Which Artist Should Paint You?

Who Should Paint You: Alfred Gockel

All American yet funky, you inspire an artist's imagination
And while not everyone will understand your portrait, you will!

In Honor of Trish's Upcoming Visit

Texas Rules (a cheat)

These apply to every person as they enter Texas. Learn 'em & 'member 'em. East Coast and California-types should pay particular attention!

1. Pull your droopy pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Let's get this straight; it's called a "gravel road," I drive a pickup truck because I need to. No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get the hell out of the way.

3. Those are cattle & oil wells. That's what they smell like to you. They smell like money to us. Get over it. You don't like it? I-20 and I-10 go east and west, I-35 goes north and south. Pick one and go.

4. So you have a $60,000 dollar car. We're impressed. We have quarter-million dollar cotton strippers that we drive 3 weeks a year.

5. So what if ever! y person in every pickup waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.

6. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of doves are coming in, we WILL shoot it out of your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

7. Yeah, we eat catfish & crawdads. You really want sushi &caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop.

8. The "Opener" refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

9. We open doors for women. That applies to everyone, regardless of age.

10. No, there's no "vegetarian special" on the menu. Order a steak. Or order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham &turkey.

11. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables and breads. We use! three spices: salt, pepper and green chili. Oh, yeah .... We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat... It AIN'T REAL CHILI!! Chili was born and bred in San Antonio....and real chili never met a tomato!

12. You bring "coke" into my house, it better be brown, wet, and serve over ice. You bring "Mary Jane" into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck and have pretty long hair.

13. High School Football is as important here as the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

14. Yeah, we have golf courses. Don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish.

15. Colleges? Try Texas A&M. They come outta there with an education, plus a love for God and country, and they still wave at passing pickups when they come home for the holidays.

16. We have more folks in the Navy, Army, Marines and Air Force than any other sta! te, so "Don't Mess with Texas." If you do, you will get your butt whipped by the best.

17. Always remember what our great governor Sam Houston once said: "Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas."

18. By the way, the boys that captured So-Damn Insane (Hussein) were from...Yep! You guessed it~~"The Great State of Texas."

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National - to go or not?

Well, I'm going, but I thought you guys might need a little hand-holding in your decision. Registration will open any day now.

Great workshops - including one by Trish and me, fellow Noodler Janice Lynn and fellow SARAs Robyn DeHart and Emily McKaskle.

Fellowship - I have several online friends that I only ever get to see at National. Sad, huh? And even then there's not enough time.

Editors and agents - a proliferation. You can go listen to them talk, see what they're looking for, you can meet with them face to face and pitch to them.

The swag - free books. Tons and tons of free books, pens, little notebooks - fun, fun, fun!

The ribbons - gosh, I hope I have a pink one this year.

Atlanta - I've never been, and it sounds really romantic. My brother wants to go, too. Hm, maybe.

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Favorite couples

I just finished reading Dating Dead Men by Harley Jane Kozak. (It was pretty darn good, very romancey.) Harley Jane is an actress. You may remember her as the wife in Arachnophobia. I remember her as Mary from Santa Barbara. She was a former nun and she fell for bad, bad boy Mason.
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They were the best. Couple. Ever. He loved her so much! Then she was crushed by the letter C when the sign from the hotel blew over. Still. Best. Couple. Ever. Then he fell in love with Julia and that was pretty awesome, too, but Mary had softened him up.
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Now, I grew up watching soaps in the time of the Super Couple. Luke and Laura. Bo and Hope. Patch and Kayla. I was invested. I think long term conflict helped the viewer become invested.

So, some couples who fought long and hard and deserved a HEA:

Pacey and Joey from Dawson's Creek. Yes, I know she's now a freak, but man, Pacey loved her.

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Mulder and Scully.

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Sydney and Vaughn, the early years.

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Angel and Buffy. Say all you want about Spike, but I'm an Angel girl.

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Kate and Sawyer (hey, maybe I should have a separate list for best triangles.)

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Darcy and Elizabeth. MY Darcy.

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D'Lynn and the captain from Battlestar Galactica - always reminded me of Claire and Jamie, the way they were equals.

Ross and Rachel. Yes, he's whiny, but so is she.

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Niles and Daphne from Frasier. I stopped watching after she went to the Fat Farm, though.

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Leo and Greenleigh from All My Children. They were both bad, but together they were so good!

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Wolverine and Rogue - is that gross?

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Aragorn and Arwen.

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Belle and the Beast.

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Jo and Laurie from Little Women.

Jack and Lucy from While You Were Sleeping.

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Jack and Annie from Speed.

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Lucy and George from Two Weeks Notice. (to complete my Sandra Bullock obsession) There's that whole scene where she has to GO and they're stuck in traffic, and that is so something that would happen to me!

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Evie and O'Connell from The Mummy.

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Han Solo and Leia.

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Indiana Jones and Marian.

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Forney and Novalee in Where the Heart Is. How stunned was I to find out he was British??

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Will and Kate (the blacksmith girl) from A Knight's Tale.

Shrek and Fiona

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Alex and Isabel from Fools Rush In. Man, that boy messed things up good, didn't he?

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Cher and Josh from Clueless. I love that movie, and he's so patient with her!

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Maria and Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music - the first time they danced - SIGH!!!

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Bruce Wayne and Vickie Vale from the first Batman movie. I know, she screamed, she got in trouble a lot, but there was chemistry!

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Jason and Marie in The Bourne Identity.

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Jared and Sam from Into the Blue, which we saw last night and it wasn't terrible. They were very much equals.

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Who are yours?

No Internet and No Email Makes Mary...Something Something...

Go crazy?

Don't mind if I do!

Okay, way too much Simpsons in this house, I know. I haven't had Internet since about 6:30 last night. Ahhh! But I do have a new washer. Yay! And I slept till ten today. Weird.

I've been watching a lot of TV on my sabbatical. My friend Cindi and I love commercials. Here are some of our favorites.

Favorite commercials:

Formula 409 – because the world’s not ready for Formula 410

Pace – because the sauce made in New York City is so wimpy you have to ride a bull with an airbag

Nextel – the guys dancing to Salt N Pepa in the office. I don’t know why it cracks me up. Lack of expression juxtaposed with with the dancing?

Kia – Save the Greenbacks – LOLOLOL

Cingular commercial where the guy is waiting for his great date to call him

Pentium – the Intel chip will be set free and live inside a Mac (you have to be a Mac person to appreciate)

WalMart – the commercial with the smiles in the shadows and shapes of every day things.

Citi cards – the older couple playing the autoharp and ukulele (?) and she chides him for forgetting the second verse.

NASCAR – where the cars are racing over the landmarks like the St. Louis Arch.

American Express – with the little kid who’s a pinch penny, who decides to splurge on a medium popcorn when he finds out his AmEx card has a saving account.

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Daddy Will Be So Proud....

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

TV Report card

Okay, the second half of the season has started....how are you liking the new shows? (SOME SPOILERS AHEAD, if you haven't watched the aired shows)

24 - I loved it last year, and this year is even better. I don't think I breathed during the second night, in the airport! Wow, Jack is back indeed! And he kicked some serious booty on Monday night, too. A good thing to look forward to on Mondays.

American Idol - I started watching a couple of years ago just to see the bad singers. Last year I got hooked by Bo. This year, I agree with what some others have said about them showing TOO many bad singers and not enough of the good singers. I wracked my brain last year trying to remember the auditions of some of the final Idols, but all I remembered was Constantine. How cute was it when Simon called to get that girl her job back after she quit to audition for American Idol? But Wednesday night he was in a mood. Randy's getting mean, too.

Lost - What was UP with Charlie? Dreaming? Visions? Weird. I didn't like that. And where is Sayid? Gotta love Sawyer the matchmaker.

Invasion - intriguing episode, but I figured out what I don't like. The problems are wrapped up at the end of every episode. I'm used to Lost and 24, where the problems are ongoing. These are resolved too fast. And I'm over my crush on Eddie.

I hate that they moved Bones opposite Lost, and I won't be seeing Las Vegas till reruns because Jack's back. I TOLD my dh I wanted a DVR, but "it was too expensive." Sigh.

So what are you watching? And how do you like it?

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17 years ago today....

I was getting ready for class when my grandmother called me. My mom had been having pains in her stomach all morning and finally went to the hospital to have my brother, 3 weeks early.

I was in the student teaching program at the time, and attendance was mandatory even though we weren't in the classroom for another week or so. And I had a big project to turn in, due that day. I promised my grandmother I'd come get her as soon as I turned it in. I hung up and promptly lost my mind. I was so nervous - no telling how long I wasted running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I don't remember if my neighbor Erin heard me running up and down the stairs or what, but she came and brought me a handful of quarters so I could call people from the hospital. Then I went up to the school, which was thankfully not very far. My professor wasn't in, and no one believed me that I had to miss class because my mother was having a baby.

FINALLY I raced across town (rush hour had died down) and got my grandmother, then we raced to the hospital. It took us FOREVER to find the maternity ward, and when we did, Mom was still in the labor room. Her first words were, "Did you see him?" Now, I'm looking at my mother, whose stomach was just as big as it had been the last time I saw it, so I was confused. She'd had a c-section so she'd already delivered. I didn't know it was that fast. So my grandmother and I hurried to the nursery, where Michael was laying right in front of the window, naked to the world and NOT happy.

Glad to say things have changed. Last week we took him to the Rainforest Cafe to celebrate.

The birthday boy
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My other brother, mom and stepdad
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My boy
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A scary word. You may have noticed I'm not really excited about my agent sending out my manuscript this week. Well, I just don't have a lot of hope. Yes, it helps that she's excited about it, that she believes in it, and it helps that it's changed a lot since she helped me revise it, but.....this book has been rejected.

A lot.

It's better than it was, but it's been rejected a lot. So I'm holding my hope in reserve.

Only yesterday I was listening to some of the Spotlights from RWA conference and I started thinking, "Well, you know, mayyyybe...." I started getting a little excited when I heard about Berkley and Bantam talking about offering two book contracts, and holding off books to publish them back to back to build authors and I thought, "Heyyyy, that could be......"

And I'm so afraid to think like that, to believe it could happen to me. You've seen the timeline. There are a lot of spaces in there I chose not to dwell on. A lot of rejections, a lot of dashed dreams. I could think I'm due and be wrong. I could think I'm good enough and be wrong. My agent (God bless her, she's so enthusiastic) could be wrong.

Hope. It's one scary word.

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So, I found it....

My motivation, that is. Only problem is, I'm having a touch of writer ADHD.

Here's the problem:

Vanished shouldn't be too hard to fix (the one I posted the sucknopsis to a few weeks ago). It needs higher stakes, like Toni said, but I can't think of how to ramp it up. I think if I gave them stronger internal conflicts, but I don't know. If I wasn't suffering from this ADHD, I would think of it, I'm sure, but there's the rub.....

Midnight Sun is the book I worked on with my critique group, so I have good characters, but I'm not sure where to start. I know if I started, I would be able to find it after a few false starts but then......

I had this dream the other night. It was SO good, and was completely plotted out and is really different from anything I've done. It's a pregnant heroine with a five year old, and it's got a beta hero (well, on the surface, he's a spy) but he's all stiff upper lip and that and her name is Emily and she's got a bad boy ex-husband (the father of her baby) and I want to TALK about it (you know that feeling, right, where you know you shouldn't talk about it, that it will kill the magic) and I think it could be really good but there are these other ones that I've already done work on and I know it's just new book euphoria, but I know mostly all the parts and there's a lot of good relationship stuff and.....

Yeah, I see it, too. I have to do it, don't I?

What would you do?

Oh, and how weird of names can you forgive? Graeme? Can you live with that name? Because when I saw it, I thought it had to be his name.

Here's some Gerry. Now help me ;)

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TBR challenge

Brianna’s Mommy issued this TBR challenge.

Title: One Way Out

Author: Michele Albert

Year published: 2005

Why did you get this book? It was about paleontologists.

Do you like the cover? Not really.

Did you enjoy the book? Yes.

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? No, I’ve read all her books but Off Limits, which is in my TBR.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Passing it on – the heroine was a little abrasive for my taste.

Anything else? Her books are just about as sexy as I can handle.

Simple enough, right?

And the breakdown for this year's challenges, unless anyone has any subsitutions they'd like to make:

January: Contemporary Romance
February: A book by a new-to-you author
March: Historical Romance
April: A book that's been on your TBR pile longer than 6 months
May: In honor of Memorial Day; War, law enforcement, military type or something similar (even loosely related counts)
June: A book that was recommended by someone you "know" (another blogger, author, friend, family member) or got a lot of buzz and that's why you bought it but it's still on your TBR pile
July: Romantic Suspense
August: A non-romance book, fiction or non-fiction
September: Category Romance
October: Paranormal Romance or Fantasy
November: A book originally published as an e-book (even if you have it in print now)
December: A book published prior to 2006

Gotta take my mommy to school today so my brother can have the car, and am staying late for science night. Sigh. I'd almost wanted to take a mental health day.

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Turning Points

Candice was talking about turning points in her writing career, which of course got me thinking.

Okay, before I start, don't freak out at the time line. I lived it, and I'm not freaking out.

1989 - started writing on one of those computers where you could type in the page, then hit print. The pages were never center, and if you made a mistake you'd have to print all over again.

1994 - finished my first book on an old XT computer with a dot matrix printer.

1995 - Second book was requested by MIRA. It was only 600 pages.

1996 - took a community ed class on writing romance with Miriam Minger, who took us to a SARA meeting.

1997 - was rejected by MIRA

1998 - finalled in my first contest, "He Said, She Said."

2001 - went to my first National conference, embarrassed myself in front of Joan Marlow Golan when I knocked over the chair when I stood up from our appointment.

2002 - won my first contest, Where the Magic Begins, had my first full ms requested

2003 - finalled in the GH, got my first revision letter. Pretty much got everything I queried requested. Finalled in 6 contests with 4 books.

2004 - finalled in the GH, had high interest from an editor, who would call and talk for an hour about the book

2005 - got rejected, finalled in 9 contests with 4 books, GOT AN AGENT (I can't believe I left that out! I was thinking it was the most important!)

What will 2006 bring? At least I've grown.

(Psst, JoAnn, what year did we go to the Merritt when I cried because the editor said no at the pitch?)

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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)

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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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