Arianna's Blog

Come listen to the ramblings and assorted babblings of a crazed mother and newbie author. It might not always be helpful, but it should be amusing.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Girl Groups Rant

And I'm not talking the Go Go's (does anyone even remember them?)

Why does it seem that whenever you get more than five women in a cyber room together things always start out with people playing nice, then things degenerate with accusations and defenses?

I am on several Yahoo group lists and undoubtably, there ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS seems to be someone who makes a comment-- usually unintentionally-- that gets someone else up in arms. That person makes a comment back, then the original person feels the need to make a comment back and the next thing you know the whole list is taking sides and veiled insults are in every post. Cripes, it's like being back in high school!!!!!

Why does this have to happen? Do guy groups have the same problems? If women are supposed to be the more nuturing sex, why do we get our panties in a knot so easily? I know I'm just as guilty of making a comment I shouldn't and hitting send. And I know I've been known to choose sides too. Is it part of our DNA? Along with ovaries we get cramps every month and the urge to make mountains out of mole hills? I end up lurking on most lists because I just don't want to get involved in that sort of garbage.


I'm not really a joiner, so I don't know for sure, but I wonder if it's different if the groups are "live" instead on the computer? Do you think if you had to face the person every month at a meeting you'd be more inclined to hold your tongue? I wonder?

I'd love to hear any comments on this one folks. . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I've been tagged-- again!!!!

Okay, I never did manage to tag someone before I got tagged again, so here it goes!
These questions came from Mary Stella. . .

Total number of books I own: Ahhh, well, um, I'd say my keeper shelf numbers in the hundreds, but I have no idea how many are actually there!

Last Book I Bought: Ahhh, I think it was Beth Ciotta's CHARMED and Kathy Love's WANTING WHAT YOU GET, but don't quote me on that one. . .

Last Book I Read: I just read Joanne Rock's MY LADY'S FAVOR and it ROCKED! It was a historical romance that was really fast paced and steamy. I'd buy a VCR manual if Joanne Rock wrote it!

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me: You've got to be kidding me. . . Um, okay. . .
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy-- I read that every winter and find something new to discover every time.

The Belgeriad series by David Eddings-- that's like comfort food to me, or visiting old friends I love those books.

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts-- I love stories about sisters and this one had a great mystery involved too. And the witty lines and hot sex didn't hurt either.

A Wrinkle in Time-- Love, love, love Madeline L'Engle and the books in this series made me feel better as a geeky teenager. They made me feel that it was okay to be different and that was big to me. Same thing with C. S. Lewis' Narina series, so I'll include those in here too.

The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey-- I love to re-read those books and get lost in the world of Pern over and over again.

Okay, I'm tagging Leigh Wyndfield and Brianna St. James, neener neener neener!

Monday, May 23, 2005

And people wonder why I love conferences. . .

Hello everyone!
First, I need to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who sent cyber hugs to me! Honest, I wasn't trolling for sympathy-- not that I'll turn it down though! All your e cards and smiles and hugs have really helped me through this rough patch.

Speaking of rough patches. . .
Okay, so I'm at the hospital waiting for my dad to get out of recovery (his surgery went GREAT!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all the prayers!) and my Nextel blips, it's my husband who's been home all day with the girls.
"I just want to say, it's not my fault."
Now, as any wife/mother knows, those are words to strike fear into the heart of any absent mother.
"What isn't your fault?"
"I was only in the shower ten minutes. The girls were watching a movie, I thought it was safe!"
My anxiety level is now through the roof. It was pretty much red-lined by the surgery already, but this was enough to send me into near collapse.
"What happened?"
"Honest, it was only ten minutes."
"Just tell me!!"
"Well, the girls were watching parent trap and Macayla decided to cut Shannie's hair."
"How much?"
"All the curls."

Now, you need to understand, my daughter Shannon is three and has -- had-- very little hair. It had just started to grow to a very cute little mop of curls in the last six months.
She now looks rather like Annie Lennox.

And people wonder why I love running away from home and going to RT and the like!!
At least my dad got a chuckle out of it.

So far my husband is three for three in the hair cutting department, but at least the other two times the girls cut THEIR OWN HAIR.

And to think I need to write fiction, it's saner than my life!

Thanks again everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Thank God for the internet!

As some of you may know, the last 14 months of my life have had their share of ups and downs. Right now I'm in the middle of a down, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support of my internet friends.

People I haven't seen in person and have only "talked" to on line have sent me wonderfully supportive messages and have told me they are praying for my dad. I honestly don't know what I would have done with out this forum to vent, rage, and gather cyber hugs. I wonder how our mothers dealt with the same issues without this great network of girlfriends?

And to think I didn't want to learn how to use the computer when my husband forced me to learn!
Thank God for once I listened to him!

Good bye for now!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I'm not that old, am I?

I was cleaning up the kitchen today, getting the kids ready for school and thinking about what I had to do in the three hours my middle one is in morning kindergarten when I just stopped for a second and had a "what the heck am I doing?" moment.

When did I become an adult? How the heck did I become the mother of three kids who worries about things like soccer practice and dance class? What happened to the hip chick who used to worry about what she was wearing for the weekend instead of if the soccer uniform was clean?

How did all of this happen without me figuring it out?

I mean, I always knew I wanted to be a wife and mother, but I guess I always thought that when I did I'd feel, well, older. Like my mother.

That got me thinking, is this how my mom always felt? Like it was some big joke she was pulling over on everyone else. "You only THINK I'm a grown up. I'm really still a kid pretending to be grown up."

What defines being grown up anyway? Is it responsibility? Lord knows I have plenty of that. Is is worry? I haven't slept through the night since I had my oldest daughter, I worry about all sorts of things.
Is it something inside us that defines us as ADULTS? If it is, I'm totally missing that. I'm still selfish, I admit it.
My mom was never selfish, she gave up a lot to take care of my sisters and I and my dad. Heck, she still is. I love her, but I don't want to be like that. I LIKE getting my nails done and going out with my friends. I LIKE having a writing career, and I HATE volunteering in the school.

Does this make me a bad mommy, or just different?
And the fact that I worry about it, does that mean I really am a grown up after all??

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I've been tagged!

Okay, I'm just figuring this out. . .
My friend Bree tagged me so now I need to answer and tag someone else. . .
Here I go. . .

If I could be a scientist... I'd find a cure for heart disease, cancer, and the common cold.

If I could be a musician... I'd sing all the time. I've always wanted to be able to sing, sigh. . .

If I could be a linguist.. I'd be able to insult and swear at people and they'd never know it, hahahaha. Could come in handy where I work. . .

If I could be a bonnie pirate... I'd get lots of gold and have a great tan!

If I could be an architect... I'd design and build a kick-butt house with my very own tower room to use as an office. . . and I'd decorate it with FAIRIES!!!!

Here are the categories, now I have to tag someone else. . .
Pick five, and finish them. Tag three others!If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an innkeeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a backup dancer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be a midget stripper...If I could be a proctologist...If I could be a TV-Chat Show host...If I could be an actor...If I could be a judge...If I could be a Jedi...If I could be a mob boss...If I could be a backup singer...If I could be a CEO...If I could be a movie reviewer....

Now I just have to figure out how to tag people. . .

Friday Morning . . .oy

By Friday morning I was a hurting unit. I'd been living on two hours of sleep a night, and I'd had more to drink than I normally do the night before. It was also my last day at RT and I was feeling really down. I knew I had to pack and organize my stuff, but I didn't want to miss anyone, and I was worried about timing. Needless to say, I wasn't my usual charming self.

Also, at some point last night I had lost my name badge holder that had all my pins on it. One of which was a special fairy pin my best friend made for me before my first conference. I was heart broken over that. Plus, my tickets were in my badge holder, so I couldn't get into lunch either. Things got a little worse when I realized I'd lost my diamond earring too. It was a tiny little diamond, but it had been a wedding present from my husband and losing it really upset me.

I kind of walked around in a daze for the rest of the day. All my business cards that I'd been given were in the holder too, so I was bumming over that as well. By the time I sat down to get something to eat, I was tired, sick, depressed, and really bumming about going home. I ended up sitting down with a great group of women who really shook me out of my mood. One total stranger heard my tale of woe and gave me this beautiful bracelet that she'd just bought to make me feel better. It really did to. I never got her name, so I feel like an ingrateful wretch because I should have sent her a thank you note.

That's the best thing about RT, total strangers are there to help, and you can make some of the best friends ever there.

I spent about an hour trying to say goodbye to everyone, it was very sad. Everyone was getting ready for the Out of this World party and the Vampire Ball, and I had to leave. Poop.

I had such a great time at the conference that it was really hard to leave early. I'd crammed as much fun as I could into my 5 days, and by the time I got home at midnight, I was exhausted! My husband picked me up at the airport and complained the whole way home. He has a new respect for me being home with the kids, that's for sure!!

The thing that I remember most about RT is that there were just so many of my favorite people there. I made new friends and got to meet a lot of new people. I wish I had more time to spend with folks because it felt like no sooner had I started a conversation than I saw someone else I had to tell something to about something else. I honestly don't think I finished a conversation the whole week, but I sure laughed a lot!

I can't wait until RT 2006 in Daytona, I won't be leaving a minute early!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Thursday Morning. . .

I'm so excited someone is actually reading this!! Yippee!!
Guess I should worry more about spelling then. . . whoops!

Okay, Thursday morning. I get up after about 4 hours of sleep and head down to the hospitality suite. My shift is supposed to be from 8:30-10:30 am. This is what I get for telling Jennifer Martin that I'm a morning person and don't mind doing the morning shift. ACK!!! The night before I'd been up dancing until I dropped, and now I'm waiting in the lobby for them to open the doors to the hospitality suite.

Except, they aren't opening. It doesn't open until 10:00. I got up, showered, dried my hair and put on make up FOR NOTHING!!! I was kind of depressed to say the least. To battle my depression I entered the contest for one of the capes Mary Wine made and was raffling off. OH MY GOD THESE SUCKERS WERE GORGEOUS!!! I didn't win, but I told her I wanted to commission one. I'll have to email her again. . .
Anyway, I hung around and chatted to people, there were so many people I wanted to talk to that it was hard to get to everyone. I was also trying to cram in a week of fun into 4 days. I did my best. . .
Thursday kind of flew by in a blur, in fact, I'm forgetting great big chunks of it. This is what happens when I don't get enough sleep, I operate in a daze. I swear anyone who met me must think I'm a total ditz. I honestly had not one braincell left.

Well, that night was the Costume Ball, and it was great fun!! There was a dessert bar and it had some fabulous chocolate. Man, I could have rolled out of there. Unfortunately, my dress was so tight already if I ate too much I'd have split the seams.
I was wearing a red dress with white gloves. Well, I took the gloves off to eat because I didn't want to get chocolate all over them. Idiot that I am I put them in my lap. Well, I was talking to someone and wiped my fingers on my white gloves!!!!
You can dress me up, but you can't take me anywhere. . .
Sitting with us was the lovely Lisa Stoddard who made her own very cool costume. They were having a costume contest, and I told her to go up there and enter. She didn't want to because she's rather shy and modest. Well, we forced her to go up AND SHE WON IT!!!! Not only is she gorgeous, but a talented author and can make clothes. If she wasn't so nice I'd have to hate her for having all that talent!!!

After the costume contest the dancing begun, and that's where things got a little rowdie. I hooked up with Beth Ciotta, Jewell Mason, Lori Armstrong, and Mary Stella from Medallion, as well as my roommate Kathy Love. We danced and danced with Heather Graham's son Shane- who is a fabulous dancer by the way, and several of the cover models. A great time was had by all.

Afterwards we ended up in the bar, where apparently I behaved rather badly. By this point I had been drinking a bit more than I should have after only eating chocolate and apparently I was rude. I really hate it that that happened, because overall I had a great time at RT and I hate to think I alienated anyone or was mean. Sigh, maybe some day I'll learn to shut my trap. . .

Anyway, a whole big group of us stayed out until the wee hours of the morning and closed down the bar. It was my last night at RT and boy was it a dozy!!!

Okay, going off in search of pictures, hee hee hee. . .

Bree and CJ, who is also so very sweet. He is honestly one of the nicest people you will ever meet! Posted by Hello

Bree and Peter, he's so sweet! Posted by Hello

Myself and the beautiful Lori Armstrong, boy did we have fun that night! Posted by Hello

Kimberly (a wonderful aspiring author from Canada) Kathy Love, Beth Ciotta, and Briana St. James, my editor at the costume ball Posted by Hello

Jewell Mason, laughing at me as usual, hahahah Posted by Hello

Beth Ciotta and I. Beth made that dress, isn't it lovely? She is so sweet, I just love her to death! Posted by Hello

Mary Stella dancing at the costume ball. She was such a riot to be around!! Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Why me?

I'm not sure anyone is reading my blogs, so I'm just going to babble. I figure I'll want to remember what happened some day anyway.
Okay, Wednesday morning, we finish with the TV spot, which really was pretty cool, and I go upstairs to my room. Now there is no way I can get any sleep, so I shower and get dressed. I have not one speck of makeup on and my hair is in a bun. This is my normal appearance, but not my "Ari the author" appearance. My roommates and I head down to breakfast where we laugh and laugh and pretty much make idiots out of ourselves. One of the the women who was at the TV thingie with me comes over and says, "are you Arianna? You don't look the same." I laughed and said that this was the real me.

After we finished breakfast, I went upstairs and actually did my hair and make up-- for the second time that day! My skin and hair are beginning to mutiny at this point. I go downstairs and meet Jewell Mason (one of my roommies) and we go check on our promo items. While we are headed there, someone grabs us in the hallway asking if we'd be willing to speak on a panel about "the great what if" I said sure!
I'm wearing jeans, Jewell is in sweats, and we end up in this room full of aspiring authors.
Taking notes
Even using tape recorders.
Oh $%^&!
After sitting there in front of this room feeling like a complete idiot, the person running the panel asks us to talk. The rest of the folks I'm with are a little more shy than I am (scope!) so I get up first. Part of me is thinking, I know SQUAT what the heck am I going to teach these people? The other part of me is saying, hey, they need to know that you don't have to have all the answers to write.
Heck, I did almost everything backasswards and still got published, they probably can too!
So I say my thing, really hoping that I can impart something to the poor people listening to me. Meanwhile, I've only had two hours of sleep. I still have to go help stuff bags for the EC party. I get to the bag stuffing room, and it's utter chaos. People are putting out their promo items, and no bags are available. I am now so exhausted nothing is making any sense.
I was basically no help to anyone.
Off topic a bit, but I kind of did that a lot. I told everyone I'd help out, then when the time came, either I had conflicting duties or I ended up not doing all that much. It really bothers me that I was such a goober about things.

Anyway, I finally decide to give up eating and go to sleep so I'm not a complete mess at the EC What's Your Fantasy Party. I sleep like the dead for two hours.
It was a beautiful thing.
I wake up refreshed and ready to go. I dress up in my fairy costume and Kathy did my eye make up. It came out ROCKIN!!!
We had an awesome time at the party. I wish I had gotten more pictures of the costumes, because there were some really great ones. I'll post some pictures of the ones I did get, and if more come in later, I'll post those too.

My roommate Dorine dressed up like a cop and was seen handcuffing cover models. One particular one who wore nothing more than a pair of wings and a tiny sarong with a slit up the side. It made for a great bit of blackmail. Jewell dressed up like Medusa, complete with green snakes in her hair. Her line was hey, I turn men to stone, what more could you ask for? That had me laughing all night. Kathy Love was a goth fairy, and she looked great. Beth Ciotta was a school girl, and she had all the men chasing after her. Julia Templeton was a pirate, and the best costume was worn by Mary Stella. She had on jeans, a sweatshirt, and a telephone head set. On her shirt she had a sign that said. . .
1-900-SEX-4YOU or something to that effect. She was a phone sex operator, and it was a SCREAM!

There were a lot of belly dancers, one in particular, the fabulous author Morgan Hawke managed to wiggle her hips in ways I don't think mine could do without surgery. I have lots of ideas for next year. . .

The party is a smashing success, except that at 12:30, I suddenly hit the wall. Actually, I felt like the wall hit me. I stumbled to my room, still covered in glitter and fall asleep without a clue as to where my roommies are. I have to get up early to be in the Hospitality Suite for 8:30. What was I thinking?

You'll hear all about that next. . .

The amazing Lisa! Yes, she is that pretty. If she wasn't so nice I could hate her, but alas she's sweet as can be! Posted by Hello

Ari--with red eye-- and Bree, another goth fairy Posted by Hello

See my costume? And I made it myself too!  Posted by Hello

Ari and the Lisa half of Ashleigh Raine at the TV thingy at O' dark-hundred. . . Not bad for the crack of dawn. . . Posted by Hello

Ryan, the poor cover model who got stuck with me, and Maria, the fashion plate! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Saga Continues. . .

Now's where things start getting interesting. . .

On Wednesday morning the authors and cover models were asked to do a promo event with the local television channel. The "woman on the street" TV personality would interview local authors, the cover model contestants, and Kathryn Faulke, owner of RT. We were to dress up in costume and kind of mill around looking like we were having fun. The idea was to draw people to the conference and book fair, which I believe it did.

The only problem was, we had to be ready at 5:00 am. It wasn't easy.
On two hours of sleep, I put on an evening gown, gloves, did my hair and actually wore MAKE UP. I think I deserve an award for that alone. I was the first one downstairs and I think I scared one of the maintenance workers out if his mind. I'm sure he was wondering what some chick in an evening gown was doing wandering around alone at 5:00 am.

Anyway, I ended up standing behind one of the cover models, Ryan, who was very nice. I spent most of my time talking to the Lisa half of Ashleigh Raine (who is the sweetest thing!) and making sarcastic comments, cause I'm not the sweetist thing. Every twenty minutes or so, we'd have to stand near the cover models while the camera panned them. It was a hardship, let me tell you.
Well, the TV lady had the idea that we should ACT OUT a scene from one of Heather Graham's books. It had something to do with being held against his length, and caressing his chest. Now, I'm not exactly comfortable caressing anything with someone I haven't even had a drink with, so I ended up laughing hysterically in embarrassment. Poor Ryan, I blew his ratings gambit out of the water.

So that ends and I slide away, feeling like a teenager cause I laughed at this poor guy, who was actually quite nice and ended up winning the readers choice part of the Mr. Romance contest. Soooo, we're milling some more and TV chickie comes up to me and says, "Do you have a favorite cover model, and would you be willing to name him on camera?"
I am in shock. I've had all of two hours of sleep and am not processing things well. I said, "Sure."
I'm thinking I'll say something like, "Well, they're all so nice and attractive, but I'd have to pick number 5 because he was my partner."

What I ended up saying, on the air for all of St. Louis to hear was, "I think I need to do extensive research first."

And it was only 8:00 in the morning. Wait until you hear what happened next. . .

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sights of St. Louis

On Tuesday my friends and I decided to tour St. Louis a bit. We were slightly hung over, and very tired, but still really happy to be together. First we went to the St. Louis Arch. It was way cool!!!
The only problem is, I'm slightly (scope alert) claustrophobic. Okay, a lot claustrophobic. In order to go up in the arch you have to get on a transport. The transport looks like something Mork would use. (Anyone remember Mork and Mindy?) It looks very much like an egg, but it holds 5 people. On the way up I was distracted by two WONDERFUL people who had actually heard of me! Or at least they told me they had. Either way, the shock of it all helped me get to the top without having a panic attack.

Once at the top, I was able to take some really cool pictures and call my husband, yay! On the trip back down, I survived because the very funny Mary Stella kept me laughing the whole way down. I had an anxious moment or two when we stopped at the bottom and the doors wouldn't open right away. It was probably only two heart beats, but it was enough to make my knees weak.

From the arch we went to a near by river boat that went up and down a small section on the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the beautiful sunny day had turned downright NASTY at this point. I learned that St. Louis is the only place that has as bad weather shifts as New England. Go figure. Thank God RT is in Daytona next year!

On the way back, Julia Templeton, Kathy Love and I headed to the mall to find some things to fill Julia's basket with, and I needed some diet coke to survive the mornings. After some searching, we found a Walgreens, and were very lucky not to get kicked out.
Kathy grabbed a terrycloth tank top that said Carona on the front and followed Julia around the store with it, trying to get her to include it in her bag.

Even worse, our other friend Jewell Mason had asked us to pick up some cigarettes for her while we were out. "Anything menthol" she said. Well, neither Kathy nor I are smokers so we had no clue. The two of us are standing at the check out line trying to figure out which of the millions of brands of cigarettes are menthol. Finally, Kathy says, "Let's get her Kools" so we did.
The check out lady said, "Does she smoke Kools:?"
We said, "Are they menthol?"
Lady, "Yes, but does she smoke Kools?"
By this point we've already bought them and bagged them. "She just told us to get her anything menthol."
Lady, "Then why you getting her ghetto cigarettes?" At which point I almost choked I was laughing so hard.
Kathy Love answers, "Cause they'll make her cool. It says so right on the package."
We left before they could call secruity. . .

More tomorrow. . .

From the ground. Posted by Hello

And the other side. . . Posted by Hello

View from the top of the Arch Posted by Hello

The Millennium Hotel. Sorry, I can't figure out how to put it straight Posted by Hello

View out my hotel room window Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

What happens at RT SHOULD stay at RT, but. . .

I'm going to dish all the deets I can remember about the conference here!
Now, a word of warning, some of the stories may have a slight exaggeration to them. I'm a writer, it's my job to give the truth scope (thank you Kathy Love for explaining that to me!) You'll have to decide how much is truth and how much is scope. . .

The conference officially started on Wednesday the 27th, but my friends and I flew in on Monday the 25th. RT conferences are so jam packed with things to do that there is no time whatsoever for visiting before the craziness begins. Plus, having the extra day to check in and get settled helps me feel ready to tackle all the exciting events.

Okay, that's crap. I just wanted to go early to visit with my friends and have adult conversations with people I only see once or twice a year!

So, we get to the hotel around 3:30 by the time all was said and done. After checking out the rooms and getting freshened up, we had some supper and waited for the rest of our party to arrive. Well of course we waited in the bar, it was conveniently located near the front doors so we could see everyone. (scope alert!)

Well, by 9:00 when our friends arrived, we were in FINE form. As we waited for our buddies to arrive we talked and laughed and met up with some other folks who were there early as well. It was a great deal of fun. Something to note though is I'm a loud, obnoxious laugher. When I laugh it isn't a lady-like twitter, it's a full blown, belly laugh. Needless to say, a drunk Ari is even louder than normal and we were quite the spectacle.

When I tackle hugged Kathy Love and Mary Stella in the driveway of the hotel, it was even worse.

This was the calmest night we had all week, and I think we didn't go to bed until around 1:00 or 2:00 am.

I'm setting this up for you so you'll understand how the rest of the week played out, things only got more fun from here on out. . .

More details later this week, and pictures too!