Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year's Resolution

I am always a little reluctant to make a new year's resolution. Especially about things like exercise and diet. It seems those only ever last a week or two. And what's the point? Changing your exercise and diet plans are a committment to a new lifestyle, not a resolution. A resolution is like a declaration. An annoucement of an intention. I like to make my resolutions simple. I usually choose one word and attempt to live by it for as long as I can. And when I stray from it -- I remind myself, this was the year of "insert inspirational word here."

The year I began dating my husband, my word was "bliss". I'm not sure what that means about our relationship, but I do remember many things about the beginning of our relationship that were filled with great joy.

2014 was a year filled with ups and downs. I triumphed in many writing contests. I failed in many more. I was rejected by many agents and editors. I was asked to submit to a couple of others. I made baby steps in my career, but I am far from satisfied with my progress.

December was a big downer. If 2014 started out with fireworks, it ended with a flicker in the dark. I have struggled. I have complained. I have been unable to find my way.

And after much searching, I have found my word. It is not the word I was expecting. It is not the word of an optimist. Or maybe it is.

In 2015, my word is "fearless." Let's see what that might bring. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Romance

I love songs about winter romance. I grew up in Michigan, and I now live in southern California so I know only too well how different life is when there's snow on the ground. It can be very romantic to wake up to new fallen snow on the ground. The long rays of a winter sun makes the snow glisten and sparkle like diamonds. At night, falling snow makes the world seem quiet and still, enveloping you in a world of white. It's magical. And just the memory of snow on green pine boughs is enough to make me squeal.

It's no wonder there's just one song about walking in a 'Winter Wonderland.' There are other songs that make me feel even more romantic about winter.

Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night" is at the top of my list.

Dean Martin is next I love a crooner. Especially when he's singing about winter romance.

Colbie Callait perfectly captures the spirt of a winter romance in Mistletoe.

John Denver captures my feelings about winter in "Alpenglow."

Are you in the mood for winter romance now? It's time to snuggle up in front of the fire, pour a glass of wine and relax with a good book.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas is the time to say 'I love you'....

When career-focused Shelby Martin returns to her small hometown in northern Michigan, she's counting the days until she returns to the city, but when she finds steamy comfort in the arms of former NHL bad boy Ethan Bardenhagen, will Shelby have to choose between her career and true love? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

20 Things I Am Grateful For This Thanksgiving

1. My precious husband.
2. Being able to pursue my passion for writing
3. My mother's health.
4. Joey is alive and well and enjoying his low-carb, high-protein diet of unending Friskies.
5. It is the beginning of Academy Award movie season.
6. Friends I can count on to pick me up when I'm down and out.
7. Pansies in the garden. Their little "faces" always bring a smile to mine.
8. Sleepytime tea and Milano peppermint stick cookies.
9. A new outdoor ice skating rink with lights strung above it.  
10. An extended family far and wide to think about and worry about. 
11. NHL hockey is back and better than ever.
12. Christmas music on my iPod.
13. Colder weather.
14. Sharing the joy of seeing the world through children's eyes.
15. The "new house" smell of cleaning chemicals the housekeepers leave behind.
16. A fire in the fireplace and a candle on the hearth.
17. Time with the kids and the grand doggies.
18. Downloading new recipes for Thanksgiving sides.
19. Organizing the new closet for better use.
20. Hope for a better future.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Write A Novel In A Month

There's this thing. It's ca-razy. It's called National Novel Writing Month. for short. And it happens every year during the month of November. Here's the one-line pitch: you write 1,667 words a day for 30 days and in the end you have 50,000 words of what could be a first draft of a novel.

NANOWRIMO started on the west coast. And even though it's called "National", it has gone international. You can see writers in the UK, India, and Australia, all cranking out words on the chart on the NANOWRIMO home page.

Whoever picked November to be the month to write an entire novel had to be a young dude. No middle-aged chick would pick the month in which you are going to have as many people as possible over to your house to eat a turkey dinner with multiple sides. It's not realistic.

Also, If I had been given the choice, I would've picked a month with 31 days. That way we could've spread the word count around a little. And let's face it, January is a slow month.

This is the third time I've attempted to play the NANOWRIMO game. Last year, I quit after 30,000 words. That is the closest I've ever come.

This year I've joined a group of writers at Savvy Authors to work together toward our goal. We spend a part of every day cheering each other on.

And then there's my manuscript. I'm not sure the 50,000 words I'm putting down on the page will make any sense. They certainly aren't in the right order.

I also wonder if I will have to rewrite an extra time because I wrote the original so fast.

None of this really matters. I'm just stalling before I start working on today's words.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Most Precious Cat Ever

When I first started dating my husband, he told me he had the best cat ever. I was a bit offended because at the time I was completely besotted by my own calico cat. Shortly after that I fell in love with Joey. It's hard not to love Joey. He's a big love bug. He talks all the time. He's a good snuggler. He stares at you adoringly. He chirps at birds and squirrels. He is the perfect cat. The best cat ever as far as I'm concerned.

And so it was very upsetting when I realized this summer that he was not himself. He had just turned 14 and he was drinking a lot of water. At first I tried to tell myself it was because it was so hot, but I knew we had to take him to the vet and I also had a good idea what his diagnosis was going to be.

Joey is diabetic. It happens in elderly cats. I was surprised to learn that unlike humans and dogs, with treatment, cats can go into remission. I threw myself into Joey's treatment plan. I went down the grocery store with the multipage list of "low carb, high protein" foods he was allowed to eat. (He's basically on the Atkins Plan. He can't have carbs. So he's completely off kibble. It makes it hard for him to gain weight.) I learned how to prick his ear to draw blood and check his blood glucose. I learned how to give him injections. I cried when I had to draw blood every hour for 12 hours. Through it all -- all of the things that I've done to him -- Joey has not wavered in his devotion to me. 

By now, one of our girl cats would be plotting my death.

The vet gave us her personal cell phone number and asked us to text us updates. She told us that she had one cat that went into remission after two weeks! I was hopeful that if I was an enthusiastic as possible this would happen for Joe -- but it has not. He's had good days and bad days. 

When we first started texting BG updates to the vet, she would respond right away -- "That's great news!" "Wow!" But after a bit, she stopped responding immediately. Or a few hours later, we'd get a "Thanks for the update." My hubby gets upset by these delayed responses. When he doesn't get what he thinks is a proper or immediate response -- he wants to text "Are you on a date?" and "Hey! I'm waiting here." 

So far, I've kept him from doing this, but I don't know how much longer he will be able to resist. 

All that matters to me is Joey. He is, after all, the best cat ever. Everyone knows that.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Meet My Characters: The Fairy Godmother's Rulebook

I've been tagged by the lovely VS Morgan to join a group of talented writers in the Meet the Character Blog Hop. I am pleased to introduce you to Nathan Nolan, the hero from The Fairy Godmother's Rulebook.

About The Fairy Godmother's Rulebook
A modern day fairy godmother's first assignment is to create the perfect Happily Ever After ending for her stepsister. What could possibly go wrong?

Who is Nathan Nolan?
Nathan Nolan has been lauded in the media as the Steve Jobs of hotels. He sold his first travel app when he was 20 for a sum of money in the millions. He tapped into the zeitgeist of what the modern business traveler wanted in luxury accommodations.  He doesn't believe in anything that isn't on the bottom line of a Profit & Loss Statement. Tall, dark and handsome, he may not look like a computer geek now that he's all grown up, but he’s still a skinny-necked thirteen year-old who most girls overlooked.

Where does The Fairy Godmother's Rulebook take place?
The story is set in Los Arboledas, a sleepy little town along the central coast of California where happily ever after seems to happen every day. Three hours north of Los Angeles, it's an easy weekend getaway for movie stars, newlyweds and hopeless romantics. You only had to drive into town under the purple canopy of the jacaranda trees on Main Street to feel the tingle of something extraordinary. The locals won't talk about what happens in Los Arboledas. They'll change the subject if asked directly, but you know they've heard the rumors, and they all have stories to tell.

What Nathan doesn't want you to know?
He's a billionaire, but he doesn't want to rest on his laurels. He's constantly working to build his business. He believes purchasing the magical Los Arboledas Inn will provide the Nolan Group with a luxury spa where their high-end business clients can go to relax and unwind. A concept he doesn't believe in. He doesn't know how to relax and unwind. 

What Nathan wants:
He wants to monetize the magical atmosphere of Los Arboledas.

What Nathan needs:
He needs to learn to believe in the magic of fairy godmothers and fairy tales.


     "What I'm about to tell you is not something I usually have to point out to most people, Aviana," he said. "I'm twenty-eight years old. I have regular features and I'm over six feet tall. And I'm a billionaire. With a big "B."

     "Bragging isn't an attractive look for you." I was lying. I would find him attractive if he was speaking in gibberish.

     "Maybe not, but it's the truth," he said. "And I want to be completely honest with you because I want you to be completely honest with me." Nathan had me backed up against the garden wall and was quickly closing the space between us. 

     His face was this-close to mine.

     "The size of my bank account is usually a big turn on for women. Of all ages. I don't have any problems getting dates. Ever."

     "I know that. It's just that…" I started to explain. 

     Nathan he cut me off. "So you don't have to do your matchmaker thing for me. Got it?"

     "Got it," I said. 

     "Promise?" He asked. 

     "Promise," I wanted to taste him.  He smelled so good. 

     "Do you? Because I'm only saying this once because I want to be perfectly clear. I want you." My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't contain a gasp and I couldn't maintain eye contact with him. He lifted my chin so that his green eyes were looking directly into mine. "I want you, Aviana. Not your stepsister, your best friend or your stepmother. You." 


Next week the talented Kady Winter will be hosting the Meet My Characters Blog Hop

Kady's journey into writing began with adapting a passion project screenplay of hers, which became RUN, the centerpiece of her Young Adult historical fantasy series, THE POTEET CHRONICLES. These stories are set in southeast Missouri from the early years of European settlement though the Civil War. She's currently working on the prequel to RUN, as well as a New Adult series set at a grand hotel resort during and just after World War I. When she's not lost in research,Kady enjoys the Olivia Pope diet (popcorn and red wine) while binging on the awesome array of TV series out there nowadays.

Kady will be introducing Abby Stafford, the 18-year-old heroine of RUN.