Thursday, June 30, 2011

RWA Conference Day 2

It's been a hectic time at conference. Hectic but fun. So here's a rundown of my Wednesday... (I'll add the photos later. It's taking too long for some reason!)

I didn't set the alarm and woke up at 8:30 am. This was the start of the conference opening so I missed those speeches. At ten, Harlequin had a Meet & Greet for their authors. It was fun to reconnect with Fiona Harper, who I met in Dallas and wrote the trilogy with, and Jackie Braun who I did the Girls' Weekend in Vegas series with.  I also got to see Linda Goodnight, a good friend and Wedding Planners author.

After that I headed down to the networking area where I sat with Presents authors Jennie Lucas and RITA® Finalist Kate Hewitt. I also met Natasha Tate.

Then it was off to lunch. I sat at a random table. It was so much fun. Everyone was so nice. We had both published and unpubbed authors. First timers and old timers. Golden Heart and Rita Finalists. It was a good mix! One of the authors brought chocolate to pass out since dessert isn't included with the lunches this year.

After lunch I uploaded the pics to the blog and then it was time to head to my literary agency party.  I misjudged the time it would take to get there so had to leave my walking partners Christie Ridgeway, Barbara O'Neal and Susan Anderson to get to the Harlequin Romance tea at SaraBeth's across the street from Central Park. I ended up being a few minutes late to that! Darn those red lights!

The tea was lovely. I sat at one end of the table with Jackie Braun, Theresa Southwick and editors Jo Grant, Byrony Green and Sally Williamson. It was a great time.

Jackie and I walked back. I arrived just in time to meet some writers from Portland to go to dinner. The concierge made us reservations at this really cute little Italian place on 46th Street. We had to eat fast though (no time for dessert) to get to the Sondheim Theater to see Anything Goes.

I had no idea what Anything Goes was, but my good friend Terri Reed asked if I wanted to go and I'm never one to turn down the chance to see a musical. I loved it! Sutton Foster is one of the most amazing performers I've ever seen. She's the total package, the triple threat. Joel Grey along with some other vary talented actors were in the cast. So much fun. We also saw Ellen Burstyn in the Ladies Room during intermission. My first star sighting this trip!

After the show I went back to the room and caught up with my roommate Shirley Marks. A busy, but fun day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I'll catch up with the vacation later, but I didn't want to fall too behind with the conference. Yesterday I said goodbye to my family. They are out on Long Island with hubby's mom. They were so excited to see Grammy.

I took a taxi to the Marriott Marquis. This was my first taxi ride of the trip. I love using the bus and subway system, but not with luggage! There were no lines at check-in so before I knew it I was unpacked and picking up my registration info from RWA.

So the coolest thing in the reg. package was the green ribbon that says RITA finalist. I probably won't take off my nametag for a couple of days! LOL!

So the view from my room is incredible. The pic was taken from my room. We can see Times Square and all the billboards. It's so bright we have to make sure the curtains are completely closed.

I was a little tired from all the sightseeing and kidlets so decided to have a quiet lunch in the Atrium. I sat at a table for two. Immediately the woman sitting next to me asked if I was a writer. Turns out it was historical romance author Kieran Kramer. She's a double RITA finalist. I'd actually emailed her a few months back about her romance trading cards. Small world.

Then my friend Elizabeth Boyle, her oldest son and her agent, Karen Solemn, showed up. Nick and I sat and talked while his mom chatted with her agent. I'd suggested they ride THE BEAST and they did. It was fun to listen to him describe it.

After that I went to the Harlequin digital workshop to learn how to use social media. I got a quick lesson in Tweetdeck. Then it was off to the goodie room to pick up promo stuff. After that I rested in my room.

The literacy booksigning was jam-packed. People stood outside in a line that wrapped around. At one point we (authors) were asked if we'd stay longer.
 The literacy signing is great because people can come around to see you. I had people from the foreign offices of Harlequin stop by including Sweden, who said they publish many of my books, and Eastern Europe. That was very cool. I also met readers who said the follow me on Twitter.

I handed out some of my Romance Trading Cards. The one with the kitten drew many comments. Seeing it made me really miss
Yoda. Our house/cat sitter said that Yoda is being very shy. Poor kitty!

After the signing, I headed up to a suite for the annual gathering of Romex, an online group I've belonged to since 1995 or 1996. We hugged and chatted. Not a lot of catching up to do since we do that online, but it was so wonderful to see people in person. They also handed out awards. I received lightening bolts for writing complete books in less than 100 days!

It took me awhile to make my way out of the suite so I could get back to my room. I had to hear about Barbara O'Neal and Christie Ridgeway's trip to Staten Island to eat at a little restaurant run by Italian grandmothers. But I finally made it to my room. Of course, by then my roommate was sound asleep. When I woke up this morning, she was already gone!

So that was my first day at conference. Ready to head down now for Day #2!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Romance Writers of America NYC Conference!

I'm here! Checked in at the Marriott Marquis Hotel at Times Square. Not a lot of time today to get caught up on blogging. The internet at my other hotel just came back on late last night, but by then I was too tired after another full day of sightseeing and ballet. This morning was all about packing to transfer hotels.

In less than an hour, I'll be at the big booksigning. All proceeds support literacy. Hundreds of authors. Readers are already lined up outside the hotel, including my friend Dru! Now that's dedication. But romance readers are a loyal bunch.

Not much else to say. Today was a much needed quiet and slow down time for me. It's been nice not to have a little time alone. There hasn't been much of that lately! I'm looking forward to some adult conversation, too!

What have you been up to?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No Internet Access

The Internet at the hotel where we are staying is down. As soon as it's back, I'll continue with my trip report. It's just to hard right now via my iPhone. Hope all is well. I'm having a blast.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

NYC Day 3

Yesterday was another jam-packed twelve hours away until we returned to the hotel. It started with a walk down Fifth Avenue. More rain was predicted so we bought more umbellas. Now everyone has their own. We don't carry umbrellas back home even though it rains all the time, but here in NYC getting caught in a downpour isn't fun.

The first stop was American Girl Place! Rose was torn about being here. One part of her was happy but the other sad because she'd forgotten her doll at home. We checked in for our breakfast then looked around. Wow! Talk about little girl heaven. Everywhere you look are American Girl dolls, clothing and accessories. There's a whole section devoted to Bitty Baby and the Bitty Twins. Both are big faves at our house.

Breakfast ("brunch" on the menu) was a yummy affair. The table was set in pink and black. It matched the cafe decor. The napkin rings were black ponytail elastics with hot pink fabric bows. They had a little box with conversation starters. The girls had so much fun with those.

The cafe has thought about everything to make this an enjoyable outing for families. Rose had forgotten her American Girl back home. But the cafe has dolls the girls can borrow during the meal. This was so nice.

The appetizer was small cinnamon rolls. The girls had chocolate chip pancakes. They made me a scrambled egg plate with Canadian bacon and fruit since I'm eating gluten-free. Dessert was chocolate moose in these cute little flower pots with daisies sticking out of them. I received a pot of lemon sorbet!

After breakfast, we did a little shopping. Rose wanted a pink sweatshirt for her and her doll. We also bought the box of conversation starters and a couple other little things. We then met up with the boys who had breakfast across the street at another restaurant.

Our next stop was the American Museum of Natural History. The kidlets know this place from the movie Night at the Museum. They kept looking for things from the movie. It was a very cool museum with dioramas, replicas and exhibits. We watched the Journey to the Stars in the Planetarium. The dinosaur exhibit was totally cool.

I headed to my literary agency. I've been represented by them since 1999, but I've never seen the office. Though author John Saul told me about it when I met him at a BBQ thrown by Susan Wiggs for agency authors. It was so nice to sit and chat with my agents without the rush of conference surrounding us.

It's take a couple of days, but I'm finally figuring out who to use public transportation to get around town. The subway didn't take too long. Yesterday, I got to know the buses! I was even asked directions! That was nice, especially since I could tell her which subway to take and where to catch it!

After my meeting, I arrived at the pier just as my family was arriving on the Beast. They'd had lunch and then gone for a ride with their uncle while I was away. The Beast is a high speed thirty minute ride around the lower part of Manhattan Island. I purchased everyone a New York CityPass before we left home. They had a choice of different cruise options, but they wanted The Beast!

We then took a bus to Hell's Kitchen and ate dinner at Uncle Nick's. It's a Greek restaurant with good food and huge portions. Casual and loud. Perfect for a big group like ours!

After that we hit Nintendo World. The kids were in heaven! It's the only store like it around. They picked out T-shirts of their fave characters then played games. We had to drag them out of their. We stopped in at St. Patrick's Cathedral to pick up the Mass schedule for this weekend. Then we went to Dylan's Candy Bar for dessert. Three floors of candy as well as an ice cream parlor. Wow! Lots of sugar!!! A quick look at the Roosevelt Island tram, a bus ride and we were back at the hotel. A late night trip to the Jazz Standard Club to see a set capped off the night for a couple of us while the others slept. The surprise guest at the show was Cyril Neville. Some great New Orleans jazz.

We slept in this morning and now we're about to hit the town again. The boys will be doing one thing. The girls another! Fingers crossed we finally see the sun!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 2 in the Big Apple

Today was a nonstop day. We left the hotel a little after ten in the morning and didn't get back until 11:30 pm. A crazy day of thunderstorms, laughter and family fun!

Our first stop was Grand Central Terminal where we purchased our seven day Metrocards. On the way there, we met hubby's brother, who was spending the day with us. The kids were so excited to see their uncle.

We took the subway to Lincoln Center. As my nephew, oldest and I took a tour of Juilliard for future applicants, the rest went to Central Park.

The tour was fascinating. I thought it was hard to get into Stanford these days. That's nothing compared to Juilliard's dance and drama programs. The facilities are amazing. The musician in me (and I haven't played the clarinet in a while) was in awe of the performance spaces with amazing acoustics. Our tour guide had just graduated from the dance program. She was full of enthusiasm for the program.

We were hit by rain afterward so ducked into a little restaurant for a quick lunch. We met up with everyone on Fifth Avenue and went to MOMA aka Museum of Modern Art.

We started on the Fifth Floor. I wanted to see Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night as well as the paintings of Cezanne and Monet. After that we worked our way down. Rose had just taken a class called Discovering Great Artists. She'd study a couple we saw and recognized others from different art curriculum we've used. But a lot of it in her words, "I don't get it." She wasn't alone in that sentiment! But we had a blast at the museum. Lots of laughter and fun!

From there we walked to an Italian restaurant in the Theater District and had dinner with my friend Dru who comments here (and who I met through blogging!). She'd picked out a great Italian Trattoria. The atmosphere was a bit like Tuscany. The kidlets asked if they could come back tomorrow. Yummy food!

We then headed to Times Square. Mackenna had missed riding the ferris wheel at Toys R Us. Rose wanted her uncle to ride, too. We said goodbye to Dru (only for now. We'll see her on Sunday again!) and looked around Times Square until it was time to head to the theater to see Mary Poppins.

The New Amsterdam Theater is gorgeous! Everywhere you look are carvings. We had seats on the mezzanine level

The show was great! We all enjoyed it. Especially Rose. She was so excited to see her first Broadway show. We got her a Supercalifragilistic shirt and matching bag. She wanted to wear her shirt right away. She sat on her edge the entire time. the look of awe on her face was priceless.

The performers, especially Mary Poppins and Bert, were incredible. The kids playing Jane and Michael Banks were really excellent, too. A wonderful evening.

We said goodbye to the kidlets' uncle at Grand Central. We finally made it back to the hotel at 11:30 pm. A long day, but a wonderful one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The flight arrived on time around 5:30 am. Hubby surprised us with a white stretch limo to drive us from the airport to the city. As we were driving, the youngest kidlet said, "Where's the Golden Gate Bridge?" I explained that was in San Francisco. The most sombering moment was staring at the skyline without seeing the World Trade Centers. The last time I was in New York was 1999.

We got to the hotel, but it was too early to check in so we changed, left our luggage and headed to the Empire State Building. We had no wait at all. A little rain fell, but we're from the PNW. We're used to it!

After a late breakfast, we walked to Times Square. We went to the Gershwin Theater to enter the Wicked Lottery. Around a hundred people entered. My name was one of 13 picked. We won the right to purchase two front row center tickets for $26.25 each to see the 2 o'clock matinee.

We grabbed lunch than went back to the theater. The seats were amazing. The show incredible. I had only heard the songs sung on GLEE. I didn't know too much about the storyline and was blown away. Loved it! Being so close let us really see the character's facial expressions, too.

I am so thrilled we got this chance. Wicked was the #1 thing Mackenna wanted to do in New York, but by the time I got around to buying tix it was too late for anything affordable. She was very understanding about it. So happy she got to do this!

After that, we walked back to the hotel. My friend Dru who lives in NYC is always blogging about free giveaways. Well, The Suits, a new television show, was on a corner near Grand Central Terminal giving away Hazen-Das ice cream cones!

We went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant called Josie's and stopped by Baskin Robbins for ice cream on the way home. Hoping today we aren't so tired!

How was your day?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On my way...

funny pictures-Dere goes my planz fur summer vacation.
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I'm writing this the night before because I have no idea if I'll be able to blog in the morning. I've spent the day preparing for my departure. I'm sure I've forgotten something.

But I made it to the airport! I had my doubts when the car keys got lost. Of course, I arrived to find 85 just graduated 8th graders checking in on my flight. Fingers cross they sleep! That's what I'm planning to do.

Hope you have a great day! I'll report in from the Big Apple later!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


funny pictures - You da cat!
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I want to have a swagger like the LOLcat above. But I'm not the swaggering type. I'm the walk softly so no one notices me until I stumble and fall flat on my butt type. So not fair!

I've been preparing for the RWA conference. Gathering all my stuff and making sure I don't need anything else. I now know why I don't go to every single conference. It's too much work getting ready!

Yesterday's invite about the eHarlequin Pajama Party prompted a run to Kohl's for new jammies. None of my old ones would work. They run more towards the flannel type to keep me warm (I'm always cold!) so I needed something a little summery. I got a cute pair. The top is blue the bottoms striped with different colors. The kidlets preferred hot pink ones with little hot dog type doggie on them. Those would have looked great on them. Not me.

Today I'll get everything together for the big literacy signing next Tuesday afternoon/early evening. If you're in New York be sure to stop by the Marriott Times Square. The event is free. All proceeds from book sales will be donated to literacy. Lots of authors will be signing books and passing out promo items. I'll have my romance trading cards to giveaway!

What's going on with you?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

funny pictures - "Teamwork"
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The faces of both my kidlets and my furbabies would work in the pic above. Too cute!

I hope you had a great weekend! We returned to needing to be at three places at once. Boy, did I miss having nothing to do. We left a dog show in the middle to make Mass. It was definitely a squeeze it all in sort of weekend. I'm kind of glad it's Monday!

In spite of the rain on Saturday and all the driving both days it was a very good time. Finn's new soccer team went 3-1 in the tournament and won third place. He got a nifty pin for his new soccer bag. He was very happy. I only got to see one game, but there's plenty of soccer ahead of us.

Mackenna won a blue ribbon at the 4H show (no idea yet on obedience, but she doesn't think she did that well) and lots of swag during the two Jr. Handlers competitions at the Cascade Hound Show in Oregon. She also handled a couple puppies to the breed ring (these aren't kids only competitions) for Chaos' breeder. This was an excellent learning experience. By Sunday, she was figuring out how to handle them better and one of them won Reserve Champion! It also helped her in competition later that afternoon.

Father's Day didn't happen until much later. The kids wanted to get hubby a dessert. They picked out a giant cookie from Walmart and had "Happy Father's Day" written on it with icing and sprinkles added. His present was a Kindle. He'd been eying one for a while. They wanted to watch a movie so we stopped by the Redbox Kiosk to get Unstoppable. Hubby had been wanting to see it for a while. We all thought it was very suspenseful. At one point two of my kidlets had to walk about of the room (the older two), it got a little too intense for them. But they were still listening to what happened.

I didn't time the plot points, but I could see elements of both Save the Cat! and Story Mastery in the plotting. I don't know how the movie did at the box office, but it's definitely worth a watch!

How was your weekend?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Best in Show

Two dog shows today. One in Washington an hour north of us. One in Oregon an hour south and west of the first one. The 4H Leader show date changed four times until they settled on the this one. We'd already signed up for the other show so we decided to do both. What was I thinking?

Both shows were outside. It's been raining all day. Real Pacific Northwest rain that doesn't let up. I'm finally home, tired and wet and needing to get some words written.

I'm very proud of Mackenna. She did great. For the first time, she competed in the breed ring (a competition not just for juniors aka kids) with a puppy today in addition to her regular junior showmanship with Chaos. So I'll leave you with this...

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Not much to say...

funny pictures - not understanding economics, Charlie went to the bear market and got himself one
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Busy day! We finally got the final test results for my son. It's staph and his current medication is working! He gets to play in a soccer tournament this weekend! Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers.

I need to get back to writing!

Hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Random Thursday Once Again

Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
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I'm not exactly spooning with my furbabies, but Chaos is on my lap making it hard to type. Hopefully I'll catch any typos. If not, just blame my 46 pound lap dog!

Still no word on our son's final test results. We've called, but never hear back. Very frustrating.

Each day, I've been taking a little time out of my day to prepare for my trip to the RWA conference. The only things left to do: pick up my dry cleaning, do some laundry, buy a clip for my hair (thinking of wearing it up at the award ceremony), get a hair cut (appt. made) and a manicure (right before I leave.) Oh, and pack!

I'm enjoying my new story. The hero is a professional soccer player. I think he's going to be a great hero and am looking forward to seeing his character arc. The guy definitely is not where he should be at the beginning of the book, but then neither is my heroine!

Yesterday, Washington's governor, Christine Gregoire, signed the budget that significantly cuts funding for education. I kept hoping it wouldn't happen. Even though we have spots for the next school year, the knot in my stomach is still there. I want it to go away and feel like everything is set and stable!

I was so busy working on Tuesday night I completely forgot about watching The Voice. Did anyone see it? Anything good happen?

Have a nice Thursday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A House of Legos

funny pictures - Da  kid  spens  elebenty  hunded  hours  buildin dis.  Da  least  iz  cud  do  iz  pwetend  i  likes  it.
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I'm debating whether to show this LOLcat to my son or not. He loves Legos. I'm sure he'd love to construct a cat house.

My house is full of Legos. They (along with Chaos) are what led to my broken two a couple of months ago. My son can't get enough of them. Ever since Sunday, he's been building things while stuck on the couch with warm compresses on his leg. Using the ottoman, he put together a cardboard castle from a book he had then used Legos to create other pieces. He made a complete battle scene complete with figures. I should have taken a picture before either the dog or one of the cats destroyed it. Not that he hasn't built and rebuilt it several times since then!

Still waiting for test results. It's been well over forty eight hours. Fingers crossed we hear good news soon!

Hope you have a great Wednesday! I'm off to buy a pair of shoes at some point today. I thought I'd found what I wanted for the RWA conference but after wearing them for the past two days decided they weren't comfortable enough for NY. I gave them to the oldest kidlet. They are a little big for her, but I have no doubt she'll grow into them sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Little Hoominz

funny dog pictures - This is why I don't care      for the little hoominz.
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On of my little hoominz is getting tired of hanging on the couch and having compresses put on his leg. But it's looking so much better. Not the wound itself. That's nasty, but the swelling and redness. We get test results back today. Fingers crossed.

With my iBook on my lap, I sat with my son yesterday and worked (and changed compresses) while he watched I Am Number Four on DVD. We both enjoyed the movie. It made me wonder what the book series is like.

Something good finally happened yesterday. It seems lately everything has been not-so-good. The UPS man delivered a box from Harlequin. My July release. I always get this warm and fuzzy feeling when I open the box and pick a book up. The excitement never changes even though I've published many books. It's the same as it was the very first time!

That pretty much covers my day. How was yours?

Monday, June 13, 2011


Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
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This picture would be me if I was a tiny kitty. I thought after camping out overnight and getting the kids enrolled in school things would get back to normal. I wanted to get caught up on blog hopping, go shopping for my New York trip, write and cross a few things off the To Do list.

So much for my plans...

My son, Finn, has a nasty leg infection. We saw the doctor yesterday. They are running tests, but she kept mentioning MRSA which wouldn't be good. He's on antibiotics and we've been keeping warm compresses on it. He can't swim or play soccer or be around other kids in case it's contagious. I would appreciate prayers that's it's nothing serious.

Did you have a nice weekend? What did you do?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A long night!

I spent last night camping out to get the kids a spot at their school. I arrived to volunteer in Rose's class a little before eleven. I was at the school until just a few hours ago. I hadn't planned on staying that long, but when I saw the line-up was already happening I spoke with the principal. I then sent Rose out stand in line until I finished in Finn's math class at three o'clock. I'm pretty wiped out, but here are a couple of stories on what was going on.

This story is from the local paper, The Columbian.

And here's a news report from one of the news crews that was there. One showed up around three in the morning and both were still there when we went in to register at eight!

Hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

On Mount Hood

Writing the Hood Hamlet books set on Mount Hood introduced me to many local climbers. One, Jon Bell, is a writer. We met at a fundraiser for another climber a couple of years ago. We've exchanged emails and tweets ever since. Jon is a great resource for all things Mount Hood. He helped me with my upcoming November release Firefighter Under the Mistletoe.

Tonight is the launch party for his new book On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak. It tells the story of the mountain. I could go on about all the great things Jon writes about, the interviews he's conducted and the research, but there's a great website that tells all about the book here. Check it out!

If you're around Portland, the launch party, including a slide show, is tonight from 7:30 to 9:00 PM at Powell's on Hawthorne Blvd.

I was planning on being there. I want to be there! But with all the changes that happened with the kids' school I have to be there instead. If you go, please give me a full report! Thanks!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
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Yesterday I mentioned I was worried about what might happen with the Alternate Learning Experience (ALE) program my kids attend due to budget cuts by Washington State. Governor Christine Gregoire hasn't signed the bill yet, but the cuts are much worse than I expected.

The program was awesome. It went all the way to high school with amazing teachers. High test scores. Even higher parent involvement. You are required to be in the class three hours a month. They use block scheduling so kids received an hour and a half instruction in various subjects two days a week. The other subjects would be taught at home or through enrichment courses.

I was so excited when I picked up the kidlets' schedules for next year. They got all the classes they wanted, on the days we wanted and with their friends. Mackenna even made it into the high school Algebra I class! She was so excited for eighth grade.

All that has changed.

At the meeting I learned the school is moving. Rather than being 5 minutes away, it'll now be around 30 minutes. The facility is smaller, too. There will only be spots for approximately 200 students. Enrollment at the current school is approximately 600. Spots for next year will be first come first serve on Friday morning.

And the classes aren't the same. Both the 3/4 and 5/6 classes went from three blocks to two. The 7/8 blend class used to be four blocks. Now it's two.

There was lots of shock, disbelief and tears from parents. But my concern is the kids. Mackenna is so sad. She's been talking to friends and classmates trying to find out who is going to try to get into the school and who's leaving. The more she learns, the bummed she gets.

The worst part is I can't do anything to make it better. It hurts so badly when your kids hurt. I will get in line on Friday and hope I can get her and her siblings into a class, but she said it won't be the same. And she's right. It won't be the same as this year. Change is never easy.

My heart aches for these kids, especially the students who will be seniors next year. But all any of us can do is make the best of the new situation. And hope we can be a part of this new chapter of the school. If not, we'll just have to figure out something else.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Random Tuesday

funny pictures of cats with captions
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I haven't made it downstairs yet this morning. I'm surrounded by my cats and dog. I would love to believe this is because they love me so much. But right now they are either ready for breakfast or a morning bone.

Has anyone seen the new X-Men movie? I've never seen any of the X-Men movies, but this one looks interesting. I think it might be one to see in the theater, too.

I started reading a new book last night, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. My daughter Mackenna wants me to read it. She's read and loves all three books. She also can't stop talking about the upcoming movie. She knows who is playing each character. She's so excited, but I reminded her about the Percy Jackson movie. Her shoulders sagged and she said, "Oh, yeah."

I miss The Event a lot. Tonight I'll be tuning into The Voice. I'm curious about what will happen now that the four teams have been set.

Today, I've got my fingers crossed. I'm also saying a little prayer. My kids attend an alternative education program that we all love. But Washington State has cut education funding for next year in order to balance the budget. There is a meeting this morning to find out what changes will be happening next fall. I hope it's nothing too drastic.

That's all I've got this morning. What about you?

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Dress Saga Continues

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Yesterday afternoon, my daughter and I headed to NW Portland to go dress shopping. I'd googled some dress shops and one in particular caught my eye. I phoned them to make sure they were open. We set off eager to enjoy the nice weather and see if we could finally find "the dress."

NW 23rd is a great street with lots of shops, boutiques and restaurants. It reminds me of when I lived in San Francisco.

The shop I wanted to visit was Lena Medoyeff. Check out the website if you have a minute. It's a gorgeous boutique full of beautiful dresses made out of stunning fabrics.

When I walked into the store, I was asked what I needed the dress for. I explained about the RITA® Awards Ceremony in NY. The designer got up, headed to a rack and picked out this gorgeous black lace dress. She said the dress would be perfect.

As I looked around, another woman who works at the shop picked out a few more dresses for me to try on. I liked them all, but narrowed it down to three, two black and one green & gold. But when I tried on the black lace dress again I knew it was perfect. And I hadn't even wanted a black dress. But it's an amazing dress. It's cut on the bias so flattering for all figure types. The neckline and sleeves are elegant and can be tied up to give the dress different looks. You can also wear a black or colored sash with it to change the look. The lace is from France and simply divine. Best yet, it's comfortable to wear.

I sent hubby a pic, who was on his way home from a swim meet in Pasco, WA. He thought the dress was very nice. His problem was the price. A bit over the budget. I understand his point. We really are trying to take the Dave Ramsey method of budgeting to heart. Cash only. No credit cards, only debit. He did ask when my royalties would arrive (very soon!) so I was hopeful I could splurge and get the dress. It's the kind of style that I could wear for a very long time! So dollar cost averaging per wear made it more reasonably priced.

I was so excited I asked a friend in SF, who's really into fashion, what kind of accessories to buy. She sent me a list this morning: black stockings with seam up the back and strappy black heels.

And then this afternoon a little after one o'clock, I got an email from Harlequin, my publisher. Their big party, something Harlequin authors look forward to at conference, is black and white dress.

An elegant dress code for sure. Except I already had a dress to wear to it. A pretty purple dress that my friend Kelly was loaning me. Sigh...

The last thing I need is two fancy black dresses hanging in my closest, especially when the one really would be a total splurge. I couldn't even justify it to myself for thirty seconds given I'm so not a dressy, formal type person and only wear nice clothes at conferences or a rare writing event. There is the lovely green and gold dress at the boutique I could get, but I'm not in love with it as much as the black lace one.

But the idea of now going back out to look for dresses, black ones or otherwise, just slays me. The shopping gene just isn't part of my DNA.

Wish me luck! I have a feeling I'm going to need it.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Bad Hare Day

funny pictures - Bad hare days.                          Even kitties have them.
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This pic was too cute not to post! I'm actually feeling better! The sunshine is definitely putting me in a better mood, too! It could also help that I stepped on the scale this morning and have lost more weight. I'm down 8 pounds total from where I started. A bit slow to come off, but I'll take it!

As for today, I'll give dress shopping another go as well as some writing. I'm trying to decide what story to write. My editor and I have decided I should put the Hood Hamlet snowboarding story on the backburner even though the complete is due on the 20th. Being so sick and fuzzy-headed really messed up that one so I'm going to work on something else and go back to it later when I've gotten some distance.

My deadlines are going to be all messed up, but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to focus on getting 100% healthy and just writing. I'm praying the rest will work out.

Hope you have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Mission Impossible

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I saw this LOLcat and had to laugh. It describes my day so far. Oh, it started out great. Breakfast with my daughter, Mackenna, and my good friend, Elizabeth Boyle, at Mother's Bistro in Downtown Portland. We had a delicious breakfast and chatted the time away.

After that we headed to the shopping area to see if I could find a dress to wear to the RITA® award ceremony in NY. We made a quick stop into the Goodwill store which is more like a designer boutique. I didn't luck out in finding a dress, buy my daughter ended up with a jacket, a blazer and a skirt!

We bid Elizabeth goodbye and kept shopping. The sun is finally shining in the Pacific Northwest and it's gorgeous out. We kept looking and looking. I tried on a few things, but no luck.

This really is feeling like a mission impossible to me. I'm not a formal type dresser. I don't like buying something I'll never wear again. I just don't look good in sleeveless cocktail type dressers that fill the racks at stores these days. I did find one dress, by Oscar de La Renta, that caught my eye at Nordstrom. It was a beautiful blue color with a vintage style skirt. Plain, but stylish. It was even on the sale rack. I checked the size. It wouldn't fit. A good thing considering the price tag $1795. That sure isn't in my budget!

Hope you are having a good day!

I still have a couple of weeks, but I was happy to have to head home so I could let Chaos out to go potty. Yes, that made me smile more than shopping for a dress.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Almost the weekend!

funny pictures - The best hotels provide a little something more than just slippers and a robe...
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This picture reminded me of my trip to the Sylvia Beach Hotel with my friends Amy and Dru (who I met after we started commenting on each others blogs!) The hotel had a couple of cats, one who always seemed to be around us!

Three of the family just set off for a three day weekend swim meet a few hours away. Instead of staying in a hotel though, they'll be camping. They are very excited to do this.

Me? I'm glad I'm staying home. I like camping a lot, but not when the camping is going to be right next to a 50m pool. Okay, I'm probably exaggerating. I'm sure there's some cement and grass separating the two areas. Maybe even a fence!

I know they'll have a great time. I'm really looking forward to some one-on-one time with my oldest. She has a band concert tonight and will swim in a different meet this weekend. So I'll still be sitting at a 50m pool just not sleeping there, too!

Do you have any weekend plans?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Romance Trading Cards

Have you heard about Romance Trading Cards?  If not, think baseball cards for romance novels. The front of the card is the book cover. The back is a character from the book.

For my upcoming July release, Not-So-Perfect Princess, I had Kim at Hot Damn Designs make make three cards—one for my hero, one for my heroine and one for a stray kitten in the book.

Okay, I'm totally biased, but I love them! Once I have the cards in hand, I'll figure out what I'm going to do with them besides taking them to the literacy signing at the RWA conference in New York and giving them away during my July Virtual Book Tour. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

For any authors wanting cards made for their book(s), Kim is amazing. She is so easy to work with and lightening fast. I'd put off ordering these for way too long due to being sick. I didn't contact her until Monday when I asked if it was even possible to have them done in time for RWA. I had the proofs in my inbox yesterday morning. I can't recommend Kim and Hot Damn Designs enough! Totally awesome!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

May Contest Winner!

Funny Pictures - Cats Love/Hate Venn Diagram
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This fits all of my cats perfectly!

Where did May go?  I can't believe it's June 1st.  But since it is, that means I need to announce the winner of my blog contest.

To enter all you had to do was post a comment. The prize is a $10 gift card from either amazon or  It's the winners choice. And with no further ado....

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-06-01 15:43:42 UTC

The winner of the May contest is Brandy with her comment on my post First Communion. Brandy, please use the Contact link above to send me your email address as well as whether you want an amazon or gift card emailed to you. Thanks!

I never did get this contest posted under the link bar. And I still have a backlog of prizes to get out and hope to have everything finished by this week. I've been so sick for a few months now (I don't think I ever fully got rid of the sinus infection back in February) that I'm way behind. I appreciate you being so patient with me!

I also appreciate all the comments/entries into the contest, considering my blogging has been a little hit or miss lately with the way I've been feeling!

A new contest begins today. It'll run until the 4th of July since I have a book coming out on the 5th.  Same prize. I'm going to make it easy on me again this time. The prize will be a $10 gift card to amazon or  Just comment to be entered and check back on the July 5th to see if you're the winner!

Have a great Tuesday!