Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adventures in Dog-bathing

So I took the granddog walking on the beach this morning. Tide was in, and the rainstorm last night had carved the new sand into more cliffs and gullies, so I was either climbing up and down steps (okay, the cliffs were no more than a steep step high, but still!) or walking in the water, because the water was washing right up into the gullies. I had actual shoes on today, because I walked from the house, and it's a tad too far to do that in flipflops, so I didn't want to walk in the water. And it was pretty quiet, so I let Dolly off the leash to go chase birds. She had a marvelous time terrorizing all the little sanderlings and a seagull or two...

We walked back home, and because Dolly had been needing a bath anyway, and I let her chase the birds into the surf and she was all sandy and salty, I got out the dog soap and washed her. Didn't even have to pick her up and carry her this time (though I did have to drag her by her collar...that dog does NOT like baths. Never knew one that did, actually...). Got her all clean, turned off the water, went to put up the shampoo back in the garage, and slipped on the very slippery garage floor with my wet feet (took off the shoes to do the dog washing) and hit the ground very hard. Ouch!

I did manage to get myself up off the ground. I got very wet because I basically sat down in the water from washing the dog. There are a few bruises, a scrape or two, but I'm really sore. I went inside and whined to the boy (who needed to get out of bed for class anyway) and guilted him into picking up the dead bug in the hall I didn't want to pick up (and he did!) and wrote only a little because I was being a whiny baby--and tomorrow, I will have to get back to work!

I am such a wuss... Oh well...

Monday, April 27, 2009


Again, a quiet weekend. The fella and I had an anniversary Friday--number 33--and he sent me a gorgeous huge orchid plant with many red-speckled yellow flowers blooming on it. HUGE plant. Good thing, because for dinner, we went to the college pot-luck awards ceremony. I did get the promise to go out again the next night.

Saturday, I decided I really needed to write at least a LITTLE, so I sat down for an hour and got 2.5 pages done. Happiness! Then we went out and ran errands. Like getting a birthday present for Idbit (AKA the littlest grandboy)--whose birthday was Saturday, and we had thought about his birthday and a present the week before, and promptly forgot about it until the day before his birthday. (sigh) Typical. We'll hand deliver it.

I tried out office chairs at Office Depot -- the paper is getting me a new one--and then we went across the causeway and got some frames for the two antique map reproductions the fella bought. That took a little time. Also found a frame (finally) for my sunflower-sand dune painting. Then we came home, took naps and went out to dinner at Landry's for our "official" anniversary date. I really love their shrimp Fresca... Then we came home to watch "The Perfect Man" romantic comedy movie and discovered that the orchid I got was actually the perfect romantic occasion gift. Roses are great, but orchids... they're the best. So it's official. I received the perfect romantic anniversary gift. :)

I like orchids a lot. Have one on the back patio that survived the hurricane and the winter... I hope I can keep this one alive too. :)

The writing continues to go. Sometimes I'm not sure where it's going, but at least it's going...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Local Notes

This will be just a bunch of observations about stuff I've noticed around town. Like how, now that the dayjob desk faces the bit window, I can watch pelicans flying by outside. None so far today that I've really noticed, but there were seven of them yesterday...

There were Lots of birds out when I went walking yesterday morning--without the granddog, who loves chasing birds so much, I wouldn't have had a chance to see them so well. (She only likes chasing birds when she can chase them into the water...) There were the usual laughing gulls, and willets and pigeons. I saw a few ruddy turnstones, and a one-legged sanderling that was almost as fast hopping on its one little leg as its flock-mates on their two. It wasn't quite as smooth, hopping up and down, but wow, it was fast! It did take to flying quicker than they did, and landed sooner. I tried to keep enough distance from it so the poor thing wouldn't feel it quite so necessary to fly. The seagulls were flirting. The males--slightly smaller than the females--would give off a rhythmic squawk, as if singing to their chosen lady, while the females stood aloof--but listening. I also saw a pair of tiny terns. Little sparrow-sized fellas.

And then, today, I had to take a cell phone back to its owner who forgot it in my car, and while driving to work, I saw this house that I always think is the neatest thing when I see it, and promptly forget about it once I've passed by. It's an old raised cottage, vintage 1920 to 1940s probably, with the main floor upstairs and the garage below. The downstairs has vertical siding and the upstairs has horizontal--and every slat of the siding, both upstairs and down, is painted in a different bright color. Maroon, blue, yellow, green, orange, pink--every color you can think of. It might have been seriously garish when it was new, but the paint's pretty battered now, especially since Ike, and it just looks...happy. Even battered and peeling. The house always makes me smile when I drive down 39th Street and see it.

After I turned onto Broadway to head toward the causeway (the paper is at the very last exit before you leave the island), I passed by one of the older cemeteries there at 40th St. inside its cast-iron fencing. And it was all dressed up in its Maytime colors with coreopsis blooming like crazy. They cover every grave, crowd up to the headstones and make it look so bright and cheery--believe it or not--with their flashy yellow blossoms. So the cemetery made me smile too. I'll have to go by and take pictures, won't I?

So--yeah, I have lots and lots to do, and I'm not actually getting a whole lot of it done, but the birds are flirting and the flowers are blooming and the weather is gorgeous and... It's just nice to be here. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

E-books and such

A number of you have asked about e-book availability for the Rose books and for (I hope) the new one. However, from everything I have been able to find, only THE ETERNAL ROSE is available in an e-book format. It is at Fictionwise, and at the Sony Book store, and at Amazon for the Kindle.

None of the other books seem to be offered as e-books. I've wandered around at the e-Harlequin website--no Rose books there at all. I checked at Tor, and it doesn't look like they do any e-books. I'll ask my editor, but apparently, MacMillan is caught in the stone age. They've bought all their editors Sony readers. They ought to consider that they need to put their books into an electronic format. If y'all send them e-mails asking for them, they might. Us lowly authors don't have as much clout as you powerful readers, aka customers. ;)

Okay, that's all I know to say about e-books.

I don't have much else to say at all. I spent a very lazy weekend, because it was POURING rain Saturday, and I didn't want to get out in it. The boy and his friends, Walter and Lamar (and if those aren't Texas country-boy names, I don't know what are), were in the garage building a miniature catapult for an engineering project. It was very convenient that the daughter gave her brother a book on how to built catapults for Christmas a couple of years ago... So they had plans.

We had to take all the bicycles out and put them under the covered porch portion of the patio so they'd have room to build. They got the ping-pong ball to fly about 15 feet (as required) once they replaced their wooden twister-things with metal ones, so they could tighten the tension enough to get some oomph behind it. Now they have to work on accuracy, because they have to sink their ping-pong ball in a bucket. They were industrious. I was not. I read books.

I have a number of things I need to do, not least, the writing of this silly book. I think I am going to have to try the "Puzzler" method of writing this book, this time. There are scenes I know I need. I think I will just write those scenes and work out the transitions between them later, because it seems to be the transition bits where I get stuck the worst. I have started this particular transition over three cotton-picking times, and am about ready to scream. And I'm not even sure I need it. So, I'm just going to ignore it, and go write the next scene I know about. So there.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Champagne & Chocolate

Okay, I didn't have any champagne. I was driving. I did have a little Pinot Grigio, though, and it was excellent. And the chocolate.... Oh, my.

Last night was the Houston Bay Area Chapter of RWA's Bookseller Reception at The Chocolate Bar in the Montrose area of Houston. And my-oh-my, the chocolate was everywhere! They had chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate cakes, chocolate cheesecakes and tortes and flan and pie and... Well, pretty much anything you could think of that can be made out of chocolate-- they had it.

I drove up from the island and picked up Dawn Temple (who's had a couple of books out from Silhouette Special Edition), Anne Marie Novark (who writes for Wild Rose Press) and Liz Webb, and Liz gave me directions to The Chocolate Bar so I didn't get lost, though it did feel a little squeezy maneuvering my big bus down those narrow streets. They weren't any narrower than Galveston streets, though, so I don't know why I felt squeezed... Maybe because there was even less parking... We carried all our stuff inside, then visited until the booksellers got off work and showed up.

One of them, Dana from the Barnes & Noble at Champions (I'm not real sure where that is, but it's on the other side of Houston from me) pulled My Book--New Blood--out of her purse and asked me to sign it. That really made me feel good. Like, totally wowed! And most of the others knew of my books, which also made me happy. :)

I got a piece of Miss Etta's chocolate cake. This was not any ordinary chocolate cake--though it had all the best things about chocolate cake going for it. It was moist and chocolatey and had gooey, shiny icing, and four (4!) layers, and cocoa dusted over the outside icing (up the side). It was a Huge piece of cake. I managed to eat about a third of it, and had to take a break. I think I ate 3 more bites, the rest of the evening. I also drank two bottles of water and a diet Coke. (I know. Eat huge amounts of chocolate cake, and drink diet soda... But chocolate takes longer to digest than corn syrup.) Anyway, it was fun, I had some Really good cake, and met some cool people. :)

So--there's what I have to say today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Space, Nice View

They rearranged desks at the newspaper today. I now have a window view.

There's spider webs and salt crud all over the window, as well as some unsightly bird-poop splatters, and my view is of a drainage ditch with Hurricane Ike debris still in it, with a billboard and the freeway beyond that (there are some fairly nice trees and palmettos in the ditch...), but hey, it's a window!

The editor I work with most closely wanted our desks closer together, so we wouldn't be hollering at each other halfway across the cavern that is the newsroom, and wanted more natural light, so he got us moved near the window. He's got his back to it, I face it, which is actually rather nice. And I got a new non-sticking keyboard, and a mouse with a wheel, so I'm all to the good now.

I was having a real struggle with the book last week. Didn't write for three days, even though I knew I needed to. Because I got stuck. I got my characters into something, and had no idea how they were going to get out of it. So finally, I called my friend and CP in Waco and talked through the issue, and got 10 pages written last week, and 6 more so far this week, which isn't great, but... It's still chugging along.

There really isn't much to blog about--I had a lazy weekend. Read a lot of books. I'm really loving my Sony reader, because I can read lots of books and not have them pile up on my floor. It's great!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Good Friends

Here it is, Monday again. I thought about posting a blog a couple of times last week, but alas, never did. If I think about it again this week, and I'm near/on a computer, I'll do it.

So, my post is about good friends. At least a dozen years ago, when I lived in Whitney, TX, and was just getting started with trying to write professionally, a young woman named Sandy decided the Central Texas area needed a chapter of RWA. I headed down to Waco and helped charter the Heart of Texas Chapter, and I've been a member ever since, even though I don't live there any more.

Sandy, along with the woman who would become Harlequin/Silhouette author Kristi Gold, and I formed a critique group. Later Belinda Barnes (who's had a couple of books published by Harlequin) joined the group and we met every other week for several years--until Sandy moved away.

Sandy grew up in Galveston, and not too long ago, her daughter was reading in the Tor newsletter about New Blood, and told her mom "Hey, isn't this one of your friends?" And something in my bio made her wonder if I was living in Galveston now. Which of course, I am.

She comes back to Galveston often. Her sister lives nearby, her parents are buried here, she has aunts and uncles just around the corner from my house... So when she came down this past weekend, we got together. She came to my house, and we talked. And talked. And talked. Then we drove around Galveston and talked some more, while she showed me all her old stomping grounds, and where she'd pictured us living, and where all her friends used to live, and we talked some more. It was SO much fun. And she's coming back in June. I'm hoping to get some of our Waco friends to come down then so we can hang out.

That was the big event of the week. I went to a baby shower for a friend on Saturday. Went out shopping and barely made it back in time to throw on other clothes, stick the present in a bag and go. It was fun and I even got to do a little book PR, because the new mom and her sister love fantasy romance. And the shopping trip was a good one--Two pairs of pants and a T-shirt, plus printer ink.

That's pretty much all the news I have. I got all of 9 pages written last week. Nothing at all over the weekend. Today, I'm working the dayjob all day, because I'm taking tomorrow off. I was thinking about heading out to the parents' this weekend, but now I think I probably won't. Not enough time. And it's Easter. Hmm. I may have to shop again. I don't have anything new to wear for Easter. Still, all in all, it was a good week. :)