USA Today Best of 2012

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Too Done 2009

Before I get ahead of myself and start dreaming what I'd like to accomplish next year, I thought I'd pause to reflect on my Too Done List big items for this year:
  • 18 years after the dentist told me to do it, and after 15 years of ouch, I finally got rid of those painmaker wisdom teeth and another molar they'd crushed beyond repair. Feels great!
  • Published my first book, Waiting for Revenge, along with Lone Star Trouble. (I'd call that a twofer)
  • Made peace (and jokes) with many middle-schoolers during my longterm subbing assignment -- and somehow the house did not crumble or fall into bio-hazarddom in the interim
  • Wiped out that bastard spider and all his little friends too, with my many cans of Raid. Teach him to bite me with his nasty dirty mouth and infect my arm! Our home may not be chemical free, but it will remain arachnid-free, I vow it.
  • Managed to ferry two kids around to their baseball practice and games all summer
  • Conquered the Old Lady Acne (hey, it was big for me) and held ground in the ever-escalating battle against GuyBrows
  • Mastered my Sony Reader
  • Joined a bookclub
  • Started (writing) one novel and have almost finished another (give me the weekend and it'll be done)
  • Edited 9 books released this year
  • Accumulated about 100 more Facebook friends -- who are all really my friends, because I ditched the dead weights
  • Laundered and folded approximately 575,000 loads of wash
  • Indentured my kids into dishwashing slavery (feels almost as good as losing the painmakers)
  • Cleaned the toilets. Once. (Kidding! Just wanted to see if you were paying attention)

A happy and productive 2010 to you!

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yes! We're Closed

I've been kinda hiding out, spending lots of facetime with my laptop this week. In one of those beautiful, marvelous, fantastic spurts of inspiration, aka writing.

It's kinda like being "born again" for me, because (between you, me, and the rest of the 'net) I'd honestly worried whether I could still write or not, it's been so long since I had.

Good news, though. I can.

Off to do just that!

Autumn - OUT

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

My daughter loves to dress herself up in fabric remnants, then practice sweeping pseudo-balletic moves around the house, often to no music at all, and of course with as large an audience as she can drum up. So last night she outfitted herself in some gauzy black and white number gathered with hair clips and secured with bobby pins, and presented us with the following invitations:

Mademn Lady (I think she's onto something here. This spelling bespeaks of respect, whereas "madam" just makes me think of madman -- not at all solemn or prestigious. Now who do I write about getting this spelling altered?)
Dad got Sir Dad (also quite solemn and dignified, as opposed to Corn-fuscius...)

The neatly folded purple construction paper opened to:
You are gradually invited to Lindsey's dance recietal! Join me as I prance throughout the floor as soon as all the lights go out! Please accept a front row seat on the sofa!

I had to run the spotlight (aka Mag flashlight), but it was definitely a show like no other.

Happy Tuesday.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Monday

Small deviation this week - no sucky Monday tales. Instead, I'll review a movie I watched this weekend: The new Star Trek.

I should qualify this review by saying, I'm by no means a trekkie, but I do enjoy the old Star Trek movies and the (few) original TV episodes. That said, I only occasionally watched The Next Generation and have had no interest in subsequent series. But I did really want to see what they'd done with our original characters.

The verdict? Pleasant surprise. Lots of humor -- poor old Kirk really does get his butt kicked left and right in this movie, but comes through it like a champ, albeit a bruised one. He's always got a smart remark, plenty of womanizing comments, and those pretty eyes of his... yum. The plot? Awesome! Very nice job creating parallel fiction in the space-time continuum. Wonderful subplot romance between Spock and Uhura, Spock remains an endearing enigma as always. And having Nimoy (the Real Nimoy! LOL) on the scene just sealed the deal for me. I'd give this one 5 stars. So glad we bought it!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hohohoping everybody has a wonderful holiday. In the spirit of giving, Harlequin is giving away 12 free ebooks (freeeebooks). I've read several of these, as they were also given away in HQ's anniversary celebration earlier this year -- and they were quite good.

Check it out. Might be something good to do while the Mister dozes in front of a football game. This is a link to Books on Board, but I suspect you can also get the titles at the Harlequin site.

On a personal note, I'm pleased as punch with some new nifty Crocs, a badass paper trimmer (thanks eA, now I can get to work on those Venus bookmarks), and from Santa -- my very own large and small Maglite flashlights. Don' hate me cuz my flashlight is soooo BIG.

Merry Christmas!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best in Class

This one earns a double nomination -- for Best Boss, and for Best Gift:

Our friend Sandor moved here as an adult from Hungary, and has gone home to visit a few times, but none of his family has been to the U.S. and he didn't expect they ever would, unless he flew there and accompanied them on their trip (not so many signs in Hungarian to aid the nonEnglish speakers throughout our airports). Factor in the financial aspect for his widowed mother and teen brother, and he pretty much planned on doing the visiting -- a real bummer because he'd no doubt love to show off his beautiful baby girl.

Enter one generous boss, who bought tickets for Mom and little Brother to visit this Christmas, one Wonderful Wife who managed to keep it secret for 3 months, right up through the trip to the airport with his boss to pick up "some friend of the boss's daughter". Yah, it was a pretty big surprise, and a pretty good one. His last text our way was a heartwarming, "Best ever Xmas!"

Kinda makes me wanta go hug his boss.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Autumn Piper
Got holiday spirit?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guest spot for Piper

Today I'm celebrating the release of A Fireman for Christmas as guest over at the Whipped Cream blog. We're chatting about those yummy firemen, so do stop by.

Huge congrats to pal Nyla Rose on her release of Yuletide Fire. Go Nyla!

May your holiday prep go smoothly and your dollars stretch like Elasta-Girl,

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Chances to Win

Leave a comment over at Nights of Passion for a chance to win a copy of Lone Star Trouble today.

Also, small update: after several long soaks/stain cycles and lots of OxyClean, all my holiday keepsakes are nearly clean. Only one stuffed snowman shows signs of his traumatic mildewy imprisonment, and the Mom stocking has a couple of battle scars.

Hooray for OxyClean!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm all over the place today.

Take a gander at my interview over at Nights of Passion and leave a comment for your chance to win an ebook copy of Waiting for Revenge.

Also... I'm guest holiday blogger over at Long and Short Romance Reviews, chatting about romantic holiday traditions. It's an opportunity to snag a copy of Lone Star Trouble, or -- if you meet my challenge head-on -- to win both Lone Star Trouble and my upcoming release, Trouble Under Venus.

Happy Monday, and may your holiday shopping be nearly at an end.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, December 18, 2009

...And to all, wi-fi.

I had to share this article -- it's great news.

Of course, highlight for me is probably the dig to high-end hotels still charging for wi-fi, but... really?

Wi-fi has come to be an amenity people expect, and the reasoning seems to be, if the establishment has it, then why charge the public for it? Which is pretty much where I am.

And who knows how many people in this economy might decide to hang out with their laptop in a McDonald's sipping coffee instead of a Starbucks while working on whatever. Maybe somebody will sit at a McDucks and write the next amazing tween/YA series!!!

Happy Friday, everybody. I'm looking at the next two weeks "off", at least from the Teacher Stunt Double gig.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book vs. Movie Review

Once again, I've been disappointed by a movie which didn't live up to the book.

The book? Q and A, by Vikas Swarup. The movie: Slumdog Millionaire.

The premise: A very poor young Indian man wins a record amount on a quiz show, then gets arrested on suspicion of cheating.

Don't get me wrong; I think the movie was... okay... as movies go. However, when comparing plot and characterization, the book stands head and shoulders above. Some of the things they changed for the movie, I just didn't get. Like the jackpot amount. Why? Why change that? And the real reason he was arrested... why?

I do have to wonder, though, if someone saw the movie first and fell in love with its story, then read the book, would they feel the same way?

Things that make ya go "hmm".

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tube Tuesday

This is an oldie (1985) but still relevant, this time of year when we think about others less fortunate. Plus, it's really cool to see all the celebs way-back-when.

We Are the World

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Far Suckier Than Monday

Today's big gripe most likely falls partly under the "My own damn fault" category, but...

We got our Christmas tree this weekend and hauled in all the totes full of ornaments and lights, household decorations, holiday wrap, etc. and had a very nasty (and sad) surprise. My favorite snowglobe apparently froze last winter and the pressure pushed open the plug at the bottom, spewing all the lovely fluid out into a tote full of all kinds of treasures. The chemically spill wasn't bad enough though -- since it was in an airtight container, everything mildewed. My collection of stuffed snowmen, all the little battery powered dancing snowmen, penguins, etc, the big dancing Santa, and worst of all: Our stockings, which I sewed by hand before I even had a sewing machine, the year my daughter was born. :( Big black mildew spots accompanied by some lovely rust marks.

This really does suck.

Piper Denna
Mildew is not sexy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lesson in Legumes

I cooked a big pot of pinto beans and ham for dinner one night this week, which I always serve with the tried and true bread & butter (Parkay! -- sorry, just had to). So when we sit down and start filling our bowls, hubbyhead piles in the beans, then tops them with a couple of huge tablespoons of butter (Parkay! -- it's like a mild form of Tourette's. Impossible to control). I raise a brow at him and he replies, deadpan, "Now they're butter beans."

And here I had no idea...

Happy Friday!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Next Fitness Craze?

After shoveling my way out of 2 feet of recent snow, I came inside thinking the state should include a fee in property taxes to provide a snowblower with every residence. This might prevent quite a few heart attacks. On the other hand... it is a damn good workout. So maybe we should go the other way with this. It's gotta burn more calories than just about every machine in a gym. Perhaps somebody should find a way to simulate snowshoveling on a fitness machine! (Although I can't decide whether the aerobic benefits would be enhanced or decline in a controlled climate where your nostrils aren't freezing together...)

Of course, the machine should have different modes for maximum fitness benefit:

  • Warm-up -- aka Just Enough Snow Fell to Necessitate Shoveling mode -- makes you think maybe your 6-year-old is big enough for this job
  • Speedwork --aka I'm So Dang Late for Work mode -- where you've gotta go for all you're worth, burning lungs included
  • Strength mode -- aka The Storm from Hell Just Passed Over and Left Me a Few Hundred Acre-Feet of Superwet Snow mode -- you know, the heavy, deep stuff that makes you wonder why humans continue to live in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • Intervals -- aka Wasn't Freaking Snow Enough of a Curse? The Wind Had to Blow Too? mode -- simulates those marvelous snow drifts alternating with thinner bits
  • Cool-down -- aka Standing Out by the Mailbox Leaning on the Shovel and Chatting with Old Mr. Peterson about his Overactive Bladder mode -- where the rivulets of sweat running from your stocking cap become runnels of ice pasted to your cheeks and damp layers chill you into a shivering mess of achey muscles

Yeah, I know. It does sound fun, doesn't it? Think of all the specialized fitness gear this sport would need... Ergonomic shovels with special squishie handles, fur-trimmed workout shorts, spangly/sparkly weight belts, hot pink fingerless gloves, and dear God, the legwarmers... think of the legwarmers!!! This idea just might save the economy if it falls into the right hands.

Have a great Thursday.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Watcha Readin' Wednesday - a review

This week I'm reviewing Jennifer Crusie's Anyone But You. (I read it on the Reader!) Actually obtaining it was a bit of a tribulation, as I'd originally purchased it with a discount from doing a review, but ended up with some wonky format for Palms which I was supposed to be able to convert to usefulness with software -- but never could. Eventually I just bought it with a discount from Fictionwise.

Crusies' note at the beginning says readers call this "Fred's book" and I can see why.

Fred is a beagle/basset mix who Nina (the heroine) adopts in the opening scene. She's after a perky puppy but ends up with a middle-aged, saggy, somewhat depressed overeater. He does help cheer her up, however, and makes her new apartment less lonely. After a long divorce and even longer time when her house on the uppity side of town was for sale, she's finally on her own, doing just what she wants. Everybody thinks she's nuts, but she's okay with that.

Teaching Fred to use the fire escape so he can "walk" himself down to the building's back yard for potty breaks proves to be a boon when he goes back in her downstairs neighbor's window instead of hers. And downstairs is yummy Alex - a handsome, single, and younger than Nina ER doc.

I like the way these two characters are instantly comfy together, hang out to watch TV, and even "rescue" one another from dates. Nina's hangups about her age are easy for us as readers to wave off, but also relatable and realistic. As a secondary character, Fred is something of a scene-stealer. Very cute. Of course you'll root for Fred's mom and dad to get together, and afterward you'll think of him often and wonder how he's doing.

Anyone But You is a Nice Bang for Your Entertainment Buck.

Up next: Heartbreakers, by Lori Foster

Happy Wednesday,

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tube Tuesday

Damn. And I thought it would be awesome to be Cindy Crawford before...

Bon Jovi Please Come Home for Christmas

Well, what can I say? It's romantic.

Autumn Piper
Got romance? (I should hope so, after watching that!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

No-Suck Cleaning Tip

Even though this blog isn't really "about" housecleaning stuff (and that's one of my least favorite topics/activities), I did want to share this quick tip, gleaned from a kind friend of mine who used to clean houses for a living.

If you've got one of those bumpy fiberglass showers or tubs, you'll know what a drag it can be to remove soap scum and water stains from them. (Or, if you've got an antique cast-iron, porcelain-coated clawfoot tub that was last cleaned 15 years before you took it over...) The quick and clean answer? Oven cleaner. Cheap off-brand stuff works just fine here. Spray it on and leave the offending room for an hour or so (close the door behind you so no pets decide to head in and sample the neat foamy stuff). When you return, removing stuck-on goop is a cinch. Make sure to use gloves and turn on the exhaust fan or open a window, lest all the good guck in your lungs also be stripped away.

So that's my tip -- probably the extent of my miniscule cleaning knowledge, other than using liquid dish soap to treat grease stains in the laundry. Hope it helps somebody out when prepping for holiday guests.

May your Monday be fast and nonsucky.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wee spot o' news

So I was playing tag yesterday (well, not playing, so much as working, and it wasn't really hard to catch the object of my attention, because I was actually on Amazon tagging my books so they'll come up in searches more readily) and came across something quite thrilling. Pardon me while I yell it:


Yes, I know. I was excited, too. Release date shows as December 31st on our Amazon, but in Canada it says January 1. Either way... squeeeeeeeee!

This means all those people I know who don't really "get" ebooks will finally believe I am a published author. squeeeeee!

In other news, young Fuscius-etta turns a strapping 12 years old tomorrow. (when I think back to 12 years ago... hoooboy. What a miserable time. I didn't even wish for it all to be over -- I was certain it would be soon, and I'd be dead. ugg. Having another baby wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to have the baby, ya know... it was not a good childbirth. Definitely not a textbook delivery) Anyway. We're going to see David Archuleta (double squeeeee on her behalf) live -- in concert -- and I'll bare my soul further today and admit this is my. Very. First. Concert. Aside from seeing part of a live Nelson performance at a 6 Flags park in 1992, when I'm pretty sure they were already on their way out, oh and whiny little SIL was along so we had to stand in BACK because the loud noise hurt her ears. Good God. I dare say, this will be much more fun. One swooning pre-teen, a good galpal, me, and about 1000 other screamin tweens and their kind moms. Oh, and one cutie petutie ArchieKid up on stage crooning to us all.

Are ya excited yet, eA? :)

Happy Friday, I'm off the 5th Grade class of Children of the Corn today. Pray for me and wish me hair at day's end.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gone Tubin' Again

Today's tube is the special Christmas trailer for Waiting for Revenge. Since the story is set between Thanksgiving and New Year's, I made both "regular" and holiday versions. (and only a minute long, too, which is tough)

Waiting for Revenge Christmas

Have a great one and stay warm.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Can we heal the rift?

We have a serious, swept-under-the-rug problem in this society. Nobody really talks about it, but it's there, destroying things we hold dear and undermining relationships.

I think it's a fairly modern problem, although our ancestors may have dealt with it in milder form. Today I'm looking for solutions, suggestions, and similar stories. With any luck, maybe I can start a grass-roots movement and get some public education going.

Educating couples (particularly men!) at the onset of committed relationships would go a long way toward closing the gap.

So, you might be asking (WTH is she yammering about?), what is this big conundrum?

The trouble starts when a non-laundry-doing partner in a relationship leaves something (valuable or breakable or with possible destructive properties such as an ink pen) in HIS pockets and the item gets washed. And usually dried as well. Some items simply do not survive the tumbling and power-jetting of a modern washing machine, which is likely to infuriate the negligent owner of said pocketed item. Of course, other clothing can also be ruined in the process, which is likely to infuriate the owner of said clothing (otherwise why in the name of Hercules would she have bothered to wash the damn clothes??? She'd simply have thrown them in the garbage if she wanted them ruined!).

Inevitably, NonLaundryDoer blames LaundryDoer for Not. Checking. Pockets. (wherein somebody's head immediately spins in circles while green guck spews from her lips)

Hello? Is not the fact that she is washing his freaking clothes enough burden to lay upon her soft shoulders? Now she's got to poke thru his pocket lint in search of useful items too?

LaundryDoer, naturally (and correctly) argues that it was HIS responsibility to remove his shit from his pockets before depositing his clothing in the hamper. *with her arms folded over her chest*

Well, there you have the crux of it, and boy has this caused problems in many a relationship.

Stalemate? I think not. The solution is to find someone these men admire/trust/adore and have him or her educate them, whether through a stand-up comedy act, an episode of South Park/Reno 911, or Public Service Announcements in Sports Illustrated and during half-times and The Victoria's Secret Fall Fashion Show. There's got to be a way to get to these men, I just know it. After all, we know they are wrong...

So please, offer up your war stories or suggestions, or even just a funny laundry-oops story.

Myself, I've washed everything from receipts and checks to pocket-knives (God if only I had a buck for every time the pocket knife when into the washer, and I got hollered at for it. You know, it's not good for knives to get so wet...) to screws, wirenuts, a red ink pen (neato permanent design inside my dryer and on the rest of the load), cans of Copenhagen (yuck and super yuck), too many lip balms to count (and did I yell and berate myself for leaving them in my jeans pocket? heck no), a few Polly Pockets and Legos, Hot Wheels cars, pacifiers, hairbrushes (this is on purpose -- works really well to clean them up, but do pull the hair out of them first) and of course quite a few items belonging to the US Treasury. The last don't distress me in the least. I tend to pocket them with a grin. :D

Have a safe and laundry-surprise free day!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy! (laundry is not...)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tube Tuesday

This song says so much... really speaks to me (for me?), some days. Sure makes me wish I had an ocean to run away to, those times.

Have a great day.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!