Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Believe

I really need this today, so I'm sharing, in case some of you need this, too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome to the Mid-Willamette Valley Romance Writers weekly progress check-in.

We want to hear from you!

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Today's Moment of Zen

For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I've missed my last few blog posts. My apologies. I'll post the next entry in the web design series soon.

In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures to ease you into your weekend. They're from a recent trip to the always beautiful Carmel, California. Enjoy!

The first picture was taken along Highway 1, somewhere between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur.

The next picture was taken on the shoreline walking path between Monterey and Pacific Grove.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome to the Mid-Willamette Valley Romance Writers weekly progress check-in.

We want to hear from you!

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

ON BEING A RECOVERING WORKAHOLIC


It's Thursday. My day to blog and my mind is on vacation--at least it's trying to be. :)

Some of you may have noticed I'm slowing down. Scaling back. Relaxing more and trying to remember to breathe deeply. 

This is a challenge for me, and I've decided I'm a recovering workaholic who keeps falling off the wagon.

I was born with an extra responsibility gene. My mother tells me I was "helping" her with dishes by the age of three. She dragged over a couple chairs for me to stand on so I could reach the sink and rinse dishes. 

By the time I was twelve, I was babysitting, fixing meals and cleaning the house while my mom worked, and driving the pick-up while my dad and brothers loaded hay bales on it. 

From there I worked in local restaurants, then for the state for over thirty years, then started my own businesses, including writing and rescuing doggies. 

I've lived decades where my worth was measured by how hard I worked, no matter what personal traumas I went through. I rarely took vacations--unless they involved working at something different--yet I never felt I was doing enough. 

I've finally realized how crazy that is and I'm trying to invent a life I've not experienced. 

I'm starting with baby steps. I sat on my back deck this morning with a cup of orange juice and enjoyed the rain. Obviously I'm an Oregonian if rain makes me happy--though it's a covered deck so I wasn't getting wet. :)

I've been reclaiming my yard from several years of neglect and love the dirt therapy. (The picture is my cleaned up narrow side yard, which I have not let most people see for quite some time.) I'm also planting my version of a garden, which means putting things in pots so I can take them with the doggies and me when we move to the farm. 

And I'm trying not to feel too guilty for this late post. And I have edits to finish on a story. 

Some of this may not sound like I'm slowing down but substituting one task for another. However, I'm doing things at a slower pace, saying no sometimes, and taking breaks to simply enjoy. As I said, I'm taking baby steps during this workaholic recovery stage.

How do the rest of you keep your workaholic tendencies under control? Or do you let them have free rein?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome to the Mid-Willamette Valley Romance Writers weekly progress check-in.

We want to hear from you!

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

Monday, May 06, 2013

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome! This is the Mid-Willamette Valley Romance Writers weekly progress check-in. We want to hear from you!

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Rogues Angels Present: a May Day anthology

Celebrating the release of the Angel's a May Day anthology. So happy it is finished and so proud of the work my fellow angels did to make this happen.


Cover by Genene Valleau--gorgeous



Title: a May Day anthology
Author: Christine Young, C. L. Kraemer, Rosemary Indra, Genene Valleau
Genre: Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: www.roguephoenixpress.com

May Day has been celebrated since Roman times with dancing, baskets of flowers, and bonfires. In this collection of May Day stories, Rogue's Angels--Christine Young, C.L. Kraemer, Rosemary Indra and Genie Gabriel--continue the celebration with humor, faeries and falling in love.

Highland Miracle -- Christine Young

HURTLED THROUGH TIME, Sean Michael Sterling, landed in the midst of a May Day celebration he didn’t understand, assuming the role of Laird Sterling.
ILLIGITAMATE CHILD OF NOBILITY, Reagan Douglas searches for a way out of her half brother’s house.

Defying the Odds -- C.L. Kraemer

The night elves on the hill aren't happy without their magic. They concoct a plan to punish those who were involved in the act that rendered them almost human. Meanwhile, Uther, the rogue night elf, has returned to woo the Librarian to be his eternal mate.

Love in Bloom -- Rosemary Indra

When childhood friends reunite it takes two fairies and a matchmaking daughter to help them admit their true love for each other.

No More Poodle Skirts -- Genie Gabriel

After drifting for years in the innocent age of the 1950s, a woman struggles to join today's world by finding a career and a new love, with some help from her zany family.

EXCERPT

Highland Miracle -- Christine Young

Sean hit the side of his head. "I'm hearing things." Meet my true love, a soul mate, find a miracle in the highlands...?
Trust?
Who the devil am I supposed to be trusting? There isn't anyone around. I'm the sole person in Central Park. But he leaned forward, inching his way closer to the portal of the crazy machine. He'd be pure loco if he stepped inside but Bandit seemed fine. The dog had disappeared a couple of times into the darkness only to return again, sit down and bark at him.
I can do this.
He stood half in and half out, inhaled deeply then stepped inside. Behind him the door clanged shut. He jumped out of his skin at the realization he might be trapped.
The quiet was eerie then suddenly lights began to blink and something hummed. It was as if the machine had sprung to life. His nerves sizzled and terror crawled down his spine. He searched the room for the dog.
Bandit sat on a chair in front of a panel of buttons and blinking lights. It appeared the dog meant to drive this contraption. But drive it where?
Oh, to his one true love, to his soul mate and a miracle. Sean let out a loud roaring laugh.
Praying it wasn't too late, Sean turned to leave. But the door was shut tight, and he couldn't find another way out. Banging on the door did not make it open. He ran his hands up and down his arms in hopes of warding off the deathly chill seeming to take over his body as well his senses.
Bandit jumped from his perch and sauntered to the wall where he pulled down a handle and dog food poured into a bowl.
Well, at least the dog wouldn't starve.
"Please sit down and fasten your seat belt."
Sean jumped and looked around for the source of the voice. His heart raced as if it was going to run right out of his body.



Defying the Odds -- C.L. Kraemer

In a meadow east of Eugene, Oregon

Bram ambled up the roughly hewn stairs to the willow lounge chair located at the front of his home. He pulled the scrimshawed pipe from his pocket and filled the bowl with his favorite blend of black cherry tobacco. The paced routine of loading the ivory bowl with fragrant leaves and tamping them firmly into place was one of his favorite after dinner rituals. Withdrawing a matchstick from the inner pocket of his vest, he struck the sulfured end against a river rock he'd placed on the root of the towering oak that served as his home.
The fading evening sky showered the mountains in hues of gold and red. Pushing away the light, a blanket of dark blue velvet sprinkled with luminous star points soon prevailed. Bram puffed smoke rings at the darkening heavens.
"Evenin'." A scruffy black and tan terrier mix meandered up and, after circling three times, lay next to the chubby gnome.
"Evening, Silas. How's the family?"
"Well, thank you. Daisy announced we're expecting--again."
Bram chuckled into his beard. "Congratulations."
"Humph. I'll be glad when we're both too old to care. I came over to ask if there are any jobs in sight. I'll need to be working as much as I can now."
It seemed he got one batch of kids out of the house and another was on the way.
Silence stretched between the business partners. Bram pulled deep draughts on his pipe, blowing the smoke away from his friend. His eyes were drawn to the large block of light spilling from the picture window of the behemoth on the hill. The Saun clan, night elves whose callous actions nearly destroyed the fae population of the meadow and surrounding forests, owned the out of place monstrosity.
Bram squinted his eyes to focus his vision on the methodical movement that broke the beam of light. He could just make out a figure pacing rhythmically in front of the casement. Unable to ascertain which of the night elves was engaged in the determined striding, Bram was sure of only one thing…if the night elves were restless and unhappy, the rest of the valley was in trouble.



Love in Bloom -- Rosemary Indra

Mattie Harrison sat up in bed when two golden lights floated down beside her. The shimmering lights from her fairies caused excitement to bubble within Mattie in anticipation of their visit. For as long as she could remember the two fairies were her constant companions. Tonight she had something important to ask them.
Cara sat cross-legged on Mattie's pillow. Kendra adjusted her green dress several times before she too sat down. Mattie looked down at her small friends then crossed her legs in front of her mimicking the way they sat.
Every so often Kendra's wings fluttered. Mattie knew she preferred playing than sitting still but tonight Mattie needed someone to talk to. Like always Cara listened quietly as Mattie described her day and her plans for tomorrow.
When the fairies stood, their transparent wings flapped as they started to take flight. "Can you stay a little longer?" Mattie asked quickly.
Cara gracefully bowed her head and moved closer to the little girl. "What's troubling you tonight lass?"
A smile touched Mattie's lips at the sound of the fairy's soft voice. Cara had brown hair similar to her own. She always had suggestions and Mattie felt calm after talking to her.
They'd visit every evening when she went to bed to say goodnight. Mattie had asked her father for a nightlight not because she was afraid of the dark but so she could see the fairies easier without scaring them with the bright overhead light.
"My dad is very lonely." Mattie knew what she wanted but all of a sudden she didn't know what to say. She looked at her friends. "Can you help me find a wife for him?"
"Mattie it's bedtime. Quiet down," her father's voice carried down the hallway. "Tell your friends to go home."
Cara tapped her index finger against her lips and looked thoughtful.
"He doesn't believe in fairies," Kendra whispered. "That might be hard. He doesn't have faith in us."
"We haven't even started and you're already negative." Cara put her hands on her hips then glanced at Mattie, "You have to remember a non-believer doesn't like interference."
Feeling disheartened Mattie's lower lip started to tremble. She'd given this a lot of thought. After much consideration, Mattie knew she'd needed help to find a wife for her dad.
"We'll see what we can do." Kendra looked at Mattie her expression softened. "We'll help you."


.
No More Poodle Skirts -- Genie Gabriel

Life seemed much simpler when all a girl had to worry about was keeping her bobby socks and the pompom on her poodle skirt a brilliant white. Daphne Madison wiggled and gyrated into panty hose that seemed determined to twist around her like a boa constrictor squeezing its prey.
A modern woman was expected to have it all--a husband, a family, a career--with never a wrinkle in her face or her confidence.
Daphne zipped up her dress and drew a shaky breath as she stared at herself in the mirror. The form-fitting pink dress wasn't as comfortable as her skirts, and the high heels shoved her feet down into the pointy toes.
I can do this, Daphne reassured herself. She hadn't even been born in the fifties, but it seemed like such an innocent time. If she could pretend to live in that time, surely she could live in the current millennium.
Something doesn't seem just right, she thought, as she fastened a strand of pearls around her neck. However, she refused to wear the short skirts she had seen on television programs. The pencil thin skirt that ended just above her knees was as daring as she would go.
She slid her arms into the pink jacket that matched her dress and considered herself once again. Something still seemed amiss. She settled a pink pillbox hat borrowed from her sister on top of her smooth blond hair. Better.
White gloves restored her confidence even more.
With another deep breath, Daphne swept down the stairs to garner the reaction of her family. She knew her adult son, Ryan, would be of little help but to offer a gourmet breakfast gleaned from the latest cooking show on TV. A meal Daphne knew her jittery nerves wouldn't tolerate.
Her sister wouldn't be stirring yet, but Linda would be organizing the house for the day. She was the mother of Daphne's daughter's husband. Did that make her and Daphne sisters-in-law? No, that wasn't quite right, and thinking about it made her brain hurt.
She gave her head a slight shake. It didn't really matter. Linda was quite practical and had motivated Daphne out of her fantasy life. She would know if Daphne was dressed appropriately for her job interview.
"So what do you think?" Daphne turned slowly as she entered the kitchen.


Thursday, May 02, 2013

LEARNING…


It's been two weeks since I finished the last book of my Halo Legacy Series and, as I planned, I'm learning to slow down. 

Ironically, I may be getting even more done than when I was wrangling deadlines. I told some friends I've done more in my yard in the last two weeks than I had done in the past two years. They thought I was kidding, but I assured them my yard and nearly everything else in my life had been neglected while I wrote this series of books. 

In addition to spiffing up the house and yard so the doggies and I can move, I'm dealing with whatever life throws at me, promoting, and looking at even more ideas to promote my books. May brings two releases--an anthology with the other Rogue's Angels on May 1 and the eighth book of the Halo Legacy Series on May 10. (The last contracted book of the series will be released July 1 and I really want to do a big promotional blast for the entire series then.)

I'm also taking time to relax. I sat in the sunshine this morning and soaked it up--as well as gave some doggie scratches. :)

Are any of you doing something special now that the weather is nicer?

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Quote of the Month: A Room of One's Own


“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." -- Virginia Woolf

After much planning, we will be moving into a brand new home next week, and the new house will contain a writing office for me.

With all due respect to Virginia Woolf, I find myself perhaps more motivated by the lack of tax deductions on my Schedule C than feminist sensibility.

With the lovable agents of the internal revenue kept firmly in mind, I am determined to have a gen-u-wine tax-deductible writing office, and I've spent a lot of time figuring out what I really need in it (bulletin boards, lots of drawers to hide mess out of sight), and what I don't (distracting views out the window, bookcases full of tempting reading material that will lure me to spend time reading instead of writing).

My office is being furnished in high style (!) with components from Ikea. It will have a bunch of cubes like this:

This will give me drawers to put all my papers and supplies in, and finally allow me to have an office that isn't cluttered--one of my pet peeves. 

Here's the layout of my main office wall:



I'll have four (4!) bulletin boards for brainstorming characters and plots, and even room for my beloved Eiffel tower lamps and my collection of Barbie dolls (yes, I have a collection of Barbie dolls).

How about you? Do you have a writing office? If you do, what's in it? Does it meet your needs as a writer, or are there things about it you'd change?

What would your dream office look like?

~Barb(-ie)
Have you been to Pajaro Bay?