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I always have story ideas,

1) Kentucky Derby—something about the glamour appeals to me, and I’ve always loved horses. I know it’s been done a lot, and done well, but I’d like to play with the idea. Maybe a wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance

2) Alaska—I’m reading Trish’s Winter Longing, and I loved Nora’s Northern Lights. I loved Men in Trees and Northern Exposure. I love the idea of the extreme weather and wildlife. Have no plot idea at all, though.

3) Fiesta—something I know well. I even have my heroine. I just have no plot. (I know, when has that stopped me?)

4) Santa Fe—I’ve never been but I’ve heard it’s amazing. No plot or characters but maybe I could go for research

5) Bermuda Triangle—I have an inciting incident, but no characters or plot.

6) Maine, right on the coast. I have a thing for lighthouses, see.

7) The barrier islands, either NC or Virginia—Just because I love the coast and I grew up reading Misty of Chincoteague.

Where is your favorite setting to read? Have one you want to write?


Kitties, Testing and Writing

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On Tuesday, the first morning of testing, the custodian found a box of 6 kittens (too young to leave their mother) that someone had dumped at our school. Can you believe? This is the third batch of kittens since I've been there, one batch being Mama Kitty's brood. Thank goodness they had a PTA program that night because we could only find 2 teachers to take them. See, we get dogs dumped a lot, too, and many of them have taken home dogs/puppies, as well as kittens from those other two litters.

Testing is done for us (well, we have a district test next week, but...) Today we have to keep quiet because 5th grade is testing. We're cramming science for the next 3 days for that district test, then I want to start doing centers again. Not sure if it will be possible with problem child, but maybe if I don't count on centers as grades I can do it.

I'm rewriting the climactic scene in Queen, then have the romantic stuff to do. I also need to add a scene earlier in the book, then go back through one more time to build romantic conflict and find continuity errors. I'm DYING to stay home to write, but the earliest I could do that is the middle of next week. At least there's no more tutoring and I can get home at a decent time tonight. I'm going to check the Tivo early because it didn't record Glee, Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife and....something else. Grrr.

I thought I'd get up early again because Stormy was scratching at the door at 3 AM (this is new). I fell back asleep, though. Yay, me!

#PuppyDogEyesOfDooooooooom Thursday on Twitpic

Book Releases, The Losers, TAKS testing

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Yesterday went by REALLY quickly. We did math almost the whole day in preparation for today's TAKS test. Please please please let some of it have stuck! I came home and tried to nap, since I didn't sleep hardly at all the night before, but I couldn't. The dh and I decided to go see The Losers at one of those theaters that serves dinner, so we drove a bit down the road and had hamburgers and hotdogs and a beer while watching the movie, which I loved, but then, I was loving the whole experience. It was expensive, but we never do stuff like that. In fact, this movie and Clash are the only movies I remember paying full price for. The theater was empty, but that could be that it was Monday was a good, action-packed movie.

Today Elisabeth Naughton's new series releases. MARKED is already on my phone. (Yes, another series to start!) Savor the Moment, by La Nora, is also out. I ended up buying it from because Amazon didn't have a Kindle version!

I'm going to save my Sam W pictures for a bit. I'm not using him in the book I'm revising and it's making me nervous because I WANT to be working on his book.

Jared Radalecki has big ass hand!Pr0n for  @mturner91 @mischa... on Twitpic


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I've been awake since 2. I read a chapter of a Susan Mallery book at 3, then tried to go back to sleep. No dice. Got up to write around 4:30. Did 5 pages. I don't think I'll be up to seeing The Losers tonight, mainly because I want to go to the Alamo Drafthouse and have a beer while watching, and a beer will knock me out.

I had to share this great how-to on making your own book trailer. Marianne made mine and I'd love her to do another, but finding time to look for the right pictures....

The good thing about not being able to sleep last night is that I didn't have to make lunch today and I'm just wearing capris and a t-shirt. Maybe if I can come home and nap....

It's Hug an Australian Day. Guess who's at the top of my list, even in these glasses?


Goals for the Week of TAKS

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Fiesta’d yesterday—King William parade and fair, stopped for a drink at a local patio bar, hiked back to the car. I got a bit of a sunburn and came home so tired! Watched Avatar again when I got home and just vegged.

This will be the week for vegging, with the kids testing. Can’t do anything but monitor. Maybe then I can figure out the right ending for this short story—and for Queen. One of these days I’m going to come up with the ending first.

1) survive 2 days of my kids testing, and a third day of 5th grade testing, which means our kids have to be quiet

2) finish revisions on short story for Samhain

3) finish revisions on Queen

4) sew gray skirt, cut out blue dress

5) go see The Losers (dh’s back went out Friday night, spoiled that plan for last week)

6) grocery

7) exercise

8) house

9) yard


I Have a Confession

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I stopped reading the latest Jennifer Crusie book. I'm about halfway through but just don't care.
She says it's not a romance and she's right. But I'm also not crazy about the workaholic heroine
or the setting or the hero (though he doesn't appear the be the heroine's hero). It hurts that I
spent $10 for it, though.

Not like Dead to the World, which I'm listening to in the car and cannot WAIT to hear what
happens next. What is it about those Sookie Stackhouse books that are so addictive? (Look,
another series I'm hooked on, and on book 5.)

So now I'm reading some samples on my iPhone. Is SOULLESS steampunk?

Today I'm off for Fiesta. First up: finish revisions. Then read Trish's synopsis, work in the yard,
make a skirt, and watch Young Victoria so I can send it back and get Sherlock Holmes next week,
finally. Oh, and watch last night's Craig Ferguson (JDM!) and SPN again because it was great!



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Today was the last day of tutoring! We were given the option to cancel but I figured, with the test next we stayed and I actually got home before 5. I guess everyone was off for Fiesta. We're off tomorrow for the parade. I'm waiting to Fiesta on Saturday--it's kinda pricey.

I had to share two things my kids said this week that cracked me up. I was talking to Brandon and he was telling me that when he was little, a bee stung him on his nose. He said he went inside and his grandpa gave him a piece of bacon.

"To put on your nose?" I asked, thinking it was some cure I'd not heard of.

"No, I ate it," he said, just as serious as he could be. I couldn't stop laughing.

Yesterday--well, let me give you some background. I collect the pencils from my kids and keep them in a bucket. I don't let them use the electric sharpener because they'll run it down. Whenever a kid needs a pencil, I tell them, "You know where the pencils live." I've said it for years.

Yesterday, Vivian needed a pencil. I said, "Vivian, where do the pencils live?"

Across the room, Alfredo said, "Pennsylvania." AHAHAHAHA!!!



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I woke up to a bouquet of Gerber daisies from my dh and half a dozen Facebook birthday wishes :) I went to the grocery store on the way to get cupcakes and Capri Sun for my class and plants for the secretaries. I got to school and was bombarded with wishes. Cindi brought me prezzies from her and her kids, including hand drawn cards. The fourth grade teachers had all the kids (and the VP who happened to be passing by) sing to me, and one of the teachers made me a crown to wear. Another teacher gave me a plant and another a box of chocolates. Problem Child brought me 5 candy bars! My other problem child brought me a plant that I've never seen, but is pretty. Took awhile to calm the kids down. Then they bought me lunch from Pizza Hut (NOT pizza, thank goodness, I've overdosed on that.)

I got a call from my mom before school and a text from my son and a BUNCH of Facebook wishes. Now I'm thinking about where to go for dinner. I want to go to Chuy's but the ds loves it and he's working.

So, good day. :)


Post-Party Bonus

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We had a get-together for my birthday on Sunday. The dh and I made 5 pizzas, expecting my brother, his wife and her bff. So we have almost 2 leftover pizzas, leftover cake (best cake ever, chocolate cake with TWO kinds of frosting--fudge AND meringue) and sugar cookies (with lots of icing.) Also, the house is still clean. Double benefit.

Yesterday was very nice without Problem Child. We played a game and did art. Today...we'll see.


Goals for the Week of AWESOME (oh please don't take this as an invitation for drama!)

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Also a crazy week, so I’m dialing back the writing, which makes me feel guilty since I didn’t do a lot last week. I should have finished Queen already, and should be halfway through Midnight Sun, but I cut 3000 words and haven’t made much progress since.

But, this week should (oh please no drama to ruin it) be good:

1) my birthday party

2) my birthday

3) last week of tutoring!!!!!!!!!!

4) Avatar on DVD (Sam!!!!!!)

5) The Losers in the theater (JDM, baby!!)

6) Tahmoh (Helo from BSG) has a new miniseries on Sci-Fi. Almost forgot about that one.

7) Problem Child will be absent Monday, going to the doctor to please God get medication. (I have only ever wanted a child on medication one other time in my career. Trust me that this is a desperate situation.)

8) Revisions on short story for Samhain

9) Finish a round of revisions on Queen, then go through one more time for continuity

10) Fiesta event with mom, BB, SIL and her bff

11) Exercise

12) House


Sorry Writing Week

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I've hardly written at all this week. The plot is moving faster than I'd like, and I'm trying to find a way to slow down. I had decided to go ahead and write it this way and fix it in revisions, then I got a revision letter yesterday from Samhain, so I'll be working on that starting this weekend. I only have about 30 more pages to revise on Queen, and Trish sent me her notes on Road Signs, so part of my block may be because I'm overwhelmed. Not to mention trouble with Problem Child and I didn't realize THIS was the end of the six weeks (I thought it was next week) and TAKS in...6 days.

I do feel creative. I bought fabric to make some capris, and fabric to cover my MIL's ottoman. I haven't made the capris, but did the ottoman last night.

Here's before:


Up close--lovely fabric :)


After: I once saw a couch with this fabric and wanted it, but my mom convinced me it was too busy.
Works as an accent, though.


It goes with my green wall and yellow couches, too. Next up, pillows with the leftover fabric. I think
I can get three out of the rest of the fabric.



What Skills Do You Wish You Had?

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I wish I could cook, or enjoyed it enough to learn. I have a few recipes that I rotate, but I wish I enjoyed the process enough so I could cook like Candace. Her tweets about what she’s having for dinner are mouth-watering.

I enjoy gardening, but I don’t give enough time to it. My friend Dawn has a gorgeous yard, but she devotes hours to creating it.

My beloved Land Cruiser is sitting in the driveway needing an engine overhaul. I wish I knew how to restore her. Then I’d get that Impala….

I wish I could create my own website from html.

I wish I could plot a series.

What do you wish you could do?


One of my Favorite Things

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Natalie convinced me to come back to Netflix since I was having so much trouble getting new releases from Blockbuster, and they changed the exchange-a-mailed-movie-for-a-movie-in-the-store policy. So I came back, and had the same trouble getting new releases.


We got a new Tivo, which streams a lot (a LOT) of Netflix movies. A. LOT. Recently I learned they stream The Dresden Files and all the Buffy and Angel series (though I own those.) They stream all seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and The Office. They stream the new cable series Spartacus, and the old Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew (not the whole season, though.) Also The Night Stalker, remember that series? Also Lost, Torchwood, The Tudors, Harper’s Island and Heroes.

Then there are the movies. Two Sam Worthington Australian movies, a lot of the Mystery Science Theater movies, classics like Jason and the Argonauts, Cleopatra, Butterflies are Free, the original Clash of the Titans. Penelope is on there, a few of the Rocky movies, the second Terminator. Singles, The Breakfast Club, The Last of the Mohicans, only a click away. Somewhere in Time, Princess Bride, Footloose. Newer movies, too, like The Taking of Pelham 123, The Ugly Truth, Angels and Demons and The Proposal (which I’ve now seen a BUNCH.) Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is there, and I realized I hadn’t seen the last episode. Caddyshack, Vacation and for awhile, Animal House was on.

It’s so nice, we’ve cut back to one DVD at a time, and when we’re in the mood, we just click onto Netflix. It stops the movie when you stop it and you can pick it up again later. I know Trish is using her netbook to stream them, which I could do, but I prefer it on the TV.

Anyone else use Netflix streaming? And no, no one is paying me for this!


Weird Things You Eat

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The other night on Twitter, agent Colleen Lindsay wanted to know why anyone would eat Miracle Whip on purpose. She got a flurry of responses from Southerners who eat it all the time.

I started thinking about weird things I’ve eaten repeatedly, and liked.

I like Miracle Whip on my black-eyed peas.

I eat ketchup on my scrambled eggs.

My mom used to make this “salad” with pineapple slices, grated cheddar cheese and Miracle Whip. My step-uncle would make fun of us, but it was GOOD.

When we were growing up, and didn’t have something sweet to eat, we’d spread butter on white bread and sprinkle sugar on it for bread, butter and sugar sandwiches.

My baby brother grew up eating mayonnaise sandwiches. I think it was Miracle Whip on white bread.

My friend Denise eats ketchup on her macaroni and cheese.

What weird food combinations do you eat?


Series I've Started

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Michele was talking about reading the Bullet Catcher series by Roxanne St. Clair, and I want to read that as well as Christy Reece’s books. And the Soulless/Changeless books. But I’m already so far behind on several series, I hate to start another. And it’s not that I didn’t enjoy the first books—I did, which is why I bought the subsequent books. I just don’t..have…time!

I read and loved Larissa Ione’s first Demonica book. I have all the others. Haven’t started.

I read and loved Rachel Vincent’s first book. The were-panther shifter books, Stray, Pride, all those. I have the second book in the series. Haven’t started.

I just finished book 6 or 7 of the Robyn Carr Virgin River series. There are three more. I own them all. I have to say, I loved Temptation Ridge almost as much as the first book.

I read and loved the first Colleen Gleason Gardella book. Have the others. Haven’t started.

Same with the Joss post-apocalyptic books.

I’ve got the next two Michelle Rowen books in her series. I think I read 2, and I own 2.

The Cindy Gerard books—I have the last of her previous series and the first three or four of her new series.

I have all of Paula Graves’s books, first series and this new one. I read the first of the first one and got behind.

I read the first two Robyn Dehart historicals, and I think she has one more in that series. I have it, and the first book of her new series, which I haven’t started.

I’ve read 2 Linda Winfree Heart of the South books, own most of the rest, haven’t gotten to them.

Read the first Meg Benjamin, own the next two, haven’t read.

We won’t even talk about how far behind I am with the JD Robb books. Or the Jim Butcher ones.

The series I keep up with are Nora and Suzanne Brockmann. No idea why those are easier than others.

And I know what you’re thinking—that’s a lot of books, right? That’s not even the category series, or the stand-alones. Yeah, a lot of books. Maybe I should just read this summer!


Goals the Week of Traffic Duty

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Of course you know my traffic duty week would be one of the two full weeks in April. Sigh. At least I get to leave early M, W and F, since I have to be at school earlier.

1) Traffic duty

2) Work on MIL’s house. We’re really mostly done but haven’t been able to get over there since Spring Break.

3) 7000 words on the RS

4) finish revisions on Queen, start revisions on Road Signs (again)

5) exercise (maybe take the dog for walks to appease her need to wander)

6) keep up house (I was really glad I’d been doing this when the police detective came over the other night with not much warning!)

Huh. Not too bad. If I can survive the 7:45-4:15 part of the day!


The Day Is Mine! (Cue Evil Laughter)

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The dh is working until early afternoon and he has a gig tonight. The boy is working this morning and afternoon, so I have the house to myself! I can eat lunch where and when I want, I can write, I can sleep....

Of course, I also have to do laundry, and maybe I'll work in the yard a little. Don't want to run the leaf blower while the neighborhood is still sleeping.

We had two trees taken down yesterday and I can't believe the changes it's made in the yard. One, in particular, has really opened up a space. Also, no more pesky Chinese tallow leaves everywhere. They also trimmed up some other bushes, I see (though they took out my redbud tree! At least it had already had its buds and wasn't mature in the least.) So it's much brighter back here today. Which reminds me--does anyone know of a good glare screen for this MacBook? I like to write outside and I can barely see. My iBook had a matte screen, but this one glares like mad.

Last night I came home and had 2 beers. The dh brought home pizza and I was essentially a lump on the couch when the dh said, "The dog got out." Now, she'd escaped the night before through the gate the tree guys were using. I wouldn't let her out without me when they were here. Then I double checked that gate.

So she got out through the other one.

We drove around the neighborhood for an hour, until we couldn't see anymore. We got home and the boy was here. He wanted to go around one more time, and the dh went with him. About half an hour later, I heard the car pull up, and the clicking of nails on the driveway. They were driving around and saw someone putting up flyers for a found dog (the picture is hilarious). He'd found her on the main road by our house, and said he saw her almost get hit by a car twice! Stupid creature. My son was upset that she'd go by the cars, and she is so grounded today. Even though both gates are secure, I'm only letting her outside a few minutes at a time. Bad dog!


You Ever Have One of Those Weeks....

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So much going on, I don't know where to start!

Had a gut-clinching 24 hours with a parent threatening to bring the media to my school because of how I treated her grandson, AKA Problem Child. Had a conference with her this afternoon that was all sweetness and light. Whatev. 39 more days? I think I'll be taking every one of my sick days after the TAKS test.

Last Saturday (Friday? This week went quickly) the dh witnessed a wrong-way driver on his side of the highway. He came home and told me about it, and that night we saw on the news that he'd hit a truck head-on and killed the passenger. This shook the dh up pretty bad. Also, since he'd called 911 to report it, he's now a witness, and a detective came to our house last night to get his statement. He also told us some pretty grim stories about his job. I should have dragged the boy out of his room to listen. Dh is still pretty shaken up, because he was in the right lane when he would have ordinarily been in the left. Something told him, he said. I said it was his mom.

Yesterday, after freaking out that a parent was going to have video cameras in my classroom and hearing the words in my head, "on administrative leave pending investigation," I came home to get a second estimate on the tree guys. Theses are quite a lot cheaper, but still, bye-bye new laptop. Or trip to CA. We spent half our tax return on having two dead Chinese tallows removed, and the tree guys are still here.

I cut 3000 words from my romantic suspense, am watching a video now for inspiration, but I have no desire to write, and haven't written in 3 days now.

I found my favorite English teacher on Facebook, but haven't heard back from her yet.

I'm so glad it's the weekend.


Book Recommendations

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I'm reading a book recommended by this woman I follow on Twitter. I think she's the funniest person out, and this is the second time I bought a book based on her recommendation. Neither time did I enjoy it. I should know, because it's not a series I usually buy, but like I said, she's someone I admire, so I bought. I'm flipping through the pages looking for "landmarks" because it's set here in San Antonio, but otherwise I could care less.

Jessica Anderson is everywhere right now with her new release in her 2012 series. I think it's an awesome concept and I bought the first book, but it was very dense. I don't like dense books.

I saw blogs about Julie Kenner's new series, and bought the first book, Tainted. It's more urban fantasy. Again, I was drawn in by the concept, but didn't finish the book. It's just not to my taste. Same with Allison Brennan's Original Sin. I may give that one another shot, because I'm only on chapter 2 or something.

I don't NEED book recommendations. I have about 80 books on my phone and another 250 or so paperbacks.

But where do you go for book recommendations? What makes you buy a book? Seeing an author all over the blogosphere? Reading the blurb? The concept? The setting? Recommendations by someone you know? What?


Used Up My Blogging Time Budget Here

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Wow, yesterday was a long day keeping kids quiet. Another day like that today, but we wised up and are giving the kids a practice reading test while 5th grade takes the real one. Ours is in 3 weeks.

I struggled for word count yesterday, barely made it before the end of LOST, so no time for a thoughtful post here. I did spend a good chunk of Monday working on the Supernatural blog, though! Go, enjoy!



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I joined Facebook last summer with my pen name, thinking, you know, promotion. I never expected the level of involvement I’d have with it.

My California family is on. I haven’t been in contact with them in years, and now I’m trading weekly (if not daily) updates with my cousin and aunt. The cousin who came to visit last week had just joined Facebook, too, so now we connect.

My mom is on. Yes, she lives 7 minutes away, but we still send each other stuff on Facebook. It’s the ONLY way I see my Texas cousins and my SIL.

Then my school friends started getting on. By the end of last summer, I was excited about going back after keeping up with them the last few weeks. I’ve gotten to know some of them better through Facebook. I also found some teacher friends who have moved on (or stayed behind) to other schools.

Then I went into the past. I friended a girl I went to middle school with, and then another, and then found a fan page for my elementary school. I cannot describe the joy I felt—all the posters were from my time, and we had the same memories and it was wonderful. So I found some high school buddies, and eureka! My bff from high school showed up right at the end of the Christmas break. Oh, I was so happy.

I'm kind of tripping, though, because at least 3 of my HS friends are GRANDMOTHERS. I mean, my mom was a grandmother when she's my age, but it still freaks me out. Also, almost all my friends have been divorced. My 23-year marriage is the exception.

Sometimes it’s a little much—too many people, knowing too much about me. And recently one of my former students, who is in 7th grade, became a fan of my author page. I’m always very cautious about what I post, but GULP! The other night when we were at the movies, I was posting updates and the dh got nervous about people knowing we were away from the house. I never post updates about being home alone, though.

I love posting pictures on Facebook because everyone can see them (okay, my dad doesn't have a page, but my stepmom does). I can also post reviews and such that I want to share. People in my family and from my past may know a little too much about my thing for Sam Worthington, but I'm okay with that.

I make lists, so I can check family, teachers, my past, at a glance.

It’s not my FAVORITE social network—I love Twitter because it’s less of a commitment, honestly—but it’s made me less of a hermit, because I’m interacting online with people I know IRL.

Do you Facebook? Do you love it?


A New Series

The first chapter of Beneath the Surface is up for your reading pleasure! Check it out!

I am very intrigued by this new series for The Wild Rose Press. I have an idea, now to find time to write it! I have a plan for now until June, including finishing this romantic suspense, revising vampire hunters and a sweet romance I wrote about 10 years ago, writing a novella for TWRP and one other novella. I'm very excited! Only about a third of the way through the RS, though.

The following is a new series we're kicking off for LROS. There is a yahoo loop devoted to the details. If interested, please follow the appropriate submission guidelines or ask questions through the same Please feel free to spread this to your writing loops, etc.

Rhonda Penders

Did you ever wonder what happened to . . .
The Prom Queen? The guy most likely to serve time in a federal prison? The couple voted most likely to succeed?
If intrigued with the opportunity to rewrite a bit of history . . . or exact a little revenge. . . .

The Last Rose of Summer invites you to a reunion of

The Class of '85

Dear fellow alumna,
Hard to believe it's been 25 years since we last walked the halls of Summerville High. Wouldn't you like to know what's going on with former classmates?
The Reunion Committee has worked hard to plan a fabulous, fun-filled three day celebration on the last weekend in June at the historic Summerville Inn.
Come for one day or all three—but register early for the SHS package discount.
Bring your spouse or come stag. You won't believe the surprises waiting for you!


Details which must be included in every submission:
* Summerville is a medium size city on the shores of Lake Ontario in Western New York State.
• Some students may still live in Summerville, others might be returning for the first time since graduation. They might make it back for the celebration; they might not.
• The above invitation will kick off the story but it is the concept of "whatever happened to . . ." which is the key element.
• The reunion might be one feature of the story, only a side-note as in a 'regrets-only' RSVP phone call. The common thread among all Class of '85 stories will be the invitation above. It is up to the author to take it from there.
• The Hero or Heroine [or both] must be a member of the Class of '85.

* Story length: 7,500—40,000 computer word count
* Sensuality level: sweet to sensual [no erotica]
* As always, it MUST be a romance with protagonists who have realistic goals, motivation and conflict—along with a HEA ending.

Submit to: with "Class of '85" in the subject line.

What do you notice about Sam W that you don't notice about my other heroes? Look how little he is! Only 5'9. I usually go for big guys. But he has a big voice, so...


Post 1800--Goals for the week of Easter

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We can wear jeans all week because 5th grade is taking the TAKS. Yay!

1) celebrate Easter

2) make skirt

3) cut out dress

4) work on RS

5) pull out my vampire hunter book and start revising. Again.

6) Dinner with middle school friends (?) We reconnected on Facebook and I would love to see them again.

7) Tutoring (6 more days this year!!)

8) Exercise

9) Keep up house (I did pretty well with both of those last week)

I have a plan for writing for the rest of the school year--I'm revising VH now, and I'm going to revise my sweet romance after that, while I'm writing the RS. That should carry me the next 9 weeks :)



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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