Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Is This Fair?

Just saw this on Yahoo News:

(HealthDay News) -- Past studies have suggested that caffeine might offer some protection from skin cancer, and new research may explain why.

"We have found what we believe to be the mechanism by which caffeine is associated with decreased skin cancer," said lead researcher Dr. Paul Nghiem, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

For the study, Nghiem's team looked at caffeine's effect on human skin cells in a laboratory that had been exposed to ultraviolet radiation. They found that in cells damaged by UV rays, caffeine interrupted a protein called ATR-Chk1, causing the damaged cells to self-destruct.

"Caffeine has no effect on undamaged cells," Nghiem said.

So just as I finally kick my caffeine habit, I learn that it was helping to stave off skin cancer? I have rotten, crappy Irish skin and need all the help I can get managing the damage I did years ago when I thought baby oil was the same as sunscreen. I guess I can either contend with heart palpitations or protect my skin. Hell of a choice! Can I say for the record? I hate the 40s. Everything starts to go!

Sorry to be so sporadic with the blogs. When I'm not working, I've been face first in the proofs for Love at First Flight. Good times!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A "Pinch Me" Week

FedEx started the ball rolling on Monday by delivering two packages, both from my publisher. One included Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of Love at First Flight. The other contained the galley proofs, which show the final layout of the book. This is the last time the author sees the book before it's in print. GULP. As for receiving the ARCs, I have to say it was so exciting to see LaFF as a real book for the first time (even if it's not the final, final version), just as much as it was with Line of Scrimmage. Check out my recent post on the Casablanca Authors site about how I broke some of the romance "rules" with Love at First Flight. I'm really excited (and nervous) to see what reviewers will think of this one. We did so well with LOS that I can only hope lightning will strike twice. Fingers crossed!

I'm about halfway through a first read of the galleys. I plan to read them twice because on the second run through the Line of Scrimmage galleys, I found a typo in the closing pages. As a professional copy editor, I live in mortal fear of missing the big mistake. In fact, I was SO afraid to even look at Line of Scrimmage after it was published for fear of what I might see. I told my friends, "If you see anything wrong with it, do NOT tell me!" (I never did hear of anything wrong with it. Not sure if that's because there was nothing wrong or people were afraid to tell me. Either way, ignorance is bliss.) But then my wise chapter mate Barbara Keiler (w/a Judith Arnold) told me to READ THAT BOOK. So I did and I only found some missing close quotes and a good morning that should've been a good afternoon. Not bad to say the book was 86,000 words. This one is 94,000. Again, I say GULP. The good news is that I love this book sooooooo much that reading the galleys is a treat. Let's hope it's still a treat the second time around!

This week I've also had lovely chats with my editor and agent. Then our very energetic Sourcebooks publicist Danielle weighed in with the amazing list of review sites she's targeted with ARCs of LaFF, hoping to generate some good buzz about the book. Editor, agent, publicist, galley proofs, ARCs... I feel like a real working author. Like I said, PINCH ME!

Recently, I've made a couple of new writing buddies by volunteering to critique manuscripts for unpublished folks. I have to say it's so great to work with people who are totally open to suggestions and who welcome honest feedback. I've also worked with a few who are less receptive, and that makes me sad for them knowing what's ahead. They may get lucky and sell their books but an editor is going to require significant changes and that can be difficult to handle. Two of my new friends are just hungry to learn everything they can, and I'm so excited to see how they will make out when they submit their work to agents. In addition, I've been judging a few contests, another thing I enjoy doing. It's a good thing I'm between books right now because by the time the day job is done and the kids are happy, there's not much time left in the day and it seems like I have a lot to do. I'm also supposed to be revising another MS, which I plan to get to right after I finish the galleys.

And, since I recently weaned myself off caffeine, I'm ready for bed most nights at eight o'clock lately! Horrors! That's my prime writing and TV watching time! Hopefully, I'll adjust soon to life without caffeine and be less exhausted than I've been for the last week or two. At least the heart palpitations that necessitated this unsavory development have let up, so I guess it was worth it. Zzzzzzzzz

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Romance World's National Holiday

Happy Valentine's Day! You'd think that as romance writers all my pals and I would be planning romantic outings with our significant others. Well, for me, Valentine's Day has included a dozen red roses, a box of candy, and a card that included a monkey sitting on a toilet. The card had the required "I love you" and made me laugh, so that's good. I also had breakfast made for me as I do most Saturday mornings. But going out? Not tonight. We're not into crowds and waiting an hour to get into a restaurant.

My friend Robin Kaye is blogging today on our Casablanca Authors Blog about how she's not really much into Valentine's Day because her domestic god Stephen, who I jokingly refer to as my second husband, does lovely things for her every day. She'd rather have the cup of coffee he brings her in bed every morning than a three-carat diamond for Valentine's Day (not that she'd say no to the diamond, of course). The general consensus among my romance writing pals is that it's not about hearts and flowers, it's about having go-to guys who make our daily lives a little easier.

That definitely includes my husband, Dan, who takes a lot of grief from me, but gets it done not just for me but for my single mom cousin and many of my friends who bring their pants over to be hemmed by him. Yes, you read that right. I gave him a Singer for Christmas a few years ago, which was easily the best gift I've ever given anyone. He views it as a power tool, right up there with his drill or saw. Of course he does require a full inseam measurement for all alterations because, as he says, there has to be something in it for him. Since my friends need him to sew for them, I'd better keep him around!

Another note on Valentine's Day... This was my first one as a mom that didn't require me to buy little kid Valentine's for my children's classmates. With a daughter in 8th grade--she makes beautiful cards for her friends--and a son in fourth grade--his response to my query about Valentine's was "Get real, Mom"--my life as a Valentine-buying mom has come to an end. Boo hoo!

Friday, February 6, 2009