Friday, December 23, 2005

I'm through!

Christmas shopping, that is. It was a challenge this year, to say the least. Not having much money to spend really makes you think about what you're buying. Normally, I buy way too
much, because I'll see something I think my kids would want, then something else, and something else, and then even more. Half of it never gets used, or gets returned. This year, if they take it back, they'll have nothing left. :)

But I'm glad it's over for another year. Now the cooking, cleaning, and candy making begin. I have to wonder why I do so much. None of us needs 8 different kinds of candy, 3 different kinds of pies, or 10 different breakfast selections for Christmas morning. But traditions are hard for me to break, even when the kids reassure me that they don't really care.

I think I may test them on that next year.

Merry Christmas everyone!!


Sunday, December 11, 2005

I found it!

The Woman's World cover this week is red, and it has "Fit into your skinny jeans by January 1" in white letters on the cover. I found my copies at Walmart in Terrell, TX.

And I got my first bunch of emails from friends who have read it. It feels wonderful!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

It's Out!!!!

My Woman's World story is on the store shelves!! JoAnn Ross reported finding it in Tennessee, and Fredericka Meiners found it in Chicago. If you see it in your town, please post here so we can see Where in the USA is The Christmas Wish.

It's in the issue marked Dec. 20th. Don't know what the cover looks like yet, but I'll post here as soon as I find a copy.

I'm so excited!! (You'd have never guessed, would you?)


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Hopefully, we all give thanks throughout the year for the blessings in our life, but on Thanksgiving Day, we're reminded to stop and take stock, to give thanks to God for what He has done. Maybe it's politically incorrect, but I've never been accused of being politically correct anyway. I believe in God, I talk to Him every day, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and I treasure my relationship with Him. Today, as I look back over the past year, I have many things to be thankful for even though it's been one of the hardest years of my life.

We lost my father-in-law in May, and we still miss him terribly. This will be our first Thanksgiving without him. But I'm thankful that my children had him in their lives for so many years. I'm thankful that he left them with a lifetime of good memories. He was a man who did and said the same things over and over, which at the time irritated some. But in doing so, he left a legacy of sayings--Paism's, if you will. When the kids were small, I didn't like for them to eat candy. When we went to visit Pa, he'd put the kids in his truck and drive them to Phil's Corner and buy them a Chick-O-Stick and M & M's. To this day, we associate Chick-O-Sticks with Pa.

When we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, he'd say "A thousand good things to eat, and most of them beans." He always waited until every family member had filled their plate before he sat down to eat. I suspect that's a leftover from the days of the depression when his mother did the same thing, waiting to be sure there was enough before she took any. He'd pull his guitar out after dinner and play and sing, until his fingers were too gnarled with rheumatoid arthritis to play anymore.

It's sad that this Thanksgiving his children won't be gathering around the dinner table together. We're all doing our own thing with our own families and my mother-in-law, who didn't feel up to having the usual family gathering, is going to a granddaughter's house for dinner. But I'm thankful that two of my four children will be home, my grandsons will be here, and that my other two will spend the day together in California. We'll miss them both terribly, but at least they aren't alone.

I hope when I'm gone, my kids will remember me fondly instead of remembering the mistakes I made. Yes, Pa was difficult to get along with for some, but his family always, always, knew he loved them. I hope my kids know the same, that I love them, every single one of them, with an intensity I can't even describe. It doesn't matter if there were years I wanted to lock them away until they gained some common sense. Those years are past, this is now, and I love them, no holds barred. I'm so proud of each of them I could bust. There's nothing they could do to make me stop loving them, even if I was disappointed in them for a moment. Love overcomes disappointments. (Not that one of my kids has ever disappointed me in anything important. They're great kids.)

I have a husband who loves me in spite of my weight, in spite of my tendency to get mad over little things, in spite of my lack of "June Cleaver" skills. Martha Stewart I'm not. I love him with my whole heart, and I'm so glad I still have him with me.

So that's my Thanksgiving blessing. I'll be with people I love and who love me, and we'll hope that Pa and my dad are celebrating Thanksgiving right along with us, even if we can't see them. We'll feel their presence. And I totally expect to hear my husband say, "A thousand good things to eat, and most of them beans," as I set the green bean casserole on the table.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This has been a wild and crazy few weeks. Between tooth troubles and wearing my poor car into the ground driving 150 miles a day, doing an enrollment for a 2600 employee group (and no, I don't get all the money, only a small part of it. Don't I wish though!) and trying to get my entry ready for the Golden Heart contest, I'm dragging.

Yesterday I was at the campus police department doing enrollments, and one of the officers made the comment to someone else that anyone who said they'd never contemplated killing their spouse was lying. I got to thinking about that. I think I can honestly say the only way I've thought about killing my husband was in a literary sense. I have, however, thought about what life would be like if I was alone. I'd write for hours a day, eat whenever and whatever I wanted, go places and do things.

Wrong. I had a chance to find out what it would be like this past weekend. My husband and two oldest kids went to Branson, Missouri, to see Ray Stevens in one of his last performances before he retires at the end of this month. I was looking forward to those four days alone, had big plans for cleaning and organizing things, going shopping, eating things I wouldn't want to eat in front of the dh (read, chocolate. Lots of it!) Did I?

Nope. The days were okay, but the nights were hell. We have a budding serial killer across the street, so being alone after dark made me way more nervous than I'd expected. I didn't sleep well at all. And not sleeping well meant I didn't feel like doing much during the day. My teeth hurt too bad to eat much of anything, either. I accomplished exactly zero, but now I know I definitely don't want my dh to go away again--ever. :)

They had a great time, though, and it was good for them to spend some quality time together. They all have so many responsibilities that they don't get to do that often enough. As for me, I think I like my life just the way it is. That's not to say I still wouldn't mind winning the lottery. :)
The first pic up there is of my dh and our oldest son. The second is of the dh and our oldest daughter. Both pictures were taken at the concert.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wow, has it really been that long?

Can't believe how long it's been since I posted. I've been busy enrolling teachers in a cafeteria plan. It's been interesting, though exhausting. The highlight of the last two weeks was taking an Aflac duck to an autistic child who says "Aflac" when you ask him what sound a duck makes. He was so excited about the duck. And he was absolutely adorable. I think Aflac should hire him as their poster child.

Anyway, Golden Heart time is almost here, and I'm not sure if I'm going to skip it again this year. As the hubby says, if I were to final, it would cost him over $1000. Well, yeah, because if I finaled again, I'd definitely have to go to the National conference in Atlanta. So, since there's no way we can afford that, I'm probably going to skip it and just try to finish my latest book. There's always next year (which is what I said last year.)

I have a book recommendation for you. Blaze, by JoAnn Ross. It's as hot as its name. Whew! I needed a cold shower by the time I finished it.
JoAnn is a master at the craft of writing, and she's a darned nice lady to boot.

My news for the month: I sold a short story to Woman's World magazine. Watch for "The Christmas Wish" around December 13th. Everyone told me it was a really hard market to break into, so I almost didn't even try. First try, sold the story. Now I'm trying to see how hard it is to sell them a second story. :)

Just two more weeks of 14 hour days and 150 mile round trips to work and then I'll have more time to blog. I know you're all just waiting with bated breath out there. :)


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Writers in the Storm

Romance writers across the country responded to the plight of the hundreds of thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina. These are women, for the most part, who have full-time jobs, families, deadlines, and responsibilities of their own, yet they set aside their own burdens and took up the burdens of others.

Why? The reasons are as varied as the women themselves. For some, it was because other romance writers, people they knew personally, lost everything to the hurricane. For others it was because they have skills needed by the victims—nursing skills, counseling skills, organization skills. For a few, it was because they’ve been blessed and are quick to share what God has given them.

Kensington Author Sandy Blair opened her beautiful home to a family of total strangers. Her husband grabbed them as they climbed from a bus, straight from New Orleans. He didn’t even wait for them to go through the FEMA processing. He had no idea who these people were, but he knew they needed his help. He took them home, and he and Sandy opened their home, and their hearts. They bought the family clothes and shoes (they were barefoot when they arrived in Texas), fed them, supplied them with toiletries and personal items. Karen Potter offered her calling card so the refugee family could call fellow writer Dr. Debra Holland, who had offered her services as a crisis counselor. (Dr. Holland was also in the process of making arrangements to fly to the Gulf Coast to counsel other refugees.) Other members of the Wet Noodle Posse ( sent Target and Wal-Mart gift cards to the family.

Author Bridget Stuart took her boys shopping to buy supplies to take to relief organizations. The daughters of one Dallas author set up a lemonade stand in their front yard to raise money for disaster relief. The children of another emptied their piggy banks to help out. Three-time Golden Heart winner Delle Jacobs donated custom cover art for auction.

Austin author Amy Elias, a member of the eHarlequin online community and a registered nurse, worked long, hard hours packing relief kits, then treated wounds and gave tetanus shots to refugees who flooded the Palmer Center. She went back the next day to work a thirteen hour shift with patients with Alzheimers and dementia. Many other members of eHarlequin contributed time, money, critiques for auctions, and prayers as they were able. Merry is busy making quilts for refugees. Josh is a Navy weatherman who helped coordinate the flights of relief planes. Harlequin has donated money to the relief effort.

JoAnn Ross was one of many authors and editors participating in auctions on eBay to offer critiques to raise money for hurricane victims. Several of the Dallas Area Romance Authors were on hand at Reunion Arena to offer help, as well as gathering books to help the refugees take their mind off their problems for a little while. Many authors have opened their checkbooks and offered most of their available cash.

Nora Roberts is matching any donations made to Habitat for Humanity if they’re mailed to her husband’s bookstore. And the list just goes on and on.

The stories these authors have to tell about the people they’ve helped would break your heart. We heard about the looters and shooters, about the rapes and murders in the Superdome. But the real people of New Orleans and Gulfport and Pass Christian are the people who have nothing left, yet are grateful to be alive. They are the people who worry more about others than about themselves, telling rescuers to take care of the next fellow because he needs help more than they do—when all they have are the clothes on their backs. They are the mothers who have been separated from their children and have no idea if they are dead or alive. They are the families coming apart at the seams from the stress they've just been through. The children starting new schools far from home, strangers in strange circumstances, who are afraid to make friends because they will probably change schools again in a few days or weeks.

I'm so proud of these women who are going above and beyond to do whatever they can for people they don't know and may never meet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Nail biting time

I'm haunting the mail box again. Several things are due to show up soon--one of them being the final answer on whether or not a certain popular woman's magazine is buying my short story or not. The editor sent me a letter back in April asking if she could hold on to my story until August or September, because that's when they acquired their holiday stories--and mine was a Christmas story. She said she really liked it, just had to run it by the senior editor during the decision-making time. So my fingernails are gnawed to the bone.

I also have a full manuscript at St. Martin's that's been there since the end of May, and a partial with an agent that's been there since mid-April. I'm chomping at the bit because I have other stories I want to submit, but have to wait a bit on those.

Work is driving me nuts. I signed on with AFLAC, thinking I could do it part-time, around the concrete work and my writing. But after a whirlwind trip to California to take the baby girl to college, we're behind on the concrete and have jobs lined up for the next two weeks, my AFLAC district leader is about ready to brain me because I'm the only one in my group who hasn't sold anything yet (who has time???), and my writing is suffering terribly. I want to turn the clock back and go back to last fall, when I had lots of time to myself to just do what I wanted to do.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wow, what a summer!

It's been a wild run and it isn't over yet. Since my father-in-law died in May, I haven't had a single day to myself. Besides working with my husband in the concrete business now, I've also taken on a sales job for AFLAC, selling supplemental insurance products. Great company, great products, but very stressful for a new salesperson. They have weekly quotas that I don't have a prayer of being able to meet--not where I live. Added to that stress is the stress of trying to get two kids ready to go off to college for the first time (youngest), or back to college for their junior year (second youngest) on a limited budget and while working the other two jobs.

And in the midst of that, I got a new idea for a hot, sexy story that I love. Wrote 10 pages last night. The first 25-30 pages of a book are always the easiest to write for me. It's pages 31-389 that are hard (the last 10 pages being pretty easy, also). Anybody else agree with that?

Well, it's after 8 and I should already be headed down the AFLAC highway. Have a great day!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Happy Birthday?

The older I get, the less I like birthdays. Oh, I know, having a birthday means I made it through another year, but it seems like the dh (make that d stand for whatever you like) always takes the "easy" (meaning cheap) way out. He buys me candy, even though I have a huge weight problem I fight constantly. I told him again this year, NO CANDY! What does he get me? A bag of Hershey's dark chocolate kisses. You'd think a man you've been married to for 32 years could come up with something better than that.

But that's okay. He's getting a bag of milk chocolate Kisses for his birthday.

Monday, May 16, 2005

We'll Miss You, Pa

On Monday, May 9th, our family suffered its second real tragedy. The first was the death of my father in 1998. My kids loved their grandaddy, and I loved my father, more than I thought I could love any man besides my husband. Then Monday, my FIL died. It was sudden and unexpected and it threw us all for a loop. Even though he was 82, he didn't look it or act it. He was one of those men who'd always worked hard, played hard, and loved hard. I met him in 1971 at Thanksgiving. At only 5'6" tall, he'd been tagged with the nickname Little Man and it had stuck. That's what I called him for more than 32 years. But though he was small in stature, he made up for it by being large at heart.

The one thing I'll remember him for most was his ability to make memories. I've finally learned that memories are made either by things often repeated, or by things done on a grand scale. Pa's memories were made from little things, done over and over until they became a part of your life. When my two oldest were small, he took them down to Phil's Corner every time they visited and bought them Chick O'Stix and peanut butter logs. They've never forgotten those trips. He was a wonderful grandfather and was loved by every single granchild.

But the things I'll miss the most are the daily visits to our house where he'd climb out of the truck saying "Another day, another dollar, and the work ain't hard." Or the times he'd call me on the phone and, no matter what hour of the day or night it was, he'd say, "Didn't wake you up, did I?" He was always inordinately pleased if I said he had. And whenever someone left after a visit, he'd invariably tell them, "Be careful on the roads. Don't drive too fast. Keep it under thirty." To the younger family members, he'd add, "Don't talk to strangers."
I miss seeing him working in his garden, miss hearing his voice, miss watching him with my grandchildren, miss the pride in his voice when we told him news of our children. He never failed to ask if we'd heard from them recently. To him, out of sight didn't mean out of mind.

GodSpeed Little Man. Say hello to my dad for me, and save me a seat near you two at that heavenly table.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tough times

Looks like the government is finally figuring out what we've known for a while. We are not in an economic upswing. They haven't quite come out and admitted we're in a recession, but I figure they'll let us get used to the bad news first before they hit us with the really bad news. But how can anyone think we're in good shape when gas is well over $2 a gallon, groceries have gone up over 50 % in the last couple of months, and working people are on the verge of disaster?

My husband is in the concrete business which is very closely tied to the economy. If business is anything to go by, we've been in a recession since Sept. 11, 2001. My youngest two are feeling it the most. The second youngest is in college, having to take on increasingly heavy loans just to stay in school because his father and I are barely making ends meet. The youngest is the one it's really affecting, though. It's her senior year in high school, a time when she should be walking on air. Instead, she's having to make her own graduation invitations because we couldn't afford the $3 a piece ones from Josten's. She won't get to have a graduation tea like her friends, a graduation dinner, and I'm in serious doubt about the graduation party. If it weren't for scholarships, she wouldn't be going to college at all, but getting her to and from the out of state school she's chosen is going to be interesting.

The publishing business is feeling the pinch, too. Fewer books are being sold, editors are being choosier about what they buy and fewer new authors are being bought. Instead, publishers are recycling old books from popular authors. Personally, it really pisses me off when I buy what I think is a new book, only to find out it's a recycled old one. I've started making note of the publisher's name when that happens, not just the author. I used to be a huge Nora Roberts fan, still am I guess, but I haven't bought one of her books in two years because I can't tell which are the new ones and which are the old. I don't have time to stand in the store and read a few pages to see if I've read it before, so I pass them by. Which just reinforces the book-buying slump. Think the publishers will eventually get the message?

One of my best friends lost her brother to suicide yesterday. Why do people do that? Don't they realize that, while it might be the easy way out for them, it causes such tremendous devastation in those they leave behind that they might never recover? Many hugs and prayers for everyone touched by tragedy today.


Friday, April 08, 2005

First Book on the Shelves!!!!

No, unfortunately it's not mine. But a good friend of mine, Stephanie Feagan, finally realized a life-long dream with the release of Show Her the Money, an April Silhouette Bombshell release. It's about a kick-ass CPA (yes, Virginia, CPA's can kick ass) who blows the whistle on a mega-bucks energy corporation who's been cooking their books. Did you know mega-bucks crooks don't like people who blow the whistle on them? Whitney "Pink" Pearl finds out just how dangerous, and lonely, being a whistle-blower can be.

Show Her the Money is different from most of the other Bombshells in that it's laugh-out-loud funny. I started reading about 10pm, thinking I'd just read a chapter or two since I had to get up early the next morning. Um, right. Finished it at 3 am. It's a can't-put-it-down treasure.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

My, how time flies

I'd originally planned to make this blog a daily thing, then I decided weekly might be better. Then life happened. In the course of a month, I nearly lost my father-in-law, ended up taking over his place in the family business, moved from a sedentary life to one of hard physical labor, and lost almost all my writing time. I also took a bad fall but managed not to break anything.

Went to a local writer's conference this weekend and got some much needed validation about my writing. An agent read the first two pages of one of my mss in a workshop, along with a number of others. Mine was one of only two that she asked to read more. So now I have to polish, print, and get it in the mail tomorrow.

Two sad things this week. The deaths of Terry Schiavo and the Pope. Both received a lot of press, one because it shouldn't have happened, was morally wrong and amounted to murder; the other because it was a loss of a much loved man whose time was up. He got to die with dignity, something Terry was denied. But I'm a great believer in what goes around comes around, and I'm thinking Michael Schiavo will find himself under a microscope, his past, present, and future under intense scrutiny. His children will forever be known as the children of the man who starved his wife to death. His live in will always live with the stigma. Michael will find it difficult to live under this spotlight and to live with the constant censure of the people of America and the world. He may get a lot more than he ever bargained for. Now we wait for the autopsy results. And even if the rulers of this world never find out for sure what part he played in Terry's condition, there is still the final judgment by the One from whom no sins are hidden--and His justice is without end.

Oh, and one other sad thing that hits closer to home for me. Much beloved author, Jamie Denton, has recently been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors have given her a 50/50 chance of survival. Being a writer, Jamie is like most of us--uninsured. Very few writers can afford the exhorbitant cost of insurance coverage and so end up not receiving timely care, trying to push nagging aches and pains aside because they know if it's nothing they'll have wasted money their family needs and if it's something bad, they can't afford to get it fixed anyway.

Jamie writes for Temptation, Blaze, Duets, and several other Harlequin/Silhouette lines, as well as Kensington Brava. If you'd like to help in some way as her friends try to raise money for medical care, pop over to and click on a link to donate, buy raffle tickets, or just stop for a moment and offer up a prayer for a lovely woman who has brought much joy to her corner of the world.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

What a week!

This has been a rough 7 day period. Between helping my oldest get her house ready to sell, making trips to the two youngest's schools--each an hour from home in opposite directions--to take them shopping, then my FIL ending up in intensive care with pneumonia and a small heart attack, I'm exhausted. Have I added one word to my revisions? Not in the last 5 or 6 days. It makes no sense. I have a big NYC publisher waiting for my book. And I dilly around, playing Mah Jong solitaire instead of writing. I need a hypnotist or something to tell me "you want to finish the da*n book. You will finish the da*n book."

FIL is doing better, is back in a regular room, and I got to go help the dh get a patio ready to pour. My muscles are screaming. No wonder dh doesn't have a weight problem when he eats twice as much as I do.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Best E-zine on the web

That would have to be, without a doubt, . And yes, I'm biased. Made up of members of the 2003 Golden Heart finalist's yahoo group, the Wet Noodle Posse is one of the most creative, wonderful group of women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Stop by and check out the zine, read about the Noodlers, go find their books!

What is beauty?

On one of my loops, we've been discussing whether or not readers want to read about "real-sized" women as heroines. Most are for it, a couple very much against it. As you might guess, the ones for it are "real-sized" women themselves, the ones against are slim women who work hard to stay that way. I have to admit, I'm not the 125 lb size 9 girl my husband married. I've had four kids, a bout with cancer, and a back injury and hernia that make exercising difficult. But does that make me less worthy of finding love?

Well, not me specifically since I have a wonderful dh who loves me anyway. But what about the other millions of women out there who don't wear a size 3? I think this country places way too much value on looks. A hundred years ago, the ideal woman was one who was sturdy enough to withstand hard times and hard work. These ninety-pound weaklings had a hard time back then. Both of my grandmothers were big women. My aunts and great aunts were all big women. My mother, though short, has been big most of her life. Yet they were all healthy, all lived into their eighties or nineties, they worked hard, and were all beautiful women in their own way.

So what's more important? A woman with a perfect body and no compassion? Or a woman with some padding but a heart of pure gold?

I vote for the latter. What about you?


Friday, February 18, 2005


My name is Tori Scott. Well, not really. That's what I hope to use as my pen name should I ever be lucky enough to sell one of my books. At least I think that's the one I want to use. I've batted pen names around for a while now. Some of the other choices were Pamela Arden, Arden Lindsey, McKenna Morris (I still kind of like that one), Kelsey Wallis, Emma Walden, Erin Wallis, Marti Merrick, Morgan McKenzie, and at least 20 others. But Tori K. Scott lets me use letters from my 4 kids' names and my two grandson's names.

Any thoughts on which one you'd like to buy a book from?

What I really, really wanted to use was Rebecca Arden. But my youngest absolutely refused to let me highjack her name to put on romance novels. She's a lit-ah-rare-y type, you know.

This blog is not just for thoughts on writing, but for thoughts on life, love, family, the state of the union...

Oh, yeah, that last one is supposed to be the President's job. But somehow I don't think he has a clue about what's really going on in this country. He has no clue about people who can't affored basic dental or medical care, people who can't afford to buy a car that runs, and if they could, couldn't afford gas and insurance for it.

Oops, I wasn't going to go off on politics. At least not yet. You'll have to come back to read my political tirades another day.

Bear with me while I figure this blogging thing out. I hope you come back to see me soon.