Merry Merry

December 24, 2016 at 10:04 am (Random Thoughts)

I’m still processing the world we live in now and what my role is in it–as an individual, as half of a couple, as a member of a family, with my friends. Parts of the answer are there, parts are settling in and there are a great many parts still making random streaks across the universe. I’ve seen a lot of posts and tweets and emails saying much the same and I’ll tell you what I tell myself and my husband and my family and my friends:

We’ll get through this. We’ll find our strength and our hope and our fight and we will come out of this…I can’t say better, but I can say stronger. More resolute. More willing to help those who are really going to need it in days to come.

Okay, better it is.

So here’s my holiday wish for you, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Yule or Kwanzaa or simply the gift of another day:

May you and yours have peace and happiness, may your world be filled with love and light, and may you have the merriest of merriest, now and always.

Merry Christmas, friends.


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Why a Writing Challenge is Important (Secrets Within…)

May 27, 2016 at 9:06 am (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)

So, last you heard from me was–gosh–over two months ago on March 20th. (I’d link it but it was a pretty small post and you know how to find it if you really do want to read it.) Anyhoozles, you are due an update, probably treats and booze too, but we’ll start with the update.

My 30 Days of Write Challenge for March? I did not accomplish a sentence a day for 30 of the 31 days, so one might argue that the challenge was a fail. However, I accomplished something much greater (two things, perhaps) so I call the challenge a great big bucket of win. This leads us to Outcome #1:

A writing challenge is what you make it, so don’t let the rules tell you otherwise or make you feel awful about how you finished.

Here’s what happened to me.

I was motoring along, doing my sentence (plus) a day, when something wonderful happened. I was driving to work, listening to the soundtrack to my book when another book popped into my head. This is one I’ve been working on for a while and it’s been vexing me. I’m thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close–got a strong, fierce heroine but my hero needed that one little something to put him in the neighborhood of the woman he was supposed to end up with. Well, something about the other book’s soundtrack and, what I truly and firmly believe is the writing muscle I’d been flexing during the challenge, came together to bop me on the head like Tinkerbell’s wand to say, “This is what your hero needs to be.”

Ka-blam. Pow. Holy shit. Cue fireworks. I had it. I had it!

This is where the writing challenged diverged in the yellow wood and I, I took the path less edited. Or needing to be edited, I guess, but yeah–I honored Tinkerbell’s bonk on the head and started editing the other book, knowing I was putting my sentence-a-day book on the back burner. But you know what? That’s okay, and it leads us to Outcome #2:

A writing challenge is what you make it, so if you need to leave or alter your original plan, it’s okay to do.

So the editing was going awesomely–I tore through the first quarter of my book by the end of March (so hell yeah, I’m calling my March challenge won and done!) and I was feeling great. But then something beautiful happened again and yes, dear reader, I’m calling this a direct result of the challenge, that writing muscle I’d been flexing–no matter how small–on a daily basis.

I’ve had this other book (don’t we all have about seventy kabillion ideas floating in our heads at any one time?) that I’ve been letting stew deep in the fecund writing stew of my brain. I had a soundtrack and oh damn did I have the characters in my head (and they’re so awesome together. {swoons}) and I had some crucial scenes but it wasn’t ready yet.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

Ka-blam. Pow. Holy shit. Cue fireworks. Tinkerbell’s wand hit me again, gave me a plot point that just tied it all together with a neat little bow. And I started writing this story and it has been flowing so deliciously. I think I’m around 35K right now and am just loving the hell out of it.

So that’s where I’ve been for the past 2 months–editing and writing like a fiend, swimming with the tide my writing challenge started way back on March 1st. That book I started then? Yeah, it’s still in there, building and growing in the back of my head, and I know it’s going to have its moment like this current one did. It’s my process and I am Ned Flanders okily-dokily with it. Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise, this tide is going to carry me through the summer and into the fall. And if I need some help somewhere in there, well you can bet I’m going to get another 30 Days of Write started, give me the boost I need to get back where I need to be.


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One Sentence Has Never Meant So Much

March 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)

So, here I am at Day 20 for my 30 Days of Write challenge. I just wrote my official sentence (two of them, actually) for today, so I can tell you with swear-on-a-stack-of-bibles truth tDSC02190hat I am meeting my challenge. I haven’t even used my cheat day yet, though some days have been verrrrrrry close.

A sentence a day has been more difficult than I thought, but it’s also been more rewarding. I’ll talk about it more when I’m done and have had a little bit of time to reflect on my 30 Days of Write, but for now I can tell you this: it’s been amazing. Doing a sentence every day forces you to think about your story more than usual, because you have this once-a-day goal chained to your brain. Sure, it’s a tiny goal, but the effects are huge. The sentence is the pebble, but the ripples are the payoff.


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Sliding into the finish–NaNoWriMo

November 30, 2015 at 6:14 pm (Authors, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Writing)

It’s November 30th. To many of you, that means you’re finishing NaNoWriMo, be it popping some celebratory beverage because you’ve already hit 50,000 words, or you’re still sprinting like a mother-fucker, aiming for that magic number anytime before 11:59 p.m. tonight. I am cheering you all on, if you wrote one word, or 50,001. More importantly, YOU should be cheering yourself, even if you didn’t get one of these:












Here’s why–you wrote. No, I’m serious–you wrote. That is something not everybody can or will do, and the fact that you sat down and wrote–one word or 50,001–means you deserve cheers, little certificates of awesomeness and every high-five in the world, so celebrate your writing no matter what your final word count is. And, I want to leave you with one final sentiment I read today (and sorry I didn’t get the author, because this is gold)–if you hit your goal, if you didn’t, keep writing. Your words don’t know what month it is.

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Taking #AskHerMore to a romance-friendly #AskMeMore

February 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm (Random Thoughts)

So I was watching the Oscars last night and one thing trending during the red carpet portion of the evening was #AskHerMore. It was basically a plea for those doing the interviewing of the stars (particularly the women) to not just ask about the dress, but about the woman wearing it. It was a fun hashtag to watch, with some amazing thoughts and ideas being tweeted. (One of my absolute favorites was from @RebeccaSchinsky, who tweeted: My kingdom for a red carpet “What are you reading?” #AskHerMore)

But it all got me thinking–there’s another similar situation where (primarily) women are treated as mindless airheads, not asked substantial questions but instantly judged by one single aspect of their appearance: the romance novel they’re holding in their hand.

So what if more people adopted an #AskHerMore philosophy, especially when it comes to romance reading and writing? We could call it #AskMeMore. Under that hashtag, people could ask romance writers why they chose that genre, what drew them to it. #AskMeMore could be used to ask romance readers what kind of story they like–sweet or spicy? A Harlequin Presents or a self-published novella? Is it all about the Happily Ever After or is there something else that keeps a reader going back to a genre over and over?

I’m not trying to judge or be all sanctimonious or anything else, just encouraging open conversations before drawing conclusions about a person who lists Loretta Chase or Nora Roberts as their favorite author. Women on the red carpet are so much more than their dresses and romance readers and writers are so much more than the covers on their books.


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What Does *Your* Independence Day Look Like?

July 4, 2014 at 10:35 am (Creativity, Random Thoughts)

It’s the 4th of July and in the states, that means it’s Independence Day, the day our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring our new nation’s independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. I celebrate with the rest of my country and eat hot dogs and watch fireworks, thinking of what this day really means. To many, they would say Freedom.


Here’s what I am adding to today. While watching your town’s parade or listening to a Sousa march, or even while at work or spending a Friday night watching your favorite movie if you’re not into celebrating or in a different country, I challenge you all to do this: Declare your freedom.

That’s right. State your independence loud and clear–say you’re not going to be victim to self-doubt, that you will finish that story, that you can do it.

Declare to the world that You Are A Great Writer. Write it down. Scream it out loud. Embroider it on a pillow. Just believe it. Because you are.

Happy Independence Day. ashes_to_ashes_s3_e8_12

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Wisdom of Bull Durham: Respect the Streak

June 27, 2014 at 8:47 am (Creativity, Random Thoughts, Writing)

I caImagen’t help it. Every time I think or hear the phrase “Respect the streak.” I think of Bull Durham. (Side note: Bull Durham has many life lessons, and I’m sure I’ll address them in the future, but for today, we’re going to stick with what to do with a streak.)

For those of you who have not seen Bull Durham (judgement withheld) or have forgotten this part of it, Crash (Kevin Costner) and Annie (Susan Sarandon) are having a fight about Crash’s mentoring of Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), specifically as it relates to Annie and Nuke’s sexual relationship. This is the gist of that fight:

Image Crash: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.

Annie: Oh fine.

Crash: You know why? Because they don’t – -they don’t happen very often.

Annie: Right.

Crash: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you are! And you should know that!


Wise words, Crash. Wise words, indeed. But why I’m bringing this up today is this–I’m on a streak. It started last Friday, so out of the blue I still can’t believe it. Now, part of the wisdom of Respecting the Streak, is a bit of superstition. If you believe you’re writing well for whatever reason, then you are! What I mean by that is I’m not going to say anything more about the streak, because I believe that talking too much about it drains it of its juju and I want to keep on drinking this particular glass of juju. May it never empty.

Respect the streak, people.

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It’s all about the rhythm…

February 4, 2014 at 8:22 am (Random Thoughts, Writing)

So, day 1 of my self-imposed, week-long writing challenge was a success. My stretch goal was 4K words and I got a little over 3100. (I also did my page-a-day project at lunch, so I guess it’s 3100 words + 1 handwritten page.)

::throws confetti::

And I gotta say, it felt gooooooood. Like dark chocolate with sea salt and toffee pieces good. My goal for today is another 3K–I don’t really have a stretch goal. Right now I’m more focused on a rhythm, so if it’s 3K, then that is fine and dandy with me.

So, a little tidbit about the book I’m trying to word-count into submission this week–it’s not a romance. It’s not even historical. I guess, for right now, we’ll call it a thriller. To give you an idea, here’s one of the key songs in my soundtrack:

Hope you enjoy. See you tomorrow.

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June 3, 2013 at 8:08 am (Events, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized)

I had a teacher in high school, a really amazing one, but she had MS. She never said what it was, if anything, but every February seemed to beat her up pretty badly. March was a celebration because it simply was no longer February. Well, Mrs. Anderson, I now know how you feel.

Now I’m not saying my life is anything like somebody’s fighting such a cruelly debilitating muscular disease, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my Mays are Mrs. Anderson’s Februarys–I, too, get the living shit beat out of me. I’ll save you the gory details, but suffice it to say, I was a damn happy camper Saturday morning, because it was June 1st.

June 1st. Say it with me now. Juuuuuuune first. *inhales deep and cleansing breath*

Truth be told, April was a bitch-on-wheels too, but May is the one that’s always painted the target on my back. This year I got a twofer. Lucky me. But that doesn’t matter, because it is now June. June, June, lovely June.

The Girls are strong and fierce with their ideas, I’ve got some great things planned writing-wise, and some really fun events to look forward to. I tell ya, this June–and this summer–is going to be epic. Amazeballs. Legen–wait for it–

So in honor of today, June 3rd, a most awesome day to be sure, I give you a mighty hymn from the Church of Cayne.


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March 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm (Random Thoughts, Writing)


They did it again! The Girls just had me put Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins on a playlist. What is it with the 80s thing? Next thing you know, I’ll be putting leg warmers and asymmetrical haircuts in my historical romances…. Sheesh.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate and if I hear you’ve been giving live rabbits for presents, I’m coming after you with a 2×4. Remember, choose chocolate. choosechocolate (1)

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