Pre-Conference Panic

Pre-Conference Panic

RWA national conference 2014Most of the time, the two days prior to going to RWA’s National Conference are spent in a state of sweaty panic. The clothes I need to wear are a) lost, b) suddenly too small, or c) have strange stains in suspicious places. Or, horrifically, all three. (lol)

So I spend way too much money on clothes that are barely adequate, stuff them all in my too-small huge suitcase, and spend the entire conference in a state of panic/misery due to my feeling uncomfortable in the clothes I have to wear.

For some reason, this time around I’m good. I didn’t buy clothes for conference. Nor did I buy new shoes just before conference (to buy new shoes just before you stand for five days straight is not a good thing, in case you were wondering).

What I did do is put together an entire outfit for each day of the week, not including travel days. Then – no joke – I labeled each outfit for the day I’m going to wear it. Packed each outfit, layer by layer. Added underwear, sox, jewelry, shoes. Everything’s now packed for those important days, and I still have room in my suitcase. It’s a lovely feeling, because I always come home with more stuff than I leave with; having extra room in the suitcase lowers the possibility that I’ll be over the weight limit on the return flight.

But extra room makes me nervous. Which means, of course, that I’ll need to add some pieces for the nights, and extra tops. Just in case.

My dragon needs a name. He's going a-courting Lady Dazzleton, a lovely tutu-wearing dragoness that he's seen about on the inter webs.

My dragon needs a name. He’s going a-courting Lady Dazzleton,  a lovely tutu-wearing dragons (companion to Tameri Etherton) that he’s seen about on the interwebs.

And maybe another pair of shoes. Oh, a hat – I think I’ll really need a hat. And of course my dragon will be going with me – everyone needs a dragon, right? And art stuff. Well, maybe not art stuff, it’s not like I’m going to have time to draw or get fancy, but still. Should I put in the ms I’m editing? lotta pages, but maybe there’s room…OOH! CAMERA! Day planner. Should I add my day planner? And maybe I should unpack and double check those clothes…

…This year, I’m not panicking. Not panicking at all.

In other news, there were certain things I was planning to get done prior to National Conference, such as: pedicure, manicure, massage, facial, get hair cut and colored. Yeah, well. I did color my hair, and I’ll probably give it a bit of a cut this morning after my shower. So there’s that…

Hoping to be able to shout from the rooftops my news soon. In the meantime, have a safe and happy week!


If you have a name for the he-dragon in the photo, fling it to me in the comments!

Books, Plays, and Driver’s Tests

Books, Plays, and Driver’s Tests

I know, I’ve been AWOL from the blog lately. Lots going on in my world. Here’s a bit of it all.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Yeah, so the last couple of weeks I’ve immersed myself in the Harry Potter world (again).  What a joy! What an absolute vacation from the world! I’ve had to borrow them from my sons (both boys have the set), and each time I got close to the end, the next book would show up on the edge of my bed.  (They are SO good to me!)

I don’t know what drew me to read them this time around. Maybe a bit of turmoil in my professional life? At any rate, I’m glad I did. I needed something to “take me away”, and even Calgon can irritate delicate tissues. If you know what I mean.

Last night, I finished off Book Seven. This morning, I found myself needing to re-read the last fifty pages or so. Fred’s death is heartbreaking; Molly charging up the stairs to get at Bellatrix gives me that “yay, you GO girl” feeling. Neville, becoming a hero, warms my heart, and through it all are Harry, Ron and Hermione fighting the good fight. Even when they save Draco (“that’s twice, you git”) it’s heartwarming. And the very ending, seventeen years later (or is that nineteen)? Melty goodness. I loved that Ron had to Confund the driving examiner, lol! So that’s what I’ve been reading.


I’ve been seeing a lot of plays lately (and with the Los Angeles Fringe Festival coming up, I’m betting I’ll be seeing a lot MORE plays very soon). But I don’t review plays, generally. HOWEVER:  For a glimpse into the play I saw last weekend called The Accomplice, go to Tameri Etherton’s blog for a rundown (plus photos – too fun!). She calls it “The strangest play I’ve ever ‘seen’.” It helps that my hubby is in it. Plus, hello – San Diego! Absolutely beautiful. They’re looking to run through July, so if you can, do go see it. Tameri has the details.

 and Driver’s Tests

So my youngest has passed his driver’s test this week. Not only that, but he drove himself to school yesterday (on the freeway – both ways!!!) to take a final. At 19, he’s pretty steady, and I’m very glad he waited to start driving. Now both my boys can drive, we’ll see who gets out of the house more.

Cal State Northridge logo

Plus, they’re both accepted into California State University, Northridge. Which kind of takes my breath away – I have no idea how we’re going to afford it, so this will be an interesting summer as they figure out financial aid. Youngest son has a summer job, oldest is still looking, and in the meantime $2 to play the Powerball doesn’t seem like too much money when you look at the return (if you win, of course).

So, that’s been most of my month of May. Oh, and I’m planning a revamp of the blog/website, which always takes time.

What are you reading/seeing/testing for lately? Anything good? I’m in the market for new books (HA! Not really, and yet again, I’m always looking for new stuff…) so please give me your recommendations!


Thanks for dropping by. Until next time, cheers!

When Ya Gotta Go…

When Ya Gotta Go…

I’m driving along, after spending a lovely time dreaming up mischief and talking writing with my good friend Tameri Etherton (stopped by for 20 minutes, ended up staying 2 & 1/2 hours…). I’m heading home after a fabulous weekend in San Diego with the hubs.

And I’m getting sleepy. Oh man. This isn’t good. So I change up the radio stations. First the news, then National Public Radio, then Country Music (don’t judge), back and forth, back and forth. It doesn’t work, though. So I dig through my cds and find a vocal warmup one that I had borrowed from my hubby.

That worked. Kind of. I mean, when you sing in the car, really vocalize, it’s tiring. You’re also bringing in a lot of oxygen into your system, so you wake up. Weird, but usually it works for me.

This time, I became aware of another pressing need. A bathroom, to be precise. But I’m on the 5 North. Not the friendliest freeway. Besides, I went through Werner Erhardt’s est program. I could hold it. I’d been trained. (Okay, it was 33 years ago, but still…) I cursed the black cherry Steaz that Tameri had kindly given me from her stash. I could do this. I’m famous for not stopping while making the LA/San Diego drive. I could so make it all the way home without stopping.

The 5 Freeway needs more Rest Stops! Just saying.

I decided to sing some more. Except that put pressure on my bladder. So I concentrated on the radio, and there was something about coral reefs, how the rise in acids in the ocean is killing them, and there was the sound of rushing water over the reefs. I changed the channel. A song came on about every storm having an end. Rain. Sheesh.

On the news channel, they talked about how this is the fourth dry year in a row, and how we need rain. The fire danger is higher, and fire companies are bringing in the big belly helicopters early in preparation. More water. Okay, seriously?

By this time, I had the lap part of my seat belt gripped in my hand just under my breasts, so it wouldn’t press on my bladder. I survived the 101-5 split, and made my way through the zoo area (Zoo parking lot full! Zoo entrance backed up!) – where the traffic slowed to a crawl. I believe I started to whimper.

Not only is my bladder in pain, but so are my kidneys. My liver is chuckling (because usually it’s the one feeling the pain) and my kidneys are threatening to go on strike and my bladder says it has a bomb and is going to explode my entire body if I don’t get to a bathroom like NOW. I deal with thoughts of just letting go, but replacing the front seat isn’t in the budget and I didn’t want to even think of how long it would take to get the urine smell out of my car.

Burbank. Speeds picked up, but I don’t know Burbank at all. I don’t know where the fast bathrooms are, or where I can find the easiest off/on to the freeway. So I kept going, but by now I’m desperately looking for a likely place to pull over.

The 5 Freeway splits Burbank in two. This causes me much confusion every time I go there. I’m sure it’s something genetic. Or maybe it’s just me? Nah…

Traffic slows to a crawl again, and I saw a sign – Lankershim, 2 miles. Okay, I know Lankershim. I can get off at Lankershim, and surely – even though I’m a couple miles north of the area of Lankershim that I know – SURELY there will be some place for me to go.

I’m getting threatening texts from my bladder which I have to ignore because I don’t want a $159 ticket. My kidneys are complaining about a back-up in the system. My spleen is looking on in amusement, while my gall bladder is considering joining up with my bladder in the “blow up the body” game.

I hang on grimly to the lap belt and finally reach the Lankershim off ramp. I come to the stop sign, and my heart falls down to cozy up against my stomach which doesn’t have room because my bladder is so fracking big by now. I land in an industrial area. Oh, help.

I look left, toward North Hollywood. Nothing. The road curved around and I couldn’t see much. At this point, I would take a dense thicket of bushes to pee behind, but I didn’t see any of those, either. Just a lot of concrete and asphalt and, thank goodness, a 5 North onramp on the other side of the street.

I look to my right – and there, shining and pure white and looking absolutely gorgeous in all its glory, is a privately-owned gas station (no tall sign visible from the freeway). Surely there is a bathroom. I turn right, pull in, park, lock the car, and waddle in (feeling about twenty years’ pregnant by this point). I ask for the bathroom and I’m given a token.

At first, the token didn’t work – panic threatened – but then it did. I got inside, locked the door, set my purse down, and finally got some sweet relief. As the minutes tick by and my bladder empties itself, I note my sunglasses, sitting on the counter. And I think, that was stupid, I should have put them on my head. But all in all, if I end up leaving them behind, it would be a trade well worth it.

Twenty minutes later my bladder finally sighs in happy relief. My kidneys still aren’t talking to me, but they aren’t screaming for my imminent death anymore, either. My gall bladder is sulking but quiet, and all is back to normal in my body.

I wash my hands and duck out of the bathroom, wave sheepishly at the guy behind the counter. As I go to my car I think, I should really gas up while I’m here – until I note the price – higher by 25 cents than anywhere I’d seen. I still had half a tank and was only about forty minutes from home. So, a pass.

As I drove out I realized the gas station was dingy and dirty. I’ve got grease on the bottom of my boot and my clothes smell faintly of cigarettes and cheap beer.

But I can handle the traffic now. I get back onto the freeway, smile at the other people in cars as we chug along at five miles per hour. It’s not until I move into the lanes for the 118 Freeway that I realize I’m not wearing my sunglasses.

(The above sunglasses are Ray Bans. My sunglasses were not Ray Bans. But they were cute.)

I laugh. Did me thinking about leaving them behind help make my mind release all thought of taking them with me? It doesn’t matter, I decide.

All in all, it’s the best trade I’ve ever made in my life.


Thanks for stopping by! Have you ever made a trade you liked? Regretted? Let’s chat!

Seen About Town – Friends, Ice, and Trees

Seen About Town – Friends, Ice, and Trees

I’m so thrilled that I’m carrying a camera with me everywhere. I had the great good fortune to speak at the monthly Orange County Chapter of RWA last week. Here’s me with the WANA folks that came. I was so happy to see them! From left to right – Jenny Hansen, me, Tameri Etherton, Kate Wood, Bethany Lopez, and Debra Kristi, all of whom are kick-ass writers and bloggers, so please go check them out. We have Kristen Lamb and the We Are Not Alone group in common, so it was doubly nice to see them in person.

The WANA gang at OCC RWA 1-12-13.

As you may know, we here in So Cal have been bitching whining upset about the cold temps we’ve been going through. A couple of weeks ago there was ice – not only all over my poor basil, killing it dead, but even in the streets. Here’s a photo of the partially-frozen gutter water. Hey, to a San Diegan, this is way cool stuff.

Ice in the gutter outside my office, about 9am.

The other day I tried to explain to someone my unreasoning hatred of palm trees. I couldn’t convince this guy from Ohio that palm trees are pretty dang useless. I mean, they don’t provide lots of shade from the sun, and they don’t give us anything to eat. And when they’re planted with a pine tree of some sort between, it causes a synapse interrupt for me. As in, these trees do not compute. (Don’t talk to me about date palms. Would you eat dates from a palm tree grown in Los Angeles? Yeah. Didn’t think so.)

Do the palm trees look out of place, or is it just me?

I guess there’s no changing the whole palm-tree thing now. I’m just a few decades too late. Are there trees planted in your neighborhood that just don’t go together? I’d love to know!

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by! On Writer Wednesday, Marian Lanouette will be here with her latest release, so we hope to see you then.

~ 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?