Thursday, August 31, 2006

Let's Review, shall we?

Do you see the date on this blog? Now go down to the last blog and check the date on that one. Do you see the problem??? If you notice, it's been FOREVER since I've blogged, and I have so much to tell you all!! So, in no particular order...
Dee's week(s) in review:

I got together with some CHERRYBOMB friends in Washington DC recently! Shane drove me up there on the motorcycle, and I spent the day bumming around the city waiting for Christina (MargaritaCB) and Bryan. If you know me, you know that 'bumming around' roughly translates to "found a bookstore with a Starbucks and enjoyed a good book for most of the day". Bryan finally finished photographing various monuments and met up with me. We hung out at the Old Post Office, then met up with Christina and Shane at the ESPNZone. Bryan is an incredibly talented photgrapher, and a pretty darn good writer as well. He let us read part of his WIP and it was very promising. I can hardly wait until it is finished and published. Seeing Christina again was like running into one of your best buds. We talk all the time on the He Wrote/She Wrote blog, and we e-mail back and forth, but it was still AMAZING to see her again in person. She is one of the funnest people I know. Shane was an angel to let us sit and 'talk shop' most of the night. I think we only bored him half to death, but he never complained. I love my husband!!

We got our house rented!!! YAY YAY YAY!!! Now, we will no longer have those horrendous double mortgage payments that we've had for half of forever. This is such a HUGE relief to us, I can't even begin to explain it. The renters move in this weekend. Of course, that means that we've been super busy getting things ready over there, and we are both so lacking in sleep that we look like something out of "Night of the Living Dead". But hey, We Got Our House Rented. So really, who cares how we look!!

My friend Renee finished her first chemo treatment. She was amazing, of course. She had no side effects this time, and her hair is still hanging on. So, I still have my hair as well. I figure hers will probably fall out right before the New Jersery convention, and that's when I'll shave mine. I'm ready for it. Actually, mine has already grown out a bit from the pic in the last blog, and I've already thought about getting it trimmed. But that's another story. Please keep Renee and her family in your prayers, and I promise to keep all of you up-to-date on how she is doing. She's just such an inspiration to me that I can't help but tell you about her.

We're finally having Gret's boyfriend and family over for dinner this weekend. We were supposed to have them over a few weeks back, but schedules were rough to manage. This is the big weekend. Shane is frying turkies, Gret is baking pies, and I am going to enjoy watching it all play out. I will take lots of notes and find a way to write it into one of my WIPs, I'm sure.

I moved to nights at work. This was supposed to help in a few ways. I wanted to be home with the kids during the day, because we're starting back to school now. We have to be more structured this year, because Gret is starting high school and I need to keep track of everything she does. Also, while on days, I was having a very hard time writing, because I'm such a night person. So moving to nights should have helped me, since in theory, I could come home and write when the house is quiet. So much for plans, huh? Being on nights SUCKS. I can not tell you how much it sucks, that's how much it sucks. The people on nights are very lazy, and that is sooooo frustrating for me. Plus, while I am supposed to be off at 1030, I don't normally make it home before midnight. Yes, my mind is usually still sharp, but my body is aching by that time. If I do manage to stay up and write, then I sleep until around 9am, and that takes away from time with the kids. I still haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to do yet. I think that September will be my last month working, because I really want to be home, and be productive, and WRITE, and I can't seem to manage all three while working 4 or 5 days a week and homeschooling the kids. Something has got to give, and soon. Frankly, if it's not the job, it just might be me.

There's more, you know there is. But really, I have to think about the fact that all of this probably isn't all that interesting to you guys. Plus, I could be putting all of this energy into my WIP, and that is a very tantalizing thought. Besides, do you really want to know that I missed Jordan when she went to New Hampshire for TEN FREAKING DAYS? Do you want to know that Gret hugged me the other day FOR NO REASON and made me CRY? Do you want to know that we had Kel's kids FOR A WEEK, and I didn't want to give them back when it was time?

Nah, I didn't think you really wanted to know all that. That's why I stopped when I did!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

B4 and After, with a hero thrown in for good measure

Now you see it, now you don't... My hair, that is. Yep, I did it today. I got it all chopped off.

Last year, I cut 17 inches off for Locks of Love. That was a shock for friends and family. I wonder what they'll say when they see this new "do" I'm sporting now!!

Today, I met up with my friend Renee and her oldest daughter, Brie, and the Tanglez salon in King George. Renee recently found out that she has breast cancer. One of her docs suggested that she cut her hair short before she starts chemo, so that when it falls out, it won't be so traumatic. She was growing hers out for Locks of Love already, so she decided to go ahead and whack it off now. Her first chemo treatment is Thursday, and they can't use her hair after her chemo treatments, so today was the day. Since I happen to have a LOT of hair, and I wanted to give Renee some support, I decided to chop my own tresses when she did hers.

Ok, remember how I mentioned that BEAST that lives within me? Well, it reared its ugly head today, while I was getting sheared. My hair was pulled back into two pigtails, then cut off. It was still pretty long on top, and I really wanted to keep that. I haven't had bangs since the eighties, and really don't much care for them on me. However, the chick at Tanglez started snipping before asking me what I wanted, and I just sat there in stunned silence as she clipped my long-on-top hair VERY short. YIKES. I started silently fuming. I mean, I got really steamed. How DARE this woman cut my hair so short. I wanted to keep some of that length. Bangs? I HATE BANGS. What the hell was that ditz thinking? I was ready to start screaming, I mean, REALLY screaming. Then, a very humbling thing happened.

I looked over in the next chair at my gorgeous (now) short-haired friend, Renee. She was looking at me - smiling. She made a comment about how great my hair looked. That's all it took. That beast crawled back into her hole and withered. I felt so small and so petty, and so incredibly selfish. Here I was, worried about the length on top, and BANGS, and there my beautiful friend sat, smiling, knowing her sassy new 'do wouldn't last a full month after her first chemo treatment. Yep, I was a major contender for the biggest bitch of a friend award today. Thankfully, all it took was an angelic smile to release me from that hateful spell of selfishness and get my focus back where it should have been.

I mean, I wasn't there for a new hairstyle. I wasn't there to change my looks or get something adorable. I was there for one reason and one reason only - to support Renee. I was the one that volunteered to do that with her, she didn't ask me to. And I am also the one that has already told her that when her hair starts falling out, we will get together and do that scene from GI Jane where Demi shaves herself bald. Yep, I'm gonna do it. It's the least I can do, don't you think? It's only hair. It WILL grow back. And really, when it comes right down to it, what is hair but a bunch of dead cells anyhow?

So today, I was humbled as I sat in the shadow of true heroism. My friend is facing her illness with courage, and strength, and class, and guts, and humor, and grace, and SMILES. I hope that one day I can be half the amazing person that she is, for then I will truly be someone.

Today, she is my hero.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why I LOVE me some Werewolves!!

My friend Robin LaFevers (yeah, I just love saying "my friend" when it is followed by the name of a fabulous writer!!) has a book coming out on the 17th called Werewolf Rising. Robin writes books geared towards boys aged 8-14ish. Both of my guys (ages almost 12 and 9) LOVE her books. Truth be told, so do my girls. My younger son is really looking forward to reading her new book, and he's already made me promise that we will be at Borders that day to buy it.

By the title, I'm guessing it's about werewolves. That just thrills me! I find them fascinating on so many levels. I've been trying to figure out why I like them so much, and I think I've finally got it. I have a werewolf that lives inside of me too. Robin alluded to this on her blog the other day, and I totally believe her.

I have a deep dark part of me that tries to escape sometimes. It doesn't take a full moon to bring this monster to the surface though. Sometimes all it takes is a look, a comment, a tone of voice, an unintentional slight, and this monster starts to RAGE. It scares me.

I see it most with my kids and my husband. I think with most strangers, I keep this beast hidden. I'm afraid to let people see this beast, lest I terrify them. Or worse, they might not like it at all, and that would mean that they don't like ME. So I keep my beast well hidden most of the time. But my family can trigger that beast, and sometimes I think they do it on purpose. There are times when I lose control and say or do things that I would never normally say or do. I lose my temper, yell and scream, sometimes even throw things (though not actually AT anyone). In the aftermath, I always apologize, and they usually bask in my guilt for at least a day.

That's why I LOVE the werewolf stories. When that moon breaks and those beasts are unleashed, they don't have to be apologetic come dawn. I mean, they is who they is, right? They can't stop their transition any more than I can stop the earth from turning. The beast is IN them, waiting to be unleashed. The beast is not only IN them, it IS them. It is a part of who they are, at the most basic and elemental level.

See why I can't wait for Robin's new book? I already know I'm getting it, and I know (from reading her other books) that it will be amazing. If you want a free, signed copy, skip on over here and enter the contest. Who knows? Maybe you will discover that you like werewolves too. Maybe you'll even discover the beast within yourself.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

When there are no words...

I think Charity might have used that as a title not long ago. If she did, then I'm sorry to duplicate it. I just have to blog about the past few weeks, and that seemed most appropriate to me.

What do you say to people that are going through a tough time? I mean, I can remember when my mom died. Well meaning, well intentioned people tried to offer words and prayers and condolences. I know they meant well, but sometimes I just felt like screaming at them. I mean, THEIR mom was still alive, what the hell did they know about my pain? Not a damn thing, that's what. People would use the whole "She's in a better place" and I think "Piss off, I want her HERE!" They would say "Well, at least she didn't suffer" and I'd think "Screw you, *I* am suffering enough for us both!" Really, I don't know if anyone could have said anything that would have eased my pain. The best people, to me, were the ones that just opened up their arms and held me close, and didn't complain when I just clung to them for a while.

But if you have a friend that life smacks around, what do you SAY to her or him? I mean, what words of comfort do you use to let them know how much you want to take their pain from them? I ask because I've been dealing with this A LOT recently. And sometimes, I just can't find the right words. As a writer, that disturbs me. I think it may be because I can CONTROL things in my stories, and I can script things like words and emotions. I don't have that power in real life, though I often wish I did.

Charity has suffered some mighty tough blows recently, and I feel like such a loser when it comes to offering her support. I think it may be because I remember how totally raw I felt when I lost my Gramps, and nothing anyone said could make it better. Time worked its magic, and eventually those words said in love brought comfort, but not right away, and rarely when said.

Cherry Red just suffered a loss, and it breaks my heart. I can't imagine a day without my little Hershey, and I haven't even had him a year. I only hope that she knows how brave I think she is for doing what had to be done. And I hope that she finds some comfort.

My friends around here have been going through the schtuff too. One of them just lost a baby to miscarriage. I know that pain, yet I don't have words of comfort for her. All I could do was hug her, because I know there really are no words to make that one better. Another friend just had her newborn undergo surgery to remove pressure on his brain. He's doing well now, thank God. But while it was going on, all I could do was squeeze her hand and cook meals for her family.

Last week, one of my best buds was diagnosed with breast cancer. That sent me reeling. This woman is one of the classiest, strongest, brashest chicks I know. I luvluvluv being around her, because she's such a genuine, honest, FUN person. I spoke with her on Sunday about her diagnosis, and she had me laughing so hard it hurt. I mean, even knowing that it's pretty serious, she REFUSES to stop laughing. She told me that if she stops laughing, she'll start crying. I can't tell you how much respect and admiration, AND LOVE, I have for this woman. She was the other adult with me at Relay For Life back in May. She hung out all night with me and the teens. She walked with us, ate with us, laughed with us, and guarded Michele's Luminaria like it belonged to her own family, just because Michele is a Cherry and she knows how much that means to me. Now I'm wondering what I can do for her. I've offered to drive her up to Bethesda and sit with her through chemo. And next Monday, Gret and I are going in to get our hair chopped short with her and her daughter. The docs suggested she cut it before chemo, so it won't be such a shock if it starts falling out. I'm telling you right now, if she loses her hair, THIS chick is going bald with her. I figure - it's hair. It will grow back. She's my friend, and it's the least I can do. Besides, maybe it will grow back curly, right?

Anyhow, tell me what words you use when you have a friend in pain. OR tell me what words have lent you comfort when you were hurting. Frankly, I could use some advice on this one, as lots of my peoples seem to be hurting, and this Cherry has no idea what words to use.

Monday, August 07, 2006

give Give GIVEAWAY

If you haven't headed over to the Dee&Dee site yet, you need to do that now. RIGHT NOW.
We're having a contest, and the prize is a brand new, author signed, HARDCOVER BOOK! Yep, that's right. You don't need to tell us how incredible this is, because we already know. You just need to get over there and enter the contest, so you have a chance to win the book.

I'm not telling you anything else here. You must head over there to get all the info.

See ya over there!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Check it out!!

We have a new review up over on D&D...

Cruise on over there and see what Charity has to say today. Then leave your comments so we know you were there.

Also, just a heads up...

We have something very exciting planned for the book review site this month. You'll have to stay tuned over there to find out what it is. The only hint that I'll give is that it involves a new promotion, a book review, and a wonderful author giveaway. You'll just have to check back this weekend...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


That means that I post twice. Yeah, I've been slacking lately, but I'm trying to be better while we work through this double-mortgage-no-money-hafta-work-a-million-hours-a-week-and-no-time-to-write phase of my life. I got this from Char's blog I thought it was cute, so decided to make it my two-fer post. Now you get to learn a bit more about me, like that's all sooo interesting, and I hopefully get to learn a bit more about you when you put this on your own blog. When you do, post a link in my comments section so I can go read.

1. FIRST NAME? Denise (dee works just fine though, thanks!)

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Yes. My Great uncle Dennis, who was KIA in Viet Nam. He was my mom's favorite, and he was declared MIA when she found out she was preggers.



5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Lebanon Bologna, the sweet kind

6. KIDS? Yes, 2 boys and 4 girls

7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Well, sure. I'm ok most of the time, I hope.

8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yep, but I'm not so great about keeping it. I'm much better about my blog.

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Who, ME? Uh, of course not. I am totally not a sarcastic person. AS IF!!


11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? In a heartbeat. I've done the freefall thing at King's Dominion twice, and would love to do it from higher, if possible.



14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically? Yeah, I guess I'm no wimp. Emotionally, I am a ROCK, baby!

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? B&J New York Super Fudge Chunk


17. RED OR PINK? Totally red. We're talking Scarlett O'Hara red here, ok? No pink for this chick!

18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My lack of iron. It makes me too tired to do all that I want to do.


20. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? Khaki hip-huggers, nothing on my tootsies

21. THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Blueberry muffin this morning at work

22. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My husband yelling at the kids. They didn't do their chores today, so they are BUSTED!!


24. FAVORITE SMELL? The salt in the air when you get about 1/4 of a mile from the ocean. There is just something about that smell that puts me in a whole new frame of mind. I wish it could be bottled, it would be an instant sanity check for me.


26. FAVORITE DRINK? Non-alcoholic - Propel Lemon water; Alcoholic - margaritas, rocks, lotsa salt

27. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Football, baby!

28. HAIR COLOR? Mostly brown. Though it has lots of colors in it. Lucy red when I'm preggers. Won't ever see that color again though.

29. EYE COLOR? Chocolate brown

30. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Every single day

31. FAVORITE FOOD? Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green bean casserole, the way Mom always made when I needed it. Talk about Comfort Food!


33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Aquamarine tank from Old Navy.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, all the time. I LOVE the heat!!


36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Chocolate mousse

37. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Body of Lies by the GAM (Bob Mayer)

38. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have one!



41. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beattles. But really, I'd rather hear Van.

42. THE FURTHEST YOU BEEN FROM HOME? Bahrain. Or maybe Oman. Or possibly Dubai. Not really sure. I'd have to check the map, and that just isn't happening right now.

43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I'm with Char. I can tie that cherry stem like nobody's business, and have been able to do that for years (so can my three oldest. It's a family talent, I'm afraid to say!). I can also put all of my makeup on, in the dark, while driving to work, in a stick shift truck. If you need more talent than THAT, then I am just SOL.

44. WHEN WERE YOU BORN? July 1972

She's freakin' everywhere, Dudes!!

Ok, if you are any type of a regular here (do I even HAVE any regs, besides Char and Kel?) then you already know how much I luv novelist Joshilyn Jackson. If you will recall, I drove all the way to Charlotte freakin North Car-o-lina just to hear her speak and sign a few books. Yes, I bought FIVE new books, and YES, I spent a LOT of money on that trip. But you will also recall that I firmly believe it was worth every single little penny. If you can't remember WHY it was so worth it, check out this blog entry right here. You may also remember that Joshilyn Jackson actually put a pic of ME on HER totally cool website, "Faster Than Kudzu". If you don't remember it, then click here and check it out. Yes, it's the same pic, but it's on a whole other site, and her site is so very very much cooler than this one. Joshilyn is the hot chick, in case you were having trouble telling us apart. I thought I really made the big time when I saw my pic there. Even a few of you made comments.

Joshilyn writes incredible books about extraordinary women. I've reviewed both of them. Her newest book is Between, Georgia. It is amazing, and I totally loved it, as you can tell by reading my review. The book was full of light and truth, and it just made my head swim. I never wanted it to end. But I'm actually glad it did. If it hadn't, then I never would have read the miracle that is Joshilyn's first book, gods In Alabama. I cried when this book was over, because- well, because it was over. I never wanted the story to end. I wanted it to go on forever and ever and ever. It just sucked me up and strapped me in for such an amazingly wonderful ride! If you don't believe how much I gushed about it, check out my review here.

Now I take every chance I can get to rave about Joshilyn's books, because they are - well, "great" is just too lame to describe them, but I hope you know what I mean. I've taken to buying them for friends instead of loaning mine out, even though I have a spare loaner copy, and my signed copy is in a place of honor (right next to my signed Crusie WTT) on my writing shrine. I just don't think these books should be loaned. They should be OWNED. And I've made it my mission to make sure that all of my closest and dearest own at least one of Joshilyn's books. I bought Char copies and had Joshilyn sign them. I also got a signed copy of gods for my friend Kim. I just bought Kel Between, after she devoured and raved about gods.

So why all this talk about Joshilyn today, you ask? Well, she is currently the Guest Blogger of the Month over at one of my very favorite sites, the Literary Chicks (affectionately known as the LC to us cool people!). She will be there this month (August). It's really almost too much for me to handle. I mean, I just read on the LC that Joshilyn is friends with Lani Diane Rich, one of my MUST READ authors. That is just way so cool, and it makes me realize that this writing world is rather small, really.

Cruise on over to the LC and check out Joshilyn's intro post. Keep checking back throughout the month. See, this month, I'm loving life. I get Joss AND the LC, combined. It's like one of those "Your peanut butter is on my chocolate" moments that life occasionally tosses you when you have been very very good. This month, that is all me. Joss is the peanut butter, the LC is the chocolate, and I am totally eating up the combination.

And on the very off chance that Joshilyn would ever visit this site and see this post, I just want to say that I am totally not a crazy stalker fan, ok? I mean, I've been on the LC for MONTHS, really. Actually, I've been an Alesia fan for a while, and she brought me to the LC. Before I even heard of YOU or FTK. So I promise I'm not like, stalking you all over the internet, ok? And I won't even bother you on that cruise thing, because that would be just rude. But Dude, I so totally love your work. And your attitude. And your voice on the audio book. And well, you really are pretty, you know? But hey, I am NOT a stalker, ok?

ALMOST FORGOT: Joshilyn will be participating in a Barnes and Noble online book discussion for Between, Georgia. It starts August 7. You can sign up for free. Her agent had a big hand in getting this stuff rolling, and Joshilyn seems really psyched about it. Surf over to B&N and register, then join in on the discussions, ok?