonight. I'll get an extra hour of sleep in the morning! Now I can finish getting ready for the Irish dance feis in the morning. Still need to finish trimming of hair from the kidlet's wig, must find a pair of matching poodle socks and figure out what the littlest one will wear. But tonight, of all nights, I have time!

I love when we fall back an hour. It's like God answered my prayer and gave me an extra hour each day. I hate when we spring forward. It takes me days to make up that lost hour. Which is your favorite? Falling back? Or springing forward?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Going for Gold

Playing AOL's goldrush game has been a total blast. The contest ends on Halloween, and I'm going to miss it. I'm hoping they do a goldrush2. It's been that much fun.

I haven't won or qualified for any of the final rounds, but I've been improving my times and I was only 16 seconds away from a player who qualified for the $100K finals. My personal best!

The challenges have tested my trivia skills, honed my google skills and introduced me to a wonderfully supported internet community at SteepleMedia.com where I can meet gold rush buddies, see how I rank against others, work together on the challenges and cheer each other on. It's also been good research for my work in project, Last Man On Earth. I've gotten lots of ideas for the book from my goldrush experience and can't wait to use them.

I'm a big game player, whether it's cards or board games. This is my first on-line gaming experience though. Do you like to play games? What are your favorite ones?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back to the Farm

So I took the family back to Stanford for my class reunion. The oldest kidlet is only 8, but I thought it was as good a time as any to introduce her to my alma mater. Plus I'd missed the last reunion five years ago due to a deadline with IN DEEP WATERS so I really wanted to catch up with a few people. Plus we could stay with my best friend, Debbie, who had been up to see me in July and offered us the use of their brand new Honda Odyssey while we were in town. How could hubby say no?

On Friday morning we attended Mass at the Poor St. Clare's Monastery in Los Altos Hills. It's a cloistered order so when we got there, we thought we were alone. We weren't. On the other side of our altar (separated by a half wall and iron scrolls) sat the nuns, but they were so quiet we had no idea anyone was there. I figured that's where they sat, but hubby was sure we were in the wrong place. Luckily the kidlets were behaving themselves. All of a sudden we saw two nuns on their side of the altar taking off lace panels from the tabernacle and pushing it down. We realized they had been having adoration of the Blessed sacrament. Oops. We did get to speak with one nun when we dropped off some things for the order in their lobby. She stood behind a screen to speak with us. The kidlets were very intrigue by the whole concept.

We then met my friend Michelle at Hobee's for breakfast. She shared her photo album with me while I munched on Blueberry Coffee Cake and drank orange spice tea. She'd attended Bull Run this year so got even better pictures of my muse than last year in Reno. It was great to catch up with both another writer and Hayden fan!

After breakfast, we did a quick change of clothes and headed to Stanford. Boy, has the campus changed. I was there a year ago, but even noticed changes since then. We registered for the reunion and bought Stanford clothing for all of us. The kids each picked out two things. I couldn't believe how particular they were.

The campus looked great, as usual. We took the kids on a tour of the campus. I showed them the mechanical engineering office, the quad (where I played with the band on full moons while seniors kissed freshman making them Stanford men/women) and Mem Chu (memorial church) where I'd always wanted to get married someday. I pointed out all the fountains where we'd go fountain hopping and took them to lunch at Tressidor Union.

Things I noticed. All the students, even the graduate students, looked so young which means I'm really getting old. Mac computers were everywhere even in the student union for anyone to use. The food was greatly improved since I was a student. Peet's Coffee replaced The Corner Pocket, but Peet's still sells Fro Yo (frozen yogurt.)

Friday night was the big party. On the way there we bumped into a friend from my freshman dorm. She said no one could believe that such a geeky freshman engineer could now be a popular Harlequin romance writer. She said how great my writing was and I should have been happy about that, but honestly, I couldn't get past the "geeky freshman engineer" part. That's not how I'd seen myself at eighteen. Cute and clever, yes. But geeky? My memory couldn't be that bad, could it? But after a few more people said the same thing (and on Saturday at the tailgater, too) I had to accept that it must have been true. Sigh.

I bumped into many people I knew at the party, but the best part was connecting with a few people who I'd been very close friends with at Stanford. One was in Band and a ME (mechanical engineering) major like me. He is now married with two kids living in Amsterdam. He said when I fly to London to meet my editor someday he'd be there. That alone makes me want to schedule the trip now!Another studied engineering, but became a sportswriter instead. He covers the NY Yankees (hubby's fave team!). If everything works out as planned, he'll spend a weekend with us in December. I can't wait. And a third was also a ME major who has done all kinds of really cool things with the Navy, 9/11 and currently works in intelligence. People kept saying he reminded them of a young Tom Clancy! All he needs to do is write a book.

I was happy to reconnect with another ME and his wife. I'd spent time with them when I worked they lived in Portland and lost touch when they moved from Texas to Virginia. And I always love to spend time with another couple who live in So. Cal. Both were physics majors who I knew separately. The guy lived next door freshman year and was the one who slept out in front of the movie theater with me so we could be the first to see Star Wars Return of the Jedi when it premiered. (I don't mind saying I'm a Star Wars geek. I am one, but it's engineering geek that bothers me.) His wife worked with me at the Terman Engineering library. He's supposed to send me an x-ray of this piece of metal they fixed his hip with. He's yet to send it and I actually do want to see it so that probably means I still am somewhat of an engineering geek. Yikes!

I heard the same comments/questions I usually hear when people find out you're a writer: I have a great idea for a book. I plan to write a bestseller as soon as I have time. Where do you get you ideas? How much do you make on each book? (I always wonder if people realize that question is like me asking them how much they make a year.)

Reunions are fun, but a little weird. There are lots of people attending. Many you recognize or sorta knew, and just as many you didn't. I confused a couple of people. Misplaced where I knew a few others (met them outside of Stanford so couldn't make the connection.) And met a couple of people I didn't know.

Some people looked great, others didn't. Some looked young, others not so young. As one friend said, "We can't all be the same age." He makes a good point, and I've never seen a better justification for the use of sunscreen.

The oldest kidlet already said she wants to go back for the next reunion. The younger two agreed with her. We'll see where we are in five years, and how much of a geek I still feel like!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Turn


I managed to keep the other kidlets from getting pinkeye, but unfortunately didn't keep myself from getting it. Oh, well... the joys of mommyhood. It's getting better though so I'll be back tomorrow.

In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about a new book that's available on-line at Barnes and Noble and can be pre-ordered at Amazon. It's called GEEK TO CHIC and is the debut romance novel by my good friend Shirley Marks. If you ever read the dedication pages in my book, she's the Shirley who's been listed many times! The book is published by Avalon Books in hardcover.

GEEK TO CHIC is a fun read about a geeky engineer (which reminds me what I must tell you about my reunion) who needs to be transformed into well, a hottie.

My eyes are hurting so I must sign off now! Talk to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Attack of the Germs

One kidlet and I are down for the count. She's got pinkeye and a horrible cold. I've got the cold and still no voice. Be back when I can.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Laundry and Laryngitis

I'm home. Lots of wash to do and I can't talk. I lost my voice at the reunion party on Friday nights. Lots of chatting over too loud music. Anyway, I need to write before I blog (don't want to be grounded again!)

Hope you had a great weekend! I had a blast catching up with friends and former classmates at the Farm.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Back to the Farm

In a couple of hours, the entire family will be flying with me to the Farm (aka Stanford.) It's reunion weekend so I figured it was a good time to return to the Bay Area. Of course that also means as many visits to Hobees as I can squeeze in since I love their coffeecake. My friend, Michelle, who was with me in Reno when I met Hayden, and I are meeting there tomorrow!

I bought a really cute outfit at Nordstroms last night to wear at our class party. I also got a new haircut last week. My stylist chopped off about four or five inches so the length is back to chin level. I was getting lazy and ponytails were starting to be the norm (along with baseball caps) so it was time for a change. Hubby likes the new 'do so that's all that matters.

I'll try to check in and report on the happenings, but if not I'll be back on Monday. Take care!

Okay, I need to finish packing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Been Feis-ing

A feis (pronounced fesh) is an Irish dance competition. Imagine a hotel ballroom with five stages (dance floors, actually) set up along one side, nervous dancers wearing expensive dresses and sausage curl wigs, crying babies, bored siblings and parents. Okay, it's not that bad. But when you have two dancers who compete at different times and you're there all day long, you start to wonder what in the world you're doing.

But then you see the kidlets smile. You see the confidence they gain from dancing in front of all those people. You see them learning to be good sports when they don't place. You see the pride when they place in a dance and realize they'll be moving up to a new level. (There are six levels of competitions: Beginner, Adv. Beginner, Novice, Prizewinner, Prelim. Champion, Open Champion.)

The kidlets love Irish dancing. Hubby grew up in Long Island where girls did this. My maiden name is Martinez and I grew up not even knowing it existed until seeing Riverdance in London in 1996.

I'm learning though. I've come to the realization we are now an Irish Dance family. We're at the dance studio two nights a week (three until the Oireachtas aka Western Regionals.) The kids are singing Gaelic songs. The baby can't wait until she's old enough to start (next fall actually) and sat through a class a couple of weeks ago without moving or making any noise.

Slan go foill!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Firemen and Friday

Last night, the phone rang. Caller ID said it was hubby. He was at Irish dance class with all three kidlets. I answered the phone and all I could hear was the wail of a siren. Hubby said, "We're on the way to the hospital."

A million and one thoughts ran through my mind as I listened to the siren. None of them good. "Is it bad?" I ask, realizing then I had no idea who might have gotten hurt, sick, whatever.

"Gotcha." Hubby started laughing. "I went outside and there was this ambulance--"

"So not funny."

But the call reminded me about two firemen I'd seen at Starbucks last Thursday afternoon. You know I've been looking for "hotties" for my work in progress. Well, these two were perfect for the hottie team competing against my hero and heroine. So perfect I was tempted to ask them to pose with my two daughters so I could get their picture. But before I could ask or they could order their drinks, they left. As they walked past, I tried to memorize everything about what they looked like: height, build, hair, eyes, features. As they drove off, I saw they were actually paramedics. Not sure what I'll have the characters be. I actually thought attorneys, but firemen could work well. Ryan Sutter from The Bachelor was a fireman, too! And this would be a nice contrast with my finance hero.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bye Bye Birdie

I've been busy revising my LAST MAN ON EARTH proposal. I'm finally making real progress. YAY! Not much else to report so I'll leave you with something that happened yesterday.

On the drive home from preschool, the youngest kidlet and I came across two birds in the middle of the road. One was sitting as if the road were its nest and the other standing next to it. I slowed down and went around them. As I did, the standing bird looked right at me. I drove past them then stopped. No other cars were on the road (which was surprising since it's an old highway with lots of traffic) so I backed up and told Rose that I was going to get the bird off the road.

When I reached the birds, the standing one flew away. I picked up the other one and noticed it's right wing looked funny. Although alert, it didn't move. I placed the bird on a patch of grass between the road and train tracks and headed back to the car. Rose told me that the birdie's friend was on the train tracks watching. Sure enough, I saw the other bird.

I glanced back. The hurt bird remained still, unmoving. I checked it again. By this time, the cars had returned to the road speeding by us at 40-50 mph. No way could I leave an injured bird alone so I grabbed a priority mail box I had in the back of the car. Rose was very excited at the thought of taking the bird home. I explained we would be taking the bird to an animal hospital not home where birds and cats would not get along very well.

When I picked up the bird to put it inside the box, the bird stood and then a few moments later, it hopped on its feet. I realized the bird was most likely stunned, not injured. I watched and waited. I moved the box and the bird flapped it's wings. It didn't fly far, but enough so I felt comfortable going.

Rose was sad we had to say bye to the birdie, but the romance writer in me was relieved. I would have hated taking it away from its "friend." I remembered a book written by Barbara Freethy with birds that mated for life. I'm not sure what type of birds these were, but I was so touched by the standing bird who wasn't going to leave the injured one even with a huge minivan heading toward them that I didn't want to separate them.

This morning we drove on the same road. Rose wanted to see if the birdie was still on the grass. It wasn't. I told her that both birdies had probably flown away to their nest. To take care of the baby birdies, she said. It wasn't a question, and I had a feeling she was right.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fantasy Football

Each year, my brother-in-law sets up a fantasy football league for friends and family. Hubby and I coach a team called The Ratdogs. It was either that, The Yip-Yips or The Ankle Biters. A Chihauhau on a helmet is our team symbol. Our team motto: This is where the fun begins.

Last year, the Ratdogs came in last. No one ever expects much from our team. Sad to say, but true. We often get busy and forget to change our line-up. But this season is different. Going into Week #4 of this season, The Ratdogs are tied with the Havocs for first place. YAY! Let's hope our guys keep it up for the rest of the season. I'd like to win the whole thing this year. I'm sure hubby would, too.

Here's our team:

QB Trent Green KC
QB Chris Simms TB
QB Charlie Frye CLE
QB Chad Pennington NYJ
RB Michael Robinson SF
RB Mike Anderson BAL
RB Kevan Barlow NYJ
RB Tatum Bell DEN
RB Clinton Portis WA
RB Shaun Alexander SEA
WR Ernest Wilford JAC
WR Eddie Kennison KC
WR Deion Branch SEA
WR Plaxico Burress NYG
WR Santana Moss WAS
WR Anquan Boldin ARI
TE Itula Mili SEA
TE Kellen Winslow CLE
PK Mike Vanderjagt DAL
PK Jay Feely NYG
DF Phi Eagles PHI
DF Nyg Giants NYG

GO RATDOGS!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

RT Review

A very good day. Fellow SR/HR writer Shirley Jump emailed me my Romantic Times review for my November release Plain Jane's Prince Charming:

Asking Chase Ryder, the CEO of Cyberworx, for his help organizing a fundraiser for her friend's leukemia-stricken daughter is a gutsy move for barista Jane Dawson, but it pays off. He becomes personally involved in the project -- and in Jane's life. Everything's fine, until Chase realizes how deep his feelings run and he pulls back. He offers to finance Jane's education and a business, which only adds to her heartache. She wants Chase's love, not his money. Melissa McClone's Plain Jane's Prince Charming (4) is a lovely blend of fantasy and reality. All of the characters ring true, but Chase in particular is well handled.

Reviews are one of those double-edged swords for writers. You want to look, then sometimes you wish you hadn't. But it's sure nice when they like the book, especially the characters.

I was head over heels with Chase, flaws and all. I figure if I can't fall in love with the hero then how can the heroine (or the reader!) Of course, having met his real life inspiration helped, too!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Countdown

Last night I watched two shows: Heroes and Studio 60. I liked both of them, but I was laughing over the countdown clock in Matthew Perry's office in Studio 60. The clock counted down the time to the start of next show. That is, the time left for him to write the script and get it all put together. He'd stared at the clock with a look of horror on his face. I know just how he felt.

Last year about this time, I was in the midst of a really tight deadline. I posted daily updates as I tried to make my November 1 deadline for my book Plain Jane's Prince Charming. That day was also the release day for the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith DVD so many Star Wars and Hayden Christensen websites had countdown clocks.

I'd watch the time click off the counters thinking I could have written three words. No four. Five. I finally stopped going there. Of course, as the deadline got closer and closer, I stopped going anywhere on-line except this blog. I crawled deeper and deeper into what I call the cave, the place where most of my writing takes place. It's not a real place or at least it hasn't been since we moved last year. My cave is actually a state of mind where nothing distracts me (with the exception of kidlets bleeding and smoke alarms.)

After that deadline, I haven't gone there too much. But with revisions on this proposal to get done I think I may have to pay it a visit soon! Do you have your own cave you escape or go to?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Back home

I got home tonight and had about an hour to myself. I gave the furbabies some love, ate dinner and put on Thursday's season premiere of The Office that hubby taped for me. It wasn't what I expected, but I was happy Pam broke up with Ray and that hope exists for her and Jim. Of course, Jim now works at a different office with totally boring, not to mention one psycho full-of-rage coworker.

I also watched The Amazing Race. Important rule to remember if you are headed in a different direction than another team, make sure you're the ones going in the right direction. But even without getting lost, I think the shooting flaming arrows archery roadblock would have knocked the rah-rah girls out of the race.

Tonight I asked my brother-in-law tonight if he'd try out for TAR with me. I'd convinced him to do it once, but then I got pregnant with the youngest kidlet. This time he said no. So did my best friend Debbie. Darn. I can't ask my hubby. He's way too competitive. We'd fight and argue and it wouldn't be good. When we were dating, I went sailing with him during a practice race on the SF Bay. I saw a completely different side to him. I ended up with a broken thumb when I couldn't tail the line fast enough and got hit with the wench handle. So much for the race being practice!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

In Tacoma Again

I'm back in Tacoma attending the second part of the class I started in August. My power cord died so I've been sans computer until last night. Besides finding a place that sells mac stuff, I also drove through the beautiful Pt. Defiance Park and had dinner at Duke's. The grilled salmon with blueberries and goat cheese was to die for. The combo of tastes incredible. So if you are in the Seattle are go to any one of the many Duke's and order that. You won't be disappointed.

On the writing front, my editor asked for revisions on The Last Man on Earth this week. Need to add more characters and emotion, need to take out a lot of the reality show. I'm not surprised so it was easy to come up with a plan to fix it and she agreed. Now I just have to get it done, but that hasn't been easy.

Friends from our former parish lost their son this week. He was a freshman in high school. It's been and will continue to be a difficult time for all those who knew and loved him and now must go on. If praying is something you do, please add William and his family to your prayer list. And also if you have kidlets, give them a big hug and tell them how much you love them. I'm really missing mine right now. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Amigas Cheetahs

Cheetah Girl fever has hit our house. The eldest kidlet attended their concert on Sunday (Everlife and Hannah Montana also performed) and is now the proud owner of a pink Cheetah Girl warm-up jacket that she'd wear to bed if we let her.

If you don't have any tweeners or cable, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Or why I know that one of the Cheetah Girls celebrated her birthday on Saturday.

But ever since the Cheetah Girl 2 movie premiered on The Disney Channel last month, that's all we've heard about and listened to at home and in the car. Our youngest kidlet, age 3, can sing all the songs including a sweet lullaby in Spanish. Our boy kidlet, age 6, does his own version of Cheetah hip-hop dance moves.

It was the same when High School Musical premiered. Marketing genius, I tell you. I wonder if there is anything PR wise that authors can learn from this!

Busy, busy, busy!

Sorry for not posting. Life's getting in the way. And I've been writing. Which is a very good thing. I'm sure my agent would agree!

Did you catch the premiere of The Amazing Race on Sunday? Eliminating a team midway through the first leg caught me totally off-guard. But wow! I like the unexpected. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for the season. As for the teams, I haven't picked my favorite yet. I need to know a bit more about them, but I was proud of the single moms for making it up that wall. I don't think I could have done that!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gold Rush

Okay, I'm hooked. AOL has this new online competition called Gold Rush and I am having so much fun. I love puzzles, codes and trivia so this is right up my alley. Reality TV for us stay-at-home moms. You can find the game at goldrush.aol.com. I finished the final challenge of round 1 today and it was so hard. I had to get help since I can't read Braille. Is anyone else playing? I need some gold buddies!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's here!


It's after 6 pm, but my UPS guy is still hard at work. He just delivered a box to my door. I knew from the box size and familiar diamond pattern exactly what was inside. Not one to wait, I ripped off the tape as soon as I got inside the door. And I must admit, I got a little misty-eyed when I pulled out a copy of my November release. I saw the same picture that was on the Mills & Boon hardcover, but this was a paperback with a teal edge and the words Silhouette Romance. My last SR. It's definitely a bittersweet moment.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

American Idol Live

I attended the AI Live concert on September 1st at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. I've watched the show since the first season and have wanted to go to one of the concerts since Kelly Clarkson won. Now that the kidlets are getting older, watching has become a family affair. They aren't allowed to watch the entire show due to bedtime, but they pick their favorites and tell me who to vote for once the polls open. So far, they are two for two. Last year at the beginning of the season, Mackenna picked Carrie. Finn picked Bo. Carrie Underwood won! This season, Mackenna picked Katharine. Finn picked Taylor. And Taylor won! It'll be interesting to see their choices this year.

Our good friends, Rita and Steven, invited us to attend and watch from their suite. Talk about getting spoiled! Appetizers, a fajita dinner, desserts, snacks and a person to get you drinks. The experience reminded me of flying first class when I worked for UAL. Once you were back in coach, you knew what you were missing when the flight attendant closed the curtain and it was never quite the same again.

First on stage was Mandesa with her booming diva voice. She belted out a couple of tunes and then sang a nice duet with Ace. What can I say about Ace? I love Ace. Give me a pretty boy who can sing (and yes, people, he can sing) and I'm in heaven. I was in heaven that night. As hubby (who truly is the most understanding and fantastic husband in the world) said every time Ace got on stage, "There's your boy." (To any new readers, check out my Meeting the Muse post from 7/05 just to see how cool my hubby is with all my crushes!)

Next up was Lisa who sang a wonderful cover of Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me while playing a keyboard. She and "her best friend" Paris sang a duet. Paris looked all grown up. She'd slimmed down and styled up, but her great voice was the same. Bucky did his cowboy rocker thang and a cute duet of Grease's You're the One the I want with Kellie Pickler. Kellie looked great. I loved her boots. I want her boots. Black. Heels. Gorgeous. Unfortunately hubby didn't get a shot of the boots. After a break, Chris rocked the house. Elliot sang, too. The four guys (Chris, Elliot, Bucky and Ace) did a great rendition of a Guns N Roses that my mind has gone blank on the title. But it was one of my favorite performances of the night.

Katharine sang Under the Cherry Blossom and Somewhere over the Rainbow. Good, but a bit old since it seems like that's all we ever hear her sing. Taylor entered through the side, came down through the audience and was just so much fun. That man has so much energy. He really had people moving! During one song we got to hear him play the harmonica. The crowd was going crazy. He sang the very touching Do I Make You Proud, too.

All ten of the finalists sang We Are the Champions during the encore. Seeing everyone together on stage was great and I do think this was the most talented bunch so far. I was amazed at how far the contestants had come since their first auditions in front of Randy, Paula and Simon. They were all seasoned pros now. I can't wait to see what next seasons contestant are like!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I'm Back!

The proposal for LAST MAN ON EARTH is off, and I'm no longer grounded. Of course, I must remained disciplined and really figure out a doable writing schedule so this doesn't happen again.

I can't even remember the last time I posted so I won't bore you with what's been going on. Think first week of school, back to all the extra-curricular activities and writing if you really must know. I have a feeling that's my life for the next fifteen or so years.

The youngest kidlet starts preschool in the morning. She'll be gone three mornings a week for three hours each day. I don't know what I'll do with myself! No, wait, I do. I'll write!

As for the proposal, I had fun writing it. I struggled a bit with the hero, Jace Westfall. He's still a bit rough around the edges and had too many girly thoughts in the intial drafts, but he's finally coming together and more man-like. I really do like my heroine Millie. But I made the big mistake again, forgetting the romance, and it took a bit of revising so my hero and heroine didn't come across as hating each other in the second scene of chapter three. There was so much conflict there, but they were also very mean to each other. Thank goodness for the delete key. I just got rid of, oh, about four pages, and started over. It's much better now. I really do need to stick another Post-it note on my screen that says "It's a Romance, Stupid!" You'd think by now, I wouldn't forget. Oh, well... It's probably because I'm having so much fun with the reality TV aspect.

I've been putting together the race (South/North around the Globe) and writing clues as I figure out stops. If anyone wants to see the one I used in the proposal and solve it, let me know and I'll post it in the comment section.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Grounded!

Hubby has gotten tough on me and threatened to do something to my computer to keep me off the Internet if I don't get the proposal finished. Since I'm a technophobe and he's a technogeek, I know he can do it and I'd be off-line completely.

The reason for this tough love? I spent a bunch of time on my AI concert report only to have it disappear when I tried to upload it. Of course he thought I was writing at the time until I asked for his help. Needless to say, he thinks I need to be more disciplined. I know he's right since I just blogged about that recently.

So until the proposal is done, I'm grounded. No blogs, no gossip sites, nothing I normally do on a daily basis except email.

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 01, 2006

So Excited!

Hubby made it home yesterday. Guess who was on his flight? Taylor Hicks!

I'm excited because tonight we will be seeing Taylor and the rest of the American Idol finalists in concert at the Rose Garden! I can't wait!! I've been watching the show since it premiered and have always wanted to see them in person. Full report tomorrow!

Does anyone have a favorite idol?

Oh, and I wanted to tell you about the launch of a new blog: pinkheartsociety.blogspot.com. It's for lovers of category romance. Today is the big launch!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Home at Last

My class finished at 4 pm this afternoon. I was at the Irish dance studio in Portland two and a half hours later! The kidlets were happy to see me, but I think my parents, who have been watching them, were happier. Of all the times for hubby to have a big meeting in the Bay Area, it would be this week!

All three little ones are nestled in my bed. I found leftover corned beef and cabbage in the fridge so I can finally eat. And I finally have a night without homework so I can write.

It's good to be home!