Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We will open the book...

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I thought this a perfect new years' quote for the writer. So far so good on my hour a day vow to write. Stared at a blank page alot but got a few sentences done on my WIP and I am trying to finish my sci-fi short story. I've been blocked on it so I converted it to first person, hoping it will lead to a middle and an end...though I do have the last sentence written.

My favorites for 2008
Book: The Heroines by Eileen Favorite
Movie: Mamma Mia
TV Show: Fringe
Destination: Pt. Pleasant, NJ
Sports Moment: Giants winning the Super Bowl.
Most Proud of: Completing Playing For Keeps and sending it to an editor.

Tomorrow I'll post what I'm looking forward to in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Starting Early

I'm not waiting until January 1st to begin my resolution to write for at least one hour a day. Each Sunday night I will set up a writing schedule for the week. So here it is:

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Thursday (New Years Day) 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Friday 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Sunday: Meeting a writing friend for plotting.

I'll let you know how I do.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Good Day

After being lazy around the house yesterday, I braved the mall today and scored some deals. went early so it wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be.

I also shopped on-line. My husband never knows what to get me so he gave me cash which is fine with me. Here's what I got (you know...since I didn't get Peace on Earth)

David Cook's cd
Enya - Wintertime - CD
Mamma Mia - DVD
Human Dark With Sugar - poetry by Brenda Shaughnessy
2 shirts from Macys

What did you get for Christmas?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 15 - 40 Discovering the Writer Within

I am NOT pleased. I quit this book.
Day 15 started off harmless enough. Write several leads for stories based on your journal entries. Fine. Wonderful. Then the second part of the assignment: Write leads to pieces you will probably never write. Write leads to tacky romances, lead to thrillers, leads to mysteries,... - WHAT? - back up nine words TACKY?
Maybe, they didn’t mean it that way, but that’s the way I’m took it.
While fun in parts this has been taking away from my work in progress so instead of these writing exercises I will work on my SO NOT tacky romance.

Day 15 - 40 Discovering the Writer Within

I am NOT pleased. I quit this book.
Day 15 started off harmless enough. Write several leads for stories based on your journal entries. Fine. Wonderful. Then the second part of the assignment: Write leads to pieces you will probably never write. Write leads to tacky romances, lead to thrillers, leads to mysteries,... - WHAT? - back up nine words TACKY?
Maybe, they didn’t mean it that way, but that’s the way I’m took it.
While fun in parts this has been taking away from my work in progress so instead of these writing exercises I will work on my SO NOT tacky romance.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 12 - 14 Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 12: Pick a dramatic experience that lasted only a few minutes or even seconds. Free write for 5 minutes describing the moment as vividly as you can.

Glass shattered
but lives still intact
Turning to the backseat
a mother’s voice laced with fear
My son’s head tuck under
his hands protecting his head
A drunk driver
nearly taking what I hold dear
If not for an angel
whispering in my son's ear

Okay got tears in my eyes. My son told me he heard someone say "watch out" just before we were hit. He denied it soon afterward probably because I made I big deal out of it.

Day 13: Look over the work you’ve done. Pick a entry that seems to be asking you questions and answer these by free writing for ten minutes .

Day 14: Write down all the reasons why you shouldn’t write - these are your Demons of Doubt. Now to combat you demon: 1) Seek out authors who feed your desire to write. 2) Make a list of all your best writing experiences. 3) Read interviews with other writers and copy down quotes that make you want to write. Refer to these when the demon of doubt strikes.

Here is a quote I recently fell in love with. I read it in Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction. Elizabeth Cox keeps this quote above her text - it’s from theologian Niebuhr:


This quote inspires to me write. It reminds me to explore a character - to make him/her real to myself and to the reader.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 10 and 11 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 10: A photograph is given, which makes me think of the book Grapes of Wrath. In Day 11 we learn the title is Migrant Mother by photographer Dorothea Lange from 1936. For Day 10 we take the place we wrote about yesterday and write it from the POV of the woman in the photograph.

Four whole dollars for a cup of coffee? I could feed my children for week.

Day 11: Examine the photo a make a list of details including thoughts and feelings. Compose a paragraph that would explain to someone else how you interpret Lange’s image.

The children burrrow into their mother like pups seeking comfort she is unable to provide.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 8 & 9 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 8: Take the list of observations/thoughts about the rock from day 7. Circle those you think are unusual and not the obvious. According to the authors I did a good job of this. I listed such things as moon rock, fossil, stone fence, skipping stones, and the Simon and Garfunkel song Island. Also, part of Day 8 was to go outside with a camera and shoot an inanimate object from different angles. Free write for ten minutes about the experience - save the images for Day 16.

Day 9:
Part 1: Go to a public place where you go often but never really notice. Brainstorm a list of details that describe the place (using physical descriptions, thoughts, feelings, ect-use all five senses). Circle the ones that go beyond the obvious. Using one of these write a brief description.

I choose a local Border with a Seattle coffee shop inside:
The iced brew shoots up the straw, hits my tongue and goes smoothly down my throat. I sigh like a drug addict as the heroin hits her vein.

Part 2: Brainstorm for ten minutes a list of details to complete a paragraph beginning with this sentence: He/she had a strange taste in clothes:

His goal was to start a new fashion trend: Salvation Army Chic. But it never caught on.
He shopped at the same stores as Johnny Depp, but pulling off the artsy, cool look, is better left to those who weigh under two hundred pounds.

That was fun. See you on Day 10.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Here is a picture I took a day after the storm.

Day 7 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 7: Another cluster, but this time you had to pick a nucleus word from a list they gave. Evaluate how I cluster. Were my thought linear or all over the place. Then I was suppossed to go outside and get a rock and examine it then make a list of description and what I think of.

I say suppossed to because the ground is covered in ice from a storm we had two days ago. I'm going to need this for Day 8 so I'm hoping when I go to work (which is down two mountains - no ice) I'll be able to find a rock. Hopefully, my co-workers won't think I've lost it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 6 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 6: Clustering: Put a word in the center of a blank page. Free associate branches of words fanning out from the center. If a word triggers it - branch off from that word. Evaluate. Pick a strand of thought and free write for 10 minutes. The purpose of these assignments is help you face a blank page and the dredge up memories, feelings, and details that you have forgotten.

I free associated from the word BEACH and chose funnel cakes to free write.
Here is a best of what I wrote:

Smell of fried dough
mingled with the
scents of salt and Coopertone

Ocean Breezes
an accessory to the
crime I was to commit

Perhaps the diet police
would take a bribe
and let me eat.

I had to push myself to do this assignment, but I’m glad I did. See you tomorrow for Day 7.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 5 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 5: Pick a room you remember from childhood. Picture it and list all the details you can remember for five minutes. Look at your list and pick one item that triggers more memories or filled with meaning. With that as your launch free write for seven minutes.

Here is a best of what I wrote:
Before Guitar Hero and even before the advent of Karaoke there was my stereo. In my room, with brush in hand, the music turned up as loud as my parents could bear, I became the star. Singing, dancing, and twirling about everything disappeared as I created my own world where I was awesome and cool. In reality I wasn’t cool and sadly I couldn’t sing.

I'm going to a holiday party Tuesday night so Day 6 will be posted on Wednesday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 4 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 4: Think about the unforgettable place you wrote about yesterday. Zero in on a one person you remember. Free write for ten minutes about this person.
Here is a best of what I wrote (after revising it that is):

From the Polo Ralph Lauren Barn Jacket to the brand new boots, the silver haired man stuck out like a fully loaded pick-up truck would in the streets of New York City.

Day 5 will have to wait until Monday. I could tell you that Sunday is a day of rest but the real reason is...I left the book at work.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 3 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 3: Free write for ten minutes about an unforgettable place you’ve been (far away or close to home).

Here is a best of what I wrote (after revising it that is):
Annual Pilgrimage to the Bethel Farmers Market
With browsing done and purchases made, I make my way to the picnic benches set up haphazardly in front of the bandstand. A country tune filters through the air. I take a bite of my hero. The snap of the sausage casing sounds and sweet, tangy flavors fill my mouth with pure delight. I close my eyes and savor the moment. My eyes open and then I see it. I mean really see it. The rolling hills bursting with colors that seem so impossible. I live here, in this magical place. And realize no matter where I go, no place will be as beautiful as home.

This happen years ago, but I can still remember and feel the joy of this moment. See you tomorrow for Day 4.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 2 - Discovering the Writer Within

Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. I’m giving a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 2: Write down 5 childhood memories (positive or negative), pick one that wants to be written about, and free write for ten minutes. Evaluate.

Here is a best of what I wrote (after revising it that is):

I wished for rain. Another sunny day. Another day my newly purchased rain gear would hang in the closet. Made of slick, glossy plastic, colored in stripes of pink, yellow, and green, my raincoat would be a beacon on a cloudy day. With the matching floppy hat, umbrella, and boots, I would be the envy of all.
Unable to resist, I pull the outfit from the closet to try it on. Again. I stroll through the house, twirling the umbrella like a Southern Belle. Then break into a rendition of Singing In the Rain.
I am five. And I wished for rain.

That was fun. See you tomorrow for Day 3.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Discovering the Writer Within - Day 1

Today I started Discovering the Writer Within by Ballenger & Lane. It’s a 40 day program to exercise your creativity and imagination. It’s been sitting on my writing shelf for quite some time (if the amount of dust is any indication since The Last Supper). I’m trying to pare down my belongings as my house has run amok with clutter (but that’s whole other story).

Paging through the book I decided to do the program and torture...I mean journey with you. I’ll give you a general feel for the assignment and a little bit of what I accomplished.

Day 1: The first part of day one is to write ten minutes with this prompt: When I write, I... I did it, but won’t bore you with the details since there was nothing earth shattering.
The second part is to sound off in a letter to your inner critic or as the book called it The Watcher. So here is mine:

Dear Watcher:

Who are you
to stop me this day
Go Away
and let me play

With endless
You creep

This story
is mine
Not yours
to bind

be gone
But leave
my muse

Hopefully, my meanderings will be more insightful, dare I say more elegant as the days go by. See you tomorrow for Day 2.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of men." Issac Newton

A Walmart employee was trampled to death as the impatient crowd knocked an employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.
What was so precious that a man had to die? The last bit of food on the planet? Water? No, Christmas presents. Yep, I'm sure Jesus is real proud of that.

Some shoppers were annoyed that Walmart had to close down during the investigation.
Try horrified or ashamed in your fellow man.

Walmart was blamed for not having enough security.
I'm getting really sick and tired of people not governing themselves.
Anyway, Walmart needed zookeepers.
Or perhaps cowboys to control the herd.

End of Rant.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." - Jack London

My current WIP, Love By Design, is not moving along - heck - it's at a complete standstill. I think I know why. Originally, I had chapter titles that would reflect what was going on with the design they hero/heroine were working on and the development of their relationship. However this is strangling the story because I'm trying to fit my story neatly within these confines. So out they go.
That said, I won't have much time for writing this weekend. My husband is in the process of tearing down the huge wall unit he built 20 years ago (we are in desperate need of a change) and I need to go thru all the stuff, deciding what to keep and washing away years of dust (I'm not much of a housekeeper). Also, my son is home for the week and I want to enjoy my time with him. I've missed him so much!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude...

...Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. ~Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

There were so many great quotes about Thanksgiving and giving thanks but I thought during these economics times the above said it the best. My prayers will be with the people of India and pray that the USA continues to be safe from harm.

On a lighter note:
Here are the Top Five Things I'm Thankful For:
1: My familyand friends
2. I have a good job
3. My house is paid off
4. The Giants and Jets are kicking butt
5. I'm feeling better than I have in weeks
oh...wait...there is one more....I'm not cooking!!!!

What are you thankful for?

and just one more quote
I love Thanksgiving turkey. It's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts. ~Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sunday, November 23, 2008

If God hadn't rested on Sunday, He would have had time to finish the world.

Feeling almost human again I ventured out to a craft fair at a local community college. I go every year and it's always on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I contributed to the local economy and got some neat stuff. I bought a scented christmas ornament, a cute denim purse lined in tinkerbell fabric, and a beautiful print by a local artist. I could kick myself for not getting his name - his wife sold me the print and I can't make it out. The outing did wear me out but it didn't matter since the couch called to me as the Giants and Jets won their games today. Then tonight is the movie 24 with Keither Sutherland. All in all a great Sunday.
Jack Bauer doesn't rest on Sundays...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where's The Beef?

I was going to make my famous Taco Pie for dinner but apparently I have totally lost my short-term memory. I said to myself as I was getting dressed this morning before I left for the store, "Don't forget to take the chopmeat out of the freezer so it can defrost." Did I remember? No. Did I remember when I got back from the store and putting away the other things I would need for the Taco Pie? No. SO - It's 4:00 I take out the frying pan and go to the fridge and open it and...Where's the beef? I guess I can make it tomorrow to have during the football games, but what will we have tonight?

And since you have been so nice and listened to the mad woman in the making, here is the recipe for my Taco Pie...

One pkg of cresent rolls - spread flat into a 9" x 12" pan - cook in heated oven about 5 min. (it s/b risen but not done) Take out of oven.
1 Pound of chopmeat in frying pan - cook - then add taco seasoning mix and cook per the pkg.
When done - spread it out on top of the crust
add pepperoni
add chopped onion
add chopped peppers (any color)
then spread 2-3 cups of shredder chedder cheese on top.
Bake at 375 between 15 - 20 minutes.
Serve with shredded lettuce / chopped tomato / salsa / sour cream

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain

I was looking for a health quote - a serious one - but came across the above and it made me laugh - making me feel better, which only proves - Laughter is the best medicine.
Before I go any further, even though I was looking for a serious quote what I'm going through is NOT serious. Hopefully, a week from now when I have the 'procedure' all will be well and I'll have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

No NaNo for me (not feeling very romantic to write romance). Instead, I've been catching up with the free movies On Demand and decreased my to-be-read pile by 4 books. Plan to watch Alien vs. Predator 2 today, read Brad Meltzer The Book of Lies and then tonight its the Jets vs Patriots.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Board Game Are You?

You Are Chess

You are brilliant and shrewd. You can often predict what people will do in the future.

You thrive in complex situations. You deal with contradictions well.

You can have many streams of though going on at your mind at once. You keep track of things well.

You are very patient. You have lots of endurance, even when your energy dwindles

Yep this is me (if I do say so myself).

“Well, it all started when I figured out that the janitor at my high school was the Angel of Death...” from Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

from the back cover: Jane Charlotte has been arrested for murder. She says she’s a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil. She say’s she’s working with the Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons-aka "Bad Monkeys." Her confession has landed her in the jail’s psychiatric wing and earns her countless hours of poking, probing, and questioning by a professional. But is Jane crazy or lying? Or is she playing a whole different game altogether?
I wasn’t planning on buying a book - just browsing I told myself - when I was drawn to the bright yellow book titled Bad Monkeys. It was a interesting read. Written in a conversational tone the book’s fast pace led me down twists and turns with a truly satisfying, yet unpredictable ending. If you are looking for something different then do as Christopher Moore, author of A Dirty Job wrote, "Read it, memorize then destroy it. There are eyes everywhere."

Friday, November 7, 2008

"If you are false to yourself, I think, other people find it easier to be false to you." from The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber

from Publisher's Weekly...Starred Review. Bestseller Gruber (The Book of Air and Shadows) probes the boundaries between sanity and madness in his outstanding sixth novel. Talented Chaz Wilmot, who makes a modest living as a commercial artist in New York City, can't say no when Mark Slade, his former Columbia roommate who now owns a downtown gallery, offers him $150,000 to fix a ruined Tiepolo ceiling in a Venetian palazzo (the ceiling had essentially collapsed, so it wasn't a restoration job exactly but more like a reproducing job). Once abroad, Wilmot gets sucked into an increasingly bizarre world where his own identity is confused and the art he produces may be a forgery but is genuinely magnificent. Is Wilmot crazy or is he being manipulated in a grandiose scheme linked to unrecovered art stolen by the Nazis? Gruber writes passionately and knowledgeably about art and its history—and he writes brilliantly about the shadowy lines that blur reality and unreality. Fans of intelligent, literate thrillers will be well rewarded.

My Take: This was a fascinating read. The author expertly draws you into the story and doesn't let go. I highly recommend it.

Has any one read Gruber's bestseller The Book of Air and Shadows?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15

Woke up Sunday with no internet service. I waited until Monday after work to call the cable company and after pushing 1 or 2 and saying yes or no or continue I finally pushed 0 for the operator/customer service - as in a real live human! For once I wasn't treated like a MORON and they actually BELIEVED me when I said I tried everything and let me pick up a new modem today.
As far as NaNo goes I haven't written a word. A bit under the weather. I won't go into the gory details, but all I can manage is work and then fall into bed when I get home.

Did you vote today? I'd have to be dead not to vote. Have you ever seen Iron Jawed Angels with Hilary Swank? All mothers should sit down and watch this with their daughters.

Friday, October 31, 2008

NaNo NaNo

No - it's not from Mork & Mindy. NaNo are more specifically NaNoWrMo stands for the National Novel Writing Month. From their website National Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Though I took the pledge, I'm planning on 25,000 words - hey, I know my limits. I'll be working on Love By Design. I'll post my progress. Wish me not only luck but more importantly that the words flow freely.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Yes, folks it snowing here in the lovely Catskills and it's not even Halloween yet. YIKES!

What you don't believe me? Here is a picture I just took from my back deck. The leaves are still on the trees for goodness sake!
And I had such high hopes for global warming.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

RWA Rocks

The NJRWA conference was alot of fun. But besides having fun, the conference only confirmed that RWA is not only the best writing organization around - its the best organization period. Belonging to RWA is like having your own personal cheerleaders, like getting a hug, like having a big extended family, and - I could go on and on. This is what it would be like if women RULED the world.
I enjoyed all the seminars, but the one where the lightbulbs started going off was Susan Meier's - Let Conflict Tell Your Story.
I pitched Love By Design to Susan Litman from Harlequin. She remembered me from last year and said Playing For Keeps is literally on her desk. So that is totally cool. Susan requested Love By Design but said to hold off sending it until a decision is made on Playing For Keeps. This works out great since LBD is not finished - however Meier's class has really given me a jump on where I need to take this story!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Tomorrow morning I'll be heading out to the NJ Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. I'll be pitching Love By Design to an editor. Though what draws me to conferences is the interaction with other writers (okay - pathetic admission here - it's my social life which replaced my son's hockey travels). Oh and then there are the seminars.

Here's where I'll be on Friday...
Creating an Ensemble Cast: The WAIG Method - presented by Maggie Shayne
Expanding the Middle - presented by Joy Nash
Writing Action Scenes the WWE Way - presented by Matt&Natile Duvall

On Saturday...
Secrets of Successful Websites - presented by Karyna DaRosa & Caridad Pineiro
Editors Panel
Builing and Repairing te Single Title Plot - presented Eloisa James

On Sunday I'll let you know how my pitch went.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Google theyself...

Today,my writing friend Allie blogged about googling herself - so I thought I'd give it a try. I tried several variations. Under Liz I only found a mention of a committee meeting I attended. Under Elizabeth I found several contest win mentions, my facebook link, but what I found most amusing is a Letter to the Editor at the NY Times that I wrote back in 1987! Yep - that's right 1987.
I also googled my maiden name. Nothing for me - though there is this woman with my old name who is living the life I dreamt of as a teenager. She is an archeologist who has excavated in such places as Greece and now works at a famouus museum. Ughhhh! That is MY life she's living! Hmmm...could be a plot to a future book....hmmmm....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When the student is ready, the master appears - Buddist Proverb

I belong to a critique group, which meets every other Tuesday. They have helped my writing over the past two years and I can only hope I've helped them along the way. Not only do we get work done but we laugh in the process. Did I mention there is chocolate? The only draw back is that I don't get home until 11:30 (I live over an hour away). By the time I wind down it's 12:30 and I need to be up by 6:30. This makes for a very grumpy Wednesday.

But it's so worth it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hot Enough

A few posts ago I worried that Playing For Keeps wasn't hot enough for the Blaze line after reading a current book. I'm happy to say after reading several more I'm in the clear.

I just finished Amorous Liaisons by Sarah Mayberry. Besides being a wonderful read, it had the right balance of sex and story.

Here is the backcover blurb...
Amorous Liaisons
Friends with benefits
Max Laurent has always wanted Maddy Green. But he let her go once before rather than stand between her and her dreams. Now she’s on his Paris doorstep, needing a place to stay. She’s just as hot and he wants her just as much. How can he resist seducing her?
When Maddy’s world falls apart, it’s only natural that she turns to Max for support. But fall into his bed? Never…until one steamy night, that is. And having had a taste of him, she’s hungry for more. Then she has the chance to resume her career, although it means leaving him. Can she throw away the best sex - and the best friend - she’s ever had?

I loved this book. Maddy is a recently retired ballet dancer who is having trouble dealing with it and Max is a former ballet dancer turned sculptor living in Paris. O la la!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Play Like A Man Win Like a Woman by Gail Evans

My college management professor back oh-so-many-years ago had us pledge in writing that we would read at least one business book a year. I happy to say I've kept to that plegde. This year my choice was Play Like A Man Win Like A Woman by Gail Evans. Ms. Evans gives women a playbook of success in a man's world. I wish I had this book when I first started out in the business world. Some of what she says I've learned along the way-the hard way. I recommend this book for every woman. Buy it for your daughter graduating from college. Buy it for your sister or your friend. Most of all buy it for yourself.

Here are the my top three that I've learned along the way and that she covers in the book...
1) Take credit for your accomplishments.
2) Ask for what you want. (Don't expect your boss to read your mind. Your husband can't so why would you think your boss could.)
3) Develop the right tone in your voice. Women tend to talk softly and you need to learn to speak up but without sound harpy.

I'm giving my copy to my niece who is in college and working PT at a police station (oh yeah - that is a man's world).

So anyone out there have any tips on how to succeed?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Computer Woes

I'm far from computer savy but I did manage to restore my old laptop that I use for the internet-however I failed to figure why I'm not connecting to the internet. This has happened before and I figured it out then. But that was then and this is now.
So for now I'm using my new laptop (6 months) - the one I reserve just for writing. Maybe, this will be a good excuse to buy an Apple - you know all in the name of helping the economy.
Yep - it's like patriotic - unlike paying more in taxes...

All that aside, I have the first 7 pages completed of Love By Design and plan to have Chapter 1 done by the end of the weekend.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. - Aldous Huxley

Ah - Its a Brave New World out there. The bailout plan from what I can see is better than it was - but my questions is - Who will oversee the overseers? Afterall if a program set up by the government fails - then I really have no confidence in them to step in. This is from the Fannie Mae website..

'The government established Fannie Mae in order to expand the flow of mortgage funds in all communities, at all times, under all economic conditions, and to help lower the costs to buy a home.
Fannie Mae has a unique duty to the public it serves -- and the private investors that fuel its service -- to be a model company focused on service, reliability, and value.'

Yeah - and that worked out real well. SO instead we will get more government 'oversight' and control. Yep - A Brave New World.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Targeting a Market

I just got done reading Pleasure to the Max by Cami Dalton - it's from the Harlequin Blaze line. The story involves hottie treasure hunter Max Stone, a hot-to-trot Cassie Parker, and a Gypsy 'lover's box'. It was sinfully good. Cami Dalton write sassy and HOT.

But now I'm wondering if Playing For Keeps (the manuscript I submitted to Blaze) is 'hot' enough. I've read Blaze's before and I don't remember any of them being THIS hot. That is an easy fix if I'm lucky enough to get a revision letter.

But how to proceed with Love By Design? I'll just have to buy some more Blazes to get a better feel. (poor me - ha! ha!).

So tomorrow I'm off to Borders to buy some 'research' material and get a little writing time in - and of course some ice coffee!

And what are you doing this weekend?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Writing Spaces

Here is a picture of my writing space.

Here are just some of my books.

Here is a picture of some more books along with my storyboard.
(only 2 chapters so far)

Hooray for me! I can now post images to my blog!! Now I have to learn links. I'll get a handle on this techno stuff sooner or later...

Monday, September 22, 2008


Begin at the beginning and go on til you come to the end; then stop. - Lewis Carrol - Alice in Wonderland.

Sounds so simple doesn't? If only... Playing For Keeps took me two years to complete and I am determine to cut that time by at least half. Of course, with PFK I had a lot of stops, starts, sprints, and one long hiatus. This time, I vow to spend at least one hour a day writing and 3 hours each Saturday and Sunday. I'm not going to worry about my word count because that will come as I get into a writing groove, but I do hope to have fifty pages completed of Love By Design by the NJRWA conference at the end of October.

SO, I'm checking my e-mail, then getting an hour in before Dancing with the Stars starts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

from the backcover blurb... Follwowing a divorce and crushing depression, Gilbert set out to discover three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures....

Truthfully, I didn't see what the hoopla was all about. I'm glad the author came through her experience whole and happy. Truly, I am. But I didn't connect with her. Most likely because I never went thru the bone-crushing depression she suffered and hope I never do. Though my husband went thru it as did my father, neither had the luxury of taking a year off to discover themselves. So to me it seemed indulgent - but hey I'm of the school of thought of - 'what ever works for you'. It just didn't work for me.

Here is what I did like...her description of Rome. Italy was not on my list of places to visit, but now I must have pizza from Pizzia de Michele in Naples. Gilbert's style of writing is excellent.

Now, I'm off to storyboard...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Speaking of Blaze....

The fire alarm went off at work today. Thinking it was just a drill I grabbed my purse and left the building with my co-workers. Then the fire trucks drove up - which doesn't happen when its a drill. So do I starting worrying that the building is on fire and if it burns it will cost the county taxpayer money to rebuild it or where I'll be doing my job? No - I worry that I left my binder with the plot and character sheets for my next book inside! I silently told myself that is NOT what I s/b worried about but I couldn't help it.
Fortunately, there was no fire - just a trip on the alarm caused by the city flushing out the system.

Next time though the binder is coming with me!

Have you ever played the game what would you grab if you had 2 minutes to get out of your house? (of course after making sure all humans and pets are accounted for) I'd take my laptop, purse, and any photos I could get at. How about you?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


As I'm preparing to begin my new book I picked up two books from the line I'm targeting - Harelquin Blaze. I like this line because it's a bit hipper (and has more sex but not erotica) than the other lines. So the first book was At Her Pleasure by Cindi Myers.
This had it all - a pirate queen's autobiography on the art of sexual seduction, a pirates treasure, a deserted island, and a romance. Ahhhh...pure enjoyment!

This weekend I plan to storyboard Love By Design and to fill out any character charts, ect. Then on Monday the 1st draft will commence.

In the meantime I broke down and bought, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Am I the only woman on the planet who has not read this book? And has any man on the planet actually read it?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

House and Fringe

15 minutes and counting until House begins and then the new series the Fringe.

TV does interfere with writing time, but I LOVE TV - I feel deprived if I miss the shows that I love. So here is what I've learned to do...

On Sunday I make a schedule of my very favorite shows for the week. I watch only those shows - no mindless channel surfing! Also - no re-runs!!! I schedule in my writing time accordingly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of Library" quoted by, Jorge Luis Borges.

I agree but respectfully request God to include a Starbucks.

How about you...what is your idea of paradise?

Friday, September 12, 2008


I met with one of my writing friends last night at Borders to hash out the plot for my next book, Love By Design. It's about two interior designers butting heads on a design show and end up falling in love. I had come up with tag line: Trading Spaces meets Sex In The City. My problem was how to play off the Sex In The City part of that tag line, which I'm happy to say we resolved over ice coffee and a shared chocolate donut.

I plan to pitch this book at the New Jersey Put Your Heart in a Book Conference at the end of October.

Still have a little more work to before I start - maybe by next weekend...
Tomorrow, I'm off to Plattsburgh, NY to visit my son!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chuck Norris vs. Batista

Chuck Norris - of course - he's the man.
It's unfair to compare Chuck Norris's new book, Black Belt Patriotism vs Batista Unleased (he is a wrestler with the WWE).
Chuck Norris's book is about fixing what's wrong with America and Batista's is an autobiography. I enjoyed both. I learned alot from Norris's book regarding American history, which I considered myself fairly knowledgeable on. Do I agree with everything he says? No, but it's an amazing read.
Batista's book focused on his life growing up and on his rise in the WWE. It was interesting to see the in and the outs of life on the road. He is the first to say he's no angel, but all in all he seems like a good guy who tries. ( He was my inspiration for giving the hero - a football star - in my book a star-burst tattoo around his navel).

What are you reading now?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Writing Class by Jincy Willett

From Publishers Weekly....Can a class of wannabe novelists solve a murder in their midst? That's the premise of this dark comedy of the absurd from Willett (Winner of the National Book Award), a boisterous satire of pseudointellectuals, impotent writers and the adult extension programs of public universities. The only things Amy Gallup, a once-noted California author, has published in years are blurbs of other writers' work. Amy's only income comes from teaching fiction writing to a motley collection of varyingly talented prepublished adults. Someone in the class is making threatening phone calls and sending extremely cruel notes to other students. When two of the students are murdered, a deep sense of danger takes hold. Yet the class goes on. .. The tension is so strong that readers can hardly resist the temptation to peek ahead and see which student is the killer.

This got some great reviews on amazon. For me it was just okay, but I usually don't read books like this. Got it in a 7 free books and buy 2 over 2 years. This is usually when I try different authors/genres.

I found myself using the speed reading technique to get thru it. There are some really nice touches and the ending is very satisfying.

I've never been part of an ongoing writing class - been to plenty (and I mean plenty) of one to two day workshops. Anyone have a funny story about a class they took or workshop?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Heroines by Eileen Favorite

from Publishers Weekly: On a picturesque acreage near Prairie Bluff, Ill., 13-year-old Penny Entwistle, and her mother, Anne Marie, run a retreat where literary heroines seek temporary refuge from their tragic destinies. Franny Glass, Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara, Catherine Linton and others find respite from their varied crises, but must return to their books eventually and suffer the fate that awaits. Penny, in the first throes of teenage rebellion, has little patience for her mother and the heartbroken or otherwise distraught women Anne Marie refuses to counsel (lest she change the course of their stories). And Anne Marie lavishes on her heroine lodgers the attention her daughter longs for. But when a mythical Celtic knight arrives, searching for his lost heroine Deirdre, Penny gets caught up in a web of deception that lands her in the loony bin. While the staff diagnoses her fabulous story as an attempt to deal with the long-ago death of her father, her mother commits Penny as a means of protecting her from peculiar goings-on at the house, and Penny must rely on the very fictional characters her mother favors to help her.

The reviews on Amazon were mixed - some loved - some, well, didn't.
I loved it. Tore right through it. Wished I wrote it.

This got me thinking...What fictional heroines would I like to meet?
I would like to have tea with, Scarlett O'Hara, Joe from Little Women, and Marguerite from the Scarlett Pimpernel.
I would like to have a beer with Stephanie Plum.

How about you? Which fictional heroine would you like to have tea with? Or a beer?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Done and out in the universe.

Well, I'm done. I mailed Playing For Keeps out this afternoon to Susan Litman at Harlequin, who requested the completed manuscript from a pitch I did at a conference.
It was hard to let go - still had ideas on how to tweak this, add that - but I let it go into the universe.
I'm looking forward to catching up on my to-be-read-pile. I also will be pulling out my notes for 2 different books I'm thinking of pursuing. One is another romance and the other is more of a women's fiction novel - probably a story of redemption.
I'm pitching to Susan Litman again at the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference at the end of October -so I would like to have 3 chapters done by then of the romance.
So I'm going to give myself a week of fun reading and looking over notes then I will set a new goal and the steps to reach it.

At the top of my to-be-read-pile is The Heroines by Eileen Favorite. I'll let you know how it is.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Did my manuscript get mailed today? I'm sad to report no. But I'm closer to my goal than I've would've been if I did not set those goals.
And I am close. So close. My new date in this coming Saturday.
This is what I've completed...
Cover Letter
Printed out 167 clean pages
Read 2 scenes from the final chapter to my Tuesday night critique group
Here is what I have left...
Make revisions per critque group
Finish revisions / print out - 70 pages
Finish Epiloge

So close.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Re-Living One's Youth

Re-living one's youth can...well...make you feel your years.
Last night I went to Bethel-Woods ( an awesome concert venue in the next field over from the original Woodstock site) to see Journey, Heart, and Cheap Trick.
First, let me say Cheap Trick was fun, Ann Wilson of Heart still sounds amazing, and the new lead singer of Journey (who they found on You-Tube) fits in great.
That said...the walk from the parking lot to the your seats had me catching my breath. My husband and I made the decision to leave half way through Journey to beat the (literally hours) of traffic out of the remote site. Then the long walk back - though I'm proud to say we remembered where we parked!
This morning I'm feeling it. Lucky for me it's going to be a nice day - my hammock is calling me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

To Epilogue or Not Epilogue - that is the question

I'm almost done. Got some good stuff down for Chapter 12, but I'm going to revisit it on Saturday to make sure it's golden. Afterall, it is also the final chapter. Yeah!
My synopsis is being looked at by top people. (my critique group)

Then there is the question of the epilogue. I'm pretty much set on putting one in. Not only do we see the two main characters happy (hey, its a romance, of course there is a HEA), but it will answer the question of what happens to my two secondary characters, and possibly lead to a sequel.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Burning Out

My mind's been in a whirlwind since I posted my goal to get my manuscript in the mail by September 2. And I'm a little burnt out.
I really don't want to lose the momentum I've built up. So what to do? Chapter 11 should be done tonight but instead of moving on to Chapter 12 on Thursday, I will complete my synopsis and cover letter - just to mix it up. Then I took off on Friday from my day job to work on Chapter 12.
One thing I've decided not to rush is the final review. This is where I comb thru the manuscript to find any missing words (which my critique partners will tell you I'm famous for) or misused words ( I swear I know the difference between your and you're).
If I'm feeling brave, I'll post my synopsis on Friday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday - Review Day

Sunday is the perfect day to review the mini-goals you've set for yourself on the way to your big goal. Also, by Sunday you should have a pretty good idea of your schedule for the coming week.

So how did I do? By the end of the day I will be a chapter behind. Am I upset? Not really. Revising a book is the direct opposite of a first draft. In a first draft you're looking to 'get it down'. In revision it's quality over quantity.

Did I run into glitches? Yes, but not due to lack of time or focus. This week I put in major hours in to the revisions. Working on it during my lunch hour, every night from 7-12, and then tossing and turning in bed because my story was running around in my head. Whole sections needed to be deleted and a new scene added.

I'm am happy with the results. Playing For Keeps is becoming a stronger book and I'm more motivated than ever to complete it.

Did I adjust my September 2 deadline? No. I'll adjust the schedule for this week. For example - on Wednesday I had given myself a day for a breather - not happenning. My synopsis and cover letter can be done on the same day.

And what about my weight loss goals? I gained a pound. Yep, I did. But I didn't follow my action steps. Maybe, as my sister suggested, they weren't specific enough.

As they say in the dieting world - I'll start Monday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Today my short story, which won Honorable Mention in a contest LASR held, will be posted for the universe to see. Please check in at the link below. If you are so inclined - leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goal Setting

I thought it appropriate for my first post to be about goal setting.

Why are goals important? Well, in 1979 Harvard Business School conducted a study of graduating students. They were ask, "Do you have set, clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomlish them? 3% had written goals and plans. 13% had goals, but were not written down. 84% had no goals at all.
Ten years later the members of the class were surveyed again. The 3% who had writtten goals with plans earned on an average 10x more than the other 97% put together.

So how do we set goals? Get a piece of paper.
Step 1 - Identify your goals and the timeframe for completion. Ask yourself, "What do I want?" "When?"
Step 2 - Identify your purpose. Ask yourself, "Why do I want it?" "What will it give me?"
Step 3 - Make a roadmap. "How will I reach my goal?" Use specific action steps.
Step 4 - Take some action toward your goal - right now.

For example, here are my goals:
Step 1: To have revisions/synopsis/cover letter of Playing for Keeps completed and in the mail by September 2, 2008.
Step 2: To have a completed manuscript out in the universe. This will give me a sense of accomplishment. This will also allow me to move on to my next project.
Step 3: Weekdays - 2 hours each night after work. Weekends - 6 hours. Even more specific... Today - Chapter 6 revisions, Tues. - Chapter 7, Thurs. and Fri. - Chapter 8, Sat. - chapters 9 and 10, Sun. 8/24 thru Tues. 8/26 Chapter 12, Wed. 8/27 - take a deep breath, Thurs. 8/28 -complete synopsis, and Fri. 8/29 - complete cover letter. Sun 8/31 - Mon. 9/1 - print everything out, double check pages, and compile, and Tues. 9/2 - go to Post Office and mail manuscript.
Step 4: As soon as I finish this post I will open up my Chapter 6 file and go to work.

Step 1: Lose 2o pounds by October 31, 2008.
Step 2: I feel better. Be heathier. Look better in my clothes.
Step 3: I will EAT TO LIVE not Live To Eat. Exercise to -Melt It Off- DVD. Keep track of what I eat and how much I exercise.
Step 4: I'm going for a walk. Mile and a half.

Doing step 4 of Goal B first, but my file for Chapter 6 will be open and ready to go when I walk through the door.