USA Today Best of 2012

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?