Saturday, November 14, 2009

Burning Cars & Just-right Cupcakes

Ever have so much to do that you pretty much end up doing nothing? I'm afraid that's where today is heading--straight back to bed!!! LOL!!! Daughter Hannah has all sorts of college scholarship paperwork due by the 16th, I've got line edits due the 16th, bills need paying, the house is filthy (even by my lackluster standards), prescriptions need to be picked up, bank deposit dropped off, laundry needs tackling . . . See? I'm exhausted just thinking about doing any of it!! (This month's pic features me at a local booksigning. Keep reading for details.)

Part of my exhaustion stems from an equally nutty week. Garbage disposal is broken. It's snowing in the freezer. Downstairs plumbing is needing attention. Roof is still leaking. Sons' cars went to the shop. One we fixed for $500. The other got put out to that great junkyard pasture just north of the Tulsa airport. That call was awful. Made even worse by the mechanic stating the reason the motor fried is that it hadn't seen oil in MONTHS!!!

Breathe, Laura . . .

In happier news, on Thursday, I got to meet up with old friends and make new ones at a library function held in Tulsa. After a panel discussion and booksigning, we were treated to yummy lunch. Having just heard the fabulous car news, I aimed for the brownie tray. I needed chocolate therapy STAT!!!

Speaking of therapy . . . Hannah and I discovered the BEST new place for naughty girl fun called Kupcakz. I'm not sure if this is a national chain--if not, sorry. The frosting is like some crazy, sin-filled, rapturous creamy goodness that's like no frosting I've ever had. I noticed last time we snuck in (we don't tell the boys we're going!! LOL!!) that you can even order frosting shots!! I promise next week to get back on my diet, but this week it just wasn't happening!!

It's new contract time again, so I'm also having guilty, sinful pleasure inventing my new Harlequin American series!! My working title is Buckhorn Ranch and the stories center around three Oklahoma cowhunks (as I like to call them) and their cowgirl sister. Now, mind you, these stories could never see the light of day, but for now, me and Cowboy Cash are having wicked good fun!!

Have an awesome weekend!! ;-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I just wanted to share some news with Harlequin American readers. I'll be continuing my Brody's Crossing series into 2011 with two new books, tentatively titled Texan in Her Heart and The Texan and the Cowgirl. Both of them will feature either a hero or a heroine introduced as a secondary character in other Brody's Crossing books. Also, the mystery of why Cal and Troy's mother left the family years ago is finally explained when a visitor arrives in town, looking for answers. Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Household Cleaning Tip

Twenty Minutes to Tidy

I found this household tip at

Of course my teenagers refused to help in the experiment but I thought what the heck--I'll
give it try by myself. I confess it took me thirty-five minutes not twenty--mostly because the high traffic area in my house includes the stairs and those take the most time to vacuum.

1. Start a Load of Laundry
Save time by letting your kids sort the laundry while you work on a different chore.
After the laundry is sorted, throw a load of messy kid clothes into the washing machine.
If you don't have a washing machine, have the kids sort the clothes and bag them for your next trip to the laundromat.
Time Limit for You: 3 Minutes
Tip: Spray stain remover on the clothes needing extra attention first. While it's working, move on to another chore so you don't have to wait.

2. Straighten Up the Family Room
Have your children arrange the magazines and books.
Kids can dust with socks on their hands.
Time Limit for You: 0 Minutes. No time investment for you. The children are doing the work.
Tip: Your family room touch up can be left to the kids so you can focus on other areas of the house. Give them age appropriate chores to keep them safe.

3. Pick Up the Toys
Have your children pick up their toys as fast as they can.
Hold a contest to see who can put away the most toys.
No losers in this game. Choose a prize everyone can enjoy when time's up.
Time Limit for You: 0 Minutes. No time investment for you. The children are doing the work while learning how to pick up after themselves.
Tip: Baskets and bins make toy pick up easier and more fun for children.

4. Make the Beds
Start with your own bed. You deserve a made bed to crawl into at the end of the day.
Pull the top sheet and comforter back in place. Straighten up the pillows.
Older kids can make their own beds to help save time.
Time Limit for You: 4 Minutes
Tip: Wrinkle-resistant sheets make your bedroom look cleaner than crumpled up sheets.

5. Vacuum Daily
Vacuum high-traffic areas every day.
Alternate vacuum days between the kitchen and bathroom.
Time Limit for You: 5 Minutes
Tip: Use a handheld vacuum cleaner for spot cleaning without having to drag out the big vacuum cleaner.

6. Wipe Down the Kitchen
Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the counters, fixtures and sink.
Don't forget to wipe the refrigerator handles little hands have been touching.
Take a quick swipe inside the microwave with a damp cloth.
Time Limit for You: 2 Minutes
Tip: If you have a lot of counter space, only clean the counter areas where you prepared your children's food for the day.

7. Disinfect the Bathroom
Clean all bathroom fixtures with a disinfectant wipe.
Wipe the bathroom counters
Time Limit for You: 2 Minutes
Tip: Add an automatic toilet bowl cleaner to keep the inside of the toilet clean for 2-3 months.

8. Load the Dishwasher
Put the day's dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
Start the dishwasher at the end of the night.
Time Limit for You: 3 Minutes
Tip: Use downtime while you're cooking to put the dishes away.

9. Freshen Up Your House
Use air freshener throughout your house.
Spray fabric refresher on your furniture, especially those areas where the kids hang out.
Time Limit for You: 1 Minute
Tip: Open windows on a sunny day to remove odors with fresh air.

Time's up! You and your family just tidied up the house in twenty minutes.

I see only one drawback to this method of cleaning for those of us who really despise housework--the temptation to substitute the 20-Minute pickup for a thorough housecleaning once a month!

Happy Cleaning

A Cowboy Christmas Dec 09

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Launch Day to Me!

Or—The strange and wonderful feeling of being a debut novelist.

It’s been quite a year (and a bit) since I got The Call in person at the RWA conference in San Francisco. Although I was overjoyed that a twenty year undertaking had finally been realized, in some ways it didn’t feel quite “real”.
It started to get real around the time that my debut novel, “Colorado Christmas” was listed on Amazon. Up until then, I couldn’t help thinking it could all fall in a heap. Not that I didn’t have confidence in Harlequin or my wonderful editor, Paula Eykelhof, or even the belief in the evidence of my advance check – it was just that somehow, until that concrete proof that my book was actually in production and people could order it—it was still all a little surreal. Like I might wake up and find it was all a dream.
Maybe it was the 20 long years it took to get The Call that had me feeling jittery?
Well now I’m feeling jittery in a different way because today is the official launch day for my book!
I’m jittery about whether people will enjoy it and want to read more of the O’Malley Men and subsequent books of mine. A Top Pick review from Romantic Times had my head swollen bigger than a watermelon, but how am I going to feel when I get my first negative review?
So far I’ve had some lovely fan letters from readers. And even my husband liked it: “Apart from spoiling it with all that mushy stuff”. Any wonder I write romance? (grin)
Still, he did love Louella (the very naughty pig) and asked if she’d be returning in any other stories. Well… no… she wasn’t but then I ran it by my editor and she thought Louella deserved an encore performance. So Louella is back in book #2 of The O’Malley Men series, “The Sheriff and the Baby”.
It’s interesting hearing from readers what they liked about the book, each one so far has remarked on something different which surprized me. Some enjoyed the light-hearted moments, others the romance, or the quirky characters and yet others remarked on impact of the… well, I can’t tell you about that because it would be giving away the ending! So you’re just going to have to read the book and tell me your favourite part of “Colorado Christmas”.
I’ll choose my favourite comment and give away a copy to the winner in my December 10 blog. Since you might already have read “Colorado Christmas”, I’ll autograph the winning copy to whomever you wish to give it as a Christmas present. A perfect Colorado Christmas gift!
Till next month - happy reading everyone!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Prize for best tip on getting organized!

Oops! I forgot to blog last month and nearly forgot again today. I used to be a pretty organized person, but lately I’ve been so busy and so immersed in the books I’ve been writing that many other things are slipping past me. Like blog dates and housekeeping and cooking anything that requires more than a microwave to defrost and reheat it. :)

I need help getting back on track! So I will reward the person with the best organizational tip for me the full set of the wedding party books!

My system of sticky notes on the side of my desktop computer isn’t working. They usually become unstuck or disappear when other stuff – like school papers, junk mail and bills get piled above them. Writing notes on the calendar only works when I remember to look at the calendar – same with the appointment cards that are held to the fridge with magnets.

I suppose I could use some computer program, but I alternate between my desktop and my laptop so much that it would have to be a program compatible with both XP and Vista – and my Blackberry. The program can’t be so technical that it’s too difficult to use and not so much work that I’ll never use it as has been the case with some programs. And if it’ll dust and cook, that would be a definite plus. :) I’ll settle for it reminding me to do those things – like scheduling different housekeeping jobs in addition to appointments and birthdays and all those other things that I’d love to keep track of!

On the bright side, I do have a good reason for being so forgetful. I’ve been busy writing. My next Harlequin American is an April 2010 release, HIS BABY SURPRISE, about a hockey player who finds a baby on his doorstep. This December I have a Christmas novella for Silhouette Nocturne, NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS LIKE A VAMPIRE, in the Holiday with a Vampire III anthology. I have another Nocturne in March 2010, MISTRESS OF THE UNDERGROUND, and I return to writing for Harlequin Intrigue with MYSTERY LOVER in June 2010.

Please help me get organized again! I’d love to hear how you keep your busy life running smoothly! And I’ll send out those autographed books to the person with the tip that I think will get me back on track!

Thanks for your help, happy reading & happy early Thanksgiving!
Lisa Childs

Sunday, November 08, 2009


In September I blogged about the drought in Texas. It hadn’t rained in months and things were looking bleak. The rain started in early October and shows no signs of stopping. No one is complaining. Yet. But give us time. Texans love to complain about the weather.
Below is a picture of the lake in our backyard when it was so dry.
On the right is what it looks like now. A big difference.
As I’m typing this it’s drizzling. I can hear the gentle tap-tapping on my window. The wind’s blowing from the north, slapping the rain at times against the window. By morning the temperature should be in the forties. Fall has arrived and winter is not-so-patiently nipping at its heels.

The soft cadence of the rain reminds me of my husband’s dad and stepmom. They grew up with tin roofs on their homes and loved the rhythmic sound of the rain hitting it. Years later and living in their own home they said how much they missed that sound when it rained. When our stepmom was dying of cancer, my father-in-law would turn a washtub upside down near her window and turn on a water sprinkler. That soothing tap-tapping lulled her to sleep. I always thought that was true love.
My muse loves this weather and my creative juices get recharged. I can write, write, write and get totally lost in the story and my characters. I’m working on a Christmas story so this is perfect weather to weave some magic. I could use some snow, but that rarely happens in Texas.
This is perfect weather for reading, too. Curling up with a good Harlequin book is my favorite pastime. Since I’ve been published I don’t get to do much of that, so it’s really a treat when I can.

Do you have a favorite time to write? Or read? Do you have a favorite sound that’s comforting?
Happy Holidays.
Linda Warren
Madison’s Children – SuperRomance Oct ‘09
P..S. I wrote this blog earlier in the week. Today it’s sunny and bright, but the mood here is sad. My heart and prayers go out to the soldiers and their families at Fort Hood, and to all the soldiers and their families around the world.