Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Look Back

Currently Reading: I'm halfway through EZ Lovin', and yes, I am LOVIN' it! I have the print version, but you can also get the e-version at Swimming Kangaroo Books:) If I finish this today, my reading totals (see below) will increase by 1 or 2...depends on if I read Francine on Fire too:)

It was a strange year.

On the home front, my spouse was home for six months while the economy was sliding into the toilet; K got his driver's license and was ecstatic over the fact he could take his dad's car to school; S had a meltdown at school and thankfully was NOT suspended; W blossomed in his first year at Head Start.

I heavily promoted my second book and made 9 personal appearances at two colleges (3 if you count the one I missed due to two car problems!), two bookstores, and five festivals. Hopefully, I drummed up sales for Kelly, Dakota, Anny, and Barbara when I took their print books/promo items along for anyone who expressed interest in either Regencies, vampires, or a walk on the 'wild' side of romance:)

On the creative side, I only wrote two books, but also started five more. Two have taken strange turns; one is venturing into paranormal, the other into the M/M or BDSM scene. Brynn, Dakota, Cindy...I may be emailing you in the coming months for help!

Reading-wise, I went back and totalled up the number of books I read this year. I was amazed...
Print: 114 or 15
E-book: 116 or 17
Total: 230 or 232!
Wow...Has anyone else ever kept track for a year? And I may still have missed some...

I discovered several authors whose books I want to continue reading:
Brynn Paulin
Cindy Spencer Pape
Jacqueline Roth/Elyssa Edwards
Desiree Holt
Sloane Taylor
Phyllis Campbell
Mary Martinez
Lara Santiago
Dakota Rebel
Ashley Ladd
Cindy K Green
Samantha Gentry
Regina Carlysle
Kelly Marstad
BB Walters

And I will also continue to read Anny, AJ, Sandra, Bronwyn, Barb, and any others I have inadvertantly left out, whom I began reading in 2007! Keep watching the blue print at the top of my posts; there are more talented authors on my TBB list who will make their debut as any 'recommended reads'.

Financially, things picked up in the second half when D returned to work, and we were able to give the kids a decent Christmas after all. I can only hope and pray it continues, so that as bills come in we are able to pay them on time.

Strange Dream...
Maybe I'm still watching too much retro-90210? Had a dream last night I applied for a job at The Beverly Beat as a proofreader... Brandon hired me; Steve argued with me when I pointed out a typo, and then tried to sweet-talk his way into letting him spell whatever the word was his way! Crazy...and yes, I'm almost finished with Season 8. Only two more to go...and then I watch for the three episodes I missed, due to a faulty DVR set-up by my daughter!

Happy New Year!
Tonight, as the ball drops and we usher in 2009, be safe and I'll 'see' you again next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spousal Head-Scratch Moment...

Currently Reading: Loved Gentle Control! You're right, is my favorite of the series:) I was hoping for more conflict with her dad, but you handled it well! Next up: Francine on Fire by Sloane Taylor (I won it Christmas Eve) and today I'll be purchasing Cowboy Games by Wendi Darlin, Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed by Jami Davenport, and Embezzled Love by Ginger Simpson.

This should brighten everyone's day:)

Sunday night, when we picked up S's friend, who is also 14, she gave me a compliment.

"Is your next book coming out soon? I can't wait to read it. Your books ROCK!"

I smiled and thanked her. At the same time, my spouse takes his eyes off the road momentarily and looks at me confused.

"Huh? YOURS?" And he shook his head and went back to watching the interstate highway.

Apparently I'm a hit with the younger teenage crowd:)

As to when #3 is going to be available anytime soon, hopefully sometime in the coming year. As for my next BOOK, hopefully I'll hear something back in early January. And no one in my immediate family will read it, nor will I even offer them a copy.


They've already questioned my use of certain cuss words; I can only imagine what will happen once they read a book full of buzz words and extremely explicit sex scenes! No....better keep this one to myself than to send my mother to the hospital or hear lectures every time I talk to them!

In fact, I think that if my erotic books ever do get published, I'm going back to my tame ones. First of all, while I did finally manage to keep the heat level up, I had to work at it during the second half of the book. Secondly, I want to be proud of my work, and not hide it from my family.

A while back, I commented on someone's blog about signs. Some are easy; the other ones hit you in hindsight. I've learned over the years that if the harder I try to do something and keep running into problems along the way (esp car problems!), than maybe there is some reason I'm not supposed to attempt it (Case in Point: See last May's entry about foiled trip north).

This past year, I've experienced a floppy disk crash; a computer virus; files which failed due to being opened in XP and VISTA; and finally, a problem with the computer which has caused me to lose 4 other WIPS, two of which I worked on during NaNo. I've managed to find most of one on my flash drive, and I'm pretty sure the rest of it is in an email I found the other day. So all is not totally lost! And my computer-geek friend has given me some ideas on how to check to see if it was the hard drive that crashed or simply the motherboard. I have a week until the thing goes to be recycled.

All of this leads me to believe that what I'm writing is not the path I'm supposed to take. "Write what you know..." "Don't write to the mass market..." "Write for YOU, not someone else..." have all been expressed in various forms in various forums. I've proved to myself I can write it, but why continue with something I'm not that entirely comfortable with? Maybe this is my latent 'people-pleaser' coming out. If my parents aren't happy with what I'm writing, then I should hold off for a couple more decades!

After all, while on my self-proclaimed book tour, the majority of people who approached wanted the sweet romance. I've read some sweet e-books, so yes there IS a market for it!

Now if I can just get my adverb problem under control...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Recovery

Currently Reading: I'll treat myself to more Gentle Control later today. And got a surprise in the mail; I'd won Elaine Charton's EZ Lovin' back in October/November, but for some reason my PC would not accept her file! I told her I'd just go ahead and purchase it at a later date. Yesterday, I arrived home and found a package waiting for me; she'd sent me the print version! So thank you Elaine; I'll get to it this week!

Step One: Sleep late
Step Two: Put away just enough toys to create walking path through house
Step Three: When kids wake up, feed them leftover cake for breakfast and put in new DVD for them to watch
Step Four: Drink coffee and boot up new computer
Step Five: Wade through 50 emails; only 8 are worth reading
Step Six: Post blog
Step Seven: Read and comment on blogmate's posts
Step Eight: Get dressed
Step Nine: Once teens are up, begin Operation Clean-Up, finding a place for all new electronic equipment, toys, clothing items, and other stuff acquired the past 4 days
Step Ten: Return two items and figure out how to creatively disguise turkey meat for dinner, as everyone is sick of eating it!

As you can tell, I'm only up to level Six. And the spousal unit just walked in the door; the jobsite is basically under water! Thank God...with two extra kids in the house, PLUS an extra teen, having another adult in the house to back me up will be wonderful once we get started putting everything away!

Today's Stupid Saying: (Thought this was appropriate for this group! Esp Sommer...)
Ride a Giant Weiner to the Land of Smiles!
-headline in the Charlotte News-about riding around town in the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile

Enjoy your day! Hopefully I'll have good news to report tomorrow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Generation Switch

Currently Reading: Still on Gentle Control. Didn't read anything yesterday, and most likely won't until tomorrow.

Remember when we were kids and the grownups always wanted to eat first and open presents later? We'd sit there at the table, hearing the shiny presents under the tree just begging to be opened, and gulping our food as fast as we could...Yes, absolute torture!

We arrived at my parents' house to find Grandma and Grandpa eating a late lunch. After hugs and kisses were exchanged, and the van unloaded, Grandma asked if we'd eaten anything on the road. We hadn't, but D and the kids had eaten a late breakfast.

"Well, do we want to eat first or open presents?"

K (17) shrugs and asks what goodies Grandma's laid out.

Simulaneously, the toddler shouts, "PRESENTS!"

K goes into the kitchen for a quick snack; Grandpa gathers chairs so he, D, Grandma, and myself don't have to sit on the floor; K returns with the stockings from the fireplace and passes them around. Afterwards, S passes out the presents from beneath the tree and everyone opens their gifts!

Another successful family Christmas.

And since Grandma's oven refused to work, we decided to head to the favorite Mexican Restaurant for dinner later that evening!

Gee, Moll...Did You Ever Make the Rice Krispy Treats?
YES:) We made two batches before catching an old Daniel Boone episode on TV. It's a good thing I made 2 batches; the first one was half gone by the time the second one was made! And the kids watched Daniel Boone, fascinated by the predictable storyline and the fact Grandpa was pointing out all the goofs!

Today's Schedule:
-Grab quick lunch and come back to house
-Load up both vans with suitcases, more gifts and desserts made for party
-Drive to Aunt's house
-Final gift exchange/yearly catch-up with the relatives
-Pick up my honorary grandchildren
-Swing by and grab S's friend
-Arrive home late tonight.

Whew...I'm tired from just listing that! Somebody shoot me...did I really consent to having 3 extra people in the house this week? Barb, I'm heading your way...apparently I've lost my mind!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Picture...

Currently Reading: Wow! Elvin Magic was HOT! And I'm up to chapter 3 on Gentle Control. This is interesting; just for fun, I went back to see what e-books I was reading last January. I began the year with the Cress Brothers, and now I'm ending the year with them too! Wonderful series, Brynn!

Of that huge margarita and the chocolate nachos! Delicious! They reminded me of soppapillas. E and I split one order and D and her hubby split the other. My hubby opted for the key lime pie.

Catching Up
I saw a NY Times article yesterday about e-books being the wave of the future, and how Danielle Steele and John Grisham have decided to jump on board and publish electronically. And when I logged onto the Internet a few moments ago, the lead story on Yahoo was the question, 'Are E-books more environmentally friendly than the print ones?'

The answer, of course, was YES!

And my spouse told me last night that if my birthday hadn't snuck up on him, he had been planning on getting me an E-reader.

"It just seemed as if Thanksgiving and K's birthday was last week, and suddenly I woke up and said to myself, 'oh crap...her birthday's tomorrow!' And there was no time to get you one. So maybe after the holidays..."

Plans For Today
We're off to see the grandparents! Behave yourselves while I'm gone today and stop by the blogs to the right.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Week in Pictures

Currently Reading: Loved Magnolia by Anny Cook! And I had just reached chapter 2 of Elvin Magic when it was time to start Christmas dinner. I'll get back to it as soon as I've checked my email. And then it will be Josh's story in Gentle Control!

Thank God I posted this month's reading list! I'm going to have to take my TBB list disk to Mom's and print it out...but I don't think it is complete. I'll know in a week or two if I can ressurect the files from my old compouter! There are only 4 that I really care about; 3 WIPS and my master TBB list!

I hope this works!

I'm sorry about these two pics; just turn your head to the right. #1 is my toddler's favorite gift. He announced he was going to 'help Daddy around the house and build stuff."

This is our tree after Santa arrived. You can see the rat cage to the right, along with the piano.

My new toy! The entire thing was lighter than the monitor of the old one! And who knew the desk top actually extended to the wall? Shocking!

My birthday celebration at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Me and the margarita; Derek our waiter; my two girl friends, E and D.
I can insert my camera memory card directly into the CPU; I don't have to hook up the camera in order to download the pictures. I've also lost my 3 1/2 floppy drive, but Santa left me another 2 GB flash drive in my stocking. I'll be taking all my e-books I've saved on the disks to either my mom's house tomorrow, or the library in the coming weeks and transferring them to the flash. I can also write them to CD if I want. And as we still have two more Christmas parties to attend, I may end up with that elusive E-Reader after all!
Today is all about preparation for the weekend. We are opening gifts with my parents on Sat, and again at my aunt's house on Sunday. I have to bake more banana and pumpkin bread; my oldest son's been requested to bring his 'Volcano' cake on Sunday, and as my mother's oven is temperamental and only works when it wants to (no joke!), it all has to be baked today. I also have to wrap the rest of the gifts and later I'll hit the store for the fantastic sales on Christmas cards, tape, and gift labels. I might even make it to the post office to finally mail my sister's gifts, and another roll of stamps! Yes, I was only able to mail out half of my Christmas if you didn't get one from me, it's still sitting in the sack, addressed and ready to go...but needing the postage!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus:)

Merry Christmas everyone:)

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord..."

Luke 2:11 (RSV)

Christmas Eve Ramblings

Currently Reading: LOVED Whispers of Magic! Elvin Magic is waiting for me; it will be my reward tonight once I get everything wrapped! I started Magnolia, and was reading it between cookie batches. My oldest son went to the computer to look at the weather report, and suddenly...."Wow, certainly read some descriptive books!" If you want to know what part he looked at, check out the shower scene in Magnolia. I then had to explain the backstory of Anny's Flower series to my hubby!

Christmas Bargains?
I had to laugh yesterday. In fact, I meant to post it, but was sidetracked by the weather report.

The news people were talking about how the economy has affected the Christmas sales, and possibly even the after-Christmas sales, and one 'expert' gushed, "The best deals are actually at the high end stores!"

Okay; I'm instantly picturing cashmere sweaters for $20, BOGO all over the place...but wait; she continues.

"A Ballencia dress that would normally sell for $2500 you can now pick up for a mere $900!" (My apologies if I spelled that wrong.)

Ooooookaaaaayyyy...the most expensive dress I ever bought was my PROM DRESS! And though my mom thought $150 was too much, we bargained it down to $120. And I promised to wear it more than once, which I did! I didn't even spend that much on my wedding dress, as I married within two weeks of getting engaged, and bought a nice white suit for around $100.

I guess if you have that much money to throw down for a dress, go for it. However, I'm taking myself to Walmart in order to get my new computer and some other last minute items I neglected to get.

Dinner at Applebees
Had a great time last night! A member of our writer's group has graduated with his journalism degree and is now looking for a job, either freelancing or doing an internship with a magazine or newspaper. He's also working on a sci-fi book. But last night was all about comraderie and enjoying good food.

Today on the To-Do List:
-One last trip to Walmart
-Mix together the ingredients for both my bacon-tomato cups and the chicken-broccoli braid, so the flavors can 'marry'
-Christmas Eve services at 5:45, although we'd probably better get there no later than 5! I have NO desire to attend Midnight Mass. I plan to be IN BED by that time, or at least finish up the wrapping...
-Putting together the previously-mentioned food and popping them into the oven.
-Watching A Christmas Carol and snacking on the appetizers, summer sausage, cheese and crackers, and lunchmeat. We'll also be thawing out the turkey for tomorrow. And yes, my 'strays' may show up tonight and tomorrow. They will be greeted with open arms and all the food they can stand! Since we're not going anywhere until Saturday, I can cook the rest of tomorrow's meal after we open presents.

Christmas 1998
I've polled every member of my family, and while we vividly remember 1997 and 1999, we're drawing blanks on what happened/where we spent Christmas that year. I think 1998 was the year of the fleece blankets that my SIL made each one of us. The toddler wasn't born yet; K was in the 1st grade, and S was dressing every Wednesday in her black turtleneck and black jeans "Because Dalton likes me and his favorite color is black....and so is Grandpa's!" Ahhh...the memories of a 4-year-old. I had to convince her pre-school teacher she was NOT depressed; she was dressing for her best friend and possibly future husband, ha ha....

1 PM:
My new computer has arrived! I originally posted this in the comments, but after the to-do list is complete, we'll set it up. I wonder if there's a way to transfer the documents off the dead hard drive???

Last Shopping Day!
Gifts wrapped: 4. But when I get home from the store, the spousal unit is taking the kids and disappearing so I can finish. Either that or I'm locking myself in the basement...
Cookies baked: Baked 9 dozen chocolate chips yesterday. We are officially 'chipped out'. I'll let the boys make the Rice Krispies while I'm at the store...this ought to be interesting! At least there's only enough marshmallows for two batches!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Bad Weather Moving In...

Currently Reading: O. M. G!! I loved both Breath of Magic and Touch of Magic! Today I hope to read Whispers of Magic and Anny's Magnolia. And Elvin Magic comes out tomorrow, so I'll be first in line (figuratively, anyway!) to get it in the morning. Yes, I'm still playing the 'birthday card' with my spouse...normally I don't 'milk' it this long, but hey...he only got me BED SOCKS! Soon, I'll download the pics from last Friday and show you that HUGE margarita! Tonight, I'll finally get my chocolate martini and mudslide.

Yesterday, the forecast predicted a nasty mix of sleet and ice. Fortunately, today they have tweaked it some, and later in the afternoon we're supposed to only get rain! I'll take rain over snow and ice any day!

This means my postponed Christmas party with my writer's group is still on for tonight! One member of our group didn't get the update on the 5th and spent several hours waiting for us at the ice cream parlor. We had moved it to my house at the last minute, and we found out four days later he had made the two hour trip unexpectedly. We knew he wasn't expected back in town until the 20th, so we made plans for tonight. Hopefully the rain won't put a damper on the festive spirit tonight!

2 Shopping Days Left!
Gifts bought: 20 or so. Still have one more trip to Walmart, for a couple of items in the electronics section. I tried to get them the other night, but the crowd managed to destroy my mood to shop. Have you ever had that happen? Be gung-ho to buy, buy, buy...only to have rude people take all the joy out of it? Now I remember WHY I bought so many things on Amazon earlier in the month. Should have ordered ALL of it, and stayed away from Walmart! Note to self: DO THIS NEXT YEAR!
Cookies baked: 0, but check back tomorrow. We still have yet to make the Rice Krispy Treats. And the boys found the marshmallows last night, so unless I follow through on my promise, the older one is going to consider them all his. And yes, I still have to finish the chocolate chips...and maybe indulge in some chocolate covered pretzels.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Currently Reading: I'm soooooooooo hoping to read Breath of Magic today!!! Depends on if I get some time to myself later.

Woke up to an outside temp of 3 and a windchill of -9. Brrrrr.....And since this is the first day of Christmas Vacation, I didn't set my alarm and nearly missed the trash truck. Had I set my bags out? Of course not! So yes, I grabbed my robe and went outside to set the two black bags down on the sidewalk.

And promptly stood on the register to warm my feet and let that deliciously warm air blow up my pj pants.

I am convinced the older I get, the less tolerant of the cold I become. Even with a new coat which actually zips all the way up to my chin and is fleece-lined even in the hood, the cold wind yesterday felt as if I was only wearing a thin jacket.

My spouse laughs at me this time of year, because I walk VERY FAST in order to get inside, and he thinks it is funny when I arrive at the car and can't get in because he hasn't unlocked it yet. I wish he would get a clue and remember to unlock the van when he realizes I'm five feet in front of him!

We took the kids to see the lights at our local park, and I swear I didn't begin to warm up until we got there. I tried to get him to make another loop around, but when that didn't happen, I convinced him to drive around to see more lights so I could stay warm longer.

Upon arrival at home, my daughter and I raced up the porch steps and were inside the warm house before the rest had even struggled out of the van. Of course, her needs were more than just needing warmth, as she headed straight for the bathroom!

Anyone Heard of This??
While visiting the MIL, I saw a story on Pecha Kucha, or PK for short. I logged onto the site to see more, but it didn't tell me much more. Basically, a presenter has only six and a half minutes to talk about their ideas, while competing with a bar and audience conversation. The site mentioned get a drink and miss out on your next business idea, or watch the presentation and miss the alcohol.

As I was watching the program, I wasn't sure if the presenter brought their own slides, or if it was an improvisation skit. The presenter is at the mercy of the slide-show operater, so if they don't advance the slides, or advance them too quickly, you'd better be prepared to talk some more or skip sections of your narrative. You can read more here and check it out for yourselves. If I click on their facebook or YouTube links, my ISP will close again, and I'm not finished with my internet stuff yet!

3 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: Honestly, I lost track. I bought mainly candy and stocking stuffers, along with at least 5 regular gifts (I think!). I'll know more after I begin wrapping. And I was in such a hurry to HIDE them away from little eyes, I just tossed them all in the same bag whenever I unpacked them and put the sack with the others.
Cookies baked: 0 yesterday, but I predict we'll be warming up the kitchen this afternoon, as the chocolate chip inventory is down to less than one bucket of cookies!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Come Back Tomorrow...

Currently Reading: Thoroughly enjoyed Lexie Davis' Picture Perfect! And had to fan myself after Desiree Holt's Hot Wicked and Wild. WOW! Next up is Regina Carlysle's Breath of Magic:)

I overslept. I have exactly less than an hour to shower and get ready for church.

4 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0
Cookies baked: 0. As I said, check back tomorrow!

There are more interesting blogs to the right; click on any or all and tell them I said hi, will you? Thanks!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thank You:)

Yesterday was certainly one of the more memorable birthdays, and thank you for everyone who sent email and birthday thoughts:)

Hubby took the toddler and I to lunch, and afterwards we went shopping. He remembered I had told him the boots I wanted were on sale, and told me to pick them out. I no longer clomp when walking on non-carpeted floors! Everyone in church will no longer be able to hear me chasing the toddler down the aisle to the bathroom during prayers, and my feet won't hurt from having to tiptoe after I've caught up to him!

Yes, after two years, the heels on my dressy boots were quite worn down. I was mildly concerned when the new ones I tried on seemed to have higher heels, but then my spouse pointed out the wear level on my old ones, and told me to walk around in them while we finished shopping. If my feet were too uncomfortable, then he'd take me to a regular shoe store.

I'm happy to say those boots did not leave my feet until nearly ten hours later, and I absolutely love them! He also bought me some much-needed snow boots, ones which are calf-length, so if and when we get any snow, I'll be able to walk in it without getting soaked above the ankles!

We drove an hour to Cheeseburger in Paradise with another couple whose kids are friends with ours. His b-day was Wednesday, and switched his day off when he learned what I was planning to do. We met my bff and ended up having a wonderful time! I ordered a Sunken Treasure (blue margarita) and it was HUGE! I never did finish it, but made sure it was prominently displayed in every picture we took! No, I'm not a tequila fan, but I did promise Mary Martinez I'd drink one for her:) And it has been several years since I had my last one.

We had a fantastic waiter named Derek, who kept the non-drinkers glasses full of tea and soft drinks, and who graciously provided my spouse with a large print menu, as he'd left his reading glasses at home. I ordered mini-bacon-cheeseburgers; D the fish tacos (he's always wanted to try them); DH (my neighbor) a sirloin steak; J (her hubby) had chicken; and E (my bff) followed my lead with the mini-cheeseburgers, but left off the bacon! And for appetizers, we ordered the sampler platter, which came with fried pickles, chicken wings, mini-chili dogs, and mini-cheeseburgers.

When we arrived home, I took down the cake from its hiding place and got out the ice cream. The kids insisted on putting on a few candles and singing to me. They brought out their cards and presents (they very nicely got their mommy a pair of pink Colts bed socks and a new Doughtry CD, as mine won't play past track #10!). My friend T arrived with her husband and sister, so after getting everyone some cake and ice cream, the kids loaded Guitar hero into the PS2 and we turned the living room into a rock concert!

After the guests left, I settled the toddler down and fell asleep myself. Today we go back to Terre Haute and meet my parents at the Olive Garden for lunch, and take my oldest to get his contacts (again!). My spouse wants to wander through Gander Mountain, and I still have some gifts to buy. So we have another busy day ahead.

And speaking of busy, I need to go log onto WISH TV's website, as they are imploding the HOOSIER DOME (or, RCA Dome as they changed the name in the 90's!) and I remember when it was built. Yes, I'm that old:) (Drat! I can't see it! Daughter's laptop won't handle the live stream. We'll just have to watch it on the news tonight.)

Jae? I'm tired of the cold. I'll volunteer to come baby-sit Smudgie when you're ready to return to your middle-schoolers! Still can't comment on the blogs yet...after the holidays I may start using my temporary office again (library!)

5 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 5. More today:)
Cookies baked: 0. Probably no more until Monday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My 2nd Favorite Day of December!

Currently reading: Tried to read Picture Perfect by Lexie Davis, but due to what happened around 4:30 pm (keep reading!), I was unable to get past the first page! Today I'm going on a mini-shopping spree at EC: Magnolia, Gentle Control, and the Mistletoe series. And over at TEB, I'm finally getting Brit Party! I also have Hot, Wicked and Wild next in line after PP.

Again, I am not able to make comments on blogs without my ISP restarting on me. I can read, but if I leave a comment and click the back button, IE encounters a problem, shuts down, and restarts. Hopefully next week this problem will be solved! And yes, we've performed a full virus scan. This happens even when I try to access links even from email, so bear with me!

First of all, apologies to Regina, Cindy, Desiree, Anny, and Barb...I had just returned from my errands yesterday and was about to sign back into the chat when my spouse walked in the front door! Yes...two days earlier than expected! If memory serves, this happened last year also; however he is now home until the 29th:) I read through the excerpts last night and boy am I ever looking forward to this Mistletoe series! Cindy's book is released today from EC; go over and get your copy! I'm heading over later today; however, I won't be able to read all three just yet. That's what happens when family unexpectedly shows up...

The weather is cooperating; it is currently in the 50's. Looks like my dinner tonight at Cheeseburger in Paradise is a go! And when we arrive home, my writer's group members are coming over for my Indiana Jones cake. Yup; got my favorite man running from a giant ball on my chocolate cake! W looked at it and immediately asked for the ball. Don't you just love 4-yr-olds?

Today on the agenda: Shopping for my kids. The specific requests are finally being voiced, thank GOD!

6 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0, but check back tomorrow.
Cookies baked: Baked the pumpkin bread loaves yesterday, but no more cookies. Since the chocolate chips are disappearing at an alarming rate, I might make more today. I bought a bag of the holiday swirl chips, so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


My driver's license expires tomorrow. I need to go get it renewed!

Yesterday was quite productive, given the weather. I mailed out two packages, got half my Christmas cards mailed (I ran out of stamps), and picked up some gift bags to put my baked goods in when I pass them out later today.

Again, I am not able to make comments on blogs without my ISP restarting on me. I can read, but if I leave a comment and click the back button, IE encounters a problem, shuts down, and restarts. Hopefully next week this problem will be solved! And yes, we've performed a full virus scan. This happens even when I try to access links even from email, so bear with me!

Christmas 1988

I was in my senior year of college and working full time at the country club. The only thing I really remember is getting a beautiful lounging robe from my then-boyfriend's mother. I had also received my microwave from my parents; however, it was too large for my dorm room, so Mom bought a smaller one so my bff and I could use it in our room. My beautiful, state-of-the-art one stayed in its box until I got my first apartment 10 months later.

Today's To-Do List:
-Go down the the BMV
-Pick up my cake (won't have the van tomorrow, as K is taking it to school)
-Finish baking the pumkin bread
-Drop off W's teacher gifts and watch his tiny Christmas program
-Tonight, Christmas party at the nursing home with the MIL and seeing Santa.

Is this weather crazy or what? We're supposed to get freezing rain again, but when it comes in, the temps will have risen to 32 degrees....and at midnight, be in the 40's! At least I'll have fairly decent weather tomorrow, so my dinner plans are still on!

7 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0, but K finally informed me of what he wants! More shopping will happen on Saturday through Wednesday...
Cookies baked: Baked two packages of the pre-sliced chocolate chips for everyone to enjoy. And with yesterday's 'ice day', we let W and his friend Izzy decorate the sugar cookies with colored frosting and sprinkles. They made a mess, but enjoyed themselves!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Icy Day

Currently Reading: Loved Dakota's Gallery and Blackout! I think I only have one more book to read by her before I'm caught up. Next up is Picture Perfect by Lexie Davis and Hot, Wicked and Wild by Desiree Holt, which I managed to win during a brief chat yesterday on LRC.

Again, I am not able to make comments on blogs without my ISP restarting on me. I can read, but if I leave a comment and click the back button, IE encounters a problem, shuts down, and restarts. Hopefully next week this problem will be solved! And yes, we've performed a full virus scan. This happens even when I try to access links even from email, so bear with me!

No school today; we had freezing rain which started yesterday around 4pm and by 9 most of the schools were on a 2-hour delay. My son the early bird got up and confirmed that our schools had posted the delay and actually went back to bed!

I awoke around 7:30 and discovered we were now closed. Oh happy day:) I'll let the kids bake the rest of the cookies while I see how bad the streets are. I've got to find a place to print out my Christmas letter and my grant application. The app has got to be in today's mail, otherwise it will arrive late. Damn electronic meltdown...

8 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: W had a great day shopping yesterday! He came home with new shoes, two outfits, Kung Fu Panda PJ's, 3 toys, Spiderman hat and gloves, and new underwear and socks. Some of it I will wrap and put under the tree; the shoes, hat and gloves he needs now.
Cookies baked: 3 dozen sugar cookies, in preparation of K's demo speech which will now take place tomorrow???

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Carols

Currently Reading: Thoroughly enjoyed Sloane Taylor's Teddi Turns On, and am looking forward to Francine's story! I also enjoyed Brynn's Tempting Tamara and her intriguing Circle of Three community:) Next up: Dakota's The Gallery and The Blackout.

Apologies to my blogmates: Every time I click on your blogs to read/comment, my internet explorer encounters a problem and restarts. So if you don't see a comment, I'm not ignoring you; I'm simply tired of having to re-sign in! Hopefully next week with the new computer, this problem will disappear. Daughter's laptop apparently does not like blogger!

What's your favorite Christmas Carol? I know; it's hard to choose just one. Here are some of my favorites:

Religious: O Holy Night

Kiddie: Here Comes Santa Claus
All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth (tie)

Whimsical: I Want a Hippopatamus For Christmas

Tongue-in-Cheek: Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song

Spoof: Walking 'Round in Women's Underwear
Spice Girls Got Run Over By A Reindeer (tie)

Traditional: Silent Night

Christian Artist: Amy Grant's Christmas Album (esp Emmanuel/Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)

First carol I ever played on the organ, complete with foot pedals: The First Noel

Carol I can still bang out on piano w/fewest mistakes: Do You Hear What I Hear
Little Drummer Boy (tie)

9 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0
Cookies baked: 0. I was lazy yesterday. See blue print at top:)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Manic Monday

Currently Reading: Don't know if I'll get to finish Teddi Turns On or not today. Depends upon a) getting my desktop running in safe mode and b) if I have time to read today!

I was hoping Sugar would at least get the $100,000...but yeah, if I had been a member of Sprint, I'd have voted for Bob too...who knew he was going to win 5 challenges in a row? Way to go Bob! If you watched last night, what did you think of Corinne's speech? Or the woman in general? I didn't like her during the game, and I really didn't like her after the reunion show!

On the To-Do List:
-Box up the gifts to ship to my sister in Vancouver
-Visit the MIL and set up her tree, apologizing for not visiting yesterday
-Return The Dark Knight, which the spouse decided to rent and watch, rather than visit his mother (I can't go to the library, but he can watch a 3-hour movie? WTF...)
-Go get trash bags; I left them off the list yesterday. Only had 1 left this morning when I put out the trash.
-Check flash drive for any and all documents backed up on it from defunct desktop.
-Try to open said desktop in 'safe mode'...maybe I can recover any I did NOT back up???
-Re-download the 5 e-books acquired last week
-Hopefully make any revisions to ms and send it off!
-Join Gracen Miller in a chat at 9pm for a chat on MySpace?? I've not checked out the details yet; check the Deadly Vixen's blog to see if further details are posted!

And finally, check out the promotion madness on the Novel Sisterhood loop. I won't be posting, but maybe there will be some books I've forgotten about...Oh TBB list is on the desktop and a 3 1/2 floppy! Scrap that...unless I DID put it on the flash? And people want to know what I want for Christmas. RELIABLE ELECTRONICS!! Is that really too much to ask?

10 Shopping Days Left!
Gifts bought: 0, but at least my X-mas cards are finished; all I need to do now is print out my family newsletter and send them all out! I'll go shopping tomorrow.
Cookies baked: 0 baked yesterday, but may do the pre-sliced chocolate chips today. And depending on when K's speech is, we'll have to make more sugar cookies. They were all eaten over the weekend! Oops...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Computer Bit the Dust!

Currently Reading: Learned I have a lurker, ha ha! Yes, Kaenar...I love your bounty hunters! Now I don't know who I like more; Jude or Micah. Love Layla's resourcefulness! I enjoyed Stacy Dawn's Reindeer Games; I needed some lighthearted reading after getting some bad news about a dear friend's health! And with the PC down, I wasn't able to read today. Thank God I'll be able to re-download the 4 TEB books later...I downloaded them to the desktop, but I think I can access them from the laptop and download them to my flash drive...or at least burn them to a CD! So Tempting Tamera, The Gallery, The Blackout, and Picture Perfect will have to wait. I was in the middle of Teddi Turns On, but I also still have the email which brought it!

Wole up this morning and my desktop wouldn't load. Shut it off; waited 30 minutes and tried again. Still nothing.

After church, I started on the laundry and tried to go to the library. The spouse complained I had 'better things to do than to play on the computer'. So I went grocery shopping.

I did get his laundry finished; I signed and addressed my Christmas cards. Read some more of Kelly's More Than Words, before I wrap it up and give it to my mother. Started dinner.

And when my daughter arrived home with her laptop, she refused to hug me, so I demanded her laptop! Fair trade, right? How do I know my daughter loves me? She unearthed it from her backpack and locked the mousepad so her laptop-illiterate mommy could post her daily blog!

Didja miss me?? Just kidding.

My oldest son wanted to go buy me a birthday gift, so his dad took him. And after dinner, hubby told me he had bought me something, and to go ahead and open it, since he won't be here for the actual event. He got me a fuzzy pair of red sleep-socks, with the non-skid soles and decorative balls on them! My feet will be warm tonight...

11 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 5. Two for Miss Drama Queen, two for Mr. Energy, and one for W. Here's a hint: It's a game, and I'll be chasing marbles after Christmas. What was I thinking?? I bought it for the other two, but it turns out they already OWN it! Merry Christmas W...
Cookies baked: Finished baking 4 dozen Reecee Pieces, and K baked 2 dozen sugar and chocolate chip. And yes, I timed his speech and he came in at just under 9 minutes. And that was with W's 'help', and gentle heckles from myself and the other teen...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Ramblings

Currently Reading: Loved Absolute Trust! Great job again, Kaenar! Also read Shannon Leigh's intriguing Greenwood Manor and Lisa Logan's vampire-ish take on Cinderella in Twisted Fayrie Tales. I'll read the others in this anthology at a later date! Next up are Teddi Turns On and Reindeer Games. And of course the three TEB books I bought this week by Brynn Paulin, Dakota Rebel, and Lexie Davis.

Regina and Anny's Release Day Jingle
Deck the halls with Breath of Magic, falalalala, lalalala
Santa's elves and Ty and Liza, falalala, lalalala
Does Ty make her lose control, falala, lalala, lalala
Will Glimmer's job be safe, falalalala, lalalala

Avalon's Book Four is here, falalalala, lalalala
Dennac, Undain, and Magnolia, falalalala, lalalala
What will happen when her wings sprout, falala, lalala, lalala
Read these books and you'll find out, falalalala, lalalala!

Don't throw any messy fruit at me! Thought that up during the EC chat yesterday afternoon!

Update on Daughter's Tooth
The tooth has been fixed; she had also torn part of the filling out that was in it. She was numb all afternoon, and her jaw ached when the novacaine wore off. The bad news? During the X-ray, they found another cavity, so she'll be making another trip back next week! Merry's a beautiful silver filling...

12 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: o, but two arrived in the mail! One is Kelly's More Than Words, for my mom. I re-read the first two chapters last night, while relaxing with a glass of wine! Later today I'm also going shopping for my honorary grandchildren and my toddler.
Cookies baked: 0. After spending two hours in the dentist's office, buying eggs, and running through the drive-through at McD's for lunch, I decided to drop in on Anny's chat over at EC and lurk. I ended up only in 'lurk' mode for an hour...those excerpts were steamy, and I ended up sharing Christmas Tree disaster stories! And then the jingle came to mind. Today I'll finish making the Reecee Pieces and chocolate chip. K is giving a speech sometime this week on how to make cookies, so he'll actually be making them while I time him and 'coach'.

Sandra's got a beautiful picture of the new arrival, Mr. Aiden Zarek Roth. Check him out here since Jae's new Mommy Duties have her tired, busy, and very happy:)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scrooge on Capital Hill??

Currently Reading: I'm up to chapter 9 on Absolute Trust! Wow...this is getting interesting!

Okay; I don't get it. Why bail out the banks and insurance companies (who are STILL under fire for how they are using the money, btw...), but not the auto industry, which will have a ripple effect like a tsunami? I'll admit, I'm married to a union man; while he's not in the UAW, but I believe if it came down to take a pay cut or lose the job for who-knows-how-long, he'd take the pay cut. I could be wrong, since his unemployment checks in the off season are more than what he would bring home if he worked for only half of what he currently makes. But he's also told me that our state's unemployment fund is bankrupt, and he doesn't know if he could even draw unemployment if he gets laid off again!

Daughter broke a chunk out of her tooth while biting into a sour ball yesterday. When did she inform me of this fact? Two minutes before all the dentists in town close their doors for the day...I'm keeping her home in order to get her in to see one as soon as the offices open for business. Even if I have to drive her to Terre Haute or Evansville.

13 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0, though hubby asked me last night how much I'd need to finish up. I told him I seriously needed to ship the kids off for a day while he was home, so we could consult on the toddler's items! I do know he is placing an order today for daughter and myself! Yay...I will have at least one present under the tree...
Cookies baked: 3 dozen M&M and 3 dozen Reecee Pieces. I ran out of eggs and need to go buy some more today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Memory

Currently Reading: Finished The Prosecuter's Paramour! Wow...I seriously hope this future never comes to pass! The book and the futuristic setting was fantastic, but the policies she imagined are scary enough to actually come true. Looking forward to more Lara Santiago books! Next up: Absolute Trust by Kaenar Langford. I'm up to chapter 3, and the only reason I had to stop was my toddler was in the throes of trying to stay awake! You know what I'm talking about...the whining and constant motion as he knows if he sits down he'll pass out? I turned off the computer, took him in, read him a story, and five minutes later he was snoring!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS JAE! Smudgie is here and he is BEAUTIFUL!!! Check him out here:)

Christmas 1978
I believe this was year of the infamous 'let's tape Christmas morning' action by my mother.

The morning began as usual; my sister woke me up (she was 8, I was 13) and we spotted our respective piles under the tree, and speculated on what some of the boxes contained. We woke up Mom and Dad and waited anxiously while Dad turned on all the lights, turned up the heat, and turned on the radio/tape player of Christmas tunes. We always opened our stocking gifts first, and consumed the traditional Ding-Dongs, malted milk balls, and chocolate covered cherries. After the small stuff and candy were oohed and aahed over, we trooped into the living room to open the gifts under the tree. I took the comfortable chair; my parents the couch, and my sister sat on the floor and handed out the presents. She sat right in front of the TV.

Did I mention my sister gets quite vocal when she's happy?

I'm surprised the entire neighborhood didn't congratulate her on the presents she received! Especially her new Miss Piggy puppet.

"It's Miss Piggy! Mom! Miss Piggy! I got Miss Piggy! Oh, I LOVE Miss Piggy! Molls, look! Miss Piggy!" And on and on it went...

We also had a small fight over Shaun Cassidy albums. Mom had bought two, and wrapped them together so we could choose which one we wanted. Sis already had one; I had neither. I wanted his debut album, but since Wendy already had the newer one, she argued she should get the debut album. After some mild bickering, I agreed to let her have it and would use some of my birthday money to buy my own.

After all the presents were unwrapped, my mother said that one present had rolled under the television. Wendy retrieved it, and tore off the paper.

"A tape recorder? But...the box feels empty!"

Mom laughed. "Look behind you." She stood up and pointed out the tiny black contraption on top of the TV. "I've been taping you all morning!"

"Mooottthhherrr! You didn't!"

She rewound the tape and unfortunately managed to stop it right when Wendy was screeching about Miss Piggy!

"Maybe we should have made her sit elsewhere..."

14 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0, unless you count the 3 e-books I finally bought yesterday!
Cookies baked: 8 dozen butterscotch chip and 8 dozen M&M cookies. Kids devoured the M&M cookies; I only have 6 dozen left, with two more batches to make today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Question For Authors...

Currently Reading: I'm on chapter 4 of The Prosecuter's Paramour by Lara Santiago, and again I am marveling at her futuristic world! I can hardly wait to get back to it!

I've had a question bugging me for several months now.

When you submit a manuscript, do you go ahead and write your 'Acknowledgments'/'Author's Note'/'Other Books By...' pages, or is that done after you've received a contract and doing the FLE's?

I know this probably seems like a silly question, coming from an already published author, but remember, I kinda did it the easy way. I self-pubbed, and learned my lesson from book #1's fiasco!

Book #1 contains no thank-you's; no 'teaser' to the second book; has a bad cover and title; and still has eleven spelling errors in addition to the glaring editorial 'oops'. I envisioned being able to write the Acknowledgments later. Didn't happen.

Book #2 I submitted with the Author's Note; a list of acknowledgments; a small blurb for book #3; and a list of books both written and planned.

So far, I'm subbing without the extra info, and just wondered if I'm doing the right thing??

What was on Kyle's cake Monday?
No, it wasn't Hannah Montana or High School Musical. We got him a Hummer cake, complete with a yellow Hummer toy! How's THAT for a birthday gift? What's that? You wanted a real one? Not in this economy, baby! When you do get a car, it will be a nice compact with fantastic gas mileage or even a hybrid!

15 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0. Hubby was home, and it rained all day yesterday. I DID drag everything out and made a list...I need to shop for my honorary grandchildren this weekend. And the toddler only has two gifts.
Cookies baked: 6 dozen Oatmeal Raisin cookies were baked yesterday, to my spouse's delight. And I was appalled to learn that 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies, earmarked for teachers, were eaten by my teens! But I recounted, and I'm in good shape as far as the chocolate chips are concerned. Today I'll make the butterscotch chip, Reecee Pieces, and M&M cookies. Will I make more chocolate chip? Depends on how much time I have today. I may have to do them tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rainy Tuesday

Currently Reading: Read Just A Kiss by Lara Santiago, and I admire people who are able to create worlds where everything we as humans 'know' is turned upside down! Kind of like that episode of Sliders where they entered the world where Red means Go and Green is Stop? Well, take everything you think you know about relationships between men and women and turn it upside down. Lara did a fantastic job of taking miscommunication to a whole new level! I'm looking forward to her The Prosecuter's Paramour.

Got a surprise last night! My spouse walked in the door.

"It's going to rain starting about midnight and not end until 10:00 tomorrow night, so I said to hell with it and just came home."

So K got to see his dad on his birthday, after all!

16 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 2
Cookies baked: 0. Kids were home all day, so I caught up on my TV shows from Saturday. Don't know if I'll get any baked with hubby home or not.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pancakes, Anyone?

Currently Reading: Finished Brits in Time yesterday:) Excellent anthology! Next up is Just a Kiss by Lara Santiago.

How's this for the perfect birthday gift for the teenager?

Woke up to freezing rain; ticker said 2-hour delay.

"Hey Mom? Can I make pancakes?"

The phone rings.

"Hey, Mom? Turn on the news; Sam got a text message from Dalton. School's closed, maybe??"

I switch channels. Yup; kids have no school today!

"Sweet! How cool is this?"

Happy birthday, Kyle!

In Other Birthday Torture...
I ordered his cake last night. Since he said 'Surprise me', I told him I got him either Hannah Montana or High School Musical! Now he's scared...I'll tell you what I got him tomorrow. There's a chance he'll read this today!

He's got his Boy Scout Court of Honor tonight, and we're supposed to bring a dessert. No brainer here; we're taking birthday cake! And my Life Scout now has exactly 364 days to complete his Eagle rank. He needs a project and two more merit badges. Plus we have to find his documentation which was misplaced in the move 2 years ago...

He's also received his birthday spanking. After he put the dog outside on her chain, I held open my arms for a hug. As pre-arranged, his friend Samantha promptly started spanking him! Hey, when your kid grows five inches taller than yourself, you have to devise sneaky ways to give them their birthday paddles!

17 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts Bought: Bought 5 stocking stuffer gifts for my niece and nephew last night.
Cookies Baked: More oatmeal raisin cookies will be made today. Too busy yesterday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Am I Really that Old?

Tomorrow I'll have a 17-yr-old. Is that possible? Given the fact I'm over 34, I guess it is...but it just doesn't seem that long ago he was coming to me in tears, because it was the 3rd day of kindergarten and he couldn't fasten his pants. I wrote a poem about his first week of kdgn, and if I find it/remember it, I'll post it tomorrow.

"I'm Too Shy!"
Said my 4-yr-old yesterday, when I tried to get him to pose with Santa. He wouldn't do it with me, his sister, or even his big brother! So we turned him loose in the arcade for a while. And then he insisted on cruising around The Finish Line, looking at shoes. He doesn't need new shoes, but he had a great time looking at the displays!

"No Rules; Just Right!"
Dinner was awesome. It's been a while since I've had a good steak, and mine was cooked to perfection! I don't like my meat rare, but I don't like it tough and burnt. And my filet mignon was delicious. For dessert, I had cheesecake with chocolate sauce, and we embarassed the birthday boy with a round of Happy Birthday and a candle in his chocolate sundae:)

18 Shopping Days left:
Gifts bought: 9
Cookies baked: 0. Barb asked about snickerdoodles; I made some several years back, but no one ate them. I guess I could try again...

Checked the blog updates before I posted...we're officially on Smudgie Alert! Jae's having contractions...Dakota's got a new blog with her name on it...and Kelly's being cryptic about her topic for tomorrow. If any of those links don't work, then scroll down and click on the ones which do on the right. I'm off to get ready for church; I'll check in with everyone later, as I'm in between laundry loads.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Santa Pictures

Currently reading: Still on Brits in Time. Loved Georgie and the Dragon! It's the only one I read, as I wanted to get busy writing and baking. Saskia's story will have to wait until Monday.

Word Count Update: Another 700 words and I am finished! I earned that bottle of wine tonight:) Now to get someone to read the last two chapters and tell me what they think; Spell-check, final polish, and send it back! Geez...wouldn't that be a fantastic birthday/Christmas gift? Keep your fingers crossed...

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas..."
We have to kill 3 1/2 hours in a mall today. Trust me; gifts will be bought!

I'm also hopefully getting a picture of my kids with Santa. The youngest one has never sat on his lap, so this should be interesting...he's the shyest of all three of my kids.

I have a beautiful picture of baby K, 11 days old, lying in Santa's arms. Two years later, he has a panicked expression and is sliding off the jolly old elf's lap! But when he was 5, he eagerly told Santa what he wanted.

S was a little shy, but she posed for her picture as long as K was there to hold her hand. And for the next couple of years, she smiled tentatively at my camera, but then accepted her present and got off the stage ASAP. The magic ended the year Daddy filled in for Santa, and both kids recognized him. For years, we tried to explain that Dad had been in the office, talking to a friend; the kids never bought it.

We're meeting the grandparents at Outback Steakhouse for a late lunch/early dinner after K's eye appointment, and heading home again.

Last night was a success; K had 4 friends over; they consumed pizza, Coke, and birthday cake; two stayed up all night, including the one who has a basketball game at noon! Instead of going to my writer's Christmas party, as a series of cancellations had taken place, the woman who was hosting brought over the Tirimusu she'd made and two bottles of wine. The teens hung out in the living room; she and I talked and drank a bottle of wine. And I made sure the toddler got some food in him and wasn't ignored. I'll say this for K's friends...they are pretty considerate of W and are willing to play Leggos with him, read him stories, and even let him 'play' the guitar! But when two teens wanted to face off on the guitars, I had to distract W in the kitchen, as he tried to stand in front of the TV screen in protest. He does NOT rule the older ones, and neither do I allow the teens to be mean to him, or push him around.

And of course, at eleven o'clock, W protested loudly when I made him go to bed. You know what I'm talking about..."No, Mommy! I'm not...(yawn)...tired! (Bigger yawn)"

I laid down with him and in five minutes he was snoring.

19 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0, but check back tomorrow.
Cookies Baked: Made another 5 dozen oatmeal raisin. No baking planned for the day.

Have a good weekend! I'll catch up with everyone tomorrow or Monday.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Friday:)

Currently Reading: Still on Brits in Time. LOVED Brynn's In The Dark! Today Cindy's Georgie and the Dragon awaits!

Word Count: Another 700 yesterday:) Now to definitely wrap everything up and send it back...

Sweet Agony:
Lead guitar: Sara
Bass guitar: Kyle
Drums: Me
Vocals: Samantha
Stage Manager: Will

Yes, I let him set up the Guitar Hero World Tour last night. When your teenager offers to clean the entire room, and even run the vacuum cleaner, AND lets you play the instrument of your choice, how can you possibly refuse?

And I'm thrilled to say I scored a 97% on the first try. But was booed off the stage during the second song.

It wasn't entirely my fault. The guide at the bottom of the screen changed, and I was following the wrong one. Once we reset and discovered which instrument guide was which, we did a little better!

We won't be entering America's Got Talent anytime soon, never fear!

20 Shopping Days Left!
Gifts bought: 0, but the chocolate Advent calendars arrived in the mail, courtesy of my mom, as did 3 gifts for my children!
Cookies baked: 2 dozen oatmeal raisin. I ran out of cinnimon, brown sugar, and vanilla. Memory was faulty! So, more will be baked today, as soon as I go get more vanilla...I forgot it last night during my 'midnight dash' to Walmart. Yeah...memory is still malfunctioning. I picked up laundry detergent, but forgot the vanilla? When I was right there in the baking aisle? Grrr...

Dakota, Brynn, and Bron posted new entries yesterday. Go check them out and welcome them back:)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Mom Thing??

Currently Reading: Brits in Time. Loved Bron's Mist and Stone! I'm getting ready for Brynn's In The Dark later today:) And received an early birthday present: I popped in on a chat yesterday and when it came up I had read an excerpt last year, but had forgotten about the book until recently, the author very generously sent me a copy! So the good news is, another book has been removed from the list. The bad news? I added three more:)

Word Count Update: 777 yesterday! I'm not sure if what I wrote would be diobolical enough, but at least it has brought tension to my characters. Now to just keep going and wrap things up in a believable manner...and pray the editor likes it! Anyone want to offer to read the scene and give me your input? Please?

Is It Just Me?
Does anyone else do this?

As I drive around during this season, I see various Nativity scenes, from wooden to plastic. Some light up; others can only be seen during the day, unless the headlights hit them or churches have spot lights.

Take a look at Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. What goes through your mind?

If they are surrounded by a shelter and animals, I admire it and drive on. But a simple trio... I want to go get a box, some straw, or tell the owners that the baby Jesus looks COLD!

This began several years ago, when my parents put their own Nativity on the front porch. Plastic Mary and Joseph had on their clothing, typical of what you see in biblical times. But the baby...he was naked, except for a 'diaper' and lying in a wooden manger. My sister and I both agreed he needed some straw, or at least a blanket, with the freezing temperatures! Dad went out and wrapped an afghan around the 'chilly Christ Child', if anything to get his nagging daughters off his back! And ever since, a sheet or a blanket has been wrapped around baby Jesus, since yes, Dad forgot the next year and I said something!

That was also the year my dad fell and broke his arm putting the Nativity away for the year...Don't mess with the baby Jesus' comfort, ha ha!

Memory Loss, or am I Losing the Ability to Read?
As stated yesterday, I'm suffering from a strange ailment. On Thanksgiving, I completely skipped over the 3 T of flour to put in the pumpkin pies. I put them into the oven...and ten minutes later, thought, "Wait a minute...didn't that recipe call for a little flour?" They still turned out okay!

Tuesday, I was mixing up the first batch of chocolate chip cookies and wondered why the batter was dry. Head slap; I'd forgotten the eggs!

Last night, I received an email from a friend. I immediately hit 'reply', typed a quick message, and hit 'send'. I then noticed at the bottom of her message she'd written 'Call Me.' Oops! She'd send the darn thing an hour earlier and was now en route to her job...she's probably looking at it about now, and thinking, ' told me this last night on the phone!"

21 Shopping Days left!
Gifts bought: 0. See previous posts as to why.
Cookies made: Another 6 dozen chocolate chip! I only had to rewash the spatula and the scoop once, due to toddler licks. I don't mind fingers going into the batter; I do that myself! Yes, I'm a firm believer in if the batter tastes good, so will the cookies! No lectures on E Coli or Salmonella, please...I've been a die-hard raw cookie dough eater for over 40 years. Today, however, will be a different story. Oatmeal Raisin cookies, and I neither like oatmeal nor raisins. Why do I make them? Hubby's favorite. And since I want to keep him happy this month, as I buy gifts with his hard-earned money, I need to keep a supply of his favorite cookies on hand.

A Bit of Good (bragging) News:
I received another royalty check in the mail the other day, and if I remove the cost of the website from my numbers, I'm actually in the black, finanacially! Otherwise, still $123 in the hole. Think I can sell 9 more books by the end of the year?? We'll see what the accountant says in February.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not So Much a Fluke then...and Major PMS Moment

Currently Reading: Finished Sacred Ground last night, and absolutely loved it! But you already knew that, right? Started on Brits in Time, but only read the first paragraph. Daughter needed help with her homework.

Word Count Update: Wrote another 500 words; copied it into an email and mailed it to myself so I could work on it at my writer's meeting...and it disappeared. So didn't accomplish as much as I'd hoped! I'm at the point where I need some fictional 'dirt' on my heroine, and thought maybe baking cookies would help the imagination. But when baking with a 4-yr-old, the main concern is keeping his tongue off the mixing spatula and the egg shells out of the batter!

PMS Supreme

Got this in an email the other day. Enjoy:)

This is an actual letter from an Austin , Texas woman sent to the American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award winning letter.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak Guard Core orDri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial itis that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse'?

I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging throughmy body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.'Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior.

You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Alwaysmaxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you ****ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kindof sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself inyour house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say somethingthat's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong', or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull -- And that's a promise I will keep. Always.


Wendi Aarons Austin, TX

22 Shopping Days Left.
Gifts Bought: 0. I'm writing and baking at the moment.
Cookies Baked: 6 dozen chocolate chip, but only 4 saved. I think my memory is starting to go! The first two batches, I forgot to add the eggs! Wondered why the batter seemed slightly dry...And discovered one of my pans caused the bottoms to be black. Guess I'd better stick with the baking stones! Those came out perfect!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Fluke? We'll See...

Currently Reading: OMG! I am loving Rita Karnopp's Sacred Ground! I admittedly held off opening the file because I couldn't remember what it was about. All I knew was it had a symbol by the title, which, in my TBB list means 'excellent excerpt'! So I opened it...and had to force myself to step away from the computer after chapter 3, otherwise suffer the consequenses of not putting the dog outside in time (know what I mean? Wink...)! I'm currently on chapter 10. Definitely get this one! It's available at Eternal Press, and all about how love and patience can overcome initial predjudice. I'm not even halfway through it and I already love it!

Thanks for stopping by yesterday, Wendi and Jami:) Yes, I'll be reading your books by the end of the month, providing my hubby keeps working! Just checked; there are currently 82 titles on that list at the moment. At this rate, by next June I'll have read (bought??) all but 10...and that depends on other authors I know who have releases out next year. Ack! Either they need to slow down or I need to start buying (reading?) faster! Or, here's an idea, Mol...stay off the chat loops for a while???

I managed to write 900 words yesterday! And had to contact 3 government offices plus a lawyer for research. The lawyer's info I have already incorporated. And yes, this time I will remember his name! I've already jotted it down as a PS in the manuscript, so I can properly thank him when the thing is published! Why is this important? While working on another one last year, I literally went through the phone book to find a lawyer to ask about a certain issue. And now I can't remember which one finally returned my call.

It's funny; identify yourself as an author, and receive 3 different reactions:

-"Oh I love Danielle Steele and all those smut books! Keep me posted when it's published, please?" (This from a family friend whom I called first, because I had no idea which agency to call to answer my questions!)

-"You're an author? Cool! I've never spoken to anyone who's written a book before! Can I ask what it is about?" (This from the administrative assistant whose boss had gone to lunch, and she referred me to the lawyer)

- (pause) "An author? Just a moment please." (Muzak on the hold button)

Okay, so I failed to impress the paralegal! But her boss was very helpful, and when I described the situation I had my characters in, he pointed out some discrepancies. I thanked him very politely, told him I had some minor details to rewrite, and said I would be in touch once the book was published, if his wife would be interested in reading it. He thanked me and our call ended.

We'll see if my creativity continues to flourish. Check back tomorrow for an update!

23 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts bought: 0...I was writing all morning and reading in the afternoon! See Blue Print at top for my recommendations.
Cookies baked: I plan to start the chocolate chips today. Check back tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Ramblings

Currently Reading: This week, I'll be reading Sacred Ground by Rita Karnopp and Brits in Time by Bron, Cindy, Brynn, and the rest of the brilliant authors included in this anthology.
The rest of the month's lineup goes loosely like this:
5th-Absolute Trust-Kaenar Langford
Twisted Fayrie Tales-Lisa Logan
Greenwood Manor-Shannon Leigh
12th- Tempting Tamara-Brynn Paulin
The Gallery-Dakota Rebel
Picture Perfect-Lexie Davis
19th- Magnolia-Anny Cook
Gentle Control-Brynn Paulin
Brit Party-Brynn Paulin, et al
(Hey, it's MY birthday, and I'll buy the ones I want, ha ha!)
26th- Embezzled Love-Ginger Simpson
Cowboy Games-Wendy Darlin
Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed-Jamie Davenport

December NaNo?
It's funny; this time last year, I was so sick of the story I'd completed for NaNo, I wanted nothing more to do with it. This year, I couldn't get my brain and my fingers to even begin to cooperate! And then BAM! What happened last night at 4am?

Brain woke up.

Ever sleep/breathe your story?

I tried to go back to sleep; after all, past experience has shown me that if I had stayed up, sleepiness would set in about 5:30 or so; I'd go back to bed; oversleep the alarm; be a general grouch all day long. Or, if I fought the sleep, I'd crash in the afternoon or be totally grouchy and a bear to live with. So, doing the 'responsible' thing, I stayed in bed.

And dreamed about my characters/storyline/where I needed to make improvements.

Woke up early, showered before taking the kids to school, and as soon as I finish my internet business, I'm turning off the internet and seeing if I can stop this self-sabatoge and get my creativity back. As for an idea what self-sabatoge I'm talking about, click here, and scroll down past the post you read the other day. I added to it. I talked it over with my spouse, even to the point of breaking down in tears again. Maybe that was the trick; I actually had to voice my fears. Anyway, I'll let you know tomorrow if I was successful.

Colts Won!
It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. Anyone know how bad the Browns' QB's injuries were? I hope his leg isn't broken; only sprained.

Jeff Dunham, Anyone?
At the risk of offending anyone, I'll just say we watched Jeff Dunham's Christmas Special the other day, and found it hilarious! He works with various crazy and totally un-PC puppets, but the scene stealer this time was Guitar Guy, who tried valiently to keep a straight face while being heckled by two of the puppets!

If you know who I'm talking about and think his act is funny, let me know!

I Can Close My Fridge!
My spouse finished carving both the ham and the fried turkey last night, and I'm proud to report I can see the back wall of my refrigerator again! Turkey Tetrazzini is on the menu for tonight's meal. The potatoes and stuffing are all gone, and we still have 1 1/2 pies left, and half a bag of raw veggies.

Thanks, Coffee Time Romance, for hosting the Novel Sisterhood Reader's Retreat last month! I had a great time:) I've been told our forum is now closed; I don't know if the posts can still be read or not. I may head over there this afternoon, just to see if I can still access it. I'll let you know if we get invited back next year.

24 Shopping Days Left:
Gifts Bought: 14
Cookies Made: 0 ('s early!)

Okay; time to get crackin'! Happy Monday!