My first novel!
A Soldier’s Embrace is a sweet, yet exciting story. The characters are captivating and the settings are perfect. The dialogue between the characters is well written and realistic. Ms. Romero has written a great historical romance.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Where authors and readers come together!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blocked anyone?

I'm blocked again. Most writers will have trouble with writer's block at some point in their lives. The possible reasons for writer's block are myriad: fear, anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project…almost anything, it seems, can cause that particular feeling of fear and frustration. Since my dad passed away, I just don't have the writing bug like I used to, so I begin to hunt around for ways to get the words flowing again. I found that fortunately there are as many ways to deal with writer's block as there are causes.

Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writer's block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away. W Sometimes I just sit and stare at the wall. Of course, pen in hand, just in case. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books.

Writer's block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.

One moment the other day I started wondering why I'm writing. I started going back over story ideas and asked myself if I still enjoyed it. I knew the answer was a resounding yes, so now I need to just give myself time and the words will come. I read that If we continue to touch base with the joy you first felt in writing, it will sustain you, not only through your current block, but through whatever the future holds.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Piddler on the Floor

It's been a long absence from writing. Since daddy died, I just haven't had it in me to write, daydream or even read. My husband has been worried about me, constantly asking me if I'm okay. Plus the holidays add an extra sting into the mix, like pouring lemon juice on a festering wound.

Dad wouldn't want me crying, or gazing off for hours out the bedroom window. He'd want me to live, laugh and write. He'd want me to enjoy life to the fullest. And so I'm trying. To be honest, some days I'm not trying very hard.

And then fate stepped in to help me along. A friends Lab had puppies and Kyle decided we needed one.

It took me years to get over the lost of our last dog, but since January of this year, I started picking up interested in having a dog again. Not a puppy, I told Kyle. I want a dog from a shelter who needs a home. I'm not sure it was a serious request, neither did Kyle and so months went by and still no dog. Our life is easy and selfish with just us. We can leave on vacation at any time and not worry about an animal being left behind. But when a heart is hurting, what better way to distract the pain than having someone or something to care for.

Enter Molly.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving my husband Kyle and I drove to La Canada and picked out a sweet 7 week old black lab puppy. We purchased a large crate, several hundred dollars in chew toys, squeaky toys, collars, leases, and other dog accessories.

When we bought her, the family had a ping pong table up in the back yard with a family tournament going on. My father loved ping pong. We played it like some father's play catch with their kids.

"See," my husband says with a smile on his face. "This was meant to be!"

The drive home, she cried, obviously nervous for being away from her parents and litter mates. When we got her home and realized how much we had gotten ourselves into, I think we both had buyers remorse. The idea of my father placing the dog in our lives faded away.

Every hour she needed to go out. Of course, it's cold outside, the ground littered with wet leaves no one, man or beast wanted to leave the house. As we stood out on the grass at 2:00 in the morning, our breath billowing out in white clouds with every exhale, our bodies shivering as we waited for this adorable black pup to relieve its self- we thought, crap, what have we done.

But I've had out of control puppies before. Barkers, whiners, chewers and so far she's none of those. Keep in mind that she's only 8 weeks old. She's learning to come when we call her, to sit and fetch her favorite toy, a Santa Monkey. So far she fits into our life style nicely. She sleeps alot and likes to watch TV. Dog Whisper and the Ipad commercial seems to be her favorite, though her tail wags at the Geico commerical with the woodchucks.

Despite the change in our lives, she gives so much love it warms my heart. With that said, how could she not be a gift from my dad?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodbye Poops!

It's been a month to date that my father passed away. I might be bias, but he was the greatest man ever! I called him Poops. My nick name for him was a long time running joke. I misspelled Pops on a birthday card and the name just stuck. How can he gone?

Though my mother is alive, I feel like an orphan. Why is lossing your father so devistating? I still at times feel numb, angry, disbelief but most of all just sad. Sometimes I feel all those emotions at once.

If you read back on this blog, I wrote about the adventures that he and my mom had. The time they went to the grocery store and my blind mother wondered off and my father left without her-then came back a moment later when he got in the car and realized she was missing-only because it was quiet.

And then there was the time they reported the car stolen and for days thought the worst of humanity-how could someone take their car? It took days for them to realize they had forgotten that they parked the car in a different space at their condo unit. When my father found it, he called me laughing, leaving a classic message on my machine, "if you want to hear the funnest story ever, call me."

And then there was the time I was to meet them for my birthday dinner. We both sat in the main room, eight tables from each other not realizing the other was there. I sat there for over an hour waiting, worrying. It wasn't until I heard my mother telling the waitress they were waiting for their daughter who was over an hour late that we found each other. The three of us felt so dumb. One, that we never got up to look around and two, that we all filled up on bread!

My God we're an observant bunch!

To be honest, i thought I'd be prepared for his death, at least a little bit. I wasn't.

I miss him so. My father was my greatest fan and supporter, no matter what it was. He kept score at my soft ball games, clapped with pride at my dance recital and watched with enthusiasm only a parent could have at all the shows I put on in the back yard. My world feels empty without his laughter, his eternal optimism and ever gratefulness. He was such a quiet, gentle man, who smiled through the pain of gout, and frustration of diabetes and the loss of his hearing. If I'm broken hearted, how must my mother feel, dealing now with the loss of a man who slept beside her for 65 years.
I'm homesick for a time I can't go back to, for a person I can no longer call mine. I want to lash out, scream in anger that the world continues on, not caring in the least that a wonderful, kind, generous gentleman like my father is gone. I guess that's part of the grieving.

I pray I never forget the sound of his voice, the feel of my hand in his, or the tightness of his embrace the last time we hugged.

I love you, Poops. I know one thing, if I hadn't have been your daughter, I would have wanted you as a friend. Thank you for everything!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is it that time already?

Here it is already, the last week of June. Wow. I'm still telling people Happy New Year. How is it the days go by so fast? My, how time flies!

I've slowed down on my writing, not from lack of trying either. I just sit here staring at the computer screen. Maybe my mind is constipated. I'm 31,000 words into it and have a plot line, though it's not totally solid yet. I'm not worried about that though. This is a sequel, so the characters already know who they are and what they want. If I step out of line and write something they don't like, I hear about it.

Maybe they're on vacation, tanning themselves somewhere on the sunny beaches of Hawaii sipping some fruity drink. Huh. Why didn't they invite me?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Confessions from a bathroom stall

I've never understood why people talk on the phone while they're peeing. Or doing the other. Aren't some times in your life in need of a little get away "me" time? Anyway, the bathroom was tiny and over lit with only one stall. As I head for it, my arm stretched out to push back the stall door, I hear someone talking and realize the stall is occupied. Okay. Fine. I can hold it.

As I'm standing there, I look around at the unpainted tile in the ceiling, trying not to look at the set of pigeon-toed black pumps pointing toward me. I instead study the tiny flecks of yellow paint flicked carelessly on the ancient ceiling fan this quiet whisper comes from the stall.

"Carol, are you sure he was dead?"

I freeze staring slack jawed at the door. The person in the stall begins to move around, hunting for toilet paper before she adds, "Calm down, you're freaking me out."

I wanted to blurt out-"You're freaked out?"

A normal person would leave, right? A clear minded individual would find another bathroom. Not me! I can't, I gotta go. I'm already doing the pee pee dance. I have the bladder the size of a pea. No, make that several pees, all about fifteen minutes apart. I spend my life excusing myself to the bathroom. TMI? Sorry, but I digress.

"It's no big deal..." I didn't catch the rest of what she said because she flushed. I couldn't believe it, at a moment like that, she flushes! Anyway, she pushes open the door open with a shove, still clutching the phone.

I lowered my eyes and rushed in, angry at myself that I didn't get a look at her. Even if I did get a look, what was I going to do? I had a flash of myself at the police deptartment giving a statement. "yeah, well, I was waiting to urinate and this woman in the stall I was waiting for said..."
I hear her wash her hands and the conversation turns more bizarre. "Did the clown ever show up?"

What the hell do these people do? With that, the woman walks out, still jabbering away and I'm left standing there in the bathroom stall slack jawed and did the clown ever show up?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Random Musings by an Alien experiment

Have you ever just sat and stared? Okay, I've done that, we've all done that. I mean really, really veg out. Slack jawed, dry eyed vegetative state. I've been doing it all month. I start to do something then I stop and stare. I've started to write this blog about five times, the only good thing about that is I have a bunch of saved drafts that I don't even remember writing.

I don't know what I'm staring at. It might be out the window, at the computer, at the t.v. It's really bad when it happens at work. I started folding laundry last week, the pile is still half done on my couch. I was folding a pair of socks and something drew my site out the window. I stared for so long my left leg went numb.

My sensitive husband sees me vegging out and pokes me. "hey, I'm going to the store." When I didn't answer, he poked me again. "Okay?"

I poked him back. "Okay."

He came back with several bags of groceries and I was still standing in the kitchen, the rest of the unfolded laundry strewn around me. I don't think he even noticed. He's thinks I'm odd anyway.

My question is, where do I go during that time? Maybe I'm being abducted and brought aboard the mother ship and random experiments are tested on me. Maybe they're feeding me fattening foods and that's why I'm gaining weight! Yeah, that's it, that's gotta be the reason! Aliens are making me fat.

"Let's see what happens when we make the earthling consume mass quantities of Carbonated caramelized sugar water within a ten second period of time."

I'll tell ya little green dude, I'll belch, that's what!

Okay, enough vegging out. It's Saturday night almost Sunday morning and I need to get back to chapter eight!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When characters go bad...

Okay, this is weird. I want to know how many writers have had this happen.

I'm working on chapter three of my sequel. Well, actually finishing up chapter two. Like the Orca at Sea world, my main male character is not behaving. He's been pissed off in every scene, forcing me into rewrites. It's odd. I'm the fricken writer and yet he's dictating how I write him. So, last night I was finishing up a scene where he's doped up on Laudanum and whiskey and he announces in front of his wife's family that he doesn't want to be married. WTH? I rewrote it and the same thing came out.

So, I began doing an exercise from a writing book where you start interviewing your character. It's suppose to help you get to know them a little better. So, I start off interviewing him for his hopes and dreams and he tells me that he wants to go back to fort Laramie and leave his wife either here or with Hazel Henderson back in Cheyenne. I was floored.

First off I didn't even know Hazel lived in Cheyenne. I've never established her residence, but he has. Second, I tell her he can't leave her that they're married now. He retorts by telling me that I should know he never wanted to to get married, he's said that all along and now he's saddled with his second wife when he never wanted the first one. He goes on to tell me he married out of duty and now he wants out. And do it quickly before she gets pregnant. So, I asked him if he loves her. He says yes, but and when he's around her he can't think right. And then get this crap. He doesn't feel a man is a man when their heads are all muddled with thoughts of love, that his beautiful wife strips him of his power, of his anger, that he doesn't feel like himself anymore.

By this time I'm having a full on convo with the guy. I tell him that she's going to be hurt if you just up and leave. The bastard shrugged. He says he doesn't want children and she's trying to get pregnant. Plus, he's hiding some secret that if she knew, she would have never married him in the first place. What secret? I never gave you a secret!

Who does this guy think he is?

Well, I have to go back now and try to figure out what the hell is his problem so I can move onto my outline.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good Golly Molly

I broke up my day of researching sutures and surgery/medicine from post Civil War era to go to a baby shower this afternoon. I was so into my quest to find information about ether and the use of Chloroform that I worked past the time I was nearly due to leave. As always, I hadn't bought the gift yet or the card. Still thinking of my coming scene in chapter two, I rushed to the store to pick up a card and some wrapping. I buy a cute card and decide on gift cards to a baby store.

I don't know about you, but I can never write anything worthwhile on a card. Some people write these great touching words that bring a tear to ones eye. Not me. Here I am a writer but put a card in front of me and I suddenly can't spell or remember the persons name I'm writing to. I think secretly people all long to come up with a saying on a card that is so terrific that the present is forgotten, the card passed around so other's could read the brilliance of your words.

Case in point. Here I am, already late, sitting in my car outside the store, pen in hand, gift wrapped and pen poised. I blank. Come on, come on, I tap the pen against my steering wheel. Come on, just write something! Anything!

Molly, I write...

Okay, got her name down, spelled correctly, looks nice as well. Okay, she's having a baby, say something about the baby. So, what do I write? what wonderful, inspired sweet, touching thing could I come up with?

Hope she's beautiful. What?! I wrote that on her fricken baby shower card? I stare at it. I can't believe I wrote that. Hope she's beautiful? I might as well have written "hope she's not butt ugly." "Hope she doesn't make people gag." "Hope she doesn't look like your husband."

I'm so late I contemplate just leaving it and hope my friend has a sense of humor. Not about her baby she won't, not bloody likely. With a big sigh, I toss it onto my passenger seat and head back inside for another card. I'm still thinking about how to rework my scene as I run back out to my car again.

This time I play it safe. I merely write her name at the top, date it and sign my name at the bottom. I stick it in the envelope, seal it and write her name on the card, done. If I can drive 80 on the freeway I won't be too terribly late.
As I'm driving there, the lime green envelope next to me catches my eye. I look at the card addressed to Katy. Katy? Who the hell is Katy? Damn it! I wrote my characters name on the damn card.

Sigh. I'm not buying another card, not at three or four dollars a pop. Maybe she won't notice. Going through so many presents and cards, she'll just pick mine up and open it without realize the name on the card isn't hers. Not even close.

I worry about it through the entire drive, coming up with elaborate scenarios to explain away the wrong name if asked. As it turned out. No one asked, I spend the whole afternoon way in the back talking with friends. When she got to my gift, she opens the card, reads it and then very loudly thanked "Judy" for the gift.

Jeesh. Doesn't she know my name is Julie?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I love it when friends stop by to chat

Sunday, April 18, 2010
An Interview With Julie Church-Romero--By Kurt Chambers

Today I would like to introduce to you a very good friend of mine, Julie Church-Romero. I met Julie in The Young Adult Novel Workshop some years ago where she was an much loved member of our little family of critics. Now she has bloomed into a published author, and I'm so glad to be able to show her off to the world. Hey, look everyone, it's Julie! *points* haha!!

Me: Hi Julie, we are so humbled to have you visit our blog this week. Please make yourself at home while I fire some random questions at you. I with try to be gentle, I promise. *rubs hands*

I know you come from a family of writers, but who would you say was your biggest inspiration in the writing field?

Julie: I took an online class through Writers Digest and had an instructor, Author Bonnie Hearn Hill who was very complimentary toward my writing. I think she was the first real writer that wasn’t family that made me feel maybe I really could get published!

Me: You've had a stab at writing YA with Judy, and you're published in romance, but which genre would be your first choice if you could choose any genre to be published in?

Julie: I really like historical romance or historical fiction. That’s what I feel most at home with writing. I love my YA novel and I haven’t forgotten about Judy, the teenage super hero. She’s still in the wings waiting for me to fill in her plot holes. Maybe if I stick Judy back in time, I’d finally finish her.

Me: That's great! I often wondered what happened to her.

What do you like to read the most?

Julie: It kind of depends on my mood. Crime novels if I’ve had a bad day, romance if I’ve had a good day… I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels for a good laugh, Philippa Gregory for historic. And I love JA Jance’s Seattle Crime novels.

Me: If I made myself comfortable on your side of the bed, and reached over to your bedside cabinet, what book would I find?

Julie: I’m currently reading my friend Eva’s novel, Entirely Yours, as well as a biography on John Lennon and Janet Evanovich’s Finger Lickin' Fifteen.

Me: All us poor unpublished authors are dying to know what it feels like when you receive that first golden acceptance letter. Describe that moment for us and make us all

Julie: I love talking about this! It came by way of email, actually. I had just come home from Los Angeles from visiting my parents. I’ve dreamt of it for so long, I had to read the letter several times before it dawned on me A Soldier’s Embrace had been accepted for publication and I was being offered a contract. And then my husband and I ran through the house laughing and screaming, much to my neighbors' delight. When I received my welcome letter from Bluewood Publishing a couple of weeks later, I framed it and now have it hanging over my computer. I still get giddy when I read it.

Me: Now that you've made it as an author, what is your biggest fear?

Julie: Spiders. I hate them. Little, big, it doesn’t matter.

Me: You big

Julie: Second to that, I’d have to say I fear that second attempt at publication. You know, the whole “first novel a fluke” worry. I wrote a blog on it this week, actually.

Me: Have you got any advice for any up-and-coming authors?

Julie: Believe in yourself and in your writing, and don’t listen to the critic in your head. Just keep sending out your best work and the reward will follow. I’m also a big believer in critic groups. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from fellow writers like you who care enough to be honest and point out how flaws and plot problems drag your story down.

I have to say that I really want to stress the fact there comes a point where you have to stop editing your novel. It’s NEVER going to be perfect or possibly even finished in your eyes. I’m still wanting to change things and edit A Soldier’s Embrace and the book is published and in paperback! In one word - “LetItGo” Trust me, your editor will get frustrated with you if you keep taking it back to change things.

Me: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Julie: My dream is to have a large following of readers, to have my books in libraries and to be able to quit my 9-5 job and have my writing support me.

Me: Wouldn't that be nice! I'm totally with you on that one.

If you could invite any author (alive of dead) around to your house for tea, who would you invite and why?

Julie: Oh man, so many to choose from. Well, my brother Mike wasn’t an author. He was a producer for a small television station and a comedy writer for radio personalities. He passed away in 2000 from cancer, but I’d love to have him to tea. And toast. He loved buttered toast. It would be wonderful to have an afternoon to ask for his advice and to talk about our favorite episodes of Seinfeld. The Bubble Boy, The puffy pirate shirt, Shrinkage… Dr. Seuss would also be incredibly interesting. I hope the whole tea would be spoken in rhyme.

“Would you like tea with sugar or honey?"

“Oh yes of course, I think you’re so funny.”

I think Janet Evanovich would be a hoot as well. She just sounds like a really fun person.

Me: Awwww, what an awesome answer. Green Eggs And Ham was always my favourite.

Talking of favourites, here is my favourite question. I ask this in all my interviews. If you had one wish, what would it be? And you're not allowed to wish for more't ask me why, I don't make up the wishing rules, haha!!

Julie: World Peace is always good.

Me: *rolls eyes* It's not a Miss World

Julie: Man Kurt, I don’t know! To be honest, I think my wish is just to be a self sufficient writer; an incredibly wealthy self sufficient writer.

Me: Now is your chance to shine. Please tell us all about your awesome novel, A Soldier's Embrace, we are all dying to hear about it.

Julie: A Soldier’s Embrace is set in 1878, on the hostile prairie of the American West, centered in the budding city of Denver Colorado and the harsh plains of Wyoming. Gold rustling, stage robberies and an angry Sioux nation, make Cavalry Lieutenant Eric Ryan’s job difficult enough. Add saving a spoiled kidnapped debutante to the mix and it’s nearly impossible.

Kidnapped from a stage coach, Elizabeth Davenport escapes her gold thirsty captors with her virtue intact, only to find her heart stolen by the dashing Cavalry officer who rescues her. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with a soldier. Though separated by class, her heart can't forget him, nor can her body. When Elizabeth’s father, the President of Denver’s National Bank worries his bank and assay office is going to be robbed, he requests the assistance of the young lieutenant who saved his daughter's life. But Elizabeth’s jealous fiancĂ©, Warren, has other plans for Eric.

Me: Thank you SO much, Julie, for coming to visit us today, it was a real pleasure to share a little piece of your world. We all wish you every success in your writing career. You have worked so hard for this, I know from personal experience, and it's an absolute delight to see one of our YA members doing so well.

Please support our authors, everyone, and visit Julie's sites, join her blog, and more importantly, buy her wonderful book! Please feel free to copy this interview and post it in your blog if you are stuck for something to blog about, or at least give it a mention with a link to this article. It would be very much appreciated by Julie and me. And can I urge all you Tweeters out there to give this a mention to. Thank you so much.

You can find Julie here...


Book site:

Blog site:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If I were a Seven Dwarf, I think I'd be Grumpy

Arms crossed, impatient, short, hasn't shaved in a really long time because why bother, no one's going to notice anyway, not wealthy but he digs, digs, digs, digs, digs, digs, digs, digs, digs, digs,-digs the whole day through and pissed off that everyone around him is wasting his time. God, he sounds horrible, miserable to be around!

I think he's me. Or I'm him.

Maybe it's spring, or the fact my pants have gotten too tight, but I have no tolerance for anything anymore. The first word out of my mouth is usually "What!"

For years my sister in law has bought me Grumpy stuff and I always just laughed. I have grumpy slippers, a grumpy nightshirt that says "You woke me for this?!" I have a grumpy bumper sticker but never put it on my car because who the hell would put a grumpy bumper sticker on their car? I have a Grumpy picture frame, for what reason I'm not sure because I'm usually smiling for the camera, A grumpy hat, grumpy socks my parents bought me, a grumpy wrist watch, and grumpy shoe laces.

I think someone is trying to tell me something. So what if I'm grumpy? There are worse Dwarf's to be. I could very easily change Dwarf's and be Sneezy. I sneeze and sniffle more than I bitch or complain. Hey, I could be Gaspy, the Dwarf with Chronic Asthma. I could be Bitchy the lesser known Dwarf or Itchy the Dwarf who always wants you to scratch her back. "Not there, no higher, higher, a little to the side, more, more Yes! Yes! You got it!

Or Bloated, the Dwarf cousin who's always there, but no one talks about. I could be known for wonderful sayings that would look great on any shirt or poster like "Oh, God, when did these booties get so tight, or I have to loosen this damn belt before we gig for gold!"

How about Whiny or Horny? Or Stinky/Gassy, the Dwarf even Snow White abandons. That could have easily be made into a movie- Snow White, the lost years.

Did Walt ever think to give those guys a chance?
I think not.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Second book blues

I just read a blog written by Jennie Marsland, pointing out the dreaded fear we writers have, failure after success. Her words really hit home. She asked the question- could a first book success be nothing more than a fluke? As creators, most of us are private, introverted, afraid to open the doors to our hidden world of words. We write because we have to, but share it, have someone see it, read it, and god forbid, comment on it is scary.

Many of us are closet writers, and to be outed by success only makes us more fearful of the possible rejection to follow. At some point the rose must die, right? I just keep thinking of the hundreds of pages I need to fill-with thousands of words. How did I ever do it the first time?

If writing the first book is acquainted to giving birth, then the second novel is more like a breach birth. I'm writing a follow up to A Soldier's Embrace. I thought reliving the characters, the landscape, the history would be like coming home, and for most of it, it has been. But why then is the plotting seem so unsure and taken me far longer to come up with? My first book fell together. I've changed this plot outline for this second book, three times and as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to attack it again.

Eric and Elizabeth deserve my best-but what if I can't give it? A writer once said, or maybe it was a trucker who coined the phrase, "It's a long haul." Yep. You said it. Anyone else have this fear or any advice to over come the second book blues?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Holy bat crap!

What did I do to my hair? Why did I do this and why didn't someone stop me?

My husband was going to do a photo shoot for me for some publicity photos. For some dumb reason, I decided to color my hair, not the whole thing, just the pesky damn grays that seem to be taking over my head. I went to the store, bought a professional brand that looked harmless enough. Just a ten minute coloring. How bad could this be? The box looked like it would match my color, my unnatural color that is, but no! I get this dark red brown/purple thing going on.

I feel like I'm 17 again and life as I know it has come to a stand still. Oh god, I hate it! So much for the photos.

Sigh. Oh well. I guess it could have turned out green or worse, my hair could have fallen out. I think I'll be washing my hair every ten minutes now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Calgon, take me away!

Okay, I have a focusing problem. I admit it. I'm finally finished plotting out book two, the sequel to Soldier's Embrace. Now I need to start going through it to make sure it's all plausible and the ends tie up nice and neat. But seriously, I can't focus anymore. Do you know how long it took me to get to this point?

I sit at the key board and then finally when the monitor has faded to black screen from waiting so long I start twirling in my chair and thinking about chocolate and where I can get it. So I trudge down stairs and I start rummaging through cub boards to find the hidden chocolate. Once I have it, I head back up stairs to where the black monitor is waiting for me, but wait, did I do the dishes?

I pause. Yes. I did them this morning during my AM writers block. I start back upstairs again and notice from the corner of my eye that my husband knocked the pillows off the couch and they're on the floor. I can't have that! You'd think I'm a neat freak, but really, if it weren't for writers block, my house would never get cleaned.

So, I trudge downstairs and thrown them back on the couch and fold up the blanket that's laying on the floor. But wait, what's this beneath the blanket? One lone sock. One sad little sock, alone and homeless. I must find its mate. So I go to the laundry room and hunt through the laundry and in doing so, I find a fondue pot that my husband and I got for our wedding 13 years ago. We've never used it for it was one of three. Not that we ever used any of them but now, when I should be writing seems like the best time to bust out a machine I've never before found use for.

Something about opening this box reminds me my neighbor turned 60 several days ago. I bought her a plant and they weren't home to drop it off. What about now? Now is the perfect time to stop what I'm not suppose to be doing to deliver a plant that I should have delivered two days ago. So, off I go. I only stay an hour because I'm suppose to be writing and I really need to research St. Louis historical hotels. But, I'm still craving chocolate. So, before heading back up stairs, I go into the kitchen to find that bag of said chocolate when I find the mess I started with the damn fondue pot.

Here it is, Saturday night and I'm trying to get these stupid metal skewers back into the box. After all, I'm suppose to be writing. How am I ever going to get book two done when I'm stuck doing this crap? I guess I was groaning and cussing because my husband comes down stairs and staring at me, he leans against the wall.

"How's the writing coming?" he asks.

I drop the box with this dramatic groan and turn and glare at him.

"I haven't been able to write, because I had to clean the living room because of the mess you made and then I had to do laundry because you left your clothes laying all over and then there's this mess laying all over the kitchen table..."

He stops me with a raise of his hand and a roll of his eyes. "Don't blame me. You came down here looking for chocolate, didn't you?"

Scary. Did I mention that we've been married for 13 years?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Grrr....wake me up when the book is done

I must confess, I've been really struggling with book two of Soldier. I've started once again scrapped the first 50 pages, completely different than the last 30 I deleted a month ago. I made a promise to myself, and to my husband that I would be done with the rough draft by August. Guess what? Not gonna happen. Maybe I should just tuck Eric and Elizabeth in the back for a while and work on something else. The Boiling Point, perhaps. Except the research gives me nightmares.

I wonder if Stephen King has this problem.

I love Soldier's characters and they speak to me, begging me to bring them back. To what, I don't know. Sigh. I'm hunting through history, hoping that something reaches out and grabs my attention. I'm getting some nice reviews on my first novel, both from mags and fans, so continuing the story is something I want to do.

My husband wants more sex. In the next book, that is. : ) I don't think I feel comfortable with writing erotica, or reading it, but I really won't know until I give it a shot.

Any ideas anyone?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to insult a doctor in 2.1 seconds

I had to call a doctor yesterday to request authorization for a patient to be off his blood thinners for an epidural steroid injection. The doctor was new to me, a Dr. Cochran.

I was alone in the office. Humming to myself, I picked up the phone and called. The doctor herself answered.

"Hi, Dr. Cockring?" I couldn't believe I said it! I felt my face heat up and knew I was beet red. What the hell was on my mind anyway. Freud would have a field day with that one. I tried to contain the spontenous laughter, but couldn't. Maybe the God of stupidity would take pity on me and she wouldn't hear the difference in the name.

"It's Cochran."

Nope. I guess the God of Supidity was either out of the office or wanted me to suffer. She was not amused. Not in the least.

Still trying not to laugh, I knew I had to ask for authorization for the injection. Once the call was over, I couldn't hang up fast enough. And how I managed to calm myself I'm not sure.

Thank God I didn't ask her for an erection instead.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

RWA meeting

I went to my first Romance Writers of America meeting yesterday. I'm not a member, I went as a guest. I can have two guest visits a year without paying the membership but it was still 30.00 bucks for me to get in. Nice people. They had a speaker, an agent from New York talked about how to write a query that is professional and then once she signs you on, what is expected from her to help you sell.

One of the things she mentioned really hit home. She said when you have a contract with a publisher, you have to make yourself write. You owe them your books, or at least a manuscript for them to turn down. You are now a business and you must conduct yourself as one. She pounded on the table to emphasize, This is a dream, people! You, who are published have won the dream and now the work really begins! No kidding.

I missed her beginning, but she had a great sense of humor. She used this analogy about writers being the ship and she is the wind. Said it about three times and then at the end of her talk, she happened to turn around and saw all these paintings of ships behind her. She started to laugh, and said "Oh my god, I just realized there are ships behind me!"

Members all had this white plastic badge with their names on it, so newbies stood out with that "Hi, my name is" stick and peal tag on. These heads of San Diego's chapter went around and talked to people, getting their names and chatting. This woman asked me if I was a writer or a dreamer who never wrote anything and was here to get a push. I told her that I just published my first novel and was here to get info on what to do with it now.

She congratulated me and then asked how long I had struggled to get it into print. I know the struggle she was referring to, just not with this book. When I told her that, she made a face and moved on. I have to admit, it felt good to be the subject of envy of such a coveted prize as having a book published.

I took what she said about making sure you have another book to follow up on to heart and will be writing all day today. I watched TV last night, so tonight I have to write. I have set the goal of September for myself as well to have the first draft fully written.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Closed Mouth Gathers No Foot

Just recently I was interviewed on the radio regarding the writing of my romance novel. I was nervous. The only other time I had been on the radio is when I use to call radio stations with a British accent requesting to hear Beatles songs. Yeah, I was stupid enough to say I was from Liverpool and attempted to pull off a horrible souse English accent. Well, at least they found me entertaining, they put me on air for God sakes!

Anyway, I've called into the pod cast station and Kat Johnson comes on and introduces herself to me. In the background is this automated woman counting down the minutes we have left. My heart is racing.

I'm asked if I have a segment to read. I swallow hard and say yes. And then we're on.

I laughed through the entire interview! My God, this is serious business and I'm cracking jokes. She asks a question, none of which I can remember now and I laugh and answer, then laugh again. I learned two things about myself during the interview. One, I don't listen. (I hope my husband doesn't read this) and two, I have a lisp.

During the interview Kat comments on my novel including the research of West Point. I'm still thinking of the last topic we were talking about and contemplating my giggle through that answer, Fort Laramie. West Point in is in New York. Fort Laramie is in Kansas. Kat begins to tell me how she lives near West Point and starts talking about how beautiful the river is, but I'm thinking Kansas. My mind goes blank. I search my brain for research knowledge on the Kansas territory. Where the hell is a beautiful river in that part of the country? I think I stuttered, stammered and finally just...giggled.

Thank God I didn't speak.

Then came time for me to read. I read the excerpt from chapter three and began to blush as I'm reading on air about sex, wants, desires. Well, at least I didn't giggle, but I did lisp.

Damn it! When did I start doing that? Here I'm trying to entice people to find my characters provocative so much so they whip out their credit card and buy my book and I sound like Cindy Brady.

All in all I think my first interview turned out fine. In between each laugh I had a piece of historical information and a polite, (even if I don't remember it) response. It's archived so I can always go back and listen to it. And giggle.

I can be at least thankful that I didn't sneeze.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Okay, this is kinda freaky...

I went to the library yesterday for their used book sale. Not really looking for anything in particular, I stumbled upon a book I snatched up for research purposes. It's a book on witchcraft, mythology and spells. Cool! Used book stores make me cough so once I started hacking, I took my book up to the counter and laid it on the table.

Everyone around me stopped talking.

I know everyone around me stopped talking because I complain all the time that libraries have dropped their whisper rule. Now it was suddenly quiet. I looked around and five or so employees were staring at my purchase. The lady I had brought it up to asked with a smile. "Wow. You sure you want to buy that?"

I explained it was for my new novel, hoping someone would question me about my old novel and how to purchase it. Nope. I paid for the book and went home. Made myself some vegetable soup, curled up on the couch and started to read. There was a whole page on herbs and what they are good for, what time of night to pull this root when the moon is full and how not to summon a 'dwarf' or fairy. I laughed. I thought it was funny. I took notes, thumbing through the book, making note of spells and herbs.

Later on that night I called my mom to check in. She asked me what research I was doing. I'm researching puritan New England, customs, witchcraft, she loved the idea. I then told her about the book I bought.

"Oh Julie, I'm going to say a prayer for you tonight. Don't mess with that!"
I laughed. "It's fine mom! Did you know marigold boiled in warm alcohol can summon trolls?"
"Julie, I'm telling you, that's powerful stuff. I wish you wouldn't read that!"
I assured her I was fine, though she promised to pray for me every night.

Once I got off the phone, I then I went on line and started reading about the legion of the Bell Witch. Okay, that I have to admit was kind of creepy-it was raining, foggy and cold outside and here I am at the computer reading stories about witches casting spells and unseen beings slapping people around.

My husband was pulling an all nighter at work and asked if I could help him stay up. We went out, drove around and got breakfast about 3:00 A.M. came home and watched t.v. Still awake, I turned on Ghost Hunters 100 anniversary episode and started watching. About halfway through I got tired, took off my glasses, laid them on the nightstand next to me and went to bed. I had them on to watch t.v. Anyone who knows me knows I can't see without my contacts or glasses.

When I woke, I reached over to put on my glasses and they weren't there. I looked on Kyle's bed stand, not there either. I looked under the bed, behind the bed, nothing. We pulled apart the bedroom, both nightstands, all the clothes, my office, the downstairs, the kitchen the bathrooms, the closets, the laundry room, Kyle's office. Not there.
I was suppose to spend the whole day writing, but instead I had to go buy new glasses.

Hmm, I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't have laughed about the dwarf.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's hell to get old part 2

I spoke to my parents on the phone the other day, just checking in and seeing how they are. During the phone call they had an argument, nothing big, just a crabby moment between the two of them. I can imagine the aches and pains of old joints and brittle bones can get discouraging to say the least.

Mom was asking Dad a question, Dad being deaf couldn't hear her and gave his usual "Hm?" But mom was convinced he was faking, that he just didn't feel like answering her. She said to me on the phone, "He's mad because I talked while the Olympics were on. "For God sakes," She declared. "He can watch them anytime."

I heard my dad respond from his prized green electronic lazy boy, "They only come every four years, Dorth."

"See!" she yelled. "You can too hear, you big faker."

What she said next didn't surprise me. It's the way they communicate, I'm used to it. I knew they would making up as soon as I got off the phone. "I don't think I want to spend eternity with you after all," my mother declared. "65 years is enough. I'm taking Heidi's ashes and we're getting our own Urn and you can be in your own box by yourself."

My dad sighed before saying, "At least it will be quiet."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's hell to get old

Did you ever just watch a wreak about to happen and wish you could stop it? That was my weekend. But in a good way.

I took off for L.A. on Friday night, enjoying the ending to the Kite Runner on CD. I got to my parents house in the San Fernando Valley a little after 10:00 and was greeted as always with the promise they will open the garage door for me, so I can park in out of the rain. So, I pull up outside the garage door and wait. My windshield wipers flapping back and forth, the hum of my motor and the heat from my butt warming seat heater doing their work. The garage door doesn't open. Finally I flip open my cell phone and call. Their phone is turned up so loud, I think I can hear it ringing from outside. Poops answers, cheerful as always.

"Hi I said, I'm out here-can you push the garage opener?"

"Wow, you got here fast." my dad says, apparently forgetting he just spoke to me a block ago. My stomach clenches with sadness, remembering my father, my strong, tall, everything will be all right, father-the man I could turn to for anything. And he can't remember I just spoke to him.

The garage opens and they're both standing side by side, walker to cane, waiting for me with big smiles. Mom helps me out of the car, talking a mile a minute. Finally she stops, and throws her arms around me. "It's just so good to see you!"
I love coming home. Hate the drive, but I love being here. We walk into the house arm and arm and I'm hit by how hot the house is. The fireplace is up high, and the thermostat is registering 78.

Can I turn this down?" I ask.

My mother shakes her head. "Why? It's freezing in here." I don't argue. Skins thins as people grow older. I just wait until she walks away to switch the heater off. I notice the t.v is on in the living room, they're watching the Olympics, and I wonder by the next Olympics if I will be here, with them. That thought always chokes me up.

My mother makes me some tea and brings out a dish of cookies. "Russ told me we've got an appointment tomorrow to go to the Mortuary."

I nod, reaching for a cookie. "This one is suppose to be pretty nice, not like the last one."

"Oh!" she says, rolling her head with dramatic movement. "Nothing could be worse than that last one. That man behind the desk was so rude! He said we couldn't be together, Norm and I, we have to be in separate urns."

My brother is urging them to take care of their Pre-need" just in case something happens. He's practical that way. I guess it's a good idea, because there is no way I will be able to handle taking care of their burial when the time comes. I'll be the basket case of the family, that I already know. But Russ, he's morbid that way, really getting into the whole casket search. He likes it. likes to tour the offices, likes to chat with the employees and fill up on free cookies. He's great with people, charming, funny.

The last mortuary he told me was rude. Snippy, uncaring, tossing out comments about costs and availability, never really looking at the two elderly people before them, still holding hands after 65 years. Their only concern-to have their ashes together so they always be together in the after life.

We drink tea, my father joins us and asks all about me, about Kyle. I talk loud, he nods, frustrated as my mother cuts him off, again. "Dorth! I'm talking."

"You're always talking," she retorts. "Julie, can you take me to Costco tomorrow?"

She loves Costco. We get there, walk around the place and buy a couple of things that we can split. Then we get home and inevitably says, "Oh shoot! I forgot blank!"

The morning comes and I spend the next three hours trying to get them ready for the 1:30 appointment time. My father gets his walker wheel stuck on a rug, can't get to his office to take his blood sugar so he sits down to have his breakfast without taking his medicine. The argument begins. I knew this would happen. It always does.

"Norm!" You can't eat until you've taken your blood sugar, then you know how much medication you need. Why can't you get that through your head? The doctor keeps telling you that you are taking too much insulin."

My father rolls his blue eyes-eyes I love to look into and get lost in. "You're always so smart," he says. "You know what the doctor says and you're not even there. What's it like to be so smart?"

Half dressed, my mother looks like she could strange him with the pair of socks she's holding. "Well, if I had diabetes I'd certainly handle it better you, you old poop."

I know the fight, I know it by heart. They've had the same fight for ten years. My mother paces, tries to talk sense to him, he ignores her and finally after hours of listening to her rant, says in a calm but irritated voice, "Dorothy, what do you want me to do!"

I break up the fight, get dad to take his blood sugar, it's 99, very good, help mom put on her make up since she wants to go into the mortuary looking "fancy," "I want to go out looking good!" she laughs. During this whole time, I'm calling down the hall for my father to stop watching TV, to come and shower. Now, it's too late for him to shower. I instead tell him to come dress, that we need to leave soon. This used to be his job. I remember him after us all because he couldn't stand to be late for anything. He lets out an annoyed sigh.

"I just sat down!"

"Tough," I laugh, "We got places to go and people to see. Come on, get dressed." I help him stand, pull his walker into his bedroom because if I don't he'll sit back down. "Get dressed." I say and go out to dry my own hair.
When I come back into his bed room, my mother is still half dressed and singing "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" humming the parts she doesn't know. My dad has dressed. In the same damn thing he wore yesterday.

"Dad! you can't wear that."

He lets out an exasperated sigh. "Why?"

"Because you wore it yesterday."

"And the day before" my mother adds from the bath room.

I glance at the clock. I'm going to have to dress him. I remember dressing little children, arms up, stick the hands and head through the hole, smooth the hair...

My mom is walking through the house brushing her teeth and asking the cat where her brace is. "Mom, come on, we've got to hurry."

"I'll be ready," she promises.

We were suppose to meet my brother in West Lake at 1:00-it's now twenty till, which my father points out as he waits for us to finish getting ready. "Jul? You said we have to leave by 12:30, so I'm ready and you're not! Just thought I'd point that out."
I repress the urge to snap back that I was dressing him the whole time-that's why I'm late. Instead, I'm ticking off things we need for the trip. Dad needs a sandwich just in case, a water, a jacket. I start him off into the garage to get into the car, and forgot about is walker. Folding that thing and getting into my truck is an art form I don't have patience for. I finally get dad into the front seat, swearing to myself about the damn arms of the walker sticking out from the trunk. My mom comes out of the house, starts over to the car and says, "oh! My cane!"

I rush past her, back into the house. "I'll get it." As I'm coming back outside with her cane, my Mother is on her way back in.

"What do you need?" I ask, trying not to be breathless.

"I want to turn the radio on for the cat."

"The cat doesn't need music."

My Mother gives me a sharp look. "Yes she does! She'll wonder where we are."

As I'm trying to talk my Mother back to the car, I see my Father has opened his car door and is trying to get out. I glance at the clock. We have 15 minutes. "Dad? Why are you getting out?"

He looks at me before testing his hearing aid. "Hm?"

"Why are you getting out?" I said louder. "What do you need?"

He laughs, embarrassed, not wanting to shout it to the world. "I need to go to the bathroom." Oh god.

"Can you hold it until we get there?"

They both say in unison. "No!"

Long story short, we arrived on time, the people were very nice and I didn't cry. Well, at least not during the meeting. They picked out a beautiful spot by a waterfall, very close by a friend of theirs who passed two years before. My Mother had been afraid to be buried in a place where she knew no one. Now she'd be only a few feet from her best friend, Lucille. Also, their beloved little dog, Heidi, can be buried with them.

As I stare at the spot that will one day hold my parents remains, I hear my brother come up behind me. He puts his hand on my shoulder. "What do you think?"

"It's nice," I say. "Beautiful."

"We can sit right here and have picnics, bring in pizza and hang out. Tell them all about life." Tears rush to my eyes and I smile. The catholic guilt hits me full force and I choke. I promise myself to not to raise my voice at them anymore.

My mother sees I'm possibly becoming emotional. "No honey," she says, putting her arm around me. "There's no need for that. We're here, and today's a beautiful day to be together. I nod, not trusting my voice. "Always remember," she says, "to treat each day like your last, be grateful for the little things and don't take Kyle for granted."

I look at her and try to smile. "Did he complain about me?"

She pats my hand, and squeezes it. "Every day is a gift that we've been together." She looks across the lawn to the little elderly gray haired man, dapper in his new blue jeans and the brand new blue sweater that matches his eyes. His son towers over him, talking loud and pointing out the landscaping and the military eternal flame that honors WW11 veterans like him. "We've had a great life together," she continues. "65 years and he'll be 85 in just a few weeks."

"I want to you know, "I said, "I'm thankful for you both and love you with all my heart."

"I know," she smiles. "We love you and are so proud of all our children. You're all so wonderful and we're so blessed. Now let's not be sad anymore today. I know," she says, trying to change the subject. "Let's go to Costco!"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's happening


All the hardwork is starting to pay off. Slowly, very slowly. I'm advertizing as much as I can though very time consuming, I am starting to see my name out there a little more. Yay! Did I mention the process is slow? Truth is, it's exhausting to do this along side of writing.

I received a great review at Bluewood the other day. The comments brought tears to my eyes, said pretty much everything I always hoped a reader would say. I only wish I could contact her to say thanks.

I will be ordering my books tomorrow, my novel in print. I can't wait to hold it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sigh. Whatever.

Today is my house cleaning day. I got up at 8:20, cleaned the kitchen, turned on the roomba and let it doing its thing, cleaned the upstairs bedrooms, took a shower and did a load of laundry. I like working only four days a week but I hate the rotten pay check. Now the rest of my day is devoted to writing.

I have several that I'm working on, but I have started on a part two of Soldier. They keep wispering to me that their story isn't over. So, I flip back and forth bewteen writing romance and witchcraft.

In between writing and cleaning, I started talking. Not to anyone in particular, just talking. I talk all the time, never shut up. I talk to my plants, the dog...that's probably why she ran away. Not the plant, the dog.
My husband just closes his door. If I have dialogue that I need to work out, I just talk it out, see how it sounds.

The neighbors probably think I'm nuts. If I had a neighbor like Mrs. Kravitz, I'd be doomed. "Abner! Who's she talking to? She's watering her Creeping Charlie and laughing."

Someone some day is going to come get me, carry me off in a white coat. I just hope they let me blog in the looney bin.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I've lost my mind. Have you seen it?

I titled my blog 'Doibie' because I couldn't think of what I wanted to call it when I started it. I just went blank that night. Fingers poised at the keyboard, my mind was a sieve. It's been that way for a while now. Doibie has always been my word for whatever I couldn't seem to remember at the time. Somehow, it just fits whatever word is missing.

A typical day/night, I'll turn to my husband with a puzzled look on my face, search the room as if whatever it is I'm looking for will just pop out at me. Finally, when I've exhausted my mental search, I'll throw my question to the room and hope somehow whoever is present will know what I mean. It's usually just my poor husband. "Have you seen the um...the a, you know, that thing I use."

He stares at me, blinks a couple of times, mouth slightly ajar.

I sigh. He can be so dumb some times. "You know! I had it in my hands yesterday."

Still he says nothing.

"I carried it when we went to the....a...(I snap my fingers or maybe point toward the front yard) to the a..."(Oh God, I'm doing two of them at the same time! My head is going to burst!)

Unable to take it anymore, he blurts out, "The toenail sissors."


"Your favorite wooden spoon. The one you beat me with."

"No! It's in the drawer. And why would I need it now? I beat you yesterday.

Taking a clue from my irratation, he says "A box of tampons, Mydol, favorite period panties?"

"No!" I stamp and slap my hands down against my thighs in total frustration. "you know, the Doibie!"

"Oh!" He slaps his hand against his forehead. "Your car keys are upstairs on right side of the dresser."

"Thanks," I mutter, completely drained. Jeesh. Was that so hard?

Well, I'm at work the other day, multitasking when a patient comes up to the window and sets her purse on the ledge. We stare at each other for a moment. She's obviously trying to think of what to say while I'm trying not to forget what I was typing. "I need to schedule a test," she begins and pretty much ends at the same time. I'm thinking okay, can you narrow that down a bit.

"What test?" I ask.

I can tell by the look on her face, she was hoping I would just know. Obviously, she doesn't know who she's dealing with. "that test I need," she responds.

My co-worker to my immediate right chuckles and quickly leaves my side. Damn, I'm on my own.

"An MRI?"


"An Xray?"


"Was it for your back?"

She shakes her head.

"Neck, hips?"

Now she's just staring. "It's that test, the one where they do that pokey thing."

I narrow my eyes. Pokey thing must mean needle. "A lab test?"

She rolls her eyes. Irratated at both herself and me, she slaps her hand down on the desk. "It's for my....doibie!"

I'm outraged. "Doibie?" I asked. "Where did you hear that word? That's my word, I made it up."

She shakes her head. "No, I use it. I heard on a TV show."

"Which T.V. show," I ask. The bastards! I'll sue, make millions...

"I dont know," she says, "The one with the family and a... they live by that place..."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moving On or Letting Go

I have a hard time letting a story go. It's one thing to edit, but jeesh. This week I have offically started another novel. I'm setting a goal for myself to at least finish the draft book by mid year. If you knew me, you'd be laughing right now. The process of writing is a slow one, for me anyway. Stephen King advices to write five to six thousand words daily. Yeah, not gonna happen. I'm lucky if I can type out one to two thousand.

Maybe if I didn't have to work for a living. If my husband is reading this, hint, hint!

I love history. My short stories are modern and humorous, but my novels (I've written four with one published) tend to teeter along a politically based spine, mostly centered in the Victorian or Edwardian age. It makes it easier when doing the research since I already have a mound of it to rifle through.

One thing I have learned to keep me moving is to get a notebook, one notebook for each novel, and start out with a handwritten outline. The five W's Who, what, where, when, why. That way I can refer back to my original idea. Not that it won't evolve, but at least I'll have the basis down. With that done, I can start researching, which is where I am now. Some writers like to use note cards for this, but knowing me, I'd loose if not one, several and then spend all my writing time frantically search for them. And with my luck, the main plot would be on those missing note cards.

This novel is a bit different for me. This is my first venture into Puritan America. Those crazy Puritanicals. Man, did they know how to party.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


My sister and brother in law came to visit us for a few days before stopping in and seeing my parents. She just left today and I already miss her. I'd love to be one of those families where everyone lives really close by and sees each all the time. I'm lucky that my siblings and I all get along great. I consider them not only family, but friends.

We laugh a lot my family and I. We laugh at things we probably shouldn't, like at the man at the bus stop sporting a long hairy butt crack or the lady walking her nine yapping little dogs trailing a piece of toilet paper on her heal.

My husband gets uptight when we're together. We went to the movies and I sat between my sister and my husband. My husband bought popcorn and I thought I would offer it to my right. As I handed over the bag, my elbow knocked against the arm rest and my hand went numb. I ended up spilling a portion of the bag into my sisters lap at the very same time she was saying "No thanks." The movie was starting and we were giggling as she sifted through popcorn in her purse and lap. My husband groaned which tells me he's annoyed by my antics.

She made me a CD of an old family video from 1988 showing everyone much younger and slimmer. I got misty looking at my father lifting his grand kids while my mother sat in the grass playing tea party with her two year old granddaughter. Now she is blind and my father can't walk without a walker and barely has strength to get up out of a chair. The most poignant was seeing my brother Mike again. It's been ten years since he's been gone. Being a television director, he mostly handled the camera as we barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs. I laughed when I saw the size of it perched on his shoulder. Man, would he love the small video recorders they have now. At one point the kids were watching t.v. and Stand By Me was playing and it was at the part of "Barf-a-rama." My family now watching the video laughs at the odd placement of the hilarious scene in our families documentry. Mike begins laughing as he records it and my mother is in the background saying "You're going to put that in the family video? Honestly!"

His answer was perfect and so right on. "Of course. In twenty years we'll look back and love this scene! You'll be glad I put it in."

He was so right. I miss you Mike!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Question of the ages

I'm sitting here in my bedroom typing, curled up in bed because my feet are so cool, I can hardly move them. I already have two pairs of socks on and I'm contemplating a third. It's not like I live back East where they snow is falling by the feet. I live in Southern California and I get cold in the low 70's. If their is a slight breeze that rattles the leaves in the trees, I'll go in a get a jacket.

To make me think warm, I have my video of a crackling fire on that a friend gave me for Christmas. Does she know me, or what? I love this thing! The only downfall with it that I can find is that as the fire dies down, I have to fight the need to want to poke it back to life.

Now that I'm warm, or at least mentally getting there, I'm ready to ask the question of the ages-how lazy do you have to be to NEVER put the toilet paper roll on. I mean never. It's right there for God sakes. After 13 of marriage, I'm still bothered by it sitting on the sink, literally inches from the holder. When we were first married, I thought maybe he suffered from a nasty spring action loader innocent somewhere back in his childhood and the idea of replacing it sends him into flashbacks, so I thought I'd make it easier for him by replacing the holder with one of the easy one sided holders. All you have to do it slide it on. Does he do it?
No. Sigh.

I'm even going to complain about the damn toilet seat. I bet if he had to squat in the dark, half asleep and put his butt down on an Arctic porcelain bowl, that would make him put the seat down.
Getting to fix it items around the house is not something my husband does well. He replaced the thermostat last November and left it hanging by it's wires against the wall because he needed to paint the wall behind it. Since he never finishes anything, I was surprised when he went out and got the extra yellow kitchen paint can, and a brush. I started to hope that he would finish a job in once quick swoop. he must have seen the look on my face because he assured me that "I'll do this tomorrow".

Yeah, right.

Tomorrow never came. I bitched and moaned, cursed and even threw a shoe at him as he laid on the couch waiting football through the back of his eyelids. Still nothing. "I don't have time," he complained.

Well today, I couldn't take it anymore. I went outside and got the paint, the brush and took care of it. It took me six minutes and that involved removing the lid and stirring the paint. When I told him I did it. He argued that he was going to do it this afternoon then rushed out to see if I did it okay. A moment later he comes up the stairs and complains to me that I didn't put the lid on tightly enough on the can. He also didn't like that I left it on the wrong shelf in the storage shed.

He stared at me, brows all furrowed looking very perturbed as he complained that I didn't put it away right. "Why don't you put things back where you found them? did you find the paint can on that shelf?"

I glared at him before telling him that if he didn't wipe that snarl off his face, I would find a new place for the paint can and brush, but I don't think he'd like it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sad but true

Today was a very difficult day at work. Maybe it's the type of day that's put in my path so I can realize just how lucky I am. I work for a doctor, a specialist for pain. I would have to say that most of his patients are elderly with collapsing spines, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, fibomyalgia. We're taking major pain.

Since I've worked for him for quite a long time, and have felt fairly secure in my employment, I've been lucky to escape the "second depression" sucking up the United States like Ice Cream through a straw. Hm. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I'll go with it.

A patient came in today, rather teary. It's not uncommon to see, they're in pain, sometimes the pain is real, sometimes they cry because they're afraid their pee test will show that they're not taking the Percocet, vicodin, OxyContin etc that the doctors might be prescribing and they're afraid they're going to get the boot. Sometimes the DEA has already found out they're dealing the medication and the patient is waiting for the swoop down at any moment.

Anyway, this patient was quiet, eyes red and I asked her if she was okay. She nodded. After a moment I began going over her new medication list and asked her if anything else has changed. She stared at me and her eyes welled. Being dense, I pressed on. "Change of Insurance, phone number, address, anything different?" She swallowed hard and then said in a quiet tone, "you can erase them all. They're all gone." Still being incredibly dense, I continued to press. I deleted the address and then I asked for her new one. She said "I don't have one. I'm homeless."

"My husband left me, I lost the house, my medical bills are so high, they take the little money I have left. I have to now live in my car." I wondered about her children I always see her with. Did their dad take them? Do they know their mother sleeps in a car? I didn't know what to say. The truth is my husband and I miss a month paycheck and we're not far behind. I thought of my nice little house, my loving husband and my employment that puts food on our table and allows us to go out every once in a while. We too have a high mortgage and live paycheck to paycheck. And then I thought about odd stuff, like my greed, the half used bar of soap that I threw away because I wanted a new one. The half sandwich I tossed because it had too much mayo on it. I remembered grumbling because I didn't get the high Christmas bonus I usually get, but only half as much. That check would have helped her quite a lot.

I thought about her off and on through out the day, always saying a little prayer of thankfulness that my situation is not as grim as it could be. I wished her luck as she left and felt stupid for saying it.

At the end of the day my doctor told me he wanted to have a quick meeting on Wednesday. I asked him about what. He looked tired, didn't want to meet my eye. He said his surgeries weren't coming in like they used to. Medicare wasn't paying enough and the lack of flow had begun to effect the practice. He took a deep breath before saying he would have to cut the office staff's hours. I guess he saw the look on my face before he added, he thought it would only be temporary.

As I left the parking lot, it was dark. I noticed a red mustang parked not far from mine, a woman stretched out on the front seat and I wondered if that was her. I didn't want to stare, but I thought about giving her money, of the bottled waters I had in my trunk. I couldn't tell who the person was. Maybe it was just someone waiting for a person to get off work, or out of their doctor's appt. And so I drove away.

On the way home I remembered all the times I complained about my job, wished I had another or that I didn't have to work at all. Now I'm praying I won't loose the security my husband and I count on. I'm trying to be like my mom, trying to be positive about the situation.
I'll guess I'll just have to wait and see. Until then, I'm saying my prayers, grateful for that little house and the loving husband waiting for me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My mother, my friend

I just got off the phone talking to my parents. What gems they are. My mother is one of my best friends, if not the best. She has the gift of turning every negative into a positive, such a refreshing change and a much needed quality. How she stays positive is what I think I admire so much about her. Both my parents are in their mid 84 with fairly serious health issues. My father lost his hearing in WWII in one ear and has lived since with tinnitus and has a variety of aging problems, but I swear, nothing gets them down.

My poor mother suffers from Macular Degeneration and is nearly blind. I can't imagine the frustration of nothing being able to get around my own or worrying about missing a step and falling. Yet she handles it with grace, dignity and her ever-present humor. She still loves to "read" her books on tape where we can talk about what we each liked or disliked about the story. Both of our favorite have always been the historical novels.

I'm bless to have her in my life. It's a joy to talk to her, and I usually find myself laughing so hard I have tears running down my face as she recounts the never before told tale of Edith, the odd cousin who would hide behind the sofa when people would come over. Tonight she told me about her days of selling War Bonds in Northern California. Man, for a good girl, she got around. She was always dating soldiers either on leave or home from the war. At 18, She loved to date, but knew she was too young to get serious with any one man.

Inevitably, they would fall in love and my mother as she told me, never wanting to hurt their feelings would have to find some way out of the relationship. In a letter to her father, they both came up with a sure fire idea. When my mother's boyfriends were becoming too serious, she would write my grandfather and he would in turn write her back as a long lost boyfriend. Each letter he changed his name. Some times he was Claude the door to door fuller brush sales man with bad knee, and a mother with 18 cats or Ruffus, the Assistant ice rink manager who lost his sister in a tragic ice fishing accident. When my mother opened her "romantic letter" in front of her love besotted suitor, she never knew what story my grandfather was going to tell or how odd/silly it was going to get.

I guess that's where I get my love of story telling. Thanks for the laugh mom! I wish you could blog, you'd love it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's perfect! Now change everything

Well, my book is getting ready to go into print. I was sent a couple of forms, one for the cover that I have to fill out and the other is for the "book block" which is all the pages in between. I have three pages of things I can list as needs to be changed.

This is how I know my editor hates me.

Throughout the nice email was a scattering of reminders not to edit, not to rewrite and hopefully not to take too long in sending it back.

The truth of the matter is I drag my feet. I was given the contract in August. It was a boilerplate contract, nothing I needed to worry about- but no, I had to get a legal advice and then advice on the lawyers advice. Okay, that done, I sent back an email saying what I wanted changed. Like I'm Stephen fricken King! I'm sure they laughed at my request for 20% more for second party sales and first right refusal for any scripts that are written in case it goes to the screen.

Most new authors are scrambling to the fax machine to send that the contract back before the publisher comes to his senses. No. I took three weeks to hand that baby in.

Then came the cover. Oh boy. It had to be a certain look, that "pick me up or I'll grab you look." They sent me several choices, were wonderful about my nit picky problems. "He's ugly, too skinny, she has the wrong eye color, her shoulders are exposed. I mean, it's Victorian for God sakes, it has to be historically accurate. Again, they were wonderful, indulging my "Can it have more sunset? Can the font be more swirly? After three mock ups, and three "Ah, can I see something else?" from me, they stopped returning my emails and just sent me to approval form.

Okay, I have the cover now we need to edit the book now, right? Edit they asked. That should have been done months ago. So, I edit, and take a month or two, possibly longer before I sent the first perfect "draft" in. My editor broke my then 88,000 word novel into four chapters. Now I have the chance to change whatever I want.

So I did.

I changed names of main characters, added sex scenes and characters and just a pinch of the plot.

That took a month and a half before I had gone through the entire novel. Twice I received a nice email from my editor asking me how I'm doing. "Don't mean to rush you..." Finally, I send it back. Right away my editor sends me the proofs, showing the changes. And once again, I began to edit. Several weeks later they send me the final proof. The entire novel, now 100,024 words, ready to go into e-book submissions.

Where I got the nerve to ask if this can be rushed for Christmas bookstore sales, I'm not sure. I was lucky no one responded. I can only hope their silence meant the email gremlin destroyed it before it was read because they didn't fire me as a client.

Now--my life long dream is about to be realized-I will be a published author, not just of short stories, but a full length historical novel. All my hard work, the long nights away from family and friends, shut up in my office typing one sentence after another, then deleting one sentence after another and then typing again would make it all worthwhile. Strangers will read my words and hopefully if not love them, at least kind of like them. Elizabeth and Eric will live, hopefully making readers smile through their playful banter and hot though their suppressed Victorian sexual desire. It's all about to come true.

Then I begin to edit the FINAL PROOF. I don't know why. I added scenes, dialogue and several hundred words. With pride that my novel is the best it can be, I attach the novel several weeks later and hit send. Nothing.

Several days go by before I receive an email saying I've changed too much, it has to start all over again in the Editing Que. I'll tell ya, I didn't have to be there to hear them scream. My husband yells at me, tells me I might have blown it, and is so upset with me won't talk to me for an hour. Not even when I ask him if there is anything I can do to make him "happy."

In an effort to save something from this budding partnership I quickly dash off an email asking them to forgive me for my nit picking ways, my inability to let go and move onto the next great novel. With a subtle Merry Christmas greeting, I remind them 'tis the season for forgiving the great pain in the asses in their lives, for they no not what they do.

The Christmas spirit must have been with them because my first novel was released to the public two weeks later.

I'm sure someone at Bluewood Publishing, if not my editor, wanted to smack me. Now they're probably cringing to see what I'll change or add this time. Grinding their teeth as they curse my name. Perhaps I should change the title to "Anticipation."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tree? What tree?

It's the time of year I dread. The holidays are over, people are grumpy again and the only Ho Ho's you hear are the women on the street corners advertising their wares.

It's time to take Christmas down. sigh. I hate it. I stay upstairs so I don't have to see the tiny dust ridden Dickens village, the still hanging wreath, the boxes all opened beneath the tree filled with wrong sized clothes that need to be returned.

My sister from Seattle is coming to visit in a couple of weeks but the first thing I thought was "damn, I have to take down Christmas early this year."

So, how long is too long to keep the tree around?

Look at what the bookstore drug in

I've always written, and always wanted to be an author. Well not always. When I was nine I wanted to be a jockey and when I was ten I wanted to marry Steve Sax, the short stop for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was when I grew older that I really wanted to write. But I digress.

Yesterday or should I say this morning around 1:30 I opened my email to find out my first book has been released to the public. Not the great fan fair I had always dreamed of, but it's still awesome! I'm still in shock, very excited and completely stunned.

I didn't know how much work went into being an author. I thought you get published, people buy your books, you go on Oprah, movie deals start coming in.

Yeah, right.

Turns out I have a lot more to do besides write another book. Publishing companies, it seems no longer have the large marking/advertising funds they used to sell their authors. Now the tide seems to be the author for the most part is left to promote themselves.


I have to talk to people? Schmooze and hobnob?

I don't like people, that's why I write. People scare me. I could be introduced to someone and the entire time they're talking, I'm panicking over what I'm going to say when they're done. Once they're done speaking and their eyes focus back to me, I'm like a deer in headlights. gulp.
I try to remember what they were taking about in hopes of adding some clever quip or some witty remarks that makes the person glad they sought me out. But all that happens is a mantra begins playing in my head- Just don't burp, just don't burp, thank God I cut my toenails...

If I wanted to do meet and greets, I'd have become a public speaker for God sakes!

I'm going to be alright. It's going to be fine. I'll smile and be myself and the crowds will go nuts.

Now I'll I have to do is sell a copy.