Sunday, July 31, 2005

RWA Recap

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Home again, home again, jiggity jig--if one can jiggity while spending about as much time in airports between Reno and Orlando as one does in airplanes between Reno and Orlando. I did get to hang out with my dear friend Katherine Garbera before hopping the flight to Dallas, then lunch and dish in Dallas with my new friend Kwana Jackson (one of the founders of the ChickLit chapter of RWA. I arrived to 90+ heat, a thunderstorm, and Velcro children. Some things never change.

Overall, conference was, as usual, a great experience. I'm preferring not to get into a discussion of the RITA/GH ceremony (I'm sure one will ensue), but I will say these things about conference:
  • Being in a room, knitting, with about 60 other writers--courtesy of Debbie Macomber's Warm Up America drive--was very cool. Even if I had to break out the ballpoint pens because they'd run out of needles. Met a new friend, too, Michelle Willingham.
  • Do not attend the eHarlequin pajama party with pajamas from Target. Someone else will have them on, too.
  • Having an official strategy meeting with your agent is highly cool.
  • Casinos take all your money. Teachers have no money at the end of the summer anyway, so now I have less. Damned nickel slots.
  • I love pajama parties with my friends. Not in a pillow fighting, weird, guys get off on it way, but in a eat chocolate and laugh yourself silly way. I was lucky enough to room with both the aforementioned Ms. Garbera and my other partner in crime, Nancy Robards Thompson. Nancy and I have known each other since junior high school, so I have to step carefully when relating juicy stories. She has really hideous bribe pix of moi.
After two layovers and about seven hours in the air, I made it home to Florida, just in time to pack myself and the kids in bed, since school starts tomorrow. For teachers, anyway.

Next year, RWA descends on Atlanta, which will be an easy trip for me. I never thought I'd say it, but being in the high desert for the better part of a week made me realize how much I like humidity. Guess I am a swamp creature at heart.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ramblin' Gal

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Tahoe
Originally uploaded by mimifl.
This is the only picture of Lake Tahoe I managed to take with my own camera before the batteries died. I took postcard-worthy shots for everyone else, but I only have this one today.

Lake Tahoe's gorgeous (no surprise there). Majestic grandeur, crystal blue waters, yada yada. I think I expected more, though. The section we drove into (from the Cali side) was pure tourist hell. KFC on one side of the road, Subway and a T-shirt shop (albeit housed in a cabin) on the other. Kind of like I-Drive without the Brazilians. The Nevada side of the lake was the winner, though. Gotta love state forest land.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Off to Reno!

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Today I flew to Reno, Nevada--Biggest Little City in the World--for the RWA National Conference. Some observations on interstate travel:
  • Time changes are a bitch. Here I'm thinking that Reno's in Mountain Time (it's in the mountains, right?), when all along it's on PST. Totally screwed up the internal "feed me, Seymour" mechanism. The sleep mechanism, too. Couldn't figure out why my 11:00 pm bedtime felt so late until I realized that my body thought we were kickin' it at 2 am back home in Florida.
  • Airports are a bitch. I'm spoiled by living near the #1 tourist destination in the world. Orlando has the Idiot's dream airport. Other airports don't come close. Reno/Tahoe couldn't figure out where to put the bags in baggage claim.
  • Tourists. Oy.
  • Totally forgot to call my dad on his birthday. I suck.
  • Wakeup calls for 6:45 am are unnecessary, even when your body thinks you kicked it until 2 am back home in Florida. Boink! Eyes wide open at 5:12. Hey, at home that's sleeping in.
Rental car tomorrow. If I'm this close to Lake Tahoe and don't go, I'll never forgive myself.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Crash Testing...

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Too funny. Check out this Bound and Gagged comic from Dana Summers:



That's my story!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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Some royalty for today! Enjoy!

BED LIST: CLIVE OWEN



Last seen as King Arthur in the, well, bad movie of the same name, Clive Owen is believable as the Once and Future King despite all the bad dialogue and Kiera Knightly in woad. He's one of the names being bandied about for James Bond (I can see it). British, so gotta love the accent. Rugged, heroic, British--what's not to love?

DINNER LIST: PRINCE



I'm so glad Prince is back to being Prince, since it's tedious to have to write "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" and impossible to spell that symbol he went by a few years ago. Regardless of what you call him, the man is a genius. I've been listening to 1999 on the CD player and totally reliving Friday nights in college (totally dating myself now, but oh well!). Brilliant guitarist, inventive, personable. Dinner, then the club.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Revision Letter Blues

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Got a revision letter on Crash Test today from an editor friend (who I would dearly love to become my editor editor). It's not bad. Not great, but not bad. Short version: Love the last 150 pages. First 200 slow. Fix 'em.

Aurrrgh!! (or whatever combination of letters properly conveys both happiness and outright vexation)

Hey, it's better than a "Thanks, but this sucks, don't send it again" rejection letter, or even worse, the "Dear Author" form rejection. This is two pages of here's-what-I-think-you-need-to-change-so-it has-a-Snowball's-chance-of-my-buying-it detail. Good stuff, but frustrating. This editor and I have a good relationship, so I can probably call and talk more specifically about what she really wants me to do, but I feel so deflated right now. I'll probably go make pasta or something, then take another look.

Now, of course, I have a new wrinkle in the not-quite-right universe: an agent. This will be the first What should we do about this? fax of our author-agent relationship. Kind of exciting, if you think about it. I've already tweaked the manuscript for Paige, so maybe she and editor need to hash out some common ground (I had the editor relationship established long before I got the agent, and you know how the wheels of publishing turn. Sloooooooooooooooooowly.).

Upshot? This could mean more rewriting. Or not. I think I'll let them duke it out, then ooze in when the dust settles. Or some other editor says "Great!" and offers boodles of cash for it without revisions. Yeah. That's the ticket.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Loverly

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Rhododendron
Originally uploaded by mimifl.
Pretty stuff, this rhododendron. Can't grow it in Florida, since it's hotter than Satan's south furnace where I live. Lots of gorgeous flowers in the mountains I can't grow at home--bearded iris, tulips, Queen Anne's Lace--but the tradeoff is that I won't be freezing my behind off in February. Nice to look at on a beautiful Sunday, tho.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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DH and I have tickets to the the-ah-tah this evening (actually, to the improv--Dad trods the boards, of a sort, now that he's retired from boring stuff like computer science), so today's picks are well-known denizens of the Great White Way.

BED LIST: TAYE DIGGS



Whoof. Taye Diggs is gorgeous. Great smile, bod that looks carved out of something permanent, like rock, but delicious, like Godiva dark chocolate. This is the man Angela Bassett flips for in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and no wonder. He makes an appearance now and then as the MC in the film version of Chicago, but you'll really be able to catch his talents in the film version of Rent, which will be released in November. Too bad he's married--to the Tony-award winning star of Wicked, Idina Menzel--but rowrrrr just the same.

DINNER LIST: NATHAN LANE



This man could read the phone book and make me laugh. Incredibly talented, funny, smart, Nathan Lane is the total package. One of the few men on the planet who can upstage Robin Williams. Got kids? You know him as the voice of Timon ("What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?") in The Lion King. He's currently filming The Producers: The Movie Musical after a faboo stage run with Matthew Broderick, and he and Matthew Broderick will star in a revival of The Odd Couple, with Nathan as Oscar and Matthew as Felix (if you can imagine Ferris Bueller as the fussy one!).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

This Is the Life

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Blue Valley
Originally uploaded by mimifl.
Here's what I've been up to the past few days--relaxation, North Carolina style. The 'rents (dad and stepmom) have a gorgeous house in Highlands, NC, so DH, the kids, and the dog and I are living the high life (Elevation 4118+, since they're at the top of Horseshoe Mountain). Gee, I'd HATE to wake up to this view every day.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Tile Queen!

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Backsplash
Originally uploaded by mimifl.
Except for a line of caulk and some general cleanup (note to self: keep the grout WET so it doesn't dry in the crannies of your lovely tile), the backsplash is finished. I'm rather impressed with myself. I told DH it looks like rich people live here. His response? "Rich people could afford a maid."

He has a point.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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I don't know what it is about the British Isles, but they can churn out some fine looking men! Today's selections hail from Wales, a tiny country that was most likely home to King Arthur and the whole reason that we include "sometimes Y" in the vowel list. Welsh men to die for:

BED LIST: IOAN GRUFFUD



That's YO-an Griffith to you and me, thankyouverymuch. DH and I and the kids were treated to some sneak preview tix for Fantastic Four last Thursday, so I got plenty of time to watch Ioan work that blue bodysuit. Fantastic! He does an American accent very well, but you know the Welsh lilt has to be the parlance for the boudoir. Friends tell me I must check out his performances in the Hornblower series on A&E. Master, Command me!

DINNER LIST: SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS



Here's a man as erudite as he is talented. Sir Anthony isn't one to lord his achievements over others; he prefers to be called "Tony." His silky voice creeps in every time I spot a bottle of Chianti on the shelf (The Silence of the Lambs, anyone?), and his presence in a film is always welcome. He's interesting to watch, and would be doubly so to talk to. Chianti, Tony? (No liver or fava beans for me, thanks.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy Anniversary to Me!

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Ten years today.

My youngest sister, who got married last year, asked me for advice on making it last. Not that I'm an expert, but here's what I told her:

Patience, my dear, patience. Plus humor and a shared outlook, and a willingness to overlook (forgive) the little things that drive you nuts. Brains on the same wavelength help, too. It's work--good work, and satisfying, but work. Keep studying, Grasshopper... ;-)

Here's to ten wonderful years, and many more.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Same Trauma, Different Week

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Agent emails me: We haven't received Crash Test in the office.

GAH!!!!

I packaged up and sent Crash Test last Thursday, 2-day air by FedEx After the US Mail trauma and UPS delivery issues, I figured third time was a charm. Wrong again, fluffy. So I get on the phone with the nice man who sent it off, we run a tracking number check, and it got there last Friday. Signed for by the receptionist.

Double GAH!!!

All I can figure (pray) is that Crash Test is flirting with slush pile manuscripts, trying to pick up some anonymous big-city action before having to parade itself around to a bunch of publishers. At least, that's what I hope is happening. Go ahead. Sow your wild oats. Ink. Whatever. Just get the job done, 'kay??

Monday, July 04, 2005

Boots on the Ground

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Little brother is home!!

We finally got the call saying that baby bro, the MP who's been in Iraq since January, is home for some R&R. He's stateside for a couple of weeks, then back on the transport for another trip to the desert.

While he's here, we'll marvel over the 30+ pounds he's lost thanks to the heat and the Army food. We'll hug on him and be glad he's here to hug. We'll relax for the two weeks because we can.

And in two weeks, we'll be back on tenterhooks. They're moving his unit to Mosul.

Happy Independence Day to us. Sure hope this is worth it.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

All Systems Stop

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This is definitely one of those weeks where nothing's going right. I'm mid-project for my chapter right now (a guide entitled The Successful Synopsis: Finaled, Agented, Sold!, which will be available at RWA's Moonlight Madness bazaar in Reno, then from the CFRW website after National), and of course, I can't line up all the information I need to put the darned thing to bed.

Then, after moving every stick of furniture out of my living room--which entails stacking all of it in my dining room and office so you can't move in either room--so DH can rip up the destroyed carpet (three hurricanes, two weeks without power or A/C during a Florida August, two kids, and two dogs can do that to you) and prepare for our new wood floors, Home Depot says "Oh, wait, that order won't be in until next Wednesday."

Pause for steam to clear from ears.

Oh well. The concrete's clean. When the flooring finally does get here, we can throw down, move the furniture back in, then tear up the dining room and do it all over again. At least we'll have the rest of the wood ready to go.

Do I have to mention that the writing has gone out the window? I'm the literary version of Lily Von Schtupp right now: "Everything above ze vaist ist KAPUT!"

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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Why are we always drooling over movie stars? (Duh, mimi, movies are a visual medium...). No matter. To my knowledge, today's choices have been together in only one film, but it's worth it. Put Gods and Monsters on your Netflix queue immediately. It's no popcorn flick, but it's amazing. The selections:

BED LIST: BRENDAN FRASER



Forget universal health coverage; Brendan Fraser is the reason one might seriously consider moving to the Great White North. He got our notice as pure Hollywood beefcake (Encino Man, George of the Jungle--hey, don't knock it; Mr. Man looks ummph!! with his shirt off!), kept our attention with comedies like Blast from the Past and popcorn flicks like The Mummy, and earned our respect with Gods and Monsters. He's a good guy with a great face. And bod. O, Canada!!

DINNER LIST: SIR IAN MeKELLEN



Sir Ian is a brave, outspoken advocate of gay rights. That might be off-putting to some, but I admire him for it. He's a thoughtful, intelligent actor who knows how to pick a franchise, too (Magneto in X-Men? Gandalf the Grey? Hello??). Something tells me conversation with Sir Ian would last well into breakfast.
 

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