Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 4

Book number 4 was a big surprise for me. It was one of those guilt purchases - you know the kind - I met the author at National, thought she was wonderful and bought her book at the big signing. Let me preface this by saying - I do not read historicals. And the reason I don't read historicals is because I absolutely am not interested in history. It was my worst subject in school (both high school and college), so I've avoided everything but a contemporary setting like the plague.

But I bought the book, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

And I LOVED it!

Book 4 is The Mistress of Trevelyan by Jennifer St. Giles.

The heroine is believable and an underdog that all readers will root for. There's that touch of gothic mystery - "did his wife kill herself, or did she have help" and "is she haunting his mansion now" and the hero is hot, hot, hot and so obviously hiding something. There's plenty of secrets, revelations and surprisingly enough, some down right humorous parts to this books. In fact, I liked it so much that I literally closed the book after the last page, got up from my recliner and went to the bookstore to buy the sequel.

And this is a DEBUT book! With talent like this from a first book, what an incredible future this woman has and I can't wait to follow it through.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 3

Sorry for the delay in book reviews - and now I'm about out of year! A darned pinched nerve in my neck has conspired to keep me keyboardless and frustrated. I'm still in pain but have good drugs and am making passes on the keyboard in shifts.

Sooooooooo Review 3 - Nora Robert's Blue Dalhia Trilogy

Not since the The Sisters Trilogy have I enjoyed a set of Nora books more! The books cover the story of three women, each in different generations, all brought together at the same place to live and work. It covers different stages of women's lives and the bonds between them and their children in such a wonderful way. I haven't had this much feel-good since Steel Magnolias. Throw in an angry ghost in a haunted mansion and you've got a recipe for greatness!

An absolute must for Nora fans and for those who just like a good ole romance with an enormous amount of female and family strength and wisdom - try it out.

Also, I'd like to mention here that I read Northern Lights this year too and thought it was fantastic. Don't let the page count scare you away.......I still closed the book at the end wishing I had more.

Then I sat for a long time in my recliner wishing I had one-tenth of her talent. What a fabulous story-teller!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 2

Potter Springs by Britta Coleman

In her debut novel, Britta Coleman tells the story of a young minister and his wife in the early trials of marriage, career, etc. Her characters are well-developed, interesting and believable. And boy does this woman knows how to tug on your heartstrings.

A wonderful read that pulls you through the journey of young love and the struggles that either tear relationships apart or bind them like glue to last an eternity.

Look for great things from this writer - she's starting off with a bang.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 1

So I read a lot of books this year. In fact, I made myself clear my schedule enough to read a lot of books this year because it seemed like the thing that suffered the most from my writing career was my reading past time. So since I read so much, I wanted to share with everyone some of my favorites. These are the books that still come to my mind even though I put them down some time ago. They are in no particular order, lest anything be "assumed" from my posts. I will do one per blog until no more great ones come to mind.

First up - DATING CAN BE DEADLY by Wendy Roberts

This was a February release by RDI and an absolutely fabulous choice. It has all my favorite elements in a story - sass, humor, light paranormal, romance and dead people. C'mon guys, there's nothing more entertaining than a normal person (well, sort normal - see "light paranormal" comment) facing an abnormal situation - like finding dead people. Murder and the city girl, so to speak.

Wendy creates an extremely likeable heroine in Tabitha, minus all the backstabbing, cheating and lying that I've read (and didn't like) in some chick lit. Throw in the heroine's proclivity for "seeing" murders and you've got a great story with tons of possibilities.

My only regret is that the "possibilities" part is not continuing and there will apparently be no Tabitha sequel.

Hello out there, Publishers..........readers would like a Tabitha sequel.

So pick it up - it's a great book by a great person!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Inside Look at Your First Sale

So this month is the release of my friend, Ally Carter's, book CHEATING AT SOLTAIRE and I couldn't wait to pick it up. I was NOT disappointed.

Her characters are unique and interesting. Her plot is high concept. Her wit is fabulous.

And if you'd like a small taste of it, visit her website. I did a stroll-through the other day and came across this post of hers that I loved. Every writer should read this because it's an honest (and humorous) look at what happens from that first idea to on the shelves.

It's sometimes easy to sit back and look at the people who've really "made it" in publishing and think they must have a grand life. And that's not necessarily untrue. But the other side of the coin is a damned hard job of putting together fantastic works, time after time, and the pressure of deadlines, and do you hire a publicist, and what will everyone think, etc.

Another friend, Diana Peterfreund, also sold on a "significant" deal and posts often on her blog about the amount and type of work it takes to carry off such a big sale.

I'm just glad that when my own "significant" deal comes along (I can dream, right?) that I have two people to draw knowledge from who've already paved the path and know the pitfalls along the way.

Hey, they're younger and have better legs. Why should I do the work?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Second Book Syndrome

Okay, so a writer friend, Kelly Parra, suggested that the problem I'm having with my proposal is "second book syndrome." I'm not sure how exactly she defines it, but I think she's on to something. Don't get me wrong, my first book was hard. I cried, ranted, gnashed teeth and ate so much chocolate I'm surprised there wasn't a world shortage - but still some of the basics were there in the beginning.

Not so with this one. I am now on my third attempt. #1 was shot down by my agent (with darn good reason). #2 was shot down by me (see #1) Finally, I moved on to #3 with a different approach to things - basically, the same approach I used for the first book, and this one is the first I am truly happy with (although I've only got one chapter written)

For me, the solution was simple although it took agonizing for weeks to arrive at it. Basically, I tried to write big city and I hate big cities. I tried to write a heroine who I had nothing in common with and I didn't like her much either. Although it suited the story fine and probably someone else (who liked big cities and somewhat wimpy heroines) could have written a great story with the premise alone.

Not me. So for #3, I returned to my redneck roots - after all, that's what got me my first sale. I moved the story to a small bayou town and recreated my heroine - kick-ass and all.

Seems to me that in trying so hard for my proposal, I forgot the first rule of writing - Write what you know. So it's back to the bayou - and would someone please pass me a beer?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Winter Heat Wave

Well, it's winter in Texas (finally) and I can't help posting another round in the "pet peeve" catagory. I'll call this one - Can You Count to 100?

Here's the problem. Texas is hot. This summer was miserably hot - hotter than it's been in forever, at least for that many days straight. So everywhere you went people had air conditioners whining in protest 24/7 just to keep the space they were cooling somewhere in the mid to low 70's. Still everyone complained about the heat. "I just can't get cool" "I can't wait for winter." blah blah blah

So we finally get a decent cold front and for the first since March, the temperature in Texas drops below frying an egg on the sidewalk range. You'd think people would be happy. You'd think they'd be dancing in the streets. But nooooooooooo, here in Texas everyone has cranked up their HEAT!

Now, I ask you, does it make any sense whatsoever that the same people who were burning up when their houses were 73 degrees are now freezing unless they have the heat up to 80????? The temperature is the temperature, people (with allowances for humidity, of course) but essentially, your thermostat doesn't know whether it's winter or summer - it's merely reporting the degree at which your house is resting.

At a writer's workshop on Saturday I was about to waste away from the heat in the hotel conference room. I told my cp (and the coordinator for the event) that I was burning up and if she didn't get it cooler in the room, I was getting naked. She looked at me and said, "Are you sure, because I've seen you sort of naked...." To which I replied "Then why are you still standing here?"

So pack away your muscle shirts and shorts. Pull out a sweatshirt and some fuzzy socks.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!

Throw away the scales - Weight has returned!!!!!

It disguised itself very cleverly as Thanksgiving dinner. I know what you're thinking, and you're partially right - I ate the fried turkey, chicken dressing, sweet potatoes, baked beans, lima beans, rolls, fruit salad and cajun rice - that's all accurate.

BUT - we went to exercise after lunch. ME - exercising! My parents have a lovely park near their house with a trail around a pond and through the woods. And that's where Weight got sneaky. Here I was thinking I'd worked off part of lunch on lap one and was gearing up for lap two when Weight caused me to step halfway on-halfway off the path and my ankle snapped. Oh what a glorious sprain. Easily the size of a tennis ball sticking about an inch off of my ankle. So I soothed my wounded spirit (an ankle) with four layer pie.

See how sneaky????? Not only did Weight prevent me from working off lunch - it enticed me to four layer pie knowing good and well it will be weeks before I'll be able to exercise again.

Obviously, declaring Weight legally dead did not work. Evil has a way of returning.

Next tactic - exorcism - anyone know a good priest?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Dieting Round 2

Okay, so this has been one of those strange weeks. Got a lot accomplished on the writing front and attempted dieting round 2.

Started Atkins on Monday morning - quit Thursday night. Unfortunately, the Atkins and the tummy do NOT get along and the Jana doesn't have that much time to spend looking for restrooms in public places. The upside is I lost 6 pounds by Thursday morning so I guess it wasn't a total waste of time.

So I guess it's back to the low fat and smaller portions and less carbs. God, it hurts even saying "less carbs." Kind of takes the meaning out of life. So then I started thinking of all kinds of ways that people lose weight, then I thought about the term "lose weight" and I decided it really doesn't fit at all.

I mean, "losing" is usually something that's unintended or an accident at best. I mean, you lose car keys, you lose your cell phone - why exactly do we refer to taking the scales down a bit as "losing weight?" The word "losing" to me usually implies that I want the item found. Well, I can promise you, I don't want my weight found once it is lost. It's found me too many times before - and I think a couple of other people's has too.

Plus, it never seemed to me, even in the good times of a great diet plan, that weight was ever really lost. It more seemed to be lurking like a serial rapist outside an open window, peering in the mini blinds and waiting to assault my body all over again. Or perhaps it takes the form of the seductress - creamy chocolate or prime rib. Or even worse, what if weight is disguised as your buddy - you know, beer, wings and a Cowboys game on Monday night football? Gasp!

So I decided "losing" weight just wasn't permanent enough. So I needed something more definite. Then I thought of divorce. Well, it's sort of permanent, unless you have kids - then you're stuck with the a-hole forever. So divorce was out. It still allowed for reconciliation. And I actually know some weirdos that have divorced only to remarry. (huh?)

In the end, I decided the most permanent was to deal with weight was to have it declared legally dead. So that's it!


There will be no service and no tombstone will be erected. I thought about cremation, but then I'd just want to roast marshmellows over it..................

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Retail Pet Peeve

Okay, so I'm a woman and I like to shop. Not that the two have to be related but in this case they are. There are two things that bother me lately and I'm wondering if I'm just getting old and crabby or if (god forbid) I'm right again.

First off, why does everyone want your phone number before they ring up a purchase and your email before they complete it. Apparently, one can't make a purchase any longer at certain stores unless they have a way to contact you. About what, exactly? It's not like a car purchase where they're going to give you a buzz and see if you're satisfied with the item. They're not going to call and suggest you bring the item in for maintenance. So why do they need my phone number in order for me to purchase something?

The email is even worse. I never give out my email. Wading through the piles of legitimate email and the illegitimate spam has already become a part time job. Why would I want more? Oh sure, they try to tempt you with the idea of discount coupons via email but what are they really peddling? I've been this route before. I think I can live without a 5% off coupon for a lattee on every second Tuesday with a full moon when I've purchased $50 or more in books.

The second problem I have is that of placing the receipt IN the shopping bag. I stand there every time - hand out, wallet open - and it does absolutely no good. I used to pick up the bag, shove the wallet under my arm and walk out struggling to retrieve the receipt and put it in my wallet before I got to the car. Don't know why I couldn't wait, but it must be some shopping law. Anyway, I've recently gone to standing there - hand out, open wallet - and making them retrieve the receipt from the bottom of the bag for me. I keep thinking they'll figure it out but so far, no luck. With this age of debit cards, why in the world would I want my receipt in the bottom of a bag where it will most likely get thrown away - thus causing two problems - one, my checkbook doesn't reflect the deduction and I don't have proof for the itemized sales tax deduction allowed for Texas this year. (I know, I know, but I'm an accountant, for Christ's sake)

Does this happen to you? Are people TRYING to make me stop shopping? What's next - your fingerprint for purchases and the sales clerk tosses your receipt in the trash?

Monday, October 31, 2005

In the Land of Proposal Hell

Long time no post, but then what else is new. I keep promising I will do a better job blogging but seem to loose track of time.

The good news is, I will be sending my proposal for romance #2 out to my agent this morning. The bad news is, she is tough and I'm nervous about her reading my idea. The other bad news is, I had to write a long synopsis! Me! A panster! Oh, the agony, the despair. How in the world was I supposed to tell an editor how my book will end when I don't know how they end until I write them.

I finally figured that's why they call it fiction and I reserve the artistic license to change the storyline as I see fit when I complete the book. It sounds good in theory anyway.

Some friends of mine are doing NaNoWriMo and I've been sorely tempted but the problem is, I'm right at the end of a paranormal (only lack 30 pages or so) and I want to get that out before year end (that darned accounting day job makes January hell), so I literally don't have 50k words I need to write at the moment. I'm kind of bummed because they'll all get to party and celebrate (or hide in shame) and I won't be part of it. Maybe I'll plan better for next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Full-Length Mirror Syndrome

Okay, I've tried to be polite. I've tried to ignore what is happening in society, but every time I step out into public it was glaring at me, taunting me to shout out an opinion.......or run off screaming in terror.

It's the Full-Length Mirror Syndrome.

C'mon. Admit it. You've seen someone who has it. At some point and time all of us had the unfortunate occurance to view someone in public and blanch, thinking "she must not have a full-length at home or certainly she would not have left the house looking that way."

Now, I'm not a small girl myself, so I'm not only talking about heavy people, but let's pick on them first. Being a bit past buxom myself, I feel I can speak personally and correctly on the subject of how larger people should present themselves in public.

Rule #1 - Just because you can fit in it, does not mean you should wear it. One size does not fit all. C'mon now! You know it's true. Spandex just wasn't meant for everyone. In fact, spandex hardly looks good on anyone. Unless you are emaciated AND dehydrated, do not wear spandex for a fashion statement anywhere but the gym. And at the gym, cover it up with a long T-shirt.

Rule #2 - A belly shirt does not imply that your belly should be hanging out of it. No one wants to see a roll of jiggly fat. If you've got a six-pack, then by all means show it off - you've earned it. If you've consumed one too many six-packs, keep the results to yourself.

General Rule for all to follow:

Rule #1 - If you are thin enough to wear T-backs poking out of a pair of hip-hugging jeans, make sure they ARE T-backs. Full size granny panties hung over a slab of denim is not fashionable, attractive or the least bit cool. (I swear, I've seen it people!)

Rule #2 - Only one in a hundred thousand people look good in a bikini past the age of 18. Get a second opinion before you go into public wearing one. On an aside - men never look good or very masculine in a bikini. I think maybe it's the top........

Rule #3 - Back hair on women is not fashionable anywhere in the world that I'm aware of. So if you're unfortunate to have it and too foolish to remove it, please cover it up.

So the next time you go out the front door, ask yourself "is everyone looking at me because I'm a hot broad, or have I commited a full-length mirror felony?"

The answer may surprise you.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Power of the Pen

Three years ago five women met online in the harlequin boards. They all aspired to write for the new Bombshell line (among other aspirations) and a couple of them got the great idea to form a private group off the boards so they could "talk turkey."

So began "The Bombshellers."

Well, the Bombshell Line evolved and changed and the women moved on to other things, but they kept their group and their friendship. The first sale came when Wendy Roberts sold her chick lit mystery to RDI, and The Bombshellers were celebrated online and started the tradition of the selling writer buying dinner for everyone at National. They also started another tradition - the tradition of the pen.

When Wendy sold, The Bombshellers wanted to get her a gift and one member had a connection with a guy who custom made pens of incredible beauty and all one-of-a-kind. So they pitched in, got the pen, and another tradition was born.

Next came a sale by Diana Peterfreund (at auction, no less) and thus came another dinner at National in Reno and another pen.

I sold this past month and wondered what the rest of them would do since the "pen guy" is a friend of mine and my husbands. Well, sneaky, sneaky, sneaky - Diana called me on my cell phone on night to "chat" long enough for Elly to call my husband on the home phone and get the information for Brian, the pen artist.

Last night my husband and I had dinner with Brian and he brought out the pens. I was excited already about getting one, but you could have blown me away when he said "This is a gift from your writing friends. For you, pick any one you want."

So now, I have a beautiful pen and that's a wonderful thing. But it's what the pen represents that makes it even more valuable than all the intricate work that went into it. That pen represents a dream we all set out to accomplish and the love and support of The Bombshellers, who have been there to prop each other up when things were going bad and cheer when things were going good. It represents everything that is "right" with humanity and quite frankly, something this cynical person thought didn't exist any more.

The Power of the Pen is an incredible thing.

Check out a Bombsheller at National next year. We'll all have our pens with us. We use them to sign contracts and for booksignings, and to constantly remind us of where we came from and the huge things we've accomplished - all with the support of friends.

A fourth member, Colleen Gleason, just sold. Looks like there will be two dinners in Atlanta. And the Bombshellers now sit at an 80% sell rate. Not bad for five women with a dream......

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Jeeze! The waters haven't even receded from Katrina and we're hit with Rita. These hurricanes are starting to give women a bad name.

Rita managed to hit my hometown and I'm still awaiting word on my many and numerous relatives that I hope (most sensibly) fled the area. Luckily, my parents retired last year and moved to Texas. After this weekend, I'm pretty sure my mom won't be griping about the heat here anymore--there are worse things and she just avoided one of them.

I'll check back in with more information on the family tree. Please, anyone that can contribute - time, money, goods, services - do so. People are going to need a lot of help and the federal government and insurance never seem to be enough.

Thanks to all of those who are helping already! Louisiana and its residents appreciate you.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


The big news is in - RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU has sold to Dorchester Publishing and will be a Fall 2006 release.

Needless to say, I am thrilled that someone actually "gets" my quirky, out-of-the-box, bayou romance. I spent an entire day calling everyone I knew and telling them. Of course, my husband's boss asked if he would still be retaining his employment there and I had to laugh. People SO don't understand how hard it is to make a living writing. It simply takes years and years of hard work - or one winning lotto ticket book, but how many people does that really happen to?

I'm working frantically on a chick lit mystery and a new romance proposal. Pray for me. I think that one remaining brain cell is rapidly slipping away.

Of course, the bad part about selling is the publicity photo which has prompted my current diet. I started officially on Monday and am hating life more and more each day. Why does one simply FEEL better while consuming beer and pizza. (big sigh) Oh well, I'll keep yall updated on my progress - both on the writing AND the weight loss.

Now - off to do some accounting. Day jobs.....................

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I know it's taken me a while to get around to this - and me being from Louisiana and all that may seem a bit strange, but what does one really say about the total destruction of a metropolis? The people, the history, the culture rewritten and changed forever. Even as a writer, I lack the words to describe this tragedy.

Thank God, none of my family was in the surrounding areas, so it's not hit me directly, but word is still coming in from old co-workers and friends of my parents, who until just last year lived right across the Mississippi River from Downtown New Orleans. The friends are, thankfully, all right, but their lives are changed permanently.

And of course the questions set in - Why does this happen? Why wasn't there an emergency evacuation plan?

All good questions, but pointless now.

So we do what we can. We pick up the pieces and with everyone helping in whatever way they can afford, New Orleans will rise again. A changed city, perhaps, but we can also pray a safer one.

Here are links to two great places to give for anyone who hasn't found a slot yet.

The first is collecting for Habitat for Humanity and romance writing's sweetheart, Nora Roberts, has agreed to match (at a minimum) what her fellow writers donate. Let's meet her challenge to give head on. The link for donations is

In addition to the people who are struggling through Katrina, our four-legged friends have been left stranded also. If you would like to help and receive current updates on their condition and needs, try this link

Thanks everyone for your help and your prayers! The results may not be immediate, but it all makes a difference.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

High Maintenance Women

Okay, I came to the stark realization the other day that I'm high maintenance. Now, some of you might say "so what?" And others who already knew me might say "and this is a surprise why exactly?" But I was a bit dismayed and more than a little disgruntled because I don't want to be high maintenance. High maintenance is for beautiful women with perky boobs that never fall with age. High maintenance is for women born and married into high society. Women who can fold napkins into swans and know sixty different ways to apply eye shadow depending on occassion and lighting.

I'm a tomboy. I raced motorcycles, for goodness sake, and have a collection of power tools that make most men drool. If you needed new fork seals on your motocross bike or a new deck off the back of your house--I'm your gal.

High maintenance? Surely that wasn't me.

But alas, the tags in my clothes didn't lie.

Once again, what had been a fantastic sale on every outfit in every color that I liked was about to turn into a laundry nightmare. I'd already gone through my "dry-clean only" phase, and since I'd managed to locate a really good (and relatively cheap) dry cleaners, that hadn't been a problem. The "wash separately and hang to dry" was a little rougher because it actually required me to do something domestic, but I still managed to lock myself in the house one day out of the month or simply limit my wearing of the outfit to once or twice a year. But these new tags, they were going to be a real problem.

"Hand wash only."

Hand wash? Hand wash?! Hadn't it been like 100 years or so since we scrubbed clothes on a rock? And why did it seem I was only drawn to items with these type of tags?

And that's when it hit me - I was high maintenance.

Of course, it should have occurred to me before. I mean, the dry clean only and wash separately should have been an indication of things to come, but they were really only scraping the surface. Thrown into a whirlwind, I thought about the things I'd purchase over the years--the suede winter shoes (and I live in a state where winter consisted only of rain), the 6-inch stilettos with no grip on the bottom (and marble floors in my office building), the hairstyle that required an entrie roll of aluminum foil and three hours of professional help to maintain, the jewelry with hooks that I couldn't work with those darned acrylic nails (not to mention the acrylic nails!) and the real kicker--the shower curtain that was "dry-clean only."

But then what are the options?????? Polyester in 105 degree weather? Cotton that must be purchased two sizes too big and ten shades too dark so that it still fits after shrinkage and remotely resembles any shade but gray? Broken, chpped nails? Hair pulled back in a ponytail, with (gasp) GRAY ROOTS!?

Blasphemy! The style gods would rebel. My friends would laugh. My husband would probably appreciate the increase in the checking account, but really, was financial stability worth looking like a refugee?

So high maintenance it is and with pride.

The moral of this story--Don't shy away from what you are, ladies. Embrace it over a spa pedicure while drinking a $6.00 latte' and playing solitaire on your $400 PDA.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Why Tom Cruise is Insane

Okay, I'm going to overlook the fact that Tom Cruise has stated that depression doesn't exist. It probably never has for him so how could he possibly understand a difficult or even mundane life. The biggest stress he's had was figuring out how to creatively dump Nicole Kidman before the ten years was up on their marriage and he had to give her HALF. (gasp)

But has anyone considered that this man is professing a lifestyle choice (or religion, as some may consider it) that follows the teachings of a science fiction writer who founded his "church" to get out of paying taxes?

Okay, so I'm an accountant and maybe I'll even give on that one - at least on Hubbard's part, but why all the support for a ridiculous cult?

So, given the current state of mentality in this country, I have decided to form my own "theory" of life and the universe. It will be not-for-profit (of course) and all of my future earnings will flow through there for tax purposes. In the keeping of the new age spin on things and an old school southern philosophy, I've decided to call it -

Aromatoglogy - and the philosophy will be "If it stinks, it's probably crap."

I will be taking donations (scented candles preferred, although chocolate is always welcome) at National in Reno. I'll be the one frantically reviewing the Uniform Tax Code and wearing a clothespin on my nose.

Welcome to my Blog!

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blogsite.

I'll be posting (as that darned day job allows) my ideas, opinions, thoughts and other items better kept to myself. Please comment - I LOVE a good discussion. That's what the south was founded on. Unless, of course, you disagree completely, then get your own blog. lol

I look forward to hearing from y'all.

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