Friday, January 30, 2009


I'm sure you've heard, by now, that Kim Manners died the other day, after a battle with lung cancer. Kim was one of the masters behind Supernatural, and it seems many lives will not be the same now.

A collection has been taken up for a donation in his memory to the American Cancer Society. You can donate here. SciFi Chicks has several related posts and links, as well.

Art and life connect, it seems, as tonight's episode of Supernatural was in memory of two people whose names I didn't recognize. I'm sure I'll be able to find the connection somewhere. And that is mirrored by the airing of the second of two of the saddest episodes of the show in all four seasons.

It's Tanya's turn to do a recap/review of the episode at Supernatural Sisters. As the post is likely to be up soon, and will, without a doubt, be tremendously better than I could do with this tired brain, I'll just send you over there for deep discussion.

But I do want to say that even though the age difference did bug me slightly, and I couldn't really buy Colin Ford as old enough to be in high school, it turned out to be really irrelevant. Both Ford (young Sam) and Brock Kelly (young Dean) did an incredible job channeling their older counterparts. Kelly seems to have watched a lot of the show and mimicked Jensen as Dean subtly, so it wasn't caricature, but clearly, so we could see and hear Dean.

Ford had more of a challenge. I mean, he comes up to Jared's, what, knees? There's far too much discrepancy for him to mimic Jared as Sam. But he was impressive in providing the essence of the character. Despite being a runt, picked on and dealing with being "a freak," he had a self-possession and attitude that was very Sam Winchester. My favorite moment of the show was when the fear and discomfort in his eyes clicked over to burning determination when Dirk asked if he wanted to take Barry's place.

Bravo, young men. Bravo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Thoughts

Why do they keep calling it "the inaugural"? Inaugural is an adjective. The event is an inauguration. I thought it was a silly misuse of a word, like using "sells" as a noun (I mean, really!) but I just read it in Entertainment Weekly. I don't get it.

Okay, I looked it up, and it is a noun, but ONLY defined as an inaugural address. Using it to describe the entire event is still incorrect. Plus, any word that requires itself to define it shouldn't be allowed. Sheesh.

I'm not sure what other actor could pull off Kevin James' heartwarming and competent loser in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. (I know, I can't believe I wrote that, either!) I might be wrong, but it looked like he did his own wall climbing/fence jumping. He was believable when he won, and his "hero shot" at the end was funny without being ridiculous, as certain other funny guys tend to be.

My taskbar showed that my power backup had a problem, and when I pointed to it, it said it wasn't on. I opened the program, and couldn't get it to recognize the power source. I hit the mode button to see the display, but it still didn't connect to the program. So what did I do?

Let's just say I'm a supreme idiot and leave it at that.

(Luckily, none of my applications or documents were open.)

Why can't companies put retractors on their power cords? Especially for stuff like video cameras, which we use pretty infrequently and for which we need a safe, easy way to store the cords. The technology has been around forever, but we're just now seeing the benefit of it. And on what? Extra pieces we have to pay an arm and a leg for that would work far better if they were built in...and free wee baby mice by Windows Rights Management Services. If they can give it away for FREE, they can certainly build it in.

I'm tired of buying dress shoes once a year that get worn twice. Ditto snow boots.

Mary, I finally started watching Leverage, and I love it! Except whenever I think the word, it's in Will Turner's voice and pronounced Leee-verage. :)

Some good stuff this week over at Supernatural Sisters. Yesterday Mary analyzed Papa Winchester. Today Trish talked about the differences in Dean's and Sam's styles of humor. Head on over and tell us your favorite lines!

In the comments of the Dean/Sam humor post, Tanya said she woke up thinking today was Thursday. When Trish commiserated with her, she said at least tonight was Lost. I actually gasped. I'd forgotten!

Snow day + too much excellent reader feedback + repeated crisis of confidence = I'll rewrite chapter one tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

There's an AIFA?

A few months ago, Number Two and I discovered there was going to be a local arena football team. Two, actually, a men's team and a women's team. But then the economy crashed and I heard the Arena Football League was canceling the 2009 season. This weekend, I found out the local teams are still playing because the American Indoor Football Association is charging on. Who knew the U.S. could sustain two arena football leagues?

Oh, wait.

Anyway, we went to the first ever Harrisburg Stampede game last night, an exhibition game against the AIFL All-Stars. Turns out the Stampede has only had one full-speed practice. It didn't take a genius to figure that out.

For a while, I was thinking we were wasting our Saturday night. (Metaphorically speaking--it's not like our Saturday nights are rip-roaring or anything.) Getting into the Farm Show Complex was a huge joke. You go up the stairs in a mass of people and then find that somehow, you have to maneuver to two cashiers. One was labeled "Credit Only" and the other "Cash Only," but since you couldn't see the signs until you got right up to the tables, well, you can understand what a cluster-you-know-what it was. Plus, even though all the tickets for this game were the same price, we got stuck way up in the rafters, with two sections below us completely empty. WTH? Oh, well, one plus is that there really isn't a bad seat in the house. This is where they usually do ox pulls, so it's not exactly huge.

As for the rest of it, sheer amateur hour. No, that's not nice. I'll call it "Start-Up Syndrome." Instead of benches, the teams had to sit on those molded plastic chairs you find in school cafeterias. The cheerleaders were wearing black and white even though the team colors are blue and that neon gold the color of dog puke. And they mostly step-touched for three hours, with a little pom-pom shaking to mix it up. The strips of turf kept wrinkling and lifting off the field, and at one point, the chains got caught on the turf and they had to maneuver them out.

I've never watched arena football, so it was kind of weird to see so many non-players and non-refs on the field, inside the walls. Coaches joined the huddle and ran around the field between plays, trying to get the crowd to cheer. Four guys crouched on the sideline, ready to move the chains and the down marker.

On the other hand, the atmosphere was fun. They played awesome music, and the players danced around between plays. I could have done without the mascot race and the hula hoop contest during the one-minute warnings, and the sound system makes most of the announcements unintelligible.

Then there was the game itself. Harrisburg kicked off. The All-Star returner fumbled the ball. He picked it up, ran two yards, slipped, and fell. And that set the tone for the next three hours.

At first, the All-Stars dominated. But the Stampede came out a brand new team in the second half, recovering fumbles (of which there were approximately 83--I didn't realize a Nerf ball was so easy to fumble!) and intercepting passes and stopping the All-Stars on fourth down. Final score was 46-26, Stampede.

Some laugh-worthy highlights:

1. There were two penalties for hitting the hockey scoreboard during the kickoff. How did the AIFL come to build that into the rules?

2. Even though the goalposts at one end of the field, suspended by wires from the ceiling, were bowed inward and half as wide as they should be, one Harrisburg kickoff went the full 55 yards and split the uprights, giving the Stampede one point.

3. Number Two and her father went to the restroom in the third quarter. When they came back they asked what happened. I said, "There was a play, with a penalty, then a play, with a penalty, and then another play, with a penalty." I swear, they went back and forth between the 20-yard lines six times before they managed to complete a pass--penalty free--and go for a touchdown.

4. We left at the final one-minute warning because the game was out of hand. As we walked the concourse and looked through a gap onto the field, number 1 (the player, not my kid) was perfectly framed in the center, wiggling his butt.

You won't see that in the NFL.

Despite my sarcasm, we had a good time at the game, and plan to attend more during the season. I'm really happy these guys get the opportunity to play, and I'm even more excited to attend a Central PA Vipers (women's) game.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Totally Bogus

Here's the readability rating for my Blogspot blog:

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Here's the readability rating for my Livejournal blog:

blog readability test

TV Reviews

They have the exact. same. content.

I'm so disillusioned.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Books, and Bloody Valentines

I have a new book coming out in May! Indulgence II is a second collection of erotic novellas, containing the stories Under Control, Rebuilding Forever, Renegade, and Letting Go. So if superheroes, rock gods, psychic heroes, and young studs interest you but you prefer paper over electronic ink, stay tuned!

Here's my very gorgeous cover:

I went to se My Bloody Valentine 3-D last night. I'll be doing a full review of it next week at Supernatural Sisters, but I will say I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. I'm not at ALL a horror movie fan, especially the gory kind, but it's not like I didn't know what I was in for. The acting was decent (which it isn't always) and the writing mostly held together (which it rarely does). Even though I'd been spoiled a little, it kept me guessing.

Definitely, if you're inclined to see it in the theater, go for the 3D if at all possible. Someone I read said it wasn't any better than the old 3D, but I beg to differ. It wasn't just the things coming out at you, which were cool but less frequent than I expected. The entire film, start to finish, was 3D. Foreground, middle ground, and background. Combined with the digital format,it was amazing. I've never seen Jensen Ackles so clear. Mmmmmm. Anyway, it added a new level of interest.

New Supernatural tonight! I can't wait! I love Barry Bostwick. And for once, Dean's the one who gets throttled.

Have you met Logan McKnight? Discover his power to settle your world in one of four heartwarming stories: To Heal the Soul, Seeking Peace, Opening Hearts, and To Change a Life. Only a dollar apiece!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bloggin' Around Town

Today I posted at the Gab Wagon about Paperspine, a Netflix-like book rental service.

Tomorrow (posted at midnight central time) I'll talk about the effect of passion on expectations (in terms of being a fanatic) at Supernatural Sisters. Today's post at SPN Sisters was by MJ Fredrick about the upcoming movies the Winchester boys (well, the actors who play them, actually) will be in this winter/spring. And later in the week we have Tanya Michaels on fandom, Trish Milburn on Sam Girls vs. Dean Girls, and Terri Clark's recap/review of this week's episode, "Criss Angel is a Douche Bag."

Check 'em out!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stoopid Cats

I don't get it.

When there are two full, clean bowls of water on the floor, what possesses a cat to jump on a counter she's not supposed to be on and shove her head into a glass to try to access the quarter inch of water on the bottom?

And even when her head is obviously far too big, to keep shoving and pushing until the glass falls off the counter and shatters?

And most importantly, when this happens and she a) is terrified by the loud noise and commotion AND knows to run from me, and b) has lost her toy/beverage...

Why do it again?

Stoopid cats.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Is Dean Evil?

First, let me please direct you to this post at Supernatural Sisters, where I did a full recap/review of "Family Remains." Assuming you haven't already been there.

Next, let me sheepishly admit that "we'll see" (regarding whether I'll talk about the show here as much) didn't take too long. :)

I just read this article at Buddy TV. I'm not actively debating or agreeing with the article, but it launched some thoughts I felt compelled to share. You know how that goes.

I wrote a long post but went too deep into my thoughts on Dean's Hell (a scheduled topic at SS) so I abbreviated it it bit, kept it focused.

So okay. Now that Dean has opened up, he appears to be finding it much easier to admit stuff. Some people complain that the bookending brotherly moments are getting old, but if they hadn't addressed his revelation, we'd have been complaining about that. And they need to take a break from the intense myth-arc for those fans who prefer the standalone episodes. Maybe they saw some parallels and they wanted to tie that in. Maybe they struggled to make connections.

Whatever. Those one-on-one moments are my favorite parts of any episode, wherever they stick them, and whether they are Dean punching Sam in the face, Sam giving too much detail about sex with Ruby, or Dean confessing to liking the torture.

On the surface, that last revelation is disturbing. We all want Dean to be heroic and stronger than typical people. We want him to do no wrong.

But I ask, when has he ever NOT been a dick?

Let's look at episode 1.1, "Pilot." Dean breaks into his brother's house, fights him instead of just saying "Hey, it's me," and ogles his girlfriend.

He sleeps with truck stop waitresses with questionable rashes, yells at fat kids, steals, cheats, hustles...and while justified, he spent a lot of time whining about how much he's given up for this family! *foot stomp* He's very much a dick.

Now obviously, that's not all Dean is. Those things are all pretty inconsequential in the face of how many lives he's saved and the sacrifices he's made for his brother. It's very easy to overlook them. He's as much selfless as he is selfish, a complete product of his experiences.

But because of all that, I don't think his response to hell is at all out of character. I think that when you consider the two intertwined sides, the dick and the hero, they will create exactly the kind of action Dean took.

So the revelation doesn't change my opinion of him at all.

Wicked Cold

It was 5 degrees this morning.

Wind chill of -4.

I kept mentally rolling my eyes at my husband, who grew up in Ohio and should be used to this. I grew up in Massachusetts and I'm not flabbergasted by winter weather of any sort. Five degrees doesn't seem that amazing.

Except...I'm 38 now, and I think I'm feeling the cold more than I used to, which I always pooh-poohed when people older than me said it. Now I hate my smug younger self, as I huddle here next to my poorly insulated basement window with my fingerless gloves, two blankets, massaging foot-warmer, and space heater.

Far more important, however, is how fast we're sucking down oil, and how much I dread seeing the electric bill after the dim, dreary days, two weeks of having the kids home all the time (Wii, computers, lights, more dishes, etc.).

Having the heart of winter after the Christmas expenditures doesn't work for me. Whose idea what that, anyway?!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Supernatural Change

Check out the banner in my sidebar for my new group blog, Supernatural Sisters!

Five authors who are also fans are coming together to talk about our very favorite show. I guarantee entertaining, insightful, broad topics and excellent discussion in the comment trail.

Does this mean I'll be talking about SPN less here? We'll see. I kind of intend to, but I'll only post once a week over there, and I might be too impatient to wait, or have something too silly to post about. But I'll try to always remind you to head over there, too, though I expect you'll want to subscribe to the feed or bookmark it or whatever.

We've started planning our posts, and I have to tell you, the way our minds work is definite synergy. :)

So, you can head over now (pre-9:00 p.m. EST) to check out Trish Milburn's launch post, describing our intentions, and be sure to read my recap/review of tonight's show, posted at midnight CST! Sunday we'll have a summary of next week's topics, so you'll know what to look forward to.

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quick Hits

My inbox is empty for the first time since, like, Thanksgiving. It gives me a huge amount of pleasure.


Not as much, however, as the news that Jason Manns is going to be at the Salute to Supernatural convention in Cherry Hill this March. Many of you won't believe me, but I am more excited about this than I am about anything else going on at the convention. I mean, seeing Jared Padalecki in person is great, and seeing my favorite angel and FBI agent and psychic is also excellent, but I've been dying to see Jason Manns live for years. That seemed a much more achievable thing, and is therefore less surreal than the rest of it.


Number One starts indoor soccer this Saturday. She's playing with the team that's playing in the U-15/16 league, which was a relief because they play at 10:45 or 11:30 each week, while the U-13/14 league starts at 6:30 in the morning. But I just found out sometimes she might be needed for that team. Pray we don't draw a 6:30 a.m. game, please!


I had a good, productive day today, though I need to top it off with an equally productive night. Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Today's Insanity and Other Stuff

Have you heard about the upcoming law that's gonna wipe out the economy?

Oh, wait. Economy already wiped. Okay, consider the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 the salt in the wound, or the foot kicking everyone while they're down.

Basically, any product meant for children under 12 has to be tested for lead before being sold or given away. The onus is not on the importers who brought in those 45 million lead-containing toys made in China last year, nor is it on the manufacturers in this country who make toys, clothes, shoes, books, and jewelry that kids might have access to. It's on Amazon, and Walmart, and the little shop around the corner. I'm told they have decided to exempt thrift stores and resellers, so yay, you won't be committing a felony with this spring's yard sales. But there's a lot more to the problems of a panicked, broadly worded law. This article explains it far more eloquently than I ever could.

I don't generally buy used stuff (for deep psychological reasons) but I'm involved in publishing, so this affects the people who might contract my books, and I feel for the small retailers who will get forced out of business by this insanity. So check it out, do your part if you feel so inclined.


FYI, Adobe Acrobat Reader has a version 9 available now. I learned this when I tried to open my paperless bank statement in PDF and it gave me an "Adobe failed to open" message, even when I opened the reader manually. If this is happening to you, go to the Adobe site and click "Get Acrobat Reader" on the right. Save yourself some frustration.

I don't know why Acrobat Reader can't tell when there's a whole new version when it runs it updates, but it can't.


I felt like a hero last night. My brother-in-law (BIL) texted me the other day for suggestions for finding pink skull stickers my niece needed for some unknown reason. He called me less than helpful. Well, I showed him!

Last night Number Two was working on a project for school and wanted wavy scissors to cut out her text for display. Normally, I'd have put her off, since it's the weekend and the project isn't due until Tuesday, but I played Good Mom and went to three different stores last evening, looking. Of course, the first two (drug stores) didn't have them, so I went to Michael's. I went down the sticker aisle, curious, and BAM. Pink skull stickers. Texted the BIL, niece still needs them, so they are on their way to Florida today.


That success went a long way toward easing the pain of sucking. Some people can be trained and trained and instructed and helped and handheld and educated and then trained some more and still not ever be able to do what needs to be done. I'm really hoping that's not me, but the hope dims a little more each time. Mega thanks to all my friends for trying to convince me I'm more of a Matt Cassel than a David Carr. You all rock, and I couldn't do any of this without you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Love My Boots

So I don't know what's up with this school district. Yesterday was a throwback to the panic/reactionary times of a few years ago. (One winter they canceled school the night before and it never did anything--no snow, no ice, no rain. It was infuriating.) We had predictions of an ice storm, and it came, but they did a one-hour early dismissal even though nothing was happening yet, and nothing did happen until a couple of hours after the kids were home.

Today, with an inch of ice on everything, freezing rain still coming down, the roads fine but with patchy ice and slipperiness--far more than the nothing we had yesterday!--we only had a two-hour delay. I just don't get it.

Anyway, with the ice storm, I got to try my new boots. I have a pair of cheap men's waterproof construction boots that keep my feet dry but have NO tread, and an old pair of hiking boots that have good tread and are lightweight but have no waterproofing and even if I spray them, they're uninsulated so my feet get cold

So we were shopping for shoes last week, and due to a rockin' discount we had four pairs of sneakers, a pair of sheepskin slippers, and a package of socks and were still under budget. I tried on a pair of boots that I knew I'd be getting for less than half the "suggested retail" and the first pair fit perfectly, cradling my feet. Now, this never happens. I have weird feet. Before I had my kids, they measured 6EEE but I wore a 9C or D, depending on the style of shoe. I haven't done an actual measurement since, because I know my feet and I worked in a full-service shoe store so I know how to fit shoes, but with the normal loosening of the joints that pregnancy causes, and the fact that I've only worn flat shoes for the last 10 or 15 years, they've spread even more. So finding a pair of shoes that's wide enough without being too freakin' long or pinching somewhere or having the arch hit me wrong is a miracle. So I bought them.

Today I got to wear them, and OMG, they are awesome. So warm and dry and light and I have no fear of skidding on the ice. I mean, even the best tread is going to allow occasional slipping, but these at least have some grip. So today, I got to start off gleeful. :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wrapping Up 2008

I have no posts in 2008 labeled "Goals."


Of course, according to my final post about 2007, I didn't set goals. I made plans.

Let's see how I did:


I did very well through May, when I got swamped with work. From May through August I occasionally missed my goal of 2.5 hours per week, and then I was totally inconsistent, with some weeks in the fall good, some bad, and then nothing at all in the entire fall.

Compared to previous year: 126 days of exercise compared to 301 in 2007. Ick.

Goal for 2009

I dunno. I started again this week, went to the club yesterday and today. I'm just going to try to go every day, except when I can't.


No change. Nothing different in my plans for 2009, either.


I read 95 full books, a falloff from last year's actual 107. I also started but didn't finish 40, and tracked 7 additional novellas.

I saw 22 movies in the theater, 8 fewer than last year, but 35 on DVD, up from 17 in 2007. Plus two on TiVo, two on TV, and two on DVD that I didn't finish.

I won't go into the TV I watched live or TiVo'd, I do that during the year. I also watched the following on DVD:

All the Buffy seasons
All the Angel seasons
Prison Break season 3
Roswell season 1

Goal for 2009

I always strive to read 100 books, but I think I'll keep better track this year so I can push myself if possible and make the goal. I don't expect as many movies in 2009, probably about the same amount of TV. Once I finish Roswell, I might give Bones a try.


Okay, this is the biggie. Here's what I accomplished:

Overall writing

Fiction: 184,486 words (includes totally new text and added words during revisions)
Nonfiction: 57,855

That's a total of 242,341 written words in 2008. That's more than 60k less than 2007!

Goal for 2009

Whatever I manage to do, based on my circumstances.

Project breakdown

Submitted 8 projects
Sold 2 novellas
Wrote three novellas
Revised three+ novels

Compared to plan: Did two of the revisions I planned, started both of the sequels plus another book, though not the one I intended to.

A reminder of my plan for 2009:

1. Revise Under the Moon until it's ready for submission
2. Process critiques for Hummingbird and prep for agent review
3. Revise Fight or Flight again, if Agent Awesome so decrees
4. Do first round of revisions for More Than You Know and submit to critique partners
5. Finish Zoe WIP

What else did I do, that caused me to write so much less in 2008? Well, let me tell you:


1 20-page report
58 articles
74 biographies (short ones, not book-length!)
21 autoresponders, 4 ads, and a few miscellaneous things


Approximately 3,579 pages, some being full editing in hard copy transferred to computer documents, some being small projects that I typed a list of corrections for.


40 pages for LM
55 pages for M2
184 pages for M3
402 pages for TM
491 pages for JW
506 pages for VB
783 pages for VS
1,011 pages for M1

for a grand total of 3,472 manuscript pages! That amounts to roughly 868,000 words, though it's probably more than that because some people don't use standard format.

I think I only sent one full book out for critique in 2008. I'll make up for it this year!


I judged 9 stories with just a scoresheet, and 279 pages that required comments as well as the scoresheets.

Okay, I'm tired just adding that all up! I will no longer feel like a slacker! Such occasions are surely few and far between, with that kind of tally, wouldn't you say?

So that's all. Goodbye 2008 (a few days late) and hello 2009! May it be better than productive for all of us!

Thank Goodness, Right?
LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, January 02, 2009


I've been snowed under and haven't even gotten my spreadsheets updated to 2009 yet, never mind prepped my end-of-year post, so stay tuned for that. I know you're all dead curious.

For now, I just want to share my birthday cards, which tend to run to the guffaw rather than the awwwww:

Outside:Happy Birthday to my loving, patient, and devoted wife.

Inside:From the man who's always testing your love, patience, and devotion.

Outside:To me, you're kind of like a six-pack in the back of the fridge.

Inside:You're very COOL, and it's a great feeling just knowing you're there.

Outside:Mom, I don't say it enough, but I really appreciate how you love me and care for me and always put my needs before your own.

Inside:And I want you to know that I think it's just a terrific arrangement.

Outside:If you ever thought too much about all the places in your home your pet has touched with his naked butt, you'd have to move.

Inside:Hope you find a nice place to eat your cake.