Saturday, February 24, 2007

Driving in MI

Driving in Michigan is an exercise in tolerance...and speed. The average speed on most streets where I grew up is 40-50. One of the major thru-fares is 45 mph...with enough cracks, bumps and potholes to make that 45 a wee bit challenging. I, having lived in Washington for the last 5 years, have apparently forgotten how to drive that fast on a main street. This would surprise my mother, who occasionally is concerned about my lead foot (inherited honestly from my papa and my aunt).
So while I was in Michigan, I borrowed Bubbe's car a couple of times, along with driving her to run various errands. I discovered two, I have the ability to tick off way more people than ever before. Two, Geo Prisms are so lightweight, when you hit 45mph, you're almost airborn.
I swear, I thought I'd achieve at least the outer atmosphere at one point.


Family and food...

Friday night my bubbe invited the whole family over to dinner. What began as my cousin stopping by to say hello, became both cousins, my uncle, my aunt, Dad, Bubbe and me. I realize some of you think I'm joking when I talk about my family (okay, most Jewish families) and food, but I'm not. Case in point? Friday night dinner.
Bubbe planned the menu (with my help), and we were off to the store for fruit. Upon arrival we discovered tasting stations set up around the store. The first one offered up some kind of Asian noodle dish that tasted yummy. So we bought the ingredients, and decided to make it for dinner. I thought we were making it for dinner instead of the other items we had discussed.
I was wrong.
See, Bubbe worries about having enough food. The woman can have a fully stocked freezer and fridge, and still be worried there is not enough food for everyone. It comes from a very logical place, and so it's mostly a beloved quirk at this point.
But Friday it was reality. To give you an idea? Here's what all was made:
  • Salmon Patties (see pic above). If you haven't had them, they are similar to crab cakes, only made with salmon. Bubbe, being the good Eastern European that she is, makes here's with lots of onion. The house smelled of it for at least 5 hours. My eyes were tearing up at one point.
  • Asian noodle dish. This one I made in two batches after Dad discovered the recipe called for mushrooms. Apparently he doesn't appreciate a good fungus among us.
  • Salad. Because all dinners must include a salad.
  • Corn on the cob. No reason for this one, other than apparently we needed another vegetable. I did manage to talk her out of the asparagus, though. I think I get a point for that.
  • Farfel. This one is hard to describe. Farfel is made of crushed matzo and mushrooms that are boiled until the water is completely absorbed. The matzo becomes kind of like a couscous/noodle thing.
  • Pie. It's kind of like a pudding/custard type pie. It was very yummy and creamy.
I swear I'm missing something in this list, but can't remember what. I should probably point out here, that all of these items were made in enough quantity to qualify as a meal all their own. Is it any wonder I'm never hungry when I'm visiting?

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The queen of whirlwind visits...

I flew home to MI for the weekend in an attempt to take advantage of the week-long break. It was truly one of my whirlwind visits. My plane took off 4 hours late on Wednesday, so I landed some time around 11 or so. I was there with the express purpose of only seeing family, and so told no one, except for family, of my plans. It really hit home how long it had been since I'd been back, when I saw my little cousin all grown up at 7 years old.
Another cousin, also younger, is engaged to be married this November, so I'll be making yet another whirlwind trip home.
The thing of it is, this seems to be what usually happens. Yes, I have more breaks now, so hopefully this will change slightly as I get more in to school, but getting more than three or four days to make the 2000 mile trip home is pretty rare in my life. Still, I spent some much needed time with my bubbe and my father, and my dog. I have some pics of the dog that I hope to post in the next couple of days, if only because she's so darn cute.
I think I mentioned the 4 hour delay on my flight earlier. Well, there is more to that story, of course. It was a four hour delay, which meant technically I spent 6 hours at SeaTac airport...six hours of my life I will never get back. Yes, I did some writing, yes I did some reading, but most importantly? I brushed up on my flirting skills.
Oh, like you're surprised? SIX'd flirt with total strangers too.
Nothing came of it, and I didn't really expect it to...still, it was a might fun way to pass the time.
The eerie part of it all, though, was that I'd just finished writing a scene set in an airport. My characters are currently winging their way to Europe on assignment. While at the airport they encountered a serious delay, forcing them to wait for about five hours. Needless to say I was feeling a little responsible by the time my flight left.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New clothes...

So? How do you like my new look? Isn't it great? The lovely folks at Curvine are the creators of my love new digs. Also, my new website has launched at The website content is still a work in progress, as I'll be updating the news and events pages when needed.



Sunday, February 18, 2007


Well darn, the program I use to calculate page count progress isn't working. Apparently they forgot to pay their bill (or something like that). So you'll just have to settle for me informing you that I've reached page 151 on my current WiP. Which means that I'm at about 40% complete. Not a bad way to head into mid-winter break if you ask me.

Speaking of which, I am so glad for the break. This last week just about did me in. I'm doing better about scheduling my time, allowing for more down time, more time to write and all that. Still, it's not an easy thing to do. So, for that I'm thankful for my break.

So what progress have you made this week? What are you proud of? What are you thankful for?


Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's the little things

I know I've mentioned it before, but it really doesn't take much to make me happy. All it takes is:
  • A Valentine's card in the mail from Ms. A., complete with Starbucks card. You rock!!
  • My very own frog prince (courtesy of Serena).
  • New books from my favorite authors. I just finished Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and loved it. On tap is Jill Monroe's Hitting the Mark.
  • One more day of school before mid-winter break. I'm sooooo ready. A few days to get papers in order, writing time...what's not to be excited about?
  • A fabulous observation from one of the top district people. Looks like I'll have a job for next year. Yay!!
  • The possiblity of a trip to Israel this summer. Still looking into details, but this could be the highlight of the year if it all works.
  • H brought back onion rolls from L.A. and Mom brought me one at school today.
  • Mom coming by to help out in my class this a.m. I love having her there.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Things I love to do...ALONE

Dona tagged me the other day, and I better get this done before she comes after me. So, here they are in no particular order...

10) Read a good book. I love to sit on my couch with a good book and read for hours.
9) Go to the movies. I know, sounds a bit odd. My mom used to do it when I was a kid. When I finally got my license I would take myself after school on the days I didn't have homework. Now it's a luxury.
8) Dance to music in my living room. There's something to be said for turning your music on random, letting it play and moving to the music.
7) Going down to Starbucks to write. I usually end up reading for a little bit. Or simply people watching. But I love it.
6) Random drives. Whenever I'm having trouble processing something, I like to get in my car and just drive. Preferably where there isn't a lot of traffic.
5) Manicures. I love treating myself to a manicure every couple of months. Where I go, there are so few customers, it's usually very quiet and relaxing.
4) Pedicures. See above.
3) This one I have to steal from Dona. Takeout. I love to pick up a video, order take-out Thai or Chinese food and go home. It completely relaxes me.
2) Building a fire in the fireplace on a rainy night. I curl up in front of it with a mug of tea and a blanket. So warm and cozy.
1) Getting a massage. I love this one. So very relaxing.

Hmmm...I'm noticing a theme. Guess I better learn to relax :D


Monday, February 12, 2007

I wanna be like Nora...

Raise your hand if you knew four of Nora Roberts' books were being turned in to Lifetime movies. Now raise your hand if you watched the first one. And did you see Nora's cameo? Yeah, I want that. I want movies to be made of my books, and to be powerful enough when it happens to tell the director I want a walk-on part. I don't have to say anything, I just want the in-joke to be there.
So far two movies have aired, and in each one she's had a cameo. The best part? Unless you actually have seen pictures of her (or stared long enough at the back cover of one of her books, but really, if you're doing that, you're sick and need professional help), you wouldn't have known she was there. So only those of us who "know" Nora, would know she was there.

Mark my words, one day they will make a movie from one of my books. And I'll find a way to get in on it.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Following the leader...

This morning Mom, Aunt and I went to the annual Sisterhood brunch hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. This is our second year attending, and after last year I learned my lesson and encouraged many of my friends to join us. So thanks to my nudging, we managed to fill almost an entire table simply with my friends and family.
This year's guest speaker was chick lit author Jennifer Weiner. Jennifer appears very unassuming at first, but when you put her in front of a mic she has the whole room in her thrall. She regalled us with the stories of how she began writing, of her family and their interactions, and even of her Nana's appearance as an extra in the movie In Her Shoes.
As a writer, I was very excited to hear her speak. I love listening to published authors talk about writing and the road to publication. If the author is funny too? Even better. So I wasn't disappointed at all by her stories.
I did, however, have to laugh when three of my friends informed me I was their "spokeswoman" today, since none of us actually brought one of Jennifer's books to be signed.
"Spokeswoman?" I asked.
"Yeah, we want to go get her to sign a program or something. But you need to be the leader since you're the writer."
Ah yes, I'm the writer, and therefore I'm the only one capable of stepping up to a woman and saying hi. Ha! So we stood in line, politely informed the volunteer selling books that I only wanted to say hello to the author, and moved along. Finally, it was our turn. I introduced myself to Jennifer, explained I wanted to say hi because I'm also a writer, which lead to the inevitable, "Well, what do you write?" I gave her my brief shpiel, she nodded politely and smiled. Then I introduced my groupies, who gave a lovely chorus of hellos in unison. At this point I'm pretty sure Jennifer was wondering where the bodyguard the Federation had promised her had disappeared to. For her sake, we quickly left the table, and moved along to more entertaining conversations.
Looking back, I thought about what turned women who are normally fairly outgoing and comfortable, so insecure. Then it hit me. They don't know writers like I do. These friends are all readers, and they view writers as having reached a level of celebrity status. They don't really understand that writers are (for the most part) fairly normal people.
This was really driven home when, during the question and answer session, a woman stood up to the microphone, and informed Jennifer and the crowd how much she loved Good in Bed. In fact, she loved it so much she emailed Jennifer. And wouldn't you know it? Jennifer replied within two days. Oh my goodness! The author responded! This woman was so in awe of the fact that Jennifer had taken time out of her day to respond to her email. It really hit me then, how people view us writers. I think it was an "Ah ha" moment, similar to Christina's from last week. It's that moment when you realize that what you view as normal, others view as special.
And let's be honest, I still get a thrill when I email a fellow author about something, and she responds. I think I needed that reminder today, as I came home to fewer hours than planned and 5 pages still to write (and yes, I finished them with plenty of time to spare). I needed the reminder that one day, that will be me up on that stage, talking to 600 women about my journey. It will be me, responding to the email of a reader and giving them that special warm feeling for the rest of the day. It will be my turn to make the crowd laugh so hard they cry.
It will be my turn in the spotlight.
One day.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Blog Tour - Gena and Jill style

Two great friends - Two February books!

This is the first time Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe
have books out at the same time!

Nymph King Hitting The Mark

For your paranormal taste, we have Valerian. Females young and old, beautiful and plain crave Valerian's touch. None can resist his blatant sensuality and potent allureā€¦until he steals Shaye Holling from a Florida beach and holds her prisoner in his underwater kingdom.

And when you're ready to read something contemporary, there is Hitting The Mark. Danni's a woman with a little revenge on her mind. Romantic Times says Hitting The Mark is, "impossible to put down."


Book updates...

Once again it's time to let you all in on what I've been reading.
  • The Dream-Hunter. This is the newest Sherrilyn Kenyon. I won't bore you with adulations for this woman's writing any I'm pretty sure you already know what I think. This is the latest in her Dark-Hunter books, and while it focuses on a different Hunter branch, there are still the much anticipated sneak peeks and hidden information on everyone's favorite creatures of the night.
  • Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. Oh. My. Goodness. I can't stop talking about this book. Psychics. Changlings. This book takes everything you thought you knew and turns it on its ear. What would the world be like if it were run by a race of people with no emotions? Read Slave to Sensation and find out.
  • Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. SEP is definitely an auto-buy for me, and I can't wait to dive into this book. The latest installment in her Chicago Stars series, we finally get Dean Robillard's story.
  • Last but not least, if you haven't bought your copy of Venus Envy, what are you waiting for? Get your tuches off the couch and go buy it!
Happy Reading!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How many people does it take to fix a bed

Mom called this afternoon, while I was in a meeting. When I called her back, she asked if I had time to come by and help her put her bed back together. Apparently they'd taken it apart in order to allow space for the floor guy to install their new wood floors. Me, being the good daughter that I am, told her I could be over later on this evening.
So I arrived a little bit before 7 to help her out. We trooped upstairs and found ourselves at the mercy of a four-poster bed bigger than both of us. Technically the bed really needs three people to put together, because two simply don't have enough arms and hands. We managed to get the two parts that connect the head and the footboards connected in the appropriate spots, then Mom attacked each side with a mallet, to help them fit together. Then came the deadbolts, used to hold the aforementioned pieces together indefinitely. My job was to reattach the wooden slats that fit width-wise across the bed, for the mattress to lay on. It really got to be fun when I had to try to match up the hole in the slat with the hole in the main piece. Clearly someone with better (or maybe it was worse) eye-sight than mine did it first.
Oh, and did I mention my little run-in with the lamp? Yeah, it's nothing a little crazy glue won't fix, but Mom's never letting that one go.
Just when I thought my work was done, and I'd be allowed to go home, she asked me to help her put the box-spring and mattress back on. Yeah, I should have run for the hills then. The box-springs weren't too bad. Two twin boxes, each fitting nicely into place. No, the bugger was the king size mattress bigger than both of us. Then there was the cedar chest she keeps at the foot of her bed.
I finally ducked out before she could find more for me to move. But whew! I'm not looking forward to the mess that will likely be my hands tomorrow. I'm already feeling it in my fingers tonight.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ways to make my day...

Pull up in the car next to me, catch my eye, and smile. Guaranteed to make me smile in return and put me in a good mood for the rest of the afternoon.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Signing fun...

Well, better late than never. Here are some photos from the booksigning I went to last week. These wonderful ladies have some fabulous books out, so you should all go buy them. From left to right we have Gerri Russell, Shannon Mckelden and Pat White. All three have books out RIGHT NOW. So go get them.

Their next signing is Feb. 10 at the Borders in Lynnwood. If you missed them last week, you should go to this one.

***UPDATE*** The signing is from 2-4pm. Sorry to whomever I confused.


All the news that's fit to print...

So, I've been pretty quiet the last week or so, and it was kindly pointed out to me *ahem, Ms. K., ahem* that I am here to entertain the masses, not just myself. So, go. Read my ramblings on music, then come back here and cheer about what I have been doing for the last couple of weeks.
  • Writing. Yeah, you heard me. I've been writing. You know, that book that you all want to read so desperately?
  • Mulling. This book is taking all sorts of interesting turns on me, and it's requiring a lot of mulling.
  • Getting my website up and running. No, it's not done so stop asking. But we're close, very close. See? It helps to have connections. So far the initial design is awesome and makes me very happy.
  • Working. Hey, gotta eat, don't I? Cause when I don't eat? Yeah, bad things happen.
  • Learning that I can't do it all. I know! Shock, isn't it? But the Tiaras were caring enough to give me the swift kick in the tuches I needed this last week. So far the first week of the "new plan" has gone fairly well. Tonight, instead of having 5-8 pages to write, I have 3. Not bad if you ask me. Now I just have to make the plan last long term. Easier said than done.
  • Watching foreign films. Okay, one foreign film. Mom and I went to see Volver the other night. All I can say is...interesting. It's a Spanish foreign language movie with subtitles, set in a town near Madrid. Probably the best part of the movie was the actors' ability to say the most outrageous lines, while keeping perfectly straight faces.
So there you go, my reasons for why I haven't been very post prolific. Make sure you're coming back often though, because you never know when I'll announce a contest, or the launch of my website.


Books and their soundtracks...

Why is it that movies can have soundtracks, but not books? I mean, seriously, anything put out by Disney these days has its own soundtrack. Sometimes the songs are written purposefully for the movie, other times popular songs are adapted to fit the movie. Take Ella Enchanted, for example. You have the scene in the giants' village where Ella is told to entertain the crowd. She bursts into a somewhat decent rendition of Queen's Somebody to Love, one of my favorites. The movie ends with Don't Go Breakin' My Heart, and its surprisingly good. Long after the movie is over, you remember the scenes whenever you hear here the songs.
Another recent movie to do this is Happy Feet. Popular songs from Queen, Prince(hm...royalty anyone?), and Elvis are mixed with songs written specifically for the movie.
So I ask, why not a soundtrack for books? I know I write best when I have music to listen to. On top of that, each book seems to evoke the need to listen to certain music above others. For example, the novella written for my senior thesis was written almost exclusively to Barenaked Ladies. Two books ago brought on a need to listen to Dierks Bentley. This book? It's got me listening to a whole slew of things, most of them mellow. Megan, my college roommate, sent me a mix she had made. The mix itself is mostly love songs, everything from Johnny Cash to Blues Traveler, Lynyrd Synyrd to Velvet Chain. Starbucks' cd Crush on You has made the cut, as well as a cd my aunt brought back to me from Israel. I can't even tell you what this man is saying, but it sounds great.
To me the music mimics the feelings I'm trying to pull from, creating a head space where I can create. I've seen authors post the songs they believe belong to their books, the songs that call to mind their hero or heroine. Maybe that's what I'll do one day. It can all be part of the experience.
So how about you? What is the soundtrack for your book? For your life?

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