Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday before Tuesday

Some Mondays are better than others. Today? Not so much. We're preparing for an ice storm tomorrow so there are a few things we'll make sure are ready--just in case.

Charge up the electronic stuff. Digital reader, cell phone, etc., so all communication is not lost in case the power goes out. Flashlights? Check. Candles in safe holders? Check. Food that can be warmed up on the stove? Check. Extra blankets and warm clothes? Check. (A lot of people forget that thermostats and blowers work on electricity.)

Our apartment has one (1) window in each room--except for the kitchen and bathrooms which have none. It can get pretty darn dark in there, even in the daytime.

What will we do in the dark? I have no idea. Crochet. Read on the digital reader. Play cards? Write my book by hand.

In the meantime, if I don't seem to be around, that will be why.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcome, Sandra Cox!

Welcome my good friend, Sandra Cox!

What is it About Black Leather?

What is it about black leather? Jolene Sayer, werewolf hunter, and her cousin Zoe Tempest, vampire hunter, love their black leather coats. It’s no surprise about Zoe. She’s the best dressed hunter in the universe. But Jolene? Jolene has no time or inclination to mess with makeup and fashion. She says she likes it because the full length coat hides her weapons. Me? I think she knows how great it looks on her tall, toned body.


I have two weaknesses. Even if I’m not fashion conscious I love boots. I’ve got nineteen pair.

My other weakness…mochas. Hot in the winter, iced in the summer. But where I’ll get a decent one in Moon Watchers, the little town nearby, is the million dollar question.

I trotted into the bedroom, rummaged in the closet and pulled out my suede boots. The bed dipped as I sat on the edge and pulled them on. The shoe itself is lined with lamb’s wool. The leg portion molds to my jeans, to keep the snow out, and stops just short of my knees.

I put a small ladies derringer, a switch blade, and my credit card into a black leather shoulder bag and reached for my leather coat. Then sighed and put it back in favor of my hooded, down-filled parka.

Okay, I have three weaknesses. I love my long black leather coat. Makes me look like a real bad-ass Were fighter, not to mention it hides my weapons.

I reached for my keys on the nightstand, pulled out my gloves that fit like a second skin then headed for the door. Wolfie watched me quivering.

As soon as he realized I was heading outside, he nearly knocked me over in his haste to get through the door. He took a leap off the stoop and landed in snow up to his chest. I stared in misgiving. Wolfie is the size of a small horse. The snow must be deep.

I took a deep breath. “All I’ve got to do is make it to the H1.” Housed inside the detached garage was one bad boy Hummer. A rich grateful client had given it to Dad. My father’s timely intervention kept the man upright and vertical instead of howling when the moon turned full.

Thank the gods for credit cards or the Beast, as I called the Hummer, would be sitting unused in the garage. To keep this baby’s double-tank filled with diesel isn’t for the faint hearted.

I planted one foot in front of the other and twisted from side to side as I plowed my way through the thigh-high snow. By the time I reached the garage, I was panting and sweaty. Woofie waited for me at the garage door. His wagging tail made a miniature snow angel.

“Crap.” I stared at the garage’s entry pad and tried to remember the code. It came to me. “Duh.” I punched in h-u-n-t-e-r. “The cold has frozen my brain.”


“You don’t have to be so quick to agree.”

The garage door rolled open. I all but fell inside. Wolfie bound in then shook himself. Snow flew everywhere. I stomped my feet and brushed at my legs. Puddles formed around my boots.

I opened the car door and Wolfie leaped in. I hoisted myself onto the seat and turned the key. The Hummer roared to life. My breath fogged up the bullet proof windows. No Were would get in this baby. I felt safer than a newborn in its mother’s arms.

I put the Beast in reverse and backed out. It plowed through the drifts like a tank. I hit the road and put it in first. We were on our way.

Moon Watchers can be purchased in paper or e at:

Vampire Island can be purchased in paper or e at: Vampire Island is also available on Amazon and other e sites.


To celebrate the release of Moon Watchers, I’ll be running a contest from Jan 15 and Feb 2. The winner will be announced Feb 5. To enter: just leave a comment at and mention Moon Watchers and Anny Cook.

What do you win?

An autographed copy of Moon Watchers

A Starbucks gift certificate

And a fun necklace that has a protective cross to safeguard against creatures of the night, a blood drop stone to remind shape-shifters you are protected and a star since our winner will be the star of the contest

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Phantom's Rest

When Beauregard Barker leaves his military career due to injuries, he takes refuge at the Phantom’s Rest RV Park, expecting no more than a place to recover as he helps renovate the park. First he discovers the place is full of ghosts. Then Emmeline Fairchild arrives for her annual stay and everything changes. Beau falls hard for the shy calligrapher who’s being stalked by a killer. Whatever it takes, he’s determined to keep her safe and persuade her he’s the man for her.

Isn't my new cover beautiful? Phantom's Rest will be released February 12th from Passion in Print. I LOVE my new cover!

Woke up this morning to about eight inches of new snow. Very beautiful out there, but cold and wet! So thankful I don't have to go outside today. I suspect our feelings about snow are directly related to whether or not we have to be out in it!

Wherever you are, keep warm, keep dry, and have a good book handy!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Context is Everything

I first saw this photo with a totally different caption and it meant absolutely zero to me. I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to be looking at. Then I checked out the other captions for the same photo and voilá! I saw the tree "ear" immediately.

The original photo still puzzles me. Actually, many of the Historical LOLs puzzle me--especially the photos. You have to wonder what in the world possessed some of them. But at least I understand this caption.

Context is what makes the difference. This is something I'm struggling with in my current work in progress as I portray the first meetings between two very different cultures. What makes perfect sense to one group is totally incomprehensible to the other. How to convey an idea across cultural lines?

Perhaps the best way is to place the action in context, using shared customs. There are, after all, some customs almost all cultures share. Eating, sleeping, childcare, food provision, shelter. From the most primitive to the highest technology we have those in common. Mimicking placing something in our mouth is a universally understood sign. So is placing your palms together under one cheek with your eyes closed.

So...I suppose I'll have to provide context for my characters or they may never come to an agreement. Communication will go by the wayside. Sigh. And my characters will be left standing in the bushes wondering what IS that woman doing to the tree?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Recommended Reads

In the last few weeks, I've run across several lists of books other people have recommended. Some lists have classics. Others are books that have influenced the reader. My list is simply a list of books I've enjoyed for a variety of reasons. When I peruse the lists created by other people, I always wonder what the reasons are behind each book listed. Why exactly did that book make the cut? So I'll try to include a bit about what each book means to me.

None of them are new books. All have been on my keeper shelves for at least three or four years. There are non-fiction, fiction, print, and digital books on the list. If nothing else, you can read the list and wonder what facets of Anny Cook are revealed by the books on the list.

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. A non-fiction book compiled from the original records, diaries and letters of the Mayflower settlers. It's definitely not your grandmother's version of the pilgrims. However, if you want a vivid portrait of early settlement in America, then this is the book for you. I believe it should be required reading in all high schools, but then I'm not crazy about the current educational requirements in U.S. schools.

When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone. A history of the goddess religion in the Old Testament era with a discussion of how current gender expectations were ultimately shaped by the clash of paternal religion vs. maternal religion. Clearly, in the past women played very different roles from today. This book offers some fascinating theories about why our roles have changed.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. This was the first romance I ever read. I checked it out of the library in my high school my freshman year. I believe I can safely say it sparked a lifelong love of romantic suspense and the understated, unexpected hero. I still love the story and read it every two or three years. I fell madly in love with Sir Percy Blakeney.

The Domesday Book, edited by Thomas Hinde. In 1086 William the Conqueror sent Royal Commissioners out across England to take the first census. Over nine hundred years later ninety percent of the towns and villages in that first census are still there. It's a fabulous document with amazing details about city and country life at that time. Of course, I'm a genealogist so I'm even more fascinated when I can point to the entries for the house hunk's ancestors.

The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale. Yes, yes, I know I'm strange. However, I confess I could spend hours reading through the entries in The Synonym Finder. As a writer, there have been many, many times when I couldn't put my finger on exactly the right word. Blame aging brain cells. But when I absolutely, positively have to have the right word, I will be able to find it in The Synonym Finder.

Last Man Standing by Janet Davies. A few years back Janet and I launched our writing careers at close to the same time. We shared a lot of things including an irreverent view of the world. Last Man Standing is the second book of a duet that begins with Swift of Heart. Both books are wonderful but I admit I fell hard for Alex Navarro in Last Man Standing. Yep, I did. The world building for the alternate world is wonderful. Sigh. The books are currently unavailable but if you happen to see them sometime in the future, snap 'em up.

Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon. On the face of it, you'd wonder why this book made the cut, but it's simple. I so relate to the heroine, Ofelia. She's an elderly woman who contrives to be left behind when the space colony where she's lived most of her life is evacuated. Why? Because she wants some peace and quiet! One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Ofelia realizes she truly is alone and can do anything she wants...and she dances naked in the street. I felt such kinship with Ofelia. Each time I re-read it, I smile. Go, Ofelia!

A Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk, compiled by Hugh Rawson. "nude. Naked. There is more to nudity than meets the eye. A woman may pose for an artist in the 'nude,' but if she is seen minus her clothes by a Peeping Tom, then she is 'naked.'" Written with a wonderful sense of the irreverent, this is a excellent collection of words and phrases, complete with historical references to the first usage. A rare book that is both useful and entertaining.

Dragon in the System by Cindy Spencer Pape. First of all, this book has a dragon. Need I say more? Yeah? Well, it has a dragon. Okay, okay. It also has a wonderful romance between two unlikely characters. The world building is dead-on. And I suspect the hero is the spitting image of a certain author's spousal unit. If so, lucky, lucky author. And I'm still waiting for Drake's book. (That would be the dragon, of course.)

The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun by Paul Gallico. Uh, yeah. This is an adult/young adult book about a nine-year-old boy who invents a gun that blows bubbles. He runs away from home, taking a bus to Washington, D.C. in order to patent his bubble gun. On the way, he has quite a series of adventures. Yes, he does. On the bus with him is a Russian spy, and American Colonel with secret documents, two teenage lovers and a psychopathic killer. See, I told you he has quite an adventure!

Birthright by Nora Roberts. This book has two of my favorite subjects--archeology and family history. One plays against the other in an intricate dance of murder, discovery, lost love, and redemption. It's tough to choose, but I'm pretty sure this is my all-time favorite of all Nora's books and I've been reading her books since the very first one was published waaaaay back when. Psst. And Jake is to die for. Yummmm.

Well, that's my list for now. Maybe you could share some of your favorite books--the real keepers on your shelves.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Bedside Manners

In the last three or four weeks, I have had cause to spend quality time with quite few medical people. And I've noticed a distinct difference in the way they're behaving from say...a year or two ago.

For one thing, they smile more. Now you might not think that means much, but let me tell you, when you're apprehensive or even outright afraid a smile makes all the difference in the world. A smile says, "You're not gonna die right this minute. Maybe tomorrow, but not right now." So smile. A lot.

They look you in the eye. Hello, if you're gonna be touching body parts that only my spouse usually sees, then at least have the courtesy to look at me like I'm a person. Grant me that much dignity when I'm sitting on a gurney in a paper gown that leaves a whole lot of uncovered territory. Let me know I'm more than a name on a clipboard.

They answer questions. I remember a time when a doctor pretty much brushed off all the bits and pieces they considered minor concerns. Let me tell you...nothing is minor to me. If you believe that, I have a spot reserved for you on a deserted island (and I do mean deserted). If I ask you a question, its because I need an answer. I'm quite intelligent enough to find out most things on my own. If I can't, that's why I came to see you. And paid you good money for the privilege.

They listen to the subtext when you're talking. Heh. The question to me was, "What triggers your asthma attacks?"


Technician looks around. "Where's your inhaler?" (Subtext: I understand this is a stressful situation for you. Let's be prepared.)

And finally, they take the time you deserve. Yep, I understand that time is money. But I'm worth it. And if I'm not, then I need to see someone else, you know?

Like I said at the beginning, I've had quite a bit of time with doctors, nurses, technicians, clerks and I want to take my hat off to all of them. In terribly stressful situations they've all gone out of their way to make my days, nights, minutes to hours, bearable. Thank you!


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Five years ago when I first ventured onto the wider world of the web, it was possible to communicate, to reach out for that little bit of friendship via e-mail, blogs, social networks, but no more.

Unfortunately, all that is possible now is a glancing blow at acquaintanceship. Mass communication is not friendship anymore than listening to a song on the radio is connection with the songwriter. Friendship is not developed through posting a status for your 900 nearest and dearest to read in a public forum.

Each day I find myself more discouraged and lonely as my friends all rush from blog to blog and post on various social network sites, trying to keep up with the electronic overload. No longer is there time to have a conversation, to share ideas or information or personal updates. Life is now a stream of carefully crafted messages that are supposed to serve all purposes, both public and private.

I remember a time, just a short while ago when friending was confined to the important few that shared both joys and sorrows. Now, friends have no idea what is going on in each other's lives. How can they? There is no time to listen (or read).

Am I the only one feeling the disconnect--the sense of isolation? Perhaps the lure of fabricated friendship is all we need? Or are we content with the fallacy of the social network because we aren't expected to reveal our true selves. No expectation = no risk. We can be anyone we want to be. Who will care? After all, most of our electronic friends are also illusions.

I scrolled through my friends the other day on Facebook. Of the lengthy list, I believe I can positively identify fifty. Of those, I actually communicate with about ten. That is not friendship. Or linking. Or conversation. That is a false construct based on electronic impulses.

After some soul-searching I've decided to dial it all back. If I haven't heard from you/connected with you in any meaningful way in the last thirty days, I'll be unfriending you. Likely, you won't miss me. From now on, I will not friend you unless you can show good cause for me to include you in my network. By the way, trying to sell me something is not "good cause".

Professional information will be posted on my website. The random thoughts I may have will be posted on my blog. And if you want a conversation... why I believe e-mail or IMing still work.

As of today, I plan to unlink, unplug, and drop out of the rat race so I can enjoy a kinder, gentler world.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I always anticipate the editing process as I regard it as the "final chance". Writing is such a solitary occupation. While writing, you spend so much time with your characters and worlds, changing, revising, rearranging that you sometimes lose site of where you are.

In the editing process, your editor points out the errors in your way. Heh. Sometimes, the errors are truly incredible. Sometimes, they're the victims of revision. In my current book, there was a detail at the very end that I completely missed when doing the revisions. It was one of those "huh?" moments you read in books and wonder what the author was thinking.

I will never forget a book I read a looooong time ago. On one page, the heroine was wearing a pair of pants. Two pages later, the hero was removing her skirt. And nowhere in that two pages did she change clothes. At the time, it was a real head-scratcher.

Now, I understand perfectly how such a thing could happen. I suspect it was what I call a revision victim. You change this. And then you change that. And then if you're not careful... you have a revision victim--one of those tiny details that somehow are missed in the over-all picture.

Fortunately, our books are not written in stone. Fortunately, we have that "final chance" to catch the last minute errors and make changes. That's what editing is all about.


Monday, January 17, 2011


Yep. That's me. I'm working my way through first edits for Phantom's Rest and I'm definitely feeling flat. Not because the edits are so extensive, but simply because no matter how many times we go over our work before we send it off to our editors, there's always something we miss. Always.

Some of the bloopers are funny. Some are just plain what-was-I-thinking sad. I still have a few POV issues. And fixing those usually requires a bit of tricky footwork and extra paragraphs. But the number of flip-flops are going down.

So. Instead of nattering on today I'm going to shove off and finish my edits. Y'all have a good day.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Wins and Fails

How do we decide if some personal event is a win or a fail? I suspect it's a matter of perspective mostly. I was thinking back over my life the other night. Most of the initial failures turned into successes. Instead of outright fails, they became detours.

Sometimes on those detours we learn something we needed to know. Or something is revealed that would otherwise remain hidden. All of life is not a straight and narrow road. And the curves and hills test our strengths and weaknesses in ways the straight and narrow cannot.

Once we're past the initial shock of the detour, the result will determine how we face the new circumstances. Do we lie down and die? Do we fight back? Do we adjust? Do we take advantage of the changes? Our choices will decide whether it's a win or fail.

Sometimes we just need to pause and have a good chin scratch.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Level Up!

You have a lot of thinking time when you have an insomnia night. A couple nights ago while trying to settle down, I had plenty of time to consider all sorts of things. In the way our brain wanders down odd paths in the dark, it occurred to me that life would be more tidy if it was set up like a game.

Think about it. Everyone starts on the same level--the lowest. If you don't work at it, that's where you stay. If you work hard and develop your skills, then you level up.

Except for the bare minimum to survive in the beginning, you're given nothing without earning it. Every thing else is a matter of hard work and skills. Either you win your sword or armor or food outright or you win money so you can buy them. Either way, it's purely personal effort that wins the day.

In most games, fighting the good guys nets you nothing. Only by fighting the monsters and bad guys are you rewarded. The more bad guys you fight, the greater the reward.

Some monsters will require banding together to fight. Part of that process is using all the varied skills in the group to the best advantage. And another part of that process is allowing the new guys to gain experience under the wings of the more skilled warriors.

If you're a lousy fighter, there are other ways to gain what you need. You can provide food or shelter or supplies and trade with a warrior. Either way, your ambition is rewarded. If you price your commodities too high, the warriors will go elsewhere to obtain their supplies.

If you're a warrior who cringes at parting with your gold, then you have the option of hunting or mining or farming to obtain your own supplies. The more skills you develop in the non-fighter areas, the more you are rewarded.

Non-combatants such as healers and priests are valued for their specialized skills, even though they aren't warriors. No matter how good your fighting skills, they are no substitute for a priest or healer when you're wounded.

Certain inherent skills will provide you with a greater advantage. Most of these skills (such as map reading or memory) are simply a matter of genetic talent. Some have them. Some don't. How you use them will determine whether they help you or not.

If you are persistent and determined, you will level up.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hospital Dash in Snow

It started out as an ordinary winter evening. The hunk was in our bedroom playing a computer game with our son, who lives in New York. As usual, they were on the phone, growling at each other. I was in my office preparing for my monthly chat at Love Romances Cafe at seven p.m.

We were having leftovers for dinner. Because of the chat, I heated mine up and ate early and left his on the counter. Around five to seven I heard noises and assumed it was him, heating up his dinner.

At 6:59 PM the phone rang. On the caller ID I saw it was our son and yelled for my husband to answer. When he didn't pick up, I answered the phone. Immediately, my son yelled, "Check Dad! Somethings wrong! Go check him!"

And that's when the evening took an odd turn.

The hunk was sprawled in his chair, unconscious. I recognized the signs, though it had been a long time. He'd had a seizure. I told my son I was calling 9-1-1 and hung up.

By the time the ambulance arrived, his eyes were open, but nobody was home. He kept trying to get up. He's not a small man. So we had a bit of him struggling to get up and me holding him down. The paramedics checked him out and confirmed he needed to go to the hospital.

While they were taking him down the stairs to the gurney, I raced around getting my bag, some socks, left a message for the readers and authors at my chat, and went out into the hall to get the house keys from the hunk.

Oooops! It was snowing. Hard.

Back into the house for different shoes and a heavier coat. Then out to clean off the car. The paramedics said the closest hospital was "code yellow". (I never found out what that meant.) Instead, we were going out to the hospital in the next county. And I didn't know where that one was located. But the paramedics said I could follow them and they would wait for me.

With the windows cleaned off, I hopped in the car--really an SUV--and followed the ambulance. It was a very, very long drive. None of the roads were clean. The traffic just crawled. If we got up to 20 mph, I'll be surprised. A trip that normally takes twenty minutes took forty-five.

By the time we arrived, the hunk was pretty chirpy. And I started to come down from my adrenaline jag. It didn't take long to figure out the reason for his seizure. He was on new meds and in the switch-over he wasn't taking quite enough.

But just in case, they did a CT scan to make sure he had a brain and an EKG to make sure he had a heart. And of course, the constant blood work. When everything came back clear, they made sure he had supplementary meds to keep him from seizing and at eleven-thirty, they discharged him.

The roads weren't quite so bad since the plows had taken at least one pass at them. We were home by midnight.

So it was a scary, lonely ride behind that ambulance in the dark. I want to thank all the ladies who showed up at the chat-that-wasn't and the fellow authors who heard about it through the grapevine. The prayers and good wishes you offered no doubt helped keep me on the road.

I want to thank the Reisterstown Ambulance crew. Your were wonderful, competent, and patient. I appreciate your care for the hunk.

I want to thank the Carroll County Hospital staff. It's been a long time since I've dealt with such an attentive, understanding group. They were friendly and smiled. You never realize how reassuring a smile can be.

Lastly, I want to thank the true hero of the night--my son. He lives five hours away, but he kept his head and persisted until he got his father the help he needed. I don't tell him nearly often enough how proud I am of him. Son, I love you.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Whatcha up to?

Have you ever had someone watch you as intently as that squirrel up there? Every single move you make? As though you held all the secrets of the universe? Or...maybe you were gonna rob them blind?

It's a strange feeling, you know? The prickles on the back of your neck make you itch. You spend all your time out of your apartment trying to figure out who's looking at you. And you wonder why you're so interesting.

There are people in this world with not much to do in their own lives. So they spend an inordinate amount of time checking out the daily lives of other people. Sometimes that's simply because they're confined to their home because of disabilities. Other times? They're just nosy.

When you live in an apartment, you know all sorts of things about your neighbors. When they take a shower (and how long!) When they wash the dishes (and run the garbage disposal). When they go to the toilet (and how often). When they fight with their spouse/family/significant other. What they watch on TV. When they have company. When they make whoopee...

All of those things are simply a part of apartment life. Privacy isn't possible in most apartment buildings. Except for trips out to the store and swimming pool, I seldom leave my apartment. I have no idea what my neighbors look like and wouldn't know them if I met them on the street. But I know a lot about them.

I suspect we all know more about our daily surroundings than we realize. When considering all this for a character for one of my stories, I came to the conclusion it would take very little purpose for my character to be the neighborhood "busybody".

We naturally observe our surroundings. When there is a strange noise or light or activity, we check it out. We notice the changes in our immediate environment. That's part of our survival instincts.

I challenge you. Without leaving your computer, list five things you know about your neighbors. Interesting, isn't it?


Tonight is my monthly chat at LRC! Please check out the info in the upper right corner and join us for interesting, intriguing excerpts and great conversation! If you're an author plan to post your excerpts!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Where's the sun? It's supposed to be mostly sunny today, but that's not happening. And tomorrow? SNOW.

It's funny how a bit of sun can make all the difference in how we feel. And conversely, all the clouds can really lead to depression. Now I'm not complaining about the itty bit of snow we received this year. Nooooo. After the 70+ inches dumped on us last year, I can easily deal with the two or three inches we have so far.

Somehow, a cloudy Monday is worse, though. It just starts the week out on a blah note. Who wants to leap out of bed and get started on a cloudy note?

The hunk is really ambitious this morning, though. He's in our bedroom, measuring and contemplating ways to rearrange the room so his desk has better access to electricity. I am NOT that ambitious. For me, a wild and crazy day might consist of emptying the trash or loading the dishwasher. My really crazy days might consist of doing laundry or vacuuming.

However! My days of hopping out of bed and deciding to rearrange the furniture are over. When I was considerably younger, I used to do that about every six months...almost always on a Monday.

Now my Mondays start out with a quick read through my current work in progress. And then I plunge into the work of the day--the next chapter. I'm up to 13K on this book so far. If all goes as I plan, it should be somewhere about 60K+.

That's my Monday. What about you? Anything special you do on Monday? Or is it all down hill and pukeable for you?


PS: My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Australia. Those folks are really hurting with all the flooding.

PPS: Tuesday night is my monthly chat at LRC. Check out the box in the upper right corner for details! Please join us. And if you're an author, prepare to post a couple excerpts for us!

PPSS: Check out the wonderful review for Dancer's Delight that I received from Miz Love and Crew!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Writer's Garb

I believe the makers of Snuggies are aiming their advertisements at the wrong demographic group. Snuggies are perfect for the winter author. Think about it. We sit for long periods of time, often in a cool corner of the house (because that's where we can spare room for our office). Since we're not moving around, we tend to get chilly. A snuggie is exactly the thing we need--a blanket with sleeves so we can type!

Instead of commercials portraying people lolling around on the couch, they could show men and women industriously typing away. The snuggie could even have pockets for tissues and pens and other writer paraphernalia. Just think...a snuggie could become the writer's winter uniform.

And colors! We could choose colors according to our current genre. Is your hero a military man? Choose that sexy camo snuggie. You say you're working on shifters? Why that cheetah print is the very thing you need. Firemen? There's absolutely nothing better than a bright red emergency snuggie. And if you're feeling especially girly, well Barbie pink is the very thing for you!

If you're a person who insists on being color-coordinated, there's one for every outfit. Holidays are no problem, either. Spring colors for Easter, red and green for Christmas, blue for Hanukkah and New Years, and orange or black for Halloween. For Valentine's Day, you could even add a bit of lace to the red one.

Hmmm. Where's my snuggie?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Walrus Swim

All right everybody! And one, and two...

Yep, that's what we look like in the exercise class. I watched one. Once. I'm surprised someone didn't get an eye poked out. So I do my exercises on my own.

Little known facts about the human walrus...

1) We float really well. I mean it. I have my own personal flotation device. This is not necessarily good because it means my BMI is high. On the other hand, it's harder to drown.

2) Because I float so well, I also have to work harder to keep the body in the water for the exercises. One lady I talked to thought the point of the exercise was to lift my legs. Nah... I'm trying to push them down to the bottom of the pool. Either way, it's exercise, right?

3) Salt water makes you reallllly floaty. I bob around on top like a blow up toy. That's my reward for finishing all my exercises. It's very relaxing and the water is warm (92 degrees F!)

4) A nice swim, exercises, and then a short session in the hot tub...what could be a better preliminary to a nap? Boy by the time I get home, I'm ready to hit the hay for a little snooze. Fifteen minutes? Oh, yeah.

My new recipe for unwinding.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Change of Heart

It's amazing what can motivate you to move (your body, that is!) For some people it's a quick glimpse of themselves in a mirror or plate glass window. They take a second look and deny that tubby person could possibly be them. For others, it's the ever familiar New Year's Resolution...that somehow is shuffled aside before we reach February.

For me, it was much simpler. The week before Christmas my primary care doctor told me I needed to see a cardiologist. I tentatively suggested it could wait until sometime in January. And she firmly replied, "The sooner the better." Hmmm.

I wasn't the only one a little shook up. The house hunk abruptly decided it would be better for both of us if we ate healthier and went to the gym every day. So there have been some changes at our house.

He took over the menu planning and meal preparation. This is wonderful. He's so OCD he'll have the menu planning down to a science and I guarantee I'll have every single meal on time (which has been a big problem for me as I get busy writing and forget to eat).

This is not a good thing for a diabetic. Small regular meals are important. Heh. He measures. Breakfast was 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of pineapple, and one piece of toast. It doesn't sound like much, but I found it more than sufficient. And as long as I don't have to go into the kitchen...I'll be fine.

At three o'clock, the writing stops and we go to the gym. He does machines. I go swimming in a nice warm therapy pool. I do my exercises (amazing how I can almost reach my toes now!) and then I walk to and fro in the pool for twenty minutes. It's less stressful on my joints, but harder than you might think. By the time I finish, I'm ready to come home and take a nap.

Is it too little, too late? Nah. Even if I go to the cardiologist tomorrow and he has bad news for me, the changes the hunk and I have instituted are still good.

I've read a lot of stuff about New Year's Resolutions on different blogs in the last week or two. What most people forget is change takes thirty days to become a habit. Thirty days. So you have to make it to February if you want to be successful.

Good luck to all of us.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sleeping Dragon

A new story is like a sleeping dragon. You just don't know what you're going to get when you nudge it awake.

This year for the first time since I've started writing, I don't really have a story I'm actively working on. So... I'm starting a new one--actually a new series. The first book I will call Shadows on Stone.

I've mentioned in the past that I have all my research and world building in place before I start writing. So yesterday I did research. Every writer has a different way of doing this. Some writers write the first few chapters and then delve into the things they need to know. Some research and develop their world as they write. And then there's writers like me that have to know their world before they can write the story.

I tend to research by immersion. I pick the topic and then spend hours surfing the web for every bit I can find on the topic and related topics. I print out every bit that "speaks" to me. Instinctively, I can tell if a tidbit is going to be important to me or not. That is what I did all day yesterday.

Today? Well, after I take down the Christmas tree... today I'll settle down with colored pencils and several sheets of drawing paper and I'll create my new world using the information I collected yesterday.

If all goes well, tomorrow I'll wake the sleeping dragon. Wish me luck.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

This is what I plan to do this year. My one goal? Finish four books. Well... maybe work on the health issues a bit.

Happy New Year!