Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 30, 2008

I finally got to have lunch with my friend yesterday. It was nice to see her again. We ate an Panera Bread and I had the spicy tomato soup. We then hopped over to Starbucks, where I got a Caramel Spice Latte, which was yummy! Work was busy as usual, but I didn't have to work late.

I am really getting into the research for my next book, and it seems to be consuming all my free time. However, the last book I just read for the award I am judging is finished. It was a big sucker - over 500 pages. I read it in less than 7 days. I guess I should be thankful that no new TV shows are on and I am forced to do something else with my time. On to the next one...

It looks like I will be at the Booth Western Art Museum in Atlanta from April 10-12, 2008, but I don't have any more details. Well, other than I will be in most excellent company with the likes of the famous western artists, Bob Boze Bell and Thom Ross.

I took my Pilates class today and I am feeling very sleepy right now. Could be that I stayed up until 12:30 last night finishing that book...better get some caffeine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 29, 2008

I really have to make sure that I blog on Monday or start doing it over the weekend. Today is Tuesday and I have a lot to try and remember since Friday.

On the bright side, this weekend was relatively quiet. Saturday we shopped and went to dinner at a friend's house. Sunday was spent around the house and I made more progress on my next book.

Yesterday was busy with work. Today I am having lunch with my friend, Renata.

I am trying to fight off a cold and have been for two weeks now. I hope it doesn't hit me while I am in Tahoe next week.

Okay, advice about being a writer. I guess the first thing to talk about is how to get started. Well, it helps if you have an idea of what you want to write about ;).

Seriously, the thing I always tell people is join a group! If you write about the west, then join Western Writers of America. If you write romance, join the Romance Writers of America, etc. Get the picture?

These groups are the best way for someone new, and even established authors to connect with other writers, publishers, and a ton of other people who have the passion that you do.

They usually have an annual conference, and that can open so many doors. When I first started writing, I was intimidated my this, but I sucked it up and went. I made some pretty neat contacts and met new friends. Most of these groups have an online discussion forum and newsletter, so try to become friends with just one person and connect with them at the conference.

One of the groups I belong to, Women Writing the West, is really good about making sure that first-time attendees aren't left alone.

If you want to be a writer, you better don a thick skin and ditch the shyness. That's really hard to do for some writers, since most are used to being in solitude while we create our masterpieces.

That's it for today! Happy writing.

Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25, 2008

I was right, yesterday I worked until 6:30. Tonight will be another long one.

I received a manuscript in the mail yesterday for a book I said I would endorse. I have to stop accepting so many things that happen all at once.

Last night, Gordon Ramsay started the 2008 Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America, yeah! It's sad that that excites me...

I received an e-mail from my cousin the other day, asking me if I would give a friend some advice about getting a book published. Of course, you know me, I didn't say no.

I didn't because I remember how confused and lost I felt when I first started.

That got me thinking. I've decided that since I am an author, I should be giving some advice about that sort of stuff here, as well. Who wants to read about what I had for dinner all the time? Some sage advice from a long-time author might be nice for a change. So, starting Monday, I will give some insights and advice on this blog. Maybe it will help someone along their publishing trail.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24, 2008

Today has all the makings of a hectic work day. The client I had last week with the last minute project has another one. This time, we have until Monday to get her a first draft, which is better than the last one. I also have a bunch of other things that need my attention, including my first review with Interamark. I'm a little nervous...

I won't make the gym today, but plan on doing some cardio here at the house. I've been reading a book that's in my judging competition and am really enjoying it. I can't mention the title.

The weather is still a little cooler than normal for us, but Sunday is supposed to warm back up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 23, 2008

Yesterday I worked on a last minute project that kept me at my desk "on call" which cramped by gym trip and pretty much everything else.

We went to the Carolina Hurricanes hockey game last night. It was fun, but we got our butts kicked. We decided to grab some dinner there. One area sells BBQ pork and smoked/fried turkey legs. Who decided that the odor (notice I didn't say aroma?) of smoked, greasy, turkey legs was a good idea? I was so sickened by the smell that all I ate was a soft pretzel and a Blue Moon (beer).

I managed to make the gym today and took a Pilates will hurt when I sneeze tomorrow. Hey, no pain, no again, right? I'd love to meet the genius who came up with that saying.

I got a call today from Tom in England and we caught up on our January activities. He was my producer for the Lost Worlds show, but we have become good friends. We are in the process of master-minding a new project. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22, 2008

Yeah! I finally wrote that book review and sent it off. Now, I have 30 books to read before March 1 for the award that I am judging. What was I thinking when I agreed to that?

I made a ton of progress on my research yesterday for my next book. It's amazing what went on in the good 'ole Wild West. I don't really want to publicly announce what the book is about, so I am keeping it a secret for now. I do have a publisher ready and waiting in the wings when it's done.

We went out to dinner last night at Bogart's with some friends. If you've never been, it's a really neat place with awesome martinis. The atmosphere is that of a 1940s speak easy, sort of. They play Bogart movies on flat panel TVs (okay, that's not the 40s) as well.

I had a Double Indemnity martini - vodka infused with Strawberry and Raspberry - Yum!

Back to work today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

January 21, 2008

Lots to update today. Once again, the weather idiots completely messed up. We got a dusting of snow, not the 2-4 inches they predicted. Events were canceled, people stayed home, and there's a shortage of bread and milk.

We went shopping despite the dire forecast and no one was out, which was kind of nice - no lines. We had company Saturday and they spent the night. It was my second cousin and his wife. They were on their way home from canoeing and camping in the Everglades. I made lasagna for dinner and an Italian cream cake for dessert.

On Sunday we had a small family get together and made lunch for 8 people, which wasn't planned, but we pulled it off.

We watched football yesterday and both teams that I wanted to win, lost. I don't want the Patriots or Giants to win, so I may not even watch the Superbowl.

I finished reading a book that I am writing a review for. I need to complete that today and send it out. Our company is closed today for the holiday, so I am going to work on my next book...there is lots of research that still needs to be done.

We may go out to dinner tonight, but we'll see.

It's 25 today...

Friday, January 18, 2008

January 18, 2008

Last night was nice - we had a good dinner at the same place we ate last Friday. They just opened two weeks ago, but their service was slow again. They weren't that busy last night, so they better get their act together. Gordon Ramsay would go crazy if he saw the owner. He walks around chatting with the customers, talks on his cell phone, or sits at the bar. All the while his staff is confused, backed up, and needing leadership.

The weather people are talking about a snowstorm hitting us tomorrow - maybe 2-4 inches...we'll see. It's also supposed to get very cold here, like 35 tomorrow, 30 on Sunday, and Sunday night 10! Yikes.

I am supposed to have lunch with a friend today, but I just got a project for work and it has all the potential of being a rush and they wanted it last night. I may have to cancel, which stinks, because I haven't seen this friend in over two months.

Better get to it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 27, 2008

I went to the gym yesterday - did Pilates and lifted weights. I planned to go today, but my muscles are so sore, I will wait until tomorrow.

Well, the weather idiots screwed up again - just cold rain and no snow. What a disappointment.

I watched the last installment of Comanche Moon. It was still nice to see a western on TV, but I was a little disappointed with the ending.

Today is my mom's and husband's birthday. We are going to the new Italian place called, La Piazza for their dinner. I have to make a cake today and wrap their presents.

Off to work..

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January 16, 2008

I didn't make the gym yesterday and I feel bad about that. I did, however, make good progress on my list of things to do.

I forgot to mention yesterday who my friend with the blog advice is. It's none other than the esteemed author and editor of True West magazine. Bob Boze Bell has been a friend since I first started my writing career. You really should read his blog sometime if you want to be entertained -

It's been really cold here for a change - 40s during the day and mid-20s at night. They are calling for a tiny bit of snow tomorrow morning, but then it's supposed to change over to rain...we'll see. All I know is that tonight the grocery stores will be packed and there will be no bread or milk left. I live in NC, so I know snow is a novelty, but why bread and milk? My husband says, never mind bread and milk, get beer and toilet paper!

I've been watching the Comanche Moon series on CBS this week. Tonight is the last part. Is it completely and historically accurate? Does it matter? Not really to most viewers. Am I enjoying it? Yes. I love Val Kilmer in just about anything!

It ticks me off when I read comments from fellow writers or western fans who are also watching this series. Many of them gripe about how this was wrong, or that person wasn't a good cast and trash the entire movie because of a few inaccuracies. Just enjoy the series as something entertaining.

I say we should be glad that a major TV station like CBS is even willing to play a western! If they didn't, I suppose the complainers would be griping that TV stations don't play westerns.

Yes, we need quality westerns so viewers will watch and the TV execs will want to play more, but let's be thankful that they are even taking a chance on them!

I learned that lesson from a friend, Dr. Paul Hutton, who said something like that in a speech a few years ago. It really hit home with me, because I used to be one of the gripers.

Let's support the westerns that do make it and not rip them apart. If we don't support them, why should the TV stations and viewers?

Admittedly, I find historical inaccuracies in many movies, but I still enjoy them. It's okay to talk about them, just don't condemn the whole movie, unless it's really awful.

Off the pulpit and on to work...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January 15, 2008

Yesterday was a most excellent day! I went to the gym and lifted weights, finished and posted my website, and went shopping last night with a friend. Another friend who is living is Argentina for a month called me, and I finally heard from my friend in England.

I'm getting some terrific feedback on my new site and that's a good thing. Please go check it out -

I also got some advice from a dear friend who is an expert on posting, so you might see some changes here.

I am going to attempt to make the gym again today, but I am a bit sore from yesterday. That's what I get for taking so much time off from it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

January 14, 2007

Oops - missed Friday. We tried a new Italian restaurant on Friday night - La Piazza. It was very nice, especially for around these parts.

Saturday was spent shopping and wine tasting. I saw something on the menu from the restaurant last night and it sounded good. I didn't order it because everything sounded good. So, I decided to make it. It was chicken breast, stuffed with Prosciutto and provolone cheese, covered with a creamy shallot sauce - yum!

Yesterday we did things around the house. I bought a new painting and hall table, so I made room for those.

Last night was a Thanksgiving throwback - stuffed chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin custard for dinner.

I did manage to find some time to work on a new website - and it feels great. It should be posted soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10, 2008

I started the day with a 3 mile walk - felt good.

I work for a marketing firm that is a virtual company. We have no main office and we all work from our home across the U.S. I have never met any of my co-workers, but we do have twice weekly conference calls, so I sort of know them.

Next month we are all flying to Lake Tahoe for a company meeting for 4 days. We are all staying in one cabin...shades of Deadwood come to mind. No paddles though - this is company business. There will likely be snow, so I better take some warm clothes.

I've been getting caught up on things that I put off last month, like renewing memberships, organizing, trashing, and getting it together in general. Each day I check something else off my mental list. It feels good.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January 9, 2008

I am not doing very well this year with my daily postings, but hey, at least I am posting. :)

Yesterday was a little busy with work in the a.m., then I needed to have tires put on my car, which took longer that expected. When I got back to work I had conference calls and work that needed to be handled. I was supposed to call a long distance friend, but that got put off. We were supposed to hook up today, but it seems we missed each other again...maybe tomorrow.

Today was crazy with work and I have been going non-stop with it today.

I got a request from a man in Tucson (who I met in 1998) for some information I included in my Tombstone's Treasure book. It's neat to hear from people from your past (most times).

Well, I am quitting for the night...

Monday, January 7, 2008

January 7, 2008

Yesterday was about 60 degrees and sunny, so we worked in the yard. We took down all the Christmas lights and decorations. I trimmed all the shrubs and blew the leaves off the yard. I got a real work out.

Speaking of that, this is the week that I start getting back to my personal fitness. It's back to the gym this week as well. I'll start with a walk today since it is going to be 70 degrees!

Last week our high was 30 - it's like living out west, well, not really.

I need to begin researching my next two books in earnest and get my act together.

We watched the movie Tombstone last night, probably for the 50th time or so. I must admit though, I have never seen this version! I have it on DVD, but there were four scenes I've never seen. Two were very significant, but the other two deserved to be on the editor's floor.

I wonder why I have never seen this version before...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

My birthday visit to NC wine country was interesting to say the least. No chance of me having too much, because I dumped more than I drank. I think we hit seven of them, and only one came close to having "real" wine. They were winemakers from Oregon. This is a photo of me and my friend Bev and the last winery - Grassy Creek Vineyards, which is where our cabin was as well.

The cabin was adorable and it had a real wood burning fireplace in the living area/bedroom.

We had my birthday dinner at another winery called Elk Creek. The place was very pretty, but the food was not so much. Gordon Ramsay would have lost his mind. I ordered baked ziti with homemade Italian sausage. It was served in a baked casserole, which was fine, but the sausage was obnoxiously laid across the top in one whole piece. It was very tasty despite its lack of presentation. The waiter warned me that the casserole was very hot, so I ate with caution. Was I surprised when my first bite was refrigerator cold. How can you screw up pasta? Well, I guess if I am asking, someone did.

The Redskins won their home game and now go to the playoffs, so Saturday afternoon and night will be all football. Chili sounds perfect!

New Year's Eve was nice, we had a lobster medallions in a cream Sherry sauce with yellow rice and sauteed spinach. We went to my sis' house to watch the hockey game, then went to a friend's party. Got home about 1 a.m.

We had the traditional New Year's day dinner here, which consisted of ham, sweet potato casserole, green beans, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Sis made macaroni and cheese. We experimented this year and make a smoked/cured Virginia ham. It took three days to prepare. Talk about your salty-ass ham!!

Back to work yesterday.

I'm sort of glad the holidays are over - I'm tired.

2008 is going to be great! That's my motto for this year. I resolved to visit more of my old relatives since they aren't getting any younger. I also have two books that I want to have with publishers before the year ends. I also want to have my own TV show - maybe about food and history. I know - it seems like a lot, but hey, shoot for the stars or you'll never go anywhere!