Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting ready to leave!!!!!! YIPPEEE!!!!!!!!!

We've got about 2 days, 3 hours and 55 minutes before our plane takes off!

It's funny how you never realize how badly you need something `til you actually start planning it. I love my kids more than life, but every parent knows you just need time away to recharge and rekindle your relationship as a couple and not just as mom and dad. We're leaving our kids in safe hands- their grandparents- so I feel confident in going. They will have fun being spoiled and we will have fun spoiling ourselves.

My apologies for the lack of posts the past week or so and I will most likely not be posting again `til after we come home! Enjoy your week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Man Candy!!!!!! Had to steal this idea!!!

My new bloggy friend Gina Gordon is sharing her favorite pieces of man candy this week and I thought I'd borrow her idea!!!!!

Get ready ladies....here are my favorite drool-worthy, I'll-sit-through-this-so-not-me-movie-if-I-can-stare-at-you men, in no particular order:

Paul Walker- I don't watch The Fast and the Furious cause I like cars.

Zac Efron- He's legal...it's okay to look.

Ryan Reynolds- I've loved you ever since you were Berg on Two Guys, A Girl and Pizza Place.

Bradley Cooper- Even beat up and bloody in The Hangover, he was still hot as hell!

Cameron Mathison- I actually met him....he told me I smelled good....*swoon*

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WOW! This is one awesome contest!!!

Sarah with a Chance is running a FAB contest over at her blog...serious prizes...critiques and candy.....what's not to love about that???

Check it out!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I so need a vacation!

It's been almost eight years since the hubby and me have gone away just the two of us. We've taken many trips with the kids and they've been great...real honest to goodness family bonding time and we loved every minute. We even got away 3 times without them for weekends away with friends. But as fun as those weekend were, (and trust me, there were some really fun times!!) it just was not what we need. We are in such desperate need of some time away...just us...to reconnect and enjoy each other without worries and stress and appointments and everything else that makes up the busy life of two parents with two young children.

The idea for this trip just kinda happened. I wasn't looking to plan a trip...it really just fell into our laps.

I'm a huge Disney fan...everyone knows that. Luckily, hubby shares the love as well. We've been fortunate enough to be able to take our kids the last three years in a row and will take them again the end of this year. We love being there together as a family...but hubby and I have said "How cool will it be when we can come all by ourselves!" Not that we don't like being with our kids, but there are things at Disney World that don't particularly interest the kids...like World Showcase at Epcot. It's something we usually kinda skip over cause they don't want to watch the films and inspect each pavilion.

So back in January, I was visiting a Disney planning message board that I frequent, gathering info for the December trip and lo and behold....Disney had announced a promotion for the spring. Book a 5 night trip, get a $300, $500 or $750 gift card, depending on which category of resort you stayed at.

Great deal......but what about airfare???

The $64 air on Southwest sealed it for us.

The price was too good to pass on and we said "What the hell!"

We booked the trip, organized the babysitters, and started planning it out. We leave in 9 days and I cannot wait. Each day, when the kids are screaming and my son is beating my daughter over the head with a toy golf club....I remind myself of how many days are left til we leave. I am so looking forward to waltzing through World Showcase, a fun drink in one hand, my beloveds' in the other. I can't wait to ride Tower of Terror, both my and hubby's favorite ride anywhere, and actually get to ride it together...been many years since we've been able to do that. I can't wait to just relax and not have to deal with anything besides what restaurant we're gonna eat at that day (we chose the quick service dining plan this time so we won't be tied to any dining reservations at all).

9 days and counting.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

A rant.....I used the Evil Eye....had to do it.

You know...that "look" most good parents have perfected...the one that when flashed at your child, they stop whatever they're doing and know they are about to get in trouble. My Dad had it and was good at it. He used his for keeping wandering teen boy hands away from me...and it worked. Damn, did it work good!

So anyway, I was in Kohl's, in line to make an exchange. There was this little boy...maybe 4, and he was roaming around the area. There was a rack of DVD's, Wii games and Nintendo DS games nearby. He was looking at them. I wasn't sure who he was with...no one was talking to him. There was an older man there too, but he didn't seem to be paying any attention to this boy. Then I saw the little boy stick a DS game inside his hooded sweatshirt.

Oh, I gave him the "look". And I kept on giving it. He put it back and I turned away. I looked back and he was putting a game in his shirt again. He did this about 4-5 times before leaving the rack. The whole time, I'm wondering where the heck his mother is and why no one is watching this potential thief. And he looked old enough to know what he was doing was wrong. Obviously he knew it cause my "look" prompted him to put it back.

He walked over to his mom, who was being helped at the customer service counter...completely oblivious. The boy started digging in his nose, wiping it on his shirt. Ewww gross....all kids do it, mine are not excluded...but I tell them to stop and get a tissue. This mom was paying zero attention to her kid. And when she was done, she turned and smiled at him and sweetly said "Come on, Peanut, let's go!"

After this all happened, I was left with the moral dilemma of what would I have done had he not put the game back. Should I have said soemthing to the mom, an employee??? I would have been mortified if someone had told me my kid was potentially stealing something, but glad to know. But also, I watch my kids and I would have caught them in the act myself.

Parenthood is hard...we all know that..and no, your eyes can't be on them every single second. But still......this kid could have gotten into a lot of trouble (not only the stealing...someone could have lured him away) and the mom didn't seem to have any care whatsoever what he was doing while she was taking care of whatever business she had with the Kohl's customer service counter.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another thing I LOVE about digital book readers!

It is so much more convenient to read while working out!!!!!!

I tried the magazine thing once while using the elliptical at the gym. Did not work at all. The constant bouncing made it very hard to read the tiny words. And turning the page....that is an accident waiting to happen. I am pretty good on the machines but it doesn't take much to throw off your balance when you're in a groove! I keep at least one hand on the handle at all times!

Then one day I saw a woman with her Kindle. At first I thought, great idea, no pages to physically turn. Seemed like something I could try, but I worried that the constant bouncing would still make it too hard to keep my eyes on the line and not re-reading the same one over and over.

Then I remembered the button to adjust the text size. BRILLIANT! I set the text to the biggest size, problem solved!! I do have to "flip" the page more often since there is less text on the page, and therefore, I run my battery out quicker, but still. This is fantastic!! Makes my workout fly by. I do 20 minutes on the crossramp/stepper thingy and it used to feel like a full 20 minutes. Now it is gone in a flash. Then I move to the elliptical for another 15 minutes and then a 2 1/2 minute cool down and I usually stay on a few more minutes cause I hate stopping mid chapter. I then move on to the other weight lifting machines for arms and legs and all that and if there was some way of still reading while I did that, I so would!

At this rate, I will surpass my book reading goal for the year, which is set at 30. I know some set a 100 book goal..that would be an impossible goal for me. I only read 16 last year and was very disappointed in that. 30 seemed much more reasonable, especially with getting the Sony Reader for Christmas.

My only fear with using the Reader at the gym is someone on the machine next to me peeking over while I'm mid sex-scene. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"That's Too Much!"

While reading an excerpt from an erotic romance the other day, I was reminded of the game on The Price is Right called "That's Too Much". The prize for the game is usually soemthing big, like a car, and prices are revealed one at a time. When the player thinks the price is too much, they have to yell "That's Too Much!" and if the actual price is in between the price they chose and the one before it, they win. As I was reading the erotic excerpt, I found myself yelling "That's Too Much" when I had reached a certain point.

Now, I do not consider myself a prude at all. It did take me some time to feel comfortable writing sex scenes and find the balance in terminology between clinical and corny. I don't shy away from erotic novels that I read for myself either. BUT I do have a line and this excerpt crossed it.

The line is one tiny little word...only 4 letters in length. I can't even type the word and I have never ever said it in my life. All I'll give you is: See You Next Tuesday. You should have gotten it by now.

Language normally does not bother me...my novel is titled A Bitch Named Karma...and karma isn't a female dog. My MC uses the f-word numerous times. Sometimes there are just situations where that 4-letter word is needed, at least with this character and her personality.

But in the sample excerpt, as soon as I read that word, I lost any and all respect I had for this book. That word just gets me...that is my line...that is when I say "That's Too Much!"

So....is there anything that turns you off from a book??? Any genre, not just romance.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TV is not evil

I find it really funny that so many people bash TV like it's the worst thing since cigarettes or heroine. Yeah, not everything on the tube is great...I wholeheartedly believe there is WAAAAYYYYY too much reality TV and people being paid to be stupid.

But what about honest to goodness shows with amazing story-telling??? What is so wrong with those??

During my travels last weekend, 5 hours in the car each way with my writing friend Sarah, we had plenty of time to talk. And one topic was TV and how we just cannot understand why so many people are so "Oh, I don't watch ANY TV."

Why not? There are writers behind those TV shows. Damn good writers. Whether it be a comedy or drama, someone brilliant is there thinking up the fantastic story lines that keep us on the edges of our seats and the one-liners that crack us up.

I think there is such thing as too much TV, especially when kids are plopped for hours and hours. But a show or two a day?? I am amazed at the thing my kids pick up from great educational programs on PBS and shows like Go Diego Go and Yo Gabba Gabba. As with anything, it's the quality that matters.

I love books...that's a given...and when I read, I envision the story in my head like a movie. What's so different about actually watching a story on the TV instead??

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Write Stuff Conference! More of Day 2!

Day 2, Part 3: After lunch was through and the keynote speaker had finished up, I head to my last formal workshop- Creating Time and Place, also led by Tracy MacNish. Very interesting session. Here is what I learned:

#1: Readers want to be taken somewhere...characters aren't enough.

#2: Lure reader into your setting, don't hit them over the head. You don't need to give the entire setting all at once...but the reader won't wait forever either.

#3: Writers put so much time and effort into their characters and need to put that same effort into time and place.

#4: Include specifics- names of places and things, pop culture references, clothes, music, religion, money, entertainment, what they eat and drink, etc... The more truth it contains, the easier it is to believe.

#5: You never know what your readers know that you don't so make sure you get it right. Do your research. If you're using internet sites as references, find at least three websites that give the same information.

#6: Readers want things fast, they're not going to spend a lot of time on lengthy descriptions. Resist the urge to say too much or veer away from the story. These details are not your story, they just enhance it. Give description in small bites.

#7: Clarity-Unity-Brevity

#8: Stress- it is caused by their time and place?

#9: Names, dialect and jargon adds to the time and setting.

#10: Fish out of water- use sparingly in your story. Easy way to show reader without telling...through the eyes of a character who's never been there. People remarking on something is more interesting to read than a long descriptive paragraph.

#11: Can change setting but it needs to have a purpose. Same with weather...needs to have a reason.

#12: For historical stories, easy ways to research time and setting- old magazines, biographies of people who lived during that time.

#13: To research a place you've never been, call the town's Chamber of Commerce for tourism brochures.

This was a great session and I really picked up some great ways to make my stories unique and really pull my reader in...make them feel like they've been transported to another time and place!

After this session ended, I headed to an informal genre chat, also led by Tracy MacNish. It was all about romance!! There were only 4 other writers beside Tracy and myself there, so it was very intimate! We had some great conversations and it was the perfect end to the conference!

I headed to the vendor fair after that where the flash contest winners were announced...I did not place :( I bought one of Tracy's books and had her sign it.

The entire conference was officially over and most participants head for home. We decided to stay the night instead of driving home 5 hours in the dark. We ventured out in search of food, promising to call our new writer friends when we decided where we were eating- they had also decided to stay an extra night. Sarah and I found a great Mexican place but the others had already found somewhere to eat. So it was just the two of us and our celebratory margaritas! YUM! We filled our bellies with salsa and guacamole (so so good!!) and then combination platters filled with our favorite Mexican fare. We spent the rest of the night chatting with the other girls back at the hotel.

We both woke bright and early Sunday morning and took our time packing up. We hot the road by 10:30 and our weekend had officially ended! But I have to say...I have now been bitten by the conference bug! It surpassed every expectation I had and this small intimate conference was perfect for newbies like us! If you ever get the chance to go to one, DEFINITELY do it!! Worth every last penny!!!