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Saturday, February 14th 2009

10:22 AM

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Saturday, December 20th 2008

7:24 PM

I'd like to be here right now...


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Friday, November 28th 2008

7:54 PM


It's getting late, but I thought I'd have a bit of a rant while I'm still in the mood. I was just watching Lord of the Rings -- silly of me really, since I own all three movies, but it happened to be on so I tuned in. I love those movies and I get totally engrossed in them, but every few minutes little people who are definitely not Hobbits appeared at the bottom of the screen (actually, one would lower down on a rope) advertising whatever the hell happened to be on next. And let me tell you, when I'm watching something epic like Lord of the Rings, I couldn't give a flying $#@% what's on next. But I've noticed this sort of blatant intrusion happening with alarming frequency these days with just about everything that's on TV, and not only is it extremely irritating, I find it downright offensive. Obviously, the programmers have no respect for the fact that people might actually be caught up in a show or movie and NOT want to be distracted by some inane advertising gimmick that yanks you right out of the story you're watching. It's like reading a book and having someone constantly trying to carry on a conversation with you. And excuse me, but this was on a cable channel, which we have to pay for. I have to pay to be insulted and annoyed?
Am I alone in feeling this way?
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Wednesday, November 26th 2008

6:48 PM

Wishing all my friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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Friday, October 10th 2008

8:04 AM


I am extremely happy to report that last Monday, mystery author Nancy J. Cohen and I helped raise over $5000 to benefit Komen For The Cure Breast Cancer Research. We held the signing at The Melting Pot, which is a fondue restaurant here in my town -- yes, that includes dipping strawberries and other dessert treats into to-die-for thick, creamy, melted chocolate! No wonder the restaurant packed in over 200 hungry customers, all women because this was one of their monthly Ladies Night Out events which always benefits a good cause, like this one or St. Jude's Hospital. So thank you, Missy at the Melting Pot, for inviting Nancy and me to be a part of your very successful night!

And ladies, please don't put off having your yearly mamograms!


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Saturday, September 27th 2008

8:43 AM


I've read two books this month that I feel the need to comment on. The first is THE WORLD WITHOUT US, by Alan Weisman, which is basically about what would happen to the earth if humans were suddenly to just disappear -- whoosh, just gone. But it also goes deep into how the world was before we evolved and how it's changed over time because of us. What has had the most impact on me is the footprint we're leaving that's virtually indelible. The nuclear waste that's stored away for now will remain a danger for millions of years, with no guarantee that the storage containment facilities will protect future generations, or the mind-boggling amount of plastics we use and dispose of constantly that just does not ever biodegrade.
After reading this book I can see that our world and our lives are drowning in plastic. It's everywhere, in everything...EVERYTHING! I mean, I'm sitting her tapping away at a plastic keyboard. The real question is, what ISN'T made with at least some plastic? Did you know, for example, that even a lot of facial scrub contains tiny plastic particles -- those microbeads that exfoliate your skin -- that eventually find their way into the oceans to be consumed by plankton, which then die from it. Kill off the plankton, and a lot of other species go with it. But that's just one small example of a colossal problem, and it's made me suddenly VERY aware of how much plastic I've wastefully been using in my daily life.
This book has just forced me to make an to cut down, especially on the kinds of disposable plastics we tend to use everyday without thinking about it. I can't NOT buy computers, TVs, cell phones, cars, etc. But I can be more vigilant when it comes to recycling, choosing reusable containers instead of throwaways, and reading labels when I buy products to make sure they don't contain hidden plastics, like in the facial scrub. It was my husband who found that one, who also read The World Without Us. I found him in the bathroom one day scrutinizing the labels on all my stuff, and when he explained I was like "I'm not letting you read any more books." But he was right, and now I'm switching.
So the other book that really stood out this past month? TWILIGHT, by Stephanie Meyers. Of course I've been hearing about these books since they first came out, but I really had no idea until I started the first one how completely engrossing they could be. I have to say, I thought Twilight had some of the most compelling romantic passages I've ever read. Anywhere. The yearning between Bella and Edward was so powerful that the slightest touch between them made me ache. I read it in about three days, then immediately started New Moon, which I've also finished. It didn't have the quite same effect on me as Twilight, and I've read some criticisms about Bella that I do somewhat agree with, but I think that adult readers especially have to understand that this is a young adult story, and speaking as a mom I believe Meyers did a realistic job of shaping this character. She's far from being a perfect person and she makes mistakes that sometimes make me want to shake her, but is that unusual for a teenager? Am I right, parents? Anyway, I'm happily committed to the series now and look forward to seeing it through.
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Friday, September 5th 2008

8:48 AM


The last time I blogged was when tropical storm Fay blew through Florida, over and over again. And now we're preparing for a hit from Ike. But even though I've got the TV on and I can hear our governor talking about declaring a state of emergency, I'm not blogging about hurricanes today, but how when you're a writer, it seems there is ALWAYS something coming along with the potential to disrupt your writing time. Sometimes it seems as though everyone you know AND the forces of nature are against you and that deadline you're struggling to meet.

I have to admit, too, that I'm easily distracted. (Hey, look at me now. I'm blogging when I could be writing.) But what can begin as a simple phone call often can turn into a time-sucking black hole during which you get nothing done, and suddenly your day is gone.

If we could only seal ourselves off behind impenatrable walls with no phones, internet or TVs -- and no windows, which would keep us safe from the elements -- those books would be a breeze to write. Or would they?

Is it really all those external forces that prevent us from being as prolific as we'd like to be? Or is it more a matter of having the willpower to ignore those things? As my deadlines become shorter and I no longer have the luxury of endless time to get a book done, I'm learning to block off certain hours each day when I will not answer the phone except for a very select few individuals, I plan not to leave the house, I save chores for later and find easy things for dinner. Still not enough.

What has been hardest for me is learning to make myself simply get words onto the page (well, monitor) without obsessing over whether they are the right words. I recently read that trying to write a near perfect first draft (guilty!) can actually lead to writer's block because you're inhibiting the creative process by being too critical and analytical about the writing. In other words, your left brain gets in the way of your right brain, and you get all tangled up. And when you're blocked, it's all too tempting to let outside influences distract you. Admit it. Sometimes those distractions come as a relief. But they aren't really.

So Ike, I'll make time for you later this weekend, I promise. For now, though, you'll have to take a back seat as I sit down and pump out some really awful pages -- but no worries, that's what revisions and edits are for!

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Monday, August 18th 2008

7:05 AM


Well, it would appear we're not going to escape Fay as easily as we thought. Apparently, even though the center of the storm, or the eye if it were better organized, is going to pass over Florida's west coast, all the worst weather is on the eastern side -- which will pass right over South Florida. Fay hasn't even arrived yet, and already our screened-in porch has begun to flood and my husband just went outside now that the first rain-band has passed to lower the pool level. It also means that the first day of school today was cancelled and probably tomorrow as well. Up north they get snow days, we get hurricane days.

The good news is that as long as people stay off the roads (please South Floridians, STAY HOME TODAY!!), Fay shouldn't be life-threatened or cause much property damage except possibly where there's flooding. The other good news is that the expected 5-10 inches of rain should bring Lake Okeechobee -- for those of you who don't know, our main source of water -- back up to acceptable levels after a really bad drought. Hey, there are reasons Mother Nature does what she does. She just never promised she'd make it convenient for us.

So, my fellow Floridians, be safe, be smart, don't do anything stupid and hey, enjoy some time at home reading a good book! If storms make you nervous, open a nice bottle of wine.


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Sunday, August 17th 2008

10:04 AM


We did it -- we got out of the state of Florida for a few days! Our niece up in Buffalo got married last weekend, so we went up for that and snuck across the border a couple of times into Canada to see Niagara Falls and all the other neat stuff kept tucked up in American's Attic. Just kidding, Canada! I LOVE Canada, whether I'm out west in Alberta's amazong Rockies, or even further west in the beautiful city of Vancouver, or east in Ontario, as we were last week. It's a beautiful country, and Canadians are just so NICE!

I grew up in the Northeast, but this was my first trip to Niagara Falls. I expected to be impressed, but I was blown away, especially when we rode to the base of the Horseshoe Falls on the Maid Of the Mist. If you really want to experience the tremendous power of the falls, you have to ride the Maid of the Mist. It was like being in a scene from a disaster movie, and I half expected to be swallowed up by the walls of water at any moment. It's an awesome experience! Exhilarating!

The Horseshoe Falls (Canada side) seen from the top of the Skylon Tower across the street. Pay no attention to the dates on these pictures -- that's just me not knowing how to work my camera!

American Falls from the Skylon Tower

Looking downriver from the Horseshoe Falls


Me on the Canada side, American Falls in the background

The Skylon Tower, modeled after the Sky Needle in Toronto

Lunching across the street from the Falls

On the Maid of the Mist. Yes, we look funny in our rain ponchos, but yes, WE NEEDED THEM!!

Moving into the Horshoe, although not quite all the way in yet. We had to put away our camera as we moved closer to the Falls or they would have been ruined by the water. It hits you in sheets, almost like being outside in a hurricane. Really wild, heart-pumping FUN!! A trip to Niagara Falls is not complete without a trip on the Maid of the Mist!

Double Rainbows on the ride back to Buffalo

Rainbow over downtown Buffalo.

We also had a wonderful time seeing family again, and the wedding was lots of fun. But speaking of hurricanes, we're back in Florida and whaddaya know, we're watching the advisories on Tropical Storm, possibly Hurricane, Fay. She's forecasted to hit the west coast of Florida and we'll probably only experience the outer bands of wind and yuck, but as the news reporters keep drilling into us, we are in the "cone of death" as we fondly refer to it, and one never knows for sure how the storm track might waver as it gets closer. We can't do anything but stock up on a few supplies (because no matter what, we stand a good chance of losing power over the next couple of days) and wait and see what happens. Should have stayed in Buffalo!!!

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Friday, August 1st 2008

12:05 PM


I'm a guest blogger today at the Title Magic, a blog started by the finalists in Romantic Times Magazine's "American Title Contest." This year's winner was Helen Scott Taylor, whose first paranormal romance, The Magic Knot, will be released by Dorchester in February 09. I met Helen about a year and a half ago at the Florida Romance Writers Fun In The Sun Conference, and have been lucky enough to read some of The Magic Knot. I fell immediately in love with the story, the characters, and Helen's beautiful writing style. I KNEW it was merely a matter of time before she made her first sale, and I'm so thrilled that her dream is coming true -- and that readers will soon be introduced to a wonderful new talent in the romance industry.

Anyway, I'm disussing "Setting as Character" at their blog today, so I hope you'll visit Title Magic and join in the discussion!


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