Monday, April 30, 2007

The Shopping Ninja

My DH calls me the Shopping Ninja because I can sniff out a good deal a mile away. Every week I devour the grocery store sale add, searching for great deals like buy one and get one free. Then I go through my personal collection of coupons and before you know it, I'm getting like $50 worth of free stuff in a $40 order. It's cool. I collect the linens store $5 off coupons and combine them with the 20% off coupons and buy items on sale. The process has become a sort of treasure hunt. I'm not cheap - I'm just on a mission!

I recently learned that one of my friends is the Grand Poobah of Shopping. She totally runs circles around me. She finds these drug store deals where you buy items then send in the receipts for a rebate for the full purchase price. She even showed me how you find the items that qualify. What about you? Do you have any shopping secrets to share?

By the way, you should check out the new blog from the ladies that brought us Sanctuary's Finest. Their new place is called Book Binge and they do reviews, author interviews, all kinds of fun stuff. So check it out.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Sneak Peek

OK - I never, ever do this, but what the heck. Here's a little taste of my WIP. This character is Lane Wood, aging British guitar god whose star has faded, along with his net worth.

Lane hit the disconnect button of his phone as he glanced out the window of his lover’s Encino apartment. Ventura Boulevard sprawled into one mini-mall after another. How could he convince Jolie to give him access to her bank accounts? He’d probably have to shag her royal highness. That did the trick the last time. Wincing, he shook his head.
Jonathan came up behind him and wrapped his muscular arms around Lane’s torso. “What’s wrong?” His hands dropped several inches and snuck inside the waistband of Lane’s silk boxer shorts.
Stepping out of Jonathan’s reach, he pulled the curtains closed, then spun around to face him. “’Ow many bloody times do I ‘ave to tell you, mate? Keep the damned windows covered when I’m ‘ere. You know what would ‘appen to me career if anyone found out about us?”
Jonathan rolled his eyes. “I don’t think any gossip rags are still watching you. Anyway, there have been rumors about you since your Cracked Mirror days. No one would be terribly surprised.” He moved to the bed and sat on the edge, unzipped his shorts. “It’s your wife you’re worried about, isn’t it? You’re afraid she’ll find out about you. Why would she stay with a queen?”
No one could possibly suspect guitar god Lane Wood of being a fairy. His reputation had him bedding hundreds of crumpets in his single days. He studied his lover. If he wasn’t so muscular, so tan, so young and randy, he’d have given Jonathan the boot several years ago. “Jolie would never believe such rumors about me. When Cracked Mirror went on our reunion tour three years back, she was a bloody ravin’ lunatic about all the groupies ‘angin’ ‘round me.” He snickered. “She’s the last thing I’m worried about. It’s all about the cash. 'Er Royal 'ighness pinches a penny so tight, she makes the buffalo ride the Indian.”
Jonathan laughed.
Lane sauntered toward the bed. No, it wasn’t Jolie he was so concerned about. His fear was being found out and having his manly image blown to bits. If the world learned he was a queer, they’d all stop loving him. He’d be a laughing stock. And no one would pay to see Cracked Mirror ever again. He had to think of a way to get his hands on some big money, and soon. Might as well be Jolie’s money.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday 13

Here's my top 13 picks from my MP-3:

1. "Hella Good" - No Doubt
2. "Manic Monday" - The Bangles
3. "Pride and Joy" - Stevie Ray Vaughan
4. "Truth No. 2" - The Dixie Chicks
5. "Pour Some Sugar On" - Def Leppard
6. "Electric Avenue" - Eddie Grant
7. "Suddenly I See" - KT Tunstall
8. "Holiday" - Green Day
9. "I'll Tumble for You" - Culture Club
10. "The Middle" - Jimmy Eat World
11. "Hot in Here" - Nelly
12. "Animals" - Nickelback
13. "New Shoes" - Paolo Nutini

Looking at this list, I realize how eclectic my musical tastes are:-) What about you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Over the Hump

I'm so excited. I got over that hump part of my Work in Progress where I wasn't quite sure how all the stuff I wanted to happen was going to happen. It was a really complicated couple of scenes that all take place at this party that is the dark moment for several of the characters. So now I'm dealing with the after effects of the party. WHEW! I find certain parts of my books are really tough to work through and get right. I'll probably tweak those 15 -20 pages several times in the next few days, trying to get them just right. On another note, I've gotten several emails and phone calls from the ladies I dedicated The Kitten Club to - several women I've known for years who I met at salons I used to work at. The 3 who have seen the dedication so far were so touched that I mentioned them. I'm really glad I included that dedication. Over the years I spent countless hours with each of those ladies and heck, they're all practically like family. Most have known me since I was pregnant with my 13 year old and some since before my 18 year old was born!
On another note, my son's finally made his final decision on college. He'll start at the University of Central Florida in the fall and (YEAH!) live home at first. We're very happy about this because we don't get to see him much anymore and we kind of enjoy his company. Anyway - what's new with you?

Friday, April 20, 2007

How Do You Take Your Stress?

I've come to the conclusion that I was born with curly hair because I frazzle so easily. I probably had a stressful time in the womb! And I don't handle stress well. My stomach aches, my head pounds, me heart palpitates. I even had to get a prescription for some happy pills a few years ago that I take occasionally.

On the other hand, my DH deals with life and death situations day in, day out and stays cool as a cucumber the entire time. The only thing that gets his heart racing is the kids, but they're teenagers and no mortal being could handle their daily dilemmas without getting just a little hot under the collar. He told me over dinner yesterday that he had to do CPR on someone at his part time job that day. Paramedics were on the scene within a few minutes, but in the mean time, he kept her alive.

"You saved her life," I said. He waved away my comment with a "Nah." When I questioned him about it, he said his adrenaline didn't even get going. I'd have keeled over myself if I ever had to do something like that.

So what about you? How do you take your stress?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Falling for Characters

Do any of you writers out there fall in love with your characters? I don't just mean hunky heroes, but villains too. Do they spend more time on paper than necessary? Until now, I'd witnessed this phenomenon with one of my CPs, and in a contest entry I'm judging. But today, I fell for my villain in my WIP. He's such a juicy character - an aging former heavy metal star with a Cockney accent and really poor hygiene. I find myself writing about his daily activities - his adulterous romps, his mindless hours spent playing video games and clubbing. When I went back to proofread, I was shocked that I'd done this since I always call my CP on it. But he's so fun to write.
I must take the advice of an agent I read a while back - KILL YOUR BABIES! I know - shocking to hear, huh? But I have to separate the wheat from the chaff, painful though it might be. Such is life.
Do you fall for your characters too?
On another note - I must share an email I got today - made my day:
"Just wanted to tell you that I think you tell a great story. I'm enjoying Kitten Club when I can squeeze in a few minutes here and there to read. Congrats on getting a new reader hooked."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Patience for the Impatient

I'll be the first to admit it - I am the world's most impatient person. My husband will second this. (His nickname for me is Patience!) So what do I spend weeks, months and in some cases years doing? Waiting. Waiting for word on submissions, waiting for books to arrive, waiting for edits and release dates. I should have no hair left for all the ones I've yanked from my head! And yet - I chose this path. I wanted to be a writer, knowing how frustrating the waits can be. Are all writers gluttons for punishment? Or do we just get such a high, such a kick from the payoff, when it finally comes that we're willing to torture ourselves in the meanwhile? What do you think? What are you impatient for? Any tricks or advice to make the waiting easier?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tag - I'm It

I've been tagged to list 5 things most people don't know about me, so here goes:

1. I hate sharing drinks with anyone, including my DH and my kids. I'll happily give someone the remainder of mine as long as I don't have to drink after them. (This drives my DH crazy)

2. I am neurotic about taking care of my feet because my father has really awful feet. I exfoliate, buff, massage and pamper so mine won't EVER look like his. (Sorry, Dad)

3. I have the most allergic skin. I never try any new products for fear of a reaction. I'm using the same makeup brand I've used for 20 years.

4. I collect decorative perfume atomizers and porcelain masks.

5. I'm a planny-pants. I organize and pre-plan everything I can. I guess that's the control freak in me.

Tag - now you're it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jumping for Joy!

A copy of my first full-length print novel arrived in the mail today and I can't believe how excited I am. My stomach has been churning all day and I have no doubt I won't get a wink of sleep tonight. Hubby wants to take me out to celebrate, although he'd celebrate a hangnail:-)
All the years spent honing my craft and attending conferences and entering and judging contests and picking apart tear-stained rejection letters has finally paid off. I must give credit to my terrific editor, Kathy Cottrell, at The Wild Rose Press for nurturing this story into a book I'm so proud of.
My advice to all the struggling romance writers out there is to keep plugging away. Eventually, with a little luck, you'll hold a book in your hand with your name printed on the front.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Promotion versus Procrastination

Okay - I'm at that point in my WIP - the part where you're not exactly sure how to arrive at the place you want to be. So, I find the most convenient and almost guilt-free escape - promotion. How can I feel too guilty when I'm boosting sales for my current releases or upcoming one? Can you hear that pesky little voice saying, "You can do both." Let's squash it.
The kicker is, I love my WIP. It's been such fun to write. Maybe I'm focusing on too many things. I'm getting ready for my first book signing this weekend by making adorable little giveaway bags, filled with cool promo items. This has required trips to party stores, office supply stores and craft shops. Sound like excuses? Okay. I'll get back to work now.

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened.....

OK - my friend and crit partner, Julie challenged readers of her Blog to post their own true funny story, so here's mine.
Years ago, I owned a tanning salon in Orlando. I get a phone call one day asking me to go out to one of the fancy hotels near Disney and show a "visiting dignitary" how to use a tanning bed she'd just purchased. The caller refused to tell me who "she" was but said they'd make it worth my while. So, being young and naive, I say, sure. I arrive at the hotel the next morning and check in at the front desk. They send me to a room upstairs. When I enter the room, there's a bank of cell phones (this was long before they were in wide use and the phones were massive). Several men have earphones in their ears attached to wires that led under their shirts. A huge chalkboard had schedules for several people written on it. One of these security guys takes me to another wing and goes into a room with me. He says the dignitary is the crown princess of Saudi Arabia, who can not tan in public - she must stay too covered up. Now, the door is open and three small kids walk by in full horseback riding gear and the security guy says "Good morning, your highness" to each of them. He tells me the Princess is finishing her breakfast and will let him know when she's ready for me. Then he asks me how long my husband had been a cop. So I look at him funny and said, "I never told you guys that." He just smiles and says, "You were not chosen at random." Weird.
A few minutes later, his earphone makes noises and he says her highness (which is how I must address her) is ready. He walks me to her suite and lets me in. She's very gracious and very beautiful. I tell her she shouldn't shower after she tans for at least 2 hours to get the maximum effect. So, she says she must take a shower - now. She leaves me alone in the living room while she goes and takes a shower. Half an hour later, she comes out and I show her how to use the bed. She asks me to stay for her session. So, here's the Princess in a bathing suit on a tanning bed and me, twiddling my thumbs.
When her session is up, she gets out, thanks me and hands me three hundred-dollar bills. "Thank you, your highness," I say before leaving. As an American, the worlds feel strange on my tongue. I go back to the security room for "debriefing" and then am permitted to leave. A very strange morning. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


OK - I've lost it - totally lost it. I haven't touched my Work in Progress for better than a week. Somehow, I have to find the thread I've dropped. You see, I've done author days, editing, promotional events, prepared for my RWA chapter meeting, done preparation for a Passover Seder we hosted last night - everything but write! I had a dream last night that I'd finished it, yet the first draft is a mere 30% complete. So, I've set today as my new beginning day. The first thing I have to do is reread the entire thing, which isn't a bad thing, since I edit as I go. It's such a fun book, I honestly can't wait to return to it. But I know I'll be lucky to get through reading that first hundred pages today. Instead of kicking myself, I'm looking at this as a learning experience. From now on, I write every day - even if I only write a single sentence. I must stay with my WIP until it's ready to leave the nest. Call it a very late New Year's resolution!