Archive | February, 2012

Happy Leap Day! How will you spend it?

29 Feb

So, here we are at Leap Day. Do you remember what you did last time, four long years ago? Even more important: what will you do on THIS Leap Day?

Yes, it does matter. After all Leap Days are incredibly rare. More rare than a blue moon, which occurs every three years or so. In an average lifetime, you’ll only experience 19 or 20 of these days. Shouldn’t Leap Day be spent on something more than the usual mundane tasks of work, or mopping the floor, or picking up the kids from school? Ok, you probably can’t skip out on your job, and leaving the kids at school will lead to all sorts of trouble, but you should definitely skip mopping.

Try spending your spare time today doing something–anything–out of your normal routine. Take a different route home from work and notice the new sights along the way. Turn to a radio station you never listen to and experience new music for a few minutes. If you’re making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, exchange the spaghetti for rice or mashed potatoes. (Come on, try it before you declare it disgusting!) Pick up a new book that isn’t in your usual genre. Try ice skating. Stop by a rancher’s fence and pet a cow.

I think I’ll work a bit on a new story idea that’s completely out of my normal comfort zone. Then I think I’ll go for a drive. Not to go anywhere, just for fun. My towering Helvetican hero does that a lot and has always wondered why I don’t. I always say I’m too busy to just go wander by myself with no destination. I will impose a time limit on myself, because there are certain things that simply must be done today, but otherwise, I’ll give it a shot. I’ll just drive and see what I see.

Take the challenge. Be creative, get out of your rut, and do something you’ll remember the next time Leap Day rolls around!

Sad day…Jan Berenstain Has Died

27 Feb

I grew up reading the Berenstain Bears. My kids read the books and watched the cartoons. So it is with great sadness that I post the link to an obituary for one of the Bears’ creators: Jan Berenstain Has Died – GalleyCat.

I have the deepest respect for anyone who can create characters perfect for children. I’ve tried many times over the years to write a children’s, or even a middle grade, book. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around it. Writing for kids is hard work, and pairing the words with fun pictures is even harder, in my opinion.

One fun fact about the Berenstain Bears…Dr. Seuss was the editor of the books. According to Jan Berenstain, the bears were given her surname as of the second book, The Bike Lesson, when Dr. Seuss added a subtitle: “The Second Adventure of the Berenstain Bears”.

RIP, Mrs. Berenstain. You brought a lot of joy to generations of children, and that sweet family of bears will be loved by generations to come.

Cracking the Whip

23 Feb

Today is the day when I really have to switch over to concentrating on the next book.

Mending Fences is finally fully loaded. I’d noticed a problem with the italics font in the paperback proofs and corrected it. The new proof arrived today, it looks great, and I gave final approval. So, the paperback edition is now available at CreateSpace, http://bit.ly/wDYYsl. It will show up on Amazon by March 1 and will roll out to other retailers over the next month or two.

I’m awaiting reviews from some excellent websites, which is terrifying. In the meantime, I’m deep into Finding Refuge, the book to be released in May. It’s another contemporary romance, loosely linked to Mending Fences. ::glaring at the impudent paranormal romance that’s been nudging me for two weeks. It knows it has to wait until fall::

Time to crack the whip. I’ve had my head so full of details for getting MF completed that everything else was shoved aside. This weekend’s goals include finishing a magazine article, hitting the grocery store, practicing hard for the St. Patrick’s Day siamsa, and at least completing the pile-of-stuff-to-donate part of Spring Cleaning. Oh, yeah, and did I mention I want to complete this draft of the new book in the next week?

Wish me luck, friends!

Featured on another blog

21 Feb

Mending Fences is being featured on Kindle Romance Novels today. Please hop over and have a look! http://kindleromancenovels.blogspot.com/

Now it’s a “real” book

20 Feb

I’m very, very happy with UPS right now. I didn’t think they’d be delivering today, given that it is President’s Day. But deliver they did, and I’m sitting here with a big grin because I finally have a physical book…See?

They’re much prettier in real life, but my camera did what it could.

If you want a paperback copy of Mending Fences, they should be available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble by the weekend. I’ll post with a link for sure when they’re up and running.

This was a great way to start the week. I hope it continues!

Word for Saturday: Tired

18 Feb

It’s been a long Saturday. We are just a few weeks out from the St. Patrick’s Day parade and siamsa, so, accordingly, dance class kicked my butt today. Of course, in Irish dance, that’s part of the steps…when you kick your foot up behind you, the goal is to tap your butt. Hmm, I need a bumper sticker…Irish Dancers Kick Butt. Bet I can find one on Cafe Press.

Anyway, the rest of the day has been equally tiring, but I got everything done that I needed to, and I’m now giving some love to the next book, Finding Refuge, which goes on sale May 4.

In honor of Sample Sunday tomorrow (it’s a Twitter thing), I’ve added an excerpt from Mending Fences for your reading pleasure. Just click on the book cover to the right or on the Books tab above. You’ll find the text below the book blurb. Enjoy!

Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success

17 Feb

I read this today and absolutely loved it: Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success: A Manifesto « When I Have Time by Sara Rosso.

How many times have you stopped yourself from going after something that interested you, something you wanted to try, because you were afraid of failure, or afraid of what others might think, or …whatever other reason you didn’t go for it?

I’ve done that, so many times. Luckily, something started changing for me after I hit 40. I decided I was too old to worry about what other people thought of me. I realized that life is too short and that I didn’t want to be an old woman someday, thinking back on all the things I wished I had tried. I knew that Old Me wouldn’t be proud of the opportunities I’d backed away from out of fear.

So, I’m pushing myself and I’m doing things I’ve always wanted to try. It doesn’t always go well. I studied Tae Kwon Do last year, and ended up blowing my knee out. I don’t regret a moment of it, though. I loved the lessons I learned. It broke me out of the shell I’d encased myself in over time.

Now that the knee is strong again, I take Irish dance classes, something I’ve loved for years and always talked myself out of doing because I was old and out of shape and I’d look stupid. I have a performance coming up on St. Patrick’s Day, and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m publishing my books, which scares me to death because it’s such a huge a thing to tackle. But now I won’t stare into the mirror someday, looking Old Me in the eye, and regret never trying.

What do you really want to try? Here’s a challenge: Go for it today!

Musings for Mid-February

16 Feb

Ok, mid-February was technically yesterday, but just work with me here…

I’m watching my little birdie friends through my writing office window. While birds come and go throughout the day, the major feedings come in the morning and evening. At those times, there can be a good fifty birds taking turns at the feeders and, for the doves, picking seed off the ground. I fill the feeders at least once a day now, because the strange weather over the last few years has birds returning from the south sooner than they should, just in time to have our very late winters kick in and prevent them from finding food.

They tussle with each other and find ways to take turns, the small ones banding together to pester the big magpies and starlings that like to boss everyone else. One sparrow couple has taken over the birdhouse closest to my window, and several others of various species have inspected the farther one. Still others flirt and play with each other, trying to decide if they’ll mate or keep looking.

My feathered friends like my yard now because I’m feeding them. They like my yard in the summer because it looks like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok…so maybe I do miss spring just a teeny bit. Thank heavens there is sunshine today. I think I shall go spend some time enjoying it.

Couldn’t have said it better…

15 Feb

This is absolutely brilliant! The battle between snooty literary fiction and wrong-side-of-the-tracks genre fiction is the focus of an awesome love letter, seeking reconciliation. [GUEST POST] Daniel Abraham’s Private Letter from Genre to Mainstream – SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog.

Happy Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

I won’t be going out for Valentine’s Day tonight, because my Helvetican works. Instead, we’ll go out to dinner on Thursday, when he’s off. It’ll be more like a Valentine’s Week.

He gave my Valentine’s present to me yesterday, so I could enjoy it a little early.

 

New pajamas! Silky, microfibery, pink and brown mini floral, comfy, perfect-fitting jammies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And candy, but not your basic box of chocolates. No. He went for the vintage candies that are hard to find now, like Razzles and Fizzies drink tablets.

 

 

 

And, finally, a new vintage metal sign for my office. It’ll keep Rosie the Riveter company on the wall.

 

Now, none of this is classically romantic, but oh, be still my heart. The man knows me. And rather than grab a quick and easy bouquet of roses as he leaves work today, he spent the time to go find me really cool stuff that he knew I’d appreciate.

How will I reciprocate? With something he’d never expect. I’m sending him flowers at work! What gift would your honey give you to show that they really know you?

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