Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring Break

Some schools celebrate spring break this week, some last week, some next week. Very confusing. Well, kids in this immediate area seemed to be out of school last week so I spent all week doing activities with my children and their friends. With the cub scouts we got a behind the scenes tour of a newspaper plant. That was interesting, and amazing how many departments all getting everything done on time it takes to get a newspaper out every day. I was appawled to learn that it takes 17 trees to produce ONE of their large reams of paper. Yikes. Being in the publishing business myself, I felt a little guilty. But then he added that they do use recycled paper as much as possible. Felt a little better.

Then we finally got up to the mountains to play in the snow! Yeaahhhh! We're only a 20 minute drive up, but it seems like we can't ever find the time to do it. But now we're hoping for one more storm to be able to go up once more before Summer.

On Saturday, they got to do the behind the scene thing again at a bowling alley. This time dad took them because I had a great book signing event with five other talented authors. Fiction, non-fiction, children's books -- lots to choose from for readers. Thanks to all who made it to the signing. I enjoyed meeting you, and listening to your stories.

Hopefully, this will be more of a regular week, and I'll be able to get here more often. I AM going to the Celebrate Romance conference in Long Beach on Friday, though. Will I see any of you there???


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lazy, Rainy Day

I've spent the day writing, cocooned in my house where it's warm and dry. Still raining out here in California. My family went to the desert to look for fossils, so it's been peaceful too.

But maybe it's been too quiet. I can't seem to get inspired. I've written quite a few scenes, but they aren't great and will probably be dumped some time in the future. Some days things just flow. I know exactly what has to happen and I just can't type fast enough. I'm so into the story that I get annoyed at interruptions and when I have to leave my computer I grumble and moan, and leave my brain in my office as I walk out. Then there are weekends like this one where I can sit here all day and nothing happens. I'm sure I'm not alone here. This must happen to all writers.

Yesterday, I went to the bank that happens to be at a mall and when I'm pulling out of my spot, another car (behind me) zooms out of her spot. I stepped on the brake, but not quick enough to avoid the collision. Wasn't a big deal. No one was hurt, and the other driver was 16 year old kid who was freaked out, so I couldn't even get mad. But it ruined my concentration for the rest of the day. (I'm so not looking forward to having teen-agers)

Guess I should have gone fossil hunting with the kids or skiing in the mountains. Looks great up there, doesn't it?

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Yesterday was my son's adoption day. This is a day very similar to a birthday (or more appropriately an anniversary) when we celebrate the joy of adopting our child. Rather than having a party -- this is reserved for actual birthdays -- we let the children choose something fun that we can do as a family.

My son is a Lego lover. He's been building complex lego creations since he was three. So it wasn't a surprise that he chose to spend the day at Legoland. And I have to say, I love this park. Unlike Disney or Knotts or other amusement parks, it isn't overly crowded. And there are always great spots for kids to do something creative, not just jump on rides. For instance, in one area, they build race cars and race them against other kids. They get to test their skills and then alter them depending on if they made their car too heavy or too bulky or whatever. And what do parents do? They rest : ) We offer some suggestions, but mostly we kick back and watch them play. At other amusement parks we spend the entire time standing in lines to ride a 30 second ride. I enjoy those too, don't get me wrong. But Legoland is so different that I don't leave exhausted.

So if you're ever in California or if you live in California and haven't visited yet, give it a try. The only think to keep in mind is that it's targeted to younger kids. Probably 10 and under. There a few rides that are for adults or older kids.

Oh, and about the contest, Nicole pointed out that there is nothing to prevent people from copying answers, and she's right. I commented on her concern, but I'll do it again, just in case people don't read the comments. Please double check the answers. Do not just copy them. They might not be correct. (can you tell I used to be a teacher?) I will draw a winner from all correct answers at the end. Have fun and good luck!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Starting tomorrow the authors of Your Virtual Bookbag are having their first contest!

There are eleven great books being given away–and you can have multiple entries by visiting various Your Virtual Book Bag authors' blogs.

For all the details visit the Contest Page (see my links on the sidebar), then come back here and enter your answers to win a copy of Jane Millionaire by Janice Lynn.

Easy and fun!

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Currently Reading

When you belong to two or three writer's groups and you get to know hundreds of writers, your pile of to be read books becomes enormous. Mostly, because you want to read the books you've heard so much about!

Well, I'm happy to say that this week I've finally gotten a chance to read Allison Brennan's THE PREY. I started reading it while on the eliptical machine at the gym, and it grabbed me immediately. And that night, I couldn't put the darn thing down. I stayed up half the night reading it! And I don't do that. I HAVE TO be up at 5am to write before my kids wake up. But I couldn't help it, I had to keep turning the pages. And believe me, it was worth losing sleep over.

I won't do an actual review, because there are lots of them out there. But I will say that I highly recommend it. I can't wait to read the next two in the series. THE HUNT and THE KILL.

Way to go, Allison!

Sunday, March 12, 2006


We are such wimps. Rain, snow and cold weather really freak us out. My husband who is from Maine is really getting a kick out of Californian's running around in heavy sweaters and jackets because we're having 50 degree weather.

But, hey, I'm one of the wimps. It's cold! Yesterday, though, my kids had a great time because it hailed. These were large pieces of ice, about half the size of a golf ball. We watched it come down, then as soon as it passed, the kids got bundled up and ran outside with plastic baggies to collect some hail. It was great.

Our low mountains have snow too and they are gorgeous. So, I'm enjoying a little winter here in Southern California. I wish I was better with technology so I could provide a picture. I'll see if I can figure it out and post it later!

Friday, March 10, 2006


I was not an American Idol fan. I don't have time for TV programs. With homeschooling my kids, writing, and involvement in the various organizations I belong to, who has time for TV? Especially reality TV. So, I've never watched a season of American Idol. That is until this season (okay, I watched season two about a year and a half after the fact, because my mother is a Clay Aiken superfan and taped the entire season and I had to see what all the fuss was about).

I have to say, that it's addictive and you start to root for these artists so much you don't want to see any of them kicked off.

My husband and I were discussing this morning how very indicative of life, this show is. Take the judges for instance. Randy loves music and knows the industry. His criticism is okay, but he's so close to the music that at times it seems he fails to give constructive criticism. Paula is an artist. She knows how difficult it is to perform and to be good each and every time. She's so nice that it's irriating. But I can understand where she's coming from. I find it challenging to critique other writers for the same reason. I've been where they are and I know what they're going through. I don't want to kill their creative spirit. But in doing that, I can fail to be an effective mentor and help the person grow. Now Simon. I hate to say it but he is mostly right. He is the guy with the money. He is only concerned with finding a person who is marketable. And he tells each artist the truth (as he sees it). He doesn't baby them. Doesn't try to protect their feelings. Doesn't give them false hope. Is he mean? Yes, lots of times he is, but reality isn't always wonderful, is it?

Coming back to real life. In each phase of our lives we can see these three "type" of people who will try to help us in their own way. In school, didn't you have some very nice teachers who just wanted you to be happy and love school, but didn't quite challenge you (Paula)? And how about the real jerk who forced you to re-write reports or took off points for just a tiny mathematical error? This was the one who forced you to improve, sometimes just to prove to them that they are wrong about you.

How about in your love life? When you dated a guy(or girl) that wasn't quite right for you, didn't you have friends who told you it would all work out no matter what, while others told you to dump him immediately. And a bunch who were in middle?

And I'm sure in your professional life, you've found the same thing.

The challenge seems to be in being able to listen to the differing opinions, and figure out who is being the most honest. Not who is trying to spare your feelings and not who is trying to hurt you, but who is speaking the most truth. Then alter your behavior just enough to improve yourself. And then trying again.

The reason my mom's Clay Aiken has been so successful, in my opinion, is because he took all the criticism that was valid and helpful and used it to make himself more marketable. And he ignored the dumb criticism about his looks. He focused on his assets -- his incredible voice.

So, I'm enjoying watching MY first season of American Idol. The competition, the striving to be the best, the lessons about learning not giving up -- it's all inspiring.

And I love to be inspired! Don't you?