Saturday, October 27

The New Normal

So, I'm realizing things aren't going to go back to normal like I knew it when I was a SAHM. Okay, I'm not a complete idiot, I knew things would be different now that I'm working, but I didn't think that things would change this much. Never realizing I ran errands almost everyday, now they're stockpiled for one day a week. Tuesdays don't feel like a day off--LOL. But Sundays do--Sunday's are still "Family Days" : )

The New Normal means I don't get to read everyday. The American Girl Fundraiser was a success, and I figured the evenings would be mine again. Wrong, three of the five nights this week were filled with something... Tuesday--a conference call for work, Wednesday--making Junior's costume for the All Saints Day Pageant (which was yesterday and absolutely adorable, I'll get to that later :) and Friday--making poster for Trunk or Treat.

The All Saints Day Pageant was Friday. Twenty one 1st Graders parade into the gym and up on stage singing "Oh When The Saints Come Marching In..." They were adorable. Each one got up in front of the entire student body, faculty and parents and quoted three sentences about their "Saint" that they had memorized, pretty impressive for 6 year olds. Of course, the grandparents thought Junior was the BEST, of course, they're not prejudice or anything :) He did do a great job, he speaks incredibly well for his age. We still get teachers and other parents telling us this on a regular basis. One of the parents asked if we taught him the inflections and to slightly pause between sentences. Nope, that's our Barrymore, the school really needs a Drama Club. Actually, the only thing we told him was to speak slowly and clearly, the rest seems to come naturally.

Trunk or Treat is supposed to be today in the school's big parking lot, since we're getting torrential rain, it's been moved to tomorrow, in the back parking lot (Sunday Bingo you know). Last year our "Trunk" theme was a haunted picnic. This year's theme is "The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch" from It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Junior and I made a big poster for our trunk with lots of pumpkins, Linus, Sally a sign and a glittery moon and stars. It looks cute. We'll bring real pumpkins and I think I'll make a "Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch sign too. Keep in mind the "Trunk or Treat" doesn't have this theme, just us. Mama's a little OCD and likes a theme.

This week I only have one meeting and it's Tuesday night, I should be able to find some reading time and finally get to finish Madeline Hunter's Lessons of Desire. Which I'm not "loving" but will finish.

That's all the news from our little neck of the woods. Hope all are well.

Wednesday, October 24

The ones that don't make it.

I pulled this nice long quote out of Pamela Morsi's response to comments a couple weeks ago...

American setting aren't done these days. Publishers don't believe that readers will buy them. Which is why all the writers who used to write them, myself included, are now all doing other things. But these trends all come in cycles, so it's sure to be back eventually.

Glad that you and Eva Gale both read SIMPLE JESS. That's a story that really means a lot to me. And to a lot of other people too. I created the character as the heroine's brother in MARRYING STONE. But he was such a great guy I wanted to give him his own book. As soon as I'd finished, I proposed that and my editor turned me down. She said that readers wouldn't go for a mentally handicapped hero. So I moved on, wrote something else and then the movie FORREST GUMP came out and was such a splash, my editor called as said, "You know that book you wanted to write..." So I got busy on SIMPLE JESS. Unfortunately, during the time I got the okay and the time the book was completed, my editor left. The new editor was unfamiliar with my work and when SIMPLE JESS showed up on her desk, she was horrified. She didn't think that the relationship as it was written was "appropriate" and she wanted me to rewrite it to make him smarter. I couldn't do that because he was already in print in Marrying Stone. So after lots of upheaval and argument, SIMPLE JESS was released. The number of copies printed was very small, the cover was nondescript. And it went to the sales department with the notation "controversial" which basically means buy at your own risk.

Not a lot of people did buy it at first. Romance readers were as skeptical of a mentally challenged hero as the editor believed they would be. But slowly, slowly, slowly people began to read it. And they began to like it. I've gotten more feedback on that story than any other - - and all of it has been positive. Jess had such a low print run that it was doomed to commercial failure, but it continues to pay and pay in wonderful feedback dividends. The rights reverted to me several years ago, so I’m always thinking that someday somebody will buy it from me for a reprint and this time give it the push that it truly deserved.

In the industry, people thought the story was a career killer. And it did kill my career at that particular publishing house. If I'd had any sense at all about how to get ahead and move up on the lists, I never would have written it. But I guess it goes to show you that sometimes being too stupid to know better leaves us open to achieve some pretty wonderful things.

Simple Jess is one of my favorite Pamela Morsi books and I for one am glad that it finally made it to print.

Most avid readers know romance on a whole is very cyclical, what's hot now wont be in a couple of years, and publishers are going to take advantage of this and continue publishing what's going to have the largest financial return. And yet you can't help but wonder how many great books have never been published because the publishers deemed them not marketable?

Saturday, October 20

Another Quickie :)

We're right smack in the middle of our American Girl Fundraiser, my job is done, I got out of working the actual event because this weekend is my in-laws...

50th Wedding Anniversary

Last weekend it was a big family dinner at a very nice Italian Restaurant (we had a private room) and they renewed their wedding vows, this weekends all about the immediate family (kids and grandkids).

This week's a little hectic, but at least I'll be home for Junior's bedtime each night. Tuesday (my day off) will be spent getting everything we need for the school's Trunk or Treat event. I also need to make Junior a costume for the All Saint's Day Program, he's a Saint from the Middle Ages. He gets to wear a brown robe with a big cowl, his best friend is St. George--he gets to be a knight. I'm pretty sure Junior's going to be jealous. After the program the kids "trick or treat" in the audience, collecting money for Missionary work.

I've finished a couple of books--Lover Unbound and the new Kleypas, for some reason I can't remember the title, not my favorite Kleypas. By blog hopping I discovered I probably liked Love Unbound a little more than most of the readers out there (I noticed mostly C's)--I'd give it a B/B-, I'm not normally a fan of the never ending series, but I'm still enjoying this one and Lynn Viehl's Darkyn Series.

Have a great day, and happy reading.

Monday, October 15

Life may get back to normal soon...

As most readers of this blog know we send our son to Catholic school. For us it wasn't a really hard decision to make. We're not thrilled with our local public school district, there are discipline and education issues in our elementary and middle schools that aided us in making our decision add to that he has probably learned more in a year + about his faith than we learned in 8 years of CCD. But these topics really different blog posts.

When you send your kids to a Catholic or Church school you know there's tuition and you're told up front that there is a certain level of fundraising required. This is to help offset tuition and school expenses. In some larger parishes the fundraising isn't as important as their Church off sets some of the school expenses. Unfortunately we are not only a small Parish, but also poor one, the bulk of the offset from our Parish comes from the parents weekly donations to the Church.

Our school has different levels of fundraisers from candy sales and raffles to huge mandatory ones. Mandatory projects require bodies, people volunteering large quantities of time to simple get whatever needs doing done. Bingo is a year round project. In the spring we have Goods/Services Auction and Tricky Tray and in the Fall we do an American Girl Event

Our American Girl Fashion Show is this weekend. Five shows over 3 days for 1000 girls, Moms and Dads. Not only do parents volunteer, girls from every grade are also involved either as models or behind the scenes getting the girls ready, keeping the little ones busy and entertained between their turns down the runway. Our gymnasium is turned into American Girl Central. And if I do say so myself the parent volunteers do an incredible job transforming basketball courts into a catering hall with a huge fashion runway.

So guess what committee I'm on?--LOL We're getting down to the wire. Three nights of set up and three days of shows. Hundreds of hours leading up to the next six days. Then it's back to normal, hopefully at least :)

Wednesday, October 10

***Pamela Morsi - Beginning blogger braves new territory***

I want to thank you, Tara, for giving me the opportunity to blog on your site. I’ve never blogged before, so if I run long, will have discovered one of my big problems. I’m writing and I can’t stop!

Right now I’m between books, my last BITSY’S BAIT & BBQ came out earlier this year. And my next LAST DANCE AT JITTERBUG LOUNGE is scheduled for publication in May ‘08.

I love the blogname of RomanceReadingMom. That’s where I came into this genre. Well, probably not completely, I’m sure that on some level Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder were both writing romance. But I didn’t realize that. All I knew back then was that I loved the stories those women told. And that’s what I wanted most in my life, to be a writer.

The problem for me, of course, was that I couldn’t figure out how one did that. Do you move to New York? Or a Paris loft? I took a couple of creative writing courses at college. They only succeeded in convincing me that I didn’t have anything to say. What could a white trash girl from the oil patch have to say to sophisticated readers of American literature? Obviously nothing.

What was significantly more clear was that I owed tons of money in student loans and that rents are charged worldwide accept for my mother’s house, where living was it’s own punishment.

So I got a Master’s Degree in Library Science. If I couldn’t write books, then at least I could be close to them. I loved library work and I don’t regret a day I spent there. Sharing books with people is almost a heavenly calling. And my view of the public library is that it is the last truly democratic institution in the United States. All the knowledge in the world equally available there to anyone who seeks it out

After the work day is done, librarians do a lot of reading, mostly involved with their job. Reference librarians read reference books and Children’s Librarians read children’s books and Adult Services Librarians read the bestsellers and the most highly touted fiction. I spent several years doing each of these jobs and I got accustomed to having my reading list pretty narrowly drawn.

Then I had a baby.

I was already a mom of sorts. My husband had a five year old son when I married him, so I was used to having peanut butter on the refrigerator door handle, rescuing garden snakes from the laundry basket and establishing a NO WHINERS zone in my local grocery market. But I had never stayed home with a child.

Those first few weeks, I don’t think I’d ever worked so hard in my life. I was up before dawn, not in bed until midnight. And no sooner had my day shift ended than my nightshift began. I sure wasn’t thinking about reading.

But then I kind of got a pace, I figured out how to get everything more or less manageable. My family and I settled in. My baby daughter had naptime. And my wild child, now seven, went to bed at 8:30. So there was a little time for me.

I read some baby books. Earth mother books. How to raise responsible citizens books. Those were all good. But that felt like reading at work. I wanted something that was just for me. Something that I could really identify with.

One day at the grocery store, with the little angel asleep in the snugly, I found myself wandering among the paperbacks. Librarians don’t buy a lot of paperbacks. They don’t last and we get hardcover books for free and well, who knows, but you rarely see a librarian reading mass market. But that day, I was desperate for something. And I found it, right there between the cereal and the frozen food.

These were books by women, for women and about women. And about the thing that sooner or later gets to be what women are all about, love and family.

I was hooked faster than you could say LOVE’S DARING DARNING NEEDLE. At first I just read at the end of the day. And then I figured out I could do it while I was breastfeeding. And before I knew it, I could cook, clean, supervise, referee, virtually everything but drive with a book in my hand.

I remember it as a really wonderful time. And my solitary life with the kids at home became filled interesting characters and storylines that got me through the long days and short years of my children’s childhood.

Time and seasons change.

I began writing when my daughter was about eight. And once you start writing, reading is never as pleasurable as it once was. But I still love a good book. When I finish one that was really great, I can’t resist hugging it to my chest like a dear friend. Hope you have something to hug at your house tonight.

A great big thank you to Pam for taking the time to visit and blog with us :)

PS--this posted a little early but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time in the morning to get it posted before school and work :) Have a great day and ask lots of interesting questions.

Thursday, October 4

Guest Blogger for October 10, 2007 :)

Back in the beginning of August Rosario posted a review of Pamela Morsi's Wild Oats and in response I posted a list of my favorite Pamela Morsi books and asked the question... I wonder what type of bribe it would take to get her to go back to writing these instead of contemporaries?

The next time I checked my emails I had one titled "Bribery Plan". Being the dingbat that I am I never made the connection until I opened the email and realized PAMELA MORSI had actually emailed me. We emailed back and forth and I invited her to guest blog. Then she got busy with a book, and I got busy with real life, but she still wanted to blog and I finally got my act together.

So, guess what? Pamela Morsi will be guest blogging next week, October 10th.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, October 2

Just enough time for a quickie...

I've got 5 minutes before I have to get Junior to school. He's getting dressed.

If it's Tuesday, it must be BINGO day :) four hours of cranky but lovable old folks. After bingo it's choir practice for Junior.

I've not finished a book in almost a week, but I have managed to add several to my TBR pile, including the new Singh, Ward, Hunter and a couple more that are escaping me at the moment.

Have a great day and happy reading :)