Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wrapping Up 2006

I've found my grail.

We visited Mount Vernon yesterday. I want it. Not it, specifically, but a nice-sized colonial house on a hill overlooking a body of water and some trees and maybe a mountain or two. The ocean would be fine as an alternative, and if there was a giant, ancient oak tree as part of the view? Excellent.

I just got home from a fabulous visit with my brother, his wife, her sister and brother-in-law, and said sister's two delightful kids. The older one got sick, so we didn't see her as much as we'd have liked, but the younger one came with us to the new Air and Space Museum and she was a lot of fun.

I didn't even know they'd built this new site, near Dulles Airport. It's an old hangar, or built like a hangar, and it's chock full of planes of all sizes, and all the space stuff, including the Enterprise shuttle. We did a ride in the simulator to visit the international space station and had ice cream. There were tons of artifacts, and an air traffic controller exhibit, and really friendly, knowledgable staff. I highly recommend it. Free admission, $12 per car for parking, so load up the minivan to go.

The kids were exhausted, though. Number two was up until 1:00 a.m. Wednesday night at a friends, and past 10 the last three nights (including tonight), and Number one was up until past 10 for four nights, so they didn't enjoy the museum as much, and I anticipate them to be cranky brats tomorrow. C'est la vie.

The best part was something my brother and sister-in-law told us, that I can't repeat. It's their private info to blog about. Or it would be, if either one of them blogged. If you're one who should know, you will eventually.

Came home to my own cranky brattiness, however. Dog got into litter box, messed all over the rug in the living room. After I cleaned it up, I found a wet hand towel from the hotel packed in with the laundry. The soaking wet, smelly laundry, now. Good thing I started unpacking instead of lying around on the bed watching football like someone else I could mention. Then when I tried to pull something off the pile dumped on the dining room table, I apparently knocked not only a single book to the floor, but a pen cup from the baker's rack behind me. Which prompted my husband to tell me to "calm down" and other such foolish things. I called him condescending and jerky. Which he was. He called me bitchy. Which I also was. But here's the thing: After 18 years, don't you think he'd REMEMBER that saying such things just prolongs what is probably already settling down? Just leave me alone, and I'll be fine. I can manage my own tantrums. Don't blow on them to keep them going.

I got my last shipment of Bombshells today. It's sad. I love these books. Luckily, one is a Medusa book, my second favorite miniseries, and one is the final book of the Madonna Key, by one of my favorite Bombshell authors and a crossover with a previous miniseries that is my favorite. One is by an author whose books I always love, and the other is by an author who writes well and is the last of a trilogy that will be nice to complete, though the heroine is a very silly triplet who is now a vampire and is in first person.

Here's the final annoyance of the night, though. As a writer targeting Bombshell, I have known since the decision was made that they were terminating the line. Regular readers did not, and Harlequin didn't see fit to notify its book club members until this final shipment. They included two free Harlequin Intrigues, claiming the "editors" said that was the line closest to Bombshell. I appreciate two free books. I don't appreciate being automatically enrolled in the Intrigue book club. If I wanted to be, I already would be. In a bit of bitter irony, they have given me two books that are almost the total opposite of Bombshell. In one, the heroine is a victim is something who is rescued by an arrogant, credit-stealing man she hates but apparently has flaming lust for. The other features a hero who is a special agent or something whose only hope is the woman he spurned, whose parents warned her against him. I mean, come ON. These are anti-Bombshells. I'll try them, but I have a hard time getting through books like that anymore.

I just got up to fix my tea and found my half and half frozen. The butter behind it seems to be frozen as well, but the corn under the butter and the Gogurt next to the half and half are both fine. I wonder if I should be worried about my refrigerator.

Tomorrow is the last regular football game of the season, and that makes me sad, too. Even though the Patriots are going to the playoffs and therefore will play at least one more game, it means I'm facing eight months without the game. Seems like a very short time ago we were reassuring each other that we were only halfway through the season.

So 2006 is ending with a lot of endings. Some expected, some temporary, but all leaving a feeling of sadness. Which isn't what I expected of 2006 at all. We started the year with the decision that I would quit my day job in June. My last day of work was second only to my first day at the new job. Despite some difficulties adjusting and the other difficulties reduced income automatically brings, and despite the fact that nothing has come of it yet, I have loved being a full-time writer. I never want to be anything else. So what I really want is for 2006 to have been "out with the old" and now 2007 will be the "in with the new." I'm more than ready for it.

Luckily, no matter what happens with my writing, and to counter the sadness of the endings, TV will be returning to new episodes soon. There are also a great many Movie Events I'm looking forward to, and I don't care if they are all sequels. Sequel is no longer an evil word, like it was back in my childhood when Rocky V and Lethal Weapon IV were expected to suck, and did. Or like it was in that period (unfortunately not over) when sequels were movies with the same name but totally different characters, an inferior and likely really stupid plot, and often straight to DVD.

To all who are taking time to read this blog, thank you, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My YouTube Favorites 2006

MaryF inspired this one. She has some really good ones on her blog; a few of them would make this list but I don't want to copy/duplicate. So these are just the vids that went into my favorites this year. My ultimate faves bracket the series:

Cracks me up constantly. Plus there are some really hot shots in there.

One of my favorite songs, nicely timed to my favorite active TV show.

This one is amusing, but this one...

...shows how even favorites can be reduced to the ridiculous.

Ah, but this one!

This one is my all-time favorite. Sammy's bitchfaces and Dean's stoicism and mild annoyance combined with this great song can make me smile after the worst of days. The timing is superb--really listen to the lyrics while you watch. It's a masterpiece, IMO.

I'll be out of town for a few days so I won't post until Sunday, likely. That one will be about football because it's the last game of the regular season. You've been warned. :)

Next week I'll be posting about my Book List 2006. For the first time in my LIFE I've kept track of every book I read this year, and all the ones I started but didn't finish. I'll analyze the data, share some ratings and some favorites, and either bore you to death or, preferably, turn you on to some great new authors you've never read before.

Like this one:

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Today has been a fabulous day. I'm writing this on my brand new Alphasmart Neo. Which means I'll be selling my Alphasmart 3000--send me your best offer. :) The key touch is so much softer/smoother on this, and the screen is bigger. I love it.

Santa was very smart this year. In addition to a ton of books from my Amazon wish list, I got:

a Browncoat bracelet
a Serenity decal for my car window
a Serenity T-shirt
a "Big Damn Hero" T-shirt
trading cards for Lost, Serenity, and Supernatural
"Done the Impossible" documentary DVD and soundtrack CD
Spider-Man movie soundtrack

My kids gave me hand-made ornaments and jewelry an a photo holder.

Much more importantly, though, were the continuous screams when they opened their gifts. Number One knows about Santa for the first time this year, so she was vocal about a couple of Santa's choices (Daddy wanted a new bouncy ball for the Stair Game, and "Santa" didn't have a lot of choice so the one "he" chose was Tigger--because Tigger's bouncy, and it's a bouncy ball!) Number Two was quite disgusted with her socks and underwear. But most of the rest went over well, and we all went deaf when their big gifts, their computers, were revealed. They are very happy children. Mommy and Daddy will be very sore parents in a little while, after we crawl all over the floor getting the computers hooked up.

In a little while we'll go to my in-laws for the family togetherness portion of the holiday, which is always laid-back and fun. We'll take the dog, who suffered greatly this morning by not being able to get to me across the cluttered living room, but seemed quite consoled by her bone from Number Two.

I hope everyone's day is as joyous as mine has been. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My Top TV Shows Watched in 2006

I didn't say top 10 because I can't get that high. I wasn't even going to do a list, because I talked about TV so much this fall, but it feels incomplete without it.

Again, this is MY top shows, and they might not have been aired this year.

1. Supernatural (Duh)

2. Prison Break (end of season 1 trumps beginning of season 2)

3. Veronica Mars (season 1; season 2 was okay, too; it went downhill from there)

4. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (love the dialogue, the acting, the relationships)

I think that's all I can put there. I liked Lost, Smallville, Numb3rs, The Class, and Ugly Betty, and they were appointment TV (well, TiVo appointment) but I can't put them on a best list. The rest of the shows I watched were underwelming, though Eureka made my summer a little more fun.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Interesting Birthday

This is not a whiny post, I swear it. Some things might seem like complaints, but they're not--they're simply statements of fact. :)

Usual birthday protocol:
Wake up late. Have breakfast that has been prepared for me by loving husband and kids. Open presents. Luxuriate in chores being done around me that I don't have to do. Maybe write or see a movie or something just for me. Play games with the kids. Have dinner made for me and watch while someone else does the dishes.

Wake at 7:45 to sounds of husband vomiting. Discuss his food poisoning and tell him to stay in bed. Help kids start making pancakes; end up making own pancakes. After doing dishes so there was room to cook. Which made not doing other chores pointless, so I scooped the litter and vacuumed the living room and took Number Two to the library (then, with the library closed, shopping at the bookstore with her birthday gift card that showed up this week even though it was mailed back in April). Cooked dinner, just like any other night. Didn't go to wonderful sister-in-law's party because of lingering dizziness and one-hour drive not a good potential mix.

On the plus side...
I did spend a lot of time sitting and reading. I read an entire, very long book. I finally gave up on Jim being able to get out of bed and opened my presents, which consisted of:

--Five books from my Amazon Wish List (yay!)

--Jack, the action figure from season one of Lost (heee!)

--A New England Patriots Rasta hat (I took a picture and will post it whenever I get around to going into my office)

--Supernatural DVDs!!!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!

And a couple of lovely cards. Oh, also got great fuzzy socks with a collection of POTC posters from my dad and stepmother, and some gift cards from my brother. He feels impersonal, but he knows me well. :) iTunes, Target, and Starbucks--sounds like an awesome day to me!

I sent the kids out to clean up the back yard, which hadn't been done in far too long. We have a big dog. 'Nuff said.

So that's my quiet, low-key birthday.

Tomorrow is wrapping while watching football, then more wrapping while watching movies after the kids go to bed. My back shall be very sore come Monday morning, but with luck, the squeals and hugs from the kids will be worth it.

To everyone who may visit here on an idle moment over the next three days:


Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Woes

I don't have a lot, luckily. I mean, in the grand scheme, my woes are nothing. I have a warm house (though barely--we almost let the oil run dry by mistake), plenty of food, a tree, and enough presents to make everyone happy. Not to mention three holiday gatherings over the next week, and my family is wrapping my birthday presents for tomorrow as I type.

There is the shopping frustration, though. I managed to get everything I wanted to get for the kids. But Jim is always so hard to shop for, even with a list. I've shopped four days in a row, gone to a couple dozen places (sometimes the same place more than once) and there are still two "big" items I can't find. One will just be shifted to the birthday list (he's in February). The other I think I'm going to have to order and then wrap a picture of it or something. Phoo.

Today, I'd barely been out an hour when a migraine hit. Normally I'm lucky. My migraines aren't frequent, and sometimes the pain is no worse than a regular headache (like the one at my cousin's wedding in September). But today...WHEW! The visual disturbance was long-lasting and repeated, and the pain just kept redoubling. I cut off my shopping, asked Jim to do the groceries, and went to bed from 1 to 6. Still hurts, but my pillow no longer feels like a rock. But I didn't get any wrapping done, which means it will all be done on Sunday. My back will be killing me. (Yeah, I know, want some cheese with that whine?)

I thought there was one other thing, but my head hurts and I can't think of it. I'll stop being insufferable now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Top 10 Writing Experiences in 2006

This is in random order as I thought of them. I probably have more than 10, but I'll be good. :)

10. Finishing Brianna's Navy SEAL.
I wrote the first two books several years ago, and after that shifted to writing a very different kind of book. Going back was extremely difficult, and the story gave me fits. It's a transitional story, starting out in the same "world" as the first two in the trilogy, but shifting to different kinds of conflicts and adventures. Good news--Darcy's back, being as uber-bitchy as she was in Kira's Best Friend.

9. CPRW's Third Annual All About Me Writing Retreat
There is very little in my writing life more pleasing to me than this retreat. Starting early on Friday and running through lunchtime on Sunday, I am focused 100% on my writing. I'm secluded from distractions and obligations and can write guilt-free. I can ignore my fellow retreaters if I want to, and stay in my room 'round the clock. I never want to, though. We retreat at a facility that has beautiful grounds, and with people I adore. We have huge fun playing games on Saturday night, with laughter so loud we disturb anyone else who's there (last year that was no one, luckily). And how many places does one get to make friends and then be snubbed by a mean old rooster? In 2007 we're extending the retreat by a day, which will make it perfect.

8. Agent interest
On my birthday last year, I received a revision letter from the agent I would really like to represent me. I revised the book, had a great meeting with her in Atlanta in July, and got another revision letter in November. I've sent her something new and she has the full manuscript now. The manuscript that gave me:

7. My critique partners cried
Two of them did, maybe three. One of them called to yell at me for making her cry. In fact, the emotion in the final chapters was strong enough that almost all of them overlooked my two-dimensional, motivationless villain. I fixed that in revisions. I hope.

6. Stretching myself
I figure anything you do differently is stretching yourself, right? So for a while I was concentrating on Bombshell, which meant a focus on the heroine's point of view. I wrote a book that had only her POV, then revised it to single title to add the hero's. Then I wrote another book that was only the heroine's POV, then the partial of one that had both, and in between I wrote a few short stories that had both. But for The Color of Courage, the one that induced crying, I wrote in first person. That was TOTALLY new for me. Those who read my blog regularly know I don't care to read a lot of first person, never mind write it, but it felt right for that book.

In my last two books, I have multiple potential heroes. In The Color of Courage I didn't know, right up to the end, who she'd wind up with. In Under the Moon, I knew, but it broke my heart. I have a threesome in that book, and it was sooooo satisfying to write, as a transition from her old life to her new one.

5. RWA National
What a fabulous event this year. I mean, it always is (I went in 2000, 2003, and 2004, as well). It's great to see all the people I know online and met at past events, and to meet new ones. The workshops are always educational and I always manage to make or enhance at least one professional contact, but the conversations are the best part, whether it's at a party, at a bar or restaurant, or in the lobby.

4. Critiquing
I hadn't been doing much of that in the past couple of years, but I started a goals group that morphed into a full-support group and a critique group. We're all very different writers, but all skilled enough to benefit each other. The best part has been reading material that's very good, very unique, and not available for anyone else! Bwahahahahaha.

3. Blue Silver
In a collaboration with Ellie Marvel, Megan Hart, Jacki King, and Penny Dawn, I wrote one of five intertwined stories that were unique as a collection AND as individual stories. I never saw five personalities and writing styles complement each other so well, while creating works that dealt with the same central event, writing several same scenes from different points of view, yet ending with such different stories. This will remain on my top ten for life.

2. NaNoWriMo
I never got to do National Novel Writing Month before. Timing was never right to begin a new book on November 1 and write that much, that fast. Since I'm writing full time, I set my goals higher than the 50K of the program. I reached 50K words on November 19 and finished the book (397 pages/85,658 words) on November 29. I'd never written a book that long, that quickly before. My page count per day ranged from 1 page to 33 pages and hit just about every number in between. The book needs a lot of revision, too, but I have that winner's certificate on the wall--a goal achieved, a milestone reached.

1. Under the Moon
This is my NaNo book. I took an idea I had before (goddess) and an inspiration hammering me the week before it started (the brothers from Supernatural) and just wrote. It's an action-adventure like my other books. A paranormal like half of them. A "surprise" romance in that the hero is not obvious and the story doesn't follow traditional romance conventions. It has a strong heroine who is not prickly and unable to rely (heavily at times) on those she cares about to help her. It also has two delicious men (not brothers, not demon-hunters, and not angsty and conflicted but named Dean and Sam nonetheless *g*) and a world I was excited to revisit every time I turned on my computer. I don't expect to have this experience ever again, but I'm going to savor it forever.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Top Ten Impossible Wishes for Christmas

1. End of all U.S. involvement in war and soldiers home with their families.
Who doesn't want that? Please note this is my one nod to global needs--all the others are purely selfish; I figure it's a given I want an end to world poverty and illness and so on.

2. Sam and Dean to come to my house for a visit.
Or Jensen and Jared. I'm not picky. And they should come while the Boot Squad is here, to make everyone happy.

3. Signing with the agent I've been working with for a year and a half.
It's not that this is an impossible wish overall--but since she won't read my full until after the holidays, she won't be offering me representation for Christmas *g*

4. A nice publishing contract.
I have two manuscripts under consideration, but again, the timing...

5. A blazing-fast new computer.
My current computer gets bogged down if I try to run more than two programs, and I'm the Queen of Software Multitasking (actually, I'm the Empress of Lost Hope, but that's something else entirely).

6. A new car.
A Mustang convertible would be nice, since the 2006 model year went back to muscle-car lines. But that's not practical for a lot of reasons, so I'm gunning for a Highlander hybrid with lots of convenience features.

7. A new house.
Hey, while we're on the impossible, I'd love a bigger bedroom, an office for my husband, a place where I can put the litter boxes out of sight (and smell), and closets that don't have six-inch shelves.

8. Housekeeping.
I've adjusted fine over the last six months to not getting my bathrooms cleaned and my living/dining rooms dusted and vacuumed and my kitchen floor mopped every two weeks. Doesn't mean I like it.

9. Publishing success for all my friends.
Whatever that means to them.

10. An Alphasmart Neo.
A nod to possibility. It's on here, though, because I don't really want anything that expensive. The Supernatural DVDs are enough for me this year. :)

What's on YOUR impossible list?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Top Ten Supernatural Moments in 2006

10. The motion-detecting screaming gravestone on my front step opened and screamed for no reason on Halloween.

Hm. I think that's my only supernatural moment in 2006. And even then, it was going off because of cars driving by.

Okay, I'll do My Top Ten Supernatural Moments, instead. Remember, I didn't watch any of the show until this fall, so even if these moments are original to 2005, they're my moments in 2006.

10. The brother fight in Sam's apartment in "Pilot." That's the moment when I was hooked on the show. In the dark, with Sam not knowing who his intruder was, he anticipated Dean's every move (and vice versa) and even got the upper hand at the end.

9. My discovery of "Ode to a Bitchface" on YouTube. A delightful, very well-timed montage that caused me to add a video to my favorites for the very first time, and also to purchase "Mardy Bum" by the Arctic Monkeys.

8. The entire episode "Faith." Sam's determination not to let his brother die was the most touching thing in the first season.

7. Every moment Sam got throttled by whatever supernatural baddie they were trying to kill, until Dean rescued him.

6. Every moment Dean comforted Sam when he was in pain from his visions, whether it was the headaches or the heartache.

5. "Planes crash!"
"And apparently, clowns kill!"

4. The moment Dean admits to Sam that his brother and father are all he has left, and he hates that they don't care if they die on their quest to kill the demon. What he's not saying is that their not caring if they die is making him feel like he doesn't matter to them. They don't wake up to it until he's dying and they have no recourse--except for one of them to sacrifice himself.

3. Sam calling "Dad!" and then yelling, desperately, "Dean!" after the crash.

2. Dean admitting to Sam that he knows their father died in his place and how can Sam possibly make him feel better about that, and that one single tear falls (and also, Dean smashing the trunk of the Impala with a crowbar after Sam tells him he's not all right).

1. The best "moment" is a series of moments in the "fall finale" on December 7:

Sam's been infected by the demon virus.
The others want to kill him, the way they've killed the other psychotic infectives.
Dean won't let them.
Sam firmly and stoically says to give him his gun, he'll do it himself.
Dean gives the Impala to strangers and sends them on their way, ignoring Sam's pleading with him to go.
Sam breaks down when he realizes his brother is going to sacrifice himself.
It gets worse when Dean says he's tired, he can't take this burden anymore.

It culminates, of course, in the later moments at the very end of the show when Dean is about to reveal the secret and they go to black.

I look forward to many, many more moments in 2007 and beyond.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nothing to Say

I don't like skipping days here, but I've found myself strangely without something to say this week. I don't know if I should apologize or say you're welcome.

Holidays are, of course, foremost on everyone's minds. Even if you're someone who doesn't celebrate any kind of religious or secular day(s) of joy, peace, remembrance, or presents, you can't help but think about it when it's constantly in your face. For several years I've found myself wanting to do the minimum. I don't decorate more than the tree and stockings, haven't helped put up the outside lights (luckily, the kids are old enough to do the ladder stuff so they helped Daddy this year), change the channel when holiday music comes on the radio. We've made a fundamental shift to gift cards and cash for many of our outside presents and only shop for the kids. With the exception of the kids' Big Gift, I've shopped for NOTHING.

I haven't even listened to Trans-Siberian Orchestra this year.

Of course, that's not lack of holiday spirit. That's extreme sadness because for the first time in seven years, I didn't get to go to the concert.

THAT'S why I have no holiday spirit! *headslap*

Number One daughter has this thing for the 12 Pains of Christmas, which is one of the funniest Christmas songs ever. She made me buy it from iTunes and I have to play it every day that I drive her to school. Luckily, I won't have to do that anymore before Christmas vacation. She was saying this morning how cool it would be to sing the song, with parts, for their holiday concert. I told her to suggest it to Mrs. Setcavage, and by the time she went to bed tonight, she had the whole thing choreographed.

I have lost my writing spirit this month, too. I'm kinda thinking I'll just let it go until January. I had a full manuscript to proof and submit, and then a galley to proof for my January release (Brianna's Navy SEAL), and a critique to do for a friend, and a bunch of household stuff, and now a nonfiction job to do, plus all the shopping and preparing and packing and driving and visiting coming up...just seems like I should put off finishing Unbreakable until all that's done.

The thing I'm looking forward to most immediately is tomorrow, when some of the people I love best in this world will be getting together for lunch and maybe to watch an episode or two of Supernatural in the interest of mutual squeeage and corrupting those not yet corrupted. It will be easy. We'll show the episode with Sam in a towel.

I guess that's enough rambling to be considered a post. I will try to be pithier and/or more interesting and/or more witty (yeah, like when do I ever manage witty???) from now on.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hero Shot

Though I list Smallville on my Passions page, I can't really call it that anymore. It was never one of the best-written or best-acted shows I watch(ed); it was always just great fun, and I do love Tom Welling and Allison Mack. So I can't say I'm disappointed by this season, really. Most of the ways it stinks don't bother me (except the episodes where Clark is MIA--really hate that).

Last week's episode was pretty silly. But there were plenty of full-body shots of Clark Kent, so I was happy. And I got a new song out of the deal (AFI's Prelude 12/21 off their December Underground album). But what made watching the show worth it was the trailer for the post-haitus shows. I mean, what can be more exciting than this:

Friday, December 08, 2006


No, I can't manage a more intelligent subject than that. I just finished watching last night's episode of Supernatural.

Guh about sums it up.

Okay, let's gloss over the logic leaps in the beginning and the clumsy way they showed us the phones weren't working (Sam takes a teeny bit of information and wants to call for help, and Dean says OKAY????). The external plots have not always been the show's strong suit and are mainly something you need to say "eh" about when it doesn't click perfectly. Because you know soon they're going to get to the good stuff: Kicking Ass and Being Brothers.

SPOILERS (Highlight to read white text)

I loved that Sam was all brave and strong ("Just give me my gun and leave. I'll do it.") until Dean refused to leave, and then he cried.

I loved all the amazing hero shots. The cinematography was excellent. That upward angle when they came down the steps of the Stepford House? Guh.

The terrible, terrible moment, with all those (TOTALLY TOO MANY) finger-tightenings on the trigger, when we didn't know if Dean was going to shoot the guy or not. He couldn't, we knew he couldn't, but they set it up so that we knew damn well he COULD, and all I could think about was that I was going to find a way to rationalize it being okay.

The story writing might have weaknesses, but the characterization is flawless, and the show's strength is that every actor they cast is fabulous. From the scared nurse to the tough Marine to the fishing-boy-turned-possessed-by-demon-spawn. But mostly, in the two small scenes between brothers. With Dean determined not to let Sammy die alone, and Sam upset that his brother is willing to die with him. And Dean tired, so tired, and ready to give up, which some people have mentioned as out of character, because he's always so ready to kick ass. I think it's very in character--how many of us feel despair from, like, having to prepare three meals a day or clean the house, never mind dealing with evil every single day? And Sam as upset by Dean's despair as he is about the expectation that he will die. No sappiness. No sentimentality. Just emotion that will break your heart.

Loved Dean squealing around in the Impala. And then GIVING IT FREAKIN' AWAY because in his mind, he doesn't need it anymore.

Guns. I hate guns in real life, but when Sam and Dean are wielding them...guh to the ultimate.

Someone commented that Dean blasted the father away, but Sam wouldn't shoot the son. I don't think it's that big a deal. The father was coming at them with a big-ass knife. The son was running away. I'd have a hard time shooting someone in the back, too. I don't think Dean would have taken that shot if it had been him, even if he thinks he would have.

Now, the final scene. I was kicking myself for being foolish enough to think they would ACTUALLY do the big reveal in this episode. Of COURSE they're going to cliffhanger us! Especially if they're off until late January (anyone know for sure when it's coming back???) I SCREAMED when they went to black. I thought he'd give one line, like "He's not your father" or something, and we wouldn't get the explanation until later. But they didn't tell us ANYTHING.

Poor Sammy, having to wait weeks and weeks for his answer.

Poor US.


I watched Studio 60 late this week. It was SO good. Yeah, yeah, it was so good because I'm a romance writer and I freakin' LOVE when a guy tricks his ex-girlfriend into an unexpected kiss, and when another guy falls in love with a woman he should be staying far away from.

I wish I'd written this line:

"If that makes you want to run, you'd better get started, because I'm coming for you, Jordan."


And it's not like Danny's all that. I mean, Bradley Whitford is fine. He's not the kind of guy you want to put on your desktop, though (well, some people might). But he played the part SO well, and so did whoever decided Amanda Peet should have a gigantic mouthful of food while he's saying this to her. It was hilarious and skin-tingling at the same time.

Also hilarious? All the Christmas tradition debunking that went on in the writer's room. I think this show is very well done.


I haven't watched Supernatural yet. There was a whole big drama about that. We have TiVo now, which is awesome, of course, it gives us a chance to record two things at once. But the problem is we get spoiled, and what happens when you have to record THREE things?

The Cleveland Browns played last night. Regular Thursday games are a new thing this season. Of course, the Browns couln't play LAST week, or NEXT week, when everything else is a repeat. So we had Smallville/Supernatural and Ugly Betty (repeat, I ditched it) and Scrubs. Can't NOT record Supernatural. Can't NOT record Scrubs. So Jim was going to have to watch the game on the little upstairs TV.

Except Number One's holiday concert was last night. At 7:30. The game started at 8:00. We HAD to record the game. And Jim really, really had to have Scrubs. And I really, really had to have Supernatural. ACK.

Well, I solved the problem. Naturally. The DirecTV guy hadn't hooked up the upstairs receiver right, so I did some wiring and fiddling with the VCR and IT WORKED. Recorded Scrubs upstairs, the rest down. Jim was happy.

But I couldn't watch Supernatural. I could probably have waited until the game was over and watched at, like, 11:30, but I've been tired so I decided to actually go to bed early instead. I can't believe it, either.

So I'm at the car dealership now (free Internet, yay!) and will watch it when I get home. Then again with Jim tonight. Shhh, don't tell him. :)


So Blogger is rolling out their new version. Now when you log on, it asks you to switch. I did, though I was concerned it might cause problems over at my other blog, The Gab Wagon, but so far, it seems nearly seamless. We'll see when I go to post. Everyone cross their fingers.

(Stop crossing your fingers. If you're reading this, it posted fine! Dorks. :)


I should be proofing my galley for Brianna's Navy SEAL, which is to be released next month (last book in the Brook Hollow trilogy, YAY!). But instead, I'm trying to come up with enough things to say to justify tagging this "random thoughts."


It's frickin' cold today.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I was reflecting on grandparent/grandchildren relationships today.

My kids have a great relationship with my husband's parents. They're friends. When my kids go over there, they hang out and do things with Nana and Papa. They show them their dance routines and curl up with them on the couch to talk about school and their friends and the movie they saw last week. They are less close to my father and stepmother only because of distance. They only get to see them once a year. But even then, it's an easy, open relationship. They were both very close to my mother before she died, mainly because my mother, also living far away, cultivated that closeness.

Our lifestyles feed that relationship now. I've had difficulty finding babysitters, so it's usually Nana and Papa who take that role. Number Two's elementary school is having Grandparents Day on Friday, with two hours of events. Number One had a grandparent luncheon that brought 400 parents and grandparents to the middle school last month, and next week are having a special grandparents concert. Since they do dance and soccer, there are also regular events for the g-ps to watch.

It was really different when I was a kid, and I don't know if it's generational or just my particular grandparents.

We had dinner at my father's folks on Sundays. When I call those grandparents to mind, I think of them as old people sitting in easy chairs in their apartment. That wasn't the ONLY way I saw them, of course. They took me to the library, I remember, and there are pictures of us outside. But we didn't do a lot of direct interaction. The adults played cards while the kids read the funnies and watched TV or played games in the bedroom.

My mother's mother died when I was seven, and her father and stepmother lived out of state so we didn't see them often, either. They were larger than life, especially my grandfather (who lives less than two hours away, yet I have to go to a wedding in Cape Cod to see him), and again, the kids played elsewhere while the adults visited. I heard stories and adored them, but can't say I was ever close to them.

The grandparent who had the biggest impact on my life was Nanny. She was my mother's maternal grandmother and died just after I graduated from college. There was a time when my brother and I hated her. I'm not really sure why. Maybe it was because my mother dropped us there sometimes when she had a date, and I had unknown resentments for that (it never bothered me that she dated). It could have just been being a stupid kid who didn't like the way her apartment smelled or the wig she wore (her hair was thinning but a lot prettier than that hideous rug), or the way she sang the words to a song after the singer on the radio did. I appreciated her a lot more when I got older. She was wise and tough and funny and sweet and so independent, her entire life.

In fact, she's the only person whose presence I ever felt after they died. One night I was driving from PA to MA alone, and all of a sudden I felt her in the car with me and burst into tears. I sobbed for about ten minutes, and then it was over. I am certain she was checking up on me. It happened three more times, and then she must have been satisfied, or moved on, or whatever. Even with that, though, I was not close to her like my kids are to their grandparents.

I like that they have a richer, more fulfilling relationship, and I hope it lasts for a really long time.

Monday, December 04, 2006


When I was writing The Color of Courage, my superhero book, Daley, the heroine needed a safe place to rest after being released by the police post-arrest-for-something-she-didn't-do. Her sister, Sarah, takes her to Sarah's boyfriend, Jason and is 100% confident Daley will be safe. When Jason shows Daley the guest room she can use, he says the phone is secure. She asks why it's secure, and he says:

"I work for Hummingbird."

It's a throwaway line that an editor may have me remove. Jason plays a miniscule role in the book and the section is easily replaceable by a million different options. But when I wrote that line, Daley's response was the same as mine:


Today I was doing a final proof of the full manuscript for submission. When I read that section I got the same zing, the same resonance, as I had the first time I wrote it and every time I've read it since. Today I decided Jason has to have his own book, and the first line will be "I work for Hummingbird." I have a few ideas sketched out for the story and it's already giving me that new-book excitement.

Of course, I have to finish Unbreakable, and then revise Under the Moon, and then revise Behind the Scenes, and then revise Unbreakable. And then I have at least one other idea that has been percolating before this one, and choosing which one is next will be difficult. But I can't help embracing this falling-in-love's just like finding out you're pregnant.*

God, I love my job.
*When you want to be.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Play LOST!

This is pretty cool. Jump in!

I Got Tagged!

What? I totally did. Shannon tagged everybody.

So there.

2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends

Your Name:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both, though I don't usually get egg nog unless I'm at someone else's house. I'm the only one who likes it here. And I just realized, damn it, I forgot to have some at my writers chapter party today.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wraps, to the detriment of my back. Or the delight of the UCP people who wrap at the mall for a donation.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I like both. We have a computerized set of mini colored lights my husband bought when he was a junior in college. Those go on the tree. The ones outside are red, blue, white, and green, but in groups. Like, a string of all blue. My husband likes symmetry.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No. I like the idea of it, but more for a party where there'd be lots of singles, and then that opportunity for the person who likes the other person but never had the nerve to say it to kiss that person and blame it on the mistletoe.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, outside. The first or second weekend in December inside, when we get the tree.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
I don't really have one, though my husband (we're getting a lot of our traditions from him, I realize) has this recipe (politically incorrectly and even impossibly named Jewish Pizzas) that we always make on New Year's Eve, like his family did growing up. They are on the party rye (I prefer the pumpernickel) and it's a sausage-cheese mixture on top.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
My aunt (mother's sister) always had an open house on Christmas Eve. It was mostly my uncle's family, who I rarely saw the rest of the year, but it made up for my mother's family being so scattered (and we usually still saw them at some point in December, making the holidays stretch). We ate great food (my aunt's chicken wings! that's my favorite holiday dish!) and laughed at the stupid adults and hovered around the Christmas tree with the bubbler lights until we could pass out the presents, which was almost more fun than actually opening them.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think I was about nine, and just gave in to all the pressure (from my peers insisting he wasn't real) and asked.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, unless we're doing an event at someone else's house. My husband (there he is again!) never had Christmas Day at home growing up. Every year on Christmas Eve his father would forget his wallet after they were all in the car to go to church, then he'd go in and get it. They'd come home from church and Santa would have been there already, 'cause he knew they had to go to Toledo the next day for the family visits. So he's ADAMANT that we have a regular, at-home Christmas on actual Christmas Day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Lights and ornaments only. It's stuff we both made as kids and collected as adults mixed with stuff our kids have made and other people have made for us. My favorite ornament is a ball my mother had wen I was a baby in England. Her mother gave it to her 36 years ago.

I used to like tinsel, but then I got my own place and had to clean up after it. You know, until JUNE.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it, almost without exception. In central PA, there's never been a snow that I could not drive in. Probably SHOULD not, but I grew up in Western Massachusetts, where we got Snow. Here, they close schools the night before, even if there's a slim chance we'll actually get the forecasted white stuff. Drives me nuts. Anyway...I don't like shoveling it in February, but I still love to see it falling. I am ready for spring when it arrives, but I never, ever lament the winter.

12. Can you ice skate?
Some. I can rollerskate/blade very well, but haven't ice skated since I was little. I lived on a lake until I was seven, and skated then, but not after that very much until my senior year of high school. I was on my senior trip at Smuggler's Notch in Vermont, and coming out of the pool through the revolving doors, some asshole shoved the door and it ran over the ball joint of my foot. Turned purple IMMEDIATELY and was all bloody. So trying to skate in the resorts hard plastic rentals was painful.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
As a kid, it was my bike when I was 8, my stereo when I was 15. Jim gives me great stuff every year, and I can't pinpoint a favorite. He's gotten me printers for my birthday twice, which almost counts because that's 12/23.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Peace. Which is kinda weird, because with the struggle to decorate and shop and wrap and cook and run from one house to another and clean up AFTER unwrapping and worrying about missing someone important on the gift list and (ocassionally) sending cards and battling crowds...well, the holidays are about anything BUT peace.

But when I drive down a street in the dark and it's lined with carefully lit houses, I'm at peace. When my kids are playing with their new presents and I'm talking to my family in Ohio or Texas on the phone, I'm at peace. When I sit in the living room by myself and watch the lights go through their programmed blinking, I'm more at peace than anywhere, any time.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Don't have one! Though I do like peppermint ice cream that's only available now. :)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My kids don't follow the typical wake-Mom-and-Dad-screaming-Santa-was-here! scenario. They let us sleep until nine, or whenever they're done decorating the living room. This event has grown every year. This year they've already spent hours and hours preparing their decorations, which Number One has declared are SO much better than last year's lame snowflakes and giant cut-out Merry Christmas on the living room wall.

17. What tops your tree?
A santa hat we bought the first year we had an apartment together. On Christmas morning, whoever passes out the presents wears it.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
I like them both equally. I love giving IF I know exactly what to give and can be excited about it. I like getting so I can make the person giving very happy by loving my gift.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Funny: The Twelve Pains of Christmas ("fine, you're so smart, YOU rig up the lights!")
Not Funny: Christmas Eve/Sarajevo by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I missed their concert for the first time in seven years and that makes me sick to my stomach. Their music ROCKS. Literally.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
They're fine.

I tag: Anyone who wants to do pressure. :)