Friday, December 05, 2008

My New Volunteer Venture.. Part Two

A month ago, I posted about volunteering as an after-school tutor for a foster boy or girl. Since then I’ve tutored three times, twice working with a seventh-grade girl and once with an eight-year-old boy. The experience with both kids has been both rewarding and difficult. With the girl, I tried to help her with math. I say “tried” because things didn’t go well. While she struggled with some of the problems and I attempted to explain what to do, her eyes filled with silent tears. And I wasn’t even raising my voice or anything! As a foster child she’s been through a lot (stuff I can’t even imagine) and apparently expresses her frustration by crying. I’m not sure how to deal with that, and the other adults don’t, either. Be kind and give her lots of positive strokes, I guess. The boy was more challenging. He’s pretty smart and whipped through some of his work. Then dug in his heels and refused to do more. Apparently this is his usual way, and it’s frustrating! I’m planning to talk more with some of the adults who work there for tips and help.

However... No matter what happens, I’m learning that flexibility is key. That and love. These kids need tons of it. So that’s the latest from me.

Until next time and wishing you satisfying volunteer activities,


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wanted: Christmas Movies and Books

Once again, our December is a hodgepodge of activities. While I love the busy-ness of it all, I can’t help but wish that just a little of it took place in say, April…when things at our house are really quiet. Luckily, this year I think I’m ready for the chaos. I put up our Christmas tree two weeks ago- much to my neighbors’dismay-and finished the Christmas cards last Sunday afternoon.

Why am I doing so much so early?

One reason. Wrestling and basketball season have begun.

As of last week, my daughter either has either cheer practice or a game four out of five school nights. My son has practice late every day, and each meal time is a constant give and take according to his weight. This Friday night, we’ll go to the basketball game and watch the cheerleaders. Saturday morning will take us to another gym, where we’ll spend way too many hours among a crew of sweating, spitting boys.

Ah, parenthood. Yes, we’ll love every minute of it. But all those sporting events makes me yearn for a bit of ‘Shelley’ activities.

In December, that means watching as many Christmas movies and reading as many Christmas themed books as I possibly can. While I’ve always loved Christmas movies-The Bishop’s Wife is my all time favorite-I’ve gotten pretty hooked on Hallmark Channel movies. Last Saturday night I watched Silver Bells. Have any of you seen that? I cried the whole last thirty minutes.

Christmas romances were the first type of Harlequins I ever read. I just finished Marin Thomas’s lovely The Cowboy and the Angel and Jillian Hart’s His Holiday Heart. My To-Be-Read pile includes more Harlequin Americans and a Regency anthology put out by Signet. Those books just make you feel good no matter what, I think.

Of course, I definitely need some more titles of books and movies-I can only take so many basketball games and wrestling meets! So, please chime in and give me some titles…either of favorite Christmas movies or books. I’d love an excuse to get to Borders Books.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

November winner!!!

This month's winner is Magdalena!!!!!! Congratulations!!! To get your free, autographed books, please contact Marin Thomas and Tanya Michaels through their websites.

Tell all your friends to visit us. For your chance to win, simply comment and your name is entered in our drawing.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Movie star me -- sort of

I’ve never been accused of looking like a movie star, although I sometimes identify with Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

However, one of my writing critique buddies, Jean Riddell, creates short edited videos for special occasions. In launching her business, she decided to practice on me.

So there I am, featured in half a dozen very short videos, talking about how I get my ideas, how I organize my writing schedule, and other topics that readers ask about. They’re posted on my Web site,, and you don’t need the latest computer operating system or browser to view them.

Over the course of a twenty-five-year writing career, I’ve been interviewed before, mostly for print publications. The few times I’ve appeared on TV, I’ve felt very self-conscious, but Jean helped me relax.

The old advice to just be yourself can lead people astray, though. I certainly didn’t want to provide a glimpse of me filled with remarks like “uh,” “you know,” and “oh, wait a minute, what was the title of that book?”

I did have to stop and think when Jean threw questions at me. However, I tried my best to look intelligent while doing this, and she claims I succeeded. Guess I’m a better actress than I realized.

Hope you’ll take a look and let me know what you think. Also, I wanted to share some good news: my January release, Million-Dollar Nanny, earned 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times, which called it an “extremely touching, beautifully written story.”

Let me tell you, that made me feel even better than a movie star!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Recharging the batteries

If you are reading this on my blog date of Nov. 30, I'm driving home from Kansas City. I took the weekend to visit with friends, do some shopping (post Black Friday) and brainstorm the plots for three new books. My younger daughter enjoyed the water park attached to the hotel.

We stayed at the Sheraton at the Kansas City Sports Complex. The place was crawling with Mizzou fans who were there for the Border Game against rival KU. Unfortunately the Tigers fell by three points in what was a very wet and miserable day for those in the open air stadium.

So this is a short blog post, rather like my short working vacation to recharge my batteries.