Monday, April 24, 2006


Today is my wedding anniversary. Thirty (Yes, 30) years today. Happy endings do exist in reality. No, there's no guarantee, and things could go kaboom tomorrow, which is just more incentive to keep making sure the relationship works, right?

I got flowers--white lilies and white gladiolas, which were the flowers we used at our wedding. (The week after Easter that year, too, as I recall.) He had to come home and ask me what kind of flowers they were, because he couldn't remember, but I give him points for thinking of it. We're going out to dinner tonight--don't know whether here in town or he's willing to spring for the drive to Amarillo... Anyway, it's been a good day. He's a good guy, and I'm ready for 30 more years. :)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Drive-by Bragging

Quick post here, but the lovely ladies at Smart Bitches who Love Trashy Novels just posted a lovely, lovely review (did I tell you they are lovely bitches?) of The Compass Rose, which is the first book, the one before The Barbed Rose. And it's fabulous. I'm grinning ear to ear. Oh, and if you want to read it yourself, it's here. I think I put in enough links for you to find it... Yeah. I'm happy.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Beat-with-a-Stick Tired

I do feel like I've been beat with a stick. I spent the morning pulling weeds, hoeing weeds and digging Bermuda grass out of my front flower bed. (Here is my yearly litany: I HATE BERMUDA GRASS--at least when it gets in my flower beds...) The day's not even half over yet, and I'm tired. Even if I were younger, I'd be tired. That's hard work, y'all.

So now I'm ready for the blue sage and the switch grass (or maybe it's fountain grass) and red dianthus and white anthemis I ordered from the dry-gardening catalog from Santa Fe to arrive next week to fill in the spots between the stuff that survived from last year. More of the lilies I planted survived than I thought, and one of the roses is actually showing a bit of red on a bud, and all of the mums survived the winter's drought, and most of the dwarf yaupons are putting on leaves, even the ones growing in caliche, or the equivalent. None of the iris are budding out yet, but they look healthy, so I'm happy. And tired.

I will post pictures of the stuff I'm making on my website when I get them finished and get around to taking pictures and downloading them from the camera and updating the website. Those of you who've been around a while know that this can be a rather long process, since I am the queen of procrastination, and all. But it will eventually happen. Now I've ironed the interfacing on my shirt collar (the one I borrowed from the other pattern), I can probably get most of the shirt sewed up in an afternoon. It's mostly a matter of marking off the afternoon to do it.

And you know, only the multi-colored-horses-on-black print is extremely loud. The red satin is very subtle. It looks just red at first, until you look closer and see all those subtle tones swirled over the red. I'm leaning toward a loose shirt/blouse with ruffles that fall over the hands, and maybe ruffles on the collar or down the front with that one... bit of a "poet's shirt" only in bright red.

I'm tired...and the day is only half over. Need to go dry my hair and put on make up for a lunch at a friend's way the heck out in the country.

And then I really ought to update the website...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Thoughts

Have you noticed? I really stink at titles. I can hardly come up with titles for my books without help, and I sure can't title my blog posts, as you might have noticed. But hey, I had Monday thoughts a while back, so surely I can have Friday thoughts.

Monday thoughts tend to be "had a good weekend but dang, there's a lot of stuff to do this week." Friday thoughts are more like "look at all the stuff I got done" or "look at all the stuff I DIDN'T get done that I'm going to have to do next week!" This was a "wow, I got a lot done" week.

I finished up the first round of revisions on The Eternal Rose and got them down to under 600 pages. I want to get it down a little lower, but I'm going to let it sit a while.

I also finished revisions on the proposal for New Blood (working title, but I kinda like it). They went back in the mail to the agent today.

And I cut out that loud shirt--there wasn't a collar pattern piece in the envelope of the old pattern I wanted to use (didn't want set-in sleeves), so I had to borrow the collar pattern from the new pattern I bought (the one with set-in sleeves). Hopefully, it will fit. Same pattern company, same type of shirt, same size, so... I have sewing on my to-do list for today.

I also cut out the strips for the Compass quilt I'm making. Amber Jenell's comment on the last blog post motivated me, so thanks Amber! It will probably take me another month to figure out how to sew them together--it's a new technique I've never done before--but hey, I'm further along than I was before, right?

And I finished my chicken painting. Haven't taken a picture of it yet--the hay's still wet, and the chicken beaks. They reflect too much light if I don't wait for the paint to dry. But I did take pictures of some of my other paintings...I'll have to get them posted, huh?

Oh yeah, and I fed my fabric habit. I bought two pieces--one for a very twirly-type skirt (black crepe with big red roses), and a piece of red-orange-purple swirly print satin I have no idea what to do with, but I thought it was really pretty, so I bought it anyway. I could make another one of these twirly skirts, if the first one works, I guess. I could have bought a lot more--there was some Gorgeous Asian brocade--but I told myself I couldn't buy any more till I made up what I've already bought. Y'all hold me to it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Summer's here

At least it feels like it. It's been up in the 90s (32+ for you Celsius folks) since last week, and April is WAY early for it to be this hot in this part of Texas. But I've been indoors working away on those revisions. I'm down to 590 pages, and hope I don't have to cut too much more.

Spent the weekend visiting. The youngest came up from college with a big pile of homework for his theater costume class. The class is crowded, with a lot of kids needing to use the few sewing machines in their shop and a lot of students for the teachers to spread their instruction across, and he needs a lot of individual instruction on this sewing stuff. So he brought his fabrics and his assignments and I brought my machine down and we set up shop in his grandparents' upstairs office. He had to make a medieval peasant shirt for one project, and then for his final grade, he had to make a costume. Any costume. But it had to be more involved than just a pair of boxers. A bathrobe was okay.

So we decided on an Arthur Dent costume from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur spends the whole movie in his bathrobe and pajama pants. Friday night, we cut out the peasant shirt, and the flannel pants and the bathrobe (after going to buy the fabric at Walmart). Late Friday, he sewed up the pants without me. (He'd already made a pair of "peasant" pants for another project, so knew all the steps.) And Saturday, he spent all day sewing the shirt and bathrobe. He did all the work. He just needed somebody to tell him what to do and how to do it. Just reading "Gather top sleeve edge between notches" in the directions doesn't tell you how to do it if you've never done it before.

Mom (aka, me) made a major mistake on the shirt...We didn't mark which piece was the front and which was the back, and I had him sew the front facing piece to the back of the shirt. And slash it open. Oops!

The only difference it really made was that the back was a little higher at the neck than the front. Since the whole shirt body was just gathered into the collar and didn't have to lie smooth, I trimmed the piece down to match the "real" front and we had no problems. (Didn't have enough fabric to cut another back...) Good thing the shirt was meant to fit loosely, though. (Whew!)

Other than that, things went smoothly. And you can see the finished project here.

The boy hated all the sewing. He kept saying his fingers were too fat for this kind of work. But I kinda had fun. It reminded me of all the fun I used to have sewing clothes. So when I got back home again, and needed to go wash all the bugs off my windshield, I stopped at the Outpost (which is a combination gas station/pharmacy/deli/convenience store/jewelry-gift store/five-and-dime with fabric store) and bought the LOUDEST piece of fabric I have seen in years (it's black with bright, bright horse silhouettes on it) to make a shirt for myself. My zodiac shirt is wearing out and I need a new loud shirt. Yes. My name is Gail, and I'm a fabricoholic...

But I'm Determined to make time for these things I have enjoyed in the past. Yeah, I know. I still haven't cut out the compass quilt's on my list!

Meanwhile, my mornings are devoted to revising the New Blood proposal.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Those dratted revisions

It's Wednesday, and I finally got all the way through the enormous book. I need to take quite a bit more out of it, but I have read all of it and (hopefully) put most of the edits in. And it's still too long. I need to cut yet one more major scene out of it and fiddle with bits and pieces here and there.

I was so determined to get all the way through to the last page, that when I finally turned it and looked at my watch, I'd missed the first half-hour of the Friends of the Library meeting. I'd have blown it off, but I told them to order me a sandwich, so I jumped up and went--just in time to get myself on a committee. (But it was a great lunch! Croissant sandwiches...) Organizing a photo contest for kids will be fun, though, I think.

But the edits are moving along. I'm not sure I'm successfully beating them into submission, but they are moving... Oh, and I'm trying to update the website too. And hold a contest for my newsletter. (Visit the website to learn about it.) And way too many things to hold in my head all at once.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


YAY! I survived the weekend cooking/party hosting marathon. I began to worry that I might not make it, but the kitchen is clean, the food is all put up, and I even got a nap this afternoon. They were good parties. I got to talk to lots of friends I don't always get to talk to as often as I'd like. And I even got my quilt block for March made and picked up the April block.

So now I get to go back to my revisions. I think I'm going to have to take out some of the scenes I really didn't want to remove. Ugh. We shall see, but the numbers aren't going down much so far. I keep having to slip in sentences and paragraphs here and there to explain things. And I need to work on revisions for New Blood too, sometime. It's only a proposal still, but that needs to be done. Maybe I'll finish up with these, then work on New Blood, then go back to The Eternal Rose to look at it again. I have the time.

Back to the ol' routine...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Life in the Slow Lane Suddenly Got Fast

I think I've mentioned a number of times here that I live in a very small town in rural NW Texas. It really is life in the slow lane. If you're going to have something to do around here, you have to come up with it yourself. There are a lot of ladies' clubs and town activities. I'm on the Friends of the Library and a member of the Art Club. I take part in the "quilt block of the month" the County extension agent offers. And this weekend, it has all decided to happen at once.

There's a luncheon for the local "Art" club Friday and it's my turn to help host--tomato and onion slicing and decorating later this afternoon (the others are cooking the rest of it). Then when that's over, I get to help decorate for a wedding shower that I'm helping to host for the daughter of a dear friend. Fortunately, I was nominated to pick up the gift, so that's done. I don't have to provide any of the food or decor. The shower is Saturday morning, then I have to cook for all the college students we're having over for Sunday dinner. Oh, and I'd like to squeeze in the quilt class before the shower, but the block has yet to be sewn up. And the lady who cleans my house was sick this week. Am I insane, or what?

So here I sit reading e-mails and blogging. I did get some revisions done this a.m.--but I may have to go back over what I did and slice out some more. (sigh) Outside the window, the wind is blowing dirt down the street and knocking pine cones out of the tree. I walked to the post office earlier and got a nice dermabrasion from the wind, it's blowing that dirt so hard. My face still stings, and I'm still spitting out dirt. Ugh. This is why we can't grill our hamburgers outside for the luncheon. Nobody wants a repeat of the fires.

Y'all take care. And wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Home again

I went to Dallas over the weekend to the Dallas Area Romance Authors "Dreamin' in Dallas" workshop.

I sold several books at the booksigning Friday, and one more on Saturday when I forced myself out of my instinctive introvert shyness-mode and mentioned my books when someone asked what books at the Bookfair I'd read that I really loved. A completely different person perked up and wanted to know which ones, and bought Compass Rose, since she hadn't read it. I sold to a couple of completely new-to-me readers, which is always a good thing. If they like it enough to come back and get the next book.

And I went to some good workshops and talked writing with a lot of fun people, and I brainstormed two books. I wanted to do three, but my roomies/critique partners started falling asleep. Oh well.

Then I got to see the older son and the grandboys for lunch on Sunday, which is always fun. They're getting so big! The baby will be TWO this month!!!

I wound up on a friend's blog--she's trying to post "second sale" stories, and since it took me two years to make that second sale, I figured I was a cautionary tale. Anyway, if you're interested, you can read it here, on Lori Devoti's blog.

Back to the revisions. I'm up to chapter 8, and have cut 4 pages--but I added in a bunch of stuff the editor wanted, so I've actually cut More than merely 4 pages. It's just that I've added at least 4... Oh well. Let's see, that means--um (wait! higher math required here)--let's see... 96 pages left to cut... Ugh.