Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's a Good Thing . . .

I love my dog because she is B-A-D bad.

Her newest trick?

When no one will play ball with her, she runs out to my new flower bed, digs, prances through it and generally just acts like an evil idiot until someone comes out to give her attention.

Why do I think she's smarter than I am? Sigh.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Songs That Inspired My Books

1…. "Wonderful Tonight"
2. "Walk the Line"
3. "Ring of Fire"
4. "Hold On To Me"
5. "Songs About Rain"
6. "Memories of Us"
7. "Anything But Mine"
8. "Goodbye Time"
9. "Look at You, Girl"
10. "Your Man"
11. "Baby, You Save Me"
12. "Can't Do It Today"
13. "Kerosene"

And because I have more than thirteen:

14. "Before He Cheats"
15. "Settle for a Slow Down"
16. "Addiction"
17. "Made a Man Out of Me"
18. "Must Be Doing Something Right"

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Just Call Me . . .

Grumpy. Or Eeyore.

It was so shaping up to be a good week, too.

So . . . y'all tell me the good stuff going on in your lives and I won't bore you with the details of my day!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Good News!

Elisabeth and Mary both finaled in the Golden Heart! Whoo-hoo! Gina Welborn finaled as well. And Allison Brennan finaled in the RITA!

For updates on RITA and GH finalists, check in here.

And you know what? Since Samhain is now RWA recognized . . . I can enter the RITA next year! Double whoo-hoo!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's More Important?

Over at Romance Worth Killing For today, Joan is blogging about personality masks, and in the comments, there's a cool conversation going on about optimism vs. pessimism. The whole conversation about whether your optimistic or pessimistic traits are inborn or learned got me thinking about a new angle.

As a confirmed realist, I'm discovered that much of the world frowns on those who are not vibrantly optimistic. Sorry, although I don't see the glass as half-empty with a hole in it, I don't see it as half-full, either. It's just a glass and it isn't full. Only half-so.

See? Realism. ;-)

Anyway, I am not an optimist.

I am, however, full of perseverance. My grandmother called it hard-headedness. I was not allowed to have the word "can't" in my vocabulary. She had two favorite sayings: "Can't never could" and "Can't's not a word. He fell off the fence and broke his neck." So whenever I said I couldn't do something, I had to keep trying until I could.

She wasn't much of an optimist, either. She'd lived what could only be described as a hard life and believed her reward would come not on this earth, but in Heaven. I think that the kind of hardships she endured tend to reinforce the realistic traits in people. Sometimes it's hard to look on the bright side when you're so low there's nothing to look forward to.

However, she had perseverance. She had stick-to-it-tiveness, that quality that has one getting up and keeping on after being knocked down, putting one foot before the other when things are not good.

I know in my experience that trait has been far more valuable than seeing a glass as half-full. That's what got me through college when I'd been told repeatedly I'd never finish. That's what got me through teaching several years at a really tough school when the principal told me I wouldn't last six months. That's what got me through rejection after rejection when I started writing seriously.

It's what will get me through everything that lies before me.

What do you think? Optimism or perseverance?

Monday, March 19, 2007


Ever had someone say something that was just so unbelievable all you could do was stare?

I've had a couple of those moments today. You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones where you wonder you look at the person and wonder where the body snatcher's pod is? I call them excuse-me-while-I-pick-my-jaw-up-off-the-ground moments. The first was when someone made some comments about himself/herself that are completely at odds with how that person normally behaves. Definite body snatcher moment. The other involved one of those fabulous teaching moments when you've gone over every possible angle of an assignment and a kid looks at you and says, "Now what are we supposed to do?"

At that point, you know the kid wasn't listening. Maybe this cool article explains why. It's not that I'd ever be a boring teacher who rambles on and on and . . .

Where was I?

Oh, yes, did you know it's possible to be too poor to file bankruptcy?

Or that it's possible to be almost impossibly smart? These guys prove it. I can't get my mind wrapped around what they did (heck, I can't understand half the terminology, but it's a neat article.)

Oh, and dealing with stress? I'm doomed. Although I felt really sorry for the poor juvenile mouse that had to experience all the stress. Maybe it can go live with Larissa. But doesn't the description of how the poor young rat was treated sound like high school?

Yes, I'm definitely rambling. Is your mind wandering yet?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Recommended Read!

What Mattered Most has been named a Recommended Read by Joyfully Reviewed!

You can read Melissa's review (which almost made me cry from joy) here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Today's Post . . .

. . . is at Romance Worth Killing For, where I'm talking about characters that push the boundaries.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Sorry I've been scarce. It's been a busy week. I did get a couple of really nice surpises today. One I can't share until tomorrow (I can't wait!).

The other was a visit from one of my favorite former students, one who loaned me his name for a vital character in What Mattered Most. I was so happy to see him! I promised him one of my author print copies when it's released.

I have to write another line, too. At some point, I have to get my butt in gear.

You know what we need around here? A contest. Hmmm. Let me think upon it. I'll be back.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Countdown . . .

Fifteen school days until spring break! Not that I'm going anywhere, but a whole week off! I can't wait. I'm already making a TTD list.

I really wish every once in a while that I was one of those people who knew how to do nothing.

What about you . . . any special plans for spring?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Get By . . .

With a little help from my friends. I did the meltdown thing today, which I'd sworn I wasn't going to do -- stiff upper lip and all that, you know -- and Mary let me vent and cry in her office (she has the best comfy couch for that -- must be the perk of being a school counselor). I absolutely love Mary -- she's funny and smart and passionate about teaching. She doesn't let me make excuses and she pushes me to be the best I can be (she has this thing about my developing leadership skills. I keep trying to tell her I have them and just choose not to use them, LOL.).

And I can say almost anything to her and she doesn't judge me. Instead, she merely mirrors my words back to me and helps me dig through all the mess. She's a problem-solver, which I try to be as well, and rather than just kick solutions around, she helps me find one.

I love that about my friend Mary. I couldn't get by without her.


Only sixteen more school days until spring break! And I don't have to teach tomorrow -- it's Region Literary! Once I get through tomorrow, my life will be slightly more sane, until testing kicks off later in the month.

I'm teaching a couple of seniors this semester and they're keeping a countdown until school lets out. I think the magic number is something like 51. Wow, this semester will be over before we know it . . .

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why Plot?

Because if I didn't, I'd go insane during the writing process. I have to know what's coming next -- it's the whole obsessive-compulsive personality trait, I think. Afterburn is making me crazy with how slowly the plot is unfolding in my head. I do believe school stress is getting in the way. I hate to see what happens if I actually take on the second job I'm looking for . . . but one must do what one must do, right?

I was thinking about plotting today, while I was teaching (well, covering) a class for a colleague who was in a meeting. It was an English class and the kids were researching, so I didn't have much trouble with it. But I know I function much better when I've worked out a lesson plan ahead of time -- everything from assessment to what the kids need to know and do to what standards I'm addressing and how I'm going to approach the lesson.

Writing a book? Same principle. I need to know where I'm going, where the turning points in my plot are. Does the book often turn out differently than my plan? All the time, but I think that's normal. I still end up in the same place, just with a slightly different route.

I can't imagine writing without a map, though.

What about you? Plotting or no plotting? And why?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


What Mattered Most has its first "official" review -- 5 Hearts from The Romance Studio.

Snippets from the review:

"I absolutely loved this book. . . the tension and suspense were perfect and had me immediately engrossed in this tale of love, choice and discovery. . . John’s character was perfect—God, I wish more men like that existed! . . . I had a rough time putting it down to sleep and eat! . . . I will be certain to pick up any Linda Winfree books I come across."

Wow! I cannot tell you how excited I was to read that!

Click here to read the complete review!

In my Google-surfing, I've come across a little reader buzz about the book -- another exciting first! In some ways, the reader response has been more exciting than actually selling the book. There's just something about knowing people are reading your book and being affected by the world and characters you created. I get chills. I found this over at author Jade James's blog (I love her blog design):

"Oh and I just read this wonderful book by a new author for me. She is a refreshing voice and I'm so glad I bought it on a spontaneous splurge. :-) It's LINDA WINFREE What Mattered Most, and the book starts off with a bang. Lots of suspense-and emotion. Yeah, I was crying while reading, it's that good."

Also, Bev left me a fantastic reader review over at My Bookstore and More, which just made my day!

A big thank you to everyone who's read . . . and is talking about . . . my debut release!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hearts of the South . . .

. . . the dedicated blog for my upcoming Hearts of the South series is LIVE!

Stuff and Nonsense

I'm at number six on the best-selling list at My Bookstore and More! Whoo-hoo!

Over at Romance Worth Killing For, we're cross-blogging with Romance Unleashed. Interesting stuff, as we take a look at writing advice gone bad.

I made it to the next round of Karin Tabke's first line contest! I'm beginning to get better glimpses of Troy Lee and Angel's story. I think.

I've become obsessive about searching for reviews. Haven't found any yet.

Had a really interesting conversation with a colleage today at lunch. She's reading What Mattered Most. I'll have to drop back later and tell y'all about it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I'm still tired. I think it's from being up most of Thursday night. I did take a nap while I was getting my hair highlighted yesterday. I'm just sluggish, though.

What Mattered Most cracked the top ten list over at My Bookstore and More, which is very cool. I should be receiving edits soon on Truth and Consequences. I really need to concentrate on getting my website up and running again, so my excerpts are out there, but I've had more pressing things going on lately. Soon, I promise.

Only three more weeks until the graduation test for my juniors. Only four more weeks until spring break. And only twelve weeks left in this school year!

The DH is still on his job search. He has a job, of course, but is looking for something that would allow him more time at home. (I must admit it was very nice having him here Thursday night with the tornado bearing down on us!) He has some prospects that would work very nicely for us, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. (See, hope can be a method!)

As you've noticed by now, I'm rambling, rambling, rambling in a less-than-Faulkner-ish stream of consciousness. That's what my mind is like this weekend, all over the place. I should be more focused tomorrow, once I'm back in teacher mode.

Now if I could just get into writer mode and get past sentence number seven on Afterburn. The plot idea is still too vague, and despite knowing I should really be busting my butt on that manuscript, I can't seem to focus enough discipline to sit and work on it. Maybe after the graduation test is behind us . . .

Maybe once DH's job search is behind us . . .

And maybe I'd better take that advice I'm always dumping on the juniors and freshmen and just do it!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Today's Post . . .

Is at Romance Worth Killing For.

I'm giving away a copy of What Mattered Most. Come visit.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Life's Passion

I love teaching. Not 'I like teaching,' but I love teaching. It has its days, when I want to quit and run away to the beach, but most days . . . most days are good.

I love the kids I teach, too. I'm blessed with smart kids. Kids who really do want to learn (even if they're too cool to admit it some days). Kids who work hard and try harder and sometimes just blow my mind with how they pick up some really difficult ideas.

Like my juniors and transcendentalism. Now, granted, they didn't want to study the philosophy of a bunch of old dead guys in American history. And they really didn't want to write transcendental connection essays for me.


They did it. They grumbled and tried to get me to move tomorrow's deadline to Monday (ha!), but they did it. So during the last week or so, I've read sixty-odd essays linking Thoreau and Emerson to more modern authors. Sounds grueling, but I probably enjoyed those well-written and thoughtful short essays more than anything I've graded all year. They were thinking, and it showed in the writing. They were learning, and it showed in the thinking.

Darn, my kids are smart.

I'm going to miss them come May, when they get ready to travel down the deck to Wayne's World.


{PS: I know you lurk. You've given yourselves away the last week or so. Go ahead and admit you've enjoyed transcendentalism just a little bit. Leave me a comment telling me what you got out of the unit. The best comment (or comments) just might be worth bonus points or a homework pass. Oh, and by the way, I say you're smart even when you're not listening.}