Friday, April 29, 2011

The Wedding

I was lucky enough this morning when I arose, to turn on the telly and found the beginning of the wedding of Katherine and William. I waited in breathless anticipation for her to emerge from the hotel and see what she wore. And I wasn't disappointed.

She was lovely. Is lovely. Stunning really, whey you think now, she's a Princess. I couldn't be happier for the both of them. More of a fairy tale than Charles and Diana I think, because Kate is a modern woman. She's gone through so much with Will already, breaking up, getting back together, the papparazzi, living together, and hey, meeting the Queen. That could really do a lesser woman in, I think.

As a writer of romance, and growing up with the Disney Princess model, I am over the moon, that a simple common girl, finally gets to marry the Prince of her dreams. Isn't that what we all want on our wedding day? Even though I've never been married, I'd still like to feel like a Princess if I ever did marry. I don't think that feeling ever goes away, no matter how old (or cynical) you are.

I admit, I cried. I always cry at weddings. Even if they are on the telly. I even cried when they sang God Save the Queen. I cried when they kissed on the balconey. And yay! They kissed twice.

For all his royal bearing, I think William was just the cutest thing on the balconey. I could see in his face how much he loves Kate. And Kate, although overwhelmed (I mean, who wouldn't be, she's a Princess now) she adores Will.

I wish them every happiness in the world. I hope they live a full and loving life filled with everything their hearts desire.

God save the Queen. God save William and Katherine.

Did anyone else watch? Did anyone else cry?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fear and Creativity

Good Morning. Today's post is short and sweet, cuz I've got nothing except this

In order to live a creative life
You have to give up the fear of being wrong.

Think about that.

* I don't know who said this. I was watching tv one day and hastily scribbled it down. The only other word I wrote on the piece of paper was "Wyndham". Any guesses who he is? I Googled it, but came up empty.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!!!

Good Morning My Darlings. Today is Earth Day. As a flower child of the 70's, when Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a day to celebrate the Earth, (1970) and he decided to do it on my birthday, well, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. One big giant party all for me.

Not so much, but I like the idea. When people ask me when my birthday is, I say Earth Day. Only a few people have ever known when that is. Usually I get, "Oh that's in April, isn't it?" Yeah, the BEST day in April.

And you know, I sort of take this as my responsibility to educate people about what they can do to help our planet. I'm warning you now, I am climbing high up on my soap box, and this is an unusually long post.

I watched a NOVA special on PBS the other night called POWER SURGE. All about the things we can do to help our dying (yes, DYING) planet come back from the brink. I've always been an environmentalist, a recycler, reuser, reducer. I drove my parents nuts when they started mandatory recycling in our community. I have more junk furniture in my house than I have room for, old wood in my backyard for my new shed (that I will build someday) and Monster Child has been taught where the stuff goes in the recycle bins in the kitchen. We go to the recycle dump once a month.

Any-hoo, this documentary talked about what we can do on a GLOBAL scale to reduce the use of carbon emissions that we, as people, pollute our planet with. Our environment is slowly succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning and some scientists have an estimate that by 2035, our world will not be what we are used to. Global warming will turn South Dakota into Florida and the ice caps will have completely melted. Can I just say that's only 24 years from now? How old will your children, or grandchildren be?

There is talk (and action) on a large scale, that solar power is the next big thing. Jimmy Carter had the right idea when he put solar panels on the White House. It's a shame Regan took them down. Bill Clinton had the right idea to invest in better gas mileage for our cars. It's a shame Bush didn't care.

But I do care. I have always cared. And you should too. In this tv show, one of the scientists said that EFFICIENCY is the biggest and best thing, that we, as single humans, can do to help our planet. If we, on a global scale, did things to conserve on our use of electricity usage, we could alleviate almost HALF of our 50 ton carbon footprint every year.


Now, I understand some of us like the convenience modern technology has afforded us. Hey, I couldn't live without my computer either. But there are ways, simple things, we can all do to help out. Here are just a few of my suggestions. (And I've been doing these things for YEARS. You might call me old-fashioned, or just plain crazy, but you know what, my daughter is only 6. She'll only be 30 in 2035. I'd hate to think she won't have trees for HER children to play in.)


You know the bags your cereal comes's made out of wax paper. After you recycle the cardboard box, you can use the cereal bags as freezer bags, (or any kind of bags really, they're very sturdy) or for covering your food in your microwave. (Did you know if you use plastic wrap in your microwave it emits a chemical that causes cancer. Wax paper doesn't.)

Plastic 2 liter soda bottles....If you poke holes in the bottom spikes (that the bottle stands on), and cut the top off, fill it with dirt, voila, instant plant container. I don't know how many of these I had on my deck last year. I planted tomatoes, squash, watermelon, daisies, pansies. And you can always see when they need water.

Frozen food containers. I have 187 houseplants that always need repotting. I have enough pots, what I never have is enough bottoms to hold the runaway water. Those little black plastic bowls and platters are fabulous. Also great for cat food, leftovers, and holders of junk drawer flotsom and jetsam.

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use the back sides of already used paper. Either cut it up in quarters and use it for notes, or reuse it to print out your manuscript.


On every television(3) we have in the house, which is invariably also plugged into a vcr or dvd, I have a power strip. Everything gets plugged into that strip. When I am done with the tv, I shut the whole strip off. No electricity is being wasted. The same goes for my computer and all that hoo-ha. Power strip. Done with it, I shut the whole thing down. Kitchen counter crap, coffee maker, toaster, mixer, blender, whatever...power strip. I only use it for what, 20 minutes in the morning, why do I need to drain electricity for the rest of the 24 hours in a day. The lamps in the dining room are unplugged until I need them. Any plug I can find, that I don't need on a regular basis gets unplugged..

My heat is set on 66 in the winter. Yes, you heard me. And yes, sometimes it gets a little chilly. But you know what, we wear sweaters. And sometimes even hats. My electric bills are so cheap, I have had people say they couldn't believe how I did it. I also don't use the a/c. We sweat a lot in the summer, but with dark curtains and fans, and a pool (a wading pool for now) we do all right. My electric bill for the last two summers was on average $45-. Yeah. My mother's was almost $175-.

If you have a heat pump (most of us do here in the south) have it checked at least once a year for maintenence. When my heat guy came last year he found a big fat leak in one of the pipes. If he hadn't found it, my electric bill would have been astronomical.

Hang your laundry. I haven't dried laundry in over 25 years. I have a perfectly good (brand new, as a matter of fact) clothes dryer. I did an experiment when I first moved here. I only dried my clothes ONCE, in one month, when my electric bill was practically the same from month to month. Do you know how much it cost to dry ONE LOAD? Seven dollars. That's right. $7- to dry one load of laundry at my house. That's more than if I went to the laundrimat. In the winter, I have a wooden clothes rack and a hanging clothes rack and hang all my stuff in the playroom/office. In the summer, I have three lines.

Wash in cold water. If you spend a little extra on Tide cold water detergent, you get the same result if you washed in warm or hot with a less expensive detergent.

And for pity's sake, if you have a dishwasher, only run it when it's full. I used to have a client who used to wash her BREAKFAST dishes. ONLY. and then at lunch. her LUNCH dishes. ONLY. Same for dinner. She didn't want the dirty dishes sitting all day, didn't want to wash them by hand. I loathed going to this woman's house. Not only did she waste water, she wasted electricity.

And I know this last one is kind of gross, but you know what, it's all about conservation. We only flush the toilet after three number 1's. We do flush after #2. It's a habit from the beach, and sure you need to give an extra swish with the toilet cleaner, but think how many gallons of water you are saving. I for one, do not have the money right now to put in new toilets.

Low flow shower heads are all on sale this week and next at the big box stores. For $20- bucks you can save over $100- on your water bill every year (combine that with the toilets and wow). Do you remember when we didn't have to pay for water? I do. It was a LONG time ago.

I won't go on and on about how to save gas, you should all be doing errands in one big lump. Don't just go willy nilly. Do everything you have to on one day.

And for God's sake, get rid of all your dry cleaner clothes. Do you have any idea what chemicals are produced when you dry clean. I have only worn cotton or linen clothes since I was a kid. I IRON everything. And I know some of you think I'm out of my mind, but I don't care. I refuse to buy anything I can't wash and dry and iron.


I'm the trash picking queen. If I see a piece of furntiture out on trash day, I'm there. If someone wants to give me a piece of furniture, I take it. I once made a greenhouse from old windows I found on the road. I've also decorated my office with old milk crates, orange boxes and wood from old kitchen cabinets. (I have BIG plans for the cabinets from my mother's kitchen reno this time.)

Can I just say GoodWill, the Salvation Army, church thrift stores. Donate what you don't want or can't use anymore. Give the kid's old clothes away to someone who could use them. Someone once gave me 6 garbage bags of clothes for Monster Child and I was sooooo grateful. Pay it forward.

As for old furniture, paint it or recover it. If it's ripped, sew it. Do you have any idea how much perfectly good furniture ends up in the land fills?

Buy those reusable grocery bags. Or use old beach bags. Or any kind of bags. Less plastic in the land fill for the seagulls to choke on.

I want to thank you all for getting to the end of this post. I don't climb on a bandwagon very often, but this topic is important to me. If we all just did a few of these things, we would be, not only doing something IMPORTANT, we could save quite a few bucks. And everyone loves the idea of having more cash in their pockets don't you?

This day for our Earth, isn't just one day, it's a lifestyle choice. Some changes may be easy, some may take a while to adjust to. But you know what, you're helping to reverse what we have already done. If we lose our planet, we all die.

Happy Earth Day everyone. Now go out and plant a tree. Or some flowers. Take a walk in nature and think about what would happen if it wasn't there anymore.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Man Magnet - Or Why I Write Romance

Good Morning Lovelies. Today I'm going to share with you some deep dark secrets about why I write romance. Don't worry, nothing graphic in this post. I've just been doing a lot of thinking lately, my birthday is Friday, and well, thoughts are just a-popping in my brain.

I am a Man Magnet. Yes, you heard me. I attract men like flies to a dead corpse. Losers, drunks, bums, users, violent, scum suckers from the dregs of the bowels of the deepest pit of despair.

I don't know why. I'm really a very nice person. Perhaps that's why. Maybe they see in me a need to try and be redeemed. Maybe it's because I broke my teeth on historical romance way back in the 70's when men were rakes and libertines and could only be redeemed by perfect women. (Not that I'm perfect, far from it, but I do have some very nice qualities.) I don't know. Perhaps I was looking for my own rake to reform.

As I've gotten older, I pushed aside those bad boys and found very sane, very nice, perfectly amenable men to date. But they all had underlying baggage. Heavy duty baggage that airlines would charge triple to put on the plane. (I will admit I have my own issues to deal with, however, I have dealt with most of them and filed them away.)

Now some of you are probably wondering why my stories don't have murder and mayhem in them, why I don't kill my ex-darlings on the pages. Because secretly I'm a sappy romantic at heart. I cry at Hallmark commercials. I am a connoisseur of chick flicks. I love happily ever after. I was raised on the original Disney Princess model -- Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. (Cinderella was my favorite and one of my ex's used to call me that on occasion.)

All my life, I think, I've been searching for the perfect man. Well, at least the perfect man for me. Oh sure, I've found some that were almost, but they always had that one thing that made me back off. I've been engaged four times, have planned four weddings, have bought three wedding dresses, have even gone so far as to print invitations. But I could never go through with it. Because something just wasn't quite right. (Remember how old I really am and four fiances is not all that many.)

Perhaps I was dreaming of the happily ever after and somehow I knew I wouldn't be happy. I was raised as a Catholic and for all my lapsing, I still believe in the institution of marriage that bonds two people until the end of their days. In sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, until death do us part. And I knew I would end up divorced, so I chose to forego the marriage AND divorce.

I write romance for the express purpose that someone I know (created) and love will find everlasting happiness with the man of her dreams. I write romance because I love a good love story. I love the longing, and the yearning, and the angst. Sure, all my heroines have obstacles to get over, some more so than others, but they always in the end, get their man. (And believe it or not, I am not in any of my female characters. I am in my male characters. Don't know why, it's just the way I write.)

I've been single for five years now. Monster Child's father really did me in. I've been focusing on my daughter, and my writing, and my parents for the last five years. I've given up on men because, well, fifteen times burned, always shy.

But you know, I still have hope. My fondest wish is to someday meet my soul mate, marry and live in bliss for the rest of my life. And isn't that why we read romance? For the ultimate wish -- happily ever after. And that's why I write it.

Tell me -- why do you write in your genre? Any secrets you want to share? I promise I won't tell.

PS I wrote Monday's post on the fly and drove myself crazy with the word license. I looked it up, finally, and there are actually two ways to spell it -- licence and license. You really don't know how much this drove me nuts.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Break

Good Morning, my darlings. Yes, we are still here after the horrible weather this weekend. Is everyone all right? God, I hate tornadoes. I've lived through hurricanes (homeless after the last one in the 90's), been on the water in bad bad storms (where the ocean swept over the road and into the backyard), a couple of blizzards had me stuck for days, but have never and never want to go through a tornado. I cannot imagine the horror. I mean, we've all seen the news this weekend. All those poor people in Raleigh and surrounding counties. I can't imagine it. And I'm a writer. God Bless all of them.

In other news, this is Spring Break for the Monster Child. Today she is going with my mother to the carousel at the mall while I take my father to get his licence renewed. How much fun is that going to be. Let me just say, my father is a curmudgeon, and partially deaf (absolutely refuses to get a hearing aid) and has no clue about computers (and the test is on a computer). If we don't get thrown out of the DMV it will be a miracle. (He wants to slip the guy a hundred...yeah, he's still old he'll be able to keep his licence. Can I just say Class D felony.)

Also, I'm gearing up for the big kitchen reno. They start on Thursday. I've been helping my mother get the kitchen de-nuded. And getting the flower gardens mulched. I wish I were Scottish so I could say something like "Ach, 'tis a fine braw brecht mess, we've gotten ourselves into." Or something like that.

I went through REMEMBERING YOU for the 900th time over the weekend. (Don't ask me how) Geez, you know, I think I've finally realized what they mean when they say, let your manuscript sit for awhile. I'm not a big user of 'that' but I found quite a few. I know I'll go through it again. Still checking my email countless times a day.

And now, because I don't want you to think this post is all about me, here's a link.
Spring cleaning for your WiP. It's a fantastic checklist that you really really should save in your favorites bar. Lydia does a great job. And if you don't follow her, you should.

Remember now, this Friday is Earth Day (and also my birthday). Plant something, recycle something, reuse something (I've got my eye on the old cabinets at my mothers'), reduce your clutter (Yes, I've also been cleaning like a maniac at my house).

I don't know if I'll be posting on Wednesday. Depends on if I have to bail out my father. Have a great week everyone.

3:08 pm Just wanted to let you all know, there was no bribery involved with the renewal of my father's licence. He passed with a 75. I passed with an 80. He was mad because he studied the book and I didn't even crack it open. Also, had a nice little "thing" with the guy who gave me my test. Yum-my! My mother asked if I gave him my phone number. I told her he has it already. Of course she wanted to know how. I said, "He works for the DMV, they're like the CIA. They know everything."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Hamburgers, Sweet Corn, Potato Salad, Tomatoes with Mozzerella and Basil, and Sweet Iced Tea (It's 80 here today. Feels like summer. I want summer food.)

Well, my darlings, how are you all? I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. You know why? Well, let me tell you.

I sent off my first batch of queries for MisMATCHED on April 1. Fifteen all total. By April 7, I had eight rejections. Yeah, pretty bummed about that. Actually, really really really bummed about that. I cried a lot. Ate way too much chocolate. Drowned myself in Vermont Ice Cream. Also had a nasty sinus infection and spent a lot of last week in bed. And, after the first day of lawn mowing at both my mother's and my own house, I wasn't really walking all that well either.

So with all that going on, you know what I wanted to do? Throw in the towel. Yup, give it all up and go work at Bubba's B-B-Q. Yeah, I know, how depressing is that.

Well, after a few days on antibiotics, I bit the bullet and sent out eight more queries on April 11. (Yeah, I don't know what it was about the 1's.)

Lo and behold on April 12, I saw this in my inbox thingie. "Your project sounds interesting..." I looked at the sender name. It was from one of my all time fave agents. The only problem was, I hadn't queried her. She was closed (still is) to submissions. Yeah, how crazy was that?

So I opened up the email and read further... "Your project sounds interesting, and I would love to take a look at REMEMBERING YOU."


I had completely forgotten I still had queries out on this. The last batch was sent on Feb. 1. (Again with the 1's.) Believe me, I was STUNNED. I had totally written off that book. But there it was. In black and white. She wanted a partial, (50 pages + synopsis). I hadn't looked at it for soooo long, which I think was a good thing, because for the remainder of that day, I went over everything, four-hundred-eighty-seven times, made sure it all made sense. Fixed the chapter titles, (which had been bothering me for a loooong time and couldn't figure out what to do with them), fixed the synopsis, (because that, my friends, was a formatting nightmare), and really tried to make it all nice and shiny.

I sent it out that same night and have been sitting on it since Tuesday. I needed to calm down before I told you, and I'm still not sure if I should, (don't want to jinx myself) but, you guys are my friends and I wanted to celebrate.

And I know, man, how crazy is that, of all things, REMEMBERING YOU. Still is blowing my mind. So even though she said she would probably take three months to get back to me (July!!!!) I check my email 5 times a day. (Which is still better than 12.)

And so hey, after all that slobbering and blubbering and chocolate eating, I can proudly say, "I'm better than I used to be." Actually, I think I might be on top of the world. And I promise, if she rejects me, I'll still be better than I used to be because, she gave me back my HOPE. And I don't have to work at Bubba's. Yet.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be weed wacking and waiting for the tornadoes. Yee hah!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Better Than...

I'm a big fan of PBS. Actually it's only one of four television stations we get here at my house. Even when I had cable, I used to watch PBS.

Any-hoo, I'm also a big fan of Dr. Wayne Dyer. If you don't know who he is, you might want to find one of his books and take a gander. Prolific mind. He said something on one of his PBS shows that I've written down and keep on my bulletin board next to my desk. I suggest you write this down too.


Yeah, I know. Funny how seven little words can change a lifetime of thinking.

In the last two weeks, since querying this new book, I have to keep reminding myself, (especially in light of the re-vision to MASQUERADE)


I'm a better writer.
I'm a better querier.
I'm a better synopsis putter-togetherer.
I'm not so good at handling rejection, but I'm better than I used to be.

And that's really all there is to it. I may not be great, fantastic, fabulous, super-duper, awesome, inspirational, or even right-out-of-the-box-shiny, but you know what...

I'm better than I used to be.

How 'bout you? What are you better at than you used to be?

Monday, April 11, 2011

On Re-Visioning Part II

Good Morning. Lots of stuff going on in my little world lately. But the most important thing -- the re-vision of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE.

As you know, I said I had a totally new vision for that book. I was going to rip it apart and put it back together. Well, in the least possible painless way that I could. Guess what. I can't.

Well, not the way I thought I would be able to. Seems I miscalculated my ego. Yeah, my ego. I thought I would just go in, fix the POV's, make a few changes here and there, and it would be fine.

Not so much. It seems I have to completely change the main characters to whom I never would have imagined them to be. I've been taking the printed manuscript with me as I wait for Monster Child to get out of school. I nitpicked through the first 15 pages, sratching out, rewriting, moving things around, and then it finally dawned on me.

THIS IS GARBAGE. Pure and utter shite. Crappy, crap crap crap.

I guess this means I have grown as a writer. When I can look at something and realize -- this is just not going to work anymore. (Michelle, now I know exactly how you felt about Monarch. Which I didn't understand before, but now I do. Oh, I so do.)

And you know what, as much as I am potentially thrilled I have these great new ideas, I am just so damned depressed. Not for the work. Basically I know I have to write a whole new book (although I may be able to cadge some of the latter scenes to use.)

Depressed because the book I wrote and loved won't exist anymore. The people who I fell in love with won't be the same. And you know, as a Taurus, I hate change. With every fiber of my being.

However, I also know, as a writer, I have to do this. Otherwise, that book will sit under the bed with the bunnies for the rest of my life. And it can't. I won't do it to me or to them, Penny & William. (My main characters -- yeah, I think of them as real people. Hey, I'm a writer, can't help it.)

Question -- How depressed do you get when you realize your manuscript just won't work anymore? Do you put it away and work on something else, or do you bite the bullet and go with the flow?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Must Read Links

Good morning everyone. Today I have some absolutely must read links whether you've written 20 books or are just starting to write your first one.

Jody Hedlund has a fabulous post for writing settings. Making them into their own characters.

Heather McCorkle has an amazing article on POV. I don't care where you are in your process, this is an absolute. And if you are a newbie, please bookmark it for future reference. It will save you so much heartache.

Roni Loren has outdone herself with this post on what it takes to be a successful author. And even though most of us are still on our journey, it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

Susannah wrote this article, how blogging is like an MFA. Very informative and eye-opening.

Janice Hardy does an incredible job of just how a hook works in your book to make it an absolute page turner. You've got to read this. Fab fab fab.

Now, if you don't follow any of these ladies, please make sure you do. They are all extremely informative and easy to read, and everytime I go, I always learn something.

On a personal note, I will not be around the blogs very much for the next few weeks. Mommy Dearest has decided that now I have sent out my queries and am in "wait" mode, it seems she has lined up several other projects for me. Mowing the lawn, weed-wacking, painting the porch, digging up and replanting the flower garden, you know how it goes, the list is endless.

Suffice to say, I'll be kept quite busy. I must also get this all done before the weather becomes too hot (probably May 1st around here) otherwise I can't. (I wilt in the heat.) So...

I'll try and post on Mondays on a regular basis, but commenting on your blogs will be a hit and miss proposition. I apologize in advance of this. However, if you do really miss me, you can always drop me an email. Or if you need help with your queries or synopsis. I'll always lend an ear.

Have a great week!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Am Ready -- AGAIN

For my faithful followers, there is no Piedmont Grille today. Sorry. And no, this isn't part of the A-Z challenge, although it looks like it. Sort of.

No my friends, today I will begin querying again. TA DA!

Yesterday I finished my dreaded synopsis. I worked on another version of my query and I feel ready to jump back into the fray of agent land. I have scoured through the sites and picked my favorites and all I have to do now is bundle all that is required for submission and I am on my way.

For those of you have never entered this strange and wonderful land, it is fraught with danger (did I make sure I discovered all the typo's) and disaster (did I have enough in my query to compel them to request a partial or full) and disillusionment (this is the most perfect book they will ever read and call me without hesitation).

Three years, three books, and so much in between, I am beside myself with joy, anxiety, and a perpetual knot in my stomach. I know you may think I'm conceited when I say this, but truly, this is one of the best books I have ever written. Of course I've only written three, but I have grown as a writer, and from my last post, I can honestly say, I kept my POV together.

I know you all wish me luck, but wish it again anyway. I need all I can get.

Have a great weekend everybody. I'll be drowning myself in Pepto-Bismal waiting by the inbox.