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!