Archive for July, 2009

I Have a Well…

Friday, July 31st, 2009

And it needs refilling!

I worked incredibly hard on My Liege’s website last week, all over last weekend, and into the beginning of this week. I worked until my shoulders ached and my eyes crossed. And then I worked some more. I love web design, but I seem to lack the capacity to REMEMBER how to go about it. What’s up with that? So every time I attempt a massive update, or, heaven forbid, a re-design of one of my sites, I suffer massive aggravation. Sooner or later, when I’m having problems, it dawns on me—check the code! Check the Freaking Code! So I go to check the code and realize I have no clue what I’m looking for, so I need to re-learn it. THEN check the code.

This is why when writing friends and acquaintances ask if I want to design their site or maintain their site, I have to turn them down. I think I could become very proficient at web design if I did it every day. But my writing would suffer. I know that from experience.

I plan on refilling my well in a major way this weekend. Wish me many Zzzzzzzzzs.

Allie McBeagle will do her part:

eager_beagle

“Walk! Walk, walk, walk! Take me on a walk!”

Healthy Writer

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

My fellow 007 GH finalist sister, Trish Milburn, has just opened Healthy Writer, a blog devoted to encouraging sedentary individuals to get in shape (you know, those of us who sit in front of a computer all day). What a great idea, Trish. Check it out!

I admit, I am pretty sedentary in nature. Look under Athlete in the dictionary and you won’t find a picture of moi, that’s for sure. I walk every day, sometimes twice a day, thanks to my dog, however. I don’t know if I’d adhere to my schedule without the dog… When you have a dog and you’ve trained them to expect two walks a day, unless one of your kids (like mine) is responsible for the afternoon walks, you’re going on two walks a day whether you like it or not. Dogs are personal trainers in a hair suit.

Every other day, the day we aren’t going on a short (15-20 minute) morning walk, the McBeag and I go for what I call a “run/walk.” It doesn’t qualify as a “run,” because we don’t run all the way. We run about 10-15 minutes to the dog park, then she gets to sniff or attempt to drown herself in the creek (depending on how hot it is), or play with other dogs, then we walk the rest of the way home (about another half hour). If I have to walk her again in the afternoon (every Monday while both kids are home, then two or three times a week once Eldest Son hies himself back to university), then she only gets the short 15-20 minute walk again.

As for the running, I’d try to extend the duration—but the dog park’s in the middle, what can I do? And I can only stand so much torture. I’m not a running fiend, never have been. It’s easier with the dog. Her attempts to sniff everything along the road keep my mind occupied. Without her, I Hate Running. It’s good for my heart, which is why I do it, but it makes my back ache. Oh, well, that’s what massage therapists are for. I could not run every other day without my twice-monthly massage.

How do you cope with the sedentary nature of a writer’s life?

Smoke on the Water

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Fire in the sky…

Anyone remember that Deep Purple song?

It’s not as much fun when you’re living it.

We’ve had forest fires in the area. This was the sky outside my house on the worst day last week:

smoky_sky

Note: It’s about 10:30 a.m. NONE of that is cloud cover. It’s all smoke! Behind it sat blue sky, mocking me.

My flowers weren’t impressed. I call this one Ashy Petunia, and it doesn’t look that bad, actually:

ashy_petunia

There was a big fire in the town next to us, but this smoke and the ash on the petunias was from a fire near a huge lake in our town. People were evacuated, and my parents couldn’t get to their lake cottage for a couple of days. Now, forest fires aren’t uncommon in my neck of the woods, but usually they don’t hit close enough that we need to evacuate. They’re always in the next town, or a nearby community, or another town. So far we’ve been lucky. Considering we live within walking distance of a huge provincial park…I shudder to think what would happen if someone dropped a match or a cigarette butt in that park, or if lightning strikes went crazy. Okay, let’s NOT think about that.

A couple of days after this smoke-filled-sky day, we experienced what I fondly call a Torrential Downpour. You know, the type of rain Oregonians might consider normal. We get about 4 Torrential Downpours a year, and it doesn’t seem to matter how often you clean the gutters, the TDs only happen when the gutters are leaf-clogged! So the gutters can’t handle all the rain, which feels like a see-through shower curtain falling from the sky. Hey, I don’t live in the rain forest. I live in semi-arid country. I’m always surprised by the intensity of these rains.

I’m pleased to report that the blue skies are back. The Torrential Downpour flattened my lobelia, but it seems to be making a comeback.

Ain’t nature grand?

Welcome Guest Elisabeth Naughton

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

REUNITED…AND IT FEELS SO GOODnaughton_pic

Thanks so much to Cindy for having me here today!

Okay, first off, I’d like to say, “Hi, my name is Elisabeth, and I have a confession to make…”

I. Love. Reunion. Stories.

There. I said it. I’m a big ol’ sucker for second chances. Some of my favorite reunion stories include Judith McNaught’s Paradise, Nora Robert’s Birthright, and Elizabeth Lowell’s Eden Burning. Why do I love reunion stories so much? I’m not entirely sure, but I think maybe it’s because it’s nice to know no matter how badly you screw up the best thing in your life (even if you don’t realize it’s the best thing at the time), there’s always the chance you can make it right again. Personally, I don’t think I want to live in a world where every decision we make is permanent and final. Especially not when it comes to love.

As you’ve probably already guessed, my book – STOLEN HEAT – (which releases TODAY!!!!!), is just that…a reunion story. Pete and Kat had a whirlwind love affair six years ago, and then everything fell apart, leaving them both feeling betrayed and alone. Here’s the back cover blurb:

naughton_stolen_coverHis past tore them apart. Her lies thrust them back together. Now a killer’s out for revenge, but the biggest threat for both may just be the heat they thought they’d already lost….

Antiquities dealer Peter Kauffman walked a fine line between clean and corrupt for years. And then he met the woman who changed his life—Egyptologist Katherine Meyer. Their love affair burned white-hot in Egypt, until the day Pete’s lies and half-truths caught up with him. After that, their relationship imploded, Kat walked out, and before Pete could find her to make things right, he heard she’d died in a car bomb.

Six years later, the woman Pete thought he’d lost for good is suddenly back. The lies this time aren’t just his, though. The only way he and Kat will find the truth and evade a killer out for revenge is to work together—as long as they don’t find themselves burned by the heat each thought was stolen long ago…

I love this book for a variety of reasons – the setting (a good portion is set in Egypt), the research (I learned so much researching this book), the characters (Pete isn’t your typical hero, but no matter how betrayed he feels, he’s still got it bad for the heroine, even if that knowledge ticks him off), but mostly because it’s a reunion story. I love the way Pete and Kat are forced back together after six years. I love the way they have to work together to stay alive. And I love the way both of them fight what’s so very obvious to the reader – that these two are meant to be together.

What about you…do you like reunion stories? Can you think of any that stand out in your mind as being real keepers?

In honor of the release of STOLEN HEAT (did I mention it’s available TODAY????), I’m giving away a copy of either STOLEN HEAT (book two in the Stolen Trilogy) or STOLEN FURY (book one in the Stolen Trilogy) to one lucky commenter. Simply answer the question above in the comment section.

AND…if that weren’t enough…I’m hosting a BIG contest over on my website to celebrate the release of STOLEN HEAT. Go to STOLEN HEAT CONTEST to enter for your chance to win a $100 VISA gift card and a whole host of daily prizes.

***

Wow, Eli, you give good goodies! Readers, please leave a comment about reunion stories to enter to win your choice of STOLEN HEAT or STOLEN FURY. I’d tell you to visit yesterday’s post to read the back cover copy of STOLEN HEAT, but I don’t have to. Eli’s graciously provided it here! But hop on over to yesterday’s post to check Elisabeth’s bio or visit her website to learn more about her and her books.

Elisabeth Naughton Visits Tomorrow!

Monday, July 27th, 2009

My regular visitors know what a slacker blogger I’ve been lately. So I’m thrilled to welcome my fellow Golden Heart 2007 finalist sister, Elisabeth Naughton, to the blog tomorrow! Eli’s blogging about reunion stories and is giving away the winner’s choice of her new release, STOLEN HEAT, or STOLEN FURY (Dec. 08), the first in her Stolen trilogy.

About STOLEN HEAT:

His past tore them apart. Her lies thrust them back together. Now a killer’s out for revenge, but the biggest threat for both may just be the heat they thought they’d already lost….

 Antiquities dealer Peter Kauffman walked a fine line between clean and corrupt for years. And then he met the woman who changed his life—Egyptologist Katherine Meyer. Their love affair burned white-hot in Egypt, until the day Pete’s lies and half-truths caught up with him. After that, their relationship imploded, Kat walked out, and before Pete could find her to make things right, he heard she’d died in a car bomb.

Six years later, the woman Pete thought he’d lost for good is suddenly back. The lies this time aren’t just his, though. The only way he and Kat will find the truth and evade a killer out for revenge is to work together—as long as they don’t find themselves burned by the heat each thought was stolen long ago…

About Elisabeth:naughton_pic

A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic suspense and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, was a 2007 Golden Heart Finalist and has been heralded by Publisher’s Weekly as “A rock-solid debut.” When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit the author’s website at www.elisabethnaughton.com.

Writer in Absentia

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I’m a very bad blogger. I should be smacked. I can’t help it, though. I’m way too busy right now to blog. Will be working on My Liege’s massive website update the entire week. Now that I’ve accepted that, I know I can’t expect to get to the revisions on my cindypk ST until next week. But that’s okay. I need to do what I need to do, need to be where I need to be.

How are you dealing with summer writing? Summer blogging?

By the way, my next guest blogger is Elisabeth Naughton, July 28th. I’m looking forward to her picking up the slack.

I’ll drop in as time permits. Otherwise, my July is jam-packed. Please keep checking in, though. I’ll return to my regular blogging schedule (3-4 times a week) as soon as time permits.

Post-Conference Yawning

Monday, July 20th, 2009

How is it that I didn’t attend conference and yet I feel as exhausted as if I had? I realized this while trying to catch the RITA announcements via Twitter Saturday evening. Despite that I didn’t travel to the other side of the continent, despite that I didn’t spend my days tromping from workshop to workshop, from appointment to appointment, from party to party, by Saturday night I was toast.

It’s been a busy week.

On Monday I discovered the fate of my 2007 Golden Heart finalist manuscript. As I’d feared, following the departure of the requesting editor, the manu went…somewhere. My thanks to the assistant editor who looked into the lost manuscript for me and gave me the opportunity to resubmit via email. I spent Monday re-editing the manuscript, trimming/tightening by  another 850 words, then emailed it off on Tuesday.

Tuesday to Thursday, I continued writing and revising Penny’s new short. It’s done! Still needs some editing, which I will accomplish this week. I have two sequels planned, so I need to write teensy blurbs for those, then brainstorm a series title. I hope to send off the whole package in a couple of weeks. As usual, I want to let the short story sit before I look at it again.

Friday was town errands, a doctor appointment, then visiting Sandorf Verster in the sun. A great time (the visit, that is). All weekend (and I do mean all) I took pictures for a major website update (not one of my sites, but another one I designed and maintain). Plus, I worked on scheduling and piccies for my group blog.

Oh, Eldest Son discovered Friday that he didn’t get into residence for this fall. He’s like #400 on the waiting list. So I’ve been scouring off-campus listings, and he’s done likewise with Craigslist. Cross your fingers—we might have found him a place. Just waiting for an email from the landlord before we send off the deposit.

I’d intended to start revisions on my cindypk ST this week. Not sure yet if I’ll meet that goal. It might be more realistic to say I’ll start by Wednesday. I need to catch up on my didn’t-attend-conference sleep. And there’s that website update calling my name…

Oh, cripes, how did I forget? Saturday morning, Youngest Son and I washed the house. The vinyl siding. No wonder I’m exhausted!

Summer Breeze…

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I’m going on blogiday! With the RWA National conference in Washington, D.C. occurring this week, it’s the perfect time for me to take a break. I’m not attending the conference, so theoretically I could still blog. But it’s summer, my BFF just moved home for six months and I want to catch up with her, I’m still recovering from the parties and BBQs I attended on the weekend, plus I can use the time to catch up on writing goals I didn’t quite make last week.

Penny has drafted the entirety of her new erotica short. My goal is to get it revised this week. I’m also judging a contest that requires written critiques rather than filling out score sheets, so that’s always a bit more work. I need to do some management work on the Nobody Writes It Better group blog, and I need to revamp some aspects of my own blog (the style sheet, etc., stuff I’ve been meaning to do for months but never seem to get around to). I doubt I’ll get to my own blog fixes this week. If I update WordPress, I’ll be happy.

What else do I have on schedule? Oh, yeah, following up on a manuscript I fear has been misplaced. Then, next week, if Penny’s done her revisions, it’ll be time for me to get back to work on SEX, PIs & PACKING TAPE. It’s revision time for that manuscript. Working on the short for Penny, plus catching up on household tasks, has provided me several weeks “time off” from this manu. I’m looking forward to brainstorming and applying the revisions.

Have fun while I’m gone, everyone! If anything truly amazing occurs over the next week, I’ll check in. Otherwise, the summer breeze is making me feel fine….

Family Birthdays

Friday, July 10th, 2009

I won’t name names (I’m guessing I’ll get in trouble posting this picture as it is…if they find out), but let’s just say I’m related to the two people below. Let’s just say I’m older than both of them, so tormenting them is my right. Let’s add on that they are both cuter than spit in this picture! Let’s not quibble that spit ain’t that cute.

Let’s say I’m taking the shorter one to lunch today, because it’s her birthday. Happy birthday, LP!

Let’s say I’m attending a big family party tomorrow, because that’s the taller one’s birthday. Happy birthday, TB!

Every year we have a big family party on the double birthday. LP has never celebrated a birthday without her older brother, I don’t think.

Note the wonderful pineapple upside-down cake, courtesy of our esteemed mother:

t_s_bdays

Write or Die

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I’m a writing fiend this week. Or, rather, Penny is. Her new (and in fact first) ER “short” is motoring along. I’ve found it a little challenging focusing on the, ahem, subject matter with my adult/teenage kids and their S.O.’s in the house, but I’ve managed. I can now see the ending in sight. Yippee!

Now, I’m not the type to impose word limits (by that I mean expectations) on myself, because I usually wind up disappointed, because of the affliction that causes me to revise and edit as I write. Whenever I join a goals group or some such, I get bogged down in the requirement to produce new writing. To me, if you’re revising it, that makes it new. However, usually in goal groups, “revising” didna = “new.”

For those who like the crack of the whip, check out Write or Die. Let me know if it works for you.