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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Close Call

As all romance writers know, yesterday was a big day. For those of you who aren't romance writers, here's what Monday was all about. The national chapter of Romance Writers of America holds two contests each year, the RITA's for the published author and the Golden Heart for the unpublished author. This is as important to the romance writer as the Academy Awards is to an actor. As I am yet unpublished, I entered the Golden Heart. Yesterday, RWA announced the finalists with phone calls to each. The winners are then declared at the RWA annual meeting, this year being held in July in Anaheim, California. Word was out yesterday that the phone calls would be complete by 2:00p.m.

I went about my normal morning routine yesterday, trying not to hope that I'd receive a call telling me that I had finaled in the GH. But darn it all, as the morning wore on, that hope had escalated to the point I was on pins and needles.

By 9:00 a.m., the RWA website had already begun to list the finalists. The names came sporadically. I checked Contemporary Series Romance looking for my name. Not yet. No names listed. Okay, fine, no problem. I'll carry on.

(Reader beware after this point.) I was, um, uh, okay - I was sitting on the toilet, yoga pants at my ankles, when the phone rings. Oh. My. God. Here it is, I say to myself. Here's the call I've been waiting for. I jumped up (thankfully I'd already Charminized) and ran toward the phone while trying to tug my pants up. The phone rang again. Good Lord, I don't want this to go to the answering machine because maybe there was some kind of rule that if you don't answer they'll hang up and then you're screwed.

As I'm race walking with my pants down around my ankles, I snag my little toe on the foot of the dresser and I hit the floor like a sack of potatoes. My toe is throbbing, but who cares? I'll gladly sacrifice my pinky. Heck, I've got two of them. For the love of all that is holy, I'll donate both pinky toes if I can just be a GH finalist.

On my knees with my bare butt hanging out and my pinky toe throbbing, I reach for the phone. I know what I'm going to hear. A wonderful female voice will say, "Hello, I'm calling to inform you that you've finaled in this year's Golden Heart contest." My mind jogs ahead and I start thinking OMG I've got to make airline and hotel reservations. What am I going to do with my hair. Eek! I'll need something formal to wear! But who gives a rat's butt because I'm going to be a GH Finalist!!!

I bring the receiver to my ear with a shaking hand and in my best fake, flowery, birds singing in spring voice, I say, "Hello?" There's a split second when I anticipate the first word out of this angel's mouth that I know has come straight from heaven.

But instead, what do I hear? My husband/boss says, "Hey. You know that letter you just emailed me? It's got a typo."

Huh? What? WHAT????

By 2:00 p.m. all the finalists had been named. I was not one of them. Sigh. Guess there's always next year...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Am Not Alone

Today we're going to delve into the deep, dark world of...you guessed it...office supplies. You know what I'm talking about. You take that first step into your local office supply store and suddenly you're obsessed. You walk at a snail's pace to devour each and every aisle. Your head swirls like a spring tornado - colored paper, notebooks of every color and thickness, sticky notes (OMG they look like index cards!) and enough pens and pencils you wish you could write with your toes.

Before you start thinking, "this woman is a nut case," let me tell you about a conversation I had with my writing friends a while back.

We were sitting at a popular restaurant one Saturday morning having coffee and talking "shop." Not having enough caffeine yet, my mouth started working before my brain had a chance to catch up. I shared the adventures of my shopping trip the day before to a well known office supply chain where I had purchased colored markers, sticky labels, scratch pads, and enough index cards to build an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. In neon.

The excitement was apparent in my tone. I described each aisle and what incredible treasures I had found. By the time I was done, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. As I took a break and gulped my Diet Pepsi (no yucky coffee for me, remember), I was anticipating that the women at my table would jump up and run screaming for the door. 

Instead, eight pairs of eyes looked at me with jealousy and awe as if I'd just been describing the most chocolaty chocolate dessert known to mankind. Huh, I thought, maybe I wasn't a whack job after all. Without any coaxing, we spent the next half hour regaling each other with our love of everything office.

I've gotta go. There's a package of sheet protectors I need to play with use for writing.

Come on. Bare your soul. I dare you.

Also, please join me for Fork It Up Fridays where I'll share a favorite recipe!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why Read Romance?

On a recent trip to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, I spent many hours in the car traveling south. While my husband drove and my son and his college buddy listened to music in the backseat, I spent my time reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel (one of my favorite authors), checking out a few "how to" writing books, and judging a contest. My son's friend asked if I read a particular male romance writer. "No," I said. "Somebody always dies at the end."
"But he's really popular. His books have been made into movies."
"Don't care. For me, I want that happily ever after."
So my son's friend asked the big question. "Why do you want to read something where you already know the ending?"
I looked at him like he was a romance idiot. "I don't know the ending," I said in defense.
"Sure you do. You already know the whole story. Guy and chick hook up. Happily ever after," he stated. "What's the point in reading the story if you know what's going to happen?"
Well that got me to thinking (argh, he was right). But only to a point. Okay, maybe I knew there would be a HEA, but I certainly didn't know how they would get there. So I began to list all the things I loved about reading a well-written romance: how the h/h meet, falling head over heels in love, discovering that total adoration for each other, how they struggle to overcome obstacles, and finding happiness together. While I travel with them on their journey, I get to escape. Lose myself in the story and take a break from my responsibilities.
The response I got from my son's friend? "Huh," he said, with a nod of his head!
How about you? What part of reading a good romance do you enjoy?

Please stop by again on Friday where I'll share a yummy recipe.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Embarrasing Moments

The other day, I was involved in an online discussion about using exercise balls at your computer desk instead of a standard chair. It reminded me of an event with an exercise ball where I totally embarrassed myself. And since I'd like you all to get to know me a little bit more, I'll tell the tale.

I'm a medical transcriptionist and have the great fortune of working from home. We have a finished basement where I've taken up one large corner for my computer desk, printer, etc. One day, the information technology (IT) guy from work was at my house fixing some kind of computer problem. I always like to stick my nose in watch what the guy does, figuring I'm learning something (and maybe I can correct anything he screws up).

So he's working away at my computer and I want to sit by him. I glance over to where my exercise ball is and think, what the heck, I'll use that. I sit, soon realizing that I don't exactly have my balance. I do the arm flailing thing, but to no avail. The big ole' ball shoots out from underneath me and heads straight for the bowls of cat food and water. While the bowls clink and clank and tip over, I fall backwards into my husband's weight bench. Since he keeps his barbell loaded with weights, my fall causes the bench to slam back toward a bookcase with such force, books tumble off the shelves onto the floor. (Think Mousetrap Game.) As I lay there trying to comprehend what the heck happened, the IT guy slowly turns his head in my direction and in a monotone voice says, "You okay?" And the first words that pop out of my mouth? "Yep. This happens all the time." Sigh. What a dork!

Now that I've spilled one of my goofy stories, I'd love to hear one of yours. Please share!

Please stop by Jill Kemerer's blog at http://jillkemerer.blogspot.com/ on Wednesday, March 7th, where I answer Five Easy Questions. Jill and I met through our local RWA chapter, and support each other through the ups and downs of becoming published. Jill is a sweet person who loves to help others, and she is responsible for me getting this blog up and running. I consider her a good friend, and feel very blessed to have her in my life.