Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Playground Monitor by Any Other Name

Google has a feature called "Google Alerts." You can type in a name or place or any words and when Google "sees" something featuring those words, you get an alert via email. I've set up alerts for my real name, my blog nickname, other authors' names and a few other non-writing-related things.

Lately my inbox has been innundated with alerts about a playground monitor in New Jersey.

An elementary school cafeteria worker and playground monitor, who had an extensive career in the adult entertainment industry, is becoming a New Jersey school district's legal nightmare.

Some parents in Vineland, N.J., as well as the board of education president, want Louisa C. Tuck fired, but district officials were advised by their lawyers and those from the New Jersey School Board Association they have no legal grounds to terminate the 32-year-old from her $5,772-a-year part-time job as an aide in the lunchroom and playground, The Daily Journal reported.

May I be the first to say that while I am at times entertaining, this is NOT me. ;-)

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Day on Hold

Ahh... the day after Thanksgiving post. Since I've always been the "Friday Playfriend" I get to post on this day every year. I get to question the crazy people like Angel up at 4 AM standing in the cold to buy toys. I get to lament the plight of parents everywhere as they struggle to find this year's "it" toy. This post goes up just after midnight, so I'm hoping there aren't a lot of you reading this at 3AM with your mug of coffee before you head out on the great hunt. I hope you read it after rolling out of bed at 9, still sleepy from a turkey and pie hangover.

I wish I was. It actually feels a little odd to me this time, though, because I haven't had Thanksgiving yet. Yeah, I know it was technically yesterday, but DB had to work, so we rescheduled it to tomorrow. We're going to drive to his parent's place tonight or early tomorrow, probably, and spend the rest of the weekend with them.

Once the weekend is over, the holiday frenzy begins. I can't even begin to tell you how full my schedule is for this month. Multiple parties to attend, potlucks to cook for, and traditions to uphold. All good stuff, so I can't complain too much aside from not getting enough sleep and getting too much food. To make matters more complicated, DB's cousin has the audacity to get married on the 13th and I just don't know if we're going to make it.

Fortunately, I got a jump on the season this year by buying and wrapping all my presents in October. I feel quite virtuous. If I can just keep myself from buying more for no reason, I'll be in even better shape. I'm sure most people aren't as far ahead as me. Just to be cruel, there are exactly 27 shopping days until Christmas. Good luck with that.

So, how are you spending the remainder of your holiday weekend?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

All of the Playfriends want to wish you a
Happy Thanksgiving full of joy, family and friends.

And we'd like to wish our own
Problem Child a very Happy Birthday!

Glitter Graphics


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So Close

NaNoWriMo ends Sunday and I'm so close I can taste it. And if it kills me, I will hit fifty thousand words. The book still won't be finished, which makes me laugh when I remember how difficult it used to be for me to write five thousand words for a confession.

I listen to Pandora radio online when I write and usually have only instrumental music, but for some reason I ended up with a channel that has Disney songs. So I'm bopping along to "Under the Sea" and something from "Beauty and the Beast" and then the most beautiful song began playing. The tune itself was lyrical but then I listened to the words and was almost in tears.

It's "So Close" from the movie "Enchanted" (which is enchanting if you haven't already seen it). The "so close" theme is so perfect for my hero and heroine. They've been dancing around their feelings for so long and I even have a scene with them at a charity gala with dancing and magic and a kiss that made the hero forget they were in public. And then someone comments and the magic is gone. As I heard the lyrics to "So Close" I was whispering "This is it!" When I edit that scene, this song is going to be on repeat so I can stay in the right mood.

Here is the clip from the movie. Be sure to listen to the lyrics too.

Do you believe in magic? And for those of you who write, has music ever really inspired you?

And because I already had another blog written before I heard this song, be sure to read the next post below cause I think you'll enjoy it. LOTS!

P.S. I'm at 41883 words -- 83.77% of the way to the finish line. I only have to write 8127 more words to finish.

'Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving

I was supposed to blog today about dealing with holidays and family when you're writing on a deadline.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can blog on that topic with two words: Publix Deli.

Last Sunday I ordered my turkey dinner complete with two extra free items thanks to a coupon in the Publix ad. I'll pick it up later this afternoon (or maybe I'll send the DH or #2 son). I'll add a green veggie because I refuse to pay $8.99 for their green bean casserole when I can make it myself for a fraction of that.

So since I have solved the writing/holidays/family situation, I will wander off into Hunkville. In honor of my favorite hunk being named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, I thought I'd just give you a little Hugh Jackman show.


Don't you love a man with a sense of humor?

Not only is he perfect eye candy, but he sings and dances too! Check out his performance at the 2004 Tony Awards where he also won an award for his performance in The Boy from Oz. I *heart* a man with many talents. He's doing high kicks with the Rockettes for crying out loud. Is he awesome or what?

So... what are you doing the day before Turkey Day?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The horror that is Chapter Seven

I hate chapter seven with a passion you wouldn’t believe.

In a 50-55k book, chapter seven falls around or just after the mid-point of the book for me. But don’t confuse my hatred of chapter seven as having something to do with the dreaded sagging middle. In order for the middle to sag, you must assume there’s an end somewhere. As a true-blue Pantser, I guarantee you that when I’m in chapter seven, there’s no way in hell “The End” exists.

So why the hatred of chapter seven?

It’s in chapter seven that I realize my hero’s motivation isn’t strong enough to continue to carry him through the plot. It’s where I realize what little plot I have sucks big time – and is probably overly contrived to boot. By chapter seven, I’ve decided my heroine is too stupid to live or totally unlikable, and that she and my hero have all the sexual chemistry of an oatmeal cookie. Chapter seven is where my career ends.

Now, back in the days when “editor,” “deadline,” “contract,” and “money” were simply vague concepts, dealing with chapter seven was pretty easy: I just turned off the computer and walked away.

I’d dither about, organize my sock drawer, have long conversations with the Playfriends and my CP about ways to fix the problems. I’d write newsletter articles, blog entries, and letters to the PTA. This was the opportunity to play with the first three chapters, enter them in contests, and stress over the results. I could easily kill anywhere from two weeks to two months before I’d figure out what I needed to do and get back into the book.

But those days are over. Chapter seven is still the bane of my existence, a harbinger of my downfall, proof that I suck. But I no longer have the luxury of time to wallow in the horror. Decisions have to be made quickly. The sock drawer goes unorganized as I stare at the computer screen, willing myself to figure out what happens next.

Feel pity for DG and AC who must live with me during chapter seven. In the old days, the freak-out was spread over a long period of time, and while they may have tired of listening to me whine and moan about the general I suckittude, but that’s nothing compare to the all-out disastrous nervous breakdown they had to witness during my most recent chapter seven. With no time to dither about, options had to be discovered, argued and discarded at warp speed. I paced, I talked to myself, I sent emails and called people to solicit opinions. It got ugly. You probably heard the sigh of relief when I reported to one and all that I’d typed the beautiful words “Chapter Eight.”

Am I the only one who goes through this? If not with chapter seven, when? Even if you’re not a writer, I’m sure you can relate. (And if not, lie to me :-) )


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Family Descends for Thanksgiving

This week I have the privilege (and I mean that) of having my mother and her family come stay with me for Thanksgiving. They’ll be arriving tomorrow evening and be here until Friday. We’re all excited. Me especially, because it has been years since I’ve had the fun of hanging out in the kitchen with my mother, who is a great cook. I miss those family preparations. Every Christmas I pack up the kids and head to my husband’s grandmother’s house to help prepare all the goodies for our annual Christmas Eve get-togethers, but since we only make desserts, it isn’t quite the same. Neither are the discussions, because my Mom and I talk about anything AND everything, with narry a silence in between.

So I’m really looking forward to them being here, but I’m not looking forward to the preparations. Now, normally, I’m not fanatical about cleaning my house. When it gets dirty, I’ll clean it. Eventually. But upon the imminent arrival of company, the house has to be spotless. (This is why I invite the Playfriends over all the time. It helps me keep up the housekeeping standards.) So I’ll spend today and tomorrow getting lots of dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping done (can you tell I have a thing about the floors?). Because you KNOW I've let everything go during NaNoWriMo...

The other thing I’m fanatical about is Being Prepared. I don’t like people to arrive for dinner to a meal that’s not done. It drives me crazy to not have everything I need laid out and ready when someone is coming over to work on a project. I’m just funny that way. Part of it is I don’t like keeping them waiting. The other part is I feel like a failure in some way if I’ve not completed my part of the bargain.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been buying up the groceries needed for our Thanksgiving cooking marathon. I made out a comprehensive list and started buying ahead of time to spread out the monetary damage. The plan was to have everything that would last in the house, with a last minute trip to buy perishable items. Guess what else I’m doing today?

So all this preparation may make me sound really organized, but I’m not. While I’m busy doing all this, the rest of my life is going to h*ll, because I can't be on top of everything at once. Oh well, we can't all be perfect, can we? :) And I'm still having to write until Wednesday, hopefully even more while everyone is here, if I can sneak away. I'd built in some Planned-For Days Off, but they got used up last week when my children were sick. Oh well, I'll just keep plugging along as best I can. (Check out my word count meter!!!)

How are you preparing for Thanksgiving this week? Any family coming in?


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh. My. Gosh!

I can't believe it, but oh my gosh, another country has temporarily imported their number one treat to the U.S. No, it's not Hugh Jackman, but it does have something to do with him. He's Australian and these are Australian and they're both yummy. Until now, you had to have a very good friend Down Under who was willing to send these to you.

However, Target and Pepperidge Farms and Arnott's have teamed up to introduce the American public to something I fell in love with several years ago when Aussie author Bronwyn Jameson sent me a package of these.

What is it?

Tim Tam!

And PC and I each have a couple packages. Be still my heart.
They are available now through March at Target stores only and come in the original chocolate creme flavor as well as caramel. If you've never had Tim Tams, you're in for a big treat.
Thank you, Australia! Now if you'll just export Vegemite...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight Madness

It's here! Today is the day! Fifteen year old girls (and quite a few of their moms) are rejoicing today because the golden god that is Rob Pattinson is coming to theaters today! Twilight is opening across the nation. Instigator, Rhonda and I have tickets for a showing this afternoon and only because we have to work and can't go to the midnight show. We paid extra to sit in the 21 and over section so we can ignore the kids, sip our martinis and revel in the glory of Edward.

Sigh... Edward.

Anyway...Instigator and I have had Twilight fever for a couple weeks now. You could probably tell by the pictures she's posting and the movie trailer she included a few weeks ago. We both devoured all four books (twice) and have spent far too much time looking at pictures and interviews on YouTube. At least we're not alone. There are a lot of people caught up in all of this. Makes me feel better for acting like an infatuated little girl.

I'm ashamed to admit that since I started all this, I've bought the boxed set of the hardback books, 2 t-shirts, a poster, a calendar and a book on the movie. I've bought magazines I never read for pictures and interviews. I have the CD of the soundtrack and I'm waiting on the score to be released. I even got my hands on a non-local newspaper for a spread in USA Weekend (thank you Stephanie!). A wallpaper shot of Edward is on my desktop at home and at work. He's the picture on my cell phone. He's replaced James McAvoy in my locker. It's a sickness.

Honestly, I've never been this bad about anything. Not even New Kids on the Block in 1990 and I bought my share of Tiger Beat magazine back then. I never had that fixation phase as a teenager. I never let myself spend money on junk. Harry Potter was cool, but that was it. Star Wars is just a movie to me. I've never gotten into Star Trek or anything else that sends people into a frenzy wearing costumes (aside from RHPS, which doesn't count).

For some reason - and honestly, I can't figure out how she did it, cause trust me, I'm studying these pages looking for the magical key - this story has completely entranced me and millions of others. I dream about it. I think about it all the time. I swear I've doodled "Edward Cullen" on my notepad at work while I daydream (If I start doodling "Mrs. Edward Cullen," someone stop me). I wake up in the night thinking about it and can't go back to sleep. Some nights I don't eat for reading or looking online. All the better if I lose a few pounds in the process.

I wish I could get this entraced by my own writing. :( Maven Linda once told me that I need to fall in love with my heroes in order for them to be the best, most compelling characters they can be. That this was the key for sexual tension that makes readers really believe it. I've never been able to figure this out. I mean, they're fictional characters. In love? I don't know. I hesitate to fall in love with real people, much less made up ones. But now...I get it. I totally get it. I don't know if I have the skill to make it happen in my own books, but I get it.

Instigator and I are skipping out early today for the movie, but in the meantime - have you ever been completely obsessed with a movie, a book, etc? You don't have to take it as far as I have, obviously. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Anything from a little crush to a "consider-leaving-your-spouse-if-they-showed-up-at-the-door" kind of thing. Just curious. I know that more than once in the last week I've muttered "Edward makes his own dinner..." under my breath. :)


PS. If you haven't read Twilight - do. If you have read the first one and don't know what the fuss is about - keep reading. I swear by the end of book 4, no matter what your age, you'll be hooked.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We are celebrating several things at my house today. First, today is Zilla's birthday so I need to take a minute and say

Happy Birthday, Baby
I Love You!

I'm extremely lucky to have this man in my life. He's absolutely amazing, would do anything for me and our girls and rarely allows me to do anything for him in return. There's no way I'd have achieved my goals without his support. I love him very much. I hope you have a wonderful (and not too hectic) day.

Second, we're celebrating Thanksgiving with our girls at school today. It is going to be a madhouse. I mean our family alone has nine adults and four kids coming. We're a Thanksgiving celebration all to ourselves. No one gets anything done at school today because all the kids are coming and going from class at weird and random times. However, we all really enjoy it. Because Zilla and I both work it's really hard for us to get time to spend with the girls at school. I am a little closer than he is during the day so I get there more often than he does. The girls are beside themselves knowing Daddy is coming to eat lunch with them today.

And last (Zilla, you do note that this ranked WAY below you on the totem pole right?) Twilight opens tomorrow (well, tonight at midnight). I have to be honest and say I've become slightly (okay, way more than slightly) obsessed. Hangs head and admits, I own a t-shirt, the movie companion book, a poster and a calendar. I've gone crazy. And I don't normally do this kind of stuff -for the most part I can usually act like an adult. Not over this. I am an obsessed fan girl. Rationally I realize that my fixation is with the books. And since there's nothing more for me to read right now - and the movie was only weeks away when I discovered the series - I am simply transferring my fixation. It isn't helping. I'm absolutely giddy knowing it's finally here. I can't imagine if I'd known about all this and had to wait for over a year.

So, any new celebrations or fixations you'd like to share?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lessons from NaNoWriMo Or...

...How writing 30,067 words in 18 days makes the little voices in your head seem pale in comparison.

For several years I’ve been hearing about something called NaNoWriMo and for the most part I ignored it. For several years I’ve had the opening to a book on my hard drive and for the most part I ignored it. For several years I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to “finish the damn book” and for the most part I ignored it.

In October, Angel did a short presentation at our RWA meeting about NaNoWriMo and I listened and for the most part ignored it. Are we sensing a trend here? Then something began to whirl in the back of my mind. Normally, I worry that things whirling in the back of my mind are signs of old age and should possibly be attended to by a physician.

This time, however, I knew what the whirling was and I could either ignore it AGAIN or finally do something about it.

I looked at my October calendar (because that’s when I’d have to do NaNo prep and explain the program to your family) and then the November calendar (because this is the month you wave bye-bye to most of your friends and family and descend into the writing cave). I had the usual “stuff” going on in November, but did the NaNo folks not remember there’s a big holiday involving turkey and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie in there? Yeah, NaNo isn’t just a US thing, but come on. How about a month when the only holiday is National Potato Day?

Somewhere about the middle of the second week of October I began to seriously consider the program and even threw my book idea out for discussion at our retreat’s brainstorming and plotting session. When nobody rolled their eyes, and when the epilogue made Smarty Pants cry, I thought maybe it wasn’t as sucky as I thought and at some point during that weekend, I made the decision to be an official participant.

I signed up on the NaNoWriMo website. Angel and I attended the Kick-Off meeting and I’ve been to a couple of the local group write-ins along with the one Angel hosted at her home. I made myself a plotting board, and I pulled out the very thick folder of notes – snippets of dialogue I’d written down, characterization bits, even one whole section of a scene where the hero tells the heroine that he won’t allow himself pleasure until he’s sure she’s been pleasured, and that insisting she enjoy sex isn’t blackmail. I took ALL those bits of paper and separated them into piles corresponding to a loose chapter by chapter outline I’d made.

I can already see the pantsters growing faint, and I’m not sure any future books would be written this way, but you see, this particular one has been around for about 4-5 years. Lots of folks have told me I should toss it and start something new. But the characters wouldn’t let me abandon them. They’d talk to me when my head hit the pillow at night. That’s the reason for so many little pieces of paper.

Sooooo, on November 1, armed with a plotting board, folders with all the pieces of paper taped inside and a driving desire to FINALLY finish a book, I began the NaNoWriMo process. About ten pages in, I started getting this sick feeling in my stomach, but for the most part I ignored it.

The originator of NaNo says most people don’t finish a novel because they don’t have a deadline. That may be true. Self-motivation is difficult. Writers with contracts have no choice (hi PC! hi Instigator!) but the rest of us? Deadlines and word count competitions with rewards attached are often the key. NaNo had a deadline and it’s the ultimate word count competition. But there’s no reward.

Or is there?

Why on earth am I busting my butt to write 1667 words every day and hole up in my office looking like Joan Wilder in the opening scene of “Romancing the Stone?” (Just as an aside, one of my writing soundtracks is the music from that movie, minus the “How the West Was Won” theme cause I can’t find it.) Why have I lived on sweet iced tea and stale sandwiches for lunch? Why is my DVR filled with programs I can’t watch til I’ve met my daily word count? Why?

Bragging rights.

I don’t care if this book sells. Okay, that’s a lie. But I want to be able to put that little NaNoWriMo winner graphic on the blog and be able to say “I finished the damn book” and I did it before I was eligible to draw Social Security. (That was an honest concern at one point.)

I’m not a hugely competitive person and I have no idea where this drive came from, but for right now, I’m not arguing with it. The DH has been superbly supportive. He even went to the campground last weekend when there was no volleyball planned just so I’d have the house quiet to write. He’s been great about the not-so-fancy dinners he’s had all month. My mom emails to ask about my word count, and my sister has been a sounding board. My book is set in Atlanta and my nephew went to college at Georgia Tech so sis has a pretty good feel for the town. She’s made some terrific suggestions that are now part of the story, but her best suggestion was that we meet in Atlanta the middle of next month, stay at the hotel where my hero and heroine spend their honeymoon and have a “She Finished the Book” trip. She even emailed yesterday to say “I had my monthly lunch with my girlfriends today and told them about you and your story. They're behind you all the way! The general consensus was ‘You go, girl!’"

So what have been my lessons from NaNoWriMo? I’ve learned I can do something if I want to do it badly enough and that the reward that motivates me might be something I never imagined. I’ve learned that while 1667 words doesn’t sound like much, it can feel like having 1667 root canals when you’re trying to pull those words out of your arse. I know NaNo is supposed to be an exercise in writing minus the internal editor and the search for the perfect word. But it’s frustrating when even the imperfect word eludes you. I’ve learned there’s a whole world of people out there ready to pat you on the back and encourage you. There’s also a world of people who don’t “get” it, so you avoid them.

But my #1 lesson from National Novel Writing Month involves a little carved wooden 1¼ x 1½ inch box off the top of my desk. On January 1st of this year I wrote “Finish the damn book” on a little slip of paper and I put it inside. On December 1st I can write “DONE” on that paper and put it in my validation file. And the next time someone asks me “What is your book about?” I don’t have to shrug and explain I only write short stories. I can tell them that my book is about mail-order sperm and a marriage of convenience but the true story is about the little voice in my head that finally said “Don’t ignore it.”

What big life lessons have you learned? If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, tell us about your experience.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At least it's over...

The Election, that is. And I’m relieved. Not because of the results, but because I was very tired of the campaigning. I’ve never been so glad NOT to live in a battleground state (although it might have been cool to attend a rally). Alabama’s electoral votes were a given on day one, so the national candidates pretty much left us alone, but we had a congressional race that turned nasty. I was so tired of the commercials, the mailings, the robocalls… The poor folks in Presidential battleground states must have felt like they were under siege from the candidates. I know they were glad to see the polls close and this election come to an end.

Regardless of how I feel about a political candidate, I have great admiration for anyone who runs for public office. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there and take the flack. Your entire life becomes fair game for anyone to criticize and question. Good dog, I can’t even imagine it. (Okay, so I can, and it’s not pretty. Especially when you were stupid until the age of 22.) What kills me though is the fact that so much of the scrutiny and “hard-hitting” questions are complete and utter crap. With all due respect to Joe Biden, past may be prologue, but what’s more important is what I’m doing today with the info from my prologue.

(I wrote a paper in college blasting Tipper Gore for her campaign to require labels on albums with explicit and/or violent lyrics. It was CENSORSHIP! A VIOLATION of the First Amendment! NAZIS! Stone her! Shall I forever be judged on my stand on that one issue? A stand I made at the age of 18? An issue on which I’ve since adjusted my thinking to at least not compare it to Nazism? Oh, and let’s not even talk about some of my friends and their stupidity. One was an avowed anarchist at 17 – and Goth before Goth was cool. He’s now a city councilman and respected community leader. I expect to see him do bigger and better things in the coming years—unless of course I release that great photo of him in the Anarchy Now! t-shirt and black nail polish.)

I wouldn’t make it through one primary… much less an entire campaign. I certainly wouldn’t make it through gracefully, either. Not with my temper. I'd snap at the first stupid question about my sixth-grade boyfriend. (See, anger issues. Something else for my opponent to use against me.)

So Candidates, regardless of which ticket you ran on – Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green Party, or Lunatic Fringe – you have my respect. I admire you because you care enough to put your entire life up for discussion in order to serve. Even if I vehemently disagree with every plank in your platform, I’m impressed with your passion.

You may not have gotten my vote, but you have my respect. Even if I think you are a complete whack job.

Have you ever run for an office? Even if it was just for secretary of the Junior Class? Did you win?

~Who ran unopposed in her recent Chapter election~

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is NOT a political thread. The Playground doesn’t take sides. Who you voted for is none of my business, and I don’t want to know. Any comment about a specific candidate – good or bad – or the outcome of the Presidential election will be deleted.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Write Ins

Believe it or not, writers can sometimes have a difficult struggle to get words on the page, especially within a reasonable amount of time. Let me rephrase that: It isn't the words that are the problem, usually it is just the time. Finding the time, that is. As many of you are aware, each of the Playfriends is participating in some form in National Novel Writing Month during November. But getting 50,000 words written, even in daily increments, isn’t easy. So the people over at NaNo suggested having group write-ins.

Yes, it is sort of like a sit in, but much more fun and definitely productive. Writers descend on their place of choice, loaded down with laptops, alphies, pen, storyboards, and plot notes. Then we write. Sometimes it is a coffee shop, restaurant, pub, or, in my case, my house. Yes, there are lots of distractions there, but there are also lots of toys and computers to occupy my preschool age child. Also plenty of plugs, a refrigerator to keep drinks cold, and no one will complain when the timer goes off.

That’s right, timer. Because we aren’t silly enough to think we’ll write the entire time we’re there, I set up a schedule. 45 minutes on, 15 off. For those who don't mind a task master, we’d do a 45 minute stint of writing, then stop for snacks and to discuss any problems. Then back to the grind stone.

Sound weird? Maybe. But does it work? Definitely. With a little self-control, and lots of sugar and caffeine. Besides, you knew writers weren’t normal, didn’t you? :)

Have you ever tried anything of this sort?


P.S. Check out our current totals in the blog sidebar. We need all the encouragement we can get!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Birthday Winners!

Sorry for the lateness of today's post. Yesterday was so fun, I slept in this morning. :)

I know you are eager to see our winners from this last week. Thank you to everyone for joining us in celebrating our 3rd birthday. We appreciate not only you showing up, but all the wonderful comments and compliments. We are truly grateful, and hope to see much more of you on the Playground.

This week's winners:

Monday: Terry S, email
Tuesday: Susan, email
Wednesday: Ellen, email
Thursday: flchen1, email
Friday: Caffey, email

Please email with your snail mail address, so we can get your birthday prizes mailed to you. Any prizes not claimed within 7 days will be regifted.

Thank you to all our readers and commenters this week!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Third Birthday Celebration!

Most third birthday parties involve Barney, balloons, and one of those gigantic bouncy castles. Inevitably, someone will end up skinning a knee or throwing up after too much cake. I'm pleased to report that none of those things should be a problem today. (Although we could have a bouncy castle if you really want one. They're tiring though. Maybe if I could bounce on it with Rodrigo di Speedo...) Anyway, today is the 3rd anniversary of the Writing Playground! We're very excited about our big day and we're glad you're here to party with us.

This week, everyone has been sharing their best moments of the last three years. Before we pop the cork and bring in the dancing boys, I've got to share mine, too. It's hard to choose. Going last, a lot of my answers have been taken. We've had so many great things happen, met so many wonderful people...

But I have to say that the coolest thing that has happened to me is a direct result of knowing so many great people. In the food chain of the romance industry, I feel like I fall pretty low. I aspire to be higher, but I know my place. In the years I've been involved, I've heard lots of stories. Some good, some bad. Many dealing with editors. Some about the great lengths that people will go to get an editor's attention. Most of the time it's laughable, really, but the need to publish puts some of us over the edge.

At conference, you can always see the fear in the eyes of people with the "publishing professional" ribbons. They are the targets of the unsolicited manuscript. The impromptu elevator pitch. The tastiest prey for women who have flown cross country to sell their books. I've always prided myself on being cool. Not stalking the editors I've met. Not harassing the NYT authors I've been introduced to. I don't grovel at their feet, but I try to be professional.

So this year, at my fourth conference, I was pretty comfortable. I'd yet to fall to pieces or stutter over the standard questions. Again, low on the food chain, so even if I did make a fool of myself, hardly anyone would care.

Then it happened. Standing in the lobby of the hotel, minding my own business, I spy an editor. I give her a quick smile, then ignore her. Be cool. To my surprise, the editor actually comes up and talks to me. For several uninterrupted minutes. Editors have very little time to waste so this was really special. Out of my peripheral I could see other people glaring at me. People who fought for appointments to pitch to her and here I was just casually chatting about jetlag and San Francisco traffic.

I have to say that being approached by an editor instead of the other way around made me feel really good. And that is the coolest thing that has happened to me in the last three years. Maybe by next year's party, I'll have something even cooler to share.

Ok - enough of that. Time to party. If you get a chance between massages, chocolate martinis and oogling cabana boys, share your favorite part of the Playground over the last three years. Maybe you enjoy the Sandbox interviews best or find our writing challenges amusing. Let us know so we can be sure to keep it up in the years to come. Like all the other posts this week, a commenter will win some goodies from me, so be sure to pop in and say something!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So, this week we've been concentrating on our birthday and the amazing things that have happened to us over the past three years - thanks in huge part to you guys, our readers!! As we were sitting around a table on our retreat planning this week of celebration one of the Playfriends asked a rhetorical question, "What's the best thing that's happened in the last three years?" We kinda already knew what the answer would be for each of us, although as you can guess that experience varied. For me it was selling my first book and being able to share that moment with the friends I'd found here on the Playground - not just the Playfriends but the friends we'd made along the way.

But while that moment was amazing, I think the best thing about being a part of the Playground goes well beyond the actual things that have happened to each of us. It's something less tangible than getting a phone call, winning a contest or making a sale. It's the abstract thing called friendship.

The five of us often refer to each other as sisters of the heart and the term is so true. These women are part of my heart, my soul and my life. An integral part that I'm not sure I could function without anymore. When something happens - good, bad or indifferent - these are the women I call to cry with, laugh with, bitch with and strategize with. They're my first line of defense against anything that might hurt my family or my confidence and they're the first ones to tell me to get my head out of my ass when I'm being a prick.

I trust them with my life. I trust them with my kids. I trust them with my confidence and my sometimes fragile ego. I would not have sold my first book without them. And I wouldn't have made it through the process of selling my second - at least not with my sanity intact.

We can be extremely co-dependent and have no boundaries when it comes to information or sharing. These women know all my secrets and I know all of theirs (at least I better! :-)). We compliment each others strengths and weaknesses. I'm extrememly lucky and priviledged to have these women in my life.

So while the single best day of my life over the last three years is hands down the day I made my first sale, the most important thing in my life over the last three years is the friendships I've formed with these women.

What's the most important or uplifting thing that's happened in your life over the last three years?


P.S. I've recently downloaded all these amazing Twilight publicity pictures which I have no idea what to do with. So, I'm going to randomly place them into blogs over the next few months. This one is of Kristen and Rob at a Vanity Fair shoot.

P.P.S I will be giving away a prize pack today to one commenter. It will include a signed copy of Whispers in the Dark along with whatever I grab out of my prize stash. Winners for the entire week will be announced this weekend.

I'm finally one of the cool kids

I wasn't a cool kid in high school. And not in junior high (that's what we called it back in the dark ages when I went to school) or even elementary school. I was the plain little girl with the brown pixie hair cut who was smart and good at kick ball. In fourth grade, I was the first girl to kick the ball all the way to the end of the playground and down the embankment. I was on equal footing with the boys, and the cool girls thought I was unladylike. Pfft! I'll take the glory of a long kick over being prissy any old day.

See? I've always been at home on a playground.

So here's my list of PM's coolest moments of the past three years.

~When we started, I never imagined we'd have fans. Or be recognized. It was a real squee moment in Atlanta when someone said "You're the PM from the Writing Playground, aren't you?" I just wish I could tell those prissy girls where to shove it. My 40th high school reunion will be next year. Maybe I'll get my chance.

~ The blog was my idea and I'm pretty sure I dragged the other Playfriends into the experience kicking and screaming. Having 5 people makes it a lot easier for obvious reasons. I've blogged on all sorts of topics and y'all have shared lots of life's exciting moments with me including my first sale to the confessions magazines in March 2006, #2 son's college graduation in May 2006, getting my braces off in June 2006, and the birth of my granddaughter two days later. You've all made those moments even more exciting because I had someone to share them with.

~You've also been with us through our group adventures -- three national conferences (and the decision to keep PC away from any and all cutting instruments), several mountain retreats with our RWA chapter, the others' trip to Scotland (which won't happen again without me) and our first road trip, which involved a meth lab bust in the motel room directly behind ours.

~ We've had lots of guest bloggers over the past three years and it's always fun to read what other people have to say. A guest blog gig is a chance for authors to promote their books, and I know that our own PC and Instigator will be guest blogging all over the blogosphere too. But when we were asked to do our first joint blog with Michelle Buonfiglio, I was stoked. And then her blog moved from Blogger and when we had our annual gig with her last week, we were on Lifetime. LIFETIME!!

~ I'll admit, some weeks I look at the calendar and moan, "Oh heck, it's Tuesday and I have to blog tomorrow." (That's not really what I say; I cleaned it up some.) Some weeks the topic falls right into your lap and others you're scrambling around trying to find something to write about. I don't have goats, though the rabbits eating my flowers did give me blog fodder for a while. Same for our website content. Just Monday we were emailing back and forth trying to figure out who has the December book review. But having folks at national conference tell me how much they enjoy the website and blog makes it all worthwhile.

~ Even though I could kick the ball over the embankment at R. Brown McAllister Elementary School in Concord, North Carolina, I still acted like a good little girl. I mean, I made sure my skirt didn't fly up and show my underwear, and I didn't beat up Joey G. when he called me "cow face" (though I did go to see him in an all-male revue about twenty years ago, and while he showed me HIS underwear, I didn't show him mine). Back then we had to wear dresses and skirts every day, so having your underwear show was a constant concern. Today I worry about presenting a professional appearance as a writer and member of RWA and my local chapter, and it warms the cockles of my heart to have authors compliment us on our professionalism and say how happy they are to contribute an article, interview or guest blog. (Just what are cockles and what's so special about warming them?)

~ This year, I had an extra-special cool moment when my mother took over for me on the blog when I was in San Francisco for conference. She pops in from time to time to comment; I even set up her account and made her a Maxine avatar because she loves Maxine. So when Angel advertised for guest bloggers for conference week, my mom asked if family members could apply. What were the other Playfriends gonna do? Tell an old woman no? ;-) Sorry, Mom. You're not old. Her comments are a high spot of my day. We live 500 miles apart and don't get to visit as often as either of us would like. And how many other eighty-something women do you know who can surf the internet, do instant messaging, send emails and blog?

I want to tell you about my mom. I recently had a feature piece published in True Experience's Experience of a Lifetime column. It was about my mother and how she was widowed at age 43 and left with me and my younger sister to raise and educate. When I received my contributor copy, I sent it to my mom and received back a letter from her that had me blubbering all over my keyboard. My mom's my hero -- or I suppose that should be she-ro -- because when life handed her a huge bowl of lemons, she made lemonade.

My mom succeeded in a career that was dominated by men (newspaper advertising) and was the first woman to have her name on the newspaper's masthead. My sister and I both graduated from college, we've both been married for over 30 years and our kids have all attended college (sis has one son). Even in her retirement she continues to give to her church and community. She's mom to me and my sister, gran to three grandsons and now great-gran to my granddaughter. So I'm pleased as punch that she reads the blog and tickled pink when she comments. Next summer when we're at conference in DC, I'll ask her if she wants the gig again.

I'll pick a winner from today's commenters to receive a Playground Monitor prize package. No telling what it will include, but you can be sure it'll have a romance novel in it. All the winners will be posted on Saturday.

Were you a cool kid? I promise I won't hate you if you were. I'm all over that name-calling stuff from fourth grade.

P.S. Keep track of our NaNoWriMo progress over in the sidebar. I'm at 19515 words. And I'm writing chapter 4 1/2. I know -- books don't have a chapter 4 1/2, but I got to a good ending point with chapter 4 and still had stuff to write that didn't fit in chapter 5. Hence, chapter 4 1/2.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PC's Coolest Thing

Ooh, I love our Birthday week. So much has happened in the last three years, yet it doesn’t seem like all that long ago we were doing our first photo shoot and trying to figure out the workings of Blogger. (Personally, I’m still trying to figure out the workings of Blogger – since it hates me and all.)

What a ride it’s been! Sometimes I’ll randomly click on a month in the archives and see what we were blogging about and it’s like living it all over again. I’m just so glad I had the Playfriends and all of y’all to share it with.

So while there are many, many things that are vying for the coolest thing to happen in the last three years – the first time a stranger came up to me and said, “I read your blog,” is definitely close to the top! – my “Coolest Thing” comes from y’all every single day.

The fact that you even take the time to drop by – and whether or not you comment, we know you were here – makes me happier than you can imagine. You share this journey with us, and you’re an important part of it. You celebrate and commiserate with us. You ask about the kids and the goats and listen to us complain about just about anything (including kids and goats). When I got rejected, you sympathized. You sent emails and cyber hugs; you told me your rejection story in order to make me feel better. You encouraged me to go on. When I sold, you celebrated with me. You told me that my Call encouraged and inspired you to keep writing and dreaming.

We wonder about you. Where you're from. Where you are on your personal journey. If a regular commenter disappears, we worry about you. We're tickled when you come back. We want to celebrate and commiserate with you, too, and we love to hear your news.

We didn’t set out to be role-models or inspirations or even to claim we knew a damn thing about anything. We just wanted to connect, to make some friends out there in cyberspace, and it’s turned out to be more than we ever hoped for.

So the Coolest Thing from the last three years is y’all. No contest.

Thank you for making this so freakin’ cool.


Hmmm, I’m all misty-eyed, but I can see lots of books on my bookshelf that need good homes. Comment to win!

Winners will be selected each day, but we'll do one winners post for the week on Saturday.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!!

This week holds a special place in the Playfriend’s hearts—it marks the 3rd anniversary of our website and blog. That’s right! For 3 years we’ve been sharing our tales of writing, disappointments, celebrations, and our lives. To our amazement, you continue to tune in to talk with us and our special guests.

This week we’ll be celebrating with lots of blog giveaways and a big birthday party on Friday. We enjoy giving back to our readers. We’ll also spend time each day talking about what we’ve learned since we started this endeavor and our most memorable moments along the way.

For me, it has to be the first time someone came up to me and said, “Aren’t you Angel from the Writing Playground?” To be recognized is such an awesome experience. That it happened in front of my sister—priceless! Thank you, Liza.

One beautiful thing that I’ve gained, especially through the blogging, is confidence. Over the past 3 years, I’ve been encouraged (read: pushed) to approach authors and publishing professionals to appear on the website and blog. A few said no, even more said yes. Also, tending to be a shy person, I used to limit myself to sharing only with those closest to me. On the blog, I’ve discussed just about every emotion and experience that’s come my way through this crazy thing called writing, only to find out… I’m not alone. To talk about issues and problems with the Playfriends and our Readers, share ideas, tips, and ogle cute guys… That’s been an eye-opening and endearing experience.

Thank you for that!

What has been the biggest confidence booster in your life?


P.S. One commenter will be selected for an Angel prize pack! And don’t forget to keep an eye on our NaNo progress meters.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Farewell

I had another blog for today, but I decided to push it to another time when I read the news. There, amongst all the political whatnot, was an article that said author Michael Crichton had died. He was only sixty six and had been privately battling cancer. I had no idea.

I know we're all about the romance genre here, but we are first and foremost readers, and I couldn't let a successful author's passing go without mention. He'd sold over 150 million books. I can't even imagine.

I've actually read quite a few of his books. I read Jurassic Park and the Lost World before they were movies. I've seen the movie adaptations of Andromeda Strain and Disclosure. He wrote several screenplays, including the one for the film "Twister," which is one of my favorites. So many of his works were translated to screen. He got to work with Stephen Spielberg. I didn't realize until reading the tribute to him that he created the series ER. Its sad that the show actually outlived him.

He had a flair for blending compelling characters, moral dilemnas, technology and politics. He often took heat for his work from critics, but his appeal to his readers was undeniable. Although he was quite outspoken about his views and used his books to some extent to express himself, even his harshest political adversaries had to admit the books were riveting.

As a writer, I can only imagine achieving that level of success. I struggle every day just to get words on pages so an editor can read and reject them. The idea of having blockbuster films, Emmy winning television shows, Time Magazine covers, and amazing book sales under my belt is a far off pipe dream.

Do you have a favorite Michael Crichton book? Have you seen any of the films? I have to say that I always thought the book Jurassic Park was leaps and bounds better than the film. If you're unfamiliar with his work, you can at least appreciate and credit him with the career upswing of George Clooney. :)


PS. On a happier note, next week is our 3rd Birthday Celebration! Join us as we party the week away. There will be prizes and cake and as always...cabana boys, so you don't want to miss it!

(Photo courtesy of Keith Meyers/The New York Times)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another Chapter in the Animal Saga

So, things have been rather quiet on the animal front here lately. In fact, I've been the only one to bring home a new animal in months. I actually like the donkey now and I was starting to get complacent. Which is why I was blindsided last Saturday when I can home from a wonderful trip to Birmingham after attending the Southern Magic reader's luncheon only to find TWO new animals. Not one but TWO.

Admittedly, it was late when I got home. Dark out and after the girl's bedtime although they were both still up watching TV. The first words out of Sweet Pea's mouth when I walked in the door were, "Don't be mad at daddy," which of course meant that there was obviously a reason to be mad at Zilla.

She proceeded to tell me (in a cute and rambling way) that a goat had somehow found it's way inside our fence. The ugliest, silliest, most hideous goat I've ever seen. It has half of one horn missing and its tongue is too big for it's mouth - it lolls out the side constantly. She stands barely halfway up the shoulders of our two males.

This, however, is more funny than concerning. What's one more goat? And besides, I think it irks Zilla just a little bit that his premium goat bloodlines are being diluted. The best we can figure one of the neighbors saw it wandering the area, mistook it for one of ours and since we weren't home decided to help us by putting it back inside our fence. We've had animals escape the fence before but never break their way in.

What's more concerning that funny (at least to me) is that the second addition to our family is Freddy - the frog - who at the moment is living in my good Pampered Chef mixing bowl topped with tin foil. He is an interesting little thing though. Apparently he changes color based on his surroundings. Although what I really want is my bowl back...after a good swishing with bleach of course.

So, the brood increases. I'm wondering what will appear the next time I go out of town for the day. At least the HOD Luncheon isn't until May. I have a few months to prepare.


P.S. As you probably already know, we're all participating in NaNoWriMo this month. However, my daily totals are going to stay put for a little while as I just got copy edits in today. I knew as soon as I started working on something else I'd get interrupted. Should have started writing earlier :-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

WIP's and Chains


If you travel in the blogosphere you’ve probably seen this word on writers’ blogs and wondered “What in the heck is that?”

It stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a novel (no pun intended) approach to writing a novel. Participants began writing on November 1 and the goal is to write a 50,000-word book by midnight November 30.

The internal editor is tossed out with the trash and your biggest goal is not quality but quantity. Write, write, write and get to that 50K mark so you can have bragging rights. You can edit in December. By creating a thirty-day window, writers must be persistent in order to meet their goal. That means writing 1667 words every day (or double that if you take a day off). When they picked November, did they forget about Thanksgiving and my son coming home from grad school to visit? And maybe the grandbaby being here for a day or two?

NaNoWriMo is a worldwide effort, so all around the globe writers are chained to their desks, bichok-ing (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) and maybe doing a little griping and screaming too.

The Playfriends are all participating (you will be able to monitor our WIPs -- works in progress -- with the word meters in the sidebar). Angel and I are each writing a book from scratch (though to be legal I had to re-write the first chapter I wrote a couple years ago). We (along with some of our other RWA chapter mates) have worked on plotting boards to guide us along the way.

Here's my plotting board. It's divided into chapters with sticky notes containing the key elements for each chapter, both from the hero's and heroine's point of view. If one of the secondary characters appears in that chapter, she gets a sticky note too. Hearts indicate S-E-X.

This is my hero and the woman who is his office manager. You can see the key elements of chapter one. Are you hooked yet?

This is my heroine and her best friend/co-worker. Can you tell I've been on a Law and Order SVU kick since February. Guess SVU can be my Tuesday reward if I've met my word count, huh?

Here's the first of those heart notes. You'll have to wait til Chapter 6 for them to do the horizontal mambo, but they'll be plenty of sexual tension before.

We had our first "write-in" on Monday at Angel's house. Four of us attended the four-hour session. It. Was. Awesome! I had my best daily word count to date. I'm convinced your own home or office is the worst place to write, though eventually I need to overcome this. I can't always escape to the library or Starbucks or someone else's house.

We had all the necessary tools available as evidenced by this photo. Here's Mary at the table with the laptops, notes, incense, magical mystical mojo beads (how's that for a mouthful -- NaNoWriMo Mojo) and caffeine. It seemed to work well because I wrote more in four hours on Monday than I wrote all day Saturday or Sunday. I can't wait to schedule the next one.

Of course, others have their own writing poses. Witness Angel in her recliner with the Alphasmart. She has some sort of holder with a gel wrist rest (she can probably tell everyone what it is) and when she was reclined, she was rocking and rolling on her Alphie. Sorry I didn't get a photo of Kathy on the sofa with her lap desk and uber-small laptop.

Instigator is working on the sequel to her debut novel from Blaze. Problem Child is working on her next book for Modern Heat. And Smarty Pants is writing 25K on a book that’s been requested and 25K on a new project.

Be warned that we may all write blogs that don’t make sense or even forget altogether until someone emails and says, “Hey stupid! Where’s your blog?”

Have you ever undertaken an intensive project like this? Anyone else participating in NaNo? Tell us about your book and keep us updated on YOUR progress too.

For more info on plotting boards, check out Angel's article on the Writing Playground website.

P.S. The following commenters have won books from Michelle from Monday's blog: MV Freeman, Sherry Werth, Kammie, Cheri2628, Rebekah E and Virginia. Please send your name and snail mail information to the Playground Monitor ASAP and she will forward it to Michelle.

P.P.S. Liza is Lori's winner from yesterday. Please email Smarty Pants with your name and snail mail info.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Guest Blogger - Lori Handeland

The Playfriends are pleased to welcome good friend Lori Handeland back to the blog. She's kicking off a brand new series today and we're all a'twitter waiting to hear about it. Make some room on the jungle gym for her. Take it away, Lori...

One of the best things about being a writer are the friends you make in the business. Once your life is consumed by the writing bug only others who are consumed by it can understand. I do have other friends—Mom friends (moms of my son’s friends, or moms I’ve met through school and sports functions), high school friends, family friends—but I can’t talk to them about writing. They don’t get it, and they don’t need to.

I have a group of writing friends I meet once a month for breakfast. I count the days every month. Several hours of chatting about writing after doing it in silence for the rest of the month is heaven.

Every morning I have a group of writing friends I exchange e-mails with. All day long, I tally up the thing I will tell them tomorrow. These friends are all over the country—North Carolina, Delaware, Alabama, Northern Wisconsin.

And when RWA comes around I can’t wait to get there and spend time with my long distance friends who I haven’t seen since the last RWA. But when we meet it’s as if we haven’t been apart since we “talk” every day. The bond of writing—fostered by the internet—runs deep.

I still remember years and years ago when I met one of my writing friends for the very first time (LJ!). We hugged and sat down and started chatting and the people we were with said, “How long have you two known each other?” We laughed and said, “Just met.” But really we’d been pals for years online.

There’ve been several times in the past fifteen years I’ve been writing that I was ready to throw in the towel and quit. The only thing that kept me at it were my writing friends. Both their encouragement and the fun I had with them, neither of which I wanted to give up if I turned my back on this wonderful and agonizing career.

One of the themes I like to use in my writing is friendship. In my debut urban fantasy ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY (out today!) the heroine, Elizabeth Phoenix has got problems. You see, the world is coming to an end and there are demons all over the place.

Liz discovers that the Grigori, the fallen angels of Biblical Legend mated with humans and produced a legion of supernatural creatures known as the Nephilim. They’ve been here since the beginning of time, wearing human faces but beneath they are all the monsters of legend—vampires, shape shifters and more. There’s a secret society that fights them and she’s just been put in charge of everyone.

Lucky for Liz, she’s got two great friends to help her. Jimmy Sanducci, a boy she met when they were foster children in a group home on Milwaukee’s south side. They fell in love at seventeen; he disappeared at eighteen. But now he’s back and right in the center of a huge mystery. Who killed their foster mother and why? Jimmy’s always had secrets and now Liz is discovering more about him than she ever wanted to know. She’s going to have to work with him to save the world, which is going to be difficult since she wants to both kill him and kiss him. But they have a past, one that has linked them for years and will continue to link them in the future.

And then there’s Megan Murphy. The wife of Liz’s former partner when she was on the police force, Megan now owns a cop bar where Liz works. Though Liz blames herself for her partner’s death, Megan doesn’t. Megan is a tough, smart, supportive friend. Liz wouldn’t have been able to go on without her.

Though I don’t have to worry about demons coming to kill me, I still value my friends as much as Liz does. And I believe that having such good friends allows me to accurately explore the relationship in my writing. When I read, I also gravitate to books about friendship.

How about you? Do you enjoy portrayals of friendship in novels? What’s your favorite set of friends in a novel you’ve read recently or not so recently?

One commenter will pick up an autographed copy of Any Given Doomsday, so be sure to post! You can also check out the prequel to Any Given Doomsday on her website -!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sufferin’ Suffrage, It’s a Party!

Thanks, Playfriends, for havin’ the Bellas and me to the Sandbox today for our 3rd annual simul-blog! Grab a cabana boy – but only with his permission; we’re oglers, not mashers – order yourself a cyber-cocktail from Rodrigo (your online concierge) and start the party comments to win some swag. Trust me: I’ve chosen our serving boys carefully, selecting only those who fervently believe there’s nothing so sexy as a woman who reads romance, and who regularly enjoys a vigorous go of it (behind the polling-booth curtain)!


I am a political animal. Got some really strong views, none of which I’ll inflict on anybody while in professional guise. Yet, I’ll tell you what gets my red, white and blue Vickie’s Secrets in a non-partisan twist like nothing else: folks who kvetch and moan about candidates and the government, but never take part in the process.

While it’s our First Amendment gar-awn-tee that lets us complain -- yet never bother with casting an actual ballot -- it’s the 19th Amendment that should nudge whatever part of our guilty consciences need nudging to get our peep-toe pumped tootsies over to the ballot box tomorrow.

103 years! That’s the small amount of time we chicks have been allowed to rock the vote. Well, except Native American women, who didn’t get the vote till after the 1924 act that made them citizens of, um, America.

It took a constitutional amendment to give you and me the luxury of blowing off voting tomorrow. And all “Suffragists” had to do to make that a reality was be demeaned, marginalized, and made willing fools of by the very U.S. government that protects the inalienable rights of all U.S. citizens.

So, all these women fighting for a couple hundred years so you and I can vote – or not – leads my thoughts, naturally to one thing –


Did it really take U.S. politicians a couple hundred years to realize how much more sex they’d get if they’d just give their babes the ballot? I mean, their wives all cannot have been happy that the guys were labeling Suffragettes unnatural, manly, an affront to what constitutes real and good and feminine women and wives.

And I’m thinking that even if a pol’s woman weren’t fighting for the right to vote, she just might have cut off the big guy in sisterly solidarity w/out his ever knowing the real reason. We’ve read enough romances with the same theme – a group of women leaving their menfolk high/dry to make a point – to know that form of civil disobedience can work to great effect. No wonder men never smiled in those old photographs!

Dayum, but we women do roar!

What makes you proud to be a woman? What makes you feel most connected to your fellow chicks?” If you did have a cabana boy, what the heck would you do with him? (It’s money/mouth time, girlfriends)!

Vote for 6 Prizes! Presidential Prize: 12 pack of new romances! V.P. Prize: 6 pack of new romances! Also-ran Prizes: “Salvation in Death” ARC/Robb; “Faefever” Moning; “Mr. Cavendish, I Presume” Quinn; “All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire” Sparks

P.S. Click on the red-white-and-blue logo to the left to visit Lifetime's Every Woman Counts page.

And in case you missed the link at the top, the Playfriends're blogging here today.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Christie Craig Blog Winner

We've had several folks inquire about the winner of Christie Craig's book from her blog last month.

A winner was selected, contacted via email and has claimed the prize.

Sorry if there was any confusion.