Fathers and Sons Again

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I got all my goals met by 6 PM last night! Awesome. I had a moment of panic when I thought I lost my 850 words on Write or Die but I found them. Whew. I think I had so much energy because it was a gorgeous day and Problem Child gave me a bit of a break.

This weekend my favorite subject was brought to the forefront again—the relationship between fathers and sons. Several things made me think about it—my cousin Greg and his son, the movie The Proposal and the show Parenthood.

My cousin Greg was here to see his son graduate at Lackland AFB. We didn’t have time to see them together, but the pride with which Greg spoke of his son (who is a month older than my son—I can’t imagine the boy going into the service) really made me long to watch them interact. He said he cried for a week when his son left. Wow.

Now I know my husband loves my son, but he takes things more as a matter of course, more as something that is expected, I guess. And let me tell you, the two of them cannot be in a room for long. They butt heads like nobody’s business. Even if they agree on something, the dh will find a way to play devil’s advocate and rile the kid up.

My father and brother have a very distant relationship, and my step-dad and other brother butt heads a lot, too. I see the same kind of head-butting on Parenthood, between the oldest son and the dad. I wonder if it’s just a force of nature.

3 days to Clash of the Titans!


Books and Movies

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I bought...I think 8 novellas this weekend and read 3 1/2 of them. 4 were Harlequin Undones and 4 were Samhain books. I also bought a Julie James book, I think. Really, I need to stay off the internet where I'm bombarded with books, say, "Oh, that sounds good," and then I go buy them.

I have decided urban fantasy isn't for me. I started reading Julie Kenner's first UF and just didn't get into it. Glad I didn't buy the whole series.

I'm also not a huge paranormal fan. I started Original Sin by Allison Brennan, and can't get into it, either, though I'll give it more time. I think I just don't have it in me to stick with a complex plot.

Saturday night when we came home from dinner, I was really relaxed and ready for bed, but I put on The Proposal (streaming from Netflix FTW) because I needed to write 100 more words to reach my goal. I ended up watching until the end at 12:30!

Last night the dh and I watched 9, that odd little animated film that came out last year. And I mean odd. It didn't end like I expected at all. In fact, I'm not sure what exactly happened. It was pretty much the same plot as Terminator, though.

Then I watched an Antarctica documentary which was a little too graphic for my taste. I wish I was getting Sherlock Holmes tomorrow, but Netflix won't release it for 28 days because of Warner Brothers. I'd say I'd buy it, but I've not seen it and don't know if it's worth it. Also, that's exactly what WB wants, now, isn't it?

4 more days until Clash of the Titans!


Goals for Week of CLASH OF THE TITANS (I mean, EASTER!)

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1) Go see Clash of the Titans

2) Big grocery trip

3) Work a bit at MIL’s house

4) Work on edits on short story

5) Submit other short story

6) Work on romantic suspense

7) Testing

8) Faculty meeting

9) Self-evaluation form for work

10) Exercise

11) Keep up house (didn’t do either of these too well last week)


Writing Kids

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Writing kids has never been something I wanted to do, probably because I’m a teacher, and dang, I want to have some away time. I definitely never wanted to write teen-agers. I mean, they’re moody and make bad decisions and, well, you know. It’s hard to focus on romance when you have to worry about kids.

Except…I’m watching Parenthood. I love love love Peter Krause and Monica Potter’s characters. Their relationship is so real and solid as they deal with their son with Aspergers and their teen-aged daughter and her “Facebook official” romance. This week, I loved how Monica looked from her daughter to her husband to watch his reaction, and I absolutely saw the romance there, wanting to see the man you love react to his daughter’s first boyfriend. I don’t know if I could write something like that, but I understand it now, how a reader can fall in love with a hero who has that protective instinct, that fear of losing his child to adulthood.

Sooo, maybe I’m not ready to write a single dad story, but I may go dig in my TBR for some Karen Templetons.

Is anyone else watching Parenthood? I saw Natalie posted somewhere that it’s too negative, but I love the interplay between family members. I do wish they’d quit making such bad decisions, but like I said, I love Peter Krause and Monica Potter, so I’m sticking.


Friday, eBooks and Exhaustion

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I don't actually have writer's block. In fact, during today's very stressful hours, I was wishing to write, just to escape for that little bit. Of course right now I'm too tired. I even took an Ambien last night and STILL managed to wake up for an hour and a half around 3. Problem Child is completely kicking my butt. I recalled today that I had a child like him my first year at this school, with such hatred that I couldn't reach around her, and I absolutely failed her. I am no wiser now.

I'm playing with the idea of buying more ebooks because I of course do not have enough. I like to buy Harlequins and such from Fictionwise because there's a discount, and you get a rebate toward buying more books. But at the same time, I wonder if I should wait and spend my money on the new Nora and new Jill Shalvis. Trying something new vs. tried and true, you know? And yes, I'll still buy the new Nora even though the last two haven't been keepers for me.

I wish I could take a nap but am waiting for my cousin, who's in town from CA, to let me know if they want to get together tonight or tomorrow. The dh and I are hoping for tonight, because the boy is off work and the dh has a gig tonight, which means he'll be toast tomorrow, but so far no word. And you know that makes me nervous.

What's on tap for your weekend?


The Big Day

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Today Golden Heart and Rita (imagine trademark signs there because I don't know how to do 'em and am too rushed to look it up) calls go out today. Good luck to all who entered!

I was remembering previous years, and getting the Call.

In 2003, the calls went out early. I'd just told the dh that I'd probably be feeling down the next week because the Golden Heart calls would be going out. Not an hour later, the phone rang. I didn't hear anything after "Hot Shot is a Golden Heart finalist." She talked and talked and talked and all I could think about was getting off the phone to call my critique partner Elizabeth. HER first words were, "Your career is made." I remember sending out emails, getting congratulations and phone calls, and joining the Wet Noodle Posse that day. Also, making reservations for NYC because I hadn't planned to go. So glad I did!

In 2004, I'd left my work number on the entry form because I didn't yet have a cell phone. I told the secretary that I might be getting a phone call, and if I did, to please let me know over the intercom and I'd come take it. I even had contingency plans for leaving my class. Sure enough, around 8:30, she called me over the intercom but didn't tell me to come to the phone. I don't remember exactly what the confusion was, but she told them to call back at lunch, which was 11. Never was there a longer morning. Back then, I was music teacher, and between classes, I'd go lament to eHarlequin, because I didn't have email access, but I could get through with them. I saw so many people getting the call, and spent interminable hours wondering if that call was MY call. At 11, I went to sit in the office, and at about 11:20, I got the call that Hot Shot had finalled again.

In 2005 I entered Beneath the Surface, but didn't final. That was a long day, too, of checking email and the official list.

In 2006, I was standing in my 3rd grade classroom, and I think we'd just come back from breakfast when my cell rang. The board member had called the house first, and the dh had given her my cell, so he knew before I did that Don't Look Back (coming out this September, LOL!) was a finalist before I did.

In 2007 I entered Beneath the Surface again, with a shortened beginning. That year the calls went out on Sunday, and since Trish was on the board, she let me know they wouldn't start until noon. Whew. Long morning. I decided to restain the bench on my front porch. We went to Lowe's for the supplies and I got started right away, unable to keep still. RIGHT at noon--the church bells down the street were still ringing--Trish called me. She was my board member, see? She knew all night that I'd finalled and didn't say a word!

I hope someone out there has a similar experience to share today!!!!


Behind on Tivo

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How can I have just gotten off Spring Break and be behind on Tivo? I watched some movies, I guess, and not too much TV, especially since the weather was LOVELY most of the time.

I have 3 episodes of Burn Notice, 2 of Caprica, 3 or 4 of The Good Wife and Castle, and I have All About Steve here, and the animated movie 9 to arrive today. Part of the reason is the dh and I watch Burn Notice and Caprica together, and I have to be in a certain mood to watch The Good Wife. I enjoy it, but it's easy to skip over after a long day, you know? And you have to really pay attention. You can't be working on edits or anything.

What have you been watching?


Things That Go Through My Mind When I Can't Sleep

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I woke up at 1:30 last night and COULD NOT go back to sleep.

So..I mentally rearranged my classroom and saw there are actually no good seating arrangements.

I composed a riff on New Moon and realized I'd probably offend more people than I'd entertain with it.

I worried about money.

I mentally rearranged my living room and realized there's actually no good way unless we get wireless printers.

I worried about my son.

I tried to decide what pastry I'd get at Starbucks since today was free pastry day. I also debated over which size mocha to get. After no sleep, I went with the grande.

I replayed my favorite Terminator Salvation scenes in my head.

I worried about the dang pep rally on Friday.

I tried to think of a good restaurant to take my cousin when they're here this week.

I wished I hadn't done that extra set with the Shake Weight because I figured that was why my back was hurting.

I wished I'd taken a Tylenol PM.

I wondered when I'd hear about any of my submissions. (Oddly, I did very little thinking about my writing.)

I finally reset the alarm, setting it half an hour later, and was able to go back to sleep for two hours. I had a lovely dream, though, about the dh and I having an adventure, and woke up when my alarm usually goes off.

I know, I know, if I could have turned my mind off, I might have gone back to sleep sooner, but I just couldn't, once it got going. I debated getting up to work, but didn't let myself. I wonder if I should have. What do you do when you can't sleep?


Goals for a Hectic Week Back

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Just think, y'all have had a week to get used to the time change. For me, it will start this week :-/

1) Work on new RS

2) Edit short story

3) Finish typing changes into my Nano book. I added 1100 words and then cut 2000. :::headdesk::: I know I cut two more scenes in the last chapter, too, but they’re not big. Still, for SSE, they want 55,000 words and I’m at 49,000.

4) Another round of galleys

5) Dye roots

6) District testing

7) Meet up with cousin who will be in town this week. I’ve not seen/talked to him in 13 years. Yes, am nervous.

8) Tutoring, but just one day.

9) SPN blog

10) Practice for a pep rally we’re putting on at school. I SO don’t want to do this, but Cindi twisted my arm.

11) Exercise

12) Keep up house

Good things that should happen this week:

1) get my Wild Rose royalties

2) get my tutoring check

3) a day of testing means I can wear jeans 2 days in a row

4) SUPERNATURAL is back!



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I'm considering a quick run to WalMart this AM (any such thing?) But I need one of those pet hair remover things and my grocery store doesn't have. I also need moisturizer, which I got there last time.

I finished reading Trish's Family Man again last night--she changed it after I read it and I was anxious to see how it worked. It really did. Now to decide what to read next on my phone. I have Temptation Ridge started in paperback, but really, for my eyes, I like reading on my phone. I just bought Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie. I have the second two Joss Wares, and Original Sin by Allison Brennan, and Covet by JR Ward. Clearly I'm in an urban fantasy mood, but can't decide which to read next.

Yesterday Salvation Army came to my MIL's to get her furniture, but would only take the furniture on the list the dh gave them. Let's say I discovered the dh isn't so detail oriented. They wouldn't take the bed frame (but took mattress and box springs), the ottoman for the chair they took, the end tables, the dresser in the dh's old bedroom, the bookshelf and nightstand from her bedroom, or the TVs, all because they weren't on the list. They didn't take the mirrored dressers because we couldn't get the mirrors off. We laughed a lot, though. They were there about 30 minutes, then BB and I dropped off the stuff (like ds's crib) that I wanted to keep and we picked up the ds and went to lunch.

In the most crowded part of town. Our museum has a dinosaur exhibit, complete with a giant T-Rex out front. The line was out the door. At the other end of the block is a kiddie amusement park, and behind the museum is the zoo. It was 70 and sunny out. EVERYONE was in that part of town. Took us 20 minutes to find parking! Thank goodness BB was driving. So we went to eat at this deli, then went next door to Half Priced Books, where I got a Nancy Drew journal and a research book, hoping for ideas for a paranormal. Because you know I NEED ideas.

Okay, I'm going to run to WalMart. Wish me luck!


What Makes Me Happy

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It's been awhile since I've done one of these posts.

1) Drinking Diet Coke from my Coke glass

2) my iPhone

3) my Nancy Drew calendar

4) getting magazines in the mail

5) ordering stuff off Amazon

6) my cozy afghan

7) sunshine

8) a clean house

9) getting everything on my list done (won't happen today, I'm sure.)

10) opening my windows

What makes you happy today?



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I woke up yesterday (after dreaming I was late for work) and decided to check my bank account online. Seems like the restaurant we went to Saturday night double charged us. I called my bank, which couldn't help. I finally called this evening and it was a glitch on their end. I don't have to go down to dispute it, so yay.

My folks and I went to Fredericksburg, about an hour and a half out from San Antonio. We debated a bit because it was rainy and chilly, but we ended up having fun. I didn't spend much, just bought a little Coke cooler made of tin to display with my Coke glasses and a glass sphere that matches my bedroom exactly. We saw some gorgeous stuff, though, cowboy boot clogs and sea glass (should have bought) and leather computer bags and tie-dyed cotton yard (should have bought) and cool retro wallets (but I couldn't decide which). Oh, and PUPPIES! There was a store called Dogologie and they had a Shih Tzu puppy that was ADORABLE. I am not a dog person, but...oh, it was cute.

We ate burgers and fries and stopped for fuel at one of at least 4 bakeries on the main street (why don't we have good bakeries in SA, I want to know?) It never got above 55, I think, but I was toasty in my Eastlands and SPN sweatshirt.

I was so tired by the end. I didn't get home until 3:30 and slept until the dh called at almost 6. Then I watched The Princess and the Frog. LOVED. Loved.

And I got my word count done and started my synopsis. Didn't sew or clean, though.

What'd you do?



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The boy came home from work upset tonight. He was supposed to have today and tomorrow off, and his gf had to work this AM, but then she'd be off tonight and tomorrow. He got scheduled for today because the bosses didn't know it was Spring Break, which means they're busier at the food court. The good news is he'll have a nice check.

I'm planning to go to Fredricksburg with my folks today. It's raining now but should stop by the time we're on the road, I think. It's also a little cooler today, so I won't be wearing my sandals. May even wear my hoodie!

Yesterday I got ahead. I finished a skirt (while watching a Sam Worthington Aussie movie) and did 10 extra pages of edits (only 17 to go, then time to type them all in!) Today, 4 pages and a synopsis. If we decide not to go out of town, I may rearrange my living room.

I've been remiss in letting y'all know about this:


This is my favorite Trish Milburn book (published, anyway. She has Coven and a women's
fiction that will break your heart but hasn't found a home.) Adam is a sizzling hero, a former
soldier-turned-beach bum, a man who avoids responsibility, but who falls for a detective with two
adopted daughters. He's exactly what she doesn't want as a role model for her kids, but as she
gets to know him, she sees there's more to him. Only he has this secret....

I read it in manuscript form and am rereading it in book form, and still feel the same. There's an
element of suspense, a depth of emotion, and the fun setting of an oceanside community. You
should definitely check it out.

Okay, off to get dressed. I know. I dreamed I didn't wake up until 8, only it was a school day and
of course I couldn't get in touch with school. I couldn't go back to sleep after that :(



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Yesterday I checked my mail on the way home from the grocery store and discovered my bodyguard book was rejected. She didn't feel a connection with my characters. Let me just say that 2 rejections inside of 24 hours shakes your confidence, especially when you are just starting a new story.

We worked on the MIL's house for just a little bit since we got a late start, I was tired and down. The boy's girlfriend came for dinner, and we'd planned to order pizza from this place we'd discovered when Trish was here. Of course it was closed, so the dh drove out to another place (in no mood for chain pizza, apparently) while the boy and gf went to Borders to buy the movie Ponyo. They'd been wanting to see it. It was the weirdest movie ever. Just saying.

I got through my galleys and edit goals and today plan to write a query, 4 pages, then work on my green skirt. I cleaned the kitchen (mostly because I dropped a brand new jar of salsa and had to mop anyway).

I bought a bunch of fruit and made my flavored water and had a banana for a snack just now. Trying to be good!

I made my collage this weekend, and discovered my heroine is a chef. That might be fun.


A Day in the Life

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Yesterday was a weird one because I got a rejection on one project and galleys on another. The rejection was not unexpected, since a friend was recently rejected for a similar reason--most of the conflict stemmed from backstory/emotional baggage. Still, it's The Book that I Love. I want to find a good home for it.

I had a really productive day yesterday.

7:10 Woke up, ate breakfast and surfed my favorite sites

8:00 worked on short story, finished it up

9:00 opened my new RS, realized I already had 500 words, so only needed 500. Finished those JUST as the dh walked in at

10:00 I cleaned the kitchen while waiting for him to get ready to go to his mom's.

10:35 left for his mom's, stopping at the library on the way to return unread books. The dh worked on the weeds in his mom's yard while I cleared off all the furniture in preparation for the Salvation Army, who are coming for the furniture Thursday. We filled the trash can again (in SA, we have trash pick-up once a week, and have one huge trash can, but it's not big enough for this job.)

12:00 left his mom's to go get lunch.

1:00 went to nap

3:30 Got up, checked the mail, saw the R, but also my pink Croc sandals, did more kitchen cleaning, cut out 3 skirts (2 at one time, since they're the same pattern)

Did other stuff in between, hung up clothes, realized I didn't have glue for my collage, swept the mud room while the dh blew off the patio with the leaf-blower, then swept the house.

5:30 left for dinner, saw ds's girlfriend, made plans for a movie night tonight. I froze to death because I was wearing my pink Croc sandals

7:00 Left restaurant for Walgreens. Got milk and glue and candy.

7:30 Came home and showered, then did edits on Road Signs. Then did my collage. Everything was crossed off my list, so I watched Mercy, Parenthood and started Grey's Anatomy but couldn't pay attention.

11:00 Started galleys. Oops. Made 10 pages before I called it quits.

If only all my days can be so productive!


Goals for Spring Break

This week:

1) Start a new romantic suspense

2) Finish Road Sign edits

3) 3 queries/3 synopses

4) Sew—I have 4 pieces of fabric, and Mom loaned me her old sewing machine. I’d like to make at least 2 skirts, though 2 pieces are for the same pattern (but different enough that you can’t tell.)

5) Day of “summer preview” with Mom and BB—breakfast, shopping, some kind of day out

6) Work in my yard. This year I really need it, with all the dead plants and my weekends taken up by my MIL’s house (or bad weather)

7) Get furniture out of MIL’s house

8) READ!

9) Exercise

10) Keep up house/cull some stuff


The Alarm is OFF for the Week

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Not that I actually SLEEP until the alarm, but it's nice to know I won't have to worry about it for a week.

Did the boy's taxes last night--first time I've seen him since Sunday! We had dinner together and watched Up in the Air together and did taxes together. Aww. Won't see him today.

I hope to finish my short story today. I have the hero groveling scene left, but I can't always pull those off as well as I'd like. Regardless, I'm making my collage tonight and starting Midnight Sun tomorrow.

There are 2 sites I visit every day in addition to Twitter and Google Reader...my Amazon wishlist and my Fictionwise wishlist, looking for sales. I have 35 books on my Amazon wishlist, most Kindle books, but some not. I have 58 books on my Fictionwise wishlist. I have dozens of unread books on my phone, and hundreds on my shelf. I hardly read paper anymore, though. I'm just not getting to Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr, and I bought that book when it came out over a year ago! I checked out Soulless from the library and it's been here 6 weeks (I renewed) unopened. Due tomorrow. I'm reading a lot more with digital books, and hope to read a lot this week. But wait until you see my list...maybe not!


Two More Days

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Yesterday was a very productive day. I got 6 pages written BEFORE school! I paid bills, went to work, got some papers graded despite the fact that we had a meeting during planning time. We were supposed to stay for a meeting after school too but I was dismissed. I was in my car before they could change their minds! Got home, went to the bank, went for a walk (OMG, am out of shape. I had my phone and a parent called to ask about her son and I was breathing so heavy! Probably scared her.) Did laundry, went to Subway for supper, did other stuff I don't remember. So today will likely be a dud.

Another teacher and I are switching problem children today. Yesterday started well and ended well, but the middle! I had 2 parents and a lady from the main office in my classroom yesterday, too. Nooooo!!!!


Three More Days and Susan Gable's Workshop

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I have another workshop to recommend, Susan Gable's "You Say Tomato, I Say To-Motto." She talked about how each of your characters has a motto he or she lives by, one that affects all the decisions the character makes in the book. For example, she had a heroine whose motto was "Tighten your boot straps and keep going," so when she lost her child, she didn't allow herself to grieve. She had this motto because of her military dad, who wanted her to be tough, so it stemmed from her backstory and spread out into the rest of her life.

She had another heroine whose motto was "Life is short, eat dessert first." This woman was all about creature comforts. The hero in that book had the motto, "Do the right thing," and that was the lesson each had to learn from the other.

She said the character's motto can change in the course of the book, because of course a hero whose motto is, "Leave them wanting more" is going to change by the end of a romance.

I need to go through and see what my characters' mottos are and add them to my collage. It was a very inspirational workshop, gave a lot of ideas for conflict.

Today is a long day, meeting until after 5, at least. Ugh.


Taxes DONE and Four More Days

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I did our taxes last night. The boy's college tuition saved us. Otherwise we would have had to pay, and I think we've only had to pay once. But they're done! So, whew.

Problem Child had a good day. What a blessing. I need to find a way to connect with him. I'm running out of time. 12 more weeks. I know today will be different...there's no telling one day to the next.

I caught up on my writing goals, so yay! Need to fit exercise and cleaning in there, though.

This week is rough--tutoring after school twice and a super-long meeting Wednesday. Hard when the days are nice and spring break is so close.



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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