Archive for the ‘about’ Category

February 12, 2017

about, Musings

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I was flattered at the Poisoned Pen this week.

Kristan Higgins is one of my favorite romantic comedy writers, so when I heard she’d be at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale on a tour for her latest book, On Second Thought, I requested a day off from work so I could go down and see her.

The Woman in Cabin Ten | #bookclubI live in Prescott now, but I used to live 90-plus minutes farther north, in Flagstaff. Consequently, I never quite remember how long it’ll take me to get down to the Valley. I arrived quite early for Kristan’s 2 p.m. talk, so I settled into a comfy chair at the bookstore and dove into my book club’s next read (The Woman in Cabin 10). It’s a page-turner, for sure.

Of course, there were other people around, and I couldn’t completely lose myself in the book. Instead, I struck up a conversation with one woman who brought her dog and granddaughter to the store, not knowing there was an author coming, and decided to stay for Kristan’s presentation. Another woman pulled a copy of Gone with the Wind off the shelf, which was right by my head, and said something that started a conversation about the book vs. the movie.

As we chatted about the characters on film in no way matching up with the visions in our heads, she suddenly burst out: “I know why you look familiar. You’re Kristan Higgins!”

“No, but I’m here to see her,” I replied with a friendly/nervous laugh. I’d never been mistaken for one of my favorite authors before, and I didn’t know quite what to say.

The poor woman was embarrassed and tried to explain. “With your short hair and those glasses, you look just like her.”

By then, Kristan had walked in and was standing at the counter, near the front of the shop. I pointed in her direction and said, “That’s Kristan. But I’m flattered. Thank you.”

“Well, I’d better get out of here before she finds out what I’ve done,” the still-embarrassed woman said.

Despite my protests that I didn’t think anyone would mind and she ought to stay for Kristan’s talk, the woman left. And I was left with a warm, fuzzy feeling that someone—for a brief moment—thought I was famous.

Frankly, I don’t see much of a resemblance.

Here I am with Kristan Higgins at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona, Feb. 8, 2017.

Here I am with Kristan Higgins at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona, Feb. 8, 2017.

Well, maybe the hair and the glasses are similar … and we both laugh a lot.

Plus, we’re both a rare breed — extrovert authors. As she said during her talk, “unlike a lot of authors, I actually love meeting people.” (It was something to that effect, anyway. I wasn’t taking notes for an exact quote.)

She’s right. So many writers are introverts who’d rather be alone with their laptops, but I thrive when I’m in crowds. Even if I’m just sitting quietly, observing, I get energy from being among people. I think that’s why I do so much of my best writing at Starbucks — I can be social and recharge my batteries in the presence of fellow coffee lovers.

I’ve been mistaken for worse!

Now, if only I had a guy like Kristan’s McIrish …

November 27, 2016


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Hi there!

It’s been a while since I blogged—and it’s been even longer since I’ve done one of those fill-in-the-blank surveys. You know the ones … They’re often passed around on Facebook or from blogger to blogger (especially in the healthy living/lifestyle blogosphere).

I’ve done them before, usually over on my practically defunct weight-loss blog. But in the spirit of holiday fun, I thought I’d do some (over)sharing.

First spotted this survey over on PB Fingers‘ blog:

I would ride on the back of a motorcycle once. I had a chance once, in high school, when I was too chicken to take advantage of it. Given another chance, I’d take that ride.ride-with-me

The weirdest thing I ever ate was escargot. French Club dinner. The menu also included French Onion Soup and Boeuf Bourginone. Need I say more?

The movie of my life would star Melissa McCarthy. I love her!

My go-to food indulgence is anything I don’t have to cook. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing than spending time in the kitchen, so anything that keeps me away from the sink and stove is a bonus. Too often, that means a fast-food drive-thru. But there’s another option: FITzee Foods. (More on this later in the week. The company recently sent me a bunch of meals to test. In a word: yum!)

The last live concert I saw was it’s hard to remember. The last big-name concert I attended was probably Motley Crue and Aerosmith several years ago (sometime in the ’00s)… but last month, I took my Little Sis to a jazz concert at Yavapai College. We saw the two Roughriders jazz bands (Yes, the school mascot is Ole Ruff, one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, which apparently originated right here in Yavapai County.)

My favorite jeans are Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda. They fit great and look pretty good on my oversized bod. Just picked up a new pair this weekend, courtesy of half-off at Kohl’s.

My can’t-live-without beauty product is lip balm. Lots of lip balm in every flavor imaginable. I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Never have, and at my advanced age I probably never will.

And I found this fun list on Sloane Howell‘s Facebook Page: 44 Odd things about me….

1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes. (Something I no doubt inherited from my Dad.)
2. Have you ever smoked? Once, on accident. We were onstage during rehearsal for the musical “Hair” and I accidentally inhaled the fake joint we were passing around. Almost choked to death.
3. Do you own a gun? A glue gun
4. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Baseball nut
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not really. I dislike going to the doctor because I don’t feel the need to pay someone $50 to tell me I need to lose weight. As if I can’t look in the mirror every morning and tell myself that.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Perfect for eating at a ballgame
7. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story
8. What do you prefer to drink? Diet Dr Pepper
9. Do you do push-ups? Not if I can help it
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? An amber garnet pendant I inherited from mom
11. Favorite hobby? It’s a toss-up between reading, crocheting and quilting
12. Do you have A.D.D.? Not that I know of
13. What’s the one thing you hate? Mean people
14. Middle name? Marie
15. Name three thoughts at this moment: My feet are cold. Time to start wearing socks. It’s gray outside and I hope it doesn’t snow too much.
16. Name 3 beverages you drink: Diet Dr Pepper. Pretty much anything from Starbucks. Cherry or Vanilla Coke Zero
17. Current worry right now? Think I ate something that didn’t agree with me
18. Current hate right now? The weather
19. Favorite place to be? At a ballgame or movie theater
screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-5-07-11-pm20. How do you bring in the new years? Watching the Twilight Zone Marathon on SyFy
21. Where would you like to go? Back to England
22. Name 3 people who will complete this: Whoever wants to.
23. Do you own slippers? Yes. They’re in my desk drawer at work.
24. What color shirt are you wearing right now? Gray
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Yes
26. Can you whistle? Not too loudly
27. Favorite Color? Purple
28. Would you be a pirate? Probably not
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever’s running through my head at the moment. Yesterday it was Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.
30. Favorite girls name? Alexandria
31. Favorite boys name? Damien
32. What’s in your pocket right now? Three receipts I need to enter into my check register.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? My pastor
34. Best toy as a child? Legos and Matchbox cars
35. Worst injury? Twisted my knee during rehearsals for “Hair.” It’s never been the same.
36. Where would you love to live? Ideally, someplace cool in the summer and with no snow come wintertime
37. How many TV’s do you have in your house? One, but I haven’t plugged it in since May 2, 2015
38. Who is your loud aunt? Don’t have one anymore
39. How many dogs do you have? One
40. Does someone trust you? Probably
41. What book are you reading? Fahrenheit by Alex Rosa
42. What’s your favorite candy bar? Zagnut
43. What’s your favorite sports team? The Cubs
44. What is your favorite movie? If I have to pick just one … Legends of the Fall. You can’t go wrong ogling Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn.Legends of the Fall | Family photo screenshot from IMDB

Now it’s your turn! 

What book are you reading? What was your favorite childhood toy? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Answer one—or all—of those questions (or pick your favorite off the list). I want to get to know you, too!

March 2, 2015


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QuotableThe “Seven Things You Don’t Know About Me” post has been going around Facebook lately — and I thought it’d make a great post for the ol’ neglected blog. (I’m trying to blog more regularly … really I am.)

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. After reading Gone With the Wind in seventh grade, I spent several years wanting to live in a restored plantation house in Georgia. It would have a music room and large library, the walls all lined with books. And I’d have three cats: a black one named Rhett, a white one named Ashley and a tiger-striped one named Scarlett.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 10.14.14 PM2. My first car was an ’83 (or maybe ’85) Mazda GLC sedan. It was really my mom’s car, but I drove it until my senior year of college, when it died on my way home from Evansville. We were just down the road from the Mazda dealer in Terre Haute, and I had to pay $60-plus to have the darn thing towed two blocks. I replaced it with my friend Angel’s Chevy Cavalier because she was moving to Florida and refused to have a car with no air conditioning in Florida. I didn’t mind the lack of air conditioning — but the absence of a rear window defroster was a real pain. My Mazda — named “Third” because it was the third name he went through — was the color of the one at the right, but I don’t remember it being quite that shape.

3. I started playing flute in the fifth grade, and later also played piccolo. I loved marching band and playing in the pep band for basketball games — but hated concert band. I started marching with the high school band in sixth grade. The director let me play my flute. Then we got a new director who relegated me to the color guard — so I’m handy with a flag and streamers. Not so much the rifle. I could never get the balance right.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 10.02.12 PM4. Speaking of “get the balance right,” I’m a big Depeche Mode fan. My iTunes has 66 DM songs from 10 albums. DM lyrics often creep into my everyday conversation, and I used to quote “New Dress” in college poli sci papers. (What can I say? It illustrates how a vote can change the world.) “Wrong” is the theme song of one of my most favorite heroes ever, Mike James. (Sadly, he has yet to see published status. Someday.) One quirk: I prefer the darker Depeche Mode — the happy, peppy stuff off “Speak and Spell” doesn’t do it for me.

5. I do not like horror movies (big surprise there, right?), but I can watch Lifetime “woman in peril” movies for hours on end. I also love “Criminal Minds,” and any of the the true crime shows on ID.

6. I once did a phone interview with Pauly Shore. Yes, this is my one and only brush with Hollywood greatness. He was sick and kept asking for soup.

7. I have a collection of board games, including several versions of Monopoly. My “Loganopoly” is set in Logansport, Ind., the town where I spent my first five years after college graduation. “Star Wars” Monopoly pays out Imperial Credits instead of dollar bills, and the top properties are on Coruscant (if I remember correctly). It came out with the 1990s re-release of Episodes 4-6, when I couldn’t get enough of everything “Star Wars.” I devoured the “Jedi Twins” books, in which Luke ran the Jedi Academy and was educawhich told the story of Luke’s niece and nephew, and the Han Solo trilogy. I watched and re-watched Kevin Smith movies just for the “Star Wars” references. “Dogma” was the reason I first fell in love with Alan Rickman — loved him as the Metatron. (His portrayal of Snape further cemented my crush on him.) Why couldn’t I have had a phone interview with him?

Bonus: I have a black thumb. My parents had a garden where they grew their own corn, beans and tomatoes — but I can’t even keep a windowsill herb garden alive. It’s sad, because cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine, warmed by the summer sun, are the best tomatoes ever.

October 29, 2014

about, NaNoWriMo14

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Can I make a confession? I came to the NaNoWriMo party somewhat late. For the uninitiated, NaNo is the (some say crazy) push to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, from Nov. 1-30.

I joined the push for the first time in 2009, with the intent of writing about 40K to finish BLIND DATE BRIDE.

NaNoWriMo Participant 2014By the end of November, I’d only managed about 25K. I did, however, develop enough of a habit that I finished the first draft of BRIDE by the end of the year. Considering I’d started it back in 1999 or 2000, that was a major victory.

I decided to try NaNo again in 2010. That year, I started a brand-new novel—but I’d done some (okay, a lot of) pre-planning. I ended up writing 53K in 27 days. Yep. With a map of my story, I finished three days early.

In 2011, I joined the good fight with a vague idea for BREAKING ALL THE RULES (which will be a TMP release next spring). There were some rough patches and I thought about giving up. In the end, I spent eight hours in a chair at Starbucks Nov. 30, barely breaking 50K before it was time to go to work and put in another eight-plus hours.

In 2012, I had two wins under my belt, giving me the false impression that NaNo would be a piece of cake. I planned to get a good start on a single title story—50K of about 90K total.

Uh…yeah. Didn’t happen. My excuse: I’d just finished the draft of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and couldn’t muster up enough oomph to write at breakneck speed for 3o more days.

In 2013, I didn’t even bother to sign up. I spent the six or so weeks prior to Nov. 1 writing the first draft of SLIDING INTO HOME, and knew from past experience that I’d be too drained to keep up the pace.

This year, I’m giving it another go, with the same single-title story I couldn’t get going in 2012. It’s a romantic comedy, of course. That’s what I write, after all. This time, though, there are paranormal elements.

Okay, the book’s only paranormal element is its ghost. The ghost is not a love interest, though. He merely meddles in the heroine’s life, having decided his mission is to help her get the happy ending that eluded him and his lady love so many generations ago.

I got the spark of an idea from Concrete Blonde’s song, “Ghost of a Texas Ladies’ Man.” I was walking through my neighborhood (back when I did that more regularly than I do now) and it came up on my iPhone.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to write a story about the ghost of a Texas ladies’ man?” I asked no one in particular.

And a story started to take shape in my mind. I thought I’d have no trouble writing it, because I pounded out a 3,000-word backstory for the ghost in an evening. The heroine was easy, too. Unfortunately, I could not come up with a good hero.

That problem has been resolved (I hope), and I’m excited to kick off NaNo on Saturday. Who’s with me?

If you’re joining in the fun, you might be interested in this blog post from Nathan Bransford. It promises “everything you need” for NaNoWriMo.