Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I'm very much the realist. I do, however, not only believe in dreams, but in the wonder of achieving a long-worked-for goal.

Tonight, I've been watching the premiere of Last Comic Standing. I don't watch American Idol, but I imagine the concept is pretty much the same -- many talented people make the show, many talented people do not, you end up with one winner who gets a step closer to achieving a dream. Along the way, LCS gives you glimpses of those people who attend each and every open mike call -- those who refuse to give up.

I like those people.

One of my most favorite students of my entire teaching career stopped by to see us today. He left school earlier in the year, took his GED, and he's preparing to leave for a major city to pursue a career in ballet. He knows he has a long, very hard road before him, and realist that he is, he knows achieving his dream is not guaranteed. However, he has the drive and the courage to try, and I couldn't be prouder. Besides, how many teens get the opportunity he's undertaking?

Because that's the funny thing about dreams . . . even if you never achieve the dream, would you want to miss the journey?

Monday, May 29, 2006

It's Here!

Summertime is hovering on the horizon . . . school's out and we have three days of post-planning, then I'm free until the beginning of August. Well, kinda/sorta free. I still have department head stuff to do, mainly tweaking my unit plans and making inventory/order lists and other menial, mind-numbing yet necessary tasks.

But with the teacher hat temporarily shelved, I have room for my other roles.

I blogged Friday at Romance Worth Killing For about my rather sketchy promotional plans, and I need to begin putting those into play. First up is updating my website and my links here. Then I think I'll plan out an online read to be used for promotional purposes.

I'm also sketching out a mom-plan -- stuff to do with the Monsters to keep them from going berserk with boredom (because, you know, boredom + really smart kids = chaos).

On the homefront, I'm still obsessing about the house. I've been laying out floor plans for the furniture placement in the living area and designing the armoir I want the DH to build to house our television. Next week I start painting furniture!

Off to do laundry. Check in often . . . I'll be here much more regularly this summer!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Three more days of school.

Two more exams to give today.

Forty discussion exams to grade by tomorrow.

Graduation tomorrow night.

Summer with all its glorious freedom is almost here!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ever Feel Like Screaming?


I feel better now.

Well, not really.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Being Non-Productive

I had plans for the weekend. I have approximately 40 poetry books to grade. Know how many I've touched? One. I was going to clear the living room and get the furniture ready to paint. Know how much of that I got done? Nada. I did get Monster #2 moved into his newly renovated room, and I completed around eight loads of laundry.

So what got in the way? Life.

Saturday morning, 4:46. Phone rings. It's my mom, telling me my dad, who runs a local morning paper route, had had a wreck (he'd hit a cow, in Mama's new car). She was on her way, but I was closer. I toss on clothes, jump in the truck, run out the rural highway, not nearly as fast as I'd like to, because, well, there could be more than one cow.

I knew Daddy was talking and said he was okay, but at the same time, I wasn't prepared for my first glimpse of Mama's Alero either. The hood was crumpled, the windshield smashed and twisted inward, the roof was dimpled and crinkled. When Daddy hit the cow, after dodging 5-6 others, it went over the roof of the car. Daddy could easily have been killed.

He has one scratch. One. On his hand.

He was irritable because I was fussing over him, and of course, his first worry was that his customers wouldn't receive their papers on time. Mama's car is totaled. But it could have been so much worse.

I did manage after that to do laundry and move Monster #2 into his room. Today, I had a three-hundred-mile round trip to do, driving the DH and a friend of his to pick up new trucks. Six hours or so on the road. Didn't get any poetry books graded.

So . . . tomorrow I have to be productive.

But there are only five more days of school! Whoo-hoo!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

By The Numbers

Days of school left: 8

Poetry Anthologies left to grade: 15

Poetry Books to be turned in Friday: 37

Exam papers to grade next week: 110

Pages I'll manage to write in the next two weeks: 0

Unless you count those exams I have to make out so I can give them next week . . .

I'm giving two exams next Wednesday. The last one ends at 1:00. My grades are due by 4:00.

Not giving a seventh period exam so my drama kids will all go away and leave me to grade 37 exams? Absolutely priceless!

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Details

There isn't that much to tell . . . you know how once you begin writing seriously you have all those fantasies about The Call? Well, I didn't get The Call. I got The Email.

It was still pretty cool, though.

Last Friday, I went to dinner with the DH and the Monsters. Dropped by the movie store, rented a couple of DVD's, hit WallyWorld for a few items. Came home. Watched television. Decided right before bed to check my email.

Saw Jessica Bimberg's email address in my inbox. Thought, "Here it is . . . another rejection for the file."

Open the message. Read:

I absolutely loved What Mattered Most and I'm happy to offer you a contract . . .

No screaming, no jumping, no crying, like I'd expected. More of a "Oh, wow, this is cool . . . it's not a rejection!"

Walked into the living room, grinned at the DH, said, "I sold." His reply, "You're kidding." Monster #1 immediately starts writing his own book while DH and I talk about the contract and company and stuff.

So. There's the story of my The E-Mail moment. All the nitty gritty details. I've signed the contract and mailed it, so I guess it's 99% official . . . soon I'll be published with Samhain Publishing.

More details to come . . .

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Today's Post . . . And a Cat out of a Bag . . .

Today's post is at Romance Worth Killing For.

Oh, and about that cat in the bag . . .

Did I mention I SOLD?!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Down to the Wire

Twelve more days of school. Seven actual class days. Three days of exams, softball day and honors day. That's it.

And I am so ready.

I love teaching, but I love summer, too -- staying up late, sleeping in, lazing around on the front porch reading, hanging out with the Monsters, catching up on the stuff I let slide during the school year.

I'm looking forward to summer for another reason this year . . . I'm finally feeling that tingling itch to write once again, and I'm hoping that the summer will bring with it relaxation and inspiration.

I've started plotting on a new WIP, and that's going well so far. I have revision plans for another book, and it appears the Muse is dragging her lazy self off the couch, giving up the Cheetos and donning her diaphanous robes yet again . . .

Now if I can just get the renovation stuff to fall into line, too!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wish Me Luck!

I have to speak in front of a crowd tonight. Yes, yes, I know . . . I do it every day, right? Except tonight I have to speak in a front of a crowd of adults. Somehow, it's not the same.

I'm afraid.

Maybe this year I won't fall on the steps again!

Monday, May 08, 2006

26 Secrets to Happiness

A friend gave me these. Thought I'd share.


1) Live beneath your means.
2) Return everything you borrow.
3) Stop blaming other people.
4) Admit it when you make a mistake.
5) Give any clothes you haven't worn in three years to charity.
6) Every day do something nice and try not to get caught.
7) Listen more; talk less.
8) Take a daily 30-minute walk in your neighborhood.
9) Strive for excellence, not perfection.
10) Be on time.
11) Don't make excuses.
12) Don't argue.
13) Get organized.
14) Be kind to other people.
15) Be even kinder to unkind people.
16) Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
17) Take time to be alone.
18) Reread a favorite book.
19) Cultivate good manners.
20) Be humble.
21) Understand and accept that life is not always fair.
22) Know when to say something.
23) Know when to keep your mouth shut.
24) Try to go 24 hours without criticizing anyone.
25) Learn from the past and plan for the future.
26) Don't sweat the small stuff.

I Feel Fizzy, Oh, So Fizzy . . .

You know that great deep-down giddy feeling you get when good things are going on?

I have that feeling today. :-)

Plus -- there are only fifteen more days of school! Summertime is on its way!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lists, Lists and More Lists

I admit it -- I'm a list maker. I like seeing things on paper -- goals and budgets and TTD lists. I need that visual reminder of what I need to be focused on. I make plot lists for books as I write. I make lists of future book ideas. For the renovations from hell, I have a master list as well as a budget sheet and a prioritized list for each project.

I make TTD lists for my students so they know what step to go to next in a project or assignment. I make school and home TTD lists daily and weekly. I make lists for what the Monsters need to accomplish during a week -- chores and other responsibilities, things I need to do for them.

So when we started planning the changes to our home, I knew that for my office I was going to need a huge bulletin board -- a place to put all those writing and teaching lists. I found what I wanted in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine -- a home office redo where the homeowner made her own wall-length bulletin board (she's a freelance photographer -- I bet she has lists, too!). Now I'm making a list of materials I need for that project.

Last night I started another list, one I've been dreaming about for a long time. Planning for. I'll share more later this week, hopefully. So check back. :-)

So . . . are you a list maker? Or do you find them constricting? If you do, what's on your TTD list?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Review -- Sweet Mercy, Jean Brashear

A week or so ago, I went looking for Amy Knupp's Superromance. I didn't find it, but I did find Sweet Mercy by Jean Brashear, also a Superromance release. I'd seen an ad for it in a magazine while waiting for my Monster's to get trimmed, and I'd been intrigued, wondering if the ad campaign increased sales.

Anyway, I picked the book up, read the blurb, paged through, and ended up taking it home with me. With a heroine named Jezebel and a hero named Gamble, how could I resist?

Once I started, I couldn't stop reading, either. Jezebel and Gamble both have troubled backgrounds -- she was orphaned at an early age and grew up on the streets; he lost a beloved wife and his unborn child. All she wants is a place to call home. All Gamble wants is to forget the home he made for a family gone forever.

Brashear does a fabulous job of painting a pair destined for one another. Gamble is my kind of hero -- a tortured soul. Jezebel is a strong woman, a positive woman, who doesn't back down from a challenge, which Gamble certainly is at times. I'm not giving away more of the plot, but the emotion and need is palpable and the attraction between the two sizzles. It's a story of home and healing, and I strongly recommend you find a copy soon!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


A few weeks ago, after yet another rejection from H/S, I was talking with Elisabeth and she asked, "If SIM had said yes, what would be different?" At the time, she meant my infuriating inability to get any words on paper, but the question has stuck with me, resonating on a much different level.

I pondered the question while sitting on the beach back in April, and this week I've had a ton of time to think about it while proctoring state testing. If I had sold already, what would be different?

Well, for one, I'd probably be in a world of hurt. I even came to the conclusion that I'm glad I haven't sold in the last three years since I came back to writing after a long sabbatical. Why?

I wasn't ready for it. Trust me, although I thought I was, I wasn't. If I'd gotten the call, the opportunity, I'd have messed it up, for a variety of reasons.

Now, here's the weird part . . . yes, my life will change somewhat if I sell. How could it not? Deadlines and copy edits and promotions . . . we're talking a complete full time job here.

I already have a career I'm passionately dedicated to. This last year, while learning a new state curriculum as well as working with a prep that was completely new to me, I couldn't have handled being a published author as well. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with not selling yet. Because when it does happen, I want to be able to mesh the career I love, the teaching, with the career I dream about, the writing. I know a lot of writers who have a primary job, one that pays the bills, and I know many who long to quit that job, to write fulltime. I can't see walking away from my classroom and the fantastic kids who fill it and make up a big part of my life. Already, I'm blessed with having a profession that I enjoy, one I (most days anyway) go to cheerfully, motivated to take on each new challenge.

Which is why when someone finally does say "yes," I can tell you the day job is one thing that won't change.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Sharon tagged me days ago and I'm just now getting to this (actually, I've been thinking about it. Er, yeah. That works!).

So . . . six things about me:

1) We posted a 100% pass rate on the Georgia High School Graduation Test this year. 68% of those kids posted a pass-plus score in English/Language Arts. You're right . . . not really about me . . . but they're my kids, I've taught them for three straight years and I'm proud of them!

2) I know how to roof a house. And I've done it.

3) I was once involved in a high speed chase on 1-75 in Florida.

4) In two years, I will have been married exactly half my lifetime.

5) I'm not very well-traveled. I've been to . . . Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

6) I'm afraid of snakes. Get the willies from looking at photos of them. Ick.

Okay, I'm not tagging anyone . . . I know you're busy . . . but I'd love it if you left six things about you in the comments section!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Hang around me long enough and you realize I tend to be a tad on the obsessive side. Usually, the obsession revolves around teaching (hey, what can I say? I'm passionate about my chosen career!), my Monsters and writing. Or rather, it used to revolve around writing. The well has been quite dry lately, and I must admit I've been most worried.

Except I think I figured out why.

And you're gonna laugh.

My waters of creativity are being siphoned.

I figured that out this week while proctoring the state end-of-course tests. To me, proctoring is actually harder than teaching -- I get bored. I mean, come on . . . all I'm doing is walking around the room, making sure no one is on the wrong screen, in the wrong section of the test, cheating, etc. So I usually let my mind wander to whatever story I'm working on. This time last year, I was immersed in Anything But Mine, and characters and ideas were bouncing around in my head.

Not this year.

This time, while watching kids panic over the Biology EOCT (my heavens, that test was hard!), I found my mind wandering creatively, except the images in my head had nothing to do with creating scenes.

Want to know what I've been up to mentally for the last couple days?

Arranging furniture in my soon-to-be-renovated living room. Planning paint colors for said furniture. Trying on different types of curtains.

Yep, I'm virtually decorating. I'm having a blast, but it's like having an alien life form sucking your brain out. No room for writing-related matters right now. I have to decide -- am I painting the coffee table red? Or a more sedate ivory? Brown, maybe? Heritage blue? See, I've waited longer for these renovations than I have to sell a book, so maybe it's only fair that for now I'm obsessing about making the most of them. It's kind of the way I feel when I'm writing -- I need details hammered out before I put words on paper (I'm a polished first draft kinda gal, after all!), and I need the same attention to detail focused on the rooms where I'm going to live.


There you have it -- my current obsession.

Any suggestions on how to get the house obsession to take a back seat to the writing obsessions again?