Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Query

I think I need to rework my query.

I was really hoping it wouldn’t come to that, but if that’s what it takes to get requests for partials, then I guess that’s what I need to do. It’s certainly not working as is.

Maybe that’s something I can do tonight while I’m waiting in line to see “Eclipse”. You read that right. I’ll be one of the crazy people out tonight to catch the midnight showing of the movie. Right along with my daughter. She might be able to help me write that darn query, too.

I am looking forward to the movie. We’ve been to the midnight showing of the other two (and froze in the November air), so it’s becoming a tradition for us. We’ll be doing the same when “Breaking Dawn” comes out, too (whenever that will be). What can I say – we’re hooked on the series.

So, maybe sitting outside in the relative warm air (the high is only supposed to get into the mid 70’s), among other “Twilight” fans, will inspire me to write a better query. One that will grab that agent and make them want to read more.

It’s my dream, and I’m sticking to it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This morning I left my house in a relative mess. Well, it’s usually messy (I am not a very good housekeeper), but today is different.

Today is the day my husband and our friend is blowing insulation in our attic. They are also replacing the exhaust fan in our bathroom.

When I left, my husband managed to pull down the blinds with one yank. I had no problem opening the blinds on Tuesday (although it was probably the first time in years they had been opened), but I was gentle. Yanking never solved anything for me.

I told my husband I expected them to be back up by the time I got home. I’m apparently expecting too much. Seemed the plastic “dry rotted”. How does plastic dry rot? Especially in the bathroom – the least driest place in the whole house! I think he just yanked it so hard it broke.

By now you’re probably wondering why I should care about the blinds. I mean it’s only the bathroom, right? Well, it’s a HUGE picture window, the glass is not frosted, and it’s in the front of the house. The curtains are sheer (because my husband wanted light to shine), so you can easily see into the room without the blinds (especially at night).

The window looks pretty on the outside of the house, but is really not functional as a bathroom window INSIDE the house. The only good thing: we live on a cul de sac. At least we won’t have the traffic. And the sun doesn’t set until after 9:00pm – another plus. I really don’t relish being an exhibitionist.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New York City!

If anyone should be visiting NYC this weekend, you will find me at this event.

My son will be singing with the choir at Lincoln Center this Sunday at 2:00pm and I’ll be there to watch (and listen).

This is our second trip to the city for such an occasion. Two years ago he sang with the choir at Carnegie Hall.

Needless to say, we do our best to travel wherever our children are performing.

And if I didn’t already have plans on July 10th, we’d be going to Milwaukee to watch our daughter play Footy.

Friday, June 18, 2010


The other day I drove behind THE STAR and she drove a blue Ford Focus.

I know it was THE STAR, because that’s what it said on her license plate.

Of course, I’m only assuming the driver was a she because I could barely see the top of the driver’s head

Besides, what SHORT guy would drive around in a blue Ford Focus with the plates THE STAR anyway?

What PERSON would drive around in a blue Ford Focus with the plates THE STAR?

Would that person demand attention all the time? Do you think they would be the life of the party, and that they attended LOTS of them? It’s something to ponder when I create a new character. That’s something to think about. What kind of personalized plate would my character have?

Personalized license plates are interesting. If I weren’t so CHEAP, I’d probably get personalized plates (easier to remember the number), but they would be more in tuned to the car I was driving, not about me (because in all likelihood, my husband could very well be driving).

Like, if I did actually get a yellow Xterra, I would want the plates to say BMBLBEE (we’re stuck with 7 characters in Ohio). I like to name my cars, so that’s what the plate would reflect.

Would you ever consider personalized plates? Do you own them already? Do you have any idea why someone would have THE STAR? Curious minds want to know.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


When I was younger (I could say “a kid”, but I was 13 and wouldn’t have liked to be called that THEN), I anxiously awaited each day for the mail. I loved getting mail. I had several pen pals and I would usually get something from someone. I got so much mail, I was friends with the mail man. His name was Don (and later on I would say hi to him on my letters to my parents – written on the front of the envelope so he could see).

Now, this was before e-mails and texting and blogs. I think I would have loved blogging back then! Texting, too! And Facebook!

I loved writing letters, but I loved receiving them more.

I haven’t changed.

I look to see if anyone commented on my blog. I look to see if anyone sent me a message on Facebook. And now I anxiously check my e-mail – several times a day – to see if I’ve heard back from an agent. It’s ridiculous the amount of times in a day I’ve gone and checked. I’ve read about others who have done that and I thought – not me. I wouldn’t do that. HA!

So beware – those of you who have yet to send out queries. Your obsession with e-mail will come! I think it’s a rite of passage.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Today my baby graduated college (Class of 2010 at Wright State University).  It took her seven years (with a nine month break spent in Australia), but I'm proud she stuck it out and got it done.

I don't think college was right for her in the beginning.  After a little more than a year of classes, she decided to drop out and live in Australia.  The day she left was the worst day of my life.  I worried everyday that something would happen to her and we wouldn't know.  She depended on friends to live, so she had no money, no place of her own, no real way to communicate.  Lucky for us, Australia wouldn't let her stay longer than nine months and she had to come home.

The girl who left for Australia was a little spoiled.  The woman who returned was wiser and nicer.  She asked if she could go back to college (asked, because we were paying) and changed her major from music to english.  She took all the classes she could at the Community College to help with the costs (since it was much cheaper than the University).

It wasn't long before she moved out, though (we kind of saw that coming), but she continued to go to school full time while working full time.  It was a hard task for her, but she made it - and with a B average.

I think her trip to Australia was really the best thing she could have done.  I don't think she would be where she is today without that experience.  It was a rough nine months for me, but did wonders for her.  We're proud of her and I just wanted to let her (and everyone else) know.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Line Courses

Seems I can’t get away from on-line courses. The kind your employer makes you take.

At work, we’re getting a new sales aid. We’re currently using Salesforce and will be switching to ConnectWise. I’ve been assigned twenty classes to take. Twenty SALES classes. Oh, the agony!

I’ve already taken six of the courses and each time I start a class, the same thing happens. My eyes glaze over and I nod off to sleep. Not helpful when you’re tested at the end, let me tell you. And yes, I’m not only tested, I must pass at 80% or better. Considering there are 10 (or fewer) questions to each class, that’s crappy. If I don’t pass (which happened in one case already), I must take the class again. If I thought it was boring the first time around, you can imagine what I thought the second time.

So now I try to take notes. I’m usually a horrid note taker (and I tend to miss important stuff as I’m writing – but hey, if I’m asleep I’m missing it already), but it helps keep me awake and hopefully hit on key points that are used in the tests. It didn’t help as well as I thought. My 70% failure only went up to 80% passing. Which means instead of getting 3 questions wrong WITHOUT notes, I got 2 wrong WITH notes (see what I mean about note taking?).

I am not a sales person, but I work in sales. In fact, I support the sales department (with my brilliant Access and Excel Skills). I don’t do “sales” stuff. I don’t sell anything & I don’t take orders. I report data (which really isn’t all that different than when I was a cost accountant – I just reported different data). So far only one class I’ve taken has hit on anything I do. It was the one class I actually stayed awake for.

Still, I hate on-line classes. You know why? Because you don’t learn anything! At least in college, you had homework assignments that repeated what you learned in class. Sure, I passed these on-line classes, but I don’t think I could tell you what it was I learned. It never had enough time to sink in. If anything, they will only help me when we get the software and I can say “Yes, I remember seeing that icon, but I have absolutely no idea what it does!”

So, have you had to take on-line courses for work? Do you enjoy them? Hate them like I do? I’m curious. Am I the only one who feels this way about them?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


As promised, here's the short story I wrote for the local contest.  It's not paranormal, but has romance.  I think it's cute.  I'd be happy to hear what you think about it.  If you don't want to comment here, you can always find me on Facebook and comment there.  And now - THE FERRIS WHEEL.

Just looking up at the monstrosity caused Violet’s stomach to churn, but she couldn’t look away. Did it sway? No, wait. That was her. She had hoped the Ferris wheel would look smaller in daylight. She couldn’t have been more wrong.

“What did I ever do to you?” She finally tore her eyes away and looked at Crystal. “I’ll ride any other ride here. Why this one?”

“Relax, Vi. I have a secret weapon.”

A secret weapon? For a Ferris wheel? “I don’t think any kind of weapon will get me on one of those things,” Violet said, pointing at said ride.

“Don’t be so quick to say no.” Crystal looked over Violet’s shoulder and frowned. “Where is he?”

“Where is who?” Violet turned to see who Crystal was questioning. It was Brandon.

“Hey Babe,” Brandon said. “He’s coming.” He placed his arm around Crystal’s waist before giving her a kiss on her temple. Violet smiled at his personal display of affection. There wasn’t anyone in her life like that.

“Who’s coming?” Violet asked.

Crystal grinned like she had something up her sleeve. “Nick,” she said.

The mention of his name caused her chest to constrict. “Nick? As in Nick Roberts?”

“You called?”

Violet turned at the sound of his voice. His nice, deep, sexy sounding voice. What was he doing here? The last time she saw him, she had made a fool of herself by asking him out. And why would she think he’d ever want to go out with her? It wasn’t like she was shapely like Crystal. Unless you call straight a shape. Her hair had no curl, no bounce, and it certainly wasn’t blonde like most of the women that fawned over him. Those other women also didn’t wear glasses. Violet was blind without hers. Still, they’d been friends for nearly a year and she thought he liked her, so she risked asking him out. Even though his rejection was sort of expected, it still hurt. That had been two months ago; she hadn’t seen him since.

And now he was standing there, not two feet away, looking as hunky as ever. His t-shirt fit him like a second skin, accentuating the muscular body he owned. She knew he’d been working out, just not how much. The sight caused a lump to form in her throat.

He gazed at her and she was lost in his brown eyes.

“So, what’s this I hear about you afraid of riding the Ferris wheel?”

Violet snapped her head toward Crystal. “You told him?” she mouthed.

“Why don’t we go stand in line and we can talk about it there?” Crystal said.

Violet’s legs refused to move. “I’ll just wait in the beer garden.” Yeah, a drink would do her good. “You all go on without me.”

“Nonsense,” Nick said as he took her arm and slipped it through his.

No soft flesh there. His arm was solid muscle and she resisted the urge to feel more of it. She still didn’t want to walk to the ride, but once he touched her, her body didn’t care. It just followed right along with the rest of them; her mind be damned.

“What are you so afraid of?” Nick asked.

“Falling. Hurting. Dying,” Violet said. Making another fool of myself, she thought. Why did Crystal have to invite Nick? And why was it so damn important she ride the stupid Ferris wheel anyway?

“If I promise none of those things will happen to you, will you relax?”

She was tense, but how could he make a promise like that? She’d seen freakier things happen.

The four of them reached the back of the line and fell in place. Well, she would stand in the line, but there was no way she was getting on that ride. He’d have to pick her up and force her. Of course, if he picked her up, she probably wouldn’t care what he did with her, just as long as he didn’t let go. Oh God, she had it bad. Maybe standing in line wasn’t such a good thing.

Violet leaned into Crystal and whispered into her ear. “Why are we doing this? Have I done something wrong? If so, I’m sorry. I’ll clean the apartment; I’ll do your laundry. Just don’t punish me like this.”

Nick laughed. Crap. He heard her?

“It’s not Crystal’s fault,” he said. “I asked her to bring you.”

“And my job is done,” Crystal said. “See you in a little while.” She grabbed Brandon’s arm and dragged him off as he smiled and waved goodbye.

Violet stared at Crystal’s retreating body. The traitor. How could she do this? First the ride. Now Nick.

The line was moving much too fast. Violet’s heart started skipping beats. Sweat trickled down between her breasts. How was she going to get out of this?

Nick stood behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She jumped. “Relax, Violet. You can do this. I promise nothing bad will happen.”

He gently massaged her shoulders. Now she didn’t know if she was jumpy because of the ride or because of his touch. Every muscle in her body was clenched. She closed her eyes, trying to relax, while he continued to massage and propel her forward.


Her eyes flew open. The attendant was standing there holding the bar so they could slide onto the seat. The next thing she knew, she was sitting beside Nick. Her heart stopped and she held her breath. What was she doing? She had to get off.

“Give me these.” Nick gently removed her glasses.

“Hey!” She reached out for them, but once they were off her eyes everything became blurry. “I can’t see without them.”

“I know. You can’t be afraid of something you can’t see. Just pretend we’re sitting on a porch swing. Close your eyes if it’ll make it better.”

She could almost buy into that, until the swing started to move. They were apparently the last ones to embark as the ride didn’t stop to let any more passengers on. She was fine as the swing rose, but once it started downward, her throat met her stomach.

“Oh God.” She reached out to grab the bar and found his hands instead. He didn’t move them so she concentrated on the warmth of his skin instead of the movement of the ride.

“I want to apologize, Violet.”

“I might forgive you if I live through this. Why don’t we wait and see?”

Nick chuckled. “Not about the ride. About how I acted when you asked me out.”

Words escaped her. She did not want to have this conversation.

“You kind of shocked me,” he continued. “I didn’t think you were interested in me that way.”

How could anyone not be interested in him that way? Didn’t he look in a mirror?

“It wasn’t until after you left that I started thinking about you. I missed your jokes. I missed the little digs you gave me whenever I said something inappropriate. I missed you.”

Did she hear him right? He missed her? His fingers touched her chin and he turned her face to him.

“Violet.” His face was close to hers; she smelled mint. “I want to kiss you.”

She lamely nodded. Was this really happening? But he didn’t like her. Didn’t he? His lips were soft and warm and she melted into him. A fire burned deep inside her and she brought her hand up to the back of his head just as the Ferris wheel came to a jarring halt.

“What’s happening?” she screeched. Instinctively, she grabbed onto the first thing within reach – his hair.

He muttered a curse and his hand covered hers. Gently he uncurled her fingers. “It’s okay, Violet. You can let go. Nothing’s happening. They’re starting to let people off.”

She pulled her hand away. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I can’t see.”

“Then maybe you should put these back on.” When she realized he was putting her glasses on her face, she finished the process. Nick came back into focus, looking as handsome as ever and grinning from ear to ear.

“See. I told you you would survive the ride.”

The ride moved to the next position and jerked to another stop. Crystal’s secret weapon came to mind. Is that what all this was about? Distract her to get her on the ride? She pulled back and scooted away, keeping her eyes down.

“Violet, what’s the matter?” He slid closer to her.

Why was he tormenting her? What had she ever done to him but like him? “You tricked me?” she murmured.

His arm went around her shoulders. She wanted to die. Wasn’t it enough she made a fool of herself before? Now he only rubbed it into her face. Her vision became blurry and this time it wasn’t from the lack of her glasses.

“I’m sorry if it seems that way. I really didn’t know you were afraid of heights when I asked Crystal to arrange the meet. I figured it was an excuse. I just wanted to get you alone somewhere where you couldn’t run from me.”

He wasn’t making any sense. “Why would I run from you?” For two months she dreamed he’d make contact of some sort. For two months she lived in disappointment.

“Because you never returned my calls,” he said.

No way. Now she knew he was lying. “You never called. I can prove it.” She fished her phone out of her pocket and opened it up. After pushing several buttons, she lifted the phone to his face. “See, no calls from you.”

He looked at the phone for a moment and then his eyebrows raised. “Violet, that’s not my number.” He took the phone from her hands and pushed some buttons of his own. He held the phone up to her. “That’s my number.”

“What?” On the display were the calls she had been getting from “Number Unknown”. She had been ignoring him because she thought they were prank calls. How the hell had she done that?

“So, you were hoping I would call?” he asked. “You don’t hate me?”

God no, she could never hate him. She was afraid she’d screwed up their friendship. She smiled when it hit her: he likes her.

When she raised her head to tell him, her eyes scanned the horizon. Oh God, the ground was so far away. She gripped the hand rail and started to hyperventilate. Nick sprung into action and claimed her mouth with his. She could kiss him forever; she was in heaven. When she heard someone cough, she opened her eyes. The attendant was waiting for them to debark.

Violet batted her eyes at Nick. “Want to ride it again?”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thanks for Voting

For those few of you who voted, I appreciate it! 

Final results:  3 for Stacy McKitrick, 2 for Stacy Thurber and 2 for Either One.  Since one didn't appear to stand out more than the other, I guess I still have to think about it.  I will worry about that when the time comes. 

Right now it's more important to find an agent and write my second book.  And as you can see on the right, my word count is now official.  That's where it stands right now.  When I get to a certain chapter, the number will probably drop, since I have to remove a scene that is no longer needed (from an edit I made to Book 1).  It feels good to work on it, though.

And a bit of depressing news.  My short story did not win first place or honorable mention in the Dayton Daily News contest.  HEAVY SIGH.  So expect to see me post it on my blog soon for you to read.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Visit to the Windy City

This past holiday weekend my husband and I accompanied another couple and visited Chicago. We did the same thing two years ago, and decided on the drive back to make it an event every other year (last year we went to St. Louis, next year maybe Tennessee somewhere). We like to go somewhere on Memorial Day weekend apparently. It’s better than sitting around at home.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. I was afraid it would be too cold (since it was on Friday night, when we arrived), but it warmed up each day, eventually hitting the 80’s (and a bit muggy, too). No complaints, though – better than being cold!

On Saturday we did a very touristy thing and took a Segway tour. Three hours! My feet got a bit tired (and my nose & neck got sunburned), but it was a great tour (and lots of fun, too). We “drove” to Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, Soldier Field (couldn’t get inside, though), Northerly Island, and along the lake. Most of the pictures are on my husband’s camera and I will eventually get my hands on them. (It was so bright outside that the screen on the back of my camera looked black, so I couldn’t “see” what picture I was taking). The guide we had was very amusing and knowledgeable (and not bad to look at, either!).

On Sunday we went to a Cubs game. It was my husband’s & my first visit to Wrigley Field (our friends are big Cubs fans and have gone many times). Of course, the Cubs lost and our friends blame my husband, but not me (yes, it’s that kind of friendship). I wasn’t outwardly rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals like my husband was (whose only goal was to aggravate our friends), but I was certainly not unhappy about the result. What can I say? I hate the Cubs!! My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t care. It’s not like it was football.

All in all it was a short trip, but lots of fun. The city is gun ho on the Blackhawks right now (in the Stanley Cup Finals), and I was more than willing to root for them (since I don’t like the Flyers). We did look into getting tickets for Saturday’s game, but at $250 for standing room only, we nixed that idea.

Looking forward to our next “long” weekend (which will involve some vacation time). My son will be performing with his choir at Lincoln Center in NYC. Can’t miss that!