Monday, March 28, 2011

Taxes and travel

Things are a little topsy-turvy at chez MacKenzie at the moment. Important papers have mysteriously burrowed away somewhere, so we are on a hunt to find them, and the receipts I've been saving all year don't seem quite so clear now that it's time to order them for the tax man (or woman). Hmm. But Mr. M. and the accountant will bring order to it all, and I'll resolve to keep a more orderly filing system next year. Which is this year from a tax point of view. Oh, dear.

I can't leave all this paper wrangling to the last minute as I am off to the Romantic Times convention next week. I'm excited--and unsettled. I have errands to run, things to mail, things to buy. I must study the weather reports to figure out what clothes to pack. And where are my conference clothes, I wonder?

I like going out into the world, meeting readers and seeing writer pals, but I'm also very much a creature of habit. I like hiding in my writerly cave and following my boring routine. (I even eat the same thing for lunch every day!)

So I'll be running around this week. Next week I'll try to post some convention pictures here--and if you're my Facebook friend, you may find some pictures there. If you're actually at RT, please say hi!

Monday, March 21, 2011


We live across the street from what I think is technically called a storm water management facility. When it rains, all the water from the neighborhood is supposed to collect there and get rid of some of its impurities--litter, oil, grit, what have you--before moving into the stream that runs through the park.

When we moved here many years ago, the area was a dry basin where the kids sometimes played baseball. Eventually, dry storm water management facilities apparently fell out of favor, so the city came and dug the basin out, did some engineering and planting and--voila--now we have a wet storm water management facility--or what most people would call a pond.

Not all the neighbors are great fans, but I like the pond. We have ducks that hang out there--and sometimes ducklings. A great blue heron has stopped by. And this time of year, I blush to say it's a bit of an X-rated frog orgy. Er, or maybe they are toads. Actually I think my knowledgeable neighbor told me there are several varieties of the froggy/toady creatures in the pond. Today husband and I think we think we heard two distinct frog calls.

The frogs (or toads as I suppose they may be) can get quite loud. I had a friend over for a meeting one night a few years ago, and I had to walk her to her car--she thought she was in a jungle. Son #3's fiancee thought a car alarm was going off. But we just hear it as the beginning of spring.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Grumble, grumble. I've done something to my upper right calf and so had to stay home from the gym today. I've learned that rest is, unfortunately, essential, but I hope I recuperate by swim practice tomorrow evening.

I'm not even sure how I did this. It showed up after our walk Saturday morning, so I did mostly arm work Sunday morning--which is why no gym today. Can't do arms two days in a row and I'm not sure what other things I can do that won't aggravate the condition, whatever it is.

Yes, yes, a very small complaint given all the suffering in the world today. The wars, the horrible conditions in Japan. And I have this little twinge in my calf.

Meanwhile I'm trying to write a synopsis for the next book, which is not one of my favorite activities. I write very much by the seat of my pants; laying out what will happen is a bit of a guess.

Grumble, grumble.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Promotion and writing

I'm late with this post...again. My excuse is that I've been working on the new book. But last week I also had to take some time to work on a promotional booklet for my June release, The Naked King. And since the King is the last Naked book, at least for the time being, I wanted to make the booklet about my Naked world.

The first challenge was technical--how to set the thing up so it would print out properly. Here my writer pal Ann Macela came to the rescue. The alphabet often puts us next to each other at large book signings, and when I admired Ann's booklet at RT last year, she offered to send me the template--which I did nothing with for months and months. But when I was ready to work on this, I found it in my email and it worked like a charm!

Ann encouraged me to use the booklet as a means to promote all my books, and since I could fit the first chapter of the King in the booklet but not the second too, I had lots of empty pages to work with. I included a page for each Naked book, a shared page for the novellas--and I still had room. So I added a "dear reader" letter and a "Frequently Asked Question" section.

And then I had to produce them--a lot of them. So I took them to a printer I know.

Ack! Deep breath.

Once I recovered from the sticker shock, I decided the cost was worth it. Getting the booklet printed professionally will give me more time to work on the next book, but, more importantly, it will make it look so much nicer than I could on my little ink jet. So this week, hopefully, I'll get the booklet done and be able to hold the finished product in my grubby little hands.

If you're at RT in LA, look for them. I hope you'll like them, too. I'm following my general rule of thumb with promotional materials--no one seems to be able to prove what works, so I try to do things that make me smile.