Saturday, December 31, 2011

My iPod is Ruining My Life

I know. I've been complaining for six months (exactly) about my old iPod (Remington) being stolen, and how awful it is to have to listen to the radio. My long-suffering husband is now reunited with the iPod Classic he let me use for months, and I have a fantastic new iPod Touch.

It's too fantastic.

I can't put the damned thing down! The first night, I just kept checking Twitter. Then Facebook. Then mail. Then playing Angry Birds. When I forced myself away from Angry Birds, I had to do one more check of e-mail. Then Twitter. Then Facebook. Then Twitter again. Okay, maybe I'd play more Angry Birds.

The novelty has not worn off a bit, but it's dulled enough that I'm not turning off the light at 2:00 a.m. Of course, I'm now working until 1:00 a.m. because any time I have a few seconds for a break, I start playing a game (or checking Twitter, etc.). The trek to bed, always slow because I'm a night owl and hate to go to bed, is longer and slower now.

I get an NFL newsletter and check for news on the Patriots app. I add items to my reminders, check the weather, and surf the Internet, which is a challenge, let me tell you, with those tiny links. (I know I can zoom in, it's just more fun to be challenged!)

I work on a computer most of the day, so eyestrain is already a problem. It's reached epic proportions, and our electric bill is going to be huge this month, between my constant recharging of the iPod and my husband's of his own new toy. My only complaint is that it's more complicated to use it for its primary purpose. When I'm doing dishes or laundry or cooking or cleaning and the kids need me, I can't just hit pause. I have to hit home, swipe it unlocked, wait several seconds because for some reason there's a delay when I'm listening to something, then hit pause. Small complaint, though.

My Kindle and the stack of paperbacks on my shelf have been a bit neglected. I've actually been trying to carve through the print books, but a lot of them are ones that were given to me that I wasn't sure I'd like. I've added nearly half a dozen to my "did not finish" list. Not because they were bad, they just weren't my thing. I'm trying really hard to keep going with the one I'm reading now, because it's well written and interesting, if some of the details are off and the characters aren't the type I'd naturally gravitate toward.

Anyway, I have to break this new addiction toute suite, because the "lull" of the holidays is almost over and I won't be able to justify so much leisure time anymore. (My brain is whispering that TV will still be on hellatus and I'll have time to play, but I can't extend the habit. I'm standing firm!)

Speaking of TV, I'm kind of excited. We're getting a new DVR unit. The one we have has been eating chunks of shows. Last season it ate stuff that had been on it for a while, so I was unable to rewatch Supernatural and had to buy some episodes of Doctor Who that I had let collect for a reason I don't remember. The current unit was refurbished in 2007. It's so old they don't want it back. I'm looking forward to seeing if it has any new features.

So tell me. Am I alone in my new addiction? Anyone else stuck on the pretty and the cool and finding it difficult to get back to routine?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Birthday and Christmas Highlights

I've been meaning to post ever since Friday, but I've been held hostage. By, yes, Angry Birds.

My big birthday gift was an iPod Touch to replace the iPod that was stolen in NY in June and so my husband could have his iPod back. I love the damned thing so much. I keep going back and forth between e-mail and Twitter and Facebook and the Patriots app and Angry Birds. I spent much of Christmas day troubleshooting my in-laws wireless network so we could all connect to it. (And much of the rest of it getting my father-in-law started with the Kindle he didn't want. He likes it, though!)

I did go get adjusted on Friday, because my back was worse when I woke up. It steadily got better until yesterday, and the way I was sitting or the jumping around during Catchphrase. I was teamed with Number Two and my nephew, both of whom preferred the Sports category, and my MIL, who excelled at the Entertainment stuff. We kicked butt in the number of words/phrases we guessed, but the other team (my husband, his sister, his father, and Number One) would drag out their clues/guesses so long that inevitably, we got the buzzer just before it buzzed and never had time to do one more. It was raucous fun.

My big present for Christmas was a new widescreen monitor. I f'd up my computer so I haven't loaded the Windows 7 I bought today, but I can't wait to do that so I can take full advantage of all the wide goodness.

Watched Doctor Who last night, and it was a decent enough Christmas special. It served mainly to make me long for the series to come back already. I'm tempted to go back and rewatch it all, because I have the Netflix app. :)

Some other highlights from Christmas:

Number One got a guitar, and she has barely stopped playing. She's teaching herself "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol and her fingers are purple. She also loves her gift from her sister, which is a soccer ball signed by Abby Wombach. It was an item in a silent auction at her school, and she didn't even think twice, just instantly bid $100 and chewed her nails the rest of the night hoping no one would outbid her.

The Patriots won on Christmas Eve. That was good, especially when they were down 17-0 at halftime. Wes Welker is on Twitter now, and yes, that's a major reason I couldn't put the iPod down on my birthday.

Number One also put together a special present for us all. We had to open her gift from us last. Each of us got a piece of a puzzle, that put together looked like this:









I bet no one else got this gift in 2011! :)

So what was your best gift or best part of the holiday this year?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Would Take a Breath if it Didn't Hurt So Much

I don't know if I slept funny, or if it's from all the cleaning and hauling and everything, but my back is killing me.

Luckily, I work for a chiropractor.

Unluckily, I can't get adjusted until Tuesday, and that will be iffy. We're closed on Thursdays, tomorrow I'm off because it's my birthday, then the weekend, we're closed for the holiday on Monday, so Tuesday will be the busiest Tuesday EVAR, and I don't like to ask for an adjustment when the docs are that busy. So it will just have to resolve itself.

Anyway. I have cleaned the entire upstairs (except the bedrooms). I've done the dishes and wrapped all of my husband's gifts. All the other family gifts are done, too, so it's just the kids' to wrap on Saturday night.

BG has claimed a new favorite spot:


She's there all. the. time. She might choose a different present from time to time, but man, does she glare when we laugh at her.

I don't have any client work pending today. I have to eat breakfast (I guess it's lunch now), shower, and go to the grocery store so I can spend $50 and get 30 cents off per gallon of gasoline. Then I can tackle some of the things that have been on my "nonurgent" to-do list. You know, the things you REALLY need to do but always get shuffled. They include:

1. Updating my website
2. Designing a new website
3. Revising Entanglement
4. Sending Keri the updates for my sidebar book covers at Everybody Needs a Little Romance.
5. Taking the Scrivener tutorial so I can actually start using it.
6. Transferring the little bit of Sunroper I've written to Scrivener and work on that book.
7. Researching and planning my contest strategy
8. Writing a novella in the Goddesses Rising series
9. Coming up with a novella idea so I can write it!

As you can see, I still have plenty to do. But no in-my-face deadlines for the next week, so I'm taking a breath.

Gingerly.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Guest Blogger Megan Hart with FREE copy of ALL FALL DOWN

A lot of people have been asking me why I chose to write about a cult. The short answer is, because they’re scary. The longer answer is, I didn’t write a book about a cult, I wrote a book about a girl who was raised in a cult and is forced to join “normal” society after her mother forces her out. With no place to go, Sunshine takes her three kids to live with the biological father she never knew existed and his wife Liesel, who thinks this ready-made family might be the answer to all her prayers.

I wrote a book about a family trying to learn how to survive and how to make a life together when everything they all ever knew has been turned upside down. I wrote about losing everything you’ve ever believed is true and trying to find a way to move forward instead of being held back.

The cult is just part of the background. A fascinating, scary part, yes. But I also tried to show just why someone would not only want to join a cult, but how someone might genuinely feel like life in the cult is better and more normal than the type of life general society agrees is right.

Sunshine was sort of difficult for me to write, because I’m not sure why people would ever let themselves be brainwashed into following a leader, no matter how charismatic, whose teachings bring them harm. Yet as I researched cults, I discovered something disturbing...I began to understand how something so different, so off-beat, could become appealing and eventually, overwhelming.

I hope readers of ALL FALL DOWN enjoy the story and maybe discover within themselves how it feels to find out that everything you thought you knew about yourself can be turned upside down.

Want a copy of All Fall Down for your very own? Comment here about a time you changed your mind about something you thought you knew. Or just comment, I’m easy that way.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Learn more about Megan here:
www.meganhart.com

www.readinbed.net

www.facebook.com/megan.hart

www.twitter.com/megan_hart


Click for Excerpt


In the midst of a chaotic midnight assembly, Sunshine is forced out into the darkness. Holding a scrap of paper scrawled with a stranger’s name and address, Sunny grasps the hands of her three small children and begins her escape.

Liesel Albright has dreamed of starting a family. She never bargained on inheriting one already in progress…or one so deeply damaged. When nineteen-year-old Sunshine appears on the Albright’s doorstep claiming Liesel’s husband Chris is her father, all they can think to offer is temporary shelter. The next day, they’re stunned by the news that the Family of Superior Bliss, led by a charismatic zealot, has committed mass suicide. Sunny and her children haven’t just left the compound–they’ve been left behind.

Now, instead of a baby of her own, Liesel must play mother to the four survivors while Chris retreats into guilt and denial. For Sunny, however, a lifetime of teachings is not easily unlearned. No matter how hard she tries to forget, an ominous catechism echoes in her mind, urging her to finish what the Family started.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Magnificent Megan

Tomorrow I'm going to host guest blogger Megan Hart about her newest book, All Fall Down, and writing about people connected to a cult. Don't miss it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Juncos, Middle-Aged Movie Morons, and Imputed Value at Starbucks

The other day, I heard something rustling outside my window. I couldn't see much, since I have books on my windowsill, but it reminded me that bird migration will be coming soon, and how much I love seeing the juncos in January, especially if they're on snow. Then I stood up, and the bird rooting at the base of my rose bush? A junco.

WTF? I so don't want to know what that means.

The girls and I went to see New Year's Eve Friday night. It was okay. Fun, and funny, with some good kissing and some good cameos and a couple of surprise connections. Not as good as Valentine's Day, which I now want to watch again. The clips (including outtakes) over the end credits were awesome and made the whole thing worth it.

But I gotta tell you, I don't think I've been near such obnoxious people at a movie since Twilight. When we sat down, one of the middle-aged women behind us said, "Oh, I forgot the wine." I knew we were in for it then. This group talked—LOUDLY—over all the previews. At the end of the Hilfiger commercial, the guy said "Happy Holidays from the Hilfigers." One of the women said "Say Merry Christmas, please." Why? Because only YOUR holiday is the only important one? Because you don't consider New Year's a holiday?

That's what's really wrong with the world, you know? That people are being polite and wishing you well. Jerks.

Anyway, when these women kept talking once the movie started, and STILL were talking when the voiceover began, I turned around and opened my mouth to say "Seriously? You're going to act like you're in your living room for the whole movie?" But Number One went "SHHH!" before I could. And they did. There was just the one who had a really loud laugh, but it's not like she can help that.


I was just reading this post about e-book pricing. It talks about imputed value, and uses the example of Starbucks, saying people pay six bucks for coffee because they expect that coffee to be good, and assume everyone else thinks it's good, so they buy it and drink it even if they don't like it.

I don't think that gives people enough credit. I mean, how many people really pay six bucks for coffee they don't like? I don't like coffee at all, but I love Starbucks' mochas (which only costs four bucks, actually). I make some at home, but they're a pain and I don't have time most days. I used to get them at a coffeehouse near my old job, and they were fantastic. When I left there, I got them at Sheetz, but then I started driving past Starbucks (with a drive-thru!) and suddenly, the Sheetz ones tasted horrendous. So I stopped getting them, even though they cost less and I can get one free after I buy 10.

My brother and his wife don't like Starbucks. They're Dunkin' Donuts aficionados. I tried DD's, and really didn't like it. Tried McDonald's, too, because it's a lot less expensive. Gross! (Though their peppermint hot cocoa is really good. Might get one on the way to work tomorrow...)

My point is that we all have our own tastes. Maybe way back in the beginning Starbucks succeeded on imputed value, but I really don't think it would have grown the way it did without having actual value, too. Which, to be fair, is the point the poster linked above eventually got to, with regard to e-book pricing.

I all comes down to my motto up there at the top of this blog. "Read what you want, watch what you want, and live a life that makes you happy." If an expensive cup of coffee tastes good, drink it without guilt or defensiveness.

And go buy some e-books. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

You're Done Working. No, Seriously. Shut it Down.


I currently have a love-hate relationship with Thursdays. The chiropractor where I work is closed on Thursday, so it's my day "off." Which means most weeks—like today—I sleep in, come downstairs about 8:00 still in my jammies because I've already wasted an hour and a half, and sit at my desk working until my eyes are so strained I can't see the words on the monitor. That's when I take a lunch break, kind of panicking because it's already 1:00 and I'm only halfway through my to-do list. Yesterday's to-do list. After lunch, I work until the kids come home, do laundry and dishes while they ignore my presence, then go back to work until I'm forced to stop.

Tonight it was Maya doing the forcing. So I left 8 things undone (luckily, they weren't "important" things) and shooed her away long enough to write this post. Now, since my husband is watching the Cleveland Browns play some form of professional football (probably the bad form), I'm going upstairs to watch Tuesday's episode of Covert Affairs. It looks Auggie-centric. *sigh* Love Auggie.

Come on, Maya. My lap is all yours.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Finally Facebook Official

Thanks to a kick in the pants from a Harlequin-offered webinar, I've finally started an official author page on Facebook. Now I should look all professional-like, and not amateurish for just having a basic profile. Feel free to go like me!

Now I have to update my website (which really needs a full overhaul) and this blog, which I should integrate into the actual website. I just have to find—say it with me now—TIME.

The blog tour for Under the Moon continues. The paperback actually releases tomorrow! Yay!

Tomorrow I'm also starting a giveaway through Goodreads, with TWO copies of Under the Moon in paperback. Check it out!



Goodreads Book Giveaway





Under the Moon by Natalie J. Damschroder



Under the Moon


by Natalie J. Damschroder



Giveaway ends December 23, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.




Enter to win




Anyway, back to the blog tour! Yesterday I had an interview at Books Books the Magical Fruit (hee!). A copy of Under the Moon is being given away there, too! You have until 12/11 to enter.

Today I was interviewed at Workaday Reads, and tomorrow you can find me at Laura Kaye's blog. I have ANOTHER interview on Thursday at Manga Maniac Cafe. You guys are going to know ALL about me by the time this is over! The cool thing is that there's little overlap in the questions, except those that pertain to the details of the book.

On Thursday I'm also at Attacking the Page, this time with a guest post about my road to romantic adventure, and featuring my other fall release, Behind the Scenes.

I can't believe that by the end of the week, it will be nearly halfway through December. Fphoy! And no, I'm not ready for Christmas. We didn't get the tree yet, or start shopping, or do any decorating. It still feels too early!

I can't finish up this post without mentioning last week's episode of Supernatural. I can't believe I'm saying this... I never thought I could be okay with Bobby dying. (Not that we know what his final status is. Gotta have that midseason cliffhanger, after all.) But the episode was so beautifully done, and so well acted all around, that I was strangely satisfied at the end. No negative feelings from me, no matter what's about to happen.

Okay, I am freaking STARVING, so I'm off to make some dinner before How I Met Your Mother starts. Gotta go find out if Robin has any clue which guy is responsible for her pregnancy. :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Yay, December!

Can I tell you how happy I am that it's December?

There's no real reason. Well, okay, there is. But even if there wasn't, December would still be one of my favorite months, along with May and October. (My least favorites are March and November, with April tagging along with them and February maybe joining the group periodically.) I just like those months, the way you like a certain pillow or tree or painting.

Of course, I'm predisposed to December because it holds my birthday as well as Christmas. I don't care if I get any presents, I just love not having to do any chores on my birthday. I get to take the day off from work this year, and I'll sleep in, get a nice breakfast made for me, watch some TV and read and maybe go to a movie and out to dinner. It's always awesome, even the year my husband was sick in bed all day and I was recovering from a mega-migraine from the day before. I just sat in a chair and read all day, napping a little in the late afternoon.

I also love December because I feel like big things are going to happen. Sometimes they do, like a book contract or babies being born. Sometimes big things that aren't good happen, like my mother's terminal cancer diagnosis or a rejection from a publisher I was hopeful about. But it's not really about what will or will not happen, it's about the anticipation of it.

That's what I'm going to focus on. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Getting Under the Moon

I hope everyone is getting back to "normal" after the holiday weekend. My kids are back to school, but struggling with the shift in sleeping patterns again, and of course the calendar is full until January. Not as full as it used to be, and not as full as some other people's, but full enough.

Guess what I did on Saturday? NOTHING. I didn't work (no immediate deadlines), I didn't clean (no guests on Sunday), I didn't cook. Wait, maybe I cooked. Yeah, pasta with garlic and broccoli. Easy stuff. I didn't do yardwork (should have, it was nice out) or put up Christmas decorations (way too early!).

I spent the vast majority of Saturday reading. Yep. I read all of Trinity Faegan's The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax. I was a little apprehensive, because I loved her Bombshells (published under Stephanie Feagan) and I've anticipated this book for so. damned. long. But it actually exceeded my expectations, and my only gripe is, of course, that I have to wait a whole year to get the next one.

You know how my number one thing I'm thankful for last week was that Under the Moon became available on Amazon? Well now it's available all over the place! Look for it on All Romance eBooks, Fresh Fiction, Books on Board, or your favorite e-book retailer. Barnes & Noble doesn't have it up yet, but I guess that's why they're lagging behind in the e-book race. :(

The paperback will be available next week! You can read an excerpt at the book page on Entangled's website.

Today I'm talking about how I decided on character occupations over at The Book Boost.

Tomorrow you can find an interview posted at Jeanz Book Read N Review. Thursday another interview will be posted at Rage, Sex and Teddy Bears. (Man, I love that blog's name!!!) We wrap it up on Friday with a guest appearance at Lucy Felthouse's. The cool thing is that all of these interviewers ask me different questions (there's occasional overlap, but not much!). They are very skilled! :)

Off to take Number One for a haircut, then back to work on copyedits for Acceptable Risks, my romantic adventure with Carina Press coming out next April. (Let me say that title was incredibly difficult to come up with, but oh-so-obvious once I did! Thank you, Carina PTB for choosing it from my list! :) )

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Don't Remember What I Was Going to Call This Post

This is the life of someone who blogs: Whenever you're doing something worth writing a post about, you think up the post while you do it. Am I right? You have the title and image layouts all planned, and some of the jokes or descriptions.

Unfortunately, if you can't actually write the post for a week, you forget all the details. Was I going to call it "This Would Exhaust Anyone" or "Annual Autumn Satisfaction" or Annual Autumn something cool that is completely irretrievable now.

*sigh*

Anyway.

Last Saturday was yardwork intensive. While Numbers One and Two and their father raked the backyard, I cleaned the gutters.


I love heights, so this is my job a few times a year. It would be safest to go up the ladder, clear what I can reach, go down the ladder, move it... But do you know how many friggin' hours that would take?! So I just sit on the roof, lean over to pull the leaves, maple seeds, and shingle grit mud out, then slide down a few feet and repeat.

The hard part is the trees. See the spruce poking up over the left side? We have those at three corners. They have more tree above the roofline than below it. If I don't take the clippers, hand saw, or chain saw up with me, I get poked all over the face and head by branches I'm ducking to reach the clogged downspouts.

I'm also very out of shape. My shoulders were super sore after I was done. Exacerbated by the raking I followed it with, as we swept 11 piles of leaves onto the tarp and dragged it up the hill to the front of the house four times.

Here's the result:


It's the biggest pile on the street, maybe the biggest we've ever had (there are a few feet to the right you can't see). We got to do all the leaves at once this year, due to the snow and wind and delayed pickup schedule. And we only have three maple trees! I always feel bad for people who have twice as many or even more. But then, those people probably cheat and use leafblowers or riding mowers, anyway. Our neighbor uses a massive riding mower for his 1/8-acre lawn. I have to admit, it looks gorgeous right now, like a carpet. But it's funny.

So that's our rite of passage into winter. Despite mild temps this weekend, we're bracing ourselves for a wet, heavy season. Hopefully, we get a few weeks off before the snow starts. Oh, wait...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thankful List

1. Under the Moon on Amazon!
Just in time for Black Friday shopping! Get yourself a little treat. :) (It should soon be available in other e-book venues like B&N and Books on Board, etc.)

2. My Family
My amazing kids, who went all out for me for the GISHWHES yesterday (post with pics coming soon), and my long-suffering husband, who never fails to support me and make me smile. Not to mention my delightful in-laws, with whom we spent a lovely day, and my great father, stepmother, and brother—our phone calls today made it perfect.

3. My Clients
I'm so lucky to have such professional, smart, easy people to work with, even if they somehow always manage to dump on me at the same time. :)

4. My Editors and Publishers
Elizabeth Bass and Kerri-Leigh Grady are treasures. If I ever take one of them for granted, someone should tie me to a stake, cover me in bird seed, and let loose a herd of squirrels. (Squirrels don't congregate, so you know if they're in a herd, they're crazy.)

I'm also oh-so-thankful to be part of such fantastic publishers as Amber Quill Press, Carina Press, and Entangled Publishing. (In alphabetical order, as well as order of relationship. :) ) In the wild upheaval that is publishing today, I'm lucky to have these partnerships.

5. About 50 Gagillion Hours of TV Recorded
And now I'm going to go relax and watch some. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It May Actually NOT Be a Train!

Yes, I'm seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Though I might have put my editor into a coma. That would be a bad thing.

I actually got to watch some TV last night. OMG! BOBBY! I was in so much shock I couldn't have an emotional reaction to it. The one thing they could never, ever do, and it looked like they did it. Much like at the end of season 2, however, we knew there was one more episode before hiatus (well, those of us who watch Nikita knew that), so I held my breath until the preview for the next ep. As soon as Dean said he was breathing, I could, too. They just CAN'T kill Bobby! Again, I mean. For real.

This weekend will be for catchup. Leaf raking, gutter cleaning, the 44 e-mails I've put off while I focused like a laser. Shopping, which might be a little fun rather than tedious and frustrating. We'll see. School play tonight. Number One wasn't involved this year, but one of her best friends was, so we'll go to see her.

Today I'm also blogging at Fresh Fiction about pets. My mother-in-law had a funny story so I stole it. I also shared some pictures of our cats. Come tell me your pet stories, and enter to win an e-copy of Under the Moon. That second link is directly to the contest page, so you can go directly there if you don't have a comment for the blog page.

Tomorrow I'm interviewed at Flutey Words. Aubrie asks some really great questions!

Okay, that's all for now. I'm off to find a pair of jeans without holes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ubiquitous Me

My fantastic publicist, Roxanne Rhoads, informed me that her interview is in the new issue of Night Owl Reviews Digital Magazine. If that's not a big draw, read it for the interviews with other urban fantasy authors, an article on Allison Brennan, and much, much more!

I posted a deleted scene from Under the Moon at Everybody Needs a Little Romance today.

I'm also at Castles and Guns talking about quirky traits. Come see what mine is and tell me what yours are.

And if you missed my radio guest spot with the fantabulous BK Walker, you can still hear it on demand right here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Soccer-Filled Weekend

The soccer season is usually over the first weekend in November, but thanks to Tropical Storm Lee and the Snowstorm of October, we ended up having two games for each kid this weekend.

Both kids' teams had some pretty big obstacles this year. For Number Two, they had a new coach whose mom died a couple of weeks into the season, so she missed a lot of practices. They'd lost four players and taken on a couple of new ones, and the weather canceled a lot of practices. They had a really hard time meshing. But last week and this week they really came together. They'd gained confidence and comfort with each other, and played hard, coming up with enough wins to finish in second place in their division. The detail Number two is proudest of is Goals Against. She and her co-goalie held 7 opponents to a total of 7 goals.

Number One had different challenges. She had the same coach she's had since fifth grade (he's the best coach in the world, I swear!), but because of a big dropoff in participation at this level, they cobbled together a U19 team that had one senior, a handful of juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, and three 8th graders. Most of the girls hadn't played together, and they faced the same scheduling issues. Number One missed one game due to a groin pull and ankle injury, and was hobbled in others for the same reasons. Yesterday (Saturday), they played with only 7 players against 9 on a field sized for 11 on a side. They didn't win any games, didn't even score more than one goal all season, but they never gave up, never backed down. Today they played fiercely against an overly aggressive team. I'm incredibly proud of them and so glad Number One had the opportunity to play.

Number Two is in fine shape (though she might be sore tomorrow), but Number One is pretty battered. Yesterday she played in goal and was magnificent, but she had a "save" blocking the ball with her abdomen, which now hurts when she sneezes, coughs, or laughs, and tweaked a hamstring. The hamstring wasn't much of an issue today because she got kicked in the kneecap, so that pain overwhelmed the hammy. She can barely walk tonight. But she wears her injuries as badges of honor, so who can complain? She can rest for the next six weeks, until indoor soccer starts. :)


The blog tour continues! Today (Monday!) I'll be at Rosalie Lario's blog, where I talk about why I set my books where I do, and at Rachel Firasek's blog, participating in her month of thanks with a thank-you letter to my mom, who died long before she got to see me reach this level of success.

Tonight (Monday! I'm really messed up writing this post at midnight-ish) I'm doing a radio interview with BK Walker at 6:00 p.m. EST. Tell your friends, and come give a listen!

Now I am off to bed, visions of my Patriots' win over the Jets dancing in my head. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Supernatural and Soccer and Scrambling

What did you think of last night's episode of Supernatural? I did a recap and review over at Supernatural Sisters. Come chat!

This is going to be a super-busy weekend. We have two soccer games today, followed immediately by a managers' dinner for my husband's work. Two more soccer games tomorrow, one of them an hour away, plus family coming over so we have to do housecleaning in the morning. But this is the LAST soccer weekend! We can start sleeping in on weekends again, and I can use them to catch up on all the work I didn't get done during the week.

Actually, things have slowed down a bit. My promotional commitments are spread out so I don't feel so scrambly. (You can find me at Paranormal Romantics tomorrow and Rosalie Lario's blog [check out her gorgeous new cover today!] on Monday. Monday I also have a thank-you letter posted Rachel Firasek's blog on Monday. She's doing a whole month of thank-yous, and some of them have been heart-wrenching. You should go read them.

My client work is steady but I'm not under an outrageous (self-imposed!) deadline. I'm awaiting some edits on one book and a revision letter on another, but while I wait for those, I have to put a pause on writing the third goddess book, just in case they think I went off the rails on book 2. So I actually have some time to hang out! Kind of. I'm at least going to try to check in on the blogosphere and do some catching up there.

Now that I've thoroughly jinxed myself, I'm off to the soccer game!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 11-11-11 Singularity

I wondered what to call tomorrow, when the dates all line up, and got caught up in this page. Interesting stuff, that all comes down to essentially nothing. :)

But there is one way 11-11-11 is extremely meaningful to people in my life.

I work at a chiropractor, and the three doctors use bubble forms for each patient. You know, like students use for standardized testing? They are SO EXCITED to be able to just draw one line across for the date bubbles. They'll never be that lucky again.

The even better part is that it's a Friday, when we have the most patients. Maximization! :)

Is 11/11/11 going to be special for you in any way?

I will be blogging at Romance Junkies tomorrow, and then very late in the evening, it will be my turn to post the recap/review of Supernatural at Supernatural Sisters. I've been trying SO HARD to avoid spoilers for this episode, but I opened a Google alert for one of the boys and saw the major detail I didn't want to know. *scowl* I shall endeavor to enjoy it anyway. Come over and chat about the show and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Poking My Head Out for a Sec

I've been in self-imposed, work-induced exile for so long, I have no idea what's going on with anyone. I have to change that soon. I don't know when. Last night I dreamed my publicist kept filling up my inbox with commitments. It was empty when I woke up, but that's just an invitation.

Tuesdays kind of suck. I didn't work at the day job as late as I normally do, but even so, I'm behind. But I guess I'd be a lot behinder if I'd worked an hour and a half longer.

My DVR is dying. It's one of the crappy DirecTV refurbished ones they send free, and it was refurbished in 2007, and it gobbles up chunks of recorded shows if you don't watch them in, like, one day. Which pisses me off because I won't be able to watch this season's Supernatural episodes again until the DVDs come out. I have to call to get a replacement DVR, but we're SO behind on recorded shows because I've been working too much. Maybe we can catch up during hiatus.

I have to say, I'm really enjoying Pan Am, a lot more than I expected. We like Unforgettable, too, mainly because of Poppy Montgomery. Her ability is cool, but other than that, it's just like any other cop show. The supporting cast is distinctive, though, and has potential to grow on us like Ryan and Esposito did on Castle. I originally thought them bland.

Bones is back, and I liked the premiere—the new dynamic between Booth and Brennan has made the show fresh again—but I can't stop thinking about how they cheated the audience. I'm a latecomer and a casual fan, so how must the rabid fans feel about never having gotten that first REAL kiss, never being able to see them fall over the edge into real love?

I'm gonna stop there because I could talk TV all day. LOL I have a ton of work to do!

Tomorrow, I'll be a guest at Leah Braemel's blog, talking about... *digs around* ...the kinds of books we read and how we choose what to read next. Come tell me what you've been reading that's good so I can add to my TBR list! :)

Thursday I'll be doing a speed date at Romance Junkies. Each person gets to ask two questions.

Then I have a regular post at Romance Junkies' main blog on Friday!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Year-End Splash Party!

Just a few quick updates...

The Romance Reviews YES! Party is underway! Today I have a question in the Q&A section, which gives you more clicks to play the game, which enters you into the prize drawings! Have fun! :)

Tomorrow I'll be at Fang-tastic talking about amusing errors or something.

Monday come join me, Lisa Kessler, Sarah Gilman, Darynda Jones, and L. Anne Carrington for a chat at Night Owl Romance.



~~~~
Wow. I was tired last night. I never finished this post! I think I'll just post it now and pretend that was my intent...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Yesterday's Near-Death Experiences

Today I am nowhere but here. Tomorrow I will be at The Qwillery, so come join us! I'm giving away a gift certificate to the online bookstore of your choice.

So yesterday morning, I arrived at work and hit the bottom step to the employee entrance. In a split second, that foot shot sideways, and I came down on my shin (dented, bruised) and knee (scraped, bruised, still achy). The knee slam aggravated my right hip, too.

On the way home last night, I'm driving along, slowing as I near a busy intersection. Now, I'm on a major road that has no stop signs or stop lights for at least 5 miles. There were cars ahead of me and behind me, and stopped on either side, exiting side roads. I locked on the guy on my right for some reason, maybe his car was inching out. He was watching to his right. You know how you just KNOW something is going to happen, even if you don't think it in so many words?

Yeah, he pulled out, still not looking in my direction, making a left turn across my lane. I did the slam-and-swerve, as his rear fender filled my vision. I had two seconds of resignation, sure I was going to spin him around, but I swear I missed his bumper by just a couple of inches. I thought he bumped me on the way by because my car lurched, but it was either my car settling after the violent stop, or the car behind me bumped me. I actually have no idea if there was a car behind me, because I was too busy watching the jackass in my rearview mirror, continuing on down the road without even a flash of brakes.

Guess I jammed my right wrist and the seatbelt had fun with my left shoulder and neck. Those are better than they were last night, but still twingy. And I'm still pissed at the MFer who can't look both ways.

And THEN! This is the best one. I was sitting at the dining room table, using my laptop. Frisbee jumped up behind me, as she is wont to do, and stretched up to put her paws on my shoulders. Then she tried to sit back down, but her claws got caught in my sweater. I gagged and choked a "help!" until Number Two came out to unhook those claws I couldn't reach.

*glares at needy cat*
What? I wanted petting.

So far, today has been a much safer day.

What's your most memorable near-death experience?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Do You NaNo?

Today is one day after release day, and I hit #2 on the Carina most popular chart! Woo hoo!

I'll be featured by Carina Press this afternoon, with a post on their blog and some stuff on Twitter and Facebook.

I'm also participating this month in The Romance Reviews YES! Party (Year End Splash party). My Q&A days are Nov. 4 and 23, but there are a ton of authors participating, with bigger tons of prizes available.

So who's doing NaNoWriMo this year?

In 2006, I did my first NaNo with Under the Moon. That book got me an agent and lots of good responses from publishers, but we were submitting a genre-fence-riding book when the bottom fell out of the market, so I didn't find a publisher for it until Entangled, who was willing to offer a contract and then get me off the fence. (It's now planted on the "romance" side, though still leaning on the "urban fantasy" fence. :) )

I participated in and won NaNo for the next five years. One year, both my kids did it with me. After Number Two decided she didn't like writing after all, it was just Number Two, who ALWAYS finished before me, the stinker. I think she's doing it this year, but I'm not.

It makes me sad, in a way. Five years with a certain atmosphere in my house, an excited urgency driving us. There's a fantastic camaraderie with other NaNo participants, and always people whose word counts challenge me (and, occasionally, vice versa!). I'll really miss it!

But I'm not complaining about why I'm missing it. Promotion for two book releases, a double deadline with two publishers...triple if you count book 3 of Goddesses Rising, which isn't due for a few months but I'm working on it every day. I didn't wait until today to start it, or I'd be doing THAT for NaNo. :)

So how many of you are participating? Have you done it before? What's your record? Let us cheer you on!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Behind the Scenes Release Day!

It's release day!


You can buy it at
Carina Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks

and anywhere e-books are sold!

Kennedy Smyth's firm provides security for companies and charities in seriously dangerous countries. She doesn't usually take on "frivolous" jobs, but when an old friend asks her to protect his son's movie shoot, she finds it hard to refuse. Also hard to resist is the film's charismatic star, Rogan St. James. The handsome actor piques her interest, while the strange actions of the terrorist threatening the set raise her suspicions.

Even though he's a successful actor, Rogan wants more—a real woman to love, the type he doesn't think exists...until he meets Kennedy. She intrigues him with her confidence and passion for her work, and frustrates him with her refusal to let him get close.

But Kennedy finds herself in a vulnerable position when she discovers that the terrorist isn't actually out to derail the film. She's the real target—and if he finds out how much Rogan means to her, he could be next...

I'm still answering questions through the end of today at the Goodreads Ask an Author, Win a Book thread.

The Romance Studio's Spookapalooza is still going on! You can vote for your favorite author and register to win prizes. It runs through today.

And I'm blogging today at Isn't it Romance. I don't remember what I said. So come be surprised with me! LOL

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to the Genius of Borax

Today has turned into quite a different day than I'd planned.

I've spent a lot of time at the Goodreads Q&A, and doing other promotion. There's an intense discussion going on one of my publisher e-mail loops, and I helped a friend with a query.

When I made lunch, I ended up watching two episodes of The Mentalist. (The last one had the police chief from "Dead on the Water" AND Henry Thomas from ET!) Those took longer than normal because the power kept flicking off, then back on. Thank goodness my computer is on a power supply!

Oh, and I posted a lot on Twitter and Facebook.

So even though I got up early and didn't have to spend 160 minutes on soccer, I've only crossed 4 out of 11 things of my to-do list. But I've had a heckuva lot of fun. :)

So let's get on to Supernatural!!!

I so loved "Slash Fiction." I mean, it was awful to spend every minute thinking Sheriff Jody was really a Leviathan. (I'm still not convinced she was Jody, even though I really, really hope she was!) But the way she looked at Bobby, and the way he interacted with her, was delightful.

And I didn't like that Sam found out about Dean's lie about Amy, and that he took off. But I'm strangely less bothered than I should be. I mean, in past years, I HATED the secrets and lies. And this year they've been trying hard not to do that. But Sam's reaction was so appropriate, and Dean's response just as much so, that I couldn't be annoyed. Dean accepted Sam's anger as his due, but not in the crushed, defensive, despairing way, because he believed in what he did.

In fact, I think Dean has a new level of confidence. Not just the "good at my job" confidence and "sugar for every woman's tea" cockiness, but a deeper acceptance of himself. It's partly in the writing, but mostly in Jensen's oh-so-awesome acting.

(I could be full of it, projecting, seeing ridiculous subtext that's not there. I'd love to know if anyone agrees with me. Even if you don't, I get silly-happy imagining Jensen hearing my thoughts and being thrilled that I saw what he was trying to do. LOL)

I loved the way they handled the Leviathans. There's no story breakdown here. No holes or convenient leaps of logic. These beings are natural, powerful, ancient, there's no lore on them because they haven't been part of our world since we started creating lore. But 800-year-old witches are extremely powerful, so we can buy that they have a spell that would paralyze any enemy and lock down its powers. You don't live to be 800 without serious defensive magic, right?

Bobby pointed out, "You can bleed...you can die." All living creatures can die, and even ones who aren't truly "living" can die, too. It's part of God's creation signature. :) And everything has a weakness, usually one that occurs naturally (not counting holy water). Salt defeats demons and ghosts, silver gets shapeshifters and werewolves, iron harms ghosts and fairies. In real life, there is PLENTY that occurs naturally that poisons humans and animals and even plants. It's part of the circle of life, right?

So I got really excited when Bobby told Dean to use sodium borate. It's naturally occurring (from, according to Wikipedia, the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes), just like salt. But not as common and low-brow as salt, just like the Leviathans are not common and low-brow.

The Big-Mouth Bobby experimented on was awesome. I love that these guys are smart. "Mensa Monsters," Bobby called them. They're smart-mouth, too, but not in the sneering, derisive way demons are, which showcases their insecurities and envy. No, the Leviathans are confident in their ability to take care of any potential threat. Even once that threat stepped up their game and took heads.

How funny was Bobby, slicing that guy's head off? "It's a start."

We got to meet the leader of the Levs. He was slick and in charge, as you'd expect, but slick and in charge as a human, too, which is not so much as I expected. Which makes me wonder how long he's been out there. I mean, sure, the other Levs gained knowledge and ability with each body they emulated, but I find it a little hard to believe this guy could just slide into the body of a...what? Respected politician? Billionaire businessman (my guess)?...without anyone being suspicious. There'd have to be SOME inconsistencies. So I suspect he may have been out of purgatory for a long time.

By the time a show reaches season 7, clip shows are inevitable. Most sitcoms and dramas do either a non-fiction retrospective, where they separate the episode into themes and include clips to illustrate those themes, or do, like, 5 minutes of new material that's essentially "remember when" intros of the clips. Supernatural is flawlessly integrating clips—teeny, tiny pieces you almost have to work to place, sometimes—into all-new episodes. It marries nostalgia with story progression, and I love it!

Which brings me to the other nostalgia factor in "Slash Fiction." Number One mentioned it first. I'd noticed it, but on a more subconscious level. Consciously, I was just thinking, "Jericho, that's significant because it's prominent on the bank wall, but why is it familiar?" I was thinking of the short-lived TV show, of course. But Number One immediately said "I just flashed to Ron and the laser eyes!" And sure enough, that whole scene was reminiscent of "Nightshifter."

How clever is that? They were in Jericho, where "Pilot" took place, but evoked "Nightshifter" in Milwaukee. Conor's Diner in St. Louis reminded me of the diner in "Mystery Spot," as well as the one in "Mommy Dearest." And once they were arrested in Ankeny, Iowa (I had to get my DVDs to look that one up—"Hookman," for anyone else who couldn't remember), it was eerily similar to "Jus in Bello" while also bringing to mind "The Usual Suspects." Just small, subtle touches that gave the whole episode a comfy feel. :)

I'll finish up with the best part of all: Dean singing "I'm All Out of Love" so passionately! The look on his face when he sang, and when he tried not to let Sam see, and when Sam did see, and the look on Sam's face, so confused and disgusted. We laughed so hard! Man, I love these guys.

Okay, I think I've exhausted my supply of gushiness. Any comments on the episode? What do you think of the season so far?

WTF Weather, Ask an Author, and BORAX, BABY!

SO much to talk about today!

As many of you know, the northeast is experiencing or anticipating a massive snowstorm today. This isn't the earliest I've had one, but the early October three-footer was in upstate (Albany area) New York in 1987. So this is significant.

We got notice last night that Number Two's soccer game was probably going to be canceled. It was a 9:00 game, 40 minutes away, so we had to leave by 7:40 a.m. I got up at 6 to see if they'd officially canceled, and there was no word. So we went.

Number One bundled up in sweats over jeans, three pairs of socks in my waterproof construction boots, a long-sleeved shirt under her sweatshirt under her father's sweatshirt that he's never going to see again. Number Two caved and wore her under-armour-style leggings. We headed out.

And got about 4 miles before we got the phone call. Really? Come on, people!

The battery for our camera is completely dead, and I'm not sure where the charger is, so here are some crappy cell phone pictures of the view through my office window (in the basement):


Taken at 9:28 a.m., just as it started snowing big, fat flakes that you can't see at all.
 
Taken at 10:08 a.m.

 Taken at 10:52 a.m., already over an inch of fluffy snow on the ground

I do believe we may get that 6–10 inches after all! So much for my scoffing on Tuesday, when it was a 50% chance of happening at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~
I am having a GREAT time today in the Ask an Author, Win a Book Corner at Goodreads today! This lasts October 29–31, so come on over, read the great questions and my hopefully not lame answers, and maybe ask a couple of questions of your own.

Tomorrow I'll be at the Coffee Thoughts blog at Coffee Time Romance, with posts throughout the day. Regular posts, excerpts, blurbs, and books I've recently loved.


~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm dying to talk about last night's Supernatural, but it will be looong, so I'll do a new post. Look for it later today! (Preview: OMG Borax is ingenious!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And the Blogging Explosion Begins...

First, let me remind people that if you'd like to receive my (very occasional) announcement newsletter, you can sign up here. If my subscription base reaches 150 by 10/31, I'll give away a paperback copy of Brianna's Navy SEAL to one of you. (It's brutal trying to rebuild a subscriber base when you change systems! :( )

Okay, now. The touring stuff. I mean blogging stuff. I mean, the total insanity that comes with having two books released at the same time, and having a publicist who is really good at her job.

Today I start off blogging with the funny, frisky, fabulous Cathy Pegau. Cathy, that's a better 3F, huh? :) (Want to know what I'm talking about? Click the link!)

As an aside, there are very few F adjectives that are not negative. I don't like that. F is a cool letter. :(

Today I'm also featured at Read All Over Reviews as part of the 31 Days of Halloween. (Should be up about 10:00 a.m. EDT)

Tomorrow you can find me in Katie Reus's Monster Mash-Up.

This weekend brings The Romance Studio's 2nd Annual Spookapalooza. I'll post stuff there through the weekend, as will tons of other great authors.

And finally (for now), I'm the featured author at Coffee Thoughts, the Coffee Time Romance blog, on Sunday, October 30.

Monday, Behind the Scenes releases, and then the REAL fun begins!

I need a nap.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When Your Car is 13 Years Old...

...you can expect things like this to happen.

On the way to work this morning, all of a sudden, when I stepped on the gas after slowing down, my car started shuddering. It was sluggish and vibrating until it hit third gear, and then the transmission smoothed out. I was going to try to make it to work, but then the check engine light started flashing. Greaaaat.

Called work. Called dealership. Called AAA. Thought, "Hey, I wanted more reading time. This will give it to me." That cheered me up a bit. (FYI, I was reading Something to Talk About by MJ Fredrick, a wonderful contemporary romance I didn't expect to make me want to play hooky!)

Then I had to go to the bathroom. I was parked in a residential area, no gas stations or fast food restaurants nearby. So I walked up to the elementary school half a block away and played on their sympathies. Luckily, they let me in. While I was in the bathroom, AAA called to say the tow truck would be 20-30 minutes.

When I left, it was raining. THAT made me madder than the car did, because my hair looked great this morning. For about half an hour. Then it frizzed and went limp. Yes, both at the same time.

So I get back to the car and start tweeting about it breaking down. I barely get three words typed out when the tow truck driver calls, looking for me. He's right there! After only 10 minutes! So no reading time. :(

Amazingly, I got to work only an hour late, and the problem was gummed-up spark plugs and failing spark plug wires. I can't get my car back until tomorrow, but at least I don't need a whole new transmission or something.

In the meantime, looky what I got!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm at ParaYourNormal Today!

ParaYourNormal - Where Para is our Normal!: Interview with Natalie Damschroder

Come read about my inspiration, when I knew I was a writer, and some details about my upcoming books...including a question no interviewer has ever asked me before!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jensen Made Me Cry

Carina Press is at Comic-Con in NYC this weekend, and to celebrate, you can get 40% off until tomorrow, 10/16! You can pre-order Behind the Scenes! Good idea, go do it! :)

Amber Quill Press, which publishes a great deal of my backlist, is the featured publisher at All Romance eBooks this month. Read about the company, and get discounts on some of the books (click the banner ad at the top of the page)!

~~~~~~~~~~
I'm feeling a little bit lighter today. I have a major client project completed, and submitted Heavy Metal to my editor, two weeks ahead of deadline (I'm so proud). So now I have to dive into promotion for my upcoming releases, and there is always more client work, but I'm taking the rest of the day "off." After grocery shopping and buying ink and toner for my double-dead printers, I'll watch Thor with Number One, and maybe Supernatural again, too, since she missed it last night.

I loved last night's episode. Not necessarily the "hunt" part of it, though I loved Sam trying to be lawyerly (really, Sam? "That's not fair!"? Is that really a good reason for objection in a court ruled by a capricious god?). Jensen Ackles...oh, my god, the talent. He consistently breaks my friggin' heart, and when Dean and Jo confronted each other in the hotel room, and she was being forced to kill him similarly to how she died, it wasn't heartbreak, it was heartsqueezedbymonsterclaws.

I also loved the quick bursts of montage, all the bits of Jo's past episodes (no "Born Under a Bad Sign," though, I was disappointed) and the people whose deaths Dean feels responsible for.

Is it me, or does this season have more weight than past seasons? It's hard to explain, because they've dealt with really bad Big Bads, and had the apocalypse with the fate of the entire world on their shoulders, and that's pretty heavy. But it's more about tone than content, I think. I'm liking it.

I also like that Sam's apparently been purged by the fires of hell, without the angsty guilt that's driven him his whole life. That's a nice new side of Sammy that might be fun to watch. I have a feeling Dean's going to continue in the other direction. Sam's getting impatient with Dean's drinking, and the "third witness" issue won't be going away. That's one thing I'm NOT looking forward to, is the rift when Sam finds out.

Other shows I'm digging right now? Not many, I'm afraid, but mostly because I'm so far behind. Working every night, no TV, DVR is filling up. But I have kept up with Nikita, and I swoon over the Nikki/Mikey/Birkhoff (Birky?) alliance every week.

I liked the first episode of Pan Am, which I wasn't going to try until I heard it compared to Alias. It was sleek and well done, but had a patina of artificiality and a few too many cliches, so we'll see if it holds me.

Person of Interest (saw one episode) didn't separate itself from the pack of crime procedurals. Prime Suspect (one ep) did, but not in a good way. It was pretty jarring to have this huge sexist layer that none of the other CPs have. In comedies, I like New Girl okay, and I'll keep watching, but won't miss it if it goes away. Can't stand Happy Endings anymore, so I quit it, and didn't like Two Broke Girls at all.

I kind of want to try Suburgatory because it has Alan Tudyk. Anyone watching it? It just got a full season pickup.

What's floating your boat this TV season?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

A whole long week ago, the very cool Stacy McKitrick of Stacy's Rantings and Whatnot gave me this award.

Thank you, Stacy!

I thing "versatile" is a nice way of saying "unfocused and disorganized," but hey, that's what I'm going for, so yay me! :)

Here are the provisions of the award:

Thank and link to the person who nominates you.
Thanks again, Stacy! I was excited to discover her funny and interesting blog. Go check it out! Note: She's much better at brevity than I am.

Share seven random facts about you.

Hmmmm. That's always so hard! I'm sure I'll end up repeating stuff.

1. When I was around 6 or 7 years old, my best friend David Pleau and I used to pretend to be Steve Austin and Jamie Summers (Somers?). You know, the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman? We made my little brother Andy be Oscar Goldman. You know the phrase "scarred for life"? Yeah, that's just about the epitome. Thirty-seven years old and he's still not over it.

Speaking of my brother...

2. He and his wife just had a new baby girl! Yeah-huh, that is too about me. I'm an aunt again, for the...thirteenth time. My mother would get a kick out of that number. :)

3. My first boyfriend was in sixth grade. He gave me candy or gum at school every day, and a tarnished necklace that he sent a friend to ask for back when he decided he didn't want to go out with me anymore. I told the friend to tell him to come ask for it himself. Pretty brave of me, considering he probably broke up with me 'cuz I could hardly look at him, I was so shy. We had one "date" at a roller rink.

4. I've owned one new car in my life. My first one. After Number Two was born, husband traded my car in for his company car, and I got his year-old Toyota Corolla, which is now 13 and counting. Because of the company cars, he's on his fourth new one. Number One is going to inherit the Corolla next year, and hopefully I'll finally get a second new car that *I* get to pick out *myself*.

5. I've never lived completely on my own. For a woman as fiercely independent as I am, that kind of galls. I wouldn't trade any of my choices for anything, but it's weird when I think about it. I had roommates in college, of course, and housemates at one summer job. I rented a basement room from a woman during my National Geographic Society internship, then moved straight in with my fiancé when that was over. Ideally, I never will live on my own, but it definitely conjures some "what if" scenarios from time to time.

6. I'm a bit compulsive about my e-mail inbox. I keep things in there if they need my attention, or if I read them on my laptop and they need to be saved on the desktop. As soon as something is addressed, it's gone. So I get intense satisfaction out of that 0 on my e-mail counter. It never lasts, alas, and often I end up putting off important tasks because I just can't take having anything in my inbox anymore.

7. I'm addicted to football podcasts. Specifically, ESPN's Football Today and the podcasts put out by the New England Patriots, mainly PFW in Progress.

(I think I just accidentally typed ALT+P or something, and this published early! Dammit!)

The writers of Patriots Football Weekly are raunchy and juvenile, they fight a lot and go on and on about the stupidest things. But I love them. I get all my New England Patriots news from them, and when I catch up to the podcasts and have nothing to listen to, I pout. Never mind the 1728 songs in my music library. Gimme my talk Internet radio!

Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!
Oy. I've been soooooo busy* I haven't even had time to read the blogs I discovered years ago, never mind found new ones. But Stacy has a really long, great-looking blog roll, so head over there and click on a few of those.

Since I can't predict which ones y'all will click on, I can't notify anyone of the award. But I task anyone who is interested with passing it along (or appropriating it!) on my behalf. Consider it a "found blog topic." :)

Happy reading!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*In case anyone was sad that they hadn't heard me whining in a while... I'm near deadline on Heavy Metal, facing the imminent release of TWO books (Behind the Scenes on October 31, Under the Moon on November 1) and all the attendant promotional obligation, working on work for two clients currently, with three more preparing to bury in an avalanche (not complaining, really!) and dealing with all the usual day job and family obligations that never seem to get lighter even when they really should. I'm grateful it's all relatively good stuff, and I'm maintaining the balance so far. But some things I love are suffering...like this blog, and keeping up with my far-away friends. :( I miss you!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Enough with the Skeletons Already!

It's a situation we've tsked for years—probably decades. Women in show business are constantly being pushed to be thinner, thinner, THINNER!!! Society condemns it, outwardly everyone talks about health and taking the pressure off, but obviously, it has just increased.

Over the last seven years, I've watched it happen with guest stars of Supernatural. They appear on the show the first time, perfectly shaped, curvy and awesome. Then they come back on the show a couple years later, or show up somewhere else, and they're half the woman they used to be. (For viewers of the show, I'm specifically thinking of Tessa and Genevieve's Ruby, but there are others.)

Men aren't excluded from this, and I'll admit to being part of the problem. They don't have to be thin, though, they have to be buff. Anyone watch The Big Bang Theory? In a recent episode, Leonard took his shirt off. These guys are supposed to be scrawny nerds, but even he was pretty buff under there. Now, working out a lot to get nice muscles, and eating more protein and veggies and fewer carbs and fats isn't a bad way to live. It's far healthier than starving yourself to be thin. But the pressure has to still be immense, and I'm sure a lot of these guys go overboard, too.

This fall, though, some actresses have gone way past thin. When Julie Bowen went on stage to accept her Emmy for Modern Family, I almost called an ambulance. How did she even manage to hold that statue with those frail, bony arms? I can't enjoy Castle anymore because I'm totally distracted by Stana Katic's struggle to talk around her massive teeth. She has no facial muscles anymore. She's all skull. It's horrifying. Now, her character almost died, so maybe things will change a little as time goes on, but yikes.

I wish I knew what to do about it. I don't want to contribute to this awful trend, but how can I contribute to reversing it?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stinky Car Newspaper Trick

I don't think I drove my car all weekend. When I got in to go to work Monday, it reeked. As if the windows had been left open in the rain, then closed for a time. Except nothing in the car was wet.

I drove with the windows open, parked under a tree at work, got in, and...ugh.

It's gotten worse every day. I checked under the hood and under the car for dead animals, but didn't see anything, and there's absolutely no odor until you open the car door. I delivered all the cardboard recycling to the township bin, hoping it was just an old pizza box. Under the boxes were blankets from last spring's soccer season. Threw those downstairs to wash. Nothing else in the trunk to smell bad.

So of course it smelled worse the next day.

I checked under the seats in case something fell out of a grocery bag. Pulled out the floor mats. Kept removing things that had no chance of being the cause:




And still it reeked.

I thought about taking it to be detailed, which would get the floors shampooed. But I don't have the time or money for that. I thought about shampooing them myself. But I don't have the time or equipment for that.

So I turned to an old remedy I've used for other things. I think it's an old Heloise tip, suggested to get cigarette smoke out of a suitcase or something.

I've...

STUFFED MY CAR WITH NEWSPAPER!





It would probably work even better if I stuffed the whole thing, but...yeah, I don't have time for that.

So I did this around 2:00 this afternoon, and when I took the pictures at 6:00, it was already working! The odor was about half ugly festering evil, half newsprint. I work at home tomorrow, so sometime in the afternoon I'll see if it worked completely. And I'll let you know!

But FYI, it totally works to get cigarette smoke out of fabrics and other items that can't be easily washed.

Anyone have a favorite Hint from Heloise?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Floods, but No Drowning


I've been dreaming a lot about floods lately. Not surprising, considering Irene inundating the east coast, and more recently, Lee giving Pennsylvania the worst flooding in nearly 40 years.

Still, odd, because we weren't personally affected by the flooding. My old employer was—15 feet of water in the basement—and near my inlaws, Swatara Creek went 20 feet over flood stage (which is 7 feet). But our house/town, and my work/town, were fine. I didn't even get any water in my basement this time. *knocks on wood*

But here it's river and creek flooding. My dreams have been about ocean flooding. Not coastal...well, the first dream was coastal. I was visiting somewhere, maybe Rhode Island, and getting ready to come home, and my car got washed away and stuck on a sand dune in a pile of wreckage. I climbed down the side of the dune/wreckage and pulled it free (with my left hand). At first I thought the rear end was smashed and it was driveable, but when I pulled it free and dropped it to the sidewalk, it had key parts missing. Like wheels. So I thought, "This is stupid. Just wake up." And I did.

Last night, though...

The dream started at work. I was supposed to be working on the schedule going forward for all the new people (5, when we only have 2), but I messed it up. Then it was time to go. One of the new people was riding with me. We waited for my husband, who was driving around from the back lot, and it took too long so I decided he'd left already.

So I was driving pretty fast down the street. I saw a woman on her front lawn take a picture, aiming down the street and kind of up at the sky. I wondered what the heck she was taking. We just had pretty basic cloud cover.

Then a piece of the sky collapsed. It made me jump. I'd only seen it out of my peripheral vision, and then the sky looked whole again, like the clouds had sealed up the hole. But there had been hard matter that broke out of that hole, like snow falling off a roof, and that was weird.

Wait, it gets weirder!

My car was speeding along, and I realized the entire sky was solid. And then the road was in a giant tunnel, and pieces of the roof had broken out, and I could see light through them. The tunnel was getting narrower and narrower, but we were flying, and we were goign tcome out the end before any roof fell on us or the entire tunnel collapsed.

And then we did. We crashed into the ocean. I had time to mentally freak that the ocean was in Pennsylvania. I saw waves and a whale's tail, which told me there was no modifying this situation so we could get out of it, and I had another person in my car. All this happened in an eighth of a second, and then I slammed awake.

But as soon as I closed my eyes, it was there again, in all its detail. I was able to push it away, but the imagery and sensation lingers.

I'm pretty sure I know what it means, but I'm curious to hear other interpretations. Ready...GO! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keeping-Your-Sanity Tip of the Day

If you have a bottle of dish detergent—the hand-wash-dishes-in-the-sink kind—and it's almost empty, and the top of the bottle is little so you can't set it on the counter upside down, and you decide to set it in a cup so you can efficiently and frugally use every last drop of soap in the bottle—eventually—and finally you do use the last drop and now the cup is dirty...

Well.

Be warned. If you put that cup as is into the dishwasher?

You're gonna wind up with suds all over your kitchen floor.

And it's gonna be on a day your kid's homework won't print on your printer, so you have to finally get around to running to Staples to get new ink for her own printer, while it's raining and putting on a spectacular lightning show.

On the same day that same kid's soccer practice was called halfway through due to that same lightning, throwing off your entire schedule.

If you're lucky, you'll have a husband willing to stand in the kitchen for over an hour, watching the dishwasher while you run another cycle, because the leakage was just so odd, with it being mostly suds, and you found no obvious problem with the door or drain, but the unit is so freaking full of soap...

So just save yourself the trouble and rinse out the damned cup.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Captain Jack (no, the other one), The Doctor, and Other Stuff

Want 20% of some of my erotic backlist AND off of Fight or Flight? Check out the sidebar for a link and discount code. This new store, eBook Eros, is also promoting marriage equality with a Free Books for Free States Drive. Check it out!

~~~~~~

I finally caught up on Torchwood. I know! I can't believe it took me so long, either. But I was disappointed at first. They got too caught up, I thought, in all the medical repercussions of immortality. That kind of dark, dismal "what-if" isn't my kind of thing in the first place, and it got a bit draggy.

(General discussion, no spoilers ahead)

And then there was the flashback episode. *guh* John Barrowman does intense like nobody's business, and I thought the casting for his lover was fantastic. With a 10-episode arc, though, I'd have preferred they got to the action a little faster, and had more Gwen and Jack and less not-Gwen-and-Jack. And there were a few threads not cleanly tied up, but I think they'll be taking those into the next season, so that's okay.

The ending was kind of brilliant. Not that I couldn't see it coming, but the *way* it happened... And again, I just love Gwen and Jack! The way they deal with everything is awesome.

~~~~~~

Speaking of brilliant... I'm loving Doctor Who this season! Some of the episodes have been haunting, lingering with me long after I watched them. The stand-alones have less impact and intensity, of course, but have still been great.

~~~~~~

I have a new cover! Look over there, to the right. I kind of snuck it on here last week, then didn't post anything new so you had a reason to come see it. My other book cover should be ready soon. Super excited for these releases!

Remember, in order to entice you into my high-stakes worlds, I'm giving away free copies of my books so you can give me a try without risk! You just need to sign up for my newsletter (see the link at the right). I promise not to inundate you with e-mails, just the occasional announcement. But I'll be giving away a book a week for 6 weeks, and right now, the odds of winning are pretty good. :)

~~~~~~

Football is back!  I save this one for last so my non-football fans can tune out. New England pretty much started where they left off last year, with the same strengths on offense and weaknesses on defense.

I warned Tony Sparano. During the Dolphins admittedly impressive first drive, when he was celebrating a completed pass like they'd just won the AFC Championship, that if he blew his wad in the first quarter, it would be a really long game. But he did, and it was, and they really couldn't go the distance.

I am going to go into mourning when Wes Welker leaves the team. Bigger than after Superbowl 42. Yeah, I said it.

~~~~~~

Oooh, I lied! Best for last! Entangled Publishing is making a big announcement tomorrow. Don't miss it!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Theme: Stupidity

Here's a tip: If you put the word "Spam" in the title of a blog post, it will attract spam. Who knew spam-bots were that dumb?

Who knew I was? It took me a whole month to figure out that I should just close comments on that post. *eyeroll*

I don't really like the new Blogger interface. Part of it is just familiarity, and I know I'll get used to it. But before, all the important stuff was right there, one click away. Now it's in multiple drop-down menus and you have to hunt for it. That's not an improvement. Not thrilled with quirks in composing posts, either. Very annoyed, actually.

This morning, I woke up at 6:15ish, and thought (with a long mental groan) "Ohhhh, it's Tuesday, and I have to work a double, and train, and...wait. It's only Sunday, AND I don't have to work tomorrow!" So I went back to sleep for two-and-a-half more hours. Nice!

I used to think I had long, intense, vivid, exhausting dreams when I wasn't writing. But I've BEEN writing, nonstop for weeks and weeks. Okay, revising, but isn't that the same thing? Apparently not, or I broke my brain, or the correlation was never valid in the first place. The dreams have gotten more and more vivid lately, and I wake up physically battered and just as tired as when I went to bed.

On Friday, I told our trainee that when I first started working there, I had dreams that they'd changed the information on the fee slip and I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing anymore, or they'd moved everything around in my work area, and I'd spend hours trying to set up one patient while other patients backed up around me.

That was apparently stupid, because that night, I dreamed they'd rearranged the entire area again, in a manner that was not at all beneficial for either the patients or the staff. The difference in this dream was that I wasn't alone. The regular therapy person and the trainee were both back there with me, just as annoyed and concerned. :)

I also dreamed the other night about Stephen King trying to give me a list of his SF-romance series. I know, right?! He's so pushy. ;)

Okay, that's enough randomness today. I am now off to clean/organize my office in an attempt to unclog my brain. What are YOU up to this holiday weekend?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winners, Whining, and Whiplash

Winners!
Cathy Pegau is generously awarding copies of Rulebreaker to both Misty and Jen B. Congratulations! She'll be in touch to make sure you get your prize.

Whining
This week has been so up and down. Monday started off fine, with the kids off to the first day of school. But then...
  • You know how my iPod got stolen and I replaced the battery in my old iPod Photo? Yeah, well, it died. So I burned a few podcasts to CD. That wouldn't last long, as I don't have that many CDs and they're only CD-Rs, but it would gave me a few days of listening during my commute. Right?

  • Wrong. The CD player in my car stopped working. Right about the time...
  • That I hit the road closure on the main road between the town where I live and the town where I work. I was half an hour late looking for a way around, because they didn't set up any detour signs.

  • Then my eyes went wonky. I had to keep blinking at my monitor at work to shift my contacts, but they kept sliding out of focus.

  • My work plan failed. Interruptions, problems, stuff I couldn't finish because I had to chase down people to ask questions, and help out in other departments because things got so busy.
Between working late, running the kids to and from the doctor (around the road closure) and soccer practice, followed by client work that had to be done, I was wiped out and couldn't write.  

Whiplash
Tuesday was so much better by comparison. First, the CDs worked in my car! We had a decent detour in the morning, and the road was open by evening. Work was much smoother and productive. I had to work the morning shift and the evening shift, so in between I worked on Heavy Metal on my laptop. And Tuesdays are slow, so I got client editing done before I left.

But then I got home, with more soccer-practice-running-around and kids needing me for homework and dinner-making. Then I had half a dozen projects to edit, but lost e-mail access so I couldn't do those until today. Today was a longer day at work than it was supposed to be (due to training a new person), MORE chauffeuring, and more dinner-making. (Why do we have to eat, huh?)

So here I am, nearly 9:00 p.m., with hours of client work ahead of me. I must work on both Heavy Metal and TBWNN tonight, too.

I'm thinking all-nighter.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Random Thoughts on Bees, Age, and Clear Skies

  • Age does not automatically make someone worth listening to. Experience can bring wisdom, but it can also reinforce prejudice and rigid thinking. I respect everyone's right to an opinion, but being 94 doesn't turn those opinions to gold.
  • The horror of nature's destructive forces can't be overstated. But the flip side of a hurricane is incredible clarity and freshness. I'm drunk on the breeze coming through my window.
  • We have a colony of bumble bees nesting in some old rodent holes in our backyard. If the rains didn't drown them out last night, we'll have to get them taken care of, because apparently—and contrary to what I was told all my life—they not only sting, they can be nasty about it. But wow, are they stupid! We watched them coming and going for a few minutes Saturday, and they had a really hard time finding the holes. They kept landing and trying to burrow into solid ground.
  • Google "stupid ground bees," and guess what comes up? Government stuff! :)
  • Last night's episode of Doctor Who was brilliant. I find myself longing to be in the middle of a past season so I can marathon new episodes again. This waiting stuff sucks. But the mind-twisty writing, the acting, the depth of emotion, and the places this storyline can go...delicious.
    • Writing is going very well today, so I shall get right back to it. Fill my comments with your random thoughts!