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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Just having fun. . .

Whew! Time to take a minute and relax. I've done a lot of relaxing today, and you know what? The world hasn't come to an end, my house hasn't fallen down around my ears (although it does look like a bomb went off in it) and my children aren't covered in filth and running around like barbarians. I guess it's okay to take a break every now and then.

Lately I've been very busy with edits, trying to write my latest book, running the children to soccer, CCD, dance and pre-school, going to work, and oh yeah, making sure everyone in the house has food and clean clothes. Today I should have been writing, but instead I plopped my butt on the couch and read a book in my jammies.

My 3 year old played dolls next to me or climbed up on my lap and took a nap, she didn't care that I wasn't writing, or editing she was just happy to have me around.

I guess we all need a lazy day every now and again. I know I'll feel guilty about this day next week when I'm behind schedule and my characters are making me nuts, but for today I'm feeling pretty darn content.

It's a nice change. . .

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Oh, and thanks everyone for the comments, Chey, I love your blog! You are too sweet, and Mary, don't worry I'd never rework something and send it back to the same publisher without them requesting it. I've got other ideas already perculating and that book is already in another publisher's slush pile, hahhahaha.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Are you crafty?

Hey Everyone!
First I'd like to say thanks so much for all your support about the rejection. I wasn't expecting anything different, but it's nice to know I'm loved! I'm still waiting for it to bother me, but so far I'm feeling pretty good!

Maybe it has something to do with LEGENDARY TAILS 3 coming out today! WA HOOO!!!! I'm so excited to have a release after so long!!!! Yippee!

Now, on to my tale of woe. . .

As many of you know, I am not a craft person. I'd like to be, I try to be-- I have a glue gun and everything--but I'm not. Right now I'm trying to make a headpiece for the Faery Ball at RT. Why am I starting 7 months before the event you ask? Because it'll take me that long to figure out how to do it and not burn the house down with said glue gun.

Part of the problem is I have no artistic talent whatsoever. Nadda, none, zippo. I have no vision either. I just know I want SOMETHING and I want it to have beads and be shiny and sparkly. I also have no memory for color, so I'm kind of afraid the material I bought (which is a really cool shimmery color) is going to clash horribly with the dress that I'm going to wear. If nothing else, it'll be interesting to see what happens by the time I'm done.

If you don't see any blogs from me for a while you'll know I've either glued myself to the counter or burned my fingertips so badly I can't type. . .

Keep your fingers crossed. . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Big 'R'

Well, the wait is finally over.
I got my rejection from Silhoutte Bombshell today.
I think I should be more upset about it, but I'm really okay with it. There's probably several reasons for that.
1. I'm a nervous wreck about my book coming out tomorrow.
2. I kind of expected it
3. I got a lot of great feedback from the editor.
4. They've had the book for 16 months so the anticipation has kind of dulled.

The editor who rejected me gave me a TON of great feedback which is like gold in this business. Everything she said really made sense and will hopefully help me to be a better writer, and that's important to me.

You want to know the funniest part about all of this though? In the same mail delivery I got the Bombshell books I ordered and a sweepstakes/survey from Harlequin Books, hahahahahaha. Wonder if they got a bulk rate for the mail?

Now I just have one more book to wait on and we'll see what happens there! In the meantime I've got three releases lined up with Ellora's Cave and I'm writing a fourth. Not a bad future at all!

Take care everyone!

Monday, September 19, 2005


I don't know why, but for some reason the fall always makes me want to clean everything out. Yesterday I went through all the closets--including the linen closet-- and cleared out a bunch of stuff.
I gave seven bags of children's clothes and shoes to St. Vincent DuPaul's Place
8 Bags of my clothes and shoes (yes, 8 garbage bags) went to a half-way house and
3 Bags of sheets, towels, and blankets went to a battered women's shelter.

Last week I sent a box of stuff down to Katrina victims too. I'm clearing things out with a vengeance!

Maybe it's a latent nesting instinct that makes me clean up to prepare for winter. Maybe it's just now I'm in the house more and can't stand the messes, who knows? I just know it felt good to get rid of some of the things I'll never fit into again, or don't have any place to wear them again.

Next comes the play room. If my children aren't careful they'll be lucky to find a single Barbie left over! Look out, Mom's on a rampage!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

How soon we forget. . .

I'm babysitting today.
All day.
A five month old.
Who's never been away from her mother before.

My youngest is 3 1/2 and I've forgotten all about baby cries, bottle feeding, diapers and stuff like that. The first hour was kind of fun. It was neat to hold a tiny baby again and listen to her little noises.

We're into hour three and she only just stopped fussing. We have 7 more hours to go.

There's a very good reason I'm not having any more children. Even if it wasn't for the fact that I'm just too darn poor to raise a 4th child, I've kind of gotten to enjoy children who can walk on their own.

My oldest two are 19 months apart. I couldn't wait to have another baby after my oldest stopped doing all those "baby" things. After the second one I really looked forward to having the third. And even once I had the third I really enjoy the baby stage and considered having another.

I'm so glad I didn't. Having three kids in 4 years was an awful lot, but more than that, I just couldn't do it again. I'm so happy to have gotten rid of bottles and diapers and exer-saucers.

If ever I had a doubt about whether or not I was "done" this cured it. I'll enjoy my children as they go through each stage of their lives and not mourn for when they were babies and couldn't talk back.

Okay, maybe just a little bit. . .

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Okay, I admit I'm a glutton for punishment. I willingly subject myself to humiliation and dejection on a regular basis.

What am I talking about?
Not book reviews, although I read those with equal amounts dread and anticipation. No, I'm talking about the rankings.

What is this you ask? How can she be a lunatic over something I don't even know about? Quite easily I'm afraid.

Here's how it goes, when you have a book for sale on Amazon every time someone buys your book it pushes your ranking lower. The closer to zero the better.
I am currently in the 600,000's.

Does this in reality mean diddly? Nope. It only accounts for sales through Amazon, not in bookstores or on Ellora's Cave's website.

Does it still gnaw at me like a terminal disease? Yes. Why? I don't know, other than this is a very concrete way I can judge "how I'm doing" and the better the number the better I think I'm doing and therefore the better I'm liked.

Yes, I know that isn't logical but I'm a massively insecure writer, what do you want from me, confidence? I've got to wonder if there really are any truly confident writers out there who put something out and go "Damn, I'm good!" And if they actually do say that, do they mean it or is it just a cover?

I used to think confidence was like money, you either had it or you didn't on various levels. Now I'm wondering if it's more like a sliding scale. I have confidence in some things but not in others. Like I'm very confident in my interpersonal relationships with my close friends and family, it's not something I even think about. I'm confident in my teaching abilities, both high school and kickboxing. But when it comes to my looks ACK! Nope, the well is dry in that area. And apparently the well is pretty tapped out in my writing area too.

Does anyone else feel like this?
And do any of my fellow author buds haunt Amazon too?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A writing blog!

I figure if there is anyone reading this besides my buds, they might actually want to know what goes on inside my brain. If nothing else it will make you feel normal by comparison. . .
A little tangent here, I tried to put a hit counter on the blog and for the life of me I can't find it. I'm pretty sure I did it right too, but I can't see it anywhere. So if you happen to see a hit counter, could you let me know if I've gotten any hits? Hahahahahaha

Where were we??? Oh yeah, what goes on in my brain. . .

Right now I'm two chapters into the sequel to my EC space adventure REBEL'S LUST, for now the title is SLOAN'S HEART, but that may change. I've started this story about five times and changed the setting at least three but I finally think I may be on to something. I'm hoping that once I get a few chapters into it things will start to click and I'll be able to actually get some significant pages done on it.

I'm not exactly a planner or a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants). I start off with a vague idea of what I want to write and set up a rough, very very rough, outline. Once I get a feel for the characters they seem to take over and I just go along for the ride. I've had stories that were two chapters away from being finished change on me. Quite often I have no idea what's going to happen until I type it.

This can fun sometimes. And other times it makes things very very complicated. For example I can never submit three chapters and a synopsis to a publisher for consideration, because quite often the finished product looks nothing like the synopsis.

One thing I've learned after writing 14 books is that there is no "right" way to do things as a writer. There are as many ways to write as there are authors. It always amazes me when I see people hanging on every word of a published author, like if they remember and do everything that person says and did, they'll be multi-million dollar authors too. When push comes to shove, a good writer tells a good story and however they get there is moot.

That's not to say you can't learn something from everyone out there, because you can. There's a ton of information available if you only look for it. The trick is to read it, think about it and do what's best for you. That does not mean you do things like send unsolicited manuscripts to publishing houses, call up editors and tell them all about your book, or shove your carefully handwritten tome under the stall door in the bathroom at a conference. What it means is, listen to what successful people have done and learn from it, but write your own story the best you possibly can.

I don't care how "perfect" your manuscript is in mechanics, if it isn't a compelling STORY no one is going to buy it or read it.

That is the sum total advice I have to give. I can't tell you about story arcs, goals, motivation, or anything else. I write a story and hope the characters give me something wonderful to work with. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I fall flat on my face, but in either case I have no one to blame but myself!

End of writing blog, next time I'm going back to whining about my children, hahahha

Friday, September 09, 2005

I love New England in the Autum!!

I love, love, love the early fall here in New England. The temperature is in the upper 70's during the day and cools off at night, pretty soon the trees will start to change color, and all the mums are coming out. It's a veritble cornucopia of color!

And better yet, my work load is cut in half! Not just because the kids go back to school-- although that's nice. I'm an avid gardener and love annuals, but with as dry as it's been I've also been an avid waterer and weeder. We also have a pool that I'm in charge of. Keeping up with it isn't hard, but it is tedius. I just pulled up some of my plants that had died from the heat, and pretty soon we'll close down the pool. The mums still dress up the yard, but I don't have to do anything to take care of them. Yay!

Fall really is my favorite season. Good things seem to happen for me in the fall. I got married in October, my first daughter was born in October, my first ever book was released in October. It's a pretty good month for me. Yup, I enjoy fall until around mid-November when it gets cold and rainy and I have to start thinking about holidays.

When I was a kid I loved summer and winter because we had time off from school and we could either go swimming or sleding. Now that I'm somewhat older, I really enjoy the "in between" seasons much more.

Dear lord, does that mean I'm maturing? Eeek!

Anyone else have a favorite season? How come?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

In the beginning. . .

Hey everyone!
Thanks for the supportive comments! I'm pretty focused on getting back down to a healthy weight right now. But be warned, if I get nasty in the next month you'll know why! I really hate dieting--obviously.

I love food. There's no two ways about it. My entertaining involves food, my vacations involve food, my leisure time involves food. Basically, if an event involves food and better yet, free drinks, I'm there.

I have comfort food, summer food, winter food, holiday food, stress food, pms food. You name it, if it requires a celebration or a crutch, I have just the right food for it.

Entertaining by the pool? Hot taco dip and margaritas

Friends over for the game? Chips and salsa and beer

Holiday party? Hot crab dip and wine

Stressing out over family members? Chips and dip and/or Cheetos

PMS? Popcorn and chocolate in equal parts

Feeling down? Any form of potato with or without some sort of cheese (I love cheese fries!)

Actually, I've never met a potato I didn't like. Dr. Atkins is rolling over in his grave at my preferred diet. I remember when I lived in my first apartment I never once had meat in it. Not because I'm a vegaterian-- I'm not-- but because I lived on pasta and popcorn and baked potatoes. Oh, and bagels. Basically I never met a starch I didn't like either.

Except turnips. Do they count as starches?

Besides loving food, I also hate feeling like I'm depriving myself of something. That's why fad diets won't ever work for me. I could be able to eat whatever I wanted but if the diet said I couldn't have one thing--even if it was something I didn't like-- I'd immediatly want that one thing. I'm contrary that way!

Did I have a point to this conversation? Um, actually no, just so you're aware that I'm SUFFERING by dieting and please put up with me when I get cranky and miserable, hahahaha.

I'll keep you posted. . .

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's official

It's official. I now weigh what I did the day before I delievered my youngest child. I have never weighed this much without having a fetus inside my womb in my life.

I've been making excuses for my weight gain over the last two years, stress being the biggest excuse. But all of that is over now. I have to face facts that I just can't eat like a teenage boy and expect to fit in my jeans again.

I was doing pretty good when I could keep up with my kickboxing classes, but with the kids' schedules I can't get there as much as I used to. Has that stopped me from eating like I used to? NOOOOOO.

So here is my goal, I'm going to walk every morning and try to stick to Weight Watchers weight loss plan. I'm hoping I can grab a kickboxing or karate class here and there, but I can't depend on that any longer.

You've heard it here first, I'm making it a point to stick to this diet until the Romantic Times convention in May. With the convention being on the beach, I want to make sure no one drags me back into the ocean screaming "beached whale! We've got to save it!"

I'll never be a size 2. Heck, for that matter I'll never be a size 6 or 8 either, but if I can be healthy and fit into my jeans I'll be happy. I used to get discouraged when I'd see twiggy little chicks running around with their mid-drifts showing and not a bulge in sight but I've realized that I'll NEVER EVER look like that. I'm just not built to EVER have my stomach see the light of day. At least not without a great deal of embarrassment involved. I've changed my goal from looking like a cover model to NOT looking like I'm pregnant.

I may not grace the cover of Cosmo, but at least I'll be able to snap my pants. . .

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Can someone be too helpful?

I’m not asking this as in “if she offers one more suggestion as to how my hero should kiss the heroine I’ll kill her” but as in when does helping others become harmful to oneself?

As many of you know, I have two sisters. One of whom is in the army reserves down in Georgia. My sister Patti has just recently gotten off active duty after being called up for the war in Iraq. She was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to go overseas this time. (She went over twice for Desert Storm.) She even got to stay at home instead of living on the base, but she had to drive two hours each way in order to do that. Many times she had to work 12 + hour shifts then drive the two hours home and take care of her husband and three kids. (My brother in law really pitched in, but he was working nights so she had to get home.) Oh, and the kicker is, she took a 20% pay cut.

So now here is this mother of three serving her country, putting in 17-hour days, missing out on family events, and basically running herself into the ground and going into debt out the wa-freaking-zoo. After two years of this madness, her tour ended in March and she was able to go back to her old job and work towards digging herself out of debt. The whole family got together at her house in April and things were looking up.

In comes KATRINA. And here is where I think her big heart is going to be the death of her. She no sooner starts to get back to a routine than she hears about the hurricane coming into LA. My niece’s boyfriend is from LA. My sister invites his (the boyfriend, who is very nice by the way) mother and brother to stay with them after they are evacuated. So now she has four kids, three adults, and three (possibly more) dogs to feed and clean up after. AND since her department in the army also works with FEMA, she might end up re-activated!!!!

My sister is obviously a much nicer person than I am. I wish there was some way for me to help her. I’m feeling extremely frustrated right now because she’s in Georgia and I’m in the North East and can do very little from here.

I’m a firm believer in the Karma Wheel. I think that when you’re on the bottom of it and everything is shitty, eventually the wheel will turn and it’ll be your turn on top. But lately it seems like my sister has gotten rolled over and crushed under the Karma Wheel. And all because she’s a kind person who wants to help others! I need to figure out a way to help her before she helps others right into the poor house.

Anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Good Books--or not

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. That will come to a screaming halt as I go back to writing on Monday, but for the month of August I let myself enjoy books as a reader again. I love books, I always have. That's probably why I became a writer. I've never heard of a single author who didn't read like crazy. Makes sense, I've never heard of a chef who didn't like food either.

Anyway, I've gotten my hands on just a ton of books and probably read close to 50 in the month of August. Some of them were good, some of them were AWESOME and some were really bad. The ones that were bad weren't necessarily poorly written. Some of them didn't grab my attention, some of them had mistakes that I always make so it pushed some hot buttons for me, and some of them were just downright boring.

It got me to thinking, what makes a good book? Yesterday I posted about my friend Lori's book that had me up until 2 because I couldn't put it down. Now this book hasn't been in the hands of an editor yet, it's still in a somewhat "rough" stage. I mean, that's the point of sending it to a critique partner, but still it had me hooked almost immediately. Some of the other books I read and didn't like came from big publishing houses and had obviously been through edits already. (Duh, or else they wouldn't be in a published novel.) What was it about Lori's book, or any of the other books that I loved that worked that magic?

And more importantly, how can I do the same thing, hahahahaha

Uh, I had more to say on this, some of it might have even been profound, but my darling children just created a major disaster in my kitchen and I've lost my train of thought. I guess I'll end with this random idea. We all have stories to tell, the trick is to tell them in such a manner that people want to hear them.

I'm thinking that's probably going to be a life long challenge. I hope I'm up for it!

Friday, September 02, 2005

My new cover! Yay!

If I do this right, I should be posting a picture of my cover for my November release PLEASURE RAIDERS--'CAUSE IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BOOTY. A space pirate anthology from Ellora's Cave. My story is called CONCUBINE'S REVENGE and takes place in the same world as LUCY'S LOVER and REBEL'S LUST. It's doesn't have the same characters, but is in the same world.

Now let's see if I do this right. . .

Yay! How about that, I actually got it up there. I'm so drooling over this guy's biceps, sigh. I don't normally go for really muscled men, but in his case I'll make an exception!

Thank You!

Thank you all for making me feel much better about humanity! It was great to hear that other countries are pitching in to help out the victims of Katrina. My cynicism never lasts for long-- those rose colored glasses again-- so when it hits it makes me cranky all day. Now I can start off my morning in a better mood.

Actually, considering I got only about 4 1/2 hours of sleep, I'm doing pretty darn good. My friend LORI ARMSTRONG ( sent me a copy of her manuscript HALLOWED GROUND to critique and it kept me up until 2 in the morning!!! I had to put it away because I was so caught up in the story I wasn't critiquing it! Well, that and it was 2 in the morning and my girls catch the bus at 8.

This book so rocked! I'm not quite finished with it yet, and it's killing me. I believe this book comes out in 2007, so you'll have a long wait for it. NEENER NEENER NEENER! hahahaha. If you haven't read her book BLOOD TIES you can pick that one up now(at Medallion Press) to get a taste of her writing style. I just reccommend you don't start reading it at night when you have to get up early the next morning.

I have several friends who are authors on the cusp of greatness-- at least in my opinion, hahahaha. Mark my words, you'll be seeing the names LEIGH WYNDFIELD, BETH CIOTTA, LORI G. ARMSTRONG, and KATHY LOVE on the NY Times Bestsellers list someday.
(For the rest of my friends, don't yell at me, it's moring and I've only had 4 hours of sleep. I love you all too and think you're destined for greatness as well, hahahaha.)

In fact, if I can figure out how to save these posts I'm going to so that when they do make it I can say I TOLD YOU SO! Of course I haven't learned how to put links on here yet so Lord only knows how I'm going to figure out how to save anything!

Sigh, computer genius I'm not. . .

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cynicism Alert

Just a warning, I'm going to be breaking my normal "non-confrontational blogging rule" with this post. Generally I try to keep my posts upbeat and refrain from my somewhat sarcastic nature as much as possible.

Actually, in general I try to avoid confrontational issues as often as I can because I usually don't have all the facts and can't add anything to a discussion. What's the point of getting into a debate when I have no idea what's going on? I like my rose colored glasses and refuse to take them off in order to read about murder and mayhem in the newspaper. Is this the right thing to do? Probably not, but it's keeping me out of therapy so I'm going with it.

BUT in this instance I need to say something. . .

I've been watching the coverage from down south on hurricane Katrina. The devestation and destruction down there is just heartbreaking to see. Many people I'm familiar with if not necessarily friends with on different author loops have lost EVERYTHING. My friend Angie has no idea if she'll have a home to go back to.

Now I ask you, what foreign countries are going to offer aid to the United States to help us through this disaster?

How many millions of dollars have Americans sent over to help tsunami victims? Earthquake victims? Not to mention anyone else who has some sort of calamity either natural or manmade?

I'm not even talking about the help the government has given using our military personnel, I'm talking about collections that the American people have taken up on their own and sent overseas.

Do you think the people in France are putting up little jars at their grocery store checkout lines for donations to hurricane Katrina victims?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe my PMS has caused me to be cynical. If there are any readers from other countries, I'd love to hear what they think. I'm just very curious as to how the rest of the world will react when we need help.

My father, a very wise man, once told me that there are givers and takers in this world. I've seen this truth played out over and over again throughout my life. Now I have to wonder, who gives back to the givers?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. . .