How Do You Choose?

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I watched 27 Dresses last night with my son and his girlfriend. It was goooooood!

It took me almost a month to read Private Arrangements (which is saying nothing about the book, just what April was like ;) ) But once I was done, I had a hard time trying to figure out what book to read next. I was pretty sure I didn't want another historical right then, so I read Linda’s WHAT MATTERED MOST in two days over the weekend. Frankly, that story stayed with me more than Private Arrangements did. Then I had another choice. I didn't think I wanted a paranormal or romantic suspense. I had been thinking about sending my small town story to Susan Litman when I'm done, so I thought I'd read one of the few SSEs I had. I started a couple and set them aside. Finally I got sucked into Karen Templeton's book and I'm enjoying that, but the decision process was more than I could handle this time of year ;)

With all the choices, how do you decide what to read next?

JDM

So What Would Be the Weirdest Thing...

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About dating your best friend's husband, if she was out of the picture? I feel like I'm not plumbing the depths of emotion enough here in my book. (The wife is dead in my book.)

Also, I don't think I've made my heroine and her best friend different enough. Both are vivacious and energetic. I need to give Ellie something more so my hero isn't just sliding her into the place of his ex.

JDM

Goals for the week of TAKS

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Busy busy week, more for the boy than me, but as his chauffeur…

1) TAKS testing – Monday through Wednesday for the boy, Tuesday and Wednesday for my kids
2) State for the boy, Thursday and Friday
3) SAT for the boy Saturday (aren’t you glad you aren’t him??)
4) Promo Monday and Tuesday
5) Up to page 170 in StTA
6) Choose a winner for my contests
7) Get SIL’s gift for her bday Saturday
8) Go see Iron Man
9) Keep up house

We’ve been eating dinner out a lot and I’ve been coming home so full I’m sick. And I don’t even eat all of it! Have you noticed this, or am I losing my appetite as I get older?

Also, casual dress is getting really casual, isn’t it? I’ve seen people out in pajama pants lately! I’m all for comfort, but, huh??

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Wow, the Rain Rock Really Works!

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Every year at Night in Old San Antonio, the ladies from the Conservation Society hang a "rain rock." It's a custom to keep rain away from the outdoor activity that is their sole fundraiser for the year.

Last night NIOSA ended at 10.

The storms rolled in at midnight. Seems to me the same thing happened last year, the rain held off till right after the last night.

Tomorrow's the last official day of Fiesta and it's supposed to storm.

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Tonight....Tonight....

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My laptop came yesterday! It doesn't have an airport card yet, and the dh spent all evening loading programs, but tonight I should be able to use it.

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Everyone is home tonight, the first night since Sunday, and it's a good thing because it's MUST SEE TV!!!

Tonight we will watch The Office. I know the last couple of weeks have been new, but tonight, everything is!!!

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We'll Tivo SPN. Where we left off...Lilith the demon has made herself known to Sam, and sees him as competition to be eliminated. Dean still hasn't gotten out of his deal with the devil (though Daddy is coming back to help him next week - at least, his voice is.)

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We'll watch AND Tivo Lost, where we still have Michael on the boat with Sayid and Desmond, everyone else waiting on the island. We know only 6 leave, but why???

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The new Grey's Anatomy is on, too, but I'll watch it when it reairs tomorrow. I can barely remember where that one's left off - did Derek break up with Meredith to go out with the nurse? George and Izzie are still going strong - ick.

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Today is also my last day of tutoring! Woot!

Just to share

Look at this gorgeous thing. I put my hand there so you could SEE how big it is. I do NOT have small hands.

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Native Texan

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I suppose my birthday COULD have been worse. Well, I know it could have, but it certainly wasn't good. Misbehaving kids, crummy food and service at a restaurant we've enjoyed before, Borders out of almost all the books I went looking for...let's just hope it's not indicative of the year. I did get pretty roses from the dh, and my grade level bought me lunch and the blouse Cindi bought me matches my Fiesta skirt perfectly.

Last week when we went to see my cousin's baby, we saw my uncle. My uncle is Native Texan, capitalized. He was born here, both his parents were born here, and their parents before and he's proud of it. He knows Texas geography and Texas history. He loves anything symbolizing Texas, like bluebonnets and lone stars (though maybe he's a bit iffy on mesquites and mockingbirds.) He loves the movie The Alamo (with John Wayne, but I'm thinking it's because of it being filmed by Del Rio, where his grandmother lived.) I'm finding myself following in his footsteps. I love teaching Texas history in 4th grade, and I'm itching to go visit some of the places I've been teaching the kids about. I love the new Alamo movie, and love visiting The Alamo and the Institute of Texan Cultures and even the Steves Homestead.

Recently we discovered my great-great-grandmother's line goes back to one of the original 300 families brought to Texas by Stephen F. Austin. Stephen's father, Moses Austin, signed the contract with the Mexican government to bring over 300 families, but died before he could carry it out, so Stephen took over. One of the people who came with him was Count de la Baum, who we can trace to our family. The cool thing is that his will is signed by Erasmo Seguin, the father of Juan Seguin, who was at the Alamo, and Stephen F. Austin himself.

It's getting harder and harder to find Native Texans these days. We have a lot of transplants. In my critique group, I'm the only one, and in SARA, there are just a handful. There are more in my school, but still quite a number of transplants.

What about you? Any interesting history tying you to where you live? Are you native or a transplant?

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Birthdays Past

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My hair, she is poofy :( And I slept maybe 4 hours. Zzzzzz.....

I was reading Candy's blog yesterday and she blogged about memorable birthdays. I am stealing this idea.

My 4th or 5th birthday: The little girl down the street showed up HOURS early and stayed late, she was so excited. Mom eventually had to send her home.

My 8th birthday: I got a pony. My grandparents spoiled me. Be assured she was not a nice pony. She was a reject from someplace and she would blow out her stomach so the saddle would slip when I got on.

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My 9th or 10th birthday: My mom bought me this really pretty sundress made of ticking and my friends came over after school. We climbed on the monkey bars in our backyard and someone stepped on one of the ties and ripped the dress. BUT then my grandpa came with my pony and a goat and we took turns riding up and down the street.

My junior high birthdays: We get off one Friday around my birthday for Fiesta. While I was in middle school, we would go to my grandparents' place and ride the pony, the go cart and eat angel food cake with homemade strawberry icing.

Sadly, I don't really remember my high school birthdays. Or even my early 20s.

My 19th birthday: We went to La Semana Alegre. There is definitely a benefit to having your birthday on the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto - Fiesta is always right around there. I bought my first legal wine cooler, and the guy didn't want to sell it to me because he didn't know the date!

My 26th birthday: The boy took his first step. I was so excited I screamed and scared him. He didn't walk for a long time after that.

One of my mid 20s birthdays: We were planning to go to Night in Old San Antonio with Cindi and her friends, but couldn't choose a day. Finally, they decided to go on my birthday and I couldn't go because I'd already made plans with my family. One of the few fights Cindi and I had.

My 34th birthday: My first birthday in the new house and the first party I'd had in years that included friends as well as family.

My 40th birthday: My brother and sister-in-law threw a huge party for me, with everyone in my family, many of my friends, good food, karaoke and a DVD of pictures of me :( I loved it!

My 41st birthday: Another big get together, and lots of getting spoiled!

My 42nd birthday: Another big get together and lots of getting spoiled!

What are your birthday memories?

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Goals and Hairstyles

So I did get my hair cut. I was at Fantastic Sam's as soon as they opened, and the guy spent an hour and 15 minutes with me! It isn't like the pictures - it's really a short Rachel, but I will definitely go back to this stylist.
Keep in mind, this is after a couple of margaritas.

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Okay, my goals this week:

1) learn how to style hair myself
2) get my butt in gear on this book. I'm so far behind my goal. I should get my "I wrote an essay about Supernatural and got this very cool pink laptop" this week. That should help.
3) send requested partial to an agent
4) ds playing 2 gigs and at least one rehearsal
5) dh playing a gig and at least one rehearsal
6) Fiesta activities???
7) birthday dinner
8) think about spending $30 Borders gift card from brother
9) consider signing up for an online revision class with April Kihlstrom
10) Make room on Tivo for returning TV shows!
11) keep up house - you should see my kitchen floor - margarita sticky!!!

Here's my birthday present - a rustic cooler that's a glorified ice chest but so pretty! Hey, only one person had a beer! The good thing about my bday being so close to Mother's Day is I have sodas and beer leftover!

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I love the horseshoe handle and the bottle opener!

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It's bigger than it looks - we put 3 bags of ice in and didn't even fill it halfway!

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Also, Joyfully Reviewed is having a scavenger hunt deal. Go here to learn all the deets:

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This picture makes me all giddy.

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So I'm Thinking of Getting My Hair Cut....

I spent an hour online looking for something I love that will work with my VERY thick hair and not make me look like a fat old lady.

I like these choppy styles, but don't know how they'd go with my wardrobe, ya know?

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This is cute, but maybe a little short. The shorter my hair, the poofier.

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I kind of like these, but they may make my face look too round. Heaven knows I don't need that. Maybe if I got the second one, but longer. I really like it.

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I like this, but bangs overwhelm my face. And again, I'm in my 40s...

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I will probably lose my nerve and end up with one of these simpler styles, providing I don't lose my nerve altogether.

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I used to change my hairstyle all the time, but now I can't stand to sit in the chair and make conversation with a stranger. What about you? Do you like having your hair done?

The Thrill Isn't Gone

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I love rhinos ;)

So Smoke has dropped to number 8 on the bestseller list last time I checked, and Hot Shot...well, who knows how Hot Shot is doing? The buzz was starting to wear off this week, and then....

Tuesday morning Cindi walked into my classroom with a bouquet of flowers. Now I know she knows when my bday is, and I thought, well, she's early. But no, she brought them to congratulate me for my books. They came out during the worst of her health scare, and she felt bad she hadn't done anything to recognize the occasion. See why I love her?

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Last night we went to go see my cousin's baby (do I have a picture of THAT? No, because I went straight to Mom's from tutoring and didn't take my camera.) He's beautiful and nameless. She wants a name with the initials JB because that's my grandpa's name, and my uncle's name and her initials and her older son's initials are JB. My cousin is big for tradition. Anyway, he's this gorgeous baby with her dimple and his daddy's cleft chin. (BTW, this is the cousin I based Smoke on.) Afterwards, we went to eat and then went to my parents' land. My aunt and uncle have a house out there, so they came over and brought me this.

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I'd been written up in the Reporter last week. The librarian had brought me a copy, but my uncle and aunt went to the trouble of saving the article and the masthead and laminating it "for my scrapbook." Scrapbook, hell, I'm framing it. When they left they said they were very proud of me. :::sniff::: (This is the uncle who READ my very first novel when I was about 10 years old. He also read Hot Shot, come to think...)

So the thrill continues ;)

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What's the Big Idea?

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I've been blog-hopping and over the past few weeks I've seen several authors blogging about a "secret project." I know how that is, a bit (though I can't keep a secret for anything, FYI), wanting to keep a new project under wraps, nurture it, revel in it before you bring it into the world.

But I think these secret projects are more along the lines of High Concept.

I don't get those, not really. I mean, I kind of have a small idea but don't know if I'll have the skill to write it. I don't get the big, genre breaking ideas. I get a LOT of ideas, but nothing that requires excessive plotting, overarching themes for series, etc.

Are you a high concept person? Do you have a secret project?

I think my email is working now....the dh installed a new version of Entourage and it's going to take some getting used to.

I also realized I don't have to haunt my SPAM folder this week. The editor I'm waiting to hear from is likely at RT.

I think this is going to be my birthday present. It's PINK!

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Observations from a National Honor Society Induction

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The boy was inducted into the National Honor Society last night. He goes to the same high school his dad and I went to, and the only thing about the place that's the same is the auditorium. In the boy's three years there, I think this might be the third time we've been there.

Anyway, we live in a kind of nice area of town. Our particular neighborhood is older but established, but certainly the school draws students from some pretty fancy neighborhoods. And I've always had pretty low self-esteem, and being around some of those people just sets that in high gear. (My grandmother would say, "I wish I could buy them for what they're worth and sell them for what they think they're worth," but I've always just figured they were as good as they said they were.) So the dh leans over to me and asks, without me saying ANYTHING about my own feelings (but we have been married 21 years), "Are we achievers?"

That stopped me. We are, but no one would ever know by looking at us. We do it quietly. No one would know by looking that my dh, in his untucked shirt and blue jeans and stubble, has 3 Emmy awards. No one would know by looking at me, with my too-long hair and 2 year old purse that's not a Coach and a blouse from Stein Mart from about 5 years ago (but still in very good shape) that I have 2 published books and have finalled in the Golden Heart 4 times. So my self-confidence grew a bit.

Then during the ceremony, one of the girls spoke on character. I wanted to find her afterward to get the quote she used but it was something about who you are on the inside matching who you are on the outside. I really liked that quote.

The school has a HUGE string orchestra (when I went, there might have been a dozen). This orchestra took up most of the stage. What was neat to the former music teacher in me was when they called for all the NHS candidates to stand, a full third of the orchestra rose. Now, the inductees are juniors, and the orchestra is all grade levels, so that confirmed, to me, the connection between music and achievement in school. (Maybe I'm looking at it backwards, maybe the kids in orchestra have parents who push them more, but I like to think of it as the other way around.)

I did get the giggles when the principal was outlining why these children were chosen. Organization? Studies? HOW did my kid get in?

BTW, he's the only junior on the UIL team going to State! It's the day before his SAT and they leave the day of his last TAKS test (that was fine planning on the UIL committee, wasn't it?) but he's going to State!

Alas, he still doesn't know how to sort his dirty clothes - instead, he dumps them on the bathroom floor so you can't even walk into the bathroom!

The other night I wasn't getting ANY email from the MJ account - my loops overwhelmed the poor thing and locked it up! I had over 1000 emails in trash!

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Mrs. Giggles

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So I have a Google Alert for MJ Fredrick and this morning I had a notice that Mrs. Giggles reviewed Hot Shot.

GULP.

She didn't like Gabe, but gave me a 77. Here's the review. It's just another rite of passage. Interesting she mentioned ER, though, since Clooney was the inspiration.

I managed 3 pages last night in between picking son up from school, taking son to band practice, picking up dinner for myself (because dh also had band practice) then picking ds up from band practice. It takes me as long to get to the kid's house where they practice as it takes me to get to work on the other side of town, so I essentially made 3 commutes yesterday. Listened to a big chunk of Nora's Red Lily.

The week isn't looking any easier, either.

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Monday

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Blargh.

I still don't get how these promo loops work (although I had over 800 messages YESTERDAY. A SUNDAY!) Do you just send a blurb/excerpt? Just jump right in? Fallen Angel Reviews is the one I'm worrying about. And Kwips and Kritiques. And Samhain Cafe.

I need some good news soon....

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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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