Contests and The Last Templar

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I got the results from the Gotcha contest last night. I entered Queen of the Night. I came in the middle of the pack, which I checked before looking at my comments, so I was feeling some trepidation.

I got really great comments. Really great. Little things to change, like sentence structure. So while I'm pleased with the comments, I think I'm done with contests. It's too much stress, waiting for that one comment to derail you.

Did you see The Last Templar? I'm not liking Mira Sorvino, and I LOVE Mira Sorvino. I can't tell if it's the character or what. She's really getting on my nerves.

I spent $30 at the post office yesterday-see, doing my part to keep 6 day delivery :) Worse, I forgot to buy stamps, so I need to go back!

Grocery store today, then revising like crazy, maybe knock out one of the interviews, too.


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Why I Get Google Alerts for JDM

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It's very rare to see JDM and San Antonio in the same alert. Turns out one of his movies will be showing here in a Hispanic movie film festival. He made Days of Wrath a couple of years ago, and it's only been making the film festival circuit, which has finally come to town! So hopefully, next weekend, I can go see it!

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Supernatural was wonderful last night. Can't wait to watch it again.

Also saw Rocknrolla. Gerry was pretty funny.

My Tivo is on the verge of exploding, I have over 300 Google Reader messages, I have 2 interviews and an article to do, my printer isn't printing out the last 30 pages of the requested ms for Susan.....I'm swamped! We won't even talk about the house or exercise, okay?

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Mail Delivery

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The post office is considering cutting back to only 5 delivery days a week. When I was submitting more through snail mail, that would have bothered me. Sundays made me twitchy because I got no word.

OMG, I just realized-I stopped submitting so much and the post office started to lose money! Coincidence? I think not!

I got another great review for Hot Shot yesterday! LOVE that last line!

For some reason I'm moving VERY slowly through DLB. I'm to be adding the 5 senses, immediacy and sexual tension. I don't know why I'm having trouble. I'm only on page 45. I want to be on page 90 by Saturday night.

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Hopeful News and Blogging Elsewhere

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I got observed yesterday (Yay!) When the principal walked in, the kids said, "Your dream came true!" Then they said, "Mrs. Fechter, you're sweating!" Yup, you can't have any dignity when you teach elementary.

I came home to find the dreaded SASE, but it was Susan Litman requesting Breaking Daylight! So I'll be printing that out and sending it on its way. I'm forever hopeful.

I've been so busy doing writing-related stuff, I've not done much revising. Hope to remedy that today.

No ice day, alas, but I've been observed so I can relax a bit :) Today I'm blogging at Samhain, but it's a story you're very familiar with :)

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Happy Birthday, New Book, Stress

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Happy birthday, Baby Brother!

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My friend
Meg Benjamin has a new book out today!!! It's her very first, and it won a slew of awards before she published! Here's the blurb.


Coming off a broken engagement to a lying charmer, all bookstore owner Docia Kent wants is a fling, not a long-term romance. And for her fabulously wealthy and fabulously nosy parents to butt out of her life for a while. The Texas Hill Country town of Konigsburg looks like the perfect place to get both. Especially when she gets a look at long, tall country vet Cal Toleffson.

Cal has other plans for Docia. One glance at the six-foot version of Botticelli’s Venus, and he knows he’s looking at the woman of his dreams. Now if he can just fend off the eccentric characters of Konigsburg long enough to convince her romance isn’t such a bad idea.

One night of mind-blowing sex isn’t the only thing that leaves them both stunned. With Docia’s bookstore under attack, Konigsburg suddenly doesn’t seem so welcoming. Once again she finds her trust tested—and is left wondering if she was ever meant to have a happily ever, after all.

Check it out at
Samhain Publishing.

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I'm having a bit of a freak-out. (Shocked, aren't you?) I kind of overloaded on promotion, and my cousin emailed to say she and her bf are coming for the boy's graduation in June (I know) but there's so much to do in 4 months. And I keep having nightmares about getting observed. I've been doing this for 20 years and we used to get observed FOUR times a year. What am I worried about? It's just one of those times where I just want to hide in my room and read. You ever get that way?

Annnnnnd....I'm blogging at
Supernatural Sisters about John Winchester. Come play!

I believe the word you're looking for is...GUH.

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Cranking It Out

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I read an article this weekend about an author who writes 10-11 books a year. TEN or ELEVEN BOOKS (novels, Silhouette ones) a YEAR. She writes a chapter a day and revises. She writes 15 chapters, so that's a month a book, more or less. Not much of a break in between. I've not read this author, but I have to admit I'm curious. I see that she'll have books released two months in a row, then a month off, repeat the pattern.

I know another author who writes a chapter a day, though I think she takes more time revising. Still, she had 7 books out last year and 8 the year before, and 8 more the year before that.

On a blog I subscribe to, one writer seems to have a new release every couple of weeks. Most are novellas, but still.

On one hand, I'm really jealous. I would love to have that output, especially since at my current rate, I'll be writing the stories I already have ideas for until 2011, and you know me. I get new story ideas way too often. Then there's the money. Even at the lowest amount of advance HQ gives, she makes double what I make teaching if she writes that many.

But.

How in depth can she go, writing that quickly? The reason I wonder is because the book I just finished reading seemed not to go very deep into the characters at all, especially secondary characters. And since it was a romantic suspense, not giving the suspects and ultimate bad guy much depth felt like a cheat. I like meat in my books, emotion and motivation. How can you know the characters enough in that short amount of time to do them justice, to tell the story the way it should be told?

Also, when does she plot? She writes for two Silhouette lines, including SRS. If she's going to write that quickly, she has to know what the plot is, right? She doesn't have much time built in for revisions and unkinking knots.

The biggest thing, to me, is this question-do they see writing as a race? I've been known to, but at the same time, I enjoy the process of mulling the plot, spending time with the characters. Even my wrong paths teach me more about the people I write about. Where's the enjoyment in writing if you write so quickly? Can you fall in love with your characters if you only spend a month with them? Do they stay with you when you're done? Do they stay with the reader when they're done?

Doesn't that matter?

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Goals for Last Week of January

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So glad it’s here-we’re BROKE! Need this end of the month paycheck.

1) Dinner for baby brother’s 20th bday (also get gift and card)
2) get halfway through DLB revisions
3) fill out 3 interviews for guest blogs
4) use Trish’s notes to fix the end of Surface and send to editor
5) revisions on short story
6) cross fingers
7) blog about John Winchester on Supernatural Sisters
8) blog on the Samhain blog
9) get observed by my principal
10) order author copies of Hot Shot
11) go to post office
12) consider entering Hot Shot in Daphne contest
13) dye roots
14) exercise
15) continue keeping a path through the house, fighting dust bunnies, and keeping laundry and dish piles to a minimum

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Rant Ahead

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We've stopped answering our house phone. It's only someone we know one out of 5 times anyway, and all the other times, it's someone asking for money. Usually it's a charity I've heard of, and they have a good spiel and usually manage to get me to commit to $20, but damn it, I'm tired of being guilted out of my money. I don't spend frivolously. I think about my purchases ahead of time, even a $5 book or a $4 cup of coffee or a dinner out. Yes, I'm sure these are legit charities, but I'm being nickled and dimed, all because I get choked up when they call (and if the dh or ds answers, the caller asks for me, every time.) So I'm not answering my home phone and thinking of changing the number I've had for 10 years.

Also, is it too much to ask for my (relatively) new vacuum, which I don't use very much (no carpet) to NOT break? Especially the attachment we bought it for (that removes pet hair)? I don't think I've used the thing 10 times.

I cried buckets during this week's Grey's Anatomy. Anyone else see it?

Okay, I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest. Off to write a new first scene in DLB.

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THEY'RE HERE!!!!!!

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The print copies of HOT SHOT came yesterday!!!

I would add a picture but I would have to find


a) the camera
b) a clean surface in my house
c) the camera cord.

And I woke up late so that's not happening this morning :)

This is a momentous occasion because

In 2000, I started this book.
In 2001, I pitched it in New Orleans.
In 2002, I won my first contest with it, Where the Magic Begins.
In 2003, I finalled in the Golden Heart with it.
In 2004, I got my first editor phone call (asking for revisions, but still.)
In 2005, I got an agent.
In 2006, I revised it, all year. Didn't write ANYTHING new that year.
In 2007, I sold it.
In 2008, it came out in ebook.
In 2009, I'm holding it in my hands.

Now, if that's not the little book that could......

Okay, so advice. I want to send a copy to my former agent and a copy to Susan Litman. Not a nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah, but a sincere thank you. Susan read the thing 3 times, and requested it a third, after it finalled in the Maggies, but I got my agent by then, and the book was too long for SRS after I was done. I want to thank her for believing in the book.

And I want to send a copy to Emily because it never would have been published without the endless revisions.

What do you think? Tacky? Career ending? Or do you think they'll understand when I include a nice note?

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Adding Urgency

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WANT:

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My editor wants me to add more urgency to DLB. Okay, my hero and heroine are traveling across Africa to rescue her best friend, who's been taken hostage by the same warlord who had kidnapped the heroine years before. As they're traveling, things go wrong, delaying their journey. How do I ratchet up the tension? Not sure how to add it without being redundant, you know? And I do see where the sexual tension falls off, as well.

What did you think of LOST last night?


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Love

Yesterday the teachers had a workday and we worked all morning....trying to find a way to see the inauguration. We'd hoped to stream it on our computers, but the flash players wouldn't download. We called technology, who told us to watch on Fox. Still didn't load. Finally one of the teachers remembered we have cable in our school, only no one could remember where the connections were, and they couldn't find a cord. I was ready to go to Target and buy a cord when the librarian discovered one. We all gathered in Robert's room to watch, about 30 teachers. THEN, just as Obama started speaking, one of the teachers buzzed over the intercom wondering who was going to go to lunch with her! I was peeved. Still am, actually.

Okay, I don't want to talk politics, but I just wondered if anyone else saw what I saw when the Obamas were together.


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I know nothing about their marriage, but the look on Michelle's face when she watched her husband take the oath...such pride and love. I came home and saw the parade, and there was a playful moment between them when he leaned over to tell her something, she swatted him in the chest and he put his arm around her.

And then the balls...the first one where he said, "Doesn't my wife look beautiful?" Then they danced and while the world was watching, had a private moment, a connection.

Now, I may be fooled. They may be putting on a pretty show for me, but I don't think so. I think they have real love and real respect between them, an affection we haven't seen in the White House since the Reagans.

Again, I don't know anything about the other presidents' marriages. I do think George loves Laura, but she was always so quiet and in the background, kind of like she was wondering how she got into all this. I don't think the Clintons have love, or had. And I think George Sr. was scared of Barbara (just kidding-but she was still pretty formidable yesterday!) I just think the Obamas have a relationship that is mutual respect and admiration, and I hope they hold together through the scrutiny and strain of the next few years.

Is it weird that when I woke at 2, I thought, "Michelle's feet must be hurting?" Okay, so maybe I have a bit of a girl-crush.....

Exciting Day

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Why is it I got out of bed before dawn every day of the last 4 and today I just...couldn't.....do it? Well, I didn't sleep well, for one. Today should be an easy day. We're just working in our rooms, and on grades, which are mostly done. I want to get there early and set up my computer so I can stream the inauguration. (I spent more time than I should have yesterday watching the preparations.)

Also need to stop at cleaners and Sonic for Diet Coke :)

I finished the revisions on Surface last night. Just need to go back and make the last 15 pages ago more visceral, then off to Trish. Tonight I start reading through DLB.

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Day Off

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Yes, I was up before 6 on my day off. I know how I want to write the new ending (how often do I say that?? Why can't I EVER get the ending right the first time???) so I plan to work on that, and hopefully finish reading a book, then start reading DLB to see how to make my changes. I'm itching to get back to the historical...they were JUST about to cross a river in a wagon when I abandoned them. Then my heroine will have to warm up my hero, see, and....

Okay, one story at a time.

The boy is off to march in the country's biggest MLK parade. I bet it will be HUGE this year. He's debating wearing his Obama shirt today or tomorrow for the inauguration.

I'm blogging about movies with Winchesters at Supernatural Sisters.

Also, I have too many cats, including one that's sitting RIGHT at my right wrist. Why there? Hmm?

Wonder what movie this is from:

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Goals for Week of MLK

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I met and exceeded my daily goal yesterday, need to rewrite the climax, and it's downhill from here. I hope to send Surface to Trish by Wednesday.

I watched Brideshead Revisited last night. I kept thinking that Charles is Ozymandius in Watchmen, which I can't wait to see.

1) finish revisions on Surface and send to Trish
2) read through DLB and begin revisions-get through page 50
3) blog on SPN Sisters
4) Do one promo thing
5) Finish grading, get classroom ready for next few weeks of science and centers
6) Resume tutoring (wahhhhh!)
7) Continue battling mountain of laundry and army of dust bunnies, cook dinner every night since payday is a lonnnng way away.
8) Get on the exercise bike. I was bad about it this week because my back was hurting.

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Updates and TV

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I took yesterday off. My back has been hurting all week and I couldn't miss because of testing, so I missed yesterday. I got caught up on my goals-ALMOST. I hit the scene that bothered the editor most, but I want to keep most of it and so I had to sloooooowwww down. I might make today's goal, but tomorrow will be slower again. I really hoped to reach it early yesterday and spend the rest of the day reading.

I did see Friday Night Lights (OMG, how much I love this show) and Battlestar Galactica, which still has me scratching my head wondering why, on 3 counts.

Today Brideshead Revisited is coming, and I need to watch last week's 24. I haven't seen Psych yet, either.

But first, writing!

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Merritt Contest

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Really blogging at The Romance Studio today.

Not sure how I felt about last night's SPN. Come to Supernatural Sisters and discuss!

Rules for the 2009 Merritt Contest
Sponsored by San Antonio Romance Authors

Winners announced at the Merritt Conference to be held in San Antonio on May 2, 2009.

Eligibility: Entrants must not have published nor be under contract to publish a 40K word manuscript of romance fiction by an RWA-recognized publisher at time of contest deadline.

Categories: Entrants may enter one or more entries in the following categories: series contemporary, single title/mainstream w/romantic elements, historical, paranormal and romantic suspense. Each category must have at least 7 entries or entrant will be given the opportunity to switch to another applicable category.

Submission: Electronic submissions only. Each entry must contain:
1) A signed application/release form, 30-page submission, and entry fee receipt or confirmation of payment.
2) A cover page with title of entry, category, projected word length of finished manuscript, author’s name, address, email address, and phone number.
3) The first chapter (may include prologue), of an unpublished romance novel (not to exceed 25 pages) in proper manuscript form: double spaced, left justification, one inch margins, in Courier New 12 pt. font OR Times New Roman 14 pt font. Category entered, Title of entry and page number must appear in the header of each page.Author’s name must not appear in the header. Submissions formatted differently from stated guidelines will not be accepted.
4) A short synopsis (not to exceed five pages) in the same format as stated above. This synopsis WILL be judged.

Entry fee: $25 per entry for SARA members; $30 per entry for RWA members; $35 per entry for non-RWA members. Paypal may be used (extra fees apply—see website for payment button) Make checks or money orders payable to San Antonio Romance Authors and mail to: SARA Merritt Contest, PO Box 160818, San Antonio, TX 78280-3018.

Deadline: Entries must bereceived by the contest co-coordinator Jenn Wilkins at sara_merritt09@yahoo.com no later than midnight, February 14, 2009. Finalists will be contacted by the end of March, and will be allowed time to incorporate preliminary judges’ comments before submitting to editors for final round ranking. Entrants need not be present at conference to win.

Judges: The preliminary round will be judged by three published and/or trained unpublished authors. Every entry is guaranteed to be judged by at least one published author. All finalists must receive an average of 80% of total points or higher.
Historical – Tessa Woodward, Avon
Series – Patience Smith, Silhouette
Single title – Megan McKeever, Pocket
Romantic Suspense – Latoya Smith, Grand Central
Paranormal – Rose Hilliard, St. Martin’s

Awards: All finalists receive a certificate. First place winners receive a Texas charm and a year’s newsletter subscription to the Love Letter. Winners’ names will also be published in the Romance Writer’s Report.

Grand Prize: The person receiving the highest overall score as determined by first round judging has the opportunity to submit a partial manuscript to Kate Duffy of Kensington Books.

Permission granted to photocopy.

Please email entries to sara_merritt09@yahoo.com

©2009, San Antonio Romance Authors
All rights reserved.

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Sending You Elsewhere

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Man, I was tired yesterday. I got up early to write, and fell asleep on the couch. I took a ten minute nap in the car at lunchtime, with my phone as my alarm. I came home from the vet and took a nap.

I haven't seen Dukey eat yet, but she seems happier. And the vet kindly let me make payments.

More testing today, but if we're done early, we might watch a movie. I was going to take them outside, but we're going to have a pretty good windchill.

I'm behind my page goals for Surface, because I've gotten to the new stuff and barely wrote half a page yesterday. And tonight, with Grey's and SPN....and I woke up late this morning.

Trish, Natalie, Tanya Michaels, Terri Clark and I have started a new blog called Supernatural Sisters. It launched today since the second half of the season starts today. Come check us out!

Also, I'm part of the promotion to win a
Sony eReader at The Wild Rose Press. All you have to do is buy one of my books (or any of the books from authors listed there) and you get a chance. The more you buy, the more chances you have. Winners will be announced on St. Patrick's Day.

Okay, going to see what I can get done in 30 minutes. I keep getting dressed later and later.

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Excited about Reading

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I'm listening to Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas. I got it from the library and am on disc 3. Yesterday I sat in the car listening because I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. Oh, so good. It's my first Lisa Kleypas, but I'm already planning on getting Sugar Daddy.

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The other one I got yesterday. See, I read an interview with Delores Fossen, who I've known forever, and she said her latest hero was modeled on....guess who? Jeffrey Dean Morgan :) Now, I would have gotten this book anyway, but I wouldn't have put it on the top of the TBR :) Look at the cover-it does look like JDM, doesn't it?

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Now to find time to read.....about 100 page to go in Surface, and a lot of new writing. I can keep maybe 50 pages, but the rest needs to be redone.

More testing today, and Dukey, my oldest cat, is going to the vet for a procedure. Seems she has ulcers in her mouth.

I'm keeping up with my Tweets, but not Google Reader and not Tivo. And Appaloosa is on its way from Blockbuster.

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Duh, Dreams and Meeting Goals

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Turns out yesterday WASN'T my day to blog at Romance Studio. It's Friday. DUH.

I went to bed before 8:30 last night! I was just tuckered. I woke at 3:45 or so, but that's okay, I need to write.

I had some crazy dreams. I dreamed my dad was coming to visit (the second time in a week I've dreamed this.) I dreamed I had a brand new classroom (same kids) and a new principal whose name I couldn't remember, and my cat Dukey (who IRL has to go to the vet today) was in the room. This room had three thermostats, which is funny because my current room doesn't even have one. I also dreamed that my brother and SIL moved into a beautiful brand new house, two stories with lots of windows, and an outdoor fireplace, but their neighbor's house was inches away.

I got another good review for Bull by the Horns. I've been so lucky!

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I've been working on meeting my goal of promoting better and sent out two requests for interviews, one at I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want the Book Now! and the other at All Romance ebooks. I actually sold a number of copies of Hot Shot in December (maybe because of the Eppie final???) but had one returned. Weird, right? I didn't know you could return ebooks.

Okay, to work I go!

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Working, Working

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Did anyone see 24 last night? I always thought Tony was hot, but with the short hair....guh! Also, the FRI agent Renee would be excellent in Nora's High Noon. She was also the mom on the Supernatural episode "Playthings." This season looks gooooood, but has the same kind of plot as Spy Girl, aka the book I will never have time to work on :)

I got up to page 126, almost a third of the way through. I've also cut 20 pages so far. I need to rework the climax, so the closer I get to the end, the slower I'll be working.

I'm blogging about success today at The Romance Studio. Come say howdy!

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Goals for the week of District Assessments

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My guardian angels were working overtime yesterday. I'd planned to get a new tire, then go to the grocery store, but the tire place was closed, so I went to the grocery store first. When I got home, I unloaded, then went back out to head to the tire store, only to discover I had a flat! At least it waited till I got home! So when the dh came home, he took the tire off, and it was on the verge of coming apart. He was only gone a little while, which was good. Then we went to get toner and lunch.

I didn’t have Internet after 4 on Saturday-got a lot done, but it was frustrating not being able to even get to the revision letters! But I got through the first 6 chapters. I think I need to go through another time, since I don't think I cut enough introspection.

1) Revise-get halfway through Surface
2) Guest blog on The Romance Studio
3) Read through DLB
4) Keep a path through the house, battle back dust bunnies, keep laundry from forming a mountain
5) District assessments
6) Finish grading
7) Exercise daily

At least I got the GH entries done earlier this week.

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Craziness

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This picture is too scary to be funny.

I finally finished my first book of the year, Elisabeth's Stolen Fury! Very action-packed, and about archaeologists, which I love. Also pretty danged sexy.

Okay, so I'm rereading Surface before I work on revisions and yesterday....I got a revision request for my Africa story! Yup, that was my head exploding. So, taking a deep breath, planning ten pages a day on one book at a time....my stomach is in knots, but I don't want to blow this. I was printing out both books (and I have 2 versions of each) and ran out of toner, so that's where I get to go today. And to get a tire. And to the grocery store. :::headdesk:::: Um, need to read my book and REVISE. When, again?

Soooo, since this is the hero model in both stories, you'll be seeing a lot of this guy:

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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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