Housesitting, Childhood Homes, and Other Random Thoughts

Strange weekend. My parents asked us to come by and house-sit for two nights, so we packed our backs, threw them in the back of Superman’s truck, drove exactly 20 minutes up the freeway (!), and … well … unpacked! And then we acted like we’ve never been to north county before.

It was also extremely weird to be staying overnight in my childhood home again. Because I haven’t done that since I was … oh … about 20? Of course, since then, my parents have redone my room several times, so it doesn’t look anything like when I left. Now it’s sort of a guest-room-slash-library. (Incidentally, my mom has the most amazing library of romance novels you can imagine — she’s got the books alphabetized on two 12-foot bookcases, plus an additional bookcase of Nora Roberts only. Because, you know, we all know how prolific THAT woman is!)

Anyway, staying in my childhood home for the weekend was fun and weird and nostalgic and new all at the same time. Continue reading

Looking for Beta Readers …

So Book 2 is done, and has been handed off for its final read! Yay!

My beloved, dedicated, wonderful critique partner Patti is reading it. … Or re-reading it, as the case may be. She already read it once, but she offered to read it for a second time, bless her britches, to see the changes I made that Harlequin suggested. That makes her especially amazing, because that takes a lot of patience, and she’s just the best. … Go Patti!

I also have my first beta reader, Brianna, reading it. What’s a beta reader? It’s a term stolen from fan fiction, actually, (and the tech industry), but novelists are using it now to mean someone who reads your novel before you try to publish. While a critique partner is usually a fellow writer (and someone who will read your manuscript with the eye of a novelist, looking at all the “parts under the hood”), a beta reader is usually not a writer (and therefore will read your manuscript with the eye of a reader, looking at the “car as a whole”).

In fact, I think I could use another beta reader or two. … I’ve had Harlequin critique the manuscript through its critique service (which was an excellent service, by the way), but I made enough changes after that that I feel like I should have a couple more sets of eyes on it, to make sure I didn’t accidentally introduce any huge holes or errors.

If you are a regular romance reader, and you’re interested in reading through a contemporary romance of 100,000 words (that would be close to a 400-page book), and you really like romance characters and enjoy talking about why you like or dislike them, let me know! I’d love the help! : )

D.I.Y. Girl

014I’m kind of a D.I.Y. girl. I’m the one who will paint her own walls, install backsplashes, sand cabinets, frame pictures, hang curtains, select valances, hammer in chair rails. I draw the line at laying carpeting and tile, but I’ve created my own topiary over a wall fountain, sponge-painted my fireplace, and sanded and stained several cabinets and bookcases.

I do a lot of this with help, of course. Superman’s really not into it, but my dad is. (That’s probably where I get all this!). My dad has spent the last 13 years coming over here and helping us install ceiling bookcases, entire sprinkler systems, brick patios (Superman and my dad laid our entire patio), fixing water pipes, and installing hallway railings.

The thing is, most of this work was done … well, about 10 to 13  years ago! When we first moved in, we spent a whirlwind three years doing everything inside the house. I painted every single room. We installed lighting and hung pictures and measured out windows for curtains everywhere. We’ve redone a few rooms over the years — mostly the kids’ bedrooms — but for the most part, it looks about the same.

And now … well, now it’s looking a little “old.” Continue reading

100th Post! And a Thank You to Commenters. …

Wow, I hit my 100th post! (The one about my daughter.) That’s exciting. And kind of amazing. Hard to believe I’ve written that much already.

I’ve also received exactly 700 comments. (A day of milestone numbers!) I can’t tell you how much it means to me when you guys leave comments. We bloggers don’t get paid for blogging, so our “payment” comes by way of response — comments and feedback and pingbacks and general all-around fun “conversation.” It’s the best. It makes me feel great every time I see one pop into my inbox.

My “regular” commenters have been from all walks of my life, so I thought I’d introduce you to each other. You’d all be good friends if we could sit in a room together:

  • You know Chris (or Christopher or Charles) is my hubby Superman, and “Nene” is my daughter.
  • Dave (a.k.a “The Bubbynator”) is my brother-in-law and an all-around fun guy and terrific conversationalist. (And single, ladies.)
  • M., DebiBarbara and Dawni are all friends from jr high or high school. I absolutely love keeping in touch with them.
  • Barbara is also from the book club, as is Rosy, Carrie, Pam and Lauri. These women know how to talk about books! Always insightful. …
  • Nancy is a friend from college (and crit partner for decades) who lives in Switzerland now and introduced me to verbivore who keeps a book blog in Switzerland (and has become a wonderful crit partner). They’ll both be on the literary shelves soon.
  • Grace, Bill, Texan Penny and Dixie are all friends and former coworkers from the newspaper. I miss the days when we used to have the most interesting conversations ever there. In fact, many of my posts here feel like “work conversations” I used to have with these folks.
  • Patti, Sharon, Sonja, Andrea and Rachel are all crit partners I’ve met through online writing classes — all hardworking, great storytellers. You’ll see their romance and historical novels on the shelves soon.
  • Arlene is my mom, and Helene is her sister. They both love to read and have great book insight.
  • Johnny is my father-in-law, and Jersey Girl is his wife. They both read voraciously and are the first “dual-Kindle couple” I’ve met.
  • Debbie C. is a friend of Superman’s who has become a friend of mine.
  • Geraldine is my sweet niece-in-law and a great mother to an adorable baby boy.
  • Jen Kelly, Marla, Judy, Nicole, Brianna, Beeb and Celeste are all smart women who’ve worked at, or freelanced for, my current job.
  • And there are sooooooooo many super-cool new blogging and/or Twitter friends that I’ve met in the blogosphere. Most have blogs themselves and are fun and amazing. Some of the wonderful regulars I’ve just met have been Jeanne, Kat, Crystal Posey, Kristibug, Anastasia, Kwana, Jen Roland, beckylevine, nanna95, doart, December, WindyA, Amethyst, denisebump, chickenbetty, Joanna D’Angelo, Lisa MacColl, Lynn Daniels, joemmama, Ashley Ladd, Trish (heylady), Sherry, Conrad, Alyssa Carter, Debbie Sanchez and more. I’ve also had thrilling visits from IzzyMom, Jordan Summers, Misa Ramirez, Lori Borrill, Carolyn Burns Bass, gretatiki (Rebecca Regnier), Carla (mizfitonline) and others.

I can’t tell you all how much it means to me when you stop and say hello or add your thoughts to the conversation. Please continue! And those of you who haven’t commented yet, please throw a “hello” anytime you want — you’re truly welcome here.

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