Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I am in the middle of the monthly miseries and it feels like Billy Banks is doing Tae bo inside my uterus.

My daughter is having a PMS induced meltdown.

My son spent the morning freaking out that he wasn't going to get all his homework done instead of actually doing the work.

My dh was pissy because he had to go back to work after seven days off.

Me thinks it's a martini/margarita night.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Okay, Jaci tagged me, so here goes!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Eggnog. Especially with rum and cognac:)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped. And like so many moms, I ended up doing that myself. Ho ho ho.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? colored
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Second week of CHristmas, unless my daughter gets a bee in her bonnet and does it earlier:)
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Fudge, fudge and more fudge.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Thinking that the lights and celebrations were all about me. (My birthday is the 22nd:)
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Eight. Friend told me.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? The same old, same old. Ornaments that have more memories than class:)
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Hate it. Cold. Can't drive.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but not as often as my daughter does. Somehow spending a gazillion hours in a rink at 6 am take the fun out of it.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? One of those barbie heads that you put makeup on.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Watching my children.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pecan pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Watching all the Christmas Movies with my kids. Especially White Christmas with my teenage daughter who has an inexplicable love for old musicals.
17. What tops your tree? A homemade cross.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving to my kids. Such a blast. It makes the same magic you felt as a kid come back.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Anything on the Kingston Trio's Chrsitmas Album. It just isn't Christmas until I hear their mind blowing harmonies.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yuck.. but I eat them anyway. LOL

Let me see... I tag Rachel, Kerry and Elizabeth:)

And the holiday is over...

Spent a very festive Thanksgiving at my Sil's with the rest of the family. The food and the togetherness was lovely. Friday morning, Dh and I braved the crowds and headed to Circuit City in the wee hours of the morning. We got our stuff in twelve minutes and waiting in line to buy them for two hours and fortyfive minutes. They were averaging ten minutes per customer. If we hadn't been saving so much money on items we had already planned on getting the kids we would have left. But did have a lovely breakfast with the dh before heading out to shop for more deals.

I managed to get the last three articles for this month finished and have a lovely week of vacation before I have to get busy on December's articles. I should work on fiction, but frankly am not feeling very motivated. My agent read HOT/Dash and pointed out a few plot problems to me and I'm just like ... eh. She's totally right of course, but just not feeling the urge to write, right now, you know?

We brought our former foster kids to the house today. I just love those kids. But I can't let them come back. I was pulling my hair out after two hours. I sent my daughter with the DH to take them home as I'd had enough! It is very sad to see how they are living now, though:( The filth and smell is unimaginable. Mom looked like she hadn't bathed in a week. Very tragic. Those little ones don't have a chance:(

Well, say a little prayer or light a candle that I will get my writing Mojo back!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

And the Winner is....

Just finished up four fabulous YA books. Adios to my Old Life by Caridad Ferrer, I was a Teenage Popsicle, by Bev Katz Rosenbaum, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles, and I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter.

Gawd, the last week was like never ending chocolates. Didn't get enough done, but it was so worth it. I flipped a coin to see which one I'd read first and even then it was tough. Which one did I like best? I couldn't even begin to guess as each was so inventive and fabulous. Maybe the authors will send me a pix and the back cover blurb so I can put them up tomorrow. Until then, I created an award ceremony to celebrate each one of them. Enjoy!

Best cover hair: Adios To My Old Life. This is Breck worthy hair. Of course, having it draped across an electric guitar helps!

Most inventive title: I Was a Teenage Popsicle. How could this one not make you wonder and go "Hmmmm."

Cutest cover clothes: I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You. Is it just me or is the Gallagher school uniform the cutest thing ever?

Grossest moment: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation. When the dead snake squished between Amy's toes, I truly felt her nausea.

Scariest Moment: I was a Teenage Popsicle: When Floe wakes up ten years into the future and realizes that all the girls are wearing unitards. UNITARDS! Just kill me now. I have seen into the future and it doesn't bode well for us old people.

Best Setting: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation. It's set in Israel and the American Amy gets to see an Israel most of us have never glimpsed. (Including a lot of a hunky Israel guy!) Which brings us to...

Hottest Hottie: This one was a toughie. Every guy had their delectable good points. Avi is a sexy commando in the Israeli army, Taz is a gorgeous, formerly frozen, sensitive rebel type, and Josh is adorable. But I have to admit, I have a serious yen for Jaime, sensuous, intelligent Jaime from Adios to My Old Life, with his streaky green eyes.

Best love scene: Yeah, I know, this is YA. But don't you remember making out when you were a teen? Now, Cammie and Josh from I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You, only shared warm kisses. Probably because Josh knew subconsciously that Cammie could kick his ass if he got out of hand. Floe and Taz, from I Was a Teenage Popsicle, also shared warm kisses... probably because they were both still getting used to being unfrozen. But Amy and Avi from How to Ruin a Summer Vacation and Ali and Jaime from Adios to My Old Life, shared real makeout scenes... the ones I remember from highschool. The hormones made it hot, no matter how far you actually went. Though the poolhouse scene was smokin', I would have to say that the moments Amy and Avi stole out in the Israeli dessert were the hottest.

Best Girlfriends: I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You without a doubt. These roomies would do anything for each other including blowing out a car tire and swinging on the side of a house to spy on your guy. Now that's friendship.

There you have it... My awards for my favorite YA books on the shelves. But don't take my word for it, go get them for yourselves!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Writers and Insecurities

I think insecurities come with the job. You pour your blood into something and then it gets rejected. Sometimes it gets rejected in a manner that hurts and sometimes it gets rejected in a manner that makes you feel good, in spite of the rejection. But it's still a rejection.

Writing is a business. Most of us get that. It's only personal to the writer who worked on something, thinking it was good and then gets the word that its not so much. Professional jealousy, watching a friend's career rise, while yours just sits there, is tough as well. Even if you are thrilled for that person, it can make you feel insecure.

I know writers who've sold their first book, then spend years waiting for the next bite. I know multicontracted writers who have had an editor tell them, please don't submit to us again. Another multi contracted writer had her agent tell her that her proposal would never sell, even though this writer already had about ten books out... only to have the book sell and start her career down a whole new path.

How could you not be insecure? But being insecure at times is almost looked down upon in this business. "It's a business! Get over it!" is often heard over the lists. Yet other businesses have insecure workers. People who second guess themselves in their own particular arena, afraid to present a proposal to the boss for fear it will be shot down. Insecurities are normal. They overtake most of us from time to time.

I think about Hemingway and Steinbeck. I know that Steinbeck particularly, was beset with insecurities with every book he wrote. One of the reasons he drank was to keep the insecurity monsters away. At times, he couldn't face the typewriter, sure that whatever he wrote wouldn't be good enough. I know less about Hemingway, but know he drank heavily, and wasn't particulary successful in his private life. Could this writer warrier have been plagued by the demons of insecurity?

East of Eden is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read. If Steinbeck, one of the greatest writers to ever type a word, can feel insecure, than why can't I, unpublished author of little young adult books, feel the same way? And yet, you really can't admit to it much without being made to feel that you are doing it to get attention/pats on the back/affirmation. Made to feel guilty or somehow less professional. When did asking your peers for affirmation, pats on the back and encouragement become a bad thing?

When did insecurity become a dirty word?

We all admire the confident go getters in this country, those so sure their success will come that they take the plunge and keep on going. But what about those who have moments of self doubt, those who take a deep, shuddering breath and then do it anyway? Don't they deserve our respect and admiration, too?

Just a thought.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Must Write Non-fiction

Totally under the gun the next few days. Have five articles due the 25th and right smack dab in the middle of now and then is Thanksgiving... a four day weekend for the world. Which means that if I don't get my expert interviews in today and the first three days of next week, I don't have a chance of making my deadlines. A lot of the email interviews were promised today so I will have time to go over them and make phone calls on Monday, if needed. Every year at Thanksgiving it's the same story... my editors don't look when they give the deadlines and I don't look when I accept them.

Bloody hell.

So the chances of me doing anything on Dash are very slim. I do need to get my last manuscript out to the GH today. The deadline draws near. Wish me luck, people. Probably the only way I can talk my dh into letting me go to Nationals is to be a finalist. HA!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Like Pulling Teeth: When Writing Hurts

On one hand, we have the Gena Showalters of the world. They write as if possesed and can finish whole books in a single bound. Then we have the Diana Peterfreund's of the world. Three or four pages is a normal day, six to eight a stellar day.

Then there's me. I have tried to write fast. Finished a book in a month once. Of course, it totally sucked and even after I revised, my agent wanted a gazillion changes. And then I have books like DASH (the book formerly known as HOT). They seem to take forever, and I do mean forever. Now granted, in between fiction writing, I'm writing a gazillion non fiction articles. But honestly, writing the first draft is often like pulling teeth, in the old days, without gas or pain killers.

It disturbs me.

I felt much better after hearing author Cherry Adair speak. She said she hates writing first drafts and has to force herself to sit in a chair and write for 15 minutes. Then she gives herself a five minute break.

I do the same thing. I write for a few minutes and then pace, or fold a load of laundry or do dishes. Then come back. Believe it or not, I write better when chatting with someone online about writing. When I can vent. When someone else is pulling teeth. When I don't feel so alone. Very strange.

Oh, and a shout out to my son. As some of you know, he's in a college program to finish his diploma and earn college credit at the same time. At the end of two years, he will have an AA degree and his diploma. Anyway, he took his placement tests yesterday (he has been in precollege classes for the first term). He blew the writing test out of the water! Nailed 119 out of 120 questions and the guidence counciler wants to put him directly into Writing 121 instead of putting him into a lower class to get him ready for 121. And he just turned seventeen:)That's my boy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Crude but Funny

So my son gets this my space bulletin. It's a list of movies only you have to substitue the word vagina for one of the movie titles. (In case you don't keep your finger on the pulse of the teen world, vagina or gine has become the new in word.) I was appalled and then I started reading some of them. I started giggling, in spite of myself. You were supposed to add your own movie title and then send it on. I read:

Legally Vagina
Vagina Dynamite
Vagina Wars
Raiders of the Lost Vagina
Romancing the Vagina
Jimmy Vagina
Saving Private Vagina
Fun with Dick and Vagina
Monty Python and the Holy Vagina

And my personal favorite: Dude, Where's my Vagina

And yes, my son participated. His addition? One Flew Over the Vagina's Nest.


Oh, and happy birthday to my boy who turns seventeen today.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A plotting I shall go...

A wonderful writing day yesterday was. Met one of my writer friends for coffee and treats yesterday morning. It had been a while, so we had tons to talk about. Getting our manuscripts ready to send to the GH, our current WIP's, my inability to sell a book, etc, etc, etc. Was most fun. Had coffee and a treat that we both thought was a bit too sweet. It really started the day off right. We were supposed to go to our chapter meeting, but decided to skip it and work on editing and plotting instead.

So I came home and whipped out a non fic article, got out my scissors, stacks of sticky notes, and the plotting board my dh gave to me. I decided to go ahead and plot out the rest of HOT/DASH and write it... even if my agent doesn't like it. I do and I want to finish the story and who knows... maybe I can do the contest thing with it until it gets noticed by an editor. Stranger things have happened! At any rate, I want to finish, so I spent the next five hours, plotting, plotting, plotting. First I cut the synopsis up and taped together events as they might happen in chapters. Then I made notes on 3x5 cards for each chapter. Then I color coded the stickys. I had one for each major setting, one each for the POV of both the hero and heroine and one for the backstory for each of them. Then I chose a color for the kissy kissy scenes and one for the major conflict scenes.

I ran into problems right away. I could see where the competition scenes were and realized I needed to move things around to evenly space them in the book. I noticed one chapter that was lacking in stickys and one of the main story arcs happened too soon. I began talking to myself while my family carefully skirted me on their way to the garage, (I was on the floor). I noticed that the heroine had the complete POV in one chapter so I started the next one in the hero's POV. On each of the POV stickers, I would note the main plot points of what happens in their POV and their emotions at that point. I have a CP who is constantly going on about emotion. Her thing is "How does that make him/her feel?" Makes me dig deeper, so I jotted some ideas down as I plotted. I feel pretty darn good. The first three chapters were easy as they're already written. I just put together the little colored sticky books and tacked them on there. I left the last three chapters blank, because I want to see how it goes till then.

I've never plotted so extensively before. And the sticky notes/plotting board works because you can see things in a glance. I'll let you know how successful and useful it really is.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Super Busy!

Am trying to write articles, get LIPS and OTE out to the GH and have decided to Entery HOT in the ______ Contest.

Am changing the title from Smoking Hot to: Need some help here people. Fast!

It's set in Seattle and features a caterer who entered a locally televised cooking contest to save her ailing business, only to find out that the secret celebrity judge was the man she jilted at the airport six years before.


-If You Can't Stand the Heat...
-Judging My Heart / Don't Judge My Heart
-Made with Love
-Into the Frying Pan
-Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire
-A Pinch of Love and a Dash of Desire. (Or, since this is a series, it could be a Pinch of Love and the next book could be a Dash of Desire, except I am not as fond of a Pinch of Love as I am a Dash of Desire.)
-Seasoned with Love
-What's Cookin'?

Anything else?

Edit: Got my new Title: A Dash of Desire.

I also loved Can't Take the Heat and Kiss the Chef. I may change it again at some point, but for this contest it's Dash of Desire:)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote People!

My dh and I took our ballots and the voters phamplets to Shari's on Sunday night to make our decisions. My son was a bit upset at that. He's been helping us to vote for years, ever since Oregon went ot a vote by mail system. And yes, he often knows more about the issues than we do. We never get our ballots done in time to actually put them in the mail so we drop them off at a ballot box. We did end up calling the fisher boy to ask who we should vote for for city council. He was in the youth council and knows most of the candidates personally.

I've been taking my kids to the polls with me since they were tiny. My MIL used to work the polls so we would visit her once in a while. Once, my dh and I couldn't make up our minds on who to vote for for governer in the primaries and my son kept telling us who it should be. We called the campaign headquarters for each one, asked a few key questions and, by golly, the kid was right. I told the campaign worker that and she invited us to the ball that night to hear the results. Dh had to work, but the children and I went. What a fabulous experience. By some miracle, our guy won and the energy in that room was amazing. Better yet, my in laws saw us on TV yelling and screaming. Joyful moment. Tonight, I have a board meeting so we can't go... I just hope it's short so we can see the results come in.

I love this part of the democratic process. I was the girl who used to take voter registration cards to parties in the eighties. How weird is that?

Monday, November 06, 2006


No, I didn't attend a funeral this weekend. But for some reason I keep thinking of my Dad's funeral. Not my real dad mind you, my biological dad. The weirdness of it. Because that funeral was damn weird.

Hard to explain, but let me try. Cause I am just in that sort of mood. My mom had a boyfriend and then they had me. Roommate stole boyfriend and had halfsister. Mom got pissed and married room mate's dad. (Single white female has nothing on this situation!) So I had the privilege of growing up with my halfsisters/step neice's grandfather as my stepdad... but I didn't know that at the time. He was just dad. Got that? No, we are not from the hills of the south. This took place in Puyallup, Washington.

Of course, I didn't know any of this till I was fifteen, which is just a "fabulous" time to figure it out.

Fast forward 37 years. Mom leaves 85-year-old dad for biological father. Biological father gets lung cancer. (No, mom has not been overly lucky in her life) and I am attending bio fathers funeral.

Turns out the man I knew all my life as sort of a Brother in law/Uncle figure is one of the town drunks and led quite an interesting life. I have intoxicated people I don't know patting me and calling me Terrah Jean. Who the F*%# is Terrah Jean? Oh, that's me. Then there is all the drama on who is going to sit where, who should sit in front? "So and So shouldn't sit in front, she wasn't his wife, he met her first though, and look, there's Terrah Jean! Oh, little Terra Jean! Oh my, she's grown."

I ignored my mother's furious eye signals that I should sit up front with her. I wanted to stand near the back. By the exit. My half sisters had the same idea and we all stood together. Wearing sunglasses. They're the only people I know. And they called me Teri.

Then a white van pulls up. Two armed gentlemen get out and open the passenger door. A guy in a bright orange prison jumpsuit hops out. I watch, mouth open as he comes and stand next to us. The guards are there too. My teen daughter, who had the unfortunate luck to lose the coin toss and had to come with me, whispers. " Um, Mommie?"

"Yes, dear?"I answer.

"Who's the convict, Mommie? And why is he standing with us?"

"I don't know, dear." By this time I just wanted a great big huge drink. Straight up. On the rocks.

One of my half sisters leaned over to us. "That's our brother," she whispers. "Gary Junior."

I lean over to my daughter with a crazed smile. "That's your uncle, dear. Garah Junior."

I will have to talk about the wake some other time. The wake in which I actually began to believe that my name was indeed Terrah Jean, and I meet cousins that I not only didn't know that I had, but I didn't want to know, period and where my lecherous, drunken uncle gave my daughter a vintage VW painted like a Lady Bug.

Is it weird to look back on a funeral and giggle? I'm sorry that he died, but the whole bizarro experience was, well, sort of humorous.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Already?

How did it get to be Friday already? Thank God it's Friday doesn't work for me. Here's why:

  • The publishing world goes home for the weekend. How dare they? Don't they know they should be reading/buying my books on Friday? Doesn't my agent know I am dying for news? On my new idea, on passes, etc? They want weekends off? The editors want time with their families? WTF?
  • I have to see how much I accomplished on my weekly to do list. Most of the time I don't do too badly. This week, I didn't accomplish that much. Oh, a few things here and there, but honestly? It was one of those weeks where I don't really keep track of what I did. Started out with good intentions, but you've heard the old adage, the road to .... yeah.
  • I am exhausted by Friday night. Too many early mornings in a row, but Friday night is the ultimate in a driving and staying up night as my teens roam the ends of the earth... and want me to drive them there.
  • Fridays mean one more mail day before I have to wait till Monday for a check. I usually get my check on Fridays, sometimes Saturdays and sometimes Mondays. I hate Sundays. When I get paid on Friday it's like a fiesta around here cause the kids know I'll slip them a little extra money for the weekend frolicking. I usually don't cook on payday Fridays. When I don't get a check, a little hope goes out the window.
  • Friday means one more week that "my sure to sell" book hasn't sold.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Too Busy for Words

Or too busy with words, to be exact. Have several articles on my plate and am too busy polishing HOT for much blogging. Also, still working on that article database, which is taking forever!

I actually like being busy with work... It means I'm being productive. Moving forward. As much as we bitch about deadlines, it still means we have work. Which is a very good thing in the writing world!

Anyone else feel like this?