Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How I'm seeing life lately

I like to take pictures on my morning walk but lately it looks like this (feels more like Seattle than Florida)



So grey and dreary


But there ARE the occasional pops of beauty to be found


Not to mention the silliness of someone who loves to roll in the dirt at the dog park


She looks much better when she's clean


Tell me Killer Friends: What are YOU seeing lately?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Boyfriends

I’ve read many, many books were I thought the hero was incredibly appealing, sexy as sin, and worth getting to know better. Heroes that kept me up late into the night. Heroes I routed for, laughed with, cried over, and cursed at. 

I actually wrote this list a couple of years ago. But you know what? It hasn't changed a lot despite the number of books I've read between then and now. These are the heroes that have stuck with me. Maybe because these are also some of my favorite series. And maybe if you haven't given them a try you might want to check them out.

Here’s my list of favorite heroes:

Zsadist: A vampire in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series (Lover Awakened). Ruined, but not broken. To say he has issues is an understatement. He is one tortured soul. And as a reader, I find that so appealing.
 
Christian Hawkins: From chop shop bad boy to Special Defense Forces agent in Tara Janzen Steele Street series (Crazy Cool). Nicknamed Superman.   S U P E R M A N    Those eight letters say it all. And it's a reunion story - my favorite kind.

Sam Starrett: A tough talking Navy SEAL from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series (Gone Too Far). He’s got a potty-mouth, a swagger, and a drawl. He's an elite warrior and good at his job. Too bad his private life is a mess. 

Cameron Quinn: One of the Quinn brothers from Nora Robert’s Chesapeake Bay series (Sea Swept). There’s nothing sexier than a man whose life has been turned upside down, trying to do the right thing, and making a complete hash of it. Cameron Quinn pulled me back into the world of romance.


And, no, I don’t want to know what this list says about me. Other than the fact that I obviously love to read romance.

How about you? Who are some of your favorite fictional heroes?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Derp

Talk about dropping the ball.  I've been so wrapped up with avoiding editing and trying to get holiday stuff done and getting distracting by life stuff, that I totally forgot I was supposed to post today.  I apologize to my fellow Killer Chicks, and to all the Killer Friends. 

This was understandable when I was deep in NaNo, but I should be over that.  I mean, I still have writer brain. 

If you're not a writer, or know/love a writer, it's a malady where you spend more time wrapped up in the lives of the fictional people in your head than you do with actual people, so you forget the niceties - like showering and cleaning and cooking and feeding the cats.

If you're familiar with the movie Romancing the Stone - Joan Wilder at the very beginning where she's searching her house for tissues until she comes across a note to buy herself tissues and ends up blowing her nose on that?  Yeah, that's me.  Sweatpants, no bra, beating me head on the computer, wandering the house in search of something and using something else instead, and occasionally wondering why my husband hasn't run off to find someone a touch more sane.  (Probably because he's got trader-brain - which is about equal to writer-brain - so we actually fit well together.)

So, forgive my writer brain.  I'll try to be more on top of things next week.  And if not, I hope to at least have a pretty picture to show you - like this one:


 (That's at Yellowstone, btw.  So pretty.)




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gold stars!

This weekend I was out shopping with a writer friend (yes, writers DO occasionally do things other than write and drink too much coffee) and since I'd given her a wall calendar for the holidays, she was looking for stickers to use on it to mark her writing progress.


Sort of like the gold star stickers some teachers used on their classroom calendars. (I never had one of those teachers, but I've heard about them.)

She asked me if I'd ever tried the method and I admitted I had, but I usually only got three days in before I forgot about the stickers, or stopped making progress, or gave up on my goals.

Now I make To Do lists. Lots of them. I have a daily To Do list. I have a weekly To DO list. Project lists, monthly lists, annual lists…Hell, I even have a bucket list.

But I don't use gold stars (or in my friend's case, cartoon character stickers).

I'm thinking of trying the Gold Star Method in 2015, but first I'll have to get a calendar and some stickers. Sounds like a good excuse to make a quick trip to the dollar store.


Tell me Killer Friends: Do YOU use gold stars to track your accomplishments? If you do, what do you use them for and what does your method look like? If you don't, what could you use a gold star for? 


Monday, December 8, 2014

Gathering Around the Christmas Tree

I'm neck deep in final edits for my upcoming release, Exposed. But I did manage to check a few  things off my Christmas to-do list. One batch of cookies baked. Some gifts bought. Tree trimmed.

Decorating our Christmas tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Each year we venture forth to the tree lot to select the perfect tree. Now the house is rich with the scent of pine, warm with the soft glow of lights, and it feels like Christmas. The ornaments that grace the branches are the closest I can claim to a collection. I'm not a big collector of things, but every year I try to add a new ornament or two. Each year I unwrap them and hang them up. Some come with special memories, some were gifts, and some simply caught my eye. Some I even crafted myself.





“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

Do you have any special holiday collections? 



Friday, December 5, 2014

Cleaning the Bathroom

I'm sure I'm not the only one who hates chores.  Cleaning is so tedious.  Sure, I love how it looks afterwards, when everything is so sparkly and fresh, but the act of cleaning?  Bleh. 

My husband feels the same way about mowing.  The back and forth, back and forth, pick up sticks, push the mower, avoid the trees, around the flowerbeds...  Afterwards, he always looks out over the yard and says "Yep, this is why we mow."  Because it always looks so pretty. 

Right now, I'm thick in the edits for the novel I'm self-publishing next year.  And it's like cleaning the bathroom after weeks of neglect.  You start out thinking it's going to be a simple thing.  But then you start, and you're cleaning this when you notice that, and everything suddenly looks so much messier than it did when you first decided to clean.  It makes you want to just throw the sponge down and walk away.  So what if it'll be better when you're done.  You're the only one who'll ever see it.

Except you won't.  Because unlike all the other times you've cleaned, this time your anal-retentive MOTHER-IN-LAW is coming, and she'll bring out the white gloves to run along your moldings.  (Mine's nice, btw.  This is an analogy.  Just go with it.) 

Suddenly every speck of dust is magnified 100x larger than it would be otherwise.  Your dust bunnies have taken on gargantuan proportions.  So you find yourself wanting to take a toothbrush to the tiles until the grout sparkles. 

So, you've got a choice.  Kill yourself trying to make everything perfect or give up entirely and hope she doesn't convince the world you suck - forgetting that you have another option: Do the best you can and if she finds a speck of dust in your otherwise tidy bathroom, thank her for pointing it out and go on about your life. 

Right now, this manuscript is a mess.  But it's not nearly as messy as it seems when I step back from it and get a grip.  It'll be shiny and tidy for my readers.  And if one of them finds something I missed, all I can do try harder next time.  All I concentrate on now is how pretty it'll be when I'm done.  (It's always prettier when you first get done - before you get a chance to notice how much cleaner it could've been.)

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have grout to scrub.  ;o)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 Gifts for Writers

Gift giving season is upon us. I know that it's probably snuck up on you since there aren't any ads to encourage you to shop or anything.

Or maybe you're the type who finishes shopping in July. If so, feel free to move on.

For the rest of you, here's a quick list of things I think writers would like to receive. Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments. Also, feel free to surreptitiously share those you think might need it.  ;-)

1 -- Caffeine

A writer can never have too much caffeine, it doesn't matter if their beverage of choice is coffee, tea, or soda. They want more to fuel the muse who is a demanding beast. They NEED more. So give them coffee or tea or soda. Or give them gift cards so that they can go drink and write in their favorite shop. Or give them both….THAT would be awesome.

2 -- Snacks

Like I said, the muse is a demanding beast and wants to be fed too. Find out what the writer in your life likes to snack on (chocolate, cheese, cookies, popcorn, licorice, pretzels, chips, nuts, WHATEVER) and get them some. For the gift that keeps on giving, get them a subscription to a Food of the Month Club (http://gourmetfood.about.com/od/wheretobuygourmetfoods/tp/The-Best-Food-Of-The-Month-Clubs.htm).

3 -- Time

We all need more time to write. You could buy a writer time by getting them a gift certificate for house cleaning, offering to do a job around the house that's usually their responsibility, or offering to babysit. If you really want to get them a lavish gift of time, get them a hotel stay where all they have to do is write and order room service.

4 -- Books

Writers love to read. Get them the best seller they've been eyeing. Or a gift certificate to their favorite bookstore. Or a subscription for audio books.

5 -- Writing stuff

What does the writer in you life need/want in order to write? A new keyboard? Pens and notebooks? A beautiful journal to dream in?  A calendar? A writing program?

6 -- Education

Writers love to learn. Get them a book on the craft of writing or a subscription to a writing magazine. Offer to send them to a workshop or conference.  Or if they really want to write a hot air balloonist who travels the country solving crime, get them a ride on a hot air balloon.

7 -- Call them a writer (or author, or novelist, or whatever it is they want to be called)

Whether they're a hobbyist or a professional, or someone striving to be a professional, the writer in your life works hard and needs to be acknowledged for what they do. Tell them (and the world) that they're a writer by giving them things like Writer mugs, t-shirts, jewelry, tote bags, bookends, plaques, posters, etc.  Just go to etsy, or Cafe Press or Zazzle and type in "writing" or "novelist" or "author" and a whole plethora of gifts will be just a point and click away

8 -- A life

Writers can't live by words alone…but many try. They need to get out and live in order to breathe life into the worlds they create. Take them to a movie, a show, to the botanical garden, rock climbing, kayaking, to a museum, to a paint-your-own place, bowling, etc. Basically get them out of their writing chair and into the world.

9 -- Things that make writing comfortable

Distractions are a writer's enemy. If your writer is often hot or cold, an electric blanket, small heater, or a fan can make all the difference in helping them stay focused on their work.  Or maybe they need a new chair or lamp. And some writers like to use things that help to get and keep them in the writing zone. Things like: scented candles and music (get them speakers for their writing area, or new headphones, or a gift card for music) set the mood for writing.

10 -- Your support

Writing is hard. Writing is lonely.
Let your writer know you support them. Ask how their project is going. Help them celebrate their successes. (In case you don't know, finishing a project or making a deadline is a great reason to celebrate.) Brag about what they're doing to others. Let them know you believe in their dreams.

Tell me Killer Friends: What kinds of gifts do you think writers want? What are the best gifts you've received?