Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I not only believe in them, apparently, I cause them.

Tonight I took Number One and Number Two to the City Islanders playing in round 3 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Wait, let me back up.

Yesterday, the Open Cup announced the round 4 games. If the City Islanders won tonight, they'd host next week. But Number Two had a school sports physical scheduled. So I changed it to August, figuring even if the Isles didn't win, she'd have additional recovery time for her ankle.

It started storming around 5:15. Management announced a half-hour postponement. J decided not to go, despite already having bought the ticket. He's not that diehard. But we were determined. We packed up towels, umbrellas, sweatshirts, and jackets. Hey, it worked last week.

Not this week. The storm passed by game time, but it rained for about 75 of the 90-minute regulation period. Which ended in a 0-0 tie. You can't end a game in a tie during a tournament. We were pretty pleased with our little USL-PRO team's performance. They had a lot more shots on goal than the New England Revolution did.

(Yeah, a bit of irony there. I was wearing a New England Patriots hat into the stadium, and one of the greeters got a horrified look on his face. "You're not rooting for them, are you?" Oh, hell, no! LOL)

So we're sitting there at the start of the first of two 15-minute overtime periods. They play both, so there's no sudden death. With the rain delay, we were already not getting home before 10. Now we weren't getting home before 10:30. I said I was being a bad mother, and I did feel a little guilty, though I had no intentions of leaving early. I have NEVER left a game early. EVER.


So then we have this conversational exchange:

Me: What do you have at school tomorrow?

Number One: Mom. In period one we're watching X-Men: First Class. In period 2 we're watching another movie. In period 3 I have study hall. Period 4 I have to work on a paper, but I'm half done with it. Period 5 I'll probably just have food with Madame. Period 6 we're watching Pirates of the Caribbean. Period 7 we'll probably just play FunBrain.

Me to Number Two: What do you have tomorrow?

Number Two: My Algebra final.

Oh, lord, now I AM a bad mother. But she has a 98 in the class, and aced the practice test, so I wasn't that worried. Still...

Overtime starts. The officials demonstrate their continued bias (they'd called 17 fouls against us, only 7 against the Revs, and we had 3 yellow cards to their 1 yellow and 1 red) when they didn't call a Revs player offsides though he was at least three strides past the defenders. They scored.

The Revs were also adept at taking dives. I know this is rampant in soccer, but I swear, they see a foot, they deliberately trip over it. They'll push and push and push a player until he moves, then they'll fall—and we get the foul. So one of our defenders did a slide tackle in the box, all ball, and their forward deliberately trips. PK (penalty kick, for the few uninformed who for some reason have read this far LOL). They scored. Five minutes later, on a breakaway when we didn't even look like we were trying to stop him (though admittedly, we'd pulled one of our defenders and replaced him with a forward), they score again.

3-0 is a pretty insurmountable score in professional soccer. Not impossible. But tough, especially with only 15 minutes of play left. Number Two had a final tomorrow. And the last straw was a fan who turned completely obnoxious during overtime, as if he'd downed six beers in the 74th minute (that's when they stop selling them—people will buy 2, then get in line to buy more while they drink those). We couldn't stand listening to him anymore. So I asked the girls if they wanted to leave. They agreed.

I'm lucky they didn't kill me.

We heard cheering when we got to the parking lot (about 1/2 a mile away). So we'd scored, but we still needed two more and probably had less than 10 minutes left. By the time we got home, the City Islanders had scored TWICE and tied it up again. They were going to penalty kicks. Each team gets 5 shots on goal, alternating. If you've ever watched this one-on-one showdown, it's awful. For both sides. It's as difficult to score as it is to stop a goal.

We watched on Twitter, screaming and lamenting our stupidity.




And then holy crap, we scored and Nick Noble, our fan-freaking-tastic goalkeeper, stopped the final shot. We won.


The Isles used the hashtag in my subject, #doyoubelieveinmiracles, but all I can think is how much they owe us. Because you know that if we'd stayed another hour, they'd have lost and Number Two would lose two points on her final.

Either way, tonight I'm the bad mom.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Hot, It's Crazy, and It's Not Even Summer Yet!

Okay, as far as the social season goes, Memorial Day weekend is over, so summer is here (even though we really have 3.5+ weeks until it's OFFICIALLY here...I know, I'm obnoxiously pedantic about this).

But JEEBUS it's hot. High 80s, with an AccuWeather "RealFeel" of 98, is too bleeping hot for May in Pennsylvania. My husband's worried about our trip to Orlando in the middle of summer. I told him it can't be much worse.

So where have I been for the past two weeks?

Central PA Romance Writers had our ninth annual All About Me retreat last weekend. It was just as awesome as the 8 that came before, if you don't count the post-wedding screaming in the parking lot until 1:30 in the morning. The retreat venue was much fuller this year than last year, which is absolutely fine, as long as people aren't screaming "give me my f'in phone" for twenty minutes. Or puking in front of the hang-out bench.

But whatever! I got over 14,000 words written, submitted a short story proposal, and made great progress on Sunroper. I took a walk with friends I don't see often enough, and we laughed like crazy during our cocktail party and end-of-retreat game night. A bunch of new members came, and I'm hoping the regulars who missed it will be back next year. It's our tenth, so it should be EPIC.

Then I came home. And was hit by...

The oh-so-fantastic Kerri-Leigh Grady hit me with my second round of edits on Heavy Metal. I spent all weekend on them and only have 146 pages to go. The problem is that my freelance clients hit me at the same time (they missed me while I was gone), so I've been doing a lot of proofreading every day.

But that's okay! All work and no play gives you crazy!brain, so I made sure to slip in a few fun things. Like...

SOCCER! AND TV! AND MOVIES! Caution: Spoilers!
The Harrisburg City Islanders are doing great! They won in round 2 of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup, and this week host the New England Revolution—I'm super-excited to see them in person! Then on Friday night, in a hard-played game, they beat one of the top teams in the division, handing them their first defeat. Wahoo!

I caught up on a few shows. Revenge had a really good season finale, giving us some answers but opening up new avenues to explore. I'm fall heavier in love with Nolan every day. The one thing I didn't like was Amanda coming back pregnant just when Emily was going to tell Jack everything. That's a convenient and overused conflict.

Awake held me pretty strongly, too. It didn't pull me when I wasn't watching it, but when I was, I was hooked hard. The Inception-like ending was a little disappointing, though. I don't always like it when the writers leave things to the viewers' imaginations. Yeah, then we get to decide it's whatever we want it to be, but this one leaned too heavily in the wrong direction, so I can't do that. Still, strong acting, strong story right up to the end.

I thought Awake and The Firm were tighter shows than Touch, so I feel bad that Touch beat both out for a second season, even though Awake would have been hard to sustain for much longer, and The Firm was on a different network so they weren't competing. I still have a couple of episodes left of both of those.

But we're soon back to Summer TV! Remember when it used to suck? We have the rest of the final season of Eureka to go, and Franklin & Bash starts next week, with Falling Skies the week after, and Covert Affairs, Leverage, and Alphas not far behind!

I get to watch one or two episodes of something a night, most nights. We've also been squeezing in some weekend movies. I'm talking about The Avengers at Everybody Needs a Little Romance tomorrow (Tuesday), but suffice to say I saw it twice, and so did both Jim and Number One.

Dark Shadows was disappointing—slow and far less funny than in the trailer, with a weakish plot and haphazard characterization. But Men in Black 3 didn't disappoint! Josh Brolin and Will Smith were fantastic, and the story had a poignant twist at the end that shocked me. I have to go back and watch the original now.

There are a bunch of movies out this summer I can't wait to see, but right now, Magic Mike is the frontrunner. :)

So what have you been up to?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Brown Bears and 11-Year-Old Vandals

Today I drove past a whole bunch of cars, including two cop cars, at a cemetery near my house. I couldn't see much, but two cops were crouching next to what looked like a black bear, unconscious on a tarp. I checked the local police blog, and sure enough, there were apparently two young, non-aggressive black bears walking around the area all weekend. They captured one for relocation, but it looks like the other one is still at large. NO idea where they could have come from. We're not far from rural farmland, but decently far from any comfortable bear habitat.

Since I was at the blog anyway, I read through the reports to see if anyone I knew had been arrested or in a stupid accident. A couple of weeks back, I found a report about a fifth grader damaging computers at my kids' old elementary school.

By peeing on them.

He peed all over a car full of Macbooks. The cart and computers were "damaged beyond repair" (does that mean no one wanted to touch them?) and the total damages equal $36,000.

As a parent, I'm appalled at the amount of damages and can't even imagine what I'd do if I became responsible for a bill like that. As a human being, my response is a little more direct.


Who decides to PEE on a bunch of COMPUTERS? At SCHOOL. It's not incomprehensible that a kid with a lot of troubles at home or at school or both might pull over a cart full of computers, or even smash them with a bat or kick and throw them.

But PEEING?! Who on earth thinks, "let me pull out my dingle and urinate on this equipment?" (Note: "dingle" was my husband's word.) That takes a few more moments of thought and... I don't want to contemplate the state of that kid's brain.

I feel most pity, though, for the cleaning staff. That is a LOT of pee. Good thing the halls are tiled and not carpeted. Ugh.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Season Finales, Sunroper, and Bugs in My Eyes

I love May. So much good stuff happens in May! Mother's Day, the City Islanders season opener (local pro soccer team), my chapter's writing retreat, and FINALLY a holiday from work, after months and months without one.

But the sad part of May is the season finales on TV. WARNING: Some spoilers here about season finales that have already occurred.

Well, there's really only one I want to talk about so far. Castle! I can't express my extreme bliss that they gave us that moment. Note to Bones writers: THAT is how you get a couple together. I thought overall they did a good job all season of setting everything up. Kate carefully taking down her walls, brick by brick, admitting what she wanted but having difficulty getting herself out of the very deep tracks she'd dug on the trail of her mother's killers. Rick's deception as he tried so hard to keep her safe and save himself. And Tahmoh Penikett as the bad guy's bad guy! Loved it! But poor Kevin Ryan. He saved Beckett's life, and everyone is mad at him.

When I first started watching Castle, I thought it was bland, with secondary characters that weren't really worth much (except Alexis). But now I love Lani, Ryan, and Esposito as much as I love Kate and Rick/Beckett and Castle.

The Fringe finale isn't until tomorrow, but I just watched last week's episode where Billy, who'd always been of questionable morals in the pursuit of science but never truly evil, is now...evil. And Astrid was shot!!! I'll be pissed if she dies.

Many of the finales will occur next week, while I'm on retreat. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the timing, because I'm really getting into Sunroper, book 3 of the Goddesses Rising trilogy, and I want to be able to concentrate fully on it. MAN, I can't wait. This always comes at a perfect time of year, when I really need it.

I'll miss a City Islanders game for the retreat, which makes me a wee bit sad. There's one the night before I leave, though, so it'll be okay. I hope it's better than last week's! Number One and I went to the home opener last Friday night, even though a storm was predicted. I swear, that was the slowest moving storm ever! We heard thunder and watched the massive clouds moving in starting around 6:30. The game started a few minutes after 7, and it had *just* slid over us when they called the weather delay in the 32nd minute. Luckily, there's a nearby baseball stadium that's not just aluminum bleachers. The crowd of 1300 people headed over there, but thinned out considerably by the time the pounding rain and whipping wind passed. Probably a hundred or so of us went back for the rest of the game, which started at 9:00.

The worst part wasn't the cold rainwater that soaked our jeans as we sat there for an hour, or the spitting rain that returned for about 10 minutes, or even the group of local kids incomprehensibly screaming for the away team...nonstop...obnoxiously...at the tops of their lungs. It was the clouds of gnats covering the entire island! I had two fly into my eyes. I was sooooo glad I was four weeks post LASIK and not less than that. Still, it totally freaked us out.

And yet, we did not leave. Who are the best fans in the world, I ask you?!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

So Much Good Stuff Going On!

First, the Brenda Novak Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes is underway! The auction goes through the month of May, and there are THOUSANDS of awesome things being auctioned. You can find smaller, affordable items, and some pretty incredible one-of-a-kind things, too.

I'm part of both the Carina Press section and the Entangled Publishing section, both of which provide items for readers and writers alike.

Over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance this week, I'm giving away one of Jason Manns' albums (winner's choice of album and format). Go post a comment if you want a chance to win. Like Jason? Don't know Jason? Check him out! (I mean, check out his music. :) )

Tomorrow (Wednesday!) I'm guesting at Romance Author Hotspot. Stop by and see what I have to say this time. :)

AND, the BIG news, is that Diesel E-Books has selected Acceptable Risks as their Deal of the Day on Thursday, 5/3/12. What does that mean? It means YOU might be able to buy it for only $1.20! They'll start selling the Deal of the Day at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and only TEN copies are available! Bookmark the page, set your alarm, and be a deal-er! :)