Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Vanishing Act

Don't you hate it when a blogger disappears and you have no idea where they are?


I wish I had some long tale of woe or wonder to explain my absence but I don't. I have the blahs. Not depression. I'm actually quite creative when I'm depressed and I tend to write more.

The blahs are something different. Its like being on a sailboat in the water and the wind dies. You could probably start the motor and get going but you don't because if you do, you'll just have to go back to the dock and leave the Coronas behind as you pick up the threads of reality.

I haven't totally disappeared. Friday I blogged about writing over at Journey. I think I might have posted over at my MySpace blog in the last week as well. But still, I've been pretty absent.

Maybe it is spring fever, but I don't feel particularly wild. I've been reading a lot. I've given up updating my sidebar for books since I'm whipping through them so fast. I wish I could say the same about writing. I'm not doing much. I wrote a few pages on a historical to try and light my spark. Didn't work as well as I planned but I at least I got some writing done.

Anyone else got the blahs? If you do, how do you leave them behind?

Monday, May 21, 2007


First, I want to thank all of you who commiserated with me about my kid. Misery loves company and I'm glad I'm not the only one with a monster child. My nephew was over last night and he makes my kid look like an angel, so I guess I should be thankful for what I have.

Today is my birthday, the big Four-OH. Doesn't really seem to be a big deal anymore. I will say having a pre-schooler at 40 was not in my game plan. When my mom turned 40, she was seeing her only child graduate from high school. Sigh...

Hubby bought me a really pretty heart necklace, I'll try and get a picture of it one of these days. It is a floating heart on a white gold chain made up of yellow and pink sapphires and diamonds. He also got me a nice watch. My watches usually come from the clearance section of Wal Mart, so it is a nice change. Last night we had the family over and hubby fried chicken in the deep fryer outside. It was so good. Today promises to be nice as well. My parents are picking my daughter up this morning and my friend and I are going out to lunch. My folks are going to pick up my kids after school and feed them dinner so hubby and I can go out by ourselves. All in all a good day.

I'm not a big birtday fan. I feel better when they are over. I suppose the anticipation of a decade birthday adds stress. But I think 40 is a good year and one which will bring many possibilities. If nothing else, my youngest will be starting school. That counts for something, right?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I can't believe its been a week since I blogged. It has been a week of non-stop annoyances and aggravations. This time of the year usually brings its own special brand of irritation. We are seeing the very end of baseball (YESSSS!!!) which has its own ends and rituals. This morning I'm going out on a quest for thank you cards and gift certificates for the coaches and team moms. Also on the agenda is registration for soccer. We don't start until August but registration is now. My son's science fair project is due this week and I've been working with him on that. He didn't do one last year and the principal ripped him a new one, so I put my foot down on it this year.

The rest are things that zap me mentally and emotionally. Mother's Day was a big bag of petty annoyances, none of which I will get into because it gets me spewing fire. Suffice it to say sometimes I wished I married an orphan. The other biggie is my 7 year old. Diva is truly living up to her name right now. I'm so mad at her right now, I don't want her around. She is so self-centered and blind to anything that doesn't have to do with her, it's incredible. I expected this behavior at 12, not 7. And if one more person tells me how sweet she is, I'm going to explode. At school she is the darling. She listens, she helps the teacher, she helps other students. She has a reputation for kindness and is a friend to everyone. At home....*shudder* I don't get it. On the baseball team, skills wise she is one of the better players, but as soon as she hits the field she is either goofing around or whining. At home, she is always dragging her dad out to play ball with her, but once she is with the team, she turns into a brat. Hand me the Tums, please.

All the turmoil has drained me of creativity. The thought of writing exhausts me. Heck, the simple act of blogging is a monumental effort. I think part of it is burn out. The school year is coming to an end and I'm burned out right along with the kids. While they have school, I have the school and sports functions I've been responsible for. Hopefully summer will help, but if my daughter keeps up with her behavior, I'm not too hopeful.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Special Guest

As some of you know, I'm a patsy for the paranormal. I like all manner of preternaturals like werewolves, goblins, faeries and Paris Hilton. But vampires hold a soft spot in my heart. Not sure why.

I'm not alone in my fascination. Silhouette has read this desire and is featuring the undead in their Nocturne line. The latest is Caridad Pineiro's Blood Calls. This is the sixth book in an ongoing series.

Diego Rivera lost his life during the Spanish Inquisition, but when he is saved by becoming a vampire, he swears to become a better man. Ramona Escobar is a promising young artist who is struggling with a mother with Alzheimer’s and a disease that is slowly robbing Ramona of life. Ramona unwittingly becomes involved in an art fraud and when her life is threatened, handsome art gallery owner Diego Rivera comes to her aid. Attraction will flare to life between the two, but both Diego and Ramona are hiding secrets. When Diego reveals his true face to Ramona, she reveals the true of her existence – that she will soon die. Will love help Diego find a way to deal with Ramona’s betrayal and his own secrets, or is it the call of her blood that is tempting him to put the bite on her?

I was fortunate enough to ask Caridad a few questions about writing and the popularity of the undead.

As a writer, how hard is it to switch genres? Going from police procedurals to Latina chick lit to dark paranormal seems like a tough jump, how does you do it?

It is hard to switch genres at times, especially when you have deadlines for both books. I generally like to stay with each genre at one time, but that hasn’t been possible lately. When I am writing the dark vampire novels and romantic suspense, I am in one mindset and the women’s fiction mindset is very very different. For the dark vampire novels, I am concentrating on the paranormal elements and the psychic wounds of the protagonists. These psychic wounds will oftentimes impact on life and death situations. For my women’s fiction, the stories generally revolve around the relationships of women and while the conflicts there are life-altering, they are grounded much more in reality and do not have life and death consequences. They do, however, impact on the life courses of the protagonists. As for the suspense stories that I write, the focus there is generally on the romance and how the mystery impacts on that relationship. There’s actually more similarity between my romantic suspense novels and the vampire novels as both generally have a mystery and of course, romantic elements.

BLOOD CALLS is the 6th book in a series that started awhile back. Was it tough to pick it back up or has this story been floating around in your head for awhile?
I knew when I wrote TEMPTATION CALLS (October 2005) that I wasn’t done with the stories for some of the characters. TEMPTATION CALLS turned out to be one of my favorite books because of the characters and their very unique lives. From that one book, I’ve been able to spin off DEVOTION CALLS (January 2007) and BLOOD CALLS (May 2007) as well as FURY CALLS (tba 2008). I hadn’t planned on so many other stories from that one when I started, but as I wrote, I realized that there were a number of secondary characters that were so unique that I had to explore them in greater depth. Part of it is that I like to write series and always try to make the secondary characters so real that people want to know more about them. The one hard thing about this is that you need to keep them in the background and not let them overwhelm the main story.

Why vampires? Why do readers come back to the undead again and again and again?

I think people have always been fascinated by the otherworldly creatures and vampires in particular. There is the fascination with immortality and what it would be like to never die. We always imagine them as romantic and sometimes tragic creatures. We also think of them as very sensual creatures and the sharing of blood is definitely high on the list of intimate acts. For all those reasons, readers love vampires.

How is Diego unique amongst his kind?

In my mythology, Diego is unique in that his age makes him nearly an elder. That age gives him greater powers and a higher rank in the Manhattan vampire hierarchy. It also brings profound worry in him since with each year that passes, Diego has seen the loneliness of those around him and has experience his own loss – his long time vampire companion was killed nearly two years earlier. With her passing, Diego sees himself on the way to becoming like the other vampire elders – devoid of passion for anything other than blood. Lonely. When Diego finds himself attracted to a human, however, he wonders if he can allow himself to experience her passion or if by doing so, he will doom himself to even greater misery.

Hmm...sounds like a vampire in need of heroine's touch. If you are a sucker for blood suckers, Caridad has created a world for you. For more information on Caridad, please visit or watch her interview at

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

8 Things Things You Probably Didn't Need to Know About Me

I got hit with this meme from both Toni and Bebe.

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Here we go:

1. I'm allergic to olive trees. The blossoms send me into massive sneezing fits.

2. I'm an only child.

3. I'd never changed a diaper until my son was born. Personally, I could have skipped that part of motherhood.

4. I've been to Hawaii six times and I'm planning my seventh.

5. I broke both of my pinkies when I was Christmas caroling. I was about 9 I guess and they healed funny. When I did NaNoWriMo they were in constant pain from the typing. Beer took care of the problem.

6. I married my boss. I was a legal secretary, he was the partner I worked for. How sordid is that?

7. I have to wear orthotics in my shoes. The structure of my hips makes my gait wrong and I get severe shin splints. The orthotics correct the problem. Of course, the less I weigh, the less necessary the orthotics are, no surprise there.

8. I've been dying my hair red since 1993. I have no idea what my natural color is anymore except that it has lots of gray.

Okay, now I have to tag 8 people. Gypsy, Amy, Chys, Kelly, Lory, Teresa, Zephra, and Henri.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

$138,095 , "compensation experts," have compiled a list of a stay-at-home-mom's jobs and figured out she would be paid about $138K a year for her efforts.


This number has started a flurry of opinions. Amazing what a hot button issue this is. Usually it boils down to an appreciation factor and misconceptions.

When I worked outside the home, my workmates and I would head down to Target for lunch time shopping. We'd watch the SAHM's shopping with their kids and we'd be filled with envy. How great would it be to have the freedom to go shopping with your kids? How awesome would it be to head over with the crumb crushers for a perky lunch at McDonald's? Boy, those women had the life.

Skip up a couple of years and I discovered what kind of "paradise" it is shopping with kids. Trips to McDonald's are bribes. All of my pastoral visions of being home were quickly obliterated. When I hung up the pantyhose and pumps for sneakers and sweats, I traded in a lot more than a wardrobe.

It isn't that one experience is tougher than another. Moms who work outside the home have a job plus the responsibilities of parenthood. They still have meals to plan and homework to assist with. There is laundry and housework. But when I worked, I also had help. If hubby got home before me, he started dinner and we both did the dishes. On the weekends, we both worked on the laundry. I also had the luxury of using some of my income for a housekeeper who came in every other week to clean. Since no one was home during the day, the house stayed clean. My time was considered more valuable. I actually had more writing time than I do now.

As an SAHM (by the way, I'm not trying to exclude SAH dads, I'm just speaking from my own experiences)I don't have the daycare worries. I don't have to fit in grocery shopping on a weekend. I almost never wear make up. But the expectations also increase.

With the house, there is an expectation it should be clean. Not really out of line...except I hate housework. I cook six nights a week. I don't mind cooking so much and hubby still helps with the dishes, some nights this is the only time we get to have adult conversation. But it is also expected that I will serve on every committee at my kids' school. It means that I should volunteer for team mom/coach/Girl Scout leader/classroom assistant because I have so much time. And most important, that time I get to spend with the children.

My kids are convenient like the ones on "Desperate Housewives." They are always there and constantly demanding something. They fight with each other and they defy me. It is a constant battle to get them to pick up after themselves. If I leave the room, the youngest one is into something. My fridge and pantry are locked. Somedays I have to lock all the rooms in the house just to keep her out of stuff. She's four going on fifteen and figures whatever trouble she gets into, it was probably worth it.

Anyway, enough of the sob story. Parenthood is rough no matter what the circumstances. But people are incensed by the idea of putting a monetary number in relation to parenthood. The value of raising our children and mantaining a loving home defies mere salary. Which is exactly the point and why like to see this kind of validation. It isn't that we think we deserve money or financial compensation and I can tell you, I don't do enough to earn $100K. I just want to do enough to justify my online shopping habits.

Parents who stay at home are either praised as selfless beings devoted to their families, taking satisfaction in the pure joy their nurturing brings. Or they are seen as mindless zombies content to spend their days watching purient televsion munching on Doritos and bon bons. Neither one is true of course, but it does point to one thing: the loss of identity.

My biggest adjustment was my loss of identity as a person. From 8-5 Monday through Friday I was me. Now, there are days where I never hear my name. I am a mother then a wife and that is the extent of it. I do it myself. I allow it.

I think when a parent sees a breakdown of what the value of their services would be in the working world, it makes them appreciate themselves. As mothers, whether you work outside the home or stay at home, we need to appreciate ourselves. We need to appreciate our strengths rather than focusing on our failures.

No one is going to do that for us. Our spouse who spends the day working isn't going to understand how difficult our day is. Our kids aren't going to care. We can only hope they have children of their own and then they will understand.

Look at what you do every day and appreciate the skills it takes to do what you do. Go use the salary wizardand see how much you really do and how tough it really is. Understand how valuable you really are. If you treat yourself like a valued employee, everyone else will to. If not, go on strike.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Work in Progress

It's like magic around here lately. As soon as I sit down to write a post, some crisis crops up. I've had this particular window open on my computer about 10 times and this is as far as I get. But no more. I'm determined to post. By the way, the picture of Capt. Jack has nothing to do with the post, but I felt I'd been limiting myself with Daniel Craig and neglecting my Johnny Depp obsession. Besides, I thought this was a cool picture.

But onto the meat and taters. One thing I've noticed in my writing is how much it matures with each new book I write. My style and voice continue to develop. Its easier to read what I've written without cringing. It shouldn't be surprising, for the most part, we get better at anything with practice. But I think we as writers have difficult expectations of ourselves. We want to be at our zenith with every book. There is nothing wrong with that, the quest to be at our best is a natural one. On the flip, I think it also sets us up for struggle and disappointment.

We as writers are works in progress. As we continue to write, we learn to be more comfortable with our talents. Once we are, we can move onto a new skill or focus. We need to remember that each manuscript we work on is another step in our progress.

Writers tend to treat their current WIP as our children. We put our hearts and souls into them, terrified when we send them out into the cold, cruel world of publishing. Every rejection is a crushing blow smacking to the core of our egos. Talk about pressure. But manuscripts aren't children. They are products of our hard work. Yes, it hurts when they get rejected, but the next book will be better.

I'm working on a new book while my other one is in submission hell somewhere. Oddly enough, I don't think about the other book itself anymore. My focus is on what I'm writing now. I'm allowing myself to branch out into other directions with this story and I can see it in the writing. It makes me happy. And that's what writing should do. If I dwell on the rejections I'm receiving on the other book, it would be very easy to never come back to the book I'm working on. But I recognize that I'm still progressing. I am willing to accept the book out in submissions may not find a home. Having an agent is no guarantee for a sale. I'm going to have to be okay with that. Hence, a new book. This picture also has nothing to do with the post, but I liked it and I thought Orlando looked a bit dashing.

As I was saying, its easy to feel like your writing life has ended when a book is rejected. But having a new project is the best cure. You are a work in progress and each book you write continues your progression. Enjoy the process and be proud of the skills you develop no matter what.