Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking ahead

This Friday I'll be signing at Turn the Page Bookstore with over a dozen other authors. Click here for details.

Signings at Turn the Page are not like any others. The store is small--it's in a pre-Civil War townhouse. There are so many people, everyone has to take a ticket to get a place in line--and they start handing tickets out an hour and a half before the signing starts! I hope plenty of Regency readers come, but they may be bleary-eyed from getting up early to see the royal wedding. I've decided I'll have to catch the vows on reruns--Thursday is a late night at the swimming pool for me, and then I'll have to get up early to get organized and drive out to Boonsboro.

After the signing I'm off to Leesburg for the WRW--my local RWA chapter--retreat. I look forward to this event every year. It's tons of fun, and I love catching up with friends.

But now I have to put my nose to the grindstone. I'm hoping to get another chapter written on the current book before I leave.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seven things about RT11

As promised, here are seven things about RT11, again in no particular order.

1. Glass elevators! I LOVE glass elevators, and the RT hotel had them. You could get on at the lobby and ride up through the lobby roof all the way to the 35th floor. I stood as close to the windows as I could. (No, I didn’t press my nose against the glass. I have some class.) I felt like I was on an amusement park ride. I even allowed myself a little “whee” or two if no one but my husband was riding with me. My husband is not a fan, though--he stood by the doors and looked a little green.

2. Saucy Sirens. I co-hosted a social Wednesday night--Saucy Sirens through History. Here are a few of the sirens, but I have to apologize for the quality of this picture. My camera's battery died, so I had only my phone and I don’t know how to manipulate those pictures. I promise no one was possessed by evil spirits, though some of the eyes might look like it.


From left to right, the sirens are: Sahara Kelly, Sabrina Jeffries, Mia Marlowe, Victoria Alexander, Sharon Page, and Kieran Kramer. There were other sirens I didn’t catch on “film”—how 20th century is that concept?

My friend, Kim Lowe, took a picture of me with a reader.

Can you guess which siren of the silver screen I was? Well, it helps to have the list of names to choose from. Most of the attendees could figure out who I was by looking at the matching game—I’m supposed to be Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

3. The Faery Ball. I’m not one for costumes, as you may have guessed from the picture above--I had all the Audrey Hepburn items except the hat (borrowed from Pat the Hat Lady) in my closet or drawers. So I didn’t go to the Faery Ball dressed in anything other than conference wear. But Alicia Condon, a Kensington editorial director, was very impressive. She’s the one with the zebra balloons—can you believe she made that dress herself? With her are Kensington authors Mingmei Yip, Kate Douglas, and Erin Kellison.


4. The historical panel--Finding the Right Historical Setting for Your Book--I was on with fellow writers Elizabeth Hoyt, Judith James, Sabrina Jeffries, and Amanda McIntyre. Renee Bernard tried valiantly to keep us under control and on topic. I had fun and a lot of laughs with this fabulous group—and I hope our audience enjoyed the presentation as well.

5. Seeing friends. I love seeing in person the pals I generally only get to “see” on line. After our panel, Elizabeth and I went to get lunch. We ended up in the lobby restaurant which turned out to be a great choice. We had a rotating selection of lunch companions--Renee Bernard stopped by for a while, and then Jade Lee. And it was either at that meal or another that I saw Kim Lowe, Kristina Cook, Amanda McIntyre, and Jessica Trapp. I’m not sure what the wait staff thought about the musical chairs, but they adapted admirably.

6. The mammoth book signing. This year I sat next to Julianne MacLean, whom I haven’t seen in a while, so it was great to catch up. And some lovely Aussie brought us that delicious Australian treat, Tim Tams, a kind of chocolate cookie. (Or biscuit in British English.) But the highlight of the signing, of course, is meeting readers. Many of them brought their Naked books from home for me to sign—I saw some of the original Dukes and Marquis!

7. The SOS Military Mixer. Kim Lowe does a great job with this every year. It’s a wonderful tribute to our military families. Rather than recap it myself, I’m going to suggest you hop over to Kim’s blog. She has some great pictures of the event, and if you scroll down through the days, you can get a look at RT from her reader’s perspective.

I’ll leave you with one more picture. Kim took this shot of Jessica Trapp and me with the woman at RT’s helm, Kathryn Falk (and her very cute puppy, General Patton).

RT is in Chicago next year. Hmm…I haven’t been to Chicago for a while…

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seven things about LA


I’m home from LA and settling back into my routine.  Okay, I’m really just wading through a mountain of laundry.  It’s fun to go away, but it’s good to be home, too.

Here are seven of my observations about LA and its environs—in no particular order and of no particular significance.

1. Tattoos.  Perhaps I should point out that I don’t get out much.  I do go to the gym where I have seen more tattoos in the women’s locker room than I had previously imagined decorated female bodies, but most of these are coverable by clothing.  Our first full day in LA, we took the subway (Yes, Virginia, there is an LA subway) out to Hollywood and I was struck by the size and prevalence of this form of permanent body decoration on men and women. 

2.  Public transportation.  Everyone I asked before we left home assured me LA public transportation was pitiful and that we could not get around without renting a car.  Not true, though I suppose it does depend on where you want to go.  We took the subway twice to the Hollywood area (three times for dear husband) and rode the Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica without any problems.  Much more relaxing, in our humble opinions, than having our own wheels.

3.  The subway.  I think the subway deserves special mention.  The Hollywood stations—Hollywood and Vine and Hollywood and Western—were beautiful.  See for yourself:

LA subway hollywood and western

This is (I think) the Hollywood and Western station.  I took this on a Tuesday morning—we decided to explore Griffith Park.  As you can see, it’s not very crowded. 

LA subway hollywood and western escalators

The escalators are pretty, too—and deserted.  Odd for us, used to the D.C. Metro which is always busy.

2011-04-03_15-26-48_523 day 2

Even the ceiling was worth looking at—this is the ceiling at Hollywood and Vine.

4.  The air.  I expected smog, and we did see some haze…or I suppose it could have been smog…when we climbed to the top of Mt. Hollywood and looked down over the city.

View from Mt. Hollywood, Griffith Observatory from above

That building with the large dome and two smaller domes in roughly the center of the picture is Griffith Observatory, by the way.

But in general, I thought the air was clear and the light extraordinary.  Our first full day in LA, I was fascinated by the Walt Disney Concert Hall.


5.  Birds of Paradise.  They look so exotic to me, but they seem to be everywhere in the LA area.  I took many pictures, but I’ll limit myself to one here.

2011-04-04_15-24-14_919 day 2

I was delighted by all the vegetation—the flowers, the palm trees, the cacti, the weird trees.  It was clear we weren’t in D.C. any longer.

6.  The ocean.  We’re used to the East Coast beaches—or, more specifically, the Delaware/Maryland shore.  We walked along the Santa Monica beach and realized we didn’t smell the ocean nor did we collect any spray on our glasses.  Even though the ocean was making our toes wet, we didn’t feel damp.  Not sure if that was just the season—when we go to the Atlantic, it’s usually in the summer or fall—or whether there’s just something different.  Here’s proof we were on the beach.

2011-04-04_11-23-21_242 day 2

That’s the Santa Monica pier in the background.  It didn’t begin to compare in tackiness to the boardwalks in Ocean City (MD) or Wildwood (NJ).

And of course I can’t resist showing you this shot, though as you can see, there wasn’t much muscle in view.  There were a few guys swinging from the standing rings, trying to make their way down the line like monkeys swinging through the jungle.

2011-04-04_12-17-09_167 day 2

7.  Dogs.  We saw dogs everywhere when we were in Hollywood, especially in the parks—and by parks, I mean rugged trails like the ones you can see in the picture from the top of Mt. Hollywood.  Here’s another view of a trail—almost at the Mt. Hollywood summit.

2011-04-05_12-58-54_50-day 3

But I swear I’ve never seen so many Chihuahuas in my life.  I think I saw at least one in a purse, but I definitely saw many in outfits—not just coats but dresses and tee shirts. 

So that’s seven things about LA—I think it’s best I stop there, LOL!  Coming next—seven things about RT.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Mr. M. and I flew out to Los Angeles on Saturday. Saturday was not a great day to be flying Southwest. The airline pulled many of its planes for emergency inspections after one plane developed a hole in the ceiling when it was way up in the sky. It landed safely, but I'm glad I wasn't on that flight! Anyway, many flights were canceled--ours wasn't, but it did leave 3 hours late which, with the 5 hour flight and the time difference, meant we weren't in tip top shape when we finally arrived on the West Coast.

Sunday we went to Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. That's a picture of part of its exterior above. As you can see, it's a bit funky looking for a Catholic church. The interior was a huge space with extremely high ceilings. Everything was very modern looking--I think the cathedral was built in 2002. The Mass itself was pretty much the same as our Masses at home.

After Mass we explored the LA subway system. Before we came out here, I asked friends about LA public transit and they all said rent a car. But we didn't have any problems today. We took the subway out to Hollywood and Vine and walked all over. Tomorrow we try the bus to Santa Monica.

I'll try to post pictures here, but if you want to see them sooner, they'll be on my general Facebook page--that's where my phone posts to. Unfortunately I brought the wrong charger for my camera, so I have to rely on my phone.

Off to bed now to be ready for tomorrow's adventure.