Friday, September 28, 2007

TGIF, I suppose...

All of a sudden, my whole blog thing has switched itself from "align left" to "center." Don't ask me why. Okay, you can ask me why, I just can't give you an answer. I don't see a setting for that anywhere in the blog controls. I suspect it has something to do with the Disney Princess quiz because that's when it occurred. I guess we'll just have to live with it for now.

Time once again for that ever popular feature I like to call, "What were people really looking for when they found my blog?"

Bruce Springsteen's "Driving in My Car" is once again the frontrunner in the search engine competition. That's followed closely by the Cream lyric, "Driving in my car, smoking my cigar." I don't know why, but that makes me think of a LaVyrle Spencer hero.

Next we have the not entirely unexpected, "selling old T-Birds." And one I don't quite get - "clues for crosswords to do with birds."

I suppose somewhere in the archives I've mentioned crossword puzzles. I am a big fan of them. And two weeks in a row now I've breakfasted with Merle Reagle. Well, we were in the same restaurant eating breakfast at the same time. That counts, right? You don't suppose, do you, that in his blog Merle is writing, "Two weeks in a row now, I've breakfasted with Delia Carnell?"

No, probably not.

Okay, end of the week roundup:

What I'm Reading - The Valley of Silence. This is the final book in Nora's Circle trilogy. Leave it to her to make a vampire desirable.

What I'm Listening To - High School Musical 2, the soundtrack

What I'm NOT Watching - Dancing with the Stars. Really. Who ARE those people?

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Releasing My Inner Princess

What Disney Princess Are You?

You are Ariel! The Little Mermaid Princess, daughter of Tritan.You are very adventurous and fun loving. Although you are unique (and kind of the odd one out) it doesn't stop you from being a social butterfly. People are often drawn to your loving, carefree nature.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Hmmm...Ariel wouldn't have been my fist guess. I've always seen myself as more of a Cinderella type. You know, the fancy ball, the to-die-for gown, the shoes...oh, well. I guess I share Ariel's love of baubles. She certainly has some nice trinkets in that treasure trove. And I've always wished I could sing. Okay, I'll go with it.

Sorry, no time for splashing around in the lagoon for me today. I'm working on THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS. Rumor has it the conflict is weak. Okay, let me see what other kind of trouble I can stir up for them.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shakespeare's Already Written Everything!

There are times when a writer struggles and suffers with what to write, spends hours thinking about it, finally comes up with something absolutely brilliant, sets out to work on the concept, then discovers that someone else has already written it.

Happens all the time. It's happened to me. It will happen to you. The sad fact is, Shakespeare has already written every plot possible. And brilliantly, I might add if four hundred years' worth of critique can be believed. I think it probably can.

The key is to put your own unique spin on it. If we're writing romances - which I am - then we know the plot. Two people will meet, fall in love, have some huge obstacle to overcome and ultimately overcome it. (Because if it doesn't have a HEA, it isn't romance!)

Last night as I was watching NCIS (because Mark Harmon was MEANT to be mine! I don't know what bizarre set of circumstances kept our paths from crossing) I found myself itching to write the story I was watching. Super secret operative gets close to woman to learn facts about her arms-dealing father but - oops! - falls in love with her in the process. Yeah, I want to write that. I'm sure it's been written dozens of times. Heck, I kind of wrote it myself in BITTERSWEET BETRAYAL when Tannis is coerced into spying on Zachary which he doesn't find out until he's already fallen in love with her.

So there aren't any new stories, are there? This came to mind for me because there has been a lot of publicity the last few days about the fiftieth anniversary of WEST SIDE STORY. "When you're a jet, you're a jet all the way..." What's not to love about this Bernstein/Sondheim collaboration?

But even fifty years ago, this story wasn't new. It's ROMEO AND JULIET set to music and moved to Manhattan. Clever idea. It works very well.

So, it's all about what each writer brings to the plot, isn't it? Yeah, Shakespeare wrote everything. But he didn't write any of it through the perspective of MY mind. So back to work for me.

Have a great day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Critics Are Raving!!

Well, two of them are anyway.

We have received great reviews for BLAME IT ON THE GHOST from both Ecata Romance and The Romance Studio. Here are some of the highlights:

" has passion, and characters that strike sparks off each entertaining and very good read." Sheryl, Ecata Romance

"Character and emotion are at the very heart of romance and Carnell seems to have mastered these elements."

"The setting, on the Florida coast, was deftly painted and used to generate an atmosphere that enhanced the plot."

"The pacing of the story was good, with enough action to keep me turning the pages." Kara Lynn Russell, The Romance Studio

Reviews are fun to receive and entertaining to read. But they're always in a writer's past. What matters most is the book not written, the one in progress, or even the one still inside the writer's mind. So this writer pauses just a moment to bask in the warmth of knowing that two people TO WHOM I AM NOT RELATED like what I've written.

Now back to work!

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mickey Says "Hi!"

I have about thirty minutes before I have to go hop on the bus for Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom. Having a great time, despite the Tropical Depression sitting just off the coast. Actually, that made it much more tolerable. No heat. And I've always enjoyed a good rain. It's just light enough to not be miserable, but heavy enough to keep the sun out of the way. Perfect!

I was amazed at how quickly they've updated the High School Musical toys. The Gabriella doll now comes with her own digital camera.

Ba da BING!

Have a MAGICAL day,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Birthday Disney Trip Part Two, The Sequel

Well, it's true. The Hard Rock Hotel does indeed treat you like a rock star. They are especially good at giving you free drinks on your birthday. Good thing I didn't have to drive anywhere.

But first thing Saturday morning, before I even had my stuff ready to move over to Disney's Boardwalk for the official birthday experience, I received a frantic phone call from my sister. Her husband was in the hospital. He may have had a heart attack.

So of course, I dashed back to Tampa. Not that I'm a cardiologist or anything like that, but I did manage to cook a couple of nice meals for the family and babysit the only genuine baby we have these days, my grandnephew, Will.

Everything ultimately turned out all right. He didn't have a heart attack. He did have pneumonia. They did a ton of tests on him, and all is well.

Naturally, I immediately called Disney to see how quickly I could try to recoup my birthday experience. I'm leaving tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. I'll be back Friday.

I hope to get some real writing done between now and then.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Da Doo!

You say it's your birthday?
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Da Doo!
It's my birthday too, yeah!

Okay, couldn't resist opening with The Beatles, even though it isn't really my birthday until tomorrow. The month-long birthday celebration has already begun.

Last week, Jeanette and John took me to a cool new retro-deco restaurant that was fabulous. We had an awesome time, ate too much, drank too much, but looked fabulous while we were doing it.

Yesterday, my sister came over with presents. She gave me a lovely blouse and a Monterey Jazz Festival CD. But the best thing was this little round gadget you use to open CDs.

An idea whose time has come. You know how when you buy a new CD, you of course want to listen to it immediately, and by that I mean in your car on the way home? But that stupid plastic they wrap it in is more difficult to open than Al Capone's vault with Geraldo doing commentary. Come on, you've been there with me. Slashing at the plastic with your car key because you don't have sewing scissors or a Swiss Army Knife with you.

Now our troubles are over. This little round gadget, about an inch and a half in diameter, opens the package with a minimum of fuss. It's really just a tiny razor blade with the pointy end resting on the CD edge, but why didn't we think of this? Such a simple idea. I'm going to keep this one in my car.

So now I'm off to Orlando for more of the birthday celebration. Today I'm going to the Hard Rock Hotel, where they treat me like the rock star I was meant to be. Then tomorrow it's off to the Magic Kingdom for a few more days. If I don't win the night in Cinderella's castle this time, there is no justice in the universe!

Good news is, I'm taking the new laptop with me this time, so I may or may not post stuff after I get there.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Less Tenor

I've never been a HUGE opera fan, but I am a fan of classical music and of men with big powerful voices. Therefore, it was with much sadness that I received the news of the passing last week of Luciano Pavarotti.

It's no secret to Faithful Readers that I listen to my local classical music station all day long. The host of the daily show on WUSF was so touched by the passing, that he played something by Pavarotti at least once an hour all day long. His first piece was Pavarotti's Alfredo from La Traviata. I know. Many of you just experienced glazing over of your eyes. Fog in the brain. You don't have a clue what that is. But I bet you do. If you heard it, you would say, "Oh, yeah. THAT piece."

It was achingly beautiful, made more poignant by the host's complete silence at the end of it for a good twenty seconds. Even a dedicated curmudgeon could have felt the emotion in that silence. I had tears brimming over my lashes.

Later in the day, I happened to be in my car when they played a piece from Pagliacci. You know this one too. You just don't know you know it. Because I was alone in my car, I was able to turn the volume up really, really loud - which is how you should listen to opera. Chills ran up and down my arms as the music swelled and flowed over and around me.

Sadly, the world lost a powerful talent. Thankfully, we have the technology that will allow us to hear him sing for the rest of time.

The blonde salutes Luciano Pavarotti today.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Who is Merv Griffin?

That's the correct question to the Jeopardy! clue, "He created Wheel of Fortune." Yes, he also created Jeopardy! and a host of other game shows, some pretty successful, but none so legendary as Wheel and Jep, as we call them at my house.

I've heard it said that writers don't do crosswords and other word games because they don't play games with words. I disagree. I've been doing crosswords since I was old enough to fit the letter into the box. Not only have I seen Wordplay, I have the DVD.

I also enjoy admiring Vanna's clothing and shoes. And Pat Sajak is still cute. Too bad that talk show thing didn't work out for him. The puzzles are fun, not really too hard. I can usually get them pretty quickly. I don't understand why people buy vowels. It seems obvious to me where they go. If you know what it is, why waste the money buying them?

Alex Trebek, on the other hand, should just shut up and read the clues. Does he think he's funny? He's not. I much preferred Art Fleming as the Jeopardy! host, but that really says something about how old I am.

I actually know someone who was on Jeopardy! He's the smartest person I've ever known, valedictorian of my high school class. He didn't win, although he knew the correct question for every clue. He says he underestimated the value of buzzer technique. I can believe that. Sometimes you see the contestants about to beat the living daylights out of those buzzers as they attempt to ring in before their opponents.

My mom and I have an extra little trick we do when we watch Jep. As soon as the Final Jeopardy category is revealed, we state our question. Like, if the final catgegory is "American Movies," we'll shout out "What is Gone with the Wind?" You would not believe how many times we are correct.

Oh, sure. Anybody can get it with the clue. The Real Players do it from just the category.

We have Merv Griffin to thank for this nightly entertainment. Of all the credits one can list after his name - big band singer, Broadway actor, talk show host - creator of Wheel and Jeopardy! is the one that earns him his own place in Americana.

The Blonde salutes Merv Griffin today. American icon. May he rest in peace.

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Meat Loaf Bandits

The Boy and The Girlfriend have been gone about four months now. My mother and I have been to the grocery story maybe twice in that time. Quite a change from before when we went more than once a week.

It isn't that "The Kids" demanded food. It's that we're southern women. If there is someone here, we must feed them. It's our culture, despite what Whoopi thinks southern culture is. Those of us who really ARE southern know that it's food. Particularly fried.

The Kids have night jobs, so they were rarely home when we ate our supper, but we always knew whether they'd enjoyed what we fixed by how much of it was left the next morning. Usually none of it.

Also, any time we brought something home from a restaurant in a white box, it was gone the next day as well. They truly enjoyed our leftovers. I was beginning to wonder whether they had a styrofoam box business going on the side by the way they devoured those carry-out containers.

Maybe it was divine providence that we just happened to have a fresh meat loaf in the kitchen when The Boy called about picking up last week's football tickets. I didn't want to go to the game (and neither did anyone in the eBay community), so I offered them to him. And just happened to mention that if he came by to get them, "There's meat loaf."

Around midnight he called to tell me he was coming by to get the tickets after work. That would be around one AM. "You said there's meat loaf?"

It was the same hopeful little voice I used to hear when he was five. "We can go to McDonald's?" Maybe it was because I was half-asleep, but I thought for a moment I was having a flashback.

I struggled to stay awake for thirty seconds' worth of his smile I might get if I saw him. Motherhood is a subject for another day. Depsite my best efforts, I fell asleep. Around three-thirty, I woke up. All was quiet. But there was the lingering scent of meat loaf wafting toward me from the direction of the kitchen.

They had been here!

I went to the kitchen. It was spotless. No dirty dishes in the sink. No ketchup spills on the island. No half-empty Coke cans on the counter. Had they been here?
I opened the refrigerator and peered inside. No meatloaf dish. They had definitely been here.

I found the empty meat loaf pan in the dishwasher, and a thank you note scrawled on the dry erase message board on the fridge.

They came, they ate, they left. And we never heard a sound. Good thing they weren't after the jewelery.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Great Crash of '07

My computer died.

You don't know what a great tragedy this is until it happens to you. First of all, I'm a writer. ALL my stuff is on my computer. Everything. The books I sold, the books I didn't sell, the books I might finish some day, the book I'm in the middle of writing right now. All of that was on the dead computer.

Then, I've just started selling things on eBay. My computer died Saturday afternoon, shortly before the first of 23 items started to close. What a disaster. No access to watching them sell, no way to find out if the customers paid, no connection to PayPal to get their addresses for shipping. Disaster, I tell you! Devastation!

So I called my Prince. Yes, he is a chemist, as Faithful Readers know. But he also spent six years as a Computer Geek, crawling around on the floors of big government buildings in Washington, D.C., plugging their cables back into the wall for them.

Of course, as any Prince worth his epaulets, he came charging in on his white steed, volt meters and USB cables trailing behind him like flags at a Medieval Jousting Tournament.

Alas, the diagnosis was not good. The old faithful black box was well and truly dead. So it's off to CompUSA for us where I picked up this cute little sporty model from which I write to you now. This is an Acer 9410,a laptop. How cool is that? I can now go to Starbucks and pretend to be writing while I tinker with the backgrounds on MySpace! Just like all the Cool Kids!

Of course the data transfer was frightening and not quite perfect, but enough to get me going today. So it's back to work I go, eagerly anticipating my manicure appointment tomorrow because my nails are far too long for this keyboard. Which you would see if I weren't constantly correcting things.

After all the excitement died down and my life returned to what approaches normal for me, I'm happy and excited about the new computer. And even though I didn't need reminding, I have yet another example of why My Prince is My Prince.

Thank you, Steven. I love you.