Beginnings and Endings

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The only thing on my Tivo (for me) is Dollhouse. I'm on the last 50 pages of John Winchester's Journal and the last disc of Heart-Shaped Box. Ready for something new....

Which I should get with writing. We got the go-ahead on the paranormal anthology. My class helped me plot it out (in return for having it dedicated to them). It will have the same characters as my Ghost Hunters book but the action will be different, for the most part. I will start writing it in the morning after my errands. My goal is 5000 words this weekend, then 1000 a day thereafter. (Yes, playing hookey.)

Will also try to fit revisions on historical in there, in case I get a full request.


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The Plan

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You know what they say about plans....

But I turned in my edits on Surface this AM. Next, revisions on Texas. I'm a little more than a third through.

Then, two short stories.

Then a partial for SRS.

Then, time off until after ds's graduation. I bought 2 more books this weekend and I NEED to READ!

First, must survive testing today and tomorrow.

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And the winner is.....

KELLY!!!!! Kelly Boyce, email me at mfechter @ gmail dot com with your snail mail and I'll get the book out to you this weekend!!!

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Trish is heading out in the AM :( We managed to shop AGAIN tonight, and both bought cute Crocs. (They DO exist.)

Tomorrow is testing, so I'd better get to bed!

Trish is Here!!!!

I mean, she's HERE, in San Antonio, but she's also HERE on my blog today! I know I said I'd have pictures from our big adventure but we actually didn't take that many (they wouldn't let us take cameras into the rodeo) and, well, I'll give you a recap later. Today is all about Trish's new release as Tricia Mills, HEARTBREAK RIVER. Remember, a commenter gets a chance to win an autographed copy. You have until Monday at, say, 10 PM CST, how's that?

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Tricia’s first Young Adult title released this month, an emotional story of a girl who’s trying to find her way forward after losing her dad on the river she’s always loved.

1) Tricia, you write for two publishing houses and you have an incredibly demanding schedule. How do you manage? Do you work on one thing at a time?

I’m fortunate that this is my full-time job now. Granted, I’ve not yet made what I did when I worked full-time, but hopefully someday. I’m pretty organized, so that helps. I don’t tend to write two things at the same time, and so far my deadlines haven’t forced me to do this. I do, however, seem to be writing one, revising another, doing promo for something else -- different stages on different books.

2) Do you find it difficult to switch between YA and romance?

No, actually. I really like switching back and forth. Sure, there are differences such as the style and point of view, but you’re really writing about the same basic things – people’s reactions and emotions to finding love, dealing with external problems, relationships with friends and family members, etc.

3) What drew you to writing YA books? What’s the hardest thing about it? The most rewarding?

I’ve always been a fan of books, TV shows and movies targeted toward teens. I keep saying I have an inner teenager still living inside me. J Hardest thing is probably making sure the books read as authentic to today’s teenagers, not people who were teens when I was in the late ‘80s. Pretty sure today’s teens don’t listen to Duran Duran. Most rewarding – so far, it’s been when I read blogs run by teens who say they love my book. It makes me smile ear to ear!

4) Who are some of your favorite YA authors?

So many! J.K. Rowling, Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Rachel Caine, Libba Bray, Suzanne Collins, P.C. and Kristin Cast. I could keep going, but I won’t.

5) You attribute a lot of inspiration to TV. Was there anything on TV that inspired you to write this book? What about music? Did you have a “soundtrack” for this book?

Strangely enough, TV didn’t really influence this book. Rather, it was a train trip aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr. For about 200 miles in western Colorado, it runs along the Colorado River. During the warmer months, lots of people go on rafting trips along this stretch of river, and I wondered what it would be like to run one of those rafting companies, what it would be like if you were a teen whose family did this. I love the landscape out West, so I combined those two things (plus my own very real fear of the water) and Heartbreak River sprang from that. I honestly don’t usually come up with soundtracks for my books, which is ironic since I am such a HUGE fan of soundtracks. Most of my CD collection is made up of movie and TV show soundtracks. I do, however, do some shout-outs to some of my favorite bands in my YA books.

6) What are you working on now? What’s after that? When is your next Harlequin American Romance (under Trish Milburn) coming out?

I just turned in revisions on my second YA novel, Winter Longing, which is due out in the summer of 2010. Next up is working on a rodeo book for Harlequin American, which I also think is coming out in 2010. My second Harlequin American is coming out here in a couple of weeks. It’s a May release titled Her Very Own Family.

7) And finally, (since you’re staying at my house) which of my cats is your favorite?

Oh, I wasn’t expecting this question! Hmm, probably YaYa and Skippy, though I like them all.

Who doesn't love YaYa? :)

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Or Skippy.

Skippy

Thanks for the insight, Trish! I hope this book finds tons of success!

Trish and Mary's Great Adventure

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We're heading out to Corpus today. I need to mention she'll be guest blogging here on Sunday, so if you ordinarily don't come by on Sunday, take a chance. I'll be giving away a copy of Heartbreak River!

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We'll be back tomorrow with pictures!

Meanwhile, I blogged at The Samhellion about Fiesta

And my recap of last night's SPN episode is at Supernatural Sisters

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This One

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He came to me when I was awake at 2 AM. Am very drowsy now, waiting for Trish. She just called from San Marcos on her way. Should be here in half an hour.

This Almost Never Happens

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EDITED TO ADD: My son is in a district wide competition for video. The winner will be shown on the local PBS stations. If you're so inclined, please vote for Change Is Coming

Also, happy birthday, JDM!

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So I'm plotting another short story because revisions are getting to me. I'm meeting my daily goal, don't get me wrong, but it's stressful, so I unwind by brainstorming.

Now. I have a contemporary AND a romantic suspense AND another short story already plotted, but then I got the idea for this one. And I need some instant gratification.

Thing is, I don't know who to model my hero after. This never happens to me. I thought maybe

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because, dang, he's pretty, and I want this guy to be pretty. But he's also fairly young and the conflict in this story is going to be about control, and while I think he'd be fine for that, he's still young.

I thought about

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because he has the swagger and the build I want, but he's not pretty enough and I'm a little tired of him.

I also thought about

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but I only like him when he's scruffy, and the setting is a wedding.

I'm already using

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in my RS and I'm using

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for the other short story and the contemporary.

So...any ideas for me?

So, Yesterday

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(I'm pretty sure I used that one last year, but computer is SLOOOOOOWWWW today.)

Yesterday I did something I very rarely do.

I stopped.

When I came home, I took my computer out back, along with a bottle of beer and a can of Pringles (Onion Blossom flavor. Oh. So. Good.) I read email and caught up on Twitter and started to read through some blogs, but I got restless and put the computer inside. I went to get a book of baby names for characters in another short story, but decided I didn't feel like doing that either. And since I'd already met my goals for yesterday (and today), I stopped. I sat back and watched the world. I appreciated my flowers. I played with my dog and brushed her. I just...stopped.

Okay, it was maybe 20 minutes, but still. I forgot how to do that.

I'm not blogging as much lately because it's more of the same...revised, worked, dug holes in the yard, watched TV. I should be getting my Surface cover soon.

Trish is coming this weekend, and I'm getting ready for her visit as well. We're heading down to Corpus. We'll tour the Kings Ranch, then go to a rodeo, then come home and Fiesta! Oh, and then my bday barbecue on Sunday.

I realized yesterday I can count on both hands the number of nights I've spent away from the dh, in 22 years. Will be weird Friday night!

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Goals for Birthday Week

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I survived the workshop. Didn’t sell one book L

Also I got an answer to my question, how do you know if Harlequin gets your submission? I got an air mail letter saying they received my electronic submission. Hmm.

I have nothing to watch on my Tivo, except Psych, which I watch with the boy. It’s very strange.

I finished reading an inspirational novella that frustrated me. I bought it because the subject fascinates me, but I just kept thinking I would do it differently. I actually did write a novella about the subject, ages ago, but my discs are obsolete L The big misunderstanding didn’t help my frustration, either, or the missing commas.

Also, I need to read an alpha hero now, please.

1) Clean house for Trish’s visit. Thank goodness I had a domestic fit last week! Mostly just need to sweep and dust.
2) birthday dinner J
3) revisions on Surface
4) revisions on Texas
5) continue plotting paranormal
6) plot short story
7) go to Corpus with Trish for rodeo
8) visit King’s Ranch
9) Fiesta parade
10) Remember gift for librarian, my birthday twin at work and secretary
11) library
12) Last day of tutoring!!!!!!
13) Exercise

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Stress and Writing

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It is raining like hell right now. I hope it slows down in an hour when I have to leave to do the danged workshop. The rain even messes with my wardrobe--there are certain shoes I can't wear in the rain. WHY did I say yes???? WHY?????? I hate doing this stuff, and I hate doing it on a Saturday when already too much is going on. Trish is coming next week and the guest room is a mess and I have a deadline (which I don't think is a problem, but still on my mind). I could be home cleaning/writing. I am allowed to sell books, but if no one comes because of the weather....


And all I want to do is write something new, create, not revise. I find it the best stress relief. See, because I don't have to think about stuff that's stressing me out. The fun stuff invades and there's no room. So the past few days, I've played with the plot of the paranormal anthology and with an idea for another short story. I need a couple more things on my art sheet for Surface, then will send that in.

Also, how does one know if Harlequin Historicals receives your submission? I emailed it using the guidelines I saw on a blog interviewing Linda Fildew, but I wonder if it was received.

Okay, going to do some edits before I need to get dressed.

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Audiobook Win

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I've been trying to figure out what to listen to next after that terrible terrible audiobook I listened to the last couple of weeks. I tried SHUTTER ISLAND by Lehane, I think. Only 5 discs. I listened to one, but it didn't catch me, so I tried HEART SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill.

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Oh.

My.

God.

I could have been late for work driving around listening to that thing. Wow. My friend Dawn had recommended it a couple of years ago, but you know...time flies. My ONLY concern is that a lot that could have been revealed later has already been revealed, so I'm wondering if the ante will be upped or if it will flatten out. You know he's Stephen King's son, right? I think if he keeps it up, he can give Daddy a run for his money.

Most of you know this already because you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but I was interviewed for a Houston paper yesterday. Cool!

Trish is coming next weekend and we're heading to Corpus. I need a car charger for my laptop so I can finish my edits on the drive.

Saw Bolt last night. Was pretty cute. Now my Netflix queue shows all the movies I want available. Go, Netflix!

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A Couple More Days Like Yesterday....

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Got both bathrooms and kitchen cleaned, submitted Texas, got through 28 pages on Surface, went to lunch with the family, fried chicken for supper, finished reading Kleypas and went to Lowe's for more plants (and found the new front door I want.)

Am NOT caught up on Tivo, email or the Google Reader, however. Still, a couple more days like yesterday and I'd be done with revisions, the house would be clean and I'd have time to sew!

Today's tutoring. 3 more days, counting today. That extra hour makes a difference, let me tell you! Less than 40 days of school.

I'm primarily working on Surface since it's due in 2 weeks, and working on Texas after that. So you get Gerry for a couple of weeks!

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Finally on the YA Bandwagon

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I hope everyone had a lovely Easter! Ours was really nice, the weather gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky, and the entire family was there. Baby Brother took a portrait, and even Healing Brother (who looks great, btw) had his older dog in the pic! I think it's a bit far away, but I didn't actually see it other than on the viewfinder. Ate TONS, came home and finished revisions on the partial of the Texas book. I want to read over one more time this AM, then get started on Surface revisions.

Lately I've seen some YA books that have intrigued me. Two are on my library hold list and the third is on my Amazon wishlist.

This one is about children of vampire royalty and the school they attend:

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This one's about zombies, and I used to read the blog where this author would post.

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This one, well, the name says it all, plus I "know" her from eHarlequin.

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Yes, all paranormal. Considering that's the smallest shelf in my TBR, I'm a bit surprised myself.

I'd also like to finish reading the Lisa Kleypas today, so I can turn it in. And I need to decide which book to listen to next on my iPod.

Do you read YA? Which titles do you like?

Oh, and did you see Harper's Island? We're talking about it at Supernatural Sisters. I'd love to hear what you think!

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Goals for Week of Easter

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Yesterday was insane. I left the house before 8, went to Kohl’s because I had nothing suitable for the wedding we went to yesterday. Bought 1 white blouse, 2 black blouses, a purple blouse and a bra for $70….after the senior citizen discount. The clerk swore it was a mistake, because there was an early bird special or something, where you’d get 10% off. I didn’t complain too much because I did get $11 off.

Then met critique partner and went to critique. We’d decided to finish at noon so I could get ready for the wedding, and 2 others had obligations. Soo…I call dh to see if he wants me to bring home lunch. He doesn’t answer. When I toss the phone aside, it bounces under the seat. He called me 3 times before I could pull over to get it. When I did pull over to get it, my knee pressed into the full unopened can of Diet Coke in the cup holder and it punctured, spraying Diet Coke all over the car.

Sigh. And no writing at all.

The wedding was actually really nice, though it took over an hour to get there, half the time over country roads. But it was here:

The Marquardt Ranch

Of course I got another idea for a story.

Good food, free drinks…very happy.

And now….this week.

Okay, wow, I need a clone.

1) Easter at Mom’s today
2) finish polishing partial of Texas and submit
3) get ready for workshop
4) edits on Surface
5) outline new version of Ghost Hunters for a possible anthology
6) blog at The Romance Studio
7) think about throwing myself a bday party this weekend
8) clean house
9) exercise???

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Four Day Weekend!

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The dh is off today, too. Poor guy never gets off. Monday, though, I have the place to myself. BWAHAHAHA!!!

Finished my edits on the short story and sent them back. Today, after breakfast, a trip to the grocery store and maybe Home Depot, it's all Texas story all day. The partial is 66 pages and I'm on page 16 or something. Well, I have to read something for critique, but then....

We had a faculty meeting after school yesterday, and #5 on the agenda was grade level assignments. The principal told us someone in each grade level, 1st through 4th, had complained about others in the grade level and so she had us all put our names in a basket and she said she was just going to randomly assign us a grade level. The campus was in an uproar. Who had complained? Why? Was it something I did? I was a little concerned because I haven't been eating with my grade level because I've been working on my workshop during lunch. She asked what her options were, what was she supposed to do, and everyone was too flummoxed to answer. We went onto the next item of the agenda, which was that we were having a fire drill next week and the fire dept. was coming out to see how we ran our fire drills, so the VP had us line up to go outside where our classes lined up. On the way, the young 4th grade teacher kept saying, "I SWEAR it wasn't me. I SWEAR," about being the one who complained.

When we got outside, there were Easter eggs all over the field! It was an Easter egg hunt for the TEACHERS. Inside most were candy, but some had slips of paper giving us early outs or extra time at lunch or Jean Day. I got chocolate but none of the cool prizes :( One teacher got at least 8 and another got 6! I was looking in the WRONG place. Still, pretty funny...she'd been joking about the grade level assignments because people were starting rumors about the purpose of the meeting, so she wanted to do something crazy. That was indeed crazy :)

Yesterday I stopped following 75 blogs. Not a typo. I still have over 300 posts stacked up in my reader, but wow. That was nice. And I stopped following about 10 people on Twitter.

I also only had three Diet Cokes all day. I came home and made flavored water and drank four glasses, which is why I'm up so early on my day off. Talk about an alarm clock.

And yesterday I forgot to mention the up part of my roller coaster day....a best selling author at Samhain asked me to be part of a paranormal anthology with her! Best part is, I think I can rework my ghost hunter book to fit! I'm very honored. We've pitched the idea to our editor, who liked it but isn't sure how to go about an anthology. So, cool!

THEN, tomorrow I have critique and a wedding. Sunday is supposed to be stormy and we're having Easter at my mom's in the country. Eek! What are you doing this weekend?

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A Roller Coaster Day

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Yesterday I came home to an envelope in the mail with an unfamiliar return address. I opened it to find an invitation to a baby shower. A friend from high school's DAUGHTER is having a baby. A friend who is 3 months YOUNGER than me is going to be a grandmother. Now, this girl moved out on her own right after graduation, married shortly thereafter, had a baby before she was 20. I remember wondering what she had to look forward to. And now, she's going to be a grandmother at 42! Now, my mom was a grandmother at 44, but she'd had me when she was 18. I didn't have the ds till I was 25. I threatened the ds that I am nowhere near ready to be a grandmother. No. Where. Near.

To recover from this shock, I went out to putter in the backyard. Time for a redesign, I think. Time to take advantage of the fact that I have no grass in half my yard. Will play more with this idea.

Also started wondering if I should have a birthday party for myself next weekend. Thing is, it would require cleaning and shopping and I have 2 sets of contracted edits to do, as well as prepare for the workshop next weekend and three critiques and polishing up the Texas book to submit.

I switched from Blockbuster back to Netflix. Looks like I may have the same problem with new releases there, but hey, it's $3 cheaper.

Today: start edits on short story, do 2 critiques, and 10 pages of polishing in Texas story.

And the word of the day is: GUH!


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Finished!

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Man, this waking up at 5:45 has got to stop. At least I don't have to make lunch today. Cindi gave me lunch yesterday :) I do have to actually get dressed, like, you know, dressed. Maybe this 4 day weekend will help me catch up on sleep.

I finished the new ending of the historical book last night, about 15 minutes before the laptop battery died. YAY! Need to finish working on my synopsis workshop and dive into revisions. I need to revise the short story and the first three chapters by the time I go back to work Tuesday.

I'm still plugging along on the audio book that I got because it's set in Alaska. I'm finally on disc 6 of 8 and they just got to Alaska. I've decided audio books can be dangerous, especially when you're driving and want to beat your head on the steering wheel because the heroine is such an idiot. Also listened to the first love scene yesterday. Boy, out of the blue, much?

I'm reading Smooth Talking Stranger (I know, update your sidebar, Mary) and it's wonderful, but I keep asking "WHY?" I'm hoping it will come to make sense by the end like Sugar Daddy did, because her writing's just amazing.

I bought 8 more books this week and 2 magazines. Time....I need more time!!!!

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I'm Here!

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I've been working like mad to catch up on my goals, and I'm 1000 words behind. Then I've been working on my synopsis workshop (including writing sample synopses-ugh) and trying to make it not nearly as dry as it's turning out to be. I haven't started on the edits I got on Friday.

The other night the ds's girlfriend came over and brought a board game.

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It was a lot of fun. It has trivia questions, but it also has a category where you have to perform and another where you have to do stunts (I had to balance my shoe on my head) and another that changes the rules (I had to say "Abracadabra" every time someone picked a card, then I had to speak in an Australian accent.)

One category has each player take a turn listing an item in a category, like, "70s Songs." We went for a long time on "Star Wars characters" and "Comic Book Characters." One that we stopped short on was "Movies Without Kisses." We were absolutely stumped. The gf mentioned "Scooby Doo," but I couldn't think of even one. Now I'm thinking war movies would have been the way to go. "Private Ryan," right?

What movies could you have named? Why would people WANT to watch movies without a kiss?

Going to try to finish either my book or my workshop tonight.....wish me luck!

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Goals for the Week Before Easter

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The boy's girlfriend was over until 11:30. We ate dinner, played a fun game called Quelf, and talked a bunch. Wonderful evening.

Got no work done.

Now, I need to trust the Tivo to take care of my shows and I need to get busy.

1) get treats for class for Easter. Cascarones, maybe? Also for Cindi’s kids.
2) Edits on short story
3) Finish Texas, revise first 3 chapters, submit
4) Edits for Samhain book should arrive
5) SPN blog
6) Samhain blog
7) Work on synopsis workshop
8) Get ready for critique Saturday
9) Go to a wedding/get wedding gift (thank God for gift cards at HEB)

Man, I need to fit some exercise and housework in there. Wonder when???? At least a 4 day weekend is coming up.

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Weekend!!!!

Best. LOLCat. Ever.

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I'm torn over the book I'm listening to. On one hand I hate the heroine beyond measure. On the other hand, I want to know what happens in the mystery. I'm 4 discs in out of 8. I guess I can listen another week to find out. I will show restraint and not through my iPod out the window.

I should finish Dark of Night today (because it's due) and will pick up Smooth Talking Stranger, which is waiting for me. Yay!

I want to hit Bath and Body and an independent bookstore, where the author of one of my class's favorite series of books is signing. I named my cat after Skippyjon Jones.

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And I have this little doll.

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TV this week:

LOST: A bit of a let-down after last week.

ER, very emotional. So good to see all the old characters. I loved that show, but couldn't watch after Mark died. And Abby got on my nerves.

Supernatural. Absolutely awesome. Best episode of an already amazing season. Funny, angsty, great new character in Chuck. Terrific writing.

Dollhouse: Pretty good, lots of shirtless Paul. What the heck was Mellie wearing? I had a dress like that in the 80s. Could it have had LESS color? I don't know where the show will go from here. Victor was funny.

I get no writing done on Friday night because Jane from Dear Author does Ravenous Romance Theater, where she reads a book from the publisher and tweets the unintentionally funny bits. Too entertaining.

Got my edits on the short story. Will be working on that today as well as my Texas book. I'm behind since Wednesday.

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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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