Procrastinators Unite — Some Day.

procrastination

Are you a doer…or a procrastinator? It’s okay to admit you’re the latter. In fact, I hope you will — because that’s what I am. There are levels, and limits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit around playing Candy Crush all day. I’m the type that will do all sorts of productive things to get myself out of the things I really SHOULD be doing. I can go on a marathon laundry spree, if it gets me out of the phone calls I am supposed to be making.

If I can put it off indefinitely, I will. The cats have destroyed the couch and love seat downstairs. To the point where they live INSIDE the couch. It’s done. Time to haul them to the dump. I’ve been saying that for the last three years. This will be the year. Yup. Uh huh.

I’ve been getting notices for years that we don’t have enough coverage on our house. If it burned down tomorrow, we’d be screwed. But unless that letter from the insurance company is tacked to my forehead, I won’t remember to call and update that.panic

Now there are things with deadlines that I don’t have a choice but to address. Taxes? Just a few days ago I gathered all the paperwork we have in the house into a file. Now it’s hubby’s turn. Oh, did you think I procrastinated alone? Nope. It’s a family thing. 😀

Summer camp forms. Medical release forms. Pulling out my credit card and typing all that info in again and again. Why?!? To give the kids some semblance of a summer vacation that they’ll be able to look back on with somewhat fond memories. To give me a brief respite from the needling and bickering that would otherwise be driving me toward a Mommy ‘time out’. And as worthy as this is, Holy Mother of God, I’d rather have a root canal!lazymeme

I’ve been meaning to get the mortgage refinanced. Again, been saying this for years. But it means gathering all the right materials and making a (potentially long) phone call. Maybe I just have a phobia of talking to people on the phone. Could it be that simple? Nah. I’m just lazy.

How about you? Please tell me I’m not alone in this. What would you rather put off? And what do you instead? (Hey, I could be missing out on some valuable procrastination fun!) We’re all in this crazy thing called life together. 😀

10 Things About Me (the Author Me)

There. I differentiated. That means I have a whole other blog post (or two – I could split it into 10 things about me as a person and 10 things about me as a mother.) Woot! Hey, thinking up blog material is hard stuff! 😉 So today’s list is strictly things about the writer side of my life. (Does that make it sound like I have multiple personalities? Hey, I’m a writer – I DO have multiple personalities!)

At my first book signing last summer.

At my first book signing last summer.

Here we go:

1. The first piece I ever submitted was a short story for Woman’s World magazine. I *wish* they’d used form letters back then. Brutal!
2. I’ve been known to dream entire novels in my sleep (and they are DARK!). Nothing I’d write because they really are disturbing and not sweet, happy-ever-after books, so why I dream them, not really sure.
3. When I get stuck and need inspiration, I head to the shower. Something about the water drumming on my head gets my ideas going again. I even have my handy dandy Aqua Notes so I never miss a thought.


4. At a book signing for Dean Koontz, I asked that he sign it “good luck with your writing.” To which he started a discussion. OMG! Super nice guy and he very sincerely wished me luck.


5. I used to write *NSYNC fan fiction. I turned one of those into a full length novel and sold it to Crimson Romance. Five of Hearts is my best selling book to date. And I thought I was the only one who’d go for it. Still amazes me…


6. My dad had this weird policy that he would never read a book by a woman author. So when I was a kid, I made it my mission to get published one day, so that I would be the FIRST woman author he ever read. Unfortunately, he passed away before I got my first contract, but I’d like to believe I would have been the one to change his mind.


7. While I love my work space at home, I have been known to write in the car, at gymnastics, basketball practices, every coffee shop in town and nearly anywhere I have to play chauffeur for the kids. Having ‘littles’ makes me flexible, I guess.

8. When it came time to discuss whether or not I would choose a pen name, hubby reminded me that our last name is already recognizable in the Hollywood community (my father-in-law was the production designer on Top Gun, Ghostbusters and Sister Act, to name a few. And my grandfather-in-law won Oscars for his set design work on The King and I, Cleopatra and more.) He insisted I didn’t want to risk offending anyone by NOT using my married name proudly. So there ya go.

Big Sis spending time with Great-Granddad, Big John's, Oscar.

Big Sis spending time with Great-Granddad, Big John’s, Oscar.

9. I have been writing romance for about ten years now, with a niche in small town contemporary,  on the sweet side with a cast of quirky characters that you’d love to spend time with if you knew them in person. However, I have been obsessed with fairies for almost as long. And I have a series brewing in my head, to that end. Part of me is incredibly excited to start working on something so completely different. And part of me is looking for any excuse NOT to embark on an adventure so far out of my comfort zone.

10. Hubby is incredibly supportive of my writing and my latest celebrity boyfriends. When I was writing Five of Hearts and he knew I was using a photo of Chris Hemsworth for inspiration, he bought me a Thor action figure to place on my desk. When he learned I also had a thing for Chris Evans as another certain Marvel superhero, I discovered a Captain America flash drive in my stocking that Christmas. Love him (the hubby). He’s a keeper!

This guy has a special spot on my desk.

This guy has a special spot on my desk.

Saving the day - one manuscript at a time.

Saving the day – one manuscript at a time.

So that’s a little bit about the writer side of me. Yeah, I stole the first seven directly off my Facebook page. But we have already established that I am lazy, so there ya go. Kudos to everyone that got through the whole post. You rock! Anything completely surprise you? Anything you expected to see but didn’t? I’d love to hear from you.

Throwback Thursday – Big Sis Edition

I bought a journal a couple of weeks ago that you’re supposed to take turns filling out with your daughter. It’s an amazing way to open up, to share thoughts and feelings without any of the awkwardness. Yesterday I was filling out the page on “firsts”. So since today is already a dedicated theme day on most social media sites, I thought I’d use this blog post to reminisce about my baby girl.

I highly recommend this journal to mothers of daughters.

I highly recommend this journal to mothers of daughters.

So where to start down memory lane? Have I ever mentioned she was a preemie? Five weeks early, anxious to get a jump start on Christmas, was our only guess. And she was such a little scrapper that she only spent four hours in the NICU. I’m here. I’m ready. Now take me home.

She was so tiny I dressed her in a costume from Build-a-Bear Workshop.

She was so tiny I dressed her in a costume from Build-a-Bear Workshop.

In looking through photos, I realize I have a lot more memories I want to share than I really have room to blather on about. Not sure what blog layout protocol is, but I’m going to use the photo captions to tell the story. My blog – my style. ;P Here we go:

Ever the resourceful child, she turned the back of a chair into an art easel.

Ever the resourceful child, she turned the back of a chair into an art easel.

Last formal portrait before her brother was born? I was terrible at having those done.

Last formal portrait before her brother was born? I was terrible at having those done.

Dance class. One of many extracurriculars that didn't stick.

Dance class. One of many extracurriculars that didn’t stick.

This was Chimp. Her first best friend. Came with girl clothes that she quickly ditched because SHE was really a HE.

This was Chimp. Her first best friend. Came with girl clothes that she quickly ditched because SHE was really a HE.

One of the only girls in her pre-K class, she insisted on being a bride for Halloween. She had the boys fighting over her that year.

One of the only girls in her pre-K class, she insisted on being a bride for Halloween. She had the boys fighting over her that year.

Ah, the graffiti artist stage. Her furniture, her clothes... I do NOT miss this stage. ;)

Ah, the graffiti artist stage. Her furniture, her clothes… I do NOT miss this stage. 😉

1st day of kindergarten. My brave little baby was growing up.

1st day of kindergarten. My brave little baby was growing up.

One and only basketball season. Spent most of her time on the court hugging her teammates.

One and only basketball season. Spent most of her time on the court hugging her teammates.

Dressing up for the renaissance faire. One of the things I miss most about her growing up is no more dress up time.

Dressing up for the renaissance faire. One of the things I miss most about her growing up is no more dress up time.

Crazy cat ladies have to start somewhere, right? She loves ours and they love her right back.

Crazy cat ladies have to start somewhere, right? She loves ours and they love her right back.

 

The Second Child Syndrome

Big Sis and Little Guy

Big Sis and Little Guy

I was weeding out paperwork over the recycle bin the other day (read: tossing kindergarten homework) when I realized something. I’d put together a box – a big put-together-style box from Staples of adorable artwork and first writing projects, etc from Big Sis. Starting in preschool and going through first grade (because, truly, after that it’s just not quite as cute anymore).  But I had never done the same thing for Little Guy.

Yep... facepalm moment.

Yep… facepalm moment.

The only thing that is saving me in this situation is the fact that I am slightly behind on the paperwork weeding. The stuff I was doing before? That was just to clear off the kitchen table. But the desk, the filing cabinet, the microwave cart? Well, let’s just say I hope to have a boxful for him once I get all that sorted through.

But this leads me to examine what other things I’ve slacked on with the youngest that I went all out on with the oldest. She got Mommy and Me classes. He did not. She got story times at Barnes & Noble. He got… a couple of them. She got trips to the toy store and the bookstore to buy awesome new things to play with. He got…to play with the hand-me-down toys and listen to the chewed-on, colored-over picture books.

I kept a journal with each of them, including milestones from their first three years. (Though his is decidedly thinner.) And I did manage to take as many (if not more) photos of him as I did with her. Though that could be because I’m obsessed with documenting the cute moments and camera phone technology is a lot better now. 😉 But I swear we only dig out the digital camera for our one family vacation per year and Christmas morning. So, thank God for those cameras in our phones!

When Big Sis was a baby, it was just the two of us all day. I saw everything. I marveled at all the changes, all the milestones. Do you know who caught Little Guy rolling over for the first time? Big Sis. She had to tell me after the fact. I missed it.

Double facepalm moment.

Double facepalm moment.

Life goes fast. They come home so tiny and helpless and then the next thing you know, they are tugging their hand out of yours and telling you not to embarrass them in public. (Sorry, kiddo – I’m your mom – it’s my job.) I think a portion of today is going to be spent weeding through paperwork to get to the cute stuff. I need a reminder of my Little Guy when he wasn’t quite such a pro at reading and writing. When he couldn’t count to one hundred backwards or list dozens of random facts about the presidents. I need to make sure I’ve got plenty of memory-joggers to keep me company when my Little Guy is all grown up with little guys and gals of his own.

Geez, even this photo is several months outdated. I tell ya, I'm slacking!

Geez, even this photo is several months outdated. I tell ya, I’m slacking!

Bucket List #1 – Travel Adventures

It’s that time of year. Winter still covering most of the country in white, while here in the Pacific Northwest it’s just a tad too chilly to do yard work or enjoy the outdoors. So naturally, my thoughts turn to vacations. Preferably somewhere sunny and warm.  We’re heading to Hawaii next month, but until then…

MY BUCKET LIST – TRAVEL VERSION

1. Ireland – any place at all in Ireland. Seriously. Any.ireland

2. Santorini – Greece is overall awesome but if I had to choose a Greek island to visit, it would be the gorgeous island of Santorinisantorini

3. New Zealand – home of all things Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. If money were no object (which I suppose applies to EACH of these destinations) then I would take every movie location tour offered. Even the ones by helicopter (though I might need to be heavily medicated). And I want to stay in a hobbit hole. Well, I want to move in, but that’s beside the point.hobbit

4. Egypt – okay, so now is probably not the best time to be visiting the great pyramids, the Sphinx and so forth. But someday? When the political unrest dies down and tourists are free to explore an ancient civilization without fearing for their lives? Then I want to go.

5. Scotland – particularly Edinburgh. The castles. The ghosts. The history. The burr. Reow! Talk to me, locals. Read the back of the cereal box to me. Love that accent!edinburgh-scotland-travel-guide

6. Paris – technically, I could cross this off my bucket list, as hubby and I went, early on in our marriage. But I want to see Paris through my children’s eyes. And for that reason, it stays on the list.

Honorable mentions: I could go on and on about places I’d like to see (if money were no object). But here are just a few more. Victoria AND Vancour, BC, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Montana, Texas (just not in the summer), New Orleans (Cafe Du Monde!), Philadelphia, Salem, MA, Rio, Alaska. And I reserve the right to add more every day. 🙂

If money were no object, where would you go? What MUST you see before you leave this Earth?

Judging A Book By Its Cover

Whoever came up with the quote “Never judge a book by its cover” should have saved themselves the effort. ‘Cause, seriously, we all do it. There are SO many books on the market now. New releases and books that have been out for years. It would be great if we had the time to diligently read the backs, the book blurbs and the reviews. But we don’t have time. So the easiest way to sort through endless titles for something that looks promising to us, is covers.

I write small town contemporary romance. When I first envisioned possible covers for my Scallop Shores series, I thought I’d get something along the line of Debbie Macomber or Susan Mallery, a glimpse of the town, maybe a peek at the shoreline, that sort of thing. But unless you actually ARE Debbie Macomber or Susan Mallery, you don’t really get a say in how your covers are designed.

Crimson Romance told me they had a uniform “look” for their contemporary line. Okay. I get that. My first book, Drawn to Jonah, featured an okay looking guy with an adorable kid on the cover. He looked preppy and much older than the guy I’d written about. Not at all how I pictured Jonah, but this was my first book and I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted.

Pretend he's younger, bigger muscles and wearing a white t-shirt - 'cause he's a handyman.

Pretend he’s younger, bigger muscles and wearing a white t-shirt – ’cause he’s a handyman.

Five of Hearts came out and while again, the guy on the cover did not match MY version of Dean Patterson, this guy was pretty hot. Sales for FoH were doing much better than sales for DTJ. Was it the cover, or was it the fact that it was a new release? I needed more info.

9781440579608

No doubt this guy is hot, but I was picturing longer, sun-bleached blond hair. But he’ll do. He’ll do nicely.

 

Two months later, Wynter’s Journey was released. The original cover they gave me had a couple embracing, and while that was great, the man was SO ugly I burst into tears upon seeing the mock up. They replaced it with a picture of a red head standing alone. I felt it did a much better job representing the story of a woman embracing her new independent life and all the choices that came with it. However, sales for WJ were dismal at best. Was it the story line or the cover?

9781440581236

She looks confident, ready to take on the world. I had hoped that would resonate with women readers, but… not so much.

 

In the meantime, I was busy cranking out my next book, and didn’t have any more new releases in 2014. So I could sit back and study the sales without wondering if the order it came on the market had any effect. It became more than clear that FoH was the best selling of any of my books. By far. And to be honest, I think that story is the most “out there”, in terms of story lines. He used to be in a boy band, for crying out loud! I really didn’t think that would interest anyone but me. Go figure.

Then I got the cover artwork for my latest release, Trapped in Tourist Town. I cried tears of joy this time! It featured the lighthouse from the town I grew up in. This book was the nearest and dearest to my heart and the cover was the perfect representation of that. And people dig lighthouses, right? They’ll see that gorgeous cover and ‘one click’ like mad people, right? Wrong.

Maybe if I hadn't hidden his cute face behind a camera???

Maybe if I hadn’t hidden his cute face behind a camera???

January sales for Five of Hearts beat out the new release of Trapped. February sales beat it out by FAR. So now I’m convinced it is the cover of FoH that is selling the book.

And with that in mind, I will push for a hot guy on the cover of my June release, Always My Hero. Because readers do judge a cover. And in this over saturated market, I need to find a way to compete. Unfortunately, I’ve set a precedent and my sweet books just wouldn’t look right with a shirtless man (more’s the pity!) on the cover. But that doesn’t mean we can’t come up with a smokin’ hot guy to play the role of Ryan Pettridge, ex-football quarterback and single dad. Let’s see if Ryan can beat Dean for top spot in Scallop Shores’ hottest heroes.

I've had this taped above my desk as inspiration for Ryan.

I’ve had this taped above my desk as inspiration for Ryan.