Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

I wanted to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy New Year. I hope you have been enjoying a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of great food, plenty of fun, and most important of all -- filled with loved ones and friends. Here's wishing you each a great 2008! May this be the year your biggest dream comes true.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cooking Stuff

Hi everyone,

I've got some links and info up on my cookbook site about some different kitchen need-to-haves or want-to-haves. One of the things I have listed is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. A number of people have mentioned it before and thanked me for telling them about this mixer. I know it's the best mixer I've ever used! (No, I don't own stock in the company.) Smile. My Mom and my sister both have used them, had them for years, but the price is high and I never got one of my own.

Well, I found a great deal today at Amazon on them. The highest, most powerful one listed there is about the price that the cheapest KitchenAid was at Wal-Mart last year. For a limited time Amazon is doing 40% off, a 50 buck rebate on top of that, and free shipping. They even have price cuts on the attachments you can buy to use with the stand mixer, including a meat grinder and a shredder. Heck, you can even make ice cream and sausage with this stand mixer. (See why I've been wanting one forever!)

So, if like me, you've been sitting and waiting and hoping, now might be your chance to grab one of your own. They have two smaller ones that are even less, both also with price cuts and rebates. I told hubby he could count mine as both my X-Mas for this year and my birthday. Now I just have to try and wait for it to get here! Smile!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Long Time No See

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a long time. I have been sick and dealing with more than one health issue that has taken me out for three months so far. During that time I've handed over the day to day running of my RWC on-line groups to some wonderful ladies who have worked hard to keep things running so well that I'm sure members didn't even notice that I've been missing in action.

Sadly, I couldn't hand over my website, my blog and my e-mail to others, so those things have just had to sit and wait. I have a ton of back e-mail from this blog and the contact link on my website. Please don't think I'm being rude or ignoring your comments or questions. If I got them and you gave a correct e-mail address for my reply, and one was needed or requested, you will get a response from me. I promise.

I'm still not well and my up time is very limited, so please know that it might still take me a good while to get to each message. I know more waiting time is a lot to ask since some of you have already been waiting for three months. I'm sorry about that and will do the best I can to get to each message as soon as I can on the days when I do feel up to tackling my mail. Thanks so much for understanding and for all of the messages of support and encouragement that I've gotten from those who have learned about my illness during the last weeks.

Hugs and best wishes to you all -- and happy writing and reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2007 Brava Novella Contest

The 5th annual Brava Novella Contest will begin accepting entries at midnight central time on August 1, 2007 and will stop accepting them at midnight central time on September 30, 2007.

It's free to enter. The top twenty finalists will be judged by Kensington Editorial Director Kate Duffy. The contest is open to unpublished authors and those published with houses other than Kensington.

The contest will have a theme this year -- reunited lovers.

For more info and to enter, visit...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Writing Prompt Contest

The Heartland Writers Group is using one of my writing prompts for a free writing contest they are holding. You don't have to belong to RWA or anything to enter, no entry fee, and there's a five dollar prize. (Smile) I'll be judging the entries, but no one's name will be on them so I'll have no idea who wrote what. If you'd like to give it a try, the contest info is pasted below. Please read it before you write a scene since there's a word limit, a way you have to submit, and such. (You have a couple of weeks left to give it a try and there's only been a couple of entries so far.)

Here's the link where you can read the short scenes that have been entered and see later who wins.


By the way, the free on line group I own for writers has a sister list just for weekly writing prompts. If you are interested you can find info about the RWC groups here....





THE PROMPT: She's a nosy single-and-looking neighbor.He's the sexy single moving in next door.She's being her nosy self, trying to find out who's moving in and everything about him.He catches her.Then What?

In approximately 500 words or less, write a sexual tension scene between the two characters. Spice level medium to hot--No erotica, please.

****Special THANKS goes to romance author Charlotte Dillon for permission to use The Sexy Neighbor Writing Prompt.****

Send all entries to grievekathleen@ yahoo.com They must be received by July, 31st, 2007 no later than 12 noon central standard time to be considered. You must have "HWG JULY CREATIVE WRITING EXERCISE" in the subject line.

All entries will be posted anonymously on the HWG MYSPACE BLOG. Winner gets her/his picture posted on HWG MYSPACE, a $5 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, and will start the second HWG CONTINUING MYSTORY--details to follow.

This months judge will be romance author Charlotte Dillon. To find out more about Charlotte, you can go to her website: www.CharlotteDillon.com

Congratulations to June's Contest Winner--Patricia Martel. The entry was # 4 on HWG'S MYSPACE BLOG. Hers will be the first BIO posted on HWG's Newsletter, "Muse News", her picture is posted on our MYSPACE , and she received a $5 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. COME AND JOIN THE FUN WHILE LIGHTING A FIRE UNDER YOUR MUSE!!!GOOD LUCK!

KathleenHeartland Writers Group

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

25 Years & Counting

Today was a special one. I've been married for 25 years. Okay, so well, hubby has been part of it too. At least half of it. (Smile) This is a picture of the cake the kids surprised us with. Look at all of those huge chocolate covered strawberries. I'd actually never had chocolate covered strawberries until today. Needless to say, it wasn't a sugar free cake, so I only ate a small slice and a couple of the strawberries, but it was so good and the card they gave us was as sweet as the cake.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Minutes for the Troops

As an Army vet, Monica Burns knows first-hand how the sound of a loved one's voice is music in a soldier's ear. When she was stationed 3000 miles away from home, she lived for the sound of a familiar voice or the occasional care package that came showed up at mail call. That experience on intense homesickness has prompted her to organize a Minutes for the Troops donation program.

Monica has a troop contact in Iraq that she can send AT&T phone cards to. The minutes are then allocated to soldiers so they can call home. Apparently, AT&T phone cards are the only cards that work relatively glitch free with Iraq's phone system dialing out to the USA. If you'd like to help the American soldiers stationed in Iraq communicate with loved ones, here are your options:

Option 1 - AT&T phone cards are available at retail stores such as Wal-Mart. Once you've purchased the card, email Monica with the phone number and the pin number that are listed on the back of the card, along with the number of minutes on the card (knowing the minutes helps fairly allocate minutes to the troops). Send your phone card info to monicaburnsauthor @ comcast.net (eliminate the spaces before and after the @ symbol). Place "Minutes for the Troops" in your email subject line so her SPAM Assassin doesn't eat your email. She'll compile all the phone card information and forward it to her military contact so the troops can use the minutes you donate to make their calls.

Option 2 - Some people can only afford to spare a couple of dollars, so if you have a PayPal account, Monica is willing to take donations via her personal account. She'll purchase phone cards with those donations and forward those to her troop contact. The disadvantage is that your contribution has 3 percent removed from it by PayPal, so if you want to claim the donation on taxes, you'll have to allot for that 3 percent deduction when you calculate your donation. For instance, if you wanted to donate $1.00 you would actually only be donating 97 cents. Just keep this in mind if you want to donate via PayPal.

Option 3 - If you can't afford to buy a phone card, and don't have a PayPal account, you can always send a check or money order to Monica Burns, Post Office Box 68, Richmond, VA 23235. Monica will apply your contribution to the purchase of a card. A copy of the check or money order should suffice for your charitable donations write off on your taxes. Please do not send cash due to recordkeeping restrictions.

Monica thanks you, and the troops thank you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Website Update & Changes

It's taken me days, but I've finished a major update on my website. Well, not really finished, since there are still a lot of pages to work on, but I've finished all the main pages for both the writer's and the author's sides of my site. I hope the way things are done now will make it even more easier for people to find their way around on both sides. After all, it's no fun going to a site for information and then having to do a search and find forever to actually find the one thing you came for.

When you get a chance, check out both sides and let me know what you think! You can find the link on the side bar, or just go to www.CharlotteDillon.com

Friday, June 15, 2007

Time Saving Tip: Frosting

Want a quick frosting that won't taste like just another spread on can of it?

Once your cake is cool, simply warm up a can of frosting -- not too warm, just warm enough that it is easy to work with -- then put it in a bowl and stir in a container of Cool Whip. Adjust the amount of Cool Whip, using more for a milder frosting and less for a sweeter one. You can use any flavor of frosting you like. (Of course once spread on the cake, the cake will have to be kept in the fridge.)

My family doesn't care much for frosting from a can because it is just so sweet, but everyone who has tried one of my cakes made this way loves it and thinks it's some kind of frosting I made from a recipe that required work. (Smile)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Warning About Flea Treatments

I've really, really had my hands full the last week, especially the last few days. If any of you have been to the pet page on my website, you know I have way too many dogs. (But I love 'em all.) We've had a time with fleas this year. Used to, Frontline seemed to work, along with this flea dip I can't get any more. Then Frontline got where it just wasn't working that well at all and wasn't even lasting very well. On top of that, the price has gone up a lot in the last couple of years until it got to the point that I really just couldn't justify or afford the huge cost with the number of large dogs I have.

Well, things were already going bad first thing Tuesday morning. I've been dealing with a very sick puppy for a few days, making trips back and forth to the vet. Tuesday morning I awoke to find the two dogs that stay outside, were both missing. Some how the gate had got opened during the night and they were gone. After searching the neighborhood, we managed to find one, but not the other. I had to have the puppy back to the vet for another IV at eight-thirty, so I gave up after another hour and came home to get ready to go.

Believe it or not, on the way to the vet, I actually found my other missing dog walking down the road with a woman. We were late for the vet, but I was so happy to have found Kane and Clover and have them both home safe and sound.

I was at the vet a long time, Korin's IV bag takes nearly two hours. We made it home and Korin was doing so much better than he had been doing for days before, that I actually felt hopeful he was going to make it. Since I was feeling a little better about him, and was feeling a little better myself since I had been dealing with a stomach bug too, I thought I would go on and treat the well dogs with some flea stuff I picked up at Wal-Mart. It was Sergeant's Gold Flea & Tick, the kind in the little tube that you squeeze on down their backs. (I've used a lot of different kinds over the years, cheap and not cheap.)

After I used this one though, in less than an hour, Lucky started throwing up. I thought with dread that he was taking the same nasty virus that Korin had. Then Lucky began to shake, then shake worse, then he couldn't walk. I thought about the flea stuff and grabbed him up and bathed him twice. I then handed him to my daughter and ran around checking on my other dogs. All seemed well until I looked outside at the two out there. Clover was drooling every where and shaking all over. That began a mad dash to wash every dog at least twice, once with a shampoo and then after doing a little research on line, we used dish washing liquid. During the research we found page after page of info from people who had lost their pets after using this flea stuff, or some other one like it.

It was a very long evening after an already long last few tense days, but by yesterday morning, Lucky and Clover seemed to be over it, and all of the other dogs were acting fine. I took Korin back to the vet and he is off the IV, doing well, eating, on meds by mouth, and the vet said she doesn't need to see him again. I still almost ended up by there yesterday. I have a dog that has seizures and wouldn't just know that he had to have one yesterday just when everything seemed to be calming down again. But he is fine and I was able to control the seizure and get it stopped without a trip to the vet. (I didn't put the flea stuff on him, Korin, or Kane.) I hope they all stay fine for a long while now. So does my credit card. (Ouch!)

Long story short...

If you have a dog, please be very careful with any of these once a month flea treatments, especially this one and other over the counter types that promise to act quickly and last a long time. If you have a cat, be even more careful, since it seemed there was even a larger listing of people who had lost cats from one of these types of flea treatments.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Prayers & Good Wishes Needed

Over a year ago I wrote a message here about my my sister's grand baby needing prayers and good wishes. Well, he needs them again. He's in the hospital once more, this time on life support. Back then they didn't give him much hope of seeing his first birthday. Well, he made it. Now we are hoping for a second one. He was born with something called Autosomal Recessive Cutis Laxa Type One. There are only a couple of hundred people or less in the whole world with Cutis Laxa, and his is the very worse kind. It is a rare genetic disorder of the connective tissue. On the outside it shows up in loose and hanging skin, but it does worse stuff inside. He has had one battle after another, and has seemed to be doing so well lately. He just started walking and seemed to be so happy, and now this. I'm hoping there's some way for him to have more time, if it can be good time. More time for him to laugh, to play with his big sister and his grandma's dogs, to enjoy the new freedom he's found since he has a special daycare where he can spend a few hours at a time with other children. So, if you have a moment, please say a prayer, a blessing, send good thoughts, white light, what ever you can, that he'll beat the odds and be laughing for one more birthday.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pet Tip: Giving Your Dogs Medicine

If you have more than one dog, like I do, when it comes time to give them all medicine, it can be a little overwhelming. (Smile) I give my dogs heartworm medicine every month, and the regular wormer about once a year. I've learned a few things to help make it not so overwhelming.

First, I keep a piece of paper in the drawer where I keep the meds. On that paper I have each dog's name with their weight wrote out next to it. (You don't have to reweigh them more than once a year unless you have a growing puppy or you notice by looking that your dog might have gained or lost weight.)

Next I bring out a couple of disposable foam plates and a marker. (I only do two dogs at a time instead of wasting a pile of plates.) I write the dog's name and weight on the edge of the plate with the marker. I put some can dog food on the plate, the amount depending on the size of the dog. You don't want to put too much because you don't want to take a chance on them maybe not cleaning their plate.

Now that I'm ready to measure the meds, I have the dog's name and weight right in front of me. That way I'm not likely to make a mistake, and I'm not going to mix the plates up and give Max at 67 pounds the plate I fixed for Clover at 53 pounds. I've worked hard to train my dogs that when a plate is put in front of one, that the food on that plate belongs to that dog, but them being dogs, you still have to watch closely until those two plates or clean. If you can't get your dogs to do that, then put the food and each dog in a room away from the others so there is no chance of someone not getting all of his meds, or even worse, of someone getting an overdoes.

When those two dogs are done, I pick up the plates, mark through the names and weight on them, write in the next two dogs' names and weights, and repeat until they have each had their meds.

The last thing I do is mark it on the calendar so I'll know for sure what date they were given the meds on.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On To The Next Publisher

Well, after a few rejections on my starter book for romance writers, my agent, Elizabeth Pomada, is at it again. She's in New York right now and has pitched my starter book for romance writers to St. Martin's Press. When I talked to her tonight on her cell, she said she will be sending the complete to them.

Sooooooo.....cross those fingers and toes for me once again. (Smile)

The other publishers who have rejected the book said they thought there wasn't a big enough market for it. 'Market' being romance authors who would need my starters from time to time. I think there's a whole pile of us out there who hit blocks and need starters. Right? (Smile) Now I just have to hope that St. Martin's Press knows that too, or is willing to take a chance on it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bogalusa Almost Two Years After Katrina

The two-year anniversary of Katrina is drawing nearer. I remember those first days, and even first weeks, after the hurricane hit here, thinking how things would never, could never be the same. In fact, there were days when I even thought things would never get better.

That first spring afterwards, there were still scars everywhere. You could see them in the destroyed and damaged buildings, in the broken and downed trees, in the abandoned businesses and homes, and in so many other places and ways, even on the people who carried scars on the inside.

But…it’s 2007 and this is a brand new spring. Life does renew itself. You can see that all over Bogalusa. Yes, there’re still scars. The city is still tearing down homes and other structures, some people are still in FEMA trailers, there are still repairs going on in lots of places here. The city just last week finally came and removed four huge oak trees from my street. Three weren’t healthy before the hurricane and more damage just meant they needed to come down all the more. One, the biggest, was a giant beauty though, until Katrina tore the top half out and split sections of the big limbs that were left. My street sure doesn’t look the same without those four majestic trees stranding guard and protecting us from the heat of the summer sun, but it’s what needed to be done.

We lost some great stores and companies, but there are a number of new businesses being built here all at once. Some new things, like a restaurant called the Big Easy Grill, and a new Hot Links sausage company, actually came here from closer to New Orleans. Seems their loss was our gain in a few areas.

People who had their homes too badly damaged to live in, have, or are, moving back into those repaired homes or newly built ones. Places that had really major, major damage, like one of the big churches not too far form me, finally was fixed up enough to have services last Sunday. The city is planting some new trees too and planning things to make the area better.

We learned a whole lot too. The city and the people here will be far better prepared if another Katrina paints a bull’s eye on us.

As for now, help still comes in. The kind that requires muscles and sweat. Bogalusa has had a number of college kids and even members of churches and such, come down for days or even weeks, some even from other countries. At first they might have helped remove trees from roadways and homes and do kind of emergency-need stuff. Now they come and offer free labor to those who were maybe able to buy stuff to repair damaged roofs, floors, or walls, but maybe aren’t able to afford to pay for labor or do the work on their own.

After the hurricane, at first it seemed all anyone heard about was New Orleans. Probably because of the number of people there and the flooding and mostly and sadly the number of lives lost. But there were so many towns and cities that took just as hard of a hit, and even harder, than there--but thankful without the number of lost lives. I think smaller places just didn’t make as good of press. Months later, all you seemed to hear about was the people who had pulled scams and wasted money, and cheated and lied and…it was just all kind of sickening. I think just like some people didn’t notice other places besides New Orleans has suffered, after all the bad press they forgot that there were lots of people who weren’t scamming and cheating, who really needed and appreciated whatever help they got.

I know my family sure did. Still does. Members of my RWC group, some people from where my sister lives in Arkansas, and a couple of friends who lived near one of my cousins in Nashville, all seemed to take us under their wings during those very first few hard weeks. Together they gave us the help we needed to get over the hump. I never added up all of the money and gifts, but it was probably over fifteen hundred. The army gave us meals and water, the Red Cross helped us buy a new water heater and some needed odds and ends. I can’t tell you the number of cards and letters and messages I got from people who simply wrote to say hi and offer hugs or words of support. It was a combination of all of the above that had us back on our feet in record time. We still have floors to replace and shingles on the roof too…but those seem like small things now.

I can’t tell you what it felt like to be able to move back into my own home after the hurricane. I had a lot of great moments back then I can’t explain. It’s funny, but I don’t think I’ve stepped into the shower or crawled into a comfortable bed or ate a hot meal once since I came home, and not thought of how wonderful those things are. Or what’s it’s like to be so low, and to realize that people who you’ve never seen before will reach across a country to offer you what they can. It’s true what they say, without the bad, how can you ever know just how great the good is.

I guess sometimes homes, people, and even cities, are better for their sorrow and their scars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spring has Sprung!

I love this time of year. I know it will be too hot all too soon, but for right now most
days are just right. Kind of cool in the morning, warming up during the day, only
beginning to get too hot just when it's time for the cool down to start back over. My
yard has been in full bloom for a while now. I took these pictures this evening of some of the flowers I like the best. It was getting late, starting to get dark, but they still came out pretty good.

Some are of my roses, one is from my dogwood, and I don't know what you call
the purple star, but the flowers are huge and there are a lot of them. It comes back
each year and climbs toward the sky. I hope you spring has sprung too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Help Find a Cure for Diabetes

Author Brenda Novak puts together a huge on-line auction for the benefit of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation each year. If you are a writer or not, you will find great stuff there to bid on. She's still putting together the items for the auction right now, and the more the better. So....Please....if you have an item, a product, or a service that you would like to donate, you can do so here.... http://www.brendanovak.com/auction_index.php The item might be a
gift certificate or gift basket you put together, a ring, CD, Beanie Baby, ect. If you make crafts and sell them, maybe it's something you made, like a quilt, a necklace, or painting. If you make websites, maybe it's making a free web page, graphic, or banner or ect... If you are an agent or editor, maybe it's a critique. If you are a published writer, maybe it's a signed copy of your latest book or a critique. Since the auction is for readers, writers, and everyone else, if you've got something to donate there's probably someone willing to bid on it to help out with a good cause. (Smile) Hey, if you have big stuff, I'm sure that's fine too, like a laptop, ect... Big or little, it all adds up.

Thanks so much for your help!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Son at the Zoo

This is a picture I took of my son at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans where he works. I took it yesterday, the day we went with him so he could show us around. I'm sure it was just another day at work to him, although it was his day off, but I just had the best time there. Most of you know how much I love animals. So of course a day with wild ones was just the best. (Smile) I got to hand feed some of the animals, got a little look at some of the behind the scenes stuff, and just really felt like a special guest. Everyone was so nice to us and spoke so well of our son. The zoo is still in some disrepair and some animals are missing, thanks to hurricane Katrina, but there is still so much there to see. People are working every where too, putting in new plants, redoing exhibits that were ruined, getting ready even to add some new stuff. I was just really impressed. So, if you live close enough. on ever go on vacation to New Orleans, make sure you go to the Audubon Zoo. And if you see the guy in the picture working there, tell him hello. (Smile) Find out more about the zoo and even about how to help it recover, by visiting its home page here.... http://www.auduboninstitute.org/site/PageServer

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oh What a Ride

We went to New Orleans today to the zoo. It should have been less than a two hour drive there and the same back. Instead, it took over three hours to get there because they were signing up people for a lawsuit and we had to go down that road to reach the zoo. It took us a whole hour to get down that one road.

When we left hours later to come home, we hoped that road would be cleared. They had moved people out into the middle of the road and were letting people in cars just pass by and hand over their lawsuit papers to be filed. Wish they had thought of that sooner.

We were so glad to be moving at a good speed, and then we hit another jam, this one seemed to be every where. We heard there was a crane over, and that another way there was a bad wreck. We ended up stuck in traffic again. In the end a ride that should have taken us a little over three hours there and back, took over six. Now I know why I love living in a small town. Okay, so we don't have a zoo, but all peaches have pits. (Smile)

The picture is of the Causeway Bridge we have to cross over to get to New Orleans. Ain't she a long one? We had already been on the bridge for a while when I snapped this picture. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest bridge in the world at 23 miles long. I think there's a longer one now, maybe a couple, but I think not in the US.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Goodbye Reba – Reba McEntire’s Sitcom Cancelled

They say laughter is good for the soul--and for the body and mind. There are so few new shows on now days that give me that good laughter. One of my very favorites is the sitcom that stars well-known country singer Reba McEntire. The show is rightly titled Reba and centers around the main character Reba Hart who is a divorced mom of three. Her ex-husband Brock lives next door with his new wife Barbra Jean. Reba’s oldest daughter Cheyenne is married to Van and they have a baby. The young couple and child live with Reba along with a younger sister and brother.

Together all of these people are a modern day family and some how go through all of the ups and downs of life while making us laugh almost non-stop. I think a lot of that laughter comes from the characters of Barbra Jean and Van. They are both so dingy and funny and such endearing characters. Reba is just a down to earth show that the whole family can watch together and enjoy.

Sadly, even though Reba is one of the top rated sitcoms on the CW network it airs on, CW has decided to cancel the show without a warning to the show's many, many fans. There was still a contract in play, but no ends for the characters will be tied up, so some other shows could have at least be done to show fans how the characters will move on. The CW isn't going to do that though, they are just going to play the last three shows they have already recorded, and that’s that.

The actors wanted to stay around, but the CW spokesman said the show wasn’t aimed at the kind of audience they wanted to reach. Makes me wonder what kind of audience they do want? I would think any audience that moves a show high up in the all important ratings game on your network would be the kind of audience you would want to keep around and maybe even aim some new shows toward. Looks like not. Maybe that's why I've heard so many disappointed Reba fans say that when the last of Reba airs, that's the last they'll watch of the CW. I guess they feel there is no need to stay where they aren't wanted.

The final two episodes of Reba will air on the CW back to back on Sunday, February 18th starting at 7/6c. This show had so much more left to give. I would have at least have liked to seen them take the time to wrap up things, maybe have Reba find a new love and Cheyenne give birth to the new baby we just found out about. I wish another network would step in and take the show, saving it, but we all know that things like that don't usually happen. So...so long Reba. It sure was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

All That Sex!

There was a time when few novels, even romance novels, had much sex in them. There were many embraces and lots of panting and kissing and even some petting, but in a large percent of the books, when it went beyond that, the bedroom door closed and the scene broke off right there to leave the rest of the encounter to our own vivid imaginations.

By the time the new millennium rolled around, those bedroom doors were often being left wide open--if the impassioned couple even waited long enough to find a bedroom. Some authors began to feel pressured to write out those encounters in more and more detail when it became clear that a lot of the women who were buying romance novels were no longer satisfied with a closed-door policy.

I began to get messages from new authors who were working themselves into a tizzy of it all. “I can’t write sex scenes no matter how hard I try.” “What if my mother or one of the ladies from the church got the chance to read what I wrote?” “When I write sex scenes they read flat, with no sizzle at all. Kind of like directions on how to install a dishwasher.” “I write those hot scenes, but it’s like pulling teeth because I’m so uncomfortable about it.” ect…. All of them ended with a cry for help, a “What should I do?” or a “How do you write them?” or something along those lines.

The truth is, anytime you try to write something that you don’t want to write, that you don’t like, that you are uncomfortable with, it’s not going to work out as well as it should. It’s never going to be your strongest writing, the writing that will show off your real talent for story telling at its best. Just because there is a trend for publishers to buy paranormal romances or erotic romance or humorous romance, doesn’t mean you should try to pen one. You will do your best writing when you spend your time writing what you enjoy, or at least writing within your own comfort zone.

If you are comfortable writing it but fear what others will think of you, well, that can hold you back just as tightly. Maybe it would help to write under a pen name so you can put that worry away and write freely. Sadly, many people will read a book where six women are kidnapped, tortured and then hacked to pieces, with it all described in great gory detail, and not find any offence in it, but those same people will almost hyperventilate over an adult couple making love with it being described with any real details at all.

When you figure out what you are comfortable writing, then you’ll know just how much sex should be in your stories. Don’t forget there are romance publishers out there that still buy books with no sex in them at all and others with mild sex, or limited sex. Even in a pretty hot romance, sex is a very small part of the story. The romance is the sexual tension between two people who are falling in love, the tingle when his hand brushes hers, the way her heart races when he stares into her eyes, the way the scent of her perfume distracts him beyond reason, or the way his palms itch because he wants to touch her so badly. A story can vibrate with sexual tension without one sex scene.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What We Do For Our Pets

My dog Bugsy has seizures. I've talked about him and them here before. Yesterday it was time to go buy more meds for him from the vet. Two bottles, enough to last less than six months, is almost 150 bucks. Then there is the blood work, the ER trips in the middle of the night if he has a bad one that won't stop with the meds I have here--thankfully those are very few and far between, maybe once a year. In fact, knock on wood, it's been over a year since we had to call the vet out after hours for him. I had to call a couple of weeks ago about two in the morning, but by the time I got her on the phone, the seizure stopped. She talked to me a few minutes, waiting to see if it would start back, but it didn't. I felt awful for waking her, but she was really nice about it. Phone calls are free. Even at two AM. (Smile)

Still... I know even the cost of his meds and yearly tests are a whole lot of money to us and to most people, but hey, what else is plastic for? (Smile)

Hubby went with me to the vet to get Bugsy's meds this time. On the way he mentioned that he had told a friend where we were going and what the meds cost. The friend said he would "take that dog out in the woods and shoot it before he would spend that kind of money on it. That it was just a waste and the animal would be best put out of his misery."

Bugsy isn't in any misery, I can promise you that, as long as he doesn't miss his meds and gets them every day, he only has a seizure once in a while...sometimes none for months, and he is perfectly healthy and happy the rest of the time. Well loved and spoiled. I make sure he's almost never left alone, and if he is I try to make sure it's never for more than an hour at a time, just in case he has a seizure. If he has one, it usually takes a dose of extra meds to bring him out, sometimes a shot, so he has to be watched. If anyone is being inconvenienced, it's me, and I don't really mind.

The only other option is to simply take him to the vet and have him put to sleep. If he was sick and couldn't get better and suffering, I could understand. But I can't look into those lovely brown eyes and tell them to kill him over money. I guess I just don't see why others can't understand that. It's not just hubby's friend, I've had friends, even family, tell me almost the same thing. People say I'm nuts to put out money like that, and to tie myself down for a stray, a mutt. It used to hurt my feelings, but it's got where it makes me angry instead. Maybe I shouldn't feel either. I guess we all say things without thinking sometimes. Maybe if they don't have a pet, they just can't understand? Of course some of these people have pets, so I don't know. Guess I just wanted to vent. (Smile)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Time for Friends

Remember when you were in your teens, even in your early twenties, (if that's now, then this is for later, when you are older) and your friends were such a big part of your life? They were actually in your life, daily. You visited in person, talked on the phone, or later, even shared e-mail messages. Pen pals shared letters, yes paper and pen letters, at least every couple of weeks and sometimes maybe even a phone call.

As the years went by, there were jobs, children, and endless responsibilities that seemed to strangle out a lot of that friend time. If you had time, she didn't, that kind of thing.

Lots of once dear friends slipped through the cracks and faded away. Others hung around but were a mere wisp of smoke compared to what they had been in your life. Those daily communication became every other day, then a couple times a week, then weekly, and then a couple times a month, and before you knew it or how it had happened, sometimes you went a month or two or more without a word, sometimes even much longer.

I had the pleasure of hearing from two of those lost friends this week. One that I used to share e-mails with pretty regularly, and one who was a pen and paper pen pal of mine for years.

The e-mail friend is one of those wisps of smoke. I know she's still there. We share a very rare e-mail message with each other now again when something big or bad happens in our lives. We even exchange Christmas cards, but that's about it. Well, she called me this week and suddenly there she was in my life again, the wisp of smoke blew away and there was flesh and blood, a voice that came through a phone line. There was laughter and memories, some good and some not, but it was comfortable and familiar and felt like it should.

The pen pal friend, she was one of those who slipped through the cracks. I haven't heard from her in years and years. Suddenly a message popped into my in box from her. She had found my website and my contact link. It was so great to hear from her again after so long. She promised to write back and fill me in on all of the changes in her life, and I can't wait to hear them all. I have a few of my own to share. Like I said above, it felt comfortable and familiar to read her words. (I even got a surprise Christmas card from another old pen pal I hadn't heard from in years, so maybe this is the year of friends refinding each other. Smile)

Funny, though friendship transforms are weakens and rebuilds, if it was a real friendship, it never really completely fades away. If you were a real friend, you are still a wisp of smoke in that person's life. So how about reaching out and becoming flesh and blood again? You might not have the time to keep in touch as often as you once did, but you could keep the line of friendship open, and maybe in a lot of years, when you are both old and gray and have plenty of time on your hands, that old friendship will become again what it once was. You'll never know unless you reach out and try.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

VOTE for RWC & My Site for Writers

Hi everyone,

Both my site for writers and my on-line group for writers are up in a poll for favorites. If you like either one, please take a moment to pop over and vote for one or both.

My site is listed under the section titled Writers' Resource/Information/News Source. You can get to it here http://www.critters.org/predpoll/writerinfo.shtml
My sites listing is Resources for Romance Writers (Charlotte Dillon's) http://www.charlottedillon.com/WritingRomance.html

My on-line group for romance writers is listed under the section titled Writers' Discussion Forum. You can get to that page here http://www.critters.org/predpoll/writerforum.shtml My group listed is RWC (Romance Writer's Community) http://www.charlottedillon.com/RWC.html

Don't worry about giving your e-mail address to vote. They just do that to make sure that each person only gets one vote per section. They run this poll every year and no one has ever had any trouble with it or them. It's an on the up and up thing. Smile.

Thanks so much for your vote! Or just for popping by if you didn't vote.

2007 Already?

My, but how time does fly. Before we know it, it'll be 2008.

Most of us start the new year of with a list of goals we hope to accomplish or do better at over the next twelve months. Often, those good intentions last about as long as I am tall...and that ain't very long. Smile

So, since we know 2008 will be here in a few breaths, what goals have you set that are really important to you? By important I mean they will improve your happiness and your health. Haven't done 'em yet? Well, go ahead. I'll wait.

Okay, all done? Good.

I bet there are a lot of the same goals on your list from the year before, and you didn't accomplish them or follow through. So, now, what can you do different this year to come out a little better? Maybe knock some of those goals off. Stick with the most important ones. Maybe that's to lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with your kids, plant butt in chair and actually write every day, ect....

Got just the most important ones left? You sure? Not too many now, and not too big. Then as I was saying... I
f you need to lose weight, don't set a goal of five pounds a week. And if you have only been writing maybe a couple of hours each weekend, if even that often, don't swear you'll do five pages a day, seven days a week.

Okay, now we have important goals and we have realistic ones.

You're off to a better start already. Let's go slow though. If your goal is to write more, add only a little more writing time each day, or a couple more days each week, then add more when that becomes a habit. The same with losing weight. Start walking thirty minutes at least three times a week, then move up to five times, then maybe up to an hour some of those times. Cut out your bedtime snack, don't get seconds at meal time, put more green beans on your plate and less rice and gravy and then pass on the roll.

Don't set big goals and then go for broke, because you'll probably be what breaks.

Best of luck during 2007 with all of your goals, wishes and dreams!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sugar, Sugar Every Where! What's a Diabetic to Do!

Well, not just sugar, but anything that turns into sugar after you eat it. You know, bread, potatoes, pasta, ect... This time of year is the worst. I've been trying so hard to make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas and now New Years, and still keep my blood sugar counts under control, but I'm not doing so well. Even though I'm trying to watch what I eat, it seems any simple carbs at all just spikes my blood sugar. This time of year with all the extra good food and sweets around, it's just awful. Now I'm feeling all depressed because everyone else had cornbread with supper and I didn't dare, and they'll be having cake, and my blood sugar is already over 200, so I don't dare.

I've had a weight problem all my life, which means I've had a food problem. Food has been my friend and my comfort. In my family food was what we mourned with, celebrated with, and did everything in between with. Suddenly my friend and comfort, which I still crave badly now since I'm depressed and upset, is my enemy. It's a hard blow, and one I understand in my mind, but it's not helping me accept things or deal with the way I feel right now.

I've had food battles all of my life. I went on my first diet when I was eight. Thanks to the battling, I've managed to keep my weight under two hundred, but I'm still too often about fifty pounds over my idea weight. The food battle has moved to a new level now. If I give in, not only will I fear the scales moving up, but I could actually end up at the ER, or even dead. That's what's moved the battle to the front lines, to this take-no-prisoners point, and me to the point where I want to just wave the white flag and give up already.

If you aren't a diabetic yet, but have a weight problem, please take a stand and start the battle now. You might never have to deal with being a diabetic if you take care of your health now. Believe me, you don't want to be here if you can help it. If you take care of your health, even if you become a diabetic, maybe it'll happen at fifty instead of forty, or maybe even sixty instead of fifty. My father was diagnosed in his early thirties. With my long spells of working out and keeping my weight down closer to normal, I put it off for almost ten years longer than he did. He took two shots a day, and so far I'm only on pills.

Believe me, I know it's no fun to diet, but it's so much easier to do when a bowl of low-cal fruit isn't going to push your blood sugar up, or even a bowl of Special K, or a baked potato. Pick your battles, pick your stand, and fight now, while you can still fight on your own terms instead of on the terms of a deadly disease. I know I wish I had fought harder. If I had only had one of those darn crystal balls. (Consider me your crystal ball.)