Iron Underpants and Sagging Middles

SusanMermaidOn Tuesday, our little family celebrated my beloved’s birthday. And, while it was a happy celebration, for me, it was bittersweet, too. You see, his birthday is two weeks before the start of school – and, for me, the signal that summer is nearly over. I need to get ready for school: my job, my real job, is in a school.

And that means my writing life, at least the life I’ve been living for the last three months, is almost over. No more planning my day around the hours of writing, no sketching out a scene on paper before hitting Scrivener. No more gleeful Facebook word count posts. No more staying up late.

I started the summer telling myself I would pump out 60,000 words before school started again. At this writing, I’ve gotten 36,000 done. I haven’t finished my story, I’ve made it to the middle. That’s it.

It’s SO tempting to throw up my hands and say, “Well,…
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Lessons in Rejection

My heart has been breaking all summer. Over problems no parent can solve. About my inability to protect my children — from hurt feelings, from being excluded, frompintip the agony of rejection.

“I’d rather get a hundred rejections than have my child go through this,” I thought.

The sacrifice of a mother? Sure. But being a seasoned veteran of rejection, I also felt I was better equipped to deal with the pain.

After all, I’ve had LOTS of experience with rejection as a writer. And I’ve learned a ton. For example:

1. I learned to temper my expectations. Seven-figure deals, international book tours, movie adaptations — I’ve dreamed them all. But they didn’t happen, and they didn’t happen quickly. And so, my dreams are different now. Simpler. And they motivate me just as much. A career as a writer. My book on a shelf. Spending my days doing what I love most.

2. I learned that rejection gets easier over time….
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Guilty Pleasures

Ever feel guilty about something that gave you great pleasure?

There are so many days in which we give to others that when we take time to do something we want to do, we feel guilty–or at least I do. A perfect example was last week:

My mom recently moved back into the home she was raised in up in Northern Michigan and I went up to see her for a week along with my youngest daughter. We drove twelve hours from Western Maryland to Northern Michigan and had a great time, just the two of us. It was our first ‘mother/daughter’ trip.

Now originally we were going up to help my mother paint and unpack but it ended up becoming a vacation of sorts. My sister who lives up there, near my mom, came over for the week. We spent days traveling to the towns I’d lived in when I was younger, out to my grandparents property, and up to see the sights at Mackinaw Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes…
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Mermaids & Friends: Piper Huguley

PreacherI met Piper Huguley in Atlanta at the 2013 Romance Writers of America National Conference. I can’t remember our first meeting, but I do remember running into her several times and doing what you do at conferences — talking about books, the conference, the workshops, the speakers, the authors. Everything you can chat about in five-minute encounters that take place waiting for elevators or chilling at the bar or a restaurant.

Oh, and I also knew she was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist (now also a two-time finalist with her 2014 Golden Heart® finalist nod), so some stalking on my part might have been involved:)…

But she was always gracious and chatty, and funny, and we’ve been buds ever since. I may not be a regular inspirational romance reader, but I enjoy a good book, first and foremost, and I love her books, but also her marketing savvy, and her commitment to her Sunday blog posts! If you haven’t checked them out, please…
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Love=No Apology Necessary?

As some of you may recall, I went on a bit of a rampage a couple months back about Jerry Maguire’s “You complete me.” This led me to another annoying quote from a 1970 movie, LOVE STORY. In it, Ali MacGraw’s character tells Ryan O’Neal’s character, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

LoveStory.

Ugh. Double ugh.

How awful to never expect an apology from someone who has hurt you. And even more infuriating is the message it sends to us as well. If we behave badly, but we really do love the person, we shouldn’t have to utter the words. They aren’t necessary. What a cop-out. So apologies are completely unnecessary in a loving relationship? Why is it okay to lash out at someone you love because they should just KNOW you don’t mean it? That’s ridiculous.

I’ve noticed that children view apologizing as one of the worst forms of punishment, and this makes me wonder why. As a…
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Isn’t It Romantic

(Sparkle Plan Update: Yes, I am still on my Sparkle Plan. But I thought I would take a month off from talking about it. All is still well – I’m starting to do run/walk intervals and getting back into lifting weights. Stay tuned for a bigger update in September.)

Spoilers ahead – you’ve been warned.

I consider myself a romantic.

I write romance novels. I love happy endings and riding off into the sunset and candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach, and flowers, and getting dressed up to go out on a date. Which reminds me, I have these new, totally cute pants that would be great for a date. But I digress.

You know what else I like? Movies.

But recently, I realized that none of my favorite movies are romantic movies. My two favorite movies oscillate between The Empire Strikes Back and Office Space. Both have some hints of romance, but neither can be considered A romance. Furthermore, the usual “romcom” staples don’t tend to make…
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Life on the Wild Side: My 2014 Summer PicSpam!

I take pictures, and during the past six months I’ve been on the road! From the WRW-DC Retreat in April, to RT Booklovers Convention in May, to RWA National Conference in July and then onto Las Vegas and then LA (GladiatorsUnite!). So for my post today, it’s a PicSpam!

Thanks to all of the folks I met for the first time, and for all of the friends I met again. And please feel free to “tag” yourself or others in comments. Or if you see a photo you must have, let me know, and I’ll email it!

I know most of the people in these photos, but see how many you can recognize! (And yes, there are a few repeats, I got lost in the maze of iPhotos:).

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Mermaids & Friends: Amy Patrick

Friends, I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Amy Patrick to the pond today. Her debut, CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, released earlier this week. It’s such a fun read, and I gobbled it up in one sitting. But don’t take my recommendation alone! Here’s a blurb:

22-year-old Heidi Haynes is almost one year into her “real life”. She has her first reporting job and her first apartment, but she’sCTS FINAL COVER yet to experience first love. Yes, she’s in a comfortable relationship with her college sweetheart, and according to her friends and family, he’s perfect for her. But for some reason she’s not as eager to talk about walking down the aisle as he is.

And while Heidi’s doing what she wants to do, she’s not where she wants to be. She longs for big cities, big-market breaking news, and real independence from her way-too-close-by helicopter parents. Problem is, the last time she left the security of home for new places and new…
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Using Your Power for Good

Princess Alethea MermaidA few years ago, I played a joke on the internet.

I was meeting up with my Aunt Theda in Baltimore — as many of you know, my Aunt Theda Kontis is a well-known ENT and Plastic Surgeon. She has her own practice, but she still teaches and consults every so often at Johns Hopkins. On this particular day, she let me know that it would be easiest to meet up with her by coming through the ER entrance.

So, for funsies, I took a picture of the ER sign in the Johns Hopkins parking garage and said something flippant.

Within 45 minutes, I had about 28974 Tweets and FB messages asking if I was okay. I received texts from multiple friends, including my sister, and then finally one from Aunt Theda (who had talked to my sister) that said, “You should call your mom.”

So I called Mom, who had *not* been on the internet in the…
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Mermaids & Friends: Larynn Ford

Can you believe it’s August already! We, Mermaids, are spending extra time splashing around the lagoon to cool off and enjoy this last month of summer. So we thought we would invite one of our friends to join us today. Let’s welcome, Larynn Ford!!!

Besides being one of my fellow Soul Mate authors, Larynn has a new release, Rescued, she’d like to talk about. Plus, she’s giving away one copy – details below. Take it away, Larynn….

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