Friday, September 16, 2011


My friends are telling me they are wondering how I've managed not to have a nervous break down.  I'm just glad I'm not the only one wondering.  All I can say is that the ostrich approach seems to work right now and my friends are my life line.  I've also decided to take one day a week for me, to do whatever I want.  And guess what that will be tomorrow??? 


Yup, not dealing with pool removal (or flood).  I'm not dealing with the move.  Or thinking about work.  I'm going to write.  That's it...well, I might attack a few loads of laundry here and there.  Right now, I've got so much material, I need to get it down before I forget it all!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chaos is my best friend!

What has happened lately?  Alot!

1.  Came home from a business trip to a my shower running thanks to the maintence man who did not close the shower curtain. Result: ruined scale and had to wait until my hot water heater caught up so I could take a shower.

2.  Got a call from my boyfriends neighbor and ran over to his house to find 21 inches of water in his basement while he's out of town.  Result: A lot of ruined crap, tons of hours disposing of ruined crap, and the insurance company can't fit us in until the end of the month because this doesn't qualify as an emergency.

3.  Aired up a tire and got hit by a car...yes, a car tire litterally came in contact with my ass.  Result: luckily, the dumbass driving was only going about 1 mph and I just had a scrapped knee from being sprawled over the sidewalk.

Since bad things come in 3's, I figure I'm done...or at least I hope I'm done. 

So, preperations for the move begin, as well as writing since I very little if, any destractions will exist for the next year.  I still have the move and work, but that is all relative.  I've got two different stories begging to get out of my head a the moment. 

The first is the divorce story, which is proving to be just as funny as The Jerk List. 

The second is going to be about a woman who sends her man off to a war zone - yes, I know, I'm writing about my life again.  However, while I will be incorporating some of the things I'll be going through the next year, most of it will NOT be something I experience.  Instead, it will be about what a woman goes through at home.  It will be a fine line showing this since I write humor and I don't want to make a joke out of it.  But let's face it - women are funny!  There has to be a way to show our soldiers the respect they desearve and to show what a woman really goes through at home in a humorous light - and I've got time to find it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

There are times you love being called a bitch

Writing has kicked in, and no, I'm not working on my thief book.  Instead, the divorce book is talking to me.  Yes, I'm starting a romance off in divorce court.  Call me weird, but it is something I've always wanted to do. 

I took the first chapter to my writers retreat for open critique.  I warned them it was a rough draft, that I really just wanted a clue if the concept was going to work - and I got called a bitch - because not only did they love the idea, but I didn't make a single grammar mistake (I'm still beaming). 

Chapter four made it to the page today.  Not bad since I just started it two weeks ago.  I know there will be some editing, and I'm still searching for zany things my heroine can do to run off her soon to be ex-husband...but they will come to me.  They always do.  However, if you have anything you want to share, I'm open to ideas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Go, go, go...

As usual, life never slows down here.  I'd love to tell you all the crazy things I've done since conference, but they happen so much in my life, it's hard to keep track.  Some of you know that the military is sending my boyfriend overseas in less than 3 weeks which means our schedule is packed.  Not only is he trying to get everything ready, but his friends and family want to see him as much as possible.  Which means event after event.  I love it, love him, but it had been difficult to get my requested submission ready - ALTHOUGH I'm proud to say that I finally have the damn thing completely spell checked (thanks to a day of vacation).  So yes, off it goes today!  Less than two weeks after it was requested.  

After that, the boyfriend is my priority until he leaves and then I'm spending the next year glued to my computer so I can get some of these stories out of my head, which will both of us VERY happy.  Not only will that mean I'm going after my dream, which he fully supports, but it reduces the chances of other men hitting on me when he's not here, something I've assured him I am more than capable of handling.  I'm more than capable of running off men - after all, I've had years of practice.

The next project I'm working on is the thief book.  You'll see a little blurb about it on my website since I already know how it's going to go.  I just don't have a title for it yet.

And now what you've all been waiting for:  my latest fiasco - if you can call it that.  On the fourth of July, we went to a friends house in the country to watch fireworks.  Apparently their neighbors kid is a Class A fireworks guy and does shows all over the the world.  It all started when he blew up their basement before he hit puberty...anyway, we get their early and being in the country, the men want to do a little target practice.  Fine, no big deal.  I've grown up around guns and am use to this.  However, even though most of my family lives in the country, I am not used to finding snakes near the shooting area, especially with a huge frog in their mouth.  When the guys find it, they are excited.  They have a moving target.  Well, I'm excited too.  So excited that I leap on top of a chair and refuse to get down until the damn thing stops moving. 

Did you know a snake will still move for a while even after it's head is blown off with a shot gun?  I didn't.  Then the 2 minute walk to the house turned out being more like 10 because I'm staring at the ground before I take a single step looking for his buddies because of course I'm wearing flip flops.  If I would have known about the snakes, I would have had my cowboy boots!

Well, that's all for now.  I'll post more soon.  Until then, you'll have to find your own laughs.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back from the Big Apple

I just got back from the RWA conference and I'm happy to say that I've made a lot of new friends, have a request for a full from an agent, and am more siked than ever to write.  The problem?  I'm exhausted.  Yup, completely and utterly exhausted.  But that is nothing that a nap with my favorite pillow won't fix.  After that, all bets are off.

I'm also happy to say that I didn't do anything completely 'Jackie' style like usual.  So no klutzy, embarrassing moments; however, my mouth was in full Jackie mode.  Several women cracked up when was waiting in line at a book signing and I made the comment that I hoped no one tried to shove a box of books up my ass like they had at the last one.  So yes, no censorship, or filter, or anything.

So to the sum up the trip:

Monday:  Bobbie and I arrived.  Jade Lee was in our shuttle and we ended up having lunch with her after Bobbie told her get her skinny butt in the van.

Tuesday:  We did the site seeing thing.  Went to the Statue of Liberty and then had lunch in China Town.  It was a lot of fun.  After that, the literary signing was going on so I volunteered with that.  I got a picture with Kenyon and Love, two of my absolute favorite authors.  I also met Janet Chapman, another all time fav.

Wednesday:  The conference was in full swing and I went mainly to the PRO events after sleeping in a bit.  I met a lot of wonderful women who I talked to throughout the conference.  Even with everything that goes on at the conference, this is one of the most valuable things.  I learned a lot about houses, agents, editors, market trends, etc., from women who are dealing with the personally.  If you were ever debating about going - the networking and friends you meet are worth it alone.

Thursday:  Free books everywhere you looked (and everyone who knows me knows I love free - especially books) and programs.  I pitched to an agent and she asked for the full.  I was so excited, I ended up with a bottle of Beam after the Irish Pub.

Friday:  Again, more free books and programs.  I met a lot of people I hope I stay in contact with this time (I wasn't too good about that after DC).  I even put on a dress and heals for the RITA and GH awards.  The shoes didn't stay on long, but I did my best.

Saturday:  Came home to my honey, who met me at the airport with a kiss and a Dr. Pepper.  Who wouldn't love a man like that?

Now, I just have to get my book off to the agent and keep my fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A chotic thing I didn't do!

I'm having a horrible time on a job - contractors trying to take advantage of me.  Unfortunately, they aren't my contractors, so I can't fire their asses, but anyway, it's hot, I'm miserable and pissy, and all of a sudden I start smiling.  Why?  Because I'm remembering my boyfriend giving me another woman's underwear.

Yes everyone, I said that right.  Here is what happened:

My boyfriend is cleaning his house and as I pass my bag on the floor, I see this pair of black panties with pink hearts on the top.  Now, I would never buy underwear like this, so I pick them up (with one finger of course) and call my boyfriends name at the top of my lungs.  He comes in, and here is the conversation.

Me:  What are these?
Him: Your underwear (accompanied by a weird look)
Me: No, they aren't.
Him:  Yes they are
Me: No they aren't
He looks at me, looks at the underwear, and looks back at me and asks:  Are you sure?

As if I don't know what my own underwear looks like? 

When he realizes his mistake, the 'Oh Shit' look on his face was priceless.  Now, what I have left out of this story is that my boyfriend does his laundry at a laundry mat.  I don't know how many times I'd come home with someone elses cloths because I didn't look carefully enough in the washer or dryer.  Plus, I know he isn't cheating 100%.  So I wasn't pissed.  Still, remembering at look makes me smile. 

It's definitely going into a book someday.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pitching...and other stuff.

I pitched to an editor this weekend, only the second person I've shown/pitched The Jerk List to.  She had an interesting perspective.  In her opinion, it's straddling the line between romance and women's fiction, and isn't really either.  The way she said it immediately started the wheels in my head turning.  She was right.  More importantly, I know how to fix it!  Therefore, that is what I will be doing for the next month, which will mostly require reordering chapters and making them transition properly.  So, I still plan on pitching it at Nationals, but thanks to the pitch, I will now have a stronger story to pitch and hopefully (fingers crossed), I'll get a request.

Wish me luck!

I only wish my personal life was going as well.  I really feel like my life is about three things:  Work, Love, and Friends.  The problem is that all three can NEVER be going great at the same time.  For years, romance suffered, and now that I've got a great man, it seems that work is falling thanks to a single mistake that I did NOT make.  As it is, I will be struggling to have work to do for the rest of the year, which may result in leave without pay.  Plus side?  I'll be able to write more.  Negative side?  I'll be freaking out about paying rent.  I found this all out the day the tornado sirens started going off and we were told a tornado hit somewhere near my house.  Luckily, the tornado didn't hit my house, but as I'm sitting in the bottom level of the parking garage, wondering how I'm going to pay my bills for the next 6 months, and wondering if I have a home anymore, I suddenly remembered that I have renters insurance! 

My quirkiness kicked in and I started thinking...What are the advantages to having your house hit by a tornado?  I'm supposed to move at the end of the year and I could do this sooner since I wouldn't have to wait for my lease to finish.  It also wouldn't be as hard to move because I wouldn't have anything to move.  I could start over.  All new clothes, all new furniture...what woman wouldn't welcome a new wardrobe they didn't have to pay for?  My boyfriend looked at me like I was crazy.  Evidently, when when things look bad, my brain looks at the positive.  It must be a self-defense thing.

I've seen the devastation of tornado's all my life and they really aren't something to joke about.  If it had really happened, I would probably have been devastated.  But tornadoes are a part of life in the Midwest, so thinking of the positive is the best thing a person can do.  As long as you don't lose people, new memories can be made and stuff can be replaced.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vacation is over and I had a well desearved BLAST!

Well, I'm back home now after an amazing 8 days in Northern California.  There are a lot of things I could write about, but since I'm a romance writer and this blog is suppose to be about romance or writing, I'll focus on that...right after I say how amazing it was that I got to see my friend/critique partner Aimee again.  Even though we didn't get much time together, it was great seeing her and I have to ask, why is it that we always end up in a bar?  Especially since you don't drink?  I have never understood that!!!

Anyway, back to the romance.  For those of you that don't know me personally, I'm in my mid thirties and have been dating the same man for about 8 months, which is kind of a record lately since I tend to run them off. 

I'm sorry to say that this is the first time I've ever taken a vacation with a man for the express purpose of a vacation.  Let me tell you, it was interesting!  And I mean that as a good kind of interesting, not the bad kind.  To be honest, I really thought there was about a 30% chance of me coming back single.  However, everything worked out and there were no fights, tiffs, etc.  It was a great trip and I can't wait for the next one.  I did learn a few things I thought I'd share about vacationing with a man though, especially if it's camping:

1.  Men don't think about things us women have to do to feel feminine - like filing those nails that break or plucking the whiskers off our chins.  Even when you break down and explain it, they still don't get it.  So, you have to sneak away to find a mirror because they will not wait for you to pluck them in the parking garage.

2.  Don't bother trying to shave your legs in a shower that you have to feed quarters to get hot water.  No matter how diligent you are, you will forget to put a quarter in and scream when only cold water comes out. 

3.  Never point out the snake hiding in the leaves.  They want to make sure that you are not seeing things and are not scared of legless evil things.

4.  If you don't want to do that 5 mile hike - say so, especially if said man is in better shape than you.  I didn't have any problems with it, but I told him up front that it wouldn't be a race.  After all, I'm his girlfriend, not his adventure race partner. 

5.  Traveling with men is completely different than traveling with women.  I love my girlfriends, but after 5 days non-stop, we are usually ready to kill each other - especially if we have to share a bathroom.  Men are different.  Feed them, have lots of sex, be honest and you'll do just fine.

6.  Figure out what your man considers a "man thing" and let them do it.  Mine considered it the man's responsibility to start the fire.  Maybe it's left over from caveman days, who knows.  Just let them be the man - you'll be happier even if it requires lighter fluid.

7.  If you are not use to days of hiking, sex can be difficult, especially when your hips get sore.  Tell them the problem and they will find a way to fix it... ;D.

8.  Don't do everything for him.  If you're cooking, make him get the plates ready, tend the fire, something.  Make them feel involved.  It will be better for both of you.  Besides, we earned those equal rights.  Don't give them up!

9.  If you need a beer - get a beer.  Don't feel guilty if it's the last one.  Men know where to get more.

10.  And most important...Don't forget the smores.  Men like smores.  They like them so much that they will go out of their way to save a dieing fire and will destroy your can of Pam to do it (we hadn't gotten the lighter fluid yet).

Oh, and just FYI, here are a few things I learned about cooking over a campfire as well.

Cinnamon Apples are great.  All it takes is aluminum foil, sliced apples, cinnamon, and a fire.  And cooking eggs in citrus fruit is interesting.  It does not work in grapefruit, but it does in oranges.  It just takes 15-20 minutes and you'll get a lot of fly ash.

So take your man on a vacation.  Go camping.  Just remember to be yourself.  After all, there is a reason he's with you in the first place and don't worry, I have lots of new material for future books!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Diets suck

For those of you who don't know me, you won't know that last year was a whirlwind.  In February, my boyfriend completely disappeared, refusing to take my call with no explanation.  I threw myself into the gym to get my butt off the couch and dropped from a size 16 to an almost 8. Then in September, I met the man I'm dating now. 

The good part - I'm happier than I have been in years
The bad part - All those pounds I lost...They came back with friends.

So, I hit the gym again, this time to get rid of my 'happy pounds'.  A month of yogurt and spinach salads resulted in a loss of 6 lbs of fat and a gain of 5 lbs of muscle.  I have to ask myself, what was the point???

Everyone says I should be happy because muscle burns fat - but here is the deal, I do NOT want more muscle.  If I keep replacing my fat with muscle I'm going to look like the shortest Amazon in history.  I mean, how much muscle does a woman need?  I can leg press about 350 lbs with a bad knee.  Despite what everyone says, the only good thing about being this strong is that I don't have to pay others to carry my luggage!

What I want are sexy legs instead of tree trunks.  What I want is for a man to be able to pick me up and carry me to bed without pulling his back.  Maybe even a pair of knee high boots...Instead I get more muscle, which means constant hours at the gym to keep toned. 

More muscle means none of what I want above will come true.  I'd take love handles any day over more muscle.  At least love handles I can get rid of with a decent diet and some hours on the treadmill.  So I'm going to keep plugging away, concentrating on losing my happy pounds while avoiding more muscle at all costs.  If anyone has any pointers, please let me know.

On a happy note, vacation is only two days away.  I can't wait to run away where technology can't find me.  No cell phone.  No work.  Just fresh air...or according to the weather report, rain over most of my camping trip.  Still, escape will be worth it, mold and all. 

When I get back, it's time for me to start submitting "The Jerk List" and chain myself to the treadmill so I can fit into my red dress for RWA nationals.  Red is just so much more charismatic than black.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Website

I've decided to market all of my women's fiction under the pen name of Jackie Bannon and am getting everything in line to start marketing The Jerk List.  So....
Website reorganized - Check
Business cards ordered - Check and corrected
Last edits on The Jerk List - Not Checked
Query Agents - After step 3 is checked

Now all I have to do is lose another 17 lbs so I can fit into the red dress for nationals and go through The Jerk List one last time and  WHAM - I'm submitting again!

And guess what I did this week - I went to the bathroom at work and didn't realize my skirt was tucked into my underwear.  Went right out the door and down the hall to the break room before a secretary told me.  I wonder how many people saw me and didn't say anything?  Luckily it was only for about 20 seconds, but STILL!!!  Why does this kind of stuff always happen to me?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm hitting the reset button

There are reset buttons on almost everything.  So I figured why not hit the reset button on my career - my writing career that is.  Even though I've been writing for years, I'm still a newbie and frankly, with this ever changing market, I've been in hover mode, trying to figure out what to do.  I spent this weekend in a camper near a lodge a bunch of writer friends rented to escape our realities and as usual, I had a blast, but I'm still in a quandary on what to do with my career.

Then a sledge hammer hit me over the head (not literally) and I got it.  I actually GOT IT! 

Like most women, I listen to people, I gather opinions and do research.  This can be helpful, but it can also cause doubt - the kind of doubt that holds you back.  It can stop you from chasing your dreams or put a hold button on life.  My mother always said the only holding me back was myself, and I have to tell you, I HATE it when she is right!

The sledge hammer helped me knock some of that doubt away.  You see, 9 out of 10 times when I follow my gut, things work out for the best.  I may not get what I wanted, but I am happy.  The 1 out of 10 times, I usually fall flat on my face, but at least I learn something. 

It's time for me to follow my gut.  It's time for me to acknowledge the self-doubt and deal with it.  It's time for me to say 'Fuck it all' and chase my dreams.

So no more holding back professionally.  No more wondering 'Am I really doing the right thing'.  I'm going to follow my own advise and go for it. 

What does this mean?  This means the crazy, lovable, you can't believe I said that Jackie is back.  And everyone better watch out because I'm smiling!