Sunday, May 13, 2007

Work Appreciation Gifts

A couple of friends and I were having lunch the other day. During the conversation one friend mentioned she'd started a war among the PTO parents for her local school. The board members wanted to give "Teacher Appreciation" gifts to the teachers consisting of gift certificates to a place where they could buy supplies for their classes for next year.

Seems a rather self-serving gift to me.

That got me thinking about the Nurse Week appreciation gifts I usually receive. First let me point out a fact that most patients, visitors and hospital administrators don't actually understand. Nurses are the backbone of a hospital. Those core people you can't dispense with and still run a safe hospital.

So what have I received lately as a nurse appreciation gift? A sweatshirt...with my hospital's logo on it, a long sleeve tee-shirt (which isn't cut to fit women right)...with my hospital's logo on it, and this year? A scrub jacket guessed it...the hospital's logo on it.

Now, this might not seem too bad to you, but think about it. Nurses's spend weekends and holidays away from their families. Sometimes they miss soccer games or ballet recitals. They reschedule holiday dinners to eat real early or real late because of thier jobs.

Nurses spend their days taking care of strangers. Putting people on and off bedpans, wiping bottoms, giving shots, starting IV's, giving medicines and listening to complaints of people who don't feel well. Duh, I know that's part of the job. And we realize this, plaster our most compasionate smile on our faces and deal with it.....all.

Nurses train long and hard every year to recognize subtle changes in patients' conditions that mark a turn for the worse. We act on those changes to keep the pt. alive and the doctor well informed so he/she can make appropriate decisions regarding the care of the patient. We're under tremendous stress by our administrators to do all this in the most efficient manner, with the least amount of supplies necessary and to document everything to a lawyer's standards.

NOW...which do you think shows a nurse you appreciate her more...a self-serving gift that makes her/him feel like a marketing tool? Or perhaps a gift card for a free foot massage? Or a gift certificate for a whole day at the spa?

So what's your best appreciation gift? Your worst?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Humor and Romances

Well I've had a pretty busy week last week. Went on a job interview and was offered a nice new job with a bit of a pay raise. So that put me in a pretty happy mood! Got to thinking about books and how some of them make me laugh. For me, it's not about slap-stick humor. (I leave that to my kids and DH).

I prefer the humor that comes in stories where the male doesn't understand the thinking of the female. How frustrated and bewildered he gets at her actions. But of course as the reader I understand her reasoning, even accept it as logical.

I've been known to laugh out loud, or laugh so hard silently that the book I'm holding is shaking. Which of course, has anyone sitting near me furrow their brows and ask, "What's so funny?"

To try to explain to them what took the writer nearly half the book or more to lead up to is virtually impossible. I simply smile and say, "oh this is a very funny book." I think I've hooked more new romance readers with that line.

Some of my favorite authors do this so well. In Amanda Quick's MISTRESS the heroine believes she's killed the hero with the loss of her virginity! too funny. Julie Garwood's THE WEDDING had me laughing so hard on an airplane, the lady next to me asked if she could have the book when I was done with it!

Two of my friends do this so well. In A THIEF IN A KILT, Sandy Blair has one surprise after another for her hero Ian MacKay, most of which have to do with the heroine escaping him as she leads him a merry romp through most of Scotland.

Jane Graves has a new book coming out the first of July titled Hot Wheels and High Heels. Jane always has unique ideas for books and a quick wit when it comes to dialogue. In this one, her heroine loses everything but her Mercedes to an unscrupulous husband. Enter the hunky repo man to haul off her Mercedes. Does this send her cowering into a corner? Not our girl, no she convinces him to teach her how to be a repo woman! Ack can anything get better than that for a romance? Can't wait til this one comes out. I plan to set aside a whole afternoon to read it!

So who do you think writes good humor? Any books I should rush out and buy?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

I, the writer!

1) When did You start writing?

The year was 1993. We'd just purchased our first PC. I was working nights, and often in the middle of the night nothing is going on at the hospital. I'd finished the book I'd been reading. Since I don't drink coffee I read to stay awake. So I decided to write a scene for a book. For years I'd been toying with the idea of writing a romance novel and had several discarded pieces.

This scene just seemed to fly onto the paper. A mail order bride, 8 months pregnant flees the clutches of a killer by riding up into the Colorado Mountains. Good story! So I took the pages home the next morning, typed them into the computer, and OMG! I had an entire 10 page chapter. Problem was, the scene was in the middle of the book! Needless to say, I was hooked.

2) What books/authors have influenced you?

By far, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood (my all time favorite!), Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Iris Johansen, Lorraine Heath, Jodi Thomas, Linda Howard, Sandy Blair.

3) Describe your writing process.

Complete pantser! Usually I can visualize a scene in my head, hear what the characters are saying, and then "we're off!". Sometimes it's like a day at the races, and other times it's like an archeological dig. Often their are things that get tweaked throughout the story and I'm not afraid of rewrites, but in the end, when the hero and heroine get their emotionally satisfying ending, I'm thrilled with the end product.

A friend always tells me she "sees the book like a movie reel". I don't. The funny thing is, I "hear" the cadence of the story, the rhythm, the dialogue, each character's unique story line. Weird, isn't it?

4) Tell us about your current Work In Progress and what is next for you?

Which one? I kid you not, I'm not happy unless I have two or more projects in the works.
WIP "A"--206 pages into a small town romance with a sexy reluctant sheriff hero, a novice teacher-turned-PI heroine, a town-full of well-meaning crazies, and oh yeah at least one murderer on the lose.

WIP "B"--60 pages into the third in a romantic suspense trilogy about the Edgars family. KIDNAPPED, my 06GH finalist is the first in the series and features Sami Edgars and Jake Carlisle. HUNTED, also an 06GH finalist is the second in the series featuring Matt Edgars and Katie Myers. The third book, MISSING, features the youngest brother and charmer, Luke Edgars, and a six foot tall computer-geek desk agent, Abby Whitson.

WIP "C" 20 pages into a Regency-era historical about a wounded soldier who returns to England a war-hero only to find himself the guardian of two school-room age sisters and their independent minded governess.

*see all too tempting not to work on!*

5) Any advice for others or personal observations?

If you look at a blank page and have the urge to fill it with words, want to describe the interaction of characters and tell their stories, then you are a writer. This isn't for the faint of heart. Rejections come quickly and acceptance is rare, but once the bug bites you, beware, you can do nothing but write to make you happy!