USA Today Best of 2012

Friday, December 31, 2010

What I've learned this year

Rather than another Too Done List like I did last year, today I'll post about what I've learned in 2010. So here it is, in no significant order:
  • Failing to stop the Runkeeper GPS app on my iPhone when I'm done walking really drains the battery. (so, hey... I'm starting off small!)
  • Teens can sleep upwards of 25 hours per day.
  • The extent to which teen boys can--to quote one of my alltime faves, the Coneheads--"consume mass quantities", is simply staggering.
  • Nicole Richie is Lionel Richie's daughter. (and see, I never would've learned that if not for my TMZ addiction)
  • It's easier to earn much more from an ebook novella than from a full-length book in both digital and print formats.
  • Some 9-year-old boys will walk right up to a teacher and say, "Damn!" (cue visual of me falling over, LOL)
  • Sometimes the thing you've dreaded most of all comes along, and forces you to do something much better. :) (waxing philosophical and life-coachey)
  • Carly Phillips & Julia Quinn are funny, friendly women--besides being wonderful authors. (Yay RomCon 2010!)
  • The best laid plans (ie the most time spent silkscreening and sewing) can still sometimes go to straight to hell. (more gleaned from RomCon, but hey... the upside is, I'm still in possession of a shitton of Autumn Piper sunglass sacks, LOL)
  • All bread will mold eventually. Unless it's for a science fair project where a 7th grader is trying to time how long it takes bread to mold after being exposed to germs.
  • Telling people I know about being an author isn't as scary as I'd expected. :)
  • The staffs at Rifle Middle School and Highland Elementary School are wonderful, helpful groups of people. (Thanks for the support, ya'll.)
  • Teachers rock! (yes, I did know this before, but it should be said more, and louder)
  • Having 3/4 of your hair turn gray (silver) isn't the end of the world. Nor is it the end of the graying process...
  • Something as commonplace as a blownout tire really can have tragic results. To that end, kids are much more adept at finding ways to grieve and cope than we give them credit for. Kids rock, too.
  • The most effective fix for SAD (seasonal affective disorder, and no I'm not giving it capitals because I've figured out how to fight it and it's losing) is quality time with a tanning bed. And now I understand why all the coffee kiosks in Alaska also had tanning salons when we visited. Doh!
  • No matter how vast the Crouton Collection in my pantry (a small aside: crouton collections don't carry much street value, even on eBay, nor do they increase in value over time)it won't affect the amount of salad I'll consume.
  • Everything tastes better with ranch.
So there we have it. Rather an eclectic summation of 2010, but by no means an encyclopedia. And I do like to think I still learn something everyday... that's what TMZ is for!

Have a safe, fun night with little physical evidence to remind you of it tomorrow.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Unitasking- gift or disability?

I've sometimes envied certain people (for convenience, we'll just call them "men") for their ability to focus on a single job, and tune out all else. Conversely, I've watched men miss all the key bits of a conversation going on around them while doing something which I didn't think should require 100% attention.

So I wonder: Is unitasking (opposite of multi-tasking, defined by my 9-year-old daughter to my brother and his fiancee as "when a lady can do more than one thing at once, like driving down the road and hitting her kids in the backseat without having to pull over") a useful skill, or a detriment? While out walking one day this week, I had to shake my head at a neighbor guy, who was out cleaning his truck when I began my walk, and was still out cleaning his truck when I returned an hour later. Meanwhile, his wife was inside and had probably started dinner, washed a couple loads of clothes, loaded the dishwasher, sorted some mail... you get the picture. So then I came home and started my own dinner. Got the charcoal started, checked the hot tub, realized it had been leaking and needed either drained or refilled, searched out the pump and cord so I could drain it, all the while minding the grill (this worked out marvelously since they were both outside jobs). By the time I was ready to put the steaks on, I'd finished with the tub. So I went inside and began my twice-baked potatoes. All was going well until I got involved with clearing off the counter and cleaning the stove top, and kept forgetting to check the flames... at which point I realized this is why dudes are good at grilling--they go stand there and do nothing but watch the dang food cook! If they need a plate or the seasoning salt or a beer, they yell for somebody to bring it out. And yes, that gets annoying to the person inside preparing all the side dishes, cleaning the kitchen, helping the kids with homework... but some jobs kinda need devoted attention that way.

It's good to get several things done at once. But I can see how this skill has evolved in our men--consider Caveman Kreg, out hunting bison. He needs to focus on the hunt, not be worrying about the pile of skins at home that need washed, or whether the medicine woman should have a look at the baby and check out her cough. He can't be thinking about firewood now--he might be killed! So... do you think the dudes developed that one-mindedness out of necessity, or did they gradually become the hunter-folk because of that focus?

Either way, sometimes we'll all still feel like whacking our men upside the heads with clubs when they're watching TV and don't notice us asking them a question. I have to confess, though, I'd love to be able to tune out everybody and forget about all my worries, and just write. Even just an hour a day in "the Unizone".

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A title for an unfinished book? Unheard of!

This is... a first in my writing career. I'm working on a novella, and somehow yesterday the title came to me. Just to be clear here, I have never, ever, had a title for one of my books before I finished writing it.

So? Here goes: A Cowboy Can Dream

It's the story of Nate and Clay (Nate was Kiersten's BFF in Autumn's Lone Star Trouble). A bit on the torrid side... but nothing Piper fans can't handle. And there've been quite a few requests for Nate's story, by women who read Lone Star. Of course Autumn couldn't write that story, because some of her readers might get freaked out by the m/m romance. So there we are.

Now I've just gotta write the darn thing... which is another first, because I've planned out this story on paper ahead of time. I know, totally not my "pantser" method. First time for everything, right?

Happy hump day.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cute cookbooks with laughs--wonderful gifts

If you haven't seen these cookbooks yet, you should check them out. They make really fun gifts for girlfriends... they are the Any Bitch cookbooks.

Someone very cool gave me Any Bitch Can Fake It, for Christmas, and can't wait to try out the recipes. Believe me, when it comes to cooking, I am all about faking the hard work!

(The books are available on Amazon, but sell for much less directly from the Any Bitch site, although I'm not sure what they charge for shipping.)

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Learning from the kidlets

Subbing in a 4th grade class this month, I've been very impressed with the writing lessons. "We" wrote big fiction pieces, focusing on the following skills:

  • The kids started out by planning their stories using a "story mountain", where they put all the plot points along a sloped mountain-shaped grid, so they could see their conflict, climax and resolution... which was awesome. Then they put each of those events on its own page and wrote it, skipping lines for revision. Each "event" was its own scene.
  • Show, don't tell
  • Writing from one character's perspective or point of view (this one was not a personal narrative, so it couldn't be 1st person)
  • Each scene must start with action or dialogue, not narrative to capture a reader's interest
  • Colorful, detailed plot with a problem, climax, and satisfying ending
  • Characters show growth
  • And of course, writing conventions such as grammar, spelling and punctuation.
And, wow. Aren't these the same things many authors must focus on? I got to spend lots of time conferencing with the kiddos, helping to show them where they could expand, add details, make a more vivid "mind movie". Very good practice! It's awesome teaching the kids where they can add small things like body language, to give the reader a picture of somebody's mood--for example, "Mom put her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes"...instead of "Mom looked mad". And the beauty is, the kids totally "get" this concept. I honestly don't remember ever having this type of fiction coaching in school. Most of our writing really focused on essays and term papers.

Makes me very optimistic about what neat fiction might crop up in about 15 years or so...

And in the meantime, it's made me feel really good about seeing the big picture and doing a nice job editing for my authors. Nor do I feel bad about enforcing these skills on my authors. Because, after all, if we can expect 9- and 10-year-olds to do it, we can sure expect adults to, right?

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a merry one!

I think this video says it all..

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Something more to be thankful for!

I think there should be a national Hug a Book Reviewer Day.

A very nice reviewer contacted me personally to find out where she could purchase A Fireman for Christmas so she could review it. Naturally, I sent her a review copy.

Reviews really do keep me going some days.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


My favorite feature on the Tonight Show is Headlines.

My favorites this week are "The 5 Ps" and the Chinese ad correction...

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tube Tuesday

A little "at the library" comedy...

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Start the week with a new word...

From Urban Dictionary today:

Shatner commas: Oddly placed commas that don't seem to serve any actual purpose in punctuation, but make it look like you should take odd pauses, as William Shatner does when delivering lines.

This is what Shatner commas look like:

When, we get to, the restaurant, we should, order some, tasty, beverages.

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas comics

To those hoodlums in the class where I've been subbing:

I love them dearly, but words cannot express how much I'm looking forward to this holiday break. :)

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas comics

Deck the halls with boughs of hackers...

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Christmas comics

This snowman must be a grandpa:

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas comics

This week is a killer. So.... happy chuckles.

Kids fighting? Make this your quietest-ever trip home from tree shopping:

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Playing favorites

Today's post is on a topic we'll all be sick of in about 2 weeks--Christmas songs.

I recently had the privilege of seeing the choir perform at the elementary school where I'm subbing, and left impressed (if a bit teary-eyed). Christmas songs sung by kids are the best, in my opinion. And I cannot hear them sing "Silent Night" without the waterworks coming on. But why? I'm not sure--gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Lord knows I heard enough renditions of it when I was a kid myself. I always got stuck sitting in a corner of the music room with a book while the other kids practiced their holiday music (a religious thing). For whatever reason, I tear up whenever I hear little voices in that song. And the cutest Christmas song by kids? Easily "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". I probably developed that partiality when my son's kindergarten class sang it. Oops, more tears!

Ahem. Now, my all-time favorite, guaranteed-to-make-me-dance, or at least torso-dance-if-I'm driving, is "Feliz Navidad". So upbeat and fun. My head is bobbing now as I hum it.

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday cheer

Just for grins...

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New hobby?

Last night we watched a 7th- and 8th-grade drama production (my daughter was in it) for the first time. It was cool seeing those kids act--some of them were fantastic. I found it quite entertaining (albeit not always in the ways the script writers intended).

I think I'll be a future attendee, whether my kiddo is involved or not. Might start keeping an eye out for community theater productions, too.

Happy Thursday--we're arms' reach away from the weekend.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


After 2 weeks of wondering (worrying), last night I was able--thanks to an ingenious friend who knows ever so much more about computers than I--to retrieve data from my Dead Dell.

And the beauty of it is, now that Dell's harddrive is installed in the drive enclosure, I can plug it into my USB port anytime I want something from it. First thing I copied off it was a selection of books I'd started writing now and then but hadn't done much with, including the one that was going quite well at the time of Dell's untimely death.

Now. If I can somehow bust into the Windows Mail program on it, my week will be complete. Convincing iTunes that computer is now defunct and I have a new one to "authorize" would be a nice bonus, too....although that's a project for the holiday break, I believe.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jingles and catch phrases

Here's a one-liner that has stuck with me through the ages: "Maybe you should try something else." (somehow I remember "maybe you should try something new", but I dug up an old commercial and that's not how it was worded. It's the last one in clip of 80's ads)

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Of boogersuckers, bloodsugar, and sleeping like a baby

My new niece arrived yesterday afternoon, and even though I had a bajillion things to do around here, my daughter and I took the hour-long drive to go meet her (it was my daughter's birthday and she begged, which was a good excuse).

And, wow. What a little cutie! Holding a newborn is such a special experience, and this little girl is a real sleeper. Through all the jostling and switching arms of those holding her, through having her nose cleared with the big bluegreen bulb (meconium), and even through a blood test via a prick on her heel(because she wouldn't wake to eat), she slept. And slept.

I'm pretty sure even if I was comatose I couldn't rest like that.

It was definitely worth the trip. My daughter is still excited to have gotten such a gift for her birthday, and I'm sure my sis-in-law is happy she was able to deliver without complications (she was 5 days late, just like my kiddo, who also had the same November 30 due date...weird, huh?). Mommy was exhausted, glad it's over, and quite adamant about how much labor hurt. I'm thinking in a week's time she'll forget most of that hurt. But she'll probably be in that newborn haze of love and sleep deprivation, because that little sweetie probably won't be sleeping quite as well by then!

Happy Monday.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, December 3, 2010

A bit of reposting

Got this link in my Writers Digest email--it's written by an agent, regarding what they'd like to see/not see in queries, but it's also spoto-on for what editors want to see.

7 Things Agents Want to See in a Query.

Have a fab weekend!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

That just doesn't get old.

Yesterday, I got to hold my first print copy of Fallen Star Trouble. (yes, that link goes to the Kindle edition, because Amazon doesn't have the cover art up for the print edition, and yes, I ordered the print edition through Amazon)

It's such a big deal for an author. Makes something real when you can hold it in your hands (and no, I'm not going to do the baby-simile, even though I could compare the digital edition to an ultrasound and the print edition to the "real thing", because after editing I can honestly say the baby-simile for books has grown teethgrindingi-old. Nobody in the world would have to beat their baby into submission the way we work over a manuscript). But, wow. This one is no less exciting than when I first held Lone Star Trouble almost a year ago (albeit, it is a bit more frightening since I have zero books in the pipes right now under contract...eek!).

Have a great day!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jingles and catch phrases

"Claim your spot; _____ gets it clean!"

And here's a refresher video.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kid with her head on straight

This is so cute, and the little girl is amazingly calm and with-it:

I was particularly impressed, that as a 5-year-old, she thinks ahead to strangers coming into the house and possibly being nervous about her dog. Besides coping with an emergency! Truly awesome kid.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Is different better?

Check out these photos of Christmas blow-up yard decorations I saw at Lowe's this weekend:

OK. Frog with candy cane... marginally holiday-related.

Chicken family? Not so much. Unusual. Definitely unusual.

Flying pig???

Hula mouse. Supposing you are a fan of Hawaii (what's not to like?) and a fan of mice... what in the name of tinsel does either have to do with Christmas?
I think these decorations cross over from different on an individual basis, to just plain weird as a group.
Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, November 26, 2010

May be the best deal be yours (after mine)

Going out to find a laptop in the craziness today.

Wish me luck and fast legs.


Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving grins

Some jokes to get you through the cooking:

On last-minute shoppers:

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and the butcher is just locking up when a man begins pounding on the front door.

'Please let me in, 'says the man desperately. 'I forgot to buy a turkey, and my wife will kill me if I don't come home with one.'

'Okay, 'says the butcher.' Let me see what I have left.' He goes into the freezer and discovers that there's one last scrawny turkey left. He brings it out to show the man.

'That's one is too skinny. What else you got?' says the man.

The butcher takes the bird back into the freezer and waits a few minutes and brings the same turkey back out to the man.

'Oh, no, 'says the man, 'That one doesn't look any better. You better give me both of them!'

On God and family:

Grandma was showing the children a painting of the Pilgrim Family on a Thanksgiving Day card that they had received and she commented, 'The Pilgrim children enjoyed going to church with their mothers and fathers and praying to God.'

Her youngest grandson looked at her doubtfully and asked, 'Then why is their Dad carrying that rifle?'

On family togetherness:

Eddie in Dallas calls his son in New York just before Thanksgiving and tells him, "I am sorry to tell you but your mother and I are divorcing. I just cannot take any more of her moaning. We can't stand the sight of each other any more. I am telling you first, Eddie, because you are the eldest. Please tell your sister."

When Eddie calls his sister Julie, she says: '"o way are they getting divorced, I will go over and see them for Thanksgiving."

Julie phones her parent' house and tells her dad, "You must NOT get divorced. Promise you won't do anything until I get over there. I'm calling Eddie, and we'll both be there with you tomorrow. Until then, don't take any action, please listen to me,", and hangs up.

The father puts down the phone and turns to his wife. "Good news" he says, "Eddie and Julie are coming for Thanksgiving and they are both paying their own way."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Of blizzards and gizzards

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and we having quite the winter storm. That's not necessarily the norm here in western Colorado (see Waiting for Revenge, LOL) -- we usually have a pretty mild Thanksgiving. Elsewhere in the state, though? Expect a major storm.

When I was a kid, we used to journey across the state to Holyoke, Colorado--almost in Nebraska--every year for turkey day. The guys (keeping up a fine pilgrim tradition) would hunt pheasants in the morning and come back in time to mash the potatoes and carve the turkey. And more than half the time, a blizzard would hit, extending our visit. If not where we were on the plains, then there'd be a severe winter storm on the passes of the Rocky Mountains, which we had to go through/over to journey home.

So today we've got a blizzard here in the mountains. Don't have to go anywhere, except maybe the post office. And it's making me just a little reminiscent.

Happy pre-turkey day to ya, and if you're traveling, be careful out there!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And there it all goes..

You know how everybody's always telling you "back up your data"? And you do...sometimes. But maybe not quite as often as you should.


Yes, this is one of those reminders. Because yesterday, quite without warning (my laptop wasn't hiccuping and making me worry, no acting up whatsoever), I killed my computer and probably all the data on it. I'll claim full responsibility... it was me who walked up to it with my slippers on, and didn't think ahead to touch some other surface first, but POW! this bolt of static electricity zapped us both. It was a terminal zap for my dear Dell.

The good news is, my "work" work is all backed up, thanks to Lyrical Press's steadfast protocols. I only lost some personal stuff, like the last 2 days of writing (which dear daughter pointed out I can rewrite and it'll probably be much better the 2nd time around. *hrmph.*), and a couple of spreadsheets... and some pictures. Not to mention iTunes is going to flip its lid when I eventually sign on a new computer with our family account--it'll probably prohibit me from transferring my music, which will be a huge pin in the butt. But lots of my stuff is still saved on sticks from when I had to do a system restore last May.

But hey... the good news is, Black Friday is upon us, so I should be able to score a new laptop pretty cheap. And set about restoring all my files, ebooks, music, programs...

Fun times.

But I am still thankful--thankful for the trusty desktop. It's not lightning-fast, but it works.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Once in a lifetime (OK, maybe twice)

We had a really big event in our little town of Rifle this weekend--our library had its grand opening in a wonderful new building. We've been watching the construction for about a year, and our books were at a temporary location for most of that time (although while they moved for the past 3 weeks, it's been closed, and due to some building malfunctions, the temporary spot was closed for another month or so).

The previous library building wasn't terribly old--maybe 30 years or so, but we'd really outgrown it. And since it was in a prime location, the county demolished the old building and put our new one up using the same land. We also have a parking garage now--Rifle's first--and my pal and I were so very excited because the spaces are quite roomy, plenty big for pickups. The photo at right is my lovely daughter posing at the steps of said garage (I took a pic inside too, but it blurred--surely NOT a user error...).

We now have an automated check-in machine (just feed your books in, watch the computer scan them and send them down the conveyor to be reshelved), an automated media dispenser (tell the computer which DVD or CD you want to check out, and it dispenses it to you, checked out on your library card a la Red Box), and self-check kiosks. Of course, the librarians are still around to help, and they can still check you out. Lots of room for expansion and adding more shelves. And the children's section... almost made me want another little one, so we could go to story time there. It's really awesome, and the books are shelved bin-style, so the tots can flip through books and see their covers, instead of their spines. Much more kid friendly. All kinds of cool hands-on things for kids to touch and learn with.

We've got lots of nooks and seating areas to just hang out and curl up with books--even an outside, covered deck upstairs. (I'm thinking that would be a fab place to go park with the laptop and write!)

And the fiction section... did I mention the great selection? I'm at right...not quite as close to Carly Phillips as I'd prefer, but it's not "only" a romance section, so we ended up with Picoult and a few others between us.

Oh, and we got swag at the event--not just the catered food (YUM), but also book bags and water bottles.

So. Back to the title of this post. I still remember when the previous location opened. It was so spacious and bright, a real gem. Because I also remember where the old library was (and I do believe that one was our first). Just a little hole in the wall suite in a building downtown. So tiny, and the books just crammed in there. And you know, the books are still the same from a little library or a big one, but it's such a treat to have the nice bright, uncrowded rooms to look through while you make your selection. So yes, I've had a new library before. But my kids haven't, and my daughter is just as excited about this. I strongly suspect this library locale will endure for much longer--and probably be a "once in a lifetime" institution for many.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's on!

With today's release of Harry Potter, the holiday movie season has officially started. To my thinking, this is the best movie season of the year--action blockbusters are okay, but there're always many more movies out around the holidays which I'd like to see.

On my wishlist:

Of course, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I've read 'em all, and I intend to see 'em all. And you know... yesterday morning on the radio, the DJ's were talking about JK Rowling, and how she became a billionaire from writing books. That's billion, with a "b". Kinda gives you goosebumps. Honestly, even if the movies had started sucking, I'd still be going.

Next up, The Tourist--with Johnny Depp. Some other big names in there, too... but I don't really care about them! Here's a link for the trailer.

And last, but certainly not least: Love and Other Drugs, with Anne Hathaway (and Jake. Let us not forget Jake). I truly enjoy Anne Hathaway. She might be the new Julia Roberts.

This trailer made me laugh out loud til my kids thought I was nuts (or more nuts), and the soundtrack is awesome.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good things

I'll confess--I'm not a fan of winter. Not since... well, ever, as far as I can tell. But there are a few good things about this time of year, so I'm thinking I'll try to focus on those, and maybe boost my own gratitude quotient/morale.

So. Today's Good Thing has a couple different names. But whether you call them hazelnuts or filberts, they're definitely worth the challenge of cracking open. (and only widely available around the holidays!)


Autumn Piper
Got nuts?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Review - Highly recommend

This is a book I edited, so of course I'd be partial, right... well, not always. It was one I hand-picked from the slushpile at LPI, because I knew when I read the submission it's great.

It's a western historical, not my normal genre, but definitely hot and fun, and I felt knowledgeable enough about that era to edit it.

So here's the LPI page for the book, Wild at Heart, by Crystal Kauffman--a story about a white woman who falls for an Indian man (who happens to be a friend of her brother's, and also the liaison between whites and Indians, but by no means the "right" type of guy for her in society's eyes). Nothing quite like the forbidden to get the heart racing. The characters are believable, with personality traits and conflicts anybody can relate to, and I can honestly see this story happening, without much suspension of disbelief at all.

Besides her book being fantastic, the author is an absolute dream to edit, too... I really hope to see more work from her in my Inbox. :)

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For every parent

My pal passed this link on to me yesterday. I read the column (post?) on mommyhood during my lunch break and was a big teary mess by the end. I'm pretty sure it'd hit many dads just as hard.

Very moving. Enjoy.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things that suck more than Mondays

Hives definitely suck more than Mondays.

Heavily suckish.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, November 12, 2010

To please a teen

Some kids seem to want, want... all kinds of stuff. I have one who happens to be more single-minded, so it's hard to excite him unless you're handing over that One Thing he wants at the time.

But every once in a while...

Like last weekend, when we were clothes shopping (much to his chagrin) and we stumbled across a DVD that got him sooo pumped. When he was small, we used to rent videos from the local grocery store. On Tuesdays, it was $0.99 kids' movies. And almost every dang Tuesday, we came home with... Gumby. It's not that common of a favorite, but it sure was his.

Needless to say, I sprung $5.99 and bought a copy for him. And he laughed the whole time watching it, remembering the scenes.

Kinda like those credit card ads:

Gumby movie: $5.99
Seeing your kid smile that smile you remember from when he was a toddler: Priceless

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CMA dishing

We watched the CMAs last night (I was procrastinating an editing job I should be doing, otherwise I'd probably fall over at the notion of dedicating 3 hours to TV) and I have to say I was totally entertained.

Not all of the music was "my thing", and I'm only familiar with a few songs, but the performances were really well-planned with props, lighting, etc. My favorites included "Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland--my first time hearing that song, but again, it was a nicely packaged delivery, and it's kinda catchy. I also really enjoyed Taylor Swift's performance... the black and white winter scene to go with her "Back to December" was, in my opinion, quite elegant (and dang, but don't blondes look good in that bombshell-red lipstick?). Side note: my daughter is one of the million+ purchasers of her new album this past week, and the music sounds really good--plus it comes with a nifty booklet inside, including lyrics and a picture of Taylor in costume for each song. Pretty cool, and a nice incentive to buy the CD instead of download it. Makes me wonder if in the future, print books might come with little extras like that...

It was also cool to see Loretta Lynn onstage, and I thought both Miranda Lambert and Cheryl Crowe did a fantastic job singing "Coal Miner's Daughter". I really, really, like Cheryl Crowe. She's attractive and talented, and classy. Just sayin'.

What I thought was weird: Kid Rock and his performance. Uhm. That's not the tone I like to hear in his voice (kinda like a bad imitation of Rascal Flats, IMO). Made me think of American Idol, and I felt kinda Randyish, like "Dude, that was way pitchy for me. Not the right song." But hey, it's an opinion only. Also weird: the "Nashville early flood warning system" emcee shtick.

Otherwise, I thought it was great show. Nobody jumping onstage to make a douche of themselves by denouncing somebody's newly earned award and shouting somebody else should've won it. No totally ridiculous outfits (Reba's dress was lovely, and daughter and I swooned over Carrie Underwood's big ballroom gown she wore while performing. Made me feel all GoneWiththeWind). Miranda Lambert's most-of-the-night outfit was hot, though I did have concerns about her double-sided tape staying put. Happily, no wardrobe malfunctions. But then, I guess this is more of a grownup awards show, so the participants maintain decorum.

Last, but not my least favorite part of the night....My George (Strait). He's so handsome and... poised. And I love that he's still with his same pretty wife. Awesome.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Way-back Wednesday: Jingles and catch phrases

Ever catch yourself singing some really old jingle from a TV commercial? Ever wonder if those same commercials are still stuck in anybody else's head?

Well, we'll see if any of the ones I remember are still stuck in your head. (and no, this is not in any way literary or related to the publishing biz!) See if you can name the brand. How 'bout this one:

"Who's got the best darn burger in the whole wide world?" (ca 1978)

*no additional charge for that lovely tune now stuck in your head for the day*

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fantastic starter

This has to be one of the best novel openings I've read:

My panties were in a bunch.

Literally in a bunch. Piled a la mode on the overturned contents of
my suitcase on the red and gold, diamond-patterned carpet of my
hotel room.

This excerpt is from Spy Games, by Gina Robinson.

I subscribe to, which is a neat way to find out about new/different authors. Starting on Monday of each week (based on the genre you select), you'll get a 5-minute excerpt delivered to you Inbox. The selections start with the beginning of the book, so by Friday you've usually gotten a glimpse up to Chapter 2 or so.

But... wasn't that a great opening? It made me chuckle, played on a common phrase (and twisted it too!), and immediately piqued my interest: Who ransacked her room? How's she going to deal with this? I can empathize with her right away, too. It's not bad enough somebody made a mess of her stuff, but they got into her undies?

You can bet I'll be reading all of the excerpts for this book, and it went right into my To Be Read List, too.

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Up for favorite review book

Trouble Under Venus is up for Favorite Review Book for the month of August at Dark Diva Reviews.

I received notice last night, along with this link:

Now, I'm well aware this is a popularity contest, and the person who "wins" is whoever can yell loudest down the wires of the world wide web to get everyone voting. I'm also up against some stiff competition in that category. Still... I've never won a popularity contest. :) So please, if you get a chance, click the link and scroll down to click my bubble--the August contest is below the July contest, and Trouble Under Venus is about 20 covers down. No registering necessary, not even so much as an email addy.


Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, November 5, 2010

All the pretty numbers

The publisher I edit for (Lyrical Press) wanted me to start an official monthly blog post regarding editorish topics, and including submissions:acceptance ratios and the like.


My first one is up today: "From the desk of Piper Denna"

Have a great weekend.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An excellent read

For a quick, touching, sweet story, try...

Christmas Holly, by Sutton Fox.


Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Experiment failure

Problem/Question: Is there any way in the world to get these dang 6th graders to sit down and do their math? (experts tell me no, not with this bunch)

Research: After considering results in several other grades, playing music seems to help settle kids and help them concentrate. Older kids especially are motivated to behave because if they don't, the music goes off.

Hypothesis: I believe if I make a deal with the 6th graders--they work and the music stays on, they dink around and the music goes off--they'll perfom better.

The test: I created a playlist of school-appropriate music in my iTunes (since shuffling my music invariable brings up I Touch Myself, anything by The Beastie Boys, certain Aerosmith or Guns and Roses songs--or George Strait, not a big hit with adolescents, because kids don't know what's good, right?). The next day at school, I taught the lesson and set forth the assignment. I told the kids I had music for them and I'd play it, but not until they quieted and only as long as everyone continued to work. Several kids immediately responded with, "We don't want music" and turned to their neighbors to talk.

Conclusion: This crop of 6th graders are from another planet.

Prediction: I will not be subbing in 6th grade any more this year.

Autumn Piper
Got Xanax?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5 out of 5!

I've had a few reviews now. And honestly, I look forward to them. Only one or two have had parts I didn't enjoy reading.

But really, when I get a great score, it really floats my boat. :)

Fallen Star Trouble just received 5 out of 5 stars and Top Pick rating from Night Owl Reviews, and I am just tickled pink (to use one more cliche...)

Anyway, the graphic will be appearing on my web site just as soon as I get time to go add it.

Have a wonderful day!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, November 1, 2010


Pardon me for a few seconds while I rant (and believe me, I had awesome news for today but it's getting usurped until tomorrow so I can do this, I need to vent that bad).

Halloween. A night for little kids to dress up and go from house to house singing, "Trick or treat!" and receive candy from strangers, while Mom or Dad or some other trusted big person goes along to make sure they are safe.

This is a lovely picture of Life As It Should Be. So for all the greedy, annoying adults (and yes, they were adults, not older teens) who were running around last night with a candy bucket begging, let me remind you--the candy giveaway is for kids. That also goes for mommies out with their little ones... I don't buy candy for you to carry around your own bucket, you greedy jerk. Just because people are giving stuff away does not mean they want to give it to you. Maybe next month buy one less eyeliner and you can afford a bag of candy of your own.

Also, parents who drive around behind their kids in a car. Really? You're too fat/lazy/ignorant/obsessed with your phone to get out and walk down one side of the street behind your kids, then up the other side, where your car waits? You cannot see what's going on with your kids from the lit-up inside of your car anyway, so it's not like you're keeping them safe. Besides that, you're blinding the other kids with your headlights, congesting the would be different if it was a rural area, or one where only a few houses were handing out candy. But this is basically every house here. Sheesh.

The true kids I saw last night were all very respectful, used "thank you", didn't try to wreck anything... I even had a few teens stop for photos with my scarecrow. It's just adults who are attempting to ruin the fun.

Done ranting now.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Borders rules; B&N drools

I've been posting special deals on ebooks on my Facebook page when I find them. Love sharing a good deal, and love scoring one even more. So last week when I spotted an awesome buy at B&N on an ebook, I snapped it up.

Unfortunately, impulse purchasing an ebook from a place you haven't used before doesn't always pay off. It's a good book--I'm pretty sure. However, B&N won't allow me to save my purchase in EPUB format and load it onto my Sony Reader. Apparently they still think Proprietary Is Best, so you can read their ebooks on Nook, Apple products, and Blackberry. Not on any other reading device besides your computer.

Lame. Makes me glad I only spent $3 on the book. On the other hand, I'm kinda ticked I spent $3 on a book I can only read on my dang laptop. I mean... trust me, I sit in front of this thing reading enough while editing and (attempting) writing.

On a positive note, Borders has awesome deals every week and I have no trouble downloading or saving their books. If you're not already subscribed to their newsletter, you should be...if you like ebooks, that is. If you don't like ebooks... what's wrong with you? :)

Have a great weekend.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You know you're getting old when... use the word "contraption".

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Le movie review: Hereafter

Last weekend, we got a wild hair to go see a movie (which is something of a trip right now, because the only theater in town is under remodel construction). After much debate, we settled on Hereafter, the new one with Matt Damon as a psychic, directed by Clint Eastwood.

Now, hubby is a huge Eastwood fan, and we both loved Gran Torino (also directed by Clint) and the trailers kept showing that bit about the tsunami, with lots of loudness and scary scene-flashes. Which is all a bit misleading. I liked the movie, but hubby and son were pretty disappointed. Let's just say that one tsunami scene pretty much is the action in this flick. Period. And it's not a scary movie. Which again, was okay with my daughter and me. But it's not a guy movie. And there were some very sad parts with the little boy. I'm a romance fan and had a little trouble believing the romantic ending...

But I'd probably watch the movie again (at home, not another trip to the theater). I also really loved Marie's hair...want mine like that. So it gets a B+ from me, and I've gotta start warning hubby ahead of time that if the movie is directed by Clint, it's likely to have an artsy-literary type ending.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There oughtta be a law

My kids are "big" now, so this post is mainly on behalf of mommies with little ones.

There should be a law that if a restaurant has high chairs, they must also have kid-friendly food on the menu. Grilled cheese (who can't make that? come on!), mac-n-cheese, chicken nuggets or strips... something little ones can eat.

And pardon me, but if the restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, it's simply not "uppity" enough to get by without having a kids' menu. Period.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Monday, October 25, 2010

An official opinion

Wow, I feel so important. I got to be the "editor" du jour for an Ask the Editor blog interview.

Check out my answers here.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

You KNOW you're getting old when...

... you refer to somebody as a "kid" and then add that he's probably about 32.

(and for the record, hubby did this, not me)

Have a fabulous Friday. I'm planning to.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On bullies

As long as there have been humans, there have been bullies. It just seems wherever there are people, there are lousy people. And I can remember plenty of bullies back in my school days. However...

I can't recall anybody ever being bullied to the point of suicide, or retaliation a la Columbine. Are bullies worse now, or is the news hyping it more? Both, neither... does it matter? Kids are being bullied to the point of ending their lives. I'm guessing a big part of this is technology. When I was a kid, if a bully had it out for me (it did happen a few times), she/he (usually a she) really could only get to me at school, and maybe on the school bus. Once I stepped off the bus and headed home, I was safe from her. She'd never have dared phone my house and take the chance an adult would get her call.

But now... my heart goes out to victims of bullies. They can go home, but they'll still get phoned, texted, IM'd, emailed, Facebooked, Myspaced... not to mention all the little things here and there they can hear back from everybody else, that the bully spread around during the evening. It's a neverending stream of torment for those poor kids. So what the heck can we do about it?

I know our local schools truly try to stop bullying, especially by electronic means. I feel fortunate, because our little area seems to not have quite the problem some parts of the country has right now. In my school years, I tended to befriend some of those kids who were picked on most, and my daughter has a soft spot for one picked-on boy in her class, who she's not afraid to defend. All you can do is hope that'll help defray the teasing, but not get it aimed at her. Kids can be so mean--but it helps for them to all know they can and should go to an adult and report that awfulness. For my part, when I'm in a classroom and see kids being rotten to another, I really let them have it. Sure, it's only one day, but hey, at least they know if an adult notices what they are doing, it's not going to go unpunished.

Maybe the media will help in this situation. Awareness is spreading, so I really hope.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ebooks on the cheap

Like any other product, now more than ever, ebooks can come with really good prices. Thanks to a slew of email alerts (coming from all the vendors I have accounts with so I can write reader reviews), I find out about all the freebies and fantastic deals, right at my Inbox.

This week I got a sale bulletin from Borders, and they're celebrating Jean M. Auel's next release in her Clan of the Cave Bear series by selling the first book in EPUB for $1.99. I'd actually been thinking about that book, so it seemed perfect timing to buy it there. Plus, I wanted to see how user-friendly their system is. (not bad, but I did keep getting kicked off and having to log in again, which was somewhat annoying) Once I got ready to check out, I learned $5 in Borders bucks was waiting in my account... plus as a member, I get a 10% discount, so my price was actually $1.79... which came off that $5 I'd earned when I hit spending $150 for the year--never would've made that pinnacle without buying the Kobo for Mom in August. Anyway. So I decided to get our next book club selection also (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), and ended up spending a total of $4.04 out of pocket. Now... how Borders handles royalties on those "free" purchases will be interesting to learn. At Fictionwise, if a customer chooses to use freebies toward a book, that author is SOL for royalties. Which kinda sucks... for the author.

Both books, I probably could've gotten from the library, but I did want to explore Borders and see how it worked. And those bonus bucks were only good until the end of this month. :)

I recently learned from Diesel ebooks, every reader review you write--once they've approved and posted it--earns you 5000 "points". I have no idea how many points you have to earn to get a free book, though. When I figure it out, I'll be sure to post.

Happy bargain shopping.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Funnies

This was brought to my attention by my pal eA. Very cute... I think I've had this convo with the Mr... of course, he was the one not paying attention. Not me. Not ever.

Sherman's Lagoon

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Would you like a little wine with that book club?

Okay, so it's past noon and I'm just getting my blog up, which is totally lame but I'll say it's not all my fault--Blogger consistently refused to acknowledge I'd tried to sign in, all morning long, until the last half hour or so. (and then took that half hour to load my compose window, but I wasn't about to try closing and re-opening after all that!)

It's one of those Get Things Done days for me--so far going well except for a dead-end trip to the Tire and Lube Express, which is a whole other gripe for a whole other day, but I would like to vent and put this out there: Walmart, you suck. Wow, I feel better already...

So. This past Saturday night was the first-ever meeting for a new book club.

We read Water for Elephants this month, and got together with a few bottles of wine, six or eight different types of appetizers and one really big cheesecake with a yummy raspberry sauce... ostensibly to talk over the book. Sometime about 3 hours in, we did discuss the book a little. LOL. With some pretty impressive, quite deep questions, actually.

Let me just say, I'm the ancient one in this club. Quite a lot older than the other mommies, and my kids are quite older than theirs, and they get together often for playgroup, so I'm not just old, but the old outsider somebody dragged along. I'd intended to do a really comprehensive blog with everybody's reactions to the book. But... when a bunch of mommies get together minus their little ones, they have social needs. Like wine, and relaxing with food they don't have to share with munchkins, and dishing, about husbands and in-laws, and kids and schools, and teams from other towns, and... Yeah. So it's only natural the book club part take a back burner.

We did learn some interesting stuff, though. Like, one pediatrician's office in the valley tells moms to put Meat Tenderizer on bee stings... (I got no idea. I'm just the messenger here!) And one hilarious bookclubber keeps a packet of dry Koolaid in her car's glove compartment (she's remaining nameless because she also stows $40 cash there for emergencies, and I've got dibs on following her around til she leaves that puppy unlocked one day! :) ). The Koolaid is for in case she breaks down or crashes in winter conditions... so she can mix it with water and write HELP in the snow with it. She gets the award for Plan-Ahead-er. LOL.

I learned something else, too. There's nothing really new going into child-rearing books. It's just recycled ideas, maybe compiled in different combinations. Which kinda made me feel old, and also made me wonder whether my mom and her friends felt the same way when my pals and I were trying to navigate the waters of toddler-parenting. Like we really thought we were re-inventing the wheel. Somehow things like sending kids to their room for misbehaving, and using "Wait til your father gets home" (a la June Cleaver) have become new. Go figure! But hey, if fashion manias can make comebacks, so can child-rearing tactics, right?

Yeah, I'm old.

So back to this book, Water for Elephants... I really loved it. It's not something I'd probably have ever picked up on my own to read. But it was a really nice change. Written from the perspective of a 90 (or 93, he can't remember for sure and it really aggravates him)-year-old man who worked in the circus when he was younger, our Jacob recalls his adventurous Depression-Era stint in a circus, when a circus comes to the neighborhood near his nursing home. The portion of the book in present-day interested me as much as the past that Jacob relived for us. I think this was because his curmudgeonly attitude, punctuated by contrition and apology, reminded me of my mom's uncle during his last couple years. Sara Gruen did a great job with Jacob's voice, in my opinion. Also, I dearly love elephants, so the Rosie storyline hooked me and kept me. We had awful villains (the best!), and super conflict, too. I give this story a Get Your Own Copy (my copy is somewhat hideous, as it was a library cast-off, damaged and all, plus once I peeled off the shiny library cover, it's just an ugly 2-tone maroon book, but I intend to keep it).

As for the book club, it'll be interesting to see whether this group gets more comfortable with the idea of discussing books, or remains an awesome excuse for a mom's night out (and believe me, either way, kudos to this group of ladies, because there is No Way I'd have gotten the little Mister to watch my wee ones so I could go discuss books, when our kids were tiny). Hell, I could barely even read books back in those days!

Next month it looks like we're doing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Which is good. I mean, I probably should try to read it before it becomes a movie, or three.

But first I think I'm going to buy Clan of the Cave Bear in Epub from Borders to read next... Jean M. Auel has her next installment coming out in March, and I'm kinda in the mood to read about Ayla and Jondalar again.... plus it's only $1.99 at!

So, The Girl will have to wait.

Happy reading!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?