Monday, November 17, 2008

A New Release Date

For Fall Into Me. Now you'll be able to get your Troy Lee-fix three weeks earlier, on January 6 instead of January 27.

Details to come on pre-release contests, fun stuff, and a weekly free read.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Central Song: Chris & Ruthie

Working on edits for Facing It and I end up looping the soundtrack while I work.

This is the central song for Chris & Ruthie:

The lyrics are so perfect for their relationship (snipping):

You could've bowed out gracefully
But you didn't
You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone
But you wouldn't
I drive myself crazy
Tryin' to stay out of my own way
The messes that I make
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It's amazing to me

Icome around all broken down and
Crowded out
And you're comfort
Sometimes the place I go
Is so deep and dark and desperate

Sometimes I swear, I don't know if
I'm comin' or goin'
But you always say something
Without even knowin'
That I'm hangin' on to your words
With all of my might and it's alright
Yeah, I'm all right for one more night

Every day you save my life

Sunday Not-Check-In

I have no new words. I have many, many pages of Chris's book edited, but many, many more to go, too.

I also have nine more essays to grade tonight and there are still eight senior research papers sitting untouched here.

And . . . I think my habitual neglect of my oral health in favor of my children's (read: they go to the dentist on a regular basis; I don't because even with insurance I can only afford so much $$$ to go into Dr. W's pocket) is about to bite me (no pun intended). Why can't this stuff happen at a convenient time?!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Hard Stuff

Remember Mork and Mindy, how when they finally had a child, he was in his fifties or so? I think the idea was he would actually get younger as he got older.

Let me explain why it doesn't really work that way: because as difficult as taking care of a baby or toddler can be, as sleep-deprived or patience-tested you get, it's nothing to the challenges involved in the tween and teen years.

Monster #1 has been on a teen tear this week, which I'm not going to share here. But I will tell you about Monster #2's heartbreak.

Both Monsters are involved in 4-H, and this year was #2's first foray into DPA (District Project Achievement). At the county level, he won first place in his area, which meant he got to present his project and compete at the district level, which was today. He's worked incredibly hard to prepare and was very excited about competing. His visual aids were good, his speech was good, he was prepared, his confidence was up. He did well in competition.

His competitors did well also. I told the DH as we were leaving for lunch, before the awards ceremony, that I wasn't sure if he'd place. We'd talked to him about it over the past few days, and I thought we were good.

Well . . .

He didn't place, and we weren't good. The kids were seated on the gym floor and the adults were in the stands. Once it hit him that he didn't place, my baby, my heart, was sitting with his head bowed and even from a distance, I could tell he was crying quietly.

In my writing career, I've been rejected more times than I really want to count (it's over a hundred, okay?). I've had harsh rejections and harsher reviews. In my teaching career, I've had parents bash me, students make some really harsh comments about my teaching while I was teaching, and suffered through one really wickedly bad job interview. I can handle getting knocked down. I simply get back up.

Watching my Monster struggle with getting knocked down when he'd worked hard, tried his best and (in his head) failed? I'd take a hundred more rejections to spare him that. At the same time, while I was watching him (and tearing up as well because I couldn't do anything to comfort him), I knew what I was seeing was one of those darned hated-yet-valuable life lessons: sometimes we try our best and don't make the cut. Then we have a choice: keep trying or give up. Monster #2's already making plans for next year, so he just might be his mama's son. I realize, too, that this is the first of several knock-downs I'll have to watch him experience as he grows older. I'm glad to see he can pick himself up and dust himself off and get back in the game*.

One bright spot: After I wiped my own eyes, I looked down to find Monster #1, who was serving his first day as a teen leader with our county 4-H group, kneeling beside his brother, arm around his shoulder and offering support and comfort. So even the sometimes-so-moody-I-want-to-kill-him Monster has potential.

I think I'll keep them, even if we are embarking on some of the really hard stuff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Tidbit

The diner wasn’t difficult to find and wasn’t far from the department, either. Within walking distance. Frowning, Madeline parked in the alley beside the historic brick building. Why hadn’t Calvert sent her on foot?
She found the answer inside as the bubbly fresh-out-of-high-school cashier loaded take-out plate after take-out plate in two large cardboard boxes. An unwilling spurt of humor tugged at Madeline’s lips. At least Calvert hadn’t been a big enough ass to send her after this on foot.
Or maybe it simply hadn’t occurred to him.
She juggled one of the awkward boxes into her arms and glared at the second. “I’ll be back for that one.”
Trying to keep her hands from slipping off, she shoved the door open with one hip and stepped onto the sidewalk. The damn carton was heavier than it looked, and it was further to the car than she’d like. Plus, she’d locked the unit. Her keys were in her pocket; she’d have to set the box down to dig them out.
“Hey, let me help you with that.” A smooth drawl filled her ears seconds before strong hands lifted the box easily from her precarious hold.
“Thanks.” She rubbed her tingling palms down her hips before tugging the keys from her pocket. She looked up at her rescuer. He was tall, his body tight with the muscles that came from good old-fashioned hard work, the box balanced easily on one hip. Sunlight glinted off sandy-blond hair, lightened here and there by long hours outside. A denim jacket covered an untucked T-shirt worn over faded blue jeans, a hole worn in one pocket, and scuffed work boots.
Standard farmer attire.
Too bad she’d sworn off farmboys long ago. This one was cute, with a great smile and the prettiest pale green eyes she’d ever seen, glowing in a tanned face, thin lines spreading out beneath long lashes.
He was checking her out, too, his sea-colored gaze roaming from her hair, to her face, over her body and back up to her eyes. He grinned, white teeth flashing against his golden skin. “You’re new here.”
New? Madeline swallowed a laugh. If he only knew. She wasn’t going to explain her convoluted past to a man she’d probably never see again, though. She pointed toward the police car. “I’m parked over here.”
He settled the box on the stainless steel back seat and straightened. “Is that all?”
She wavered for a half second. “Actually, there’s one more, if you don’t mind…”
“I don’t.” The great smile lit his face again. “Or I wouldn’t have asked.” He tucked his hands in his pockets as they walked back to the diner. “Good thing I decided to call in a lunch order today, huh?”
She reached for the door and held it. “What do you mean?”
“Might have missed meeting you.”
A laugh bubbled in her throat, and she smothered it. The last thing she wanted was a man in her life, and if she was in the market for one, it would be the kind she’d always dated: smooth, polished, interested in sex and no strings.
Not the farmer-type she’d grown up with.
Not even one with a killer body and drop-dead eyes.
He hefted the second box with the same ease and economy of movement. Outside at the car, he tilted his chin toward it. “So you’re with the sheriff’s department.”
He tucked his thumbs in his back pockets, the line of his body relaxed. “Maybe I’ll see you around then.”
Not likely, but she smiled anyway. “Maybe.”
He nodded. “You have a good day, now.”Slipping behind the wheel, she watched him amble toward the diner. My, my, he had a nice ass, and the old jeans highlighted it to perfection. Shaking off the purely feminine musings, she shifted into gear and drove back to the station. Any pleasant feelings engendered by the interlude with the good-looking farmer sputtered out as soon as she returned to the sheriff’s department.


I have a secret.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This is why I feel like I'm treading water in the classroom many days lately. The following is a quote from a New York Magazine article {emphasis is mine}:

"But the suggestion that gets the biggest laugh in the office is from Stier’s 12-year-old son, who says, 'So maybe you have to turn all the books into movies so nobody has to waste their time.'"

Read some Leu on the new principles of literacy, couple it with a view of reading like the above, and you'd see why I worry.

Why Everyone I Know . . .

. . . and buy gifts for is getting a book for Christmas:

I will also buy them from Leigh at The Bookstore. Will it cost a little more? Sure. But I like to keep my dollars local if I can.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And Now . . .

You will notice yet another poll, one dealing with a holiday read in the works.

Just Another Manic Monday

My siblings and me with my parents at my mom's 65th birthday party. I love how the Christmas lights on the tree make my brother look like he has devil horns. My sisters will, of course, get the wonderfulness of that image, considering he has Daddy's bald head.

I'm caught up on grading! Whoo! Well, at least until I get 35+ portfolio proof essays from the juniors tomorrow, plus freshman rough drafts of the same assignment. And on Wednesday? Fifteen senior project research papers, each in the ten-page range. Big junior essays on the American Dream in Modern and Post-Modern American Literature due Friday. Midterm is a week from tomorrow, so I have to stay on top of this.

Did I mention my edits on Facing It are due in ten days?

On a lighter note, I've posted a poll. My 20th high school reunion is on the 28th and I'm trying to decide if I want to go or not. I thought I'd give you the option to weigh in on my decision.

Oh, shoot! I just remembered after our "how we should be evaluated" chat today, I promised the juniors a rubric tomorrow. Have I typed said rubric? Um, no. Well, guess what I'm off to do . . .?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Check-In

Wow, I didn't mean to go a whole week without posting. It's been a crazy week. I keep thinking things will slow down, but somehow they don't. The good news is that it's only two weeks or so until Thanksgiving break. I need that (and we usually get paid early -- I really need that).

I've not made major progress this week, unless you count the twelve pages I wrote for grad school, but I have my first round of edits on Facing It to work on now (I'm 11 pages into 266) plus Fall Into Me is through final line edits. Whoo!

Normally, I don't share a lot about my works in progress, for a variety of reasons. However, at Esther's request, I had planned to talk some about each project this week, but never got around to it. So I'll share some tidbits with the word count meters tonight, okay?


Not much progress this week on the book involving a St. Augustine homicide detective and a team of paranormal investigators, including a psychic kindergarten teacher whose life is turned upside down by the dark force providing her otherworldly information. (Hey, Carol told me to try writing something different to jumpstart my brain!)
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,001 / 90,000


Um, not as much progress as I'd have liked. This is a Chandler County (i.e., Hearts of the South) book, but the protagonist is an outsider who's recently joined the sheriff's department. The former GBI agent delves into a missing-persons case while his marriage deteriorates around him.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,242 / 90,000

The Marriage Arrangment (although I'm thinking of retitling it Deeper Into You or With Each Breath)

This is Vince's book (Do I hear Bree going Eeeee?), the story of the business-arrangement-like marraige he makes with an old friend, only to find himself falling into love and out of control.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
538 / 60,000

Normally, I don't post WIP excerpts, but here's a brief, rough-draft, very unedited taste of Vince and his heroine:

“Marry me.”
Vince Falconetti set his orange juice aside, slanted the laptop away and granted Markie Ransome his undivided attention. “Pardon?”
Sunlight glinting off her blonde curls, she leaned back in the chair cater-corner to his and peeled the wrapper away from her poppy seed muffin. A touch of whimsy colored her smile. “You should marry me.”
He stretched out his legs, adopting a lounging posture, and let his gaze trail over her. He liked having her at his breakfast table, liked her easy friendship and teasing sense of humor. Relaxing, waiting for the punch line, he rested his elbow on the arm of his chair and rubbed his forefinger over his mouth. “And why is that?”
“Because we’re perfect for one another.” She broke off a morsel of muffin and popped it in her mouth. “And face it, Vince, you’re not getting any younger.”
“Thanks a lot.” He laughed and reached for his juice. His gaze strayed to the laptop screen. Even with the dive the market had taken the previous day, Falcon Security was up four points and—
“I’m serious.”
He stared, points and juice and everything else mundane forgotten. “You think we should get married.”
“I do. No pun intended.” She gazed at him, her pure blue eyes serene and steady.
Frowning, he allowed several moments to pass. He opened his mouth, closed it again, shook his head. “Explain.”
She didn’t react to his curt command with flustered dismay, not that he’d expected her to. With a lithe stretch, she set her muffin atop her plate and straightened. She eyed him with an earnest expression. “Your grandfather wants to see you settled. You said yourself, after Lee was born, you wouldn’t mind having a child. I already serve your hostess role. You need a wife who doesn’t need your money, and I don’t. I need a husband who won’t be threatened by my dedication to my business, and you won’t. We’re friends, and we enjoy each other’s company. Why shouldn’t we get married?”
He watched her, struck more by what she’d left unsaid than the reasons she’d trotted out. As arguments went, it wasn’t bad. Wonder if she’d worked out that whole “having a child” bit and what that actually entailed? An image flashed in his mind, her tall, slender body beneath his, fingers pressing into his back, the two of them joined in the most intimate of embraces. He narrowed his eyes. “I’m not interested in artificial insemination.”
Her shapely brows lifted, a slightly mocking light entering her eyes. “Neither am I.”
He tilted his head. “So you’re proposing a marriage in all aspects of the word?”
“I won’t lose myself in you.” Her voice hardened for a moment, then the chilly stoniness of the words slipped away under another winsome smile. “I was thinking friends, with marital benefits and a wedding ring. I want a child, Vince, but I’m not interested in settling for just any man. I want someone who values what I do, but won’t expect me to subjugate my life to his, to become his arm candy when he feels like it.”Like her mother. The unspoken words trembled between them, but he heard them nonetheless.

I will make every attempt to be around more this week. Maybe things will settle down a little around here! (Although, somehow, I doubt it.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Check-In

H-ey! I'm no longer at zero on all three of my WIPs!

Here's Gone:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,600 / 90,000

And Unseen:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,001 / 90,000

Okay, so 1% or so on each book isn't fabulous, but it's better than zero. The goal is 500 words per day per book (or 1K total per day). We'll see where I am next week . . .