Friday, April 30, 2010

Blogmania is Here!

Welcome to Blogmania!
 My Blog is 64 of 123

You've arrived at exactly the right time to explore lots of new blogs, all of which, ARE GIVING AWAY A VERY SPECIAL BLOGMANIA GIVEAWAY  (For One Day Only – April 30th) .

We've done all the work for you. No hunting or surfing. Each blog will have a number and each new blog link will have a number. These numbers will allow you to keep track of which blogs you've visited and how many are left to visit. Why not take a moment to make a list of blog numbers 1-123 and check off the blogs as you go.

I know you'll want to visit as many blogs today as you can. So, if you see something that interests you on any of our participating blogs, why not bookmark that site. Later, when you have more time, you can discover all its fabulous treasures. 

CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! MY GIVEAWAY and RULES: I'm calling my giveaway A Month of Sundays Relaxation Kit. 2 yummy candles from Colonial Candle, bubblebath from Bath and Body Works, 4 great books (The Christmas Present by Tracy Wolff, Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas, Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin and Stellar Heat by Scarlett Jameson) and a $25 gift card. Great prize, right? And easy to qualify. All you have to do is become a follower. On the left, under the Blogmania badge, is a button that has the Google symbol and says Follow. Click it and sign up to become a follower. I'll be announcing the winner of the prize on Monday's blog entry, so make sure you come back!

Next week, I'll be blogging about my weekend trip to Holland.

Below is a small group of links. At each site, you'll find even more. From those sites, even more still. You get the idea. Each blog has their own criteria for their giveaway, so read carefully. Have fun checking out all these great sites. Have a great weekend!

(Blog- 1 – HOST OF BLOGMANIA) Between The Pages -

(Blog -2 – CO-HOST OF BLOGMANIA) The Black Sheep Dances -

(Blog-43 - CO-HOST OF BLOGMANIA) Books, Books Everywhere -

(Blog-6) Ashleyladd -

(Blog-27) Blackberry Jam Café -

(Blog-34) Reading AT The Beach -

(Blog-54) Paper Cut Reviews -

(Blog-90) SMS Book Reviews -

(Blog-111) Deanna's Tidbits -

(Blog-120) I Sew Cute and Draw Pretty Nifty Also -

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crazy Day

So, Tuesday I talked about disconnecting for the day. Today, I'm touting the wonders of technology.

Last fall, hubby got me an iPod Touch for our anniversary. It was a huge surprise because we normally don't exchange gifts, preferring to take a short trip together instead. He knew that I'd wanted one, though. Since then, he's teased me about it being attached to my hand.

It's true that I use it for a lot. When I have wifi, I check my emails. I use the calendar to keep myself straight. I have an ebook reader on it and several other cool applications. Well, this morning, it saved my butt.

I planned to do laundry this morning. I'd tried Monday but the laundromat was full, so no go. This weekend, both days, full. Today was the day because tomorrow I leave for Holland. I was just about to step into the shower when the alarm on my iPod went off. Huh? I couldn't remember having anything else planned.

I checked the screen and it said I had a hair appointment in an hour. What? I could've swore it was next week. Nope. It was today. So, I showered and dressed, had breakfast and then headed to my appointment. Afterwards, I did laundry, had lunch with hubby, picked up the candles for my giveaway, stopped by the post office (mail's running again – yay!) and finally home. Once home, I put away the clothes, emptied the laundry room and finally got to sit down in front of the computer.

Why empty the laundry room, you ask? Well, I'm getting my own washing machine! I found a German washing machine for $220. That is less than half of the full price and it's practically brand new. Now I just need a dryer and I'm all set. I'm very excited about not having to lug everything into post on a regular basis.

Anyway, I'm late posting today because I've been running around. It's 5pm here but it's still morning in the States so I guess I'm okay.

Don't forget that Blogmania is tomorrow. To go in the drawing for my Month of Sundays Relaxation Kit, you need to become a follower by the end of April 30. And I hope you'll stick around afterwards. Next week, I'll be blogging about my trip to Holland. I'm going to lots of great places while there.

I'm going to sit on my patio, enjoy the weather with Peanut and finally relax. Ahh….

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Almost time for Blogmania

Only a couple more days and Blogmania will be here. April 30th. This Friday. You will find tons of great blogs to explore, on all topics. And best of all? We're all giving away some great prizes. Each blog will have their own guidelines for their giveaway, so please read each one carefully. I've finally decided on my giveaway. In order to be eligible, all you have to do is become a follower. On the left side of the screen, there is a button with the Google symbol and the word Follow. On Friday I will move it up so that it is underneath the Blogmania badge. Click that button and become a follower. Easy, right? If you're already a follower (thank you very much), you're good to go.

So what goodies am I giving away? Good question. I'm calling it A Month of Sundays Relaxation Kit. A mouthful, I know. I call it this because I love to settle into a warm bubble bath, with flickering candles and read a great book. That is a little slice of heaven for me, and I hope it appeals to you too.

We'll start with 2 yummy candles from Colonial Candle. Then, while you're running your bath water, pour in some bubble bath from Bath and Body Works. Now that we've set the mood and gotten our water ready, what to read?

There are 4 Sundays in a month. Usually. So, 4 books it is. Which 4 books, you ask? Quite a selection, in several different genres. I'm a member of the Austin RWA chapter, even though I'm over here in Germany now. Recently, our chapter had a bunch of good news. 3 of our published authors were finalists for the RITA award. If you don't know what this is, the easy answer is that it's the Emmys of the romance writers world. A very big deal. So I will include all three of these books, plus a copy of my own that just came out last week.

The Christmas Present by Tracy Wolff
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin
Stellar Heat by Scarlett Jameson

And, last but not least, if I've missed a crucial ingredient that you require for total relaxation, I'm also including a $25 Visa gift card.

Remember, all you have to do to be in the running is to become a follower. And as a teaser. I know a lot of you like the little glimpses I give to my time in Europe. I'm heading to Holland this weekend, so next week will be a European extravaganza!

What do you think of my prize? Interested?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Internet-free Day

I'm an internet junkie. I admit it. I'm constantly checking email. I mean, who knows what kind of important stuff I might miss out on. I'm a member of several writers' loops and they are pretty busy. If I miss a day there, it takes a long time to get caught back up. I follow quite a few blogs, both writers and agents.

Do I need all this? Probably not, but I get so much from the writers' loops. Business-wise and personal. So I'm not willing to give those up. Email? You're kidding, right? Anyway, after I posted my blog post yesterday, I went internet-free for the rest of the day. Really.

I finished my pages, but that was done on my AlphaSmart. Less distraction that way. Then I worked on my crochet project for the rest of the day. You see, I started this project as a gift for my friend for her birthday. On February 21. Needless to say, I'm late. I'm hoping the gift itself will make up for the tardiness.

With the end almost in sight, I decided to finish the assembly yesterday. I was so close, yet it still took me all afternoon and evening. I had determined that I wouldn't go to bed until it was all put together. So it was about midnight before I laid my head down. It's gorgeous, though. Totally worth all the work. I just need to put the finished touch around the edge and it's ready to be shipped to the States. I'll post a picture once she receives it.

As a result of my immersion in this project, I never made it back to check email or loops or blogs (sorry guys, I'll get caught up on that tonight) or anything else. And it was OKAY. Really, all my emails are still in my inbox, waiting on me. All the new messages in my loops are still there. All the blogs I follow. Yep, you guessed it. Still there.

So, yesterday was a nice departure from my normal electronic existence. I don't plan to do it often because, really, I have the patience of a gnat and I'm nosy. But it's nice to disconnect every once in a while.

Have you ever taken the day off from the internet? Did you enjoy the freedom? What activity did you enjoy on your break?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back to Business

First of all, thank you to all who posted well wishes for me Friday. It was a happy day for me, though I did have to work the part time job that day. I was bursting to tell everyone, although my coworkers are tired of hearing about it, I'm sure. Suzanne, you are the winner of a free copy of Stellar Heat. Please email me at with the email you want it sent to.

This past weekend was a busy weekend. We started off Saturday with a trip into post to do laundry. I think once we know we're staying longer, I'm getting a washer and dryer for the apartment. The German version is much different though, but trekking into post and then NOT being able to do laundry… When we showed up at the laundromat, it was full of soldiers. I mean, every single machine taken. I've never seen it that busy before. So we headed to the PX (Post Exchange – kinda like Walmart) and an early lunch.

Outside the PX was a Turkish company selling carpets. Now, we've lived here over a year. We've needed carpets for the living room for all this time, but we finally got around to buying some Saturday. Below is a picture of the large one. The couch (in pieces, as you can see) sits on it perfectly and I think the coffee table we have coming will slide right into place. We have a smaller rug and a runner coming that should be here on Wednesday. Once we get the furniture (end of May *fingers crossed*), I'll post a pic of the whole effect. I can't believe the difference the one rug makes.

Then we ate lunch, bought groceries and headed home where we were promptly invited to join the neighbors behind us for dinner. Our neighbor's birthday was Saturday and his son's birthday was Sunday so we celebrated by grilling out. I know I've talked about German food before but have I mentioned the spread they put out? Yum. We had bratwurst, bauch (not sure if I'm spelling it right) which is kind of like really thick bacon, and pork steaks along with potato salad, pasta salad, bread and stuffed banana peppers. Everything was so good.

Sunday I did some work in the office, had my chat with my accountability group and then trekked upstairs for another birthday party. There were 3 kinds of cake, coffee and then later in the evening, baked trout. I swear, I don't know how Germans keep from being huge. Must be the schnapps.

So, lovely weekend with beautiful weather. Yesterday it reached 75 and was sunny. As my neighbor, Renate, said, "Balcony season is open." Today is more like the Germany I'm used to, though. It's overcast and rainy. Cooler than yesterday, but still about 60. I guess that's good incentive to get my work done, right. So, I'm off to the laundromat for another try, along with my trusty AlphaSmart. I really want to finish those last two chapters of the rough draft of OOTS this week.

What was your weekend like? Busy? Relaxing? Good weather?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stellar Heat Release

Today I'm pleased to announce the release of Stellar Heat, available at The Wild Rose Press. It is the debut of Scarlett Jameson, which happens to be my other pen name. Yes, this is my first release ever. It's also the first futuristic story I've ever written AND the first erotic story I've ever written. A lot of firsts for me. It was a lot of fun to write and I really enjoyed my characters. I hope you will too. I'm giving away a copy of Stellar Heat to one lucky commenter. I'll do a random drawing on Sunday night, so you have plenty of time to comment, and announce the winner on Monday. So, here's a blurb and an excerpt (don't worry, it's not explicit). Enjoy!

Blurb: Jak of House Midori, has found his heart mate, that one person he can connect with on a soul level. Only problem is, as a twin from the planet Zaphron, Jak must share his mate with his brother. But Qwin wants to wait until they are more established in their careers as Star Flight officers.

Petty Officer, Lily Buchanan has whiplash from trying to figure out Jak's intentions. At the pub he's charming and flirtatious, but his aloof attitude on campus leaves her confused--and burning up with sexual energy.

When the three are assigned to repair a satellite in the Helix Galaxy, they are attacked by enemy star fighters. Seriously outgunned and their craft crippled, the three are stranded alone on an uncharted planet. Will Qwin agree to ease the mating fever consuming Lily, or will Jak be forced to initiate the mate-claim and exclude his brother from their union forever?

Excerpt: As Lily approached, she eyed Jak on deck in front of the ship, waiting. He must have gotten his hair cut. His midnight hair was now regulation short instead of slightly shaggy as it had been yesterday. Short or longer, his hair set off his masculine beauty. The dimple in his cheek, absent now but always prevalent when he flirted with her, softened the edge his square jaw gave him. He looked more approachable before than he did now.

His eyes matched the color of the Earthen sky, before the nuclear implosion that destroyed the atmosphere. Though she was Earthen, she'd never been there but had seen history vids in her Cultural Earthen Anthropology classes.

Jak's height, as well as his broad shoulders and thick arms, could intimidate most people, but she knew deep inside, somehow, he would never hurt her. Even on his bad days.

Oh, well, time to get this party started. "Hey, Jak. Is the pilot here yet?" Lily dropped her duffel on the ground as she looked up at him.

Jak glared down at her. "Is that how you address a senior officer, Petty Officer?"

Looked like Jak was having a bad day. Great. For her, too.

Lily snapped into a quick salute. "Petty Officer Buchanan reporting for duty, sir."

After he acknowledged her salute, she stepped back and cast a wary eye at her senior officer. Ass.

Before he could reply, Lily felt a presence behind her. Heat radiated through her limbs and gathered in her belly as a voice whispered in her ear. "Glad you could make it, Flower."

Lily whirled around to see...Jak? Her attention ping-ponged from one Jak to the other. There were two?


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement so I thought I'd share a little more information about today.

In 1970 when gas was leaded, all cars were V8s, and there weren't as many environmental laws regulating industry, air pollution was a common occurrence. Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest to force the issue onto the national agenda. So, on April 22, 1970, 20 million people came out to streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate. There were coast-to-coast rallies, organized protests on the campuses of thousands of colleges and universities.

Earth Day 1970 garnered support from people from all sides, regardless of political affiliation, home or job. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.

Wow, it's amazing what can be accomplished when people work together for a common goal.

I try to do my part. I recycle. Actually, here in Germany, they make it very easy to recycle and those that don't are the exceptions to the rule. We have separate buckets for glass, paper, aluminum, plastic and biodegradable stuff. I try to conserve gas and use public transportation when possible. In my little town, it's very accessible for walking or bicycling so unless I'm going long distances, I don't take the car out of the garage. I'm sure there is more that I could be doing, so I'll be going here to pick 5 things that I can do to help save our environment.

What do you think? Will you also Pick 5?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Early Bird Check List

You may have noticed the Blogmania badge on the left side of my blog. What is Blogmania, you say? Well, for one day, every blog that is registered with Blogmania will provide a list of participating blogs. Why? So you can find some fun, new blogs and we'll do all the work for you. On this day, April 30, each and every blog will be giving away a cool gift. I'm still working out my giveaway, but it will be great. Each blog will have its own requirements for the gift, so make sure you read each one closely. Below is the Early Bird Check List. Get ready, folks. Not long now.

Blogmania Early Bird Check List:

We want all of our visiting guests in our first Blogmania Event scheduled for April 30th to Get On Their Marks-Get Set…  

It's not time to go yet, but if you want to have the most fun and scoop up as much loot as possible, here are a few Early Bird Reminders to help you do just that.

1.   Be at any of the blogs participating in the Blogmania Event as early as possible on April 30th.   The easiest way to find a Blogmania Blog is to look for the Blogmania Badge.

2. This is an international event, so understand that there will be some differences in time zones.  My advice is to start early and stay late to catch all the blogs.

3.  Each blog will have their own giveaway requirements. Read them carefully, follow through, and then move on as quickly as possible. If you run across a blog that you really like and want to spend some time exploring, copy their URL and then visit them after Blogmania is over.

4.  We will have a 100+ blogs for you to visit. Each one will post their number like this. (This is blog 64 of 106) This is to help you keep track of which blogs you've visited, and which ones you still need to reach. I'd suggest that you prepare a blog sheet which is numbered from 1 – 120, then mark off each numbered blog as you visit them.

5.   All blog links provided will also have a number like (Blog 89 of 100). Look for the blogs that you haven't yet visited and follow those links until you've checked off all the blogs on your sheet.

6.  We have all types of blogs participating in Blogmania, which means that the range of items in their giveaways are diverse. I have previewed many and they are awesome.

7.  Why not contact a friend and partner up. Compare notes, share loot, or organize your own friendly neighborhood Blogmania Competition.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Contract

The Wild Rose Press will be releasing a new series this fall called Jewels of the Night. It is a romantic suspense series and each story will contain a blue diamond. I first learned of this special submission call last fall when my friend, Autumn Shelley, told me about it. It sounded like fun, but no ideas popped into my head at the moment. So I put it to the back of my mind and didn't think about it anymore.

Then, around Christmas, an idea started to take shape. Just little bits here and there until I came up with a full-blown story idea. Characters and plot points danced in my head. The deadline (or so I thought) was March 31. That was 3 months away. I could write this story.

I was a little slow out of the gate. I submitted my first 15 pages to the Roses Critique Group in January and received the pages from 3 others that I had to critique. Imagine my delight when I found pages for a romantic suspense that featured a blue diamond. Those pages belonged to Rachel Lynne. We started emailing back and forth and decided to help each other along. We sent our chapters to each other for critique as we finished them. We spent time on AIM plotting out our stories and figuring out our characters. It was a lot of fun.

I can honestly say that if I hadn't formed this partnership with Rachel, I may not have the deadline. I can really put things off when I'm stuck. So, anyway, I finished my story ahead of time and sent it in a few days early. That March 31 deadline was to enter my submission in a contest. A story from the series will be chosen at random to be the kick off story and get lots of extra publicity. The Wild Rose Press is still accepting submissions for this series, if you're interested.

Blood Diamond was born, the story written, a romantic suspense novella set in the rain forest of the Congo and featuring Jill St. James, a doctor with Doctors Without Borders, and Mack Nichols, a former soldier turned mercenary. It's actually the first attempt I've made at romantic suspense that didn't involve werewolves and vampires, so I'm pretty excited about it.

Yesterday, I received an email from the senior editor of the Crimson Rose line, who is in charge of the series. She offered me a contract! It arrived in my email inbox early this morning while I slept. I am happy to say that Blood Diamond will be my first published work under the pen name, Riley Quinn.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Come Monday

I think I had mentioned my experiment – to work on OOTS during the week and a novella idea on the weekends? Well, that's changed a bit. See, a group of us are working through the book, The Weekend Novelist, and I thought this would be a good way to increase productivity. If it worked. Well, a novella isn't big enough. I need an actual novel-length idea to work on. OOTS is the first of a series of 5 and I didn't want to use the second in the series for this workshop as I'm hoping – no, planning – to have the rough draft done by Christmas.

So I'll be working on my urban fantasy mystery for the project, from here on out known as TWN. Wish me luck. We read the introduction this weekend and I skipped ahead a bit to see what's in store for us for the next 2 weekends. It's a different process than I've used in the past, but I'm interested to see how it will work. As for OOTS, I finished chapter 17 last week so that leaves me 3 more chapters to finish the first draft.

On another front, my philosophy class is going well. I finished 3 of the 11 lessons this past week. It's quite interesting. If all goes well this week, I can probably schedule my midterm exam soon. I need about 2 weeks lead time so that should be about right.

Oh, the weather has warmed just a bit. Hubby got the patio furniture put together and we grilled sausages on the grill Saturday night and the neighbors joined us for a nice evening. My blood is still thinner than the Germans, though. After it got dark, I needed a couple of jackets to ward off the chill. The neighbors? Just a light jacket. Anyway, here's a picture of the patio furniture.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Law Abiding Citizen

Living here in Germany, I tend to find out about some things late. Knowing about the new releases at the box office is one of them. So it's not surprising (to me, anyway) that I missed the trailers and info about this movie. It was brought to my attention on the Romance Divas forum, where one of the divas raved about it. I've been a Gerard Butler fan since P.S. I Love You, so the fact he was in it (and the shot of his behind) was enough for me to add it to my Netflix queue and move it to the top. I'm so glad I did.

This movie rocks. And not just because of Butler, though his performance was incredible. He's very cute and funny in his comedic roles, but wow, his intense portrayal of a man seeking justice and the lengths that he would go through to get them was…intense.

The movie opens up with a home invasion and Clyde's (Butler) wife and daughter are killed. They catch the men, but the ADA (Jamie Foxx, whose is also wonderful in this movie) doesn't want to take the chance that he'll lose in court, so he makes a plea bargain. Clyde feels betrayed by the system. Fast forward 10 years and the killer is released from prison. He ends up dead, and Clyde is put in jail for it. Then other people involved in the case start dying.

I don't want to say too much more. I don't want to spoil the plot if you haven't seen it. Suffice it to say, you won't see the twist coming. I can usually figure the turns in a plot before they happen, but this one actually surprised me. In a good way. If you haven't seen it, I can't recommend it enough. Oh, and hubby was a bit skeptical when we sat down to watch it but about 10-15 minutes into the movie, he was hooked, too.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think? If you haven't seen it, do you plan to?

Y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

College-inspired plot bunny decisions

I remembered another dream this morning. For someone that rarely remembers, this is two within about a week. This one is easier to interpret, however. As you know, I sent my Blood Diamond manuscript to The Wild Rose Press for their Jewels of the Night series that debuts in November. I dreamt that I had received an email from the senior editor in charge of said series to let me know that they thought my story would make a great addition to their line. Psychic dream or wishful thinking? I guess we'll find out soon. I'm hoping for the former.

I started my first college class this week. I needed one more social science credit for my degree plan so I chose something that has always interested me – the study of other religions. My class is a philosophy class called The Introduction to World Religions. It's an online class through the college I attended in Texas, so I can finish my degree with them even though I'm in Germany. It's self-paced with suggested guidelines, but I'm hoping to get ahead of the power curve this month with it. My second class begins in May (the online classes have staggered start dates) so if I can work ahead, it will be less stress next month. At least, that's the plan. There are 11 lessons and I've already completed the first. I plan to complete the second tonight after I'm done writing for the day.

I think it's going to be a great class for me, and that I'll get a lot out of it. Some that I can even use for my writing. Glancing through the book's Table of Contents, I noticed there will be some discussion of mythology of cultures I've never read before. This will give me a start on developing a new series that has been hovering in the back of my mind for a while now. It brings me to another decision, as well. Once I finished OOTS, I'd planned to work on the second book of the series. Now I'm wondering if I should complete the first book of the new series first, and then alternate between them. I've got some time before I have to make this decision since it will be summer before I'm finished revising and such. I just know that reading mythology that is new to me will generate lots of plot bunnies.

Have you ever had two series ideas that you had to choose between? What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

German utilities

As expected, Germany and how some things are done in this country are different than in the States. Utilities is one that I am learning the differences the hard way.

Here, rather than going to the water department or the gas company to set up service, you pay your landlord a set amount each month. At the end of the year, the meters are read. If you paid too much, you get money back; too little, you pay more. We pay a high amount, but I figured, "Hey, we'll get it back" and pay it each month. I didn't figure on my landlord. Apparently, he likes to hold on to every cent until it's pried out of his fingers, even if it doesn't belong to him.

Our lease states that we are to receive the paperwork detailing our usage immediately after the meters are read. It took us 6 months and 3 phone calls to finally get it. Then it was wrong. Out of almost 1900 euros for 9 months of utilities, he claimed we only got back about 250. That doesn't even include electricity. We pay that separately ourselves. Because I pushed for the paperwork, he sent it to all the residents in the building and he stated they owed money. Lots of it. One owed 750 euro and the other 1000. Again, very wrong.

German landlords can also add things in to the utilities that Americans normally don't. For instance, I have to pay more for heat than I actually use, based on the square meters of my apartment. He can add his property tax in there (well, except for us since it wasn't specified in our lease) and did I mention his daughter lives in a small apartment in the basement? Based on all of our bills combined, she's not paying a cent.

So we went to the tenant association and talked to the lawyer yesterday. She said the landlord was clever, but our paperwork was wrong. Yeah, I got that part, but she showed me where it was wrong. So, she's writing a letter on behalf of all of us. I have to say, I'm very pleased with the lawyer and she brought up issues I hadn't even thought about. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. If he can't produce certain papers and receipts she's asking for, we'll get back about 750 euro and the others will either get money back or owe a lot less. I don't think he expected us to all get together to discuss things. Silly man.

Hubby finds out in a month or two if his contract will be renewed. Regardless, we're moving. If we stay longer, we'll find another place, hopefully with an honest landlord. If it doesn't get renewed, we'll move back to the States and I'll keep my attorney to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Have you ever had problems with a landlord? Were you able to resolve it?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Okay, so Spring is playing peek-a-boo here in Bavaria. Yesterday it snowed. Granted, it was just a bit of spitting, and then there was the frozen rain later. This after Thursday and Friday were beautiful and in the 60s. Today is rainy, dreary and cold. It's only supposed to get as high as about 40 or so.

On the bright side, the ground is green as can be and the farmers are getting their fields ready for planting. Raps is a popular crop here, but that's another post. The trees should start greening up soon and then, oh, it's so pretty. We did get our patio furniture, but a picture will have to wait. I tried to take one in the store but the lighting was no good. Once the weather clears up here a bit, hubby will get it put together and I'll post a pic.

If you remember, I mentioned an experiment I was trying – working on my novel during the week and a novella on the weekend. This past week was successful so far. I finished chapter 16 of OOTS, which leaves 4 more chapters to finish the first draft. That was even with having to work 3 days at the part time job. I completed the characterization and plotting of the novella, so when Saturday rolls around, I'll be ready to sling some words down. I've even got the opening sentences in my notes. Speaking of openings, I've come up with a better one for OOTS and even though I don't revise until I've got the first draft, I'm going to sneak it in there so I don't forget.

Today I have a meeting with an attorney to deal with some problems with my landlord so off to work for me. What's your day like? Ready for spring? I know I am.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring has sprung

Spring is really poking its head up here in Germany. Yesterday, I think the temperature reached the 60s. Today is supposed to be more of the same. Perfect weather to be outside, and of course, the furbaby loves being out in weather like this. To celebrate, we're buying patio furniture tonight.

We looked around a month or so ago, and found a set that we liked. Made of eucalyptus wood, the table is oblong, big enough to fit 6 people comfortably and squeeze 8. There is a bench to run along one side and two chairs. We're talking about picking up 2 extra chairs but we'll see if that happens today. This week, the furniture is on sale – about 70 euro less and then with our VAT form…

I was going to make cushions for it, but as I'm already behind on my projects, we'll buy some for now and then I can make some that match the table runner I plan on making. Yes, I'm adding to my growing craft list. Anyway, I'll post pictures tomorrow.

We're also going to look a bike rack. We were told we could buy them at the OBI, which is where we're getting our furniture. The OBI is Germany's version of Home Depot, right down to the orange and white store. We need one that will hold 2 bikes because we are buying a set from a friend. I'm so excited. I love riding bicycles and the area is so beautiful. I've even been looking at harnesses to attach so your dog can run safely beside you, as well as a basket big enough to hold her when she gets tired. She has little legs but lots of energy.

Those are my plans for today, after I get my work, of course. Do you have any plans to get ready for the lovely weather coming?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Everyone dreams, so I've read. Even if we don't always remember them. Unfortunately for me, I'm one that doesn't usually remember after I wake up. Usually.

This morning when I woke, parts of a dream floated through my brain as since I don't remember most times, I held on to the bits as strong as I could, even though I had no idea why I would dream this.

I live in Germany, as most of you know. While hubby isn't military anymore, he does work for the military and we have all rights and privileges to post as military as long as we are overseas. When we go to post, we have to stop at the gate and show our ID card. The guard scans it and makes sure the info matches and then lets us through. Occasionally, we'll have to go to secondary inspection, which requires us to get out of the car, open the trunk, etc. No big deal.

So in my dream, I'm chosen for this secondary inspection while trying to get on post. The guards examine my vehicle and tell me that because it is an American spec car brought over from the States, the radio isn't the right one. I'll have to get a German radio to replace mine or I can't drive the car. I wake as I'm telling my husband this.

Weird, huh? I spent a lot of time trying to figure out dreams and interpret the symbols way back when. I'm intrigued, but don't have time this morning to do much if I'm going to get any work done on OOTS before heading to the part time job. If I figure anything out, I'll let you know.

How about you? Had any strange dreams lately? Do you remember most of your dreams? Ever tried to figure out what they meant?

Monday, April 5, 2010

End of the Quarter

Wow, it's April already. A quarter of the year has passed. I have to say that I'm fairly pleased with how the year has started. I made a list of long term goals that I wanted to accomplish this year. So far, I've been able to cross off three of them as accomplished.

The latest accomplishment is finishing up Blood Diamond and submitting it to The Wild Rose Press for their Jewels of the Night series. I got it in by March 31, which means if chosen, my story will go in a drawing to kick off the series. I recently received an email update regarding my submission. They are going through the entries as quickly as possible so that they can announce the winner of the drawing on June 15. Hopefully I'll know something sooner, but worst case scenario, I'll find out by then.

I'm feeling good and hoping for the best. My CPs all liked the story and had few changes to suggest. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I've moved forward in a bid to keep myself from going crazy thinking about it. I'm back into Out of the Shadows, the first book in a five book series. It's an urban fantasy set in fictional Cedar Creek, TX. I spent most of yesterday working on it, finishing up chapter 15. According to my word meter on the left, I've cracked the 60% mark on word count. I've got 5 chapters left until I finish the first draft.

The concept has changed considerably since I began, so the revisions will be major but I'm excited about it. I had to go back and read a few passages to keep continuity and I really liked what I read. Of course there are things I need to add. That's just the way I write, but there's emotion there that I could still feel even after setting it aside for over 6 months. I'm excited about that.

I've also gotten sucked into another story idea. There's a call for novellas centered around the reunion of the Class of 1985. I graduated in 1989, close enough that the concept called to me. I've got the basics on my characters and I've decided that I'm going to experiment over the next two weeks. I'm going to work on my novel during the week and my novella on the weekends. I'll give it two weeks. My novel is the main focus since I want it ready to pitch at National convention in July. If I find it's sliding, I'll put up the novella until I get the novel finished. If it works, it may be the working model I use to continue the novellas, but also complete full-length novels. Wish me luck.

Oh, I did something different for the novella too. I made a playlist yesterday. I found the top 100 pop songs of 1985 and made a playlist with about half of them. I'm going to try it and if I like it, I may include choosing a playlist part of my plotting process. It was kind of fun.

So, as I go into the second quarter of the year, my goals are to finish and polish Out of the Shadows and plot and finish this new novella. That seems like quite a bit so here's hoping my second quarter is as productive as the first.

Have you been able to cross off any of your long term goals? Have you re-evaluated your goals lately? How do you feel about what you've accomplished so far?

Friday, April 2, 2010


You may or may not remember that I mentioned having Flammkuchen while in Colmar. It was so incredibly yummy and I came home to find a recipe. Last Saturday, I made it for dinner and it was so good, I'm sharing the recipe. It's pretty easy to make and doesn't take long. The dough makes a big serving, enough for more than one person. My hubby doesn't like mushrooms but I do, so I made two. I should have just halved the dough and made two out of that, rather than making two whole ones. Live and learn. Oh, and the picture is the actual flammkuchen I made for hubby, so it's not as pretty as something from a website or cookbook, but it sure was tasty.


For Dough:
2 cups flour
2.5 TB canola oil
2/3 cup water
pinch of salt

For Toppings:
1 cup Crème Frâiche
1 onion (red or sweet)
1 TB butter
¼ lb bacon
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic

Preheat oven on the highest temperature it will go or around 400-450 degrees. Combine ingredients for crust. The dough shouldn't be sticky. Slice onions into rings and sauté in butter until clear (don't carmelize). Cook bacon until crisp. Finely chop garlic and add it with seasonings to cream. (Here I used the herbed Crème Frâiche). Roll out the dough as thinly as possible and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the dough has begun to create bubbles and browns. Serve with a green salad and a light white wine.

Let me know if you try this and how you like it. Oh, and my neighbor taught me to make Krenfleisch last weekend also, so that is coming soon.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've got the itch

I'm feeling that itch again. The crafting itch. I'm working on a quilt for my nephew's birthday. I'm already late with it so it's imperative that I don't work on any other sewing projects until I finish this one. But, oh, how I want to.

I've got a list in my head of things I want to make and it's already too late to make some. Well, I can still make them but they would be put away until next year. There was this cute chick in the egg wall hanging. Sigh. I'm dying to try my hand at a laptop bag. I got a new laptop at Christmas and it's bigger than my previous one, which barely fit into my laptop bag. So, of course, my new one won't fit at all. I know what I want and I'm coming up with my own pattern, using techniques from some previous purses I made. I also picked up this gorgeous Asian-inspired fabric. I can see it now. Okay, getting ahead of myself.

I'm also a crocheter. I'm currently working on a little something, okay a big something, for my friend's birthday, which has already passed. See a trend here? She reads my blog so I can't say any more than that but I'm about 2/3 done with it. Waiting in the wings is this adorable pattern I found for a baby blanket with jungle animals on the borders. My brother and sister-in-law had twins a couple months back and she decorated their nursery in baby jungle animals. It's perfect and of course, I have to make two, so…

Amid all this twitching, I'm still writing. Submitted Blood Diamond and playing the waiting game with that one. I'm back to Out of the Shadows and finished chapter 13 and almost done with 14, probably today. Plus my part time job and oh yeah, I just signed up for two college classes last week. I only need 3 to finish my degree so hopefully the third will be offered for the fall semester and I can finish it up. Then to continue on. So, I'm finding that I need to re-evaluate my time management and figure out how I can fit everything I want to do in with everything I need to do. I'm sure it's possible, I just need to be disciplined. Kinda like writing. Hmm…

What about you? Do you have enough hours in the day? Is there something you'd like to do, but have trouble fitting it into your schedule? How do you handle your time management?