Friday, July 31, 2009

More Vacation Photos (still with commentary)

The Avalon Ladies at the annual Avalon Books Get-together at RWA National (I'm crouched in the middle in the dark so you can see the lady behind me--can you tell I asked my friend to snap this shot? She knew to keep me incognito).

A photo taken by my uber-talented daughter in the Butterfly Exhibit at the Smithsonian. Look at that detail! Pretty amazing, huh?

My husband's imitation of the Cupid Fountain in The National Gallery. More than twenty years and the man can still make me laugh.

The Boy with his idol, Stephen Colbert, at the Smithsonian.

The Girl in her element, The Purple Store (yes...there really is such a place!) at Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach.

"Something tells me we're not in New York anymore..."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Mean You Want Photos?

With the hubster still on vacation, online time isn't exactly plentiful yet. So until Monday when life goes back to semi-normal in the Ardito household, enjoy this brief slice of vacation pics with comments.

Meet Candace Gold at the Literacy Signing at RWA National.

Yours Truly at the same event.

Notice how unaware my son is of the danger lurking behind him (his sister) on the Metro...

One of my kids is a major history buff and couldn't wait to see all the monuments and exhibits in D.C. The other...not so much. I'll let you guess which is which.

This is Frederick, a butterfly at the exhibit in the Smithsonian who spent forty minutes on my daughter's hand, making her day complete (and completely wilting me since it's warm and humid inside the freakin' butterfly exhibit!)

In the immortal words of The Scarlet Pimpernel: "More to come, more to come. I said, 'Brief,' not ifinitessimal."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hi Y'all From Myrtle Beach!

The fam and I are basking in the warmth of the Carolina sun and the residents of this gaw-jus place! We arrived late Tuesday afternoon and set up our home for the next several days. We've already done the Ripley's Aquarium.

Dh and the kids dragged me to the shoreline for some fun in the surf. I came back after two and a half hours with an unhealthy burn, despite my 50 SPF sunscreen. (Have I mentioned I'm not an ideal "beach person"? Do I need to explain why in more detail?)

No doubt dh will want to continue his soaking up the rays and swimming in the ocean glory today (since his heritage is Greek and Italian, he's a sun worshipper of the highest order). But...I'm thinking dd and I need something girly, so we'll do mani-pedis and souvenir shopping.

As expected, with so many distractions, I'm not actually writing. But I do have the glimmer of an idea how to fix one of the completed stories that has been giving me fits since I decided I needed a new setup for my hero and heroine. I'll play around with some of the opening chapters while I'm here, but the bulk of the work will be done when I return home to my normal routine.

You see, I have a certain method that works best for me when I'm revising a major portion of a manuscript. I have to print out the story, chapter by chapter, open a new document and rewrite the scene, sometimes taking the best sentences from the original, sometimes revamping every word and point of view. It's laborious and time-consuming but it's the only way I can actually see what works and what doesn't.

More later...maybe with photos!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hi from our Nation's Capitol!

It's been an eventful few days with little time for blogging. There have been workshops, board meetings, social get-togethers, lots of laughter and okay...a couple of razzaritas. Business cards have been flying in every direction.

This year's personal highlight:

Trailblazer that I am, I introduced my roommate, Candace Gold, to her very first beer (a crime in itself, but quickly remedied.)

It's a dirty job inviting friends to The Dark Side, but I just happen to have a gift for it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Vacation!

For the next week and a half, I'm on a much-deserved vacation, first at RWA National's Annual Conference, and then with the family to Myrtle Beach. In the meantime, I'll blog when I can to fill you in on all the excitement of romance, books, sun and smiles.
For starters, today, you can hop on over to the PASIC blog, 2 B Read, where I'm posting my appreciation for my summer tradition. Stop on by and say hi.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Article about the Dunes & Dreams Booksigning

One of the many guests at the Literacy Signing last month was a reporter from who spent all afternoon interviewing our authors and patrons. The result was printed in an article you can read here.

I'm so proud of our organization! Congratulations, ladies, and I'll see you there again next year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't Tell the Writing Gods

I'm thirty pages into a new WIP. And I'm feeling good about it. Ssssh! Celebrate quietly, friends. Let's not wake the mischief-makers who've been wreaking havoc with my muse for the last few months.

Maybe it's a result of finally having my surgery last week. Maybe it's the energy and excitement of RWA National next week.

Whatever the reason, I'm grateful.

And in order to avoid stalling after a few days, you'll forgive me if I don't post a progress bar or boast how many words. At least, not yet. Once I'm more secure in where I'm going and how my characters are getting there, I'll share.

In the immortal words of the Mills Brothers: "'Til then, let's dream of what there will be..."

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Grisly Details

I'm alive and well, thanks to my super-surgeon and, of all things, Channel 2 News here in New York.'s what happened.
Y'all know I've been sick since January. But with all the stuff going on with Dad's brain tumor, getting Dunes & Dreams off the ground, and edits for two books for two different publishers, I was kinda lax about taking care of my own issues. I went to the doctor, got a prescription antibiotic, had a nasty allergic reaction, wound up taking all kinds of tests, got another prescription antibiotic and still had no results.
Next step, an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor). What followed was another round of antibiotics, a few cultures, two in-office surgical procedures. The diagnosis? A staph infection in my sinuses. Another antibiotic was prescribed and several follow-ups ensued. Still, no relief. Time for a CT scan. While the ENT wanted to wait for the official radiologist's report, he did say he could see from the film that I had a pretty nasty sinus infection.The kicker came when I was in the middle of my fourth round of antibiotics and wound up in bed with a fever and chills, too incapacitated to lift my head off the pillow. A call to the ENT the following morning resulted in the conclusion, I needed a nasal endoscopy to clear out the infection. This surgical procedure could be done on an outpatient basis, but the doctor wouldn't be able to schedule it for six to eight weeks, and I wouldn't really notice any difference for another six to eight weeks afterward. Which meant I was looking at late August before I'd be recovered. And while in the recuperation stage, I'd need a week to ten days home from work, plus weekly follow ups with the ENT to clean the area and replace the packing in my sinuses. Ooh, sounds like fun. But...don't sign me up just yet.
I learned a hard lesson when I had my thyroid treatment several years ago and now I don't jump to treatment of any kind without a second (and sometimes third) opinion. So I scheduled a second opinion with another ENT specialist. While Doctor 1 called my CT scan "impressive," Doctor 2 used the term, "remarkable." The upshot? He not only concurred with Doctor 1's treatment plan, he also could not schedule the surgery for six to eight weeks and worse, his surgical center of choice was in the next county--a good 3o miles away.
Was I doomed to go through the entire summer with this infection? Then came my miracle.
While sitting in a waiting room, I was watching Channel 2 on the big screen TV the staff had on. The news blurb came on to tout a story at 5 that night about a brand new surgical procedure bringing relief to sinus sufferers. I raced home to watch and learned about Balloon Sinuplasty. Basically, it's like a cardiac angioplasty where a probe with a balloon is inserted (in this case into the sinus cavity), then inflated to open up a new passage for drainage.
A little Google investigating gave me the name of two surgeons in my area who did the procedure. Surgeon 1 couldn't see me until the end of July. Surgeon 2's receptionist said, "We had a cancellation this afternoon. Would you like that appointment?" Yes, please!! Within forty-five minutes of my arrival at this surgeon's office, I not only had all the information I needed to agree to the procedure, I had an appointment to have the procedure done within a week.
Yesterday, I underwent my Balloon Sinuplasty. And I'm thrilled to say it seems to have been a complete success. Since it's less invasive than a nasal endoscopy, my recovery time is less than a week and rather than the excessive packing required after an endoscopy, my sinuplasty requires me to wear a gauze strip under my nostrils to catch any bloody discharge for one week. Best of all, I'll gain my summer back and only miss one day of work.
Thank you, Dr. Matar and Channel 2 News!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flying Under the Radar

I'm scheduled for surgery tomorrow so, depending upon the havoc general anesthesia wreaks on me, I may be persona non exista for a day or two. My past experiences with surgically-induced unconsciousness have not been pretty so even the dh is a little nervous about being with me in the recovery room for this.

This is also a fairly new procedure I'm undergoing so I'll share my experience with you all when I'm back. (I know: you eagerly await every grisly detail...)

On the writing front, I completed the final galley for Kismet's Angel (my alter ego's first book) and await an official release date. I've written a new article for Footnotes, the newsletter for Dunes & Dreams, regarding The High Concept Pitch and I'll be uploading it to my website later today. If you're going to RWA National in two weeks, I recommend you take a look at it before you leave. And of course, if you'll be at National, look for me at the Literacy Signing or around the hotel. I'm a big redhead with feathers in her ears; you can't miss me.