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SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

on March 26, 2012

I did it! I finaled in the Golden Heart®. For those who don’t know, the Golden Heart is the highest award for unpublished manuscripts through the Romance Writers of America®. Hundreds of entries compete in each category and by some miracle, my MS MEANT TO BE finaled in the Contemporary Single Title category.
The whirlwind begins now and I have no idea how I’m going to handle it. The winners will be announced July 28th at the RWA National Conference in Anaheim, CA. I’ve been shaking and laughing and dancing and trying to hold off a heart attack since getting the call just after 9am. Also a miracle, I haven’t cried. Yet. This is not the day to give myself that kind of headache.
I could try to thank everyone who helped me get to this point, but I’m not sure Blogger has enough memory space for that. I MUST thank my fellow pirates – Hellie, 2nd Chance (Maureen), Sin, Hal, Marn, Donna, Leslie, and Scape (Sabrina). And to those who have been with me from day one when I thought I’d “dabble” in writing for fun. LOL! Janga, Manda, Santa, Julianne, Tiff, Maggie, Sara, Lindsey, PJ, Kim, Ely, Kris and most of all, Eloisa.
To other amazingly generous writers who have given their time to help me improve my writing: Loucinda McGary, Vicky Dreiling, Dee S. Knight and Bria Quinlan. You are shining examples of why the Romance community is the absolute best.
Just in case I don’t get to thank you all in July, know that I love you and could never have done this without you. MWAH!!!
LYG!!!
Congratulations to all my fellow finalists and to the RITA finalists who have paved the way for all of us!

Stuck In The Middle With Me

on March 5, 2012

Back on New Year’s Eve, I turned forty years old. I figure, if I’m lucky, I’ve hit the mid-point of my life. Getting older has never bothered me before. Like most kids, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Then I hit my twenties and realized everyone still referred to me as a kid. Made. Me. Nuts.
Hitting thirty was like I’d finally made it. I was a grown up. Then by thirty-one I was a divorced single mother embarking on a whole new life. Hard to believe that was a decade ago. I was scared but excited and ready to do whatever necessary to give my daughter a good life.
With forty came an entirely different mindset. Instead of looking ahead with excitement and endless drive, I’m looking back and thinking, “I thought I’d be farther along than this.” A thought that has singlehandedly erected a speed bump in my brain. 
Because life is funny like that, I’m stuck in the exact same spot in my MS. The middle.
I started revisions in December, almost immediately after finishing the rough draft. I know it’s best to wait a while before starting edits, but I’m sitting on a full request from a dream agent and while I cannot send her something that isn’t as good as I can make it, I don’t want to make her wait until 2014 to set eyes on the darn thing. 
Leave it to me to hit the middle of a manuscript and a mid-life crisis at the same time. Now if I can figure out which event is the cause and which is the effect, I might get myself moving again.

Some Perspective or Living and Working With Idiots

on February 8, 2012

I have this motto in life. “You don’t have to like me, but you will respect me.” I think I made it up, but I could have stolen it from someone else. I don’t particularly care right now. Mostly because I care about too many other things.

Which is my problem.

I think I’m a nice person, but I also know I’m a hard ass who likes (and expects) things to be done right. And “right” would be based on my opinion of “right”, of course. (See “hard ass” bit above.) The older I get, the more I find that most people could give a fig about doing anything right. From bagging my groceries to merging off an exit ramp. Courtesy and common sense have been replaced by apathy and arrogance.

And this makes me batshit crazy.

Mind you, I’m aware that this is *my* problem. Society at large does not owe me anything, nor do they answer to me. I, sadly, am not the Queen of the World. (Though wouldn’t that be awesome? I’d have a scepter and everything.) So if I want to find any peace of mind and prevent myself from needing meds for high BP and violent twitching, I need to find a way to stop caring about these issues.

To stop caring about what others do and how they do it. But it’s SO HARD!!

My puppy woke for her 5am pee (you could set a clock by this animal) this morning and I’ve been up ever since. You know those times when your brain kicks into overdrive and you can’t shut if off no matter what you try? I had one of those times. By 6:30 I gave up and turned on the light. By 6:40 I was crying. Why? No idea. Anger. Disappointment. Defeat.

Can you cry over clutter? That’s a possible cause as well.

Back to my motto. The tenants by which we live don’t mean much if we don’t enforce them. No one can make me feel angry, disappointed, or defeated without my permission. (Now this I know was said by others. Mrs. Roosevelt and Dr. Phil come to mind.) So this blog is my reminder to step back, gain perspective, and push through.
The only person I can control is me.
I have no intention of losing sleep over the idiots I encounter throughout the day. I should correct that. I’m sure many of these people are just like me and by the time their day is done, they’ve endured enough idiocy to be pissed off enough to cut me off in traffic. So I shouldn’t call them idiots.

But I still want to.

on October 10, 2011

Not sure what happened to the last week. Seriously. Where did it go? Feels like I just got back from the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight & Magnolias conference yesterday. Guess I should do a quick summary, huh?

Lunch with dishes I had a blast. After three Nationals in a row (which I love) it was nice to attend a smaller, shorter conference. Access to such great authors, editors, and agents was an added bonus. I was fortunate to get a pitch appointment with one of the agents at the top of my “Really Want To Work With” list. Short of finaling in the Golden Heart, I’d likely never land an appointment with this agent at Nationals.

Score one for the smaller conference. (And that’s myself with Andrea & Buffy from The Romance Dish. Awesome ladies!)

An even bigger score – said agent requested a full. And she didn’t even mind that the MS is still under construction. Whew!

I made a point to keep this conference low key. No late nights. No crazy running around. Almost like a vacation instead of work. The camera and boom microphone lingering close by was sort of odd, but I’m holding out that any film including images of my person will be left on the cutting room floor.

Maggies I should explain that a documentary crew was following around Eloisa James and took an interest in her followers. I prefer the word “followers” over “stalkers” though the two are interchangeable in this situation. The Maggies were great and everyone looked gorgeous. The shoes! I wore my socks and slippers, which you can’t see under my very long dress. My feet and knees were shot by that point.

The conference was exciting and productive and I’m working to get back in the writing groove. I need 25K words in October to finish this rough draft and give me time to write the synopsis and polish the first 50 in time for the Golden Heart entry deadline. I think know I can do it.

Sure I can.

On the 13th I’ll find out if I’ve made the second round in the Mills & Boon New Voices 2011 Contest. If you’re interested, you can read my entry here. You have to register to rate it, but I’d be happy if you liked it enough to share it with others (using the “share” buttons at the top of the entry.)

Rugby 2 Today I’m honored to be the hostess with the mostest for Man Candy Monday. This lovely treat was spearheaded by Vicky Dreiling and I’ve chosen Professional Men for my theme. If you can put “Professional” before his title, then bring him along. I already have race car drivers and bull riders, football players and even the really tough guys – Rugby players.

Check out the blog for a teaser and then come hang with us on Twitter tonight from 9-10 eastern time. MCM is the perfect way to end a Monday and ensure sweet dreams ahead. Just tune in and follow the #mancandymonday hashtag for all the fun.

I’m also up today on The Romance Writers Revenge in my usual Bo’sun role talking about being the heroine of your own life. Come over and tell us what kind of heroine you’d be, and what kind of hero you’d like to have.

on September 27, 2011

This weekend I’m attending the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight & Magnolias Conference in Decatur, GA. My registration went in six months ago so I’ve had plenty of time to plan. Have I? Don’t be silly.

I’m now in the throes of conference panic, trying to remember what to pack while not freaking about pitching. And then there’s the cleaning my house from top to bottom in preparation for visitors. That’s right, I’m having visitors WHILE I’m at the conference.

My family is coming to stay with  Kiddo and have a little fall vacation at the beach. I’ll leave before they arrive and return after they’ve left. (Sounds odd but it works out, trust me.) This seemed like a good idea when I came up with it. Now, not so much.

Packing and cleaning do not work well in tandem. (She says, pointing out the obvious.) So I’ve been bouncing between the two and thought I had it under control. Fatal mistake I make often. The only thing stronger than my control freak nature is my ability to delude myself.

The floors will be vacuumed. The sheets will be changed. Beyond that, they’re roughing it. And I hope there are stores close to the conference hotel because no matter how hard I try, I know I’m going to forget something.

If you’re going to M&M or any other conference, Nicki Salcedo offered up a great conference checklist on Twitter. I’m hoping this will cut down on my forgetfulness!

Quick plug: My entry is still up in the Mills & Boon New Voices 2011 contest.

Sam Tillman broke Harley Dandridge’s heart. Or maybe she broke his. Now the one-time lovers have a second chance, until a fifteen year old secret changes everything. The story of a Country music star on his way down and the woman he never got over.

Click over and read the first chapter of Secrets & Second Chances.

Two Life Lessons With One Wayward Click

on July 28, 2011

I must start this blog by saying I try to live by one important principle. Do no harm. I’ve had my feelings hurt and my heart broken. Neither experience was particularly pleasant, to say the least. (And I’m sure both experiences will happen again.) I do not want to be the person who inflicts these experiences on others.

However, I am a passionate person with a temper. Twenty years spent working to control the temper has definitely led to improvements in that area, but as a friend used to say, pobody’s nerfect.

And boy did I prove this.

My temper got riled last week over something so small and not worth getting riled about that I have to wonder how empty my life is that this incident set me off. And set me off it did. Being a venter, I vented my hateful spleen in a long, unpretty (to say the least) email to a friend.

And then sent said unpretty email to the very people I’d spewed my spleen on. Unprovoked. Unnecessary. Uncalled for.

*sigh*

An instant lesson in humility. What I wouldn’t give to turn back time and undo the whole thing. And not because of the damage I did to myself by revealing my hateful inner bitch, but because I insulted people who didn’t deserve to be insulted. I did harm, intentional or no.

But then, over the last week, I was taught another lesson. Many of the people I hurt, or felt I had, went out of their way to make me feel better. To assure me I was fine and human and their forgiveness was overwhelming. I should have had more faith in my fellow woman, if not in myself.

I’m still a bit emotional about the experience. My friends have been amazing and supportive, providing both sympathy and buckets or anti-drama to get me back to reality. But I still wish my “your only human” reminder had been more of a nudge on the shoulder and not a boulder upside the head. And didn’t involve so much collateral damage.

I apologize to all those involved. There are no excuses, no matter how you slice it. But I am also grateful to all those who endured my mortifying, unpretty actions and chose not to hold them against me.

16 Things About Me

on December 15, 2008

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

Getting In Touch With My Masculine Side

on July 9, 2008

I wouldn’t say I’m a girly-girl. I was a tomboy my entire childhood, despite those three years of modeling in pageants, and I preferred mud pies and a ball glove over Barbies every time. In fact, my grandfather called me Tonka when I was little because I always had a truck with me. I’m not outdoorsy, never been a camper, hiker, or climber of any kind, but I don’t mind getting dirty or working up a sweat.

When it comes to my entertainment preferences, that’s where I lean toward the girly side. Romantic comedies, period pieces, and comedies is where I stay. Give me a little angst, giant ball gowns, or make me laugh and I’m set. Do all three and I’m in heaven. Which means excessive violence is not what I look for in my movies. In fact, I avoid horror movies and the blow ’em up stuff whenever possible only venturing into psychological thrillers on rare occasions.

This knowledge is what makes my movie choice this weekend quite odd. And surprised the friend I invited to go with me. She’s known me since high school and even in the middle of the movie kept saying, “I can’t believe you wanted to see this.” Unlike me, this was EXACTLY the kind of movie she loves.

I’m talking about Wanted with Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, and my newest crush, James McAvoy. I know what you’re thinking. “Terri doesn’t like little guys! What is the world coming to?!” I know because I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. But he’s so cute. And if you haven’t seen him in an interview, check it out here.

He has the most adorable (and strong!) Scottish accent. Plus, he’s a dang good actor.

Anyway, this movie is over-the-top, brains splattering almost from the first moment, and very ooh ra tough guy stuff. Wesley (McAvoy) goes from loser pipsqueak to the perfect assassin, but goes through total hell to get there. And I mean HELL. To say they kicked the shit out of him is an understatement.

And I still liked it. Weird.

The special effects are killer (pun intended) and more than once I turned to my friend and said, “Cool.” The moments of humor fit well giving us viewers tiny breaks from all the tension. The last 20 minutes or so require giant leaps of faith and you have to say to yourself, “Yeah, I know no one could survive that, but I’m going with it.” Still, I liked it. And if I knew more about this fancy blogger stuff, I’d embed the trailer. Instead, you’ll have to click here to watch it.

Your turn. Would you go see this movie? Have you seen a movie lately you didn’t think you’d like but it surprised you? Anyone want to guess how far up my Netflix queue I’ve moved Atonement? LOL!

PS: Did you notice the page counter moved? Huh, huh? Dijya?

Turning a New Leaf – For Real This Time!

on May 19, 2008

Today is the first day of a new me. Or a return to an old me. A better version of an old me maybe. Oh, you get the idea. I have new rules for my life starting today and I vow here and now to stick to them. I even got off to a good start this morning.

No more snoozing. My alarm goes off at 6:11 every morning and I proceed to hit snooze every 9 minutes until about 6:50. Yes, I’m a lazy bum. I then have to rush around like crazy and am late for work everyday. Not that anyone notices or cares, but I know and the guilt takes a toll.

No television before 7:30pm. When arriving home from work, the television always goes on though there’s nothing but reruns on the screen. Why do I need this distraction? This is prime getting-stuff-done time. And yet, I’m getting nothing done. No more, my friends. I’m getting all kinds of stuff done now.

No more eating out every night. And that includes ordering in. I’ve gotten beyond lazy and have blogged about my kitchen not being very inspiring. No more. I may never prepare a gourmet meal, but I can make a few good standbys and that will have to do. It’s better for the waistline and the wallet.

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Whether it’s heading over to the middle school around the corner to walk on the track, or going to the rec center (as soon as I join tomorrow) down the street to swim laps. I’m going to exercise. For the first time in five years I’ve had to buy a new wardrobe one size up. That’s apparently the motivation I needed. *sigh*

Doing homework throughout the week instead of all on Sunday. (It’s a long one but go with it.) This may be the toughest one. But this is what the no TV time is for. After cooking dinner, eating dinner, and cleaning up after dinner, I will do some homework. And if the kitchen doesn’t look perfect, so be it.

Getting to bed at a decent time. Ok, this one will be the hardest. For some reason, my nights between 9 and 12 disappear. I put kiddo to bed at 9 and the next thing I know, it’s 11:30. How does this happen? Is it only happening to me? Is there a cure?!

The big one – write more. I stand corrected, this will be the toughest. My current WIP has been stewing in my head for what feels an eternity at this point. I have a roadmap for it, I’m looking forward to writing it, and yet I don’t. That’s about to change. Especially since I got ANOTHER new story idea over the weekend. I can’t keep putting these things off. I need to take it seriously. I’m starting small. I will write no less than five pages a week. It’s not a lot, and I hope to do much more, but I need a goal that feels easy. And that’s it.

Now it’s your turn. What mid-year resolution are you making? Putting your foot down and making new rules? Have any writing goals you’d like to share and therefore be accountable for? Well, accountability around here is kind of an open ended thing…

Week in review

on November 4, 2007

So, I’ve had a week from hell. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A) Here she goes whining again. B) How would this be different from every other week she talks about. I’ll state the obvious now, I am about to whine (just a bit) and yes, every week is rough these days but this one seemed rougher. In truth, neither of these issues matter since this is my blog and I can rant if I want to. *g*

Monday seemed well enough. I planned on getting a jump on my mid-terms (which we’ll get to later in this post) but when I came in from work, I found a note in my door telling me the sprinkler heads were now going to be changed on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, meaning I had to move all of my furniture out from under the sprinklers and empty by large walk in closet which not only holds all our coats, shoes and the vacuum, but also all of my Christmas decorations. There went my night. But the closet is looking much better after all the trouble.

Tuesday night the Wee One had a game which meant running around like crazy and trying not to forget anything. Then it turned into the night that will forever go down in history for all Dancing with the Stars fans. SHE WAS ROBBED!!! I still can’t believe Sabrina was the one to go but the fact the judges tried to pretend complete innocence in the whole mess amazed me even more. They gave the girl a perfect score early on then tore her apart every week after no matter how well she did. The fact is, she was the best dancer in the competition (other than maybe Mel B.) and she should be in the finals, hands down. Now we’ll have to wait and see if the petition (which I signed online) will do any good in bringing her back.

Wednesday was, of course, Halloween. It was a bust. If anyone in our apartment complex gave out candy, I don’t know where they were. And we were not about to trudge up and down three flights of stairs in more than a dozen buildings to find them. So, we went to the Fall Harvest fest at the large church across the street and Wee One had a blast because she got to do the bounce house type stuff and we had a cute little hay ride. Not perfect but plan B worked out pretty well to save the night.

Thursday Wee One had softball practice but I needed to be home for the UPS man and ended up missing him anyway. I spent the night doing dishes and laundry and little else. Oh, I did return most of the house to its original layout before the sprinkler head incident. In other words, my back was killing me by the time I went to bed.

Friday was very quiet at work but I’d somehow managed to irritate my carpal tunnel Thursday (a few too many clicks of the mouse I guess) and suffered in pain all day. Once again I had to race to meet the UPS man but I caught him this time. The good thing is I managed to get some writing done Friday only not on the current WIP. I’ve started a *very* short novella for an open submissions call on an erotica anthology. Yep, erotica. I know! What am I thinking? I don’t know but I do know this stuff is FUN to write! LOL!

The weekend is only half over but I’ve already spent my entire Saturday at the ball field. Two fields really. And I worked the concession stand at one for an hour during which I missed my daughter’s team whip up on the boys’ baseball team. It was a scrimmage game for fun and they beat them 13 to 5. How cool is that?! After that we did more bounce house stuff, I got to hang with some old friends and then I came home wanting to pass out. All I can say now is THE SEASON IS OVER!!! *sigh* Thank goodness.

One meeting tomorrow and then it’s tests all day. The best part about this weekend – I get an extra hour to sleep! I’ve been begging someone to add more hours to my day and this is the one time a year, I actually get my wish. *g*

Now, everyone is free to chastise me for whining, thank their lucky stars their life is not this silly or tell me this sounds like nothing compared to your week. No matter which way you go, thanks for stopping by.