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snoopy_dance

Lots of things to celebrate today:

1.  It’s Read an E-book week!  Hip-hip-hooray!  Haven’t been bitten by the e-book bug yet?  Then why not go for a quick, easy, feel-good read  to get in the spirit, so to speak.  Come on, you know you want to and have I got just the book for you!

*Warning, blatant self-promotion ahead!*

Check out my novella, Unwilling Angel.  A short, fast read guaranteed to lift your spirits!  And if you want something with a little more, um, bite  to it, take a look at Snow Shadows, about a Cherokee shape-shifter who doesn’t bite–unless you want him to!  Available in e-book at your favorite online e-book supplier and mine; FictionWise.

2.  Baseball, baseball, and more baseball.

First, the World Baseball Classic.  Did you see that game last night between the US and Venezuela?  Wow!  My man, Youk, hit another homerun–that makes two!–and I’m betting he’ll hit more before it’s over.  Adam Dunn ain’t doing too bad either!  Better yet, now that the WBC has started, that means the regular season isn’t far behind.

Second, Manny Ramirez finally signed with the LA Dodgers so now we won’t have to see his name pop up everywhere.  No offense Manny, but even I got tired of seeing your face splashed all over the online sports news.  I mean, really, what are you trying to be?  The (insert whatever pop-celeb you’re sick of hearing about) of baseball?

Third,  Alex Rodriguez opted to have arthroscopic surgery on his hip instead of trying to play through the season with a torn labrum.  From all reports, he’ll be out for 6-9 weeks.  If I’d been in his shoes, I would’ve done the same thing but…with everything that’s happened in his life lately it seems like awful convenient timing.  Just saying…

3.  The sun is out, all the snow is gone, the temperature is in the high 70’s, the squirrels–both gray and white–are capering, and the birds are singing their little hearts out.  Spring has sprung here in the mountains of North Carolina and I’m loving it!

4.  Got an email from my publisher last night asking for a short bio for the PMS: Poison + Murder = Satisfaction anthology.  That means it should be released soon!  My short, The Secret Life of Alice Smitty, is one of the stories.  Double woo-hoo!

5.  Made it through another revision of Storm Shadows this weekend and I think it’s just about ready to be submitted.  For right now, Betty Sue seems to be satisfied with her character and her happy ending.  Whew!  Now, let’s just hope she stays that way!

So there you have it, five reasons I’m doing Snoopy dances.  Don’t you just love it when the angels give you multiple reasons for dancing?

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Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting this blog.  I’ve been busy writing and in my spare time, I’ve been researching ways for authors to promote their books, ’cause, you know, mine’s coming out in a little over two months.  I figure it’s about time I quit screwing around and get busy…doing something.  And if not doing, at least planning what I’m going to do.

So, I went on the Internet and wow!  Jackpot!  I found a slew of articles, several very informative sites, and quite a few blogs, all pertaining to the best ways to promote your book.  Too many to mention here, but I’ve bookmarked them all and hopefully, I’ll be able to figure out what to do before Snow Shadows is released.

And a big hat tip to Lisa Alber for finding my blog and leaving a comment, thereby enabling me to find her blog, Lisa’s Words at Play, where I found a wonderful, hilarious YouTube video that reminded me I’m not the only one struggling with promotions.  Here’s the link to Lisa’s post and oh yeah, the video came to Lisa’s attention by way of Patricia Wood’s blog.  Go ahead and check it out, I promise you’ll laugh out loud–especially if you’re an author–and you’ll also get a good lesson in what not to do when your book comes out. 

Okay, so when I wasn’t researching, I was writing and reading.  Got about five thousand words written on Storm Shadows–not as much as I’d hoped–but I also started the third book in the series.  No title for that one yet, but I think it might be the easiest one to write because I’ve already fallen hard for Luke, the brother who’s the main character in that one.  On top of all that, I found the legend I want to use for the fourth and final book–again, no title, but for me, finding the legend is a big step forward because it’s been giving me a bit of trouble.  As for reading, I read The Tall Woman by Wilma Dykeman, the story of a southern woman during the late 18th century.  My dad used to work with Ms. Dykeman at the Knoxville News-Sentinel and he loaned me his autographed copy.  Great book! 

Other than that, not much going on in my world, well, except, squee!  Manny Ramirez hit his 500th homerun, but 500 apparently wasn’t enough for him, because he went on to hit numbers 501 and 502 in the next two games and number 503 last night.  Yay, Manny!  Oh, and the Red Sox are back in first place in the AL East after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway.  Woo-hoo!  Way to go, guys!

Okay, back to my writing world…I happened to catch a post by Jane at Dear Author the other day; “Hello, I’m Jane.  I have a lot of reader baggage.”  Interesting and as most of the posts on DA are, entertaining.  Quite a few people commented, both readers and writers, and had some interesting points of their own to make.  But the one that really caught my attention was from Emily.  It included a link to Sharon Lee’s blog, Eagles Over the Kennebec, and a post where Ms. Lee writes about The Contract Between Reader and Writer.  A lot of food for thought in that one and I encourage every writer/reader to take a look at it.

The thing is…I’m both a writer and a reader, so I need to really study that thing.  I’m thinking of printing off a copy and hanging it on the wall of my office where I can read it every day.  Oh heck, who am I kidding, I need to memorize it, or maybe make a chart and stitch a sampler of it!

Then again, a better plan might be to pull out my Aretha Franklin CD and play it every morning, because essentially, Aretha got it right with only one word; RESPECT.

So, I as a writer, promise to do my best to remember you as a reader deserve my respect…and I hope you’ll extend the same courtesy to me.   

I’ve had, for the most part, a really great week.  All the reviews sites I queried about doing a review of my book asked for an ARC or PDF file and they’ve been sent–whew!–I’ve been working on the second book of my series–yay!–I’ve gotten most of my spring cleaning done–yuck!–I started a new short story, this one with a ghost as the main character–fun!–I finally went to the library and got a library card–’bout time!–and while I was there I talked to the head librarian about doing an “Afternoon with the Author” this fall after my book comes out–woo-hoo!

Like I said, a great week, except the Red Sox have been in a bit of a slump and they’ve slipped into second place behind Tampa Bay–yes, Tampa Bay!–in the AL East.  But the Yankees are tied for last place, which is never a bad thing.  But, my boys are back at home now, and they almost always play better at Fenway.

And Manny…ah, my man Manny seems to be having the time of his life.  In fact, as he puts it, “This is a game — you’ve got to go enjoy it and have fun.”

Truer words, and all that.

The thing is…if more people would live by those words, I think the world would be a better place for all of us.  Too many people spend their life filled with hate, bitter about the way the world is treating them and doing their best to cause other people pain.  I ran up against one of those people this week and I admit, I was really pissed at this person at first.  It took a full day of agony and frustration, not to mention a lot of house work, before I realized I needed to just forget about it and get on with my life.

Or as Manny says, enjoy it and have fun.  So, that’s what I’m going to do!

Thanks Manny!  

P.S.  Congrats on number 498!  And that double play last night–oh, baby, that was a thing of beauty!  I found myself wishing I was the fan in the stands you jumped up and high-fived.  Then again, it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t because I would’ve grabbed hold and never let go!  You know how it is with us rabid fangirls! 

 

Great game last night between the Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers.  Tim Wakefield pitched eight scoreless innings and the offense scored five runs for him.  I love to hear that.  Wish I could’ve seen it too, but you know how it is down here in North Carolina, about the only baseball you get to see on a regular basis is the Atlanta Braves’ games.  Although TBS and ESPN are doing a better job this year of broadcasting games from around the league, my husband isn’t a big fan of baseball and with my tendency to read instead of watch TV, it’s a rare thing these days for me to watch a baseball game.

But I wish I had seen the game last night because I always love to watch Wake pitch.  It amuses me to see him baffle the opposing team with a pitch that just floats over the plate at a slow speed.  For some reason they have a hard time figuring out how to hit it.  I haven’t hit a baseball in longer than I care to remember, but I watch Wake pitch and think, why can’t those guys hit that thing?  I guess it’s because the ball comes in at that diminished speed, they’re used to pitches that pass them by in the blink of an eye and the slowness of Wake’s knuckleball, coupled with the way they dance over the plate are just, IMO, beautiful.  Most of the time the batter’s stand there after Cash catches the ball and the look on their face says it all, like, “What the hell?”  I love that.

Something else happened in the game last night that I love, Ortiz and Manny hit back to back homeruns for the first time this season.  Big Papi’s was, as always, a thing of beauty, but Manny, well, Manny’s was priceless–at least for me, because well, you know how I feel about Manny.  Last night’s was number 497 and that swing of his looks so effortless and easy, like he’s doing what comes natural to him and loving every minute of it.  I keep hearing the ESPN announcers and reading articles written by other sports reporters on-line that say Manny has the sweetest right-hand swing in baseball.  Yep, they got that one right.  And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fangirl of his.  Really, watch it sometime and I think you’ll agree–smooth and easy, his bat just floats through the air, but it’s deadly…

Kind of like Wake’s pitching!

If you’d like to see the videos–I really hope I do this right!–click here and enjoy!  I sure did!

 

I don’t know what made me do it, but this morning as I was eating breakfast and entertaining myself surfing the Internet, I turned on the TV and guess what I found?  Baseball!  Yep, my boys were playing their season opener again the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo.  How come I didn’t know that?  I would’ve been up at the crack of dawn if I had known ESPN was going to broadcast the game. 

And believe me, I will be tomorrow morning!

So, I came into the game late, around the eighth inning, and the Red Sox were behind.  Bummer, but I started singing Tessie as I poured another cup of coffee and it wasn’t long before Tessie worked her magic again.  In the ninth, Brandon Moss–a last minute replacement for J. D. Drew–hit his first homerun in the majors and tied the game.

Believe me, that was better than ten cups of coffee to get me going!

Then, when the game went into extra innings, I got to see my favorite player, Manny Ramirez, do his thing.  And oh boy, was it a thing of beauty!  With Julio Lugo on second base, Oakland decided to walk David Ortiz and take their chances with Manny instead.  Wrong decision on their part, but I love it when that happens, especially when it plays out like it did today!  Manny hit a double–which came close to being a homerun–Big Papi and Lugo rounded third and headed for home and the Red Sox won their first game of the season.  Woo-hoo!  

The thing is…I really don’t get it when teams intentionally walk Ortiz and take their chances with Manny.  It always makes me shake my head.  Just doesn’t make sense to me, but then, like Oakland manager, Bob Geren, said, “they’re both great hitters and you have to pick one or the other.”  And I guess, in the case of Ortiz and Manny, it sometimes seems like the classic no-win scenario.  I’m just glad they play for my team.

So, baseball’s back and with it comes the Red Sox, Manny, and unlimited hope for another winning season.  God’s in His heaven, smiling down at all us baseball fans, and at least for the moment, all’s right in my world…

play ball!

Yes, I know, I’ve loved him since…forever, but after reading this article on the Red Sox site, Manny finds wisdom with touch of gray, by Maureen Mullen, I’m more in love with him than ever.

He is, to me, the epitome of a baseball player, one who plays the game and plays it well, who enjoys what he does, and one who keeps his head on straight.

Yes, that’s right, I said Manny has his head on straight.  I know there are many people who don’t agree with me, who say uncomplimentary things about his intelligence, but I’m here to tell you, it just ain’t so.  Manny has his moments, sure, but if you listen, really listen to what he’s saying, he makes a lot of sense.

For instance, on growing older:  “The older you get, the smarter you get.”

On the power of positive thinking:  “…if you think positive stuff, all the positive stuff is going to come to you. Making things happen for yourself. Hey, that’s what it’s all about. If you said to yourself, ‘Oh, I’m tired today, brother.’ Then you’re going to be tired all day. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about.” 

On reading (his new favorite pastime):  “That’s all I do is read, read, read, read, read.  I love it.”

Followed by:  “Hanging out with my uncle and taking him everywhere with me, he always tell me, ‘When you got time, when you’re killing time, when you don’t got nothing to do, go get a book and start reading.'”

About life after baseball:  “All this stuff here — baseball — is just like a fantasy that you have.  But you leave that when you leave the game. You start living your life after you retire, your real life.”

And later:  “My main goal when I retire is that I want to see my kids grow. I want to teach them about life. The game is good and everything, but … “

Now, if that’s not a man who has his head screwed on right, I don’t know who or what is.

The thing is…I’ve been a fan of Manny’s for a long time.  Don’t know why that is, other than the first time I saw him play for the Red Sox, something just turned over in my heart and I’ve loved him ever since.  Now that he’s getting older, with a little gray in his hair, that just adds to the appeal for me–hey, ask my husband if you don’t believe me.  I love a man with a little sprinkle of gray, like laugh lines, it adds character. 

I’ve always said Manny knew what the game of baseball was all about and people always laughed at me for that.  Well, now I’m saying Manny not only knows baseball, he also knows what the game of life is about.

Be still my heart!

If you’d like to read the entire article, click here:

http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080312&content_id=2421424&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos

And thanks to Ms. Mullen for this wonderful article about my favorite player! 

My second post of the day has to do with…baseball, of course!  Lots of things going on around Red Sox Nation and am I ever ecstatic to type that!  Woo-hoo!

Here’s the latest on my personal boys of summer:

Terry Francona and the Red Sox have agreed to a three-year contract extension, with a two-year option.  Super!  Go get ’em, Tito!

The Red Sox were at the White House last week to accept the President’s congratulations on winning the World Series.  My man Manny opted out of the appearance to stay home and meditate, which apparently has become his thing to do when he’s off.  A lot of people–mostly Yankee fans–were upset that Manny didn’t see fit to go, calling him, among other things, classless.  Hmmm…well, after catching George W.’s comments regarding Manny’s absence at the ceremony, I have to say our President behaved like a spoiled little boy denied his lollipop.  I mean, come on, how classy is it to joke about the death of a family member?  I don’t care if you are the President of the United States, you don’t make jokes like that.  Granted, some of my feelings about this one are colored because I’m a Manny fan girl, and I can’t claim to be anywhere near a fan of George Bush, but beyond that, I think what he said was tasteless and not the least bit funny.

Jonathan Papelbon is, according to the bloggers over at AOL Sports, unhappy with his salary.  Okay, I agree with him to a certain extent, he probably is underpaid, but come on, Paps, you make almost half a million dollars a year.  How many young men your age can say that?  The day will come when you’ll be paid and paid well for your skills.  In the meantime, I really don’t want to hear any whining and I don’t want to hear anymore about you rallying the other young guys around you to put the owners on notice they’re going to have to pay in the long run.  I dare say they’re well aware of that.  Oh, and Paps, one last thing, curb that arrogance, it makes you look a little too much like Roger Clemens–and you know how I feel about him!

Last but not least, a few words of wisdom (?) from Hank Steinbrenner to Red Sox Nation:  “We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”  I gotta tell you, I had a good laugh imagining all those Yankee fans groaning over Steinbrenner’s idiocy.  Jinx!  Jinx!

But that laugh was nothing compared to the one I had when I read that Red Sox owner John Henry made Steinbrenner an honorary member of Red Sox Nation, complete with membership card and all the other perks that come with it.  Still chuckling over that little bit of foolishness!  Thanks Mr. Henry, way to come back on that one!

Outside of Red Sox Nation, Bud Selig has seen fit not to suspend Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens for the 2008 season.  Not sure how I feel about that, I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether either one of them are offered a contract.  Me, I wouldn’t be willing to take the chance with my money, I wouldn’t want them in my clubhouse simply because of their egos.  IMO, people like that hurt a team far more than they ever help it.

Well okay, not so much here in the mountains where it’s another rainy cold day, but in Florida, with less than a week to go until the first game, baseball is definitely getting warmer because…Manny’s in the house!  For the first time since 2005, Manny arrived on time for Spring training, and from his statements to the press he’s ready to play and looking forward to this season.

Could it be his last as a Boston Red Sox?  I have a hard time believing that and hope it won’t happen.  But then, as everyone knows, I’m a Manny Fan Girl.  I just can’t imagine the Red Sox without him, can’t imagine watching a game where there isn’t the Big Papi/Manny threat hovering over the opposing pitcher’s head, can’t imagine a time when another player will take on the job of taming Fenway’s Green Monster.

The Red Sox without Manny?  Say it ain’t so–ever!

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  I caught an informative and interesting article about him in Men’s Vogue the other day.  Did you know he’s the first Navajo to play in the Major Leagues?  Just another reason for me to appreciate him.  I’m not an official FG of his yet, but the more I learn about him the more I like him and I can see myself becoming one, especially after reading the article.  Here it is if you’d like to read it:

http://www.mensvogue.com/health/feature/articles/2008/03/jacoby?currentPage=1

Like I said, very interesting.  Put longer hair on him and he could be the cover model for the book I have coming out later this year, Snow Shadows.  Yep, he could be my Cherokee shape-shifter, Matt, especially since he spent his time in the off-season beefing up.

Hmmm, I wonder if he’d be open to posing for a pic of a paranormal romance hero who, in my editor’s words is “SO HOT!”  (hee-hee, I’ve been giggling over that little tidbit for days!)

The thing is…I’m about 50 pages into the next book, Storm Shadows (working title), and now I’m starting to worry about making the hero of this one, Matt’s brother Marc, “HOT!”  Can I do it?  Well, the only thing to do is write the story.  And now that I have a picture in my head of Jacoby Ellsbury, I think that will help immensely because the brothers in each of the four books in this series look very much alike, about the only difference being the color of their eyes and the length of their hair.  Jacoby’s is still shorter than Marc’s, but not by much.

So thanks, Jacoby, for the inspiration!

Only a day and a half until the pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training–those that aren’t already there, of course, like the inspirational Jon Lester–and with each passing minute, I’m getting more excited.  Not just because baseball season is fast approaching, after all opening day is still more than a month and a half away, but to me, that day in cold, dreary February when the pitchers and catchers report, is the epitome of what spring is all about–new birth, endless possibilities, and a brighter, warmer outlook…er, weather forecast.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, but the way I see it, if I can’t have cold and snow, give me warmth and sunshine.  If I still lived in Maine–where I’m told they got another 8 inches of the white stuff this past weekend–I’d be willing to wait for spring because, hey, what else can you do up there?  And besides, the long wait makes it that much sweeter when it does finally arrive.

But down here in North Carolina, where we’ve had maybe an inch of snow total this winter, and we’ve been plagued with cloudy, gloomy weather for the last, oh, millenium, or so, I’m more than ready for spring. 

And spring to me, means baseball!

So, I’ve moved the official site of the Boston Red Sox up to the top of my favorites list and I’ve been checking out various sports blogs for a little entertainment.  It won’t be long, I’m sure, until the first thing I do in the morning is turn on Sports Center and suffer through the seemingly constant basketball coverage, just to get a minute or two of baseball news.

But right now, I’m watching the blogs and the Red Sox home page, both of which are starting to heat up like the weather in spring.  Here’s the latest news (in no particular order of importance):

1.  YOUK!  Kevin Youkilis just signed a one year, three million dollar contract and will be back at first base this year.  Quite possibly the best news I’ve heard in this long, long offseason, because IMO, he’s one of the most underrated–and underpaid!–players in baseball.

2.  Curt Schilling is already on the DL and likely will be out until at least the All-Star break with right shoulder problems.  I’m not sure how I feel about this…Curt’s an asset to our pitching staff, granted, but I think it might have been a good thing if he’d retired this year.  Sorry Curt!  You’ve been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw that commercial you made when you came to Boston–you know, the one where you’re hitchhiking?  Can’t remember if it was Dodge or Ford or even Chevrolet, but I remember when the truckdriver picks you up and asks where you’re going, you answered (paraphrased), “Boston.  I’ve got an eighty-six year curse to break.”  When I saw that commercial, I got a funny feeling that you just might do it–and I was right!  So, while I value you for everything you’ve brought to the Red Sox–including your um…outspoken bluntness, shall we say?–I still think your best bet for this year may have been retirement.  Too many injuries over too many years, and no matter how much I love baseball, it’s still not worth your health.

3.  Moonshot Manny!  From everything I’ve read, he seems more relaxed and happier than ever that he’s a part of this team and I think the team will only benefit from that.  I’m not happy that it’s his last year under contract with Boston because as you know, I’m a squee! fangirl! of his and can’t imagine the Red Sox without him.  But I’m glad he’s more content than he has been in the past and well, you know, the Red Sox still hold options for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.  *fingers and toes crossed as I pray to the baseball gods for the owners not to let you go*

In the words of Jon Lester:  “It’s going to be another fun year, and hopefully, we can go do it again.” 

Oh yeah!

And from Tessie by The Dropkick Murphys: 

“Boston, you know we love you madly,
hear the crowd roar to your sound!
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you,
You know we couldn’t live without you,
Red Sox, you are the only only only!”

  

I promised myself I wouldn’t write anything else about the Red Sox until we find out how the ALCS turns out, but I’m fed up with the way the sports media is vilifying one of my favorite players, Manny Ramirez, and I have five words for them: Just. Shut. Up. About. Manny!

I love Manny, even–or perhaps I should say, especially–when he’s just being Manny.  He’s cocky–yes, but he has reason, take a look at his stats, if you want proof.  He’s a smart-ass–yes, and my mom always told me “No one loves a smart-ass.”  Well, sorry Mom, but your daughter is currently crushing on one, and has been ever since said smart-ass became a member of the Boston Red Sox.  He doesn’t always say the right thing–yes, but who of us isn’t guilty of that?  He sometimes acts a little silly–yes, but again, who of us isn’t guilty of that? 

The thing is–are you listening ESPN and all you other sportscasters out there?–Manny is an individual, and as such, he’s multi-dimensional.  His life isn’t always about “Manny being Manny,” nor is it always about “Moonshot Manny” or “Mann Ram.”  It’s not even always about being a basesball player.  He’s a husband, a father, a son–I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Then again, maybe you don’t.  You haven’t exactly impressed me with your intelligence thus far, but back to the subject at hand, Manny…Manny is a baseball player who has a tendency to speak out about certain things or act a little goofy at times, but just because you see his remarks or behavior as innappropriate, that doesn’t mean they are.  What he said the other night about the possibility of losing the ALCS not being the end of the world was, if you take the time to think about it–you do know how to think, don’t you?–dead-on right.  It wouldn’t be the “end of the world,” and as he said, there is “always next year.”

Manny also said, “we just want to have fun and win.”  Hmm…Manny wants to have fun while he’s doing his job.  Don’t we all want that?  Of course we do, and in my opinion, that’s something we could all learn from Manny.  He’s a baseball player, yes, but more than that, he’s having a good time doing what he’s paid to do.  I don’t know about you, but I like that idea.  I personally think the world would be a much better place if more of us were like Manny.  I mean, sure, goals are important, and you should try your best to reach them…but don’t forget to have a little fun along the way.

That’s a lesson for the ages.  I like it much better than the lesson you’re trying so hard to shove down our throats; winning is everything, and individuality is cause for shame and mockery.  Well, winning isn’t everything and individuality should be celebrated, not ridiculed.

So, get off Manny’s back, quit taking his words out of context and trying to make him seem like the biggest idiot who ever walked the earth, much less played the game of baseball, and most of all, grow up!  All your fnger pointing and laughing only goes to show your incredible immaturity…and it’s just cost you one viewer.

(No sportscasters were harmed during the venting of this rant.)

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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