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2016 Goals

  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
  • call my moms every month or so
  • cook/eat better
  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Friday, August 31, 2012

I'd say TGIF, but...


...the weekend is going to be rather hectic. No rest for the weary, unfortunately.

Last night was the first HS football game of the season that the marching band attended. Marching Band Boy and I had both been looking forward to the season again, but I'd forgotten how much energy it takes. Plus I was pretty much on my feet for the better part of four hours, so, needless to say, my doggies were a-barkin' too.

I could have slept in this morning, would have slept in except that Marching Band Boy had to be at school by 7:20 to practice one of the movements of the show music and to prepare for a Pep Rally.

So from last night...

The band plays the Patterson Chorale as part of their warmup. So here it is, barely 22 seconds long. Go ahead and watch it.


On another note...as I've shared, I'm trying to eat right, exercise, and lose weight. Back in March or April, I gave up sugar and carbs in an effort to do so, but it wasn't enough to really consistently lose as much weight as I wanted. For me, even though I'm 44 years old, I'm short--barely 5'1" or so, so my ideal weight is somewhere around 116 to 120 pounds. I'd been carrying around 167ish for quite some time and was tired of the way I looked and felt. Then I lost a little, but hovered just under the 160 mark for many many months.

Then about three weeks ago, for whatever reason, I went in search of an app for my iPad to help me count calories. I found one and keyed in my info and have been using it faithfully since then. Obviously this is not going to work if you are not honest and don't key in everything you eat. It has a huge database and can even give you calories of meals from restaurants.

So it calculated the number of calories I need to consume each day and for the most part I have stayed under that number. You can also key in your exercise which gives you calorie credits, if you will, meaning you can consume more calories and earn yourself treats or buy yourself enough calories for things like pizza. :)

Consequently, between really being aware of the calorie content of things and continuing to exercise, though not as much as I should or need to for other reasons, I have now lost about five pounds.

The best part is that I can eat those carbs and sugars again, though I don't consume hardly any (processed/chemical) sugar anymore as it gives me headaches. I stick with fruit or raw sugar in my tea *if* i really need a bit of sweet. This is really an amazing thing to me as a self-proclaimed sugar-a-holic. I used to make no bones about my love of sugar. And I loved candy so much as a child and through most of my adult life. Now...pfft...don't need it anymore. :)

The Wii also also allows me to set weight loss goals and deadlines to reach those goals. It's been helpful for me to see the small daily gains, even though that aspect isn't helpful for everyone. But I can now see the changes when I look in the mirror and that's exciting too.

I'm keeping the goal the same: two pounds in two weeks. I'll report back in two Fridays from now.

I hope your weekend is fun and relaxing. Have a great one.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Geeze, today is Wednesday, isn't it?


And I totally forgot to blog.

It's a crazy week, so forgive me.

Tomorrow is the first football game of the season. I'm excited to see the kids march, to hang out at the field with them. I'll have pics on Friday, since it's a Thursday game.

This morning we had this:


And that is all for today...I hope you have a better day than I'm having.
Monday, August 27, 2012

The first day of school...

Is why this post is so late.

Momma got to take Sonshine to school this morning.


And, of course, since it is Monday I have all kinds of other Monday morning tasks to get done. But here I am finally.

I spent Sunday mopping the writing room, kitchen, and hallway floors. Yes, it took me all day because I have to sweep all the dog hair up, then mop the dirt layer off, then mop a second time, and then put a layer (or two) of Mop N Glo on it. We have laminate, so I try to take care of it.

I also spent an hour online chatting with my fellow Robin Hood fen. If you remember back at the end of June, four ladies came to Texas and we had a meetup. I shared pics here and here. Gathering with fellow fans and watching the movie or an episode of the show that binds you is a lot of fun. The commentary can be hilarious. So yesterday, we did that as well. We agreed on an episode and we watched, some via DVD, others via YouTube, and some via Netflix. Altogether we had seven of us watching and commenting.

From my end:

 (my laptop/the chat screen)

 (the list of us who watched/chatted)

Joe Armstrong as Allan a'Dale in episode 1x07, Brothers in Arms.

And a good time was had by all and we've all agreed to meet up again next month to do it again. :)
Friday, August 24, 2012

It's that time again...

Back to School!

It seems almost anti-climactic for us since Sonshine has been at school every week since the beginning of July and everyday for the last three weeks for marching band. He's got all AP and Honors classes again as well as Debate class. That'll be interesting. He swears he's going to stay on top of school work and grades this year and I'll be bri rewarding him each six weeks for those good grades.

So last night was the 30th annual Ice Cream Social--parents are invited to come and get a preview of what the kids have been working on for the last two months. As usual, the kids were awesome.

Here they are marching onto the practice field. My kid is the tall white boy with the large instrument case toward the end of the line.



The following video is of the first three movements of their program, Secrets of the Nile. (I think that's title, but no guarantees.) Sonshine has a short solo in there and you'll see him rush to the front and then scurry back into position.



With the advent of school, we begin fundraising again...so tomorrow, Sonshine and I will be working Cowboys Stadium. If you watch the game on TV, think of us!

And that all I have for today. Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hump Day Happiness

It really was a very good weekend...

I already shared my stickers and my friend Molly's book, so now...the rest of the story.

I know, Paul Harvey I'm not!

So, Saturday, Rita Award winning author Cindy Dees spoke at my writers group. It was an awesome presentation about Big Characters and Big Scenes. Cindy was able to query over 40 editors on what they look for and this was the result. And she's nice and she's funny and she's a member of my chapter. Cindy writes Romantic Suspense for Harlequin.

On top of that, I earned another charm for last month's editing. And as I mentioned yesterday, I had a charm I gave myself for finishing Snowball and submitting it. (No, I still haven't heard back.)

So the horseshoe is from the chapter, the key from myself to go with the lock...




Oh, wait--I've gotten ahead of myself...on Friday, DD was also working on a surprise for me:

 (front)
(back)

While at Barnes & Noble, I found this:

Yes, that's a wand. It's also a pen.


I'm sorry, I just can't help myself. :)

And when I got home DD had yet another surprise waiting for me:



That, my friends, is butter beer. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you'll know what it is. If you're not familiar with the stories, butter beer is a common beverage in the wizarding world. I wasn't keen on it myself as its base is creme soda, which I don't care for. But the thought was sweet.

So what's the sweetest thing someone's done for you lately??
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This just in...!

I interrupt the Tuesday no-blog rule to announce: 

I have completed A Snowball's Chance in Texas! 

BFF Stacy Miller would never jeopardize her life-long status, even for a guy she’s had a crush on for almost ten years. Especially since that guy was the little brother of said BFF. But when Lieutenant Connor Jackson returns home on leave for a weekend birthday bash, she decides to do what she wants—just once.

Time has taught Connor one thing—he’s never going to find another woman like Stacy. He’s home to prove to her she’ll never find another man who loves her more. Stacy still thinks she needs to put Pilar’s childish demands over her own wants and desires. Connor has seventy-two hours to convince her otherwise.

I'm so excited, I can't even tell you. This accomplishment has been about a decade in the making. No, I haven't been writing that particular story for ten years, but that's how long I've been a member of RWA and NTRWA and honing my skills/craft.

The story itself has been in the works since February of this year, and after a major slashing of words and a lot of smoothing out of the rough edges left by the hacking, it has finally finally been rendered COMPLETE.

And not only is it complete, it has also been submitted electronically to Entangled Publishing. Unfortunately, it could be up to six weeks before I hear something. Of course, it could be sooner. *fingers crossed* Or it could take longer. As soon as I hear something, I'll be sharing, one way or the other.

As a reward for finishing and submitting, I will add the key charm I got back in March that came in a set with a heart-shaped padlock.

Remember this:



I promised myself I could have it when I finished and submitted. I'll also get an additional charm from my chapter for finishing the book. So pics next month!

Now it's time to get revisions going and done on book two, Children With a Chance of Marriage. This is the story that finaled in a contest and is in front of final round judges as I type.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled day! Talk to you tomorrow!
Monday, August 20, 2012

You're never too old for stickers!

So I have a couple of now-empty candle jars. I use them for various things, like pen holders or for my paperclips at the office.

I've been staring at these two clean empty clear glass jars for a week, wanting to do something with them. Well, knowing what I wanted to do, just not mustering the energy to actually make the trek to Michael's.

Friday, I finally found the chutzpa to go. Then of course, it was still early enough for the heavy traffic on the freeway in the direction I needed to go on top of which some other strange things were happening on the highway. So I got off the highway and took the longer, back way up to mall.

So now I'm looking at ALL the stickers. So many colors and types and themes and just whoa! A veritable smorgasborg of stickers.

I had a sticker book as a kid, not sure if I still have it but I don't thinks so, sadly. It was full of Danish stickers from when I'd visited my grandparents in Denmark as a little girl. But I'm thinking I'd really like to start another one.

Anyway, back to the jars and the plethora of stickers to choose from. So I perused and perused, finding quite a few I like, but none that really jumped out at me . . . until I hit the little section of fall themed stickers.

Oh, yes, I love fall. The colors, the smells, the beautiful Indian summer days and the crisp nights.

This set reached out and grabbed me:


It's hard to tell in the picture, but the stickers are sort of layered and 3-d. The little tag says Autumn and actually dangles.

But I needed another set, for a larger jar. There was a Disney's Peter Pan set that tickled me, but the flowers were calling me and there so many neat ones it was really hard to choose.

I finally settled on some daisies, a fun innocent flower. There were two sets I liked, but ultimately chose one over the other because it would just work better with my jars. So here's the set and for some reason, I didn't get a pic of the jar. Weird. Just imagine these stuck randomly around a glass jar.



But then . . . Friday night as I sat in my writing room, I glanced over at the tv tray that I use as an end table and gasped. My cute little green lamp was the perfect item on which to stick that other set of daisies! Oh, I could hardly wait. So Saturday I was at a book signing in the same mall as the Michael's with the stickers, I hit the Michael's on the way home.And, now, I have this!!!!




On another quick note...as I mentioned, I attended a book signing for my dear friend Molly Cannon, whose first book, Ain't Misbehaving was released July 1. If you like funny women's fiction with a dash of romance, then please buy and read Molly's book. She's an awesome writer and not just because I think so. In real life, I laugh constantly whenever we're together.

Here's Molly at the book signing...


And here's her book...


From Amazon.com: Marla Jean Bandy might be down, but she's not out. Even though her no-good ex-husband left her for another woman-a Bookmobile-driving librarian twenty years her senior-Marla Jean won't settle for another lonely night. She's not ready for Mr. Right, but why not have a little fun with Mr. Right Now? The only wrench in her plan is her childhood crush, Jake-and the memory of the one toe-curling kiss they shared on a hot summer night years ago . . .

One look at Marla Jean is enough to make any red-blooded man sit up and take notice-especially the kind of man nice girls should avoid. Jake knows he should let her make her own mistakes, but he owes it to her brother to look after her. Trouble is, the harder he tries to do the right thing, the harder it is to resist Marla Jean. She needs a man to make her believe love will last, and for once in his life, Jake wonders if that could be him.

I guarantee a fun read. Go buy it now. :)
Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm late, I'm late...

For some reason, this morning's blog post has slipped my mind...

But here I am, finally.

I have one last bit to add to a scene of Snowball's Chance. Then I think I have some other thing I need go fix or alter and then I'm ready to call it "complete". Not happening by tomorrow, though. My goal is to have it done and ready by the 25th and submitted by the 31st. I'm so close.

But it's Friday and for that, I'm so very glad. Tomorrow is my monthly writers day, and I'm excited about that as well.

Today I am critiquing for one of my CPs (only 3 chapters) and then other 16k manuscript for another author friend.

So I'm off to do that and enjoy my day.

Have a great weekend.

What are your plans?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let's Catch Up

What's going on in your neck of the woods?? No, really, I'm interested. Reply to the blog post and let me know.

As for me and mine...

It's raining this morning. The thunder, lightning, and rain started around 3:30/4:00 am, though amazingly the dogs didn't get all riled up. The thunder and lightning have dissipated, but the rain is still falling as I begin writing this post. Thankfully. The current temp of 72* is the lowest we've been in a month or more, but we're at 93% humidity. Ugh. But I'll take the rain. (My water bill was $161 from watering my trees!)(No, I don't water my lawn except what the front grass gets when I water the trees.)

The dogs are doing well. Even the 17-year-old Golden Retriever mix seems more spry than she did a few weeks ago. The fleas are gone, her hair is growing back, and she's able to get to her feet more easily and without help. So yay.

School starts in a week and a half. We're all mostly excited--Friday night lights and all. Marching Band Boy has been practicing for several weeks now and the band director is quite pleased with the group as a whole. They're ahead of the learning curve in regards to their show music. There will be pics and video in a few weeks.

On a side note, all Fine Arts programs in FWISD are on the chopping block if they don't have 100 or more students enrolled by next year. Our band has averaged 40 kids for the last couple of years. Which means Marching Band Boy will (probably, unless a miracle happens) only be JROTC Boy during his senior year. He's not overly bothered by it and since his aim is to join the military, then I suppose concentrating on JROTC is not a bad thing.

Speaking of JROTC...Sonshine was promoted again yesterday. He's now Cadet 1st Lieutenant Sonshine. :) His colonel thinks he could go pretty high in the food chain over the course of the next two years, which only benefits him in the long run. So I guess, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking he should focus on JROTC more this year and let those events take precedence over band functions, unlike the previous two years when band events almost always won out over JROTC.

I would have had pics of him in his uniform and with his new haircut, but the camera battery was dead this morning. *fail*

As for me...the writing room now has a window treatment and I'm quite pleased with it.

(This pic was taken Sunday, before the battery died.)

What do you think??

Also, I have preliminarily finished A Snowball's Chance in Hell. It's been sent off to critique partners and a select pair of beta readers. One CP and one beta reader have returned it so far with wonderful helpful comments. So one last round of revision is in order and I will be ready, willing, and able to confidently announce "I have finished a manuscript." for the first time ever.

Yes, I know I've been at this writing thing for close to a decade, but for all the stories I've started and almost finished, I've never actually *truly* completed one. So this is a huge milestone for me and I'm very excited. The question is can I do this by Saturday--meeting day--so that I can announce it, in public, to my chapter, who will then clap and cheer for me. Or do I want to save the announcement for September's meeting?

Nope! I'm going for it. If I can't, I can't, but I do think I'll be able to get it to the place where I feel I can call it done.

After that, it'll be submission time, but let's get it COMPLETE first!

On that note, I will sign off. And don't forget to tell me what's going with you. Inquiring minds want to know!!

ETA: By the time this post was published, the rain is gone and the sun is shining...
Monday, August 13, 2012

The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

Before leaving OKC, we trekked to downtown and visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. The memorial is located on the site where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood. It's a lovely setting and a wonderful tribute to those that died. For more info on the bombing, visit the Wiki page.

 School children made tiles to thank the people who came to help.

There's a bucket of chalk and people can come leave messages for their lost loved ones.

This tree survived the blast and is called the Survivors Tree.

There's a chair for every person who died. The bases are made of glass with a name etched on the front. At night they light up. Many of them had pine cones placed on them. And all the trees you see--these are large pine trees. Not planted there--but huge fully grown trees place here. It's quite lovely.

This is part of one the original building's walls--left to show the the extent of the damage.

Keepsakes left in memory of those who died.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Almost back to normal...

The trip to OKC, while fabulous and productive, also threw my regular routine out of whack. But I think I'm just about back on track.

As a side note, Fort Worth Fridays are on hold until I can get the pictures I already took from my old hard drive and/or I can get downtown to take some more.

Back to OKC...

Saturday morning, after a lovely breakfast down in the hotel atrium, we hit it and hit it hard.

If you've never been to an Embassy Suites, most of them have a huge atrium with fountains or water of some sort, usually a restaurant and bar. But they also have a lovely breakfast. Not just some stale cereal and a few donuts, but a delicious spread from custom ordered omelets, to pancakes, French toast, bagels, oatmeal, and on and on. It's a great place to stay, just for the breakfast.

(From a cozy seating area looking toward the other end of the atrium where breakfast was served.)

We'd worked on Angi's stuff the night before, so it was someone elses turn. I think Jan went next, then Sarah, then me.

By the end of the day, we all had what we needed to go home and make some serious progress.

Sarah (writing as Lauren Holly) graciously typed notes for each one of us except herself.

 Angi manned the story board as we hashed out turning points, emotional journeys, and scenes to support both.
Jan took notes when we worked on Sarah's book.

Below are shots of the storyboard after we'd plotted out my story. I took the pictures then transferred all the sticky notes into my spiral notebook for safekeeping. I can hardly wait to get started on revising Children With a Chance of Marriage after all the wonderful help I received. The story is going to be so much better now.




We left the room for dinner and then sat in the lobby chatting and sharing life stories after that. Then back up to the room for a bit more chatting, no work. We were all brain fried after all the intense work we'd done earlier. In bed shortly after midnight.

And that was day 2...more on Monday.

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Raring to go!

The getaway to Oklahoma City with three writer pals was a blast. Not only did we have fun getting to know one another, but we all left OKC prepared and ready to work. We spent several hours on the story of choice for each one of us. I'm so excited and anxious to dive into revisions for Children With a Chance of Marriage, book two of a pair. But . . . I have to finish revisions for book one first.

Speaking of Children With a Chance of Marriage, I sent in the revised entry last Tuesday and received an e-mail later that day that all finalist entries (four of them) had been sent off to the final round judges. Did I mention all three final round judges were editors at various e-publishers--one of whom is my target publisher??? Wish me luck. I'm very excited, but oh how I want book one done.

So some pics from the trip...

(The sky to the east as I left home Sunday morning to pick up my friend Angi Morgan.)

On Sunday evening, we headed to Bricktown--a revitalized section of downtown OKC--for dinner.


And we enjoyed yummy eats and a cool atmosphere at Toby Kieth's I Love This Bar & Grill!


 (from l-r: me, Jan Schliesman, Angi Morgan, and Sarah Cannon.)



After dinner, we walked some of our dinner off along the little canal they built through the middle of Bricktown. I believe they call it that because they redid many of the streets with brick along with the fact that many many of the buildings are the old brick buildings, now restored.

 (This is where we started, behind Toby Kieth's.)

(This is not where we ended, but just another view of the canal along the way.)

After dinner and the walk, we headed back to the hotel, got comfy and jumped right into helping Angi work on titles, characters, and plots for a three book proposal she needs to write for her agent to submit to Harlequin.

Stay tuned--more to come!
Monday, August 6, 2012

A-okay from OKC

Howdy all...made it to Oklahoma City without any problems. My friends and I have had a grand ol' time so far. Today will be plotting sessions and brainstorming for each of us.

So off we go...
Friday, August 3, 2012

Ugh...no Fort Worth Friday today.

I haven't been able to get my pictures from my old hard drive, so we're going to just skip this week altogether and see what happens next week.

Instead, let's just celebrate the fact that it's FRIDAY!!

I've got lots to do tomorrow in preparation of my trip and before I leave for Oklahoma City (Sunday at 8am.). My trip has been extended to two nights. YAY!! It'll be hours and hours of brainstorming and revising (maybe) and chatting and getting to know two new friends better. We'll do a bit of sight seeing while we're there, too, so pictures next week for sure.

So last night, I watched a movie in my writing room on the big screen for the first time. And no...I didn't choose Harry Potter, I watched another of my favorites: Penelope! It's a cute, fun, live-action fairy tale starring Christina Ricci and the yummy James McAvoy. If you haven't seen it, you should.

Remember I mentioned my Batman fan girl status a few posts ago? Yes? Well, I found the action figure I mentioned:

(He's about 4" tall. For $5, I couldn't resist.)

And that's about all I have for now.

I'll be posting Monday's entry from OKC!

Have a good weekend.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's today?

Yeah, yeah, I know it's Wednesday. I'm running a little behind today because I decided to loll around in bed for thirty extra minutes or so. But here I am...

I dropped $500 at the vet's yesterday in an attempt to finally get my dogs well. One is incontinent and needed a blood/urine test before the vet would continue to fill the prescription. So that's done. Plus she's got a mild allergy to flea bites. The other has all kinds of things wrong with her on top of the fact that she's probably 17 years old. Yes, that's right. My golden retriever mix is at least 17 years old. We've had her since DD was 7. DD is now 22. That's 15. She was at least a year when we got her, but probably two. So...17.  Yeah. I know, right???

Serious revisions on my contest entry begin today. I revised it once based on judge comments. Then I sent to two writer friends who were very kind and generous with their thoughts and comments. (Thanks Kary & Angi.) And now I'll take their suggestions and comments into consideration and get started. The revised version is due Saturday.

And that is that. It's the first of the month and I have work to do.

Do you have pets? If so, what kind/how many?


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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America