Sunday, April 29, 2012

Entangled Anthology for Autism Speaks

Love Knows No Bounds, an Entangled Anthology supporting Autism Speaks

Follow the link to the post on the Entangled Publishing blog about this charity anthology. So many of the authors and staff of EP have been affected by autism, this is a very important cause for us. 100% of the profits will be donated to Autism Speaks. Click above and read about these three novellas:


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Literal Addiction and This is Entangled: The Gag Reel

Tomorrow (Friday, April 27), I'm going to be featured at Literal Addiction and Book Monster Reviews. These ladies are AWESOME. They really do their homework and ask fantabulous questions. You get TWO chances to win (comment at each site) and can also ask me whatever you want. :)

I'll be checking in very early, then mid-afternoon, then sometime over the weekend, because we have to go to Ithaca for an open house for Number One. I'll try to check in via my iPod if I can get a signal, but I can't do that while we're on the road. So please don't feel neglected if I'm slow to respond!

Also, please check out this very funny gag reel as a teaser to author interviews Entangled will be posting. You can also subscribe to the Entangled YouTube Channel here!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Promise I Won't Talk About My Eyes Anymore...

...after this post.

Because DUDE.

I'm three weeks post op now. I mentioned before that right after the surgery, I kept thinking that I was seeing the same as I used to with my contacts, but had to remind myself that I'd see that way ALL the time.

I was wrong.

Did you ever have the windshield of a fairly old car (a few years old, at least) get cracked and have to be replaced? Isn't it awesome to look through the clear glass, without the tiny scratches and pits you didn't realize you were seeing through for a long time?

That's what my vision is like now. Even better—it's like the whole world has been airbrushed. There's a soft clarity to everything. I marvel every time I look down at my desk and back up at the computer screen. Leaves on the trees and street signs and my kids' faces are gorgeous. It's turned my mood into perpetual happiness.

I think the left eye has caught up, or close to it. My dryness has diminished to where I go long stretches feeling comfortable. If I put in the artificial tears too much, in an effort to avoid dryness, they irritate my eyelids, drying out and tightening the skin and having the same effect as dry eyeballs do. So I'm working on a balance between letting the orbs dry out and drying out the skin.

Okay, that's enough about that. I promise not to bore you with my LASIK joy anymore. :)

Number Two scored her second goal of the season last night! I mention it because Number One was on a school field trip and missed the game where her sister scored the team's first goal of the season, and her own first goal in many years (she played goalkeeper and defense for a long time). So yesterday, Number Two almost had an assist, but her teammate shot slightly wide of the goal. Number One went into a five-minute rant in the second half about how her sister had BETTER score another goal this season. And then she did! Shut Number One up right quick. :)

The next, oh, four months are going to be insane. We have:
  • a trip to Ithaca, NY, to visit the college
  • The Avengers, home opener for the City Islanders, a wedding, and the prom all on the same weekend
  • Mother's Day
  • J going to Vegas, overlapping my retreat
  • a trip to Burlington, VT, to visit Champlain
  • vacation to Orlando
  • a trip to Cleveland
  • a day trip to Baltimore
  • a weekend family reunion in MA, with another couple of visits to colleges in Amherst
I have a deadline in there, too, so I'm going to stop here and get back to writing. Since tomorrow I take a trip to see my grandpa for lunch! :)

What are you looking forward to in the next few months?

Tomorrow I have lunch with my grandpa. I can't wait!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mirror Mirror in the Woods

Today was Number Two's birthday celebration. Tomorrow she turns 13, but she has a soccer game and homework and stuff, so we went to lunch and a movie today.

We saw Mirror Mirror, which turned out to be very funny, quite aware of its ridiculousness, and full of charm thanks to the fantastic acting of Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Armie Hammer, and the 7 dwarves. (The one who was also in Pirates...wait, let me look him up...Martin Klebba! He's pretty hot.) Lily Collins was good, too.

The story twisted the original fairy tale just right. I don't want to ruin any of the twists for those who will go see it or rent it, but it kept most of the elements without following the storyline to a tedious degree. And all four of us enjoyed it, something difficult with 40-something guy, a 40-something chick, a nearly 17-year-old, and a not-quite-13-year-old.

Later, I went by myself to see Cabin in the Woods. The EW review had said something like it was clever and twisty and well acted, but too funny and smart and not enough scary. Perfect for me! And, of course, I have a history of being deeply in love with stuff by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, so I was pretty optimistic going in.

And it was clever and smart and funny (very funny!) and well acted. I might have raised my expectations just a bit too much as far as the twistiness goes. When you know there are twists, you look for them. Even though I didn't really predict them, they didn't always seem that big. But then, some things I should have seen coming really shocked me.

The best part, though, was how well everyone fit together. We had some of the usual Whedonites, some well-known talents, and some newbies, and there was definite chemistry in every part of the film. The ending was extremely gory, for anyone looking for that. I also heartily recommend this one! :)

So how about you? Seen any good movies lately? Planning on going soon? Next up for me might be The Avengers. I'm SO looking forward to that one and have such high expectations, I"m bound to be disappointed by it. LOL

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things Making Me Freaking Happy Today

1. Acceptable Risks is number 2 on Carina's most popular list today! And it's getting great reviews and went all the way to 12,241 on Amazon. It's not doing as well on Barnes & Noble, but it did halve its ranking. Yay!

2. I got lots of writing done today!

3. I get to have lunch with my grandpa next week!

4. Supernatural is new tomorrow night!

5. My eyeballs are awesome!

6. I ordered some great books today!

7. The book I'm reading (Stork by Wendy Delsol) is so good I keep stopping my work to read it!

8. I have made significant progress on my to-do list!

9. I have an idea for my next Everybody Needs a Little Romance post!

10. The Entangled Authors and Carina Press authors have put together some really amazing offerings for the Brenda Novak Auction for the Cure of Diabetes. I'm so proud of us! :)


Monday, April 16, 2012

Release Day!!!

Yay, it's release day!

I'm celebrating with a couple of guest blogs. You can find me at:

Just Romantic Suspense, talking about living vicariously through my books.

And at RomCon's contemporary blog about the evolution of the idea that became this book.

You can find the book at:



Barnes & Noble

An YAY again! It's available today at Audible, too! You can listen to a 4-minute sample. The narrator sounds great!

I'm off to celebrate by going to work with my sliced-open finger. Yay.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Glasses Hell is OVER

Getting LASIK was one of the most surreal things I've ever done. The most advanced procedure, and totally elective. And so far, totally awesome.

I took my first Valium (ever) at 7:30 on Thursday morning. It didn't really do much. I probably could have done without it. I was, happily, the first patient. I might have needed the Valium more if I'd had to sit in the waiting area with no glasses for longer than I did.

Amy, the prep nurse (tech?), took my (perfect) blood pressure and gave me a paper hat (like a shower cap) and booties. She tucked tissues over my ears to catch drop runners. Then she put two stars on my forehead so they knew I was doing both eyes. My nametag was placed upside down, with a few notes about my procedure, like "no monovision."

Oh, and she took my glasses away to give me drops, and from then on I couldn't see.

Good thing, because I think we all looked pretty silly, sitting in that prep area. Not that that changed all day.

When I was taken in to the procedure room, they put numbing drops in my eyes and the doctor marked my eyeball with a pen. I was a little nervous at that point because I could feel it. They helped me into the procedure chair, positioned me, and tightened this inflatable/squishy pillow around my head to keep it steady. Then they gave me a fish.

(I'm pretty sure it was a Nemo-like stuffed fish. I never actually saw it.)

So I held the fish and the assistant kept her hand on me and encouraged me the whole time. The doctor taped my right eyelids open, then slid that metal hook thingie under them. I think I liked that part least, because lights were really bright adn hurt my eye (my left was taped closed at that point). I had to stare at a fuzzy red dot while they sealed the microkeratome to my eyeball. The pressure made my vision go dark. Then I heard a shirring noise as it sliced my cornea. The pressure disappeared, my "vision" returned, and I stared at the fuzzy red dot that got fuzzier as they opened the flap. Then the periphery got dark (thank goodness, I was able to relax at that point) and the laser came on, and I saw lots of pretty colors and heard cool pumping-type noises and smelled my cornea burn. It was like a milder version of getting your teeth drilled. The assistant kept telling me to hold steady, keep looking up, etc. I wasn't sure if she does anyway, or if my eyeball was moving. They'd assured me the laser has a tracker, but she kept saying it so it made me nervous that I was being bad.

It only took a minute or two for the treatment. They put the flap back, and left my eye open for a minute while they started setting up my other eye. A metal cover slid over the laser, and I realized I could read the numbers on it. Then they undid my right eye and put a shield lightly over it while they got the left ready.

When they did the keratome on the left eye and asked if my vision went dim, I said "a little bit." They asked again, and I said not completely, but they sliced anyway. Then I realized I was seeing with my right eye under the edge of the shield. Later that day, I had a kind of sharp pain in my left eye (like a honking eyelash) and a few hours after that, Number Two saw blood in my eye. I think that's my fault! I didn't ask, but they might have increased the suction and that popped a capillary or two. No biggie, but I also wonder if that caused some distortion that's the reason my left eye isn't as good as my right. But I'll get to that.

After it was over, they sat me up and had me tell the time on the wall. Normally I wouldn't be able to see more than a vague circle, but I could tell it was 8:52. My vision was very cloudy, though, so my excitement was curtailed.

The doc looked at my eyes, declared them fantastic, and sent me out to get uncovered. More drops, instructions, "lovely" goggles placed over my eyes, plus wraparound sunglasses on top, and I was sent on my way.

I could see pretty well out some parts of the goggles, but a lot of stuff was fuzzy. Turned out the goggles were fogged. That's their favorite state, and it's annoying when you're not trying to sleep.

Actually, the goggles are annoying all the time. I had to wear them all day on Thursday, and no TV, no reading, no computer. So what else can you do but sleep, which is what they want anyway, because eyes heal faster when they're closed. Every time I took the goggles off to put drops in, my vision was clearer. THAT was when it got exciting.

The goggles (like sports goggles) press hard on my eye sockets, though, and are big and hard and difficult to sleep in. I have to sleep in them for a week. The doctor called me at dinner time to see how I was doing, and said I could take them off and watch a little TV, but put them back on for bad. I could have kissed him.

I did go to bed at 9:00, though, so I didn't push it. Which meant I got up at 5:30 yesterday morning. The Valium and anxiety and trauma made sleeping the first half of the day easier, and dozing after lunch went okay, but I think I woke up every 45 minutes or so after 1:00 a.m. And every day I have a pounding headache.

But OMG, is it worth it. I had my follow-up yesterday. They didn't tell me what level I was seeing at, but I think my right eye was at least 20/20, maybe even 20/15. The left wasn't as good. He said "right eye is great, left...will come along." LOL It's expected to continue to improve and will fluctuate for 6-8 weeks. I'll ask my optometrist for my actual numbers when I see her next week.

They gave me instructions for the drops again, a card to keep in my wallet in case I get pulled over since I no longer need corrective lenses, I also got a coupon for 25% of Botox and a humongous bar of chocolate!

I have to put Zymaxid antibiotic drops in four times a day for a week, plus Falcon predisolone steroid drops. The artificial tears are frequent for a month, maybe longer. The prednisolone is bitter down the back of my throat. They congeal in my eyelashes, too, which sucks because I can't do anything about that. I can't touch my eyes or get water in them. The steam from the shower softened them this morning, and I used a Q-tip under the bottom lashes, but I think I'm gonna look pretty funky by the end of the week. :)

I look out the window and across the yards, and part of me thinks, "this is how I saw with my contacts." But part of me slaps that part upside the head, because the difference, while subtle, is life-changing.

I'll never NOT see like this. That's the bottom line. Of course, I'll need reading glasses eventually. (But not now, which is awesome! They thought I would.) My vision will fluctuate now and might even change over time again (though I've talked to two people who had LASIK 13 and 20 years ago and have never changed).

But I'll never have to take out contacts or take off glasses and be unable to see. I'll never have to worry about losing a contact in O'Hare airport (done that) or being unable to tell which bobbing head in the ocean is my kid. I'll wake up every morning already able to see, and there's no chance of a Rear Window situation if my neighbor goes berserk.

And that makes every penny worth it.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Today's Customer Appreciation Goes to...THE IRS! No, Really!

Back on January 23, I faxed my Form 8802 Application for United States Residency Certification to the IRS. I need it, see, to get paid for the Greek language rights I licensed to Anubis Publications for Kira's Best Friend, book 1 in my Brook Hollow Trilogy. (*squeeeee*)

I knew it could take up to 60 days, but as the days ticked beyond that, I figured they'd never gotten the form. Sure enough, when I finally got around to calling them today, they didn't have any record. But guess what? After the requisite half hour plus on hold, I spent about 2 minutes talking to Brandi, who had me fax it again, to her attention, and said to check on Wednesday to make sure it was processing. She answered questions about my Hellenic form and the Form 6166 I'll be getting. And I was good to go!

We'll see how long it takes from here, but for now, I'm very pleased with my customer service experience with the U.S. Residency Certification Unit.

And lesson learned—next time, I'll check in a week to be sure it was received!


In other news, I smell like a campfire. Someone (not naming names, but it wasn't me...this time) forgot to check inside the oven before turning it on. When it beeped that it was preheated to 400* and I opened it to slide in the naan, the potholders on top of the pizza stone burst into flames. Not a big deal—shut the oven, turned it off, waited a few minutes, brought out a fan to blow the toxic smoke out the open windows, and increased my cancer risk by a significant percentage while I got the smoking potholders outside.

The oven is fine, the pizza stone is fine, and the potholder is no great loss. My hair smells of burnt fabric, but it was a great opportunity for a teaching moment, quizzing the kids on what they'd do if this happened to them.

For the record? "Scream" and "run to get you" are not the answers I was looking for.