Friday, February 02, 2007

Winter Weather (or not)

"There are only two seasons: winter and baseball."
~Bill Veeck

Hey all, if you didn’t get a chance to see it, my article on character development is up at WOW. I love what they did with the graphics and the pics ,too. Very cute. Got an email from the editor yesterday afternoon telling me one of their regular writers saw it and mine was the first article she read in the Feb. issue. She loved it!

In other news, all the teachers and students around here spent yesterday hoping for snow to fall and cancel school today ( it didn‘t). See, with the crazy warm temperatures we’ve had so far this season, we haven’t had a single school closing.

Now let me digress: I grew up in central NYS, smack in the middle of the lake effect snow belt. Then I spent 6 years in college and graduate school living in 2 cities on the Great Lakes. More lake effect snow. So when you talk about winter to me, it means temps below zero and wind chill WAY below zero. It means shoveling snow from November to March and having at least 2 ice scrapers and 3 extra pair of gloves in the car at all times. It means learning to take your driver’s test when you’re 16 on snow-covered roads, and mastering the art of the controlled skid, because otherwise you’ll have to wait months to get your license. It means the kind of cold where, when you breathe in, the inside of your nose crinkles up.

It does not mean, as people in my newly adopted hometown think, 3 inches of snow that falls in one night. It does not mean temperatures that flirt with zero overnight and then inch their way up to 30 during the day. It does not mean school closings for 2 days straight because the towns can’t manage to plow the roads.

When I was growing up, one of the most familiar sounds in the wee hours of the morning was the plow going down the street, scraping it clear and taking out people’s mailboxes on the way (we had to get a new one every spring). School never closed. Ever. Are you kidding? We would have missed ¾ of the days from December to February.

But here? We get an average of 5 snow days each year. And don’t even get me started on 2-hour delays. 6 a year? 10? No limit, apparently. I’d never even heard of the concept of the 2-hour school delay until I moved here. I guess it allows the plow drivers to sleep in until 5 or so and get the roads clear by 9, so that the buses can lumber on to school and collect their state aid for the day.

One time a couple of years ago (this is the best), every school in the county closed because of the threat of a storm. Guess what? Not a single flake fell.

Sorry for the tirade, but sometimes I just have to laugh. OK, have at it: what does “winter” mean to you??

Happy Weekend!

P.S. - If you haven’t signed my guestbook yet, what are you waiting for???

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Today's the Day!

“Do everything with so much love in your heart that you would never want to do it any other way.”
~Yogi Desai

Today’s the day! My article about character building is supposed to be up at WOW. Of course, I jumped out of bed extra early this AM to see, and the February issue hasn’t been posted yet, but maybe by the time you read this, it will be. So check for me, OK?

Meanwhile, Marianne has a fun meme going on at her place, so drop by there, too!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sign My Guestbook!

“Real love stories never have endings.”

~ Richard Bach

My goodie bag arrived yesterday from WOW, for earning an honorable mention in their Fall Flash Fiction contest. Too cute!

Update to yesterday's news about my guestbook:

Anyone who signs it during the month of February (and yes, this means those of you who lurk out there too) will be automatically entered into a drawing for a giveaway of freebies which will include…

Lindt chocolates (come on, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day…what did you think?)
James Patterson’s best-selling novel Honeymoon
A $5.00 gift certificate to Virtual Tales, so when my serial novel Paradise USA is released, you’ll be able to get about half the installments for free!

Now isn’t that worth stopping by and leaving me a comment? Spread the word to your friends and fellow bloggers, too.

And have a great day!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What Are You Up To?

“Remind yourself that the book you’re bogged down in was once bright and sparkling.”

(JoAnn Ross)

Well, Prison Break was only so-so last night. [Still, it gives me an excuse to post pics of Wentworth Miller on my blog :) ] Looks like, from the previews, that next week’s episode will be action-packed, though. Good thing!

I’m adding a guestbook to my website (and the link is here, too, on my sidebar), with a little incentive: anyone who signs it during the month of February will qualify for a freebie giveaway (and given that February is Valentine’s Day month, you can pretty much guarantee that at least part of the giveaway will have something to do with chocolate). So scurry on over there, and I’ll count anyone who signs it today and tomorrow in the February pool too. Giveaway to be posted later this week, so stay tuned!

I’m loving my interaction with Samhain Publishing, by the way. They have a terrific editorial team, along with several author chat groups on Yahoo and wonderful resources posted in the files there as well. I’ll post some periodically to share.

How about you? How’s your writing going? Anything new? Digging out the old to dust off and revise? I was skimming my latest Romance Writers Report, which arrived yesterday, and came across an author interview in which the author warned against not finishing manuscripts just because they get hard somewhere in the middle. Unfinished manuscripts will always be unpublished manuscripts, or something like that.

Well said! Now tell me what writing project you’re working on these days…

Monday, January 29, 2007

So How Old Is Old, Really?

There is a place you can touch a woman that will drive her crazy. Her heart.
~ Melanie Griffith, Milk Money

Is there a moment, somewhere in your past, that you look back on once in a while? Is there a day you yearn for? Is there an hour you’d capture, pin down, try to do again? Do you remember what it was like to look on the person you’d fall in love with someday and be left breathless with that desire of first glance? Do you recall the power in being a child, on the young side of twenty, looking forward and holding tight and leaping without knowing what was waiting for you but wanting, more than anything, to do it all with the person beside you?

Sometimes I think that’s why we read romance--and why we write it. To remember those awesome, and sometimes awful, sweeping emotions that knock us over. That exhaust us. That exhilarate us. It is amazing to me how the details of everyday life, how jobs and families--as wonderful as they are--can carry us so far away from the magic falling in love.

With the high school quarterback. With the gorgeous rock star. With the boy next door. With our first true love. With our second one. With our first sex. With the bad boy. With the good one. With the one who’ll eventually get down on one knee and ask us to stay.

With ourselves.

Now that my contracts are in with Samhain, I have all this work to do: put together a promotional blurb, choose an an excerpt, write up tips and requests for my cover art, send a bio to their site for my author’s page. It’s still all a little surreal to me. Who knew that having a manuscript accepted was just the teeniest bit of the iceberg? It’s exciting but overwhelming too.

A funny story from work: last week my high school seniors read the short story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield. It’s about an elderly woman who goes to the park each Sunday to people-watch, knowing she will be missed if she doesn’t show up, only to be made fun of by a young couple in love.

I asked my class how old they thought the main character was (she’s probably 70+ or so). One girl raised her hand and said, “Older?”

I said, “How old is older?”

She thought for a minute, and then, in all seriousness, looked up at me and answered, “Thirty?”

Oh. God.