February 13, 2013



The most recent snowstorm that socked Flagstaff left me wearing snowboots. They’re heavy, clunky boots that, while keeping my feet dry and at least a little warm, tend to gobble my socks.

Because of their penchant for leaving me with one sock off and the other half on, I can’t wait to shed these pain-in-the-a$$ boots (and put my socks back on) … so I’ve taken to stashing a pair of sneakers under my desk at work. With a minutes’ work — presto change-o — I can walk through the office without my socks bunching around my toes.

The simple act of changing into a bright pink pair of tennis shoes calls to mind elementary and middle school gym classes. Unfortunately, the memories aren’t as rosy as the shoes.

I didn’t mind gym class so much in elementary school. It was fun to play  duck, duck, goose, prison dodgeball and that game with the parachute.

Then middle school happened. PE went from fun to full-on torture. For some reason, the powers-that-be put gym class first thing in the morning — meaning, essentially, we had to get ready for school twice. Considering it was all I could do to do my hair once, that was a fate worse than dropping my purse and having feminine hygiene products spill out.

Our PE class was structured into weeks-long units. I succinctly remember units on basketball (which I was surprisingly bad at for a born Hoosier), volleyball, softball and tennis. I also remember that horrid Presidential Fitness test, where you had to run a mile as fast as you could and hang by your arms (which I couldn’t do for more than a split second).

But the worst, by far, was … square dancing. With “icky” boys. (Our gym classes were only co-ed for square dancing. The rest of the year, they did their thing and we did ours.) The mere thought makes me shudder, even all these years later. If I can unearth the short story I wrote about the experience, I’ll come back and share some of my favorite lines.

I can’t help wondering: If middle school and high school PE had been more enjoyable … if they’d emphasized personal fitness instead of team sports … if they’d had units on yoga and zumba, would I still be fighting the same battle with my weight?

Probably. While I’ve finally found exercise I enjoy, it’s still a struggle to watch what I eat and move regularly. It’s a lot easier to grab a value meal and park it in front of my computer.

Anyone else hate square dancing as much as I did? What was your gym class nemesis?


February 5, 2013


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Love and laughter have been in short supply in my little corner of the Internet, and for that I apologize. I’ll try to blog more often.

I want Love & Laughter to grow better … faster … stronger in 2013. Yes, that’s in addition to all the REAL writing I’m planning to do this year. A writer’s work never ends.

Not much happening in these parts — hence my lack of posts, I suppose. I’m still editing away, and for a few days last week I was THISCLOSE to becoming part of a group blog for up-and-coming romantic comedy writers.

Sadly, the idea stumbled and fell flat on its face before we managed to get off and running.

That leaves me with two options: Building up my personal blog here or joining an already-established group of romantic comedy authors with a blog that needs a helping hand.

I know that’s easier than building one from the ground up, because I jumped into another, already-established blog with no drama. I blog over at Chicklets in the Kitchen several times a month. The gig gives me an outlet for my two other loves — eating and cooking. (My posting day is Thursday.)

Anyone know of any additional group blogging opportunities? In the words of my friend, Abigail Sharpe, I’m funny, I promise!

This post on my copy editing experiences will give you a taste of my humor. Or the card that would have been perfect for my mother. Or this one on naming heroes’ naughty bits. Later on, I was surprised to see “Mr. Happy” pop up in the terms people used to find my blog. (Heh … “pop up” …)

Really, I need to write more fun posts like that — stat! Perhaps then, my blog will begin to live up to its name.


January 24, 2013

Ruby WWF

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Despite my goal to boost my online presence, it’s been too long since I’ve written a blog post.

I can’t say it’s all bad, because I have been busy writing … and rewriting … and getting rejections … and rewriting some more.

Since I last blogged, I finished the first draft of a novella, struggled with a paranormal romantic comedy and prepped an entry for the 2013 Golden Heart. (Fingers crossed on that one.)

I also assumed the helm of my local RWA chapter, NARWA, and jumped into the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival again.

My RSSWWF goals, as posted in the opening ceremonies post on Jan. 10:

  • Revise at least 5 pages in the novella I want to submit March 1.
  • Revise at least 5 pages of my the rest of my GH entry (in case it finals).
  • Read an article on character-building & figure out how to apply it to my stories above.
  • Do something presidential (chapter admin duties).
  • Pay my NARWA/RWA dues. The president has to stay current!
  • Network by reaching out to a fellow writer in some way – via Facebook, twitter, blog comment

Plus additional goals left over from last year (they still apply, so why not?):

  • Read/give feedback to CP OR
  • Read one article in one of the many unread issues of RWR I have on file OR
  • Write a blog post of at least 150 words for my writing blog, Love & Laughter. Posts for the weight loss blog don’t count. OR
  • Read one of the GH entries I just received for judging OR
  • Do something/anything to further my writing career (like entering an online pitch contest, attending a chapter meeting) OR
  • Spend at least an hour a day, BICHOK (not playing online)

That’s what I’ve been up to, and what I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future. What are you doing to make your dream come true?

October 31, 2012


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I was glad to say yes when Amy Raby, one of my Starcatchers sisters from the RWA Golden Heart class of 2011, asked me to take part in the Next Big Thing blog hop.

Unlike Amy, I don’t have a book scheduled for release. But I’m happy to talk about one of  my many works in progress.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing

What is your working title of your book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

I started it right after I learned I’d finaled in the Golden Heart with BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER. It’s the tale of a teammate/friend of the hero in that story, and something the hero mentioned to the heroine as his reason for doing something that upset her. My reasoning for writing it? If BEAUTY was going to be my success, I wanted to have one to go along with it.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary romantic comedy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oooh — that’s a tough one. *Runs to Pinterest for inspiration* Even with some visual help, I had trouble answering this one. I could see Dylan McDermott or Chris Evans as Dave, my bad-boy shortstop-turned-father. Or maybe Channing Tatum (though he might make a better Matt, the catcher in BEAUTY). As for Melinda, my heroine, maybe the young Kate Hudson or Cameron Diaz. Brittany Snow could probably do it, too.

Final answer: Chris Evans is Dave Reynolds; Brittany Snow is Melinda Cline.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A decent shortstop with a bad-boy reputation discovers — five years after the fact — that he’s a father and has to prove to the girl’s skeptical and super-protective mother that he can step up to the plate and knock one out of the park for fatherhood and everlasting love.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

That’s yet to be determined. I’m still on the hunt for an agent and publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months. I started it in late March 2011 and had a draft by the beginning of September.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think I’m going to have to pass on this question. I’ve plumbed the depths of my mind and can’t come up with an answer. I mean, I’d love to say my story is like those of Kristan Higgins or Susan Elizabeth Phillips  … but that’s probably stretching it a bit (or a lot). Those are the authors I most admire, and hope to be like, but I’m just not sure I’m there yet.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

After Dave’s backstory came up in BEAUTY, I knew I wanted to tell his story. I often get ideas for a new story when I’m in the middle of writing. Besides, I love the idea of a bad boy, reformed. I can’t remember which historical author wrote it, but it’s the world’s worst-kept secret that reformed rakes make the best husbands.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In DIVA’s first incarnation, the book began with Dave and Mel hooking up for their one-night stand  … and that scene will probably eventually show up on my blog as an “extra.” I had to cut it because my beta readers said it made neither hero nor heroine likable.

Since I’m coming in several weeks into this, and with NaNoWriMo kicking off this week and a superstorm ravaging the East Coast, I’m having trouble finding five friends to tag. Please forgive me for shorting you two.

Tag, you’re it:

Abigail Sharpe, who writes contemporary romance. Her first novel, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy, is due out in 2013. I met her when she called me to tell me I’d finaled in the Beacon contest (as I was leaving the post office after mailing off my Golden Heart entries), and we’ve since become friends.

Fellow Starcatcher Diana Belchase writes romantic suspense. She already posted her answers to the Next Big Thing questions on her Facebook page.

Connie Cockrell and I met through our Power Writing Hour group on Facebook. She just had a short story accepted in an anthology.