Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Five

1. I started taking belly dance classes again. I didn't realize how much I'd missed it! SO MUCH FUN!

2. I'm doing the 60-day Free Trial of Microsoft OneNote 2007 for organizing my new book. Does anybody out there use it??? I have questions and would love to pick someone's brain! Meanwhile, I got a character sketch done and did Plot Planning. Whoo hoo!!! I have tabs for EVERYTHING from Setting to Research to Photos to Interviews to Synopses to Editorial Correspondece to Reviews, School Visits - and Book Tours. YAY!

3. I'm still waiting for a Christmas Gift I ordered on December 13!!! Sheesh!!!

4. I was a proctor this morning for my piano student for a BYU entrance music exam. I have no doubt she will get in AND get a scholarship! She's not only an excellent pianist but a dynamite violinst. First chair in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony and has a huge 30 minute solo in a Concerto this Sunday at Popejoy Hall on UNM campus. Can't wait to hear her.

5. Last Friday I had a very fun day - lunch with the wonderful YA novelist Alexandra Flinn who was visiting Albuquerque from Miami. Here we are at Pars Cuisine, a Persian restaurant. At night they have belly dancers to accompany your meal. Ooh, lala! We also met up with two other terrific novelists from Albuquerque. Here we are by the fountain.

Me, Alexandra Flinn, Carolee Dean, Kersten Hamilton
We're so glamorous!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Posting The Forgotten Recipe

Here it is!

They are SOOOO yummy! I can eat, like 4 of them in a row, without blinking. I have such a sweet tooth.

I do a lot of aerobics.

Cinnamon Rolls that will Melt in your mouth

Don't forget: Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting are meant to be eaten WARM.

It's like, a commandment, or something.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Savoring Life

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners yesterday at ALA!!! Love the awards week!

Every year as the award announcements get closer, I get so excited to hear who the winners are going to be. I was partly surprised and partly not. Like every year. Hope everyone is celebrating!!!

My itsy bitsy, teeny, weeny good news: Carolee Dean and Kersten Hamliton and Lois Ruby and I had our Panel Proposal for the New Mexico Library Association accepted. Look for us at the Convention center in Albuquerque on April 23rd. I think we've been invited to the evening reception, too. And book signings, but I need to double check. More info as it comes down the pipeline . . .

I finished reading the adult novel, THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER, last weekend. It's told from the POV of a 10 year old girl in 1692 during the Salem Witch trials. The author, Kathleen Kent, spent 5 years researching and writing the novel - and it's based on the life of her great, great, great grandmother Martha Carrier who was hung for witchcraft. WOW. I've never read such a raw, detailed book about those times and the things that led up to the witch trials. I felt like I WAS THERE, experiencing and living it myself. Chilling and beautifully wrought. (And I had no idea they actually arrested children and they were in prison for months at a time! Horrible.)

One of my girlfriend's mother died unexpectedly a few days ago (even at the age of 86) and after taking care of her mother for more than 10 years, she is very lost and feeling alone. R. isn't married, has no children and it was a "Mom and me" situation for the two of them for a very long time. The house is empty, she can't sleep, and the memorial is now over. Her siblings are scattered and the sister closet by geography is a bit, um, crazy, vindictive, and an alcoholic - so not much comfort. So I'm making awesome cinnamon rolls (a new fab recipe I recently acquired) and picking up Sobe drinks and taking them down to her house. We're going to eat, drink, get fat, hug, cry, talk and laugh. Like usual.

Savor life's moments. Savor your writing today. Savor your family and friends.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I survived!

A computer crash. Took hubby about 15 hours this weekend to restore things.

Loading pages is a little slow still, but I didn't lose anything permanently. Thank goodness for big 500 gig external hard drives for saving everything. (I borrowed one.)

Now I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK ON THIS MOVIE TREATMENT before I go ballistic or explode or give up permanently. I'm running around (figuratively speaking because actually my brain feels like mush) trying to fill in plot holes and make it all work. Feels like I'm on sinking ship with only a drinking cup for bailing water.

The producer who wants to see it is in the Bahamas right now on vacation after wrapping up and editing his last film this fall - and he's looking for his next project. Hopefully it will be mine! My mentor, Brian, says we have a really, really good shot at selling my idea but I have to make it dynamite and powerful and TERRIFIC.

No pressure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The characters felt so incredibly real I started thinking I could actually get on a boat to the Island of Guernsey and meet them all in the local Pub. I want to have tea with Juliet and Dawsey. Gosh, I want to meet that guy!

You know you love a book when you hold it close to your chest and weep a few tears because the experience is over. (I admit to slowing down a little just so I could make it last longer. Does anyone else do that?)

But one of the great things about books is that you can open it up and start all over again . . . and I ran straight to my local Amazon and bought copies to give away.

I also think it's so sad that the author, Mary Ann Shaffer, never got to see the great success and popularity of her novel, especially when she spent YEARS and YEARS researching and working on this wonderfully special book.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Five

My New Year's Goals!

1. Sign my Scholastic Contract with flourish.

2. Deposit my Six Figure Advance and SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!

3. Travel the World in Style.

4. Appear on the Bestseller List 52 weeks in a row.

5. Write the "Best Book Ever" like
Barbara O'Connor did.

So . . . back to my PBJ, laundry, and revisions . . .

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Egypt Novel: Murdering the Dead

This past Fall was so crazy that it took me 4 months (!) to do a first-pass clean-up of my ancient Egyptian novel, MURDERING THE DEAD. I drafted the book in the winter and spring of 2007! 18 months ago! It sat, waiting patiently for me while I revised THE HEALING SPELL, SECRET RITES OF THE GODDESS, IN A PARIS MINUTE, and wrote two screenplay treatments while conducting my nearly two year, nation-wide search for an agent. So it's not like I wasn't a teency bit busy, but still. I was so anxious to actually read the thing and see what I had.

After I painstakingly got through the massive 380 page thing, I sent it off in batches to my first critiquer, the fabulous Carolee Dean.

A few days later, when she got to the halfway point of the manuscript, Carolee emailed and said:

"I'm thoroughly enjoying your book! I think it is your best one yet. It's so intriguing and beautifully written."

What?!? Really?!?

I'd been dreading anyone reading it because I just knew that they would say it totally sucked - That it was BORING, SLOW, AND CONTRIVED.

But my BEST ONE YET? I'm psyched.

Here's a snippet of my main character, 17 year old Imarus, who is an apprentice mummifier:

Imarus tied a piece of leather through the hole punched into the wooden tag, then knotted the leather around the dead man's big toe. Kuni. 21 years old. Farmer.

Imarus performed a quick inspection of the corpse. For a simple farming man, the embalming contract would be quick and inexpensive. No carved alabaster canopic jars and only three linen layers of wrapping instead of the usual eight or ten, but that was preferable to leaving the man to dry out in the desert in a hand-dug hole.

Kuni’s chest had been badly trampled by his oxen. The hyenas that had launched the attack had probably come down in search of food. They often did at harvest time. The wild animals were probably rabid, too. One of the other corpses waiting in line for Imarus’ embalming knife had died of rabies. Another from lung disease, a fourth from a bar-room brawl; knifed in the seedy part of town where wine flowed more freely than the Nile’s banks during Isis' tears of Inundation. Heart attacks, chariot accidents, swamp fevers. Imarus saw it all.

He stared at the sun-browned face of Kuni, the young man’s dark hair a damp tangle of sweat. A fistful of grass and seeds was still clenched in his fist. Imarus felt a tug in his gut as he loosened the man’s grip. Tiny white flax seeds and crumbles of drying mud fell into Imarus’ palm. The dead man’s fingers involuntarily curled again.

The farmer’s chest was a mess. It was going to take some skill to fix the crushed ribs and remove the organs in the chest cavity where blood had pooled in a dark stain under the skin. Kuni had been a handsome man, sinewy muscles etched from hard work, only a few years older than Imarus himself. A life gone too soon. This could be me, Imarus thought, feeling a sudden shiver. The moment between life and death was so fleeting it was frightening. Imarus’ thoughts suddenly turned morbid. When would he die—and how?

Monday, January 05, 2009

My Top Ten Favorites of 2008

Make that my top TWELVE favorite books of 2008 because I can't narrow it down more than that. It's just too hard! I LOVED most of what I read this year.

So I rounded 'em up, whipped 'em into shape and here's my grand total: I read 75 books during 2008 - a great mix of middle-grade, YA and adult novels and nonfiction.

Here's my list, but in NO particular order. I refuse to pick any sort of *winner*. These were all fabulous books by fabulous writers, and I loved reading them!










10. IVY




I forgot one of the best books I read this last year!!!

In my hurry, I did not check all my stacks of books . . .

But this is WONDERFUL and by one of the best writers and women I know!

It's tough when many of my favorites for the year were read 9 months ago . . .

I really need to clean up my desk and bookcases and shelves and files . . .

It's on the TO DO list for 2009.



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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