No, Seriously…

After eleven years of writing, two books published and one short story, I’m finally taking myself seriously. This past week I’ve been working through Candace Havens’ Fast Draft. The goal is to write five thousand words a day. Over two weeks (which means you get the weekends to bank words), you end up with a 50k novel. Or at least a beginning of a novel, if you write longer.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo. One of those books I will never look at again. The other is book 3 in my Caine Brothers series, and needs serious rewrites which I will be getting to soon. This , Candace Havens’ process, however, made me feel like a real writer.

I gave myself an out. I started back to work last Monday, after major surgery and being off for six weeks. So I said to myself, okay. Three thousand words a day. You can do that. And every weekday last week, I got up and wrote words before I left my house to go to my job. When I could, I wrote AT the job. Then came home, and wrote some more, to make sure I hit my 3k goal. Last Thursday, the Creeping Crud got me and I only wrote a total of 800 some-odd words and I was done. Needed to go to bed, drugged out on Nyquil. Friday I came back and managed over 3k words.

Saturday and Sunday, I kicked ass and hit over 5k both days. At this point, I might add, I don’t know what the hell I’m writing. The setup I’d first envisioned is ALL WRONG and I’ll need to rewrite it, and I figured that out Wednesday night just before falling asleep. Damn and double damn. But.

I pushed through. I wrote those scenes that had to happen. The attraction scene. The sex scene. The confrontation scene. The scene in the rodeo arena. (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)  And through those scenes that had to happen, I started to see my story. So how will the second week of Ms. Havens’ Fast Draft go for me? I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll go backwards, and write the beginning again. I don’t know. Don’t care. Because in 9 days, I’ve written over 32k words. Even if a lot of them have to get trashed, I’m learning.

I’m learning about my process, about my story, and that, hell yeah. I’m a real writer, even if it’s taken eleven years to feel this way.

I’m a real writer. Seriously.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?



So, the hubby, since I’m safely at the day job, decides he needs to see if he can get our smallest kayak on top of our Honda Fit. And when he does manage to get it on there and strapped down, he feels that he really can’t waste the opportunity – and so, therefore, goes kayaking without me. After properly taunting me with the below photo.

photo of our kayak on the car.

Small kayak.

Harrumph. I hardly think that’s fair. But, as I’m snuffy with a head-cold and out-of-sorts from this book I’m currently working on (Candy Havens’ workshop is kicking me in the ass), and oh yeah have to be at the day job today, well then – I guess it’s okay.

But really. I could have used some baking in the sun today. (See, Brenda? I wasn’t joking – we do have kayaks, lol!)

~ ~ ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


Communing with the Sea

Communing with the Sea

 a photo of carlsbad, with Pelicans & a Kite - taken by me, February 2012

Carlsbad, California with Pelicans & a Kite – taken by me, February 2012

It has been too long since I’ve gone to the ocean. Too long since I’ve heard the waves crash onto the shore, felt the tug of the tide beneath my feet. This week, I was able to go twice. At Carlsbad, the riptide was fierce and I only went in up to my waist, not wanting to drown.

But the second time? We went to a small cove just outside of Channel Islands Harbor. Hubby has taken the kayak out onto smooth water, and he’s going out and around the breakwater instead of around the harbor itself. I’ve settled into my new beach chair, a big-brimmed hat shading my face, arms & legs covered and a book in my hands.

The sky is impossibly September blue. Two white wisps of cloud make the blue even bluer. Further out, a marine layer hides the Anacapa Islands across from the breakwater, 3 or 4 miles away. The waning moon overhead is heading west, and a crow and a seagull troll the shoreline, looking for food.

photo of three paddle surfers

Three paddle surfers at Carlsbad, California taken by me, February 2012.

The crow is cawing, disturbing my reading so I watch him for a bit. He keeps cawing, but no other crow is showing up. It looks like he got the wrong directions to the party, lol. At the crow’s feet, the water is a dull brown, with a white ruffle as a small wave laps at the beach. The water turns to a muddy green a little further out, before melting into a sweep of sweet blue. There’s a tern bobbing out there, in the middle of my oh-so-private bay.

It’s kind of amazing. On this big, wide cove, there’s only one other person and they are very far away. There’s a gentle breeze and the sand is getting hotter. The crow still caws, the seagull has launched itself into the water, the tern is in a contemplative mood. With a sudden flip of his wings, the crow flies off in a huff to find his crow-friends. I can hear seals, but I cannot see them in my part of the bay. A small white butterfly skims the edge of the beach, looking quite out of place.

I finally abandon my book and give myself up to the lure of the water. There are hundreds of sandcrab shells littering the high tide line, and as I wade into the cool Pacific ocean, more dead sandcrabs bob on the surface of the water. I strike out, get beyond the ghoulish bodies, and float on the chilly water, treading when necessary as a mere ten feet away from the shoreline has me out of my depth.

The water invigorates me. Reminds me that I am alive, and gaining in health and strength, and lucky to be able to do what I love. I have new challenges on my plate for next year, but I’m ready for them. Right now I feel I can take over the world, lol.

The hubby comes back, rhapsodizing over the pod of porpoises that swam around him, and that he followed, for about twenty minutes. We are both renewed by our time in and on the water.

Ahh. There’s nothing that a bit of salt water and a briny sea breeze can’t cure. Sometimes, I only need to get my feet wet, my hands wet, pat my wet hands on my cheeks. Other times I need the full-immersion therapy.

How long has it been since you’ve allowed yourself the luxury of going into the water at the beach?

photo of a family at sunset.

Family at Carlsbad, California at sunset. Taken by me, February 2012.

I need to note – the above picture is NOT of my family. They were strangers on the beach at sunset. I was actually going for the pretty colors in the water, lol!

~ ~ ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

People Watching – Santa Monica, California

People Watching – Santa Monica, California

So, the hubby and I were at a restaurant last week, in Santa Monica, on a weeknight. And while it was wonderful to spend some alone time together, we had a ton ‘o fun people watching.

Not Santa Monica. This is Laguna Beach, taken by me this past February.

The couple in the booth next to us didn’t seriously come to our attention until, as we were chatting with our waiter, we hear this querulous voice.

“Waiter, is my entree ready? Because we really have to go.”

Our waiter apologized to us, appeased the woman, and disappeared. About 2 minutes later the manager appeared, bearing a steaming hot dish (which looked delish!) to the woman who complained. She complains at once – shrilly – at “all the heavy sauces” (we’re in an Asian Fusion restaurant) and since “nothing suited me, just charge us for what we ate and leave it at that”. The manager, in a calm, low-voiced manner, thanks her and goes off to prepare her check, the steaming dish still in his hand.

She tells her husband, in piercing tones we cannot avoid, “the dishes were all right, tasted good, but the sauces were just so thick.” Um, seriousWhen they get up to leave, her husband has an embarrassed air about him and she has that discontented look about her eyes and mouth that tell me nothing, ever, will be good enough for her to accept. It makes me pity her husband. They were close in age to me and hubby, but I really just wanted to smack her.

After they are well gone, our waiter comes back. Apparently that couple is the talk of the staff – she had sent back four – FOUR – kobe beef dishes. And didn’t pay for a single one. That’s beef down the drain since it hit a customer’s table. That made me want to doubly smack that woman.

And here’s a flower from my back yard, around Mother’s Day. Epithilium.

A much more humorous (and oddly sad) attraction at dinner was the couple at the bar. He was in his early 50’s; thick, curly gray hair, slightly portly but well within attractive, nice gray suit. She was blonde, tanned, young – mid-late 20’s – in a figure-hugging black strapless dress, shirred front, back and both sides.

We first noticed them because he was fondling her hand, which she had hanging from the back of the bar stool. But her hand was limp – she was not returning his affectionate caresses. For the hour or so we were there, it was an interesting interplay – his eyes would light up, he’d speak, fondle, she’d turn away pick up her drink, turn back, say something.

He was slugging back glasses of red wine. She was sipping what looked like Cosmopolitans. We couldn’t tell if they were conducting a clandestine affair, if they were co-workers, or if she were trying to sell him something (get your mind out of the gutter!).

For awhile, he stood at her side, pressing kisses to her hair, before gazing down into her eyes. He tried to kiss her mouth but she kept ducking him, once even putting her hand over his mouth. He finally did land one, and sat down in triumph. Then she started showing photos to him from her cell phone (which made me think she was selling something) because she was talking non-stop while he was drinking.

I caught a look at her when she went to the ladies’ room. Creamy skin, big tits, smallish waist, big hips all wrapped in a come-get-me package including CFM pumps in a beige that just didn’t go but whatever. The jarring note was the ever-so-slightly pissed off look in her eyes, the tight way she held her mouth.

While she was gone, he ordered new drinks for them. Then when he went to the bathroom? He took his wine with him. Um, REALLY??? People are weird.

Soon after that, she became much more affectionate, leaning her hand on his thigh, touching his face. He chugged his wine down and most of her last drink while she put on more lipstick, then they got up to go. As they walked away, her left hand was in his left hand while his right hand was firmly planted on her ample bottom. What a fascinating peek into other people’s lives…the stories I could make up!

And about our waiter? He’s a new stunt guy in town trying to break into showbiz. We are now Facebook friends, and will help him as much as we can with our limited stunt people knowledge, lol.

We left the restaurant thoroughly entertained and very happy to be together. When was the last time you did some people watching?


Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Two wines, 50% Off

Two wines, 50% Off

I have a love-hate relationship with the 50% Off shopping cart parked in the wine aisle at my local Pavillions grocery store. Half the time there’s nothing there I want to sample; the rest of the time there are deals too good to pass up. This post points up why sometimes, when dealing with Sale wine, a “too good” deal can cut both ways.

photo of the bottle of a woodbridge chardonnayWoodbridge California Chardonnay 2011 by Robert Mondavi Alcohol 13.5% by volume; 1.5L; Regular price $15.99, half price $8.00 at Pavillions.

On the Label:  “Our Chardonnay’s vibrant fruit, spice notes and creamy texture make it an elegant match for roasted chicken, grilled fish, fresh salads and creamy cheeses. Believing that wine should be an integral part of life, Robert Mondavi founded Woodbridge Wintery in 1979 to make fine wines for every occasion. He returned to his childhood roots in historic Lodi, California to craft wines using his signature techniques that combine rich tradition with state-of-the-art innovatin. To learn more, visit .”

My take: I’ll be honest. I picked up this wine for three reasons: $8 for 1.5L, 2011 Chardonnay, and the Robert Mondavi name. I don’t remember but I believe when I first became aware of Woodbridge, they didn’t tie the Mondavi name to it; and I didn’t like what I tasted when I first found it, years ago now. So I almost never pick up Woodbridge wines. Plus, this was a bulk wine, and while I usually don’t mind bulk wines (especially chardonnays or pinot grigios), this was a Woodbridge bulk wine.

But I picked it up anyway. And for once, the label rang true. This wine went with chicken one night, fish the next. It was a terrific sipping wine for the cook; and because it was a 1.5 liter bottle, it lasted longer than two days which is always a plus.

My Rating: ~ Very Good ~ I went back to pick up another bottle, but didn’t find any still on sale. Found a lot of Woodbridge Muscat, which made me think that perhaps this bottle got mis-sale-labelled? If so, yay for me!

Byron Santa Maria Valley 2002 Chardonnay Alcohol 14.2% by volume; Regularphoto of bottle of Byron chardonnay 2002 price $18.97, 50% off for $9.49 at Pavillions.

On the Label: Santa Maria Valley’s unique combination of ultra-cool climate and very long growing season makes it a natural wonder of the winegrowing world.  This wine was proudly grown, produced, and bottled on our estate to achieve the ultimate expression of California Chardonnay. ~Ken Brown, Founder & Winemaker May be cellared for five years or more.

My Take: Oooookay. I was good with the label until the last line…”may be cellared for five years or more”. Since this is a 2002, five years would put it at 2007. A judicious “or more” would be two more years – which would put it at 2009. And here we are, at the tail end of 2012.

I was really looking forward to tasting this wine, as Byron has a good reputation. Unfortunately, ten years past the bottling date is (and I’m guessing here) 3 to 5 years too long, which makes me wonder a) why Pavillions still had enough of this wine to put more than a bottle or two in the cart for their 50% off sale and b) if it was a new purchase, for God’s sakes, why? Two questions I’ll never know the answer to, I’m guessing.

This wine was to go with the roasted chicken. I tasted it. Hubby tasted it. We opened the Woodbridge that night, instead, and I decided I’d turn the Byron into Sangria. I put it back in the fridge and forgot about it until a couple days later. The next time I noticed it? After tasting it again, I poured it down the drain.

My Rating: ~ Life’s Too Short to Drink Out-Of-Date Wine ~ (otherwise known as Undrinkable) I’m hoping another Byron wine will come my way, so I can do a proper tasting. But as I mentioned in another post, do NOT drink white wines any further out than five years from the date on the bottle, unless a) you paid a heck of a lot more than $10 for it and b) someone else is treating you.


As usual, this is just my honest opinion and will totally depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!