Saturday, July 31, 2010


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Relaxing sounds so good. I have some writing stuff to do and a few errands to run, but that's about it! By Sunday night, I hope I'm in the Ultimate Relaxation mode!

Hope you have a very relaxing weekend.

Friday, July 30, 2010


This video clip may only be funny to those involved with Irish dance, but I thought I'd post it anyway. It's called Recall and is set during the Third Reich. Enjoy!

Watch recall in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

RWA Orlando

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The Romance Writers of America national conference kicked off last night in Orlando with a huge booksigning to benefit literacy. The last time I attended the conference was back in 2008 when it was in San Francisco. I was bummed about not going this year when I read about people packing for the conference and planning to visit all the theme parks in the area.

I'd love to see my friends, Sr. Editor and agent. The annual Friday night Harlequin party is always a blast, too. I've never been to Disney World, either.

But I have to be honest, with two deadlines a day apart and a proposal waiting for my return, if I took any time off right now, I want to go on a vacation where I wouldn't have to think about the business of writing or dress up or network. I've been daydreaming about taking a vacation. Something more than a weekend hanging out at a hotel while the kids Irish dance.

Are you taking a vacation this summer? If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

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A perfect LOLcat for my dad's 80th birthday today! It's hard to believe he's 80. He looks so much younger. Maybe it's having a wife who's 10 years younger. Maybe it's DNA, and if so I hope I got some of it!

The kidlets call him Papa. We celebrated on Sunday at his favorite restaurant in Salem, Oregon. The refrains of the day were: "Papa, I need..." "Papa, I want..." "Papa, give me..."

My children along with my nieces and nephews believe my dad has an endless wallet. But he doesn't seem to mind. He always has dollar bills and quarters on hand whenever his grandchildren convene.

Have a great day, Dad! We love you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


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My first day with the kids at camp was full of errands, phone calls, appointments and writing. I got lots done, but not as much as I thought I would. Each letter I opened seemed to need a follow-up call. It was very strange.

The heat slowed me down a little. But...

The foyer is now almost clean except for a dog crate, a tent and E-Z up tent. All are too heavy for me to carry and hubby's out of town again. I just have to sweep and mop, but I think I'll wait until all the floor downstairs is ready for that.

Today's cleaning zones include the dining room and kitchen area! I'm not as organized as the LOLcat photo above with labels, but I do hope to put everything away in it's (or find a) place. I also need to read through 100 pages of my AAs and write at least 1000 words.

The best part of all this free time is that the kidlets love their camp! They will be putting on a show called Broadway Kids at the end. They couldn't wait to tell me their team cheers, sing their songs and show me the dances.

Hope your week is going well!

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Struggling Empire

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World domination isn't high on my To Do list. I don't think I'd be a very good ruler of the dark side. Just look at the design of this blog. A little too cheery for the dark side don't you think?

But I do like to rule this house. With the kidlets, cats and dog it's a recipe for disaster when the rulership goes amiss. Like now.

I haven't been feeling all that great with my arm/hand/neck issues and then the minivan issue. That means all the camping gear from the 4th of July is still in the foyer. We've dug a path to get through it. Bad, Melissa. Really, really bad!

I finally went to the grocery store yesterday, and not just to pick up enough stuff for a meal or two. It was the first time in over a month I actually shopped.

I must be feeling better because I can't take it any longer. This is the week I can finally hit my To Do list hard. All three kidlets are in camp from 9 to 3 every day. That will give me time to write, read my page proofs that just arrived Friday, clean and organize. I cannot wait!

What's your week look like?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bionic Kitty

This YouTube video is about Oscar, a cat who needed two new back paws so he could walk. See what the doctors made for him.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Soccer Tourney!

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Starting this morning at 7:15 am, Finn and I will be in our old stomping ground, Lake Oswego, Oregon, for a soccer tournament. I'm bringing my chair and alphasmart with high hopes I can get a couple chapters written on the short story!

My weekend is going to revolve around soccer. Go Galaxy! What about you?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Be Brave

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Seeing this picture was just what I needed. Yesterday I got the results from my MRI. It looks like the numbness and tingling in my left hand and arm from the car accident has been caused by a disc protrusion at my C5-C6 that's compressing the exiting left C6 nerve root.

It's good to know the reason for my symptoms, but it also means I have to see a neurosurgeon. I really don't want to have neck surgery, but I don't want to go on the way I have been, either. Needless to say, last night was a total pity party. I have no idea what the doctor will suggest as treatments options so I shouldn't borrow worry. I'll just have to let the above LOLcat be my poster child!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lazy days of summer

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Cloud watching sounds really good to me. Even though we took Sunday off and relaxed by the pool at the hotel in Seattle, I'm ready for a vacation.

This is one of those weeks I can't wait for it to end. I'm so ready for Friday. I'm trying to juggle three different kidlets with camps all of which happen at the same times on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Finn was supposed to be in all three. He's had to pick and choose between Altar Server training and Soccer Camp. He gave up completely on even trying to make any of the Irish dance camp.

Thankfully not all weeks are crazy like this. I limited camps this summer due because of swim team for all three. And I know they are just as happy playing outside with their friends in the neighborhood and occasionally staring up at the clouds.

I was thinking back to when I was a kid. Talk about lazy days of summer. I never attended summer camp. Not even a day camp. Unless you count marching band camp in high school. But that was really a school activity to prepare the band for football season and half-time shows.

Maybe times have just changed or my mom just wasn't into planning that sort of thing. I know a few of my friends went to week long camps, but I never knew there were day camps like the ones my kids attend.

What about you? Did you attend camp as a kid?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A New Car!

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Last night we bought a new car. After a night of researching minivans, I narrowed my search to three models Honda Odyssey (2006+), Toyota Sienna (2006+) and Kia Sedona (2008+). I knew the actual trim I wanted to searched the internet for them.

What I discovered was for the same price, I could get a newer model Sedona with less mileage than the other, too. A friend of mine swears by her Hyundai Entourage and the Kia reviews were very favorable so I decided to check it out.

Yesterday morning, I went to two different dealers. At the first I test drove an LX which is the lower priced, basic model trim. It did have a few nice features including power sliding doors and rear parking sensors. I liked how it drove though which was the most important thing.

After talking with hubby, we wondered if I would miss certain other features my Dodge Grand Caravan has such as power lift gate, power seat adjustment and power back windows so... I went to another dealer and test drove two EX trims. They had more of the options I was used to. I liked that so much better. Best, I knew I'd be happy with this minivan and the price tag! The only difference between the two I drove was the mileage and a $500 price difference because of that.

The night before I'd found another EX and sent the Internet sales guy an email. By the time I got home I still hadn't heard from him so I called. Turns out he hadn't received my email. This EX had the lowest mileage of all that I'd looked at. I told him my hubby or I would be by later to see it.

I didn't make it there until 7:30 pm. I loved the color. I loved everything about the car. It was in such good shape and looked nearly new. I test drove it. The biggest thing I'd wanted that it didn't have was leather seats, but none of the other minivans had that either. Joe showed me a car that had after-market leather installed. I was told it could be done at any time. I was sold.

I called hubby who arrived with Mackenna after her 4H dog showing was over. He liked the minivan, too. Sometime after ten o'clock, we were the proud new owners!

But a funny thing happened on the drive home. The kidlets were very quiet. I was so excited, but they weren't saying much. It was nearly eleven by the time we arrived home so they went right to bed. Then my oldest came and got me because she said my son was crying.

I went to his room and he was sobbing. Poor kid missed the minivan we'd traded in. That's really the only car he knew. He was two when we bought it. Like the LOLcat picture above, I held him. But there wasn't much I could say. The minivan wasn't going to be resold to another family. It would be parted out and scrapped.

I crawled in bed with him as did Yoda and tried to comfort him. Spirit sat at the door to his bedroom meowing. They don't like when any kidlet cries. Finally he calmed down enough to sleep. This morning, he's still sad.

As for me, not one ounce of buyer's remorse. I love the car. I can't wait for the leather to arrive so the seats can be recovered. (I decided this was a must-have item with three kids and a dog that sheds like crazy!)

Now I can finally get back to writing without being distracted by car issues. Perfect timing, actually. My on-line read synopsis was approved yesterday.

Hope you have a nice Tuesday! I'm going to drive my new minivan into Portland so the kidlets can attend Irish dance camp this morning. I can't wait!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deep Breaths

It's been crazy around here. On Thursday, we bought a used minivan. On Friday morning, we returned it using their Love it or Leave it policy. After thinking about it, we just didn't love it. I can't believe how much better I felt when I saw our old minivan back in our driveway.

I had an MRI (still haven't symptoms from my car accident) on Thursday so we didn't have a lot of time at the car dealer when we were looking at cars. Lesson learned. We will take our time the next time. No rushing into anything or trying to do something quickly when it comes to car buying.

Friday afternoon, we drove to Seattle. On Saturday, the kidlets had their first Irish dance competition since transferring schools in 2009. Mackenna had outgrown her dress so we had to borrow one. She wore it for her competition and her friend Hailey wore it right after for hers. It was a lovely dress and we were so fortunate to find something for her to wear.

On Sunday, we stuck around the hotel for a much needed day of relaxing by the pool. I swam and wrote. A good thing we took a break. Today will be crazy. Altar Server Training, Soccer camp and Irish dance camp.

Well, I better get writing while I have the chance. Hope you have a great Monday!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Best Mom Ever

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Isn't that a sweet LOLcat? Of course it also says something about how kids (whether human or fur-covered) think. In their minds, the "best" mom in the world is the one giving them what they want whether it's "nom" or permission to watch television or a million other things.

Kids don't seem to understand that the best mom is one who sets boundaries. That there is actually some wisdom to my not letting a seven year old kidlet play in the front yard without someone older than her out there, too. That ketchup and french fries aren't the number one vegetable choice. And that staring at the television screen for extended periods of time just isn't healthy, especially on a sunny, beautiful day!

That means I'll never be up for "best" mom, but the kidlets sure do think I'm a top ten contender for "meanest" mom in the world. If I had a nickel for every time I was called "mean" I could have afforded a new car instead of a used one! But if being "mean" is what's best for my three, then I'll wear the title proudly.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Write Like...

My friend, Mary, posted a link to a website that tells you who you write like. You simply paste some of your writing into a box and hit a button.

Here's who I came up with depending on what I put in (never the same author!)

1. Anne Rice (current WIP)
2. Dan Brown (more of WIP)
3. Stephanie Meyer (Expecting Royal Twins)
4. H.P. Lovecraft (Christmas Magic on the Mountain)
5. Margaret Atwood (Wedding Date with the Millionaire)

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Your writing doesn't have to be from a book. Give it a try and let me know who you write like!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Car Trouble

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My minivan didn't end up in a ditch off the side of the road, but it is in the garage. Unfortunately, the cost of repairs are too much when compared to the value of the car. We bought it new in July 2002. It now has 177K miles on it. Hmmm...maybe we did drive it into the ground!

I spent much of yesterday looking at cars. I've only owned new cars so I started there. I narrowed it down to two models: 2010 Chevy Traverse and the 2011 Sienna. I love things about each. The price tags are similar, but when push comes to shove I think I have too much of Dave Ramsey's influence. I cannot spend that much money on a new car no matter how much I like it. Okay, maybe if I won the lottery.

So...I'll be checking out used cars. Much cheaper new cars because again I think Dave Ramsey is right about car payments. Not sure we can find something that inexpensive that we can afford outright, but we need something that won't kill our budget. We really have taken to heart the Total Money Makeover. We only use our credit card (note singular!) to check into hotels or secure rental cars. At checkout, we switch to a debit!

Right now I'm driving a rental so would like to find something ASAP. I will most likely end up going the minivan route again. There are lots more of them out there for sale than SUV crossovers.

I must admit I'm sad. I loved my Dodge Grand Caravan. It wasn't all that fancy. The best option were the leather seats and the automatic back hatch opener. But it was dependable, could fit so much and easy to drive. Plus it was finally paid off!

Wish me luck on my used pre-owned car search. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Switching Gears

I've been hard at work on my new proposal that features a heroine who first appeared in my Silhouette Romance If the Ring Fits... and also appears in my 2/11 Harlequin Romance Expecting: Royal Twins! The other day I was driving and heard the perfect song for her. Take a listen:

White Flag by Dido is song #2 on my book soundtrack. I'm so thankful I have a list with a couple of songs on it because I was just offered the opportunity to write an eight chapter eHarlequin on-line read. That means, I have to switch gears. The princess proposal goes on hold for a short time while I write the on-line read.

The only on-line read I've done was back in 2004. It was called Husband Material.  It was part of a four story continuity. This time the story is all mine. It will be set in Hood Hamlet on Mount Hood and act as a lead-in to my upcoming 11/10 Christmas Magic on the Mountain.. It shares the same setting as my 11/08 Rescued by the Magic of Christmas.

I know who the heroine will be. I had something in the upcoming book that would work perfectly for this! Amazing when that happens.

Right now I'm trying to figure out who the hero is and the plot. With only 10,000 words, I think they'll need to have known each other in some capacity before the story begins. But how? That's the question.

Wish me luck writing this short sequel to one book and prequel to another!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Zombie Car Crash

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A car full of "Zombies" crashed on I-84 on Saturday night. The story from KGW news is here. If this had happened on the north side of the Columbia River in Vancouver, I would have been more surprised. On the south side in Portland...not so much.

Since we're on the topic of zombies today, it's the perfect time for this book trailer:

Wonder what Jane Austen would think? I haven't read any of the regency-horror mash-ups, but I really like the book trailers. The Bennett sisters training to be zombie killers reminds me of the young women training to be vampire slayers in the final episodes of Buffy!

Hope you have a nice and Zombie-free Monday!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Eclipse with LOLcats

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If you like LOLcats, go here. Even if you don't, you should still check it out. It's a LOLcat version of Stephanie Meyer's Eclipse. Long, but funny. I'm still smiling!

I also found this Twilight parody that will be out in August. I know I won't be seeing this in the theater, but the trailer is pretty funny!

Have a fun Friday!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Change is in the Air

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My cats, Rocket and Spirit, used to sleep like this when they were little. It was the sweetest thing that would warm my heart. Now it only happens once a year and usually ends in a fight. How things change!

Speaking of change, this blog redesign is pretty much good to go. There are a few links on the booklist I still need to do and a few things that need to be rewritten, but everything on the navbar should have content now. Melissa's Diary will soon be my website once I transfer the domain name over.

Why am I making my blog my website?

I've been wanting to get my blog on the homepage of my website like my friend Elizabeth has for a while now. I only update the website when new releases come out while I blog regularly. But I couldn't afford a redesign. Instead, I opted for something I had the money for—a blog redesign after I saw the great job Julie from Zip.Zog.Zoom. did with the Girls' Weekend in Vegas blog.

I mentioned to Julie I was also thinking of eventually making my blog the website. She told me a lot of things were now possible with blogger so just let her know what I wanted. I told her I'd think about it, but was in no real rush.

About this time, Delle Jacobs, a historical romance author, posted on our RWA chapter loop about using her blog as a website. I knew this really was the direction for me to go. It made (and continues to make) so much sense when I looked at regularly updated blog content and the money I'll save each month. Maybe I'm missing something in my thought process about what a website offers that a blog can't. If I am, please clue me in! I do tend to get tunnel vision about some things, and this might be one of them.

As soon as I saw my new blog design (and absolutely loved what Julie had created. It's so me!), I no longer wanted to wait. I asked her to take the blog she'd just designed for me one step further. A few days later, this blog website was the result!

If you are looking for a blogger designer, I highly recommend Julie and Zip.Zog.Zoom. I found her via a link I clicked on a google search when we were looking for someone to do the Girls' Weekend blog! Talk about getting lucky!

Please have a look around. I'd love to hear what you think of my remodeled home on the Internet. If you see any errors, typos, etc. or something you would like to see, please let me know. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Under Construction

I'm adding some new features to the blog. Nothing is quite ready yet so if you start clicking on the navbar you may or may not find content. As soon as it's all ready I'll let you know! Sorry it can't be just a clean transition!


Monday, July 05, 2010


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I love this LOLcat! It perfectly describes not just my four cats, but my dog, too.

When I was up in Tacoma at my class, the kidlets and hubby attended a gathering of Norwegian Elkhounds and their families. Chaos would not go into a kennel. (At home, she goes in for breakfast and dinner, but that's it.) A breeder, who has known Chaos since she was born, looked at Tom and told him he'd spoiled the dog!

Guilty as charged.

I remember rubbing my kittens, Rocket and Spirit, to sleep every day and night. Granted I didn't have kids then. But I still carried Yoda around in my jacket or sweater when he was little and wanted to nap. There are nights when all five sleep with us. We're considering a king-size bed because of it. On Saturday night, the fireworks were scaring Chaos so much she climbed on my lap. I stopped writing, put away my iBook and held her for an hour until they stopped.

Our pets bring so much joy to us. A few rolled eyes and moments of annoyance, too! I can't imagine not spoiling or indulging our fur-covered family members. What about you?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Here are a couple of videos to commemorate the Fourth of July:

Each year we celebrate Independence Day the same. A BBQ with family and friend. There is always too much food and way too many fireworks.

What plans do you have for today?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Paving the way!

I saw this video on Facebook. It really appeals to the soccermom in me. I know many Americans really don't get soccer, but I hope the 2010 World Cup is opening some more eyes to the beauty of the sport!

Thanks to the U.S. Men's National Team! You really are paving the way for kids and the future of U.S. soccer!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy Birthday Chaos!

Our Norwegian Elkhound, Chaos, turns five today! It's hard to believe we've had her for three years. It seems like she's been a member of the family forever.
Chaos is the best dog ever. I know everyone thinks that about their pets, but she really is. She is the best dog for us. Even if three of the four cats would disagree with that! .....................................................................................................................................
.She wants to do whatever we do whether it's heading to Mount Hood or watching the World Cup on television. She thinks she's a lap dog in spite of weighing 48 pounds. And you really do get used to the shedding. Having a Dyson vacuum cleaner helps!

Mackenna, my oldest, has been showing Chaos in 4H this year. Chaos is a champion show dog, but in 4H they judge the handler's action not the dog. It's been a great experience for both of them, and she already said she wants to continue next year.
Getting Chaos has allowed us to be members of the PSNEA (Puget Sound Norwegian Elkhound Association.) We've only done a couple of things locally with the group, but the kids enjoy it so much, we're hoping to get more involved in the future.
Later today we'll be having a little party for Chaos with some special treats and a nice big bone for her! The kidlets can't wait. I'm sure Chaos will be happy, too!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Girls' Weekend in Vegas

Around this time last year, I was writing a book that would be the fourth in a four book miniseries called Girls' Weekend in Vegas. Well the first book, Saving Cinderella by Myrna Mackenzie, is out now!

Saving Cinderella kicks off the series with a bang. Four best friends from San Diego go to Las Vegas for a Girls' Weekend to help one of them get over the break up with her fiance days before their wedding. See what happens when Alex Lowell is offered a job by sexy, hotel owner Wyatt McKendrick!

Our blog called Girls' Weekend in Vegas recently went live. I hope you'll check it out here. It's still new, but we'll be adding posts and other things about the series, authors and of, course, Las Vegas!

Have a great Friday!