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, January 19, 2006


I have a lot to do in the next two days. A LOT!!! I leave for my vacation on Saturday morning at 4:00. Before I leave I need to do grocery shopping for the people who are taking care of my children, clean the house because my mother-in-law is coming on Friday, write notes to the kids' teachers, do the laundry, change the sheets, set out new towels, take the girls to dance class, take my 4 year old and her friend to Chuck E. Cheese, clean the litter box, water the plants, wind the clock, make dinners, do a list mommy day at EC, go no mail on all my groups, send out thank you notes from the 4 year old's birthday, by a birthday present for her friend's birthday, go to Weight Watchers, go to the bank, return the library books. . .

Okay, I can't even think about all the other things I have to do. That's why I have lists.
I LOVE lists!
I have lists for what to pack, what to pack at the last minute, what I'm going to wear, what I need to do, what I need to buy, who I need to talk to etc. Right now on any given surface of my house there is a minimum of one list. Sometimes two.
Writing down what I need to do, and better yet, checking items off as I do them gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I feel like if I write it down I won't forget to do it, so that takes the stress off.
Well, some of it anyway.

And, on that note, this will probably be my last blog entry until I get back from the cruise. Tomorrow is insane so I doubt I'll get much computer time and then I'll be sitting on a beach chair in the Caribbean sipping fruity drinks with mini-umbrellas. Hope you have fun without me, and don't do anything I wouldn't do. . . that gives you A LOT of leeway!!!!

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Release Day!

A release day! My release day! Yayayayayayayayaya!!!!!
My book BEHIND THE ENCHANTED DOOR is out today!!!!!!

I'm a little excited, can you tell?

It's been a YEAR since I've had a single release. I've been in two anthologies, but nothing solo since last January. This release is especially nerve wracking for me because it's different from anything I've ever written before.

I had this particularly vivid dream one night about trying to get through this mysterious door that took me to a land filled with fairies, dragons, and flying horses. (Pegasi? Pegasuses?) When I woke up I knew I had to write it. So, as soon as I finished the book I was in the middle of I decided to start in on this story. The entire time I had to wait the characters clawed and scratched at my brain waiting to get out.

When I finally got the chance to write the darn book, it wouldn't come out right. I had to scrap the first three chapters and start from scratch. It was like the characters said, "Well thank heavens, it's about time!" and the story flew from my fingertips in no time at all.

Then the wait came. Would my editor like it? It was different from my futuristics that she'd liked. What if she didn't like it? I was a wreck. Thank heavens for some good friends (Big shout out to Jewell and Leigh!) who talked me of the ledge of insanity. I can honestly say I was a pain in the ass.

I have so many people to thank for getting this book out, my friends, my editor Bree, my publicist Dorine who believed in me and also had to listen to me whine. Writing a book is definitely a collective effort!

Hopefully they'll take as much joy in the release of this book as I do!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Last week I got my 7 books to judge for the Rita contest. For those of you who don't have any idea what the Ritas are, they are like the Emmy awards for Romance writers. It's a BIG deal to get nominated, final, and especially to win. I didn't enter the contest because I didn't have a print book released in time last year to enter, and as of yet RWA doesn't have an erotica category. In any case, I kind of figured it was my "civic" duty to volunteer to judge because I really don't do squat for RWA otherwise.

I wasn't planning on getting the books the week before I left for my cruise, but hey, what's a little more stress?

I wanted to be VERY objective about the books I got. I looked at the covers, the back cover blurbs, and did my best to ignore the author names on the books. I really feel that RWA should strip the books of any identifying clues so you judge the book on the writing, not on the reputation of the author.

Judging the books has been much harder than I thought.

Three of the books were category books that I generally wouldn't read if given the choice. I had to focus on the craft of the writer, how they managed to draw me into the story , was it emotionally satisfying? Did I like the characters, could I root for them to succeed? It ain't easy writing a category romance, you have lots of parameters to work around. Just because I didn't like the category didn't mean I could penalize the author for it.

I think being a teacher helped a lot. I can't grade according to how much I like or dislike a student, so I used that same mindset for my Rita books.

It has been a very enlightening experience for me. I'm still a newbie author, I have HUGE insecurities about my writing abilities. I never volunteered to judge before because I didn't feel that I was qualified to judge people so much farther along in their careers. Although I'm by no means an expert, I am a HUGE reader so I can honestly say I did my best to judge the books on both their evidence of craft and on reader appeal.

I'm just glad there are other folks reading the books too. I'd love to know how my scores compared to other people's scores. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

For all of you who entered the Rita who may or may not be reading this blog, kudos to you! It takes a lot of moxie to put yourself on the line like that and I congratulate every one of you for having the guts to do it.

Maybe someday I'll find the same nerve and enter myself. . .
or maybe not!

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's gonna be a long day. . .

It is 7:09 in the morning and I'm wide awake. I've been up since at least 5:00, fighting to go back to sleep. My girls don't have school today which means I could sleep in, but NOOOOOOOOOO I'm completely awake. I've started a load of laundry, fed the cat, fed the dog, and did the left over dishes from last night.

Did I mention that everyone else is still sleeping? So here it is, 7:00 and I'm on the computer, typing quietly with only a muted desk lamp on to keep me from going blind. My youngest daughter--part of the reason I'm up so darn early--is asleep on the couch behind me so I can't do too much more without waking her up.

The internet is indeed the savior of insomniacs. . .

Oh, I want to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to Cheyenne McCray for her AWESOMENESS!!! If anyone besides me reads the comments section you'll notice Chey pops in quite regularly. This woman is so busy she makes me look like a slacker. She is also one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met. She took time out of her damn busy schedule to read my book BEHIND THE ENCHANTED DOOR that comes out on Wednesday and give me an advanced quote. I can't tell you how much that means to a newbie like myself.

In the great sea of books out there, consumers have millions of books to choose from so getting them to pick yours takes a lot of work. Hey, I understand that, money is hard to come by and why would you want to waste it on someone you don't know? Lots of people know Cheyenne McCray, especially after her FABULOUS book FORBIDDEN MAGIC came out. That sucker is HOT! And I'm not just talking about the sex scenes. I read that book in one sitting and wanted MORE MORE MORE. (Luckily there's a sequel coming out! Yay!)
Sorry, went off on a tangent there. . . Anyway, the point I'm trying to make in my little sleep deprived way is that I appreciate the help of the authors who have gone before me and paved the way for my success. I really, really hope that as I grow as an author I too can help others.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Big News!

First, I'd like to thank everyone for comiserating with me over the woes of housework instead of complaining about the fact that I used my blog to whine. It's good to have friends!

Second, I have some big news!!!
I've sold some books to Samhain Publishing!!! Yippee!
I'm not going to leave Ellora's Cave and I'm not going to stop trying to get in with bigger print publishers, but it's nice to have a place to send my books that don't fit in other places. It's a great feeling to have someone excited about my writing again.

I have no idea when my first book will come out, but as I get more information I'll keep you posted. I do know my book BEHIND THE ENCHANTED DOOR will come out from Ellora's Cave NEXT WEEK!!! EEEEKKKK!!

I'm so excited about the release of this book. It's a little different avenue for me, but I had to write this story. I had a dream about discovering a hidden door and following it into a fairy land. I knew I needed to write the story the next morning. I'm a little nervous about the reaction people will have to it because it is different from other things I've written, but I'm thrilled to see it go out!

Okay, now I need to go back to folding laundry. Have I mentioned that I HATE LAUNDRY???

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Blurg. I've spent most of my day doing two things I really hate. Grocery shopping and laundry. I have three children, a husband, a cat, and a dog. That doesn't sound like much, but honestly I feel like I feed and do laundry for a platoon of dirty marines. Dirty, hungry marines.

When I go grocery shopping I haul hundreds of dollars of food into the cart until it's overflowing and I have to be careful not to go over any bumps so the whole thing doesn't fall over. Then I haul all the food onto the conveyer belt, then it all goes back into the cart. Then into the car. Then out of the car and into the house. Then I have to unload it all and put it away. Talk about a workout!

After that I have to do my children's laundry. You'd think three little girls whose combined weight is less than a hundred pounds wouldn't have so darn much laundry but I swear they must change clothes three times a day. I do laundry just for them 3 times a week and could probably do it more often.

What does this have to do with writing? Not a darn thing, but it's all I did today and I need to complain about it to someone. Aren't you the lucky souls who got picked?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I did it!

I did it!
I spoke publicly about writing erotica. It wasn't as hard as I thought, actually. The ladies at the RWA meeting were very nice and extremely welcoming. Luckily I had the help of my friend Kate to fill in the parts where I struggled to come up with something to say.

After the meeting we went to this really good restaurant and had a nice meal and talked like crazy. It was really neat for me to be able to talk about writing with other people who UNDERSTAND. I'm seriously considering joining the chapter. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I'm already so freaking busy I can barely juggle my writing and my life as it is.

I know I need to carve out the time for ME but that's hard to explain to three little girls who just want their mom around. Guilt is a terrible thing, and being Irish and Catholic I'm doubly prone to it.

Sigh, I guess I'll have to really think about it and decide if I can be split in even more ways and still be everything I need to be to everyone who needs me!
Man, what a convoluted sentence! And I call myself a writer! Yesh!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Public speaking

I am not a shy person. At least I'm not shy unless I'm around a stunningly good looking guy, which doesn't happen too often. I'm a teacher so speaking in front of people doesn't bother me at all. When you've had to teach a roomful of kids who are drug dealers, on house arrest, or ex-cons talking to adults who aren't trying to kill you is NOTHING.

That being said, tomorrow I'm giving a talk at the local RWA meeting. I know a sum total of one person there. When the president of the chapter asked me to speak I said no problem. I told her I could talk about the fire service, punching up fight scenes, or writing erotica. I honestly thought she'd pick one of the first two.


So tomorrow I'm going to talk to a room full of people about writing sex.

Now, considering I've written any number of books which have all had sex in them, you wouldn't think it would be that hard.

Well it is.

I like to read hot books and have for years. Heck I was reading about sex long before I even knew what some of the things they were talking about were. I naturally write hot, it's not something I consciously decided to do, it just happens. That isn't to say my editor hasn't stepped in and said, "increase the intensity here, give more detail there" etc. but you get my point.

I feel like a big fraud standing up in front of a group of people and trying to pretend I'm an expert at this. Regardless, I have made up handouts and sort of know what I'm going to say. I should probably write up some cue cards but I doubt I will. Heck, I still have to figure out what to wear! And I have a big, huge zit on my chin too. Lovely.

Sigh, this professional author thing is tough to fake. . .

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My life as the sitcom

Okay, first I want to tell all of you who live in nice warm climates like ARIZONA or KEY WEST that you suck. (Not really but it's 27 here right now and anything over 40 looks wonderful!)

Some of you may have remembered me saying that my life resembles an episode of "I Love Lucy" before. Well, this morning was yet another installment of that. . .

I got up at 6:30 to exercise before I had to wake the girls up for school. I don't particularly like getting up that early but it's the only time I have alone so I do it. I normally exercise in my pajamas because I'm too lazy to change into something else. Since I usually wear flannel pants and a t-shirt it's not a problem. Well, for some reason last night I wore a nightgown. No big deal, there was no one to see me exercising, and the nightgown was short enough not to hinder my legs.

Well, as I was heading down the stairs to feed the cat and the dog I realized we hadn't put our garbage out yet. Now the truck comes around 6:45-7:00 most weeks and we have A LOT of garbage left over from Christmas so it was important it got picked up. I threw on a pair of jeans and some shoes and threw my coat over my nightgown. Hey, no big deal, it's 6:30 in the morning, no one will see me looking like an escaped mental patient, right?

I'm sure you can see where this is going. . .

So, I hit the automatic door opener for the garage, and the door gets stuck half way up. We had a lot of ice yesterday and the darn thing is frozen. Crap. I hit it again and pray and luckily it works and the door goes up.

I squeeze my way between my Durango and my husband's truck and realize there's no way I'm getting the enormous garbage can between the two vehicles. I shuffle my way over the ice skating rink disquised as my drive way to get my keys so I can move my car.

I slide back out over the icy steps, almost falling on my butt in the process, and click the locks on my car. The door won't open, it's frozen shut. I try all the other doors, no dice. They're all frozen.

I go back in the house and get my husband's keys so I can move his truck. Success!! I move the overflowing barrel to the edge of the driveway and go back for the recycling box, which promptly spills wine bottles and tin cans everywhere. (I'm not an alcoholic, we entertained a lot!)
Swearing under my breath, I pick up all the noisy recycleables and balance them on the top of the pile and head back to the house with the satisfaction of a job well done. As I'm duck walking on the icy driveway I look over and see my neighbor climbing into the car on her way to school.

The car filled with high school boys.
Staring at me and laughing. (okay, not really staring at me, but it felt like it)

I think I should sell the rights to my life to CBS, it would beat the hell out of some of the reality programs they have on now.

Oh, to cap this off, I just got an automated call from the garbage company saying that due to circumstances beyond their control the garbage won't be picked up until TOMORROW!!!

Truth is stranger than fiction. . .

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Snow Daze

Today was supposed to be the girls' first day back to school. All three had school today and I was going to have two whole hours of freedom. I haven't been away from my children for more than fifteen minutes since December 17th.

We are now getting several inches of snow/sleet/freezing rain. There is no school today. My life is HELL!

I love my children, but they're bored now. They're sick of doing arts and crafts, we're not baking cookies because I'm trying to diet, and they are sick of each other so they're fighting. I had plans for today that involved cleaning the house and catching up on laundry. Those are down the toilet now. I refuse to clean with a house full of children going around behind me messing everything up again. As for laundry, well, these girls change clothes more often than Paris Hilton changes boyfriends.

If there is no school tomorrow, things are going to get ugly. . .

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I have a few resolutions this year, but I won't bore you with them. Instead I want to share some resolutions I hope the world would have.

I wish humanity would resolve to be kinder to one another. I wish we'd resolve to take things a step slower and enjoy the DIFFERENCES in other people instead of fearing them. I wish we'd resolve to stop laying blame on politions, ethnic groups, the media, our parents, etc. and learn to rely on ourselves to solve our own problems.

I wish we as a race could learn to live in harmony with nature instead of destroying it. I wish we could enjoy what we have instead of always wanting more. (This is a tough one for me especially) and I wish we could learn tolerence for others who don't agree with us instead of jumping on the band wagon of people who do.

Like my resolution to lose weight, these wishes probably won't last very long either, but what if everyone, everywhere felt that way? What if, even for one day, we all took a deep breath and said, "hey, just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean you're wrong."?

Here's wishing you all a healthy, happy, friend filled New Year!