What’s Jack up to? Jack’s had a fun weekend of food and friends and even a bit of bbq so I’m hoping he’ll be a little less snappish today. We shall see.
The Olympics have ended and today begins the Democratic National Convention which I’ll probably be way too into (see below). I can’t seem to help myself it feels way too big. Cut to me bleary eyed in the morning.
In a little over a week my Dear Twins will be back in school. The start of the new school year always feels kind of like New Years to me. A brand new beginning and with it all the pressures. I’m currently reading TIME TO WRITE by Kelly L. Stone when I actually have time to read. It’s all about time management for writers. I’ve vowed that when the kids are back in school I’m all about getting on a solid writing schedule. I really have to. The summer has taken it’s toll on me and if I’m going to make this work then time management is key.
What are your back to school rituals?
- What’s Jack up to? As I’m writing he’s in a growly mood. Giving the business to anyone who dares walk by our house today. Oh, Jack showing a strong Napoleon complex today?So, Senator Obama has made his pick for VP and it’s Senator Joe Biden. Both a safe and slightly controversial pick at the same time if you ask me. I mean kinda of out there to pick the guy who has given you some clearly backhanded compliments and out and out disses, but I can totally see the strategy there. Well played Barack. I just hope some spoil sports don’t get mad, take their ball and go home. Let’s play nice shall we? This isn’t kindergarten. It’s serious business.
photo daily news
What’s Jack up to? Oh just being so Jack. He totally stole half a slice of pizza right from under my nose when I turned to grab a paper towel. I couldn’t even get too mad. I didn’t need that pizza anyway. Darn Jack.
Happy Friday. I don’t have much to say on this lazy summer Friday so I’ll leave you with this bit of fun. Enjoy, but please don’t judge this child of the 80’s. I liked my boys made up and accessorized back in the day. Much love!
What’s Jack up to? He’s back to being snappy. I don’t know what’s gotten into Jack lately with this. I think the Dear Twins have been playing with him too much and he thinks this snapping thing is cool. Well it must stop. I’ve got enough people growling and snapping at me. I don’t need demands from Mister Jack.
Project Runway starts and the designers are just as baffled over Keith’s win as I was. Then Heidi and the sweet Chris March comes out in full drag and looking fab announcing they have to design a look for a drag queen.
Fun. Fun. Fun.
In comes Tim say the look will be auctioned off to Broadway cares and the winner will have immunity. Yay something to fight for and fight they will.
First Joe says he’s out of his element then later he dances with a bra on. Hmm…
Blayne says if he was a drag queen his name would be Neon-licious and he actually gives me my first laugh of the night. I hate the licious but I guess I was missing it. Then Leanne said Barf-licious and I really cracked up. Nice.
Back in the work room it’s a Cirque gone wrong and we get background on Jerell and Suede which makes me worried for each of them. Keith is doing fringe. Why is he always going all these pieacy swatch things? I’m so over Keith.
The Drag queens come back in as their normal every day selves and they are unrecognizable.
It’s try on time.
Jerell’s Queen is not in love.
Hedda Lettuce is not happy and called Suede lazy. Bam. I told you I was worried for both of them. Suede said that she’s going to be soggy Lettuce.
On the walkthrough with Chris, Tim called Blayne’s outfit “A terradactyl out of the gay Jurassic Park.” Not good if you ask me but Blayne thought it was in his little warped mind. Whatever gets you through the day.
Chris and Tim thought Joe was fantastic. What?
Suede they liked and then they told him to have it out with Hedda Lettuce. Ha they just want to see Suede get his butt kicked by a drag queen.
Keith got different. Never good.
Daniel was plain but he’s not worried. Okay dude.Runway day and if you ask me the queens look a little dragged through the mud. Please to make up.Hedda lettuce and Suede have words and Hedda Lettuce is sweet as pie. Aww. Such a Lady.Stella gives me my 3rd full out laugh of the night laugh when she says “Jerell’s outfit is classy how ev-ah these broads aren’t classy.” This from Lea-tha Stella! I love it. But she does look nice for the Runway show tonight. And hey RuPaul is the guest judge. You’d Better Work!
Now for the runway show.Kenley-Like
Blayne-No Joe-yes-model loved her outfit.
Stella-yes. Why is one of her best for a drag queen?Suede-no
Daniel-ok-but not enough. Just a dress.
Terri yes- My fave. She stepped up the game
Jerell-yes but ok.
Korto-Just ok. Keith-messy-Hey, Heidi said the same thing.
Leanne-old age spacey? No.
And the winner is Terri, What! Joe. I cannot believe that Terri missed out again. This is getting on my nerves.
Now it’s down to Daniel and Keith out this week is… Daniel. Great. Not. I can look forward to more fringe next week.On Shear Genius Nicole won the short cut challenge and Daniel is okay with that. Right.The big challange is to create a hair style to reflect a season for a photo shoot. Rene say’s “Go Shake It.” The season is almost over and I still don’t know what that means. Does anybody?Sidebar: I just saw the commercial about voting for fan favorite. I kind of want to start a grass roots campaign for Oshun. The Stylist that never was. I still think he would have made that show for me. Let’s all go on line and vote Oshun. Wouldn’t it be funny if he won ten grand?Then a bombshells is dropped the guest judge is Linda Wells the editor of Allure.
The photographer, whose name I totally missed, was a nightmare. Making Daniel drop flowers and pull down hair to a wet mess.
The winner of the challenge was Charlie and I agree with that.
Out this week is Daniel. Taken out by a sad red braid.
photos thanks to Bravo
What’s Jack up to? Right now I’m all about the rest and of course Jack is all about the play. Insisting of jumping around and bringing me every squeaky toy he can find. He’s going to get me to play fetch if it’s the last thing he does.
A few weeks ago the DD was complaining the she was bored which is by no means unusual. Honestly, I was kind of bored too. I wanted to walk away from the computer and the waiting laundry held no appeal. I had been wanting to go to Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in Sleepy Hollow for the longest time and had never gotten around to it even though it was only a short drive from where we live.
I called and the Grand Tour was sold out, but the women in charge was kind enough to squeeze myself and my daughter in on the next tour. Now I had heard from about Kykuit from my friend PVE for years but I wasn’t prepared for it’s grandeur. Man, those Rockefellers knew how to do it up right.
Just a sweet little country get away.
The gardens are amazing
And the views spectacular.
Museum quality sculptures are all around.
And the art gallery in the basement is not to be missed with it Warhol’s and Picasso tapestries that take your breath away. If you’re in the Westchester area and looking for a unique museum experience take a trip to Kykuit and party like a rock star.
And FYI the “Playhouse” on the grounds is huge, lovely and still privately owned by the Rockefellers for a little fun get away. We saw them playing a little golf from afar. Ahh the good life. Now I could sit there and write all day.
- What’s Jack up to? Jack’s a bit better today. Not much snapping so that’s good. I’m taking a hard line, but of course it’s hard to do with those big brown eyes of his. I must stay strong.I’ve been a terrible blog hopper and lately not keeping up with many of my favorite blogs which maybe means that I’ve been a good blog hopper because for a while there blogs were taking up way too much of my time and kind of taking over my life.But yesterday while doing some perusing over at one of my favorite blogs The 5 Spot I read a post that really hit me that one of my favorite writers, Liza Palmer wrote. You may remember Liza from my interview I did with her here. Well Liza was talking about Ebbs and Flows and how this is an “Everything and Nothing kind of summer,” that “There’s this dip happening where it just seems like everything’s hard and nothing’s quite working out and life has taken on this molasses-y kind of pace.” Lines like this is why Liza is one of my favorite writers.She then talked about the journey and the quiet moments and how hard they are and how we as women especially hate those quiet moments (or years in my case). They can be positively brutal. You know those times when you plod along from work to work to work with what seems to be no real progress or reward. When people ask, “what new?” and you really don’t have anything new to report so you just nod and smile and say, “oh just the same ole thing,” With a small knot in your chest.
But you’re at that strange point in your journey. Too far past the start to turn back. As a matter of fact way past the middle and the journey is not a hop on hop off type of thing. Take the next train back to normal. It’s a desert trek. If you turn back you could possibly die. So you have no choice, but shake your canteen, wipe your brow and plod ahead putting one foot in front of the other and move forward.I guess that’s what it’s all about the forward motion, not standing still or going backward, but moving forward and learning to enjoy and accept the quiet. I hear the best ideas come in the quiet moments anyway.You can check out Liza’s entire post here. The way she compare Michael Phelps and Mariska Hargitay is not to be missed.In Birthday news Happy Birthday to the P-I-C Megan. It is truly a magical moment when you find that special someone who really gets you. No, I’m not talking about that special someone. I’m talking about a girlfriend that other special someone you call to complain about that other special someone and all the other things that really irk you nerves because you that they just irk her nerves too. So cheers to you P-I-C!
What’s Jack up to? Well Jack’s been in a bit of trouble. He’s feeling a little snappy and snapping at all of us around here. We’ve got to put a stop to that. I don’t know what’s gotten into Jack this past weekend.
The baseball weekend is over and I think possibly the season. But who knows? It didn’t end on a high, but at least the DS got the RBI (notice how I throw the lingo around?) that brought in the one run that the team did get on Sunday. Go DS! Poor DD had to suffer through two days of baseball, but hey she did get fries and some fine outlet shopping out of the deal.
The summer is slowly winding down…
On another note, while to listing to hot mess Amy Winehouse for the hundredth time this year I was struck by this song; HE CAN ONLY HOLD HER and how much it seems like just about every other hunting romance that I love or maybe I’m just over emotional right now either way I’m just crazy for this song. Sorry the video cuts it off. Have a great day!
What’s Jack up to? Well he’s being a total Jack in the butt. Completely under foot with everything I do and feeling full of himself, barking up a storm. I’m sorting laundry and he’s stealing socks. Oh, Jack you are so asking for it.
This Friday we have a treat. At RWA National I had the pleasure of meeting the super cool friend of my PIC, Carolyn Jewel. I was so happy that we hit it off right away. How awkward would that have been if we hadn’t? Whew.
Well, Carolyn has agreed to be interviewed in my little corner of the blogosphere today.
Carolyn is the author of: A DARKER CRIMSON, THE SPARE AND LORD RUN. Her newest release MY WICKED ENEMY is just out this August.
Thanks for being here Carolyn. Let’s start with my traditional questions. Did you always want to be a writer and can you tell us the story of your ‘overnight’ success?
Yes, I always wanted to be a writer, pretty much from the time I could hold a pen. But for some reason it never occurred to me that writing was something I could actually do. When I finished college I got a job and worked and really pretty much didn’t like what I was doing. I was, naturally, reading a lot. But overnight success? Kwana, it is to laugh! No, no overnight success, despite the story that follows. Read on for someone who sold her first book ever after sending one query. . . When I was 25 or 26, I read a book I thought was just awful. It was a historical romance that read (to me) as if it had been badly translated from some other language. I thought to myself that, surely, I could do better. From what I hear, this is a very common inciting event for writers. After that reaction I got to thinking that I really ought to see if it was true. I bought a computer and started writing and just kept going until all I was doing was changing the punctuation. Must be done!I did some research into next steps and discovered I needed a literary agent and a query package. I decided that I would not be able to tolerate more than two rejections at a time so I prepared two queries. I managed to transpose some digits of one of the street addresses on one of them so, leaping ahead a bit, I’ll reveal that six months later it came back as undeliverable. Flash back to me mailing off my two queries. Two weeks later, I came home from work to a message on my answering machine from a woman who introduced herself and said that she thought she had an offer on my book, could I call her, please? Well, I live in California so I had to wait until the following morning. In that one conversation I learned two Very Important Lessons about the publishing world. St. Martin’s Press had a line of historical romance called Americans Abroad. They featured, not surprisingly, American heroines who were, eventually someplace other than America. (Note: my heroine was French.) But an author had not turned in her manuscript. The woman on the phone with me was an agent and book packager who was desperately looking for a book to fill that slot. We chatted for a bit. She told me I was a talented writer and then said something along of lines of, “and you seem like you’re a rational person.” Would I mind, she asked, rewriting my heroine to be American. Heck no! And would it be possible, she asked, to do the rewrite in six weeks? The book was due out before the end of the year and they were all in a jam. No problem, I said. So the deal was done!.I’d sold my book to New York! But not for a royalty contract, for a flat fee. I knew nothing about the business, really, though as it turned out, I have no complaints about that sale.
The two lessons were, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, that deadlines really do matter and that it pays to be easy to work with. They were, I realized much later, taking a risk that a complete unknown could pull off a rewrite as promised. There is a third lesson embedded in this, which is that talent isn’t necessarily enough. There’s luck involved. I was lucky not to have misaddressed that query. I was lucky that it arrived at a time when there was a need for a book like mine. If my writing were dreadful, they would have kept on looking. I wrote another book in pretty much the same unconscious way. By the seat of my pants. And when all I was doing was changing the punctuation, I figured I was done. I found an agent, which I confess didn’t take very long at all, and she sold my second book. It was ten years before I published again. The reasons are varied but it comes down to two pretty simple things. I wanted to write a more purposeful book, but I had not yet learned that I’m a panster, and I had a baby in the middle there and spent three plus years absolutely exhausted because I swear that boy never slept. As a single parent, I did not have any help, so the exhaustion was pretty desperate.Eventually, I did learn more about writing and myself as a writer, most of which occurred after I joined RWA and met other writers. I did publish again, but I also had other periods when I thought my writing career was over or that I would never be able to write a publishable book again. So, overnight success? Uh, no. Not exactly. The battle continues. Each and every day.
You are a mother, a writer and you also hold down a separate job, not to mention all the many animals you care for, how do you handle it all and still make your deadlines? What is your typical writing day like?
Let me start off my saying I am NOT a morning person. Nope. As far as I’m concerned, a good morning is one you sleep through. (Carolyn’s preaching to the choir here!) But I get up at 4:25 a.m. so I can get to the gym and then to work early enough that I’m home in time to supervise homework and perform amazing feats as a soccer mom. At the gym, I use an exercise bike because that leaves my hands free for 45 minutes of notebooking and brainstorming my current writing project. If I’m behind or otherwise panicking, I bring my laptop to work and write on my lunch hour. On days when there’s soccer practice, I get two uninterrupted hours in the car to work. Otherwise, in between or after my family responsibilities are done, I write in the evening, from 6:00pm to about 10:00pm with lots of interruptions until after dinner and homework. I put in as many hours as I can on weekends. If I’ve met my daily minimum word count, then I can stop.
You seem to live in two worlds, the historical and the paranormal. How do you balance the two?
When I was a child, my mother always complained I had a one track mind. So it should be no surprise that I write in two different genres by focusing on one project at a time. Although I think my voice is similar for both types, the sensibilities are very different and if I were to switch off between them, I think things would be very rough going.
Tell us about your newest book MY WICKED ENEMY, especially the sexy Nikodemus.
MY WICKED ENEMY is set in the contemporary world, but it’s a world in which there are demons and people who can do magic. They don’t get along. The demons can and sometimes do take control of innocent people and destroy lives. They also can only reproduce with humans. Is it any wonder that magic-wielding humans (the magekind) have learned to protect themselves and other humans? Unfortunately, they do this by enslaving the demons or by outright killing them. Worse, some of the mages have learned how to kill a demon in order to prolong their own lives. It’s no wonder the demons are thinking about outright war.Nikodemus is a demon warlord who has sworn to kill the mage Magellan and Carson Phillips, the witch who’s helping Magellan murder his kind. Imagine his delight when he discovers Carson all by herself! But Carson isn’t what he thinks and, as it turns out, she has ample reason to fear and hate Magellan.
What’s next for you Carolyn?
A book set in the same world as MY WICKED ENEMY is set for summer of 2009, it features Xia, a secondary character from that book. SCANDAL is a historical romance that will be out in February 2009 (Berkley Books). It’s about a Regency rake who has fallen deeply in love with a woman he’s treated very badly. Will he be able to prove he’s reformed?
Thanks so much, Kwana, for asking me to appear in your wonderful blog. Please give the adorable Jack a biscuit from me, okay?
Aw. Thanks to you Carolyn for being here and just because you said so I will give jack that biscuit and tell him it’s from you!
Check out Carolyn’s book trailer for MY WICKED ENEMY below and catch up with her on her site here.
What’s Jack up to? As I write this he’s under my bed asleep. A few peaceful Jack moments. So sweet. How long do you think it will last?
Project Runway starts with the designers working it out and Blayne still talking “liscious”. Why is he still around?
The challenge is to design for a high powered and glamorous woman. It turns out to be Brooke Shields and they have to design an outfit for her Lipstick Jungle character Wendy. Fun. You all know how I loved that show last year.
Then the other shoe dropps and Tim tells the designers they would be working in teams of two. Bummer.
Scramble time. Jerell actually said he’d better pay attention and give the client what she wanted after the last challenge. Good thinking Jerell
Now the designers pitch to Brooke and the winner will be worn on the show
The winners are Keith, Korto, Jerell, Kelli, Terri and Blayne and now they go off into teams.
The teams are: Terri and 3rd person Suede, Blayne and Leanne, Keith and Kenley, Korto and Joe, Kellie and Daniel, Jerell and Stella.
The designers are at Mood to buy fabrics and already the team dynamic is not gellin’.
Back at Parsons Tim comes in like is immaculate Grin Reaper with more bad news saying how winning is good enough and there will be no immunity with this challenge. “Gee thanks Tim. Anything you want to tell us about Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny?”
Grim Tim pops up again sending in the models for an early fitting. Um, doesn’t look like they have much to fit yet Tim. Way to make everyone happy today.
Terri and Suede are not having a good time and Terri’s curls are curling up even more. I’m afraid he may get the smackdown.
Tim doing a walk through: He likes Jerell and Stella, Kellie and Daniel have him stumped, He made Terri feel better so Suede is living for another minute. Not so grim now Tim. He is not in love with the proportions of Korto’s jacket and Joe chimes in that he was thinking it all along. Korto was like, “what, now you tell me? “ Joe is getting the smackdown.
It’s the day of the runway show and I can’t tell about these outfits. They all look a hot mess to me. There are way too many patterns and colors for one outfit. Chiffon, leopard, floral, oh my!
But, I’m just loving Jerell and his stinky face critiques. I’m with him. I’ll have to see them on the Runway to tell.
Terri and Korto got to stay they were the middle of the road ok. I was surprised by that because I was not loving Terri’s outfit but ok for her. I think Korto was a stronger outfit and should have been in the tops with Jerell.
The Judges like Jerell and Stella
They do not like Kelli and Daniel and Michael Kors said. “Slutty, slutty, slutty.”
The judges like Keith’s look but it didn’t thrill me. I’m not for all those layers. He does love that doesn’t he and that to fabric was just blah to me.
Blayne/ Leanne the judges thought he was too casual too.
The winner is Keith! I’m kinda shocked, but I shouldn’t be. What do I know? UGH!
Out this week is… Kelli. Rightly so. Who coule wear that to work? But, next week Drag queens!
Shear Genius did have a really cute kid challenge today and Daniel won the short cut with a cute little girl that wanted to look like Jaclyn. Way to win over the judges.
Then for the main challenge and the stylists family members come out and for the twist they have to not style their own family members hair but another stylist family members hair eek!
Daniel had the nerve to put his mother with Charlie. Very bold.
The winner was Charlie for doing right by Daniel’s mom’s hair and the loser was Paolo for his choppy palm tree look. Buh Bye.
- What’s Jack up to? The DD is home and Jack could not be happier because now he has someone to spar with. He’s happy to constantly chase behind her growl and nip at her heels. For some reason with her he is like a true sibling. It’s very strange.Look at what finally arrived on my porch yesterday. I go for a drive to the city to pick up the DD and when I get home my long awaited books from San Francisco are on my porch. I almost crashed into the mailbox I was was thrilled. Inside were all the lovely books I stood in line for at the publisher hosted signings at RWA. So totally worth it eh? It’s like Christmas in August. A romance lovers paradise. I am one happy girl right now.Hey, It’s all research to be a better writer. Nora said so!best,Kwana