Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's all in your Point of View

Like many other romance authors I woke up Friday morning with a smidge (just a smidge because I really had no expectation of finaling) of hope that I might get a Rita call. I was also hopeful for several of my pals who'd entered the Golden Heart. For those of you who aren't aware, the Rita is the most prestigious award for published romance writers. The Golden Heart is the most prestigious award for unpublished authors. Both are sponsored by Romance Writers of America. I joined RWA in 2003 and entered the Golden Heart for the first time and amazingly finaled.

Anyway, despite knowing that the biggies were most likely to final in my category (& they deservingly so did), I couldn't quite not dream I'd get a call. I didn't, but by the time I realized I wasn't getting a call, I no longer cared. Why? Because it's all in your point of view. Or in this case, my point of view.

So what changed from the time I arrived at work to the time I realized all the calls had gone out? Let me tell you, because it really does make you (me) reassess your (my) life and priorities.

My first non-scheduled patient for the day. A young woman with two children. Last year her husband died unexpectantly. This young woman has been struggling with raising her two children since, particularly the oldest who has developed manipulative behaviours. About a month ago I diagnosed this young woman--a year older than me--with breast cancer. Last summer when she had her physical I hadn't been able to feel any abnormalities and in February there was a 3 cm mass. Over the past month, she has been to the surgeon and to the oncologist several times. Pretty much my role in the treatment of her cancer was done at the point I made the referral to the specialists. However, this young woman has NO ONE in her life except her two children and an 80 something year old dad. When I say no one, there is truly no one else. She came in to the clinic because she'd seen the oncologist the day before and he'd told her that the cancer was very agressive, now encompassed about half her breast (approximately tripling in size over the past month) and had spread into her lymph nodes. Already she'd been told by the surgeon that she would have to have chemo to shrink the tumor prior to his being able to do the mastectomy. Now the oncologist was telling her that if the cancer had spread beyond the lymph nodes and breast, with as agressive as it is, there wasn't much they could do and she wouldn't live more than a few months at most. She came in to see me because she needed to talk and she didn't have anyone else to turn to. I cried with her and felt ashamed over my anxiety over a contest final. Too often we place too much importance on things that, when it comes down to it, fall far down on the list of what's truly important.

I don't usually post depressing things on my blog--for lots of reasons, but because of how radically this affected me this weekend, I needed to share. It is so easy for us to get caught up in day to day stuff that we often forget what all we have to be thankful for. Things like our health--like simply being able to walk across the room without pain or to be able to dress yourself, the ability to remember yesterday, last week, last month, last year, your childhood, the ability to look at your spouse, your children, your parents and know who they are and that you love them, the ability to inhale deeply and ease your need for oxygen. We forget our blessings in our family, our friends, our pets, our joys in simple things such as arts, crafts, sports, hobbies. I don't mean for my post to depress --I want it to make you smile in appreciation of life's many blessings, for you to become giddy with life's true richness, for you to quit worrying about this and that and enjoy each moment of the day, of every day. It's difficult to appreciate things until they're gone and I want you to take a deep breath, think of what it is that's stressing you the most, and ask yourself "Does it really matter? If I found out I was dying? my significant other was dying? my child? my parent? Does that stressor really matter? Will I even remember whatever that stressor is six weeks from now? Six months from now? Six years from now?"

Sometimes the answer is yes, but most of the time the things that stress us aren't really all that important. This post is a reminder to enjoy your life, change the things you have control over, and accept those you don't, but above all, treasure each and every day for the gift it truly is.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

100th post & 2006 "Getting to Know Your Friends"

Wow! When I got ready to post the Friendship thing that one of my pals from highschool sent to me I noticed that this would be my 100th post. :)

What time did you get up this morning? 7:15 am (not typical time though--Wednesdays are my day off work--well, the paying job at any rate. :)

Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds

What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Chronicles of Narnia

What is your favorite TV show? I don't watch any television, only the occasional DVD movie

What do you usually have for breakfast? Cereal

What is your middle name? Marie

What are your favorite foods? Pasta, chocolate

What is your favorite chip flavor? Pringles

What is your favorite CD at the moment? Keith Urban or Johnny Cash, mostly I'm an 80s music kind of girl though.

What kind of car do you drive? Chrysler Town & Country van--yes I'm a soccer mom & proud of it! :)

Favorite sandwich? Ham & cheese pita from Raphael's

What characteristic do you despise? Self-pity

Favorite item or outfit? Don't really have a favorite outfit, but my favorite item/accessory is my laptop & it usually goes where I go.

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
New Zealand or Ireland

Which do you prefer Lake, Ocean, or River? Ocean

What color is your bathroom? forest green & burgandy

Favorite brand of clothing? anything that fits

Where would you retire to? anywhere close to my family

Favorite sport to watch? Whatever my kids are currently playing

Furthest place you are sending this? Okay, I'm changing this for my blog and I'd love for you guys to post where you're from! :)

Goal you have for yourself? Be on the NY Times Bestseller list by 40--we won't discuss how much time I have left to achieve that goal.

Who do you least expect to send this back to you? I'm pleading the 5th for fear of bodily harm.

When is your birthday? September 9

Favorite flowers? Daffodils & roses

Are you a morning person or a night person? Night if I can sleep in the day before & after. :)

What did you want to be when you were little? A romance novelist & a fashion designer

How are you today? Great

What is a date on your calendar you are looking forward to? April 19th--I'm flying to Phoenix for a booksigning, will see my editor & several of my writing pals, & then am going to the Grand Canyon for the first time. :)

What is your occupation? Nurse Practitioner & Romance Novelist

What are you listening to right now? My pounding heart cause I just got finished exercising--yes, I am still at it. I refuse to get on the scales so I can't say if my weight is still going up, up, up or not, though. :)

What do you do in your spare time? Spare time? What's that???!?

Favorite day of the year? every day I'm alive and well

What do you do to vent anger? Yell or cry or write

What did you do last night? Watched the DVD Walk the Line

What are you afraid of? Not realizing my dreams & looking back on my life and not having gone for the things that are important to me--so I consciously put forth effort to prevent these.

Favorite car/SUV? Mustang

Favorite dog-breed? Jack Russell (I have to say this or I might hurt Trouble's feelings) but just a good ole loyal mutt has been the best dog I've ever had. :)

How many years at your current job? 8 as Nurse Practitioner, 4 as romance novelist (although my first book just came out in Dec 2005)

Favorite day of the week? Saturday

Favorite smell? my husband, my daughter's hair when I come it out after she's got out of the bath

Favorite Type of Music? All kinds as long as it's done in good taste

Okay, thought y'all might enjoy that. :) Smooches!

Be sure to enter you answers to the Virtual Book Bag contest before March 31st as there will be a winner from every participating blog. You can win a copy of Lori Devoti's Love is All Around by entering the answers on my blog & a copy of Jane Millionaire at Lara Rios blog. All the details are on my March 19th post. :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Haunted Van

Okay, so I have to tell you about last Friday morning. It started out as any typical weekday. Me rushing around trying to get the kids up and ready for school--think cattle prodder and kids in S-L-O-W motion despite said cattle prodder. As I have kids in the elementary school and the Jr High & so does my sister, we car pool & she does the elementary route and I do the Jr High route. So on Friday I rush out with my boys & my sister's oldest & we hop in the van & nothing happens. The engine doesnt' even turn over. I panic, but get my neighbor--THANK YOU CHIP! You're a real hero!!--to bring the boys to school while I call my dad. Chip gets back to my house to jump my van off a couple of minutes before my dad arrives. After several failed attempts they get my van started. It dies and has to be jumped again. I follow my dad for a bit and then pull in to where I normally exercise in the mornings (yes, I am still the poster child for why not to exercise and my weight is now up 5 pounds after over 3 consecutive weeks of working out & dieting--go figure!) . I pull in because my dashboard lights are flickering like crazy. Spooky crazy. While telling my dad I think something's not right, the van dies & has to be jumped off again. It seems to be okay so I take off toward work again. I'd not gone but a few hundred yards when my lights started flickering again. This time my guages were going wild too. Like the little orange thingie was flipping from E to F at mach one and speaking of mach one, my spedometer was going from zero to 120 and back at the same rate. All the guages were jumping around. I pull over--cause even I know this isn't right & whip out my phone to call hubby & that's when I got scared. My windshield wipers came on. Front and back. I mean, what do you do? It's not like you can turn them off since they are already OFF. & I look a fool cause it sure wasn't raining, but again, what could I do? Despite the fact they were scraping back and forth with a spine-chilling screech over my DRY windows, the wipers were OFF I tell you. I tell my hubby my van is HAUNTED & I don't feel safe to drive to work--I mean what if other things start miraculous coming on, like say the brakes or the cruise control & I can't turn them off either? So I meet him at the repair shop & then take his truck to work while he rides his motorcycle back to his work. Yeah, he *hated* having to ride his bike to work, let me tell ya. The guy at the garage--THANKS WYATT!--said I had an internal short in my battery. :) Okay, I'll admit, I didn't know this could cause my windshield wipers to come on all by themselves. The freaky part is that he said people usually notice their radio flickering first--my radio stayed perfect the entire time. Even when the van wouldn't start the radio would come on. ((Insert Twilight Zone music here for full effect. ;) )

If you haven't entered the Virtual Book Bag contest, be sure to check out March 19ths post and enter!!!

And doesn't this picture of Matthew just make you want to slide your hands inside that coat and get warm? :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Virtual Book Bag Contest!

Due to family stuff--I'll tell ya in a later blog--I'm a couple days behind

on getting this up, but this is a fabulous opportunity to win some awesome

books!!! Check it out!!

Your Virtual Book Bag is having a contest, and there will be multiple winners!

To enter all you have to do is match the authors below to their books. Then

enter the right pairs at participating blogs (for example 1D, 2B, etc. ) for a

chance to win. One winner will be selected at each participating blog from

the correct answers posted at that blog.

  • Teresa Bodwell's Journal--
  • Win an autographed copy of the Pirate's Price by Darlene Marshall

  • Sylvia Day--
  • Win an autographed copy of Stupid Cupid by Rayka Mennen and others

  • Lori Devoti's Online Ramblings--
  • Win an autographed copy of Becoming Latina by Lara Rios

  • Janice Lynn's Blog--
  • Win an autographed copy of Love is All Around by Lori Devoti

  • Jolie Mathis--
  • Win an autographed copy of Loving Miranda by Teresa Bodwell

  • Rayka Mennen's Web Site--
  • Win an autographed copy of Tempt Me by Lucy Monroe

  • Lucy Monroe's Blog--
  • Win an autographed ARC of The Sea King by Jolie Mathis

  • Lara Rios' Blog--
  • Win an autographed copy of Jane Millionaire by Janice Lynn

  • Michele Ann Young's Blog--
  • Win an autographed copy of Here Comes the Bride by Laura Drewry

  • Or enter at Your Virtual Book Bag
  • to win an autographed copy of Bad Boys Ahoy by Sylvia Day and an autographed ARC of Pistols at Dawn by Michele Ann Young!
So get matching; contest ends March 31st. And good luck! You can find links to all the participating authors at as well. :)

1.)Book 1 a.) Which book did I write?
2.) Book 2 b.)Which book did I write?
3.) Book 3 c.)Which book did I write?
4.) Book 4 d.)Which book did I write?
5.) Book 5 e.)Which book did I write?
6.) Book 6 f.)Which book did I write?

Okay, so I am a total computer dingbat--like you didn't already know that, right? ;)---anyway, I have tried to get the above to show the wonderful pictures of the books & the lovely corresponding photos of the authors so you can play the match game, but, alas, I am a total computer dingbat & I only get the above time after time. SOMEDAY I'll learn all this computer stuff (of course, then it'll change to something new...), but for now you'll have to go to the Virtual Book Bag site and match them up from there and then come back and post here prior to March 31st. :) Good luck!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My first Pubbed Final!

Yes, I was a total contest diva before publishing & I entered quite a few contests. Since selling I've only entered three. The first of those announced yesterday & OMG!!!! I got a call. It was such a thrill. It's been so long since I've had the high of getting that kind of call that it felt pretty darn amazing!! & to make things even more special, my fabo pal Kathleen Long finaled, too. Okay, so we're facing up against each other & every time we did that as unpubs she whupped my butt by winning first place to my second place, but I adore her writing & her, so I graciously bow to her talents---particularly since Cherry On Top is an awesome story--I mean, I critiqued the thing, so I KNOW it's awesome. ;)

Congrats to all the finalists!!!! Lots of wonderful books on this list!!

2006 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Contest Presented by Southern Magic, RWA’s Birmingham Chapter

Southern Magic is proud to announce the finalists for the 2006 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest for published authors. Finalists shown in alphabetical order.

Kresley Cole, If You Dare
Jackie Ivie, Tender Is the Night
Sabrina Jeffries, To Pleasure a Prince
Jenna Petersen, Scandalous
Paula Quinn, Lord of Desire

Nikki Arana, The Winds of Sonoma
Dorothy Clark, Joy for Mourning
Margaret Daley, A Mother for Cindy
Denise Hunter, Saving Grace
Gail Gaymer Martin, Finding Christmas

Gail Barrett, Where He Belongs
Nina Bruhns, Hard Case Cowboy
Joanne Rock, Silk Confessions
Linda Warren, Forgotten Son
Bonnie K. Winn, Rules of Engagement

Toni Blake, Brushstrokes
Jasmine Haynes, Double the Pleasure
Linda Warren, Merry Texmas
Leigh Wyndfield, Night Heat
Leigh Wyndfield, White Heat

Shana Abe, The Smoke Thief
Catherine Mulvany, Shadows All Around Her
Patti O’Shea, Through a Crimson Veil
Susan Squires, The Companion
Dolores J. Wilson, Little Big Heart

Kelsey Roberts, Charmed and Dangerous
Kelsey Roberts, Chasing Secrets
Kelsey Roberts, Film at Eleven
Roxanne Rustand, Back in Texas
Carol Stephenson, Courting Danger

Jeanie London, In the Cold
Brenda Novak, Every Waking Moment
E. C. Sheedy, Killing Bliss
Roxanne St. Claire, Killer Curves
Roxanne St. Claire, Kill Me Twice

Carolynn Carey, A Summer Sentence
Linda Conrad, A Scandalous Melody
Karen Kendall, First Date
Tanya Michaels, Spicing It Up
Roxanne St. Claire, When the Earth Moves

Marcia Evanick, Harbor Nights
Dorien Kelly, Hot Whispers of an Irishman
Kathleen Long, Cherry on Top
Janice Lynn, Jane Millionaire
Jennifer Skully, Sex and the Serial Killer

Winners will be announced around April 29.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Roses Every Month for a Year Contest Winner!! Month 2

Heidi Hogan of La Place, Louisiana won my Roses Every Month for a Year contest and recieved the first bouquet on Valentine's Day. Last Wednesday Heidi got the second bouquet of her year of roses. :)

Heidi is holding Duchess (an epileptic/blind Boston Terrier). Heidi & the other volunteers do a lot of important work & if you'd like to know how you can help or if you'd like to just know more about the Humane Society where Heidi volunteers, check out .

Several of you have emailed asking about my exercise program. Urgh. I have exercised every day--did I mention that I got up early on Saturday morning so I could exercise prior to driving to Knoxville??? Anyway, I have stuck with it. We won't talk about the weight though. Nope, not even going to talk about that. But I'm sticking with it & will keep y'all posted.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

OMG!!! Knoxville Booksigning was a BLAST!!!!

The booksigning was a huge success!!!! I had so much fun & was given the star treatment from the wonderful folks at Anderson. They were amazing!!

The entire expo was pretty amazing with lots of celebs making the rounds! The place was packed!!

Honestly, I felt in total awe of the day. I visited with a good pal from high school that now lives in Knoxville who I hadn't seen in a long time & enjoyed meeting her little one. Then I was met upfront at the expo & escorted to the booth. I was way impressed with the fabulous Meet the Author board you can see in the background of one of the pictures. Sadie (the lady with me) was wonderful & helped me put Autographed by Author stickers on the copies of Jane & handed the books to me. I really felt like pinching myself at several points throughout the day. Particulary when I looked up and there was a line that curved around the aisle!!!! I signed 200 books in less than a hour & a half!!!! We ran out and there was still a line!!!!!

I know that I drove home, but I don't really remeber doing so. I think I floated home. :) Good thing no cops saw me floating past, cause no way would they believe I wasn't on something because I was so giddy & couldn't stop grinning!!! I still can't. :)

Oh! & just for the record I *did* get up this morning and walk the greenway prior to making my long drive. :)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wednesday Whirlwind!

Wow! I can't believe this day is almost over. I *know* it just got started. Sigh.

Well, I've done it! Two whole weeks that I've exercised every single day. Sadly, this is the most I've ever exercised sequentially in my entire life. Even more sadly, I've gained 3 pounds since starting. I know, I know, you think that has something to do with the 200+ boxes of girl scout cookies I had sitting in my living room, but I swear I didn't eat all those...Anyway, each morning after dropping the kids off at school I meet my Mom & Dad at the Rec center and walk the track at somewhere near Mach One. What? You're not buying that I'm that fast? Okay, so it's somewhere between a snail's pace and a Oh!-My-Sides-Hurt pace. Three days a week I'm working out with weights---think bone size...milk bone size, not dino. ;) I'll keep ya posted on whether or not I make it through the third week. :)

After exercising I went and ate way too much breakfast with my grandparents &, this does not have ANYTHING to do with that 3 pounds I've gained since starting to exercise. & then I went & bought a new dining room suit. :) Yea! My other set was one my hubby & I bought at an estate auction a month before we got married. I refinished the chairs myself & the table was veneer covered so there wasn't much to be done with it. We've used it for...a few hundred years now. I'm sad to let it go because of the memories, but gave it to my grandparents so it'll get good use. & now I have a new table to make memories with. :)

Heidi Hogan got her second bouquet of roses today!! Check back later this week & I'll hopefully have a picture posted. :)

Yesterday at my readers group I gave away cool prizes (autographed books or book bags) to 5 lucky winners! I'll be doing more give aways soon so if you're not a member sign up today as being a member automatically enters you.

This Saturday I'll be doing a book signing in Knoxville Tennessee at the Women Today Expo at the convention center. I'll be there from 3:30 to 4:30 & my publisher is sending 200 books, so y'all be sure to stop by!!! I'm bringing goodies to give away, too.

Now, I'm off to go write...

Monday, March 06, 2006

One year ago...

I was sitting at my desk, gnawing on my fingernails, taking Tums for the gurgling acid in my belly, & shaking from the inside out. Why? Because it was the last night of voting for round 5 of the American Title contest. The last night before I'd know if I got my dream or not.

In the long run, I won the contest, but Lois & I both got our dream---we both sold our books & that was the reason for being in the contest to begin with. To walk into a bookstore & see a book you've written on the shelf. It's a heady sensation. A dream come true for real.

Tonight, I'm introspective and a bit weepy, but just wanted to say that I'm getting all the weepy stuff out of the way tonight, because like one year ago March 7th, tomorrow is going to be one of celebration & good times!!! I'm going to be doing give-aways to members of my readers group!! so make sure you're a member! Join at
because I'm giving away lots of great prizes!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Women Today Expo in Knoxville, TN

Cool. Cool. Cool. I'm going to be doing a booksigning at the Women Today Expo in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, March 11 at 3:30 till 4:30 PM. I'm really excited about it as the Expo looks like it's going to be fabulous. I don't have all the details yet, but I'll update the blog closer to time & try to remember my camera so I can take pictures. :) If you'd like to check out the expo, go to

Worked on my newest. It's a light paranormal. Just having fun with it and writing it because it's the story in my head that demands to be put on paper.

My hubby rented Secret Window with Johnny Depp last night. He said he thought I'd enjoy it since I'm a writer....hmmmm, I'm trying not to look for hidden messages in that comment, but is he trying to say I'm whacked out? Regardless, I told him he had nothing to worry about just so long as I didn't catch him with another woman & he keeps the screwdriver & ax away from me. Bwahahahahahah! ;)