Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!



Hope you have a better Halloween than Henri! My three two-legged kids will be trick or treating along with one four-legged one. The other furbabies will be wondering why the door keeps being open all evening long!

Happy Halloween and stay safe!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy

So if you saw this post earlier, I mentioned it was release day. I was prewriting a post for November 1 and published it instead of scheduling it. Oops. So you'll see that again. Sorry, I was very tired.

I hope all of you being affected by Sandy are okay. You've been in our thoughts and prayers.

I saw this on icanhascheezeburger. It's called Hurricane Sandy Perparedness for Cats.



Please take care and check in when you can!



Monday, October 29, 2012

Manic Monday

Miss Mousie watching my every move!
If the rest of the week is like today, I'm in trouble. First off, I need to be in two places at once. Not sure how that happened, but I said yes to taking a volunteer shift at school since I missed mine when I was sick, then found out Miss Mousie needed to go back to the clinic this morning to have tubes removed.

Thankfully, hubby isn't away at the moment so he offered to help out with Miss Mousie this morning. (You can read about her post-surgery here.)  So I'm sitting at my new fave coffee shop about five minutes from the school until it's time for me to volunteer. I actually think I got the better end of the deal!

This weekend was full of rain, a dog show (both girls did great with Chaos!), soccer, caring for Miss Mousie and revisions. I wore myself out on Saturday so stayed in bed yesterday. I just realized we never got pumpkins. Oops. Add that to my list for later today.

Anyway, hope you have a nice Monday and that yours isn't manic!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Big Day for Miss Mousie!

Miss Mousie (14 years old)
 Today is Miss Mousie's TECA surgery. I'll admit I'm so very nervous.

So many people got us to this place and I wish I could hug each one. Of course, I know none of the names of the generous donators. And the authors who provided posts about their cats for Miss Mousie's blog live all over the globe. But the least I can do is say...

THANK YOU!

I can't believe we raised enough money to afford the surgery so a senior foster kitty can spend the rest of her years living pain free!

Hope you have a great day!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back

Pumpkin Kitten - Yoda '09
 I'm still coughing, but made it out of the house yesterday. We were out of cat food and the kidlets needed Halloween costumes so that necessitated a drive to Portland to visit MEATS where I buy the cats food.

I thought a quick trip to the Halloween Spirit store would fix us right up for costumes, but it wasn't until five stores later that we had what we needed for the two younger kids. Then I needed a nap.

Rose is going to be a raccoon. Finn is going to be Finn from Adventure Time.

Oh, I almost forgot. We found a costume for Chaos. Last year she was a pumpkin. This year, she's going to be an astronaut!

If you want to see some cool cat pumpkins, check out this link. The website is called Mousebreath.

Also back yesterday were revisions on THE MAN BEHIND THE PINSTRIPES. That's the book I turned in on Thursday. I must admit I was very relieved. Considering how sick I've been for the past month, I was worried I'd have to rewrite the entire thing. But the revisions aren't bad at all. They are due back on the 5th of November, too, so I'll have time to do a nice polishing pass which I didn't do the first time around!

I will get Norwegian Elkhound puppy pictures up at some point. They are still on the camera. Until yesterday, I hadn't been doing anything except sleeping, reading and a little writing.

Anyway, I hope to be back to regular blogging and life now!

Thanks for all your get well wishes. I appreciate them!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Battling Back

I got my manuscript turned in on Thursday, in spite of being sick. Huge sigh of relief on my part. Now the waiting game begins for revisions. I'm expecting there to be significant revisions given what I was going through health-wise.

But hey, the book was there by the deadline. Gotta count for something, right?

I've been taking it easy the past 36 hours or so. Trying to get better (still fighting bronchitis.) Catching up on my sleep. Starting my new Hood Hamlet/mountain rescuer story. Reading No Easy Day.

I ordered the book written by Mark Owen, the psuedonym of a former Navy SEAL with DEVGRU/Seal Team 6 operator (I wonder if there isn't a new name for the group now given all the publicity) back in September. I was interested in reading it for a few reasons: research for the Special Forces ideas floating around in my head, wanting to know more about what happened in 2011 from someone who was actually there and curious about the controversy surrounding the book.

With a deadline looming, I kept the book in the kitchen so I wouldn't be tempted to read it until I finished my manuscript. I saved it for my "treat" after I finished my book. As soon as I emailed the manuscript to my editor, I moved the book from the kitchen to my nightstand.

No Easy Day was a treat. Very enjoyable. I already finished the book. I highly recommend it.

The goal was to tell the story of the Osama Bin Laden mission (Operation Neptune Spear), and the author and co-author succeeded. But more than once I thought, at what cost?

The government has pitched a fit of threats with cries of OPSEC and non-disclosure agreement violations. I had a security clearance so I get that, but given the leaks by the administration about this mission already... Pot. Kettle. Black.

What I'm talking about is the cost to the author.

I don't know much about the military beyond knowing a few people, including my father, who served and having spent a summer working at NUWES. But much has been written about the TEAMS. It's the stuff romance authors and readers love: men—real-life heroes—working together and risking themselves for a greater good and the brotherhood among them.

How has No Easy Day affected that bond/relationship?

Because that brotherhood is what I find myself drawn to and wanting to learn more about as I've been researching SOF. The friendship between a group of mountain rescuers is what drew me to continue writing the Mount Hood/Hood Hamlet books even though it was suppose to be one story, not a series. I imagine the bond to be a hundred times stronger for a team of SEALs given the stakes and the sacrifices.

Wanting to learn more, I came across this article, NO EASY DAY: FROM ONE WHO HAS BEEN THERE written by NYT bestselling author Dalton Fury. Besides his romance-hero worthy pseudonym, Dalton Fury is a former Delta Force officer turned author. He knows what Mark Owen is going through in a way few others can. The article answered my questions, and is a must read if this stuff even slightly interests you. Of course, now I'm going to have to add one of Fury's books to my TBR pile!

Hope you have a nice weekend. I'll be laying low and trying to get better! Plus doing a little writing on my next mountain rescuer story. How about you?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Calling in dead

funny pictures of cats with captions

I'm recycling the above LOLcat from 2010 because it just fits today. I'm beyond sick. I never really shook that head cold I got the last week in September, but something hit me last week that made me ask for an extension (book is now due on Thursday) and knocked me flat. Whatever it is has only gotten worse over the weekend so I will be heading to urgent care this morning.

Update: I have bronchitis and a sinus infection. A good thing I went in!

Upcoming this week on the blog as soon as I feel a little better... Norwegian Elkhound puppy pics. They are Chaos' grandsons and the cutest things! They just turned 3 weeks old.

Okay, this is about all the typing I can manage right now. Have a great day.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guest blogging about Miss M

Miss Mousie's spot during deadline time!
I'm in total panic crunch time deadline mode. I also think that cold I had is turning into a sinus infection. So not what I needed with a sick hubby and a sick kidlet on my hands.

Needless to say, I've been scarce on-line and concentrating on writing.

But today I have a blog post at The True Book Addict. I was invited to write about Miss Mousie. You can find the post here

If you're a fan of cats, I'd appreciate it if you could post a comment thanking Michelle for giving us the opportunity to share Miss Mousie's story.

Thanks!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Justin Bieber Concert Fun!


Justin flying with wings
Last night was the Justin Bieber concert. I must say, the kid really puts on an entertaining show full of energy and fun. He never stops performing. Even during the slower times, he's out there working hard. And when he takes a break to talk to the audience... Well, this mom was impressed by what he had to say to his fans. Two words came to mind as he did this: inspiring and grateful.

The concert was very high-tech, a multi-media stage with lights, fireworks and confetti. Justin flew threw air with wings, rode through the air singing and playing the guitar on a mechanical crane-like device and was raised up on this platform.

My girls loved it! And him!

As I mentioned yesterday, this was my 9 year old's first concert. I had the most fun watching her all night. She didn't want a T-shirt since she'd just gotten a new on Sunday night, but she did want a lanyard and a light stick to wave. Of course my 14 year old had to have an official concert T-shirt. She changed into it before the concert started!

My daughter's poster
We were up high, but the seats were better than we expected. Rose was so proud of her poster. She held it many times, hoping Justin would see it. It was the cutest thing! I'll be honest, my favorite thing about the concert was watching her reactions!

I appreciated Mackenna making sure to include Rose in pictures, giving her hugs and just sharing the experience. So sweet to see them enjoying the time together!

As everyone warned me, the screaming was intense. I'd purchased two sets of ear plugs when we got into the Rose Garden.  Best $2 I've ever spent!  It made things much more enjoyable!

After Cody Simpson (a 15 year old Australian who the two 14 year old girls with me really enjoyed seeing!) played then Carly Rae Jepsen went, Rose asked me if she could wear the other set of ear plugs. Smart kid! You could hear the music and talking, but those shrieking decibels disappeared!

What will I remember most? The smiles on my girls' faces during and after the concert.

Monday, October 08, 2012

As Long As You Love Me

Tonight is the Justin Bieber concert. Carly Rae Jepsen is the opening act.

My girls have been looking forward to this for weeks. I missed getting tickets the first time around, but they released more so we decided to go. The seats aren't great, but the girls don't care. They just want to be there.

This will be Rose's first concert. Mackenna's first concert was The Cheetah Girls. The opening act was a then little known teenager named Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana.

Rose is all set with a poster she and her sister made and a brand new JB T-shirt that she convinced her dad to buy her last night! One more to add to her collection!

The CD Believe has been playing over and over again. At least I'll know the songs!

You know where I'll be this evening. What are you up to?

Friday, October 05, 2012

My Morning

No sugar just milk pls - lolcats.com

The sound of a cat heaving woke me up at 5:45 am. I turned on the light and put on my glasses, just in time to see a hairball come flying out of Yoda's mouth.

What a way to start my day!

I cleaned up the mess then grabbed my MacBook Pro to write. I had a half-hour to work until it was time for my new editor to call from the UK. With the time difference, early mornings work best for phone calls.

The phone rang promptly at 6:30 am. She sounds very nice. We chatted about various things including my current manuscript. She told me the new title is THE MAN BEHIND THE PINSTRIPES. I told her I gave the hero a best friend who was in Special Forces. (See yesterday's blog if you want to know more about that.) She's also excited about Paulson's story, the next Hood Hamlet/Christmas Magic/Mt. Hood Mountain Rescuer story I'll write next.

The entire length of the phone call I was waiting for something to happen. Life here is chaotic. As soon as I place a phone by my ear, it gets worse which is why I expected a kid to barge into the room bleeding, wailing and in tears or two cats to start fighting beneath my bed where I was sitting.

Two kids did walk in, but promptly turned around when I gave them the look, the look that says not-now-unless-there-are-flames-or-blood. There wasn't. I also made a preemptive move, by chasing two feline fighters out of the room mid-conversation.

Now I've got one kidlet and a dog in bed with me while I try to write. Both should be asleep or downstairs eating breakfast. Both would rather be with me.

The not-so-glamorous morning of a romance writer!

I think it's time for my morning cup of tea sans milk and sugar! Hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Special Forces

My new favorite website to visit is called SOFREP. It stands for Special Operations Forces Situation Report.  There, you can get various former SF operators' take on current events. As soon as I finish this current manuscript, I'm joining as a member. (Trying to be disciplined.)

Why do I like SOFREP so much?

Informing articles like this one about an organization that claims to be not for profit to benefit SEALs' families (Be careful who you donate money to!) as well as interesting analysis on what's happening in the world from a different point of view than I'm used to hearing.

I like that the comments are also intelligent. No one is trying to be "First" or telling me how their aunt makes some ridiculous amount of money each month using her computer. I've found very informative links to other articles and websites that add to the discussion at hand through comments. I have no idea who these people/avatars are, but if I were putting together my own Zombie Apocolypse Team, I'd want a few of them covering my back!

I also think the website is cool because it's Special Ops!

I still remember the summer before my senior year at Stanford. I was working at NUWES (Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station) in Keyport, Wa. I was a few weeks away from my 21st birthday and a bunch of engineers were going to play paintball. I thought that sounded fun so went down to the local army surplus store in Seattle and purchased camo gear so I'd be coordinated from head to toe. Some of our opponents that day were Army guys from Fort Lewis.

The very first game was Capture the Flag. My team sent me to get the flag (yeah, sacrifice the only female on the team), and I surprised everyone, including myself, when I stole the flag and made it back without a paint ball coming close to me. I even asked the person running the game if maybe the other team let me win and he said no. Those guys would not have let me win.  I was awarded a star that went on my collar, then placed on the Army guys' team for the next game. It was something like 7 of us vs. everyone else. One guy, who turned out to be a Ranger, told me to come with him and he'd tell me what to do. He did. He must have taken out half the other team on his own. I was in awe of his abilities, a little scared of him and definitely attracted. I had zero doubt I was in skilled hands. In spite of the lopsided numbers, our team won. Hands down.

A big part of my SOFREP infatuation is I would love to write a military hero. Let's face it, Special Forces guys are sexy, even if there isn't any sex in my books. The more I read, the more I learn about this intriguing Special Ops World, the better I can create a 3-D hero and realistic story.

Those who've read this blog for awhile know how I love to research. In spite of my fear of heights, I learned and fell in love with climbing while researching mountain rescuers for my Mount Hood series!

My current Special Ops obsession isn't all that surprising. The background for it was put into motion when I was writing Expecting Royal Twins. That story features a crown prince, also a soldier, whose Balkan country fought a devastating civil war.

To research that and him, I spoke with Roger Carstens, a friend I knew during my high school years who graduated from West Point and starred in NBC's The Wanted (that gig was just coming up for him when he spent hours on the phone answering my never ending list of questions!) Roger introduced me via Facebook to John Fenzel, an Army Colonel who also wrote a novel set in the Balkans called The Lazurus Covenent.

So right now, I'm in sponge mode, soaking up what info I can, and seeing what kind of story idea and hero emerges from the gray matter inside my head after percolating a bit. The first question will be Delta Force or SEAL hero? Which kind of hero would you prefer reading?


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

September Contest Winner

This month's winner of a $10 Gift Certificate is...

Quilt with her comment on my post Top Ten Posts!  Quilt Lady, please use the contact button to send me your email address and if you'd like an Amazon or B&N gift card emailed. If I don't hear from you within seven days, I'll pick a new winner. Thanks!

I still have to mail August's prize, too. I got sick and totally put everything on the backburner. Sorry about that, Maria!

The October  contest will be a $10 Amazon gift card. To enter, just comment. Each comment gets you one entry. I'll choose a winner at the beginning of October so check back at the beginning of the month to see if you won!

Thanks everyone for commenting and entering!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Final Day of Immersion

I haven't had much free time. Except for a couple hikes, an evening visit to Boulder for dinner and a short walk down Pearl Street and dinner out last night, we've been working and working and working. I just realized we worked through both dinners, too!

Not that I'm complaining. Though might brain might be!

I've learned so much. I can't even begin to quantify how wonderful this Immersion Weekend with Margie Lawson has been. It's also a tad overwhelming.

Yesterday, we acted out scenes from our books.  We learned lots about choreography. I also learned how hard it was to straddle a moose (Maurice, the same giant moose we donated in August to the PSNEA (Norwegian Elkhound)) rescue auction.bigger than me and give it CPR!

The changes I've made to parts of my manuscript are exciting. I've been tightening and rewriting and cutting. Oh-so-much cutting, but a lot of stuff just doesn't need to be there. An example of a change I've made:

Before:  Caleb's gaze raked over her. He didn't look impressed by what he saw.

After:  Caleb's gaze slid over her as if he'd reviewed the evidence, passed judgment and sentenced her to the not-worth-his-time crowd.

The rewrite is something Margie calls amplifying. In this case it shows us so much more about character and tells us a little extra too. The POV character has done prison time and always is trying to prove herself.

Wanting to do the same thing to the rest of the pages is daunting. I keep telling myself one day at a time (cliche alert as Margie would say!) I only wish I had more time to work on this manuscript.

I have lots of pics, but without service up here they're stuck on my iPhone. I downloaded the photos via a cord. They show up in iPhoto, but not in the finder or when I try to upload them via Blogger.

Anyway, I have a few more hours before we head to the airport. I'm working on the turning point that sets things into action for the last third of the book.

I'll post the winner of my website contest tomorrow morning! I want to make the most of the time I have here!

Have a great day!