Thursday, November 20, 2008


Hi out there! Is everyone surviving the transition to winter? We actually had snow here the other day - it was a bit depressing on top of the nasty cold I've got.

Anyhoodles, I came across two inspiring bits of information/quotes today and felt they were worth sharing. See, I joined the Medifast online support group (decided to give it another go - I'd done it before and I know it works, but I needed more support this time around) and I found two things on their message boards that hit home for me. What was great about them is that these things can apply to any area of our lives that we're working on, whether it's weight loss, writing or anything else. So what were they?

One, was this quote: "Talk to that person in the mirror as if he or she were a good friend going through this."

Simple, but it really got to me. I'm probably much harder on myself than anyone else is, so I taped a copy of that to my bathroom mirror where I'll see it every day.

The second thing came from a woman had been reading a book called "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink, which isn't about weight loss, but she found an activity in it called "But Out!" that she found helpful enough to share, and I'm glad she did.

The exercise was this: Compile a list of some of the important changes you'd like to make in your life and what's keeping you from realizing them, such as:

I'd like to spend more time with my family, but I travel a lot for my job.
I'd like to eat better, but I'm surrounded at work by sugary snacks.
I'd like to read more, but I rarely have time when I can sit down with a book.

Now go back to each item and replace the word "but" with the word "and":

I'd like to spend more time with my family and I travel a lot for my job. I need to find ways to bring my family along during some of my travels.
I'd like to eat better, and I'm surrounded at work by sugary snacks. So I need to pack my own supply of healthful snacks to reduce the temptation to eat the bad stuff.
I'd like to read more, and I rarely have time when I can sit down with a book. So I need to get books on tape that I can listen to in the car or at the gym.

Exchanging "and" for "but" can move you out of excuse-making mode and into problem-solving mode.

Isn't that great? Simple, but effective. (Or, simple AND effective) :)

Now I'm off to get my butt back to bed so I can shake this cold. How are things going for you?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Books Like Crack

I remember reading a quote by Jason Isaacs (the actor who, among other roles, plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies) and he mentioned how he finally understood the HP phenomenon when he read the first book to study for the movie - he said the books were "like crack."

I have to agree about their addictive quality. And I'm pleased to share some other series (YA and adult) that I've discovered in the past year that had (have) me hooked as well.

The first discovery was Jennifer Armintrout's "Blood Ties" series starting with "The Turning". Great stuff.

Then in the YA section I discovered Terry Pratchett for the first time with the Tiffany Aching adventures. (This led me to his "Discworld" series and I can't believe I only found him in the past year.)

Next up in the YA section was The Bartimaeus Trilogy. I found the first book on sale and thought it looked interesting so I took it home. I went back the next day and got the rest.

Not so long ago, I found another book on sale, Dark Lover - book one of the "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series by JR Ward. Again, thought, "why not?" Well, I have to say that I have a love/hate relationship with these books. There are many things that bug me about them, but like any disfunctional loving relationship, I keep going back again and again. And I have no intention of leaving. :) In fact, I own all six that are out now, and will buy the next one that will come out in hard back next year.

So, there I was a few weeks ago back in my local Borders, and a book caught my eye. "Working for the Devil" book one in the "Dante Valentine" series by Lilith Saintcrow. I hadn't heard anything about her or the books, but decided to give it a try. Let me warn you: if you read the first one, make sure you bought the second one at the same time. Otherwise, you may end up like me and throw the first book across the room screaming and crying how, how, HOW could she end it that way?! :)

After that bit of hysteria, I decided to check out Charlaine Harris's "Sookie Stackhouse" series. Yeah, I'd heard about it for ages, but for some reason just never tried it. Well, Sookie and are good friends now.

Then just a few days ago, I gave into another series I'd heard good things about, but hadn't tried yet. The YA Twilight series. Oh. My. God. Stephenie Meyer is a genius at keeping you turning the pages. I talked my daughter into reading it, and she's hooked too. We've read the first two in as many days. The only reason why I haven't gone to get the last two is because I've had a bad virus the past few days and haven't been able to get out of bed. We also discovered they turned it into a movie that's coming out November 12. Woohoo! We're both really stoked. :)

So, what about you? Any books that got you so hooked you couldn't wait for the next one? I need another fix. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Magical Mondays - Three Wishes

Ah, my friends, I am tired. So tired. My crazy schedule on top of some health issues lately has just been kicking my butt. As I lay stewing in my own misery the other evening, I asked myself what did I need to focus on, visualize, wish for, in order to feel better. My mind did its usual kickstart of "money" but I knew that while it would certainly help, by itself, it isn't enough.

I started digging deeper and realized that there are only three things I need, and if I had them on a consistent basis, I could accomplish anything. They are: wisdom, courage and good health.

You see, sometimes, I just don't know what is the right thing to do - that's where wisdom comes in. Sometimes, I know the right thing to do, but lack the courage to follow through. And sometimes, I might know what to do, have the courage to do it, but lack the stamina - that's where I need good health and energy. If I had all three in abundance, life could be grand. :)

So, now I wish those things not only for me, but for all of you as well. I'll be signing petitions with my heart, tucking wishes into my bra, focusing my mind, and hoping all of us are blessed with an abundance of all three. (And that we come about that wisdom as painlessly as possible, lol)


And now, because I told her I would, I'm going to show some love to an ebay artmate: And if you comment on her blog, you'll be entered in a drawing to win one of her cute sculptures on May 10. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Magical Mondays - Timeless Advice

(Ok, it's Saturday, but I've got so much to do this weekend, I'm afraid I'll forget by Monday! LOL)

I leave you with a message from Napoleon Hill. The ending is really special.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Magical Mondays - More Boob Wishes :)

Sorry for being such a blog slacker. I've been working the equivalent of three jobs lately, and it's hard to find time and/or energy for much these days. I've got my full-time job as a curriculum writer and editor, a part-time job as an editor with an erotic romance publisher, and I'm still trying to keep up with my eBay artwork. Add in mom, housekeeper and writer, and well - let's make that at least six jobs.

But, wait a minute, you might say. Editor with an erotic romance publisher? When did this happen? :)

Around the end of December/beginning of January, I made some more "boob wishes" - one of which included getting a job by end of January/beginning of February with a certain (quite reputable, RWA acknowledged) publisher who shall remain nameless for the time being. There were two other wishes as per usual, but if they didn't come true it was my own fault. (Hard to get published when you don't submit material! lol) However, right on time, editing job came through. Boob wishes strike again! :)

(BTW, for those of you asked what the "welcome opportunity" was that I referred to in a comment in my last post, that was it.)

Now if I can only find another 48 hours in a 24-hr day...

How's it going in your neck of the woods? Any good news to report?

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Marcia Colette made the comment that if one door closes, kick open another. With that in mind, I've listed a few possible doors below. (These are all for spicy short stories and novellas, which is what I prefer to write since my writing time is limited. And for a great idea about short stories, visit Clifford Brook's blog.)

Please note: I apologize for any bad formatting. Blogger is misbehaving and won't let me put the correct spaces between paragraphs.

Tryst™ Submissions
Word Count: 10k-20k The Tryst line is our signature short story line. These short, hot, and quick reads should stimulate the reader and the promise of a future.

Brazen™ Submissions 
Word Count: 20k-40k The Brazen line is a special line of books dedicated to the feisty and aggressive heroine we have in all of us. She’s not just any ordinary bad girl! She is a strong, determined, kick ass woman who is in control of her life. She is larger than life and so is her take on the world. The man in her life is just as strong and worldly as she is, and he knows he’s privileged to be there.

Outlaw! ™ Submissions
Word Count: 20k-40k The Outlaw! hero is a walk on the wild side and the heroine likes him that way. He’s a bold alpha male with the world as his playground. Whether he's a demon, a vampire, pirate, knight, or a corporate devil. He’s the anti-hero that steals your heart.

Shifter™ Submissions 
Word Count: 10k-100k The Shifter series at Cobblestone is dedicated to shape shifters of both genders. Get in touch with your wild side and let us take a look! We are interested in shape shifter romance that crosses over into all genres and heat levels.

Wicked™ Submissions
(open February 14, 2008)
Word Count: 5k-10k Be wicked for us. We're looking for short story erotica with a very high level of sexual content within five to ten thousand words. HEA or romantic content not required. First and third person accepted (male or female POV). All genres considered.


From Harlequin:
Nocturne BitesLength: 10,000 ­ 15,000 words

Silhouette Nocturne is looking to acquire paranormal editorial with strong sexual, fantasy and danger elements for its new eBook program, Nocturne Bites. We're looking for fast-paced novellas that hook the reader early by establishing a paranormal world and its conflicts. We are looking for stories of vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, psychic powers, etc. set in contemporary times. Many of the elements that make a successful Silhouette Nocturne remain true for Nocturne Bites.

Stories should deliver a dark, highly sensual read that will entertain readers and take them from everyday life to an atmospheric, complex world filled with characters struggling with life and death issues. A strong alpha hero is of the utmost importantance‹he should be powerful, mysterious and totally attractive to the heroine. While action-packed and mission-oriented, the scope of these stories should be more contained, with more focus turned to character development.

All stories should be capable of standing alone; all loose ends need to be tied up, and the relationship between hero and heroine should resolve itself in a satisfying manner. For published authors, this line is a great way to build their miniseries at Harlequin and Silhouette. Unpublished authors are welcome as well.

Only complete manuscripts submitted electronically will be considered from unpublished authors; no partials or queries, please. Submissions should be sent as a Word-compatible attachment.
Submissions should also follow standard formatting guidelines: double-spaced and written in a clear, legible font on numbered pages. Author name and title should appear as a header or footer on each page.
Nocturne BitesE-mail

Also from Harlequin:
SPICE Briefs
Word Length: 5,000–15,000 words

Format: eBooks
Editor: Susan SwinwoodEditorial Office: Toronto

Spice Books is looking to acquire bold, sexually explicit editorial that pushes the envelope for its new eBook erotica program, Spice Briefs. These are highly erotic short stories; although brief, these novellas should still establish context for the erotic content through an interesting and engaging premise (a great hook), a well-constructed plot and believable characters. Quality editorial is paramount.

Like Spice Books, what will set Spice Briefs apart is its broad spectrum of sexy editorial. We are looking for all kinds of subgenres—contemporary, ethnic, literary, mystery/suspense, historical and paranormal stories told in first- or third-person point of view (female only) or, if it works for the story, multiple points of view. Authors should feel comfortable exploring any and all sexual scenarios, even ones considered "taboo," and should avoid using euphemisms in favor of the frank, graphic language typical of the erotica genre.

Only complete manuscripts submitted electronically will be considered; no partials or queries, please. Submissions should be sent as a Word file attachment, or in a program that can be converted to Word. Submissions should also follow standard formatting guidelines—double-spaced and written in a clear, legible font on numbered pages. Author name and title should appear as a header or footer on each page, and please ensure that the title of the submission appears in the e-mail's subject line.
Spice BriefsE-mail address:


From Loose Id's March Madness Contest:

Unleash your imagination with the hottest short stories you can dream up: completed stories of 5000-7500 words of scorching erotic fiction that meets Loose Id's general submissions guidelines. Stories will be due by March 1, 2008. You may enter as many stories as you like. Employees and family and roommates of Loose Id employees are not eligible.

Entries will initially be judged by the Loose Id Staff and a Sweet Sixteen chosen. Excerpts will be made available to Loose Id readers for voting with the top entry in each bracket moving on to the next round. Winner to be announced April 16, 2008.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Well, the press release came this morning and I can't say I was surprised. I've been expecting it for a while. Aphrodite's Apples has closed.

I'm sad, but I had already mentally prepared myself for it. And thus far, the people in charge do seem to be trying to do the right thing. It's just sad that they weren't able to make a go of it. I feel bad for all involved on both sides. They were a fun group to work with.

Now it's onward, upward, get my rights back and maybe even rework that story to make it better. :)

Asi es la vida.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Touching the Past

I just wanted to share this wonderful blog post for those of you who may not be familiar with Jon Zech.

I'll not tell you what it's about, but trust me, it's great. So is all of his writing, so while you're there, I encourage you to have a look around the archives.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Magical Mondays - Gifts and Gratitude

Please forgive me because I know this will ramble. Forgive me also if I've posted about some of it before.

The original blog plan today was to write about the gifts we sometimes give and receive without realizing just how timely they are when we're in the process of giving them. However, there were some other things that happened today that caught my attention as well.

For instance, Lana mentioned driving around with a scanner she'd planned on giving to Goodwill, but when she spontaneously asked some friends if they'd like one, she discovered they'd just been discussing how much they'd like to have one right before she showed up.

Recently, Edie also spontaneously received the gift of a laptop from which she can print her manuscripts just when her computer went kaput.

When I was moving from IL to AZ a few years back, I experienced a couple of those moments from the giving side. On one of the days before I was due to leave, I was running out of time to get rid of everything I had so I drove several miles to drop off a large number of very nice coat hangers to the Salvation Army, only to discover they didn't want them. As I drove home, I wondered what the heck I was going to do with them, and hated to throw them away.

I drove past a Wendy's when I had a sudden urge to pull in - not because I was hungry or thirsty - I just felt like I should. I didn't even understand it at the time. I asked myself why I had pulled in there and decided to just get a drink from the drive-thru. The woman at the register commented on all the coat hangers I had, so I jokingly asked if she'd like to have them. She said, "Oh, yes, please! I never have enough hangers for my or my kids' clothes and I can't afford to buy them."

A few days after that, I was distraught because I couldn't get a charity to pick up the furniture I had and I didn't have time to sell it. (The charities wouldn't pick it up because my apartment had four steps they had to go up and down - they said I'd have to move everything outside.) I was practically in tears wondering how I'd manage that with no help, but I managed to drag a desk up the stairs and to the curb. Since that hurt my back, I also worried how I'd manage to clean everything later.

But as I started to turn away from the curb to go back inside, a van stopped and two women got out. Only one of them spoke English, and she asked if I was throwing the desk away, and if so, could the other lady have it. I said sure, and she told me the other woman had nothing - no furniture at all. I told her I had an apartment full if they could just pick it up.

I took them inside to show her and the woman started crying. She and her two little boys had been eating and sleeping on the floor for several months (they were recent immigrants). She was so happy, she not only helped me finish packing what few things I was taking with me, she also came back after they picked up the furniture and cleaned the whole apartment for me. It turned out to be a blessing for both of us.

Now, on to the gratitude ramble...

I'm ashamed to say that lately, I've been feeling ridiculously sorry for myself for one reason or another. Today, though, I had a couple of rude awakenings.

I work as a curriculum writer in a hospital, and I had to interview some of the radiologists today to go over their workflows in preparation for a new electronic record system that will go live in June. (I'll be writing the manuals for it.)

Well, first of all, the poor radiologists don't have the best of working conditions - it was dark, cramped and miserably hot where they were. I thought I was going to pass out from the heat. I felt bad for having complained earlier about it being too warm in my office. It was nothing compared to what they're working in.

But what got to me the most wasn't seeing where they worked, it was seeing what they were working on. I was surrounded by images of patients' brain, lung, breast and stomach tumors. I saw the horrendously curved spine of someone who couldn't breath without a tube in his throat because the curvature of his spine caused all his internal organs to shift. His lungs looked like they were laying sideways.

I wrapped up my tour not long before I had to catch my train. Seated in front of me on the train, was an obviously agitated man. When his cell phone rang, I overheard him say his aunt and uncle had just been killed in a car accident and he was on his way to handle the arrangements for them. He received several phone calls where he had to explain to people why he wasn't at work and where he was going. After one of those calls, he just broke down and sobbed.

He couldn't see me, but I started crying with him. He was a big, rough looking guy and it was just so heartbreaking. I searched for a tissue to give him, but didn't have one. I wanted to hug him, but thought it might make him uncomfortable. In the end, I had to settle with touching his shoulder on my way off the train and telling him how sorry I was for his loss. He looked stunned, but then he smiled and seemed genuinely grateful that someone had expressed an interest in his well-being.

My heart goes out to him and his family, as well as to those patients and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. I hope they will find peace, health and happiness, and that their needs are met in ways that cause them to feel blessed.

I realized again today that I have much to be grateful for. I hope you do too. What are some small or large blessings for which you are thankful?