Hello? Is this thing on?

I’m sure that’s what you’re all asking, right?

Well, I’m still alive. That’s the good news. The bad news is, I probably won’t be able to blog any more often for a while. Sucks for me, too, believe me.

This weekend was the first “vacation time” I’ve had in almost a year. Actually, it was the first time I’ve had two days off in a row…or in one WEEK…since last year some time. And, I took it guilt-free. Almost.

Work has been crazy. I wish it wasn’t, but it is what it is. I increased my hours to full time in February so that I’d have more money and they’d have more help…and now I’m stuck with it. Theoretically, I was supposed to have more writing time with the new schedule, but considering yesterday was the first time in about two weeks I actually had time to sit and write anything, that theory has been shot to hell. I have two kids who need to be carted around, so Mom’s taxi service is running seemingly non-stop.

On the bright side, we bought Darling Daughter a car. Okay, half a car. A really cheap car. Actually, it’s more of a gift to myself. If I can only get her driving and licensed by fall….I can almost feel the freedom. Mine, not hers.

Added to that is my daughter’s high school graduation in less than two weeks. I’m so proud of her, and nervous for her…it’s time to go out into the big bad world. Am I guilty of maternal treason if I say I’m not sorry that she’ll be spending at least one more school year at home? I’m not trying to keep her from growing up, honest. I just like having her here. I’m afraid I won’t have anyone to talk to if she leaves me.

More random thoughts: I have two good friends who will be making rocking good announcements this week, too! At least I hope they make them, as I’m getting tired of waiting! Keeping my mouth shut takes a enormous amount of energy. Congrats, ladies. You know who you are, and I’m soooo happy for you!

Next random thought… I just finished the third Stephanie Rowe novel, HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME HOT! Great book! Great series! Since I’ve really been trying to read with a bit more critical eye, to absorb the strengths of other writers, I’ve found myself really “seeing” how books are put together more than I ever have before. Stephanie ROCKS at conflict. If you think her characters have problems in the first chapter….just keep reading. She is absolutely amazing at throwing her characters to the lions and then making sure those lions have been on a low protein diet for the last three weeks just to up the stakes. It’s truly amazing! Besides being completely and utterly hilarious. Can’t wait for the next book!

Now I’m going to read JR Ward. I’m a little leary about them, to be honest. I’m coming off the high of laughing my ass off for the last three books I’ve read, and I’ve a sneaking suspicious JR Ward isn’t a laugh riot. But I’ve heard from too many people how amazing she is, and I’ve decided to give it a try. In the last few months, I have either had people tell me in person or read somewhere that these books are the best, more than a dozen times, I swear. And that seems to be increasing with each passing day.

My daughter read the first one in her series, and then read all the rest of them (like 4 more, I think?) within a WEEK! And then? She literally refused to pick up any books for another WEEK. This is my child who consumes books at a nonstop rate of at least one every other day or so. She was sooo enamoured with JR’s books that she refused to read anything else because she was afraid she would hate anything she might pick up. Okay, that’s quite a recommendation. In fact, I kind of understand it. I read Nalini Singh’s SLAVE TO SENSATION right before I read all the RITA books I was to judge, and truthfully? Three out of five of them were horrible. But, I still have this niggling guilty feeling that they weren’t really horrible, they were just horrible after reading SLAVE TO SENSATION, which was, I think, one of, if not THE, best book I’ve ever read in so many ways. So, did I hate those others because they were really hatable, or because Nalini’s book was so incredible that it ruined them for me? I have to say, I kind of understand Darling Daughter’s predicament.

So, anyway, back to JR Ward…after the wholehearted recommendation from DD, then my agent, who I told about my quest to be a better writer and really learn how to “up the stakes” in my books, tells me that JR Ward is her new goddess. That once I read her, it will change the way I write forever. Okay, mind you, JR Ward is NOT a Knight Agency client. Deidre was not trying to increase sales. She truly believes these books are incredible, and I trust her judgment.

I also trust that the Universe is trying to tell me something, if I’m getting bombarded from all sides about these books. I’m picking up the first of them tonight, so if you don’t see me for a while, you’ll know why….

~Shannon