Thursday, May 31, 2007

I *Heart* Summer


I can sleep late.

I'm in full writing mode. I really can't get into this closely into the writing during the school year because I'm pulled in too many different directions.

So, how am I progressing?

1) I have two and one third chapters (approximately 13K) on Stay With Me.

2) I've edited/revised the first three chapters of His Ordinary Life and send them to Anne the Editor Goddess for her feedback.

3) I've reworked the backstory on Hold On To Me, revised chapter one, working on chapter two.

That means I'm spending my days with Tick again.
That's not such a hardship. He's edgier with the rewrites, has a touch of hard anger on him that roughens him a bit. I like him a little on the dark side.

Today's Post . . .

A review of Amie Stuart's Hands On, is at Romance Worth Killing For.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kate Rothwell's Pimpin' Book Contest

Okay, let me just tell you how much I love Kate. I cannot even remember on which list I first met her (it's been a while), but I love her. She's funny, articulate, helpful, and a darn good writer to boot.

Second, you have to understand that I'm still trying to figure out the whole promo deal. I'm learning, but I don't think I'm that good at it yet.

But, I love Kate's new contest idea. Here's the deal, straight from Kate's blog:

1. Get a free book by Kate and or Summer and write and post something about it ("I loved/hated this book by Kate and/or Summer. You should/shouldn't buy it and read it because_____. Don't ask me to send my copy, because this one happens to be an ebook and we don't share our ebooks.")

Be put in a drawing pool for a THIRTY DOLLAR GIFT CERTICATE. You have to write something that indicates you at least looked at the thing, for heaven's sake. Also I reserve the right to lift really good comments from your great reviews and the right to use author calming visualizations if you post how and why you loathed the book. Either way you'll be entered in the contest--and the winner is picked by random drawing.


2. Post this offer on your site or blog. Send me a link to your post and be put into yet another drawing pool for another THIRTY DOLLAR GIFT CERTIFICATE. Do both and be put in both pools.

You can find out about the books for review at her blog plost here.

I love this. I wish I'd thought of it first!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Standing on the Edge

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I'm trying something new and a tad scary . . . working on more than one project at a time. I've edited one work while writing another before, but what I'm attempting this summer is bigger than that. Here's what's on the agenda:

1) First draft of Stay With Me.
2) First round edits (with conflict revisions) of His Ordinary Life
3) Rewrite of Hold On To Me (suspense plot remains the same, rewriting the backstory, which changes everything.)

Today is day one of this adventure. My plan thus far is to work daily on writing the draft of Stay With Me. If I can knock out a few pages every day, I'll be happy. I've discovered that the only way I'll be able to really tackle the conflict revisions for HOL is to work with a hard copy and picture-frame it. At the time, I'm letting HOTM marinate, and I'm thinking through the changes to scenes and characters I need to do on that. At some point, I know I'll be juggling both HOL and HOTM -- I think that's the scariest part.

We won't discuss the two to three other story ideas floating around my head . . .

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sigh, More of the Same . . .

Our weather forecast:

Tonight:Partly Cloudy/Smoke 63
Tomorrow:Partly Cloudy/Smoke 88
Tom.Night:Partly Cloudy/Smoke 65

The smoke thing is getting old. Maybe the clouds will bring some much-needed rain, though.

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Sunday Morning Musings

Jennifer wins one of the two downloads of What Mattered Most I was giving away this week! Jennifer, I'll be emailing you shortly.

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School is out! I have two days of post-planning and the summer is mine, all mine! Well, kinda sorta all mine. I'll be chauffering Monsters to cross-country practice and tennis lessons, the library and art lessons. I have edits and rewrites to accomplish this summer, and I'd like to finish the WIP (that's my pie-in-the-sky goal, since I'm basically rewriting Hold On To Me). I want to get complete our renovation of the master bath and bedroom as well. (My pie-in-the-sky wish there? All major interior renovations finished by August. I can keep dreaming, believe me.)

But there should be time for relaxing with my morning coffee on the porch (once we stop waking up to the incredible haze of smoke from wildfires), drifting lazily on a float in the pool and reading for fun!

What do your summer plans look like?

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Not sure if this is me or not.

Snagged from Lydia:

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by Lori Fury

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today's Post . . .

And excerpt for the "School's Out" contest is over at Romance Worth Killing For!

Remember, commenting on excerpts here or at RWKF enters you to win one of two downloads of my current release, What Mattered Most.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We Interrupt Our Regular Program for This Special Announcement . . .

Whoo-hoo! I'm getting to read Amie Stuart's new release Hands On before it hits the stores. Look for a review here soon!

Also, I'll be posting more excerpts here tomorrow, as well as over at Romance Worth Killing For. Joan had a neat post over there today on memorable characters. Go hence and check it out.


As part of my "School's Out" promotion, I'll be posting excerpts throughout the next three days. Saturday, I'll draw to give away two downloads of What Mattered Most. To be entered, all you have to do is leave a comment on any excerpt post!


She looked for answers during the remainder of dinner, but didn’t find any. Listening to the men talk about hot rods, she poked at her food. She wanted the evening over, but didn’t want Caitlin to go either.

The inevitable couldn’t be postponed, though. Finally, with Dennis claiming exhaustion, Caitlin stood to hug Lanie. “You don’t have to walk us out. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Sure.” Unease gathered in her stomach, but Lanie forced a smile. As John walked them to the door, she rose and began stacking plates.

“I’ll get those.” Laughter tinged John’s voice, and she startled, unaware until he spoke that he’d returned to the room. She was suddenly, achingly aware of being alone with him.

“What is so funny?” she snapped.

He set the plates on the counter and returned for a pair of goblets. “Your cousin and your boss. He’s still hot for her, and she has no clue.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You didn’t catch it?” He shot a glance over his shoulder at her, a grin quirking at his mouth. “Hell, Lanie, she accidentally nudged his leg under the table. I thought he’d come out of his skin.”

“And you would notice that.”

He lifted the platters. “Actually, I was thinking how much I missed having you tease me under
the table. How much I miss you, period.”

His words left her speechless. In the bassinet, the baby stirred with a soft cough. Lanie watched John lean over him, adjusting the blanket. The affection on his face was all too real, everything she’d dreamed of seeing on his face when he looked at their son. The emotion, the conversation, the enforced closeness was all too much.

The anger snapped to life. “What are you doing?”

He straightened to look at her. Wariness took over his navy gaze. “What do you mean?”

Lanie waved a hand at the table, the living room, the bassinet. “This. Cooking. The whole perfect-daddy thing. The desk sergeant’s job. What are you doing?”

He swallowed, the muscles in his throat moving in a convulsive thrust. “Honey, I—”

“Don’t you dare call me that.” When he reached for her, she shoved him away, the exhausting effort barely moving him. She flung out her hands again, and the jerky motion toppled a goblet. Water flowed across the table, but neither of them moved. “Do you think my letting you stay changes anything?”

He stared at her, his face pale and gaunt, and she hated him for staying, for not leaving when he’d had the chance to go with Beth. She leaned closer, teeth clenched to prevent her from screaming at him, her voice a raw whisper instead. “It doesn’t matter what you do. Nothing changes what you did.”

Water dribbled onto the floor, a muffled splatter rising as it hit the carpet. He shook his head. “Don’t you think I know that? I’m trying to show you—”

“No.” She shook her head, pain shooting along the incision, digging deep into her senses.

“I know I hurt you. I’m sorry.”

“Hurt me?” The anger flared, drowning the pain, drowning everything but the overwhelming urge to strike back. “You ruined my life. You ruined everything! I wish I’d never met you, that I’d never gotten…”

The awful words died in her throat, and she stared at him, his blue eyes blazing in his pale face. He swallowed again. “I’m sorry for a lot of things, Lanie, but I can’t be sorry about that baby. Not about having him.”

She backed away, shaking her head. Why was he saying this now? Why not when it would have mattered? She forced a whisper past numb lips. “I hate you, O’Reilly.”

Instead of fleeing as she wanted, she took the stairs with maddening slowness, feeling his gaze on her the whole way. In the bedroom, she remembered the sleeping baby and restrained the urge to slam the door. The empty closet mocked her, and she fought the racking sobs attacking her body. Curled up on the bed, she wrapped her arms around a pillow and stared out at the waves.

Light glittered along a silver pool on her nightstand. Reaching out, she tangled her fingers in the silver chain and lifted the infinity pendant. It dangled from her hand, light reflecting along the links and the stylized swoop. She wrapped her hand around the pendant and drew it close, the edges cutting into her palm.


A Little This, A Little That

Two more days with students (actually, one and a half -- they get out at noon Friday). Two days of post planning.

Everything is graded. EOCT scores are in. I was really pleased with my 11th grade American Lit classes' perfomance, not so much with my 9th Lit/Comp.

I'm actually getting to attend the Monsters' Honor's Day today -- I've always had an exam to administer before, so this is a nice change. Then I have to get to work in the afternoon on getting my grades finalized and exported and wrap up my own information for high school Honor's Day.

I'm having separation anxiety about my juniors leaving and becoming seniors. I have taught these kids for four years (some for three), and I'm very attached to them. I don't know what I'll do next year, when they go to Wayne's World down the deck and I'm not seeing them every day! I will miss them terribly.

Smoke is blowing over from the wildfires -- woke up this morning and the house smelled of smoke. It's playing havoc with the DH and Monster #2's allergies, too. Not fun. We need a nice rain, but the weather people say it's not in our future anytime soon. My grass is dying!

Ah, well, I'm off to work on credit recovery plans. Hope you're having a great day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where I Wish I Was . . .

But, I'm at school. And I seriously doubt I'll get a summer getaway.

Only three more days. I've given my only exam today (everything else I teach is an end-of-course-test class, so it's just a matter of waiting for test scores to show up. Today's exam is graded and imported, so I just need test scores . . .

I'm chatting tonight over at Loves Romance and More. Would love to have you come and join me!

I had a neat conversation with Monster #1 on the way to town yesterday afternoon (I'm finding he opens up more when Monster #2, a.k.a. The Mouth, is not around.). He's been studying global warming in science and is all into ways to reduce it. So he's decided his summer reads will revolve around alternative forms of energy.

While reading to Monster #2 last night (we read s-c-a-r-y books, as he puts it), I asked what he was going to read about this summer. "The Civil War." You know, I'm a fiction kind of girl. How did I produce kids who are definitely in the nonfiction camp? Not that I'm complaining -- I was pleasantly surprised at their science and social studies standardized test scores.

I'm making my summer reading list. It's getting long, too. I can't wait!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Four More Days!

I can't wait.

Summer is beckoning . . .

I have the first two books I'm going to read (actually, I've started one): biographies on Walt Whitman.

I would like to have plans for the summer, but alas, I don't think it's going to happen.

Do you? Have summer plans, that is?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I have my FLE (final line edits) back on TAC. Hoping to get those done and back to Anne the Editor Goddess by Sunday night. Nothing too major, but it is amazing what slips through multiple rounds of CP viewing, a read by an agent (my former one), three rounds of extensive edits by the aforementioned Editor Goddess, not to mention the umpteen million times I've read the darn thing.

And like I said, nothing too major, but I want my work out there as perfect as possible.

For one, it's my reputation, and I don't like to be known as sloppy at anything.

For another, there's that whole misguided perception bouncing around the blogosphere that basically all books appearing in electronic form have not been well-edited.

I beg to differ.

Anne the Editor Goddess has soundly kicked my metaphorical butt on this book, she's in the process of doing the same on my future releases, and I love her for it. I'm learning so much, and I can see how working with her is making my new writing stronger.

I am very excited about TAC coming out next month. It's one of my favorite manuscripts, plus I feel it's a stronger book than WMM. Also, it's the first book in my Hearts of the South series, and I have to admit I have big dreams for that series.

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On a side note, summer vacation is mere days away! My mind is turning from school and assignments and grading to . . . books. I know. I teach English; my mind is always on books. But summer stretches before me, the time when I get to read for me. Oh, I'll read for school and I'll be working on assignments and such, but I am looking forward to sitting under the gazebo and reading. I just received my royalty check for April, and I'm thinking I could splurge and purchase a stack of books just for summer reading.

Any suggestions on must-read titles?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just Wondering . . .

Actually, I'm being nosy, but how much money do you spend on books per month, average? I have to admit the dollar amount I spend is probably low. I tend to utilize the library a lot (hey, I'm poor, okay? My growing Monsters eat gargantuan amounts of groceries!).

But recently I've discovered some people spend a lot of money on books.

Like hundreds of dollars a month. Even before I had children, I might spend a fifty to sixty dollars a month on books. Now, I'm doing good if I get to buy 1-2 books a month (again, I read more than that . . . but I have to borrow right now).

Did you get that? Hundreds of dollars.

I so want to be able to do that. Can you imagine?

While I'm wishing, I really want a masters in English. I know, I know, I need one in education. But I want one in English. Or even better, I'd love to be able to take a year's sabbatical and do an MFA in creative writing. (Yes, Wayne, I know . . . I could go to Oxford. Scroll back and look at that line about the Monsters eating gargantuan amounts of food. I have to clothe them and send them to college in a few years. No Oxford for me!)

Oh, and being here would be nice:

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I'm grading poetry anthologies, with the fabulous array of American poetry my kids find every year, and it tends to make me wistful for something I can't name. I know what I write has value . . . I believe all written work has value. But there's something ephemeral that I want, that I think might always be out of my grasp, and I see it in the poetry of Frost and Angelou and Collins and Ginsberg and Olds and countless others . . .

I don't see it in my work, not yet, and I'm afraid I won't ever see it there.

But it's something to think about.

Something to wonder about.

And something to work toward.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Testing Season

Otherwise known as "teacher hell."

Actually, it's probably not as bad as it seems. The kids have already taken my end-of-course tests, and the computers didn't die. No, that happened to the science department today -- the entire server for the state went down . . . while the kids were in the middle of high-stakes testing. I understand that was really fun.

However, I am out of my room most of the day because testing is going on in my room. No biggee -- I've floated before, so moving to another room or even several other rooms doesn't bother me.

But not being at my desk during planning?




I can't get anything done.

We won't discuss the number of emails I have to return. I am officially 1/3 through grading poetry anthologies. I actually enjoy grading those -- it's a nice way to get re-introduced to poets I love and poets I've never discovered.

I've avoided the urge to call in this week (I was feeling horrible Sunday, but it's gotten better as the week's gone on). I hardly ever call in -- it's too hard to get a sub. I have over forty sick days banked! I could take off the last eight days of school and still have a month of days left! (Not that I would do that. But it's tempting some days.)

Now I have to go wade through my inbox and return emails! Later, gators!

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Longer AWOL

I didn't realize I hadn't posted in a week. I even missed my day to blog at RWKF! I'm blaming that oversight on being unwell.

Only this week and next week left of the school year. I've got to get cracking on edits for HOL so I can spend the summer rewriting HOTM. Yes, I know you already know that. I'm just reminding myself!

The sad thing? I haven't posted in a week . . . and I have nothing new to say.

Maybe tomorrow.

What's new with you?

Monday, May 07, 2007

What Does Your Email Heading Say About YOU?

Two email subject lines from my inbox:

1) poetry problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2) Help.

I typed them as they are in my email. They are both from students with questions about their 11th grade poetry anthologies.

What can you tell me about each kid?

Hey, let's make it a contest . . . person with the closest profile of BOTH kids gets a free download of What Mattered Most. If I have more than one right, I'll enter all correct profiles in a drawing for the same.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I Feel Accomplished!

One, student government pulled off an awesome talent show Friday night. Nothing major went wrong. Considering this was the first "big" event I'd supervised, I was thrilled. Plus, we made mega bucks to go toward paying for the graduation dinner we sponsor and homecoming next year.

Two, I've completed my edits on TAC. Now, I'm just doing a final read-through, looking for my favorite words: smiling, grinning, hands, etc.

Three, I'm halfway through chapter two of the WIP.

Now, if I could just shake this darn summer cold . . .

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Q. How Scary Can a Month Be?

A. Just look at my planner for the month of May. Oh. My. Heavens.

Since graduation is so near, found this little quiz dealie over at Blogthings:

You Passed High School with an D

You have the brains of a high school graduate... at least!

It was the math, I swear!

And I guess this one means I'm not cut out to be a pirate . . .

You Aren't Cutthroat

You definitely have ambitions and drive, but you also have integrity.
You'll get where you want to in life, and you'll do it the right way.
For you, the ends never justify the means.