Category Archives: Embarrassing moments

Romance Writer’s Weekly: Ch-ch-changes!


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This week’s questions are from Ronnie Allen! Let’s get to it.

1.  When do you decide that you’ve done enough editing and changes would now be making it different, not better? So it’s the time to submit.

That’s a good question. I’m never certain it’s “done enough.” The only time I don’t feel the need to tinker with a project is after it’s been published, and even then, I find errors and things I should change. It’s one of the reasons why I have a problem with reading my stuff after it’s done. I can always think of something I could have done better, or done differently.

I guess what that means is that I’m a terrible person to ask this question of. I tinker until the darn thing is published, and then I generally wish I had tinkered a little bit more.

2. When and how do you accept change advice by rejection letters and critique partners?

It depends on the advice. When a publisher gives me advice–especially when they’re rejecting me–I generally take it unless it would change the overall tone of the story. After all, they’re saying they don’t want it, but they took the time to give me advice on what could be done to make it better. That sort of advice always deserves a second look. The only time I disregarded this advice was when I wrote an urban fantasy, and the publisher asked me to re-write the entire thing as a YA, focused around a single scene in the story (that didn’t even have the main characters in it, since they were both adults). That’s not asking for rewrites or giving me advice about how to make THIS story better; that’s asking me to write and submit something completely different. I ignored that advice, though I’ll admit, the story she wanted would make a nice, gritty NA.

As for changes suggested by critique partners? Well, it depends on the changes. Most of the time, I listen to what people tell me. If it would change the entire storyline, well, no, I won’t change that. But if it’s a change to make it flow more logically, then sure, I’ll look at reworking chapters or scenes or sentences to make it work. I think it’s important to listen to what everyone says with an open heart, but to remember that the work is yours. Take the advice that is useful, and disregard the rest. At the same time, I think it’s important to remember not to view your words as so precious you refuse to part with them or make changes. No one’s work is so good that they couldn’t use and editor, and no one’s story is so perfect it can’t use improvement.

3. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your day or do you create your day around your writing?

Gads, that’s a hard question. Work days generally look something like this:

6:00am: Wake up. Check Facebook. Try to think of something witty to say, something engaging and interesting and awesome. Usually fail. I might settle for silly.

6:30: Get out of bed and into the shower.

7:00: I’m READY! Oh wait, my hair’s still wet.

7:15: Ah, hell. That’s good enough. It looks the same regardless of the effort I put into it anyway.

7:30: Do dishes, throw something into the crock pot for dinner, make lunches, feed kids.

8:15: Leave for work. Hopefully, the homework was done and checked the night before, otherwise I’m checking it in my office at work. And none of us like that.

8:30-4:30: Work. If I’m lucky, and ate lunch sitting at my computer, I got it all done. If I’m unlucky, I’ll be writing IEPs at midnight. Again.

5:00: Arrive at outside client’s house or a kid activity. It depends on the day.

6:15-6:30. Home. Throw down backpacks and eat. Unless it’s Cub Scout night, in which case the boy and the hubs grab it to go, and head out the door. Or, the kids might have swimming after we see the outside client, in which case we go there instead, and get home around 7:00.

7:00: Check homework.

7:15: Tell the boy he has to do it over, because it’s super messy.

7:45: Tell him he can type it, because it’s just getting worse.

8:00: Everyone to bed. Husband and I chop the vegetables for the next day, if we’re on top of things. Afterwards, I’ll break out the laptop. Get distracted by the piles of laundry. Maybe start a load.

9:00: Girl child complains she can’t sleep.

9:10: I put in headphones and start to write.

9:45: Oh, look, the siren call of Facebook!

10:00: Just this one tweet, and then I’ll get to it.

10:15-12:00: I’m writing! If it’s going well, I might go until 2:00am. Which, by the way, is insane. Don’t do that.

Non-work days often look this:

6:00 Wake up. OH MY GOD, I’M SO TIRED! Oh wait, it’s Saturday. **Snore**

6:30: Boy child walks in, wearing (if I’m lucky) pajamas and a Darth Vader mask. “Mom, can I watch a show?”

My real child, in his real Vader mask
My real child, in his real Vader mask

Me: “Bananas are on the counter. Don’t forget to do your flamenco dancing. And beware the octopus.”

Boy child, breathing heavily: “Right on, my son.  I’ll watch  Star Wars. Oh, and Mom?”

Me: “I need to give the unicorn a bath.”

Boy Child, in his best Vader voice: “Uh huh. I am your father.”

Because I am asleep, I can’t explain the physical impossibility of this, but whatever. His father, who is awake during this whole exchange, thinks it’s hysterical, and won’t ruin the moment with things like logic.

7:00: Wake up again. Why am I singing The March of the Sith? Go back to sleep.

7:15: Children walk in: “Mom, we’re hungry. Can we eat chocolate for breakfast?”

Me: “The dog barks at midnight. Are you wearing underwear?”

Girl Child: “Chewey, that means yes. You are wearing underwear, aren’t you?”

Boy Child: “Mostly.”

Girl Child: “Good enough. Come on, let’s go  before she wakes up.”

Me: “Wha?” **Snore**

8:00: I get up for real this time. Am miffed because all of my chocolate is missing, and Chewey looks like Poirot, with his giant chocolate mustache. I make breakfast anyway. I make pumpkin pancakes. Unfortunately, everyone wants eggs and toast.

8:30: Do dishes, and contemplate doing more chores.

I usually get the opportunity to write until about 11:00, when I have to take the Girl Child to Girl Scouts. But then I get to sit in the library at the university and write for two solid hours. It’s lovely.

2:30-6:00 Is family time.

6:30: Daddy time and a movie. I write while hanging on the couch with the children.

8:30-????: We all head upstairs to bed. I put in headphones and write until I fall asleep at the computer. The two pages of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee will have to be rewritten, but hey, it works for now.

That’s it for me! (I say “that’s it!” like I wrote some short little ditty instead of the multi-page manifesto that is actually vaguely embarrassing. Or would be, if I had any sense of shame left)

Since you’ve had enough of me, why not head over and see what Josie Malone has to say?

 

 

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Update


So, I haven’t really blogged about me in a really, really long time.

I’ve blogged a little about vacations, and a lot about other people’s books, but nothing from my own perspective in what feels like ages.

Maybe I don’t have much to say. I’m really busy in my not-on-line life, with work and school and kids and just stuff. But no one wants to hear about the stresses of my day job (or the fact that I’ve written almost 50,000 words in the last month, 10,000 in the last week–including a 2,321 word lesson plan–but not a one of them was fiction). Everyone’s got stress. I don’t need to vent that badly.

But all the work has left me a little… empty. The words will come back when I have time to think about them, when I can live in my head a little more and a little less out of text books. Right now, my creativity is spent on lesson plans and planning thematic units for the entire next year. They’re good units, too. I’m excited to do them, but honestly… Over 2300 words? That’s nuts for one lesson plan.

I suppose no one can ever accuse me of under planning.

In any case, one of the great things about being a writer is that the stories never go away. They  just sometimes take a break while real life takes precedence. Once I’m done with my classes, I can devote more time to my characters. To Ash and Mina, who I really would like to finish this summer, after almost two years of off and on writing. To Ethan and Cat, who have an entire story plotted out that just needs to be written down. To Gabriel and  Asa, who, for some reason, desperately wants to be called Freya, even though I keep trying to convince her that that won’t work, given then whole… I don’t know… English maiden thing.

So, because my life seems like a giant To Do list these days, I thought I’d give you updates in list fashion.

1. What I’m listening to: When I’m writing Ethan and Cat, I really like to listen to this crazy playlist I put together that includes lots of U2 (I suppose we could call it vintage, though I am loath to call anything that was released during my lifetime–something I bought on cassette tape when it was first released–vintage. And if you ask “What’s a cassette tape?” I will throw you some serious virtual stink eye). Oh, and One Republic, Counting Stars. Totally seems weird that that song reminds me of my hero, but it does.

When I’m contemplating Gabriel and Asa/Freya, I’m listening to Wardruna, which is a little crazy, but whatever. It sort of sums things up right now, and since I think that my characters are somewhat darker than Ethan and Cat are turning out to be, it kind of fits.

2. What I’m reading right now: I’m finishing up The Earl’s Enticement by Collette Cameron, and I’ve already started The Bride Gift by Sarah Hegger. That’s when I’m not reading about SIOP features and ELL stuff.

3. What I should be reading: I should be reading my text books and I need to do some more research on early Scottish history. I’m pretty familiar with the period right around Lindesfarne (I spent some time in York, and there’s that whole English/History/German major thing I did in college. And yes, I had three majors. And two minors (Poly Sci and Education). Wait, didn’t everyone? Luckily, I did actually get a graduate degree in something I can use!)

5. What I’m doing right now: Apparently, I’m digressing.

6. What I need to do: Work on my own topic maintenance, rather than my students’!

7. What I’ve been watching on those rare occasions that I get to watch TV: I spent several evenings enraptured by Vikings. Had myself a little Vikings marathon, in fact. I have a thing for Rollo. I think I’ve forgiven him for Season I. Now that I’ve watched all of Seasons I and II, I’m not watching much of anything. Which is probably a good thing. I’ve gone back to reading my text books.

8. What I’ve been doing in my free time: Camping. I got bitten on the rear end by a beetle of some sort last weekend, which hurt like bananas. The screaming (only after I discovered the bug… inside my pants) probably didn’t do wonders for my street cred, though.

9.  What I’m working on: Lesson plans. Oh, God, so many lesson plans. And these last few papers for my last class. I can do this. It’s a lot of work… Not necessarily hard, just a lot. And it’s late in the year, too, so my life is already crazy with meetings. Those three hours a week in class–and the additional 3-5 working on projects–starts to feel like a lot when I spent most of Memorial Day writing IEPs.

10. What I’m hoping for: That I don’t have a nervous breakdown in the next two weeks. Because once we’re out of this little stretch… It’s summer time! And I’ll have seven weeks off!

So that’s it for me. I hope you have a good weekend. And if you get the chance, go ahead and check out my book, Highland DeceptionIf you feel so inclined, leave me a review! Because I should could use them. Seriously.

 

Romance Weekly: Genre and Influences


image001Hey everyone! It’s that time of the week again: Romance Weekly. Find out what your favorite authors think about the questions below, or discover new-to-you authors! Let’s get to it!

1. Do you prefer to write futuristic, contemporary or historical romances and why?

I tend to write historicals. I’ve written one urban fantasy, set in modern-day San Francisco, but it didn’t go anywhere. It’s still sitting on my computer, awaiting rewrites and, perhaps, submissions at some time in the future. For now, I’m sticking with historicals.

The first book I ever wrote as an adult (also sitting on my computer) was a historical. I guess I chose that genre because I love the history aspect of it, and I cut  my teeth on historical romances. My first one was Julie Garwood–The Bride, I think, but it might have been The Gift–which I followed up with Savage Thunder by Joanne Lindsey. I discovered these books when i was sixteen, and, by the time I hit my junior year in high school, I’d read all Julie Garwood’s books. By the time I was twenty-one, I’d read Julie Garwood and Johanna Lindsey in German (it was more interesting than reading a freak-ton of Rilke. And sure, I like the tortured aspect of Gruppe 47 literature as well as anyone, but I can honestly say they didn’t inspire me to learn to read in German nearly as well as Johanna Lindsey did.)

So I guess that, as a History minor and an English Lit/German major, I was sort of destined to write historicals. I loved reading historical romances, so I guess I figured I’d love writing them. And I do. 🙂

2. What is your favorite time in history and how and why does it inspire you?

Um… Good question. I’ll admit to a certain fondness for the Victorians. They were totally wacky. For instance, the occult was really popular during the Victorian era: go to church Sunday morning, hold a séance Sunday night. Very prim and proper, and repressed sexually, but then, the treatment for hysteria was orgasms (and you went to the doctor for it!). It just seems to me like the Victorians are a study in polar opposites. Also, I have a particular fondness for the Old West, so I guess that’s part of it, too.

But I’ll admit, I loved the research that went into Highland Deception, which is set in Scotland in 1725. So, I guess that’s a close second.

3. How has your life experience contributed to your writing?

I’ll admit, I struggled with this question. I’ve traveled in Europe, and I’ve graduated from college, and all that fun stuff. College and travel opened up my eyes to new and different ways of thinking, and I suppose that that’s important if you want to be a writer. I think, because of that, I am better able to take another person’s perspective, which is necessary if one wishes to write well-rounded characters.

Getting married gave me insight into the character of men. Granted, I’ve been married since I was 22, so I guess my experience with men is limited, but I know one man like I know the back of my hand. I know what he thinks, and how he feels, and I know what he looks like when he’s upset. Being married for as long as I have (almost 17 years now!) has, I think, really helped me to write my male characters as men, and not mere caricatures of men.

Having children… Well, a baby changes everything about you. It just does. I’m the same person I was before, but I’m also… different. I don’t know if I would have had the strength to submit and suffer the potential rejections if I hadn’t had kids. I think just the act of giving birth made me less self-conscious, but having that baby? I’m so much stronger now–personality-wise–than I was before I had them. Before, I would have said that I’m “nice.” I was a good girl, and easily embarrassed. I hated to be wrong. I hated just the thought of someone thinking I’m not perfect. I tried really hard to be everything to everyone. To be the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect employee.

And then, I had a two-year-old.

I’ve done the walk of shame out of the grocery store more times than I could count (very smart, very volatile children = very loud tantrums in the store). I’ve been barfed on, had one kid have a diaper explosion (and I mean explosion–it was disgusting) at a restaurant in San Francisco, and gotten pee in my eye while changing a diaper at the mall.

It has been an exercise in humility. It made me realize that I am not, nor will I ever be, perfect, and I would kill myself if I kept trying to be.  I think that the thought of rejection might have done me in, if I hadn’t gotten over my need to be viewed as perfect. I’m not sure I ever would have submitted in the first place, because I would have been deeply ashamed if someone didn’t think my work was up to par.

I’m a published author because of the kids. They’re the ones, really, who gave me the strength to do that.

Go see what Fiona Riplee has to say on the subject!

The Hotel on the Corner of Assault and Battery


As you may know, we recently got back from vacation, and I’ll post pictures of our trip to the coast maybe tomorrow. Or Monday. Or, more to the point, whenever I get around to it.

But today’s post is dedicated to our final hotel, where we stayed on our visit to Six Flags. Maybe the title tipped you off, but it’s wasn’t exactly The Ritz.

Here’s the thing: I am not a hotel snob. My favorite hotel/motel, where we stay every time we go to the coast, is solidly two star. Sure, it has cracked bathroom tile and no internet or cell service, but the towels are clean, the housekeeping crew vacuums every day, and it has a balcony that has an ocean view and easy beach access. There’s a pretty good Thai restaurant RIGHT THERE. Not to mention, it’s cheap, and cheap is good.

Did I mention no internet or cell service? Yeah, I’ve finished two books in that hotel.

So I didn’t think much of staying in a two star in Vallejo, especially since it was a brand that is usually pretty decent. You know the tier: high enough to have national exposure and advertising, but still cheap enough to be affordable for a family of four on a tight budget.

Except when we pulled in, the hotel looked a bit…murdery.

Maybe it was the chipped paint and the black smudges on the stucco. Maybe it was the fact that, when we walked in, a uniformed police officer was escorting a woman to her car in the parking lot, while she explained, in an embarrassed fashion, that “This is not normally the type of place I stay.” Perhaps it was when, as we turned to go, the hotel clerk said that the front lot–which was not the closest lot to our hotel room was “the safest place to park.”

Um…

Our non-smoking room reeked of tobacco, was dim and a little grungy. Okay fine. The bed was lumpy. Okay fine. The wrought iron fences that were supposed to fence in the downstairs patios were broken. The pool had more security than my room did. At least it pretended to have security. Sure, those gates weren’t locked either, but at least it had a gate that wasn’t unhinged. It could pretend to be secure, if it had to.

Okay, fine.

At one point, I looked over at Husband and said, “I think I got VD just walking in the bathroom! Do we have any penicillin handy?”

He was less than amused by my assessment. Hey, it’s not like we didn’t pick the place together.

In any case, we went to Six Flags, and it was really fun. We went to dinner at Applebee’s, which was good. (See, we’re big spenders. I actually really like Applebee’s). Then we came back to the hotel.

Once we went to bed, there was this blasted tapping noise in the ceiling–and we were on the top floor. It wasn’t steady enough that I could ignore it. I rolled over toward Husband and said, “Hey, someone’s Tell-Tale Heart is going off. Someone needs to shut that thing up.”

He snored in response.

The tapping… the tapping… the infernal tapping!

So I was already (still?) awake when someone tried to get into our room at 2:05 AM (yes, I checked the time. I figured it might be handy for the police report. You know, if I lived.)

Anyway, I woke Husband up. After all, he’s supposed to be the monster bait, and he was sleeping right through monster time! What good is monster bait if it isn’t actually bait?

Eventually, he got up, pounded on the door, and told them they needed to move along. In his best cop voice. They did.

Kids slept through it, though Chewey did remark on the tapping in the ceiling that went on “all night long”. Which then prompted his parents to break out into a sleep-deprived Lionel Richie rendition that made Monk groan and beg that we turn on the radio.

But, that being said, we survived the night, went to the park, went on many rides, and then drove home. Overall, a nice vacation. If you don’t count that final night in the Hotel on the Corner of Assault and Battery, a great one.

Next time, I think I’m staying in the Marriot.

M

MCC and the Goldeneye


So the other day, I was watching The Princess Bridea fantastic movie, btw–and thinking about a friend of mine. This is a friend I’ve mentioned before: Red. She’s since passed on, and you’d think that watching a movie that we watched together (more than once) would make me maudlin, but it didn’t.

Instead, it got me thinking of the last movie we saw together in the theater: Goldeneye (I just totally dated myself).

In any case, we were in college, and I was enrolled in a course called “Environmental Literature: The Importance of Place” or something uppity like that. I was an English Lit major (eventually, I took enough Linguistics courses to major in that, too), so of course I took classes that sounded pretentious. Thing was, I loved this class (I loved skipping it, too, but that’s a story for another day). I still enjoy reading Rick Bass, Terry Tempest Williams, and others. The landscapes they portray are quite lovely, and I’m a girl who likes setting, so when I see that Rick Bass has written an article for one magazine or another, I’ll always buy it.

And then we got to the section of the course where we talked about “erotic landscapes.” I remember reading our text and going, “Oh, my.” If you’re feeling “fingered by the desert,” or some nonsense like that,  then, uh, great? I didn’t know dirt and sagebrush could do that. I’ve lived in the desert for most of my life, and I can tell you one thing: the desert doesn’t do jack for me, but if it did, I wouldn’t stick around to enjoy it. I’m pretty certain it’s the sign of the zombiepocalypse.

I digress.

So, anyway, I wasn’t entirely mature enough to take “erotic landscapes” seriously (Truth be told, I’m still not, because I still laugh until my sides ache at some of that imagery), but I was mature enough to apply it everywhere I went. Including at the movie theater.

Imagine, if you will, this scenario: an inappropriate female, whose mind is somewhat dirty, who is currently studying “erotic landscapes,” and who goes to see, of all things, a Bond movie.

Freud had nothing on me that day.

Everything had sexual connotations. Even the popcorn had some sexual connotation. And there I am, with my very proper friend (she couldn’t have been that proper, because she liked hanging out with me, but that’s beside the point), and during the movie, I’m howling.

I thought that movie was the funniest thing I’d ever seen in my life. But I didn’t keep it to myself and giggle quietly. Nope. In my obnoxiousness, I had to share it with her.

The beaches: “Oh, look at his waves, lapping her silken shores.”

The guns: “Look at him stroking his big gun. She wants to stroke his gun until it fires.”

Airplanes: “I bet he wants to put his plane inside her hangar. Over and over and over.”

And when the missile silo opened up, and the missile rose up out of the water, I was laughing so hard I could barely choke out something vaguely coherent. Something about her “hot, wet chalice” and his “rising missile.”

Luckily, the theater was relatively empty, so I don’t think I disturbed too many people. Mostly just my friend, I suppose.

It’s so terribly immature, and yet, to this day, I can’t watch Goldeneye and not laugh, even though, once, I managed to keep my comments to myself (I was with my grandmother. Even I have a line I won’t cross. Doesn’t mean I didn’t giggle during the movie.). I get that the movie isn’t supposed to be as funny as I think it is, but still. It’s Hi-larious.

Maybe it’s held on to its “funny factor” because of who I was with that day. We never saw another movie in the theaters together–I went to Europe and she went to school out-of-state, and once she came back, she was too tired to go out to see a movie with me–and so this movie has a special place in my heart. Of all the people in the world, Red was the one who most appreciated my sense of humor (besides Hubs. That man gets me). Oh, she tried to downplay it, and sometimes she would act like she disapproved (while she was laughing, of course, which just made me try harder to be worse), but once she got sick, whenever I would go over there, she seemed to make sure that whatever movie we watched would allow my inappropriate flag to fly. (That was a horrible sentence. My apologies. And yet, I think I’ll leave it. The benefits of having a blog–there’s no editor to tell you no!) But I can tell you all this: we watched movies where I could make her laugh by saying something outrageous and suggestive. I’m pretty sure we watched Goldeneye more than once.

I can guarantee you, we weren’t watching Beaches or Old Yeller.

Here’s my list of special movies:

1. Goldeneye

2. The Princess Bride

3. Two Days in the Valley (first movie I saw with Hubs. Lots of violence–Hubs’ version of a romance. That and Terminator.)

4. The Incredibles (when I first saw this movie, and Jack-Jack turned into a flaming demon, I thought, “Whoever wrote this had a kid with colic,” because Lord, that reminds me of Monk when she had it. Every time we watch that scene, Hubs and I will exchange The Look and start to laugh).

5. And, go ahead and judge: Zorro the Gay Blade. It’s what Red and I watched when we weren’t watching Goldeneye. Also, I have a thing for George Hamilton’s tan. Not George Hamilton. His tan.

What about you? What movies are special to you, and why?

Leave a comment, and, uh, I’ll wish a pony upon you. That would work, right?

–MCC

Surprise! Your Book’s Up for Review!


So, I’ll be honest, for all my talk of being brave (on this and other blogs), I’m really a chicken shit.

Sure, I’ll do things like, oh, coach soccer when I don’t remember the rules, mostly because I know I can figure that stuff out. I’m brave enough to write a story and send it to critique partners, even the ones I’m certain will hate it. I’m brave enough to send out that same manuscript to publishers and agents, and expecting to be rejected. I’m brave enough to repeat this process several times.

But what I haven’t been brave enough to do is send the book in to review sites.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve filled out the paperwork. So, so, many times. Yet, I can’t bring myself to hit send. Sending a book in for review isn’t like submitting to editors, where, even if they’re mean (and let’s face it, they so rarely are in their rejections), at least it’s private. Your massive failure isn’t splashed all over the internet for all to see.

Sure, my friends loved it. My Soul Mate sisters seemed to like it. So, it should be good enough for a review site, right?

I told myself I was too busy (yeah, I’m busy, but not too busy). I told myself I simply didn’t know my heat rating (except that I do… The Marker is a full 4 flames, Wandering Heart is probably 3.5 flames, and Jessie’s War, depending on whose definition you go with, is a solid 3. I’ve put a lot of thought into this). I told myself I didn’t know what content other people might find objectionable. Unsavory wagers, sure. But would they find the gambling and the drinking objectionable? The sex? Do I have to be specific in what about the sex acts some others might find objectionable? Would they find the cover objectionable?

These are the things that I told myself when moving to hit the send button. These are the excuses I used to not send in my stuff. And yes, that makes me a giant chicken shit.

A while back–I want to say it was over my last break–my publisher sent me an email saying she’d sent my book into a review site, and that she didn’t know when or if they’d pick it up for review. I read the email, thanked her, and then promptly forgot about it. After all, The Marker is a western set American historical–but not really a western. No cowboys, no ranchers, no horses, unless mentioned in passing. It’s not a big genre book, like paranormal or romantic suspense, or even Highlanders. It’s not really a rabid niche book either, like steampunk or a western (unlike Jessie’s War, which is both, and Wandering Heart, which is a western historical). Was anyone even going to want to pick it up for review?

I’ll admit, I had my doubts.

Like a giant candy ass, I buried my head in the sand and pretended review sites don’t exist. And then I really did get too busy to do much of anything about it.

So imagine my surprise this morning when both my publisher and one of my Soul Mate sisters Casey Wyatt posted this from Night Owl: 4.5 Stars! A Top Pick!

So thank you, Debby from Soul Mate Publishing, for sending in my book for review. It was a great surprise to wake up to this morning!

The Continuing Adventures of Tyrannosaurus Edinor


It’s true. I have no shame.

A couple of weeks ago, Husband and I took the kids to a Renaissance Faire. Now, I love these things, even if half the women are, shall we say, lacking both adequate clothing and adequate sunscreen. Still, it’s a hoot. (Incidentally, I got myself a really cool, steampunky watch–it’s a necklace encased in clear acrylic, and you can see the gears on the back. Fully awesome. Daughter got herself a compass–again, very steampunk. All I can say is… she is mine. Boy child got another wooden sword. I was pushing for the trebuchet, but what can I say? He says he wants to be a prospector/Viking/king when he grows up. I suppose the sword is a requirement).

In any case, Monk dressed up as a Viking (or, rather, in a peasant outfit and her brother’s Viking helmet) and took her stuffed tyrannosaur. We put Edinor in a dress. I wanted her to wear a necklace, but Monk put her foot down. Apparently, a tyrannosaur wearing a dress and bling is not period appropriate. Whatever, kid.

So, without further ado, the continuing adventures of my daughter’s Tyrannosaur in a dress. Oh, and a few of the kids, for good measure.

The Viking, Edinor, and the Boy talk to the Queen

No, I don’t have any shame. Why?

Sunshine Award


ImageSo, I left for a few days, where I had only limited internet and cell service (OMG, it was like living in the Dark Ages… Or 1997) and when I return, I come home to the Sunshine Award. I was nominated by the super talented Roberta Gordon of Gemini Witching. I actually haven’t played this kind of game before, but I’m willing to give it a try, because, well, I’m game for just about anything (just once… after that, all bets are off). But this game seemed like a good idea (granted, the last time I said that, the hubs and I wound up with a second child. Totally kidding. Sort of), so I thought, Why not?

Honestly, it’s so nice to be recognized by people you hold in esteem. I’ve run across many talented bloggers out here in the blog-o-sphere. But me? I’m just a quirky girl who occasionally writes a quirky blog that (hopefully) will make at least one person laugh. So thank you so much Roberta for nominating me. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Here are the rules for the game:

1. Include the award logos in your post or in your blog

2. Answer 10 questions about yourself (any 10? Because, left to my own devices, I would ask–and answer–many dangerous questions about myself. It’s the consequence of having a poorly developed sense of shame. And yes, I did make up my own questions.)

3. Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers

4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know they are nominated.

5. Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

So, to start, I guess we’ll start with the safe questions… Yeah, these are the ones I copied from other Sunshine Award winners. My own questions about myself would be… well, you’ll see.

What is your favorite color? Delft blue. I don’t know if that’s an actual color, but it’s the blue color all over the china I found in Delft, Netherlands. Wow, and that made me sound like a pretentious snob. In any case, it’s a color between electric blue and indigo. A little deeper than cornflower, less purple than periwinkle. So yeah, I think I just made that up. (And just the question of “What’s your favorite color” somehow turned into a dissertation on my snobbery and the parsing of the color blue. I might have issues).

What’s Your Favorite Animal? In general it’s the honey badger. In real life, it’s my dog.

Do you have a nickname, and what is it? The hubs calls me the grenade, because, um, I’m the one you toss in to eliminate the possibility of a drunken hook up. On top of being obnoxious and probably the only one wearing sensible shoes (Get your mind out of the gutter), I’m also married, and, sadly, sober. Party with me, and, sure, I’ll regret the things I said the next day, but I have to remember them. You, on the other hand, will have forgotten that you barfed on my sensible shoes (hence the reason I wear them). Don’t worry, I’ll remind you. This is why I don’t get out often.

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink? Coffee. I’m not sure I can survive without it.

Favorite day of the week? Saturday. Hands down.

Do you have a plan for the zombiepocalypse? Sure. Doesn’t everybody?

What is it? Run around screaming until I meet the inevitable end. And no, you can’t have my stuff.

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook? I used to say Facebook because you can post longer stuff. But I’ve found that the more words I have to work with, the sillier I am. I’ve also discovered I can be really obnoxious with just 140 characters. Who knew?

What’s your favorite TV show? Castle, because I think Joey Buchanan–I mean, Captain Mal–I mean, Nathan Fillion is awesome. I still don’t know why he won’t follow back on the Twitter. I’m cool, right? Just because I would drool all over the Nater-tot if I met him doesn’t mean I’m not totally suave. Because I am. Totally. 

What’s your favorite book? I’m not going to be interesting with this one. My favorite book is Jane Eyre. I don’t know why I love this book so much, I just do. So, yeah, on my book shelf, I have all the classics, and Shakey-baby, and some philosophy (I own an astounding amount of Henry James. I’m not sure why)… and then some trashy romances. My bookshelf looks something like this: pretentious cover, pretentious cover, twenty covers with shirtless dudes, pretentious cover, 10 books that don’t have covers anymore because the spines are broken, random German book, pretentious cover. Next to the bookshelf is a stack of books maybe twenty high that, if they have covers still, have women in various states of undress being fondled/ogled/groped by shirtless or semi-shirtless dudes. These covers may or may not have once featured Fabio.

I think I may have taken my answers too far. My apologies. I’m both chatty and obnoxious. It’s a dangerous combination, I know.

So here are my nominees:

Brooke Moss: A fabulously funny writer, and one of the best CPs a girl could ask for.

Attorney At Large: Because she’s super funny, and an amazing woman overall. And she won’t tell you any b.s., either.

Ann Montclair: Witty and entertaining, her book made me both smile and squirm

Callie Hutton: She writes heartwarming books that just ooze romance. I love that.

Casey Wyatt: An awesome paranormal writer, her books are full of humor and are just… fun. One of the best ways to spend a Sunday, in fact. Also, her blog makes me smile.

Jamie Brazil: A really cool contemporary writer.

Jolyn Palliata: Okay, dude, I am totally in love with one of her heroes. Rhys. So, yeah, I had to nominate her, because, well, she wrote my new book boyfriend.

Christine Warner: Because she’s fantastic. Some Like it in Handcuffs … the title alone cracked me up.

Louisa Bacio: Because man, that girl knows how to make you squirm.

Have a great day, and happy Sunshine Award!

Awkward Moments Day


First, my thanks to Jannine Gallant for pointing out that March 18 is actually  Awkward Moments Day!

See, I think this is a day meant for me. Named for me. A day in celebration of…me!

Yeah, dude, getting stuck in one of these is pretty freaking awkward. But I can top that.

See, I am very familiar with awkward moments. That moment when you tell a joke and all you hear is crickets? Yeah, I’ve been there, done that. Many times.

I broke my nose slow dancing at my senior prom. I asked a guy out once and got turned down with the excuse, “I’m gay.” (Super awkward) I stood on my skirt in a shuttle crowded with football players, and the skirt hit the floor, leaving me standing there in nothing but my underwear and my cute boots.

I got stuck in a bounce house at my daughter’s second birthday party and I was eight months pregnant with my son. Getting out was like a bounce house giving birth to a beluga. I accidentally texted my boss with “I love you so much,” which was intended for my husband. The last time I went to the ER, my doctor was a man I went to high school with, and I threw up on him. Later that same night, after the drugs had kicked in, I made an outrageous, suggestive comment I thought was HI-larious that was really just crass. (Okay, I still think the comment was funny, but even I recognize the bad form in saying it to someone I haven’t seen in eighteen years)

That’s not so bad, except that I’ve run into him three times since then (after not seeing him for eighteen years, I run into him three times in six months? WTF, universe?). Each time is another awkward moment, as I pretend I don’t remember precisely what I said to him that night.

Yeah, my life is a series of those kind of awkward moments.

So today, as you nurse your post St. Paddy’s Day hangovers, partake of a little of the hair of the dog, and raise a pint in honor of me. After all, this is my day.

Happy Awkward Moments Day!