Thursday, December 30, 2010
Today, I'm willing to share with you the details of my glamorous day.
1. Got up at 7 am to hit the day job while the rest of the fam slept in (dh got up just as I was leaving because he had an early morning paddleball game).
2. Day job til 1:30, then food shopping.
3. Came home, schlepped the groceries up the slippery, snow-covered driveway (in high-heeled boots!)
4. Dh took over at the patio so he didn't have to put shoes on, took the bags and brought them into the kitchen. Asked if I needed help putting stuff away. I said, yes, let me just go to the bathroom first. Dh volunteered to give me the frozen stuff so I could put it in the garage freezer (again, this deletes the need for him to put on shoes.)
5. Went to flush the toilet and discovered the guts had disconnected (apparently I'm the only one in the household who knows how to attach the floater to the flange, so no one feels the need to warn me in advance. Fixed the toilet.
6. Put away the groceries (including the frozen stuff in the garage freezer).
7. Removed the used K-cups from the counter and filled the Keurig with water (another set of mysterious tasks only dear old Mom knows how to accomplish).
8. Gave the pets food and water
9. Washed the family's breakfast and lunch dishes.
10. Cleaned the cats' litter box.
I've been home about an hour now; it's closing in on 4:00. I haven't eaten, I'm still in my work clothes and high-heeled boots, and I'm about to start folding and putting away the laundry that was left to pile up because yes, that's another feat only Moms can handle.
Is it any wonder I believe I need my very own wife? Well, guess what? That was the inspiration for Nobody's Darling, which will be coming out from Avalon Books next April. All parents need a hand every once in a while and April Raine's business "Rainey-Day Wife" helps fill the gaps and give struggling parents the gift of extra time. But Dr. Jefferson Prentiss believes businesses like April's do more harm than good by placing the intimacies of family life onto profit-seeking strangers. Who do you think is right?
Saturday, December 18, 2010
1. Can someone explain the appeal of open toed boots?
2. That kid in the hamburger bun in the Manwich commercials: is that a boy or a girl?
3. What exactly is "the pompatus of love"?
4. In the movie, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character relives the same day over and over until he learns what's important in life, but Andie McDowell's character has only met him one day. So how come she falls in love with him so fast?
What's going through your head?
Friday, December 17, 2010
1. I cracked the screen of a brand spankin' new netbook**
2. My laptop died**
**These two events happened months ago, so technically it's not part of this Mercury episode, but I bring it up for a reason.
Okay, so during this particular Mercury retrograde (known as MR for brevity in all future mentions) phase:
3. My desktop died
4. My washing machine died (at the tender age of 7!)
Now, here's where Mercury gets tricky. Technically, you not only hafta watch your already owned electrical items during MR, but you're also warned against buying *new* electrical items during MR. Umm...it's Christmas time? And I can't be without a desktop and a washing machine until mid-January when MR ends.
What's a girl to do? No, really. What would you do? I welcome all suggestions that do not involve sharp items, bloodshed, or the ingestion of mind-altering products. Give me something good, and I'll send you a prize!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The blurb? Divorced mother of two, April Raine, is just starting to get her parenting services business in the black, but television psychologist, Dr. Jeff has put her company at the top of his list of Family Unfriendly Businesses once too often. Now April and Jeff will spend thirty days in a remote cabin in the Adirondack Mountains, surrounded by television cameras, to the delight of a talk show’s audience, in a 21st century Battle of the Sexes. When the dust settles, who’ll come out on top? The mom? The doctor? Or will love prevail after all?
I'll even give you an excerpt to whet your appetite a little more. This is actually one of my favorite scenes.
He paced the kitchen behind her until the constant back and forth sent an army of annoyance marching down her spine. When the pacing continued for nearly thirty minutes, she considered tying him to a chair.
Just when she decided to retrieve the excess clothesline, he popped his head across her writing pad. “I think I’ll make tuna salad for lunch.”
“I’m very happy for you.”
“Would you like some?”
“No, thank you.”
“Okay then.” He straightened and walked to the pantry.
Relieved at having him occupied with some task, however lame, April returned her attention to her letter. “…I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the television footage (unless Dad or Lori taped it for you) because you should be in school, but so far, I’m holding my own against--”
“Oh, for God’s sake, where is the blasted tuna?” Jeff’s noisy fumbling in the pantry broke her concentration. “You’d think with a cabinet this deep, someone would have thought to mount a light inside.”
Slamming her palm on the counter, she rose from her stool, abandoning her letter for a quieter time and place--maybe a foxhole in Afghanistan.
“Move,” she ordered, emphasizing her demand with a quick nudge of her elbow to his chest. A split second later, she held the can before his face. “Right here in the front, Jeff.”
“Well, I probably moved it into the line of sight while I was digging in the back,” he mumbled.
Men. She’d never come across one who could find an item in a pantry, closet, or garage unless it sprouted arms and waved with wild abandon.
While she watched him, impatience growing, he spun around the kitchen, that same puzzled look never leaving his face. “Where’s the can opener?”
Exhaling on a sigh, she opened the utensil drawer and pulled out the necessary item.
“What’s that?” he asked, turning the can opener over in his hands as if it were an ancient relic from an archaeological dig.
“A can opener, silly!”
“Don’t we have an electric one?”
She shook her head. “‘Fraid not.”
“Well, then, how do you use one of these things?”
Lips twisted in a smirk, she took the opener and can from him. “Here.” She clamped the jaws of the opener around the can’s rim and cranked the handle a few times. “Just like this. You think you can take it from here, Doctor?”
“No need to get snotty,” he replied. “I’ve just never seen one of these before.” He took the can from her. “Thank you. I’m sure I’ll be fine now. Go on back to your letter.”
April knew better than to even try. Returning to her seat, she waited patiently and counted to herself.
One… two… three… four… five--
“Oh, for God’s sake!”
She’d reached five before the next catastrophe struck. Not bad.
“What do you need now?”
“I spilled tuna juice all over myself trying to take the lid off.”
He not only got the fishy liquid on himself, he spilled smelly droplets all over the floor. The floor she’d scrubbed clean yesterday.
“Okay, Jeff, you win.” With another exasperated head shake, she grabbed a roll of paper towels and knelt to wipe up the mess. “Go change your clothes before you have every cat for miles howling outside our door. Then you can start a fire for us while I make your lunch.”
“Oh, no, you don’t. You just want to make me look inept in the kitchen.”
“You’re doing a fairly good job of that on your own,” she replied. “Now go.”
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
BLURB: Whether you have a food professional heroine, a chef hero, or a home cook, want to write a restaurant scene, a food-related love scene, or a big event, this class can be what you need. We'll cover food in the five senses, food as a character, food professions, food history (including using food authentically in historical romance), and food as a sensual enhancement. Please join us and romance your palate today.
BIO: Rebecca Lynn has an MFA in Creative Writing and also has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics and Literature. She’s taught both writing and literature courses on the collegiate level. She is published in short fiction as well as some short non-fiction, and academic articles. Rebecca has also run her own restaurant for five years and worked as a caterer and event planner.
DATE: November 8 – November 19 (Two Weeks)
Registration deadline is NOVEMBER 6TH
PLACE: Dunes & Dreams RWA FORUM (Not a yahoo loop)
Registrants will receive a login password to the workshop forum several days before the workshop begins to allow ample time to become familiar with the forum or to notify the coordinators if you have trouble logging in.
COST: $10 Dunes & Dreams RWA Members/ $20 all others (US funds only – paypal or checks)
CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY: No registration fees will be refunded. All payments for a workshop must be received by the registration cut off date. Payments received after the cut-off date can be applied to a future workshop of theapplicant's choosing. If a workshop is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, such as instructor inability to teach class, registration fees will be applied to a future workshop of the applicant's choosing. Hope to see you in class!
Registration form and more information:
email the coordinators at email@example.com
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
I can promise you an informative, lively afternoon. And since the talk runs from 1-3 pm, you'll still have plenty of time to get your pumpkins, farm-fresh produce, Briermere pies, and Long Island wine. I hope you'll join us!
Friday, October 15, 2010
When Armand relieved Baptiste at the wheel one afternoon after a few days at sea, he found the lady steering South Star over the crashing waves. In order to see over the wheel to the watery horizons beyond the ship’s bow, she stood upon a makeshift platform built of folded canvas tied with rope. Baptiste hovered by her side and guided her with soft whispers.
“So, now we’re not only taking passengers, we’re instructing them on seamanship?” Armand asked archly.
Both culprits whirled in surprise.
“She’s a born sailor, Cap’n,” Baptiste told him, guilt evident on his wide-eyed, flushed face. “Got the salt in her blood, she does.”
But Armand paid little heed to the hasty explanation. His gaze remained focused on the lady who gripped the wheel. Not since he’d last witnessed his mother at the helm had he seen an expression of such pure delight on a woman’s face. The smile she displayed struck him dumb. She resembled a child on Christmas morning, awed by a bounty of gifts only dreamed of and never expected. Her eyes sparkled with the very same glint of silver he’d noted a few days earlier. Without the confines of her silly bonnet, a thick river of brandy-colored hair fell straight to her waist. Fiery lights from the setting sun formed a halo beyond her head. Pink tinged her nose and ears, the result of prolonged exposure to sun and wind. With no padding to enhance the width of her figure, the chubby little mouse was, to his immense surprise, willowy. She wore an old silk gown of his mother’s—he remembered it well.
Antoinetta St. Clair always favored rich, deep colors because they looked so dramatic against her golden skin and rich red hair. Yet, Miss Winchester’s pale ivory flesh set off the deep forest green of the gown with such vibrancy, she might cause peacocks to hide their tails in shame.
“You’re enjoying these sailing lessons, Miss Winchester?”
“Aye.” She placed her hands to her bosom as if she’d just discovered a wondrous secret and clutched it to her heart. “I’m beginning to understand why you insist upon spending your evenings here. It is unlike anything I’ve ever known.”
“The feeling of freedom, of course.” She flung her arms wide and inadvertently knocked Baptiste off the platform beside her. He stumbled and might have fallen if Armand hadn’t put a hand out to stop him, but she never noticed. “It surrounds me as I stand here. I can sense the ship responding to my intentions when I turn the wheel. Why, it’s almost as if she knows what I want before I do.”
Armand cast an amused glance at the displaced Baptiste, who shook his head. Miss Winchester might not be the most graceful sailor they’d ever had aboard, but she more than made up for that shortcoming with her enthusiasm.
“She’s the best ship I’ve ever sailed,” Armand said. “Wouldn’t you say so, Baptiste?”
“Aye.” He brushed the sleeves of his jacket with a disinterested air.
“Have you sailed many ships, Captain?”
He nodded. “My family owns a shipping business. I learned to sail before I could walk.”
“Oh, how I envy you,” she sighed. “It must be wonderful to lead such a footloose life!”
He quirked a brow. “Footloose?”
Roses bloomed in her cheeks. “Isn’t that what you would call it? Baptiste said a footloose sail is one whose bottom isn’t tied down properly. Without the proper restraints, he told me, it dances in the wind.” She dropped her gaze to her feet. “Forget I said anything. I’m being fanciful.”
Charming. This little slip of a girl enthralled him with her innocence. “No,” Armand assured her. “You’re not being fanciful. I suspect in some way your correlation is quite accurate. Compared to the stifled upbringing of a young lady in England, an American sailor’s life would seem footloose.”
“Come along, Miss Lydia.” Baptiste placed a hand on her sleeve. “It must be time for dinner if the captain has come to relieve us.”
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly eat,” she exclaimed. “I’m much too excited by all of this!”
He couldn’t stop the words that fled his lips. “Would you like to stay here with me then?”
She whirled. Her eyes brimmed with eagerness, and her hands clasped in supplication. “May I?”
He shrugged, attempting to seem unaffected by her zeal. But the truth of the matter was, he found her present mood contagious, and he had a sudden desire to see more of this side of her. If Lydia suddenly claimed her hunger overrode her need to steer the ship, he would have followed her to the galley and left Baptiste to man the helm. For the first time since he was a lad in New Orleans, something besides the quest for serenity beckoned to him. And that something burned inside a young lady whom he’d previously dismissed as a chubby little mouse.
You like? Well, there's plenty more where that came from. Head on over to The Wild Rose Press and buy your copy now!
And if that weren't enough, Gina got a nice little surprise in the mail today from Avalon Books. Seems Book I of her Nobody series, Nobody's Darling, will be released in June 2011.
I foresee some great celebrating tonight!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Cost is $20 for non-members, $10 for members.
You can read the details and register here.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
1. Your email address is important for contacting agents and editors. Cutesy ones like "Ilovellamas@gmail" might seem fun for your friends, but they don't show a professional attitude. By the same token, don't use a series of letters and/or numbers that can be mistaken for spam, like "cbaltblu72@yahoo" unless you enjoy having your messages disappear into the ether.
2. When writing a synopsis, it's important to include the ending! While judging contests lately, I'm seeing a lot of synopses that say something like, "Ann is kidnapped by the bad guy, and it's up to Roger to save her, which he does, and they both profess their love." No mention of the bad guy's identity or how exactly Roger saves Ann. Bad form, kids. Your target needs to know you've worked out all the kinks. Trust me. They're not going to steal your brilliant idea.
3. Big Brother is watching. Don't Tweet or Facebook your drunken karaoke session, your honest opinion of a bestselling work, or your current very personal drama with your significant other.
Makes sense, right?
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Saturday's workshops ranked supreme. I, personally, attended Virginia Kantra's "Keeping the Romance in Your Romance," and Susan Crandall's insightful talk on "Internet Marketing" and walked away with scads of notes from both. But I also heard from other attendees that CJ Lyons wowed the crowd with her query workshop and Rhonda Stapleton had some great info for those interested in the YA market.
At lunch, Suzanne Brockmann once again took us through a fun and stirring afternoon of challenging ourselves to write the best books we've ever read.
I'm often amazed that, as much as I know about this business and writing in general, attending a workshop and listening to another author speak on a basic principle (such as Virginia's talk on romance) can provide an aha! moment. After Suzanne's inspiration for my chapter ten, Virginia managed to provide another idea for the same chapter that enhanced the relationship between my hero and heroine.
Tomorrow, I'll drive home, but with fond memories and a lot of gratitude for the hospitality of Central Ohio Fiction Writers and their fabulous conference! Thanks, ladies, for all your hard work. You did an outstanding job!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I'm in love!
The convenience of having so many books at my fingertips (or stuffed into my purse) overwhelms me. My reading has increased tenfold because I'm finding more opportunities to whip out my Nook and flip it open. Doctors' offices, work breaks, traffic jams, and anywhere else I'm sitting still for several minutes at a clip. I even have my own books on my Nook, which makes it easy for me to show them off with the flip of a finger. Downloading e-books from the Barnes & Noble site is a snap and they instantly appear on my Nook.
I'm totally thrilled with my Nook! And I highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a new e-book reader.
Monday, September 13, 2010
We were babies. But we knew love when it hit us. And there's no one else I would have rather spent the last two decades with. We've had laughter and tears, weathered illness and death, shared the trials and joys of being parents to two terrific children, and we're looking forward to more wonderful moments in the future.
He's my best friend, my confidant, the one who never lets me quit on myself. I hope I've given back to him a fraction of what he's given to me over the years.
Happy anniversary, sweetheart. I love you now more than ever.
Friday, September 10, 2010
With luck, by the end of today I'll have an accurate diagnosis and be on the mend.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
So when the rest of the world runs out to buy duct tape, bottled water, and batteries, I stay home and relax. Okay...so someday, I might need rescuing off my roof if the Big One actually does eventually happen. But until then, I'm not getting suckered in to every big weather event that comes along.
How'd you fare?
Friday, September 3, 2010
The term, "batten down the hatches" is nautical in origin. Batten, on the sea, means to secure or tie down. And hatches are the doorways leading from one deck to another (sort of like your attic door in your ceiling, if you've got one.) When storms were on the horizon, captains would order their crews to batten down the hatches, meaning to secure all loose articles, including those trap doors, for safety.
How do I know all this? Katherine Brandon does lots of research for her books because many of her characters spend their lives at sea. Some of that research came in handy in Kismet's Angel (available now from The Wild Rose Press) but even more of it is evident in Book III, Kismet's Salvation, due out next month from The Wild Rose Press.)
As I write this blog post, the air is still, and a weak sun peeks out from a hazy morning sky. My coffee cup, filled with Perfect Peach today, is dangerously close to Need-Refill-ASAP status. After a stint at Le Day Job, I will come home and batten down my hatches. I wish all of you a safe journey through today.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Last Friday was my birthday. As my son so eloquently puts it, "It's the eighteenth anniversary of my 30th birthday." That boy's got a future in fiction or politics. Not sure which.
The day was quiet. The night before we'd traveled to our local Six Flags, didn't return home until 2 in the morning, and I had to be up by 6:30 am for Le Day Job. Needless to say, I was pretty wiped by the time my birthday evening rolled around. I requested a pizza for my fabulous birthday dinner. (A trend. Both my kids requested Albert's Pizza--the family favorite--for their birthdays as well this year.)
And then...it was present time. My girl surprised me with all my favorite summer vanilla scents from Bath & Body Works in a very pretty gift bag. Dh came through with the requested present: a Nook. And the boy provided the leather jacket for said Nook.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
I'll fill you in on the booty after the weekend. Hey! If I have to wait, you do, too!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
You know how people say they need a vacation after their vacation? That's where I am right now. After the crazy, hectic, wonderful week that was RWA National, I'm now down in Myrtle Beach, SC with the fam for our annual summer getaway. I've posted some photos of my place in the sun, my temporary writing office, and the views on my Facebook page. Find them here.
Yesterday, we spent the day in Charleston, one of my favorite cities of all time. We did the tourist thangs: Boone Hall Plantation, the Battery, and of course, a haunted walking tour. One of the highlights, however, was dinner at Hyman's Seafood for some of the best fish we've ever tasted. I have a weakness for hush puppies, since my very first trip to Charleston thirty-plus years ago. And Hyman's were perfection, crisp on the outside, sweet and tender on the inside. The crabcake hubby got with his meal had a remoulade that I could never hope to duplicate. Lining the walls around us were hundreds of photos and autographed plates from famous people who'd dined there in the past: Mel Gibson, Angus Young of AC/DC, Cyndi Lauper, Timothy Dalton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, the list goes on and on. I kept teasing that one day, *I'd* have a plate there. But I want to wait 'til people don't look at it and say, "Gina Ardito? Who's that?" Which means, of course, I've got to sell more books first. Which means, less time on vacation and more time writing.
*Sigh.* It's a vicious cycle.
More tomorrow--if the fam lets me near the laptop enough to post, I might even add some more photos!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The trip begins at Southwest Airlines at Islip's MacArthur Airport.