how to derail your writing plans for the day

April 10, 2009 | 7 Comments

Today, a step-by-step guide:

  1. Get up at the crack of dawn. Make strong coffee. Stay in your jammies–who’s gonna know? Set a lofty goal for your page count. Ten pages of your novel, at least.

    big plans for the day
    big plans for the day
  2. Innocently check e-mail queue to make sure the world didn’t come to an end overnight.
  3. Discover that, yes, the world did come to an end overnight. Your professional world, anyway. Your book, which is a finalist for a big-ass prestigious award–the Queen of all Knicknacks–has not been received for judging at the Central Judging Office of the Universe.
  4. Remember the unbending strictness of this rule. If books are not received by the cut-off deadline, you will be immediately disqualified. This has happened, people. It’s happened to the best romance writer on the planet. Her contest entry books were held up by trolls at the US/Canada border one year and arrived a bit late and she was DQ-ed and sucked forever into the Tubes of Obscurity. Shudder to imagine the same fate for yourself.
  5. Suffer deep executive assistant envy of your friends who have them. If you had an executive assistant, you would simply push a button on the intercom and say, “Mr. Matsura, would you please send Five Copies of my Finalist Book to the Central Judging Office of the Universe to arrive before 5pm Central?” And he would adjust his loin cloth and say, “Yes, ma’am, right away ma’am” and you would start scribbling madly, knocking out those pages.
  6. Shake off fantasy, track the shipment you expedited twelve days ago and discover it has been labeled “Exception” which is their way of saying, “My bad. Your books are lost, honey.”
  7. Let coffee get cold, decide to go to Proper Office to get more Author Copies to re-send, overnight, at Enormous Financial Expense. Slog up the driveway to Proper Office in your jammies and gardening clogs, praying the neighbors don’t see.
  8. Cheerily greet Mr. Dow who gives you a wave on the way to get his paper. Tell yourself he already thinks you’re an unemployed alcoholic anyway, so this won’t change anything.
  9. Discover that there is not a single author copy left of the book in question, except the versions in Chinese, Latvian, Urdu and Manga.
  10. See if you can figure out a way to pin this fiasco on a man, because somehow it has to be the husband’s fault. Oh! I know! He raided your supply of author copies to give out at a charity golf tournament. It’s too perfect. Better than a smoking gun.
  11. Call local bookstore which has good news! They have completely sold out of that title! 100% sell-through, baby!
  12. Call adorable daughter. Learn that she is suffering from the plague and consigned to bed and besides, her local bookstore only has three copies anyway. Call indulgent mother. Learn that she is gone to a Red Hat Meeting and besides, her bookstore is fresh out of copies, too.
  13. Sheepishly e-mail publisher and ask if they can send books. Remember publisher is in Canada and fear that Border Trolls will hold up the shipment. Listen to Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” with new appreciation for the lyrics.
  14. As a back-up plan, log into Big Giant Online Lollapolloza Bookstore and order 5 copies to be sent overnight, at Enormous Personal Expense. Feel nervous about the Fine Print.
  15. Consider calling girlfriends in Houston to ask them to round up books and take them to the HQ of the Biggest Writers’ Organization in the Universe (BWOU). Realize girlfriends have better things to do with their time.
  16. Discover that the BWOU employs a compassionate person who wants to help. Accept her offer to pick up books at a local bookstore. Dub her your NBF (New Best Friend). Call local bookstore and be told they don’t accept payment over the phone. Overnight check + chocolate to NBF.
  17. Realize the Hq of the BWOU will soon receive 20 or 25 copies of Finalist Book.
  18. Dare to look at clock. Remember company is coming for dinner. You are still in your jammies and there is no food. Regard blank pages in horror.
  19. Clonk head on desk.
  20. Repeat as necessary.

cookie tiiiime

April 08, 2009 | 9 Comments

“Think what a better world it would be if we all–the whole world–had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.” —Robert Fulghum

"Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you." --Robert Fulghum
"Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you." --Robert Fulghum

I sort of made this recipe up, based on the typical toll house cookie recipe. Do yourself a favor and whip up a batch today.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cup self-rising flour (maybe more if the dough seems too wet)
  • 3/4 cup oat bran or rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts (coarsely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries or craisins

Cream butter and shortening together with sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat. Add flour and oats, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F until they just start to brown around the edges.

Also would you please check out the flowers in the photo? My bulbs are kicking ass this year.

Shoot. The theme for April is supposed to be mothers and daughters. I’m totally blanking on how to tie this post into the theme. My mother’s favorite cookie recipe was always “rip into that tube of Oreos and I’ll pour the milk.”

Hey! Tell us about your mom’s favorite cookie recipe in the Comments section!

Okay, now I’m smitten.

April 07, 2009 | Leave a comment

I haven’t been able to pick a favorite on American Idol lately. They’re all good. Tonight I’m ready to declare for Adam Lambert. Don’t take my word for it. Watch the performance (“Mad World”). Even Mr. Happy gave him a standing O!


April 07, 2009 | 2 Comments

procrastinating and finding new authors to read with this “Literature map”

April 06, 2009 | 1 Comment

OMG, Peeps! Thanks to Lynne for the heads up!

Bigger hips/More money

April 05, 2009 | 3 Comments

In keeping with this month’s mother/daughter theme….The girls over at the Wedding Planners blog had me as their guest one day. Here’s what I had to say….

I’m not quite sure how to say this, so I’ll be blunt. Does anybody actually dream about being mother of the bride?

Come on.
Nearly every woman I know has dreamed of being a bride. But the bride’s mother? That’s kind of like getting stuck with Midge (the sidekick) while playing Barbies. It’s also sure to mess with your denial about being old enough to actually have a daughter who’s getting married. A new generation has come along, and here you thought you were the young generation. You didn’t even notice the runner behind you, reaching out to pass you the baton.

If you’re like me, the mother of an adored and indulged girl, you remember every single minute. You remember what her toddler voice sounded like when she laughed. You remember the little-girl smell of her, and dresses that were too expensive but you bought them anyway because you just had to see her in that adorable smocked pinafore. You remember the feel of her tiny–usually sticky–hand in yours as you took her into unfamiliar situations: A swimming pool. Kindergarten. The IMAX. A petting zoo. Her first piano recital. The dentist. You remember the victory dance she did to celebrate accomplishments from winning a race in a swim meet to learning cursive writing. You remember laughing so hard your sides ache, and holding her when she cried, willing to trade your soul to keep her from hurting. You remember how much she loved goodnight kisses, how much she hated black olives, and how very sure she was that you would always be the center of her world.

And then, before you know it, and this poised and accomplished young woman appears–seemingly out of nowhere–with a young man at her side. And not just any young man. The young man. Prince Charming. The forever guy. They have Big News. They can’t wait to tell you. Turns out Prince Charming has even been conspiring with your husband, arranging the surprise proposal, the whirlwind romantic weekend, start of plans that are about to consume you for the next twelve months.

All right, so you’re not the center of her world anymore. You’re the Mother of the Bride. Even the phrase itself makes you sound old. But here’s a secret–this is way too much fun. As Mother of the Bride (in e-mail, I’ve already shortened it to MOB), you get to be like the bride’s best friend, except with bigger hips and more money. You get to go dress shopping, knowing it’s not you who will have to fit into that teensy boned bodice. You kick back, sip your latte and page through style magazines while your daughter agonizes over every little decision. The baton has been passed. And that’s not a bad thing.

Susan’s first book was published by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Warner (Grand Central) and Mira Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers’ conferences, including stints with the literary institution Field’s End and the legendary Maui Writers Conference. Her novel The Charm School was voted one of RWA’s Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of three RITA awards for Lakeside Cottage, Lord of the Night and The Mistress, and is often a finalist for the prestigious award. Her books appear regularly on numerous “Best Of” and bestselling lists.

Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Thanks to the Wedding Planners for the guest blog!

April 05, 2009 | 1 Comment

took a memory test, scored 100% for recognition, 83% of when I saw it

grumpy old men

April 04, 2009 | 1 Comment

totally grumpy
totally grumpy

Today’s post is in honor of my wonderful DAD! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! If you click the “favorites” button I set up for you, maybe you even found my blog! Love you!

On to the post…Bad guys come in all shapes and sizes–but on TV, not so much. Not on the shows I watch (or used to watch…my faves always get canceled.  On TV, there’s a preponderence of old scary white guys, have you ever noticed that? There’s the old-scary-white-guy on Prison Break , the old-scary-white-guy on Heroes and Penny’s father Charles on Lost. And Donald Sutherland on the late, great Dirty Sexy Money. It’s not just canceled shows. The new ones feature–wait for it–old scary white guys too, like on NBC’s “Kings.”

Even when you think you’ve spotted the bad guy, you’re probably wrong unless you found the old, white scary guy. 

When I needed a villain for The Summer Hideaway, I defiantly made her a woman named Polly. So there. 🙂

April 04, 2009 | Leave a comment

Finally, a use for Facebook. Here is the Aeneid. Now THIS is a classic: