Good to be Alive

Posted on 03/4/16

I got hooked on this song leading up to the Oscars. It played with every commercial and damn the thing, it’s so catchy that when I heard the whole song (somewhere?!), I grabbed the title and downloaded it. Now I can’t get it out of my head, but then again, it’s Friday so yeah, it feels good to be alive right about now. Ask me on Monday and you’ll get a different answer, I assure you. At least this weekend I’m busy but it’s a good busy. Mythbusters finale on Saturday (sniff!), and Downton Abbey finale on Sunday (sob!). Lucky for me I just got hooked on Dollhouse. Thank you, Joss Whedon, for making me not want to get off the elliptical. No other human has that power, and I’m only on the first episode.

What makes you feel good to be alive? It doesn’t have to be Friday. Maybe you like Mondays. (You’re sick. JK…mostly.) Ice cream. Cat videos. Teddy bears. Hot men. That last one works for me, so if you have one to share, please do. I need the inspiration. :)




My best year

Posted on 02/17/16

I needed to see this today. It’s one of those “a picture is worth a thousand words of BS” days, so the timing is great. best kind of people




In the wee small hours…

Posted on 12/6/15

Much as it pains me to get older, once in a while I like to stop and look at the changes that have happened in my life. Sometimes you don’t realize things are changing but change happens whether you like it or not. Might as well embrace it for an adventure and roll with the tide.

Just this morning I got the email from my publisher with the draft cover art for my next book (my first with them; <3 you, Loose Id!), which also happens to be my Golden Heart finalist. The cover is fantastic and it nails the characters, though granted, I might’ve liked to see his tux collar open a little, but that’s just me. Ever wonder why men look better fully dressed and women are the exact opposite?

This time last year I was stressed out by my day job and, in every spare moment, writing my happy hands off to get my Golden Heart entry finished so I could enter the contest. This year I’m completely relaxed because I have a much better job that’s allowing me to take the last week of the year off, so I’m taking my kids up to NY to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and do some sightseeing in the city where we were all born. I haven’t had New Years Eve off in fourteen years so this will take some adjusting but I’m sure we’ll manage. ::wink wink::

But this year I’m not eligible for the Golden Heart because I took the plunge and self-published Heated Competition, followed by Tall Shadows. I’ve entered both in the Rita contest (RWA’s contest for published authors; still boggles my mind to think I AM one) and while I don’t expect them to have a ghost of a chance, I’m in it because I can’t imagine finalist day coming around and I don’t have a pony in the race.

There’s a certain calmness to it now. Getting ready for the Golden Heart was a panic because the manuscript needed to be finished and the first 50 pages polished to a fine sheen, if not outright glowing. (It was in GH prep that I became familiar with the term “polishing a turd.”) But with the Rita, the book is finished; it’s just a matter of going to the post office to mail the copies down to Houston. I’m even thinking, in looking at the cover for Indulge My Fantasy, how I’m going to enter it in the 2017 Rita because it has a 2016 pub date, as does its follow up, Save the Best for Last.

But that still feels odd. The book is done. I’m not frantically trying to piece together the last of the plot or even figure out the next few scenes because they’re done; it’s all been written. I’m not in a panic over the manuscripts (because they’re books) and I’m not in a panic over my job (because that was my old job). All this not panicking makes me feel like I’ve forgotten something. But maybe it just means my life has gotten better. Things are behind me but good things are coming.

Like Indulge My Fantasy, which releases January 5, 2016. (See what I did there?) Also a certain someone’s birthday, the irony of which isn’t lost on me. I’m trying to work up the courage to send him a copy. I mean, after all, he inspired the hero. Read it and tell me if you think you know who I have in mind.




It Never Stops

Posted on 08/30/15

I had a “come to Jesus” moment last night, but as always, it was a good thing. I reached the conclusion that I’m happiest when I’m writing. Something in the act of writing: new story, new words; editing; reading; fine-tuning. You name it, so long as there’s a story in front of me, I’m happy. I’m my best version of me when I’m writing.

This creates a small conflict in that I still need a day job to pay the bills—something I’m still seeking so if you need a writer, my contact info is up there at the top bar! Call me, maybe?—but writing makes me the happiest. If someone asks me who I am, I’d have to lead with “I’m a writer.” To say otherwise is to deny my identity. It made me happy to reach that conclusion. A writer isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am.

On the up side, I decided to use this internal/external conflict for my next project. I’m not starting it yet, though. In the inimitable words of my OB when I was delivering my first son (after 18 hours in labor), like my contraction, I’m going to “let it build.” (I still want to beat him upside the head for that.) Besides, I need to catch up on my life a bit first. This includes finishing a book I started reading in June. It’s on sale on Kindle now so if you’re so inclined, go look for Lara Archer’s Bared to the Viscount. You won’t regret it. Tell ‘em Caroline sent you. :)

But for now I can share the blurb of my latest completed novel, Tall Shadows. It’s not quite the same as the other books, and I think I worked a little harder for this one, but I like how it came out. You be the judge.

Holly Wallace has spent her life in a supporting role, managing her brother Adam’s acting career. When Adam has a mental breakdown, she knows from past experience that standard rehab programs won’t work for him. She finds an unorthodox program:  an asylum in the truest sense, to let him take a step out of society and rediscover himself. But when Holly finds herself attracted to the therapist caring for her brother, she once again has to take a step back and put someone else’s needs above her own.

Following the tragic death of his sister, Ben Crawford developed a program based on a nineteenth century treatment that allowed patients to heal themselves holistically. When Holly brings Adam to Ben, Adam’s status could be the boost his program needs. Ben could help even more people, except he comes to see Adam isn’t the only Wallace he wants to help because he’s falling in love with Holly.

Ethics is the one line Ben can’t cross, but if he doesn’t save Holly from herself, he could lose her to the Tall Shadows of her past.




Railroad crossing

Posted on 05/18/15

It’s an interesting time to be me right now. On Cinco de Mayo, I was told that after 14 years, “we’ve decided to make a change.” (You’ll get that if you’ve seen “Bull Durham.”) My department head handed me a packet of folders indicating my termination date, severance package, and benefits. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, and for nearly two weeks I’ve been telling myself this is a good thing. I wasn’t happy there. It wasn’t fulfilling (and it sure wasn’t paying what I needed it to). This is my chance to find a job I love to do.

I decided to call myself a full time writer. After all, we all need labels. It took a few days to get rolling but I started writing 3k words per day until I finished “Heated Competition.” I’m going to read through “Indulge” first,  then start deep edits on “HC”.

I also have a ton of personal stuff to do. School events, medical appointments, you name it. This week has at least one reason each day for me to get out of the house. Not that I want to. Really, now that I have the time to write, I want to do it all the time. I believe it truly is the job I love to do, even though right now it pays nothing. I want to believe that it will be the career I’ve always wanted. Funny but I can’t even regret starting at it so late. I’ve read what I wrote at 20. It was god-awful. I’ve taken classes and I’ve written one million words. I don’t want to be a professional writer because I have to. I want to be a professional writer because it’s what I do.

Anyway, I’ve also had time to do things I wanted to do but didn’t have time for, like exploring the local park where I usually run. I’ve taken to finding trails off the main road and taking pictures.

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There’s a rail line that runs through the park. Conrail trains pass through on Sunday nights but not often during the day and I’d wanted to explore it. I knew the line ran to a street two blocks from my house, so I knew I’d end up home eventually, but along the way…? Sure, let’s take a look.

It was gorgeous and peaceful and secluded. I startled a nesting pair of ducks that had taken up residence in a large puddle alongside the tracks. They walked along ahead of me until I caught up with them, and then they flew off.

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Eventually the tracks let to a trestle that passed over the walkway I usually took into and out of the park. I thought, “Okay, fine; I’ve been here before. No problems.” I’m not good with heights or falling or bridges but as long as I didn’t look down and the bridge itself is solid, I’d be fine, right? Except the bridge isn’t solid. Between the wooden posts, I could see not just daylight but the stream twenty feet below.

I was frozen. Literally paralyzed by fear. I couldn’t move. I saw that drop down to the stream and everything inside me said, “Oh hell no. You shall not pass.”

I looked behind me. It was at least a half mile walk back to the nearest path to get back to the paved walkway. I could do it but geez, another mile? When the path home was right here in front of me? Don’t be a puss.

But I couldn’t. There were gaps. I might fall through one of them. (Seriously? I’m a grown woman. Those gaps are 3 inches wide at best.) Or I might drop something and never get it back. (Definite possibility. I liked my water bottle but it was replaceable. The phone would be more of a hassle, however.) Or I might crack one of the wooden boards and get hurt. Or really, just the idea of falling was scary enough. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even put my foot on the first board. I backed up and stood there, looking ahead at the train bridge, not knowing what the hell to do.

But then I took a few deep breaths. Well, shallow breaths. It was the best I could do. I coached myself, “Don’t look down. Just put your foot on the board and focus on the board. And the next board.” So I did. Very quickly. I’d have stepped on each board at a time but geez, that would’ve taken forever, so once in a while I did skip a board, all the while telling myself, “Only look at the board. Don’t look between.”

I got about halfway across and then, for whatever idiotic reason, I stopped. I didn’t look between the boards but I was frozen again. My brain said, “Oh for the love of Magic Mike. Trains can cross this bridge. YOU can cross this bridge,” and I started walking again.

When I saw the space between the slats were solid with dirt and rocks again, I trembled with relief and looked back. Holy mother of God, I did it. To this very moment I still can’t believe I crossed that bridge without peeing myself, but here I am at home with the pictures to prove it:

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The first is before I realized there were open spaces between the wood. The second was my, “Oh, what a pretty view there is up here!” pic, also taken in total ignorance. The third is the pic from the other mother f*cking side of the bridge where I would’ve whooped in celebration were it not for the fishermen below the bridge.

Lesson learned: don’t ever say you can’t do something. You can. Even if you think you can’t, you can. You just have to push past the fear and make it happen.

 




Having a Moment

Posted on 04/21/15

Being single sucks, but this piece of this poem? This is how I feel. If only he knew.

“…How many loved your moments of glad grace

And loved your beauty with a love false or true.

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you

And loved the sorrows of your changing face.”

Also, maybe this is why I start so many sentences lately with conjunctions.

Dammit, if I could only tell him.




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