Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ah, the glamorous life

Everybody knows how romance writers live: daily bubble baths with champagne on a tray, boxes of miraculously calorie-free chocolates, and gorgeous guys in tuxedoes awaiting our emergence (speaking of gorgeous, has anyone seen that incredible hunk on New Amsterdam? But I digress…)

Let me tell you what it’s really like.

On a recent day, after spending the morning working on a book, I set out for the dreaded California ritual of getting the car tuned and then having it smog-checked. Since I drive a car that predates 1995 – a 1993 Honda, to be exact -- it has to undergo extra testing, at extra cost. This, even though I work at home and drive a grand total of four thousand miles per year.

Okay, that part made me grumpy. But then I returned to find a box of books from Harlequin. It contained my May release, The Family Next Door, the first of my Harmony Circle trilogy. What’s especially fun is that, since the heroine’s a teacher, I’d dedicated it to my younger son’s biology teacher, who went out of her way to encourage him and write him college recommendations.

So I composed a note, packaged the book and got it ready to mail, along with copies for half a dozen Web sites that regularly review my books.

No sooner had I finished when a thud! on the front porch announced the arrival of my weekly teaching packet from the Long Ridge Writers Group (, where I teach a distance-learning course. Half a dozen students had completed their writing assignments, so of course I wanted to start reading and commenting on those.

But first I figured I’d better check my e-mail. There I found an invitation to write an article for a new Web site that Romance Writers of America is posting for its published authors network. That’s quite an honor, and I was happy to agree. Ideas began running through my head…

Wait! Another e-mail! A friend reminded me that I’d volunteered to speak to a writing class she teaches. So of course I wanted to respond, picking a date and letting her know what topic I’d be covering.

Time to fix a cup of coffee and get back to work. Except … we ran out of milk, and I can’t drink coffee without it. We were also low on my favorite caramel-flavored frozen yogurt. Got to have that calcium, right? So I made a little trip to the supermarket.

It was close to five, which meant I had to prepare a casserole for dinner. Just throw a few items into the baking dish … You guessed it. An hour later, I was still downstairs, fixing the salad.

Never did get around to the bubble bath. But after dinner, my husband -- still handsome after nearly thirty years together -- rubbed my back while we watched a taped episode of New Amsterdam.

What more could a romance writer ask for?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!!!

Happy Spring Break!! It's funny, but now that I'm back on an official "school schedule", Spring Break has regained its magical status. My students have been super hyper all week, but then I have, too, so I guess we've been great company! LOL!! (This month's pic is of Daughter and her cheer squad at Disney, but the looks on their faces is pretty much what I've faced all week!!)

Now that the big event is finally here, I've got such plans. I'd like to organize every room in the house, weed the gardens, trim all of the bushes, and finally clear the last of the ice storm remnants. I'd like to paint Son #1's room, and finish painting the downstairs hall and my office. I'd like to get my toenails painted, and do lunch with friends I haven't seen in forever. I'd like to finally sew the slipcovers for the holey sofa, and get the brakes on my car fixed and my laptop fixed and the hall bathroom leaky toilet fixed and the broken master bath outlets and--whew. I'm exhausted just thinking about all that needs to get done!!!

Alas, knowing me, I'll be lucky to get one closet cleaned out, let alone all of them!!! And I'm thinking maybe weeding the whole garden seems a bit ambitious. How about just sweeping the front porch and switching my decorator flag from Autumn to Spring?

Let me know if any of you have fabulously exotic Spring Break plans! While you're lounging on a beach or schussing slopes, think of me here . . . cleaning, cleaning, and er--all right, you got me. What I'll really be doing is lounging in the sun, losing myself and my chore list in the pages of a good book!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Break

As of this belated post, I am on spring break. You'd think after having five snow days since January I wouldn't need a break, but believe me, I do. While I'm not looking forward to the eight straight five-day workweeks that start March 24 (no break again until Memorial Day), I'm still ready for a week off. My students put to rest the March issue of the school newspaper--which features 4-5 stories on drugs. It's powerful, but with any sensitive topic, I'm going to be nervous as I wait for the reader feedback.

As for me personally, I won't get to sleep in until Sunday. That's my first do nothing, set no alarm day. Monday I have to be up to go tour a yearbook plant. Tuesday I take my mom to the doctor and then fly to Charlotte, NC, to tour another yearbook plant. I come home Thursday night--and my kids come back from visiting their father on Friday. Then it's Easter...

I'm also halfway through my American revisions, and so I have to finish those. I also have to overseed my yard (no fun feat as the grass portion is about 1 acres and I go out there with the push spreader), and I also have to work out--something I haven't gotten around to lately and my stomach is proof. I'm hitting the gym at 7 AM tomorrow morning.

I've discovered time is most precious commodity and that I do like Easter being in April. On the happy note, the candy will all be gone (as are the girl scout cookies) a month early.

And before I forget, may you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Harlequin American Romance Day at

If you love Harlequin Americans, you won't want to miss this event--tomorrow (Wed.). Here is the notice, as posted on the Cataromance page:

Be here March 12th for a fun filled day spotlighting Harlequin American Romance. At the heart of each of these books is an incredible love story set somewhere in the beautiful US-of-A and some of the most talented authors in the industry write for this line, so you’re in for a treat.

Grab your favorite beverage, a pen and your To-Be-Bought list and grab a seat! Watch our home page for excerpts. And feel free to ask questions in the comments section below!

Kara adds: Hey, fellow authors! If you didn't get an invitation, it's probably because you were flying below the Cataromance radar. (They found me only because we're on MySpace together, I think.)

Anyway, this notice is also posted on their site:

Harlequin American Romance authors, please contact me for info on how to join in.

Kara adds: It's not to late to join in--they have a handy-dandy form to fill out, and you can include your covers and excerpts.

# # #

I am busy this month working on the third book in my SECOND SONS trilogy. The first book, RELUCTANT PARTNERS, will be out this June, and the second installment (THE PREGNANCY SURPRISE) is due for release in December. I especially love the hero of this second book because he's a sexy nerd!

Meanwhile, I am trying to survive this crazy Texas weather. We went from snow (we actually had some accumulation) to 80-plus degrees to 30s and thunderstorms in the span of a couple of days. I'm telling you, my sinus cavities can't take much more of these fronts coming through!

I've also launched a new business that has nothing to do with writing. (If you're curious, go to It's really just a cottage industry, a form of creativity that uses a different part of my brain than writing does. I've found the two activities compliment each other well. While I'm busy glueing and beading, my mind is fomenting with plots and characters. When it's time to write, I'm ready to wash the glue off my hands and get cracking!

My days are pretty full, though.

One last note--I'm on MySpace now. If you're a fellow MySpacer, please come say hi and friend me! (Yes, the grammarian in me shudders at using "friend" as a verb.)

'Til next time,