Sunday, January 29, 2006


My proposal is packaged up, ready to go in the mail to my editor tomorrow. I'm going to have to get right back on writing the rest of the book soon, but working up the synopsis for the proposal helped me outline the rest of the book, so hopefully it'll go faster now.

To celebrate reaching my goal of having the proposal ready to go before the end of January, I treated myself to the Battlestar Galactica miniseries and first two episodes on DVD. My critique partner and former best friend Jenn talked me into giving the series a try, the evil wench. I can see why she likes it so much, but did I really need another television show to obsess over, I ask you? Did I? Some friend she is!

Off to watch episode 3...

Friday, January 27, 2006

I Need a Hero

From The Listkeeper in the comments section of a "24" thread on PoliPundit: (some words masked for content - see link for uncensored list)

Some random facts about Jack Bauer:

1) If you wake up in the morning, it’s because Jack Bauer spared your life.

2) If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he’d shoot Nina twice.

3) Upon hearing that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer killed Sutherland. Jack Bauer gets played by no man.

4) Jack Bauer’s favorite color is severe terror alert red. His second favorite color is violet, but just because it sounds like violent.

5) Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.

6) Jack Bauer got Hellen Keller to talk.

7) Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.

8) Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.

9) 1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.

10) Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

11) Jack Bauer doesn’t miss. If he didn’t hit you it’s because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.

12) Lets get one thing straight, the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

13) When you open a can of whoop-ass, Jack Bauer jumps out.

14) If Jack says “I just want to talk to him/her” and that him/her is you… well amigo, you’re *******.

15) Killing Jack Bauer doesn’t make him dead. It just makes him angry.

16) When life gave Jack Bauer lemons, he used them to kill terrorists. Jack Bauer ******* hates lemonade.

17) In grade school, a little boy punched Kimberly Bauer, and Kimberly ran home to tell her dad. That little boy’s name? Stephen Hawking.

18) Jack Bauer does not sleep. The only rest he needs is what he gets when he’s knocked out or temporarily killed.

19) No man has ever used the phrase, “Jack Bauer is a *****” in a sentence and lived to tel-

20) In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.

21) Jack Bauer literally died for his country, and lived to tell about it.

22) As a child, Jack Bauer’s first words were “There’s no time!”

23) Jack Bauer’s family threw him a surprise birthday party when he was a child. Once.

24) If you get 7 stars on your wanted level on Grand Theft Auto, Jack Bauer comes after you. You don’t want to get 7 stars.

25) Guns don't kill people, Jack Bauer kills people.

26) Everytime Jack Bauer yells “NOW!” at the end of a sentence, a terrorist dies.

27) Jesus died and rose from the dead in 3 days. It took Jack Bauer less than an hour. And he’s done it twice.

28) If you send someone to kill Jack Bauer, the only thing you accomplish is supplying him a fresh set of weapons to kill you with.

29) Jack Bauer could get off the Lost island in 24 hours.

There are a few more, but I'll let you read them yourself.

This, That and the Other

I've had a breakthrough on my sucknopsis, and as soon as I track down the author of the method I used to achieve it, I'll share it with you. It's a fill in the blank questionaire that I used to brainstorm the book idea, and I've also been using it, with minor tweaks to take into consideration changes that happened during the writing process, to set up my synopsis. I've tried every "write a synopsis in six easy steps" method known to man, I've read every article titled "The Dreaded Synopsis," and I've even listened to RWA conference tapes on the subject, but this method was the first one that ever actually worked for me.

So I'm ahead of where I thought I'd be, and it looks like I'll easily make my self-imposed Monday deadline to mail the proposal to my editor. To celebrate, I'm going to allow myself a brief, stream-of-consciousness blog post.

Read in my daily Publisher's Lunch e-mail that Frederick Forsyth will have a new book out this fall titled THE AFGHAN. I'm a sucker for a good political thriller, and I liked the only other Forsyth book I've read, so I'm looking forward to reading it. It reminds me, also, that I need to see if Tom Clancy has put out any Jack Ryan novels I haven't read yet. One of his later Ryan novels gave me the seed of the idea for one of my novels, the one I'm planning to turn into the first in a series for Intrigue (think Deb Webb's Colby Agency books or Gayle Wilson's Phoenix Brotherhood series).

Has anyone been watching AMERICAN IDOL? I didn't watch the first season, but thanks to Birmingham boy Ruben Studdard, I got sucked into Season 2. Fantasia kept me there for Season 3 and local boy Bo Bice for Season 4. I promised myself I wouldn't watch it this year, but slowly I'm being sucked back in, this time by a pretty girl with an amazing voice named Paris Bennett, granddaughter of inspirational soul singer Ann Nesby. She's terrific, gutsy (her song choices were Dixie Chicks and Billie Holliday) and charming. If she makes the top twelve—and why in the world wouldn't she?—I'm probably doomed to watch it again this year.

I'm also watching LOST again this season, and I'm still loving it, especially the slow transformation of bad boy Sawyer from surly maverick loner to surly maverick community member. They're doing a good job of softening some of his harsher edges without turning him into shapeless mush. I like it. Could do with a lot less Charlie and Jack, though.

And belated congrats to Hugh Laurie of HOUSE, MD for his Golden Globe win. Much deserved. HOUSE is a great show and Laurie is phenomenal in it.

That's it for now. Hopefully more regular blogging will resume when I get my proposal out the door.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Drive-by Posting

Crazy busy at the moment with more than just the writing thing, although the writing thing is enough. If you're bored and looking for something to spend time on, try this.

You can curse me later.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Books-A-Million now officially has FORBIDDEN TERRITORY listed on their website for pre-order. If you're a BAMM club member, you get a discount! So what are you waiting for?

Order now. Order often.

Also, in related news, The Writing Playground's May/June contest will feature an autographed copy of FORBIDDEN TERRITORY as one of the prizes, so if you're going to be all penny-pinchy and stingy and not order my book yourself, you can always enter that contest for a chance to win it. I'll also be one of the June author interviewees, so keep a look-out for it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Nerves of Mush

Well, my editor is supposed to call this afternoon to discuss WILD CARD and future projects. I'm trying not to freak out. (And thank goodness it's a relatively slow day at work).

My gut instinct is that WILD CARD is a no-go. Since the word count change, it won't fit SIM as is, and I'm not sure it was that great a fit to begin with. I don't think it really works for Intrigue, either, and unless she sees it as a perfect fit for Superromance, I can't see where else it can go at H/S. That's why I'm peddling it around to agents.

As for future projects, I'm 203 pages into an Intrigue, with about 55 pages or so to go to meet my page goal for the book. I do think this idea works well as an Intrigue, and it's a sequel to FORBIDDEN TERRITORY, which I hope will please my editor. If not, I have some other ideas to pursue.

Not that any of that makes the butterflies in my stomach go away as I wait for the call.


Okay, heard from the editor. She's not buying WILD CARD yet, because she thinks it needs substantial changes to fit Intrigue, just as I thought. But, she didn't reject it outright, and she's going to send me a revision letter, although she stressed that I should backburner it for now, because she wants me to have a couple of books waiting in the wings after FORBIDDEN TERRITORY hits, and she thinks that the revisions to WILD CARD will take up time I'd better spend writing new stuff specifically targeted to Intrigue.

So I'm sending her a proposal for CODE NAME: WILLOW next week, since it's finished, and I'm going to work up a proposal for my WIP, DANGEROUS PURSUIT, which isn't finished but isn't far from it, to send to her by the end of the month.

Whew. Nerves back to normal.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Jack is Back!

Twenty-four more hours of heart-pounding, breath-stealing television, and it starts in just four hours.
Can. not. wait!

Friday, January 13, 2006


I'm probably about to jinx myself, but today's turning out to be a pretty good day. I got a raise at work, my revisions are off to the editor, the online contest judge seminar I was co-teaching is finished, and in an hour, I get to go home for the weekend.

Not a bad Friday the 13th, as such things go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Up to my eyeballs in edits on FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. Have to get them in the mail by Thursday morning.


Talk to you Friday. Maybe.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Discipline in Small Doses

A while back, I discovered the joys of using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to track my editor and agent submissions and my contest entries, finals and wins. It didn't take long for me to discover that I could also use Excel to keep up with my daily writing schedule as well.

Last year, when I wrote my 80,000 word novel WILD CARD within two months, part of what kept me going was setting up a daily page goal in Excel and doing all I could to keep to it. I was lucky that WILD CARD was one of those marvelous creatures, a novel that practically wrote itself. Keeping to my daily writing schedule wasn't hard; many days I went over my total and got to subtract pages, even days from the entire schedule.

I used the Excel trick when I was revising two other books, including the one that would become FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. I was able to revise as much as twenty to thirty pages per day using the Excel method.

But then came my current WIP. I wasn't what I'd call bogged down, exactly, but between the holidays, my work schedule and my family responsibilities, my goal of writing five or six pages per day clearly wasn't working. I'd come home from work dead tired and mentally drained, look at my Excel schedule and see I was supposed to do six pages per day. Overwhelmed by the very idea, I'd just punt and add days to my schedule.

Finally, I realized that I had to give myself small, reachable goals every day. Two pages I could do, even on a brain-dead night. The thought of it didn't overwhelm me. And I soon discovered that when I gave myself permission to do only two pages a day, I often did five or six a day once I got going on the story.

The fact is, if you don't set up a disciplined writing schedule, where you write every day or almost every day, you will not finish a book. And if you don't finish a book, you'll never sell a book. So you have to face the fact that writing a book, while it can be fun, is at its core hard work, and you have to make yourself do it. Every day.

But don't overwhelm yourself, either. Set a reasonable goal, one you can meet virtually every day, while being flexible enough to account for unexpected setbacks and obstacles.

Look at it this way: if you write two pages a day every day, by the end of four months, you'll have approximately two hundred and forty pages. That's a short contemporary romance novel, a short mystery or a young adult novel. Two pages a day on week days and five a day on weekends, and you're looking at a long contemporary or a single title romance, mystery or historical at the end of four months.

Those are doable goals, if you're willing to put in the work. And if you can do more pages a day, even better. You can finish a book in a month, or two months.

I started this version of my WIP on November 29th. I now have 192 pages, well over halfway through my novel, and I'm on track to be finished with the first draft by the end of January, all because I gave myself manageable goals that I could meet or exceed.

You can do it, too.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Saturday Morning CatBlogging

About three years ago, I was packing up stuff from a rental house to move into the house with my mom and sister. I hadn't been to that house in almost a month, since I was already living with my mom, and unknown to me, someone had broken into the back door of the rental house. They stole a few things that I wasn't that attached to, but in the process, they'd left the back door open. So when my mom and I went into the house to pack the stuff up, not only did we find the break-in but when we looked in the open cabinet under the kitchen sink, we found three tiny kittens. They were wild as hares, having never seen a human before.

Their mother was nowhere to be found, so we gathered the kittens up and put them in a box (though not before I got the stew bitten out of me by one of the kittens), and continued with our packing. When we were ready to go, we had no choice but to take the kittens with us. We couldn't leave them in the house, since we were closing it back up, and we couldn't put them out to fend for themselves with no idea where their mother was. So we took the tiny fuzzballs home.

Taming them was an ordeal. The one who tamed earliest, Oliver, turned out to have feline leukemia. probably contracted from his mother. We had to have him euthanized. However, Toby and his sister Sophie were leukemia free, and somehow, we managed to tame them (although with Sophie, I had my doubts it would ever happen).

Now, Sophie is a delightful, quirky little cat, a long-haired tortoiseshell with a sweet disposition. Her brother Toby is a large buff tabby who's a little more stand-offish but lets my niece manhandle and drag him around at will, without ever scratching or biting or even putting up a fuss. Since my sister's digital camera is new (a Christmas present), we haven't gotten a picture of Toby yet, but here's a nice shot of Sophie:

The side shot doesn't do her justice; she has gorgeous two-tone eyes—chartreuse on the outside and olive green around the pupils. And she's silky soft, her hair long enough to make her fluffy but not so long that her hair tends to matting.

Can you tell I'm sweet on her? :)

Friday, January 06, 2006

It's All About Me

Well, me and a half-dozen or so new Harlequin/Silhouette writers. The eHarlequin website has my bio up now. Whee!

If you want to read a little bit about me and how I sold my first book, check it out here.

By the way, if you write category-length books and you're not a part of the eHarlequin online community, you're missing a gold mine of information, access and support.

Money Money Money

Got the second half of my advance in the mail today. I'm rich!

Well, richer than I was. Which isn't saying much.

But it was nice to see "on acceptance" checked off. Between that and the thing that I promised not to blog about today, it really feels official.

I'm an author.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 Sales Rank

Today: #297,570 in Books.

What's the hold up, people? I should at least be in the high hundreds! Get crackin'!

Seriously, I'll try to go tomorrow without blogging about my page. Really, I will.

Lt. Danny Agan to Speak at So. Magic Meeting

*******Permission to forward is granted*******

Southern Magic, Birmingham, Alabama is pleased to present:

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2006
Time: 10 AM to 3 PM
Location: Homewood Public Library, 1721 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, Alabama

Cost: $10 for non-Southern Magic members (paid at the door); $0 for S-M members

Lunch will be provided: Sandwiches, chips, dessert. Everyone to provide their own drinks

Bio: Danny Agan joined the Atlanta Police Department in 1974. Following graduation from the Atlanta Police Academy in July 1974, he was assigned to the Foot Patrol Unit for two years. In 1976, he was transferred to the Narcotics Unit as a plainclothes officer. In 1978, he was promoted to the rank of Detective, which soon led to an assignment with the Homicide Unit the following year. As a Detective assigned to the Homicide Squad, he gained experience investigating aggravated assaults, officer involved shootings, murders and other death investigations.

Agan continued to rise through the ranks with promotion to Sergeant in 1982 and then promotion to Lieutenant in 1990.

During his tenure as a supervisor with APD, Agan was assigned to the Sex Crimes Unit for 5 years, the Field Operations Division for 8 years, and the Homicide Squad for 8 years, 4 years of this time spent as Homicide Commander. Agan has extensive experience in the field of violent crime investigation, particularly murder and rape. Job experiences over the years have included investigating and supervising serial offender investigations.

Agan retired from the Atlanta Police Department in 2003 and is currently working as a consultant in the field of violent crime.

During his program, Danny will take you through a mock crime scene, show how evidence is processed and witnesses and suspects are interviewed. You will get the opportunity to see what a real homicide detective does on a crime scene.

Please email Christy Reece ( to reserve a space. This will help us determine an estimated number of people expected to attend.

For directions, go to

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Today, I don't have much to say, so I'll let a few of my writing friends do the talking.

Mary at The Bandwagon has a book recommendation.

Trish at Writing, Reading and More, Oh My! has a genre recommendation.

Gena Showalter is asking for book recommendations.

Tanya at My Irrationalities has some good news.

So does Robin D. Owens.

News from Toni, the Romance Writing Mom, could be better, but it does have a humorous aspect to it.

Dixie Belle (and Thomas Jefferson), offer smart rules to live by in the new year.

Kelley St. John's book, GOOD GIRLS DON'T, is still available, and don't you forget it!

You can also still buy Kristen Robinette's 2005 RT Reviewer's Choice finalist, HELL'S BELLES.

And just in case you forgot, my book FORBIDDEN TERRITORY is available for pre-order from

All done. Bye-bye.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


My book is listed on

I'm all tingly!

Pre-order it now. Come on, you know you want to.


Large Print edition available too, for all you out there like me whose eyes could use a rest.

Monday, January 02, 2006

An Early Spring

Or at least, a nice attempt at one. It's seventy-five degrees today in sunny central Alabama, a simply glorious day for January. It won't last, of course; we're due for colder weather this weekend, but today was a day to break out the short sleeves and sandals and enjoy a sunny day with low humidity.

Oh, and the Crimson Tide won the Cotton Bowl. Yay!

I haven't done my scheduled writing for today, but I did manage to get two of my unsold manuscripts printed out and ready to go to an agent who requested them, so I've not been a complete slug.

And so far, I'm keeping my New Year's resolution to blog something every day. Even if, as you can see from this post, I don't really have much to say. :)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

I wish I could say I spent my New Year's Eve doing something exciting and glamorous, but the truth is, I sat in my living room with my mom and my nine-year-old niece, watching various TV programs until around ten central time, when we turned it to Fox News Channel to see their coverage of New Year's Eve in Times Square. I started nodding off around ten thirty, as did my mom, so we decided to break out the "bubbly" (in our non-alcoholic household, sparkling white grape juice) a little early. The three of us had a little nip of the sparkly stuff and managed to make it to eleven, when the ball dropped in Times Square. Then we all went to bed.

I tried to stay up 'til midnight, really I did, but I dozed off around eleven thirty. I did wake up around twelve-thirty, groused to myself about missing midnight in the central time zone, and went back to sleep.

I woke sometime later in the night and couldn't go back to sleep, so I found GROUNDHOG DAY on one of the movie channels and watched it. Great, underrated movie. Brilliantly conceived and written, and good acting, even from Andie MacDowell. Bill Murray was terrific.

Anyway, happy 2006, everybody. I hope we all have a spectacular new year!