Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hanging out in Labor and Delivery

That's right. At this very moment, I'm lounging in a recliner in the Labor and Delivery wing at a Baton Rouge hospital while my sister-in-law experiences her second contraction in the past six minutes.

I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my very first niece, but OH. MY. GOSH., that's some hard work. As soon I leave the hospital I'm going to shop for my mom's Mother's Day gift.

Lauryn is twelve days overdue and already 9 1/2 pounds. I'm terribly excited!

Expect pictures soon!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Guest Blogging with Rae Ann Parker

Last summer, a dear writing friend moved several states away, and I must admit that I miss her, dearly. But, thankfully, because of the wonderful World Wide Web, we still get to share in the ups and downs of the writing life on a regular basis.

Today, I had the opportunity to chat for a spell on her fabulous blog. Hop on over to Rae Ann Parker's blog and read my interview on Time Management. While I'm certainly no guru (despite what Rae Ann says), I have gotten better at carving out time to write everyday.

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Being Gentler to Mother Earth

"Going Green" is the new black these days, and I, for one, am extremely happy to see the attention that has been brought to the plight of our planet. Let's face it, we're ruining ourselves here.

So, in an effort to help in the fight to save Mother Earth, I am pledging ten changes to my daily/weekly routine.

1. Invest in a water filter to reduce bottled water purchases. I go through at least a case of bottled water each week. Soooooo not good for the planet, or my wallet.

2. Drive 10-mph less. With the price of gasoline these days, this will also help my budget. And, really, am I in that much of a hurry to get to work? Yeah, right.

3. Buy the squiggly lightbulbs for every single light fixture in the house. I've had them in the hard to reach places for a while now, but that's not good enough. This will also cut down on having to change lightbulbs.

4. Use only the cold setting when doing the laundry. Whadda know. I discovered that it all cleans the same way, and not having to heat the water saves energy and money. Hey, I'm seeing a pattern here. Everything so far is also a money-saver.

5. Switch to a low flow shower head. I had no idea these existed until a recent trip to Walmart's bath fixture aisle. Saves water. Saves--you guessed it--money!

6. Switch to reusable canvas shopping bags. This just makes tons of sense. Seriously, how many drawers in the house can I devote to holding those damn plastic shopping bags? And exactly when will I ever reuse the thousand I have? Why I haven't done this one already is beyond me.

7. Set my home computer to power-save mode. I actually debated this one, but figure I could wait the three seconds it takes the computer to power back up. *snort*

8. Demand that the folks at my day job stop using plastic utensils. This will be a fight. They just stopped using Styrofoam cups a few weeks ago. I kid you not. Who uses Styrofoam cups these days? In fact, maybe I can go one better. I'll tack on taking my personal coffee mug to the coffee shop when I write in the afternoons.

9. Check the tire pressure in my car and keep it tuned and running smoothly. Not only is this a huge safety issue, but who likes spending money on new tires? I want to keep those babies in tip top shape for as long as possible.

10. Shop local. Farmers markets have been cropping up all over the place. Instead of buying my fruits, veggies, and seafood from the grocery stores, where a lot of the stuff is shipped in by 18-wheelers that use $4.00 a gallon diesel fuel, I'm going to support local growers and fishermen.

So, here's your challenge. Pledge to change at least one thing about your current lifestyle that can help in reversing the damage we've all done to the Earth. I've given you ten easy choices, or how about sharing another with me!

And here's the best thing. You can treat yourself to something really nice with all the money you'll save by going green! I'm thinking chocolate.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Bittersweet Victory

Here's the good news: I just found out that I placed first in three categories for Shades of Romance's Readers Choice Awards. Best Multi-Cultural Romance Book of the Year, Best Multi-Cultural Romance Author of the Year, Best Multi-Cultural New Romance Author of the Year.

Exciting right?, I'm not so sure. In light of the latest controversy to stir up the romance writing community, I now question just how significant the award is. You see, when nominations opened, I told a bunch of family members and friends about the contest, and I know many of them headed over to SORMAG and voted for me. Everyone who voted read and (I think) loved the book, so it's not as if they voted just for the sake of voting. Yet, because of everything that has transpired over the past week regarding the rigging of Amazon reviews and such, I just don't feel as excited as I should. It's such a bummer, because this is the first time I've received this type of recognition in my writing career.

Despite my melancholy mood, I am very honored and grateful to all who voted for me. Hopefully, my next effort, RELEASE ME, will live up to expectations.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Behind the covers...

Ever wanted to know what goes into making those thousands of book covers that are produced every year?

Fellow Dorchester author and Emmy Award-winning TV producer, Marianne Mancusi, has an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what goes into producing the cover of romance novels.

Take a look at the magic behind the covers!

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reading, Writing, and Jambalaya!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Jubilee Jambalaya Writing Conference in the lovely town of Houma, Louisiana. The Jubilee has become quite a festival for the written word. This year, there were dozens of writing workshops and presentations for aspiring writers, with very big names in the publishing world sharing their wisdom.

Best-selling author F. Paul Wilson gave a witty look at the life of a published author in his keynote address. Others on hand included New York Times Best seller (and fellow Dorchester author) Bobbi Smith, and the fabulous Heather Graham. Of course, there was a slew of New Orleans area authors, including C.S. Harris, Laura Joh Rowland, Hailey North, and Rexanne Becnel.

I presented two workshops. The first was on blogging. Of course, I stressed the importance of providing pictures for your blogging audience, and once again, I am picture-less. I took some, I just forgot to upload them to my computer. *sigh* Maybe I should start my next blogging presentation with the statement, "Do as I say, not as I do!"

For the second workshop, I shared the stage with fellow first-time author, June Shaw. We discussed what first-time authors can expect once they get published, because as any first-time author knows, it is not all roses. If it has been for you, I don't want to hear about it. :P June Shaw is hilarious, and never fails to harass me for getting published at such a young age. In fact, she started the talk by informing everyone that she has underwear older than me.

I encourage anyone who loves reading and writing to attend next year's event. It is simply fabulous.

I promise to post pictures, but in the mean time, hop on over to C.S. Harris's blog. There's even a picture of me!


Friday, April 04, 2008

Official Cocktail of Louisiana is the what?

Count on Louisiana to be the first state in the union to name an official cocktail. What can I say, we like to party here. And what goes better with a party than a refreshing cocktail. However, I was a bit surprised when the announcement was made that Louisiana's official cocktail would the the Sazerac.

Huh? The what? After a little searching, I discovered Sazerac is a type of rye whisky, and the Sazerac cocktail contains the whiskey, sugar, bitters, Herbsaint, a splash of water, and a slice of lemon.

Sounds tasty enough, but as a Louisiana girl, born and bred, I would have thought the Hurricane would win hands down in a contest of which cocktail should best represent Louisiana. Those curvy glasses filled with that rich, red, fruity concoction is synonymous with The Big Easy. But, maybe that's where the problem lies. Living so close to New Orleans, which, at times, seems a world away from the rest of the state, probably colors my judgement. Maybe the Sazerac is the drink of the day among those in Cajun country, or up around Alexandria. I'm sure there are some in the northern part of the state that are up in arms at the thought of an official state cocktail.

Of course, this entire idea begs the question: Is naming an official state cocktail really something our legislators should be spending their precious time on? There is the issue of education, a bleak job market, and let's not forget the rebuilding of an entire city.

Then again, maybe it was the thought of tackling those heavy agenda items that turned their minds to alcoholic refreshment in the first place.

Your mission this weekend: Enjoy a Sazerac.