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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cleaning Out the Cobwebs - Part 3!

Ha! You didn't think I'd keep this up, did you??  Well, I will admit to writing all three of these posts in one afternoon and scheduling them to post two days apart.  Why?  I didn't want to bore you with all those stories in one long post, and this week I'll be crunching out the writing big time!

Another reason I haven't blogged since December is I've been working very hard on book 3 of my Healer series - TASTE OF DEATH.  It's due out at the end of 2013, but my editor wants it by April 1st!  No fooling!  I have a week...er...a couple days to finish the first draft and make some sense of it!  It's a mess right now - it's going to need some major revisions.  Which is why it's due April 1st - I need time to revise based on my daughter, son, husband, editor and agent's comments.  The art department needs time to design the cover art, the sales staff needs time to get orders from book stores, the marketing department needs time to develop a fabulous marketing plan, etc... All before the book can be published for you to read.




At one point during the last month, I stopped to take a break and looked at my word count.  88,888 words - I thought it was a good sign so I took a picture!  My novels usually run about 100,000 words. Right now I'm at...95,909 words.

As part of the finishing the book, I went on a writing retreat with three other writing friends.  Some of you may know Mindy Klasky - she's written fantasy, chick lit and YA as Morgan Keyes - she was one of them.  We drove down to Duck, North Carolina and spent three days writing all day.  Okay, maybe not ALL day, but I do more writing when I'm away from home than I do AT home - yes, even if it's at the beach.  We were there in late January so it wasn't bathing suit weather, but I managed to take my camera out and shoot a few pictures.  For some reason I was fascinated by the shells on the sand and the dune grass.


 

 
 



Of the two dune grass with the ocean in the background - which one do you like the best?  I'm curious since the colors and composition are different.

Okay - that's it for this series of excuses...er...explanations on why I haven't blogged since December 2012.  I hope to blog on a regular basis from now on, but I'm not going to make any promises!

I have been good at posting on Facebook - you can check out my posts at: http://www.facebook.com/mvsfans  for news and comments.  My page hit 5,000 likes last week, and I'm celebrating by doing a BIG giveaway!  So stop by and leave a comment and you might win a prize.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Clearing Out the Cobwebs - Part 2!

Okay, where was I....  Oh, yes, volleyball.  While that did dominate our family schedule, we also squeezed in a little skiing.  While the snow in PA wasn't the best (better than last year by a smidge), we managed to get out a few times.  And I went on another high school trip - this time with the high school ski club up to Vermont for a long weekend of skiing with my daughter.

Top of Killington Peak I'm in blue!

I love skiing in Vermont - the slopes are bigger, longer and challenging.  They had more snow than PA and the conditions were wonderful.  We spent two days at Stowe Resort and one day at Killington.  The second day at Stowe was freezing cold - 1 degree F at the top with winds 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.  Coldest I've ever been.  Sitting on an open lift was torture - I'd just huddle in my jacket, thinking I was an idiot to be out here and promising I would head straight for the lodge once I skied down.  But I'd warm up skiing and the slopes were so fun and...the next thing I knew, I'd be on that lift, cursing myself for being an idiot.  After a few runs and a long lunch, we switched to using the Gondola - duh' right?

The Gondola at Stowe Resort
Of the two resorts, I loved Killington - it's called the Beast of the East for a reason - many lodges, which were big and modern with bag checks, a zillion slopes, a waffle place slope-side (Stowe also had waffles at the top of the Gondola).  My favorite lunch was the New England Clam Chowder - expensive at $8 a bowl, but that's all I needed for lunch.

Beautiful views at the top of Stowe

Also the views in VT are spectacular and I love the names of some of the trails.  Nosedive at Stowe was one of my favorites - and it's a blue square (intermediate slope)!  They also had one called Lord and we heard someone say, "If you get lost, just follow the Lord!"  In PA, I'm an expert level skier, in VT I was an intermediate skier - but I did one black diamond (expert) slope just to say I did it :)  No, I didn't do any double black diamonds - I'm not that crazy!



Another favorite thing to do in VT - stop at the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory and buy a pint of ice cream!  After a full day of skiing, it's a great treat and we've burned all those calories...right?

That's it for this post.  Tune in for Part 3 - coming soon!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Clearing Out the Cobwebs - Part 1

Wow - it's dusty in here *cough, cough* and loaded with cobwebs! I had to clean out a family of mice and two raccoons since my neighbor bloggers were starting to complain.  Yes, I've been a bad blogger :(  The last three months have flown by and while I've kept up with my Facebook and Goodreads pages, I'm WAY behind on my email replies and have neglected my poor blog.  And I owe my newsletter subscribers a newsletter, too.

So what have I've been doing?  Get comfortable, grab a drink, this is going to take a while and I'll probably dole it out in parts ;)

Me and Jenna


The Castle in Magic Kingdom
Right after the x-mas holidays, I went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for 6 days.  It was a ton of fun, despite the 20 hour bus ride both ways! and going with 186 teenagers, including my daughter (sleep wasn't on the schedule :).  I made new chaperone friends and learned a lot about high school dating and drama, stood proudly while the Marching Band marched down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, the Orchestra played a concert in Downtown Disney and the Chorus sang like angels in the Candlelight Processional Performance in Epcot.  My favorite attraction was Soarin - it was fantastic, amazing, so cool!  And I loved the World Showcase in Epcot - sipping mint tea in Morocco and eating fish and chips in England - yum!

Streets of America
Another gasp-inducing moment was at the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios during the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  When we first arrived, the street was dark and boring, but then they turned on the lights and the entire crowd gasped, including me.  They covered every inch of every building with multiple colored lights and the lights flashed and danced to the music - amazing and worth the 20 hours on a charter bus!

One thing I would have happily skipped - the 16 hours at Magic Kingdom on New Year's Eve.  While the ring of fireworks were okay - they weren't worth standing shoulder to shoulder with 100,000 other people nor hanging around the park for THAT long. The lines for the attractions were 2 to 3 hours long and fast pass only gets you so far on their busiest day of the year. It was too hard to see anyway and once you witness the fireworks at Penn State University on July 4th any other display is just...meh.  Although the light show/fireworks at Epcot the night before was amazing.

Let's see what else... Oh yes, after that trip - I had a book signing at the Books A Million in Exton, PA and then off to Seton Hill University to teach, mentor and watch two of my students graduate!!  Proud mentor moment!  And then another book signing at the Books A Million in Harrisburg, PA.

Stock Internet photo
 
Also as a family, we've been doing Volleyball 24/7.  My son was on a club team this winter, with day-long tournaments on the weekends - one tournament was over the entire weekend, now he's done with the club team and playing varsity for the high school team throughout the spring.  Oh and my daughter is playing with a volleyball club team now, with 3X week practices, tournaments, etc...  I did get asked to fill in as coach for her team - Woo Hoo!  I've been bleacher coaching for YEARS! So fun to actually coach. And YES it's harder than it looks.  I also play volleyball Monday and Thursday nights so yeah....24/7 was not an exaggeration.

Okay - well that's Part 1 - I don't want to bore you :)  Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!