Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's All A Blur

I'm supposed to be blogging from National. Doing my part to make those who couldn't come feel like they're here. Only one problem. Well, no...several. First, there's no time. Second, my brain capacity is, er, slightly diminished. And third--it all goes by so fast, who can remember anything?

Which is why you take PICTURES.

Only I don't have the paraphernalia (sp?) to upload them. And, I'm tellin' ya, without the pix as prompts, it all gets pretty hazy.

So at this point, I'll just hit the highlights. Um...I can now say I've ridden Bart beneath the bay. And taken a city bus. Oh, and negotiated with a taxi driver who then proceeded to take us on a suspiciously indirect route to our destination, but it all worked out.

Okay, that previous paragraph had absolutely nothing to do with writing, did it? Sigh. I DID hit some workshops today. THe first one was SRO so I left and tried another which turned out to be unrelated to anything I'm interested in. For the second hour, I hit a Joan Johnston lecture on tips for writing a book the reader can't put down--that one was inspiring! Then, for the last workshop of the day, I supported my friend Jackie Jacobi who was doing a workshop on what we romance writers can learn from Joss Whedon's Firefly. I have to admit I'm totally clueless when it comes to Buffy, Firefly, Serenity and all that stuff, but I gather I need to investigate this phenomenon.

Ooops. I've gone out of order. I forgot to mention last night's Chick Lit Chapter party. Probably because what with all the free wine and munchies, talk about a blur! Anyway, suffice to say that Amanda and Kristen did an awesome job, and most people stayed for the entire party.

Well, in the interest of trying to make the continental breakfast tomorrow at 8 a.m., you're gonna have to forgive this lame post, but I need to snooze.

More coherent stuff later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day One

Cancellations, delays, and earthquakes...oh, my!

Seriously. There were moments yesterday when I NEVER thought I'd get here. After two flight cancellations, I was now scheduled to leave at one. So there I was, leaning into the front seat of my car to haul out my luggage...and I was all WTF??? Why is someone bouncing my car up and down? (Literally, I thought I'd look up to find some big ol' thug messing with me.) But when I looked around, I was completely alone. Not another human in sight. Yet my car was still jumping all over the place.

Aha. Earthquake.

By the time I hopped on the shuttle, I'd accessed CNN news on my cell phone (thanks, Marty--for teaching me how to do that!) so I knew the what's and where's. All a seasoned earthquake person needs to know is the magnitude and the epicenter, so I was good.

Arrived at the terminal to discover my flight (though not cancelled!) was delayed until 2:15, so I holed up at the bar and watched the nonstop coverage of that bottle of mayo that spilled in Chino Hills. Fascinating.

Anyway, bottom line, I made it. More stories to follow!

Monday, July 28, 2008

One For The Road

Hey, contract number eighteen came in today! Squuuueeee! Which, y'know, kinda made up for the rejection on something else that came in the mail with it.

Well, um. Not really.


Guess that's why I'm off to the RWA National conference tomorrow, huh? Maybe something'll click, and I'll discover what I'm doing right in the short stories that I'm doing wrong in the long.

Oh, that rhymed.

Maybe POETRY'S my niche.

Thanks, Gas Crunch

So much for precision-timed coordination!

United Airlines just canceled my flight for tomorrow. Which means I arrive at noon instead of 9:30. Which means I can't meet Brooke at Gate 68. Which means we can't share a cab. Which means I have to take the shuttle. Which means...argh. Hope this isn't foreshadowing!

In other conference-related news, my 85-year old dad gave me fashion tips today based on careful viewing of the "stock market ladies on TV." For those of you in need of advice, he recommends a jacket with one of those "things that go across" underneath.

Why do I have a sudden overwhelming urge to go shopping?

Proof That National Starts On Wednesday

My email volume dropped to snooze level over the weekend. Something tells me that instead of sitting in front of their computers, the romance writing community is busy with last-minute laundry, stuffing suitcases, and leaving frantic instructions with husbands on how to feed the children.

'Course that's not the case here at Randy Central. I haven't done laundry yet, haven't decided what clothes I'm taking, and can barely remember which airline to show up at tomorrow morning.

What? Me worry?

I'm pitchless, remember?

Yep, hands steady enough to serve hot coffee at 20,000 feet without spilling a drop (y'know...if I were so inclined.)

And the fact that I'm up an hour early this morning should in no way be construed as evidence that I'm indeed getting a tad jumpy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pitch-Free In Frisco

It's that time of year again! Come Tuesday morning, I'm bound for the City By The Bay--which means that all you marauding thieves and hooligans should remember the starving pit bull behind my front door...and the strategically-placed land mines. If all else fails, my Karma will hunt you down and exact its price 'cuz, y'now, that's the way Karma works.

Anyway, I can't wait! First of all, it's 100 degrees in Southern California today, so I'm looking forward to literally CHILLING in San Francisco. (Note to self: pack a sweater and, um, perhaps a Parka, not to mention long underwear and mittens.)

Secondly, I'm stoked about going commando in the pitch department. That's right, I didn't cave! I don't care if I'm not getting all the bang for my buck that I can. I'm gonna enjoy this conference, dammit. So is my heart...and my nervous system...and my blood pressure.

On the other hand, one of my trusty CP's and fellow-conference goers claims that to make up for this indulgence, we must schmooze schmooze schmooze. I hate to break it to her that the same genes responsible for in-person pitching are the ones necessary for schmoozing. Oh, well. She'll find out soon enough.

I suck at schmoozing too!

But I don't care. I'm gonna have fun...and maybe even learn a thing or two. (Second note to self: late nights and alcohol do not mix well with early morning workshops.)

Uh-oh. Blogger has a scheduled time out (was it a bad blogger??) in four minutes. Better post quick!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Can't Help It

...another one. (Okay, lesson learned. I didn't resize this for quick loading...does it look better? I think so.)


Was looking for something and came across one of my all-time favorite pictures of Puerto Vallarta at sunset. I had to scan it from (gasp) a regular old-fashioned print, so I suppose the quality's not so hot, but I still love it. FYI, I took it from a place called El Set...which you might reasonably assume refers to, er, sunsets, but noooooo..instead, the name was inspired by the year that Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, in the throes of their burgeoning love affair, shot "Night Of The Iguana" at nearby Mismaloya.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cha-Ching Seventeen!

I kinda like the sound of that, don't you? And by now y'all know what it means, right? Yep. Got a contract from True Romance for my seventeenth sale. My tentative title was "How a One-Eyed Collie Brought Love Into Our Lives" or something SERIOUSLY lame like that. As always, the title will morph into something entirely different by the time the magazine rolls out in late September (it's the October issue).

So squee and all that...more cash for the gambling fund.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dear Time-Warner...

Your service sucks.

And y’see, last week, I was ready to forgive and forget all your past transgressions. I even toyed with the notion of (gasp!) sending you more money each month in return for DVR.

Thank God, cooler heads prevailed.

‘Cuz you really pissed me off this weekend, what with the way you kept making the TV picture freeze, then turning the monitor off altogether. I mean, I was RIGHT in the middle of that story about the girl whose kidnapper chained her to the rafters in his underground bunker…then I was RIGHT in the middle of that reality show about the Canadian outfit that “stages” ritzy homes before they go on the market for sale.

I’m tellin’ ya, guys. The frustration. The bitterness. The why-do-I-pay-$100-a-month-for-this-crappy-service blues…

And while we’re at it, could you please have a word with your co-conspirator, HBO?? I mean, do you think they could bring themselves to air a show made in, say, this millennium? Trust me, I’ve seen The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and I didn’t manage to miss Galaxy Quest the first 100 times you ran it.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Paying Attention On The Job

The following is a true story. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent, however literary license has been taken to…y’know…make the action a tad more interesting.

Travel back with me to yesterday where I’m standing in Barry’s office, studying the confusion on his face.

Barry: The State Board says we underpaid the sales tax last quarter.

Randy: Hm. Imagine that.

Barry: I can’t figure out what I did.

Making my way over to his side, I peer over his shoulder at the return while he points at two figures.

Barry: See, those are the first and second pre-payments right there but the amounts don’t seem right.

Randy: Let’s look at the check register.

He digs out the notebook where he keeps a record of manually-written checks. The information is in the following format: Date, Check Number, Payee, Amount.

Randy (after some thought): Very clever. Instead of paying the AMOUNTS, you paid the CHECK NUMBERS. Nice rounding, though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

But Will It Work Again?

Y'all know that here at Randy Writes Romance, we're forever in search of tools that will speed up production, tighten up prose, and/or render writing less agonizing. So last night, I finally tried something I've seen mentioned over and over.

Yes, I set a timer.

I hauled up the ugliest kitchen timer you've ever seen--it's in the shape of a head of garlic--from downstairs and cranked it to fifteen minutes.

Then I began to write.

And I didn't stop until the garlic went ding.

Hm. So far, so good. I'd written nearly two pages. To reward myself, I played a game of Spider Solitaire, then set the timer again for another fifteen minutes.

And I didn't stop until the garlic went ding again.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Well! Do you believe I wrote 12-1/2 pages last night? I mean, we're talking NaNoWriMo output levels!

Ah, but now to test the durability of this method. Will the novelty wear off tonight? Maybe so. I'll report in tomorrow.

Meanwhile, to see Sexy Sascha diss reality shows starring alleged female celebs, click here!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Waiting Game

Watch this.

Based on my experience, it can take up to a year to get an answer from an agent. Hypothetically speaking, assume--praise God--I get a positive response. It could take yet another year to get a yay from an editor. After that, another year or two elapses before the masterpiece hits the shelves.

It's a wonder more books don't have that "stale" taste to them.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are Ya Kiddin' Me?

My morning blog tour took me here via Diana Peterfreund's entry from yesterday. If you scroll down on that first link, you'll come upon Cover Cafe's dubious winner for "Worst Cover of the Year." Well, folks...I submit you can add "Worst Title Of the Year" to the list of accolades this book's likely to garner. And in case you're too busy, too lazy, or too disinterested to click over, let me just spoil the surprise: the title is "Big Spankable Asses." It's an anthology of three novellas, and it's an honest-to-god book. Y'know. Like one you can hold in your hand. Pictured on the cover is a woman sporting a white teddy lifted to reveal the right butt cheek (is butt cheek one word, or two?), and a garter belt on her left thigh. Apparently, the theme that ties the three stories together is that each heroine is looking for a man who knows the meaning of BSA (hence, the title). Little House On The Prairie, this ain't.

I'm not here to bash authors. This could be a perfectly enjoyable book...but, um...well, like they say, any publicity is GOOD publicity, right? If so, I guess I just did my part to promote "Big Spankable Asses."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

News At Eleven

Was just shutting down my computer last night when I heard the ding of incoming email. Strange, I thought. Nobody emails me this late at night.

To my surprise, it wasn't a digest email. It wasn't even a penis enlargement ad.

It was...drum roll, please...a notice announcing that the Christmas anthology book for which I submitted and sold a story is finally here! And with a byline for yours truly (not to mention a nice cover quote from Paul Harvey). Neat-o, huh?

Not that I make a dime off sales, but hey--it's available for pre-order from all the usual on-line suspects in case your interested. And apparently the release date is September. Or maybe October. Depending on which site you believe. Will it be available in bookstores? Beats me!

But if you wanna find out why my dad always disappeared on Christmas Eve, buy the book.

Okay, I can't leave it that--I don't want my blogreaders thinking I had a deadbeat dad or anything...he disappeared because he was changing into his Santa suit!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'll See Your Big-Ass Flag and Raise It (ha, pun intended)

Cruise In A Nutshell

...not to be confused with "Norway In A Nutshell," which is actually a cool, cool, tour you can take from Bergen to Oslo (or the reverse) via train, motorcoach, boat, another train, then yet another train.

Anyhoo, so yeah. Went on a 3-day cruise for the 4th of July BY MYSELF (cue Celine). Must be the only time it's ever happened in the history of Carnival Cruise Lines because one after the other--clerks, bartenders, you-name-it--upon hearing my response that no, I was traveling alone, practically gave me a high five. "Good for you!" "Atta girl!" "No, really? That's great!"

I was, therefore, delighted to meet Stephanie, a 23-year old beauty of Puerto Rican/Asian mix. Her father (the Asian part), doesn't approve of her boyfriend (a German), so he's taken to sending her on vacations in the hope she'll fall for another man. Nice. Thanks, Dad.

I was LESS delighted to meet Paul--American citizen but of Indian decent, who looked a bit like a taller version of Danny DeVito and who apparently subscribes to the theory one should consume maximum amounts of alcohol to get the true cruise experience. Poor Stephanie. She handled him well (maybe that black belt in karate she holds helped out.)

So, alas...can't say this was a very eventful cruise. On Saturday morning, we docked in Ensenada (which, as you know, I've been to a million times). To stretch my legs, I got off the ship, walked into town, then turned around, and walked back. How exciting. Next, I purchased a margarita and sat back to do some people watching. You know it's bad when the antics of 2-year old twins capture your attention for thirty minutes.

On Sunday, our "day at sea," I was all primed for a solid day of sunbathing. Even took it easy on the cocktails and went to sleep relatively early the night before. Only one problem. No sun. In fact, it was downright chilly and since I'd brought nothing warmer than cap sleeves, I couldn't even sit on deck.

Which...y'know...translated into an AWFUL LOT OF TIME at the casino. Unfortunately, this being an older ship, "casino" is really putting it politely. Oh, there were a slew of slots and the usual table games but even I got bored with playing the same machines over and over and over.

On the bright side, I have to say that the Carnival Paradise is really nice. For these shorter itineraries, the cruise lines use ships they've put out to pasture and it's true that the 7-day ships are bigger, sleeker, have more balcony rooms, and so forth, but still...the Paradise's layout is convenient, it's well-kept up, and it's just the right size. Oh AND, even though it was sold out, it didn't feel too crowded.

As a bonus, they've got embarkation and debarkation down to a science. Took me less than a 1/2 hour to board, and this morning, I was off by 7:15. (Unheard of in the old days!!)

All in all...a satisfactory trip with no drama, no surprises. Sometimes, that's as much as you can ask for!

P.S. I took the picture with my cell phone. In case you can't tell, those are the glass elevators rising from the Atrium Lobby.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Fourth!

As the clock ticks down on the eve of a holiday weekend, I'm reminded that the 4th isn't just about taking off on a 3-day cruise (well, of course, that's part of it, but still)...and it's not just about getting together with friends or relatives to scarf down hot dogs and swig back plastic cups filled with's about the sacrifice made by our ancestors to give us freedom.

In this time of turmoil and uncertainty, let's all take a moment to remember...and to re-affirm our faith in the greatest country on earth.

Our flag...long may she wave.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Breaking news. Now you too can dress in the manner of a woman controlled by a paternalistic whacko. Yes, folks. Granny gowns in lovely pastels are just a click away.

One question: Where do I go for the 40's coif?

Y'know...cuz when I'm in style, I like to go whole hog.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Good Intentions

Was gonna eat healthy last night. I actually went so far as to haul out a box of instant brown rice, and I planned to steam some raw carrots in the microwave.

Only one problem.

I didn't have a pot with a matching lid.

Yes, I am QUITE the domestic goddess.