Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Toddlers, No Tiaras, & Vegas Resolutions

I went to Vegas for my niece's wedding. She was married at Mandalay Bay. Gorgeous wedding. Gorgeous bride. Gorgeous family. I was honored to be part of the party and to stay at the special house she and family had rented in Vegas. Even better, this trip came after kind of a sad week for me. I had sort of gone down... down .... d o w n. And I don't often go down and stay there.

Just couldn't get back up. Every morning was a start with tears, with sorrow, with blues. And that's JUST NOT ME!! But I had good reason and I am glad I processed and grieved. BUT I needed a change of heart of mind of scene.

Enter Vegas!!

Vegas is NOT what I expected. It is like Disney World and NYC and New Orleans combined into one insane package of partying kids, gamblers, ne'er do wells, wedding peeps, old peeps, young peeps, and noise. A lot of noise.

I'm glad my niece selected a place AWAY from the strip. A mansion with more rooms and special appointments than I could possibly describe today. Later. Pictures. I promise. For today let me say that for me, this weekend in Vegas brought me out of my sad and into my glad. Why? Why Vegas?

Well first of all I met a lot of new people. Young people, older people, and a toddler. The toddler is my great nephew. He's full of life. At the beginning of his journey. Filled with joy. Filled with full big blue eyed wonder at all that is around him. Filled with chubby fisted control of all the people in his life to do his bidding because he is just that cute and wonderful.

Want to get out of the doldrums? Spend time with a great little toddler boy who is eager to take on the world. Watch him. Hold him. Listen to him learn. Just be. Play in the water with him. Watch him be proud. Watch him laugh. Watch him take in all of the adventure with baby blue eyed wonder.

You'll see the world in a new way through the eyes of a toddler.

Second I got to help be part of decorating for a wedding. Hanging tulle, silver stars, purple ribbon. Creating bows, cutting flowers, shopping, making plans, helping all. There's nothing like being part of a wedding. Really. I got to watch two great people begin their journey. I got to watch people celebrate that joining. All of them. I loved being part of the new beginnings.

You'll see the world in a new way through the love of a young couple.

Third I got to see the results of life. Good ones and bad ones. Young people angry. Old people happy. Young people making vows. Others breaking them. Dancing. Swimming. Teasing. It all happened. I got to hear secrets. Secrets I know I'll keep. Secrets that will blend into my writing but will always be disguised.

Oh, the fun. Remember the hope. And always believe in the love.

Love exists. Love persists. Love never dies.

That's my carry away from Vegas.

Love never dies.

So my Vegas Resolutions?

1. Pretend I'm a toddler and seeing the world for the first time.
2. Remember to dance no matter how old I am until I can dance no more.
3. Fill vases with fresh cut flowers.
4. Celebrate life and gamble on love.
5. Remember that love never dies.

Viva Las Vegas!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm Confessing my Blonde Mistakes on Petit Fours & Hot Tamales

I'm confessing my hair color mistakes in my ongoing journey to become and stay a blonde. You can read about it on the Petit Fours & Hot Tamales blog.

Hope I see you there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet My Frenemy: The Scale -- at THE HEALTHY WRITER blog Today

I'm telling stories about my frenemy, THE SCALE, over at THE HEALTHY WRITER blog today. Come share you stories with me and tell me about your relationship with this fickle friend.

See you there!

Meet My Frenemy: The Scale!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Look Out Vegas, Here I Come!

I've got a fabulous week planned. One filled with adventure, promise, love and joy. The adventure is my solo trip to Las Vegas on Thursday, the 25th. I'm always a bit nervous before I fly, well a lot nervous, but once I'm on my way I relax. This will be my second time to Las Vegas. I drove through it years ago without stopping. I'll be gone for 3 nights. And that means I'll be taking a break from the blog for the rest of the week. I will be on The Healthy Writer Blog on Wednesday, August 24th. Hope to see you there as I will be sharing a story about a relationship with my frenemy, the scale. Meanwhile, I have revising to do, packing, and coordinating a teen on the horizon. All my free time is going to those things.

I'm glad to have a holiday. I love breaks. This break is special because my niece is getting married at Mandalay Bay on Saturday. So that's the love part of my week. Their vows are also the promise part of my big week. I love watching people find each other and discover home. I love writing about that experience. And it is my privilege to participate in my niece and future nephew-in-law's wedding.

The joy will be in the gathering of family. My brother, SIL, another niece, my nephew and my future  nephew-in-law's parents will be in Las Vegas as well. I can't wait to see my family again. We are so spread out that it's rare for us to spend time in the same room. They're flying to Vegas from Canada. I'm coming in from Alabama. Talk about a spread of folks! We're staying in a 9-bedroom house. Can't wait to see it!

The bonus about all of this is I get to confirm my research for another book while I am in Vegas. I have several scenes set in this locale and now I can take pictures and absorb the atmosphere. Who knows? I might even take some quarters and play the slots!

When I get back into town, I'll share all my adventures with you. So stay tuned!!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Necessary Chores I'd Love to Quit Performing

On Wednesday I blogged about daily habits I wish I could give up. Don't worry. I won't stop washing my hair, bathing regularly, or brushing/flossing my teeth. They're necessary, important daily tasks. I might skip shaving my legs on occasion, but that's usually during the winter when I wear pants.

I promised I'd share the chores I'd love to designate to another person, eliminate altogether, so I could have more time to do my favorite thing: write.

Here they are (and this list is never complete):

1. Cleaning bathrooms. I don't mind dumping bleach in the toilets and swishing them out. But I loathe the shower stall. It's the bane of my existence. We have hard water here, really really really hard water. It makes my skin crawl, my hair dry, and my shower super hard to clean. I have to use so many chemicals to get the stall and door shiny new-looking that I fear for my lungs when I'm in there. I even have a crazy electric bathroom brush that is supposed to get the grime off with less effort. This maybe knocks 5 minutes off my time in the stall. It takes me over an hour to get it to federal standards of cleanliness.

2. Grocery shopping. I don't mind cooking or coming up with recipes for our new diet. I love that part of the household duties that I perform. But it takes forever for me to get the grocery shopping done. And I don't even bring five hundred coupons with me! First I have to make a list. Fine, that's on the fridge and ongoing. Then I check the sales. I gather my reusable bags (actually they're in the car), then off to the store I go. I have no problem finding the basics, but what takes forever is finding great produce. I am picky. And for some reason there isn't great produce in this part of Alabama. I can't tell you how many strawberries, apples, bags of salad etc., I've thrown away a day or two after purchase! It's frustrating. Any rate, I also read the labels. Make sure that the product doesn't have too much sodium, falls into proper point range for the Weight Watchers' diet we're on. If I go on a long, replenish the pantry/fridge shopping expedition, my total round trip to the store and home to unload the multiple bags is over an hour. If I gripe about the prices going up, Darling Hubby sticks his foot in it when he suggests going to another store that's much further away. Nope. Ain't going to do it. That increases my time away from my favorite task: writing.

3. Laundry. It's like stringing beads on a necklace with no knot at the end of the rope. I finish 3 loads of laundry and there's already a new pile building. I do laundry 1x per week. If the article of clothing that my family members want to get washed is not in the hamper, forget it. That person will have to wait another week for that article of clothing to be cleaned. And here's a good one. Darling Husband asked me to separate his NYLON black undies from his COTTON black undies/like sort them when I'm putting them away because he's decided to use up even more precious closet shelf space for a second basket of black underwear. Uh, no. Not going to do that sir. Really. Feel the material, make a choice.

4. Calling insurance companies and tracking all medical documents. Hurry up and wait in line and listen to a voice tell you, one that sounds eerily like ALL the call speeches I hear, please listen to the menu carefully because it's changed but really, the choices offered are never the one I need. I often scream that I want to talk to a person. The voice says, "I"m sorry I don't recognize that option. Please try again." Multiple pushes of the "0" button will lead me to an actual, live human. Once I was so frustrated, I had two calls going. One on my cell phone, one on my home phone. I kept both parties (the insurer and the lab wanting my money when the insurer should pay) on the line and made them HOLD for information. That one turned out very well. I won my case. And I saved my family $236 that we were charged because someone in the lab made a "2" look like a "V." I kid you not. This is a true story.

5. Waiting for service people to come to my house to fix something, spray something, or deliver something. Seriously, what is this 4 hour window of time all about? I have to choose a time between 8-12 or between 1-5PM. I usually choose the afternoons because I want to go to Zumba in the morning and I want get writing done, too. I know the service people don't know how long it will take to fix, deliver, or spray stuff on another call so that's fair. I just don't like being forced to hang around the house for 4 hour stretches waiting for service to arrive. It's hard to concentrate. I usually get lost in Twitterville. If it weren't for the #1k1hr hashtag, I'd never accomplish anything on "waiting for service people days."

So that's my list. What's your list?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'd Have More Time If I Eliminated these Daily Habits

I'd like to increase my writing time, but I'm hamhocked (just love that word) by daily habits and obligations. They're necessary. I know they are important. And I won't stop doing them, but to be honest if I could just push a button, wave a wand, swallow a pill to end my commitment to these daily habits, I'd be thrilled.

Here they are:

1. Showering and/or bathing. More time committed if washing hair as well. Seriously. This is a huge daily commitment. I just wish there was a presto button I could push to make myself clean. Instantly clean and coiffed. But no. There is not. I must bath regularly.

2. Shaving my legs. I have to shave my legs every day. I've heard about the sugaring/waxing methods, but I am too impatient to wait for the darned hairs to grow long enough to endure those methods of removing hair. So if I'm in the shower, I'm shaving my legs.

3. Blow drying and styling my hair. I cheat on this one a lot. But I do spend a lot of time getting my hair to behave. It has a mind of its own. I'm currently growing it out just so I don't have to spend as much time styling it. The only benefit of this activity is that I get ideas for my books. I confess to stealing my Darling Teen's Chi to straighten my hair just to generate a story line fix.

4. Applying makeup. I don't always apply makeup. But 99% of the time I do because I believe in putting my best face forward. If I look good, I will feel good. And as Grandma Glover once said, "You never know who might come by to visit." Not wearing makeup is like inviting unexpected visitors. I know this is true. It has happened.

5. Brushing my teeth and flossing. I don't really mind brushing my teeth, but flossing? Oh, I dread the flossing. It seems like the older I get, the more remedial attention I attract from the dental hygienist. Seriously? I floss every day, but every six months I get to learn a NEW way to to floss my teeth. The latest involves cutting off the circulation of my middle finger, using my index finger and thumb to have complete control over the WET FLOSS, and not looking in the mirror when I floss so I don't get confused. Really? Really????? I hate it, but I persist. I am convinced that flossing teeth is like styling hair. Leave it to the professionals!!

There are other habits, chores that I perform on a regular basis that I'd like to eliminate if I could... I'll share them with you on Friday.

What daily habits do you wish you could quit so you'd have more time to do the things you love?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Promo Party for This and That

I've got a lot of great blog sisters and writing friends. One of them is going to have a debut novel release. She's a sister blogger at Petit Fours & Hot Tamales. I hope you go visit her website open house and enter to win one of her fabulous prizes. And if you're an author, I hope you want to play and share the fun that week with a fabulous writer and my friend.

Read Below:

I'm have an open house for my new website ( find
invitation below) during the week of August 29-September 2. I will be blogging
all day/every day during the week creating a party atmosphere.
I'm inviting authors to "bring" house warming gifts- their books, baskets, any
kind of promotional items they would like to give away -during that week. I will
in turn give them to lucky commenters and promote you and your books on my site.
Make sense?
I would also like to have at least one guest published author blog for each of
the days. The blog would need to be short and directed toward readers. If you
would be interested please let me know.
If you have any questions or suggestions you can contact me at 

Please feel free to forward the invitation to anyone and everyone. I would
appreciate a shout out on your website, Facebook and twitter if you would. The
more readers that come by the more fun it will be for everybody.
I hope this will be a fun event for readers and authors alike.


You are invited to an

Open House
To celebrate Susan Carlisle's new web home
August 29 - September 2
Books, Gifts and Guest Authors daily

One lucky reader will receive a Kindle
A few of the gift baskets being given away:
Afternoon Tea and a Read Have Books will Travel
Garden Goodies and a Book Beach and a Book
Book and a Bath Bonjour Reads
Fireside Reads Quiet Escape
Bag of Books Vera Bradley Bag & Books to Go
Romance from Georgia First Aid for the Heart
and many more prizes!

There's still time to sign up for the Heart of Dixie Online Workshop FAT FREE WRITING with the fabulous Grammar Divas. The class starts on August 17th.

Fat Free Writing or How to Avoid Wordiness in the Editing Stage
Grammar Divas
August 17-31
Cost: $20

To get more information or sign up for the class, go to

I'm playing at the Healthy Writer blog August 24th. I hope to see you there. Meanwhile, have fun reading the blogs before I go over and learn how writers get themselves into shape. You can read the blog at here.

And I'll be popping into Petit Fours & Hot Tamales on August 29th to confess more sins of the writer. Hope to see you there! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my sister blogger Maxine Davis's blog ONE TANK TRIPS.

I've got a busy week planned. Lots of writing. I'll be blogging on Wednesday and Friday. This week I'm "winging it" and letting the muse amuse me with whatever pops into my head. 

And when I'm not in cyber world, you know you'll find me here at home writing my stories and trying to improve my craft.

Happy Writing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Things that Make My Ears Steam

There are lots of things that make me mad. Things like cruelty to animals, parents not taking care of the their children, child abuse, social injustice. They are important things to be made about because they impact all of us in big ways. There's more but those top the list.

There areother things, bugs in my life, that make my ears steam, too. Theft. Vandalism. Littering. Lack of respect for personal property and space is wrong. Ask an author who has had a book pirated. Theft of their written word is wrong. And so is the lifting of a blog post and reposting it without the author's permission

That's what happened to me. I wrote a funny, cute post about how our underwear tastes change for my group blog PETIT FOURS & HOT TAMALES. You can read that post here. If you have read the post, you'll know there was nothing scandalous or titillating in the words. Well, nothing that is unless you find Spanx and Days of the Week panties fit either of those categories.

Me? Not so much.

But some trolling spambot looking for general posts, probably computer driven software, found my post and reposted it without my permission on a very disgusting website--a PORN site!! Now at first glance I was mildly amused. I mean really, Spanx and this site don't belong together. The women on this site won't need to wear Spanx for many years. And they certainly do not wear them now. Who knows? Maybe they might like to read a nice romance. Just because they've chosen to do a job that I personally find degrading to women doesn't mean they aren't potential readers, right?

But then, the more I got to think about it, the angrier I got because this site is using my innocent words to trick people, men and women, to go to their site expecting to read a funny post written by a PETIT FOURS & HOT TAMALES blog author. When they get there, they find my post and their product. Their product may not be illegal, but I sure as heck do not want to be associated with that site. I don't want my words used to get them customers.

What could I do? I posted comments all over the site in which I demanded that they remove my post. Last time I checked, the comments were awaiting moderation. I really don't have legal recourse. I'm sure that over time this too shall pass, but I'm still mad. I feel violated. And I don't like that feeling at all.

Do I regret writing my post? No. I wrote a funny post and gave everyone a chuckle. That was my intent. I would write it again. I just wish this site hadn't taken my post and made it part of something ugly. And that makes my ears steam. It also makes me want to censor myself. And I don't like that feeling because I didn't do anything wrong. The site that stole my words is at fault for violating me.

Have you ever had anything like this happen to you?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Break Out the Bubbly & Dark Chocolate--Celebrating Christina Wolfer's Debut Novel TWO BROTHERS

I'm delighted to have my first RWA Conference Roomie, Christina Wolfer, on the Veranda today. We met online via the RWA matching service and the 2009 Conference was our debut conference. Christina was a fabulous roomie. And we've become friends because of our shared love of writing. I'm excited to celebrate her debut novel, TWO BROTHERS, with all my friends. Please give her a warm welcome. I know you'll enjoy meeting her!!
Welcome to the Veranda, Christina. *Pop* Sizzle* Pour * Sip. How did you end up becoming a writer?
Saying I ended up as writer kinda makes it sound as if I made a conscious decision to be a writer, and I’m not sure that’s completely true. Yep, I did choose to pursue getting published, but the writer in me was always there, years before. I think I was born with or learned early on, a love and passion for creating stories. Writing drew less attention than talking in front of people and if I ever wanted the stories inside my head to have voice then I would have to do one or the other. Writing was a better option for me.
I'm so glad you listened to the voices in your head and wrote their stories. What is your favorite genre to write?
Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. With each new story, I’ve become increasingly more suspenseful with my writing, and my last one is more of a murder/mystery.
Ooh, I love both genres. When you write them are you a plotter or do you follow the muse?
Somewhere in between. If the muse isn't cooperating, I plot it out.
It's a "Hybrid" type of writing I understand all too well. When you're finished writing, how do you relax?
Well, since my day job tends to interfere with writing, I write when I get home. When things are flowing, I write until it's time to go to bed, so sleep would be how I relax. 
I admire all my friends who have day jobs and who write at night. Wow. That's dedication. What do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?
I read a little of everything, but tend toward romantic suspense and contemporaries. I enjoy Carla Neggers and Robyn Carr, but my favorite author is Nora Roberts. I think she has a wonderful art of building characters that pull the reader into the story.
I love all three of these writers. Nora Roberts has more stories in her head than on paper. How about you? What is your current project?
I've got two projects in the works. I'm in the final re-write before I begin querying my novel, Emotional Warfare, which touches on love after loss, finding internal forgiveness and has a twist of international crime. I'm also working on my first novella, Undercover, about a female officer sent into an inner city high school as a student to bring down a drug dealer and ends up finding love in the unlikeliest place.
Both your projects sound fascinating. I love the Novella idea. I'm already curious about UNDERCOVER. Do you have any new releases? (For later)
My 2nd novel, The Daughter, will be released in January 2012.
Happy Dance! Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Life. Imagination. Dreams. Wishful thinking. 
Wishful thinking and dreams are what lead to publication. How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”
That answer can be a bit deceptive. In 1995, I wrote a novel, joined RWA and submitted a query letter to Harlequin. I got a rejection letter, stopped writing and didn't renew my RWA membership. Then in February 2008, in the San Diego airport, on my way home from a week long business trip, my muse hit me, although I didn't know that's what it was called at the time, and I wrote the first two chapters of Two Brothers. I finished the manuscript in June and went to my first RWA chapter meeting in July. So a knowledgeable, serious pursuit of publishing was about 3 years, but if you ever got a hold of my journals, you'd see I pondered the question of one day being published when I was fourteen.  
I remember that conference *grin*. We both agreed we'd get there one day. I'm so glad you got the call!! How did you celebrate the "call" and new book contract?
Well, I got the call five days before Christmas, so it was a busy time, not much room for celebrating a book deal. But with all the family gatherings, it made it easy to let everyone know. It didn't seem real and I did not react the way I had imagined I would. And in-between getting the call and receiving the contract, I kept thinking they’d probably change their mind. So, I’m not sure I ever truly celebrated the call or contract, not in a memorable, definite way.
When I see you in person, we shall celebrate in style!! What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?
It's a fact of a writer’s life. If you write and submit, you will get rejected. We’ve all read a book or saw a movie because someone told us how great it was only to find ourselves wondering what the heck that other person was thinking. We have different tastes, another fact of life. It’s the same with publishing. You have to find the agent/editor/publisher that has the same or similar taste as you, that someone who gets your writing. You won’t find them if you don’t put your work out there. And rejection won't necessarily stop once you get published. I know not every reader is going to like my story and my biggest fear is getting that first bad review. It’s just another form of rejection. So, I’ve been working on developing some thick skin.   
Very wise words, Christina. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Having the confidence and belief in my own ability as a writer.  
Yes. It takes courage to push through our doubts. What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received the call?
The first surprise was how many people think you're going to be instantly rich and famous because you're getting a book published. I've been asked several times when I'm going to quit my job. I can assure you, it won't be anytime soon. The second surprise has been the response and support from the guys where I work. I thought they'd be, "Oh you write those kinds of books." Instead, they are eager to read, ask frequently when the book will be released and ask if they'll be in my next book.
Thanks so much for joining me on the Veranda, Christina. One of our commenters will receive a copy of your book TWO BROTHERS. Turquoise Morning Press is the publisher so there's a print or digital option available. 
Here's the blurb folks:
Gorgeous Cover!

At eighteen, Amanda Riley got her first lesson in love when Jacob Henderson broke her heart. But then she made the biggest mistake of her life – she ran off and married his younger brother.
Ten years later, she’s divorced and moving back to her small hometown. She’s made a name for herself in the cutting horse industry. That should count for something… Right? But decade old mistakes won’t be easily forgotten by everyone in town. 

When Amanda and Jacob are thrown together to help an abused horse, old desires ignite and past truths are revealed. And just when they think they’ll get a second chance at love, the younger brother comes home.

 I know you will want to read the whole book after reading that blurb!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School: Let the Writing Officially Rev Up

It is the first day of my Darling Teen's Senior Year. Wow! I can't believe it's here. She's pretty much been home since mid-April due to her mono diagnosis. She did go to school to take her finals, rehearse and act in her drama class's play, and take her AP exams, but for the most part she was home with me.

Not that it was that difficult. Teens basically sleep, but then there were the college tours, the trips to see old friends, and hosting her BF here in Alabama. So writing was daily, but not for long periods of time. And once the teen does rise, well the blaring of the TV rises with her. It's hard to concentrate when endless marathons of the Millionaire Matchmaker and Toddlers & Tiaras are blasting through the house. 

And I confess I do get a guilty pleasure out of watching these shows. They're like eating Sweet Tarts. You know you shouldn't like them, but you eat them anyway.

This week on the Veranda, I'll be hosting my first RWA National Conference roomie who has a DEBUT NOVEL coming out. Christina Wolfer and I met via the matching site online for the 2009 Conference. She's a wonderful person and a talented writer. I'm thrilled to share her success and her writing journey with you on August 10th.

On Friday I will share with you an incident that happened last week. I was plagiarized!! Now I don't get mad very often. People tend to think I'm a nice person. I like to live up to that reputation. However, this just makes me very angry. Even worse, my funny blog post on the PETIT FOURS & HOT TAMALES blog is being used to drive people to an extremely offensive site. You can bet I won't sit still for that kind of violation. I'm still in the I-want-to-knock-them-down-with-a-blow ticked off to write about the site's theft, but by Friday I will be cooled down. 

In other news, I finally turned in my notice as the Heart of Dixie Online Workshop coordinator. I will step down in 2012. Perhaps someone will want to take over this job, or not. I've personally noticed a downward trend in interest in all online workshops unless they are hosted and taught by the top tier lecturers (think Margie Lawson!). So perhaps it's time to reconsider hosting them. But that's not my call. It's the board's and, as always, I defer to their wisdom. Meanwhile, I am doing a very bad set of cartwheels because this means I will have more time to spend with my graduating senior.

I'm still missing DFC very much. I wish I could say the tears have ended. They haven't. I can't think about her, the final goodbye, without crying. And there are days when I just can't believe she's gone. I'll break down at odd times. You know, the kind of moments when you're used to your pet just being with you and she isn't. Nothing major. Usually at night, when we're curled up on the couches watching television I am a bit sad because DFC always came to visit me.

And when I write. I don't know why but the writing isn't the same without my furry friend sitting on my lap, her paws on the keyboard and her eyes watching the words form on the computer screen, as I write my stories. Maybe that is why this story, HER PRISONER OF LOVE, is going so slow for me. I can't concentrate without my furry little feline distracting me with her immense cuteness. So yah, I'm sad. They say people cry a river or an ocean when they grieve. But ultimately, they cry until their souls are so parched of water that they are a desert, hot and dry with blazing winds blasting across their sands. Nothing can ease that kind of pain. Only time. Time which sends a gentle breeze and a sprinkling of mist to quench the soul's quest for relief. I'm waiting for the mist and the gentle breeze. 

Other than missing my darling DFC I'm excited about this year. My daughter and I are on a Weight Watcher's diet plan. And it's really working for us. We've each lost 5 pounds! I've converted three of my own recipes on the WW website, and I've made 4 of their recipes. Only one failed to satisfy our family. The rest of the meals were delicious. I don't feel deprived at all. The points are easy to calculate if you don't already know the values, and I'm still allowed a glass or 3 of wine LOL.

I've also been working out at the local YMCA. It's a fantastic, brand new facility. It makes me happy to workout in such a light, bright space. I bring my Margie Lawson lectures with me. I have them on my Nook thanks to GWEN HERNANDEZ who taught me how to convert the computer files to PDF and transfer them to my NOOK. She's a technological whiz!!

Who knows? Maybe I'll be svelte by the time I get to the MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS GRWA conference at the end of September! I'm excited to go this year. My dear friend and CP, SHARON WRAY, is a finalist in the Single Title Unpublished category. So she's coming to Atlanta to share a room with me and two other great friends. And I'm a date again. Time to trot out all the pretty clothes for the big gala they host to celebrate the Published and Unpublished Maggie Finalists.

So while there is a tinge of sadness in my life, and even tho' I'm fisticuff mad at that awful site for stealing my blog for nefarious purposes, I still have a happy heart.

So how are you all feeling today? Do you have happy hearts? Or are you grappling to find your happy heart?

Friday, August 5, 2011

HEART OF DIXIE Online Workshop FAT FREE WRITING Aug. 17-31

AUGUST 17-31, 2011
Workshop Title:  Fat Free Writing or How to Avoid Wordiness in the Editing Stage
Instructor/s: The Grammar Divas
Cost: $20

Description:  Fat-Free Writing or How to Eliminate Wordiness in the Editing Stage

Do ever-shrinking word counts and dwindling editor reading time have you thinking you need to put your prose on a diet? Wordy sentences and unnecessary phrases clutter writing, turning an otherwise good manuscript into an overweight tome. Cut the fat and enhance your chances of garnering an editor's attention. The Grammar Divas demonstrate techniques to identify and correct common author mistakes. Discover how to identify which words add meaning to a sentence and which just take up space. Learn alternatives to wordy, verbose, overstated, or pompous phrases. Devise strategies to help you write precisely what you mean every time.


Annie Oortman... Grammar wasn't Annie Oortman's first love (actually, it was a cute boy in her second-grade class named Henry Talley) or even her second (avoiding barn work). However, after getting an A for content but an F for readability on a third-grade book report, she learned having great ideas was one thing, communicating them well on paper another.
Annie became a disciple of the church of Proper Grammar and card-carrying member of The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar ( Nowadays, she diagrams sentences for fun (yes, for fun), corrects her children when they say "I did good on the test" (I did well.), and argues with fellow grammar devotees on the acceptability of ending a sentence with a preposition (don't do it).
BTW, Annie is hoping to see her name on the cover of a fiction novel soon... very soon. (And, if you’re wondering, Henry Talley never even noticed Annie as he had a mad crush on blonde-haired, blue-eyed Libby Boxler.)

Darlene Buchholz... Darlene fell in love in the first grade with a boy named Neil. He shared his crackers and milk at recess after someone took her snack and never got caught. She’s loved romance and intrigue ever since. By the third grade, she discovered Nancy Drew mysteries and developed a great passion for perky heroines who drove convertibles (proof they were in charge of their own lives). She wrote her own one-hundred-page mysteries, giving the heroine a much better hero than wimpy Ned Nickerson, who seemed more fashion accessory than hero. What woman wouldn’t prefer a cowboy or a cop named…well, Neil, of course?
Darlene never thought of grammar as a challenge. It was, instead, a tool to help her express the ideas she felt passionate about. She served as a peer mentor in junior high and high school. Becoming a high school English teacher was a natural for Darlene. She loved sharing ideas expressed in great literature and exposition.

Now, family raised, Darlene has decided to write stories again. She writes romantic suspense, and sometimes her heroines drive trucks rather than convertibles. Her heroes are still cowboys and cops. She hopes to publish soon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Color Coded Madness Interrupted

I'm revising my current WIP. I've highlighted it in various colors based on the fabulous Margie Lawson EDITS system and her EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS. I've used DABS and scored through the manuscript.

I am ready. Ready to begin this new challenge of powering up my writing.

But the world is pressing in on all sides (wait that's a plot thing, right?) and I'm unable to smoothly, quickly, efficiently move through my revision. I'm lucky if I get a passage revised, let alone a scene or a chapter. Why? Why is the world making me want to throw my sharpie highlighters against the wall and scream?

Easy answer: teenager at home under my feet. She sleeps till noonish so I have a bit of time in the morning to shape up my manuscript. But as soon as she emerges from her cave, sleepy-eyed and hair a wild tangled mess, I switch off my revisions and I let the house be noisy, crazy, loud. I let the days be lazy, busy, crowded.

I can turn on my writing time again in the morning, in the still of the pre-dawn hours, but I can't recapture the valuable time I have with my teenager. I know watching silly shows like Toddlers & Tiaras or Top Model aren't always considered quality events, but it's not the quality per say, it's the meeting her where she is that counts.

She'll remember that I just hung out with her in her world, with her friends, reading her favorite books, laughing together at funny Tumblr posts, shopping, being silly. And long after I'm gone, I hope she will cherish the fact that no matter what, no matter where, no matter when she needed me, I was there for her.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's In Your Underwear Drawer?

I'm blogging on Petit Fours and Hot Tamales today. Hope you come visit me and share your underwear drawer secrets!