One book gone, another still to be written

I turned in my revisions last night at about midnight. Since my editor is in the UK, that means they'd be sitting in her inbox when she arrived in the morning. What a relief to get them gone! The work isn't done until she tells me it is, so no getting my hopes up that the book is finished yet. There may be some more work to do.

In the meantime, I have a sheikh novella to write! My lovely editor called me this morning to talk about him. I suspected there would be work to do there, and of course I was right. The novella is a new format for me, so it's also a learning experience to try and pack all the power and emotional punch of a Presents into 25k. That story is due in about 3 weeks now, so guess who will be busy and scarce once more? 🙂

But I'm excited about the holiday this week! What American doesn't love Thanksgiving? A day dedicated to eating and spent with family? Can't wait. We're going to my mother's house, and one of my brothers will be there with his family too. I'm making my famous Cajun stuffing, and I believe I'm in charge of cranberry sauce too. Tomorrow, my mother and I are going shopping together for many of the fixins (a Southern word, for my international readers, that means ingredients).

Of course I'm going to have to find a way to write during all this festivity. And I will. I'll write early, write late, and write whenever there's a free moment.

I'm still looking for my winner last week! Cynthia Gander, where are you? Email me for your book! 🙂

And, speaking of books, Cavelli's Lost Heir is officially out in the UK now! If you live in the UK, and you happen to see my book on the shelves, could you snap a pic? Email to me at lynn AT lynnrayeharris DOT com, and I'll send you a couple of my lovely bookmarks!

Coming to India!

I've always wanted to go to India — and now it looks like I will. But it's only my book going, not me. Darn! I have a different cover for India as well, which doesn't surprise me. I rather like it! Spanish Magnate, Red-Hot Revenge


Sometimes you just have to escape the office. Or, in my case, the house since my office is here. Yesterday, I was invited to join friends for a conference shopping trip. I met Marilyn, Danniele, and Kim of the Writing Playground at Ross early in the morning. The madness started at the dress rack, then continued through the store. We piled up clothes on shopping carts and then headed for the dressing rooms. I think I had to go through 3 rounds of trying stuff on (the Ross limit is 8 at one time in the dressing room).

Now tell me why it is that stores don't understand women better? They have the most unflattering light in the dressing rooms. Harsh, stark, florescent. Heidi Klum would look bad under that light. And since I'm no Heidi, I definitely looked bad. All my flaws seemed amplified. I felt like a whale. A pale whale with limp hair.

Ahem. Anyway, I ended up putting back *most* of what I tried on, though I did find a few gems in the pile. Especially my dress for my publisher's party. OMG, it's gorgeous! And it looked awesome in spite of the lights. When that happens, it's a keeper.

After Ross, we moved on to lunch. Eagle-eyed Marilyn spotted a woman reading a Harlequin Presents and, after psyching myself up, I went over and introduced myself and gave her a bookmark. She seemed pleased to get the bookmark, and I was very happy to meet someone who loves reading HP.

When we finished lunch, the mall and shoe shopping was next. I was pretty good considering how I feel about shoes. I only bought one pair of flip flops.

By the end of the day, I was tired but happy. I had a lot of fun shopping with friends (though Kimberly Lang and I have a problem — we have the same taste. We kept picking up the same dresses, shoes, and jewelry. Perhaps it's no accident we both write for Harlequin Presents!) and I didn't spend too much. I picked up four nice dresses, one super fabulous, and a pair of pants that I've already decided to return (see, Marilyn, told you it'd happen quick!).

Next week, I'll head to the mall again. And probably DSW, just to see what sort of lovely shoes they may have. It's time to start making my list of what outfit to wear to which event. If there are any holes to be filled, then one more shopping trip ought to do it. I hope.

What was the last big shopping trip you went on? Do you have any favorite stores? I love stores like Chico's and White House – Black Market, but Ross is more budget friendly. I think my hubby appreciates that…. 😉

Yesterday's winner: Aimee C! Aimee, email me your contact info and I'll get a signed book into the mail…..

Weekend Workout

Friday, I mentioned doing some things this weekend that included shopping and the Farmer's Market. I also said something about relaxing.


Apparently, I failed to realize that all these things I wanted to do entailed going places, walking, lugging, doing things, etc. The upshot is that there was very little relaxing involved.

Though it WAS fun.

Weekend itinerary went something like this:

1. Meet friends and family at winebar Friday night. Laugh, talk, drink wine for a couple of hours.

2. Sat: wake up early, go to Starbucks for coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

3. Farmer's Market. Where Hubby proceeded to gag on goat cheese while I explained to the artisan that though his cheese was indeed excellent, my Darling Hubby just can't stand goat cheese — no matter how many herbs and spices are mixed in. I bought some, of course, and not just out of sympathy. I thought it was excellent.

4. Yard sale. It was impromptu, and no one was more surprised than I when Hubby pulled over. Unfortunately, there was nothing interesting. Except a typewriter. An actual typewriter! (Kids, see Google.)

5. Costco. Where Hubby proceeded to look grouchier and grouchier as I piled stuff into the cart. Apparently, “we need a few things” and “I haven't been shopping in a while” mean something different to him than to me. Although he perked up when we bought two whole chickens for him to put in the smoker.

6. Drop Hubby and groceries at home. Go to mall. Walk around for 3 hours, looking for things for my readers' luncheon giveaways, but only find stuff for me. Spend a very long time trying on clothes and shoes. Leave with a big shopping bag or two (in my defense, it was a SALE).

7. Back home. Grill out with Hubby.

8. Watch Blade Runner — never saw it before, very good, but I had weird dreams afterward.

10. We're up to Sunday now. (Exhausted yet?) Wake up, have breakfast and coffee at home. Play on computer for a bit.

11. We've invited my parents over for smoked chicken. This means the house, otherwise known as an official disaster area, must be cleaned and tidied. This takes a very long time, entails scrubbing and decluttering, and makes my back hurt.

12. Prepare side dishes while Hubby smokes chicken.

13. Did I mention laundry?

14. Crap, have to go to the store and get a couple of things. Most important: some live flowers to replace the dying ones on the mantel.

15. I. Am. So. Tired.

16. Dinner is practically done, parents arrive, we eat and talk and have a good time.

17. More laundry. Some wine. Bed.

Apparently, having fun is a lot of work! I'm exhausted from this weekend. Did you relax this weekend? Or did you find out, like me, that weekends can be a workout? What's your favorite thing to do to relax, or your favorite activity, during the weekend?

Monday Giveaway: Leave a comment to be entered for a copy of Jessica Anderson's Nightkeepers!

New toys

funny pictures of cats with captions

The hubby and I couldn't wait two more weeks (the date our current mobile phone contract ends). We decided to go ahead and get our iPhones. This means we have new phone numbers, but we discussed it back and forth and agreed that it wasn't much of a hassle to let everyone know the new numbers. Plus our old numbers were from a town we don't live in — and some of the wrong calls were getting irritating (bill collectors, principals discussing naughty children, etc). Neither of us uses our cell phones exclusively, or talk a lot, so the handful of people we had to inform wasn't really a big deal.

And, oh wow, I can't believe I had to wait this long to get my iPhone. To say I love it would be a massive understatement. The App Store (on iTunes) is incredible. I'm such a geek I've downloaded my very own copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Want to know what the 13th amendment says? I can whip that baby out in no time and tell you. Both these apps are free. In fact, all the apps I've downloaded are free with the exception of one. I bought (for about $5) an expense application that will allow me to track expenses at the time they occur and take a picture of the receipt to store with it. This should help me organize the actual receipts and expenses at home. (Believe me, I need this kind of thing because I'm not too organized. I stuff the receipts in a box.)

But one of the coolest things I downloaded was an app called Stanza. It's an e-reader. Now, I'm not going to be reading books on my iPhone a lot — but when stuck in lines, or waiting rooms, or airports, it could come in handy. And Harlequin is currently giving away 16 e-books. They've also formatted them for Stanza. I clicked on the handy bookstore link in Stanza and it took me to a list of choices. I went to Harlequin and within moments had books on my phone. Too cool.

You can also download anything on Project Gutenberg. If you want to pay, you could read Twilight or countless other books on your phone. (I'm thinking I'm not going to pay for books that way. I'll save that for the other toy I covet: the Kindle, about which there should be a major announcement today by Jeff Bezos and crew).

The other app I love is Pandora. Streaming radio on my phone? Oh heck yes. I have NYT headlines, a movie app that lets me know what's currently showing in my area, the times, theaters, and trailers if I want to watch them. I have the Weather Channel; Facebook; Twitter. And yes, even the I Can Haz Cheezburger site, which is how I saw the cute reading kitty.

There are so many things I still need to learn, I'm sure, but I love this phone and all these cool things that go with it. I am such a geek. And it's all my husband's fault! I'd probably be clueless about techno gadgets if he hadn't started wrapping me in his evil web years ago. Now, I'm almost as bad as he is.

Would you read books on your phone if you could? Do you like gadgets? Want a Kindle? (And I still do love real books, btw. Just think it would be neat to have a way to store a lot more books than my shelves will hold.)

What is wrong with people?

I can't tell you the number of stores I've gone to the past few days and found shopping carts all over the parking lot. What is wrong with people that they can't walk the darn thing the few feet it takes to get to the cart corral? I'm so fed up with lazy people unloading their carts and pushing the things between the vehicles and leaving them. I couldn't even park in one spot yesterday because it had become a de facto corral — and the corral wasn't full and wasn't far away.

Do people really not care if their cars get dinged with these runaway carts? Or do they feel that since they are leaving, their car isn't in danger? Of course there are legitimate excuses not to take the cart back — sometimes a person is sick or hurt and just wants to get in the car and go. It happens — but not to every blessed person at the store on the same day!

I always walk the cart to where it's supposed to be. I even walk carts into the store when I get out of my car and there's a stray cart perilously close by. I still have a huge dent in my door where some lovely person in Hawaii shoved a car door or a cart into it and then skedaddled. It's just a dent, not missing paint or anything, so I still haven't had it fixed (2 years later). But I think about it every time I see stray carts all over the parking lot. Irritates me.

So, it's the holiday season and I'm ranting. 🙂 But in this season of giving and goodwill toward others, why are people so rude about shopping carts? Why can't they return it? For most of us, there is no excuse.

What bugs you about shopping this time of year? Is the rampant outbreak of homeless carts merely an Alabama phenomenon, or is it happening in your corner of the world too?