Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I've started editing Sarah's Turn and realized it really needs revising. My writing skills have apparently improved since I wrote that book in 2010 and this project will take longer than I had anticipated.

Not that I'm complaining about that. No. I want this book to be good. It deserves to be good.

It's just that every time I tried to work on it last night, I got interrupted.

Very frustrating.

It's my own fault, I know that. I should have gone into another room.

Lesson learned.

We'll see what day I can put that to use! This week is filling up fast.

Tonight – movie with the daughter (we're going to see Underworld-Awakening and it's $6 Tuesday).

Wednesday – Angel, season 5, with the daughter.

Thursday – writers group meeting, 7-10pm (tempted to blow this off, though).

Friday – Hey! I can work on my book!

How's your week looking?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Picture to Share

This beautiful sunset occurred last week when I got home from work and I did my best to capture it on...digital (well, it's not film anymore!). If I included any of the street, the sky washed out.

I just love the pinks!

Thought I would share. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Character is Driving Me Nuts!

While my next vampire character gave me a name I fell in love with, he surprised me with his heritage – Russian.

I know nothing about Russians or the language. There is no Russian line in my family tree. Mostly Irish, Scottish, and German.

But my character will know Russian. Of course, he'll be an old vampire, who has lived in the States long enough to have lost his accent, but he'll use words and phrases. The trouble is, I don't know any words or phrases in Russian!

So…time to do some research.

I started with Google Translator. Big help there – not! It translates the English into Cyrillic – major unreadable! Luckily, the program let me listen to the word.

Ugh! Aren't there any sweet sounding Russian words? When I listened to some of the translations of "sweetheart" or "dear", they didn't sound very…endearing. But I'm not giving up.

I discovered this book: "Dictionary of Russian Slang and Colloquial Expressions". Sounds interesting, if only B&N or Amazon showed some sample pages! I even checked to see if there were any copies locally. Apparently, we don't have a need for this particular Russian dictionary, since the six closest stores are out of stock. So, looks like I might try the library next. If that doesn't work, I'll just buy the darn book.

Russian! Well, I can honestly say that will be unique. At least, it is to me. I see French and Italian used in paranormal books all the time. Of course, their language sounds sexy. I sure hope I find something sexy sounding in Russian.

Actually, I'm hoping some kind of Russian insult sounds sexy. Now that would be funny!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stamps, Stamps, and More Stamps

When I was a teenager, I collected stamps. I remember going to the post office and buying stamps. I remember soaking the stamps from the letters from my English and Australian pen-pals. I remember ordering stamps through the mail. I remember spending hours putting the stamps into my album.

Heck, I even I remember making friends with my mailman – his name was Don. He called me a philatelist.

I still have the collection – it's somewhere in the basement. Is it worth a lot of money? Probably not. I don't have THAT many. I'm sure I thought it was an investment at the time. But that's not why I collected. I liked looking at all the neat stamps other countries had – all the neat stamps our country had. It was a fun hobby.

I do know that an un-cancelled stamp is worth more than a cancelled stamp, though (duh!). So imagine my shock when my husband's E-bay package came in the mail the other day, covered in old stamps.

How old? The eight cent stamps (Winter Olympics) were dated 1972. Some of the thirteen cent stamps indicate Colorado's centennial, so that would be 1976. But the oldest is the three cent stamp indicating Hawaii, which was issued in 1937!

It was like someone took their stamp collection and used them to mail the package. I can't imagine someone doing that, when they had been kept unused all these years.

My husband was nice and made sure not to rip the box open. And I don't think I'll ever be able to throw the box away, either.

Because that collector is still in me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What I Read Last Two Weeks

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first noticed what Stephen King's latest book, 11/22/63, was about. I'm not a huge fan of history, per se, but I like reading about the people in the past. Still, it was a Stephen King book, so I had to read it (because that's the kind of fan I am – and boy, wouldn't it be nice if I had fans like that!).

I really picked the perfect time to read it – in between projects. It only took me two weeks, compared to the four weeks I took to read Under the Dome. But then, 11/22/63 is a way better book. At least I think so.

Some people think his books are too long, that this could have been pared down to about 400 words (vs. the 850 it is). I say hogwash! Maybe he can go on a little long, but I love books with meat on them. Heck, I just love his writing.

This is a Stephen King book my husband could read (he hates horror). It involves time travel and has characters I really cared about. By page 600, I didn't want to put it down (It was hard going to sleep on Friday night and then going to the workshop on Saturday – all I did was think about that book – I nearly finished it that night, but couldn't keep my eyes open past 11:30. I finished it early Sunday morning).

It was a suspenseful read and even had a love story in there (yay!).

Have you read it yet? What did you think?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rough Day

Today I thought about 36 years ago. That's when I joined the Army. A long time ago, but almost like yesterday, too. I was going to write a better blog about it, but work got busy and then I got some disappointing news, so when I came home all I wanted to do was read (I doesn't hurt that I like 11/22/63 and I'm finding it hard to put down).

You see, I got another rejection. It stings like always, but I think the reading helped.

Tomorrow I'm off to a writer workshop to learn writer stuff. I just hope the roads aren't too icy (I have to drive to Columbus). It's sleeting out there now and it supposed to turn to freezing rain. But the car is in the garage, so as long as the roads are treated (and I believe they are), then I'm good to go.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm Addicted

Addicted to what, you might ask? Well, nothing bad. Not really. It might be kind of good, even.

Let me start off saying – I like to keep spreadsheets of my characters. When you write a series, it's almost a requirement, especially if that character shows up in more than one book. My problem – I didn't start keeping a detailed spreadsheet until I was writing My Sunny Vampire, my third book (but first in my series).

Now I'm thinking about Book #5 (which I don't have a name for, yet) and I needed some information on a secondary character that shows up in all my vampire books. So I opened my spreadsheet to check him out and discovered – nothing!

Oh sure, I had his height, eye color, and age, but nothing important. Then I realized where that information was stored – in Sarah's Turn, the sequel (Book #2) to The Uncommon One (Book #1).

Okay, easy enough. I'll just open the document and look for the information I need. BIG MISTAKE. As I scanned the book, I kept stopping. Ooh, this is where so & so happens. Ooh, I like this scene. Next thing I knew, I started to READ it.

Why is this a problem? #1: I was at work (oops) and #2: Sarah's Turn is complete, but hasn't been read by anyone yet. I've been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for my daughter to go over it first (and point out any glaring errors) before I sent it off to readers. But it being a sequel, there wasn't any rush (except for my friend who wants to read it, but that's another issue).

If I start reading it, I'll want to fix it. And being so apart from the story (since Dec 2010), I should just start at the beginning, make my notes (fix any thing that pops out at me) and get my information. Heck, it might help me get into the world I created for Book #5 (since there are more than one character in this book that will show up in that one).

So yes, I'm addicted. To my stories. I open up the book and I want to read them, which leads to getting lost. Big time.

And now I can't wait to get back to Sarah's Turn. It really has been too long.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Wow! I actually exercised yesterday and feel it today. Thank goodness I didn't do a lot (walked for 20 minutes and lifted 8 lb dumbbells in 4 different positions) or I might not be able to do it again tomorrow. That's the problem with starting out. You think you can do a lot on the first day – and you can – but you'll pay for it later. I think I did just enough to get started. I'll know better on Thursday.

I'd like to think I'll stick to it this time. I do have motivation, though. My husband's goal is to weigh less than me. Mine is that he doesn't!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life Without a WIP (Work in Progress)

Since finishing up the first draft of Ghostly Liaison (my fourth book) way back on January 2, I've been doing lots of stuff, but no writing. Well, I take that back. I've been writing (blogging) and doing writing-related things, but I haven't started a new book, yet. I think that might just wait until after I've edited #4, which I won't start on until I finish critiquing my crit partner's book.

And I'm working on that, Todd. Really, I am!

I have written something for Book #5 – written as if my character wrote it. I never thought this project would give me insight into his psyche – I just needed some background information on my story – and I'm enjoying getting to know him this way. I have to say, it makes me wonder if I should do this for all my main characters. Not like a diary entry, but maybe as a letter to the editor of a newspaper. Or something like that. How they react to certain situations should tell you a lot. At least it is for me.

Besides writing and writing-related things, I've gotten caught up on The Vampire Diaries (a guilty pleasure of mine). Of course, Being Human started last night (another guilty pleasure). My husband doesn't watch either show, so they get recorded and watched on his teaching nights (this quarter that would be Tuesday and Thursday). Hopefully, I keep up with them in a more timely manner, because I really like those shows.

Another thing I may do before I get back into full-blown writing, is read more. I'm in the middle of 11/22/63 and would like to finish it before the end of the month. It's a monster book (nearly 900 pages) and if I dawdle too long, I may not reach my goal of 55 books by year end!

And in non-writing related news, I sent my resume out for three job openings that are closer to home. In the past, I would have hemmed and hawed before hitting send on the e-mail. This time I just did it. I don't know if I've gotten braver from attending conventions or pitching, or if I just don't give a (%@& anymore.

So, we'll see if anything happens. I figure it couldn't hurt to submit. If I'm lucky enough to get an interview and lucky enough to get an offer and I find out the job just isn't right for me, I can always say no. Of course, working at a job I dislike 22 miles away vs. a job I dislike 6 miles away, I'll take the one 6 miles away every time. I've learned my lesson!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Do you know what an initialism is? Sure you do. I bet you use them every day. I try to avoid using them, mainly because I find them irritating, but mostly because I don't know what half of them mean!

A lot of people think initialisms are acronyms, but they aren't. Not really. There is a difference between the two. According to the dictionary:

Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters or group of letters in a set phrase or series of words, as scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), radar (radio detection and ranging), and laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).

Initialisms are a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately, as FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), LOL (laughing out loud) and ASAP (as soon as possible).

So if you use it as a word, it's an acronym. If you pronounce each letter, it's an initialism. Of course, a series of initials can probably mean more than one thing, i.e. LOL. Most people use it as laughing out loud, but it can also be used as lots of love. Guess you really need to pay attention to HOW the initials are used.

And that comes to my story (and why I don't necessarily use initialisms).

At work, one of the project managers sent an e-mail to the group, a request for a subcontractor purchase order. And I knew this because of the subject and the attachment, not from the e-mail, itself. All the message said was:


Now, maybe someone who tweets or sends text messages a lot would automatically know what this means. I, however, had to think (poor brain) before I realized that the message said:

Let Me Know If You Have Any Questions.

I jokingly said to my co-worker that the guy probably tweeted too much. In which she came up with her own decipher:

Land My Kick In Your Hairy Ass Quickly.

So, beware of the initialisms you use. They can be misinterpreted other than what you intended!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow is Pretty

The drive home from work yesterday was pretty.

Yeah, pretty.

Sure, I wasn't happy that I had to scrape the ice off my car and brush off the little bit of snow, but the snow stuck. Not only to my car, but to the branches and bushes, making everything white. I like it when snow does that.

It's times like these when I wish I had my camera (as it was too dark by the time I arrived at home). Then I wonder – who the heck would take the picture? Hello! I'm driving! So maybe it's better the camera stays at home.

It would be safer for me that way.

And…for something I haven't done in awhile. If you've been following The WRiTE CLUB, good for you. If not, get on over there and vote in Round 10. The first rounds will finish up this month. Then in February the finalists go head to head.

And when it's all over, I'll let you know if I was ever picked. Yeah, I submitted. No, I didn't use my real name. That's all I'm saying.

Oh, and before I forget - Happy Friday the 13th to my daughter!! They are her favorite days of the year.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Brain is Fried

It's Thursday. I think. Let me check. Yep. Definitely Thursday.

This has been one busy week at work. And it's fried my brain. It must have. I can't seem to think anymore.

That's what happens at work, though. When it rains it pours. It's either all or nothing. And right now it's pouring ALL. Not only order after order, but proposal after proposal.

Wish I could say it was pouring outside, though. Nope. It's snowing. And windy. So the snow is falling sideways.

All in all, a lovely day!

Can't wait to get home and hibernate.

Hope your day is going better.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Start of Book #5

I love it when characters takes hold. I woke up Sunday with my future hero talking to my future heroine. Not only that – I got his name!

Later, my husband and I went out to dinner and the heroine's name hit me. I have a COUPLE! I'm so happy.

I still have some work to do with my characters, but it's nice to get their voices in my head. Just listening to them talk tells me a lot. Yeah, I sound nuts. And maybe I am. But I don't care. I think I would hate it if the voices stopped. Well, I know I would.

I've even started some writing, but not on the story. On the backstory. I find if I can get that written and solidified in my head, the story will write much better. I did this WAY too late on my last book and I won't make that mistake again.

Now, all I have to do is come up with a title. Ugh! I hope it comes to me before I type "The End"!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I think I'm all set for 2012. I've registered (and paid for – ouch) three conventions (or conferences):

Fantasy on the Bayou hosted by the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal (FF&P) Chapter of RWA. This is their first conference and I belong to this chapter. It's being held in New Orleans. My husband will be driving down with me and we'll spend a couple of extra days to sight-see.

Romantic Times Booklovers Convention (I can't believe they don't have a banner or something I can copy, but I couldn't find anything but this picture of a previous book fair). I enjoyed the RT Convention when it was in Columbus. This year it's in Chicago (in April), so it's drivable by myself. And I already have a roommate from someone I met at the Columbus convention.

Lori Foster Annual Reader & Writer Get Together. This one is local for me – West Chester, OH (just north of Cincinnati). I had lots of fun last year, even though I had no idea what to expect. Now I do, and I'll be more prepared.

Why so many? Because I'm nuts? Truthfully, I am serious about my writing and I just think I should put myself out there and be seen, even if I'm not published yet. Heck, maybe an editor or agent will remember me from one of these events. It also helps me get over some of my shyness – although I doubt that will ever go away. But the more people I meet, the more comfortable I become – especially when I find someone I met at a previous convention!

So, March is in New Orleans, April is in Chicago, and June is in West Chester. Haven't decided on Dragon*Con, although I will most likely NOT go. My vacation is being saved for actual vacation TBD later (go figure!).

Are you planning on going to any conventions this year?

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Next Project

Finished Buffy last night. Wow! No more Sunnydale. Didn't see that coming! Honest. And I've been to some Buffy panels, too (during Dragon*Con). Have to say, I really enjoyed the series. I think it's given me a lot to think about when it comes to writing my own stories.

As for writing…In talking with my daughter about my next writing project, she came up with a good idea. Not a story idea, a writing idea.

I've been told I write fast. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea. I have nothing to base it on. But more than one person has told me this, so I will accept it as fact.

The first draft of my first book was written from April 2009 – June 2009. Yeah, it was crap – which I realized when I started READING it, but the story was basically there in three months. I gave it to my daughter and she said it had potential (I was thrilled!). I learned a lot from that first book. Took classes (and classes and classes), revised, rewrote, etc. By April 2010, I started querying and I had begun the sequel.

The first draft of the sequel was completed in August 2010.

I started Book 3 in September 2010, took a break to edit Book 2, and completed the first draft by the end of March 2011. While it may seem like it took longer to write, my writing had improved TREMENDOUSLY and the edits weren't as extensive. I was querying by July 2011.

Books 1-3 are my vampire stories. For Book 4, I decided to challenge myself and write a non-vampire book. Sticking with paranormal (because I think that's what I want my brand to be), I featured a ghost, but not as the H/H. They were human, so I had to be careful and not KILL them, since they didn't heal as quickly as my vampires. Yeah, it was tough!

I started Book #4 on April 1, 2011. I finished the first draft on January 2, 2012. No writing occurred on that book in June, so it basically took me eight months to write that first draft.

While I love the book, it was harder to write. I wanted a challenge and I got one. If I go another way for Book #5, it will be another challenge. I'm sure of it. My daughter suggested I take a break.

But not a writing break. She said for me to write another one of my vampire stories, since I write those so fast. It will give me more practice writing, too. If they don't sell, they don't sell. But she's right. I need the break. I need an easy project.

So, it looks like I'll be going back to my vampires. Now I just have to figure out which couple (I have three from which to choose, so far). Who knows, maybe during that time I'll come up with an awesome idea for Book #6. Or better yet, sell Book #3 or #4! Yeah, wouldn't that be something?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Buffy & Other Series

I don't remember when this all started, but tonight is the end.

The end of what, you ask?

Watching the television series, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, on DVD.

We're down to the last four episodes and since we normally watch four a week, well, it doesn't take a math genius to determine we'll be finished.

I have to say, when my daughter first introduced me to this series, I was a bit skeptical. But I write paranormal romances, with vampires even, and it only seemed right that I should watch the series. And – surprise – I've enjoyed it!

We have also been watching Angel, mainly because there are several cross-over episodes and my daughter didn't want me to get confused. Actually, I think she just wanted to get me to watch that series, too, and it worked (I mean, who doesn't love David Boreanez!).

So, after this week, it will be down to just Angel until that series is finished.

What's next you ask?

Firefly. Gotta find out what those Browncoats are all about!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Feel...Conflicted

I feel a joy having accomplished a goal.

I feel a loss that my adventure is over.

I feel free.

I feel lost.

This happens to me after every book I've finished. So, that would be the fourth time, now.

I'm so happy to have finished the first draft. So happy I want to dive right in and edit.

But I know better. If I wait a few weeks, the editing will go better.

So, what to do with my new-found freedom? Well, at least THIS TIME I have other obligations. A book to critique (my critique partner will surely appreciate that). TV shows to get caught up on (need to make room on the DVR). Heck, I may actually finish the short story I started back last summer.

But I still feel that loss.

When I took my shower this morning, it was sad that I didn't have to plot out the next scene to my book. Sad that the characters were no longer talking in my head.

I really need to start thinking of my next book, because really, who wants to take a quiet shower? Not me! And the drive into work? Ugh. I need those voices (I know how that sounds, but I AM a writer!).

Which leads me to this question: Should I come up with a totally new idea, or go back to my series?

I miss my vampires. I love my vampires. But should I continue to write my vampire stories if I haven't sold them yet?

Any advice out there?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I Read in 2011

On Goodreads, I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2011. I surpassed that and read 59. Thinking that was a FLUKE, I challenged myself to 55 this year. Considering I wasn't sure I could hit 50 last year, I didn't want to push myself TOO much and have a goal that was unreachable (you know, like saying I'd read 100 – which would be possible if I didn't write).

I used to keep the list on the side panel, but decided to create a page instead (and there will be a similar page for my 2012 list). Anyway, here's the list (without my comments) of the books I read in 2011 (in the order I read them):

1. "Beyond the Rain" by Jess Granger
2. "Hungry for You" by Lynsay Sands
3. "I Dream of Genies" by Judi Fennell
4. "Original Sin" by Allison Brennan
5. "Secret Life of a Vampire" by Kerrelyn Sparks
6. "Ice Cold" by Tess Gerritsen
7. "Dance on Fire" by James Garcia, Jr.
8. "Heart of the Wolf" by Terry Spear
9. "Merchanter's Luck" by C.J. Cherryh
10. "Wolf Tales II" by Kate Douglas
11. "Forbidden Nights With a Vampire" by Kerrelyn Sparks
12. "Captured by Moonlight" by Nancy Gideon
13. "From the Earth to the Moon" by Jules Verne
14. "Blockade Billy" by Stephen King
15. "The Silenced" by Brett Battles
16. "Demonfire" by Kate Douglas

17. "The Midnight Hunt" by L.L. Rand
18. "Don't Kill the Messenger" by Eileen Rendahl
19. "The Vampire and the Virgin" by Kerrelyn Sparks

20. "Liars Anonymous" by Louise Ure
21. "MacLiam" by Renee Vincent
22. "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris
23. "The Kraken's Mirror" by Maureen O. Betita
24. "Fated" by Rebecca Zanetti
25. "One Night With a Goddess" by Judi McCoy
26. "Touch of Fire" by Maria Zannini
27. "Ruby: Uncut and on the Loose" by Danica Avet
28. "Eat, Prey, Love" by Kerrelyn Sparks
29. "Silent Partner" by Renee Vincent
30. "Vampire Mine" by Kerrelyn Sparks
31. "Beyond the Shadows" by Jess Granger
32. "Almost a Goddess" by Judi McCoy
33. "The Reluctant Vampire" by Lynsay Sands
34. "First Grave on the Right" by Darynda Jones
35. "True Love and Other Disasters" by Rachel Gibson
36. "Dark Lover" by J.R. Ward
37. "The Nightmare Thief" by Meg Gardiner
38. "Lover Eternal" by J.R. Ward
39. "Flirt" by Laurell K. Hamilton
40. "Lover Awakened" by J.R. Ward
41. "Lover Revealed" by J.R. Ward
42. "Lover Unbound" by J.R. Ward
43. "Lover Enshrined" by J.R. Ward
44. "Lover Avenged" by J.R. Ward
45. "Lover Mine" by J.R. Ward
46. "Lover Unleashed" by J.R. Ward
47. "Bullet" by Laurell K. Hamilton
48. "The Silent Girl" by Tess Gerritsen
49. "The Hellion and the Highlander" by Lynsay Sands
50. "Sexiest Vampire Alive" by Kerrelyn Sparks
51. "Changing the Game" by Jaci Burton
52. "Time's Enemy" by Jennette Marie Powell
53. "Heat Wave" by Richard Castle
54. "Not Another Bad Date" by Rachel Gibson
55. "The Club" by Sharon Page
56. "Madly, Truly" by Heather Webber
57. "Letters to a Secret Lover" by Toni Blake
59. "The Bite Before Christmas" by Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost

My favorites were definitely the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I was consumed by that series, and it may have been the reason I was delayed in finishing my own book by the end of 2011. Ah, but if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have read ANY books between them. Yeah, they were THAT good. I can't wait for the next one in the series to come out.

You would think with me reading all those books, I wouldn't have such a huge TBR pile. But I do. And I received more books for Christmas. Stephen King's "11/23/63" is included in the bunch, and I expect that book will probably take me a month to read (unless I read it next while I'm between writing projects – hmmmm, a good idea I think).

Support a writer - Read! I know I will.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Did It!

Two days later than I had planned, but I did it. At 90,233 words, GHOSTLY LIAISON is finished!

Yes, there's editing & revision ahead of me, but right now...

It's party time!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

Well, I didn't get GHOSTLY LIAISON completed in 2011. That was basically my one and only goal last year (set back in the summer, since I didn't start the book until April 1st). Ah, but today looks to be promising!

My hubby and I will be spending our afternoon at Buffalo Wild Wings (to watch the Steelers game, since the Bengals game sold out and is shown on local TV). I always write well there. Don't know why, that's just the way it is.

My husband said he'll buy me a drink if I finish the first draft today. Sure, he'd buy me a drink if I just asked for one, but I don't ever ask for one (well, not normally, anyway). And the good thing is, I want that drink today. Not for the drink itself, but for what it represents.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Last night was very nice, though we didn't get home until 1:30. We spent the evening with our friends (in Columbus – thus the late hour home), had a wonderful dinner and played Pinochle. We haven't played that in years. It was fun, too, especially since us girls beat the guys (549 for us, -2 for them – oh yeah, we pummeled them).

Now it's a new month, a new year. I have no definite goals set for this year. I'm sure I'll start (and hopefully) finished Book #5. It just depends how long I take in editing/revising Book #2 (sequel to #1) and Book #4. I know that if I ever get that agent, I need to have all my books ready to go, because you just NEVER KNOW! I've seen other writers get multiple book deals. It could happen to me, but it won't if I don't have anything to offer.

So this year won't be any different than last. Write, write, write will continue to be my mantra. I'm so glad I found this passion in my life, because there was a time when I wondered if I had any at all! It sure makes life more fun (and I think my husband is enjoying the new me, too!).

2012 looks to be a GOOD year. Hope it does for you, too.