Monday Mayhem – Hello, December!

Well, here we are! It’s December. NaNoWriMo #8 is in the bag, and the 1st draft of Play Dates #2 is 4/5+ done!

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I started tracking my #31brightspots this week. I’ve been sharing them on Twitter and FB, but here are the highlights so far:

12/1/16 Walking in the door and hearing this guy squeal, “Moogie!” Day = made. #31brightspots

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12/2/16 – Fodder got me Labrador socks! Now he’s taking me and Sally to Sonic! #31brightspots

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12/3/16 – “Writing” at Panera with Kim Ward McPhersonParker KincadeLacey Thacker Meislohn, and Brinda Berry. My bright spots for today! #31Brightspots

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It’s not too late to join in. Just pick a bright spot (no picture required) and share it with the world!

Now that we’re into December, I’m in full blown planning mode for 2017. I’ll probably be doing some updating around here, so if there’s something you would like to see from me, please let me know!

Happy Monday, my friends! Hope you have so many bright spots it’s hard to choose!

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Monday Mayhem – Thankful

It was Thanksgiving in the States this past Thursday. If you read the news (and my Twitter feed), you’d think that there was little to be thankful for in America, but I think we can all agree that the media skews things a tad, right?

Right.

Yes, there are things happening that no one likes, but there are so many more things happening that are good. Family and friends spending time together, neighbors helping neighbors, and all of the many, many blessings that we enjoy – food, shelter, clothing, Netflix, bubble baths, nacho cheese Doritos, books…

The month of November was a rough one – I won’t deny that. There’s an ever-growing cadre of us who believe all of 2016 can go and stuff it now. I even gave up putting slips of paper in my happiness jar sometime around April. It wasn’t that good things weren’t happening. It’s just that they kind of got buried under the headlines.

But I’m going to try to go out on a high note. I have until Wednesday to squeeze in my NaNoWriMo numbers. I’m over 45k as of this writing, and should be able to make it again. If I do, I’ll post my winner-winner-chicken-dinner badge here next week.

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The end of NaNo means Thursday is December 1st. Yeah, I know, duh. But this is the last month in what many of us consider one of life’s crappier years, so I’m going to try to see it through as in the same way I hope to start 2017 – full of positivity.

For the month of December, I’m going to try to write one happy/positive thing down each day. Doesn’t have to be anything big or monumental, just bright spot. When I prepare this post on Sunday evenings, I’ll update you on what I’ve collected, then put it all together in the end. I may even tweet a few, just to counteract all the other stuff in my timeline.

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31 days of bright spots. Should be totally doable. I bet you can too. Who wants to play along?

P.S. In case you missed me blabbing all over the place – LOVE & ROCKETS released last week. Please read. Please review. Please tell your friends to do the same. *puppy dog eyes*

P.P.S. I can’t even with the Gilmore Girls yet. Still processing so much of it, but let me just say: Like Lorelai, I’m happy. So happy I haven’t even had a single fanfic idea. Thanks for making my life easier, ASP! *ducks and runs*

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Monday Mayhem – It has begun

Here it is, November again. That means it’s NaNoWriMo again!

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This is my 8th go-round with NaNo, and each time it proves to be a formidable foe. This year, I’m working on book #2 of my new Play Date series (working title: Easy Bake Lovin’)

I’m just over 12k in and cruising right along. Check back with me in a week or so, I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune by then.

I love this challenge. It’s crazy and it’s a killer, but there’s nothing like chasing a number.

Wish me luck!

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Monday Mayhem – Someday is today edition

First, let me say: GO, CUBS GO!

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I was born a Cubs fan. It’s as much a part of my DNA as my daddy’s nose or what my husband calls the ‘Suzanne stare’ (named for my mother). Some of my earliest memories of being a cubs fan involve men’s pocket combs.

You see, the men’s rooms at Wrigley Field used to be equipped with vending machines like this:

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They dispensed blue plastic Chicago Cubs combs, and each time we went to Wrigley, I used to beg my dad and brothers to get one for me because they weren’t in the ladies’ rooms.

Baseball games were also the perfect opportunity to exploit my love of hot dogs. As far as I can remember, the hot dogs served in the Friendly Confines have been of the kosher all-beef variety.

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When I moved to Arkansas, it was a bit of a challenge to uphold my standards, but my friends at Hebrew National came through. Still waiting for the Vienna Beef, though.

When I lived in the city, I spent a few years in Lake View (just east of Wrigleyville). Many a warm summer day was spent watching the crowd and listening to Ronnie Woo Woo call to fans as I sipped beer in the beer garden at Murphy’s Bleachers.

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I loved those days so much, I ended up writing them into a scene in my novel, Contentment.

My dad was the epitome of a Diehard Cubs Fan. He caught almost every game either on WGN-TV or WGN-AM. I can still sing the whole ‘Hey, Hey! Holy Mackerel’ song. I can still hear the voices of Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray. I remember one of the first times I ever used someone cell phone was from a rooftop party across from right field. Who did I call? My dad. What did I say? “Hey Dad! See the Torco sign, look three buildings north. I’m waving to you!

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I’m be no means an avid Cubs fan. I don’t watch the games on TV. Most of the time, I have little more than a passing acquaintance with names and stats and a general idea of how they are doing. But I do keep a framed photo I took of the Wrigley Field sign next to one of my parents. Because they are all a part of who I am.

The Cubs are heading to the World Series for the first time since 1945. The last time they went, my dad was serving in Germany post WWII. This time he’s in Heaven with Jack and Harry, Ron and Ernie, and all the diehard Cubs fans who never stopped believing.

And they’re waiting to fly the W flag once and for all this season.

GO, CUBS GO!

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Monday Mayhem – Deep Fried Edition

It’s Sunday evening. We’re just home from the state fair. Every thing I have eaten today has been deep fried or smothered in butter.

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Welcome to October in the South. This is my true love, turtle funnel cake.

We did visit the Rabbit Exhibition, but did not bring one home with us. While it was wonderful to pet those twitchy little noses and rub soft cheeks, we still miss our TimBunny. It’ll be a year this week, and he’s still the most troublesome pet we’ve ever adored.

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I’m enjoying my October downtime, but now that we’ve passed the halfway point in the month, I’m starting to ramp up again. I’m revising book one in The Series Yet to Be Announced, and playing with character worksheets for the project I hope to take on for NaNoWriMo this month.

In the meantime, I’ll be sitting very still, popping Tums like candy.

Happy Monday to you all!

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Monday Mayhem – Sprinting

It’s going to be a bust week!

First off…did you see this?

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Pretty, huh? Mark your calendars for April 4, 2017 or pre-order now at your favorite e-tailer!

Secondly, FLIP THIS LOVE is on sale for $.99 this month!

Nothing draws a magnate like a steel magnolia...

Third – I’m giving away this adorable journal to one of my newsletter subscribers. If you aren’t on my list, enter your email address in the space on the sidebar >>>>>

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FOURTH!!! I’m sprinting to hit deadlines this week. I’m polishing up RANSOMED HEART (Silver Foxes #2, 2018) and scrambling to complete a novella for submission. Wish me luck!

And fifth – If I’m not downing a fifth of something boozy by the end of the week, it’ll be a miracle.

How about you? What’s happening in your corner of the world?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Food for thought

Confession time: I’m not a domestic goddess. I loathe housework. I have no craft/sewing skills at all. And…I’m not a good cook.

Seriously. I not only own this towel, but I have the matching mug.

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It isn’t that my food is inedible. It’s just food prepared by someone who’d rather be doing something else. The same can be said for most of my homemaking skills. I do it if I have to, but given an alternative….

Once the kids grew up and moved out, we discovered what lazy slobs we actually are. Fodder and I can live with our own mess for a disturbingly long time. I think this is because our mess is mainly clutter and not actual filth.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Writing was once a hobby, but is now a profession. One that leaves me little time for fooling with hot glue guns. I avoid Pintrest as much as humanly possible. I don’t need someone else’s pleasure turning into my frustrating procrastination.

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But I’ve been thinking about food a lot lately. Mostly because we’ve hit the end of summer rut-that dreaded time when cooking is out of the question and even a trip to one of our favorite eateries seems like a chore. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat out. When asked my favorite thing to make for dinner, I will answer “reservations” without hesitation.

Unfortunately, eating out is not only expensive, it plays hell with the waistline.

I can come up with a half-dozen plausible reasons for the weight I’ve gained in the last two years, but I know that one of the largest factors has been my refusal to prepare my own food whenever possible.

But I’m slow and miserable and something has to change.

I spent most of Sunday in the kitchen prepping foods that can be easily converted into meals throughout the week. I’m not claiming any of these are low-fat, anti-carb, super-duper diet foods. I’m past self-denial and working more along the lines of control and moderation.

Little compromises.

We started the morning with the dreaded trip to the grocery store and rewarded our fortitude by having meatloaf for dinner. In an effort to make an effort, I used lean ground sirloin, and skipped the oven-roasted potatoes we usually have on the side. While it was baking, I poached chicken breasts to make stock for chicken and dumplings, and enough to experiment with a new chicken salad recipe. I also roasted natural almonds in a bit of olive oil to give them some snap.

I’m hoping the weather breaks in the next few weeks. I love crock pot season.

Don’t worry, I made words between all these activities. And, just so you know I haven’t been body snatched, I’d like to remind you all that we are coming into college football season. That means there’s fresh candy corn in the stores.

Bon appetite!

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – MOAR!

I can’t come to the blog right now, I’m busy recovering (moping) after the end of a fabulous weekend spent with pals Julie and Laurie. Now that Laurie is just four hours to the north, we are luring our friends to the region with the promise of a two-fer. So far, we’ve scored big with the Canadians in the crowd.

You get MOAR, when you visit MO & AR!

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As you can imagine, very little writing was done this weekend, but we did manage to eat our way through central Arkansas.

One of the (many) highlights was having the chance to go to the movies together. We saw Florence Foster Jenkins, which we all enjoyed a great deal.

Tell me, what’s the best thing you’ve seen in the theaters lately?

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Monday Mayhem – Fielding curveballs

So yeah, busy, busy week!

Received first round edits on A BOLT FROM THE BLUE from editor and she LOVED it! Yay! Always such a relief. Particularly this time, because I had to turn this story around so quickly. The only other person who has seen it is Jewels, and we all know she’ll say anything for a PayDay bar.

As with every manuscript, I had one word in particular I abused until my intrepid editor screamed for mercy. This time, I was enamored with the word ‘it’. We won’t talk about how times I had to rework it.

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The back cover copy isn’t officially official, and there’s no cover art yet, but here is a sneak peek at what they’ve cooked up so far:

True love, like lightning, never strikes twice—or does it? 

As a free-spirited young woman, Hope Elliot was desperate to escape her snobbish high society family. So she ran off to Paris, where she lived for twenty-five years. Now widowed, she’s come home to settle her family’s massive lakefront estate. But before she can put her mother’s house on the market, it needs a major renovation. Enter master electrician Mick McInnes, a traditional guy who’s about to turn her life upside down . . .

Aside from the fact that Mick is hopelessly attracted to his latest client, Hope represents everything he doesn’t want in a woman. She’s ridiculously rich and adventurous, yet she doesn’t seem to know much about the real world. Besides, his policy is to never get involved with clients. But he can’t seem to resist the Chicago heiress’s sizzling advances—and soon enough finds himself in her bed, feeling like a teenager once again. And like teenagers, the two of them will just have to convince their families that opposites can not only attract, but they can also make the perfect match . . .

Then Wednesday, the big news about my new deal with Sourcebooks broke in Publisher’s Marketplace:

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Whoo hoo! Danny and Kate will be coming to you digitally and in mass market paperback next fall! Just in time for college football season!

While I was celebrating the announcement, I couldn’t help thinking about how happy my mom would have been to hear that some of my books will be shelved in brick and mortar stores. Thursday marked six months since her passing, and while I try not to dwell on sadness, I’m all too aware that I am still grieving.

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It has been quite a year. More downs than ups. It seems that all year long my family and friends have been dealing with hefty doses of sadness, topped with mountains of worry. But through it all, we laugh and tease and do what we can to lighten the load a bit. There are days, and then there are days, you know? But, as Mom would have reminded us, this too shall pass. On her repeated instruction, I’m trying very hard not to let my little heart grow weary.

Throughout the week, I’ve watched the Olympics. While I’m not crazy about NBC’s coverage, I never tire of hearing the athletes’ stories. I have also been working on a magazine article and a short story I hope to submit for an anthology. It’s a bit of a cat and mouse caper, and I hope it plays out well.

This week, I clean house because company is coming! Be on the lookout for photos of our antics next Monday!

What’s on your agenda this week?

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