Sunday, September 30, 2007

A new winner!

It's Sunday so that means a new winner!

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2007-10-01 02:51:12 UTC

This week's winner is Brandy. She won with her comment on post on the Mom Talk Blog!

Brandy, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

It was a busy weekend. The Portland Ice Festival was super fun. Good thing because that made up for today. Hubby woke up in the middle of the night with some sinus thing. Poor baby. He's been really sick today so that's taken up a lot of time. He's worse than the three kids together when he doesn't feel well so I'm hoping he feels better really soon.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mom Talk

I got this from blog commenter AnneD. Funny and true! The kidlets loved it, too. So many of those same words have come out of my mouth. Enjoy!

Today I'm going to Pilates, then try and get caught up on my writing. I'm so behind, but I got a good night's sleep so that should help. Have a great Friday!

P.S. For those in the PNW, don't forget about the Portland Ice Festival tomorrow night at the Portland Rock Gym. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Today marks the end of my two weeks of no heavy use ban because of my sprained ankle. I still have a couple more weeks until the doctor said it would be totally healed so I really shouldn't climb outside, but I can give gym climbing a go and see how that feels. I've been itching to work on my technique doing the stuff the climbing cutie told me to try and practice!

I've decided to take a break from doing traverses and bouldering (i.e. climbing without ropes) for a while. It was great because you don't need to find a partner, but this is the second time I fell doing that. The first time I just scraped up my leg, but I really don't want another sprained ankle. I'm just going to make more of an effort to find people to climb with!

I'm off to get my haircut! Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday Words

Hubby comes home tomorrow and I can't wait. I've been feeling so lonely. I made it through the first couple of nights, but it hit hard yesterday. Taking the kidlets to Irish dance last night was such a relief. I really needed to talk to people over the age of nine. But this morning I was back to longing for adult conversation and company.

As I dropped off the kids off at school this morning, I realized I have a lot of acquaintances where we live, but not a lot of friends. Sure, people are friendly and nice, don't get me wrong, but I'm talking the kind of friends who chat on the phone (and not about kid play dates and stuff), get together for coffee or lunch or dinner, that sort of thing. I counted who I would consider that kind of friend. I came up with two. That made me sad.

So I picked up the phone and called one of my closest friends, who lives about forty minutes away. We talked about my dream big blog post and shared our goal lists with each other. We talked about her upcoming trip overseas. We also talked about friends. She said it was hard for her to connect on a deep level with people at her son's school. It wasn't that they weren't nice. They were, but they just didn't understand her creative pursuits and what her writing and photography meant to her. I gotta admit it was good to hear that from someone else, too.

Still I'm not really surprised to find myself in this position. I've never been a member of the in-crowd or popular group. I've always been the person who hung around the edges. An outsider, observing and taking it all in no matter what the group or activity. Maybe that's the writer in me or the engineer. Most likely a combo of both.

I have to admit, too, that I'm probably not the easiest friend to have. Think about it. Deadline times when I disappear into the cave for a few weeks at a time, a fantasy world running inside my head that can make me seem a little spacey at times, and a new climbing passion where I don't mind getting dirty, bruised and blistered as many times a week as I can.

Hmmm... a stressed, spaced out loner who'd rather be hanging out at the local climbing crag with people she meets on the Internet. Yep, exactly what your typical stay-at-home mom around here is looking for in a meet-at-Starbucks-after-school-dropoff-pal.

People say you can figure out what issues authors are dealing with in their own lives if you study their books. In my case, that's definitely true. Acceptance plays a part in many of my stories. Finding where we fit in, that sense of belonging, of being accepted for who we are. I tell people writing keeps me sane and is the best therapy! I'm not kidding when I say that.

If you're a writer, do you see personal issues coming out in your work? Is it something you recognize as your writing or after the fact or not until someone points it out to you? If you're a reader, have you ever noticed a particular theme in more than one of an author's works?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A night of television

I'd been counting down the days to the Heroes season premiere on Monday night, and decided to make a night out of watching television. Something I rarely (okay, almost never) do. Here's what I saw and my take on NBC's Monday night schedule:

Chuck - I had heard a radio DJ mention the show yesterday as I was driving home from Pilates. She didn't say what it was about, but that it had good buzz. I figured I'd try something totally new for the 8 o'clock hour. And since it was on NBC, I might get to catch a Heroes teaser.

A good choice.

The show was smart, fresh and funny. I had no idea it would have a spy theme or have a connection to my alma mater, Stanford, so both of those were pleasant surprises. The scene with the "accountant" Bryce stealing the data was straight out of a summer blockbuster and rocked. I hope we get his backstory somehow as the season progresses. He reminded me of a hero from a romantic suspense novel. Another nice surprise was actor Adam Baldwin. I've liked him for years and he's worth watching alone. And **spoiler alert** the ending when he's wearing that uniform...totally perfect. Needless to say, it's a show I will be tune into again.

Heroes - I'll admit it, the show could do nothing but show shots of a shirtless Peter Petrelli and I'd be a happy fan (and we did get that at the end. That man just gets better looking all the time. Sigh...) But I gotta admit this episode wasn't one of my favorites. It seemed to be more of a let's-get-the-new-viewers-involved-first kind of show. A lot like how LOST concentrated on the Others rather than the Tailies.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I liked it, but the show didn't have me on the edge of my seat like most of last season. Though the voice in Molly's nightmare sounded a lot like Sylar and sent a shiver down my spine. There was lots of interesting stuff going on as we caught up with our favorite heroes and we met three new ones Maya, who is one scary chick and I can't imagine what her "gift" is, a surprising Takezo Sensei played by former Alias' bad guy David Anders, and Nick, a boy at Claire's high school who can fly. A new thread of Mohan and Mr. Bennet taking down the company was introduced. A character was killed off, too. I know there has to be a beginning, a page one so to speak for this season's Volume 2, I just hope the new intros, backstory, etc give way to the kind of story arcs viewers came to know and love last season.

The Journeyman - I really should have spent the ten o'clock hour writing, but then this show came on right after Heroes so I thought why not? The show featured a time traveler except he didn't know he was a time traveler. There's a dead fiance who's not dead (which means he must have told her to get off the plane and a whole bunch of other stuff, too, since her surviving didn't change the future). A wife who used to date his brother (I gotta admit this is a real ick factor for me even though in one of his travels we can see she was in love with the guy back then but that raises the question why was she with his brother.) A cute kid who loves his dad. A police detective brother. A gruff editor boss. But the episode felt clunky and was confusing to me. The guy had no idea what was happening to him and he "figures out" he's supposed to help this one guy. And suddenly he knows he's going to be doing this more??? Maybe I missed some key lines of dialogue at the end, I don't know, but I really wasn't intrigued enough to find out.

Have you been watching the new season premieres? What are your favorite shows? Are you watching any new shows?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dream Big!

I spent the weekend checking off items on my To Do list. One of those was finding a designer for our continuity blog so I did a lot of googling and web surfing. When I was at one web designer's portfolio, I realized I hadn't been to several writer friend's websites in a long time given the changes I saw. Yikes! Some friend I am, but I did spend a little time getting caught up.

I wanted to point out one post on Elizabeth Boyle's blog in particular. She wrote about attending a workshop given by the talented Debbie Macomber where Debbie asked people to "dream big" and write down their goals on index cards. Elizabeth fought writing hers, but finally did it and well, you'll have to click on the link above to see her results.

I'm not at all surprised by what happened.

When I was single, I made a list of all the qualities I wanted in a husband. Some were general, a few were very specific. I kept the list in my organizer...for years. After dating one Mr. Wrong after another, I had pretty much given up finding Mr. Right and stuck the list in the back of my organizer so I could forget about it. Just couldn't throw it away for some reason. And you know what? A few years later I ended up marrying a man who met all my list requirements!

I'm not sure why I stopped writing down what I wanted. I had proof doing so worked. And quite well at that!

But thanks to Elizabeth's inspiring post (and Debbie who got her started in the first place), I'm going to do it again. Okay, I've already done it. I wrote down my goals on a pink index card yesterday (I figured why wait), and I tucked the list in my organizer.

Why don't you do the same? Write down your goals and/or dreams, and then we can see what happens together!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Dream House

I got this from Marianne who got it from Tori.

Your home is a Rough Adrenaline Headquarters
Your kitchen consists of dilithium-powered food replicators, manned by obedient robot slaves, who are sure to never, ever rebel. I mean, it's preposterous to even consider it. There's a pantry stocked with beef jerky. Oh, and deer jerky. Your study has every science fiction title ever written. One of your garages is home to your ATVs, hangglider, snowmobiles, and jetskis. It also containts a truck the size of a boat, which pulls a boat the size of a bus.

Your home also includes a robot repair bay, where your mechanized servants are routinely fitted with new restraining bolts. (It's just a precaution.) Your guests enjoy your collection of Warren Miller films. MAN those guys are nuts. Outside is your radio telescope, listening constantly for alien transmissions. Especially invaders. They'll come eventually, even if nobody believes you. (Nobody does.)

And, you have a pet -- a taun-taun named "Padme".

Below is a snippet of the blueprints:

Find YOUR Dream Home!

Okay, I love the X-wing fighter in the garage! Right up my alley. And who wouldn't want their own room full of climbing walls and a floor that inflates when you have no one to belay you. Is that perfect or what??

Free Book Sunday!

It's that time again!

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2007-09-23 18:39:49 IST

This week's winner is Tori. She won with her comment on last Sunday's post!

Tori, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

BTW, if you've won a book, you should have it soon! I found a stack of packages all addressed and ready to go that I thought had already been mailed for me. Sorry about that. And I thought I'd been so good keeping up with everything.

I've been crossing items off my To Do list this weekend. Not exactly a fun task, but necessary one. Hope you're having a great Sunday!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

When I handed Angus back to his mommy, she handed me a magazine. Not just any magazine, but the latest issue of US. She'd bought it at the airport to read on her flight home. Don't know about you, but I love trashy magazines. I never get a chance to read them unless I'm having my hair done so am usually content to scan the various covers while in line at the grocery store.

But, boy oh boy is reading one cover to cover so much fun!

From the fashions (who wore it best?), the pictures (Stars-they're just like us!) and the gossip, I had a fun time gobbling this magazine up. There was a two page picture of the cast of Heroes, even! But for someone who at one point in my life couldn't wait for her Entertainment Weekly to arrive in the mailbox, I felt so out of the world of pop culture and celebrity when they talked about new shows, stars and upcoming movies due out. That's what I get for living in a cave with no cable!

One article I really enjoyed was US picks the 20 Most Romantic DVDs. I agreed with some on their list. Eight of them I hadn't seen. But the list got me thinking. What were my favorite romantic movies? In no particular order, here are a few of mine:

• Pride and Prejudice
• Ever After
• Love Actually (Notting Hill, too)
• The Princess Bride
• While You Were Sleeping
• Pretty Woman
• The Cutting Edge
• Notorious
• Ladyhawke
• Somewhere in Time

What are some of your favorite romantic movies? I want to make a list of romantic movies to rent the next time hubby goes out of town. Help me out, please!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Good Night

I have discovered the way to have a peaceful night of sleep with so many animals in the house. First, keep Smalls outside. She definitely was the feline ring leader. With her gone, there were no hisses, no growls, nothing but two kitties who plopped down in their normal spots on the bed and went to sleep. They didn't even wake me in the middle of the night for rubs! Maybe they just needed a night to get used to our house-guest. The reason doesn't really matter. It was the quiet that counted!

Second, make sure Angus has enough exercise and fun. We'd played with him on Tuesday, but I wasn't able to take him for a walk and we'd had Irish Dance class in Portland (one hour of driving time RT and class time). Not the most fun for a doggy to have to put up with. I wanted to make up for that yesterday. Easy to do since the kidlets have early release on Wednesdays so once homework was finished there was still plenty of afternoon playtime remaining.

Angus lost his tags somewhere, assuming the backyard, but it could have been the minivan, too, so son got his handy-dandy metal detector out and the two of them searched the yard. No luck finding the tags, but they had a lot of fun. Then the girls joined in and played chase.

After dinner, Hubby and kids took Angus on a much-needed walk. When they got home, Angus stayed outside as the kids rode bikes. Then Angus, the kids and I played a fun game with running and parking inside. Needless to say, we were all worn out. But it worked. When it came time for bedtime, Angus followed us upstairs. We kissed him goodnight. That was the last we heard from him or anyone from that matter. I got up this morning when the alarm went off. I found Angus sound asleep on the stair landing. Such a sweetie!

None of us want to give Angus back. He's such a sweetie, we hate to see him go. We plan on enjoying our time with him today! Fortunately he'll be paying us another visit in October and we can't wait!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Three cats and a dog

My three furbabies are not happy. Their humble abode has been overrun by a large, four-legged creature that would like nothing more than to chase them around the house and yard. Since I knew this would be the case before hand, I made a plan. All three cats would stay in the master bedroom. The dog would have the rest of the house and the yard.

A good plan.

Except last night, the dog wanted to sleep with me.

I tried to get him to sleep with one of the kidlets. No way. I tried to make him a bed on the staircase landing where he'd taken a nap. Nope. But I couldn't let him into my room because of the cats so all through the night I would hear pawing on the door. This, of course, would rattle the cats who, for the first time ever united together in a feline front, stood on the opposite side of the door and hissed. I would chase them away from the door, see if the dog needed to go outside and then give him some love so he'd go back to sleep. This went on from eleven last night until six-thirty this morning. Wanna guess how much sleep I got?

And then what wasn't the best of plans but was still sorta working okay, totally disintegrated. Who am I kidding? It exploded right in my face. One of the kidlets, who shall remain nameless, went to get the cats' food bowls and let out the indoor/outdoor cat. She darted down the stairs, a streak of dark fur, and came face to face with the dog.

Barks resonated through the house. Both animals stood frozen staring at each other. One so excited he was shaking. The other with its back arched and hair sticking out. A stand-off.

One of the kidlets quickly opened the back door. The cat sprinted out. Okay, those four little paws barely grazed the hardwood floor and probably would have won the Gold medal for the hundred yard dash had this been an officially sanctioned event. The door was slammed shut and then total chaos reigned.

Somehow I managed to get everyone, two feet or four feet, fed and the two footers to school on time. In case you wondered, hubby is out of town.

The cat is still outside. She came by for a bite of breakfast earlier. I just saw her sitting on the fence, scoping out what's happening inside. The dog is waiting by the door. Each time he sees the cat his paws do a little shuffle on the floor.

Somehow I need to get the cat back into the house without the dog noticing. Not sure how to accomplish this on my own. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meet Angus

This is Angus, an adorable and friendly Wheaton Terrier. The kidlets have been asking to get a dog forever. Hubby has said no forever. But our friends needed someone to watch Angus this week, so we volunteered for the job. Needless to say, the kids (well, Mackenna and Rose since Finn is at school) are counting the hours until we pick him up. The only ones not excited about the temporary addition to the McClone household are the three cats.

I'm ready to play dog auntie. I have Angus' raw food defrosting in the fridge. I have his bones on the counter. Long walks around the neighborhood will have to wait until hubby gets home due to my ankle, but other than that I think I'm set. Still if you have any dog tips, please let me know. The last time I had a dog was back when in high school and my mom took care of everything. But seriously, how hard can it be?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yet another...

Just got home from Urgent Care. My oldest has strep, too. That's four out of five of us. Hoping hubby remains healthy or gets it before he's supposed to go away again!

That's about it for today. Head and throat hurt. Daughter is comfortable now so I'm going back to bed.

Have a nice day!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

And the free book goes to...

Wow! Lots of posts this week and a few new faces, too. Thanks so much! For any new readers, each Sunday I give away a free book. To enter, all you have to do is post a comment on the blog. Each comment counts as an entry.

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2007-09-16 18:50:52 IST

This week's winner is Suzanne. She won with her comment on the post Bug Says...

Suzanne, please pick a book off the list here and email me your choice and snail address. Thanks!

Oh, and I never got back to Marianne who asked if she got an automatic entry in each contest like Dru since she posted a review of my books. I'm only counting reviews done after the start of the contest, otherwise I'd have to count all reviews everywhere and that would be too much work for me.

And right now work is the last thing I want or need.

I have a sprained ankle and strep throat. Yesterday morning, it hurt to swallow, but I was in Idaho and didn't have time or know where to get checked. I decided to suck it up and just drive home last night. Rolled in around 11:30 pm and headed to urgent care this morning. I'm on antibiotics so should be feeling better soon.

Since I was there, I asked if she'd take a peek at my ankle. It's still swollen and bruised and a little painful. She said no heavy use for two weeks and limited use for the two weeks after that. She said four weeks to heal fully. I'm pretty bummed about that.

At least the Irish dance feis (competition) went well for my oldest. She has two dances she needs to win to have all her dances in the same level. Having them in the same level is important because then she can move classes and be with one of her best friends again. She won one the light jig, and placed third in the slip jig. One step closer! She also came home with two trophies, not to mention other placement medals.

Our youngest danced for the first time in something called the Tir Na nOg, which means the land of eternal youth. The dance was for children under the age of five who don't normally compete. She had a blast out there. The crowd was clapping for all the little kids, who finally got to take the stage. They deserved a chance in the spotlight after spending their days waiting and watching their older brothers and sisters compete. After the dance, the judge called all the kids over and talked to them. Everyone won a medal. Gorgeous, big round medals that said Tir Na nOg. They are so cool looking, my oldest was disappointed she didn't get one of them.

I was supposed to teach tonight, but since I'm contagious I can't. I missed last week's class because hubby was out of town and Rose was sick. Not the best start for the year, but what are you going to do? Plus someone needs to stay home with son. He should be able to school tomorrow though. Fingers crossed!

Hope you've had a great weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Portland Ice Festival

The Climbing Cutie is organizing this year's Portland Ice Festival at the Portland Rock Gym on Saturday, September 29th from 5 to 10 pm.

If you're local, show up. It'll be a great time to benefit a worthy cause-keeping Hyalite Canyon in Montana open. There will be climbing demonstrations, competitions, raffles and free beer. Not mention lots of fun. Oh, and the Cutie wanted me to mention that plenty of other climbing cuties will be on hand!

If you're not local, but would still like to help the Climbing Cutie raise funds for his cause, email me and I'll tell you how you can do it!

Busy morning

I'm taking the girls and driving to Boise today for an Irish Dance Competition. I hurt my ankle last night and that threw all my plans for getting ready for the trip out the window so I'm behind. Nothing new, really, but it will make the drive interesting since it's my right ankle. I'll post once I arrive!

Hope you're having a great Friday!

Made it to Idaho. I didn't realize they were one hour ahead here so I'm glad I figured that out or it could have caused problems in the morning. The two girls are fast asleep already. The seven hour drive wore them out. I'm tired, too. I actually am going to get to bed at a decent hour for once! I just need to unwrap my ankle and ice it a little. Sweet dreams all!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Not-so-brave New World

Since Sunday, I've taken two showers, done two loads of laundry, washed two loads of dishes, gotten no exercise and written six pages on the book. I have picked up the mail once and only remembered to take out the garbage this morning after I heard the truck rolling down the street. Not a very good week. Toss in a sick four year old and what do you have? A mommy ready for a vacation all by herself.

I have entered the ranks of those with traveling spouses. Hubby has always taken business trips, but they were so infrequent who was I to complain? Okay, I may have complained once or twice, but hey, when a family is as busy as we are, any change in the routine can have rippling effects.

Well, hubby took a new position at work a couple of months ago and his travel schedule has finally kicked in. He was gone last week (one night). He's gone right now (left Sunday morning and returning today). He's got a trip for next week, too.

Some women I know have the "single-during-the-week" mom routine down. With their husbands gone Monday through Friday, they run things like well-oiled machines and know exactly how to deal with whatever might come up. They've given me advice. They've offered support. One even came over and brought me dinner last night. I just can't ever see myself handling it as well as them.


Because hubby pretty much runs things around here so I can concentrate on the kids and my writing. A few examples:

Hubby does all the cooking unless it's a holiday and/or we're having company. He makes the kids lunches and breakfasts, too. When I'm on deadline, he comes home to make sure I eat because well, if he didn't, I'd forget to feed myself. Not the kids though. Somehow I always remember them.

Hubby does all the laundry except for the folding. That's my job. Of course, I see nothing wrong with piles of clean clothes on the floor for days at a time so sometimes he helps out with that. He also irons because I also see nothing wrong with a few wrinkles.

Needless to say, I have gotten totally spoiled by my loving, indulgent hottie of a husband. I've been living in Fantasyland and am now being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the real world of a working mom. It sucks, but I have no choice. Which means I have to get my act together. Pronto.

December 1 isn't that far away. If the kids and I are going to survive the weeks leading up to that deadline without needing counselling afterwards, I must have a full-proof plan in place ASAP. I know this week with a sick kid won't be the norm, but I still have to be ready for whatever comes my way.

I found a link with articles on the affect of a traveling spouse on a marriage, but have yet to find anything telling me how to survive the days without him and still get some writing done. I'll keep looking.

In the meantime I'm counting the hours until his flight from Dallas touches down. I really miss him!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bug says...

There's a guy on the climbing forum I belong to. Well, actually there are lots of guys, but this particular one is named Bug. I have never met Bug. Until today, I can't remember much interaction with him except when he asked if I'd had a humourectomy to which I replied I had no sense of humor whatsoever.

On one of the forum threads, Bug posted something totally unexpected, simple yet profound, that I sent him a private message asking if I could share his words with you.

Men marry a woman thinking she will not change. She does.
Women marry a man thinking he will change. He does not.

If you're single, memorize these words, and please don't forget them. There will be a quiz later.

I know a few divorced couples who learned Bug's words the hard way, so if you're married, you might want to remember them as well. No quiz because marriage is hard enough on its own.

I found Bug's words to be thought provoking and true. I see them in my marriage and several of my friends' marriages, that's for sure. How about you?

His words also sent the story generating gears cranking in my head. Now I've got a new idea that can percolate while I finish Christmas on the Mountain.

I'd love to hear more about what Bug has to say. I wonder if he'd be willing to share a few more gems with me and how much beer that would cost me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tired Tuesday

I drank an ice tea with dinner last night and that was enough to keep me awake until two in the morning. I usually avoid caffeine so was surprised when bedtime rolled around and I wasn't sleepy at all. Of course, I'm dragging this morning. I think both the little one and I will take a nap today!

I was awake last night, but not alert enough to write so I watched Sense and Sensibility (available for free via On Demand) and searched for a wedding themed blog template. We (continuity authors) are putting together a group blog to promote The Wedding Planner series that comes out in 2008. My search came up empty-handed. Anyone know any good template sites or designers who do custom work?

Before I forget, thanks for your well wishes for my youngest. She woke up with no fever today. I hope it stays away this time!

Update: The doctor's office called. Even though youngest's strep test came out negative yesterday, it was positive this morning. At least we know what it is going on now!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Not much to say

I may have figured out a possible explanation for Friday's Target tantrum besides bad manners or tiredness. The littlest kidlet came down with a fever on Saturday, has that glassy-eyed look down and loses it at the drop of a hat.

I managed to get my AAs emailed off yesterday. This is the most changes I've ever found at this stage, but then again, they stopped giving us the manuscript at the line edit stage. I really liked seeing the manuscript twice before it went to print, but now only seeing it once, I am very careful when I go through it.

After I sent off the AAs last night and got the kids to bed, I dove back into the book after listening to a bunch of Christmas songs and staring at my hero's picture to put me in the mood. Four new pages!!! A good start after not working on the story for a week. I'm writing the last chapter, then I'll go back to Chapter Four where I left off. I have to have a general idea how the book ends or I get lost along the way.

As for the search on Mount Hood, they didn't find the climbers. If you want to read more go to Oregonlive. Not sure how long the links will be there, but as of this morning they had links on the home with articles, maps and videos.

Okay, time for a game of Candyland with the little one! What is your favorite board game from childhood? What about now?

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Free Book Winner is...

Thanks for posting comments this week!

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2007-09-09 17:30:50 IST

The winner is Dru. Dru was the #1 entry thanks to her review of my book The Wedding Adventure on the new romance review site The Long and Short of It! Since she posted a review her name is automatically entered in every weekly contest. Please contact me, Dru, with your snail address and book choice. See here for your choices!

A new contest is now underway. Post a comment so you, too, can win a free book!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Good day. Bad day.

I heard from my editor yesterday. Thumbs up on the proposal! Also no revisions/changes!!!! Yay! Now all I have to do is finish my AA/page proofs for SOS Marry Me so I can get back to work on it! That's what I'll be doing this weekend in between family stuff. I'm also keeping my original inspiration for my hero, too. Why mess with what is working?

The proposal acceptance set my mood for the day. I went to Pilates with a smile on my face. Even when I burned my daughter's grilled cheese sandwich and set off a cacophony of smoke detectors, I didn't let it bother me.

But when I had to wake her up early from her nap to pick up her brother and sister from school, I got a little nervous. She wasn't ready to get up. But we had to go and after school headed to Target to buy a birthday gift. Big mistake. I should probably capitalize those letters, that's how big a mistake going anywhere with her was. Ever seen a mom and kid in a store with kid crying and screaming and running away from said mom? That was me. It wasn't pretty. It was downright frustrating and embarrassing and made the day not-so-good anymore. Being a mom is so hard sometimes.

In other news... This weekend searchers will be on Mount Hood looking for the climbers lost in December, Jerry Cooke and Brian Hall. The Oregon Mountain Rescue Council has been planning this exercise for months. I hope they find them for the families' sake.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hero Worthy?

For the first time, I've been using a real person's picture (i.e. not someone normally in the public eye like an actor or model) as the inspiration for my SAR hottie hero, Jake Porter. I found the picture on the Internet eight months or so ago doing a google search and just sort of imagined this hero looking like him. This wasn't someone I knew. The problem is I have gotten to know him a little now (strange how things work out like that), and as hubby put it, "Have you told this guy you have his picture up on your monitor 24/7 and will be staring at it every day for the next five months?"

Maybe it's no big deal. Hubby has no problem with it. He knows I'll be on to the next inspiration once the book is finished. But it could be embarrassing if I ever meet the guy in person and say, call him Jake. So...

I've been thinking of finding another inspiration. Since I'm doing AAs right now on the other book I have a few more days to make up my mind. But I thought I should maybe have a backup or two in case I do decide to go with someone else.

Here's a video clip of a possible hero. Just so you know, Jake Porter's character traits are as follows: 32 years old, blue eyes, killer smile, brown hair, athletic build, six feet tall. He climbs mountains, rescues lost and injured climbers, plays with kids and runs a brewpub. Oh, yeah, he also romances the heroine at Christmastime.

Ace Young has been in the running for one of my past heroes, but lost out in the end. He's got the look I love (seriously, one of my fave eye candies) and I think he could provide the inspiration I need for Jake.

What do you think? Is Ace hero-worthy? Can you see him as Jake Porter or not?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Titanic: The Sequel

My littlest one's first day at preschool went great. Hubby met us for lunch afterwards at Red Robin where she ate her fave mac & cheese and walked out with a pink balloon in hand. A perfect day for a four year old! This morning she wanted to go to school again. I had to tell her she only goes three days a week, not five!

I'm busy working on my AAs for my June 2008 release. I want to get them done and back to the editor ASAP so I can get back to work on the book. Of course, I haven't heard about my proposal yet. I do know she received it though. Fingers crossed she likes it and there won't be huge revisions!

My friend Grace emailed me a link to this yesterday. She is a huge fan of the movie Titanic and attended the Titanic dinner with me back in April.

I thought the "preview" was well done the way they used all the various movie clips. What did you think? Is there a sequel to a movie you wish they'd make?


This morning, I dropped the youngest kidlet off for her first day of school. She switched preschools this year and is now attending the same school as her sister and brother. No more commuting twenty minutes each way to drop her off at the other school. It's 8:20 and I'm done with the morning school prep. Amazing!

Last night I went to a Women's Climb Night at a local gym. It's a monthly event, but I'd never made it to one before due to scheduling conflicts. I'd heard via group emails that there's always people who show up so I figured I'd make my way down even though the staff member who organizes it was on vacation. Well, guess what? No one else showed up.

Luckily, the climbing cutie was there with a friend of his. Good thing I had my camera with me! They graciously let me climb with them. Cutie was helping me with technique, and I was totally flailing. It wasn't pretty. I hate to think how I looked making it up all those routes at Smith Rock. Yikes. I'm a newbie, but felt even less than than that hanging on the wall. Not sure what that would make me. A zero, perhaps?

But I learned a lot and know what to work on. My legs and hands are sore today, too. Kind of strange since I didn't climb that much, though I ended up with blisters again. I think those and peeling fingers and hands are just a given now.

Oh, and I did make it to the top of the big wall, which my fear of heights had always stopped me before, so this was a big accomplishment for me even though I've climbed much higher outside! I didn't even realize it until I got home and hubby asked how far up I made it the big wall! And even though I suck even worse than I thought, it was still a good night of climbing.

What did you do last night?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day of School

The two oldest start school today. This weekend was filled with back-to-school prep. Uniforms washed and laid out. Backpacks cleaned. Shoes shined. And hair cuts.

My two daughters decided to cut-off their waist length hair and donate to a charity that makes wigs for people who lose their hair due to illness. They came up with this on their own and I was very proud of them for wanting to help others. The place cut their hair for free and will mail in their ponytails for them, too.

I did, however, make sure this was what they wanted to do. My worst-case scenario brain had them bursting into tears once it was done. But both were adamant about it.

My oldest had super model hair that everyone wants. Natural highlights and waves. Just gorgeous. But she's pleased with how things turned out and happy she had her hair cut. The new 'do looks awesome on her. Thick with that natural wave and so very healthy looking. She loves it!

This was our youngest's first hair cut. She's four and a half. Not cutting her hair was my attempt to keep her a baby as long as possible. Now she's got this hip little bob and looks absolutely adorable. She's spent the last couple of days primping and preening.

We woke to rain this morning which just tells me summer is truly over! What's the weather like where you are?

Better get them up and ready now!

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fantasy Football 2007

Each year on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we have our annual fantasy football draft for the upcoming season of the 45th Parallel League. It's a date marked down in our calendars. Something we do not miss. Ever! My brother-in-law is the league commissioner and there are ten teams: Salem Fluff, The Underdog Pound, Ratdogs, DeathBlo, Chico's Bail Bonds, Air Biscuits, Haskells' Havoc, The Exterminators, The Oafs and Jason's Juggernauts. Half the teams are coached/co-coached by women.

The draft is nothing but a bunch of smack-talk, yummy snacks and exhibition games playing in the background. Some memorable moments of past drafts include a former coach drafting Keith Jackson (who didn't play, but was a ABC sports commentator, though there was a tight end named Keith Jackson, too, but he no longer played when this happened), someone drafting a player who'd been killed in the off-season and another drafting a player who was sitting in jail. In case you haven't figured it out, half the coaches don't follow football closely and do it mainly for the fun draft party and the other half live and breathe the game.

Yesterday we had a bit of a controversy because one player purposely tanked her line-up for the last two games of the season so she could get the first pick in the draft this year. That's against the rule so we voted and changed those two losses to wins meaning she got the fifth pick, not the first! Serious stuff, I'm telling you.

Since this was the first real television I've watched all summer, I got to see a few funny commercials. Sports related, of course. I also discovered a series of Fantasy Football Rule Ads put out the last two years, that I wanted to share with you just in case you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of fantasy football.

Fantasy Rule #8

Fantasy Rule #17

Fantasy Rule #19

Fantasy Rule #32

I spent most of the draft revising a scene in my proposal. I stopped long enough to snack and help hubby decide who are next draft pick would be. This is the team we (the Ratdogs) came up with:

QB Carson Palmer
QB Rex Grossman
QB JP Losman
QB Chad Pennington
RB LaDainian Tomlinson
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
RB Tatum Bell
RB TJ Duckett
RB Vernand Morency
RB Jason Snelling
WR Anquan Boldin
WR Lee Evans
WR Laveraunues Coles
WR Braylon Edwards
WR Isaac Bruce
WR Dwayne Jarrett
TE LJ Smith
TE Owen Daniels
PK Shayne Graham
PK Stephen Gostkowski
DT NY Giants
DT NY Jets

After the draft, people sat around and helped me brainstorm names for my hero. They couldn't understand why I didn't want to name him Jerry (Jerry Porter is a football player.) Needless to say, the brainstorming got out of hand pretty fast. Right before I left this commercial came on. I thought it was funny and wanted to share.

We had the number one pick in the draft this year which means we came in dead last. This after an undefeated start the first few weeks. The only good thing is we can't finish worse than we did last year!!!! Go Ratdogs!

Hope you enjoy Labor Day!

Name Game

Something about my hero's first name (Matt) has been bugging me for a few days now. Every time I went to type it in I'd catch myself typing in another male character's name or hesitating. Last night I realized my problem.

In my December 07 release, Win, Lose...or Wed!, I have a secondary character named Matt. Not only is he named Matt, but he's a paramedic. Matt Porter in Christmas on the Mountain is a search and rescue guy. But they are totally different characters.

It's a little too close, don't you think?

Luckily, the AAs for SOS Marry Me are sitting right next to me so I can change Matt Porter's name in there, too. He makes a brief appearance in that story. The problem now is I need a new first name. Some names just come to me, but other times, like now, I draw a blank. Not good when I need to come up with something by tonight so I can make the change before I email my proposal.

Anyone want to help? The new name must fit with the last name Porter and sound good with my heroine's first name Carly.

Here's a list I came up with after scanning a list of climbers I found via google, but I'm not limiting his name to these:


Do any of those sound like a search and rescue hero-type guy who also owns a brewpub? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Free book winner!

Proposal is due today so this will be short. Thanks for all your entries!

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2007-09-02 17:53:39 IST

The winner is Michelle who just posted her comment last night! Please contact me, Michelle, with your snail address and book choice. See here for your choices!

A new contest is now underway. Post a comment so you, too , can win a free book!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Working hard

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

Now for today's entry...

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

I've been hard at work whipping chapter three into shape. The first scene is finally finished. Two scenes remain. The missing one and the final one. The final one is drafted and has been critiqued already. But last night I realized I'd made two big errors in it. One is huge since it impacts the rest of the story. Good thing I reread my synopsis otherwise I would have been in trouble!

A special belated birthday wish to Brandy, a romance reader extraordinaire who faithfully comments on this blog each and every day. In my pursuit of being disciplined I totally forgot to wish her a Happy Birthday yesterday! Hope it was a great one, my friend!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

I'll post the winner of the free book on Sunday so there's still time to get your name added if you post a comment!