Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Cats and Chaos

cat
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I've been trying to explain to Rocket, Spirit and Smalls that Chaos is here to stay. They just don't seem to get it. Sure, all of them can be in the same room now without too much fur flying and the kitties are much better about walking not running, but still...

I know the cats still aren't done trying to get rid of the dog. I just wish I knew what they were planning...

cat
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P.S. Since it's a three day weekend, I'll announce the contest winner tomorrow!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Party Time

Yesterday, the kidlets and I went to my friend Amy's house. She surprised me with a birthday celebration. I was so touched. She and her hubby made yummy tacos for lunch, a delicious blueberry crumble for dessert and I even had a present to open. My one and only birthday present. And it was a package of three pretty candles. Amy knows I love candles!

While the kids played Wii (Rock Star was the game of choice) and swam. The water was a little cold for us so we talked some more instead of putting on our swimsuits. It was a great day and a perfect way to end summer!

On the way home, I dropped off at my cousin's house and saw my aunt who was visiting from Arizona. My parents were there so they took the kidlets home with them so hubby and I could have a couple of much needed time to spend together!

What are you doing for Labor Day weekend?

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm at the Wedding Planners Today

No post here since I'm the blogger at The Wedding Planners today. If you head over there, you can read about my Portland Mountain Rescue friend who helped me with research on three of my books. He recently proposed to his girlfriend, and well, you just have to see it to believe it! Yes, YouTube is involved!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Life of a Writer

I always say being a writer is the best job ever. I get paid to do what I love...write. But sometimes it's not so wonderful (say, deadline time or the beginning of a book) and I wonder why I've chosen this profession.

This picture sums up those times perfectly:

cat
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Yes, characters do talk to you. And sometimes you don't like what they say. Here's my most recent scenario...

Hero: Give me amnesia.

Me: What?

Hero: Don't have me remember meeting the heroine.

Me (off to google amnesia to see if it's actually plausible): There's something called retrograde amnesia, but that means you probably suffered brain damage. It's not going to work.

Hero: Come on. Would I lead you astray? Just try it.

Me (after writing ten pages of a hero with amnesia): I told you it wouldn't work.

Hero: No worries. I'm still a hottie and you love me.

Me: Sigh...

And then there's always the brainstorming an idea part of a writer's life. I found this clip on the Pink Heart Society blog and thought it was hilarious.



Okay, back to the story! I've fallen behind in my reading once again. It always happens when I start a new manuscript. What are you reading right now?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Surprise!

I appreciate the birthday wishes people posted in the comment section yesterday. As a thank you, would Dru, Tori, Catslady, Brandy and Marianne please email me a book you'd like off the contest list. I'll go in the order the comments were posted so maybe send me a couple of titles just in case others ahead of you pick the same one and don't forget to tell me your snail address, too. Thanks!

Love,
Melissa

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time to Blow out the Candles!

These brought a smile to my face:

Humorous Pictures
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nom nom nom / nooo it are my birthday
more animals

But I've got to be honest, I'm feeling more like the LOL Cat below:

humorous pictures
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Hubby has an early morning flight to Austin today and I'm left on my own with the kidlets. I'm sure we'll find something to do, but it kinda, okay it really sucks that he's gone! I'm so buying myself a chocolate cake with roses made from butter cream frosting.

What are you doing today?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Last week's free book winner...

We got home just in time to watch the closing ceremonies so I never got around to picking a contest winner. I did update the link though to the guy who found the info about the Chinese gymnast's age on the Internet. I could have sworn it was there on Friday. Not sure what happened!

And now for our next winner...

Here are your random numbers:

26
Timestamp: 2008-08-25 13:59:47 UTC

This week's winner is Tori Lennox. She won with a comment on the post Huh?. Tori, please choose one book from the list here. Email me your choice along with your snail address and I'll send your book out.

Last week's winner catslady chose Karen Rose's Scream for Me. Hope you enjoy it!

Have a great Monday everyone! I'll be unpacking, washing dirt from everything and writing!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Frantic Friday

I was so busy yesterday between climbing, birthday party for my nephew down in Albany Oregon and soccer practice for two different kidlets, blogging didn't even enter my mind! Glad that's over with.

Of course today, I have to finish getting ready for the trip we're leaving on in a few hours. We're going to a kids' rope up. That is a weekend of rock climbing for kids. Four families, none of whom we've met except over the Internet. We'll be camping, climbing, swimming and just having a fun time. I can't wait. My brother in law is visiting us from New York and we have our normal pet sitter who'll be around, too, so the fur babies should be fine and I won't have to worry about them at all. Just the way I like it.

Remember how I posted about the age of the Chinese gymnasts a few days ago? Check out this link. It's the blog of the guy, a US computer expert/hacker, who found the documents about their true ages. It makes for an interesting read, not just about the gymnast but how caching works on the Internet. He links to a Chinese blogger and though the text is unreadable to me, the pictures and the things he highlights are very understandable. I'm interested to hear what the IOC has to say. Supposedly a statement will be made today.

I'll be back on Sunday, but not sure what time. If it's not too late, I'll announce the winner then otherwise it'll be Monday morning. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gold! Silver! Again!

Yesterday's gymnastics results were a big improvement over the past few days. Congrats to Shawn Johnson for gold, Nastia Luikin for silver and Jonathan Horton for silver.

I've really been enjoying the Olympics, but I just can't stay up that late anymore. I'm glad gymnastics is over except for the exhibition by the champions. There are other sports I still want to watch, but a decent bedtime is more important right now.

Yesterday afternoon, I was on the bed with Spirit. Chaos jumped up and was right next to me and the cat. Needless to say, Spirit was not a happy girl. She doesn't mind sharing the bed with the dog if they are on opposite sides, but she wasn't about to let Chaos so close. Without a warning, not even a growl, she took her paw to Chaos hind quarters. Bad kitty! But I had to laugh this morning when I saw this picture:

cat
more cat pictures

This continues to be the kitties excuse when they get in trouble. Yes, iKitty-Dog war continues. Rocket and Chaos are doing much better since the cat realized running was a bad idea. They will even sleep in the bathroom (tile floor that is cool) and be only a few feet apart (with Rocket higher, of course, which brings back memories of Star Wars ROTS and Obi-Wan telling Anakin it was over because he had the high ground!) Smalls continues to avoid the dog at all costs, but she will join the other two cats on the bed now if I'm there. I'm coming to the realization this is just how life will be from now on. No cute pictures of all my fur babies cuddled together for naps. No family portraits with all nine of us. But I can live with that.

I just realized this is a really random post! Olympics, pets, I guess the only thing left to discuss is weather.

The heat wave has finally broken here and we're back to overcast skies and rain. Lots and lots of rain. How are things in your corner of the world?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Huh?

The gymnastics competitions at the Olympics has left me scratching my head wondering what the judges have been seeing that I haven't. Granted, I don't know where every deduction comes from, but let's face it this new scoring system has some serious problems. It's not only confusing, but downright unfair.

Any scoring system that rewards an athlete a medal after they fall to their knees on a vault and keeps another athlete who didn't fall from standing on the podium seems seriously flawed to me. Even if one vault was harder than another. A fall is a fall. Or should be, whether you're from China or somewhere else.

And it's not just the American in me complaining. I think the scoring on the floor exercise was spot on. Shawn Johnson did great, but she didn't stick her landings on her tumbling passes the way the Romanian gymnast who won the gold did.

Tonight, however, really baffled me. Judges who aren't really competent are judging the Olympics? That's what was suggested by the NBC announcers tonight. Did you know ties weren't allowed in Olympic gymnastics when other sports allow them? I sure didn't. What's the logic behind the no tie rule in gymnastics? Not enough endorsements to go around if there were two gold medalists? Whatever the reasoning, it's lame and Nastia Luikin will always be a gold medal individual winner on the uneven bars in my book.

With all this happening in Olympic gymnastics judging, it makes me remember what hubby said after the ice skating judging scandal involving the French. Hubby believed, and still does, that anything with subjective scoring should not be part of the Olympics. I hate how a panel of judges and/or stupid rules can mess things up so badly. Still I can't imagine the Olympics without those sports, and I bet neither could the networks. But something has to be done to fix the problems. And the sooner the better. London is only four years away.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good news!

I woke up to an email from my editor this morning. My revisions have been accepted! Yippee!

The book, now titled Dream Date with the Millionaire, is Book 3 of the Blinddatebrides.com trilogy and will be a June 2009 release.

Now I can really dive into the next project! My working title for it is The Billionaire's Playground.

What are you working on/doing today?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Free Book Winner!

Thanks for all the comments this week! For those who are new here, this is how I pick a winner. I get all the comments sent to an email address. They arrive in the order they were posted on the blog. I go to a random number generator and get the number of the winning entry. Okay, here we go...

Here are your random numbers:

40
Timestamp: 2008-08-17 16:58:19 UTC

This week's winner is catslady. She won with a comment on the post The The Contests Begin. Catslady, please choose one book from the list here. Email me your choice along with your snail address and I'll send your book out.

Remember I'll be giving a book away each week and each comment you make earns you an entry.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eight!

Michael Phelps...awesome!

I watched all eight finals. Simply amazing.

And those guys on his relay teams, in the words of the kidlets, rock!

Heatwave!

The house was 86 degrees at 11 o'clock last night. I tried to write. I tried to do a lot of things, but it's so hot it's hard to do anything. I'm hoping it cools off soon!




Your Hidden Talent



You're super sensitive and easily able to understand situations.

You tend to solve complex problems in a flash, without needing a lot of facts.

Decision making is easy for you. You have killer intuition.

The right path is always clear, and you're a bit of a visionary.



I really wish I could go spend a couple of days in one of those pictures and cool off! This one seems partly true except I really with the right path was always clear. Sometimes it's pretty blurry looking ahead! What about you? What's your hidden talent?

P.S. If you want to win a free book be sure to comment! I'll be picking the first winner tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gold! Silver!

I managed to stay awake tonight and all I can say is wow! and dry the tears from my eyes after the medal ceremony. Nastia and Shawn were awesome. One, two. It doesn't get better than that!

The look on Nastia's father's face with his tear-filled eyes was so touching. Like father, like daughter. Two gold medalists in one family. How cool is that?

I wonder what the first product we'll see Nastia on. Wheaties, perhaps?

Okay, time to call it a night.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Snoozeville

Staying up late to watch the Olympics caught up with me last night. I first fell asleep during the US women's beach volleyball match. The kidlets woke me up, but then it was a competition of my own to see if my interest in watching or my tiredness would win out. I struggled to stay awake and managed to catch the first four rotations of the men's all around in gymnastics. The next thing I knew, however, my neck was killing me and there was some infomercial about a roaster/cooker device that would simplify my life and make my family so very happy.

It was also two o'clock in the morning. Yikes!

Oh, well... maybe I'll have better luck tonight. I did work hard yesterday. I took Elizabeth Boyle's new and improved The Plan template that I'd recently received and added a daily part so that I could add in my time and pages each day and it would be automatically put into the original spreadsheet part her husband designed. I also came up with The Plan for my new manuscript. And I wrote eight pages. Yay, the plan is already working! Of course, I only managed to do this because our neighbor invited our kids to her house in the afternoon because it was so hot outside and she has a/c!

It's going to be even hotter today. A new heat wave is hitting the PNW. I don't do well in the heat so I may have to find creative and free ways/places to go to keep all of us cool.

Here's a story from the BBC news on my publisher Mills & Boon. There is a video clip on how to write a book for them, too!

Today I'll be trying to stay cool and get a few more pages written. What about you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Weary Wednesday

Don't know about you, but all this Olympics watching is making me so tired. But how can I go to sleep without knowing what's what?

Another great day for Michael Phelps as he become the winningest gold medal Olympic athlete and set two new world records including breaking the 7 minute mark during the 4 x 200 m relay.

A silver medal should be cause for victory, but the US women's gymnastics team was such a contradiction from the men's team last night. Of course, the expectations were different for them than the guys. Not to diminish China's win because they were the better team tonight, but I do have to wonder about Bela Karolyi's assertion that half the team is younger than sixteen. Some of those girls look very young. And he justified his claim the same why I'd done with hubby a few hours earlier when we were discussing it-their own country issued their passports, the same country that also inserted computer graphic fireworks and had a prettier child lip sync for a little girl who had the best voice during the opening ceremony. We'll probably never know the truth.

My heart ached when I heard children were taken from their families at age three to train. According to the announcer tonight, this happened to China team captain Cheng Fei and she only got to see her family about once a year. I can't even imagine that as a mom. I'd be beside myself. She had called her family and asked to come home. Her family said no because she had a better chance of making something of herself and they would all be better off with her staying in gymnastic.

I know the Eastern Block countries did the same thing with children, but I didn't have children of my own then. It just seems wrong on so many levels. I wonder when it's all said and done if the medals are enough or if they would have rather had their families and a normal childhood. What do you think?

I was talking to a writer friend today on the telephone and we were talking craft. She brought up something and I asked her to explain it more. She said I was the one who told her about it, and as we talked more a few things about it came back to me, but not many. Yikes!

How could I forget something like that? Granted I've had three kids so maybe that does effect the memory cells even more than I thought, but still...not remembering scared me a little. Has that ever happened to you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Never Give Up

I'm up way too late on this early Tuesday morning because I had to see if the US men's gymnastics's team would win a medal or not. Not much was expected from this team, which included two alternates, but they surprised everyone by winning the bronze medal. At one point, they actually led the competition. This is why the Olympics rock. Never say never and never give up! Nothing is guaranteed.

Though Michael Phelps may prove that sometimes there are guarantees. He grabbed another gold. He's three for three and now ties athletes such as Carl Lewis and Mark Spitz for the number of gold medals won by an athlete.

It's been strange to watch this much television. Since Heroes went off the air around the time of the writer's strike, I stopped watching. Granted, the Disney Channel and Nick Jr are occasionally on, but the ads there are different than prime time. I guess companies treat the ads during the Olympics like the ones in the Super Bowl. Some ads were actually Super Ads which means the commercials have been pretty darn good! That hasn't been a good thing since I've been trying to write my new story during ad time.

At least now they are starting to repeat so I can ignore them and get more words on the page. I've pretty much had it with the ads for the upcoming NBC season (with the exception of Heroes.) By now I can guess exactly what happened in every NBC show I've never watched just by the trailers. And did you know Noah Wylie is returning to ER? Funny, but he was on it the last time I watched that show!

My fave commercial so far is this Budweiser Super Bowl ad featuring the Dalmation dog training a Clydesdale horse named Hank to the tune of Rocky.



I was glancing at a screenwriting book the other day (been trying to work on the craft of writing ever since the RWA conference) that said good commercials are like mini-movies and have a beginning, middle and end (i.e. a three act structure). I hadn't really known since I'm not a TV watcher, but after watching the last four nights of Olympic coverage, guess what I discovered? It's true!

The Hank commercial not only has a story structure, but it's even got a HEA! No wonder I like it.

So what's your fave commerical you've recently seen?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Contest for You To Enter!

It must be the Olympics in the air with all these chances to win books and things from the RWA Conference!

My good friend and talented Avon Historical author Elizabeth Boyle is giving away a box of goodies she picked up at the conference to a lucky someone who comments on her blog. Go here for all the info. Good luck!

Did you catch the men's 400m freestyle relay last night? I was on my feet screaming as if that would make them swim faster, but it made me feel better. Good thing the kidlets were in bed asleep. I'm sure they would have been mortified (but laughing their head's off) at mommy's cheering.

But seriously, I've never seen anything like that last leg. So awesome! And the stunned expressions on the French team's faces after saying they would smash the Americans? Priceless. The underdogs kicked some butt last night and Michael Phelps got another gold. Go Team USA.

What are your favorite Olympic events?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let the Contests begin...

THIS CONTEST IS ON HIATUS AS OF FEBRUARY 16, 2009. I'M NOT SURE WHEN IT WILL RETURN.

Okay, I have four boxes of books from the RWA Conference in San Francsico to giveaway. Many are authographed by the authors, too. Generic autographs. And I have various bookmarks and other promo materials, but those won't last for all the books. A big thank you to my roomie and Avalon author, Shirley Marks, and her daughter Kim for picking up books for me, too!

So here is how the book giveaway will work:

1) A new contest begins today. The next one will start when I put up a post announcing the winner from the last one. I hope to do this on Sundays, making it a weekly giveaway, but hey, I'm only human, trying to raise three kidlets, three cats and a dog, and write romance novels so I reserve the right to have some leeway with this. The only change to this will be if I have a release out (such as in November) and do a special contest for that. Then, we'll take a break from the book giveaway while that other contest is going on.

2) Your name will be entered each time you post a comment so you can have multiple entries for each weekly contest. Your entries are good for that week's contest only. If you want to keep your name entered each week, you have to keep commenting. This way we both get something from the contest!

3) Books will be sent by the cheapest snail-mail means available so if you're overseas you might not see the book for a while! And if life gets hectic and/or I'm on deadline, I may not mail them right away, either. But you will get your book!

4) The winner gets to choose one item from the following list (more books will be added as I find them!):

Historical
1. Nicola Cornick, Unmasked, (bookplate autograph)
2. Julia Justiss, A Most Unconventional Match (autographed)
3. Sophie Jordan, Too Wicked To Tame (autographed)
4. Julianne MacLean, Surrender to a Scoundrel (autographed)
5. Laura Lee Guhrke, She's No Princess (autographed)
6. Sophie Jordan, Once Upon A Wedding Night (autographed)
7. Jenna Petersen, Seduction Is Forever (autographed)
8. Elizabeth Boyle, His Mistress By Morning (autographed)
9. Debra Mullins, Two Weeks with A Stranger (autographed)
10. Jackie Ivie, Heat of the Knight (autographed)
11. Victoria Alexander, What a Lady Wants
12. Victoria Alexander, A Little Bit Wicked
13. Julianne MacLean, In My Wildest Fantasies
14. Melody Thomas, Wild and Wicked In Scotland (autographed)
15. Julie Anne Long, The Perils of Pleasure
16. Julia Quinn, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (autographed)
17. Lorraine Heath, A Duke of Her Own (autographed)
18. Lois Greiman, Bewitching the Highlander (autographed plus special promo item!)
19. Sophia Nash, A Dangerous Beauty (autographed)
20. Janet Mullany, The Rules of Gentility (autographed)
21. Deanna Rayborn, Silent in the Sanctuary
22. Shana Gale, No Man's Bride (autographed)
23. Shana Galen, Blackthorne's Bride (autographed)
24. Jess Michaels, Something Reckless (autographed)

Category
1. Pamela Palmer, Dark Deceiver, Silhouette Nocturne (autographed)
2. Alison Roberts, Her Four-year Baby Secret, Harlequin Medicals (autographed)
3. Lisa Ruff, Man of the Year, Harlequin American (autographed)
4. Barbara McMahon, The Pregnancy Promise, Harlequin Romance (autographed)
5. Barbara Hannay, Adopted: Outback Baby Harlequin Romance (autographed)
6. Terri Reed, Double Jeopardy, Love Inspired Suspense (autographed)
7. Jean Brashear, The Way Home, Harlequin Super Romance
8. Roz Denny Fox, Ann DeFee and Tanya Michaels, The Perfect Tree, Harlequin American Romance
9. Megan Kelly, The Fake Fiancee, Harlequin American Romance (autographed)
10. Emily McKay, Baby on The Billionaire's Doorstep, Silhouette Desire
11. Kate Walker, Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife, Harlequin Presents

Contemporary (Includes Single Title Romance, Chick lit, Woman's Fiction and Erotica)
1. Stephanie Bond, Body Movers: 3 Men and a Body (trade size, autographed)
2. Susan Mallery, Sweet Talk (autographed)
3. Kat Martin, Season of Strangers (autographed)
4. Rochelle Alers, The Sweetest Temptation (autographed)
5. Michelle Monkou, No One But You (autographed)
6. Brenda Jackson, Irresistible Forces (autographed)
7. Isabel Sharp, As Good As It Gets (trade size, autographed)
8. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nobody's Baby But Mine and This Heart of Mine (trade size, autographed)
9. Jordan Dane, No One Heard Her Scream (3 copies)
10. Diana Holquist, Sexiest Man Alive
11. Elizabeth Jennings, Pursuit
12. Heather Webber, Digging Up Trouble (autographed)
13. Wendy Markham, Bride Needs Groom
14. Wendy Markham, The Nine Month Plan
15. Wendy Markham, Once Upon a Blind Date
16. Karen Rose, Scream For Me
17. Marian Keyes, Anybody Out There (trade size)
18. Julia Harper, Hot
19. Anthology with Gena Showalter, Carly Phillips, Susan Mallery, Susan Andersen, Brenda Joyce & Christina Sky, Sexy Summer Reads
20. Annie Solomon, Dead Shots
21. Karen Kingsbury, Oceans Apart
22. Wendy Markham, That's Amore
23. Wendy Markham, Love, Suburban Style
24. Cindy Kirk, When She Was Bad
25. Connie Brockway, Skinny Dipping
26. Kim Green, Live a Little (trade size, autographed)
27. Shelley Shepard Gray, Hidden (trade size, autographed)
28. Toni Blake, Tempt Me Tonight (trade size, autographed)
29. Jane Porter, The Frog Prince (trade size, autographed)


Paranormal, Science Fiction and Fantasy
1. Lynsay Sands, Bite Me If You Can
2. Catherine Asaro, The Night Bird (trade size, autographed)
3. Susan Grant, Moonstruck (autographed)
4. Michael P. Spradlin, To Hawaii With Love (autographed)
5. Jessica Andersen, Night Keepers (2 copies)
6. Michelle Rowen, Lady & The Vamp (autographed)
7. Kerrelyn Sparks, Vamps and the City (autographed)
8. Kresley Cole, Dark Needs at Night's Edge (2 copies)
9. Cheryl Brooks, Slave (2 copies)
10. Kerrelyn Sparks, The Undead Next Door
11. Stephanie Rowe, He Loves Me, He Loves me Hot
12. Kerrelyn Sparks, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire
13. Jocelynn Drake, Nightwalker (autographed)
14. J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan & Mary Kay McComas, Dead of the Night
16. Terri Garvey, Earth Girls Are Easy (autographed)
17. Kathryn Smith, Night of the Huntress

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Citius, altius, fortius

I (and the three kidlets) ended up being gone from 9 am until 7 pm yesterday. That made for a very long day.

But I managed to plot out a new book that hit me at the conference that I wanted to jot down before I forgot it and read Harlequin Presents author Sharon Kendrick's The Greek Tycoon's Baby Bargain while sitting at the Irish dance studio and in my car during Crossfit Kids.

Last night, we filled our bowls with kettle corn and enjoyed watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I must admit not having the teams in alphabetical order was a little weird at first, but after awhile the randomness (at least random to someone who does not understand the Chinese symbols that they used to order the parade of countries) was kind of fun! And then the kidlets started counting down the countries passing by when the announcers finally said how far away the US team was!

Since I'm a huge Olympics fan, I'm thrilled the Games at Bejing are finally here. I will watch more TV the next couple of weeks than I have all year! Sure the Olympics are not all sunshine and rainbows with scandals and politics that have and will continue to erupt as the flame burns, but the dedication of the athletes and the ideals behind the Games hit me right at my heart. I love them! Let the Games begin!

Here's an quiz about the Olympics. I got 77%. What's your Olympic IQ?

Friday, August 08, 2008

RWA Conference - Video

I came across a link this morning that Jo Beverley posted on one of my writer's list. It's a news piece done on the RWA Conference in San Francisco and shows Wednesday's literacy signing.

Finished!

Thanks for all the good wishes on the revisions. They are finally finished and my blinddatebrides.com manuscript is outta here. Okay, not really, but it sounds good, doesn't it?

I'm contractually required to keep a copy myself, but I emailed another copy to my editor at HMB, my agent and the email account where I send and store all my manuscripts and backups. You can't be too careful!

I hope this is it for changes until the galleys arrive. Fingers crossed, but you never know! I do think these revisions make the story stronger. So kudos to my editor for her suggestions.

Well, I'm a wee bit tired. It's really late or really early depending on whether you're a night owl or an early bird. Can you guess which one I am?

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Revision Time

Today I must finish up my revisions so I can email them off to my editor tomorrow. That's all I worked on yesterday and today, even though I've got Irish Dance Camp detail, it will be the same.

I saw this the other day and thought some of you might enjoy it!



Since I have a little time before we have to head out, I want to get to work on the book. What are you doing today?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Post -conference post

It's hard to believe a week ago I had woken up after spending my first night at the Marriott feeling a bit apprehensive about the start of the RWA conference. But this year's conference wasn't like others. I had way more fun than I thought I would and am now seriously considering attending next year's in Washington D.C. How's that for a one-eighty from where I was pre-conference countdown!

From the blogs I've been reading that are doing conference recaps, I'm not alone. Everyone had fun. Sure there were complaints about the cost of the hotel. And sorry, for $225 a night, internet service should be included if some of the more inexpensive chains can do it! But the conference really was great. I don't know what made the difference for me. Perhaps it was the city. I still consider San Francisco home and probably always will so that probably explains a lot of why I enjoyed myself so much. But I can't understand why in a city known for incredible cuisine, the food at the hotel, well, sucked! I'm so glad I had a tea party luncheon to attend so I didn't have to eat another meal there!

Something I forgot to mention that I must is Linda Goodnight, who wrote book 4 of The Wedding Planners continuity, won the RITA for Best Inspirational on Saturday! Isn't that cool? I was thrilled for her.

And speaking of The Wedding Planners, I'm blogging there today about, what else, the conference. I'll have pictures of the Wedding Belles who attended as well as that Wedding Plannerish moment I mentioned during the meeting with my agent at the Weston! So stop by the blog and say hi!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

RWA Conference - Saturday

The final day of the conference started much too early after a late night at the HQ party. My roomie, Shirley, set the alarm for me and when 6:30 am rolled around, I rolled over. Good thing there was a snooze button.

I had to get up though because there was one workshop I really wanted to attend called Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Blake wrote a screenplay writing book called Save the Cat and my good friend Tiffany had recommended it to me months ago. Of course, I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet so I figured attending the talk would either 1) whet my interest 2) make me happy I hadn't read the book yet.

I loved the talk. So much so that Trish Wylie, Claire Baxter, Jessica Hart and I made the trek to the Union Square Borders to see if they had any copies of the book! We bumped into other romance authors at the bookstore wanting the book, too.

Needless to say Blake made an impression with his talk and his 15 point beat sheet. My fave part of the talk...his describing the term "Pope in the pool" scene. He's really a great speaker. He had the jam-packed room laughing many times during his talk. I'm curious to see if his "voice" carries over to the book. That sure would make for an entertaining read.

On our way back from Borders, we stopped at Union Square for a quick picture. The other three stayed to have a coffee, but I had to get back to the hotel to pack. I decided I'd rather head to my friend Jen's house, then sit through the awards' ceremony. I was really tired at this point.

My feet were still hurting, too. I started the morning off in shoes, but quickly decided my dress would look just fine with my Tevas! A good call since another walk was in my near future.

My friend Deb drove up from San Jose and met me and our mutual romance writer friend Alice for lunch.

Something interesting I discovered about downtown San Francisco...a lot of places that are open during the week for lunch are closed on weekends! We discovered that on our walk to a Bodin's. We ended up going somewhere else.

Back at the hotel, I attended the Harlequin Authors Forum. This is where the PTB (Powers That Be) tell us about the status of the business. A couple things caught my attention. Quality is up as well as sales. They also showed a video about the press Harlequin has received. That was really cool and I'm hoping they make it available via YouTube or Google so I can share it with you!

After that I popped into a workshop on legal issues for writers, then filled the time before my appointment with my agent, Annelise Robey. I met her at the Westin on Market. We sat outside, sipped ice tea and talked. My critique partner and her hubby just happened to walk by so I introduced everyone, then Annelise and I continued talking about my writing career and catching up on what had been going on with each other. Something Wedding Planner-ish happened during out meeting and I'll show those pics the next time I'm up to blog there.

I met my roommate Shirley Marks, Young Adult Inspirational author Shelley Adina and a former critique group member Jenny Anderson for dinner. Then it was time for me to check out! It was so good to see the family pull up to the curb in my minivan. I was starting to miss them even though I saw the kidlets every day except Friday.

When we got to my friend Jen's house, we had a blast. The kids watched a video while the adults played poker. I haven't played that much poker before, but I did really well! Yay!

It was really a great conference. I made some new friends, didn't feel completely overwhelmed and had a lot of fun. If you want to see more conference pictures taken by Trish Wylie check out the Pink Heart Society's Photobucket album.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Contest Winner is...

Dena!

The prize is a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate. Dena, please email me via the contact form on my website so I can get your email address.

The winner was picked from all the comments posted on this blog. There were 380 of them. (The winner was #85 as picked by a random number generator.) Wow! Thanks for posting everyone. You all are awesome!

As soon as I have time to type a list of all the books I picked up at the conference we'll go back to the weekly book winner. Since I have revisions due on Friday, it might not happen this week and if that's the case those entries will carry over to the next contest. I have some great books to giveaway so be sure to enter. Each comment you make counts as one entry!

Love,
Melissa

RWA Conference - Friday - night

Friday night at the RWA conference means one thing...the Harlequin Party. This is the best publisher at the conference and you can tell by the number of party crashers who attend the annual event. The room was much smaller than the ballroom at Dallas and felt as if there were twice as many people. I wonder if that was because it was right next door to the Marriott so people didn't need to spring for a taxi, but I also noticed several people who looked as if they might have just wandered in.

I sat at a table with two crashers (one published author and her "assistant") while munching down yummy Chinese food. Though the writer said she'd been invited by a Harlequin author, she kept trying to hide from a Silhouette editor because, in her own words, "she knows I don't write for Harlequin." I guess the great food, free alcohol and dancing until your feet hurt is too much to resist for other conference goers.

The food was very similar to what I had served at our San Francisco themed reception-themed stations based on the different areas of San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Chinatown, etc.) They even had dim sum. The dessert buffet included the now famous chocolate fountain complete with rice crispy squares, muffins, marshmallows, strawberries and bananas to dip. Hubby said he'd give me five dollars if I'd lick from the fountain. I said maybe if he upped it to $500 I'd be tempted!

In addition to the fondue, they had a table with mini frosted cupcakes and spoon-sized creme brulees. Hubby liked this table best. I liked the chocolate cupcakes, but found myself drawn to the chocolate fountain.

Several Harlequin received recognition at the party. Jessica Hart, who I fortunately got to meet and spend time with this conference, received her 50 book pin and Sandra Marton, who I adore, was recognized for 75 books! Can you imagine writing that many books? I'm only at 15, 16 if you count the eharlequin on-line read I wrote. Simply amazing to have written so many stories!


Everywhere I turned I recognized someone. A few I knew, many I didn't. Nora Roberts was there dancing. I also saw Lisa Gardner and posed for this picture. Several people from loops I belong to were also attending as well as Linda Goodnight and Melissa James from the Wedding Planners. (I'll save that pic for that blog!)

One of these days, I should probably write a special post about Romance and Modern Extra writer Trish Wylie. Trish and I met last year in Dallas at Sandra' HMB pizza party. I was fortunate enough to spend much more time with her this year in San Francisco. She would have to get my new BFF award this year. Anyway, I have so many pics of Trish taking a picture of me and me of her it's become a bit of a joke. We've become photo nemesis so I had to at least post one of the pictures somewhere. Here it is!

Silhouette and Harlequin editors also attended. I spoke with Mary-Theresa Hussey, my first editor. She's the one who bought Fiance For the Night way back in 1997. Here's a picture of me with two of the Mills & Boon editors, Sally Williams and Lucy Gilmour! They were really tearing up the dance floor, too!

Hubby attended with me and we had a fab time dancing. He was extra careful with his knee though. Gotta love a man who thinks about stuff like that, but he had no problem hanging on the dance floor for the evening. Thank goodness because that's what I love most about this event...the dancing!

I finally learned how to do a dance that I've been wanting to learn. It's a song I heard on Radio Disney, but never knew the steps. I can't remember the title, but it goes something like... slide the the left, slide to the right. There are right stomps and left stomps, too. Oh, and cha-chas. It was a lot of fun. Even hubby tried it. We both wanted to be able to show the steps to the kidlets!

The usual wedding songs were played: Conga line, Love Shak, The Twist, It's Raining Men, Achy Breaky Heart, Shout, Grease medley, Macarena. Lots of others, too. We left a little before midnight and I heard the dancing continued on past the designated end time. I was ready to call it a night!

By the time I said goodnight to him and headed up to my room, I could barely walk. My feet hurt from all the dancing, and well, my shoes. I can't tell you how long it took me to fall asleep. My feet just throbbed, but the dancing, as always, was worth it.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Home!

We're back home! Sorry I haven't updated, but things got really busy and I've been so tired. I will get it all done in the next couple of days and fill you in on the rest of the RWA conference!

But I wanted to remind you that I will be drawing a contest winner for an Amazon.com gift certificate so if you want more entries be sure to post a comment ASAP!

Friday, August 01, 2008

RWA Conference - Friday - day

Another fun day at the RWA Conference! This morning I attended a workshop session by Lisa Gardner then bumped into Elizabeth Boyle in the hallway. She was headed to the Avon signing so I tagged along. I'd planned on picking up some autographed books to giveaway on the blog. The line was already long, but I started to head to the end when Elizabeth, who was going to be signing, told me just to come with her. I suddenly became her "assistant" and went into the room with all the other Avon authors. As any good assistant would do, I helped hang the poster in front of her table and made sure she had everything she needed before moving over to Susan Elizabeth Phillips' table.

I managed to snag an autographed Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel for you guys! It's trade size and since I collected two boxes worth of books to giveaway, the title escapes me. As usual she was friendly and gracious. I was feeling particularly fortunate that I didn't have to wait in that long line to enter the room and then the line to meet her!


I was very excited to see Kinley MacGregor would be signing in the Avon room. I had heard her speak at the Rose City Romance Authors Readers Luncheon in 2007, but the lines were just too long to meet her. She emanates warmth and friendliness. Later I saw her by the elevator and asked how she writes with children in the house! I'm trying to figure out how other authors do it and if I can figure out a schedule that will work better for me and the kidlets.

I saw Jane Porter at another signing where I picked up even more books. One of her books, Flirting with Forty, will be a television movie (Lifetime, I believe but I may be wrong) staring Heather Locklear. I can't imagine how excited it would be to have a book made into a movie! Only in my dreams!!!

After I dropped off all the books, it was off to Lovejoy's Tea House in Noe Valley for the Harlequin Romance authors tea party. I couldn't believe when I received the invitation because I mention Lovejoy's in my blinddatebrides.com book! Imagine being invited there by Mills & Boon editors!

The interior of the tea house was very cozy and eclectic. Lots of chintz and lace, mismashed tea cups and teapots, old pictures and other knick knacks. It was just as I imagined it would be when I checked out the pictures on the website when writing the manuscript.

Each table had a special reservation on it. Our tables were reserved for Queens, but here's a picture of the sign for the Princesses.

While we were there, two young girls walked by wearing princesses dresses. One even had sparkly fairy wings on. I couldn't help but think of my two daughters and how much they would love having tea there.


Here I am with Claire Baxter and editor Suzanne Clarke. I had ridden over in a taxi with Claire, Linda Goodnight and Melissa James. I realized when we arrived at the tea house that I'd left my camera on the back seat of the cab. Luckily the driver had given me the number of the dispatcher so I called and he was sent back with my camera!

Just like last year, the Mills & Boon editors attending the San Francisco conference are so nice. It'll be fun to see them on the dance floor at the Harlequin party.

Here's a picture of Lucy Gilmour. She recently married like so many other of the editors in the Richmond office. I wonder if any of the brides took advantage of our Wedding Planner tips at the beginning of each book!


We were served high tea. I drank vanilla tea and apricot tea. Trish Wylie thanks we Americans should be prosecuted for our tea. The air in her mouth tastes better than the teas over here. And cold tea is a sin against mankind. I did not add quotation marks, but those are her exact words.

The tea tray contained delicious scones, sugar cookies, tea sandwiches and cole slaw. The scones were my favorite!


Here's a group shot taken outside of Lovejoy's of the Harlequin Romance authors and the Mills & Boon editors who attended the Harlequin Romance Tea.






Instead of taking a taxi back to the Marriott, a few of us decided to ride the trolley. This is something I'd never done even when I lived in the city! It was so much. Here are Carol Grace, Linda Goodnight and Trish Wylie.




The other editors had to get back for appointments, but Linda Fildew decided to join us on our little trolley adventure!






We were rewarded with beautiful views and also got to chat with riders who wanted to know what Harlequin was because some of the writers were wearing their conference badges. A few riders started pitching story ideas to us. And we had one man recited his poetry to Carol for easily five stops.


We enjoyed a nice walk back to the hotel. A great finish for a wonderful lunch with the other authors and the four editors!

Tonight is the Harlequin Party! I can't wait.

RWA Conference - Thursday

Another fun day at the conference!

It started off at 9 am with the Meet and Greet in the Harlequin Hospitality Suite for Mills & Boon authors. When we walked in the door, they had this lovely poster with all the RITA finalist books. Sorry for the picture quality, but the lighting wasn't that great.

There were so many authors, many I didn't recognize, and lots of different accents...English, Australian, Irish. I love how authors from all over the world write for Harlequin. They aren't kidding about being global!

Four editors flew across the pond to attend the conference. I met three of the four. All were so welcoming and nice. I really do love working out of the Richmond/London office! Here is a picture of two of the editors, Linda Fildew and Sally Williamson.


My favorite part of the morning was meeting Romance author Melissa James in person. We worked on the Wedding Planners continuity together and it was great to finally put a person to the name on the emails and Yahoo chats! But I didn't recognize her. I thought she had red hair, but it was dark brown/black. That took me by surprise. Linda Goodnight was also there so the three of us posed for this picture of the SF Wedding Belles!


I headed downstairs and bumped into the must-always-read-but-not-alone-at-night Lisa Gardner. Her books are so good! If you aren't reading her, you should be! Her daughter is the same age as Rose. It's hard to believe I met her on-line before either of us had any children or she was even married.

Historical author Victoria Alexander gave a funny keynote address. She had the audience laughing with her chicken nuggets of wisdom. A few of the things she said were exactly what I think or do sometimes. It was a bit strange to hear it coming from another writer's mouth!

After the talk, I went to a Chat with Nora Roberts session. It was a Q & A talk and exactly what I needed to hear. I've only spoken to her to 1) ask for her authograph or 2) take her picture at the Harlequin party, but for some reason she's the one person who can motivate me more than anyone else. She tells it like it is and gives writers the kick in the butt they need to put said butt in the chair and write. I still think her talk on discipline I attended way back when was one of the best workshops I've ever attended.

From the Chat with... session, I met Christie Ridgeway and Monica McCarty in the lobby and we walked along with Jamie Sobrato to the Jane Rotrosen Agency party. We got lost! Somehow we missed a turn (and bumped into two other authors who'd done the same thing as we'd done.) The soiree was held at a trendy, urban gallery. We had to show ID when we walked in (not kidding!) and were handed flutes of champagne. There was also a table of chocolates! Yum!

My agent, Annelise Robey, greeted me with a hug. Agent Meg Ruley was also there and introduced me to mystery author, Rhys Bowen. I met PR guru Nancy Berland there and got reacquainted with Cindy Kirk who I'd met in Dallas last year.

After the chocolates and champagne, I changed into a warm-up suit, took off my name tag and headed outside to wait for hubby. I spent the evening with my family and friends. We went out to Indian food and then we went across the street to a little place called Tart to Tart where I had the best strawberry chocolate shortcake! We then went home. The kidlets watched a Pokemon DVD while us adults played a card game called 10-9-8. My friend Jen won the first game. I won the second. The guys were shutout!

I headed back to the hotel after that and blogged!

That was my day. How about you?