Tag Archives: writing

Sabrina Tries to be Nice on Six Sentence Sunday

21 Oct

For this week’s Six Sentence Sunday post, I’m giving you a snippet from my upcoming release, Taming Scrooge.

Sabrina Whitlock’s gift shop shares a building with Will Holly’s ski & snowboard shop. Sabrina’s a bit of a holiday nut and tends to go all out on celebrating and decorations. She knows she drives Will up a tree, and she enjoys needling him for his grumpiness. Still, when she realizes he has worked on Thanksgiving Day, she takes pity on him and delivers a plate of leftovers from the meal she made with her brothers. He’s obviously dubious about her motives when she delivers dinner to his shop, just before closing time. But she perseveres. After all, everyone deserves a great Thanksgiving dinner, even cranky people.

She stretched her arms out, holding the plate up to encourage him. Shouldn’t a bear like him grab a food offering and rush back to his den to gobble it up? He looked positively skittish. “Come on, it’s yummy. A classic Thanksgiving feast. Don’t worry, I left the rat poison off.”

Check out more Six Sentence fun at Six Sentence Sunday!

Another Birthday Gone and Blog Hop Wrap Up

4 Sep

Birthday flowers from my boys!

Hi everyone! What a great Labor Day weekend. Things were truly hopping around here with the blog hop. Locally, after a huge thunderstorm rolled through here and cleaned out the air, we finally got a refresher course in what the mountains and blue sky look like without wildfire smoke haze obscuring everything. Ahhhhh! As an added bonus, the weather has cooled off, FINALLY. Sooooo done with summer heat. Bring on fall!

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes! The birthday stretched to three days this time, to accommodate everyone’s schedules. The Helvetican and I went for sushi on Saturday, yummy, then the family party was on Sunday, with my sister and dad hanging out with us for grilled chicken and ribs. My mom called and her hubby sang a birthday song he wrote.

The kids all remembered my birthday this year, and it was so much fun. The Princess wrote a song about my birthday with ukulele accompaniment. She also made me a Doctor

Tardis card, made by the Princess.

Who Tardis card, complete with the Tenth Doctor inside. Perfect nerd-girl gift! The boys went all out, with cards, coupons for free household chores, cards, flowers, Diet Coke, dark chocolate of several varieties…yes, I’ve trained them well. Then last night, we hit our favorite Mexican place, whose chile verde-smothered chimichangas are divine. I’m calling it a successfully completed birthday.

Inside the Tardis card…The Doctor, of course!

Romancing the Hop ended last night, and I have winner announcements! I plugged all of your comments into the Randomizer to come up with a winner. Miriam Roman wins her choice of a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card. Congrats, Miriam!

FYI, there were 9,000 comments left across the blog hop! Wow! The Hop Grand Prize winners are:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Laurie Goudge
(from It’s the Journey that Counts’s Blog)
$130 Amazon Gift Card:
Ellie
(from Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog)
Swag Pack:
Cassandra
 (from Dana Delamar’s Blog)

Today’s plan? Get a magazine article out the door because today is deadline, and maybe sneak in a nap. Anything else is a wonderful bonus accomplishment.

What did you do this weekend? Any big plans for your week?

Keeping my nose above water

9 Aug

Hi all. Oy, what a week! That seven days absolutely flew by. Sorry to leave you all for so long, but, silly me, I didn’t realize prepping for and hosting an exchange student would totally consume my life. And that’s for a temporary one. Our student is from Japan and is here with a group of 30 or so students for a whirlwind 10-day trip to the USA.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park. Image courtesy of porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re in the middle of the trip right now, during which all the students are gone to see the wonders of Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point in Moab. They’ve already explored Timpanogos Cave and spent time at the Olympic venues in Park City. We get our student back tomorrow, and I expect him to be too tired to go forward with our Friday evening plans (Son #3’s band is doing a show). We can do fun things on Saturday and Sunday, then Monday the students have group activities until the goodbye party. They leave us Tuesday morning for a couple of days at Disneyland before returning to Japan.

It’s been enormously fun so far. Our student speaks far better English than I speak Japanese, and as long as I pay attention I can understand him pretty well. My kids seem to do better than I do.

I was supposed to do Camp NaNoWriMo this month and get 50k words typed by the end of the month. So far, I’ve had a less than stellar start, but I think I can catch up…amid the chaos of prepping two high schoolers to start classes at the end of the month. What a way to say goodbye to the summer.

Is your summer ending quietly or in a mad rush?

Catching Up

25 Jul

Time for another catching up post. At some point soon, I hope to find my rhythm again and get back to posting three times a week, but I need things to return to school-year-normal. Summertime-normal is always a madhouse around here. For now, here are a few random thoughts to bring me current…

The Helvetican and I went to see Dark Knight Rises last night. He picked it apart afterward, as is his nature. No, it wasn’t a perfect film, but I’m much more willing to suspend disbelief and just go with the world the moviemakers have constructed, overlooking bits of unreality in order to enjoy the created world as a whole. And it worked for me. I enjoyed the little twists, the touches like Scarecrow having an appearance, the overall darkness of everything falling apart with redemption well earned. Seeing what a toll being a superhero takes on a person was brilliant, and Christian Bale played it so well. Loved Bane (OMG, Tom Hardy put on some serious muscle for that!). Loooooved this take on Catwoman, now one of my favorite antiheroes EVER. Anne Hathaway was purrrrfect. (I know, lame, couldn’t resist.) And Blake, what a strong character. Great development through the film and a nice setup for him. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has grown into such a fine actor. I really enjoy watching his work.

Ok, enough of the fangirl moment.

The car is still in the shop, one week after it decided to die. Why? Because the darn thing won’t replicate the problem for diagnosis. It started up fine for the mechanic all through the next day until the final time he tried, then it failed to start. That was Friday. First thing Monday, he had the car on the equipment, ready to find out what the problem was…and spent all day Monday without being able to make it fail. Started perfectly every time. The check engine light had cleared itself and no code was in the memory, so we’ve got nothing to go on. Yesterday was a holiday here (Pioneer Day) so, naturally, the shop was closed. The plan today is to run the car hard, on the platform where they can simulate driving without going on the road, with lots of turning off and back on again. If it performs all day properly, we’ll all chalk it up to some weird thing that cleared itself out. I mean, what else can you do? If the car says it is fine, and it behaves fine, it must be fine, right? If there truly is a problem, I can only pray that it shows itself while hooked up to the equipment that will tell us what the problem really is. Cross your fingers for me, okay? Being down to one car is not fun, but I’d hate to get the other car back, only to have it strand us somewhere again.

The Trio, enjoying their new room.

Finally, I don’t think I ever mentioned the latest happenings with the bunnies. Our grand old lady, Brownie, passed away a while back. She was nine and amazed us all every day that she kept going. The Princess, the Helvetican, and I were all there with her at the last, so she was loved up to the end. She was buried between the two mates she had outlived. Her current mate, Smokey, moped around and grew very cranky. We knew he was a lonely bunny, but combining him with the remaining bonded couple didn’t seem like a good option. After all, the boys had their share of fights in the common bunny yard. We ditched both of the bunny condo cages, and gated off an otherwise useless alcove downstairs by the heater/water heater closet. I haven’t measured, but it’s a good 50 square feet or so. Plenty of room for three bunnies. It was a neutral space for all of them, no one had previous claim to it. They tussled a bit, establishing warren ranks, but only the first day. The three have lived in harmony ever since, and the two boys are best friends, while Miss Chelsea is the queen of all she surveys. So, no more lonely bunnies! It was a bit of a change for the Princess, though. It’s the first time in nine years that she didn’t have a bunny living in her bedroom. She had a hard time sleeping for a while because of the quiet.

Writing-wise, I’m working toward a magazine deadline this week, and doing programs for a local theater company production. I’m trying to scribble some fiction here and there where I can, but this may be a lost week. I should add some counters so you can see where I’m at on the books in progress. I’m also trying to clear out some nagging items-that-need-doing around the house before August 1. I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August, trying to put out at least 50k words. That should be fun, working around our temporary exchange student who will be here for ten days next month. More on that later.

Have a great Wednesday! Be sure to pop in Friday when the Hero Hop starts!

A new month and a holiday

1 Jul

Canada Day Graphics

Happy July to everyone and Happy Canada Day to my friends to the north!

I’ve never had the opportunity to go to Canada, but that’s an item on my bucket list. I want to see as much as possible, from the Pacific to the Atlantic and up into the frozen north. If you’re Canadian or have spent time in Canada, what would you recommend as a must-see stop for that bucket list tour?

My goals for the month of July include:

  • 30k on the paranormal romance novel
  • 15k on the next contemporary in the Heart’s Redemption series
  • Spend lots of time with the Helvetican. We’re going fishing Tuesday, WOOHOO!
  • Nudge the son who has some credits to make up before school starts again
  • Get the electrician in here to do the work needed on the house so we don’t accidentally burn the place to the ground
  • Find the surface of my desk. Seriously. When I can’t find things in my file-by-pile system, you know it is out of control. I really need to upload before and after photos. You’ll be shocked that I can get anything done in this mess. But, on the other hand, you know the old saying…If a messy desk is the sign of a messy mind, what’s an empty desk a sign of?

A must read for anyone who creates

28 Jun

If you are an artist, a musician, a writer, someone who creates…

If you don’t dare show your work to others for fear that it isn’t perfect, no matter how many times you’ve polished and revised and improved it…

If you offer your work and it is enjoyed by many and yet criticized by others to the point that you tremble with the need to revise and improve what you once thought was a finished product…

READ THIS: The Business Rusch: Perfection « Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Yes, writers and other creators need to master the skills of their trade. We need to grow and improve, to study and to keep creating. But there comes a point when we have to be able to trust ourselves that the work is done.

How many projects have you done that you have literally workshopped to death? That you have revised until it is polished but lifeless? That you have stored in a closet or on a hard drive because you fear that it isn’t perfect and will therefore never be good enough?

I’ve done this so many times. And Ms. Rusch walloped me upside the head with a perspective that I sorely needed today.

Read her blog. It will be so worth the time, I promise!

Need more hours!

27 Jun

There are not enough hours in the day. There used to be. I remember getting so much done and still having hours left over when I was younger. Did someone just mess with time while I wasn’t looking? Did minutes compress so that an hour still looks like an hour but is actually more like 30 minutes?

I need more hours. I’m not getting done nearly what I need to this week, even when I’m cutting into sleep to carve out extra time. I have costumes to finish for two teenagers going on a camp tomorrow (long story about why there’s costumes). I have a nonfiction article deadline on Monday that I need to put some time into. The grocery store and I must have a meeting at some point today. I’ve already told the remaining weeds in the yard that they have won today’s battle because I won’t be coming out to fight. And the Helvetican has the day off and wants to hang out. I miss him, dang it, I want to hang out too.

Anyone have some extra hours on hand that they’ll loan me? Even a few spare minutes here and there will add up.

Death of an Inspiration and a Legend

7 Jun

I have to take a moment out of this week’s insanity to post about the loss of a legendary writer, a man whose works both entertained and inspired me: Ray Bradbury, who was 91 at his passing. I know this might seem strange, coming from a romance writer. But before I wrote contemporary romance, I toiled over tales of speculative fiction (with romantic subplots), and most of my reading in my youth came from that genre.

I came across Mr. Bradbury’s work as a young teen, when my reading material consisted primarily of epic fantasy novels. His stories and novels added more speculative fiction into my reading mix. The dark look at the future in Fahrenheit 451 cracked my youthful vision of a utopian future world, leading to growth in both my critical thinking skills and my imagination. Something Wicked This Way Comes entertained me, scared me, and made me think about deeper themes, which further shaped my storytelling skills as I studied how to wrap several elements into a tale. I devoured his short stories and enjoyed the adaptations on his TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater.

Mr. Bradbury is a true legend among speculative fiction fans. He will be missed, but through his work, he will live forever.

A perspective on criticism

2 Jun

I came upon a fabulous blog post today. It is primarily focused on writers, as it is discussing negative reviews. However, I think it gives a great perspective on criticism of any sort a person might face. For the record, I love chocolate, bacon, and Harry Potter. That will make more sense if you read Beth’s post: Beth Revis: How to Respond to Negative Reviews.

For me, negative reviews cause a moment of brutal embarrassment. Think about those moments in life when you’ve totally and completely made a fool of yourself. Remember that sort of instant nausea accompanied by the furious pounding of your heart, when you’re sure that everyone saw what you did and everyone thinks bad things about you and you’ll never live it down? That’s the feeling I get. Once I get past that nasty emotional stew, then I take what I can from the comments that will help me improve, and I let it go. You can’t please everyone all the time. People’s tastes are far too wide-ranging for me to ever write something that all romance readers enjoy. And that’s okay. Because if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.

How do you respond to criticism?

Monday morning and I can’t get moving

16 Apr

Help, I’m tired and I can’t get up! Ugh. Part of the problem is that I’m trying to break my Diet Coke habit and force myself to sleep a normal number of hours. Typically, I’ll sleep 5-6 hours, catch an hour nap during the day if I’m exceedingly lucky, and then stay sharp by drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke. Not the healthiest way to live. So, I got over 7 hours of sleep, I’m nice and hydrated with water, as I should be, and I CANNOT get going. The brain is mushy. Plus, the start of a withdrawal headache is nudging at the back of my skull. All this on a day when I have words to write. Lots of them.

::sigh::

I admit defeat. $1 large Diet Coke at the Mickey-D’s on the corner, coming right up!

What have you tried to change for your health and failed at before finally succeeding? Please, show me I’m not alone in my struggle!

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