Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

It's New Year's Eve. We're going to do what we do every year - watch a movie, eat a ton of junk food, and snuggle with the kids. :-)

I did get quite a bit of writing done yesterday, but I paid for it this morning. I foolishly had my arms and wrists too high while I was using my laptop on my desk and my neck muscles didn't react well. My headache is thankfully dissipated for the most part and I can enjoy this evening's festivities.

Isn't it a bit strange that we're going to be celebrating the new year of 2006? It always seemed so far away. In fact, the year 2000 always seemed to so far away. Amazing how fast time passes.

I hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ode to Stuffed Animals

This is my daughter's stuffed animal collection. This isn't all of them since some are lodged precariously on her dresser. But for the most part, they litter her floor, making it impossible for her to even play in her room.

I took care of that a few days ago. I'm trying to find one of those stuffed animal nets to hang from her ceiling and get these things off her floor. Since I haven't been to the store in awhile, the poor animals have languished on my living room floor.

Last night we were into Barnes and Noble (using my gift card that my brother got me for Christmas! Woo hoo!) and she found a Scooby Doo stuffed animal.

"Can I have this, Mom?"

"No. You already have enough stuffed animals!"

She, in a sulking voice, "I do not have enough stuffed animals."

There are actually already two stuffed Scooby Doo's in this pile in the above picture. But the one she wanted was smaller. Sigh...

In Writing News...

I sat down yesterday afternoon and got a page and a half done (single spaced) and was eager to keep going, but my husband came home and we decided to use the gift card my Dad gave us for Christmas to a local resterant. (How come I can NEVER spell that word right?) Unfortunately, I couldn't get to sleep last night due to hubby's snoring and my brain refusing to shut down. I really should have just opened the laptop and kept writing, but as it was already nearing 2 a.m., I didn't think that would be exactly smart. I would have slept the entire day today!

As all three kids are home today, I don't know how much writing I'll get done. I might have to just shut my bedroom door and ignore the crashes coming from the living room. ;-)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Dog's Life

My dog Charlie has been following my daughter and I around all day long. He loves it when I'm home. I wish I could be home more often. I'm really enjoying my vacation right now.

But instead of writing, I've been playing with my blog, doing laundry, taking some pics with the digital camera, and digging into my kids' Christmas candy stash. Whoops.

Vacation Musings

I've determined not to do too much during my time off from work. Of course, you all know how that goes!

But yesterday, I did manage to indulge in a nap. Consequently, I wasn't ready for bed at 10 p.m. and stayed up until 1 a.m. finishing a novel. That meant I slept in this morning!

Today I want to get some writing done. I still have to do some laundry and since our dryer isn't working right, that means I get to dry the same load of clothes for about three hours. It's a pain, but when you don't have the money for a new one, you have to deal. :-)

I want to de-decorate the house, but that means work. And I'm on my vacation, darn it! So I'll wait until after the new year to take down everything. Of course, that might change. I am known to suddenly become inspired to do something, even if it takes me until late at night to accomplish it.

But today, I want to focus on my writing. I came up with a new idea for a story last night and I'm anxious to perhaps brainstorm with it a little and see what I can come up with. It's always exciting to get that initial burst of inspiration and even more exciting to see what that idea turns into!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More photos

If you've ever seen Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you know who the white guy holding the star is!

Sorry these photos are kinda blurry - I'm still experimenting with the camera.

My dog, Charlie, is at the top - he's a black Border Collie/Retriever mix.

I also took a snapshot of my Nativity scene - Boyd's Bears. My mom worked at a gift shop and was able to get them for me at cost a few years ago.

Playing with the New Digital Camera!

Before I de-decorate, here are a few images of my Christmas decorations. (And one of my dog just because I love him and he hasn't wanted to leave my side since I got home!)

Here's the Snoopy tree located in a corner of my kitchen and the angel with greenery on my living room entertainment center.

Let the Writing Begin!

Okay. The writing won't begin until I clean this house!!! We got home last night around 9 p.m. and unloaded all the packages and clothes. I've determined that I have to give my daughter's room a thorough cleaning in order to fit her new Christmas gifts.

It was a wonderful Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my grandfather was able to come home from the resthome and be with his family. We enjoyed butterball soup and homemade cherry cheesecake! I went to the Christmas Eve service with my family at the church I grew up in and it was a very blessed evening.

Christmas Day was absolutely wonderful. We went to my brother's house (the family farmhouse and farm that has been in the family for four generations) and ate wonderful food, opened presents, played games, and watched movies. It was so relaxing and I just loved being able to sit back and enjoy being with my family.

The trip home wasn't too eventful, but it was long. It's a 5 1/2 hour drive. Luckily, the kids stayed busy watching movies and playing with their new toys.

I took this week off from work and I slept in this morning. Woo hoo!!! *grin* I'm excited to start using my digital camera (hubby really spoiled me this year!) to share some photos with you all.

I'm also very excited to start writing. Maybe I can ignore the house for awhile and indulge myself. Ha!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas!

May you have a blessed Christmas full of joy and wonder!

Joy to the World!

There's a lot of reasons to be joyful right now!

Reason #1:

I tried on two pairs of jeans that I haven't been able to even button for many, many months. And guess what? I buttoned them. They were still a little snug, but wearable. WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO!!!!

Reason #2:

I get off work at 2 p.m. today and I have tomorrow off. In fact, I don't have to come back to work until January 3 since I took three days off next week and our company is closed from the 30th through the 2nd. Major writing time coming up!!!!!!

Reason #3:

We're going to see our families for Christmas. I'm so excited to visit with everyone and can't wait to see their faces when they open their presents!

Reason #4:

It's Christmas!!!! I've tried very hard this year to remember the reason that I celebrate Christmas - the birth of Jesus. It's easy to get sucked into Santa Claus and the commercial aspects of Christmas and forget why I celebrate it in the first place.

Reason #5:

I met my goal of exercising three times a week for the past two weeks. Another big WOOO-HOOOO!!!!

Reason #6:

I have terrific friends, both online and off, and I'm thankful for each and every one of you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Treats Galore!

It's hard to deny all those yummy holiday treats. Here at the office, we've been receiving gift baskets from companies that we work with and they always include a plethora of goodness. :-) One of my co-workers brought in a ton of cookies and another brought some very yummy Kansas City fudge. My mom is going to be making a lot of treats, too - and I definitely will not pass those up!

What's a girl trying to lose weight to do?

Exercise her tail off! :-)

I've determined that I'm not going to deny myself the treats of the Christmas season. So I've been indulging - a little of this, a little of that, and a lot of sweat in the gym at the end of the day. I exercised three times last week and after tonight, it will be three times this week. I told my husband, "Now when I don't go to the gym, just remind me how good I feel when I finish exercising." Hopefully I won't slip into the non-exercising habit again!

In Writing News...

It was after 10 p.m. last night when I booted up my laptop. I had thought of a ton of ideas for my current WIP while exercising last night and I had to write them down before I forgot. But as usual, life got in the way earlier in the evening and I didn't have time to sit down until after everyone was settled for the night.

Still, I managed to write about a page (single spaced) and I felt rather pleased with that. I would have done more, but I was exhausted. In fact, I really do not remember trying to fall asleep - usually it takes me awhile to drift off, but not last night!

Must be all that exercising...*grin*

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

10 Reading Secrets

Amy tagged me for ten reading secrets. Hmm...this one might take some thinking.

1) I used to keep a journal of all the books I read. I'd put the name of the book, author, date finished, and then a rating. Some books I would read more than once and I would mark it, "VG as always!"

2) I pretty much just read romance. Inspirational and historical are my two favorite genres. I also read history books (although I tend to jump around in those instead of reading straight through). I will occasionally pick up one of my hubby's books - a Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz, or Ken Follet.

3) I'm a pretty fast reader. I've been known to finish a book in a day. But not lately! That was more in my pre-Mom days. :-)

4) I panic if I don't have anything to read. Thankfully, my trips to the library booksale or the bookstore have solved that problem. I have a plethora of books to read and I know I'll continue adding to that pile.

5) I won't finish a book if I can't get into it. My husband told me once that it's my reading time - I should read what I want to and not waste time on a book that doesn't capture my attention. After all, I have a huge stack of other books waiting for me!

6) I haven't read an e-book yet. It's not because I don't want to - I have some friends who have published ebooks. But I stare at a computer screen all day - the last thing I want to do is stare at a computer screen to read a book. And I don't have enough money to print the entire book.

7) I don't sneak a peek at endings, even though I'm tempted!

8) I read a book to my daughter every night before bedtime.

9) I used to have a special bookmark for all my books. Now I just mark my page with whatever I can find around the house. :-)

10) I used to read during the summer vacations in elementary and junior high...well, okay...even high school when I wasn't working! It used to drive my brothers nuts. They'd constantly ask me to go play baseball and I'd say, "No, I'm reading." :-)

I tag Rachel, Dana, and Tess!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Adventures of Mice and Women

Busy weekend!!!

Before I get to the riveting tale of my mice adventures, I have to celebrate - last night I wrote SIX new pages - single spaced - on my new laptop.



I had an awesome time. Felt so good to sit there and write on the couch with the Christmas carols playing (hubby took the kids to a friend's house to let me write) and my dog lying at my feet. I didn't want to stop writing when bedtime rolled around, so I took the laptop to bed with me and wrote for another hour.

My other stepson flew in (on a plane, of course) from Kentucky on Saturday night. He and his brother and my daughter happily played together into the wee hours of the morning. He'll be here through the 31st.

Yesterday afternoon, my mother and I went to The Nutcracker ballet. Although I am not a ballet fan, I did enjoy the beautiful costumes and scenery and the music. Mom and I went and had supper after that - it was great to spend time together.

On to the mice adventures...

Saturday morning, my stepson ran upstairs. "Mom!" he yelled. "There's a mouse in a box in my room!"

I trudged (somewhat unwillingly) downstairs to his room, grabbed a broom, and kicked the box. Sure enough, a little mouse scurried inside.

"Okay," I said. "Here is what we're going to do. Pick up the box and take it outside. I'll keep guard with the broom."

My brilliant plan to take the box outside, dump the contents, and let the puppies do what they will with the mouse, did not come to be. Instead, as my stepson climbed the stairs, the mouse decided to make his grand entrance. He shot through stepson's fingers and stepson dropped the box on the stairs with a loud crash.

I was screaming, he was yelling and jumping up and down, and I was frantically trying to stop the little grey creature from going up my pant leg or worse, escaping! The little guy hopped up and down the stairs, avoiding my broom, and probably freaking out over my screams and my stepson's frantic yells!

I finally cornered him and stepson and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. What a pair we were! "Okay," I said, "go get your shoes on and find the dustpan. We're going to smack him with it and then put him outside."

When stepson came back with the dustpan, I moved my broom and the little mouse shot out like a bullet. More screaming and yelling ensued. Stepson finally cornered him on the stairs and kicked the dustpan. He checked to see if the mouse was dead and was surprised when it wasn't. He kicked the dustpan again. This happened about three times.


He pulled the dustpan away and groaned.

"I thought it was still alive because it had its eyes open!" he said. But the poor kid didn't realize that he'd smashed the mouse into oblivion. I'm not kidding, either - it looked like the poor thing had exploded.

Yes. You can groan in disgust now.

Last night, I went into the kitchen, turned the light on, and saw a mouse scurry across my kitchen counter and back behind my stove. Grrrrrr....I wasn't happy. Especially since I had two traps set up on the OTHER side of the stove.

Me, being the genius that I am, (LOL!), moved the glue trap to the other side of the stove. And wallah! This morning, the wee beastie was caught on the trap. Unfortunately, he was still alive. That made me feel bad.

"Why can't you just stay out of my house?" I wailed. "Then I wouldn't have to kill you!"

Hubby and I went and tried to find more holes. We insulated every corner of our unfinished basement and it's now a lot warmer. I hope we also dissuaded any more mice from coming inside.

We let our cat inside over the weekend, despite my allergy to her, and she earned her keep by catching three mice.

Now add that up - the exploding mouse, the glue trap mouse, and three caught by the cat.

That's five.

Now we can all say a collective EWWWWWWWWW.

I'm about ready to call the exterminator.

Unfortunately, the cat also had a grand time knocking down Christmas decorations. I'm not at all happy about that. But hey, she caught three mice. She's okay in my book. ;-)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ten Days!

Ten days until Christmas? Wow. When did that happen?

Thankfully, most of my shopping is done. To make things easy this year, hubby and I decided to give the couples in our families gift certificates to a restaurant. You can't go wrong with those!

I still need to wrap presents for our kids and we're trying to decide when they should open their gifts. Since we're traveling clear across the state in my little Ford Escort (and we're going to have THREE kids since my other stepson is coming Saturday from Kentucky), we don't have room to bring them. I don't know if the kids can wait until after Christmas to open their presents from us, but it might be easier than opening them before Christmas and having them want to bring them on the trip!

I still need to get my hubby a few things - he's always hard to shop for. He's such a guy - he likes tools and home theater systems and new Dodge pick-ups!!! :-) But I have an idea what I'm going to get - I just need to sneak off for awhile and shop.

No writing done - although I did play with my new laptop last night. In fact, I watched a Christmas movie on the laptop's DVD player. That was fun.

I also updated my World War II blog - did a book review for a wonderful inspirational romance series that takes place during World War II. Check it out!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Fun Tag!

Tess tagged me, so here goes!

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:

1) Take a European tour
2) Publish several books
3) Build a new house
4) Visit Colonial Williamsburg
5) Go to the London Symphony
6) Meet Matthew McConaughey
7) Learn how to swim

Seven Things I Cannot Do:

1) Drive a stick shift
2) Keep a perfect house
3) Not cry when I'm angry
4) Not sleep in on a Saturday
5) Make fried chicken
6) Avoid chocolate
7) Swim

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse (or significant other, best friend, etc.)

1) His smile
2) His incredible sense of humor
3) His kindness
4) The way he loves his children
5) The way he kisses me - still makes me weak in the knees!
6) His love of books
7) The way he surprises me

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often

1) Oh crap
2) I know!
3) Bloody hell (usually write this, but not always!)
4) When are you coming home? (Yup, to the husband!)
5) Did you feed the dogs?
6) WHAT?!? (usually in response to, "MOM!")
7) Did you hang up your towel? (ALWAYS say this to the stepson!)

Seven Books (or series) I Love

1) Tree of Gold by Rosalind Laker
2) A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
3) The Golden Chronicles series by Patricia Veryan
4) The Liar's Club series by Celeste Bradley
5) My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley
6) Daughters of Fortune series by Judith Pella
7) The Watchers by Dean Koontz

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again

1) Bridget Jones' Diary
2) Under the Tuscan Sun
3) Princess Bride
4) Sense and Sensibility
5) The Longest Day
6) Frenchman's Creek
7) Most of my classic movie collection

Seven People I Want to Join In (Be Tagged)

1) Luanne
2) Michelle
3) C. Rooney (when she gets back)
4) Dana
5) Rachel
6) A.E.
7) Amy Knupp

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Cards and New Spaces

I wrote my Christmas cards last night. It wasn't a chore, really, because I enjoy doing them, but I think that they are becoming a thing of the past. More and more people decline to send them every year either because they don't have enough time or they would rather send e-cards. I think it's a shame because I love to get mail - actual letters and cards I can hold in my hands.

At work, my department moved into a new office building. It's taken awhile to get the computers up and running, the phones working, and get everything settled in. I decorated my little cube for Christmas, though - and yes, I put up a Nativity scene! :-)

And I have to send a big THANK YOU to
  • Luanne
  • for selling me her laptop! I'm SOOO excited to snuggle under my blanket on the couch and write!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    The Pro's and Con's

    For my job, I write each and every day. I'm a copywriter and I love it.

    This is a good thing and a bad thing.

    The good things:

    1) My writing has improved so much since I started that it's unbelievable. The simple act of editing and revising each and every day has strengthened my skills.

    2) I'm writing every day. This keeps my writing muscle well-toned.

    3) I love my job. I'm writing for a living!

    The bad things:

    1) The last thing I want to do when I get home is sit in front of a computer to work on my novel. Lately, that's been a big problem. It wasn't always this way...I'm not sure what changed.

    2) I don't feel like I have enough time to do the household chores, spend time with the kids, spend time with hubby, and write. Since I try and exercise after work, I usually don't get home until 6:30. That leaves me 3 1/2 hours before bedtime. And time absolutely flies in the evenings!

    I told my husband last night that I'm incredibly hard on myself. I've given myself a mental lashing for not writing lately and perhaps that is contributing to the problem. Instead, I think I should just give myself permission not to write right now. But I'm not too comfortable with that, either, because I want to be writing.

    I wish I could find the solution to all this. It seems like I struggle with this issue every few months. Maybe I need to quit making it a struggle. Maybe I'm taking myself entirely too seriously and need to take my own advice - to write for the joy of it.

    I'm thinking of buying another laptop. The one I have is pretty ancient - I can't use my jump drive on it and floppy disks are so unreliable that I don't want to try and transfer data to my desktop with one. Maybe I'll look into the Alpha Smart. I don't need a fancy laptop - just something to write on and transfer to my desktop. I wouldn't mind sitting on the couch at night while my daughter colors and writing. Of course, when I write at my desktop, she usually drags her stuff downstairs to work next to me. :-) But having the comfort of a soft couch and a blanket with the lights of the Christmas tree surrounding me...ah, yes. That sounds quite perfect.

    The kicker is that I really really WANT to write. But it's finding the time. I know we all struggle with it. But if you want to make writing your career, you make time, right? But what else is sacrificed in the meantime? I refuse to put my writing above my family. My daughter and stepson will only be young for so long. I want to cherish these times. On the other hand, I cannot deny myself the pleasure of writing.

    Balance is the key! Implementing it is another story!

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Relaxing With a Cup of Tea

    My Victorian tea party was great. My friends came over wearing Victorian hats. It was so much fun! We had tea, scones, rasberry tarts, and crackers and cheese. I wanted to make cucumber sandwiches, but I didn't get around to it.

    My whole goal in having the tea was to just have everyone relax in the midst of the holiday season. We sat around and talked, laughed, and had a wonderful time. I am truly thankful to have such caring friends.

    Since I spent most of Saturday cleaning and then hosted my party, I had wanted Sunday to be a day of rest, which is what the good Lord intended! Unfortunately, that didn't happen. We have a mouse problem again, which I suppose isn't too surprising considering the cold weather. But I cannot stand the little bastards. We went searching for holes again in our house and found plenty. The former owners didn't do a very good job of remodeling - they did it themselves and boy, can you tell. They remodeled the kitchen and the bathroom and put in a basement. Since the house was built in 1909, we have to deal with everything that comes with it. The former owners didn't touch our bedroom and as a result, it desperately needs a facelift. Our closet is basically a big hold in the wall and the plaster has fallen off in chunks. We hope to get it remodeled by the time we want to sell.

    Strange thing happened last night...I was commiserating over my lack of writing once again and why I can't decide which manuscript to write on. And out of nowhere, a voice: "Work on both of them, girl!"

    So I shall. :-)

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Friday Tidbits

    It's Friday! The weekend is nearly here and I can't wait.

    —As I am a big Snoopy fan AND a writer, I love Snoopy as the Literary Ace. And that makes what I found today even better... Literary Ace merchandise!!! Sweatshirts, t-shirts, mousepads,, fun! Now I'm trying to decide which one I want to order...

    —I'm having a Victorian Tea at my house on Saturday. Since my living room is decorated like a Victorian Christmas, I'm quite excited. I'm going shopping after work today for food and little goodies to give to my friends. It's just going to be six of us, but my whole idea for this party was to give everyone a time to relax during this stressful holiday season. We're just going to sit back and visit, sip our tea, and eat some goodies!

    —I have my ring! It is just gorgeous. A round emerald with three diamonds on each side. My husband was so sweet last night. He came home and we talked for a bit, then he got a very serious look on his face. "My beautiful wife, love of my life..." and then he pulled out the ring box. Talk about romantic! It was all the better because I'd completely forgotten about it!!!

    —Thanks for all your comments on my writing dilemma...I am determined to get out of this particular "funk" and be good to myself and write!

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    What is Wrong?

    Last night was sheer misery for me. Oh, not that I was physically miserable, but I was emotionally bent out of shape.

    I've wanted to write for weeks now. It's become particularly bad this last week, especially with the beautiful snow we've received (well, it's more beautiful when I'm at home, nice and cozy!) and the cold weather. Perfect time to write! And it's the Christmas season!

    But I am so frustrated. It's been so long since I've worked on this particular novel, The Rake's Lady, that I feel like I need to review my GMC's, re-read what I've already written, and look over my character sketches to get a feel for the characters again. But I can't seem to drum up the enthusiasm. Or maybe it's the motivation.

    Here's the kicker...I want to write. I want to sit down and indulge myself.

    Why can't I? What is holding me back?

    I've discovered something about myself lately...if I don't write, I am miserable. I get cranky. I feel a lack of peace. I feel disconnected from myself. In general, I am not happy.

    Knowing all of this, why can't I make myself sit down and write? It's not writer's block. I know where I'm going, I know the characters, and I am not writing myself into a wall.

    I'm thinking it's my lack of exercise the past few weeks. The weather has been bad and tons of other stuff has come up (yes, excuses, I know) and I've really missed my work-outs. I plan to go tonight, come hell or high water.

    But it's not just husband works very long hours. When he gets home, I want to spend time with him - it's often only an hour or two - and I feel like I should not spend that time writing since we see so little of each other. And then I feel guilty for not spending time with my kids. To top it all off, I sit in front of a computer all day and write for my job. Usually that doesn't bother me, to come home and work on my own stuff. But lately, that's the last thing I want to do - sit in front of a computer. I'd rather snuggle on the couch with my daughter and read a book than do anything.

    Yet this nagging feeling won't leave me alone. I'm restless. I'm edgy. I snap like an ice-covered branch at the slightest thing. And no, it's not my hormones! *grin*

    I'm at a loss. I want to write, yet can't make myself sit down. I need to write for my own sanity. Then why am I struggling?

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Christmas Carols!

    Just a quick, fun post for today - work is busy!!! (And yes, I'm really at work today! Hubby brought home my keys and made more!)

    What is your favorite Christmas carol?

    Here are my top five:

    1) God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman

    2) Christmas Eve in My Home Town

    3) White Christmas

    4) Oh Holy Night

    5) Jingle Bell Rock

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    A Couple Days Off!

    Ever heard this great Huey Lewis and the News song? "All I want is a couple days off!!!"

    Well, I really did want a couple days off. But today, I got one whether I wanted it or not.

    I was on my way out the door to pull the car out of the garage when I noticed my keys were missing. No big deal, I thought. Hubby probably put them on the table or in my purse. But after I checked both places and didn't find them, I started to worry.

    In fact, the more I checked, the more empty-handed I became. I called him and asked him to look and see if he'd accidentally taken them. Nope, he said. He couldn't find them anywhere.

    Keep in mind that I had a persistent feeling that he HAD taken the keys, but had spaced off just WHERE he put them.

    A few minutes later, he called back.

    "I found them in my pocket."

    Big eye-rolling session ensued. Hubby is working 88 miles away from home and of course, he discovered that he had my keys AFTER he made that hour and a half drive. He also had the spare key on his own key ring.

    Guess what? No keys!

    Since we do not have another available (i.e. working) vehicle, the kids and I stayed home today. I didn't have much of a choice. But really, it's okay to take a break from the routine during the working week. I think it does everyone a bit of good.

    Not that I've been taking a break. I'm working just as hard here at home as I do at work. That's the benefit (or lack thereof) of having a computer at home.

    On the plus side, I've got the laundry started, I don't have to leave the house (or rather, I CAN'T leave the house) to go pick up the kids or do anything else, and I just might have time to write tonight!

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Christmas In Connecticut

    This movie just came out on DVD and it's an absolute treat! Made in 1945 with Barbara Stanwyck, this is a classic holiday tale full of love, laughter, and good food.

    Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a popular magazine food columnist that isn't what she seems - in fact, she's made everything up about her farm in Connecticut (she lives in a New York apartment), her husband (she's not married) and her baby (nope, she doesn't have that, either!). And the best part? She can't cook!

    When the owner of the magazine arranges for a World War II veteran to visit her house for the holidays, Elizabeth has some quick thinking to do, especially when she finds out the owner himself will be her guest, as well! She'd got to come up with a farm, a husband, a baby, and culinary skills!

    A delightful romp full of holiday cheer as well as a great romance, Christmas in Connecticut is a perfect way to spend a cold, winter evening.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    And It's Off!

    What do you do when you and your husband get into an argument and you really just don't feel like being in the same room as he is?

    Why, you go downstairs to your office, turn on the space heater, grab a Diet Pepsi and some Hershey's Kisses, and start writing.

    I just sent off a query letter to a history magazine. I have high hopes, but we'll see what happens.

    I figure if I'm not in the mood to work on the novel (which I hope to be by this evening), then I'll work on other writing projects.

    We went to the Christmas parade yesterday morning. Wow. Talk about freezing your buns off! A gentle snow fell during the entire parade and while it was positively beautiful (have you ever stopped to look at a single individual snowflake? It is absolutely AMAZING how intricate and detailed they are), we were all so cold that we really couldn't enjoy the parade. A lot of entrants canceled, too - only one marching band out of twenty showed up. Ah well.

    Also went Christmas shopping last night. I tell ya, some of these sales people are REALLY starting to bug me. You know the type - the ones that have the little booths out in the middle of the mall, selling nail products or hair products or whatever. Every single time I go to the mall they try and snag me. And here's how they do it:

    "Can I ask you a question?"

    And if you say, "Sure," then you're in for it.

    Lately I just say, "I already have that stuff" which is true, only I bought it last year and hardly ever use it on my nails simply because I type too much and do not have time to have long nails.

    I know it's their job, but it's really really annoying me. I've been to the mall probably so much lately you'd think they'd quit trying. But no...every time they try and "ask me a question."

    Tomorrow is Monday already...not ready for it at all. That means another week of work, work, work. I must admit, most of the time the whole routine doesn't bother me. I just try not to think about it too much. But lately...well, lately I wish I could just take an entire week off. And that will happen the week before Christmas. Unfortunately, I'll also have THREE children in the house since my other stepson is coming from Kentucky to celebrate Christmas with us. But they should have enough Christmas presents to keep them busy while I work on my writing, lounge on the couch, or read a good book.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    A Tag: What I Love About Books

    I've been tagged by Dana for a Book Meme. Fifteen facts and personal preferences about books. Oh dear. Where to start? Now I've got to think a minute...

    1) I love history books. I own tons and tons of history books, from the eighteenth century through World War II and everything in between. I never know when I'm going to get a particular story idea set in a different time period.

    2) Old bookstores are AWESOME. I love to find out-of-print treasures, especially those I've been looking for for awhile.

    3) I've worked at three bookstores and a library in my lifetime.

    4) I want to own a used bookstore someday after I sell. That way I can have an income from the novels since used bookstores rarely make a lot of money! But I would have such a cool bookstore - like a combined coffeehouse/bookstore.

    5) I used to be very obsessive about my books. I kept them in pristine condition. I NEVER bent pages. If the cover got bent, I would about blow a gasket. (This was all pre-marriage and pre-kids, of course).

    6) I used to keep a list of all the books I'd read (and I still have it somewhere) and I'd give every book a rating.

    7) My husband and I share a common love for books. Our basement walls are literally lined with bookshelves. When we move, it's really going to suck. ;-)

    8) You can ALWAYS get me a book for Christmas or my birthday! I can never have enough.

    9) I mark the annual library booksale on my calendar and my husband actually took the day off for it!

    10) I've recently started collecting the books I read as a young teenager - mostly Patricia Veryan and Rosalind Laker, two of my all-time favorites.

    11) If a book doesn't capture my attention within the first few chapters, I'll move on to something else. As my husband told me, it's my time to read and I should read something I like! No need to suffer through it if it's not good.

    12) The first time I walked into my undergrad college's library, I nearly fainted at all of the wonderful history books I found. Coming from a small town (1,600 people), I didn't have access to books like that. Now I have access to my university's library and our city library is great, too.

    13) I love good cover art. Gorgeous, well-done covers immediately catch my attention, no matter what genre.

    14) My daughter loves books, too! Every night we read a book before bedtime.

    15) My brothers used to get upset with me in the summertime when they'd ask me to come play baseball with them and I'd be reading a book (I still remember reading every single Nancy Drew book and all the Wizard of Oz books during the summers). To this day, my brothers still give me a hard time about it. But I truly believe that all the reading I did as a child helped contribute to the writer I am today.

    I tag Kelley, Michelle, AE, and Amy from WriteMinded.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    Author Branding

    At our chapter meeting last night, two of our members gave a presentation on author branding. Marketing yourself with a particular "brand" is a delicate balance. I say this for two reasons.

    1) The brand you give yourself (or your editor or agent or publisher helps you decide) will stick with you for quite some time. That means you better be ready to write within the parameters of that brand.

    2) In so having such a brand, it can limit you as an artist.

    For example, I write two kinds of books - inspirational and historical. One is sexier than the other, by far. When I finally do earn a publishing contract, which one will it be with? Right now, the odds are on the historicals. But that doesn't mean I don't want to write the inspirational. That means I have to perhaps market myself with TWO brands.

    This strikes me as being rather dangerous, especially with these two particular types of romances. An inspirational romance is much different than a sexy historical romance. Will those readers of my inspirational, if they learn that I write historical which, why wouldn't they learn of it, stop reading my inspirationals since I write the sexier novels?

    While this is all just talk at this point, it's something we need to think about as authors.

    I've decided that I want to write both - but under different names. I cannot limit myself to one particular type of romance for the sake of branding.

    Is it possible, then, to have the best of both worlds? To be able to write what you love, sell it, and have a large audience? And should this be done from the word "go" (i.e. when you get that book contract) or should you wait until you've established yourself in one field before branching off into the next?

    It's not that this is a new concept. Far from it. Numerous authors have done it. But what will I do, I wonder?

    Lots of questions. Difficult questions. But I have a feeling that I'll figure it out. :-)

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    More of My Daughter's Thoughts

    On the way to daycare this morning, I asked my daughter if she'd had any dreams last night.

    "No," she replied, very matter-of-factly. "I'm all out of dreams."

    "You are?" I said in astonishment.

    "Yup. I have to put more dreams in my head!"

    She then proceeded to softly smack her dreams into her head with her hand.

    Keep in mind I'm driving the entire time. It was an effort not to pull over on the side of the road and just hug her for being so darn adorable.

    In Writing News...

    What writing news? I'm determined to get stuff done on Robert's story, tentatively titled The Rake's Lady. I really really want to dive into it. So why can't I? I wanted to last night, but I had a headache - a very bad one - bad enough that I took four aspirin. I think it was partly because I didn't have any Diet Pepsi yesterday and my body was going through a caffeine withdrawal.

    We have our last chapter meeting of the year tonight. We don't meet in December - it's just too hectic. But we are planning a holiday get-together in January as well as a writing retreat in February. Should be fun!

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    It's Published!

    No, no, not the book...heh. Not yet!

    My article appears in the Summer/Fall combined issue of Nebraska History, the journal of the Nebraska State Historical Society. Unfortunately, there isn't a link to the article. But I may try and see if I can't scan some pages in to show you!

    In this article, I delve into how Hollywood films had an impact on the German POW's held at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, during World War II. It was actually a chapter in my thesis. :-)

    It's rather exciting to see your name in print...I've had a few short stories published and some newspaper columns, but nothing on this scale. I'm so thankful that I was able to work as an intern at Nebraska History and I've stayed in contact with my former boss. Maybe someday I'll be able to work there...oh, what a dream job that would be!

    Sunday, November 27, 2005

    A Thunderstorm in November?

    This is weird. We're having a thunder and lightning storm. In Nebraska. At the end of November.

    Now if it was a blizzard, I wouldn't be surprised.

    But a thunderstorm?

    It brings to mind too many "end of the world" movies...

    Speaking of, I just watched War of the Worlds yesterday. Hmmm....

    The Vacation That Wasn't

    I really looked forward to four days of uninterrupted relaxation - a wonderful turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, maybe play a few games, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday, do nothing but relax.

    That didn't happen.

    Friday hubby and I went shopping - no, we weren't one of those crazy people (Rene!) who gets up at 5 a.m. to go shopping on Black Friday. I'm a firm believer in "she who waits saves her limbs." But I did go to our local Hobby Lobby and bought some great Christmas decorations. Suffice to say, I've been decorating for two days now and I still have to put up the Christmas tree. But at least it will be done. And I've really enjoyed doing it. It just takes so darn long, y'know?

    The good news is that I spent a lot of quality time with my hubby and that was wonderful.

    The bad news is I did not get a single bit of writing done. Oh, I thought about my plot, but not once did I sit down to the computer and open the file. In fact, I hardly sat down all weekend! But that's good, right? ;-) I needed to burn off all the leftovers from Thanksgiving, including my yummy homemade cherry cheesecake.

    It's back to work tomorrow - sigh. Ah well. With the decorating nearly finished as well as most of our shopping, I'm going to try and relax and enjoy the holidays. And maybe, just maybe, get some writing done, as well!

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    May you count your blessings today...

    May you remember what this holiday means...

    May you eat well and laugh with friends and family...

    May you find recipes for the leftovers!


    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Doesn't He Look Absolutely Smashing?

    Oohhh...when I saw this pic, I thought, "WOW. My man is hot!!!"

    The Best Dressed Couple of the Evening!


    Patience Is A Virtue

    I'm dropping the pictures off at the one-hour photo place today. I'm going to try and get them on a CD so I can upload them into my computer here at work without waiting to scan them in. BUT - if the pictures suck, I won't put them up.

    Ha ha ha...*evil laugh*


    ...For those of you so inclined, visit my Best of World War II blog ( for a review of the movie Wing and A Prayer starring Don Ameche and Dana Andrews.

    ...I finally decided to work on my second Regency historical. Last night, I read through my notes and realized that I really do have a great story.

    ...I'm fine-tuning a Christmas short story I wrote last year, and I hope to submit it to a magazine this week.

    ...I only have one Christmas present bought. *gasp!*

    ...I've decided to decorate my house in a Victorian Christmas style. Can't wait!!! The day after Thanksgiving, I'll haul my decorations out of the storage closet. Let the fun begin!

    Monday, November 21, 2005


    I love to listen to National Public Radio, especially at work lately. For some reason, though, I can only listen to it at certain times of the year. Mostly fall and winter months. I like to get more into my "historical" mood around this time of the year with the holidays. Kinda weird, I think. But classical music puts me in that mood...completely. It gives me a sense of peace.

    There is also a book - my all-time favorite - that I love to read around the holidays: Rosalind Laker's Tree of Gold. A touching, beautiful story - and really, my first romance. I first read it during Christmas break while in junior high and ever since, I've always associated it with the holidays.

    What about you? Any particular books/music that put you in the mood for the holiday season?

    Sunday, November 20, 2005

    A Success!

    The party was great. Hubby looked absolutely smashing in a dark blue shirt, black sports coat, black Dockers, and black shoes. Woo-eee! I didn't want to let him out of my sight!

    I bought a pretty black shawl to go with my dress and I felt like a princess last evening. I have pictures, but you'll have to be patient for me to develop the film! (Yes, I hinted to hubby that I wanted a digital camera for Christmas!!!)

    Hubby and I did a duet of Patsy Cline's "Crazy" - but it ended up being more of a solo since hubby was a little tipsy! LOL

    But that brings to mind another thought...I don't miss the party scene at all. In fact, I rather enjoy being sober when everyone around me is drunk. That way I know exactly what I did that evening and exactly what everyone else did, as well!

    I'm looking forward to a three-day work week. I get Thursday and Friday off! And no, I won't be spending my four-day weekend shopping. *shudder* I'm thinking of buying everything online this year.

    Hope you all had a great weekend!

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Where Does It Go?

    I want to know where the year 2005 went. I can't believe it's the middle of November and Christmas is just around the corner.

    What happened? Last I checked, I'd just started this job in February. Only a few more months and I will have been here an entire year.

    And I think that's the reason this year is gone by so fast - I've had a full-time job. I've been in a routine. I've done the same thing nearly every single morning - get up, get kids ready, take stepson to school, take daughter to daycare, go to work. I really get tired of it. When I was a stay at home mom, it seemed like the year went a lot slower.

    I'm not saying this is necessarily bad...but when days and weeks and months start running together, you've got to wonder why they flee so swiftly.

    In Writing News...

    I'm working on a query letter to submit to a World War II magazine for a few nonfiction articles. And I'm still trying to decide which novel to work on. I really should have been writing on one of them by now, but guess I'm taking a mini vacation. Maybe tonight I'll get inspired...wait, it's Friday night. Time to party! Oh, yeah...I don't do that anymore. My idea of a great Friday night is watching a movie with my daughter snuggled next to me, warm chocolate chips and a glass of cold milk on the coffee table. :-)

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    The Dress Saga: The Latest Chapter

    You are all so darn sweet! And I have good news - I'm keeping the dress. :-)

    Last night my mom and I went to the mall to return my dress and look for something more "sensible." Unfortunately, the store I bought the dress from has a policy that if you pay for your merchandise using a check, you must wait ten days before you can return it. And, you guessed it - I paid with a check. It's a rather silly policy, but hey, I wasn't going to challenge it. The only inconvenience for me was carrying my dress around the mall.

    After we ate supper, we started our quest. And let me tell you - it didn't turn out well. I couldn't find anything I liked and those that I DID like just didn't fit. We left the mall a little disheartened.

    But as soon as I got home, my wonderful husband told me that the other gals from his work were really splurging on their outfits - spending even more money than I did! He looked at my dress and said, "I don't see anything wrong with it." But even better...when I tried it on and modeled it for him, his eyes lit up and he said, "You're wearing that dress."

    What a guy!

    Now I have to go find a black, lacy shawl to wear and maybe some new shoes, too! Oh yes - and jewerly!

    Hubby is actually going to get all dressed up, too! And keep in mind that he is a tank top and shorts kind of guy. But when he gets dressed up - oh man, does he ever look good!

    Don't worry - I'll take pictures. :-)

    Thanks for all the good thoughts, gals. Means a lot!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    The More I Think About It...

    I think I'm going to take the dress back. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, I feel like a princess when I wear it. But I'm going to be too overdressed. And while I say that now I don't care, I'm pretty sure that will change once I get to the party. Sigh...

    Mom and I are going to the mall tonight. I hope to pick out one a little less fancy. And a little less expensive!

    Buyer's Remorse

    Remember that dress I gushed over? Well, I still love it. I really do. But when I think of wearing it to this Christmas party, I get nervous. Let me explain.

    My husband works in a scrap yard. He's the manager/supervisor. It's a dirty job, but he loves it mainly because he finds lots of "toys" - yup, he's a guy through and through.

    To make a long explanation relatively short, I'm worried I'm going to be overdressed. At last year's Christmas party, people really didn't get dressed up. Some did, others didn't. But the party is going to be held at a pretty prestigious place this year and having a limo pick us up is another bonus.

    Part of me thinks I should take the dress back and get something a little less dressy. The other part rebels at such a thought because 1) I love the dress and 2) I really don't care what people think if I get dressed up, which seems to be at odds with the first part of me. But it's one of those things where the more I think about it, the more determined I am to wear this dress.

    Turns out I probably won't be able to wear it to my company Christmas party. I guess last year they wore jeans and sweaters. How boring is that???

    So what would you do?

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Let it Snow!

    Woke up to a very wet, slushy snow this morning. So much for the weatherman's prediction that yes, it would snow, but no, it wouldn't stick to the ground. Ha! I grumbled at that particular weatherman while I was sweeping the two inches of snow off my car!

    When my daughter woke up and I told her there was snow outside, she said, "Is it Christmas?" LOL Not yet! But I really hope we have a white Christmas this year.

    I wish the snow would have held off until after Thanksgiving. But according to the Farmer's Almanac, we're supposed to have a very snowy December. I wouldn't mind that at all.

    I'm trying not to think about Christmas yet - I have a rule that I do not decorate until after Thanksgiving. I used to wait until December 1, but I just can't wait that long anymore! I love to decorate for Christmas and I think this year I really want to make it look like a Victorian Christmas in my living room. Which means I get to go shopping! :-)

    I'm bound and determined to think about Thanksgiving first. After all, it is an important holiday. And it often gets brushed aside by all the Christmas hype. That's why I'm waiting to look at all the Christmas items for sale at the stores - I don't want to forget Thanksgiving. :-)

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Writer's Retreat

    Yesterday my mother and I went to a Victorian Tea at The Atwood House Bed and Breakfast (pictured at left What a delightful time! The house was decorated for Christmas with historic decorations, carolers sang, and yummy goodies and tea filled my sugar cravings. It was so warm and cozy that I truly wanted to just stay and have my own little writer's retreat. In fact, I just might do that someday.

    Which brings to mind a question: have you ever pampered yourself with a writing retreat, just by yourself? I've always wanted to do this - just bring my laptop, go to a gorgeous bed and breakfast, and just immerse myself in my writing. Just me. No television or internet to distract me, but only my words and thoughts.

    Maybe I'll get to do this someday...

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    That Special Dress

    I found it.

    Yesterday, into Dillards, I found the dress.

    Long. Flowing. Black lace. Black beadwork. Gorgeous plum satin. It looks like a beautiful gown from the Regency Era, except for the modern spaghetti straps.

    I was so excited after buying it (oops! I spent twice what I had budgeted for this dress!), I drove over to my Mom's to show it to her, giddy as a high school girl buying her first prom dress!

    In my defense, I haven't boought a dress like that since...before I was married. I was due! And I actually have at least three occasions to wear it - my husband's Christmas party, my company Christmas party, New Year's Eve, and, AND, if I get to go to RWA Conference this year, I have a dress for the awards ceremony. Did I justify that extra money or what? ;-)

    Hubby took my daughter shopping today and I was at home by myself. So what did I do? I put on the dress. I couldn't take it anymore! I had to wear it again. I slipped it over my head and twirled around, looking in the mirror, pretending I was not a princess, but a Regency lady on her way to the ball.

    Sure, I bemoaned the fact yesterday that I couldn't wear a little strapless black dress that went up to here, because, let's face it, I don't have the body I once did. But that didn't matter a single bit when I put my dress on and it fit. I felt sexy. I felt gorgeous.

    I'll take pictures, of course, because since I'm a smart shopper and found this on a clearance rack (although when I saw it I probably would have paid full price for it anyway I loved it so much!), I can't find it on Dillard's website.

    This is where I'm completely a girl. I love to get dressed up. I love beautiful dresses and doing my hair and make-up and buying jewerly. I love how I feel. And I also love how my husband looks at me. :-)

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Thank A Veteran Today

    It's Veteran's Day today. And despite all those sales and attempts to get you to spend your money, remember why this day exists. If you know a veteran (my husband is one and so is my Dad) then thank them today for your freedom. And remember those who sacrificed their lives so that you could have that freedom.

    To all those veterans, past and present, Thank You.

    My Foot

    I know this is a rather strange topic for a Friday, but well, it is a Friday! Nevermind that I have a ton of work to do at the office before 5 p.m. rolls around. But then...ah, the weekend!

    Hubby and I were sitting around last night and he asked me, "Why do you keep looking at your feet?"

    Since I hadn't really realized that I was looking at my very perfect feet *grin* (I don't have the longer middle toe or anything like that), I thought about it for a minute.

    "Well," I replied, "my feet haven't changed. I have gained weight everywhere else in my body - my hands, my legs, my face, my tummy, but my feet have remained the same. A reminder of what I used to look like when I was younger. I can look at my feet and pretend that I'm twenty-one again, with a cute figure (pre-children, of course!) and nothing more important on my brain than where I'm going to go party on the weekend."

    Sheesh! Who would have thought that a simple question would turn out to have such a philosophical answer?

    It's amazing, though, how we change over time. Our bodies change, our thoughts change, our priorities and even sometimes our values and our morals change.

    But some things stay the same.

    Like my feet.


    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Right Down the Middle

    I'm still trying to figure something out.

    In the midst of working on the edits for my Regency Historical novel, I fell in love with the Regency again. This is not surprising. I often drift from one time period to the next, falling in and out of love as easily as...well, as a teenager. :-)

    I have two books in the works right now. One is a Regency historical, using characters from my first novel. It is a good story. No, it is a great story. And I really want to write it.

    My second novel takes a big leap in time to World War II and the plains of Nebraska. It's an inspirational, very different from the Regency, and it is also a great story.

    Herein lies the problem. I want to work on them both equally. You know, have a schedule - MWF I work on the Regency, Tues/Thurs. work on the inspirational, blah, blah, blah.

    Well, you already know that won't happen! I'll get sucked into one world or the other, abandoning one manuscript for months at a time.

    I really don't want this to happen. Rene said that one will start to take over and I'll work on it but when I get stuck, I can switch to the other.

    I wish I could just divide the line, right down the middle, and work on both at the same time. Maybe it will happen. Maybe I can conceive of some way to make this work. Any ideas?

    In Other Writing News...

    My former boss, the editor of Nebraska History, the Nebraska State Historical Society's magazine, emailed me yesterday and said that the latest issue is available! I am soooo excited! Why? Because my article is in this issue! I cannot wait to get my six copies! I'll try and post a link if it becomes available online. At the very least, I'll scan it in so you all can see it!

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    A Clean Desk is a Sign that Melissa...

    1) is really bored.

    2) started to look for something on the desk and couldn't find it, leading to frustration and eventual gnashing of teeth as to state of desk.

    3) had nothing else better to do.

    4) really wanted to add to her cold by inhaling all the dust particles from very dusty desk.

    5) spent time with daughter who insisted on spraying the cleaner and dusting the desk herself.

    6) is ready to write!!!

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    I'm In The Market

    I am desperately in need of a laserjet printer. I'm tired of my inkjet, tired of refilling the ink and spending too much money on said ink.

    Besides, a full manuscript uses up about an entire cartridge of that high-priced ink.

    So I'm in the market for a laserjet printer and I need your advice!

    What's the best brand?

    Where's the best place to shop? Online or at an office supply store? Or Wal-Mart?

    What is the most I should pay for a good, quality printer?

    Thanks, all!

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    That's Dedication! (Or is it Stupidity?)

    Sunday morning. 4 a.m. My stupid STUPID cold (yes, I'm SICK again - I think I am now dealing with the virus that my daughter had) woke me up. I couldn't get back to sleep.

    So what do I do?

    Turn up the heat, shuffle downstairs, and plop in front of the computer again to take one last look at my novel.

    For two hours.

    I had a few things I wanted to add, then I went back to bed a little after 6 a.m.

    But you know what? The novel is done. The synopsis is done.

    And my brain is done, too!

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    6000 Words

    I've been writing ALL DAY.

    Well, okay. Not every single minute. I did manage to do five loads of laundry, take a walk with the dog, and eat.

    Other than that, I wrote.

    Hubby took the kids for the afternoon to leave me with lots of peace and quiet. And then, an hour after hubby got home, he took a nap and the kids did their own thing (quietly, even!) and I had even MORE peace and quiet.

    Suffice to say, that after I take one more read-through and perhaps edit a bit more in certain sections, I am done. I'll print off the novel tomorrow and send it off to the agent.

    I'm not sure how many words I wrote today (but it was A LOT), but in the midst of my cutting and adding, I somehow pared my manuscript down by 6000 words. Since it originally "clocked in" at over 106,000, I'm thinking this is a good thing. :-)

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    "You Need Some Fun"

    I feel like I've been running around for the past three weeks. Moving my mom, taking care of sick children, taking care of housework, running kids to various appointments, working, trying to get my novel edited...

    And my husband hasn't been around for much of it. It's not his fault - his boss has sent him to work at another of their newly-acquired companies and he gets home late.

    So why did I decide, after all of this chaos in my life, to clip the dog's toenails? I should have left well enough alone. But I didn't. The first three feet were okay. But on the last foot, I cut one of the nails too short and blood started pouring out.

    Frantic, I called hubby to ask him where he'd put the powder to stop the blood (it came in the nail-clipping kit) and he replied with the now-familiar, "I don't know where I put it." BIG SIGH. So I jump on the Internet and find that you can put flour on the nail to make it stop bleeding.

    Only one problem with that. The puppy, cute little Doobie, starts to lick off the flour! We gave him food to keep him busy and the nail finally clotted. But a little while later, he started licking it again and it re-opened. Another BIG SIGH.

    But the worst, THE WORST, part came later.

    There' s a teddy bear on the floor in the basement. It's a fairly big teddy bear and I don't know why no one thinks to pick it up.

    Anyway, Doobie, the cute puppy who is swiftly turning into a cute monster, decides he wants to "get busy" with the teddy bear. I try to pull the teddy bear away and he gives me the evil eye. But I bravely forged ahead and rescued the teddy bear. Unfortunately, "Mr. Happy" was alive and well, if you know what I mean. And it took it awhile to, um, how should I say this delicately..."deflate."

    And to think - I had grand plans of coming home and having a quiet evening working on my novel.

    Which is why I told my husband that I was going out tonight. It's my boss's last day and we're having a party. And he, being the good man that he is, said, "You need a babysitter?" and I said, "YES." And even better man that he is, he said, "I'll take care of it. YOU NEED SOME FUN."

    Darn right.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    No Can Opener!!!

    Picture this.

    The hamburger cooks in the microwave.

    The spaghetti noodles boil on the stove.

    The can of spaghetti sauce (yes, I buy canned because it's cheap) sits on the counter.

    And Melissa is frantically searching for a can opener to OPEN the spaghetti sauce. Through drawers. Cupboards. On tables. Below tables. In the husband's garage. On the picnic table outside.

    No can opener. Out of the three can openers in the house, not one turns up.

    I try to use a knife on it. The blade bends and I throw it in the sink. I rummage through the drawer and find some sort of Swiss Army knife knock-off and try to open the darn can. I only manage to punch a hole in it. A small hole. Which means I stand over the pan of meat shaking the can again and again, trying to get the sauce out. For an entirely too long five minutes.

    I turned the air a little blue last night. I yelled at stepson because he was the last to have the can opener. He yelled at me because he said it wasn't where he'd put it last. Then I called hubby and yelled at him because, guess what? He took the can opener with him to work that morning.

    But in the end, I had my spaghetti.

    Next time I go to the store, I'm buying twenty can openers.

    And hiding them all.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Another Tag: All About Me

    All about Me

    Three screen names that you've had: MelissaM, SnoopyGal, MMarsh

    Three things you like about yourself: Empathetic, kind, intelligent

    Three things you don't like about yourself: My weight; I forget to pray; my impatience with my kids

    Three parts of your heritage: Italian, German, Scots-Irish

    Three things that scare you: kidnappings, tornados, and mice

    Three of your everyday essentials: chocolate, Diet Pepsi, and a kiss from my husband

    Three things you are wearing right now: Leather jacket (it's cold at work!), black dress pants, silver earrings

    Three of your favorite songs: Nickelback's entire new album; Rain or Shine by Frank Sinatra; Loreena McKennit's Highwayman

    Three things you want in a relationship: love, respect, kindness

    Two truths and a lie: My house is a mess, my husband's garage looks like the one on Sandford and Son, and I am as skinny as the day I graduated college (ha! We ALL know which one is the lie!)

    Three things you can't live without: chocolate, books, email

    Three places you want to go on vacation: England, Italy, Ireland

    Three things you just can't do: swim, do anything involving vermin (mice, bugs, you name it!); drive a stick shift

    Three kids' names: Gabrielle, Nicolas, and Molly

    Three things you want to do before you die: I have to agree with Toni two of these - publish a book that hits the NYT list and watch my kids grow up to be happy; live in England

    Three celeb crushes: Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, and Raoul Bova (from Under the Tuscan Sun)

    Three of your favourite musicians: Frank Sinatra, Keith Urban, Nickelback

    Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you: back, eyes, hair

    Three of your favourite hobbies: writing, stamping, and collecting Snoopy

    Three things you really want to do badly right now: finish editing book for agent; take a vacation to England; get my carpets cleaned

    Three careers you're considering/you've considered: historian; book editor; copywriter

    Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: definitely action movies, not afraid to get my hands dirty; not worrying about my appearance ALL THE TIME

    Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: scream at the sight of a mouse; love lacy stuff; love dressing up.

    Three people that I would like to see post this meme: Rene, Kelly, and Tess

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    I'm Writing - No Candy for You!

    Last night I kept my porch light off, shooed my children and my husband out the door to go trick or treating, and then promptly sequestered myself in the basement to work on my novel.

    Yup. No little ghouls or goblins knocked on my door. (I didn't have any candy anyway!) It's the first time since we've lived there that I didn't turn the porch light on, but I knew I needed to work on my novel.

    And work I did.

    In fact, I put my poor hero through the ringer. Actually, I put the hero AND heroine through a lot of angst. I moved my big black moment to a little earlier in the manuscript and I think it works well. But it was hard to write it. Why? Because my poor characters are saying really bad things to one another! And I would rather they just laugh it off, kiss, and get along.

    But that will come later, with the HEA.

    I also read a review in the latest issue of Romantic Times that gave me hope. Leisure is releasing a World War II story, set in England, this month! Oh joy! Perhaps the market is starting to open just a tiny bit, and that's all I need to get my toe in the door!

    Monday, October 31, 2005

    Monday Musings

    It was a busy weekend.

    ~We got my mom all moved into her new apartment and I think she's very happy with it. She starts work at her new job today, so I'm anxious to hear how it went. I was lucky in that I didn't have to carry any boxes in - my brothers took care of that before I got off work - but I did help her unpack. She has a very nice music box collection that made the trip without any mishaps.

    ~Got to spend some great quality time with my family. We worked together to help my mom in her move and then wee celebrated my niece's birthday on Saturday at Chuck E. Cheese's. The kids had a great time and it was nice to just kick back with my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and my mom.

    ~Sunday I slept in, had a killer headache, and took a muscle relaxer. Not the smartest thing to do! I felt pretty "relaxed" the rest of the day!

    ~Went to see Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit last night with my daughter. What a wonderful film! My daughter really enjoyed it and I can't wait for it to be released on DVD so I can watch it again. :-)

    ~As far as writing...well, I opened the file and I read some of it, but other than that, nada.

    Don't forget to sign up for the book giveaway at Haunted Tales!

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    Halloween Short Story Extravaganza!

    In the mood for a few chills? Want to win a book?

    Then check out Haunted Tales and read some spooky stories!

    More from Deb Dixon's Conference

    Let's take a look at your character's goals.

    The goal, as defined by Deb Dixon, is what your character hopes to achieve.

    The goal has to have a sense of urgency. It doesn't have to be a ticking time bomb - it can be a sense of opportunity that won't come along again.

    Ask yourself, "Why her (him), why now?"

    Love should be a complication, not a goal. Characters should have strong goals that are separate from the relationship.

    Don't give your character anywhere to go but forward.

    In Writing News...

    I wrote a Halloween short story. I love writing short stories and I don't do it often enough, largely because I need a good, solid idea before I start writing. It has to percolate in my brain for awhile. Otherwise, it will turn into a novel! The short story format is also great because you can really practice the writing craft in a limited amount of space. It's also inspired me to get to work on my novel again!

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Back at Work

    My daughter finally felt well enough to go back to school again, thank goodness. Well, let me rephrase that. She didn't want to go back to school again, but I wanted her to! She slept through the night, no coughing fits, and sounded a lot better this morning. Thank God!

    I'm determined to go work out tonight. Hubby's Christmas party is in three weeks and I've got to look better than I do now! I can lose at least six pounds in that amount of time, can't I? If I really watch what I eat, exercise a lot...yeah, I think I can do it.

    This is probably the worst time of the year to try and lose weight. But we'll see if I can do it. :)

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    A Plea for Help!

    My friend from work is having trouble with her son not sleeping through the night. And she needs your advice!

    Go here to read her post:

    Dominant Impression

    I'm still at home with my daughter - she woke up at 4 a.m. this morning coughing. Poor thing.

    Anyway, as promised, I'm going to start sharing notes about my conference. Today will be short and sweet!

    Deb Dixon talked about the "Dominant Impression" for your characters. It's a simple, but very useful concept.

    For your characters, think of an adjective and a descriptive noun. The adjective cannot be a physical description - for example, "tall" or "thin" or "blue-eyed." It must be more specific - like "lazy" or "cocky." Then choose your descriptive noun, but it can't be a profession.

    Some of Deb's examples come from Star Wars. Han Solo is a "cocky smuggler." Princess Leia is a "royal rebel."

    Those who attended the conference also came up with some great ones:

    frustrated martyr
    lonely rake
    impulsive dreamer

    This is a great tool to help you really pinpoint who your character is.

    More tomorrow!

    Oh yes -

    I am officially the new president of my local RWA chapter. I'll begin my term in January. :-)

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Why I Can't Work At Home

    I kept my daughter home from school again today. Her cold seems to all be in her chest, so I'm hoping that the expectorant that I bought will loosen it up and help her feel better. But I'm bound and determined that she's going back to school tomorrow.

    Even though I do have some work to do for the office, I feel so unmotivated. And this is the exact feeling I had when I didn't have a job and I stayed home with the kids.

    I've come to this conclusion: I need to be around people, I need to be active, and I need to be out of the house to get motivated. Right now, I just want to crawl on the couch and take a nap. And I just might this afternoon. But the house needs cleaned, the dishes need done, and I still need to write that Halloween short story for Rene! :-)

    I think the ideal job for me would be to work every morning and have every afternoon off. Or perhaps to work every other day. I get tired of running around and never having enough time at night. But I also know I can't go back to being a full-time SAHM.

    Something in the middle...that's what I need. :-)

    Tonight is my chapter meeting and I'm anxious to see what everyone's thoughts are on the conference. Ironically, I also have to do a short presentation on motivation!

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    A Wonderful Success!

    Ahhh....big sigh of relief! The conference is over and it was absolutely WONDERFUL. In fact, I lost track of how many people told me how wonderful it was.

    Since our president wasn't there for personal reasons, I was the Mistress of Ceremonies. And let me just say right now - Debra Dixon is an AMAZING person. She is full of energy, laughter, and is very down to earth.

    The food was great, the place we rented was perfect, and the gals in my chapter just did an amazing job putting everything together. I was so pleased.

    I'll gather my thoughts about the conference and try to post them tomorrow. I'm at home with my daughter who apparently has the same nasty cold that I did last week. I'm very fortunate that I can work at home on days like today. :-)

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Chapter Conference Time!

    We're having our annual Fall Writer's Retreat for my local RWA chapter and I've been quite busy preparing for it. Last night we set up the tables and chairs and tonight we're having our dessert reception for Deb Dixon.

    I'm a bit nervous because our chapter president will not be there and since I'm the vice president, the duties fall to me. I wrote my welcome speech last night and I think it turned out pretty good.

    Dessert reception tonight (whoops, I already had a donut for breakfast, courtesy of my supervisor - darn it!) and then tomorrow is the full-day conference. We're quite pleased with the number of participants, which includes a few published authors!

    Anyway, I discovered last night that I wasn't quite as excited about the actual conference as I have been in the past simply because I have been in charge of organizing a lot of it. And it has taken away from my writing time. But, I really don't mind because it's only once a year and I really enjoy preparing for it.

    I'll post some of the highlights from Deb's workshops over the weekend or on Monday.

    Hope you all have a terrific weekend!

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Need a Laugh?

    I had my entire department laughing with this one. A man is witness to a car accident - but it's not a serious one. Check it out: (you need sound)

    I stayed up late editing my novel last night. I'm making progress!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005


    I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief that today is largely over. It wasn't necessarily a bad day, but it was BUSY.

    I thought our cold front wasn't moving in until tomorrow, so I walked out the door without a coat and neglected to get one for my daughter, as well. After I'd dropped the kids off, I realized it wasn't going to warm up. Off to the store I went to buy me and my daughter sweatshirts since I didn't have time to run home.

    Went to work, then took off to go look at an apartment for my mom. Very pleased with what I found, called mom and told her of my findings, dropped off my daughter's sweatshirt at daycare, then back to work. Off to lunch with my coworkers, then came back and realized I had a flat tire.

    Luckily, I work with some really great guys and they put the spare on so I could drive the five blocks to the auto repair shop. A co-worker picked me up, we went to the post office, then back to work. Thirty minutes later I went to go get my car.

    In the midst of the entire day, I kept fielding calls from my husband and my mom, filling out her rental application, and trying to get my work done!

    After work, went and dropped off the application, picked up my daughter, and headed home.


    I did manage to get everything done at work that I needed to, so that was a relief. I thought of tomorrow and how I could just pick up the kids and go straight home from work to relax. But alas, it's not to be! We have to set up for our weekend writing conference tomorrow night and I'll be busy until Saturday night.


    Writing? What writing?

    Fortunately, I'm on the computer right now and it's only 8:09 p.m., plenty of time to get a few minutes of editing in, right? Let's hope so!

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Time to Focus...Again

    Do you ever lose your focus? I do.

    Both my parents came to visit a week ago and I loved it. I didn't worry about my writing or much of anything else, but spent my time enjoying their company.

    I also pushed myself a little too hard and thus, the cold.

    But even when I'm sick and running my children around, taking care of the house, and making sure the dogs don't eat the new cat, I think about my writing.

    And that's when I get excited. Giddy. And I can't wait to regain my focus again. Cleaning my desk is the first step. Making sure I have plenty of chocolate is the next. (Hmm...might not be a good thing!). And the all important third step - sitting down at the computer and writing.

    I have to regain my focus every few months. Life just does that to us all, I suppose. But being able to experiene that giddiness, that wanting to write, that absolute excitement, is worth it.

    Announcing a New Blog...

    Oh, stop your snickering! Another blog? you ask.

    Yes. But it's a very GOOD one, I promise.

    Find out here:
  • My New Blog!
  • Monday, October 17, 2005

    House Hunting

    My mom just got a job where I live. She's preparing to make the 450 mile trek to this part of the state, and my brother and I have been shopping for her a place to live.

    I really can't believe how much people charge for rent, especially when the place is a pile o' crap. Amazing.

    It takes so darn much energy to call people up, arrange to go look at the place, be nice and polite and smile even when the place IS a pile o'crap, and then do it all over again fifteen minutes later.

    I'm ready to go home and take a nap on the couch! Of course, I didn't do much else this weekend. Well, yes, I did. I actually managed to start working on my edits for POSSESSION, got some laundry done, bought a Keith Urban CD, watched a wonderful movie, The Best Years of Our Lives, and spend some quality time with hubby and the kids. And through it all, I barely got any sleep because of this darn cold I'm fighting. I need to buy stock in Kleenex!

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    An Ode to Cereal

    Since it's Saturday morning and thus, the time of cartoons and cereal, I thought I'd reminisce on all the great cereal I've had while watching the coyote and roadrunner battle it out, or Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck attempting to get Elmer Fudd's gun away from him.

    So here goes...

    Boo Berry. Blue cereal. Little marshmellow ghosts. FULL of sugar! But oh, it tasted SO GOOD.

    And if we mention Boo Berry, we have to mention FrankenBerry and ChocoCount! One bowl of those and you'd be bouncing off the walls for hours!

    Cookie Crisp! Little chocolate chip cookies...

    Honey Nut Cheerios. Still a favorite of mine.

    Golden Grahams. LOVE the first, crunchy bite.

    Lucky Charms. Who could forget the advertising behind this one? "Let go of me Lucky Charms!"

    Trix. I always felt so sorry for the rabbit - "Silly rabbit. Trix are for kids!" Well, darn it, why couldn't the rabbit have some, too? After all, he was a talking, fully functional rabbit! He deserves more than carrots!

    Fruit Loops. Tucan Sam!

    Captain Crunch. I LOVE Captain Crunch Berries. I remember they had a marketing campaign where you could actually call and talk to Captain Crunch. I never did like the peanut butter Crunch, though.

    Apple Jacks. Tastes just like apples. With tons and tons of sugar loaded on top.

    Frosted Flakes. "They're GRREEATT!" My daughter loves these - calls it Tony cereal (from Tony the Tiger, of course!)

    Your turn. What types of cereal do you remember from your childhood or are in your cupboards today that you love?

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    I'm Sick Again and I've Been Tagged

    That is quite the amusing title.

    Anyway...I was out sick yesterday with either a bad cold or bad allergies and I still have it today. *groan* If I push myself too hard, I get sick. Let that be a lesson to me! I took the day off and stayed home to watch WWII movies, sleep, guzzle some orange juice, crumple tons of tissue, and just generally feel icky.

    I'm back at work today. Sigh...

    AE tagged me for this interesting little tidbit...

    1) Delve into your blog archive.
    2) Find your 23rd Post (or closest to it).
    3) Find the fifth sentence (or the closest to it).
    4) Post the text of the sentence in your blog. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas.
    5) Tag three people to do the same.

    Okay. Here is my sentence:

    The next morning, I woke up to a beautiful bouqet of red roses and a yummy cake.

    And so I ponder...

    Upon further reflection, this sounds like a great first line for a novel. It has an air of mystery about it. You know that something "happened" the night before since roses and cake were awaiting the next morning. And all sorts of possibilities jump into your head.

    Of course, this post came from my Mother's Day post where hubby had bought me red roses and made me a cake for my special day.

    But if I delve into my imagination, I can see a woman waking up in a luxurious hotel room, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and seeing a huge bouquet of red roses on the table. And her gorgeous, hunky lover steps out from the bathroom, toweling off his six-pack, and smiles at her, saying, "Good morning."

    Yeah. I like that one.

    Okay. So I'm going to tag three people...




    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Cloudy Days

    It's cloudy here. In fact, it was foggy, cloudy, and wet this morning.

    And I'm at work.


    I should be at home, under my blankets, sipping hot chocolate and eating my chocolate chip cookies while I either a) read, b) sleep c) watch an old movie or d) write.

    Instead, I'm at work. Clattering away. Longing for my blankets. And sleep. (I already ate some chocolate chip cookies).

    I'm feeling about the same today and last night's pitiful sleeping arrangements didn't help. I moved out to the couch when hubby started snoring, then moved back into bed when I got hot. Hubby was no longer snoring. BUT, when I actually crawled into bed, he started snoring again! I'm beginning to wonder if he has some sort of sensor that notifies his brain to snore when I reappear.

    I crashed last night. I really needed to do absolutely nothing. Only I didn't do absolutely nothing. I helped my daughter with schoolwork, folded laundry, got daughter ready for bed, etc., etc. Sigh...a mother's work is never done, even when she plans to take the night off.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    How Ya Feelin'?

    My co-worker asked me that today after I drug my sorry butt into work about four hours late. I wasn't going to come in at all, but we are having a lunch meeting and I couldn't miss that.

    But in response to her question, I said, "Like a frog crawled down my throat and died."

    It must be the allergies. Or maybe it's a cold. But I know why I'm sick - not enough sleep. I can go for only so long with my less than my required minimum hours of sleep before I start to feel yucky.

    Didn't do much last night. Watched a Cary Grant and Tony Curtis movie called Operation Petticoat. Funny stuff.

    What Writing News?

    Not much to report. But you can hop over to
  • Villa in Tuscany
  • to check out why
    I'm having a difficult time delving into my manuscript.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Biker Mama?

    My husband finally got a motorcycle. He's been wanting one for years, but we never had the money to afford it. Well, we still don't have the money, but he found a great deal for a bike that we couldn't pass up.

    I finally got to take a ride yesterday. I'm sure it was a comical site - my daughter in front, hubby in the middle, and me on the back (all three wearing helmets, of course!). I'm thinking that if we make a habit of this, I need to buy some goggles or maybe get the helmet with the comlete face guard. I think I'd like that. I don't particularly enjoy the wind in my face - not at that rate of speed.

    Now I'm on the hunt for a leather jacket because really, you cannot ride a bike without a leather jacket!

    I draw the line at going to Sturgis, though (for those of you who don't know, Sturgis is a big biker rally up in Sturgis, South Dakota, and is only a few hours away from my hometown). No leather chaps or skimpy tops for me! (Well, if I had the figure I did ten years ago I might think about it...)

    In Writing News...

    Not a darn thing done over the weekend. My dad was here visiting from back home and we had a nice time. After he left yesterday, we had to clean house and do the whole grocery shopping experience. But I did manage to get to the mall and buy a few pairs of jeans and some new boots. :-)

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Book Sale!

    I took a two hour lunch break yesterday (don't worry - I didn't take a lunch on Monday, so I'm good on the whole time thing) and went to our city library's book sale. They actually hold it at the state fair fairgrounds because they have SOOOOO many books.

    People were lined up outside to get in! I couldn't believe it. I high-tailed it over to the history section and saw people literally grabbing books like scavengers. Very weird.

    Of course, the paperback section - about five tables worth - was relatively calm compared to the history section. It got me to thinking that history buffs are a weird lot. Well, look at me. I fit right in! LOL

    I came home with some great bargains and even found a ton of biographies on Hollywood stars. Sophia Loren, Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra, and Deborah Kerr, to name a few. Also grabbed quite a few World War II history books. I only got a few romances because number one, I was running out of time to look through the entire section and two, because I already had quite a few of the books.

    Hubby grabbed a bunch of books, as well. The only problem? We have no more bookshelves to put all these books on! Time to go shopping!

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Random Thoughts

    ~It's Thursday! One day closer to Friday and the premier of the Wallace and Gromit movie! Woo-hoo! I know, I'm weird. I can't wait to see it, though.

    ~Today is the beginning of our library's annual booksale. Hundreds and hundreds of books, cheap! My husband even took half the day off so we could go and peruse the bargains.

    ~Nickelback's new album, released last Tuesday, is phenomenal. I've been a Nickelback fan for a few years now and my daughter even loves them. :-) I listened to the album for the first time yesterday at work and again today. I've come to the conclusion that this is their best yet.

    ~I'm having a hard time getting back into my historical Regency manusript. But I'm bound and determined to get this sent off.

    ~My mom is here right now and my dad is coming on Friday. I love it when my parents come to visit. :-)

    ~It's been cold for the last two days. Woo hoo!!!!

    ~My heartburn is not due to the Diet Pepsi. I just had a bottle of orange juice and I can feel it starting to rise. Probably something to do with the acidic content.

    ~I was headed out to West Virginia to visit my brother, who was going to be there for a training "boot camp" for his job. Turns out that he doesn't have to go now (which he is very thankful for since it was right at corn harvest time). But I'm bummed. I really really want to go to Virginia and visit all the Civil War battlefields, Revolutionary War sites, and all the other history. I decided to just maybe go by myself later this year or early next year. We'll see. Or I could save my money to go to England with my best friend. Hmm...decision, decisions!!!

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    A Trip Through Time

    Received word from an agent and she requested the full manuscript of my historical Regency romance.


    While I am excited, I have also not looked at the darn thing in months. I've been immersed in World War II history and language and thought and now I have to "time travel" back to early 1800's England.

    But there's always that chance that this might be IT. Y'know. THE agent that will lead to THE call.

    And I'm SO ready for that to happen. :-)

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Bye Bye, Diet Pepsi and Peanut Butter

    I've discovered that my Diet Pepsi addiction gives me heartburn. This saddens me because, well, I love the stuff. I think if I just cut back - maybe a few a week - that will be much better than two cans a day. Ack. When I think about it, that is really bad. I shouldn't be drinking that much soda!

    I tried to eat some peanut butter cups on Sunday, but nope. Those are out, too. That's not really a big deal because I don't like peanut butter, but I do like Reese's and peanut butter M&M's. But a straight PB and J sandwich? No way.

    No writing done last night. I cleaned house. My mom is coming to visit for a few days this week and I felt compelled to clean. Dust accumulates in my house like no other. And my vacuum shorts out after about two minutes of use, so I have to stop and wait for it to cool down. Not very efficient. I've always had vacuum problems. Why, I don't know.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    The Notebook

    I finally watched The Notebook last night. And I bawled. (Stop snickering, Rene!)

    I read the book years ago, after it first came out, and I've been waiting for the right time to watch the movie. I knew I would need a big box of tissues.

    Needless to say, the love story was fantastic. I loved Noah and Allie and how they finally (yes, I'm giving away the ending) find their own happily ever after.

    The only thing that bothered me concerned a plot device. After Allie goes away, Noah writes to her, every single day, for a year. She never receives any of the letters because her goodie two-shoes mother keeps them all. Of course, this isn't revealed until years later. I dunno. Maybe it's because I'm a big fan of the miniseries North and South and the same thing happened on it - Orry Maine and Madeline Fabray write to one another, but her father keeps all the letters from reaching Orry or Madeline. They find out after she marries, of course. But they get their happily ever after later (though not in the book - just the miniseries.)

    Anyway, it made me think a lot about how I want to avoid that type of plot device because, well, to me, it's so darn easy to do. Instead, strengthening the internal conflict between the two would have been a better choice. But that's just my opinion. :-)

    In Writing News...

    I did write this weekend. Not as much as I wanted to, of course, but since it's been two weeks since I've written anything new on the manuscript, anything is an achievement. I'm also working on some non-fiction article ideas, one of which is editing a collection of letters from a WWII soldier stationed at the Fort Robinson POW camp. I simply cannot let these letters stay in a dusty drawer in the archives. They are so good that they need to be shared with the world.

    New Digs

    I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance!