Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

My string of strange and weird things for the week continues…

I have an interesting fight with multiple pairs of pantyhose. I’ve thrown away five pairs this week.

My sinuses still aren’t recovered from the mysterious allergy/conference yuck. It’s been four weeks and I’m still wondering when someone will see me walk through the door and think “Attack of the Phlegm Creature” as opposed to “Oh, it’s Addie.” I should buy stock in Kleenex.

My flowerbeds are in serious need of help. The fishpond in my backyard is a nightmare. And I haven’t been able to get to it becuase of all the rain we’ve had this week.

I drove all the way to Dayton last night for my critique group meeting only to realize that I’d left my critiques and notes on my desk at work.

I got to work this morning thinking I’d write a check to our admin assistant for the lunch she’d covered for me the other day since I rarely carry cash. I was out of checks in my checkbook.

I promised someone that we’d grill steaks tonight on my new grill. Guess what didn’t make it out of the freezer to defrost during the day?

I’m ready for this week to be over. Anyone else out there feel the same way?

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Romantic Times 2010

I’ve been meaning to post my impression of the Romantic Times conference that I attended just a couple of weeks ago.

There were some very good things about the conference. There were some things that were concerns, but those concerns were, for the most part, not within the control of the people who planned and administered the conference itself; they were issues with the conference center.

The Good

The truth is that this conference was very well-run, and I met loads of people. Some of the people I spoke with are people I’ve met at other conferences. I did quite a bit of networking and went to some very interesting seminars. I did learn some new things, and have new ideas for the projects I’m working on. I’d go again, hands down.

If you write anything with romantic elements, or write romantic fiction, you should really check out the Romantic Times conference. It will be in LA next year, which sounds like a great time. I don’t know if I will attend, largely because of the amount of travel, travel expenses, and not knowing my own trial schedule that far in advance, but I’d love to go again if I could!

And let’s hear it for Mr. Romance, 2010….a very good-looking Midwestern boy named Jamie Ungaro, from Coshocton OHIO!! Gotta love those Midwestern country boys…I know I like them a lot myself!

The Bad

The air quality inside the conference center and the hotel was abysmal. Yes, the conference was held in Ohio. Yes, I live in Ohio, too. It is definitely Allergy Alley. There’s no question that there was a lot of sniffing and coughing going on as the conference started, but it got worse as the week went on. Despite the early snuffles, we got a heavy rainstorm partway through the week. Rain normally clears a lot of crap out of the air when pollen counts are high, but the allergy suffering kept getting worse. I had trouble sleeping at the hotel all week, and overheard many others complaining about the same problems.

I was amazed at how much better I felt the minute I got in my car to leave and turned on the air conditioner. That’s rather sad.

There’s a lot of joking that goes around at different conferences about the “conference yuck” or the “conference plague”; the unspecified upper respiratory infection that always cuts a large swath through attendees at a large conference of any kind. I didn’t really hear a lot of it this time; most of the people having problems were the ones with allergies. I’m still getting over it, and I’ve been back a week and a half.

Regrets

There were quite a few agents and editors there.

In my opinion, the general rule of thumb for pitching in person at a conference is this; if you can’t have the finished product out the door in 30 days, don’t pitch your project. You can sign up for pitch appointments and network, but if you do this, you should make sure that the person from the conference organizing the pitch appointments is aware of this, so that they can determine if the agents and editors are okay with this. You don’t end up annoying editors and agents who don’t want to hear from people who do not have finished or almost-finished product to market.  Also, it’s just good business networking to make sure that you’re not stepping on any toes. Remember that you can always network at the bar, or at the social events as opposed to at the pitch appointments. I sure did a lot of that.

Because I did not feel like I could have GRIMM out the door in 30 days (It’s slow going right now…I’m in research hell at the moment, and scenes are dragging until I get it done) I did not sign up to pitch. I really wish I’d had a project ready to go.  SHADES OF GRAY isn’t something I’m sending out right now, but I’ve had some ideas for rewrites, and so I’m making another editing pass through it right now. Of course, I have no way of predicting which one could be done in 30 days, so I did not pitch either. I wish I’d felt like I had something to pitch. It would have been a great opportunity to do so!

If you’re starting to plan your writing-related travel for next year, I would strongly recommend the Romantic Times convention. We had a ball, made great connections, got lots of ideas for more writing, and got great career advice. At this point, the link for next year’s conference is not yet up, but you can check out this year’s information here.

Happy Mom’s Day

Hope all you moms out there had a great day.

I had two mother’s day celebrations to attend today. At the second, we had planned to work on my grandmother’s flowerbeds for the afternoon. This has become a yearly tradition. She loves her flowerbeds, and we generally use Mother’s Day as the excuse to do all the spring edging and weeding and planting for her. My brother and sister and I all end up going together to get her a couple of flats of impatiens, and I end up spending the day planting them in a pattern in one of her flowerbeds while the others dig and weed and thin all the overgrowth from the year before.

This year, we weren’t able to get it all done because of the lack of cooperation from Mother Nature. It was actually pretty cold out there today, and it was difficult to work in the shade. We got some of the work done, and will have to go back as our schedules allow over the next week or two to get the rest done. I think Grandma’s actually happier about that; she got to spend the day with all of us, and we’ll all come back again to get it done, as opposed to one long marathon of work today.

I’ve got a long to-do list over the next couple of weeks, but I’m hoping that I can get plenty of time set aside not only to finish Grandma’s flowerbed, but my own as well.

Happy Mother’s Day!

On an unrelated note, please light a candle, say a prayer, and keep in your thoughts all those in Nashville who are struggling to deal with the flood waters and the damage that’s followed the water. I know I certainly can’t help but think about all of those moms and families who were not able to observe Mother’s Day because of the current turmoil in their lives.

Dayton Wine Trail Pics

Okay, so I promised some time ago to put these up, but I just hadn’t quite gotten there yet.  And since they’re doing this again on May 15, I hope this gives you some idea of how much fun we had, and a desire to go and check things out! www.daytonwinetrail.com

And this is not a comment on the taste or quality of any of the products here…the labels just cracked us up.

  The Squid’s Fist. Because when I think wine…I think squid. And not just any squid, but a squid that actually has a hand and fingers that can make a fist. Yeah, that says a good wine to go with seafood or chicken. Doesn’t it say that to you?

I have a hard time equating good wine with something that even Jules Verne couldn’t dream up.

This could be the best wine on the planet. I can’t stop trying to picture how a squid makes a fist.

Menage A Trois. Is this some way of saying that wine is supposed to dictate bedroom behavior?

I couldn’t take this seriously. Yeah, I know. We were cracking up like a couple of really immature grade school kids who laugh at fart jokes.

But seriously, are you really thinking about whether this is a good dessert wine, or what kind of taste it leaves on the palate? Nope. I’m wanting to know what the marketing campaign is going to be.

And the wine labels weren’t the only crazy thing. The beer labels had us going too.

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale. Nothing says tasty ale like an arrogant bastard. Or is this medication to treat Arrogant Bastard Syndrome? Or is it a way to create Arrogant Bastards? Probably the latter.

I’m sure we all know people we’d like to give this to, especially if it cures Arrogant Bastard tendencies.  And does the fact that it’s oaked make it extra strength or something?

Someone told me that this stuff is actually pretty good. I can’t get past the label. And how would you give a six pack of this to someone with a straight face? Much less serve a bottle of it to a guest in your house? Wouldn’t they think you were trying to make some kind of statement about their personality?

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. And, because nothing says beer like crusty, unwashed Russian holy men/crazy men/however you’d like to classify this nutball.

Seriously? Because I’d worry that this would turn me into a crazy Russian religious maniac who didn’t bathe, didn’t shave, and thought he was God’s gift to the world. And women.

Although, they did have to shoot him, stab him, strangle him, poison him, and drown him before he actually died. Even so, I would definitely give up the whole Holy Man of Steel concept for regular bathing. I just can’t handle the not-bathing thing.

Again, might be great beer. I just can’t figure out what the ad campaign would be. And that’s really what’s keeping me from trying it.

These are really the pick of the litter here. I’ll post more great alcohol labels as I find them. Enjoy!

The Pantyhose Conspiracy

I should have bought stock in pantyhose years ago, or at least bought as many pairs of the good kind as I could afford back when they were sturdier than they are now.

 In my job, I wear suits on an almost daily basis. There are many days that I cannot wear pantsuits. (Don’t ask; just know that I’m not allowed.) This means that I go through a lot of pantyhose. And yes, I do mean literally “go through” pantyhose: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten runs in them right when I don’t have the time to do anything about it, or when I’m in a hurry.

 I’ve tried using lingerie bags in the washing machine. I’ve tried washing them by hand. It really doesn’t matter; they always run. And they always run exactly two days before payday when you don’t have time to get to the store and are down to your last pair. And then you put on the emergency pair that you keep in the back of your desk drawer only to put your hand through the knee on a day that is already spiraling downhill in a hurry.

 I’m beginning to believe that Someone invented pantyhose, like high heels, just to get a good laugh at all of us crazy women who are trying to be “fashionable”. Or they’re getting a good laugh at all of us wrapping our legs in nylon sausage casing before we show them off. Have you ever watched a woman put on pantyhose? We look like absolute fools when we go through all of those gyrations.

 Can you tell I’m having issues today?