Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Office

I have reclaimed my office after deadline. (Translation: I cleaned it.) My husband said I should have taken before and after photos but there was no way I was going to let you see it before I cleaned it.

The nerve center:

The bookshelf:

The back corner:

I only clean after meeting deadlines. This time I had dealines back to back so it hasn't been cleaned in months. I lit a Lavender Vanilla Yankee Candle and now the office smells good too.

Do you have a room that's all your own? If so, where is it? What things do you do to make it special?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reader Events

I'll be at the annual Fresh Fiction event of Readers and Ritas in November. Sara Reyes always puts on a terrific party. Yes, it's months from now, but the reason I'm announcing it today is that if you register by July 31, you can save $25 on the event.

We'd love to see you at 'readers and ritas". All the authors bring gifts to the readers at their table. Visit the link above to see if your favorite authors will be there.

Have you ever been to a reader/author event? If so, what's your favorite part?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good News/Bad News

Yesterday turned out to be a good news/bad news kind of day.

Good news. I learned Grand Central will be rereleasing The Wedding Veil Wishes next year. Two stories in two books. There will be gorgeous new covers I can't show you yet and new titles.

Then I got the revision letter for the book I just turned in. Let's say it's not pretty. Gotta throw away about 50% of it. I went overboard with the subplots. Too much emotion diluting the impact. Ouch! Being a writer is hard.

Good news. I lost two more pounds this week. I love this diet. Have lost 24 pounds since May 5th.

Bad news. Line edits due on first book in my Jubilee, Texas series. Novella due Sept 20th. All this in between massive revisions and teaching my writing classes. I better get to work.

Looks like I cursed myself when I said I was bored. What about you? Had any good news lately?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


In publishing it seems everyone in NYC vanishes on vacation in August. Here in Texas, I wish I could take a vacation. It's so miserable hot. I spent my vacation dollars on the RWA conference. Loved it, but it's work, not R&R. Instead, I'm doing a staycation. Sleeping more than usual. I need the rest and it's the only way to beat the heat. And I'm reading about places I'd like to visit. My husband's family is from the Czech Republic and Prague looks lovely. I'm putting it on my dream vacation list.

What about you? Have you had a vacation this year? Are you planning on taking one? If not, what are you doing for your staycation?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Jobs

At a confernce recently a group of us got to talking about our first jobs and it turned into a lively topic. My agent, Jenny Bent's first job was at a chicken packing plant. (Poor thing). Kathy Caskie's first job was modeling (but of course, she's tall and Grace Kelly beautiful.) My editor, Lucia Macro's first job was at a summer camp.

My first gig was Six Flags.

I have to admit that it was really fun. Lots of flirting going on behind the scenes at an amusement park and when you're sixteen, being around so many other kids you'll never see again after the summer is over has a liberating effect. Of course that led some kids into trouble. But I was a shy girl, so I didn't have as much fun as most everyone else did. I was the only one in my group who came to work without hickeys.

I worked in an area called La Cantina--food service, mexican food. I went home smelling of grease. My uniform consisted of a really short skirt and peasant blouse. There was an amauesment ride right next to our food booth that was similar to Disney's Small World. The ride played an abrievated song that went: La, La, La Fiesta. All. Day. Long. That was the extent of the tune. We used to fantasize about getting axes and chopping down the singing figures.

I was a closer, so I stayed until eleven o'clock at night. I had to wash dishes which included washing out glass ashtrays. Touching them freaked me out, so I started dropping them on purpose so I wouldn't have to wash them. "Oops!" I'd exclaim as another one crashed to the cement.

On certain nights, after the parks closed, we were allowed to ride the rides. It was spectacular fun. But alas, I was accepted into the license vocational nursing program during that summer and so ended my Six Flags career.

What was your first job?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Road Trip

No not me. I gave in and started writing again. I guess I'm just not destined to take a vacation. I'm writing up a new series for Blaze featuring road trips.

Comedy wise, my favorite raod trip movie is probably National Lampoon Vacation. Romance-wise, hands down my favorite is It Happened One Night.

The one thing that's difficult about writing road trip romances is coming up with believable ways they can end up stranded in this day and age of cell phones and GPS. Then again, no one said a writer's job is easy.

So what's your favorite road trip story? Movie, book or real life?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

At Loose Ends

I've finished all my deadlines. Yay. I can rest, right?

You'd think, but the truth is, I'm bored. Oh, I could clean my house and I'm gonna, I swear, but without anything to write, I'm at loose ends. I'm trying to read, honest I am, but nothing is holding my attention. I've already watched movies, conquered Angry Birds, knitted, played with my pets, caught up with friends and family and had date night with hubby. It only took a week for me to run out of things to do. I now know why I write so much. It's the only thing that holds my interest for long.

What about you? Do you have any obsessions? Does too much time away from work have you twiddling your thumbs? What do you do when you need to slow down and take a break?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seen Any Good Movies Lately?

My favorite thing to do when I have some down time is to watch movies. I love story in any form, but there's something about watching a movie that makes me feel cozy and lazy in a good way. This week, since I just finished a deadline last week, I treated myself with SourceCode on DVD. It's a pretty decent sci-fi action flick.

What about you? Are you a movie buff? Seen any good movies lately? Are there any that you are looking forward to?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good News

Grand Central has my book, You Only Love Twice is up for sale on e-books for $1.99 for one week only. Normally, they have the price set at $9.99. This book is out of print, but it's one of my personal favorites.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Think Cool Thoughts

Okay, whose idea was it to make this summer so hot? I haven't been out of the house in days. I feel so sorry for people who have to work outside in this heat. I've even brought the outside pets in the house because it's too miserable for them out there. I'm drowning in pet hair, and putting up with dog/cat spats as they all try to sit in my lap.

Let's think cooling throughts.

What are you doing to combat the heat? And if it's cool where you are, air out your guest room, we're coming over.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Past Regrets?

I woke in the middle of the night with a driving question for a new story.

Okay, here's the question. If you had the power to go back in time and warn your youthful self then armed with the information you have now, should you do it?

One of my past regrets was not staying at the University of Oklahoma in the early 1980's when I was accepted into their writing program. It was at the height of the romance boom and I probably would be rolling in the dough now if I had. If I has a "do over" I wouldn't have let my money fears send me running back to nursing school. Then again, I helped a lot of people as a nurse and learned a lot about human nature and eventually I did make it back to my writing goal. I just took the long way around.

So I bring the dream question to you. What are some of your past regrets? If you could have a do over, would you really? If you did, how would it effect where you are now?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What are you doing today?

I'm lazing around after meeting deadline. Have to get off my duff tomorrow and do revisions on another project and start cleaning my office. (It goes to heck in a handbasket when I'm on deadline)

What are you doing today? Reading anything good? I'm going to start reading The Help.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Singing Saturday

I first heard this song performed by Jeff Buckley and thought, wow, that kid did not write this and I went in search of who did. I instantly wondered where I'd been all my life not to have heard of Leonard Cohen. The man is a genius with lyrics. Listen carefully. It's not about religion at all. But what beautiful poetry. I think I have a crush on Leonard.

Here's the Jeff Buckley cover.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Will She Make It?

Your blogger has a book due by 5 p.m. EST. She has 80 pages left to revise. No sleep for her tonight. Will she make it? Make bets here. All I gotta say is thank heavens for email.

P.S. Why does she push herself like this? Because her tempermental Muse only shovels her the good stuff under wretched conditions. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vicarious Eating

My heroine is a baker so the book is chockful of food. This is the first time I've ever tried dieting while on deadline. Actually, I feel really good. Better than I usually do at this point in the writing process. No cravings, but boy, writing about cakes and pies and cookies and not eating something sweet is like going to the movies and not getting a big ol' tub of buttery popcorn.

My heroine has a mail order business baking Texas-theme desserts. I've tasked my baby sister (she's the baker, I'm more of a cook) on coming up with the recipes we're using in the book.

There's Dr. Pepper and pecan praline cupcakes. (Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco, Texas and pecan is the official tree of the Lone Star State.)

 And spicy cowboy creme brulee with carmalized chipotle sugar.

There's mockingbird cake. (Because it's so delicious you'll be singing a medlee of songs like the Texas state bird when you eat it.)

Let's not forget the prickly pear cookies.

Or the giddy-up pie....

Did I say I wasn't having cravings? I think I lied.

What about you? What are some of your favorite desserts? Are you a baker or a cook? It seems people are either one or the other, except for those folks who eschew the kitchen all together. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Brain Hurts

My Muse is a mean _itch. (Fill in whatever consonant works for you. "W"if you're being nice. "B" if you're being naughty. You can guess which one I'm thinking.) She'll only show up when I'm down to the wire and sleepless. She laughs at my pain. Tortures me with fresh ideas and creative twists and turns when there is no time to execute them all. We have a severe love/hate relationship, my Muse and I. Dysfunctional. Co-depedent. Can't live without each other.

But shh, don't tell her I'm complaining or she'll storm off in a huff.

Two days left to make my deadline. Sixty pages remaining to write and then do revisions. I can do it, right?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Hard Work But Somebody's Gotta Do It

The meal is set.

The candles are lit.

A cowboy is in the house.

Guess what scene I'm writing today?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Deadline Dementia

I'm in deadline dementia. This is where I'm writing eight to ten thousand words a day or more to finish a book. I write from the minute I wake up, until the time I go to bed. I'm bone weary but at the same time, it's a crazy kind of high. I'm fully submersed in these characters. It's a mad process but it works for me. In order to bring the story to life I must sink into the depths. I have trouble telling what's real and what's all in my head. It's a strange place to live.

What about you? If you're a writer what methods do you use to become the characters? And if you're a reader do you ever get so swept away in the story that you feel everything the characters are going through?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's too hot to think

Miserable hot here in Texas. If I wasn't on deadline, we'd hop in the RV and drive North. Instead, I'm working. And my characters live in Texas, so even in my story, I'm stuck in the heat.

So I'm going to close my eyes and imagine myself in a cafe in Europe. Ah. That's better. Let's order something cool to drink.

Where would you like to be today?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Singing Saturday

Shout out to my niece, Lauren, for turning me onto this group, The Band Perry. This one song is particularly poignant. Lauren's own daddy died young and his ashes were scattered over the Brazos River.

Think of Caylee Anthony when you hear it and you'll bawl.

Swag Bag Winner

Kathleen O wins the RWA Swag bag. Kathleen, email me @ to claim your prize


Friday, July 8, 2011

Really Love Your Peaches...

I live in the Peach Capital of Texas and it's that time of year again.

Tomorrow is the annual Parker County Peach festival.

If you've never had a juicy ripe fresh peach they are nothing like those icky, tasteless peaches you find in the supermarket that were picked too soon. Unlike some fruit, peaches do not ripen after they're picked, so it's best to get them straight from the tree in the dead heat of summer.

Here's my favorite peach pie recipe. It's so simple and delicious.


10 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

Mix flour, sugar and butter into crumb stage.
Place one crust in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Line the shell with some sliced peaches. Sprinkle some of the butter mixture on top of the peaches, then put more peaches on top of the the crumb mixture. Continue layering until both the peaches and crumbs are gone.
Top with lattice strips of pie crust.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden. Allow pie to cool before slicing. Best when eaten fresh.

Here's a bounty of peaches from my own yard.

Lori's peaches.

What summer fruit do you have in your area? Any great recipes to share?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

RWA Swag Bag giveaway

Giving away the RWA bag, plus a few surprise goodies thrown in. If you'd like to be in on the drawing to receive books, the RWA conference bag and handouts, a booklight and other stuff, just post here.

Here's a few pics from NYC.

Me and C.L. Wilson at the Avon signing.

Cowgirl in the City.

Playing hookey from the conference in Central Park.

being introduced by the fabulous Vicki Batman for my High Concept workshop.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Tight deadline. National was fun, but wow, the catch up I must play. On the other hand, how can I complain when I get to write about this? Introducing my hero, Rafferty Jones. Horse trainer for the movies.

So what are you reading or writing on this sultry summer day?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Release

I've been so busy I forgot that I have a book out. You know you're officially a veteran author when you forget you have a book out. It's an anthology from Harlequin Blaze, (about wedding crashers) with Wendy Etherington and Jillian Burns. We had such fun working on this project and oh my goodness we got such a lovely review from The Fictional Bookshelf. I hope I'm able to work with Wendy and Jillian again in the near future.

The three authors Lori Wilde, Wendy Etherington, and Jillian Burns did a wonderful job creating three unique stories that all fit around one element - a Hollywood starlet's wedding.

Each story inside By Invitation Only was amazingly sweet and hot.

Lori Wilde's Exclusively Yours was cute and funny. I loved how the main two characters, Olivia and Nick, bickered back and forth. When they weren't at each other's throats, they were quite romantic.

Wendy Etherington's Private Party had two main characters that were charming. I loved how Wade Cooper, the main male, helped Tara achieve her goal and figure out why Tara was losing business to a secondary character.

Jillian Burn's Secret Encounter was filled with two secretive characters, Peyton and Quinn, who sizzled the whole way through the story. Their passion for one another left me breathless.

What I loved about the book.
1. All three stories did not just have a similar theme; they were tied into one another through a common link.
2. The pacing of the stories felt natural and realistic.
3. Because there were three anthologies I managed to read one story and put the book down to do other things. Then I came back and picked with the next story. This book would be great for those who only have minutes to spare for reading. You still get the quality of a great read but with fewer words.
4. Despite the fewer words per story, the authors packed each tale full of quality entertainment and thought provoking `moments'.
5. Each individual story can stand on its own.
5. Last but not least, the descriptive nature and tone of each story left me without any doubt as to what each character looked like, how they felt and etcetera. I was impressed.
--5 stars, The Fictional Bookshelf.

What about you? Have you ever been so busy you've forgotten about something important?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fun and Games in NYC

A group of small town authors hit NYC this past week. Check out what happened.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

There's no place like home

While NYC was exciting and energizing, I'm glad to be back home. Burrowing in to finish the final book in my current contract. Much work to be done before July 15th.  No Fourth of July holiday for me.

What about you? Are you enjoying time off or buckling down this holiday weekend?