Friday, November 30, 2012

Countdown to Christmas

Tomorrow is the first day of December and to celebrate the fact that I already have my Christmas money and am halfway done with my shopping, I'm going to go all Adventy on you--calendar-wise that is.

As a child, I counted down many a Christmas with the help of an Advent calendar, usually a gift from my grandparents in Denmark. I wanted to get one this year, but haven't done so yet, but I s'pose it's not really too late. (it'll show up here if I do end up getting one!)

Anywho, as part of my countdown to Christmas, I'm going to actually post everyday between now and Christmas. I'm going to share with you my various decorations and traditions and events and happenings. I hope you'll share some of yours with me as well.

Before I bug out, I want to say thanks to Angi Morgan who was my guest on Wednesday. Not only is she a great writer, she's a great friend. After I had a bit of meltdown over my current WIP, she read it for me and gave me some wonderful and helpful comments on it. I'm feeling ready to dive back into revisions. I'm anxious to finish so that *when* my submitted manuscript is accepted by Entangled Publishing, I'll immediately be able to submit the next one, which is a sequel.

Speaking of submitted manuscripts, I've contacted the editor I submitted to to check on my submission. *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Please welcome...

My chapter mate and dear friend, Angi Morgan. She's also an awesome writer and her latest book will be coming out in just a few months--which gives you plenty of time to read her first two books!!!

So here's Angi...

Angi Morgan

Writers ain't easy to love and they're harder to know.
They'd rather stretch tales and play let’s pretend
with cowboys, Marines or just a Baron.
Their heroes are real and have their own back stories.
If she’s got a PC or ink in her hand,
she'll prob'ly write ‘till her grave.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be writers.
Don't let 'em tell stories or sit on their behinds.
Let 'em be doctors or lawyers or mimes.
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be writers.
'Cos they'll never go out and they're never alone.
Always with plots on the brain.

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys was written by Willie Nelson and inspired these words that loosely resemble a poem. Thanks for joining me today here at Jen’s A TIME FOR EVERYTHING.

Recently, I’ve been thinking that my entire life is writing, instead of writing entirely about life.  Every day there’s a different deadline, more writing, more goals to meet. Does it end? Not for a writer. If it ends…well, that’s not something a writer looks forward to. WE LOVE deadlines, contracts, obligations. If we don’t have one, we aren’t earning our keep.

But every once in a while, you just have to sit back and enjoy. I love taking my laptop with me to write wherever and whenever--as all writers should. But unless we stop and breathe, we’re forgetting what the basis is for all the yarns that we spin: life.

So take some Time for Everything…without the guilt. You have permission.


Coming this February to a bookstore near you...

And to keep you busy until then, these are available now.

I've read all three of these and they are fantastic.

Thanks for stopping by today, Angi!

Monday, November 26, 2012

And so it begins...

The Thanksgiving holiday & break is over and the rush to Christmas begins.

My four day break was relaxing. It's not often that I'm away from work for that many days in a row, and it was almost too long. I only say that because I have two large-ish flat screen monitors at my job and I can have a lot of programs open and available at the same time with that much real estate. My seven-inch laptop screen isn't so easy to work on when I have to pop back and forth between programs to get things done.

Anyway, our weather has been nice, if a bit windy and the radio said a cold-front is moving in this afternoon. Ew. Not fond of the cold fronts this time of year, 'cause they're actually *cold*!

Christmas has been funded early and I have already started my shopping. This has eased my anxiety over the holidays as I usually fret about money and shopping, and I stress out over the fact that I have to get it all done the week before Christmas. Not so this year and I'm very thankful for that. I'm hoping to be finished by the time the boys leave for the fireworks store so that I can truly enjoy my break from them. Also, I like to do projects around the house without them underfoot and due to the above-mentioned last minute shopping issue of previous years, I haven't been able to do any. I have a several in mind, but I'm not sure which one I want to tackle.

I'm back on the wagon. I know I claimed several weeks ago I was taking back control of things, but that didn't really happen. This time, however, it has. I'm back to eating right--having made sure I have low-cal, healthy snacks and lunches already prepped and ready to go. I'm going to start walking to the post office each afternoon again. And...and I don't know what else. But that's a start.

And it's time to get to work. I hope your holiday was as relaxing as mine.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A time for thankfulness and writing

Happy Thanksgiving day to all my faithful readers. I hope your day was fun and relaxing with good food and the people you most enjoy being with.

Some of my Facebook peeps have been sharing each day something they're thankful. While I could come up with 30 things I'm thankful, I'll just list a few...

My family, of course. Immediate and extended, to include DH, the Brown-Eyed Girl, DD, and Sonshine. My mom and my grandma. My step-mom, my sisters and brothers, my nieces and nephews. My mother- and father-in-law, my sisters- and brothers-in-law. And my dog Sammy.

I'm thankful for the members of the US military, past, present, and future, who fight for my freedoms.

I'm thankful that my Brown-Eyed Girl is still with us and celebrated 2 years of sobriety this past Tuesday.

I'm thankful for my hubby of 19 years and that he's put up with me this long.

I'm thankful for my writing friends and the writing community for the friendships I've made and the things I've learned over the last nine years.

Speaking of writing...I've got 4900 words to come up with by the 8th in order to earn my next charm. Unfortunately, the writing has been a struggle of late. But I have the rest of the weekend to get back into it and try to bang out some words.

So on that note, I'm going to sign off now.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dog scare...

So two Mondays ago, we put Honey to sleep. Sammy seemed to be doing well enough and wasn't acting overly distraught. This past Friday she went outside first thing when I got up as she always does, but didn't come back in straight away. Occasionally, she'll stay out and enjoy the cool, so I didn't think much of it, only checking to make sure the gate hadn't been left open.

A sort time later, the Brown-Eyed Girl went out there to find Sam in a state of almost paralysis. We first thought she'd stepped on something or had hurt one of her legs or paws. But she wasn't yelping or wincing or even pulling away as we felt around for a wound. We decided to wait and see.

She acted lethargic for the rest of the day, not eating or drinking, acting dizzy when she did get up to take care of business. We then thought maybe she'd gotten stung or bitten or had possibly ingested something. DD did a little online research and it's also possible she suffered a mild stroke.

I'm glad to report she's mostly fine, eating and drinking, no longer dizzy, and moving around, not just laying in one spot. She wags her tail when spoken to, etc. But I do think she's now exhibiting signs of missing Honey. She's just not herself. Getting over that loss will just take time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm back to TGIF...

I have nothing much to say today, so I'm just here to say...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Movie Music of John Williams

This past Sunday, Sonshine and I had ourselves a date. We traveled across the metroplex (thank goodness it was Sunday) to the Allen Performing Arts Center to hear the Dallas Wind Symphony perform music that John Williams composed for various movies, in addition to the Liberty Fanfare he wrote for the re-dedication of the Statue if Liberty back in 1986.

His most famous piece is probably the Star Wars theme even though it is not his first movie collaboration. (For your listening pleasure:)

We also heard:

"Out to Sea" and "The Shark Cage Fugue" from JAWS.
The Superman March
"Victor's Tale" from The Terminal
"Adventures on Earth" from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
"Harry's Wondrous World" from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
"Hymn to the Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan
The Midway March
"The Adventures of Mutt" from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crustal Skull

Sonshine and I both enjoyed it tremendously. I was hoping he'd be a bit more inspired with his own music, but, alas, while he was suitably impressed with the music, it wasn't enough to make him break out the French horn when we got home.

The Allen PAC was part of a regular old high school. A gorgeous performing arts high school. It's a beautiful facility and sported a radio station, a couple of TV studios, a culinary arts wing, and a 644 member band! I wish Sonshine could attend a school like that. Ah, well...

Done anything fun with your kid/s recently?

Monday, November 12, 2012


Today I'm participating in a blog hop. If you're a first time visitor, welcome and thanks for stopping by. One of the purposes of these things is to generate interest in authors, their blogs and their books. So if you find my ramblings interesting, I hope you'll stop back by sometime.

Now, I don't have any published books as of yet, though I am waiting to hear from Entangled Publishing any day now about my short story, A Snowball's Chance in Texas, which is book one to Children With a Chance of Marriage, which is the topic of today's blog. So let's get to it!

What is your working title of your book?
--> Children With a Chance of Marriage

Where did the idea come from for the book?
--> It's actually the story of a secondary character from A Snowball's Chance in Texas. Pilar is sassy and smart and a lot of fun to write. As I delved into her background of why she was the way she was for the first book, I knew she needed her story told.

What genre does your book fall under?
--> Sexy contemporary

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
--> Naya Rivera from Glee would be perfect as Pilar, just picture her a little older though. But Naya's character, Santana, was always in my head when I first brought Pilar to life during her brother's book.
--> For Drew, it took me a while, because I already had an image of him in my head, so I had to find an actor who fit. But then I came across a really nice black & white image of Chris Hemsworth and decided he was perfect.

Visit Google/Images and search for these two. All the images of Naya perfectly reflect the many facets of Pilar. As for Chris, the pics with the short hair and facial scruff best represent how I imagine Drew.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
--> Just one sentence?? Hmm... Okay, it took me a while,  but I finally did it. Here you go:

One night stand + sudden single parent = Children With a Chance of Marriage : Drew McMillan longs for head-over-heels love and Pilar Jackson no longer believes in it, so when the two of them are faced with a marriage of convenience for the sake of the children, Drew settles for chemistry and Pilar is shocked to find herself falling for this uniformed stranger.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
--> CWACOM will not be self-pubbed at this point. Once I hear back from Entangled on the first book, I'll be submitting it there. If Entangled passes on book one, then I'll try Samhain.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
--> Approximately three months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
--> Oh, man...I don't even know. With the plethora of e-books out there, I probably haven't read anything anyone would necessarily recognize. But because I was targeting Entangled's Flirt line, I read the other Flirts available and tried to capture the essence of the line.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
--> As I mentioned above, it was a secondary character who needed her own story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
--> Well, my hero's a Naval officer, although the story doesn't focus on that aspect of his character much.
--> And I've been told that my books are emotional, so if you like that in a romance, then I hope you'll give it a read when it gets published.

If you're interested, here's an excerpt (it's 999 words):

“Ladies room, be right back.”

Pilar Jackson slipped away from the wedding reception. The farther she got from the ballroom, the fainter the laughter and music became, and the easier she breathed.

It had taken every ounce of inner strength she possessed to hold it together all day, and she just couldn’t do it any longer. Didn’t want to have to.

She kept on walking.

The sound of deep bluesy jazz caught her ear, resonating inside her so elementally that she couldn’t help but slip into the cool, dim hotel bar to listen.

A black baby grand sat in a lit corner, and a quintet of suited men belted out the music. Her pulse thumped in time with the underlying beat.

“What’ll you have?” asked the bartender.

“Safe Sex on the Beach, please.” She had to drive.

The bartender placed her drink in front of her and moved to the other end of the bar. Pilar sighed in relief.  She didn’t want to make small talk. She just wanted to nurse her drink in peace, virgin though it was.

The mournful refrain floated through the air and surrounded Pilar, echoing the melancholy that thrummed through her veins.

The bar door opened again, and a man entered and scanned the room. His perusal stalled when it reached her. Though visibility was minimal in the dim interior, his lingering gaze short-circuited her lungs.

His button down shirt, open at the collar and rolled at the sleeves, and tailored slacks did nothing to hide his muscled build. Want rolled through Pilar and settled between her legs. Shit. It had been far too long since she’d last had sex if just the sight of a hunky man affected her so strongly and swiftly.

He moved down the bar and sat two seats away and around the corner of the bar from her. Close enough for conversation, but far enough to ignore without being officially rude.

Unable to help herself, she checked him out, though she did so from beneath her lashes. There was no way to tell his true hair color without better lighting, and she couldn’t determine his eye color without looking him in the eyes. Not something she was prepared to do at the moment. The shadow of stubble darkened the strong set of his jaw. The subtle murmur of attraction arced between them. It couldn’t just be her then.

The bartender returned to this end of his domain. “What can I get for you?”

“Killian’s Irish Red?” Mystery man’s voice was strong and deep.

What would it sound like whispering words of encouragement in her ear during sex?

Shit. Where had that thought come from? Sharing an attraction was one thing. Thinking about sleeping with a stranger was something else.

But it lingered and teased. She shifted in her seat and crossed her legs. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, she must be really hard up if all it took was the sound of a man’s voice to make her hot.

The murmur turned into a hum, caressing her skin, and making her hyper aware of his every move. He didn’t outright stare, but the heat of his gaze returned over and over.

The bartender delivered the man’s glass of beer, but didn’t remain in their vicinity.

Mystery man’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he took a long swallow, drawing her attention to the column of his neck and his five o’clock shadow. She swallowed as well.

Turning slightly toward her, he said, “I’m Drew, and you’re beautiful.”

Her gaze crashed into his as warmth flooded her face and neck. Her breasts tightened at the caress of voice. There was no mistaking who he was talking to. His eyes rested squarely on her and she couldn’t look away.

Blue. His eyes were blue. The color of the ocean on a summer’s day.

As pick-up lines went, it was about as non-pick-up-y as you could get and she liked that. “Pilar. And thank you.”


The sound of her name of his lips brought back her earlier thought. Would his voice get deeper while in the throes of passion? Somehow, she thought so.

She re-crossed her legs.

“Pilar, why are you alone in a hotel bar?”

“My best friend just got married. And I’m thinking I’ll probably never get married because she told me she thought she was pregnant and I can’t have kids and she married my brother.”

A surprised expression flitted across his handsome face. Dammit. “Too much information, huh?”

He shrugged, one corner of his mouth lifting along with a shoulder. “I asked.”

“That you did.”

The corner of his mouth lifted in a half-hearted smile that lasted all of three seconds. He leaned his forearms against the bar and his shoulders slumped forward.

She rotated her glass on the cardboard coaster. “What about you?”

He raked a hand through his short hair. “I’ve just seen my niece for the first time since her birth three months ago.”

Pilar wasn’t sure why that warranted drinking alone in a bar, or why he’d suddenly gone somber, but whatever. She wasn’t about to question it. She lifted her glass. “A toast then?”

“A toast.” He lifted his glass as well and said, “To Amee Joy.”

“To Amee Joy.” They clinked the rims of their glasses together and each took a drink. He held the glass with both hands and stared into the reddish-brown liquid. “She’s the most perfect little thing you ever did see. Little blonde curls and big blue eyes, just like her mother.”

A different emotion drifted off him now. “There’s something else,” Pilar said, tensing. Something not so good.

“You sure you want to hear this?” A dark brow arched and his gaze flicked down the bar.

“My best friend married my brother and I can’t have kids. Hit me.”

The ghost of another smile drifted across his full lips and Pilar wondered how they’d feel pressed against hers. She really needed to stop that. He was a perfect stranger.

Thanks so much to my critique partner and good friend, Lavender Daye, for tagging me. I'm spreading the love by tagging my RWA chapter mate, Lara Lacombe.

Hope to see you Wednesday when I tell you about my date with Sonshine yesterday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh, yeah, it's Friday. Time to post again.

Late with the post again...

Sonshine didn't have practice this morning, so my whole day started late. By the time I got to work and checked my e-mails (which I couldn't do at home cuz something's hinky with our setup) I got distracted by thoughts of things I need to being doing as well as things I want to do.

Last night was the last football game of the season. Surprisingly, we won. And what a night for me to forget my camera. The band director will retire in the spring and so the last football game is her last as band director. Anyway, it was a good night. The kids had fun and the band director had fun. There were tons of photo ops, if you will, and I missed them. DD and my brown-eyed girl took a few pictures with their phones, but I don't have them to share, at the moment.

But it IS Friday and this weekend should be rather relaxing. Except...

I'm taking Sonshine on a date. He and I will travel across the metroplex to see the Dallas Wind Symphony perform the movie music of John Williams. Some of his greatest hits include themes and pieces from Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Harry Potter and E.T. The venue is over an hour away and the program will probably last an hour to an hour and a half, but I can't wait experience this with Sonshine.

So here's to a relaxing weekend!

Does this help?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So, yeah...

That control I talked about Monday? Not 100% yet.

Unfortunately, life decided to whack me upside the head and we took our dog, Honey, in and had her put to sleep Monday afternoon.

The shine was gone from her eyes, meaning the pain meds were no longer doing their job. Between the arthritis and the mouth cancer, she could hardly get to her feet, she'd lost her appetite, and eating was difficult with the huge tumor growing on her jaw. Plus she was snappy at everyone for no reason, except for the pain. So it was finally time to say goodbye.

DD opted not to go, but the rest of us went and were gathered around our dog as the vet administered the meds. It was low-key and respectful. We were allowed to stay as long as we needed, though we didn't stay long. I wish I gotten one last picture, of her after, looking peaceful, but I didn't think about it at the time.

Tears come and go. (Right now, as I'm writing, they're falling.) But it was time. I know it was. And yet I feel like I should have taken more time to make the decision. We had time, we took it, and yet there was no more time. She needed to be set free. So we did.

But all this talk about Honey, we've forgotten Sam.

Sam is just now realizing that her sister, playmate, and pal for the last eleven years is gone. Not that she understands all of that exactly. But she knows her life is different and that something is now missing.

We're trying to pay a bit more attention to her. My brown-eyed girl hasn't been scheduled to work and is able to take her for walks, and on days when she'll be home alone, I'll probably bring her to work.

So I'm getting up at 5am and reading my manuscript. I've at lest done that. Diet and exercise? Ppfft--not happening at the moment. Give me a few days and I'll try, try again.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I voted!

How about you?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time to take (back) control

The last few months have been rough. My oldest daughter moved back home, which meant, if you remember, that I had to give up my writing room. She also decided she was going to get up at 6:30 to do her devotions. Which meant I lost my early morning quiet time.

In addition, school started which meant marching band events and the general chaos that comes form having a child in school, then add teenager to that equation.

On the work front, things have been in transition for a month and half now. Things are changing, eventually for the better, but even so, transition can be hard.

As you also know, I've been trying to lose weight--to reach a healthy weight of approximately 115 lbs. Right now I'm just trying to shed the pounds. Once I get there, the plan is to turn fat to muscle. Which (I know, I know) weighs more. But that's okay. Anyway, I'm about 20lbs. lighter and have 25lbs. to go, but I'm at a stand still, the dreaded plateau that only renewed effort--meaning exercise--will get me over.

The point of all this is that I've allowed circumstances to control me. My writing and exercise have slacked off because I've let the mild depression and the ill will I've felt over circumstances that were really unavoidable guide my decisions.

It's not as if I don't know that exercise, especially, will help me lose more and weight and generally help me feel better, which in turn will help the writing. The problem becomes I just don't care.

This weekend was a step in the right direction. I completed a project and submitted it. It felt really good to get that accomplished. I was also able to overcome some doubts I had regarding another WIP. I discussed the story and my concerns with a couple of writer friends, and I found my way through the fog.

I usually like to start things on Sunday, and I sorta did. I was up and writing at 5:30 yesterday at least.

But today is a brand new day. I'm back to getting up early. I'm back to writing or revising every day. I'm back to exercising and eating better. (The walking will start tomorrow. I swear.)

I'm back to controlling my life, not letting life control me. was your weekend?

Friday, November 2, 2012

All dressed up...

...And nowhere to go.

As the saying goes anyway. Despite being up *way* past my bedtime last night, I am up early. I might have slept longer, but my tummy was rumbling something fierce. And I might sneak a little snooze later, but for now, the morning is quiet. I haven't gotten to enjoy a quiet morning all to myself in a very very long time. And it's delicious. I can feel the stress ebbing away...

It's retreat weekend--and I have already gotten started. Sorta. The story I'm going to wrok on is open. The last critique of said story is open. And I'm going to work. For the first time in at least a week, but probably longer.

It had been quite some time since I've even booted up my laptop--Dropbox updated 16 files. I have no idea what they were, but...

I don't even have kid responsibilities today. Sonshine got himself up and DH is driving him to school. Woot!

So now off to (writing) work I go. Heigh ho, heigh ho.

What about you? Big weekend plans? Do share!