Monday, December 31, 2007

New year, new goals, new possibilities

Like everyone else in the world, I'm reflecting on the past year, what I did write, what I did absolutely wrong, what I will do differently. It was a tough year for me in a lot of ways. I made some major changes in my life. I'm one of those people who hate conflict and will generally take the path of least resistance when given a choice. I used to be the girl that would stay with her boyfriend until he dumped her because I was more afraid of what life "without" would be than I was of how miserable life "with" was.

This year I had to face conflict head on and rethink who I am and what I want. From that came some difficult decisions and some positive moves forward in the evolution of Erin. My goals for next year are much different than they were last year and I feel like there is more balance and reality in them.

Hope your reflections and aspirations are in balance as well.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The final hours...

Wow--I just can't believe the year has come to an end. It has been a roller coaster ride for me and a year of soul searching and discovery. I've learned that I have a lot more grit than I ever thought I did and that I can bend...and bend...and bend without snapping. I've learned that I've been burning the candle at both ends for too long and that I need a break. I desperately need a break. Lucky for me one is coming. I'll be on sabbatical beginning in late February for 8 weeks. I've learned that sooner or later, you just gotta take that nap. :-)

Next month is the sdsu writers conference. It's always an exciting time for me and I'm looking forward to it this year more than I have in a long time.

One of my new year's resolutions it to be more regular with my blog. I hope to have more time for all of the little things in 2008.

Hope the holidays were grand and the new year even grander. :-)


Tuesday, December 04, 2007


So I spent the ENTIRE weekend stressing over a rewrite I wanted to do before I ship my manuscript off to another agent who has asked for it. I wanted to get out asap, but I also want it to be so amazing that there's no choice in the matter but to love it.

So what do I do? I start ripping the damned thing apart, burned up 30 hours rewriting something only to decide it was better the first way. Now I have to put it back together again. Yes, I am an idiot sometimes. sigh.

Well actually, I did discover one thing that I needed to be fixed and I so it is better for the effort.
Anyway, kids are saying, MOM, c'mon!

Gotta run.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

endings and beginnings

As I think I've mentioned before, I've been in a really good place mentally of late. It's not that anything great has been happening for me, but I think I've finally stepped beyond what ever negative funk has been hanging over me for the past year. I feel like good things are in store and I feel positive that I'm ready for them. :-)

Last night Deidre Knight spoke to our local chapter and she was just amazing. I felt like she was talking to me personally instead of a room full of people. Everything she had to say, all of the questions she answered, were all exactly what I wanted to hear. She comes across not only as a smart business woman but a very sensitive person. I was so impressed.

I'm counting the days until my sabbatical when I can have the time to write full time. I've never done that before and I'm excited to embrace the opportunity.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Post holiday blahs...

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I love having company to the house. What I hate is the day after when I feel like I've been through a battle. I was exhausted the entire day and didn't do anything but lay around. Not that it's such a bad thing. I'm usually so busy that I meet myself coming and going, so laying around is a nice change of pace. Still, I actually had some time alone yesterday--which is rare--and instead of using it to some productive purpose, I sat like a lump in front of the TV and watched a 90s movie that I'd already seen three times and didn't like in the first place. Go figure.

On another note, I've been stewing over the book I just finished. I've had that "something still isn't' right" feeling about the story and I finally had my aha moment. I knew it was coming--just didn't know how long I'd have to wait for it. That said, I now have to work up some enthusiasm to get in there and get to work.

BTW, just finished CC Harrison's new book "Running From Strangers." I had the honor of blurbing for it. It's a great story and I'll keep you posted when it's out. work.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wow, busy month...

It's been a little crazy and only 7 days have passed! I went to Utah to see my friend Lynn for the weekend. She has an incredible place in Park City and visiting is like going to a resort. We spent about 8 hours of the weekend in the hot tub brainstorming our books, 8 hours drinking way more than anyone should, and 8 hours sitting in front of a toasty fire...still brainstorming our books. It was an intense weekend but when it was all said and done, we both have a lot of the plotting nailed down. It's a good feeling.

I got back form Utah and had to turn around and leave the next day for San Francisco for a work meeting. It was a quick trip, but very interesting. Of course being in San Francisco alone wasn't that much fun. I'm not one of those people who can just take myself down to the bar or a restaurant and not feel awkward. Thank God for room service.

Hey, if anyone lives in Southeast Arizona and is available on Saturday afternoon, please come visit the library:

Maricopa County Library District
Southeast Regional Library
775 North Greenfield Road
Gilbert, AZ 85234
602. 652.3000

On Saturday, November 10, 2007, the Southeast Regional Library’ will be hosting a Romance Panel event. The event is scheduled from 1-4pm on Saturday, November 10th in the Assembly Room.

They will be serving refreshments during the breaks in-between the panel discussions. Their Friends group will have a volunteer at the event to run a cash till for selling books.

Here are the directions to the library:

Take the 60 East and exit on Greenfield Road. Make a right onto Greenfield Road (heading south) and drive until you get to Guadalupe Road. Make a left onto Guadalupe (east). Turn right into the library parking lot. The library is on the southeast corner of Greenfield and Guadalupe, set back a little from the road.

The Assembly Room is located in the lobby of the library. When you come in through the main doors of the building, turn to your left and head all the way down the hallway to the large room at the end.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I love to research...and I hate to research. It's incredibly fascinating and the feeling I get when I unearth some new fact that hasn't been written into a thousand other novels is amazing. I love having my facts straight--of knowing that if some expert somewhere down the road picks up my book and reads it, s/he will know at the end that I did my homework. I may not know everything about my subject matter, but what makes it into my books I have researched.

So where does the hate come in? When you write on a tight schedule--as I do--every hour is precious and when Sunday morning is suddenly gone because I got to a sentence where I didn't know whether to say tunic, kirtle or cotehardie and it's frustrating. In the end, I'll probably know more about all of them then I'll ever need to know, but that's the nature of the game I suppose.

My kids are pestering me to get off the computer and take them to Target. Ah the woes of a working mother.

What am I reading? The Last Kingdom, Bernard Cromwell, Pre-Christian Ireland from First Settlers to Early Celts, Peter Harbison and The Witchcraft Sourcebook, Brian P. Levak. In the CD player, The Book of Fate, Brian Meltzer. Still thinking about The Kite Runner.

How do I keep them all straight? Dunno.

Okay, off to do the Mommy Thing. :-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

How cool is that?

I got a package in the mail yesterday when I was home sick, feeling like crapola. Guess what it was? The Korean version of Echoes! Check it out:

I'm thinking, very cool.

So the week has been busy. Got my A list of queries out to new agents and had several bites. Yay! I'd forgotten how much "fun" it is to go through this. Ah well, for every career step forward there is fear and pain, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?

Okay, very trite but I'm only on coffee cup @2.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The disappearing blog

Well, I just discovered that my last two posts never actually posted--make that three. That makes me a little nuts. I'm sure I said something incredibly witty in both, but couldn't tell you what it was now. Sheesh.

Ah well, I know I probably yammered about being busy. (yada yada yada) Aren't we all busy? I'm thinking, yes.

I thought things would slow down once I got Beneath the Ruins out to my pre-readers, but guess what? No such luck. I'm just as busy now as I was then. I'm looking for a new agent, which is hard work, but exciting at the same time.

Also setting up my new identity--Roxanne Alcaraz (that's Alcatraz without the "t"). Roxanne is actually my middle name and Alcaraz my married name. (Erin Grady is my maiden name). But what's in a name, right?

Anyway, had a wonderful note from a reader (and future published author) Debra Maher. She launched her new website and as an author she's likes, has added my site to her links. Thank you Debra. You made my day. Check out her site: It's very nice.

Anyway, hopefully this post willl actually post.

Back to work with me...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It hurts to be beautiful

Did anyone else ever hear their mom say this one? Mine would throw it out when she was brushing my hair (translate--releasing her frustrations by ripping my hair out at the roots with a comb that was never meant for hair under the age of 10).

I've been thinking having my manuscript critiqued is a lot like the hair experience. My CP is wonderful--she always manages to get to the core of what is right--and what is wrong. I just got back a stack of bleeding pages and I'm thinking, I don't care if I'm beautiful. I'm just tired of the pain. But in truth, I do care and it's totally worth the pain.

I'm one of those writers that gets too close to my story and I often can't see the pages for the paragraphs...or is that the paragraphs for the words? I'm always a little stunned when my CP points out something that should have been obvious...but wasn't until she put up the flashing red light for me.

Anyway, just thought I'd share my pain. :-)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A month...gone in a snap

Well at least I can say I've been busy. I've gotten my final edits (except for last 50 pages) back from my CP and am almost through them. Yay! And the next book is forming up in my head so fast that I have to open a screen and speed-type to get it out. Can't wait to put this book to bed and start my affair with the next one. :-0

BTW, did you get a notice from about my new release--well if you did, don't. The book is In the Chill of the Night and it's an anthology that I was invited to do with 3 other terrific authors. Unfortunately, the publisher went belly up before the book could be released. Now all the rights are tied up in bankruptcy court so it will be awhile before the dust settles on that. I'll keep you posted.

Now that the first of my trilogy is finished, I'll be posting more regularly. The psychics say I'm moving into an exciting and positive trend of the future. Let's hope they're right. :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The process

My friend asked me how I go about writing/finishing a book (after the first draft is complete). I think the question was, do you do it all at once or a go through it a stage at a time and concentrate on dialog, and then prose, and then characters, etc. My first answer was no, I just go through it and do it all.

But now that I'm going through it and doing it all, I've changed my answer. The first draft is a dump of my ideas, arranged in the order I think they should happen--written toward a goal I hope to achieve. (ie, happily ever after, good triumphing evil, only the good die young)

The second draft (for me) is more "connect the dots" than anything. During the download of ideas I often (translate ALWAYS) stumble on other ideas that I'd never dreamed of in my original plan. Most of the time, I have to really adjust the beginning to match the end and foreshadow some of those ideas earlier in the story so it flows from one scene (dot) to the next.

The third draft I do in hard copy because it reads different. It always has, it always will. End of story. Something about the relationship between black words on white paper transforms the story. In this draft I'm looking for holes, weak areas and things that don't add up. I'm also flipping back and forth between scenes adding one sentence clues or thoughts to scenes either before or after. These are those little details that take it from ordinary to Ooh. I'm also looking at my prose, my settings and my characters and especially the continuity of my story. Is it Monday on one page and Saturday on the next? Raining and then sunny? Morning and then night?

By the end of the fourth draft, I'm ready to send it out to readers. I pick two or three, and ask them to read it for enjoyment--not for mistakes or typos. I don't want them to be editors because I've already done that work. I wanted them to be readers. I ask them to give feedback on a select number of things that are above and beyond the "is it good?" question.

I want to know if they were confused at any part of the story? Did they find themselves skimming anywhere? At any time while they were reading did they catch themselves "checking out" to think about what they needed at the grocery? Did anything make them mad? (we've all read books we want to launch across the room because the characters or premise is so inane.) Does it pass the "would she really" test? (You know this one, heroine in the dark house all alone because everyone else has disappeared or been found dead. She hears a sound. It's coming from the basement. She thinks, I should take this butter knife and go investigate.... And in the audience we are shouting, YOU IDIOT. Come on...would she really?)

The last, and one of the most important questions I ask is, did you want another outcome? Did you think I was leading you to one ending only to find yourself at another? This one always brings a jackpot. If the answer is no, the ending was satisfying and I loved how it wrapped up--ah, it's a wonderful thing. But if the answer is yes, I wanted it to end like... Well, sometimes you discover that you've laid the groundwork for something even better than you'd imagined. It's also a wonderful thing.

This is how I do it, anyway. It's a lot of drafts, but when I'm striving for the best book I can write, that's what I need to do. :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I've been blogging over at Romantic Inks this week and it's been so much fun. They are so nice over there and I always feel as if I come away with way more than I put in.

One of my big "take-aways" was reconnecting to the blog. I was very diligent for awhile about posting but then the summer was so busy and I was so absorbed in my book that I slacked off. Now I'm realizing what a mistake that was. Writing these blogs helps me stay focused.

This morning I'm working on the first hard copy read of my new book. I have to get it out to my readers and I'm anxious to get through it. At the same time, I know my tendency is to rush the process and I don't want to do that. I want this book to be as perfect as my vision for it is.

Putting some of my thoughts out in the blogs I did this week helped me hone in on some of the issues I have with the book. I cut out a big chunk that was weighing it down and now I have to find a fast-paced bridge to put in its place. Rewriting is my favorite part of the process, so I'm up to the challenge.

I only have a couple more hours before my family begins to wake and my solitude is shattered, so I'm off to get at it. Hope you all are having a great day. :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This week...

I'm a guest blogger on Romantic Inks stop by and chat with me there. It's such a nice group of people and they ask great questions.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Romantic weekends and other stories from the zone...

My husband took me away for a romantic weekend. We've been married 19 years and just celebrated our anniversary on the 6th. Actually, celebrate is a strong word, since we both had to work late and then run kids around for their various commitments. We did manage to say Happy Anniversary in passing and we knew we'd have time to slow down when the weekend rolled around.

We had a wonderful time and it made me realize just why I've stayed with my husband for so many years. He's a good man and I love him very much. We still find things to laugh about. I think humor has been our most important success factor. It's never a bad thing to laugh with the one you love.

Hope you find the time to smile today. :-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Gothic...

My good friend Lynn and I were talking about the gothic novel yesterday and what we love about them. If you've read my books, you know that I love that gothic feel. I love the dark, turbulent storms, the shadowed corners in the rooms, the gardens that flourish with violent blood red flowers. What I am for when I'm writing is to hit that chill down the spine level of suspense, while making you fall in love. Yes, I am twisted. :-)

I actually didn't know what gothic was until my books were reviewed and they called me a fresh gothic voice. In fact, I wasn't entirely certain I hadn't been insulted. I associated gothic with the 70s and 80s and not in a good way. But then a reader sent me a definition of the gothic and the light went on in my head. Yep, that's me. I love every element of it:

The Gothic novel flourished through the early nineteenth century. Authors of such novels set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels, and made plentiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences; their principal aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery, cruelty, and a variety of horrors. The term "gothic" has also been extended to denote a type of fiction which lacks the medieval setting but develops a brooding atmosphere of gloom or terror, represents events which are uncanny, or macabre, or melodramatically violent, and often deals with aberrant psychological states.

(adapted from A Glossary of Literary Terms)

What's not to love about that? Anyway, my new book is probably my most gothic. I am having such a great time writing it. Actually, it's finished now. I'm sending it out to my readers--with, I might add, the same anxiety I had when I sent my first book out to readers--and I hope to be submitting it for publication within the month.

Wish me luck. :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where's Erin?

I haven't been blogging lately because I've been too dang busy with the WIP. I'm on revisions now and they are going great--but heaven help me there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I'll be back at it soon though and I'll be more faithful to the posts. BTW--I'm looking for 1988 trivia for my book. What do you remember about that year?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Long time, no blog

(pictured left to right, fellow authors Kallie Owens, Calista Fox (aka Ava McKnight), Erin Grady, Rick Watkins (aka Terry Watkins) and Mary Leo at Thrillerfest in NYC.

I haven't posted in too long, but it's not because I haven't had alot to say, it's just that there hasn't been the time.

Last week I was at Thrillerfest--great time, although the conference wasn't what I'd hoped for. Being in NYC, I'd hoped to network with publishing professionals as well as with other writers. Unfortunately, the set up wasn't conducive to networking. Published authors were identified on their badges, but agents and editors were not. Perhaps they wished to remain disguised, but in the past when I've spoken to them at conferences they usually say the opposite--they are there to meet people and network too.

Anyway, I'm in the heated revisions of my book so I have been very focused and hording every free moment. Translate: no blogging, no talking on the phone, no updating website, minimal email--you get the picture. Speaking of's one from NYC. We're in a bar that made the most incredible raspberry and pomegranate martinis. I think I was drunk every night and hung over ever morning. But it was a grand time. :-)

Friday, July 06, 2007

progress, progress, progress

So have I mentioned I work at Intel for my day job? I do and although I harbor the dreams that most writers do of working in my jammies and eating bon bons while my books compete with each other for the #1 slot on the NYT bestseller list, the reality of it is, I'll probably be working there for many moons to come. It's not a bad place, I like my job and it's a great company.

Why I bring it up now is because I've been thinking of how Intel has changed me. Intel is one of those data driven establishments. You want to make a point, show me the data to support it or get the hell out of the conference room. So I decided to apply that thinking to my writing. I took my creative process and put it on a spreadsheet. That's right. I began to track my productivity. How many pages in how many hours? What projections can I make from the average of a month's worth of writing? How can I match my goals to my output for success?

And guess what? It's working. I've had myself on a timeline for two months now and I am (drum roll please) one scene shy of THE END. Actually, I hit the end this morning and then realized it was a screeching stop that needed a bit more build and alot more wind down so I'm doing that. But wow, I wrote it in record time and I'm here to tell you, IMHO, it's my best work yet. Time will tell if anyone else thinks so, but I'm very pleased with it.

Anyway, it's late and I have an early morning appt with my laptop, WIP and my spreadsheet.

Wednesday I'm off to NYC for Thrillerfest and 4 days of solitude for rewrites. Sick woman that I am, I can't wait.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday, up at at'm

Characters. For me a character is built by his or her actions. I don't do drawn out character sketches, I don't draw up story boards on their lives. I start with a sense of who they are and then I start moving them around in my story. Maybe it's not the most efficient way, but it works for me. I have tried the other methods and I end up burning thousands of calories on the outlining only to discard it later when I begin writing.

I just stumbled over an article in RWR (from a back issue) titled "Are you writing your novel backwards." It was really good information and it made me think. My past two novels have definitely been written backwards and the problem with it isn't the end product--it's the fact that at the end, I have no idea how I wrote the book. That means I'm also baffled when it comes to duplicating the process and writing another. I took a hard look at this when I started my new book and decided to try another method.

I'll never be the kind of writer who has detailed outlines and knows every aspect down to how their characters like their beef cooked. But I have taken that instinctive process that got me through my first 3 books and identified steps that I can duplicate. I use a loose version of the Hero's journey and it gets me from point A to point Z and tells me which points I need to hit in between. I still don't know the exact details that will occur at every point--but I don't want to know those details until I get there. That's where the magic comes in and that's where my love of craft is firmly rooted. Writing a book has to be as exciting and unpredictable as reading a book is. Without the surprises, where is the joy?

So yes, I've changed my ways and use a structure and roadmap now. There are landmarks in my plan that will keep me moving in the right direction. I have a process I will use for each book I write. So is it still backwards? Maybe, but I don't care. It works and in the end, that's all a writer can really hope for.

By the way, I have a Myspace now. Of course I still don't know how to use it, but I have one. :-) Come visit me and be my friend: ttp://

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Long time, no blog

I haven't been ignoring my blog, I've just been very, very busy. First there was the weekend in Colorado. It was a celebration honoring my mother, who just turned 70, my sister who will be 50 this year and my eldest niece who will be 30. But it was also a celebration of all the women in my family. We are female heavy (not to be mistaken with heavy females) and so there are many of us. All but 3 (my brother's wife and two oldest girls) were able to make it. We called ourselves the Generation Sensation and had a wonderful time.
Then, my girls and I came home for two days and we left for Mexico. We went to Rocky Point which is one of my favorite places and lounged on the beach for 4 days. It was paradise. I read like crazy and didn't even bring my computer.
But now I'm back at work. I can't wait to finish my book. No, I can't wait to introduce my readers to Sean Ballagh, my new hero. I am really loving this guy..
NYC is around the corner for Thrillerfest. Exciting, exciting.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cool stuff

Yesterday was a cool day. I heard from fellow author Kathryne Kennedy who just received the cover on her knew book ENCHANTING THE LADY. I was lucky enough to be an advanced reader of it and I loved it. She's done something unique and wonderful with her story so be sure to look for it in January 08 when it's released. And guess what? My quote made her cover. I think it's quite an honor.

Then, I heard from the conference coordinator of Thrillerfest where I plan to be in July. It's in NY this year and the line up of authors is enough to humble even the big names. I expected to quietly attend and lurk in the corner--possibly spill something on my blouse during the welcome reception--that's kind of my MO. But wait, I've been asked to be on a panel. Wow. On the panel are: Deborah LeBlanc, Laura Benedict, Dianne Emley, yours truly, Erin Grady AND Rebecca York, who in addition to being a terrific bestselling author, also blurbed for the cover WHISPERS. I've never met her in person so I've very excited about it. The panel is called: The Devil's Alternative, Protagonists who hover at the edges of humanity. If you're going to Thrillerfest, it will be Friday, 3:00-3:50 pm. Please stop by and say hi. :-)

And to make it all that much better, I'm literally channeling the new book. I've said it before but have to say it again--I think this will be my best to date.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fun and news

Award of Excellence

Best Books 2006

Book Buyers Best

Well the week has been a fun one. My daughter turned 16 on Thursday and we had a great day with her. We bought a car for her -- actually, as much for us as for her because we didn't want to share our own cars. It's not a new car but it runs and is in decent shape and she was thrilled to get it.

Monday (not telling this in chronological order, obviously) I picked up a message on my voice mail letting me know Whispers was a Book Buyers Best finalist in the paranormal category. Whispers was also a finalist for the Award of Excellence and the USA Booknews Best Books. It's always so exciting and rewarding to have my books recognized like this.

Speaking of books--wow, it's amazing what focus will do for a girl's writing. I've really cranked up the discipline factor and have been writing on a very rigorous schedule. I want to have my first draft of my new book completed by July 1 and I am tracking on schedule. Amazing what a spreadsheet and unlimited supply of coffee can do--even for someone like me. :-)

Hey, thanks to everyone who played tag with me last week. That was so much fun and I learned quite a bit about people who I thought I knew. Check out the Tag, your it post if you missed it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I've been tagged

Well, I didn't even know I could be tagged, but Cheyenne McCray just tagged me so I guess it's possible. :-) So what does it mean? Apparently I'm supposed to tell 8 things that no one knows about me. hmmm.... 8 things? and then I'm supposed to tag 8 people.

Okay, here we go:

  1. I sat in the gas chamber at Florence penitentiary and lived to tell about. I was on a tour of the prison and when they asked who wanted to, I was one of the only people to raise my hand. I thought, how many people can say they sat here (after they sat there?). It was a weird, creepy experience but it comes in handy for things like this.
  2. I was born in Independence Missouri, home of Harry S. Truman. Small town girl to my heart, even though we moved when i was young and I've never lived in a small town. I always have that yearning.
  3. I started my first book when I was twelve. I stumbled across the hundred pages I'd typed (yes TYPED on an electric typewriter that never made a decent "e") and I thought, huh, not bad for a 12 year old who couldn't spell.
  4. I almost didn't graduate from HS because I never went to class. I still have nightmares about walking into Math and realizing there's a test that day and I haven't been for weeks so I don't know any of the answers. I actually thought I wasn't very smart for a long time after high school. It took me years to get up the nerve to try college. I'm doing that now and have discovered that if you go to class, you usually know the answers to the questions on the test. I take great pride in my 3.9 gpa.
  5. I don't write everyday. I envy those who do, but I have a full time job so I have to cram my writing into three days that I have off. My life with my kids and hubby are just too busy to try to do it after work. Plus my job is very stressful and I don't have the brain power by the end of the day.
  6. Hmmm.... I met my husband at work right after I moved from Denver to San Diego. I was a receptionist at an electronic rental company and he worked in the lab. (They rented test equipment). He pulled up in a white convertible and I thought, Damn who is that sexy Spanish guy in the porche? It turned out he was a Mexican in a VW karman gia, (sp?) but the sexy part was for real. We still laugh about that. We've been married for 19 years!
  7. Uhh...this is getting harder. I discovered recently that I'm an introvert. I say discovered because I never new it. Sure I knew that in social situations I'm the person who stands in the corner wishing I had something to say but talking to no one. Usually I end up spilling something on my blouse and slinking home embarrassed and frustrated. But it wasn't until I had a personality test done that the word introvert came into play. Realizing that I was an introvert was a big revelation. Somehow it makes me feel better about being so uncomfortable in those settings. I'm married to the biggest extrovert in the world. We always joke that he makes the friends we have, but I'm the one who keeps them--because sooner or later my extrovert husband is going to say something to piss you off. It's a given.
  8. I have a total "older woman" crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. I think I would be tempted to be his love slave if he should ever start desiring overweight 40+ women. :-)

Okay, here's who I'm tagging:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

me so boring...

I wish I had a ton of stuff to say here, but I've been just plain boring lately. the only exciting thing to happen is our new puppy. Her name is Nala and she's a doll. Here's a picture of her.
If you've read any of my books, you know that I love animals and they frequently make guest appearances in my stories. I'm sure Nala is going to find a place in one soon.
Other than puppies and such, life is going along in a very predictable way. Writing, working, living. I've nothing to complain about (which is good). But I've nothing to report here either, which isn't so good.
What can I say? I'd rather be boring then stressed out.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Summer is here

The temps are rising and the mornings are coming earlier and earlier. In Arizona, Summer is officially on us.

I have company this weekend--my sister and her husband from Colorado. I don't get to see her enough so it should be a wonderful visit.

Day job has been extremely busy and some days I feel like sending up the "I surrender" flag, but at least I'm not bored, right? :-)

ESWF (work in progress) is going great.

That's all....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Stuff I'm learning...

First, I can't drink like I used to. I had 3 drinks last night that made me feel like I was using someone else's lips to talk and gave me a nasty headache this morning. Ugh. Now all I want to do is lay down and read. But I refuse to give in. I've got writing to do. :-)

Second, I'm learning to LOVE my new hero above all others. In the world that is in my head, he is king. His name is Sean and he looks a lot like Clive Owen.

Third, I'm learning to not just think outside the box, I'm learning that there is no box where my new book is concerned.

Fourth, see the first again. :-)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's all good....

Well I've been negligent in my posts of late, but I can't say I'm sorry about it only because I've been working so hard on my new book. Friends, I have to tell you, I haven't been this excited about something I'm writing in a long time. I am absolutely in love with my hero, Sean, who I'm sleeping with quite a bit these days. (don't tell my husband, okay). And the research I'm doing is so interesting.

I've been wrapped around the business end of writing for about a year now and I finally managed to push back from that table and return to the part I love. There's nothing quite like that feeling of capturing an image or an emotion and find the exact words to convey it. I feel like I'm channeling the characters in Everything She Wished For and it's the most amazing experience.

The only thing slowing me down is a new addition to our, I didn't have a baby. But we did bring home a puppy the other night. She's a doll, but oh does she demand a lot of attention. Sigh.

I've come to accept that life is never going to slow down in my house.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why is it?

that my husband thinks the time I'm most irresistible is the time I've set aside for me? I'll never understand it. If I'm in the office, door closed, hard at work, that's when he has to ask me burning questions--like, where is the syrup? Or pester me with chores like, did you get your tax stuff ready?--even though we never have our tax stuff ready until months late (yes, we do file an extension). Or, the classic, do you want to do it?

yes dear, nothing makes me want to jump in the sack more than being totally focused on my writing, child-free for another 6 hours, and still in my jammies, unshowered.


Okay, enough venting. So where have I been the past month? Feverishly finishing the story I wrote for the IN THE CHILL OF THE NIGHT anthology coming out in October. Other contributors to this Halloween collection are Melanie Atkins--whose suspenseful BLOOD RITE has a great review in RT this month--Lynne Connolly who writes dark, suspenseful urban Gothics and Shawna Moore--who writes steamy hot books. I feel very honored to be in this collection with such talented writers!
I will be hosting interviews with them later this summer and I'm really looking forward to that.
Anyway, could someone give my house a call and tell my husband he's needed, um, somewhere other than here?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The luck of the Irish is a dubious thing, but today I'm feeling very lucky. I'm in San Diego with my family on a mini-vacation for spring break. Of course, since we're from Arizona, we are freezing to death. Isn't that a riot? 60 degrees is like sub-zero to my thin blood.

We haven't done too much--we went to Universal Studios, and that was fun, but not as wiz-bang as we expected. Plus we all live at a million miles an hour, so honestly we were tired--from my youngest child to me. Yesterday we lounged a bit, watched a movie, ate too much, went to see my husband's father who is in a nursing facility (and none too happy about it, poor guy). Today my husband plans to visit him again and then we will head over to Coronado Island. I lived in San Diego for 12 years but never made it to the Hotel Del. I've always wanted to see it so we're going to skip on over and visit.

My kids have been wonderful and this is why I feel so lucky this morning. I don't know what I've done in life to be so fortunate as to have the family I do, but I surely don't deserve them. I am blessed, to say the least.

On another note, trying to get my "In the Chill of the Night" story completed. My CP had some great ideas and I'm working them in.

Happy St. Patrick's Day one and all. May the luck of the Irish touch you in a good way today!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The departed, and other Tales from Erin's World

Where have I been? Well, as usual, moving so fast I can hardly breathe. My class at ASU is taking a lot of time. I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but it's Eng 102. That's right, freshman English. Should be a breeze for someone who's multi-published, right? Ah, think again. It's actually argumentative writing and I just really suck at it. I've never enjoyed structured writing. I don't like writing articles or essays. I suppose it's a skill I should learn because I know it's the structure I dislike so much. I wish I had more structure when I write my novels too. My good friend and cp, Lynn, plots down to the detail. Me--I get this general idea of what I want to write. With luck, I get it honed to a vision. Then I start writing.

What else? Well, I've got the deadline for IN THE CHILL OF THE NIGHT. And I'm still working on my ST and wishing I had a real life where I could dive in and write my heart out from dawn to dusk. Unfortunately--or rather fortunately, because I couldn't live without it--I have my day job. I'm fortunate that I enjoy my work, but it is hard sometimes when I'm spread so thin.

Then I have my daughter's book that I'm trying to get read so we can submit. I feel awful because it's taking me a long time to clear a space to fit that in.

Then (and this one really doesn't belong on my to do list because I'm enjoying it so much) I have Kathryne Kennedy's new book to read. She asked me to write a blurb for it and I'm so honored. It's really wonderful. I'll be posting when it comes out because you'll want to read it.

So I just realized I hadn't updated my contest page on my website. Yikes, I need to do that.

Oh, and Departed reference? I've decided I have an "older woman wife" crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. It took him awhile to go from lanky boy to MAN, but wow, was it worth the wait. If you haven't seen The Departed, go forth and watch. I loved it. Very violent, but wonderful. He's extraordinary in it.

Okay, that's all. It's a beautiful sunny day out. Hope I can keep myself focused.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Because I don't worry enough....

I've decided to worry about my blog. I know. I'm a nut.

Really, I wonder how I can make it more interesting. I look at other blogs and they have all kinds of fun and interesting stuff going on. I just can't figure out how to be that fun and interesting. I mean, I could talk about my jello shooter incident, and i could tell you how I write with two doggie beds (filled with dogs) at my feet. But is that more interesting than anything else I do? I don't think so.

I will tell you about a great author I just discovered. I read my first Beatrice Small book recently. I can't believe she's been writing since the 70s and I never heard of her. Sometimes I feel like I've been living in a cave. Anyway, I read her latest release and really enjoyed it. If you've been living somewhere dark too, you might want to give her a read.

Speaking of reading, my dear friend Mackenzie McKade just told me that her steamy hot novel (co written with Cheyenne McCray) is an ecataromance reviewers choice winner. Yay! Mackenzie and Cheyenne!
all for now. Back to my boring life.,

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What's going on in Erin's World?

Hey, if I knew, I'd tell you. Normally my life is in overdrive, but the past few months it's hit supersonic speeds. Last month was the SDSU Writers Conference which is so much work--a labor of love, but a lot of work. This month it's trying to get my proposal ready AND my anthology story written. I got the proposal finalized and in the mail on Wednesday and now back to the story. I'm almost done with the first draft and then the polishing and tweaking begins. I've never written short like this before and I'm learning a lot about the process by seeing it condensed. I think I'd like to do more of these if my first efforts are received well. Oh, and school has been sucking up a lot of time in there. I'm used to the schedule of U of P where there are 5 weeks of class and intense assignments and then 5 weeks off. But now I'm at ASU where it's a whole semester and I'm really feeling the wear and tear of it. Is it summer yet?

I'm on the last of 5 RITA books. Last year I did Golden Heart and RITA and my GH submissions were amazing, RITA not so much. This year I didn't have such great GHs, but I had three really great RITAs.

What else? This week is going to be a little nuts. Tuesday I have school and then our Desert Rose meeting. Wednesday I'll be prepping for my turn to host the Bunco group (which comes Friday night). And then on Saturday my girlfriend from Denver and her family are coming for a visit. It will be the first time she's been to my house in Arizona and the first time I've seen her in 5 years. We went to High School together, were in each other's weddings and have a long, long history. Looking forward to that.

And then it's into March! Crazy year so far!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Good morning!

And what makes it such a good morning, you might ask? First, it's Saturday of a three day weekend. (Yay!) Second, I got my proposal off for my ST. (Double Yay!) Third, my husband came home from a long week out of town. Four, see one, two and three.

It's been a very stressful week--too many deadlines and too few hours. Last night I had this weird dream--I was trying to get home (on foot) with my daughter, two pairs of scooba diving flippers (and no, I don't dive) two dogs and an unknown baby in a an unknown stroller. We start off and are suddenly in rush hour like traffic and I'm dodging all these cars coming right after me--while managing the kids, the dogs and the flippers. I'd look ahead and see traffic flowing in a normal pattern and I could see that I was in the right lane to go with traffic but at the place I stood, everything was on coming. I finally make it past this busy intersection but when I looked around, I'd lost my daughter. I started calling for her, and inside I knew I'd find her, but there were thousands of people trying to get through the intersection and my daughter is little.

That's when I woke up in with a gasp.

So I've been analyzing it all morning because it felt so very symbolic.

Traffic--where I want to go, of course. If I could just get through this freakin' knot I'm stuck in, I know I can get there.

Daughter--everything I love and the sacrifices I have to make to get where I want to be. I've lost sight of what I value, but now I am getting my priorities straight--thus the feeling that I would find her but I had to look harder

Unknown baby and stroller--all the responsibilities that keep getting heaped on me until I feel like I'm responsible for everything

Dogs--what I will always have and accept me unconditionally

Flippers--well what's a dream without flippers?

Today, no writing. Gardening as the sun is bright, the temps are predicted to be in the 80s and I need to work through my "knot."

Hope you all have a good morning as well.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Early to rise...

I am up at at'em this morning, determined to crank out some pages. I'm not far from being through them and I feel like I'm hitting the right note. I hope, I hope...

Tonight my husband is taking me out for a fancy schmancy dinner date. I really love that guy.

Later, my friends.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Loss of a friend

It was a rough week for many reasons, but the hardest part was losing a dear friend. Her name was Nicole and I met her 7 years ago when I started working at Intel. We became friends right away. Nicole was very smart, had a sarcastic sense of humor that I loved, and she was giving. Her one big fault--she didn't take care of herself.

A few months before we met, Nicole had an irregular pap smear and she ignored it. At the time, she was unemployed and probably didn't have insurance and so she just pretended the test was wrong and went on. Then about 2 1/2 years ago she started having pains and went to the doctor where it was discovered that she had cervical cancer. It had already spread to the point where she couldn't have surgery to remove it and her only choice was radiation. She went through excruciating months of procedures, but the cancer continued to spread and no treatment would stop it. At 36, she was robust, volunteering at animal shelters, fostering orphaned pets and taking care of others to a whithered and frail woman who could no longer care for herself at 38.

During the years I knew Nicole, she was the first one to volunteer to help anytime someone asked. She gave her time freely and worked with rescue places to save animals that had been abandoned or unloved. She was a beautiful person and my heart is heavy and sick with the loss of her life.

She died this morning at 10 am. The world is a much colder place without her.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday, Monday

Goals for the week:
  1. finish the proposal for my new book. It was finished, but then I made a major change to the beginning which is pretty much my MO. I never know where I want to start when I start. The more writers I talk to, the more I learn this isn't so uncommon. It's still vexing though. I'm loving this book, though, and wish I could turn off the editor and keep my creator going to the end. It's frustrating editing and polishing words that I know will be changed before it's all said and done. Ah well, the trials and tribulations. :-)
  2. Get back to In the Chill of the Night anthology. I'm 12k into my 20k, but had to step away to go back to ST. It's probably a good thing because distance always helps. This story is really coming together and I'm excited to see where it ends up. It's my first anthology and I think I'm liking it. :-)
  3. Finish my paper for my class at ASU. It's a bear, but it has to be done.
  4. Finish the paper I'm writing for work. This has been a MAJOR challenge. I think I finally have it close.
  5. At some point before next Monday, I want a nap.
  6. Figure out what the hell happened to all my links. I lost them when I switched over to the new template. If I linked to you before and you happen to stop by, will you leave me URL? Hey, if I didn't link to you before and you want me to, leave it URL too. :-0

Friday, February 02, 2007

February Report

Ok, there's hope of me having a life again. Maybe. I'm still going a thousand miles an hour, but the writers conference is over and that is a relief. It was an incredible conference this year on many levels. First, I had good friends who came so there was a social time that was very much fun. There have been years when I've worked and then gone straight to my room without ever talking or meeting anyone.

Second, I took my daughter with me this year. She's 15 and has already written a YA novel. Yes, I am serious, no, I didn't help her with it, yes, she's amazing. Even more amazing (although I wasn't surprised at all by it) was the reaction she got in her meetings with editors and agents. Two of the editors who had read her first chapter before coming to the conference gave her their top award and asked to see it. And the agents were all over her. It was incredible. Now she's getting it polished up to send off and we'll see what happens from there. I'll keep you posted.

Then I met with Valerie Gray of Mira Books and had one of those incredible meetings that I never imagined would happen. She read the first chapter of my new book and said, "I love this. I really love this." I almost passed out. Very exciting. I'm getting my pages polished for her too.

Came home to a horrible cold and exhaustion. I started school again a couple of weeks ago so that's keeping me busy. But the writing is going great and I really can't complain too much.

Well I could...but what would be the point?

BTW, I know we're not supposed to talk about them in detail, but I have to say this year the batch of books I got to judge for the RITA are terrific. I'm only on #2, but I've loved both. It's a beautiful thing.

Until the next post, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later... Erin

Friday, January 26, 2007

San Diego

I'm in San Diego right now at the SDSU Writers Conference. It starts tonight and should be a terrific one. I help with the conference by scheduling all of the appointments for editors and agents. It's fun and I love it when participants talk to me afterwards and tell me that they had a great meeting.

My daughter is coming this year for her first ever conference. She's 15 and has written a novella which is really good. I'm sure she's going to get a billion dollar book deal, appear on Oprah and all that and I will forever be known as Hailey's mom, who writes too. :-) There are worse things, right? :-)

Anyway, I will check in later. Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Where the hell is Erin Grady

Good Lord, has life been busy. Mostly I've been working on the SDSU Writers Conferece and working on my day job AND doing that writing thing. I'm 10k into my 20k for the anthology and liking what I have so far. Stewing on my Ireland story at the same time. Looking forward to getting past this month.

Oh, and reading GH and rita entries. No wonder I'm so busy.

Anyway, I'll try to be more regular and entertaining as soon as I can.

Take care!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Things to do

The list is too long, but I'll do what I can.

  1. Write. I have about 5k of the 20 needed for the Chill of the Night anthology. It's been fun writing.
  2. Redesign my website. It's been too long. I haven't even updated with January contest.
  3. Find a way to fit about 10 more hours in my day
  4. Spend some quality time with my husband and kiddies. (#4 on the list today because they've been #1 for the past month, which is why I'm so behind on everything else)
  5. Send back stuff I ordered for Christmas that was wrong size, color, etc.
  6. Try to get 8 hours of sleep sometime in the not too distant future.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007--May it bring only the best

I feel very excited about this new year. 2006 was a rough one in so many ways that 2007 has to be better. I was a little blue last night--was invited to a neighborhood party that I really wanted to go to, but my hubbie was sick and I didn't want to leave him alone on New Year's Eve so I stayed home and watched TV with him. Then he fell asleep at 11:45. Yes, 15 minutes before. Sigh. But my girls were here to wish me happy new year and that was a beautiful thing.

The upside is that I feel good this moring--no hangover. Repentent husband made breakfast and cleaned the kitchen. My day is going to be filled with movies, books and writing.

Hope yours is equally wonderful. :-)

Happy New Year!