Mr. Nina often asks me if there’s an owner’s manual for me. LOL! I wish. Not that he’d ever read it, I mean come on, he’s a guy. But still, there are some things I tell him, that he still doesn’t quite understand. In no particular order, here’s a list of things women wish men would understand:
couple with MusicLarge
1. Unless there are bones, blood or sex involved never interrupt a woman’s first cup of coffee (or tea)… her bath.. or the last chapter of her book.

2. A hamper is a thing… not an area of the bedroom.
 
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supportI’ve been thinking a lot about my support systems of late. Both personal and writing. Mostly because Mr. Nina is spending his weeks 2 hours north of me and I’m alone so much of the time. All I can say is … thank goodness for the Internet!!

I was once asked what the most difficult part of my writing journey has been and by far it had to be the period time when I was alone before I found other writers to share my celebrations and disappointments. My family has been a steadfast cornerstone of my career, believing in me even when I stumbled. I love them for that, but they don’t really understand the kick-in-the-gut feeling of getting a rejection, tumbling sales or the inability to find your writing mojo. Only another writer totally comprehends how difficult this stay-at-home-I’m-having-an-amazing-time-making-things-up-and-killing-bad-guys writing career can be.
 
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clock*deep calming breath* Really, I feel like I’m treading through molasses and not getting anywhere … fast! I know I’m not any different than every other writer out there trying to balance their real life with the world their building in their books. But sometimes life stuff just tumbles on top of itself and I get rolled up in the whole big mess.

I’ve not hidden the fact that the last 5 1/2 years have been a total clusterf**k for Mr. Nina and I. We moved from northern Maine where’d been living for over 20 years … which I was quite happy to do … to Rhode Island when Mr. Nina lost his job in hospital administration. Little did we realize what a rollercoaster we’d climbed up on! Well, 4 moves and 6 jobs later–we’re still trying to find our footing. Writing has taken a backseat to all of the turmoil. But even when I do have the mindset to sit down and start pounding out words, there seems to be other pressing issues.

I’m talking time management. This is as much for me as it is for those of you out in cyberland thinking you’ll never have time to finish that novel or short story you’ve promised yourself you’ll get to.
 
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People often ask me why I chose romance when I decided to write books. The answer was easy–it’s what I enjoy reading! And let’s face it, there’s nothing that makes my heart beat a little faster than a sexy hero (like Mr. Nina) and a romantic gesture.

I didn’t come at romance through the usual avenues of Judy Blume or sneaking Harlequin novels from my mother’s stash. Nope. I jumped right into romance around the age of 13 with The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. What’s not to love about family saga, a forbidden love affair with a priest and illegitimate babies? This romance had it all! I was hooked. I spent summers throughout high school and college poring through every book of Danielle Steel’s and moving onto Nora Roberts (I bow to the queen of romance) and Sandra Brown.
 
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I thought I’d share with you not only 13 facts about Christmas, but how about my gift to you … a wee bit of the eye candy? I promise there’s no calories in these tasty treats!

1. At Christmas, it is traditional to exchange kisses beneath the mistletoe tree. In ancient Scandinavia, mistletoe was associated with peace and friendship. That may account for the custom of “kissing beneath the mistletoe”.

 
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Santa_FullDear Santa,

It appears I’ve done it again. I’ve frittered away the month of December and Christmas has crept up on me like an old pair of panties. 

And I can only hope this letter finds its way into your hands before Rudolph is hitched to your sleigh. You see there’s only one thing I want for Christmas. I’d really like… if it’s not too much trouble… a doover.

It seems like only yesterday it was the week before Thanksgiving and I was thinking “oh, another whole month stretches out ahead of me to enjoy the holiday season”. *Gulp* Where did the month go? I want it back. If you could turn back the clock I promise the second time around I’d use my allotted time more wisely.

I won’t wait until the week before Christmas to start shopping and picking over the clothing racks with only size 0 or 26 left. I’d send out my Christmas gifts in a timely fashion so the man at the post office won’t laugh maniacally at my feeble attempt to get packages to loved ones. I promise to plan my Christmas dinner waaay before the grocery shelves hold only pickles and day old bagles. I’ll not eat so much at the Christmas parties so the cute outfit I bought for Christmas Eve mass will still fit. I promise to keep the house picked up so when unexpected guests arrive to share some holiday cheer, I won’t be scrambling to clear the laundry off the couch and they’ll have a place to sit. I promise to buy tape, ribbon, and wrapping paper right after Thanksgiving and not pull the funnies section of the newspaper out of the recycling so my gifts are covered with something. I promise to put up the tree before Christmas Eve and have it down waaay before Valentine’s Day. I promise to wrap gifts and stack them happily under the tree and not wait until two days before the holiday to think perhaps I should have asked for gift boxes.

So, if I promise to do all these things, Santa… could you just deliver this one little gift. ‘Cause I could really use a “do over” for Christmas. 

Love, Nina

PS Anyone tell you… you’re looking good for a jolly old elf!

With the changing face of publishing it seems books are going through fewer and fewer edits these days. Print publishing houses are cutting back on staff to save costs from submission to publication. Some digital publishing houses are pushing books through to keep up with the high demand of their readers. And authors are now going the self-publishing route and may not have the financial resources to send a book through several sets of edits.

So what does this mean for a reader? That more and more books are making it to publication with errors. No one is immune. From the USA Bestseller to the self-pubbed author, more and more books we pick up have at least one error. And let me just tell you from an author’s perspective … it’s not at all because we don’t care. Unfortunately, even several pairs of eyes on the same manuscript can miss an error.
 
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This is a short story I wrote a few years ago. I’ve always loved it and thought I’d post it again for your holiday enjoyment. (It’s based on the “8th day of Christmas”)

Meghan dropped down in the small stool, tipped back her cowboy hat and laid her forehead against the soft belly of the Jersey, less than pleased she was here doing the evening milking—again. The youngest of eight sisters, she always seemed to get stuck finishing the barn chores. She never got to do anything exciting, like ride out into Mistletoe Canyon and find the missing cows. Resigned to her duty, she gripped a teat in each hand, rolled her fingers with a vengeance and sent milk pinging into the bucket between her feet. The cow let out a soft bellow.
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Mr. Nina had a terrible time with the lights this Christmas. Poor baby 😉

With Christmas only days away I’m completely off any semblence of a writing schedule. So I’ve sort of thrown up my hands and I’m diving head first into grocery shopping for all the company and wrapping presents. And to me there is nothing more festive than watching some Christmas classics while the paper is cut and the ribbons are curled. I don’t think any of these never-fail-to-watch classics will surprise many of you.
 
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