NEW SUPERNATURAL TONIGHT, Teaching While It's Hot and My Cover

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All new Supernatural on tonight, about witches! The ds wanted to go to a friend's to watch LOST, but we vetoed it - the kid lives 20 minutes away, which means we wouldn't get back home till nearly 10. I feel bad, because the kid's in mourning over John Edwards dropping out of the race, but man! I am worthless on Thursday nights.

Yesterday was chilly, in the 50s. I noticed the heater was on. I was okay, but a little irritated.

Then I started teaching division for the first time and apparently the heater kicked on full blast. I felt like I was in one of those experiments to gauge how temperature affects a teacher's mood when she's teaching a subject for the first time to kids who don't know their facts....and to top it off, the special ed teacher was just standing around not helping. Grrr. He's in there to give me a hand and he didn't help one kid.

By the afternoon, it was 84 degrees in my class. We'd called maintenance and been ignored. See, this "fancy" AC/heating unit cannot be turned on and off by mere school personnel. SUPPOSEDLY it monitors itself. Ha. When it doesn't, they have to call maintenance. I think it's just an effort to keep those guys employed.

I got my Hot Shot cover last night, and it's great, perfect pose, perfect background, perfect heroine....except my hero is follicly challenged. Trish says he looks like Daniel Day Lewis. My son said Dresden. I'm fine with both those guys, but this is GABE. He's been in my head for 8 years. I don't know if it's something that can be fixed. I'm thinking of Waterworld, where Kevin Costner had artists add hair to each frame of the movie so he wouldn't look old.

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4 AM and Cold and Love Scenes

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Today it's 36 but feels like 33. Glad I got the clothes from the dry cleaners last night! And I'll wear one of my new tops from Academy.

This getting up at 4 AM is taking its toll. I'm so tired! But after 2 days, I'm waking up automatically! I stayed in bed a little longer this AM because, you know, cold, but I'll be glad to hand this book in.

Have you guys been watching Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theater? I've seen Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park and both were excellent.

I think I'm going to start physically rewriting StTA from the beginning. Some stuff I can keep, but I'm a little more focused now, and I think it needs to be done that way. I'm not sure of my priorities, other than Hot Shot, though. I want to get another book into Samhain, and it needs editing, if not revision, and I want to get a story into Wayback, before the town gets too built up, and there's too much stuff to worry about including. Maybe once I get Hot Shot turned in, we could do a writing challenge.

Honestly, I don't see how people work on more than one book at a time. It's making me a little crazy.

Okay, crazier.

Yesterday on the way to the dry cleaners, I was listening to Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. End of the third disc, and a sizzling love scene. I'd forgotten she could write them like that, then I remembered Welcome to Temptation. Anyway, it's very hard to concentrate on driving when you're listening to that. The reader presented it in breathless run-on sentences, and DANG. Dang. I wish I could have held onto some of that energy for my own writing last night, 'cause that's where I'm at in StTA. Actually, it's where I am in Hot Shot edits, too.

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Books and Lamps and Storage and Temperatures and Writing

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It is 66 degrees at 4:30 in the AM in JANUARY. Bleh! A cool front is coming, but now - bleh!

I've read 7 books in January and started number 8. Good start! I was right about the end of PS I LOVE YOU - didn't like it as well as the movie ;)

Trish is coming to visit at the end of February and I'm cleaning up the guest room, which gets dumped on a lot. I needed some storage so I went to Lowe's and got this cool fabric covered box that makes an ottoman! I may go get another...it was only $10. We also looked at floor lamps and saw one we liked, but the box was all messed up, so may try another Lowe's. Also, I have a $30 gift card from Home Depot, so may try there.

Lowe's had a BUNCH of geraniums and the weather was so nice I was tempted. But again, JANUARY.

I wrote a little on my rodeo story and started to fix my small town story and edited 25 pages of Hot Shot yesterday. Waking up at 4 makes me productive, but cranky along about 6 PM ;)

Tutoring today, first time since 2 weeks before Christmas. BLEH!

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Country Music

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So I'm up at 4 after not sleeping well...I'll get some work done on Hot Shot since I'm up. I'm a day ahead of schedule on that, and on the Vanished revisions. At about 8 last night, at Baby Brother's bday, I started jonesing to write on StTA, but was too tired when I finally got home. I haven't worked on it in DAYS.

I should have gone to the grocery store yesterday but I didn't want to so now I have to stop this AM. I did go to Academy to get the boy new shoes and found 3 new blouses. The most expensive one was $13! So my last SIX tops have come from Academy, because that's the only clothing store I go to!

I'm almost done with PS I LOVE YOU and it's REALLY good, more like the movie than I thought, though Daniel and William seem to be the same person in the book. I have a feeling I won't like the end as well, though.

Okay, the dh is in a country/punk band, which means they take country drinking songs and play them like punk songs. So the dh is listening to Outlaw Radio for "homework." Now that I'm going to write a rodeo story, I need to start doing "homework," too. Sadly, I don't have much reference for country music. (SAD for a girl who grew up in San Antonio!) I've heard the Third Coast radio show is good, but the dh suggested my hero might be more of a Red Dirt music fan, which is more country/rock. Neither of these things mean anything to me.

I'm thinking my 25-26 year old hero might be into more modern country music and maybe my heroine, a kindergarten teacher, isn't into country music at all. She's older than him by about 10 years (maybe 8). But they will be going dancing, and I need some good dance music. I should just hang out a day at YouTube, see what pops. Got any names for me to try?

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Goals

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Wow, I got a lot done yesterday – cleaned the showers, straightened the back patio, cleaned the bedroom, did 3 loads of laundry, went to the cleaners, the post office, the library, took the dh’s jeans back, got Baby Brother’s bday present (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY BROTHER!) and took the ds to UIL.

I got my second round of edits for Hot Shot. I have 2 weeks. That’s 25 pages a day. So, my goals for this week:

1) 25 pages a day on Hot Shot edits (you have NO idea how happy I'll be not to look at this one again)
2) fix Something to Talk About
3) Vanished revisions
4) Dinner with Baby Brother and family
5) Resume tutoring
6) Get ready for critique on Saturday
7) Keep up house

That’s PLENTY.

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Motivation, Motivation, Motivation

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So, like I said, when I was writing the synopsis, I found a serious flaw in my heroine. I have her breaking up with her boyfriend at the beginning to find herself, then she doesn't do anything else about that throughout the book. And it seems that her main issue is presenting a good face to the town.

Maybe if I change that to her allowing the town opinion influence her decisions....no, still sounds wimpy.

Part of her issue is that she's in love with her deceased best friend's husband, my hero. And she worries the town will think she has always loved him, when she hasn't.

Trish says she needs good motivation to be caring so much what the town thinks. I was thinking perhaps she did something in her youth, with her HS boyfriend, that humiliated her and she never got past it. What would be something really good? Would anything be good ENOUGH to motivate her? Am I going with the wrong conflict here, and why didn't I think this through 200 pages ago????

Okay, gotta do some errands, then maybe work in the back yard. I'm still scared to go outside after I fell, isn't that weird?

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Hmph

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My printer isn't working. The computer tells me it's offline. I don't know what that means, but it DOESN'T make me happy. And the dh hasn't been around to fix it. He got in from his gig last night at 1, and has another tonight.

I was working on the synopsis for Something to Talk About Last night, looking for that missed step. I have a bigger problem than I thought (which will be fixable, but for now, a problem.) I started off with the heroine breaking off with her boyfriend because she wanted her own identity, other than coach's girlfriend. Well, she hasn't done anything about finding her own way at all. She's still bullied by her parents to work in their diner every morning (which isn't too much of a hardship, because my hero's there to see her every morning) and she's still bullied by what the town thinks of her. I need to find SOME way for this girl to assert herself. But I did find the missing step, I think.

And...it's time to shop for my charm for this story.

I could be obvious and get this charm.

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He has a dog, so I could get this charm.

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They go on a camping trip that leads to the discovery of their relationship, so I could get this charm. Isn't it cute?

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She works in a diner, where he comes in for breakfast every morning, so I could get one of these. I'm partial to the pancakes.

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I saw a kissing booth one, and though there's a church festival, there's no kissing booth. Still, how cute is this?

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And you should see the choices I have once I finish my rodeo story!!!! For that matter, you should see the pictures I have waiting for you when I start my rodeo story!!

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Last Night I Dreamed of Gerry Again....

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I dreamed Gerry was my boyfriend. I was still married and my dh knew, but Gerry was my boyfriend. He'd come over to the house early in the AM, we'd meet for dinner....weird. I also dreamed the dh's band was two girls. Hmmmm....

Man, I snoozed the alarm TWICE today! I woke up at 3, started worrying, but wouldn't let myself get out of bed till 4, and was asleep by then.

I realized last night I've missed a step with my WIP. I need to synopsize it and rearrange a few things (one of the downsides of working in spirals.)

Elizabeth tagged me last week with 7 things you don't know about me. This is getting harder every time ;)

1) I'm very cheap. I don't mind spending money initially, but I'm going to use every smidgen of whatever it is I buy.

2) I'm 2 degrees away from JDM. The dh met Kyle Chandler, and Kyle and JDM worked together on Grey's.

3) I love to work in my backyard but don't like to work in my front.

4) I have a very sensitive sense of smell. Last night, all night, there was an unpleasant scent, and I couldn't rest till I figured out it was the dog's bed. P-U! Couldn't exactly wash it last night, either, because it's too cold!

5) Of the 8 cars I've owned, only 2 have been new.

6) I'm one of the few teachers at school who wears skirts. (Not today, though! COLD!)

7) I used to love to cross stitch. I even have my Baby Brother's baby announcement half done, but my eyes got so bad.

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Writing Schedule

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More weird dreams last night, including that it was the last day of school, my aunt and uncle had a mansion and my VP came over to the mansion and brought grapes. Who knows.

Last year I said I wouldn't do a writing schedule. This year I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I'd made one, but yesterday I revised it AGAIN. (Actually, this can be more fun than actually writing, ya know?)

See, I want to get something else to Samhain, because my editor says she has only a few fall dates open. So I'm revising a romantic suspense for that.

And I'm working on the story that I love. Though I'm stumped right now. And I have writer's cramp.

And I want to get my Wayback story written because the earlier I get it accepted, the less I have to worry about all the other people added in the town by the other books that are contracted, see? The series doesn't have a bible to start out, they're building it as they go.

So my plan is to have Vanished revisions finished by the end of February, Something to Talk About finished by mid-February and Wayback finished by the end of March (only 100 pages.)

Do you give yourself deadlines?

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Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and Heath Ledger

Elizabeth Mahon and Maureen McGowan are semi finalists in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Go vote!

How sad is the news about Heath Ledger? He was only 28 and had a 2 year old daughter!

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Fastest Weekend EVER

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Back to work today, with no more holidays till Spring Break. At least today is a workday, if people will leave me alone. I don't know if I mentioned we got a coffee/cappuccino machine at work and I bought a bunch of coffee accessories to take to work. We've been having the most fun with that thing!

It's warm this AM but will get cold again tonight. Yesterday was cool and wet, and neither the boy nor I got out of our PJs all day. I did do laundry and straighten the living room, as well as finished up one notebook of my story, put up my MJ Fredrick website, designed bookmarks, printed out TAKS practice sheets for my class and watched White Noise 2 (Nathan Fillion and Starbuck, but still not so good) and Metropolis.

Today I'm blogging at Wet Noodle Posse about ideas, again. If only I would stop getting them!

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The Final Four, JDM, Cloverfield and 10 Things You Won't Find in My Books

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Trish is in the FINAL FOUR of the American Title contest! Go vote now!

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Michele was right - PARADE had a 2 page spread with JDM, including a picture I don't have!!! Of course, the ds and dh thought it odd I was buying a paper.....

We went to breakfast, went to the grocery store and raced to unload so we could go see Cloverfield.

I've never been so sick watching anything. All of it is done with a handheld camera, which is Never Still. I didn't realize what was making me sick at first, but the constant motion.....ugh. I ended up only seeing about 1/4 of the movie. I can't watch video games, either, and I think it didn't help that we sat so close. Thankfully the movie is Very Short, less than 90 minutes.

Today I should have my website up and should get my bookmarks ordered.

I've been wanting to do this post since I saw it on Jill's blog, but honestly had trouble coming up with ten things I've never written about. I mean, after twenty books, I've written about single moms, single dads, love triangles, explosions, shoot outs, diving, firefighting, May-December, you name it.

So, ten things you WON'T find in my books:

1) historical settings
2) teenage offspring of the hero or heroine - way to leech out the romance
3) death of any of the following - the hero or heroine, a child, a grandmother or a pet
4) a toilet scene (I can't STAND bathroom scenes in TV shows or movies, and there ALWAYS seems to be one)
5) talky love scenes
6) a hero with a full beard
7) hm, how to put this...love scenes that are...hm....out of the ordinary, like, say, you'd find in EC books
8) a waif heroine
9) the wedding of the main characters, and I don't know why
10) angels (though I've loved the 2 angel books I've read)

What don't you write about?

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Goals

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Wow, it is COLD! I don't usually wear a robe, but I sure wish I had one right now!

Yesterday was not quite as uneventful as I hoped. By the time we got done running to the boy's 2 gigs, I was too tired to write. Sigh.

I dreamed I went to a plotting retreat at Jennifer Crusie's house and it was SO COOL.

This week I NEED to:

1) get my website up
2) get my new email working
3) get my bookmarks ordered
4) work on Something to Talk About
5) do a blog for the WNP
6) work on revisions for Vanished, so I can have a second book for Samhain
7) go see CLOVERFIELD before someone ruins it for me
8) get to the grocery store, post office and Academy
9) get Baby Brother's bday present
10) keep up house/yard

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THREE DAY WEEKEND!!!! And Story Inspiration

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Today I am going to read and write and that is all, till the boy has his TWO gigs tonight!

Hot Shot is back with my editor. Fingers crossed she likes it.

My Wayback story hit a snag in that I was making my cowboy a foster kid, and I realized the hero in the first book in the series is a foster kid. Hmph.

I watched 3:10 to Yuma the other night. Good movie. I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did.

I was thinking last weekend that a LOT of my stories come from dreams. A LOT. Just this week I had 2 more!

Beneath the Surface was a dream about archaeologists getting kidnapped by a group of rebels in South America. I kept the archaeologist part.

My very first book, with a title too dumb to name here, was a dream about 2 cops, divorced, who were kidnapped and their kids had to try to rescue them (this was way before Spy Kids, too.) I kept the 2 divorced cops part.

The story I sent to SHOMI, Eden's Promise, was a dream about these man-like creatures taking over the world and capturing humans. (Okay, maybe I had seen Planet of the Apes before I went to sleep that time....)

Ghost Hunters was a dream about Dean Winchester running a ghost tour.

Spy Girl was a dream about Sydney Bristow having quit, having a kid and having to go back into the spy game to rescue her husband, and having to work with a man in love with her. I added the bad guy she falls in love with.

I have three more dream ideas I'm playing with....the one I dreamed this week, one I dreamed a couple of weeks ago, and an assassin story I dreamed probably a year ago.

Do you ever dream story ideas?

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If I Only Had Some Plans....

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I'd call in today, but I didn't plan anything.

I'm ALMOST done with Hot Shot. I wanted to finish last night, but by the time I got home from taking the boy to Borders (twice, because as soon as we exited the highway, he realized he'd forgotten his coupon and Borders bucks so I turned around to get them), eating dinner (Firehouse Subs...mmmm), nearly getting creamed on the way home by a kid in a Bronco talking on the phone and changing lanes without looking, and talking to my mom on the phone, it was almost 8. Then the boy decided to plink on his mandolin while watching Stephen Colbert. I put on headphones but they were wonky. So I decided to wake up early to finish. Behold my success.

And I dreamed the GREATEST line last night....but have no time to write a story around it!!!

Oh, and my Supernatural magazine came Tuesday, FINALLY. I opened it yesterday and it has an interview with JDM and a POSTER!!!! Where I'll put it, I don't know.....

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Random Kitty

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So yesterday, during testing, one of my students had to leave the classroom. He comes back in and says, "Miss, there's a cat." Sure I misunderstood him, I asked him to repeat, and then followed him into the hall. Sure enough, a little orange tabby was stretched out in front of my door!

Okay, my classroom is in a long hallway, separate from the main building. There are 12 other classrooms and the library besides. WHY did this cat know that I am a cat person? Why did it choose MY door?

The kids freaked like they'd never seen a cat before. When I scolded them, they said, "But we've never seen a cat in SCHOOL." Clearly they have not been my students long enough.

Anyway, the coaches took it and fed it and made it a little bed. Another kid took it home, which is good, because when I called the dh to tell him, he groaned and said, "So we have another *expletive deleted* cat?"

No, we don't. But I still want to know how it knew where to find me.

One major plot point remaining. I think I have an idea. And I wrote 4 pages on the Wayback story yesterday.

No more testing - I actually have to teach today ;) We're doing Social Studies all day because I need GRADES!

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I have an ISBN!!!

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I have an ISBN!!!

Three more plot points to get through. I should be able to get one this AM, maybe two, if the ds doesn't wake up early to finish his physics review.

Oh, and my cps were tossing around the idea of writing for The Wild Rose Press's Wayback series and I may have come up with an idea. Will try to flesh it out while the kids are taking the writing test today.

My dh's cousin found my email through The Wet Noodle Posse and emailed. Cool, huh?

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Revisions

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I spent ALL DAY yesterday on revisions. I did searches for overused words, I fixed eight plot points, most minor, but one the timeline question. I made him a former smokejumper. I still need to smooth that one out today. I need to fix 6 more things, some harder than others, like the fire shelter thing. Thankfully, I found an instruction manual for the burrito shelter. I was freaking because I didn't see how two people could fit in it, but the manual does say they can, though it's not recommended.

Anyway, I was going to steal Jill's excellent post idea about ten things you won't see in my books, but by the time I was done editing it was 8:30. I showered, watched some TV and CRASHED. Thank goodness today's testing!

I should find out soon when Smoke is coming out!

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Goals

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I was at critique SIX HOURS yesterday! Not counting taking the boy to UIL, then waiting an hour at Starbucks between that and the time I was supposed to be at my CP's house, and the half hour drive both ways - I was gone almost all day. And when I got home, I was in no shape to work on Hot Shot. We had fun, though, mapping out our scenes because the visuals weren't clear, even blocking some. We laughed a lot.

So this week I need to:

1) Finish Hot Shot revisions.
2) work on Something to Talk About
3) get website UP
4) get pseudonym email working
5) order bookmarks
6) finish grades at school
7) keep up at home (yeah, RIGHT)

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Fire Shelters and TV

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Apparently I’m in a Disney mood this week.

So, what I did to stop the freak out – I finished the minor stuff, word substitutions and all that. Then I got out a notebook and wrote down all the plot questions she had. I discovered some of my research was outdated. My editor insisted a fire shelter would have a floor, and in my previous research, no, they’re just big sheets of shiny flame-retardant fabric.

Well, thanks to new technology, I have to rewrite the fire shelter scene because, yes, they now are little tents. So my characters are going to be burritos. Yeesh.

I have critique today, though, so…

I think the JDM MySpace is not him. All his “friends” are from Grey’s Anatomy, and the bios all read the same. Sigh. BUT my favorite JDM website is back. Yay!

LOST is coming back January 31, a Thursday. Why? Does anyone know? Because guess what? SUPERNATURAL is coming back January 31, too. I tried to find out when other stuff is coming on, but can’t. Looks like Moonlight is new next week, though. When is Men in Trees coming back? And is Bones staying on Friday nights? What about House?

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Having a Bit of a Freak Out, Actually

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(The quote is from Disney's Aladdin, in case you're racking your brain as I was.)

My revisions have me in a tizzy. For the most part, my edits have been easy, repeated words, tiny story questions. But when I was doing yesterday's pages (before school, and before picking up the ds from school AGAIN), her notes were more about the story. And there's one I just don't know how to fix. I'd never realized it. My agent never realized it. The two Silhouette editors who read it never said anything about it.

My timeline is off. I have part of Gabe's conflict as people trying to mold him to be who they think he is, and part of that was his ex-eife pushing him to be a smokejumper. Only he met and married her when he was in his 30s, and I doubt he'd go to smokejumping school at that age. So I'm trying to wrap my mind around it, and trying to think how I'm going to expand the ending (she says it's too rushed.) I was going to send it to my chapter's online critique last night but fell asleep on the couch!

So thinking about revisions is making me queasy.

I did dream I got my cover, and they had this old guy on the cover. Ew.

No tests today, but we're going to review like crazy.

Grey's Anatomy was new last night and GOOOOOOOOD. I cried so much!

Oh, and my FAVORITE JDM website is GONE!! WAH!!!

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Looonnnnnnnnng Week, NOT LOLCats, Image Searches and Edits

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WOW, has this been a long week. At one point during the test yesterday, I think the clock was going BACKWARDS. The kids tested till 2:30. Ugh. And today, math.

I came home and my baby kitty Skippy brought a dead bird into the house. EWWW. And SOMEONE - I'm not naming names, but I suspect Skippy - knocked over my amaryllis, which FINALLY had 4 big beautiful flowers on it. Now, it doesn't.

I did an image search on JDM and this blog came up on the 5th page! It's a pic of Jensen, though.

I did 40 pages of edits this AM. Most are repeated words and stuff, but some is timeline-related and I have to go back and reread the story for that. My WRP editor and my Samhain editor have definite different styles. My Samhain editor is very conscious of repeated words and phrases, and dialogue tags. My WRP editor was very conscious of pronouns (and other stuff, too, I'm sure, but I can't remember.) All I know is, when I sat on the couch with my gel pen and my small town story last night, I was too tired to write!

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Goodreads

M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

Good Reads

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MJFredrick
I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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