Monday, March 31, 2008

Mimi Has A Boo-Boo

Does anyone else get mildly annoyed by your MB reminder everytime you upload an image on Blogger? They are serious bandwidth nazis. Sheesh. I guess when I run out of room for images I'll move to Word Press. Until then...I'm pleading my own laziness. Blogger it is.

I turned in my Weirdly 2 stories last night and they have both been accepted. I started working on edits for one of the tales this morning, (Yes, I got my first round edits back that fast! *_* Michelle is a wonderwoman, I swear.) I also have round 1 for the second story sitting on my desktop. I will get around to that tonight after everyone has gone to bed. I don't know what I'm going to do with the remaining two stories. I plan to finish them, but I suppose I'll wait until another horror anthology crops up before I bother submitting them anywhere. Until that happens, I guess I'll shelf them and not worry about it too much.

Anyway, that wasn't what I came on to blog about so much. Just got side tracked by my "percentage of space used" when I uploaded the picture of Blue Tongue and Nutsy (see above). Hubby and I had dueling doctor appointments today, and we ended up sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office for over an hour (!!!!) with Mini before either of us was called into a room.

I finally gave up waiting and took Mini out to the car. I knew one of two things was going to happen if I didn't take him somewhere child safe: a) He was going to knock the LSU picture hanging too damn low in the waiting area, or b) I was going to clobber his royal hyperness in public. I opted to take him outside. After about thirty minutes sitting in the car with Mini (who kept getting into everything from car radio to the glove compartment) the receptionist comes outside to beckon me indoors. Hubby is just getting out from seeing the doctor, and he takes Mini so I can go in.

Well, here's the skinny. They took a tiny mole off my shin that has been there for about 2 years. I remember sitting in the tub one night, about to shave when I noticed it. It had appeared what seemed like overnight, and it was like a black freckle on my shin. I'm very pale, and I'm not new to freckles, but this one looked different.

After Mini was born, the freckle turned purple. Then magenta. Finally it settled into a dark plum purple color with a blue tint under the skin. Well, I decided it was time to have the doc look at it, and he took a peek and said he definitely wanted to remove it. He showed me the charts with melanomas on it - one that matched mine almost identically, then after that horror story he sent for the instruments to take it off.

I'll have results from my biopsy in 10 days. Creepy, no? I've never been a deep dish suntan kind of girl - I did a bit of laying out when I was around 13-14, but I quickly got over that. I don't tan well. After I fry repeatedly, I turn a peachy color, and get an explosion of freckles everywhere. A year or so of that and I figured out it's really not worth the trouble and quit laying out. Good thing, I'm now thinking.

Hubby is well, and Mini survived the trip. (No child clobbering necessary.) We're back home and I gotta admit I was sooooo ready to get on my frumpy house lounging clothes. :P Tomorrow it's back to the grind, so I think I'm going to go read and relax for a bit. Have a pleasant day everyone. I'll be around to visit you all in a bit!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Emerging from the writing cave...




I just sent off my stories for Weirdly 2. I wrote four, but ended up submitting two. I was only happy with that lot, so that's what I sent. We'll see what happens over the next few days.

Aside from that, it's been a rainy, icky kind of day. I love listening to the rain, but I don't like walking on the trail of wet shoe prints the guys kept tracking in the house. :S I finally gave up swiffering and decided I would mop tomorrow. Just to save my sanity, you know.

Hubby and I did a LOT this weekend. We didn't go anywhere, but we managed to get the new entertainment center put together and moved into the living room. This, of course, required an entire furniture rearranging session, but I love the result. We have all our electronics protected from Mini's fingers (it's all behind glass!) and we have tons more room to boot.

Another plus this weekend, I caught up with my Daily Dare feature on Neopets. Yeah, yeah, I know.... Kid's stuff. ^_^ I can't help it.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I'll be mailing off prize packages and running to the doctor. I have an appointment around 1. Should be interesting since I don't have a sitter for Mini.

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend. Until tomorrow... *dreams*

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Snooze In The Glen




Meep. Sorry it's been so quite over here, everyone, I took the day off from blogging yesterday. First thing out of bed yesterday morning, I got a call from mom and hubby - at the same time. I'd hooked up my cell phone to the charger, but it had turned itself off, so everyone was having trouble reaching me. They were trying to let me know my grandmother had had a heart attack and had been taken to the hospital in Beaumont. I couldn't get my mind on work after that, so I ended up sitting by the phone most of the day and mindlessly tinkering on Neopets. Late last night I got a call from mom again, and grandma is okay. They're keeping her in the hospital for a few days while they try a few different medicines on her for her heart. She said she'd talked to gram on the phone and she was in good spirits - what a relief!

After that, I felt kind of drained. I didn't realize I'd been running on nerves most of the day. I sat down and tried to write a bit before bedtime. I got maybe a few paragraphs tweaked before I gave it up and went to bed.

I noticed yesterday while tinkering, that it's definitely time to burn off the family pics and get them off the computer. I bundle them all into a single file and yikes! - 681 MB of family photos. *_* I can see the print developing bill already. There were shots on there as far back as Xmas, so I've been trying to justify what the cost will be. After all, if you broke it down month by month... See what I'm saying? *cheese*

Hubby laughed about it when I told him how many pictures there were. You can imagine, roughly 1 MB per image...wowzers. Well, I guess I better buy another photo album while I'm at it, hm?

TGIF! I have a few little errands to run this morning, namely banking. The rest will probably be a test of patience. LOL Oldest is hanging out with his friends tonight, so I imagine he'll be pacing the house, itching to leave. Mini, I'm sure, will be just as happy to hang out with old mom. ^_^

I'm off for now. I need to print up my Weirdly stories. Btw, today is the final, prize post over at the Midnight Moon Cafe. This one is for the big tuna, folks - The Faerie Special Giveaway. You MUST be registered to one of my newsletters to win - there are sign up box right here on my blog, just scroll down and look to the right. Other than that, all you have to do is post in the comments over at the MMC and you're registered. Easy Peasy.

Whew! Coffee...need more coffee... I hope you all have a great Friday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bits, Pieces, and an Excerpt


I gotta admit I'm a bit exhausted today, but yesterday's chat at the Brenda Williamson group rocked the house! We had a lot of good response to the book, and that there made it all worth it. I had to keep popping in and out of there throughout the day, so if by whatever chance I missed a question, it was purely accidental. I'll try better next time!

Today I'm slowing down a bit. I still have the second half of the week to deal with, and then of course I do have both boys at home. Hubby is back at work, but miserable. His allergies are getting to him, and I'm so tired I'm like a walking zombie. I'm surprised we haven't snapped each others heads off, to tell the truth.

I plan to sit down this afternoon and start reading Many Bloody Returns today (Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, and others). I'm in the mood for some sexy vampires. *nip, nip*

Come tonight, it's back to the grind. I'm going to finish up my final story for Weirdly 2 and get it all printed up so I can red pen the heck out of it. Once that's done, I'll be ready to bundle the stories and send them on.

Just in case anyone couldn't make it to the Brenda Williamson chat party yesterday, I'm importing one of my excerpts from there. This is the non-adult snippet, so it's work safe - just sayin'. ~_^

Friday I'll be posting a *cough* spicery excerpt at the Midnight Moon Cafe. (Psst...by the way, there is an easy peasy shapeshifter contest going on over there today if you want to try and win a prize!)



At the Edge of Twilight (excerpt)
by Cora Zane (c) 2008
for In The Gloaming: An Anthology of Faerie Stories



Hands shaking, Colleen clicked on her flashlight and held the rake handle out in front of her for protection. She levered the dull beam of light toward the old tree and scanned it back and forth across the tall grass.

She saw nothing, no movement that should not have been there, but she couldn't chase away the sensation of being watched. The music played on, more loudly than before, but now it seemed further away than she had originally anticipated. She pushed on through the tall grass, toward the hated oak tree, and raised the flashlight higher. The beam stretched longer and longer still, until the light stretched so far away it bled away into moonlight and wilderness.

She stopped beneath the sprawling canopy of the oak, the hard-packed earth barren save for the running roots that poked through the rotting carpet of dry, dead leaves that crunched under her feet. She moved to the far side of it and stopped there to listen. The lilting, woodsy music crawled over her, through her, made her shiver.

"Hello?"

Abruptly, the music stopped, and Colleen could've sworn her heart stopped with it. She lifted a hand protectively to her throat and waited for someone to emerge, to say something.

Seconds ticked by. A minute. Only night sounds answered her. Swallowing hard, she turned a circle where she stood and gathered her courage around her. Despite the silence, she was convinced she wasn't alone.

"This is private property," she announced, trying to seem brave to whoever might be watching her. Something dashed off through the leafy foliage to her right.

Colleen yelped in fright and stumbled back, her heart kicking violently against her ribs. She scrabbled out from under the darkness of the tree, too terrified to immediately recognize that whatever had run away had been too small to do her any harm. By the time the thought finally occurred to her, it was too late to regain her calm façade.

She turned in a circle, scanning the nearest trees and bushes with the flashlight. Her ragged breaths sounded loud to her own ears, but her nerves were shot, she couldn't have controlled it if she'd tried. I never should have come out this far, not at night.

Overhead, black clouds drifted, stretching open in places as the jet stream caught them, thinning them so they revealed fragments of moonlit sky the color of bone. She moved to the far side of the oak and stared across the threshold into the patchy wilderness beyond the back yard.

Long years had passed since the last time she trekked past the oak tree. Her aunt had forbidden it, had alternately bored her and scared her with tales of dangerous wild animals, of missing children lost forever in the woods.

How clear everything looked over there. A faint blue gleam settled over everything, revealing the spiky needles of the pine trees and highlighting the leafy canopies of the sweet gums and maples. In a small clearing just beyond the wood line, stood a broad ring of mushrooms so white they appeared almost to glow. Plucking up her courage, she walked toward the white caps gleaming in the dark, wondering all the while, Where did the music go?

"They draw the eye, do they not?"

Colleen nearly jumped out of her skin. The beam of the flashlight zigzagged wildly as she spun around in the direction of that voice. She bungled the rake handle; it slipped from her fingers and landed somewhere among the ferny bracken at her feet.

She couldn't bring herself to look for it; she couldn't tear her gaze away from the silhouette of the man watching her a few feet away. He sat on something, or perhaps crouched down. The beam of the flashlight made a narrow circle on the ground in front of him, and instinctively she jerked the light upward, shining it in his face. He pulled an arm up over his eyes, and all she could make of him was an olive green sleeve and that he had russet-brown hair.


***END***


Well, I'm off for now. I need to check on my Neopets and do a bit of laundry. I hope you all have a happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Release Day Loop Chat, Excerpts, and Macaroni Salad


It's In The Gloaming Release Day!!



Could I possibly be any less organized today? Disfunction is apparently my function. Mini made it out of bed this morning before I did, and by the time I got good and woke up, he was ready for a nap again. Where have the hours gone? Is it really after noon? And why oh why is my coffee cup empty?! *_*

Anyway, today is release day for In The Gloaming. Woohoo! I'm running another release week contest over the Midnight Moon Cafe, so drop by and leave a post in the comments and you'll be eligible to win a copy of the ebook in the format of your choice, plus some other goodies.

There is also a chat going on over at the Brenda Williamson Romance Party Group today. Author and Freya's Bower editor, Faith Bicknell-Brown, is there, along with "Gloaming" authors KM Frontain, Kelley Heckart, Nita Wick, and Esmerelda Bishop. I've been popping in over there too every chance I get - toddler permitting. I've posted a snazzidelic excerpt from At the Edge of Twilight, and will be posting another steamier one later on today. *eyebrow wiggle*

I know I'm forgetting something, but I can't think of what at the moment. To be honest, for the past twenty minutes all I can think of is that leftover macaroni salad in the fridge. Is that even normal? I'm starving, so I'm going to go pop the leftovers in the microwave and while the house is quiet. I hope you all have a Happy Tuesday!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Busy Busy Busy Day


In The Gloaming - available Tuesday from www.freyasbower.com !



Whew! Did everyone have a good Easter? We had a great time at my parents' house. I have a ton of pics, over 160 taken, but I haven't had a chance to sort them yet. I'm going to burn them all to disk along with other family pics still sitting on my comp, and take them to the photo hut and have prints made. ^_^

Today is the first day of Oldest's Spring Break, and hubby also happened to be feeling sick. He stayed home, and I ended up making a day of sorts with Oldest. First I ran and cashed hubby's check - since we couldn't do it Friday - and then we went to post. I opened a Cora Zane PO box so I can do more giveaways and mail them directly. The getting of the PO box, of course, was a process that required two forms of ID, an electric bill stub to prove I live in the area, my voter reg card, and - oh yeah, a cheek swab for DNA processing. :P I did get my box though. Hehe.

After that, I took Oldest to the library. He misplaced his card, so I ended up checking out his books until we can go through his room and thoroughly search for it. I went and ran off some copies of some worksheets for a few friends, but I ended up bringing home an anthology called Many Bloody Returns, with stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, and others. It looks pretty good.!

We ended up braving the buffet at Pizza Hut after the library. OMFG. We knew it would be nuts when we saw the church bus in the parking lot. We actually had to wait for a table, and it was one of those buffet things when you have to pile your plate high with food because the staff couldn't get it out there fast enough. Yikes! It was loud, it was shoulder to shoulder, and Oldest and I had a great time. We were eating off each other's plates and hoarding the pepperoni!! ^_^

Tomorrow I will be joining KM Frontain, Kelley Heckart, Nita Wick, and Esmerelda Bishop for an In The Gloaming loop chat at the Brenda Williamson Romance Party Group. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BrendaWilliamsonRomanceParty/?yguid=76804071

We will be posting excerpts and I know for sure that a copy of In the Gloaming will be given away.

Also, ALL this week at the Midnight Moon Cafe I'm having a release day celebration for In The Gloaming. Every day I'll be giving away something, be it books, magnets, pens, Tshirts, chocolate and more. All you have to do is post in the comments to be eligible to win. However, there is also going to be an exclusive, Faerie Special Giveaway for those who are subscribed to either my Yahoo or Bravenet newsletter. Drop by the MMC for the full promo: http://midnightmooncafe.blogspot.com/


Well, I'm pretty tired so I'm going to call it a day. I need to park my hiney in the writer's seat tonight and finish up my stuff for Weirdly 2. Deadlines are fast approaching!

I hope you all had a great Monday. I'll pop around and visit you all later tonight!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

funny pictures


I'm sitting here in my PJs, drinking my coffee, and wondering when we're supposed to go to my parent's house. I have the cake ready to go, but I still have to get the baskets put together for the boys. Hubby and I have decided to take 2 vehicles. I think he's taking Mini Bear and Oldest will ride with me. This way, Mini won't see his goodies before the Big Ol' Bunny delivers them. Speaking of Easter bunnies...

Ah, the memories.


DO NOT WANT!


It's blurry because it's a picture of a picture - complete with the glass. :P Poor Mini! Can you see his reason for fearing bunny suits? THAT is the rabbit I was talking about yesterday. I have to admit, it's more frightening in person. *snicker*

Well, off to wander through the house and find out what we're going to do. Gotta love my own organizational skillz. Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Candy Shopping



The guys at work let off early yesterday, so hubby made it home around one o'clock. I'd told him the day before we needed to go candy shopping to pull together a set of Easter baskets for the boys. When hubby came in, he was ready to go straight to the store, so I pulled on my shoes, grabbed some shoes for Mini, and off we went to Walmart.

Right when we come through the doors at Walmart, there is the Easter Bunny. A woman from the electronics department in a rabbit suit. It's the same rabbit suit as last year, white, with the vintage style head with an open mouth showing tongue and teeth, and these glaring, oversized blue eyes. Remember those old plastic banks in the 70s where the colors in the plastic always overbled the lines of the mold? Yeah. The rabbit head is like that. Freakville, I swear. It looks like something out of the original version of The Wicker Man.



Mini's first picture taken with the Easter Bunny is a captured moment of sheer terror. We can look at it and laugh. Mini, however young he might be, apparently hasn't forgotten the big bad Easter Bunny. The woman/bunny and her associate turned to him when we came in. "Hi! Do you want to have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny?"

Mini covers his eyes with both hands and starts shaking his head. "No!"

We put Mini in a cart and start wheeling him down the main aisle that separates the food from the clothes. He keeps craning his neck, peeking around my arm at the Easter Bunny. I ask him, "Do you want your pic taken with the bunny?" His reply: "Nope." It doesn't stop him from trying to look at her though.

*sigh* On to the candy picking. This year, I deserve a badge that says: I survived the Walmart Seasonal Department. Just as I suspected, the aisles were swarming. One woman had two carts parked in front of the displays of glitter grass. Her daughter, who was probably about 8 or 9, looked seriously nervous because there were quite a few unhappy shoppers trying to go around her and such. I didn't even attempt to get a cart down that aisle. I had hubby (and Mini) circle around the aisles like vultures. I would grab armloads of candy and mini-toys and take them to the ends of the aisles and put them in the cart. Sort of like a living video game. *_* Sounds silly, but it kept me from being elbowed, glared at, or otherwise run down by mad shoppers.

When Mini saw the bag of plastic eggs I put in the cart, he went nutty. "Give it da eggs, Mimi!"

I plopped them in his lap and told him that on Sunday the Easter Bunny would fill them up with candy and toys and hide them around Gramma's yard.

"We go it to Gamma's house?" he asks, excited.

"Yes, but not today. Today is Friday. We're going on Sunday."

"Aw!" *pout face*

Somehow I managed to escape the store with my sanity intact, and a decent haul of goodies. We also dropped by the bakery and picked up a sheet cake. OMG, I am so tempted to tear into this thing! It has white and blue sugar frosting. *drool* I'll take pics of it Sunday. I dare not look upon it's yumminess until then.


Caught in the Act!




All the times I've mentioned how Mini will do headstands on the couch and in the recliner, I have never come away with proof. I tell my mother and she just says, "Uh huh, dear. Cute." and keeps on working. I know she doesn't believe me. Well, now I have it - photographic evidence of Mini upside down on the couch. Little Rascal! Do you see what he has behind him - the TV remote. He knows he shouldn't be playing with that. :P

That's it for me. The guys are gone and I'm supposed to be cleaning. Ha! Happy Saturday, and if I'm not back in time to tell you later - Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Movie Spoiler, Coffee, and more


What a gorgeous view!


I really haven't had enough coffee this morning, but I'm going to attempt to string together a few coherent thoughts and sentences. Tomorrow is Oldest's first day of Spring Break, so I'll be home daily with both boys. Oh my. You'd think with them being so far apart in age they'd ignore each other, but instead, both of them have no trouble stomping on the other's territory and getting the other riled. It's amazing you have to shout at these two to "knock it off and go to your corners!" but sometimes it's a must. For the sake of my sanity.

After Mini went to bed last night, hubby and I watched I AM LEGEND. Now, if you haven't watched this movie yet, you might want to avert your eyes. Here's your official ::SPOILER ALERT::

I've been looking forward to I AM LEGEND since I first saw the trailer. Will Smith is an awesome actor, he rocks my socks in I, Robot; MIB; and Independence Day. Just about everything he touches is gold. I like futuristic movies like that, and he seems to give them added punch.

I know the movie I AM LEGEND is based on a novel by Richard Matheson, and since I figured I would possibly like the book better than the movie - which is usually the case for me - I did NOT read the book beforehand. I decided to wait to do that until after seeing the movie so it wouldn't ruin it for me. Now a run down for the movie itself....

:: SPOILER ALERT :: SPOILER ALERT :: SPOILER ALERT ::


At the beginning of the movie a researcher/doctor (actress Emma Thompson) is shown on a news broadcast stating that they have discovered the cure for cancer. It is explained as a modified virus, and that over 10000 research patients have been cured. The vaccine is apparently a success.

Skip forward in time and Robert Neville (Will Smith) is trying to rush his family out of NYC before it is quarantined. He, of course, plans to stay behind (since NYC is ground zero) to try and find a cure for the virus - which has proved to cause intense rage and vampiric behavior. Oh yeah, it's also "possibly" made the jump to being airborne. His family is killed in the helicopter lift off, and thus sets the stage for the modern world. Darkseekers - infected, pasty, bald, CGI vampiric cannibals - run around at night looking for people to eat. During the day, Robert Neville roams the streets of NYC, hunting deer and riding around with his dog, Sam.

Now I will say this, any movie of this kind with a dog in it, I'm usually prepared for the animal to die. It was a given in this film, and while I wasn't shocked that it happened, that was really the sinking point for me. Why? Because in other movies, like the Road Warrior, and a few other post-apocalyptic movies, the dogs are used as guard dogs. They are like patrol officers walking the fence for their humans. They are raised and trained to serve in this way, and it seems like when they die, they have fallen in the line of duty.

In I AM LEGEND, though, the dog is more of a pet. Yes, Sam is trained, but she's not a guard dog in any real sense despite the fact she is a German shepherd. When Sam goes in for her final moment, it's a bit like seeing a child go in somewhere dangerous. You know nothing good is going to come of it, because this character is totally not prepared for this kind of thing, and unable to defend itself. The situation was realistic, I guess, but it bugged me and pissed me off quite a bit. Expected, but again, definitely not my favorite cinematic moment.

After Sam's death, Neville goes off the deep end and decides to stay out after dark and kill a few hemocytes - another name for the infected humans. He quickly finds himself in a world of trouble, and is about to become a cannibal appetizer when he is rescued by a bright light. The bright light is actually a woman named, Anna. She manages to pull him to safety and gets him to tell her his street address before he loses consciousness.

Anna and a young boy named, Ethan, stay with Neville at his house. They tell him they heard him broadcasting his whereabouts on the radio, and his claim that he would wait daily at a specific spot for anyone living to come. But of course, he didn't the day they arrived. They came to find him, and instead ended up rescuing him. From there, Anna and Ethan hope to push on to Vermont where there is supposedly a safe colony. Neville is convinced there is no colony, and says he will not go...at least until the infected humans track them to his house and they have no option but to try and get out alive.

They escape downstairs to the Neville's in-house lab and lock themselves behind a plexiglass safe room where Neville experiments on the the infected to try and save them. A moment after they lock themself inside, Anna notices one of his patients is actually in the early stages of reverting back to a human. The compound he's been using for her, along with lowering her body temperature, has worked as a cure. However, by this time the house is swarming with hoardes of the infected, so he takes a quick vial of the patient's blood, gives it to Anna, and shoves her and Ethan into a coal chute. Neville stays behind while the hemocytes break through the plexiglass, and uses a grenade to blow himself up.

At the very end, Anna and Ethan arrive at the safe colony in Vermont, which really does exist. They go in and hand over the blood sample, and the movie goes into a closing narrative how the survivors, and the cure, are Dr. Neville's legacy.

I do like post-apocalyptic movies, and I expected some sadness with this one, but I thought I AM LEGEND would be a bit more in the way of Along The Waters of Babylon. I assumed there would be a definite feeling of desolation at the hero's moment of epiphany, or that he would discover he could not save everyone after all.

What I didn't like; however, was the way Neville sacrified himself at the end. I know that's meant to be heroic, but couldn't he have dropped the grenade and climbed into the coal chute? There is a three second count once a pin is pulled - couldn't he have tossed the grenade toward the plexiglass and closed himself in with Anna and Ethan? It would've had the same effect on the infected, I guarantee.

It seemed at the end Neville just gave up. Hm. After everything he'd gone through, he finds hope in a cure, so he blows himself up? Come on! What happened to that inquisitive, scientist's mind? That very persistence that has kept him at ground zero through the whole movie? Even with a blood sample, there would still be so much lab work to be done - tests and trials out the wazoo. I can imagine even while killing off those hemocytes to escape the house, Neville's mind would already be jumping ahead to synthesizing a vaccine. I just cannot buy the hero's exit with this one. Neville's character was in no way a defeatist. He was a survivor.

Overall I AM LEGEND is a good movie, but it's not something I'd watch over and over again. I'm planning to sit down today and watch the alternate ending. Maybe that will be better for me. If any of you watch the movie and post about it, please let me know in the comments. I'd love to come read your take on it.

:::ending spoiler alert:::


That's about it for me today. I need to write out the bills and get them sent. In case it's relevant to anyone who has Friday plans - tomorrow is Good Friday. Your local banks, etc. might be closed. Now would be a good time to check and see. Just mentioning it in case you need to get a check cashed, call a business, or do other businessy things.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Come On Friday

Humorous Pictures


After this morning, I am officially ready for Friday. On the positive side of things, I have in my hand a copy of I AM LEGEND, and I'm going to pop it in the DVD player as soon as Mini is ready for a nap.

I have to start thinking about what we're going to do for the kids for Easter. Mom wants to do her weekend dinner kind of thing, and I know Mini will want to hunt eggs. Oldest, despite his age, will at least want a basket full of candy. I haven't bought either one of them a basket yet, so I'm thinking I better get him one quick before they run out of all the good stuff. Also, the 21st is Oldest's first day of Spring Break. I will have him home with me until the 31st. I should probably stock up the freezer.

Most of this weekend I'm going to have to focus on getting my Weirdly stories finished. I still haven't completed the werewolf one. I do have the others 2 ready though. They just need a bit of polishing. The fourth story I axed. I liked it when I first read it, but now I'm less than impressed. I put it back in my "working on it" file and have moved on to other things.

Well, Mini is saying it's "nap nap" time. I will close for now. This afternoon I'll hop around and pay you all a visit. Until then, Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lake Wind Advisory


I went out a few minutes ago and laid all the lawn chairs flat, and checked the mail to ensure we didn't have letters flying all over the yard. We are under a tornado watch and a lake wind advisory at the moment. Every few minutes you hear it gust against the side of the house. The windows rattle, and the house makes blustery popping noises.

I still need to call mom today. She's tried to reach me twice. The first time hubby called a split second before she did, and through our entire phone conversation I could hear the call waiting thing clicking at me. At noon she called again, but I was in the process of putting Mini down for a nap. He got up shortly after 7, and around noon he came and told me it was "nap-nap time".

I need to work on my were story a bit. I stayed up late last night writing bits and pieces of it, while lounging on the couch. Then again, I also had Secret Window going on the DVD player, so I didn't focus on the writing as much as I should've. Finally, got all the way through that movie though. I've seen the beginning and middle of it at least a dozen times, but never quite made it through to the end. I thought it started out great, really strong, but by the time I got to the middle I had the movie pretty much figured out.

I better get back to work while I can. The lights keep flickering - annoying mess. Just enought to make my battery pick up on my laptop. :S I hope you all have a pleasant and productive day.

Have you seen Nadia?

Have you seen Nadia Kajouji? To view the poster larger, please click on it.

Nadia has not been seen or heard from since March 9th, 2008. If you know of her where abouts or have heard from her could you please let us know. She goes to Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and has been reported as a missing person.

If you have any information PLEASE call the Ottawa Police Department at 613-236-1222 ext. 3612 or contact her mother on facebook at Deborah Chevalier or her aunt, Candita Martens-Mills.

The family is very worried about her, and her father does believe she was taken against her will. There is a $50,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to Nadia's safe return. Her aunt has started up a facebook page to help spread the word about her disappearance.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14599910210&ref=mf

A friend in Australia sent me word of Nadia's disappearance this morning. I am in total shock. I know of her and her mother through Neopets, we've been in contact on and off for about 6 years now. It seems a strange place to meet people, I realize, but what is simply is. "Chicky", as I call her, is smart, witty, and simply a beautiful person. I can't begin to imagine what her parents must be going through right now. If anyone can spare a moment to repost her missing person's information, we would all appreciate it very much.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday, Sick, and Another Review


I've been sick today, hence the late post. Hubby stayed home to help me out with Mini, bless him. Hubby also made dr's appointments for us too. Both of us. The earliest either of us could get in is March 31st. *_*

I can't sit for very long without getting really yuck-ish, so a short post for today. I am almost finished with my final story for Weirdly 2. I have just two more scenes to go and it will be a wraps. I had to work on it from bed today, but what better to do? I'm about sapped though, so tonight I'll probably curl up on the couch with a book. I've got a short stack in the bedroom set aside to choose from.

Oh! And some freaking awesome news... the second review for In the Gloaming is in. This one is from Cocktail Reviews. We got the whole bottle of champagne, plus an extra flute that's not even on the rating's list! Woot!

Summary review for In the Gloaming (the book itself):

In The Gloaming really is a superior set of tales. I have read many authors and many anthologies, and this is the first one for me where every tale is rich and enthralling in their own right. I turned the page expecting more and found myself deflated that the book had ended. I wanted more, damnit! - Nutty Nana, reviewer

and for At the Edge of Twilight (my story):

An absolutely charming, well written read. I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent imagery, the emotions, and the ‘being there’ feeling Ms. Zane created. I loved At The Edge of Twilight and urge anyone who adores captivating writing to check out Cora Zane.

Check out the whole thing here:
http://cocktailreviews.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/in-the-gloaming-freyas-bower/

That's it for me. My back is killing me, and the guys are sitting down for supper. I hope you've all had a snazzy Monday, and a rockin' St. Patrick's Day! *clover*


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Outing and a Review

Wahoo! I just got back from shopping with hubster and the kids, and found the first review for In the Gloaming sitting in my inbox. The book itself won't be out until March 25th.

From www.ParaNormalRomance.org

In the Gloaming is a collection of amazing stories written by five very talented authors. Each story is so unique and well written. From finding true love to defeating evil, there is something for everybody in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know others will too.

Reviewed by Beth Senters
Posted March 15, 2008
Link to the entire review: http://www.paranormalromance.org/reviews/review.php?id=27597

That's a good way to start the weekend, no?

Hubby, the kids, and I took off for the book store this morning. I picked up two erotic romance anthologies. Both were from Ellora's Cave:

Insatiable, by Sherri L. King, S.L. Carpenter, and Elizabeth Jewell.
And Taming Him, by Kimberly Dean, Summer Devon, and Michelle M. Pillow.
www.ellorascave.com

I can't wait to read them! Ooh...also, my author cards have arrived. So have my giveaway pens, magnets, and Tshirts for the Faerie Special Giveaway coming up soon. I'm still waiting on the faerie mirror and a few other goodies, but they'll get here eventually.

That's it for me. I'm about to go take a sinus pill and pile up on the bed with Mini beast. He didn't want to sleep last night, and so we finally made it to bed around 4 am. We then got up at 8:30 to go to the mall this morning. Yep. I'm a tired momma bear.

I hope you all have a snazzy weekend!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Attack of the Desk Harpy


Flowers for my sanity.


I ran errands today, and one of the things top on my list was getting the house insurance paid. I have - had - only one check left in my checkbook, and I wanted to save it for emergencies, so I knew I was going to have to find where the insurance office relocated. I've been doing business with the same people for a good 12 years, if not longer, so I went back to the old building and read the flyer they had on the door. I was surprised to find out that they had not only relocated, they had up and sold their client list to another company in town - so basically my old agent is retired.

I take Mini's hand and we walk around the block to the new office. I find the office by the Mason's hall, and I help Mini up the front steps. He's been really agreeable today, and I tell him to sit down on a bench under one of the windows. He's there in his little baseball cap being quiet as an angel for a change - I'm really surprised! The woman ahead of me laughs a minute with the woman behind the desk, then leaves. I step up to the desk - I'm the only one there, or so I think, (aside from Mini) and I set my bill and the cash for it up on the counter, just like I have always done with my other agent in the past.

"Hi, I just need to pay this bill." I slide everything across to the woman. She takes it off the counter flips it over, and then in a very rude, very LOUD voice snaps at me:

"You have to pay with a money order. This is a direct bill." She flicks the paper with a finger and flips it around at me. "I have to send this thing off." She flops it down on the desk, red pens the amount, then holds it up and flips it around at me again. "See this amount. You have to go get a money order for this and bring it back to me."

I am in utter, open mouth shock at her rudeness. Her brash tone rings through the whole building, and the secretary - who I never knew was even there - PEEKS AROUND THE EFFING DOOR at us to find out what's going on.

Okay, if I had ever been in this office, I might've known. But I guess she just assumed I'm the village idiot or something when she went on her tirade. My old agent took my payments right across the counter, filed it online, and wrote a receipt up for me. I never had to bring in a money order, so this is a first, to say the least. Not sure why this company agreed to take on the ex-agent's client list if they can't process the payments. But I digress....

While all this is going on, Mini is sitting there like a little gentleman watching his mother get shouted at, and all I can do is take back the bill and gape at this harpy. What a sour looking woman. Did someone piss in her tea?

I politely take the bill, go and get Mini and walk out. I will not be going back there. And I will be switching home owners insurance agencies ASAP. They will not get a fracking dime off of me.

I went back to my Jeep fuming with anger. No way was I going to trek out for a money order to endure that again. Besides, I really don't want to have to call hubby from jail to tell him I had to scratch someone eyes out across a desk. I put Mini in his carseat then I took out my last check and wrote it for the house insurance and mailed it off. If I'd known in advance that I was going to get chewed out in public and have to get a stinking money order, I would've done it myself in the first place.

So help me...that old battle ax was lucky my son was with me or things would've gone from bad to seriously nasty in about two seconds flat. But Mini has developed a bit of a sassy mouth lately, and I don't want him to think acting like that away from home is OK.

However, I will wish the laws of Karma to come and bite that woman square in the ass. What goes around comes around sister!

TGI Friday *_*

Thursday, March 13, 2008

She used to be a painted bird, yeah




After the usual round of house cleaning, I sat down with my wip(s) for Weirdly 2. I have three mini stories completed for either acceptance or rejection, and this last piece - the werewolves - will be my final for the project.

Soon as it's ready, I'll give them all one last read through and send them off to the editor in charge. Woot! I'm really excited about this book, if you haven't all been able to tell. I bought Weirdly on a whim and, oh yeah, it rocked me. It's like a grown up version of Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark. I love those books, even now.

Wasps have been flying all around the front of the house today. I suppose because it's warmed up enough. It's the first time in a while I've seen them. Mom and dad came over about a week and a half ago, and sat a small air conditioner on our front patio. I think hubby was supposed to do something with it, but of course, all it's done is sit out front and attract the damn wasps.

The AC really needs to be moved, if for no other reason but to keep it from becoming a mobile HIVE or nest, or whatever creepish thing you want to call the paper traps wasps build, but I get the feeling if I want the thing moved, I'll likely have to do it myself. This of course, will require me to drag the thing around the yard to the shed in Mini's wagon.

On the otherhand, if there are wasps around that thing when I go to take the cover off the AC, hold your breath and til I attempt to move it. I do not do wasps - ever!Snakes, rats, spiders. I can hang. NO WASPS. Not in my contract. I'm pretty sure that's stamped on my marriage license somewhere. At that point, the AC will have to rot until I can provoke hubby enough to move it. Yeah, yeah. The old nagging wife act... But there are wasps involved!!! :P

Off for now. I need to get caught up on emails before the hubster gets home from work. I hope you all had a snazzy day!

OH! One last thing: Incase you haven't dropped by to check it out: there is an awesome interview up at the Midnight Moon Cafe featuring Silhouette Nocturne author, Lori Devoti.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pocket Full of Stars




Oy, it was hard to crawl out of bed this morning! Le nez is still driving me bonkers. I'm wondering if anything short of nose removal is going to help. I lay down at night and I'm so stuffy I can't breathe at all. Pair that with hubby's rabid dinosaur snoring - bwahahahahaha! - and yeah, pretty hard to sleep. It was definitely a night to remember. *snnnn-snnn-OOORR-RR-rr-tttt* (I better stop it before hubby kicks my ass! ^_^)

Last night I did a heap of web things. First, I fixed the ugly website button into something more tacky, yes, but better to look at. So quick! Take a look around the blog. Can you find the new web button? If so, how fast? Please let me know so I won't sit and obsess over it, or move it fifty times before I put it back in the same darn spot it is right now. Because I'll do it. I swear I will.

That button isn't the only thing I fixed, though. I also made my top banner clickable, something I've been meaning to do for...oh, well over a year now? So, if you go digging through my archives for something and you need to get back to the modern age, you can now click on the Intimate Thoughts header and it takes you to the blog front - the latest post, or whatever it's called. Can't get too techy about it, I haven't had enough coffee yet.

After adding the new web button and fixing the header banner, I also updated the Cora Zane website with my latest book info, reworked the info on the index page, and put up a new bio - which I'm seriously "meh" about, but I couldn't think of a single interesting thing to say. Whatever can be said for it all, I'm probably done with it all for another six months unless something interesting happens. Muahahaha-hahaha!! ^_^

I'm well into my Weirdly 2 story. So far so good. It's one of those stories that just flowed out when I actually sat down and started working on it. Once I get all the laundry folded today I'll plunk myself back down to work on it some more. I already know what part I'll write today. Oh! The story itself is a short, werewolf/horror-ish type thing, so it's been fun and refreshing to write. Especially since I didn't have to worry about writing any lurrrve scenes.
So that's how I've kickstarted my day. I now need to get the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and get on that laundry. The sooner it's done, the sooner I won't have to worry with it. I hope you all have a snazzy-delic hump day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogging Before Naptime




I need just a few more hours today! Three. No? Two? Please just two more? *sigh* I know, I know...it's useless to ask. But I do wish I had just two extra hours in the day. Especially today. I've managed to clean the house, run the laundry, write 1900 words on my Weirdly 2 story, add a much needed (if a bit ugly) web button to my blog, and now if I just had a little more time to write more before doing the dishes and fold all the clothes I'd feel like I was getting somewhere. But first, I must blog! I'm sorry I'm behind on it, but I vow to catch up with all of you today. I get to wondering how everyone is doing, and my mind won't rest until I know. ^_^

Mini hasn't had a nap yet, but if he doesn't say anything, who will be the wiser, right? Right? *crickets* Around five o'clock I'm sure he'll turn into Toddler Beast mode and drive the family bonkers, but too much to be done in a short period of time. This week I've vowed to knock out my W2 draft and get that entertainment center out of the dining room and into the den.

It's a gorgeous day out. I wish the rain had absorbed better; I'd take Mini out for a bit if it had. Sometimes I can get far more done writing by sitting in the yard with the laptop. But after the snow, we had a spell of on and off rain. I walked out to fetch the mail around 1 o'clock and I could feel the ground squishing under my sneakers. Ick. I'd have a muddy boy if I let him out with it like that. Maybe by the end of the week we'll have some park-worthy weather.

That's it for me! I'm about to run around and visit blog friends before I conquer the dishes. Happy Tuesday, everyone!





Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Monday


I spent most of the day over at my mom's. Mini has been asking to go to "grammy's house", but I had so much to do last week and overthe weekend, I couldn't afford to take any time off. So, this morning I got all my stuff for the post office together and called my mom to make sure she'd be home. As it turns out, she was backing out of her driveway to make a run to the bank and post office, so Mini and I ended up hitching a ride with her to run errands. I didn't mind it one bit.

After a quick pass through town, we went on to my mom's and we stayed there until 2 o'clock, when Mini came into the dining room and informed his gram he was "ready to go home for a nap-nap". To be honest, it's been one of those slow days where his ol' Mimi was wanting a bit of a nap-nap too.

Tonight I'm going to work on my Weirdly 2 story a bit - I am loving this story, I can't really say why - and I'll hopefully get around to updating my website a bit. It's long overdue.

Speaking of writing and writer-ly things...

I got my ARCs for In The Gloaming last night - woot! Contests here we come! I'll be giving away everything from t-shirts, pens, magnets to free copies this month. If you haven't signed up for my mailing list and you'd like to win the larger prizes - please do! My mailing listers will be given an exclusive chance to win.

Also, this week the Midnight Moon Cafe is featuring author Lori Devoti for the Midnight Brew. Here is her official intro:

Hellhounds and warlocks will be abound at the next Midnight Brew! This Thursday (March 13) the Midnight Moon Cafe is going to have a Midnight Brew of nocturnal proportions when we receive author Lori Devoti. Ms. Devoti is the author of a new series, "Hellhound," for Silhouette Nocturne. Check out the books on that series and the blurbs here:

http://midnightmooncafe.blogspot.com/

We're also going to have a contest that day. For more details drop by the Midnight Moon Cafe today. *g* So make sure you mark your calendars for March 13, 2008 for Midnight Brew you're going to love.


I'm looking forward to this one! I've been following the Nocturne line closely. Their books are hitting the paranormal jackpot: faeries, vampires, werewolves, oh my!

That's all for me today. I need to check my neopets and answer a few emails. I hope you all had a snazzy Monday!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Blogging in pictures - Snow Day!

So I was getting ready to make a run to the bank and take care of the bills, but when I opened the front door... OMG. Is that snow?!

This is very exciting, especially for Mini, who has never seen snow. Until today, that is. So, today's post I'm blogging Mini's first snow day!

When Mini saw the snow, he ran outside and did what all kids attempt to do - catch a snowflake!

"Mini! Get yourself back in here and get a hat on!" We don't even own a pair of mittens or a heavy coat, so we're making the best of it with fleece and ballcaps.
Here he is, my little Snow Bear.


It's been getting heavier every few minutes. What started as a few humble flakes has turned into a beautiful flurry. This is part of our front yard. The black bush on the left hand corner is from the azalea hedge we have running along the front of the house. The flowers have been blooming for the past few weeks. They apparently weren't anticipating the snow either.



Here's Mini playing in the flurry. This was before it got very heavy. He scraped a fistful of snow off his daddy's scooter and threw his first snowball. His hands were getting pretty red at this point so I told him to come in the house. He didn't want to come inside AT ALL.





Our old man doggy Chancellor wanted to take a look at this strange weather too. Here he is, our pooch wandering around in the front yard, checking things out.



He didn't stay out very long. He'd soon had enough. We brought him in and toweled him off.

The snow has gotten considerably thicker in the past hour. The entire yard is now a blanket of white. My jeep, the scooter, our patio chairs and grill are covered. Our sage garden looks like a white lump. Here is a picture of the left end of our circle driveway. This was the last picture I took before the battery in my camera fizzled.

Isn't it beautiful? I haven't seen snow like this since 1983. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Happy Friday. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Getting There One Step At A Time

I'm almost ready to send out my partial. I have two more pages to go. Mini helped me with it this morning. He pulled out my highlighters and "edited" my leftover sheets while nibbling on a ham and cheese. Watch out New York! He's a future Senior Editor in the making! Already he's working through lunch. ^_^

My aunt and uncle are coming in from Texas this weekend to put down new baseboards over at mom and dad's house. I'll be taking the kids over there to see them while they're in town. I also need to check up on my godfather, who I haven't talked to in close to a month. I'm a bit concerned because I left birthday presents for him on Valentine's Day, but haven't gotten a call. I hope his health is ok.

Everything else is the same old, same old. It's a quiet, peaceful day. I'm trying not to rush myself, but at the same time focus on getting those three chapters out. If I'm finished with that by the weekend, I'll probably pick up my story for Weirdly 2 and whip it into shape. ME, if you're reading this, I promise I'll send it soon!

My website is about due another update. I've been playing around with the idea of changing the books page. I don't know how I want to do that yet though. I get a "look" for it in my mind, but it always seems like such a daunting task. :P I'll be updating my bio soon though, and adding news about the faerie book. Nothing drastic...

Ann tagged me for this, so I thought I'd get it taken care of today. Here it is: 4 Things Meme

4 Jobs I've Had:
1) dental assistant
2) nanny for a family of bikers
3) mother and wife ~_^ Hey, it's harder than it looks!
4) writer

4 Movies I've Watched Over and Over:
1) The Fifth Element
2) The Curse
3) Event Horizon
4) Independence Day

4 Places I've Lived:
1) Louisiana
2) Texas
3) I've never been very far from my old stompin' grounds.
4) ...

4 Shows I Watch (very rarely, usually the kids dominate the TV):
1) Ghost Hunters
2) Andrew Zimmerman (Travel Channel)
3) No Reservations, Anthony Bordain (Travel Channel)
4) ...

4 Places I've Been:
1) To an Andy Warhol exhibit in Columbia, South Carolina. Cameras were forbidden!
2) New Orleans - many times.
3) Vicksburg, Mississippi Battlegrounds
4) Downtown Nashville - walked around in a thin shirt in the freezing freaking cold!

4 Things I Love to Eat:
1) baby spinach - I eat this instead of lettuce for salads and on sammies ~_^
2) ice cream - its own food group :9
3) General Tso chicken w/ fried rice
4) steamed mushrooms with cheddar cheese and diced onions and peppers

4 Places I'd Rather Be: (I'm happy being home, so let's say placed I'd like to visit)
1)Scotland
2)Ireland
3)Iceland
4)Spain

4 Things I Look Forward to:
1)Summer!!!!
2)Finishing my wip
3)The day hubby and I can buy a summerhouse in Canada
4)my dad's retirement

And there is my post for today! No taggage, unless you want to tag yourselves. *wink* Sorry for all the disjointed thoughts - I guess that's just what kind of day it is. LOL!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What Happened To Tuesday?

Gary Gygax Memorial Cat



I make a list of things to do and what happens? An entire day of the week goes missing! I'm notorious for losing things: shoes, hairbrush, glasses, manuscript parts, you name it I've probably had minor fits over missplacing it at some point. But a whole day?

I set out determined yesterday to make progress. I printed my list of things to do and put it on the bar. I started on that mountain of laundry in the hall and worked my way through the list and the housework. I printed my RWA application then put fresh pillowcases on the bed pillows. I pulled together all my receipts from the conference, sorted my mail, printed a clean up copy of Chapter 2 for red penning, then did the dishes and went to do even more laundry.

Somewhere during all this, Mini and I played a few rounds of "spin in the office chair", sort-the-socks basketball, and DVD case memory matchup - where you have to find all the scattered DVD cases just to put the discs in them.

Around noon my mom dropped by to visit, and she brought cake! :9 We sat at the table talking and ate chocolate zingers while Mini tried his best to convince her that it would be just a smashing fabulous idea if she took him for a ride in her truck. (Again, he's bonkers for trucks, cars, wheels, trains, etc. etc.) When that ploy didn't work, it became a game of "let's go to gramma's house". I told mom I would, but not until Friday. I have too many other things I need to do before I can slack around. This, of course, lead to much wailing from Mini *evil mommy*

About ten minutes after she left, Mini gave up wailing and came up to me. "Mimi, I'm sleepy. Let's take a nap." Count me in!

Hubby and I went away just overnight and when we came home, the toddler is now speaking in complete sentences! It's true. You blink and they grow up! *_* I guess he had to figure out to string together those sentences, because my mom can't understand his toddler talk. He's been stringing words together for a while now, but only now has it become an all the time thing. It just blows me away. And boy he can come up with some stuff!

He'll sometimes go into "story mode" and start talking about all kinds of off the wall things - I know he's just testing language skills, new words he's picked up. It's funny and very cute. Hubby and I call these "watermelon stories".

Years ago, when Oldest was a toddler, a friend of ours had a daughter the same age. We ran into the dad and daughter outside of a convenience store one night, and since it was cold, he asked if we'd watch her a second - in our truck - while he ran into the store to do something - I don't remember what. We agreed, and while the friend's daughter was standing on the seat next to me, she started talking all kinds of stuff...about watermelons!! And 'dens we has a watermelons and pink watermelons and lalalalala...

She did this all the while standing and wiggling a Dora dance (before there was a Dora). It was so cute and hilarious! When the dad returned, it was maybe five minutes if it was even two, he came to get her and hubby asked, "So you and (the now ex-wife) are buying her a watermelon?" The dad looked at us like we were nuts. He picked her up and said, "Were you telling them stories?"

Yup. Watermelon Stories. Mini has them now, too. ^_^

I finally watched 30 Days of Night. After everyone was in bed, I took my wip, red pen, and the DVD to the den. Hubby bought it for me on release day, but it's been sitting there in the shrink wrap, untouched. What a great movie! The vampires were preeeetty gross, which was cool. They walked around in bloodstained clothes for 30 solid days! Can you imagine how stinky these creatures must've been? *_*

That's it for me! I've got to get to work. I hope you all have a happy Wednesday!



Monday, March 03, 2008

Busy Week Ahead

Humorous Pictures


Now that I'm home again, unpacked and settled, it's time to get back to the grind. Hubby goes to work tomorrow, and I have one more chapter to clean before I send in my partial. Woohoo! Everything I have is rough draft, so I wanted to check those three chapters over for continuity errors and typos. I want to send the cleanest draft I possibly can.

I was thinking about what I'm sending, and I never asked what technically makes up the first three chapters really? The prologue plus chapters 1 and 2? Or is it the prologue plus chapters one through three? I'm going to take the safe choice and say it's the prologue plus chapters 1 and 2. If more is needed, hopefully I'll get a request for it.

Once that is done, I have to set everything aside and finish my story for Weirdly 2 - it's almost completed, but not quite. Once that is sent, I've got to start cleaning up my submission for Nocturne Bites. Oh, and it's also about time for me to break out the promotion hat again. In the Gloaming is coming out this month (March 25th), and while I don't do as many chats as I used to, I do like to run contests. I'll be giving away some very neat things here and at the MMC.

And just a hint to anyone who may not already be a member of my mailing list - now would be an ideal time to sign up! I truly don't send newsletters very often, once maybe every six months, so no worry about gobs of spam from me. However, with my new release coming up very soon, I plan to do a special giveaway that ONLY people who are on my mailing list, or part of my yahoo group will be elligible for. So, don't hesitate if you'd like to be in the running for some faerie-licious prizes. ^_^

If for whatever reason you can't seem to get registered with either the yahoo group or the bravenet newsletter, email me corazane(at)aol.com and put ADD TO MAILING LIST in the subject line. Inside the email, give me the address you'd like your invite sent to, and I'll get one out to you asap!

But enough of that jazz for now. Plenty of time to post about that later. Just a heads up: I'm still editing photos from the conference. I took pictures of EVERY speaker at the agent panel, the line for early registration, more shots of the luncheon, the door prize tables, etc. I'll have that link up really soon - I promise!

Another thing I plan to do this week: set up my post office box in town, and order my author cards. While at the convention, I don't know how many times I got asked by other authors for a business card. I had several of them handed to me, and it really amazed me - the quality of some of these cards!

For the established authors, they had their name, website address or blog url, and some had a string of books they'd published listed right on the card. Aspiring authors even had cards - tres cool, no? - with lists of their wips on them, and contact information. I really could've kicked myself for not having any of my own to hand out. Well, no more! ^_^ I'm going to design my own and have them made.

Mainly I wanted to mention that here incase anyone else is interested in knowing what I needed and wished I'd had while in that atmosphere. I honestly didn't think about business cards before I left, but they would have been handy to pass out to both industry people and new friends - for ease of keeping in touch! If you're planning to go to any conferences of writers group meetings anytime in the near future, it might be something worth looking into.

That's it for me tonight. I'm up late, and I still haven't gotten into a normal sleeping routine again. I need to find some clean jammies and carry myself off to bed.

I hope you all had a pleasant Monday!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Back From the Conference II

Whew! I'm back! I had so much to blog about last night - the flesh was willing but the eyelids were weak. The picture here is of Karen L. and me. We were standing around waiting for the 1 o'clock workshop to start. The wonderful Francis D. took our picture.

I ended up not staying long after this picture was made; I had to get home. Nevertheless, I am so glad I got this shot because Karen was so much fun! I met her at the Friday night Meet and Greet. She came up to me, peered at my name tag and asked what I write. I told her paranormal romance and erotic paranormal, and she welcomed me like an old friend. We hit it off right away. She writes paranormal romance as well, and was the only paranormal author I met the entire time I was there. So, here we are, the paranormal dahlings... LOL! ^_^

On Saturday morning, after the editor and agent panel introductions, I went to my Cold Read session with Cori Deyoe. I was somehow bumped off the list and had to make sure I was added, so by the time I got that sorted out, I had six minutes to get to the fourth floor and find the room. The CR was held in a parlour suite on the 4th floor, the same one we used for the Meet and Greet. I made it in just as everyone was sitting down. Low and behold, who else was in the group with me? Why, my buddy, Karen!

For those who want to know what a Cold Read is - I didn't know what it was until I went to this one - you have a group of 6 to 8 writers, a time keeper, and the agent who will do the actual readings. You all hand over the first three pages of your manuscript to the timekeeper, so they are given anonymously to the agent. The agent then takes them one by one and reads them aloud and tells you the strengths and weaknesses, the good and the bad, what they are looking for, what stands out, etc.

Cori Deyoe (pronounced Dee-Oh) was wonderful. She was down to earth, friendly, and I can't begin to say how much I appreciated that kind of atmosphere, especially in that kind of situation. It's nerve wracking enough to have someone read your work, but to do it out loud and for feedback from an agent? Yikes!

She read the first three pages of the first 5 or so manuscripts, giving commentary along the way. She would say if the first sentence caught her, if it was a good hook, needed tightening; whether she would keep reading, etc. As I said, all this is anonymous. No names are mentioned to tell who the work belongs to.

Around the fifth manuscript, we were running out to time, so she took it down to reading one page, or until she came to a place that seemed like a good stopping point so she could give commentary. I was one of those last ones to be read. She had the first three pages of my demon story, the one I have been talking about all this time here on my blog. She began to read, and stopped to say the first sentence was a strong, then went on reading, and reading, and reading. I seriously thought at this point I might burst into tears...or pass out. My heart was pounding! The woman next to me sat forward a little, and made me feel a lot better. When Cori got right over to the "fall from Heaven" scene she stopped and said, "This is good writing. Really strong. Very nice. I would definitely keep reading. I would want to know more."

Dazed and a little shakey, I waited for the closing, then went over to the table with the others and picked up my manuscript. Karen and I went downstairs together. We parted ways at the doors downstairs, Karen went to the workshop in progress and I went to the registration table. My next appointment was in 10 minutes - again with Cori Deyoe.

Winnie Griggs' excellent Honing Your Pitch workshop taught me things about pitching I didn't know before I arrived. I'd done a bit of research before getting to Shreveport; I printed out a worksheet or two about pitching so I'd have a general idea. But after the Night Owl workshop on Friday night, I knew I didn't have it all together, so I went back up to my room, broke out my laptop and stayed up until well after midnight refining my pitch with what elements I learned were missing: the number of proposed words, who I was hoping to target, and refined the blurb a bit.

During that workshop, I also learned we were able to bring a "cheat sheet" to the table with us to keep us from fumbling the pitch. Since I didn't have a printer with me, I wrote my entire pitch onto the back of one of my sample chapter pages. I highlighted the edges between paragraphs to help keep my place. When I was finally called to speak with Ms. Deyoe, I took my cheat sheet, a deep breath, and walked in and delivered the best pitch I could.

I'm so surprised at myself that I didn't stutter; all those days of practicing my pitch, talking to myself in the mirror: it really helped. It felt so awkward practicing, but now I can honestly say it's worth that awkwardness and the time I spent doing it. I'd do it again without thinking twice about it now, silly or not. I'm terribly shy in person, but knowing what I had in my hand, and having in mind what I wanted to say about my book and any questions I thought she might ask about my career, I made it through and felt comfortable doing so. To me, that was the most important thing: to be able to talk comfortably.

From my perspective, the pitch went very well. I have been asked to send in a partial (which is three chapters). I am still Snoopy dancing all over the place about that. ^_^

I'm still cropping images from the conference and will have more up soon. My camera takes these huge, gi-normous photos that are over a MB each, so I have to resize each one individually to make them easier for loading. But, I won't let you walk away empty handed! LOL! Here are a few random shots from the luncheon:


Ooh, the buffet line! Lots of goodies on the menu: jambalaya, steamed veggies, salad, roasted potatoes, sliced roast beef and the most evil, delicious, sinful looking chocolate cake with strawberries on top that you've ever seen! :9

Another table shot. I was standing in line talking with Winnie Griggs about joining the RWA and the Shreveport chapter, as well as taking pictures all around the room. I wasn't targeting anyone, just trying to capture the setting. I do recognize a few people in the shots though. The woman in the red dress, sitting at the table is Lucienne Diver.

And this is from my table. :-) A picture of more friends! The woman with black hair is Martha - she, too, came to the conference alone. As it turns out, she doesn't live far from me. The woman in the purple sweater is Francis D. She had left the table right before I started taking pictures. She came back a few minutes later and when she went to sit down, and I told her, "Oooh, so you thought you were going to escape my lens did you?" and I snapped a quick picture of her. ^_^ Look at that smile! Isn't she just gorgeous?!

I had an absolutely wonderful time, and would definitely do it again. I'm thinking this may very well be the year that I join the RWA. The NOLA Stars Shreveport RWA Chapter would actually be my local chapter if I joined, so before I left home, I looked at it as a great chance to test the waters. The experience was positive all the way.

* * * * *Update* * * * *

One more note before closing for the day. An update on my good friend who has been very ill and in the hospital. As soon as I got home Saturday, I checked in with other friends who are aware of his current situation. Up until Friday noon, there had been no report of any changes. Well, yesterday I learned that on Friday night he opened his eyes! Talk about an absolute miracle!

He is not yet out of the woods, though. He takes a few breaths now and again on his own, but the respirator is still doing most of the work. His kidneys are completely shutdown, and the doctors have confirmed he will be on dialysis for the rest of his life. Someone who commented on the blog a few days ago, I haven't been able to go back yet and take a look, mentioned that it's so unusual to hear about men with anorexia, or even the complications from it. That is so true, and I'm so glad they pointed that out.

I guess it's because we women are usually the one's picking and preening over our appearance; count me in for that. *Does this make my butt look fat?* But it really is a serious issue, and it happens more often that we all probably realize. I think everyone probably wishes they could change at least one thing about their appearance, but whenever I get to obsessing too much, I stop myself and try to think of things that are far more worrisome than my spare tire - war, famine, anything and everything until I feel that "internal nod". That little something you get from a pep talk when the words sink in. It took me years to finally accept myself as I am and go on with it. But I do have my moments. Oh yes. I guess we all have our ups and downs, but after seeing the damage things like anorexia can do to a body, I have to say it is truly never too late to learn to like yourself as you are.








Back From Conference

I am home! *kicks off high heels*

The 2008 NOLA Written in the Stars conference was a BLAST! I have not slept in 2 days, but I had such a wicked awesome time the sleep deprivation hardly matters. In fact, I'm working on day 3 of zero sleep. Are you awake still too? I have good news all around, so if you're in for some Cora spiel, pull up a chair and hang out a while.

If nothing else can be said, I am now known as "the girl with the camera". NO ONE was spared from my lens - and I do seriously mean that. Muahahahaha!

I took over sixty pictures at the conference, and since Blogger would likely hiccup and DIE if I posted them all, I am going to post a few here, and put the rest in a photobucket (or other photohost site) that I will make public and link here so anyone who's interested can see them. I will post an update when I have all the pics loaded - I promise! I didn't attend ALL the festivities - I didn't have a sitter for that long - but I did most of it. I left before the book signings and the final dinner. There are pictures of the agent/editor's panel, the luncheon, the Friday night Meet and Greet, and a motivational workshop by Margie Lawson - who I have to say was a total hoot!

Susan Wiggs, who was scheduled to speak about character emotions, sadly could not make the conference because her flight was cancelled and she couldn't get another one until after the con was over.

For those that asked for a pic of my new do' - there it is above. I had it cut into flicky layers a day before the con. Kinda channeling that funky 70s thing, I'm thinking, eh? My stylist refused to color my hair because she liked the shade on it. What the heck...I'm not one to argue, so only a snip-snip this go round. I think it looks pretty good! Boomchickawowwow... *bellbottoms* Ha!

In that particular picture, I was in my hotel room at the Clarion, about to walk out the door for the Friday night early registration and the Meet and Greet. I was testing my camera flash and no flash. I gotta admit I was so freaking nervous...stepping out alone and not knowing a soul there!

Here is part of the agent panel. I was sitting in the second row with a few friends I'd made, and well...only one woman came and sat down in the front row. So, we were technically front and center.

In the pic above from left to right: Chrys Howard from Howard Publishing/Simon and Schuster; Elaine Spencer from the Knight Agency; Tessa Woodward, assistant editor with Avon; Lucienne Diver of the Spectrum Literary Agency; Cori Deyoe (speaking)from Three Seas Literary Agency; and Beth Cornelison (standing, in yellow) author/NOLA Stars VP and event coordinator.

Wanda Ottewell was at the table too next to Chrys Howard, but I couldn't get her in the pic. To make the pic larger, just click on it. *wink*

Oh, wait, here she is: Wanda Ottewell! She is a Senior Editor with Harlequin. (Sitting on the right, along with Cori Deyoe - left).

Wanda is the one speaking in the pic. She was answering questions about HQN SuperRomance and Inspirationals in this pic. She is truly wonderful with QnA's, and her upbeat personality is nothing short of infectious. This is from the editor/agent panel. Both she and Cori Deyoe were also guest speakers and taking questions at Winnie Grigg's Honing Your Pitch workshop on Friday Night.

I made new friends! Left to right: Lawana and Judy - the Oklahoma girls! They write romantic suspense and came to the conference together.


Keri, (far right) is a member of NOLA and was helping with the events; she is also an aspiring author.

These ladies are all absolutely wonderful! Lawana and Judy were the first ladies I met. We formed a posse and went to early registration together.

I met Keri at the agent/editor panel Saturday and we hit it off really well, and had a great time at the luncheon. She was such a pleasure to meet! :) I wish these ladies all the best.

There is more, but it will have to wait until in the morning. I'm sooo tired! I promise I saved the best for last. Lots of exciting news, more great friends, luncheon pics, yes, yes! But first, I gotta catch some Zzzs....

Nitey, nite!