Saturday, February 02, 2008

January winner

The winner of our January drawing is... drum roll, please... TAWNY!!!!

Tawny, you win free books from Roxann Delaney and Kara Lennox!

Please contact them through their websites.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Icy Obsessions

I have a sports obsession. But it isn’t the Super Bowl. It’s ice skating.

I once tried to stand up on ice skates. Talk about muscle memory! My muscles remember very well the sensation of plopping onto my derriere on a very hard, cold surface.

But watching the competitions and performances on TV fascinates me, even though I have a smallish set and those twirling, leaping figures are the size of ants. Somehow, even during the warmup sessions, I can recognize the styles and identify my favorites.

Oh, what a year this is! How can so many of my friends and relatives fail to recognize how everything depends on the way skaters perform at the World Championships? Don’t people realize that the skaters’ placements this year will determine the size of their national representation (one, two or three skaters in each of the four disciplines) in 2009, and that having fewer skaters next year might adversely affect the size of the nation’s team at the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Nobody seems to care except Dick Button and me. I’ve never met Dick Button, but the sportscaster/multiple Olympic gold medal-winner has personally attended 55 U.S. Championships. I’ve personally attended exactly zero.

But I’ve been watching on TV since 1980, when I was three years old (NOT).

Perhaps I’m a little overly emotionally involved. When 14-year-old skating whiz and former World Junior Champion Caroline Zhang moved from my hometown of Brea, Calif. to nearby Irvine, it broke my heart. When Kimmie Meissner flubbed her jumps at the U.S. Nationals, I wanted to cry for her. But my spirits leaped when I heard she’d been named to the U.S. world team anyway. A second chance!

Not that I’m blind to the brilliant talent from other nations. I swoon over hunky Swiss former World Champion Stephane Lambiel and Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle. I love the German pairs team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, and thoroughly enjoy the talent and grace of Korea’s Yu-Na Kim and Japan’s Mao Asada. I want them all to win.

Okay. Splash a little ice water on my face and I’ll come down to earth. By April, the season will be over, anyway.

Just in time to get ready for this year’s Summer Olympics in China and those absolutely fabulous gymnasts from around the world! (Did I mention that I have two obsessions?)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My New Editor, Part 2

I got a chance to finally talk on the phone with my new editor. We'd been playing phone tag, mostly on my end as my daughter has been sick and I've been pretty busy.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a follow up.

I have to first say I'm excited to be working with her, and not just because I'm supposed to say that. She seemed like she got me. I have to tell you, that's probably pretty hard. But she's excited about having me as an author, and she's already read the proposals my agent turned in. Next week I'm getting revisions.

So she's working fast. I love that.

I was also able to talk frankly with her, and that's very important to me. I'm a "tell me how it is" person. I teach--I don't play corporate politics as I work in a place where there really isn't any. Maybe there is, but then that's my principal's job. And he's great too.

So everything seems pretty exciting. As for me, it's supposed to snow here tomorrow night and all the students are praying for a snow day.

Happy end of the month!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Top-Ten Post-Deadline Tasks

I turned in my latest Harlequin American manuscript to my editor yesterday (four days early, thank-you-very-much) and now I get to do all the things I've been putting off because I was "on deadline." Here is my top ten list of things to do after deadline:

10. Laundry. This one is essential or I will have to go to the store and buy socks and underwear.
9. Get my hair and nails done. The UPS man always smiles at me, but I'm sure he doesn't find gray roots and ragged claws all that attractive. The rest of the world wouldn't, either, and I do have to venture out of the house one of these days.
8. Buy groceries. When you're down to a block of moldy cheese, stale tortillas and some mustard, it's time to visit the store.
7. Pay bills. They haven't turned off the lights or water ... yet.
6. Answer e-mail. My box is getting so full, I'm threatening the one-gig max I'm allowed.
5. Exercise. Okay, I'll use any excuse not to. But it's time to dust off my sweats, brave the cold, and get my blood pumping again. I may even have to step on the bathroom scale.
4. Clean my office. Yes, there is a desk under there somewhere.
3. Clean the rest of the house. The dust bunnies have turned into mutants, and I haven't seen my cat lately.
2. Do more than wave distractedly at my husband. Yes, he's a very tolerant and understanding man, but he has his limits.

And the #1 post-deadline activity: START A NEW BOOK! I have one more Remington cousin to marry off.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Son of a Writer Mom

Because I spend so much time creating characters, it’s interesting to look at the “characters” in my family and note the personality traits that get passed on. My mom and I are loads alike—-people who see us generally assume we’re sisters (my mother has always looked annoyingly young *g*), we read a lot of the same authors, we have the same favorite stores and go to the same church. But I got my dad’s sense of humor. We have a shared love of standup-comedy and usually laugh at the same Monty Python or Mel Brooks lines that just make my mom shake her head.

My own kids are 4 and newly turned 6, and it’s just been amazing to watch their (very different) personalities emerge and take shape. I sold my first book, a romantic comedy, about two weeks after my son was born. At the time, almost all of my stories were intended for Harlequin’s humor line (no longer in publication, so it’s a good thing they don’t me cracking the occasional joke at American.) I’ll never forget the day that I saw clear evidence of my son’s burgeoning sense of humor. He was my colicky baby with a zillion allergies (many of which, thank goodness, he’s outgrown) and he wasn’t the outwardly happy baby that his little sister would turn out to be (she had an almost startling deep belly laugh by the time she was two months old, and it’s a sound I never get tired of.) But on this particular afternoon, in our kitchen, when my son was four months old and I was spoon-feeding him oatmeal cereal, he thought up his own joke. As soon as I fed him, he’d clamp the spoon between his lips and wouldn’t let me have it back, and his eyes would just light up as he giggled. After the first two times, when I went to give him the spoon he cracked himself up. He was anticipating the joke and couldn’t stop laughing. At that moment, I foresaw that the (somewhat warped) sense of humor had been passed on and one-liners, pranks and parent-teacher conferences were in my future. (By the time my son was five, he could recite three Bill Cosby routines and he often makes me laugh so hard it’s difficult to stay mad.)

My daughter, being the girl, has a lot of my similar interests and we are both counting the days to our first ever Disney vacation and dinner with Cinderella! But she’s actually more like her dad in his easy-going temperament. My son can be very…um, sensitive. His Lego tower once fell down and he stood with a flourish, announcing that it was the worst day of his life, his efforts had failed. My husband raised one eyebrow and asked, “So, where do you think he got his dramatic streak?” It’s true. Occasionally, some writers can be a bit…well, neurotic. I’m trying to temper that in our son, but I have to admit that I’m proud of his creative gifts. He’s already writing stories with beginnings, middles, ends and complex plots. And the very coolest part? When they put together little books in his kindergarten class, he had the TA help him write “dedicated” and then he wrote TO MY MOM.

So what about you? What traits or gifts do you think you’ve inherited from your family or passed on to your own kids?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Waiting for Spring

It's cold, it's rainy and there's record snow in the mountains - welcome to winter in the Pacific Northwest. And we wonder why so many people wander off to exotic destinations like Hawaii, Palm Desert, Arizona and the Virgin Islands. I'll admit it - I'm jealous and I'm also ready for spring. I want to see a little sun that's not accompanied by a 24 degree burr factor. and to be able to walk in the park without looking like Ralphie from The Christmas Story. But woe is me. Spring is far, far away. The good news is that every day the sun stays around a little bit longer.

So going with the glass is half-full optimism - I get a lot of writing done when it's nasty outside, and that's a very good thing. The moral of this story is if it's sunny and seventy, enjoy it. If you live in the UP of Michigan or New England or upstate New York or North Dakota - keep your chin up, this too shall pass. LOL


Goin' Down to Georgia - HAR - March 2008