A New Adventure

pics on Sodahead

About five weeks ago, my mother decided to run for City Council in her town. It was definitely a last minute decision, but she leaped right in with both feet. She financed the campaign herself on a shoestring. There were yard signs, buttons, a website (which I built and maintained), and a Facebook fan page. Some kind soul donated a few T-shirts. Another donated some magnetic car signs. And Mom walked through the neighborhoods, visiting homes and talking with people. There were also flyers, which she printed up on a color laser and distributed during her walks.

She held a Meet the Candidate event, helped by her neighbors who made cookies and things. It was held in a beautiful historic home that someone has turned into an events place. She also had a television interview, and she toured the 911 Call Center and attended a couple of other candidate events.

It was most definitely a new adventure. Elections were Tuesday, and while she didn't win, she received 26% of the vote in a three way race and came in second. In five weeks time, she made enough of an impact to get hundreds of people to vote for her instead of one of the other guys. I think that's pretty cool!

I guess why I'm telling you this is so you know that you are never too old, too set in your ways, or too (fill in the blank) to have a new adventure. Mom is disappointed, of course, but she's not giving up (remember that theme, writers!). She's going to turn her site into a local politics blog, and she's going to get involved. Did I mention she's also a senior in college? Mom isn't old (60s isn't old these days), but she could easily sit at home and say she's too old for new adventures. She retired from her job, but she hasn't retired from life.

Now, if she's reading this, she'll be the first person to think she's not doing anything extraordinary or that she didn't do a good enough job to win the race. But we know differently, don't we?

Get involved, try new things, write that book, and don't give up. You are never too old (tired, dumb, lazy, etc) for a new adventure. If you've embarked on a new adventure, tell us about it!

End of Summer?

It can't really be the end of summer, can it? I can hardly believe it's nearly September. Though it doesn't get cold here for quite some time (thankfully!), September is Fall to me. That means I have to go buy potted mums, get the Fall wreath out, and start thinking about what I want for my birthday. Mr. Harris is not fond of my propensity to want a new handbag or shoes. If I wanted a gizmo that plugs into a socket, accesses the internet, and plays music and movies, he'd be all over it no matter the cost. But I have all the gizmos I need. (Sorry, honey.)

After the birthday comes the anniversary. I cannot say how many years it's been, because it makes me sound ancient when I'm not, but it's a lot. Last year, he bought me a silver heart Tiffany lock on a chain. I really, really love it! (You did awesome, sweetie!)

So, it's the end of summer. I feel whiny about that. I lived in Germany for several years, and I got used to cold weather. But then I moved to Hawaii, and I've never been the same. In Hawaii, you put your Christmas decorations out while wearing shorts. You go to the beach on Christmas day. Santa wears a very lightweight red suit at the mall (no velvet and fur there!) for the kiddies. The palm trees in Waikiki are decorated in lights. *sigh* I miss that. You'd think it'd be an abomination in some ways, since Christmas and snow go together like peas and carrots, but no, you get real used to it real fast.

Instead, I'll be in Alabama where the grass is brown and the trees are brown and gray and the leaves are all gone. On Christmas day here, you might need a coat. Or you might just need a jacket. You can never tell. It's been in the 60s and it's been snowy since I've lived here, so it's pretty much a mystery what you'll get.

Nevertheless, I look forward to the holiday season, though I'm usually never prepared the way I want to be. Some years I get the tree up, some years I don't. Some years I get the cards out on time, some years I don't. See, I'm already thinking about it and it's not even September yet! It truly is the end of the summer, and I'm sad to see it go.

Here's a pic of me enjoying the warm weather while holding up a giant column. Or maybe it's holding me up. Got any end of summer rituals?

Changes coming!

There are changes coming to this website in the next few days, so bear with my glorious web designer while she updates everything. I've had this design since the beginning, though we did have a different color scheme and different header for a while. But as my writing grows and my books in print grow, I need more space and a friendlier design. Something you can navigate easier as you look for information on my books!

I'm excited about this new phase in my writing life! For years, I had a website I'd designed. When I sold, I knew I wanted a professional to design my site for me. I loved what she did, and I was very happy with it for a long time. But when she first built this site, I had one book that wasn't even available yet. And then there were two. Then three. And so on.

Now, I want something a bit more organized. I'm excited about what's coming. I hope you'll like it too!

In other news, I am returned from RWA in Anaheim, fired up and ready to get some work done. If you're a writer, and you weren't there, you need to read Stephanie Laurens's keynote speech. I was in the room, and the response was incredible. Talk about change!

Over all, I'd say the atmosphere of this conference was incredibly hopeful. In the past, it's been various shades of angsty and fearful for the future. Now, not so much. As authors, we have options. Options we must think through very carefully, but options nonetheless. Self-publishing is an incredible tool available to us now. But I caution you to treat it exactly like you would traditional publishing. You still need a professional editor (not a friend or family member), a cover designer, and maybe even someone to help you get the formatting done right.

You have ONE chance to engage a reader, and if she can't get past your cover or your typos or grammar mistakes to engage with your story, you've probably lost her for good. Just yesterday, I was talking with my eye doctor, who is a voracious reader. She told me that at first, she used to download the freebie and cheap Kindle books — but that she'd stopped because they were so bad. She said she'd read a couple of good ones, but most of them were awful. And yes, she mentioned grammar as a factor.

So don't do that to yourself. Do it right, not quick. And of course there are still plenty of options if you want a publisher too! Especially these days with the start up of several online houses and online imprints of traditional houses. Options, friends. They are before you.

I leave you with a couple of pictures from RWA before I sign off to work on the latest book that's due soon!

Historical author Michelle Willingham, me, and Romance author Donna Alward.

Before the Harlequin party with Jennie Lucas, Fiona Harper, Donna Alward, and Janette Kenny.

Off to Anaheim

It's been a very hectic few weeks here, friends! First, we had a crisis with our beloved kitty, Miss Pitty Pat. I'll talk more about it when I get home, but she had a blood clot and lost a leg. She's still with us, though every day is a gift because it's her heart that is the issue. Other than the lost leg, you wouldn't know anything had happened to her. She's happy, and we are grateful.

Of course I had a book due during that time, and revisions, and more revisions (even published authors don't always get it right the first — or even second — time!). And then there was all the prep for the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim. Since I've had such a successful Weight Watchers run thus far, I had to go buy new clothes. But now I'm all packed and ready to board that plane! I'm looking forward to seeing friends again, to sitting and chatting over drinks and meals, and to just having a great time recharging the creative drive. There are so many workshops I want to attend! And one I'm giving on Saturday morning at 9:45 with Crystal Jordan and Kate Pearce! World Building Made Easy should be lots of fun, so come and see us if you're there.

Also, I'll be participating in the Literacy Signing on Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 8:00 in the Anaheim Convention Center. You can find me at table #807, so stop by and say hi!

I've got a few things left to do, so this is a short post. But before I leave, how about a peek at my upcoming book in the Santina Crown series? This is book seven, THE GIRL NOBODY WANTED, and you are seeing the cover first! I find it highly amusing that the hero is dressed in slacks and a white shirt when for a big portion of the book, he's marooned on an island with the heroine. 😉 But I still think it's a great cover — and obviously they aren't marooned yet since there's a city in the background.

The Girl Nobody Wanted

Stop the Press: Jilted Bride Stranded with a Notorious Playboy!

Anna Constantinides, publicly humiliated when her long-time fiancé announced his engagement to someone else, might have thought things couldn’t get any worse…. Until her private jet crash-landed on an uninhabited island, leaving her stranded with billionaire hotel magnate Leo Jackson.

Renowned playboy Leo’s reputation is legendary, and if the smoldering looks they were fighting to contain when rescued are anything to go by, there can only be one question on everybody’s lips: just how long did it take wickedly sexy Leo to undress buttoned-up heiress Anna?

The Life

If you follow me on Twitter, you may think I tweet a lot of cat photos. And it's true, I do. My furry children are adorable. And they do adorable things. And I must share them.

This is Nimitz at his best. At his best means when he's sleeping. When he's awake, all bets are off. He is the most destructive cat I've ever had in my life. He once knocked an oil painting off the wall. A big one. He stood on the piano and pulled it until the (admittedly old) wire broke. Crazy cat.

I've discovered the most fabulous product, thanks to him. Quake Putty. If you live in an earthquake zone, you know what I'm talking about. This is not something we need here in the South. Unless you have a Nimitz, that is. Quake Putty looks like silly putty. Except that it holds things (like vases of flowers, for example) down on the furniture so your fuzzy wrecking ball can't destroy them. It doesn't harm wood, either, which is great. I have two packs of the stuff. Came in really handy at Christmas with the extra decorations I set out, I can tell you.

Am I the only person with a destructive pet?

Random Thoughts

Today's post is a series of random thoughts. Because I had a lot of random thoughts today and no way to connect them.

1. My stylist keeps vampire hours. I thought of this last night when I was waiting to get my hair done at 6:30PM.

2. Women who average up to 15 alcoholic drinks a week are healthier and live longer than their peers. Courtesy of CNN. Where's my wine….?

3. There will always be people who think they are God's gift to (fill in the blank) and don't mind telling you about it on a regular basis. Unfortunately.

4. Know-it-all's are irritating.

5. I still think we need the post office. How will I mail my packages to contest winners if the post office goes out of business?! The PO reaches more places than either UPS or FedEx — and cheaper too.

6. I have a really cool workshop to attend this weekend! RT Magazine people coming to teach us how to talk to the media. Awe. Some.

7. Is Kim Kardashian's butt really that big? Really? Because that is HUGE.

8. I love arrogant Italian heroes. Lorenzo, my current hero, is swaggering across the page in full motorcycle leathers. Sexy.

9. I despise election season. Despise. No one comes out of these things with any dignity.

10. Is that really another deadline staring me in the face? Because I thought I just finished one.

11. Did I mention that I'll be writing more books for Harlequin Presents? Because I will. New contract, new books to write.

12. Am I the only one who thinks that Bucky Larson movie looks dumb?

13. I bought my husband an e-book that he wanted. And then the next day, the hardback showed up. Because I forgot I'd preordered it. 😕

14. My cats are crazy. But I think all cats are crazy.

15. Can't wait for the season premieres of The Big Bang Theory, Glee, and Castle!

16. OMG, it's September! Birthday and anniversary this month. And yes, I refuse to tell you which number for both. 😯

What kind of random thoughts are pinging around in your head today?