A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sherbet to cleanse the palette...

Sure a little sherbet can cleanse your palette in a multi-course gourmet meal, but how do you cleanse your reader palette? I'm
waxing on about this dilemma today over at Access Romance-Readers Gab.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Junk Drawer & An Award

I don't really have a junk drawer. My sister forbid it years ago. She pulled open the catch-all drawer in my kitchen gasped and said something like, "You can't have a messy drawer like this. You always have everything so organized." It was a call to arms hidden in an intervention.

Anyway, I told you that just so I could say, I don't have a junk drawer. BUT, if I did, this particular post is the equivalent of what my only imaginary, not real, junk drawer would look like.

See how messy things are already and I've hardly
started. So FWIW, here goes.

Remember that saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"? My good intentions were to keep up with the posting and blogging once I returned from RWA.
Apparently the universe had other ideas. I came home from RWA and promptly had the mother of all flare ups with my rheumatoid arthritis. Well, a mother of a flare up for me. Anyway one swollen & drained knee later I'm "fit as fiddle and ready for love".

(Don't you just love Singin' in the Rain?)

However, it did throw a major crimp into my good intentions seeing as how I had a leg propped up and was a sleep for at least half the week last week. For a brief moment Wednesday night I did throw myself a bit of a pity party imagining that I wouldn't be able to wear this dress...

or stand in these shoes...

What do you think? Should I go with red shoes to match the dress or stick with the silver?

Anyway, I chased those blues away because the knee is good. Mostly. New meds, good knee. I should be all kinds of awesome by August 15th when I will stand for approximately 20 minutes straight in those killer shoes to marry my niece and her fiance. Promptly following the ceremony I plan to change into something that won't cripple and disfigure my feet for life.

You know why?

Dancin' baby! Dancin'! It only takes a little coaxing and a few lurid false promises to get GG on the dance floor. What can I do but take advantage of the poor man? He just plain likes it so much.

Oh, and now that I feel better, I'm out in Romancelandia again too. Feels good. Mucho good. So, you know, HELLO EVERYBODY!

I'm lifting a glass of my favorite bar beverage to Ms. Lisabea who gave me an award in the guise of yet another call to arms disguised as an intervention.

Here's to you LB. Mwah!

Le Award

The Kreativ rules state that:
Once you receive this award you are to list seven of your favorite things and then nominate seven other blogs.

1. Chocolate cake - it has to be moist and not be slathered in frosting.

2. A bright sunshiney day without wind. You have to live where I do to appreciate this.

3. Swimming. I feel so powerful and strong moving through the water.

4. Coffee. Slightly (a lot) addicted.

5. Buying presents. I love the feeling when I know I've gotten just the right thing for someone.

6. That moment every night when I lay my head on GG's shoulder and sigh. We just fit.

7. Books, of course. They've brought so much joy into my life not only in the pleasure of reading, but now with all the friends I've made.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Be it ever so humble...

Home at last. Exhausted doesn't begin to cover it. I sum it up by saying SL and I talked most of the 6 hour trip to DC. We slept or read most of the trip home.

BTW, will somebody please tell me who turned up the heat while I was gone? Sure DC had some humidity, but it also had breeze, blue skies, trees and lots and lots of lovely grass. We got off the plane to 107 degree heat and wind. Blech.

Some good stuff? GG and Shmoo met our plan in Dallas and were on the same plane the last leg of the trip. I was very happy to see them both. Shmoo has left the house already to go pick up Emily who apparently didn't miss us much because she's been shamelessly spoiled all week by Shmoo's girlfriend.

Warning! What follows are random sleep deprived ramblings.

Anne Stuart was a hoot in her many guises as mistress of ceremonies for the RITAs. My personal observations about the ceremony are that RWA has a decent production value for the ceremony, and keeps it moving along. However, reading off a list of names and then announcing a winner is just boring. I have no suggestions or thoughts on how this can be improved because I don't think you can without being absurd. It's an awards ceremony. The only thing making it slightly more interesting was if you could pull for a particular author in a category. Which was one good moment for SL and I when Karen Templeton won for her SSE category A MOTHER'S WISH.

I've pretty much decided the RITAs event is filled on my dance card. Until or unless an author I know personally is nominated, I won't be attending the ceremony again. I don't think it's likely they will have a category for best M/M novel in the near future, do you?

Although if Carolyn Jewel or Ann Aguirre were nominated I'd be inclined to attend to root for them. Yes, that is obvious fan love and shmoozing, but also true.

Praise be I'm off tomorrow and except for a mammogram tomorrow afternoon will be able to catch up on some much needed sleep and other real life stuff.

Has anyone posted about the building evacuation for a fire in the middle of the day Saturday? I was in a workshop with LB and she received texts accusing her of pulling a prank. She's innocent I tell ya! Which to be truthful I can only claim because I was with her. I, of course, like the obedient robo-tron I am got up and walked out of the room we were in not noticing (d'oh!) that I dropped my cell phone on the floor.

Who does that? Really,who? I'm an idiot. (That was just for you Kati)

Fortunately the phone was under a chair in the room when we went back in. Good thing too because my phone has been giving me major problems lately and has gone from much loved to much reviled. GG would me mightily suspicious if I said I "lost" it at RWA and needed a new one.

Still no links. Too tired. SL has some great photos. I'll make an effort tomorrow to see what I managed to take with my phone.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bare Bones & Completely Random Stuff

Yes.  I know it is the goal of all authors to sell books, so it follows they would make an effort to be nice.  However, I continue to be amazed at their kindness and generosity. For instance...

Carolyn Jewel gifted me with an ARC of INDISCREET last night.  It's the only book I'm not shipping home.  It's going on the airplane with me so I can start reading it.  How do I explain how happy this makes me?

Suzanne Brockmann was unbelievable yesterday.  Eloquent. Passionate. Amazing. Wonderful storyteller, but even better human being.  Romance genre is blessed to have her.

Eloisa James keynote speech was just excellent.  Such a pertinent message too.  Your life informs your writing.  It made me want to go out and buy all of her books all over again.  That good.  I'm not kidding.

Coolest promo item?  Tessa Dare's pins LADY, GODDESS, SIREN for her three books.  You see them everywhere.  Although I love the 'Butch' key chain Ann Aguirre was handing out muchly. Ann Aguirre, Ann Aguirre, Ann Aguirre.  Really on her way.

Got to Berkley signing late.  So many authors were gone.  After all these years of following her from the Lora Leigh message board to her e-pub books and on to her print success I was so bummed I'd missed Shiloh Walker.  Majorly bummed.

The Kate and Kati dinner for bloggers (and authors) was so much fun.  We went to a great Lebanese restaurant near the hotel.  After dinner it was pretty much a consensus we needed to hangout together all night so as not to offend innocent bystanders with our lovely garlic breath. Good food and even better company. Do I even have to say that we continued the party in the hotel bar?  It's definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  

Too funny not to note:  we introduce each by name AND blog.

Surreal moment.  Sitting in the bar with a group of bloggers and authors.  On one side a blogger on another an author. "Really," I said to Barbara, "it's not usually like this." Lovely. Sublime. I was humming with the happiness.

Oh, do you want to know who was there? I hope I don't forget anyone...

The authors were Shiloh Walker (!!!!), Julie James, Meredith Duran, Samantha Kane, Mari Freeman and LB Gregg.

The bloggers were Barbara, Kristie(j), AnimeJune, Super Librarian Wendy, Katiebabs, Kati(dom), Janine (Dear Author), Amy (Aymless), Lusty Reader, Lisabea and yours truly. Too much fun for one person to hold in their body.

So you noticed I got to meet Shiloh Walker didn't you? It made me mucho mucho happy.

Let's see what else...

Oh, the Samhain open house was a crush.  Much wine, many women, lots of merriment. Finally met Kate Rothwell. Spied Beth Williamson across the room.  Kristie got to meet her.

Had a fawning moment with Lauren Dane so I could pass my fan-love on to Megan Hart through her since they write together.  That was very cool.

Sherry Thomas has a mind like a steel trap.  She remembers people, places, blogs.  Believe it. She is also incredibly gracious.

Got a text from SL Wendy that says,"Go read Holly's personal blog. Now!"  Sitting having breakfast with pal LB and we immediately pull out our phones to read (see) her wonderful news. Should I blame the tears on being tired? Nah! Love you Holland and congratulations! 

I know there's stuff I'm forgetting but Lb and workshop await. I'm thinking I won't be posting again until I get back.  My brain is fried and I'm sleep deprived. I was emphatic with Kati last night that I'm not going to Nashville next year.  I'm thinking more like every other year.  To which she replied each and every time... "Yes, you are. You're going."  

Huh.  Wonder what GG will think about that?

Oh, if you see pictures of me out there, and you might, be kind.  

Btw, I hope to edit this later and put in links. No time right now.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Quick Update

I saw Angela James the editor from Samhain briefly in the hallway this morning. The "rogue" digital panel was attended by almost 90 people.  That's where Katiebabs won her Sony Reader.

Janet Evanovich was funny, instructive, and evocative at the conference opening.   Her sage advice to writers is almost word for word the same as Nora Roberts...  Sit your a$$ in the chair and write.  It's a job, and Ms. Evanovich advises a writer needs to treat it like one.  Those who attended Evanovich's event got a copy of her HOW I WRITE book.

Linda Howard's keynote speech was a hilarious accounting of how she's the "Keeper of the Nuts" in her family.  After an uproarious anecdote about her brother, a riding lawn mower, a wheel chair and a bungee cord, she called her former sister-in-law a "Stupid Slut" and brought the house down.  I'm so glad I came to DC and that luncheon is one of them.  

The Avon signing was pretty busy.  I was surprised to see authors there without any books to sign.  Kelley Armstrong for one.  However they gamely stuck around and spoke with people.  I chatted a bit with Anna Campbell and got a couple of books signed by Julia Quinn.  I'm limiting the book intake, one due to the depth and breadth of my tbr and for two, I have to ship all those suckers home this year.

I even managed to get SMART A$$ signed by LB Gregg and believe me when I tell you, it wasn't easy!

A couple of other things I remember from last night's Literacy signing --  

When speaking with Robyn Carr she gave me the news saying it's not really a secret any more that she has been signed to have book releases in Jan, Feb and March the next three years.  

Jennifer Crusie was a hoot and we spoke briefly about how she validated us bloggers when she said people who write consistently are writers...  I won a book on Paperback Writer's blog by wearing that validation like a badge.  Actually I was being cheeky, but you know, I got the book so it's all good.  

I also told JC how much fun it was to check out how she transformed Anne Stuart's bright pink suitcase affectionately known as "the pig".  Too funny.  

Which reminds me, while speaking to Ms. Stuart last night I mentioned that I know a certain Canadian that only wants books signed by AS.  Ms. Stuart seemed to really get a kick out of that.

More later.  I gotta go get ready for dinner.  I've spoken about other blogger readers I've seen around the neighborhood, but I thought I'd list those I can remember off the top of my head...

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So much stuff to say and so little time...

I will start this post by telling  you my sister from Georgia called and asked me if I was speaking at the conference.  

Yes.  She really asked me that.  I was flabbergasted.  What had I ever said or done that would lead her to believe I was a speaker at the national Romance Writers of America conference??? What? 

Of course I set her straight by telling her I was more like lint on a very nice blazer. Present and maybe sometimes a little bit annoying.  I tell  you this to humble myself before I tell you what a great day I had and to help put things in some sort of perpecitve.

I started the day by meeting Aztec Lady.  Who not only brought some delicious mango for us to feast on but who also has an actual real name.   Of course, we still refer to her as AL most of the time because, you know, that's who she REALLY is.  As the SoCal bloggers know it is very cool to meet fellow bloggers face to face and this meeting was no exception.

Then my pal Lisabea arrived.  We were starving and took off for breakfast and sight seeing. Unbelievably while standing in line waiting to order, two people come in. The new arrivals were none other than Carolyn Jewel and Megan Frampton!  Can you believe it??   I couldn't believe that we'd left the hotel and *poof* there was one of the people I wanted to see most at the conference.  

As we seat ourselves outside LB excuses herself.  The next thing I know she's talking to Carolyn Jewel inside the restaurant and I'm being waved inside too.  Apart from my red cheeks I welcomed the chance to gush a bit and promised I would be seeing her later at the literacy signing.  Which, of course, I did.  It was a very cool moment for me though.

Not as cool as sitting on a bed at a pajama party later that evening with both Ann Aguirre and Carolyn Jewel and being a part of a conversation with both of them.  Bliss I tell you.  Bliss. Of course all that was before hotel security called to tell us we were all getting a tad bit too loud. Fun and merriment was had by all.

Considering Lisabea and I also put in a tour of the Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington monuments along with the Vietnam Memorial, I've had a very full and exciting day. Oh, and have I mentioned I met Linda-freaking-Howard?  My pal Super Librarian Wendy has a photo of this momentous event from the Literacy signing.  Exciting and very, very cool.

To say I'm exhausted when it is now 2 AM and I'm getting up in a few hours to do it all over again is no understatement.  I'm waaaaaay exhausted, which, of course, won't stop me one little bit.

Well except for walking in grossly inappropriate footwear and getting blisters on my poor abused feet.  I'm so tired I'm cross eyed or I'd post pictures.

Thinking about you... 

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

As you probably know from Super Librarian Wendy, we arrived safe and sound in our nation's capitol yesterday. The Marriott is mucho nice. Quiet before the storm... Although the teacher's conference that's in the hotel right now is very, well, you know how crazy teachers can be.

We plan to do some sight seeing today. SL, Kristie and I doing some sight seeing today. SL & I are chomping to see the Library of Congress. We also plan to take in what we can of the Smithsonian. Then tonight we hope to take in the monuments. They are supposed to be awesome at night.

Although it was a bit of a thrill for me to see the capitol building and the Washington Monument on our way from the airport to the hotel yesterday. Crikeys chicas, I'm in Washington DC!

More later...

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sisters and Brides and Packing...oh my!

My sister is here visiting. She came without her husband and the Stair Steps because my niece's bridal shower was yesterday. Which, by the way, was loads of fun.

Now I'm not particularly a "shower" type of person. Generally speaking I can think of no worse torture than being trapped somewhere and having to play bridal/baby shower games. My only solace is knowing that most women feel the same way and we all secretly agree to endure the ritual for someone near and dear to us to have her rite of passage.

The theme at this soiree was BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. Yours truly won the BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S movie trivia game. My prize? A truly awesome set of dessert plates which helped mitigate the torture aspect of the event immensely. Truth be told, we had a lot of fun which was helped along with some tart and spankin' raspberry martinis. And, more importantly, it was great watching my niece's enjoyment of the event. That says everything.

Now I'm off to run a couple of errands with my sister and then it's cramming my stuff packing for me. It shouldn't take long. Hopefully. I'm pretty organized. Then it's early to bed.

The adventure begins tomorrow. I'm up at the butt crack of dawn to catch my plane to Washington DC and RWA.

The plan? See everyone. Do everything. Miss nothing. I'll be blogging. I also plan to have my tweets on my sidebar like last year.

Any last minute advice? People you think I should see?

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

What every traveler needs...

...an ear infection before they get on a plane. I'm on ear drops and antibiotics and can't hear squat out of my left ear. If you see a woman with an ear horn at the conference... be kind.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

June 2009

It's too ridiculous to be noted, but I honestly can't believe we are halfway through 2009. Crikeys I've just started remembering to write 2-0-0-9 instead of 2-0-0-8.

June wasn't quite the reading month that May was. Not so much in reading numbers, I read 17 books in June, a respectable number, but I didn't have as many reading "highs" in June as I did in May.

Life continues to move at warp speed. June, June, June... I hardly remember ye!

June Reading List

TO WED IN TEXAS by Jodi Thomas
Yep, that's right Ms. Thomas makes an appearance again this month. I read this early in the month and it's my TBR Challenge read. This month's theme was tortured heroes or heroines.

Orphaned at a very young age and shunted from relative to relative Karlee Whitworth certainly qualifies as tortured. When her maiden aunts ship her off to be a nanny, Karlee is just hoping for a place to fit in and feel worthwhile. When the meager funds the aunts provided for travel run out, Karlee impulsively puts herself in her trunk for the last leg of a trip. While the book has its humorous moments, this is mostly about a young woman trying to find a place for herself. Although this book was first released in 2000, and I think Ms. Thomas' is a better writer today, it fit the bill for both the TBR Challenge and my need for a good western.
My Grade = B

THE HOB'S BARGAIN by Patricia Briggs
I didn't finish this book, BUT NOT BECAUSE IT WAS A BAD BOOK. This was absolutely a case of the book not fitting a reader. I should have been more careful when I purchased it, but I enjoyed Ms. Briggs Mercy Thompson so much I decided to give this re-release a try. Too much fantasy for me.
My Grade = DNF

I really liked the realistic way Ms. Banks handled the issues of a person pursing their fantasies. At one point heroine Serena James asks herself if some fantasies are better left in our imaginations. Good question. What do you think?

Serena's fantasy is to be a sex slave of sorts. She basically wants a dominant partner to try out the lifestyle to see if it fits. Serena can't imagine being a sex slave as a full-time lifestyle choice. I would have liked there to be a bit more character development, because I think this was a great story premise and probably something we've all wondered about.

My Grade = B-

Whoever you are that recommended this book, thanks for a good read. This book had one of my favorite things... a tortured hero. Lord Ian Mackenzie is indeed mad. He spent years locked up in an asylum. Committed at a young age by his violent wretch of a father, how much of Ian's madness is real and how much is induced by the asylum? When his father dies, his brother gets Ian released. What does one do with a gifted and slightly mad brother? Ms. Ashley's website notes that this is the first of the Highland Pleasures series. I, for one, can't wait for the rest of them.
My Grade = B

Okey dokey. This was a skimmer. I admit I wanted to know the ending so I skimmed thither and yon and got the gist of the book. Again, this is a very competent writer with some interesting plot elements, but I just didn't get sucked in.
My Grade = C

WATCH OVER ME by Lucy Monroe
I've read Lucy Monroe before with mixed results, but this grabbed my attention in the book store. Unfortunately I again had a tough time connecting with the characters.
My Grade = DNF

THE SPARE by Carolyn Jewel
I really enjoyed this book. I even did a review.
My Grade = B+

A WESTERN WINDER WONDERLAND ANTHOLOGY by Cheryl St. John, Jenna Kernan, & Pam Crooks
This western anthology had two of my favorite western writers Cheryl St. John and Jenna Kernan. This too came from my tbr. Don't ask me why I was in the mood for winter and Christmas stories in June, just love me anyway.

Wendy reviewed this back when it came out and liked it a bit more than I did. While I agree the stories are heartwarming, they were a little too saccharine for me.

My Grade = C

THE MAD, BAD DUKE by Jennifer Ashley
I didn't realize when I started this that it was part of a series. I also didn't realize it had paranormal and "magic" elements. I started with high hopes but was ultimately disappointed particularly after such a good reading experience with the THE MADNESS OF LORD MACKENZIE.
My Grade = C

DEEPER by Megan Hart
It's always tough to grade a favorite author. This book has many of the elements of the things I like most in a Hart book, in particular emotional depth. Alas it contained one element, and in this book it's a biggie, that I really struggle with in any book. I can't mention what it is without it being a spoiler, but I what I can say it that it's personal preference and not the book itself.
My Grade = C

LORD RUIN by Carolyn Jewel
While reading this book there were actually times when I thought I probably shouldn't be enjoying it so much particularly considering how the H/H came to be married. It's also the best example I've read, maybe ever, of what the saying, "Reformed rakes make the best husbands" really means.
My Grade = B+

A DARKER CRIMSON by Carolyn Jewel
This is part of the Crimson City series. The only previous book I read in this series was by Marjorie Liu years earlier when the series first started. I bought this one as part of my Carolyn Jewel glom and had no problems reading it as a stand alone. This is a good solid urban fantasy read.
My Grade = B

HIDDEN CURRENTS by Christine Feehan
This is the last book in the Drake Sisters series about seven sisters with paranormal powers. This is Elle, the youngest sister's story. Everything is tied up in a neat bow, and I'm imagining Ms. Feehan will be doing a series about the 7 Russian brothers, one of whom married a Drake sister, who have powers similar to the Drakes. I have to admit I had high expectations for this one as I'd been looking forward to reading Elle and Jackson's story. Maybe too high of expectations as it only rates as an average read for me.
My Grade = C

BRANDED BY FIRE by Nalini Singh
Interesting dynamics between Riley of the Snowdancer Wolf pack and Mercy the DarkRiver sentinel. Both are shapeshifters (different species) and both very strong leaders in their own right. This didn't pack the same emotional punch the previous psy-changeling books did for me, but it's worth your time if you like the series.
My Grade = B

REAL MEN LAST ALL NIGHT Anthology by Lora Leigh, Lori Foster, Cheyenne McCray & Heidi Betts
This anthology does as advertised. It delivers short sexy stories to be read on the beach during the summer. It's okay for what it's meant to do and be, but if you are looking for depth, this ain't it.
My Grade = C

I didn't hate it. No new ground broken here, but an entertaining and enjoyable chapter in the series. We need some character growth and change, Ms. Evanovich. I'm beggin' ya!
My Grade = C

This book is loosely related to her McCain brothers books but is fine to read as a stand alone. This is McCain family friend Wolf Hayward's story. Wolf is a character with lots of potential and so many directions for Ms. Thomas to take him. For me personally, the way in which Ms. Thomas chose for him to rediscover his one true love was unsatisfying. The big reveal wasn't believable and was too long in coming.
My Grade = C-

I didn't do the Re-Read Challenge in June. I ran out out of month. Father's Day weekend I made a stop at New and Recycled Romances in Orange County. I ended up with a pretty nifty haul of books and started reading some of those. Next thing I knew it was July.

July looks to be busy as well with the RWA Conference smack dab in the middle of it. Time will tell. Speaking of which, I got lots to do and now I can cross this post off my 'To Do' list. Yay!

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Making a List and Checking it Twice

...Gonna find out who's naughty or nice. Yeah, I got no where to go with that I just had to finish the line. Now that I'm taking a deep breath with the first wedding under my belt, I feel sorta liberated. I feel better able to concentrate on other things like packing and planning for RWA for instance.

I'm so glad I'm off today. It's my 4th of July holiday. I've got a bunch of stuff to do since we'll be out at the park working for the community 4th of July festivities tomorrow. The fire department I work for is very involved with the town. We have a booth every year and stuff for the kids, etc.

Fun WILL be had by all as we cook in the sun and wait for sundown and the fireworks extravaganza.

1. Finish business card design for a certain special somebody.

2. Grocery shop so we don't starve for the next week.

3. Order some prescriptions for vacations (GG & Shmoo are going on a trip too)


5. Dry cleaners

6. Finish June Reading List post for blog.

7. Catch up blog hopping.

8. Finish ceremony book for niece's wedding.

9. Write and mail birthday cards for two of the Stairsteps.


11. Go to movie with GG because I promised him I would.

What can I say, it's a full day.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Let's Clear the Air

I've been a very bad blogger for the last couple of months. I do however see some light at the end of the tunnel. I'm actually hopeful. Of course that might just be the glass of wine I had with dinner so we will have to see what the future holds.

For instance, I plan to do my June book list. Soon. However, first I had to finish a post I have up over at Access Romance Readers Gab. I'm palavering about going to RWA. Yes, I've condensed RWA to THE ESSENTIAL 3 E's. Makes you wonder why I'm not writing books, doesn't it? Har-har.

Other distractions include weddings. I'm officiating at my first wedding tonight. Pray. Light candles. Dance naked under the moon. I'm beggin' ya here. Do whatever it takes to send me some good ju-ju... My arms are wide open because my nerves are frayed. It's a small group, but some of them are people I work with. Holy crap what was I thinking?

All of which lends to the realization that I may not be cut out to be the Right Reverend Rosie marrying people thither and yon. This is likely to be an adventure of short duration.

Gotta go. More later...

Lawsy, but I miss you people.

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