Monday, December 31, 2007

A year of blog in review

I'm stealing this idea from Marianne who got it from someone else. You look at the first couple lines of what you posted the first day of each month and comment on it with your current prospective.

1. Monday, January 01, 2007 - Happy New Year!

We had a great time at Zoolights last night. A great way to say goodbye to 2006 and hello to 2007! Of course a new year means new resolutions. I went back to the archives. Here's what I wrote exactly one year ago today:

I've also been thinking about my 2007 resolutions and wondering what I would put down for 2008. This will be 1/1/08's blog topic as well as a review of my old resolutions and how I did.

2. Thursday, February 01, 2007 - Win, Lose or...Wed!

LLast Man On Earth has been accepted with no revisions!!! Huge sigh of relief on this end, and I think I'll have to break out the bubbly tonight to celebrate. Here's a snippet of what my editor had to say:

"I went through a number of different emotions whilst reading; I felt Millie's fear before the abseil, and her exhilaration when she skydived, I felt absolutely gleeful when Millie stepped out in a bikini and saw the men's reaction (one of those "yeah!" moments!) and I cried at the end. And THAT tango seen is hot!!"


It's hard to believe that book has been on sale for almost a month when earlier this year I'd been writing it! I still remember how good getting that email felt because I worked so hard on the story. This was the day they told me the new title, Win, Lose or...Wed!

3. Thursday, March 01, 2007 - Second Go-around

I've been telling myself for the last week that I was just at the tail end of the sinus infection, that I was getting better. But when hubby got home from his trip and said I looked and sounded worse than when he left, I knew I'd been kidding myself.

Oh, I remember this. I was sick for a couple of months earlier this year that really impacted the writing of SOS: Marry Me. I should have gone back to the doctor much sooner. Stupid me.

4. Sunday, April 01, 2007 - Palm Sunday

We survived Mass this morning without any palm incidents. Rose wanted to swing hers and I imagined her hitting someone in the eye with it.

I'm almost packed. Just need to find my helmet. It's gotta be here somewhere. My parents are here, ready to watch the kidlets and the kitties, for the next couple of days. I still need to give them a list of where they need to be when. And directions. Cannot forget directions.

That was the day we left for our anniversary trip to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. My parents did fine with the kids and it was lovely skiing. On top of it, hubby loved his gift--a gift certificate with Timberline Mountain Guides to climb Mt. Hood. Buying that was the first big step of mine into the world of climbing!

5. Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - May Day


The Tally

New pages written: many (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: many
Pages of revisions typed in: many
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: many
Total page count to date: 108 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: 31
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0
Emails from continuity loop: so, so many

Chocolate consumed: Hershey kisses last night
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: One hour Pilates Mat class
Television watched: Heroes
Tears: yes
Link for the day: Phantom of the Opera clips set to a song I love, Because The Night. This is a great video. Embedding was turned off so I couldn't put the video here.

The tally is back. I'm already freaked out about the book. It's going to be an interesting month. I was hoping to have 120 pages done by today, but I didn't make it. That means I need to get extra pages written this week to catch up. Enough about that.


This was were I really felt the time I'd lost being sick in February and March. I was so behind on the book and in a total panic. Much earlier than my normal panics and freak outs that happen with each book. I really didn't think I'd be able to do it with this one! But I did though I did have revisions that needed to be done including deleting scenes and rewriting new ones.

6. Friday, June 01, 2007 - It's Done!

Final Tally

New pages written: 0
Old pages revised on paper: entire book
Old pages revised on screen: entire book
Pages of revisions typed in: entire book
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: -1
Total page count to date: 215
Days remaining until D-day: 0
Emails from editor in UK: 2 (from another editor about cover art)
Emails from agent in NY: 0
Emails from continuity loop: a few

Chocolate consumed: Godiva truffle
Junk food consumed: none
Diet: pretty easy since I have no time or desire to eat right now
Weekly weigh in: 130 (down 8 pounds total)
Exercise: 30 minutes of practicing climbing footwork outside
Television watched: none
Tears: just couple
Clip for the day: A bit tongue in cheek, but this is how I feel about my manuscript right now. Enjoy!

Okay, I did it. But I only have five minutes to get ready for Pilates so I'll write more when I get back. Oh, and hubby made sure I ate three meals yesterday! Plus I remembered to take a vitamin.


The video I posted is no longer available, but was Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson. I have never been so relieved to have finished a manuscript as I was with this one. I hope I never feel that way again!

7. Sunday, July 01, 2007 -Happy Canada Day!

One of my furbabies, Spirit, wants to wish all of our friends north of the border a Happy Canada Day! Okay, really she's letting me know how much she hates the vacuum cleaner.

I was (and still am) so happy to see Spirit healthy and more like her old self after her bout with Hyper-T and I131 treatment. Now to get her brother, Rocket, the same treatment in 2008!

8. Thursday, August 02, 2007 - The Grim Rea-Purr

Some of you cat lovers might have already read about Oscar, the Death kitty, who's been the buzz around the Internet and various publications. I found out about the tabby, who lives in a nursing home in Providence, RI, yesterday in this article from Slate. Turns out Oscar can sense when the end is near and has nuzzled over 25 patients right before their deaths. Not sure I'd want a cat with that ability (I'd be too paranoid), but it's an interesting read.


Oh, I remember this one. That was one kitty I wouldn't want. Though he and Tori would probably hit off quite well. Tori comments on this blog and I called her the Grim Reaper after she predicted the deaths of a few celebrities earlier this year. My biggest cat find of the year was the website icanhascheezburger. That's one of the places I visit daily.

9. Saturday, September 01, 2007 - Working hard

These pictures are from Smith Rock. They were taken by my friend, Tiffany, on our Friday climb with the kids. Hope you enjoy the nice scenery shots.

Now for today's entry...




I haven't been on-line much in the last twenty-four hours. But I have been busy. Pilates killed me (a different instructor who tortured us on the reformer machine.) Enjoyed a great and enlightening talk with the wife of a PMR member and a member herself though she doesn't go out on rescues. Procrastinated very little (though did pay a visit to the climbing forum to see if anyone was climbing this weekend around here), but other than that I have been so disciplined. Which means I've been writing!

Let's see, Tiffany is still taking gorgeous pictures and I can't wait until she's back in town so we can climb. The wife of the PMR member had a baby-a girl-in November. Talking with her that day really helped me with the book. And I wasn't 100% disciplined while writing Rescued by the Magic of Christmas, but I was better than I had been with the other books. Progress. Yay!

10. Monday, October 01, 2007 - What Famous Pinup Are You?

This quiz is from Marianne. I had a good laugh over the result.

You are Marilyn Monroe

A classic tortured beauty
You're the dream girl of many men
Yet they never seem to treat you right


Haha. This was one of those can't think of anything to blog about and it's going to be another manic Monday so let's find a quiz or something easy to post. Though it was kind of cool to get Marilyn Monroe.

11. Thursday, November 01, 2007 - Random Thursday

The title for today's blog could have been one of the following:

1) NaNoWriMo Begins
2) Pics from this week
3) Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Instead, I decided to borrow the Random Thursday title from one of the radio shows I listened to this morning on my way to Crossfit. Today was a skills day. Rather than do a WOD (workout of the day) I worked on my form on a variety of exercises. It was still quite a good workout.


Aw, Crossfit. The other thing besides climbing I discovered in 2007. I haven't been feeling up to full workouts still due to this cold/allergy/whatever so it'll be like starting over, but I'm up for it. I really miss my early morning workouts and can't wait to get back to it.

12. Saturday, December 01, 2007 - One Day To Go

The book is due tomorrow. Chapter 9 is back from my cp and it's much better. Huge sigh of relief. I have 10 pages of Chapter 10 revised. That leaves the last half of that one and Chapter 11 to do today. I will spend the day writing. I may skip the swim meet this afternoon since I still have a bad cough and congestion. Plus I really can't justify losing five hours of prime writing time for approximately 4 minutes of swimming (if I add up how much time each of the two kids will be in the water) when hubby can video tape it for me.


Hard to believe I'm still sick with the same thing nearly a month later! Staying home had been the right decision. There seems to be no negative psychological effects on the kidlets. Though I'll know more in about twenty years when they'll come back and say I ruined their childhood by not being there! Haha. I remember feeling as if everything had come together finally and that this was going to be the book I wanted it to be. The one I'd imagined back in December of 2006 as I watch the drama on Mount Hood unfold.

So that's my year of blog in review! 2007 seems like it flew by and that I didn't do all that much except write. What about you? How was your 2007?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

And the free book goes to...

Today isn't just the day I give out a free book to someone who posted a comment on the blog. It's also hubby's birthday! After Mass this morning, we went out to breakfast. Today I'm going to make him a cake, devil's food with chocolate icing, and wrap his gifts. Tonight, a bunch of us are getting together for dinner at the Rhinelander and a visit to see the Festival of Lights at the Grotto. It's the same thing we did last year, but he didn't want to do anything different this year.

Here are your random numbers:

17
Timestamp: 2007-12-30 18:27:22 UTC

This week's win a book winner is Marianne again. She won with a comment on my "Post-Christmas Wrapup" post. Marianne, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

Last week's winner, Marianne, chose The Runaway Duke by Julie Anne Long.

If you posted a comment on Christmas Day, make sure you read the comment section. I've only heard from Brandy, Dru and Tori. Thanks!

As I was cleaning my closet, I found a couple of new books I'd received in my goodie bag at the romance readers luncheon I attended. I also have a few duplicates of books already selected on the list. I'll add those to the giveaway list in 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Random Things

I posted in the comment section yesterday that I started writing the new book. The working title is Princess Nobody. I'm not sure what I'm doing or where I'm going with it, but by the time I shut down the iBook for the night I had seven pages. Not bad! I'm still trying to figure out who the characters are, but it was really fun to sit down at a blank screen and write. I can't wait to get back to it which is surprising since this is the part I usually don't like! Taking a break from writing was definitely what I needed!

But my mind is on the story so I really couldn't think of anything in particular to blog about so this will be pretty random today.

This morning I was trying to find my long underwear shirt. I'd already searched for it before to no avail so I decided to take everything out of the shelves and the dresser in my closet. As soon as I did that, I found it. It was on the bottom of a stack of summer clothes. I didn't know how it had gotten there until I remembered a hike I took in June in the rain. Of course, with everything out, it was the perfect time to organize the shelves and drawers.

I'm beginning to think my cold that won't go away is now the result of an allergy to our Christmas tree. Nothing else makes sense. Granted, we got the tree after I got sick, but my runny nose and cough have only gotten worse over the last couple of weeks. It seems like every year I get a cold around Christmas time and last year thought it could be the tree (mold spores, actually). I asked hubby if we could try an artificial tree this year, but he said no way. We had the tree shaken, but next year I'll try spraying it down with water to remove more spores before bringing it inside. We usually leave the tree up until Epiphany, but I'm not sure I want to suffer that long.

When I went out shopping a couple of days before Christmas, I picked up a couple extra book-type gifts from us to the kidlets. You can never have too many books no matter how old you are! I got Mackenna and Finn the Daring/Dangerous Book for Girls/Boys, a Fairy/Tinkerbell reading set for Rose and a really cool hardcover set of the Spiderwick Chronicles in a cardboard chest for Mackenna. She started and finished book one today. She's already moved on to book two. I love when something captures their attention like that.

Hope you have a great Saturday. Hubby wants to stay home and watch the Patriots play tonight. (Did I mention we're tied for first place with our fantasy football team. If we win this weekend, we win the league!) I want to take the kids to Zoolights since the rest of our nights until it ends are booked. I'm guessing the weather will decide what we do.

Do you have any plans for today?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Simply Enchanting

We saw Enchanted yesterday. It was the first movie the five of us had attended together since Over The Hedge. With the cost of movie tickets we usually just buy the DVD when it comes out. It's cheaper that way. But my cp had already given me the thumbs-up-must-see on the movie after she, her husband and another couple saw it together. Given I love fairy tales, princes and princesses, I knew this was one movie I wanted to see in the theater.

I wasn't disappointed.

"Mommy will be buying this DVD," my oldest said as we exited the theater. She was correct. This romance writer of happily ever afters loved Enchanted.

Amy Adams plays Giselle and is a delight in the movie. I can't imagine someone else in that role. James Marsden is a great Prince Edward, too. My fave part of the movie was the big musical number in Central Park when Giselle starts singing much to the dismay of Robert played by Patrick Dempsey.



Several shots in the movie pay homage to movies (Disney and others) that came before, including the clip I posted above.

The clever script was written by Bill Kelly. It's not without a few flaws. In true Disney fashion, Kelly gave each character a HEA. The only one that left me with an "okay, I guess" feeling was Prince Edward's. The others, however, including the two "authors", were perfect! And hubby had issues with Robert's wife leaving him. (I reminded him I used the same backstory for my In Deep Waters hero, Ben Mendoza, so he wouldn't believe in love, but hubby's point was this was a kid's film and I do see his point. Why not just kill off the wife?) But it's still a wonderfully crafted, enjoyable story. Here's a story techniques article written by John Truby about Enchanted that writers might find interesting. I did.

Have you seen Enchanted? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan on seeing it or not?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's Snowing!

The kidlets woke us up this morning at 8:15 am (can't complain about that!) laughing and shrieking with delight. White stuff was falling from the sky and they were so excited, but the best part, in their opinions, was that it was sticking to the grass. The pulled me out of bed and took me to the oldest's bedroom so I could see for myself. Yep, very exciting!

I told hubby last night to run out and get some groceries unless we wanted to survive on cookies, candy and fudge. He didn't, but there's still time this morning. We planned on skiing this week, but with the littlest one, taking her out for the first time of the season in bad weather might not be the smartest thing. She did it at Mount Bachelor, but that first day was a total wash.

I did, however, look for a place to rent for a few days during spring break up on Mount Hood. My oldest's birthday falls on Easter this year and she wants to ski (and stay there) rather than have a birthday party. (Do you hear the choirs of angels singing?) I found two possibilities that would work and are reasonably priced. Of course, she'd also like to climb and go on a dog sled ride, but both of those are over near Bend so might have to happen some other time.

I also reserved a yurt at Cape Disappointment for this summer. I'd forgotten to do it before due to the book and when I checked after the book had been sent in, nothing was available. The kids were really disappointed. Last night, with all this vacation planning happening, I checked again, and the same yurt we'd stayed in last year had three nights open in July. Someone must have changed their reservations. YAY! I booked it right then and there. The kids are thrilled.

Obviously, I'm a planner. Though I still like to do things spontaneously. What about you? Do you plan things out way in advance or not?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post-Christmas Wrap-up

I was out the door before 6 am to hit Kohls. I'm donating a Christmas Basket to the kids school and figured this would be the perfect day to buy things on sale. Then I had to swing by Toys R Us because my youngest turns five in a few weeks and wants a Leapster. They had games buy one get one free. Michael's is right next door so I dropped by there, too.

I now have enough things for four or five baskets, plus all the stuff I need to put together really cute teacher gifts next Christmas! I couldn't help myself. I just love buying Christmas things.

Our day was great yesterday. We even had snow! It was very exciting and just what I'd been praying for. Unfortunately, the snow didn't stick, but it was lovely watching the big white flakes fall from the sky. The only thing that didn't go well was my brother-in-law's girlfriend was sick so she couldn't come. Other than that, everything was wonderful.

Let's see: Present opening in the morning (we'd gone to Mass on Christmas Eve), the day spent playing with all the new things and then dinner. We smoked a Prime Rib and had Alaskan King Crab legs, too. Mashed potatoes, asparagus, cranberry sauce, salad and crescent rolls rounded out the menu. Dessert consisted of a buffet of chocolate fondue (with assorted items for dipping), Baskin Robbins ice cream birthday cake and various baked goods.

The kids loved all their gifts. Faves for each:

Mackenna - Tamagotchi from Santa
Finn - Guitar from us
Rose - Bitty Twins and stroller from Santa

The biggest hit though seems to be the Wii that my parents gave the kids on Christmas Eve. We didn't set it up until after dessert last night and now that's all hubby wants to do. I fear I will become a Wii widow. I already made them turn it off. That lasted approximately eight minutes when hubby decided that had been long enough. The good thing is he's playing with the kids. The bad thing is he's very competitive and wants to win. Sigh...

Oh, and the tortoise I gave my nephew was a big hit, too. It's name is Yoshi!

Hope everyone had a nice time yesterday.

Also, if you commented on my Christmas post, please make sure you go to the comments and read my post. I have something for you!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone got what they asked for! Hubby and I only do stockings, and I know a climbing rope isn't going to fit in there!

Here's a fun kitty holiday video:

And here's the lyrics to one of my all time favorite Christmas songs, Anthem for Christmas by Michael W. Smith. Unfortunately the only video I could find with the music wasn't worth putting up so you'll have to make do with the words. It's a lovely song.

In the space of the beginning
Was the living Word of light
When this Word was clearly spoken
All that came to be was right

All creation had a language
Words to say what must be said
All day long the Heavens whispered
Signing words in scarlet red

Still some failed to understand it
So God spoke His final Word
On a silent night in Judah's
Hills a baby's cry was heard

"Glory!" sang the angel chorus
"Glory!" echoed back the night
Love has come to walk among us
Christ the Lord is born this night

All creation sing His praises
Earth and heaven praise His name
All who live come join the chorus
Find the words His love proclaim

Find the words His love proclaim


Wishing you a blessed Christmas day!

Love,
Melissa

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The big day is almost here. Today is our Christmas Celebration lunch with my family. I still have a little more wrapping to do, and I'll do that tonight once the kids are asleep. They will get to open one present tonight though. Pajamas! What are you doing today?



Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday's winner...

It's that time again. Sorry for the delay in posting, but I had some last minute Christmas and grocery shopping to do. That's all done now and I got my baking done. The oatmeal cookies are cooling and the fudge is done. Boy, does the house smell really good right now.

Here are your random numbers:

49
Timestamp: 2007-12-24 05:27:43 UTC

This week's win a book winner is Marianne. She won with a comment on today's "Sweet Treats" post. Marianne, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

Last week's winner, Nathalie, chose Their Little Princess by Susan Mallery. I also heard from Catslady who chose The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell Samantha James.

I have to tell you about one of the pictures my hubby took in Israel. It's of this absolutely gorgeous man. He was standing in the center of a group shot and I couldn't stop staring at him. Totally gorgeous with dark hair and olive skin. All I could think is that I found my next hero.

Hubby started telling me who each of the men were in the picture. Turns out the hottie was their security guy in Israel. Hubby took the picture of him just for me because he thought I would like him. (The man knows me so well!) He said something like, "Look at those dark sunglasses, that leather jacket and he's packing heat."

Yep, the guy has hero written all over him. Just like hubby!

Sweet Treats

This is the gingerbread house we made last weekend. We used a kit that I bought at Costco. It comes with a nifty tray that made house construction so easy! The kids were so proud of themselves

I love baking and the holidays are the perfect time for it. Something about the smell of cookies in the oven and hot spiced cider on the stove brings a smile to my face and my stomach.

Last year, I really dropped the ball on baking due to the book deadline. Oh, we sort of baked, thanks to Pillsbury ready made cookies that just needed to be rolled in candy sprinkes and colored sugars.

This year, with no deadline looming, I wanted it to be different, more like my childhood where we would go to our friends' Peggy's house and spend the day making cookies. She was our pseudo-grandmother who we spent every Christmas Eve with until we moved away when I was in fifth grade. She was also the one who kept me when my sister was born. Peggy created such fond childhood Christmas memories for me as well as gave me the fudge recipe that I won the Arizona State Fair with. She's no longer with us, but I'm sure she was smiling down at the mess in my kitchen last night, thinking it serves me right for all the times my sister and I messed up her kitchen!

Last night, we started our holiday baking. On the agenda, sugar, gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies. I was going to make all the cookies from scratch but at the last minute decided to use my good friends, Pillsbury and Nestle, pre-made sugar and gingerbread dough instead. I realized it was the decorating that was the real fun, not the cookies themselves. And as you can see, I hope Santa likes frosting! The kids and hubby went a little overboard. While they finished decorating cookies, I baked chocolate chip cookies, using the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. On today's agenda, grocery shopping and more baking-oatmeal cookies and fudge. What are your favorite goodies to make this time of year?

And here's a sweet treat just for you. The Climbing Cutie. Since I can only share my holiday baking with you virtually, I wanted to at least give you a little eye candy to enjoy. I was going to put together a 2008 Climbing Cutie calendar, but he said if I did that he'd make sure I met Mr. Pukie if we ever did a Crossfit workout together. Since I do want to workout with him, these photos will have to do.


The pictures are from a recent ice climbing trip the Climbing Cutie took to Montana and Wyoming. The trip sounded fantastic and his smile shows just what a sweet time it must have been.

Hope you have a great day! Good luck finishing up your holiday preparations!

P.S. I'll do the free book winner later. I need to get going right now!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yippee!

Hubby is on his way home. When I woke up this morning, there was an email saying his flight from Tel Aviv had landed in Atlanta. Only a few more hours and he'll arrive in Portland.

The house is clean, too! The kids and I worked so hard. I have a housecleaner coming to do all the hard stuff, but the clutter, papers and mess has all been put away, thrown away or recycled. The only thing left is to empty and fill the dishwasher.

Last night, we slept under the Christmas tree. It's a yearly tradition from my childhood and hubby isn't as into it as I am, so we decided last night would be the perfect time to do it. And celebrate the last day of school, too. But, boy oh boy, the floor is hard. We have hardwood floors with a rug over them. No padding. I couldn't find the padded camping rolls so just laid sleeping bags down. I still woke up sore. Oh, well, it was worth it. Nothing like rolling over in the middle of the night and seeing the tree lights. I remember when I was pregnant with Mackenna and hubby put down a futon mattress so I would be comfortable sleeping under the tree. So sweet!

Right now the kids are putting together a show using music from Riverdance. They want to perform it for us on Christmas night. Should be interesting.

Do you have any family traditions you'd care to share? They don't have to be holiday related.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Shoes

On Marianne's blog she used goggle to come up with gifts she'd give to those who comment on her blog. Mine? Shoes. Since I love shoes, it's an absolutely perfect gift.

The one type of shoes I don't like though is Christmas Shoes. The song, that is. I cannot hear that play on the radio without crying. Okay, sobbing. It happened today again. Of course, I could just turn off the radio, but I was trying to keep both hands on the wheel as tears streamed down my face.

Warning and tissue alert: watch at your own risk!



What is it about that song that turns me into a quivering, tear-streaked mess? Are there any songs that do that to you?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Making Time

The death of the mom at the kids' school has really made me think about a few things. Priorities, family, friends, etc. I've found myself making time for things I've been meaning to do for awhile now.

Yesterday, I had breakfast with a mom from the school and our church. She graduated from the Air Force Academy, which made me think of talented paranormal romance writer Susan Grant, and is in the National Guard now. We'd only been trying to get together for a year. I'm glad we finally found a time that worked for both of us.

This morning, I met my Sunday night co-teacher at a place called Cafe Sip and Play. It's a coffee house with a huge play area for kids. We have been trying to meet for two years. Scary that it's taken us this long. She's a talented artist who does projects for craft magazines and catalogs so it was interesting hearing about her deadlines and projects. The play area is so great, we didn't hear from either of our kids for over an hour. We could see them though, but they didn't even look our way the entire time.

When we got home this afternoon after a run to get all the stuff needed for the various class parties tomorrow, we found a plate of holiday goodies at our front door. Neighbors (and another family from the kids' school) had left them for us. It just put a huge smile on all of our faces and was just what I needed after a day of running errands and shopping!

I have been making significant progress on my To Do list. The final two packages got mailed this morning. I only have a few more cards to send out. All of the teacher gifts are tagged and ready to go for the last day of school. And the kids just finished putting a candy cane with a Christmas pencil for their classmates.

The only way I've managed to do all this is to continue my break from writing. With hubby on the other side of the world and a lot of things still needing to be sorted out in my head, I figured I earned another week. One week for each book I wrote this year. Sounded good to me. And yes, I can pretty much justify anything if I think about it for a while. But the book still is percolating and not ready for paper. The ending has been coming to me, but I haven't a clue to who these people (Prince Hottie and his Princess Nobody) are yet or where to open the story.

Hubby will be spending his Friday in Jerusalem and flying home on Saturday. My goal is to have the house all cleaned up and completely ready for Christmas by his return. I also want to put a good dent into my holiday baking tomorrow.

For those who really know me well, you can stop laughing now. It is possible. After all, I did manage to finally put away a months worth of laundry. Okay, my stuff is still in a pile, but everyone else's is where it should be. But I will admit, I'll have help with the house on Saturday morning. I know what I am capable of and want I'm not!

Are you ready for the holidays? If not, what's left on your To Do list.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Turtle mania

I'm giving one of my nephews a Russian tortoise for Christmas so I've been learning all I can about the species.

My sister called me today to find out more details. I think we have it all figured out. At least I hope so. I'm going tomorrow to get all the stuff the turtle is going to need. I've arranged with the pet store to pick the tortoise up on Christmas Eve morning and they also told me how to gift wrap it.

It's taken research, phone calls, you name it, but seeing my nephews face when he finally gets what he's been asking for will be worth it. But I've gotta admit, I think this is the last year I'm giving live presents. Last year I gave my niece and nephews a Chocolate Lab puppy. It's a lot more work than say, a book or DVD. Are there any presents you won't give?

Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A better day

My parents met me this morning in Portland and took Rose so I could climb at the gym. I had a blast. I worked out in the weight room for about 15 minutes then climbed with one of the women from my clinic. It was so much fun to watch her climb these really hard routes that I'm not close to being able to climb. But I felt really good because I'm getting back to where I was before getting sick. This morning was just what I needed to feel better, physically and emotionally. Afterwards I met my folks at the mall to pick up Rose and had lunch with them.

At Irish Dance, I got almost all my Christmas cards addressed. Now to stuff them tonight and get them in the mail tomorrow. A few addresses I know are wrong, but I forgot to input the changes from last year. Oops! But that's what happens during deadline time. Can I just say how relieved I am not to have a deadline hanging over my head right now.

Speaking of cards. When do you scratch someone from your Christmas card mailing list? Do you just keep people on your list whether you hear from them or not?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Music

I had another manic Monday, but with one big difference. I attended the funeral of one of the moms from the kids' school this morning. Needless to say, with everything going on and hubby on the other side of the world, it hasn't been a very fun day. So rather than make this a downer of a blog, I've decided to just post a couple of my favorite Christmas songs by Trans-Siberian Orchestra with their videos from You Tube. Enjoy!



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another free book winner!

It's Sunday and you know what that means! Someone gets a free book!

Here are your random numbers:

33
Timestamp: 2007-12-17 06:51:53 UTC

This week's win a book winner is Nathalie. She won with a comment on the "A Very Good Day" post. Nathalie, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

I never heard from last week's winner Catslady so make sure you check back on Sundays to see if you won if you post a comment.

It's been a long day which is why I'm posting so late. Hubby is currently flying to Tel Aviv. I spent the day trying to keep the kids busy, but they already miss him. So do I.

Tonight I taught my class of 4 and 5 year olds. You should have heard them sing Silent Night at our Epiphany pageant rehearsal. No one could believe how well they sang. I was so proud of them. One more class to teach tomorrow and then I'm off until 2008.

Did you have a nice weekend?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

I decided to take this week off from writing and catch up. I even went climbing twice, but the cough is still bad that I haven't gone back to my Crossfit workouts. I've discovered how much one can do without having to worry about getting pages written each day.

Many of you who won free books in the contest over the last two months should have received them or will in the next day or two. I made six different appointments for various family members. I spoke with Disneyland Vacation planning to get stuff in order for our visit next month. And after a month of not folding laundry, it's finally all folded! I actually do have carpet in my bedroom! As for my Christmas To Do list, I'm making a dent into it, but still have the cards to do and a few other things. Next week is when I'll bake.

I got a nice surprise in the mail this week, too! A good friend of mine, Alex, who is the godfather of my son, sent a package. Inside were presents (no surprise there), but there were a couple of extra goodies for me. One was a box of Godiva chocolates. The tag read: As special celebration for finishing a book. The next was a container of Godiva hot cocoa mix to drink "while contemplating what to write".

Considering my chocolate intake was extremely low that final week of deadline dementia (the only thing we had in the house was a quarter of a bag of Nestle Toll House semi-sweet morsels), this was a very welcome treat. So a big thank you to Alex and Carol for thinking of me!

My son makes his first reconciliation (confession) today. What are you up to?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Tree

This is our Christmas tree, a Noble fir, we cut down on Sunday while snow flurries fell from the sky. My son loves to tell everyone he sawed down our tree. I saw hubby hand him the saw and had my doubts, but Finn did a great job and only needed a little help.

We have an eclectic assortment of ornaments on the tree. Many are handmade by the kidlets and my nephews and niece. Lots are Hallmark ornaments the kids have received over the years. Others have been picked up along the way. Most have some story associated with them.

We have a Fisher Price Nativity scene under the tree. After a shepherd got beheaded a few years ago, we put away the larger, porcelain set and I bought a kid-friendly one. I do miss the other set. The cats really liked that one, too, because the creche was big enough for them to nap in. That was the one QVC purchase where I realized you can't tell scale on the television. I couldn't believe how large it was in person! Have you ever bought something via TV or on-line and were surprised at the size when it arrived?

This is the tree with the lights. We're a multi-colored light family. This year I decided to try some LED lights. They have a slightly larger bulb and are pretty cool looking. I'm hoping to pick more up after Christmas for next year.

I heard more from my editor today. My manuscript, Christmas on the Mountain, has been retitled Rescued by the Magic of Christmas. It'll be on the shelves next December!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A very good day!

I woke up this morning to an email from my editor.  The manuscript I turned in on December 2nd has been accepted with no revisions!  Huge sigh of relief.  She also said some really nice things about the story that has had me walking about ten feet off the ground all morning!

If you're interested in the follow-up to the Guardian article I blogged about last week, check out this great response/rebuttal  from author Mills & Boon historical author Louise Allen.

How is your day going?   Hope you're having as good a Wednesday as I am.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Smile and A Song

Being the youngest of three children can't be easy.  Being dragged to everything your older siblings do and always wondering when will it be my turn. 

Last night, Rose got the opportunity to be like her big sister and brother and perform at the kidlets' Christmas piano recital.  She started piano lessons in September so I was a little surprised she would be performing a song, but she was thrilled and practiced her song almost every day.  

When we arrived at the teacher's house, she was so excited (and wearing a new dress we'd picked up that afternoon at Kohl's.)  She kept glancing over as various children played.  Then it was the McClone kids turn.  Hubby readied the video camera.

As Finn played his songs, she sat at her piano all smiles.  No nervousness, no fidgeting, nothing.  When it was Rose's turn, her teacher boasted that she was only four.  Rose played her song (The Snowman) perfectly, then sit perfectly still while Mackenna played her two songs.  As she walked over to us afterwards, totally beaming, you could see how proud she was.  Her practice had paid off and she'd done it all herself.  It was one of those moments I want to remember forever.  

I never took piano lessons, but I played clarinet through college.  I'd love to learn how to play the piano though.  Did you ever take piano lessons? 

Monday, December 10, 2007

As long as there's Christmas

The tree is up and the stockings are hung. I still need to connect the bulbs to my village, but it's finally looking like Christmas around here.  I'll try to get some pics up this week.

I heard this song while watching Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas and enjoyed it. Have a listen.



If you celebrate the holiday, how are you doing with your Christmas preparations?

Here's my holiday To Do list:
1.  Write Christmas letter
2.  Address Christmas Card envelopes
3.  Insert card and letter
4.  Order pictures to go in 2008 calendars for family members
5.  Buy Christmas Card stamps
6.  Plug in village lights
7.  Wrap gifts
8.  Bake cookies
9.  Make fudge
10.  Make a gingerbread house
11.  Visit Zoolights
12.  Visit the Grotto to see the Festival of Lights
13.  Drive around Portland International Raceway to see lights
14.  Buy remaining presents
15.  Mail presents to friends and family who live far away

At least half of those items really should be done this week!  We'll see how I do considering I  have a regular To Do List that's twice that long.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Free Book Sunday!

Thanks for all the comments this week. It was great to see so many new faces around there. Time to choose this week's free book winner.

Here are your random numbers:

42
Timestamp: 2007-12-10 06:03:43 UTC

This week's win a book winner is Catslady. She won with a comment on the "Time Wasters" post. Catslady, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

Last week's winner Bailey chose Parlor Games by Jess Michaels, Leda Swann and Julia Templeton.

We went to cut down our Christmas tree today and it snowed! Just light flurries, but perfect for setting the atmosphere at the tree farm! I really enjoyed spending time with the family. I needed the break from the writing and computer. What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Family Day

Enjoying some much needed time with the family. Be back tomorrow with this week's free book winner. There's still time to enter by posting a comment! Hope you're having a fun Saturday!

Friday, December 07, 2007

TGIF

It's been a long week, but hubby comes home today! I am so happy. Gotta run to the dentist now. More later.

Update:   I'm back from the dentist.  The left side of my mouth and tongue are all numb.  But at least it's over.

The Internet has been abuzz about an article published in the UK's Guardian about the romance novels published by Harlequin Mills & Boon (my publisher.)  I've posted before how I feel about negative press and romances, but even this one got me a riled up.  If you want to know more check out the blog Teach Me Tonight.  Laura Vivanco wrote about the situation yesterday and includes links to the article itself and various opinions out there in the blogsphere.

This one goes under Oops!... I got the following email from my best friend since college.
I just got my copy of the book. I can't believe my non-romantic husband got a mention in one of your books before I ever did! Now he has to read it!
I'll have to remedy that one somehow! Care to share any Oops! of your own?

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

December 6th is the feast day for St. Nicholas. Last night, the kidlets placed their shoes outside their bedroom doors. This morning, they found a present (a DVD) and a bag of chocolate gold-covered coins in their shoes. St. Nicholas had come during the night. If you want to know more about St. Nicholas, click on the links above.

I started de-cluttering and decorating yesterday. Things are missing which means hubby didn't find all the boxes in the garage. I tried to be organized and put Christmas stuff in red and green plastic bins, but I guess I ran out because now there's no rhyme or reason to how I stored things. Of course, I was on deadline last year when I put things away so that could have something to do with it!

On today's agenda: take youngest daughter to the hospital for her annual renal ultrasound, decorating, laundry, piano lessons, read book about St. Nicholas to the kids tonight and start writing new book! Do you have a lot going on today?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Time Wasters

Last night after the kids were asleep, the litter boxes cleaned and nothing left to do but sleep, I downloaded a little game someone had posted a link to on the climbing forum I read. I had been waiting until the book was off to try it since, if you remember when I played AOL's Gold Rush game in Fall 2006, I tend to become obsessed with these things. I started playing. And playing. And playing. I glanced at the clock after finishing another level.

1:53 am.

I'm sick and exhausted and spent almost three hours playing a game on my computer? Pathetic.

I truly had no idea it was that late. I was sucked in and lost all track of time (which is why I don't write when I'm alone with the kids unless I'm revising on paper.) Thank goodness I had enough sense not to try the game during deadline. Could you imagine? It wouldn't have been pretty, that's for sure.

Worse, I have so many other things I could have spent three hours on. Sure, a girl needs to have a lot of fun, and I did deserve a break (though I could have really used that sleep!) Still my To Do list has reached the frightening stage. Even my plans for decorating for Christmas didn't go as planned when I became hampered by clutter. Today's goal is to de-clutter.

I'm adding Silver Space Ship game to my list of time wasters and avoiding it for the time being. In case you're interested, that list includes websudoku, SteepleMedia.com and Yahoo IM. YouTube is another bit time waster for me, but I justify going their to find stuff for the blog.

Do you have time wasters that you try to avoid? What are they?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Win, Lose...or Wed!

My book goes on sale today! Yep, this is the second shameless self promoting post for year. What can I say? I write books, it would be nice if people read them. Even nicer if they bought them! Hint. Hint.

Okay, hopefully I've appeased the hubby now about why I have this blog. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I just finished all the extras I need to send my editor for Christmas on the Mountain. Now all I have to do is wait for revisions.

Last night was TV night. I missed Chuck again except for the last couple of minutes (which were very good.) But I was totally disappointed with last night's Heroes. I really wanted to like it. I wanted to find myself on the edge of my seat like the end of last season. I did love what happened to Adam, very clever of Hiro and I wouldn't expect any less from him. But the rest of the show? Just didn't work for me.

** Spoiler and Rant Alert **

Why kill a hero when she was going to die anyway from the virus? Were they trying to say the virus killed her anyway by stripping her of powers that would have allowed her to survive? Yes, Nicki showed she was a true hero, powers or not, by rescuing and saving Monica, but I felt cheated. There was nothing that stabbed at the heart, no reaction except for me to wonder if this was one of the parts they changed due to the WGA strike.

And the same with the ending. Um, were the writers trying to do some kind of parallel with Claire and her biological father both wanting to tell the public about their powers yet have the HRG man stop them? Seemed weak and lazy, if that was the case. And so what if Nathan got shot? We know Peter's blood will save him. After all, Claire's blood saved another gunshot wound victim earlier in the episode. And did anyone think for a second Sylar wouldn't be back cured and ready to kill again?

Let's hope the writer's strike gives Heroes' creative staff time to get their mojo back because it seems to have gone missing. And I'd hate to think my favorite show will end up like LOST.

** End Spoiler and Rant Alert **

This afternoon, we will brave the rain and the traffic hassles it brings when we head down to Portland for Irish dance classes. But until then, I'm going to take the rest of the day off from writing and see if I can finally make it start looking like Christmas around here.

What are your plans?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Long and Short Reviews

If you read the comments from yesterday, you already know I'm the featured author at Long and Short Reviews (LASR). If you didn't read them, now you know, too. By the way, the comments are my fave part of this blog so please join in!

Each day this week, a mini-interview, written by me (on deadline so you've been warned!), will be posted at LASR. If you read this and answer the question posed by LASR, you will be entered to win a Christmas stocking put together by me. It includes autographed copies of two of my back list: Santa Brought a Son and Plain Jane's Prince Charming. You can see there are other goodies, too. So be sure to make a daily visit to LASR!

With all those links, it shouldn't be hard to find your way there!

Hope you enjoy your Monday! It's my crazy day so I'll be out and about in the pouring rain. It's really bad with flooding and what not. Life in the Pacific Northwest. Gotta love it!

Free book time!

Time to choose this week's free book winner. For anyone new here, if you post a comment, you get an entry to win a book off the list I have a link to below. You get one entry for every comment. There's other ways to get entries that are listed on the link below. I receive an email notification each time someone posts a comment on the blog so I use that list and a random number generator to pick the winner. Pretty easy! Just make sure you check back to see if you won.

Here are your random numbers:

18
Timestamp: 2007-12-03 15:55:17 UTC

This week's win a book winner is Bailey. She won with a comment on "A Quiet House" post. Bailey, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

Last week's winner, Brandy, never sent me her book choice!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's off!

My manuscript, Christmas on the Mountain, is off. I got an auto reply from my editor so I know it made it to the HMB offices before she did on Monday morning. That was my goal!

I don't know if I'm exhausted or delusional, but I'm actually happy how the story came out. I got some eleventh hour help from a mountain rescue guy from the climbing forum to make sure my SAR scenes made sense. Everything just fell together at the end! Huge sigh of relief.

I'm exhausted so I'm going to go to sleep now. I'll draw a winner for this week's free book tomorrow. So glad the contest rules can be changed at my whim! Thanks for all the support and encouragement. You all are the best!

Love,
Melissa

D-day has arrived!

This is it.  The book is due tonight.  I have Mass this morning and my class to teach.  That's it except for writing.

I won't be posting the contest winner until the book is off so it'll be late! Also, Brandy, last week's winner, you never sent in what book you wanted. Or if you did, I didn't get it.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

One Day To Go

The book is due tomorrow. Chapter 9 is back from my cp and it's much better. Huge sigh of relief. I have 10 pages of Chapter 10 revised. That leaves the last half of that one and Chapter 11 to do today. I will spend the day writing. I may skip the swim meet this afternoon since I still have a bad cough and congestion. Plus I really can't justify losing five hours of prime writing time for approximately 4 minutes of swimming (if I add up how much time each of the two kids will be in the water) when hubby can video tape it for me.

Last night, I took a little time out from writing and joined the family to watch The Polar Express. I only saw the last half or less, but it seemed like a very sweet movie. I just loved the bell at the end! I want to see the entire movie now.

Oh, I almost forgot. The weather forecast calls for snow so the kidlets wore their pajamas inside out and backwards last night. They really want it to snow!

Have a good Saturday!

Update:  The rally jammies worked.  It's snowing.  The kidlets are outside all bundled up with their boots on.