13,600 / 20,000 (68%)

Samba story
7,926 / 8,000 (99.1%)

S.M. (Book 1)
580 / 10,000 (5.8%)

S.M. (Book 2)
1,010 / 10,000 (10%)

4,032 / 10,000 (40.5%)

ASPCA Day is April 10

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Hard decision

Two days ago I posted about whether renewing my RWA membership or not, openly expressing some of my fears and concerns. Thanks to all the people who read the post and commented on it. Although I couldn't answer each one of your comments (something that I apologize for), I did read them.

Some of you told me to follow my heart. Well, my heart wanted to renew it for one more year. My mind agreed up to a point because it was thinking about the RWR magazine and its wonderful articles. However, after spending long hours with my saving account and bills before me, throwing numbers and seeing where it'd get me, my financial state showed that spending money on the membership renewal would set me back, and I'd not be able to catch up for several months. And with the upcoming increase in the water bill, plus the new sales tax law (something we had never paid before), it's possible that might create a hole in my pocket would be bigger. The way things are going, I don't even know if I'll have a job several months from now.

Remember what my horoscope said for this month? "Soon Mars will move from your House of Your Crazy Self to your House of Spending Too Much." I think Mars managed to stay in both houses at the same time, because it's been crazy, and I've been spending a lot. "When the big bonus check shows up, don't blow it on a new computer as your old one is really fine." I'm still waiting for that one though and today is the last day. *sighs*

So, today is the last day for me to renew my RWA membership. Sadly, I won't since it has become a luxury I can no longer afford. Maybe in a few years from now...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Always wanted to write a book

Yesterday I was reading Romancing the Blog when I ran into an article written by Jordan Summers, Just what makes that little old ant think he can move that rubber tree plant and every Joe Blow off the street believe he can write a book? As I read it, this quote grabbed my attention:
I’ve always wanted to write a book. I even have an idea that I think would be great.
Why, you wonder. *stands up* Hello. My name is Silma, and I've always wanted to write a romance novel. I even have an idea that I think would be great.

You see, that was me until 2 years ago. For years I wanted to write a novel. I believed if so and so could do it, then so could I. Besides, I felt justified by the fact that I have a BA in Literature. (Look at me. This little piece of paper says I'm an expert in Literature, so that means I can write it too.) I talked about writing novels until I noticed people avoiding me at parties and friends not calling often. I don't blame them. I'm sure they were bored to death. But even when I stopped talking about it out loud, inside I kept thinking about it. I was obsessed. Oh sure, I jolted down every idea (scenes, dialogues, titles, character names, etc.) that popped in my head. Sometimes I'd write a few scenes, but I never finished any story. Why? Work. Yep. That was my excuse. A valid one, btw, but still there it was.

Then 4 years ago I quit my job of 17 years and began a new one. Finally I had nights for myself. So I found myself pondering what to do with the extra free time. Then after catching up with a lot of stuff in my life (like the huge pile of TBR books, letters to friends, creating websites, etc.), 2 years ago I began thinking writing again. After 15 years of talking about it, I decided to stop talking about it and do it.

Naive as I was I thought it'd be easy. Soon I discovered that it wasn't. Writing a novel was much more than just putting a string of words together. Even putting that "idea that I thought would great" for a story was harder than I expected.

So it hit me that there was so much more involved in writing a novel than just, well, writing it. I began searching the web and found a few fabulous groups that helped me learn more about writing romance novels. But as I was learning to write a romance, I became aware that there are a number of subgenres so I explored and experimented, trying to find my niche. (I didn't even know there was such thing when I began this journey.)

Two years ago I stepped on the road and began a journey that has changed me in so many ways. The journey has ended yet. I'd dare to say, I'm barely beginning. Along the way I've met a lot of wonderful people who had helped me soften the rocky patches.

Even thought it might be true that "inside each person there's a book," the process per se of writing a book is a skill that must be learned through hardwork and discipline.

Hello. My name is Silma, and I always want to write a romance novel. I even have an idea that I think would be great. *g*

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

To renew my RWA membership or not to renew

That has been my dilemma since I received my renew form on the mail last week. $75 for renewing my membership? That's a lot of money. To me anyway. Especially now. With the $105,000 mortage, the recent increase in the prices of gas, electricity, and water. On top of that there are all these odd-and-ends that you have to repair around the house. All is going up except my paycheck. I didn't get a raise last year, and I'm not holding my breath this year. So those $75 will make a hole in my budget.

Some think that I should think of the benefits I'm getting. Honestly, I've been a member for 2 years, and I've not seen much benefits out of it. The only thing I get is their RWR magazine, which is good with its updates on the romance industry. Other than that... I signed up for a three of their special interest groups online. In the beginning I posted on RWA Online and From the Heart. But I was in other more active romance online groups, and trying to keep up with all the posts was too time consuming. I was spending too much time on the net rather than writing, so I stopped posting on them. I didn't even participate in Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal after I signed up for it. Then there's the RWA National conferences. Big deal. I'll never go to one anyway. Too expensive. I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars when there are other (more important) things I could pay with that money.

Yeah, I know you're wondering why I've got my panties on twist over that matter when the reasons for not renewing my RWA membership are so clear. Want to know why? Peer pressure. I want other romance writers to take me seriously. There you go. My little secret is out. Let's face it I'm already sick and tired of other romance writers thinking that I'm in it as a hobby just because I'm not interested in getting an agent and don't care about writing for NY publishers. That is already making me an oddball in my peers' eyes. Well, I am not. I'm damn serious about writing romance novels. If I weren't, why would I be wasting my time writing at all? So it hurts sometimes to see that attitude towards me. I've got to make myself sound "official" about my writing. To validate my reasons to be a romance writer. So I feel that if I'm not part of RWA, then I'd giving another reason to look less serious about writing.

Well, the last day to send the papers with the check is this Friday. Otherwise, I'll have to pay the full fair. I still don't know what to do. Still waging the ramifications of whatever decision I make.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Even more June hot releases

If you've been following my "What I'm Reading" section on this blog (left-side bar), you may have noticed that I've not been in a mood to read romance novels. Instead I've devoted my time to the latest trilogy in the Star Wars universe, Dark Nest trilogy. This one takes place 5 years after the New Jedi Order series, in which the Jedi comfronted the Yuuzhan Vong. But between Star Wars books I've squeezed a few short romance stories to read. You all want to sink your teeth on some ebooks? Here are some hot reads.

Author: Susan Greene
Genre: Contemporary
Download: Cobblestone Press

All Katherine wanted was a relaxing week of vacation. All Jonah wanted was quiet and solitude to work on his book. When destiny throws them into one another's paths, they must decide if what they have is real or simply the result of being Snowbound.

Enduring Promise
Author: Tempest Knight
Genre: Paranormal/Vampire
Download: Cobblestone Press
Armand died saving Giselle from a vampire-hunting mob. Before dying, he vowed to return. Three centuries later, feeling lonely, Giselle is about to end her life when Armand wanders into her house. Except now he’s named Evan, and he doesn’t remember her. Can she awaken his memories before dawn?

Crossing Borders
Author: Cora Zane
Genre: Werewolf/Shifter
Download: Cobblestone Press
Two years have passed since Cole Holbrook was exiled from his pack. Now he’s back, determined to claim Laney Parker as his mate, even if it means trespassing onto enemy territory to take her. Nothing will stop him. Not even his old rival--Laney’s pack leader brother, Seth.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ten Elements or Words I Always Use in My Stories

Ten Elements or Words I Always Use in My Stories

1. My heroines always Coke or Vanilla Coke. Okay, I know the latter is already out of the market, but hey!, maybe they might bring it back.

2. My heroines are divorced without kids. The funny thing is that I'm single without kids. Go figure. *lol*

3. My heroines are mostly gamma. I think I only have one alpha heroine.

4. Overused words: see, glance, gaze, look, tilt head, feel, walk, turn

5. The majority of my heroines seem to be writers, latinas.

6. My heroes aren't too Alpha.

7. I spend more time dealing with the internal struggle inside my hero and my heroine (falling in love).

8. Most of my heroes are the ones with the supernatural powers.

9. Most of my heroes have money and don't need to work.

10. If there's an external conflict, then it overshadows the "falling in love" part.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pretty uneventful

After two weeks of living hell, I was expecting to face some kind of maelstrom on my first day at work. To my...er...relief, the day went by without a hitch. Of course, I was tense all the time, expecting something bad to jump at me at any given time. However, there was nobody in my office but me. My co-worker was sick so I had the office all to myself. And what did I do? Put some heavy metal music and dance naked! Just kidding! *rofl* Seriously, I opened the file with my wereanimal story. I added a couple of rough scenes to it which amounted to about 1,200K. Tonight I logged into the Romance Divas website for their workshop, Buzz Your Book Workshop, with Marianne Mancusi. All in all, it's been quite a change of pace.

My own wolf

my pet!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The day is officially over

Yep. This is it. My vacations are over. And didn't I tell you the day wasn't over and could get worst? *maniacal laugh* I'm the one who's sick with diarreah. Then my computer got some kind of nasty bug, which didn't allow me to do much, so I had to end up reformatting the hard disk.

My last day of vacation

Last night I thought the least I could do was spend my last day of vacation peacefully. Maybe doing some writing. (I really wanted to get back to my wereanimal story, and I needed to check the second wereanimal story to make sure things were tying in fine.) I mean, things could get worst, right? HELL YEAH! And here you people kept telling me that things couldn't get worst, that they only could get better. Ha, ha, ha! *maniacal laugh* This morning my mother woke me up and told me to take to the hospital. I blinked unable to believe what I'd heard. This is my mother, the woman who refuses to go to doctors and hospitals, telling me to take to the emergency room. Shit! It had to be damn serious. To make a long story short, I took her to the emergency room where we were for 4 hours while they ran some tests and hooked an IV on her. Finally, the doctor gave her some medicine and let her go. Luckily Walgreens was opened, so I took her home and bought the medicines.

So much for a peaceful day for doing some writing. Can this get worst? Well, the day hasn't ended yet, my dearies. So it just might...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Still here

Yeah, well, I woke this morning. Realized I was still alive. Pissed off. But alive. I looked back on my two-week vacation. Only two good things went right.

1) All the heavy furniture is already at the new house.

2) I found the receipt for the new power-steering oil pump, which I thought I'd lost.

I thought about all the things I had to do today. Then I figured I'd end up fucking them up. And I was still pissed. So instead I went to see X-Men 3. Aaaaahhh... Fights. Explotions. Destruction. Death. Damn, it sure revived me! *evil grin*

Friday, June 16, 2006

Someone please put me out of my misery

Can my life suck more? Sheesh! I took a 2-week vacation for the sole purpose of buying barstools, a daybed or futton, and the water reserve for my new house. So in this way I could move into it by the end of the month.

But oh no! Here's what I've gotten out of my 2-week vacation instead:

1) I've been plagued with car problems. So far I've spent $295 on repairs, and it's still leaking the power steering oil.

2) My house was flooded when the hose of the toilet broke. (It's been a week, and the repairman hasn't shown up yet.)

3) The place where my bathroom cabinets were being made burnt down to the ground.

4) Inara Press (to whom I'd hoped to submit my non-erotic romance stories) closed down.

Please someone fucking shoot me! NOW!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The workshop slut is back...

It's been a long time since I've attended a writing workshop online. (I think the last one was Deep POV with Cara King.) It's not like there hasn't been any good ones, mind you. It's just that I've been too busy with other things, and let the opportunities slip under the cracks. But not anymore, baby. I'm back! Starting today Romance Divas is having one of many great workshops for June, Character Profiling with Ronda Thompson.

Oooh... This one promises to be really good. She's already posting charcter sheets and stuff. I'm pantser and never done much of character profiling before beginning a story. So this is going to be an interesting experiment for me. *g*

If you're interested in the workshop, it's free. So join Romance Divas today!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More June hot releases

Looking for a quick read this summer? Something to entertain you while spending your hours out on a hammock? Here is something to wet your appetite. Check out these cool ebooks!

Cup of Fate
Author: Cassandra Curtis
Download: Amber Quill Press

Can one woman find true love in tea leaves? Or is it a tempest in a teacup? Bryn Tuttle lost everything due to her bad taste in men. Now she's starting over fresh. In the misty bluegrass hills of Kentucky, she finds a new job, apartment and friends. When a co-worker invites her yard-sale shopping one weekend, she decides to tag along, never realizing fate has something else in store. They discover a rare item—a mysterious, antique, fortune-telling teacup. Bryn never suspects that a single sip from the Cup of Fate will change her life, that her future is actually linked to the tea leaves that cling inside. But when she drinks from the cup and next awakens, she soon comprehends that nothing will ever be the same...

Aurora's Passion
Author: Bebe Thomas
Download: Freya's Bower

Kris Anderssen is having a bad week. She lost her dream job and her lover on the same day and is in danger of losing her swanky New York apartment. She's regrouping by spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Aurora, her hometown. It's anything but relaxing. Her grandmother won't stop talking about the Northern Lights, the goddess Freya, and Norwegian folklore. Plus, Kris is more conflicted than ever, finding herself caught in a love triangle between her hot former boyfriend and her sexy best friend. She has feelings for each man; how can she possibly choose between them?

You Again
Author: Dayna Hart
Download: Freya's Bower

Part I: Cherry

"Wild Cherry" is the music industry's newest wild child. Her attitude and outrageous behaviour hide a secret, one she intends to keep at all costs. One man, however, threatens everything. A reporter who wants to write the real story. Mac is the one man she shouldn't let past her defenses, and yet, she can't seem to keep him away.

Part II: Laurel

When he first walks into the bookstore-café, Laurel is drawn to Drex, though she couldn't explain why. The headaches begin soon after. She begins remembering things, though she can't tell if they're real, or simply the tortured imaginings of her mind. When she collapses at Drex's feet, she needs to learn the difference. Or die trying.

Lycan Instinct
Author: Brandi Broughton
Download: Cobblestone Press

Instinct is her only guide amid secrets, seduction...and murder

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Just bored...

So I decided to check my horoscope for this month...
Cancer: Soon Mars will move from your House of Your Crazy Self to your House of Spending Too Much. When the big bonus check shows up, don't blow it on a new computer as your old one is really fine. Put in an Overseas ( Southeast Asia maybe) Mutual Fund (with American management )and forget about the spending part. Take it from a Taurus, me, about investments.
I'm getting a big check? *blinks* Who's going to die and leave me the inheritance?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friggin' Friday

This sure has been one heck of a day. My car was suppossed to be ready for today, but it wasn't. On Monday the attendant at the car shop told me the rack & pinion would be deliever yesterday afternoon. When I got there, they had no idea of what had happened. They made me wait until to this morning to tell me that they didn't get the part, but that perhaps they might get it tomorrow afternoon. (Yeah, riiight. Seeing is believing...) So I went to the mechanic and told me to reschedule (AGAIN) the appointment to see the car. He had no problem with that except that he might be able to see my car until the end of next week. Ehem... Hello? I need my car fixed - NOW!!! I took vacations now so I could go about running errants that I can't usually do while I work. There are tonz of things I need to have ready before I move to the new house. And what have I done so far? I only talked to the man who's going to build the bathroom cabinet. AAAGGGHHH!!!

So what did I do to calm down? Well, what every sane woman would do - GO SHOPPING! *g* Of course, shopping has various meanings to women. For some this means buying shoes, others clothes, etc. To me, it's books. *lol* Yeah, I'm weird that way. Anyway, I went to Borders. Gosh, there were so many good titles this time around. I was surprised to see MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unreturnable on paperback. But it was Lynn Viehl's Dark Need: A Novel of the Darkyn that captured my heart (and my money!). I'm going to have so much fun reading tonight. *g*

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A little (tarot) reading today

Tonight I took out my favorite tarot deck from the box in which I'd put it to move it to the new house and did a little reading. Yeah, I do that when something troubles me. I believe that all the answers are inside oneself, but sometimes they're locked in the subconscious, which needs the visual part to communicate.

This is what I got:

King of Cups
in the Past position.

You are fortunate in your achievements. You have accomplished much, built a good business or career for yourself. Perhaps you have a stable, loving family life. These things give you much satisfaction, but there is a longing in your heart. It is as if in gaining power and accomplishments, you have lost touch with your creative side. Seek an artistic or creative outlet, nurture your emotions.

Ace of Swords
in the Present position.

You have the gift of thought. Use it rightly, to see the world clearly, to communicate well, and create a happy, healthy reality.

in the Future position.

The message of Judgement is clear. You are being called to do something. You might not want to hear it and are actively drowning it out with noise of your daily life. You might be afraid of the call and the changes it will bring. Listen to it and face it with courage and action. It promises a more fulfilling life.

I get the feeling that they're trying to tell me something, but I'm too thick-headed to get it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Not fair!

I'm a big Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series fan. So when I heard she'd released her latest book of the series, Dark Side of the Moon, I rushed to Barnes and Nobles.com to order it. I couldn't wait two weeks to get it through our local Borders. Well, guess what? The book is in HARDCOVER! WTF? Hardcovers are too expensive. I can't spend that much money on a book. I can only get it on paperback, and that'll take like, what?, a year to be release? Oh man... Does this mean all her Dark Hunter books will be released as hardcovers from now on? That just sucks!

Monday, June 05, 2006

More upsetting news

Yep, bad news on the car. The autopart shop called this morning as they promised me on Saturday. They can't get the rack and pinion until Thursday afternoon. AAAGGHHH! Great. Just freaking great. I'll be car-less for almost a week. I went to reschedule the appointment with the mechanic this afternoon. Now it's set for Friday morning. *sighs* What else can go wrong?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tackling a nasty chore...

...and it's not the editing of the samba story. Yeah, I know today is the last day to submit for Phaze's samba story, so I should be pouring every ounce of inspiration and perspiration into it. But I didn't. I decided not to submit the story, although it's finished. I'm not (very) happy with it. After reading it through, I feel like it needs some work. Plus there's a lack of direction in it. It can either go into comedy or drama. It's a bit of both it's not well balanced. So I'll let the story simmer a bit, see how it feels, and then do the necessary work.

Anyway, I'm on vacations so I'm hoping to move into the new house I bought a year ago. The renovations are all done (at least the ones I could afford!), except for the bath cabinet in the master bathroom. Today, instead of writing, I decided to tackle the nastiest of all chores - draining and cleaning my fish tank. To make the long story short, it took me 4 freaking hours. But it's cleaned and ready to be moved into its new house. *g*

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ooops, my car did it again

Yep. Car troubles. Again. Yesterday I noticed a weird sound coming from the car. When I parked, I bent and saw power-steering fluid leaking. Great! I paid $68 and for what? I thought the whole thing was fixed. Oh well... The leak wasn't too bad, but I talked to the mechanic anyway. He told me he'd see it on Monday. So fine, I went on using the car to run some errants, but I noticed the leaking got worse. Not as bad as this morning! I talked to the mechanic and agreed to see it right away. He claimed it was the pump, so I borrowed mom's car and drove all the way to the next town to buy it. It cost me $115. *sighs* Yeah, I saw dollars signs fly away. Anyway, I brought the pump, and my mom took her car and went shopping. About an hour later the mechanic showed up and told me that it was still leaking power-steering fluid even with the new pump, and he'd consulted the matter with other two mechanics that agreed the problem was the rack and pinion. The first thing I thought was, "Not again?!" I changed the darn thing 3 years ago. Insert more dollar signs flying away here. Those parts are damn expensive. Last time I bought a used one for $189. To make the long story short, I got out the receipt of the old rack and pinion and went to the place where I bought it. They checked but it was past midday on a Saturday when I went so they couldn't tell me if they had it or not until Monday. Agh! I mean, it's not like I expect to the rack and pinion to be changed the same day. But it'd have been nice to know that I had the part with me. The only good thing is that right where I live there's a new place that changes them, so I talked to the mechanic there and he said he'll see the car Tuesday in the morning. *double sighs*

Friday, June 02, 2006

New ebook releases for summer!

You wanted it hot, you got it! These are among the hottest ebook releases for June. Check them out!

Fire and Ice
Author: Vivienne King
Genre: Fantasy
Download: Cobblestone Press

Lumina, princess of the Ice Kingdom. Pyroth, prince of Fire. Reuniting after a ten-month separation, they cannot resist stealing away into the night for a rendezvous of burning sexual passion. What Lumina and Pyroth cannot know is that this night of passion must last them for the next two years.

Waking The Shadows
Author: Elisabeth Drake
Genre: Paranormal
Download: Freya's Bower

The last thing Arielle Thompson needs is romance. It's tough enough risking your butt on a day-to-day basis fighting vampires, demons, and mud monsters for the FBI's Paranormal Investigations Unit. Adding stress over dying and leaving a lover behind? No thanks. Besides, who needs a man when you've got a vibrator? Of course, that hasn't stopped Arielle from checking out her sexy as sin vampire partner, Jackson. While she knows he's got the hots for her, neither of them have acted on their impulses. But when they're sent to investigate rogue demonic activity in backwater Louisiana, the dam bursts loose and everything heats up..

Bound by Love
Author: Loribelle Hunt
Genre: Contemporary/Light Bondage
Download: Cobblestone Press

Nikki just wants to get out unscathed. From the sex club where she goes to track down an employee, that is. Her old friend and long time admirer, Mack, on the other hand, has something else in mind entirely. Complete submission of her body and soul.

Sunset Key
Author: Cassidy Kent
Download: Phaze

Freesia Daniels, personnel specialist and consummate planner, wasn't prepared to get the boot from her company for possessing a heart. When she decides to return home from Boston to the sunny beaches of Key West to lick her wounds, she discovers her heartbroken past has finally caught up with her in the form of Zachary Gray, her childhood sweetheart. He lures her to his island getaway and lands them smack in the middle of a raging hurricane. Lightning doesn't often strike twice, but this storm might give them both a second chance at love.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pondering opportunities

Lately I've been confronted with a series of opportunities that can further my writing career. Or at least help me start one. *lol* Anyway, I've been confused about what to do, which ones to accept. Is this the best time to accept any offers? What if I'm being too eager and make the wrong decision? So I did a little reading. It's a three-card draw that I designed many years ago. I ask three questions related to each other, and each card shows a part of the answer to the problem.

Ace of Swords

You have the gift of thought. Use it rightly, to see the world clearly, to communicate well, and create a happy, healthy reality.

Ace of Wands - Reversed

Be aware of ignoring opportunities and inaction. The Ace of Wands is a gift that requires the recipient to take action.

Seven of Pentacles

You have sown seeds of some sort. They are bearing fruit and it is time for the harvest. Take time to compare the investment with the results. If it is not what you’d hoped, determine what you can do differently next time.

Hmm... It's interesting that the last card has shown in the past four readings I've done. Like it's asking me to stop and take stock of the results of my actions. But at this moment I seem to be caught in a thing that's snowballing, and I can't stop and step back to ponder about what's going on.