Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Musings

The start of a new week. The end of April. Time just seems to be flying away.

The weekend was great with lovely spring weather that has flowers blooming all over.

My son had a fantastic birthday with two days of celebrating: party on Friday and actual birthday on Saturday. He now has more Legos sets than a kid needs. I'm going to put a lot of them up in the closet and dole them out. He loves his skateboard and spent the gorgeous day yesterday learning to ride it. Thank goodness for the pads. That made the process a little easier on me. I still can't believe my beautiful baby boy is seven!

I managed to get a lot of writing time in, too. I revised chapter four for the umpteenth time, but finally felt good enough about it (or maybe just fed up!) to send it off to my critique partner. Chapter five is very close. I wrote a scene that was okay, but the more I did on the other scenes in the chapter, the more I realized it wasn't needed. An entire scene gone! That always hurts, but I think what I have in mind now will work better and be stronger for the continuity. At least that's what I keep telling myself!

Today is my last day to catch up on pages before I start posting my daily count again. For some reason, this upcoming deadline has me totally freaked out. Well, more freaked than normal. But denial will no longer work. I need some accountability and that's the one thing the daily tally gives me.

My Top 5 Moments for the month of April:

1. The look on Hubby's face when I gave him his anniversary present at Timberline Lodge
2. Watching my youngest fall in love with skiing at Mt. Bachelor
3. Learning to rock climb
4. The Titanic Dinner
5. The smile on son's face when he woke up on his birthday.

What are your Top 5 April moments?

Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Readers Luncheon

I had a great time at the luncheon for romance readers today. The location at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland was beautiful. The fourth floor ballroom with its high ceilings, elaborate moldings and tall windows was the perfect setting. The Italian buffet lunch yummy! The authors were so very friendly. I got to see old friends and make a couple new ones. It's always fun to put a face with a name. The readers were absolutely wonderful, excited to meet authors, get books and win prizes. A few booksellers were there, too. One even brought her reading group all the way from Idaho! They were expecting 400 people to attend! I don't know exactly how many showed up, but it was a great turnout.

Sherrilyn Kenyon's fans were out in force. The line to meet her rivaled ones I've seen at a Nora signing! She seemed very friendly and approachable. I've never read any of her books, but I loved her speech. She spoke about what books meant to her growing up. She didn't have a rosy childhood and she mentioned how reading The Flower and the Flame changed her life. Her anecdotes about having kids were spot on and mirrored my own experience writing with children. Her top ten list about being a writer was hilarious and had the crowd laughing right along with her. She brought tears to my eyes when she talked about finally making the NYT three days after burying her mother.

One of the first people I bumped into when I arrived was talented Avon writer, Elizabeth Boyle , who's up for another RITA this year. She's one of my favorite authors and people. We sat next to each other at the booksigning and had way too much fun. One reader came by a couple of times and said, You're still laughing?" We were! Ever meet someone and the more you talk the more you realize just how much you have in common? That's how it was for us today. Elizabeth described it as seperated at birth. I agreed. Needless to say, we talked about getting together in Dallas in July. She also told me about "The Plan" which has helped her schedule and track her writing. That's something I really need help with so she's going to email me more info. Fingers crossed it works for me as well as it's worked for her!

Silhoutte Romance author, Su Lute (center in picture), and I shared a table at lunchtime. Each author was asked to bring a basket to be given away to a reader at our table. Here's a picture of the one I put together. It included all of my favorite things: tea with cup and little plate to hold bag holder, decorated sugar cubes, chocolate, a make your own card kit, flowers and three of my books.

The winners of the author baskets were the readers who had birthdays closest to the author. My birthday is August 26 and there was actually a reader who had the same birthday! I also made goodie bags for each of the readers at our table with one of my books, chocolate kisses and other little items.

A great group of readers from the Portland area sat at our table. Four of the readers learned about the luncheon from Sherilyn's newsletter. They were a great group of women. I loved hearing about what they read and how they loved to unwind at the end of the day by escaping into a book.

The luncheon is a yearly event always held on the last Saturday in April from 10 am to 2 pm so if you're in the Pacific Northwest and love reading romances, you might want to attend in 2008.

Everyone who attended the readers luncheon received a goodie bag filled with author promo items and books. I'll be giving the books away here on the blog as soon as I figure out how I should pick a winner! Any ideas?

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Booksigning

I'm so not a center-of-attention girl, but after almost two years without doing a booksigning (last one was Reno '05) I will be doing one tomorrow in downtown Portland. The Rose City Romance Writers are putting on their annual Romance Readers' Luncheon at the Governor Hotel . A portion of the proceeds go towards Oregon Literacy. The keynote speaker is Sherrilyn Kenyon . I've missed the last couple due to the date always falling on the day of my son's birthday party. Tomorrow is son's birthday, but we planned his party for tonight. Anyway the luncheon should be a fun event. I no longer belong to the chapter so hardly ever see any local romance writers anymore. I'll also be doing another booksigning in July at the RWA national convention in Dallas.

Not much else to report. I've been writing, practicing my climbing knots, putting together an author basket to give away at the luncheon and getting ready for son's birthday party tonight. Tomorrow besides the luncheon is son's baseball game and on Sunday his team photos. I hope to spend as much time as I can on the book!

What do you have on your agenda for this weekend?

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reaching New Heights

Last night, I attended a two hour climbing class put on by women for women. After talking with the climbing cutie, I decided I'd be more comfortable with the all girl approach my first time out. He was there, however, and I got to meet him in person for the first time!

The class took place at the gym where I set the rock wall scene in Plain Jane's Prince Charming. Going in, I was a mix of nerves and excitement. The aviary of butterflies in my stomach made it hard to eat dinner. But the instructors were great. The other women in the class were awesome (ages 54 and down.) We even received gift bags at the end. Best of all, I loved it. I haven't enjoyed an activity as much as I liked rock wall climbing since learning to ski!

Granted, I'm not a natural. I'm not strong. I'm not very athletic. I don't have a lot of flexibility or finesse. But I had a blast. My fear of heights didn't get in the way. It was that much fun. I havn't stopped smiling. Remember those tingles I wrote about on Tuesday's post? Yep, I get tingles thinking about climbing again! I bought two five visit punch cards. Now all I need is someone to climb with, and I'm there.

The first wall wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Lots of holds so you could just go up until you reached the top (not to tall twenty feet or so.) After climbing and belaying a partner, I moved to the wall in the pictures with one of the instructors belaying me. This wall was the same height as the other only it didn't have as many holds. One minute I was on the wall climbing higher, the next off the wall in the air. That shocked me. I wasn't expecting it. But I didnt' freak, nor did I plummet to the ground. The equipment did its job and so did my belayer. I was suspended in mid-air. Safe and sound. As climbing cutie would say, "Physics."

I quickly realized that falling was probably the best thing that could have happened to me! No more fear of falling since I've already done it. Now I know I won't go splat against the ground, either. One of the instructors told me if you don't fall, you aren't trying hard enough.

Needless to say, I can't wait to climb again. There is a lot of room for improvement (so much I don't even want to think about it) and that's only going to happen if I can get out there more! Plus it's just so much darn fun! Who wouldn't want to do this?

Have you ever thought about climbing a rock wall? If yes, what's stopping you? If no, why not?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Night to Remember

Today, we will be time traveling back with Martha Le Douce Harder to the evening of April 14th, 1912.

Bonjour! I am Martha Le Douce Harder, originally from the French Riveria, but on my way to America for the first time with my new husband, George C. Harder. George is an ambitious, handsome, entrepreneur! Not as much money as I would have hoped (he does love to play cards and bet on the ponies with Henry Ford), but since I have my own money who am I to complain. I'm on my way to the United States on the luxurious ship RMS Titanic, what more could a girl ask for?

We arrived late to dinner. Being newlyweds on our honeymoon this was expected. The captain and several of the staff greeted us as we entered. We were led into the restaurant reception room. The other passengers were already there.

Richest man in the world, John Jacob Astor and his bride Madeline seemed to be taking it all in. They were finally returning to the States after an extended "honeymoon" in Europe. More likely they wanted to escape the gossip surrounding their marriage. JJ is more than thirty years older than his young bride. So you can imagine the scandal. I feel for them. High society has been agog over the whirlwind courtship between George and I. Some people! Poor Madeline kept sneaking little white pills. Must be her "delicate condition." One that should be over with in four or five months, I would guess.

A server handed us a glass of pink champagne and appetizers. On tonight's menu: Hors d'Oeuvre Varie's White Star Ahi Tuna.

Also in attendance were William Ernest Carter from Pennsylvania and his lovely wife Lucille Polk Carter. Mr. Carter was generous enough to allow one of my containers to be stored with his eight horses. He seemed to have a chip on his shoulder about the White Star Line's use of Mr. Carnegie's steel for the Titanic and not his. Mrs. Carter's fashion sense was in full force that night. Her lovely jewelry, a gift from her husband, drew lots of oohs and ahs.

We also met the entertaining Colonel Gracie from New York. He shared stories and hit it off with George with their talk about the New York Yacht clup and sailing. Mrs. Molly Brown from Colorado was also there. A wealthy widow, she definitely drew the attentions of the charming colonel.

I wasn't sure what to make of Mr. Jacques Furtrelle, a novelist from New York, or his wife, Lilly May Peel Futrelle. Mrs. Futrelle's glass was never empty. Her servant told one of my eight servants that her mistress had brought five cases of vodka with her. Five! Was she worried the ship would run out? No doubt she was not aware of the White Star Lines' reputation! Mr. Futrelle kept asking me with questions about my marriage to George. He also wanted to know about the Egyptian mummy I was bringing with me.

His curiosity bordered on pestering and I was relieved when the server brought our next course: a cup of Windsor Broth.

The gentlemen retreated to the deck to enjoy cigars provided by John Jacob Astor. JJ also kept pulling out a deck of cards. For a moment I wondered whether George and he would stick around for dinner.

A bell rang and we were led into the dining room. We were seated at the Captain's table. Captain Smith was so delightful telling us all about his magnificent ship.

We were served Grilled Salmon with Mousseline Sauce and Cucumber Fans.

I sat between George and Mr. Futrelle, who continued his questioning. When the question of the mummy was brought up again, everyone agreed that the curse associated with it was total superstition. All agreed that those deaths during the Egyptian expedition I financed were simply coincidence. Thank goodness. I would have hated to go into a lengthy and scholarly discussion during such a fine meal. George simply agreed with whatever I said. I have totally captivated the poor fool. Between you and me, my marriage to him was a mere convenience to provide passage for my mummy, but he has starting to grow on me a little. Perhaps I shall keep him.

Our next course was served: Roasted Beef Fillets, Chateau Potatoes and Minted Green Pea Timbales. The crew kept our wine glasses full, changing from the dry white to a red to go with the main course.

Conversation flowed easily. Politics and fashion. Where to stay in New York (JJ owns three hotels there). Where we'd all been traveling in Europe. Many had passed through the Riveria. A few eyebrows raised at Mr. Guggenheim's travelling female companion who was not his wife.

Next something strange happened. We heard an odd scraping sound. The crystals on the chandelier clinked. A few moments later a member of the crew said the captain was needed for a moment.

Minted Lime Sorbet was served.

The captain finally returned. He said there was an incident, but it was nothing to worry about. Of course not. We were on the Titanic! The unsinkable ship. Nothing to worry about at all.

Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette was served next.

The captain disappeared again. Suddenly we saw flares being shot off the deck. The crew assured us there was nothing to worry about.

After dinner, we were led to The Verandah Cafe for dessert: Lemon Chiffon Ice Torte. We noticed the table was uneven, leaning to one side. Again we were assured nothing was wrong, but no one could explain the flares. One of the crew mentioned something about trying to contact a nearby ship, The Californian.

Assorted fresh fruits, Cheshire, Stilton, Triple Cream Cheeses along with Brandy, Port and Cordials were then served. Soon we were asked to go on deck where we found ice. Ice! The ship had brushed an iceberg. We were assured all was well. The chilly air made me shiver so George gave me his jacket to wear. The men lit up cigars while the band played. The crew continued to fill glasses.

When the call to the lifeboats came, George and I climbed onboard as did the Carters. Others from our lovely dinner weren't so lucky. John Jacob Astor and Jacques Futrelle did not make it off the ship, however, their wives survived. As soon as we were safely on the Carpathia, many blamed my cursed mummy for the misfortune that had befallen the Titanic's maiden voyage. I, however, blamed man's pride and arrogance. Really, who could ever believe a ship made of steel could be unsinkable?

For pictures of the evening see posts for 4/21 and 4/23.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Love Fest Returns

Heroes came back with a vengeance after a much too long winter break. I have to admit, it was worth the wait. The show picked up right where it left off and then some. I was on the edge of my seat and literally tingling at times. Yes, tingling. Big thanks to the writer(s) and everyone who does the show.

Anything, be it a person such as hubby or Hayden or author, or an activity such as skiing, or a movie/show such as Star Wars or Heroes, that gives me tingles captures my heart. I become a dedicated fan/admirer/participant and I'm willing to forgive much in those instances. I just hope Heroes keeps it up and can keep from going the way of LOST. Nothing worse than being disappointed by something you love!

A few of my fave moments last night (seriously I loved the entire show!): Claire saving Peter, learning Linderman was behind everything including the group Claire's dad works for, watching Nathan become enraptured by the thoughts of power, Hiro finding the time line in the future and bumping into himself. The sound of the sword in the background from future Hiro pulling it out of the sheath was so cool.

Saddest moment, of course, was about Isaac Mendez. One less hottie on the show. But I loved how he said he finally got to be a hero!

Aside from watching Heroes, I worked on the book. Made it to the top of the wall I hit last week and may finally get completely over it today! Needless to say, the words are coming and new pages being added. Thank goodness! I'm still not at chapter six, but once I reach that the tally will return. Good thing with the deadline quickly approaching.

I'll try to make the Titanic Dinner the topic of the blog tomorrow. I want to do it justice, but at this point I probably just need to get it done!

So what out there has captured your heart? Did you get tingles while either seeing, watching, reading, doing it?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Titanic Party Pics

No write up yet due to working on the book, but if you want to see pictures from the Titanic Party, click here and you'll be taken to my flikr page for the Titanic Party set. Enjoy!

You know what I did this weekend. What did you do?

Have a great Monday!


For a writeup of the evening see 4/25 post.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Harder

Newlyweds and First Class Passengers on the RMS Titanic's maiden voyage.

For a writeup of the evening see 4/25 post. For link to more pictures see 4/23 post.

If the shoe fits...

Yesterday was my attempt to create a pair of shoes to wear to our Titanic Dinner. I forgot how much fun it was to do something crafty and had a lot of fun trying different things.

Before shot:

I bought these shoes at Payless Shoe Store. They retail for $17.99, but I purchased them for half-price due to their sale. Not bad looking shoes. They are very comfortable, too. The heel is all wrong, but I couldn't be too choosy. I picked them because of the higher front that sorta reminded me of a low boot which was the look I was going for based on the photos of Rose's Titanic shoes.

After shots:

So not a huge difference, but enough that I hope they look slightly vintage/Edwardian. I first wrapped a wide black satin ribbon around the leather band and metal buckle. I knew I had to cover that up right away. I used the satin ribbon due to the pics of Rose's shoes. I experimented with putting ties to make them look like lace-ups, but that was too difficult. I finally decided less was more. (Okay, I was running out of time!) So I glued a beaded, embroidered trim where the satin band fell. I then tied a bow where the buckle was.

I tried two different kinds of ribbon for the bow: satin and a wired sheer. I actually liked the look of the wired sheer better, but the satin seemed more authentic. When I wear these again (probably the RWA Conference in Dallas), I'll use the sheer bows instead.

Approximate cost: $9.99 shoes + $7 ribbon supplies = $16.99 plus sales tax

So what do you think of the shoes? Titanic worthy or not? Would you have done anything differently?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday already?

I can't believe it's Friday. Where did the week go?

I'm still working on Chapter 4. It's coming along finally, but I had to do some revising. I should be able to finish tomorrow some time. Of course, I have Pilates and the youngest kidlet at home so writing time will be scarce. I also have to make a pair of shoes to wear for the Titanic dinner this weekend.

I went on-line and saw a site with picture's of Rose's shoes from the Titanic movie. I then went to Payless Shoes and found a pair of black shoes. I also bought the girls and I each a couple of pairs of these really cute Champion shoes. It was BOGO (buy one get one half off.) Then I went to Walmart and picked up black ribbon and beaded trim. Today I'm going to attempt to make my 2007 shoes look more like something that would have been worn in 1912. They will be far from authentic, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I will take before and after pictures. I just hope I can Edwardian the shoes up a little. Wish me luck!

Are you a crafty person? I think if I didn't write, I'd really be into crafts, sewing, scrapbooking stuff. I love doing things like that. Now there just isn't time.

Link for the day: Rose's costumes from the movie Titanic. This is the link I'm using to help me with my shoes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Love at first sight?

On this day in 1991, I attended a meeting at the SFO Marriott along with every other engineer who worked at United Airlines maintenance base in San Francisco. Our job classifications were changing and it was the first of many knifes in the back that so-called "management" employees would take over the years. I sat next to a friend and coworker, trying to pay attention to the executive double talk. During a break, I noticed a bunch of guys sitting three or four rows in front of us. Okay, I'd noticed them before, but I was trying to listen to how this might effect my job.

One of the guys stood up. He was tall, a little over six feet tall with curly dark blond hair. He wore a button down light blue oxford shirt. I could see the outline of his T-shirt beneath his long sleeve. He looked back, not at us, but that's all it took. He was so handsome he took my breath away. Seriously. Once I could breathe again, I leaned over to my friend and told her that was the man I was going to marry. She laughed. So did I.

As time went on, I kept an eye out for the "mystery man" as my friends called him. Four months later I found him in the main cafeteria while having lunch with some friends. My secretary arranged for him to have lunch in the Turbine shop cafeteria where I worked. We met, ate and fought over a problem a plane had been having. He blamed my engine. I blamed his airframe. It wasn't pretty. So much for love at first sight! I realized there was no way in the world I would ever marry someone like him.

Later, when I was sitting at my desk, my boss came up to me. She wanted to know what was going on with me and the guy I had lunch with. I told her nothing. That he might be good looking, but he was an arrogant, cocky, jerk. Good, she said, because she thought the exact some thing about him!

On April 2nd, 1995, I had to eat the words of not marrying someone like him when I did marry him in his hometown on Long Island, New York. In the almost four years in between, he'd had plenty of time to mellow. We had become hiking buddies and friends. I'd even dated one of the guys who worked for him. Even my boss agreed that he had changed. Plus it turned out I had been right about what we fought about at lunch. The problem hadn't been with my engine! And yes, I still bring that up to this day! Wouldn't you?

Needless to say, we weren't a case of love at first sight. Sure, I might have said I was going to marry him, but I quickly changed my mind after actually meeting him. And there were plenty of rough spots even getting to the dating stage. The thing that turned everything around was actually a poem I'd written that I finally mustered enough courage to give him when we were in that do we become more than friends stage.

Love took time for us, but I know people who swear they fell in love that very first time they met. Do you think love at first sight is possible? Have any examples?

Video for the day: Hubby and I danced our first dance as husband and wife to this song at our wedding.

One last thing... Happy Birthday to the Muse! Hayden Christensen turns 26 today!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Work in Progress

I got up early this morning to work on the book. Wednesday is the day I only have about 45 minutes at home between 9:00 am and 3:15 pm so I figure it would be good to try and write. Of course, I'm in such a funk all I can do is stare at chapter four so I figured I'd blog instead. So much for discipline. Hard to believe a week ago I stayed home from skiing and wrote a ton of pages! Maybe what I need to do is move to the mountains! Nah, I just need to keep at it.

No matter how much I might complain, I love writing. I couldn't imagine not writing. And this does happen every book, though never this extreme, this early. That's probably the problem. I'm not ready for such frustration or tears or insert-negative-feelings-here until it's closer to deadline time.

Hubby brought me home a Hershey's bar with Almonds last night. That helped. I also jumped ahead to the last chapter and filled in a little on the heroine's dark moment since I was in that weepy, angsty kind of mood. But now, I'm going back to Chapter 4 and make it work! Let's hope by the end of hump day, I'm moving onto Chapter 5!

Here's one of the songs I used for the book soundtrack of Marriage for Baby that I listened to last night. It made me feel better. Are there songs that make you feel better?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Murky Middle

I've hit that wall once again. It's part of my process. It happens every time. No matter how hard I work to get chapters four and five right the first time through, I always get them wrong. I can't think of one book where this hasn't happened so when I try to go to chapter six, I get stuck. Needless to say, the last few days have been painfully slow writing wise. Rewriting and moving passages/scenes and pulling hair. It's still not there so that's what I'll be working on again during nap time today and once the kids are in bed tonight.

So...rather than depress myself even more, I will forgo the tally until I hit chapter 6. Right now the only thing I'm doing is cutting pages. I'm not even eating chocolate. Hmmm, maybe that's the problem!

If you write, is there a part of the book that always gives you trouble?

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those affected by the Virginia Tech tragedy yesterday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Glittery SmoocHa

The romance writing blog world is a buzz with Jenny Crusie's analysis of the Glittery HooHa on her blog. It's an interesting theory about why men (playboy, womanizing types) finally fall for one woman and would do anything for her. Lani Diane Rich brought the concept over from a soap opera forum and let's just say Jenny's thread is a must read.

I found it fascinating because my current hero, Kane Wiley, is a playboy type. Here's what the HMB editor said about him in an email to me in regards to our continuity proposal and also in the acceptance with a few revisions email about my proposal:

We loved the playboy aspect of Kane’s character
• ...and I'm already half in love with Kane!

So am I. Though he's not a typical hero of mine. He's thinking about picking up bridesmaids at a wedding show when he drops off a package to my wedding dress designer heroine, Serena!

When I read Jenny's blog yesterday, I realized the concept of the Glittery HooHa was perfect for him except for one thing. A pretty big thing when you think about the type of romance I write-sweet traditionals, no sex before marriage stories. No way can Kane dip into my heroine's HooHa.

Talk about bummed.

Never one to give up, I realized I could change the HooHa to a SmoocHa. My heroine has a Glittery SmoocHa and when Kane dips into it he's a goner. (We're talking tongue, here, so get your mind out of the gutter!) With my engineering background, I needed to justify this deviation from the original theory and have come up with a couple examples:

1. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and their respective princes - one taste of princess Glittery SmoocHa and those princes don't have a choice. A HEA is the only option!

2. Buttercup and Wesley in A Princess Bride - I'm assuming only smooching occurred before he left the farm, but I couldn't find my DVD or book copy to back this up so if I'm wrong please let me know.

There are also songs to back up the Glittery SmoocHa:
1. This Kiss by Faith Hill - if you listen to the words you'll know Faith is singing about the Glittery SmoocHa. She even mentions Snow White.

2. Kiss Me by Six Pence None the Richer - It doesn't matter which of the places in the song you choose to kiss her at, but once you're a goner. Glittery SmoocHa, I'm telling you.

So what do you think? Can I justify applying the Glittery HooHa/SmoocHa theory to a traditional romance? Can you back me up here with any other examples?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A BSP Plug

Besides this blog there is something else I write. One of those is now on sale. You can find my newest release on store shelves for the next couple of weeks or at your fave on-line bookseller after that.

Marriage for Baby is the story of an on the verge of divorce couple, Kate Malone and Jared Reed, and what happens when they gain custody of Cassidy, their best friends' four month old daughter. If you want to know more, go to my website. It's right there on the homepage with a link to the excerpt. Better yet, go buy the book. Just kidding!

Okay, enough blatant self promotion. At least until December when the next one comes out. I need to do this every now and then so I can honestly tell tell hubby I actually do need to spend time with the blog in order to promote my books!

I'm going to be writing today. What about you?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Titanic Dress

On April 14th ninety five years ago, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg at approximately 11:40 pm. I thought on this annivesary of that tragic event it would be fitting to talk about the upcoming Titanic dinner I'll be attending. In case you didn't know or remember, hubby and I purchased a Titanic Dinner auction package with four other couples. We were each assigned a character. Here's mine:

Martha LeDouce Harder, First Class Passenger
Traveling with 8 servants, 16 trunks, one 9 foot container

You, my dear young lady, are so fortunate to be spending your honeymoon on such an amazing ship with a suave and debonair man! You have never been to America, but you have mastered the language in a very short time. Your whirlwind romance has High Society agog!

I can't write the middle part because it plays a factor in the mystery we'll be solving. Needless to say I have lots and lots of money. We're talking millions, but all is not what it seems with the happy bride. Okay, back to the character description:

The dress for the evening is formal with the ankle length, fitted style dress that you have made so fashionable all over Europe. We have no doubt that you are in for the journey of a lifetime!

So that's me. Pretty cool, huh? I will be taking lots and lots of pictures that night. I cannot wait!

What I need to do now, however, is find a dress to wear that night. I found the following dressed on ebay. I can have them expressed shipped so they arrive in time, but I have to decide right away.

This is the first one I found. It's Nataya's new Titanic style. This cocoa colored dress has pale mauve embroidered accents on it. The seller told me some of her customers don't like the contrast so she wanted to make me aware of it. This new style has the tulle and ruffle look on the bottom. It also comes in Ivory and Black/Silver.

Here is the same dress as above, but in the black and silver color. It has a light silver grey underdress with a Black mesh fabric overdress that has Silver/grey embroidery on it.

This is a Titanic-Era reproduction dress from Nataya! The color of dress is a Black and Silver-Grey combination.

This is a periwinkle blue dress that isn't part of the Titanic collection but by the same designer and has a similar style.

So please tell me what you think about the dresses? Which one do you think I should buy?

Friday, April 13, 2007


Catchup Tally

New pages written: 22 (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 82 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: not going to count yet, but the book's due June 1
Emails from editor in UK: 3
Emails from agent in NY: 1
Emails from continuity loop: too many to count

Chocolate consumed: M&Ms, Malted Milk Balls, Reese's Peanut Butter cups
Junk food consumed: McDonald's Filet of Fish meal
Exercise: Pilates and skiing
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Link for the day: Pearls before breakfast. An interesting social experiment done by the Washington Post. It's long, but I'd love to hear what you think about this!

Here's my climbing gear. I'm all set now. Just need to figure out a time for lessons! Is there anything you've thought about trying or learning to do?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bye Bye Bend

It's a beautiful blue sky, sunny morning with fresh snowfall up on the mountain. A perfect day for skiing and not one of us wants to leave, but Spirit gets out of the hospital tomorrow so go we must.

We usually stay close to home during Spring Break, but this trip was just what we needed. A big thanks to our friends for allowing us to use their house once again!

My pink snow bunny had another great day skiing. When the snow was falling really hard, they started taking the other kids inside. She was the only one who wanted to stay out. So they handed her over to another instructor who took her on the swing (aka lift) for the first time. She loved it!

The two older kidlets really honed their skiing skills this week. My oldest fell in love with powder and hubby had a hard time keeping her out of the trees. My son continues to love speed, but now turns, too. All three kids had fantastic instructors. Big kudos to the Mt. Bachelor ski school for teaching great skills, but also making it fun!

Another family from our school and church were here. I had fun skiing with them on Tuesday. Hubby pulled the kids from ski school after lunch yesterday and they skied until their legs couldn't take it any more.

I managed to write many pages. I finished the first draft of chapter four and put a good dent into chapter five. With the last chapter and epilogue drafted that gives me a nice chunk to count as done. Draft pages, of course, but my writing always happens during rewrites for me. A blank page is the worst thing for me to have to face. Give me a page with words, even crappy words, I can do something with it!

On the way home, I will be stopping by a climbing store to buy the rest of my gear. Fingers crossed they have everything. If you're curious what's on the list: harness, helmet, chalk bag, daisy chain, locking biner. I'm going by memory, but I do have a list in my purse provided by climbing cutie instructor complete with brands and whatever other info I would have no clue about.

Do you have anything on a shopping list that you need to buy?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pink Snow Bunny

Rose did it! She skied!!!! And since you can't really tell what she looks like in her ski gear, you get to see pics!

Yesterday was not without tears. As on Monday, she did not want to go. Hubby had a conference call so was working in the lodge while I dropped the kidlets off at ski school. Crocodile tears shot from her eyes when it was time for me to leave her. Hugs, kisses and the promise of M&Ms didn't help.

Hubby went back, and I stayed out of sight since it was more about being left than the skiing that bothered her. Finally, after minutes of intense discussions and head shaking, hubby waved me over. He said it wasn't going to happen today.

Getting all three kids on skis has been my dream. I was not going to let that dream die. Normally I give in, but not on this day that was made for skiing. I took her by the hand and led her back inside the yurt where her instructor and helmet was. I put her helmet on her and said she was going to try it, that Daddy or me would stay here with her, but she was going to give it a go.

She looked shocked, but still she nodded and went outside with the other two "little rippers" in her program. Since hubby was planning to snowshoe today and not ski, he told me to go on and he'd stay. So I went skiing. A little while later, I got a call. She was smiling and having fun. A little while later, another call. Hubby had tears in his eyes. She was on skis and loving it.

After lunch, she told her daddy she was ready to be on her own so he bought a lift ticket and skied with me the rest of the day! When we picked her up, I was told by one of the instructors that Rose deserved M&Ms so on the way home from dinner hubby bought her a big bag! She'll be back at ski school today and is even looking forward to it!

But it looks like no skiing for me today unfortunately. Woke up with a cough and achy and feeling blah, so I'm staying here and writing. Hard to believe and I'm more than a little heartbroken about not skiing, but with this June 1 deadline I cannot afford to get sick again. Disciplined, yes, and that shows progress again, but I've gotta admit, it really sucks.

Link for the day: Radioactive kitty! If you click the link and choose one of the four cameras, you can see my cat, Spirit, who had the radioiodine (I131) treatment yesterday for her hyperthyroidism. She's gray with the name Spirit written on her cage. I spoke to the place yesterday and she was doing great!

A Beautiful Day on the Slopes

It was a perfect day to be skiing yesterday. Sunny blue skies in the morning, no wind and four inches of new snow! It doesn't get much better than that. Clouds started moving in later, but it was still great skiing. And to top if off, I heard back from the Sr. Editor at HMB. My continuity proposal was accepted!!! So another reason to cheer!

Here are some pics from the day:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My First Ascent

Last night we had dinner at the Deschutes Brewery in downtown Bend. Great beer! We came home and the family went in the hot tubbed while I wrote. No page tally because I forgot the cord that attaches the alphie to my ibook for downloading. It's probably a good thing so I don't worry about the page count while I'm on vacation. I'm already freaking out a little about where I am in the book and where I think I should be.

I also tried out my new climbing shoes. The house has a rock wall in one of the bedrooms so I could give them a test run. Of course, I have no idea how to climb, but the climbing cutie instructor had given me a few tips over the phone before I left for Bend. I was hoping to do this when no one was around, but the kids were in there and suddenly the camera started flashing behind me. Lots of heckling from the crowd! Not that I expected any less which is why I was hoping to try this alone!

In spite of my fear of heights, I made it to the ceiling. Not that high, but as climbing cutie emailed me last night after I emailed him a few pics, "Bueno! Everyone starts somewhere." Climbing down was much harder than going up. There was more than a moment's hesitation both times I reached the top. I'm hoping to buy the rest of my gear on our way home on Thursday. We drive right past Smith Rocks which I hear is a fantastic place to rock climb. Once I have everything on my list, it will be time for lessons. I can't wait!

Today we're back on the mountain skiing. More snow fell overnight so there should be lots of powder. My cat Spirit will be getting her I131 treatment. Later, I'll post the link so you can see her in the hospital. They have web cams so you can see the cats.

Is anyone watching any good television? I feel so disconnected from the TV world since I haven't turned mine on in weeks.

Link for the day: Bus riding kitty! Cute story about a cat who takes the bus to shops, one of which is a fish & chips shop. Sounds like a pretty sharp kitty to me!

Monday, April 09, 2007

White outs and Face Plants

What do I say about today? It was a real mixed bag sort of day. There was more than an inch and half of new snow. Some of the runs were a mix of wind blown powder and ice. Others were sweet powder. And I haven't taken so many wipe outs in years, but it was still fun. The two older kidlets had a blast, even with the high winds (25-40 mph) and white out conditions, and Finn told me had thirteen face plants. I hope he was exagerating!

The youngest, however, had a miserable time. I thought there would be blue sky and sunshine for a perfect Spring skiing day to put her on skis for the first time, not wind and snow all day long. She cried. They called us. She stopped crying. By the time we got from the other side of the hill to her she was crying again. We finally gave up after lunch. I sat with her in the car and wrote on my alphie while she napped. The conditions had gotten really bad by then so I didn't miss much.

We're going to see what the weather is like tomorrow and maybe try her in ski school again. The kids will be back up there for sure. Hubby and I will have to flip a coin if ski school is out or maybe do a split shift. Here are some pics from today:

Hardly anyone was on the mountain. When we were on the Outback chair and runs, we saw only one other skier and the lift operator. The wind was howling, at times you couldn't see, and you'd go from powder to ice in a split second. See below for one of my wipe outs.

A rare photo of my two oldest with their ski instructor. Since you can't really see them, I figured it was safe to post. Their instructor was named Tom and he was awesome. Took them on their fave run Dilly Dally Alley. He had them going on jumps and taught them how to ski in powder. That's a lesson I need!

Face plant time. Sorry for the quality, but hubby was way downhill from me when this occurred. It was a double release, meaning I lost both skis. One was hard to find in all the snow! Picture snow falling and the wind ripping and me face first in the snow. At least it was soft, like falling onto a bed of feathers. Except colder.

Here I am with frozen hair, looking a lot worse for the wear. This pic was taken after a killer run. Killer in that I'm surprised I made it down in one piece. I haven't skied so much powder in over thirteen years.

So how was your day?

Monday Morning in Bend

I need to write pages more than I need to blog this morning. Oh my, I'm actually being disciplined about my writing. Progress:) I'll be back after we get home from skiing and I have some pics to make it easier.

Ski conditions: 1 1/2 inches of new snow. More is predicted but right now it looks sunny outside though there are some dark clouds above too.

Have a great day!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Easter is my favorite holiday. It always has been. I love Christmas, too, but the significance of Easter makes it so much more special to me.

Back when I was in college, I invited a bunch of friends over to my house, actually the house of close friends of my parents who treated me like a daughter during my four years at Stanford and happened to be out of town this particular weekend. We arrived on Saturday afternoon. We BBQ'd, drank and watched movies including Buckaroo Bonzai. One friend, who was Jewish, had never dyed Easter eggs so we did that. In the morning, I attended Mass while everyone slept. I stopped off at a bakery and a store and then returned home with all the fixings for Easter Brunch. It was the first time I'd ever had to put on a holiday.

Another Easter, one of my closet friends and coworkers (and also my oldest's godfather), Alan, came home with me to spend Easter at my parents' house. We were standing outside the church waiting for the Easter Vigil to begin. They had lit a fire to begin the service. The solemn silence was suddenly broken by an older gentleman, who yelled from his porch, "What the hell is going on out there?"

Yet another Easter I brought home hubby who was then just a guy I was dating. It was time to dye eggs even though we were almost thirty at the time. My sister is really into dying eggs. To this day, her eggs remain works of art. As we dyed eggs, she kept watching not-yet-hubby. With each passing minute, her anxiety level rose because his eggs weren't coming out quite so perfect. She started offering suggestions and trying to help him. She even took one of his eggs and redyed it. He, of course, knew exactly what was going on and proceeded to then make the ugliest Easter egg you've ever seen in your life. It was this hideous brown speckled thing. I seriously thought my sister was going to lose it. But since none of my family ever thought I would get married let alone bring a guy who was not "just a friend" home for a holiday, she wasn't about to say a word! Though if looks could kill, I'd probably still be single, living in my rent-controlled Marina District apartment at the corner of Beach and Scott writing stories in the walk-in closet I turned into a study.

Enough reminiscing.

These are a few of the Easter eggs we made last night. Hubby wasn't keen on the Star Wars theme, but I had a regular box of egg dye, too.

I think the Star Wars eggs turned out adorable. The kids were so excited about them. They told me they wanted me to make Darth Vader. They also gave me the Anakin sticker to put on a yellow egg they dyed that said, "Mom Rules!" I've got the best kids in the world, that's for sure!

Have a wonderful blessed Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Scramble

No page tally until Monday. I usually post Friday's, but since this is Easter weekend, I'm going to wait until Monday. Maybe then I can catch up on a few pages. I will tell you I got a couple of pages written, and that was without any chocolate due to Good Friday.

I have a feeling there will be little television watching this time around. Not that I watch much to begin with, but I can't remember the last time I watched something on TV, not even TAR last Sunday since we were at Timberline, but April 23rd and the return of Heroes is just around the corner so at least on Mondays I'll have a show to post.

Today will be filled with packing and Easter prep including egg dying and hopefully (please, oh, please) writing. There is also another birthday to attend, but I may let hubby take that one.

I bought climbing shoes the other day, but one little device thingy on one of the elastic laces was missing, but I didn't notice until I put them on to show hubby. Since the house at Bend (same one where we stayed in January) has a rock wall, I want to try them out so I'll probably run down to REI and the piece that's missing. There's a climbing store on the way to Bend that someone on a forum recommended so I want to check that out and see if I can buy the rest of my gear on the list given to me by climbing cutie instructor. Once I have everything, we're going to get started!

So interesting tidbit about my climbing adventure so far. Every climber guy I've met in person is good looking. It's kind of weird, in a good way, of course. Maybe it's just to get me ready for my next book, but hey, I'm not complaining. I like my eye-candy as much as the next person. We'll have to see if the streak continues. Just the other day I met a real hero-worthy hottie at REI when I was looking at gear and shoes. As I was explaining what things were to Rose, he asked me if I climbed! I told him I was going to be learning. He said he was going up Hood that night.

Not much else to say except the Bend house does have wireless Internet so I will remain connected this week. Not that you'll read much except skiing at Mt. Bachelor, though I'm hoping to connect up with the BARK dogs and do a little research if I can. And unlike the January trip, we have a camera this time so there will be pics. Though if we're on the slope I will have on a helmet and goggles. Sorry, Tori. But in case you really must know or forgot what I look like, there's a head shot of me on my website!

It's late and I need some sleep. Hope you have a fun Saturday!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Thursday Tally

New pages written: 2 (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 60 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: not going to count yet, but the book's due June 1
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0
Emails from continuity loop: 11

Chocolate consumed: Brownie
Junk food consumed: French fries
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: yes, but not writing related. Church was beautiful last night
Link for the day: too busy

Not a lot of writing yesterday, but most of the evening was spent at church. Mass, then we ran home, put the kids to bed than split the remainder of time at church until midnight. I did manage two pages while hubby was there! I also got my Easter bunny helper shopping done between picking up the kids from school and Mass. Of course, that meant I didn't eat dinner until 9:30 pm.

Today so far has consisted of Pilates, Costco run and a b-day party with Rose. I also managed to drop off a bag of romance novels to the woman who sold me my ski gear. I had a bunch that needed to be passed on so I'm glad to have them out of the house. Still need to clean for Sunday, do a little more shopping for the Easter meal and pack for our spring break ski trip to Bend. And we'll be spending a big chunk of tonight at church again.

Are you ready for Easter? Any big plans? When do you dye eggs?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Return of the Tally

Wednesday Tally

New pages written: 3 (goal: 6.2 pages per day)
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: 0
Total page count to date: 58 (goal: 200)
Days remaining until D-day: not going to count yet, but the book's due June 1
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0
Emails from continuity loop: approx. 10

Chocolate consumed: Brownie
Junk food consumed: A Twizzler stick
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Link for the day: Mom My Ride! Blog reader Tiffany emailed me this YouTube video. Pretty funny since I have three kids, drive a minivan and have a hubby partial to duck tape!

With a book due in less than two months, the tally has returned. I'm already behind. Nothing new.

Last night I read Myrna Mackenzie's continuity book. It was great. After reading her and Shirley's books, I'm feeling the pressure on mine.

On the home front, I found out yesterday that we are having our family Easter celebration here. I have done nothing yet to get ready (not even Easter bunny stuff) which means I need to go shopping. I also have to take Smalls back to the vet so I may stop by REI to try on rock climbing shoes and harnesses. And Rocket has been diagnosed as Hyper-T, too. Hubby is not happy since that means Rocket will need the same treatment as Spirit. It's a cure, but it's also expensive.

What are you doing today?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More snow pics!

This was the first picture taken Tuesday morning. The sun was shining. The temperature was warm. Not a cloud in the sky. A perfect day for hitting the slopes. We were somewhere near the Pucci runs/lift when we took it.

We were talking about Nick and Paul when this shot was taken. It was such a beautiful day for a climb. Hubby said he hoped he had that kind of weather when he goes up. We had taken the Magic Mile chair lift up. That's where we spent the morning skiing since it had been closed due to the weather on Monday.

In this shot, you can see the Palmer Lift going up the Palmer Glacier. In the summer, the US ski team trains here. Where you see skiers and snowboarders is one of the runs off the Magic Mile lift.

One of our favorite runs was on the far side of the Magic Mile lift. It was a long cruiser type run that went around the back of the lodge. This was the side our room was on.

Here I am with my new skis! My nine year old thinks I'm a cool mom now because I have Roxy skis! They are actually freestyle skis, but work great on the groomed runs. I totally surprised and shocked hubby, however, by going over a jump when we came to a terrain park on one of the runs. It was just a little jump.

Anniversary Evening

We had dinner at the Cascade Dining Room and I gave hubby his present there. The first thing he pulled out of the box was the book.

I had to tell him there was something else in the box. This is him reading the gift certificate from Timberline Mountain Guides.

These two guys are Paul and Nick. Hubby was talking about climbing Mt. Hood after dinner and they asked if he was going up that night because they were. A couple of hours after I took this picture, they were leaving the lodge to climb Mt. Hood. They had perfect weather and we hope they made it! They were planning to make hot chocolate when they reached the summit!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Timberline Lodge

This picture is from the Ram's Head bar looking down at the fireplace.

Similar shot but looking up.

These are words about Timberline Lodge that are on the massive fireplace.

On the slopes

These pictures are from yesterday. You can't see my anniversary present too well, but I'm wearing them. New skis, boots and poles!

The historic Timberline lodge is in the background. I'll post a couple interior shots when I get home. I never got last night's photos uploaded. We were having too much fun!

Here I am on the chairlift! It started getting a little cold, but the snow was worth it!

The sun peeked out at one point, but this morning there isn't a cloud in the sky!!!! Spring skiing! Yippee!