Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31

The very last day in May- wow! Today is recess day. Yay! I am meeting with a wonderful group of writers this afternoon to kibitz and laugh and cry and encourage. So, here's to recess! Hope you live a little today as well. Cheers!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 30

I'm later in posting today as I'm trying to live a more well-rounded life. LOL As if that is possible for this obsessive personality. *snort* I spend far too many hours, writing, studying, promoting- seven days a week. It can't be healthy. And, truly only makes sense if I were making a living at this...

Kind of like athletes- gymnasts, dancers, ice skaters, basket ball players, footballers...who spend 5 to 7 hours a day at their sport in the hopes of one day becoming a professional. What happens to them when it simply doesn't pan out? Think about it- all the hours spent practicing and perfecting-only to discover you have bad knees, or you grew too tall or not tall enough. What happens then? Only one in a million gets to be a prima ballerina or the next number one draft pick for the NFL. Only one in a million get to be the next "big" thing in publishing. What do you do if after all your years of work- if it isn't you? (Now please, I'm not against striving for a dream or even for giving up. I'm talking about doing more than striving- being more than "the best" - I'm talking about living life... a full, balanced, well-rounded life. The kind of life that can lead you to other dreams if the NFL doesn't come calling or you lose the gold medal by .0025.)

This has been on my mind a lot lately- people say- keep writing- did you write today? are you working on your craft? LOL- that's like asking a Crack head if they snorted anything today.

So, I'm going to ask you a perfectly valid question- did you take the time to live today?

Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29

Sunshine today! It comes in through my window and warms my shoulder. The baby geese are nearly as big as their parents already. The strawberries are in bloom. Lilacs fill the air with sweet smells. I have nearly completed the rough draft of a partial for a second HI should H/S buy the book I wrote in March. I received news that funding for my Master's program has come through-so that is a done deal. I need to decide what I want to pitch to the editors and agent at the residency...hmmm. Focus is so hard for me. LOL. I have writer ADD... thriller, romantic comedy, western, romantic suspense. Which to choose, which to choose...

I heard nothing from my e-mail nudge to Dorchester-as expected. So today I will put a letter in the snail mail. My hope being that the letter may spark someone to look under their desk and see if the manuscript is gathering dust somewhere. But honestly I expect not to hear back at all-ever. Still, a writer has to try.

Cheers, everyone! Let me know how you're doing...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 28

Driving home from my lunch yesterday, I had an idea for an old book that I haven't given up on yet.... vague, I know but I'm still in the "must find out more info" stage. Selling a book is all about timing. I find I'm usually years ahead of a trend- which you would think would be good-but it's not. "No one's buying that" and when they are "buying that" my work has been seen by everyone all ready and turned down... But that doesn't mean a good story can't be remade.

My first published book- Saving Samantha - was written for a sweet line that went under the very month I submitted it. So I remade it as a sexy romance and submitted- but then no one wanted westerns-so, I put it away. Until Avalon announced it was looking for sweet historicals of any setting- so I pulled it back out- cut 250 pages-ouch- and sent it in- bingo! Sold. So, I'm always playing with my inventory. You just never know. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27

It's foggy and soggy here today. I'm off to have lunch with author Marin Thomas.

My wish for you is to have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26

I read an article on branding this weekend. It seems you should have a personal brand-three words that describe your personality. An industry brand-three words that describe how you want industry pros to view you and finally a product brand-three words to describe what kind of stories you write. Branding is a new buzz phrase. Think of it as goal setting or a mission statement. By thinking about branding, you are really setting up the parameters of 1) how you see yourself 2) how you want the people you work for to see you and 3) how you want people to see your work.

What good is all this? It simply provides a framework for how you act- how your e-mails are written, what kind of marketing you do, what kind of stories you tell, speaking engagements, etc. The framework of a brand helps you set boundaries and feel comfortable knowing-well, I do this not that. I'm this not that. I am comfortable with this not that.

Some people worry that their brand is set in stone- it's not. Just because you write westerns now doesn't mean you can't write mysteries later-think about what it is about your writing voice that will be found consistently in westerns or mysteries. You have your product brand. Now you need to make sure that's the message your website sends out. Not so hard after all, is it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25 - Memorial Day

In the United States today is Memorial Day. It all began when the civil war vets began to die off. People thought, we should remember all those souls who died in service to their country. So the Memorial Day holiday was declared.

Over one hundred years later so many more men and women have died in service to their country. Remember them today. Honor them. Without them we would not be able to live the lives we live today.

For giggles I've included a photo of me in my military days. I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole group of vets who write romance novels. To find out who go to and check out the new series from the rom vets
Hug a vet today!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24

I am verbose today- LOL- if you read my Sunday blog- you'll see I wrote three entries today. So this is my official fourth blog of the day. Each entry had it's own purpose.

This one is simply to touch base and say hello. It is a beautiful spring morning here. Sun is out and hazy. Flowers are in bloom. Birds are singing and the lake is calm. Here in the US it's memorial day weekend- the official start of summer. I plan a blog on memorial day tomorrow. Do read it if you get a chance- for fun and giggles I'm going to post a photo of me in my military days. See you then...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23

Happy Birthday Tom. Hope you have a good day!

I have a question for my blog readers. I know that many of you are writers. Do you think of yourself as an artist?

I have painted painting and sold them. I've decorated cakes and sold them. I've written books and sold them. But I have trouble thinking of myself as an artist. How are "Artists"- writers, painters, poets, creatives- any different from me? Well, they are...well...artists. You know...they dress however they want. They are cool and edgy. They hang out with other artists. (Sorry my writer friends I don't think of you as artists either...LOL. You all are regular people like me, moms, dads, coworkers, friends.) Artists go to festivals. They party. They drink and perhaps do drugs. They live in cool places like inner cities (NY, Chicago, Seattle, LA, San Fran, Phoenix.) They talk in artsy ways-arguing literature, music and fine art.

I'm not an artist... I live in the suburbs. I rarely party. You can't tell me from any of the other moms. I don't think anyone would point at me and say-yep. She's an artist. I have never gone on an artist's retreat. I think I would feel out of place in an artist colony.

What makes an artist anyway? I mean, I know plenty of people- ordinary people- who are highly creative-woodworkers, painters, gardeners, knitters, crochets, embroider, music teachers, dance teachers, jewelry makers, cake decorators, interior designers--they live on every block of every town big or small. Yet, I bet if you asked them if they considered themselves artists, they would blush and say no...

What makes an artist anyway? My dictionary says: "artist n. One who creates works of art; especially a painter or sculptor. 2. Any person who performs his work as if it were art."

To my way of thinking that makes us all artists in one way or another. Doesn't it?

Friday, May 22, 2009

May 22nd

Happy Birthday to my friend Carrie Lofty, author of "What a Scoundrel Wants." A tale of Robin Hood's Will Scarlet and his lady love.

It's Friday! A front came through last night and turned all the leaves over on the trees. It grew dark and the air chilled by 20 degrees F. But no rain, just wind and dark clouds. Today is more like normal. The sunlight shines weakly through the window. Dark clouds gust about on cool winds. The lake is a deep silver and ripples in active dancing waves that sparkle in the sun that fights its way through the clouds. It is a good start to a long weekend. Have a great holiday everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 21

Someone once teased me about blogging- my answer was talking every day is not a problem. Finding something interesting to say-well...

I worry that I repeat myself. But in the writing business there are long stretches where not much new happens. Right now I have ten pages of the next project written. 20 pages of revisions to another project done. I'm reading a critique for someone. Plus living life.
I hope that's not too terribly boring for you. What really interests me is what happens on the other side of my window. What your life is like. What issues are important to you and your world. I try to read as many blogs as I can each day, but sadly fall behind. I've read some great blogs this week on time management. LOL I'm not even going to go there. I have enough on my plate. But I can pass the links on to you if you're interested. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20

Okay, you know you've lived in the north too long when you think 76 degrees F inside the house is too warm and you start thinking about turning on the air conditioner. LOL.

It doesn't help that I'm sitting in the sun. In fact I think I need to go put on some sunscreen just to work at my desk. Not complaining....nope...LOVE the sunshine, and the warm breeze blowing in and the sound of red-wing black birds, geese, a cardinal, robins and finches.

With all the curtains thrown wide and the windows open, I am thinking it's time to wash the windows again...maybe later today, or tomorrow, or...

Have a happy day everyone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19-updates

I've outlined my next book- a 55,000 word series, romantic suspense. I will set my goals on writing the first 50 pages over the next week or so. This is my "just-in-case" book. Just in case they buy the book I wrote in March and want to see an option.

Meanwhile I'm 2/3rds done with my revision project on a single title that is still out with editors. I've sent off an e-mail on the Dorchester book-if I don't hear back from them in the next week, I'll send off a paper nudge.

The agent search for the thriller continues- all (31) but four have replied with "not-right-for us." Which I understand. It's tough to sell anything these days. The overall book business is down. There's a lot of wait and see right now...Unless you're a big name- or you sell to a small press.

Promo for my new release starts next month-some people start 6 months in advance, but I think readers don't want to wait so long-they lose their enthusiasm. (My opinion...) So will start appearing in newsletters and blogs and on-loops and chats next month.

In the meantime, there are 50 pages to write. Cheers!

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18

This morning bright and early I took the bichon to the groomer. She cried all the way there. I always tell her I feel the same way about getting a haircut. Now she is home and looking spiffy and we're both exhausted. So, I settle in to write while she sleeps in the patch of sunlight at my feet. It's good to be at home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17

Happy birthday to my niece, Stephanie!! May you have a fabulous happy day. Eat some cake for me. Cheers!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 16

Out in the yard today, pulling weeds and chemically attacking thistles-ouch those suckers bite! Even through the leather of my gloves. The sun was out but it was cold and windy-felt like a fall wind coming in through the window. I won't begrudge the sunshine or the chance to get out a bit in it. But now, am exhausted... sometimes, that's a good thing. cheers!

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15

It is hard to believe that the month of May is half over. Time warps and bubbles when you are busy...and when you aren't. :)

The light through my window is weak today. The green of new leaves is brighter against the gray white sky. The wind carries a cold chill and the threat of rain. The lake is rippled and the color of deep forest green. The geese hang out along the edge, their family whittled down through bad luck and misadventure--although I believe the coyote thinks otherwise. A rabbit the size of my bichon sits at the edge of the garden chewing on grass. It has already burrowed a den in the strawberries. Let's hope we don't have a repeat of last year's bunny massacre, but I suspect we will. It makes me think of "the greatest plans of mice and men." The ground is soggy from recent rains and the strong scent of mud and algae overtakes the sweet scent of blooming trees. The robin sings, happy because the muddy ground brings up worms. It is a high feast for him and his babies. I turn my back to the window, pull on socks to warm my chilled feet and attack the work for the day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14

It's Thursday and I'm sitting in sunshine that is warm. Two doggies sleeping at my feet. The big one (who is ten) pulled a muscle and has been a three-legged doggie for about three days now. Still he comes up and down two flights of stairs to be with me. That's devotion.

I've got stacks of work which is fun. I've got more sorting, and reading info on the Master's program. I've got more trip plans to finalize. I've got a couple books to read. Ten pages of fresh work to send in for critique. I'm in the middle of revisions on another book project. I've got an option book research to outline, a thriller to sell and that pesky book at Dorechester to nudge. When I get this busy, its usually the time a new story will pop into my head and follow me around and bug me to be written. This time I've got a couple of vague ideas...but nothing demanding my attention.

I hope that doesn't mean I'm losing my edge...

*smiles* Yes, I know I sound fact half mad.... cheers!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13

Waiting can be as difficult as rejection. While rejection is cut and dried-"Sorry your work isn't right for us at this time." Waiting seems endless. I've always filled the waiting with work... write a different book. Write a partial for the second in a series in the off chance the first sells. Write more queries. Write.

And yet the waiting niggles the back of my mind...I picture my manuscript holding up someone's desk. Lost in the shuffle... fallen behind a credenza. What is going on with the full at Dorechester? Didn't I read where they bought someone else 30 days after the manuscript was mailed in? How the heck did that happen? It's been a year. But I've heard war stories of getting a call to buy after three years. Why do I seem to always get the longer wait? I need to nudge them.

Fear creeps in...why nudge them? do I really want another rejection? But limbo is also a form of rejection. This week on my todo list is the note to contact them and find out what is going on with that book. Rejection is a form of closure. But my twisted hopeful mind says, if I get that rejection then the book goes into the dead baby morgue-having made the rounds. If I let the waiting continue there is always hope... I like to cling to the hope sometimes too long.

Here's a laugh- I've actually gotten rejection letters so many years later that I don't remember what book they were looking at. Form letters don't list the title. I simple laugh and shrug and add it to the pile.

But not this time. This time I'm going to pester them to send me the rejection now or buy the darn book. Closure is good for the soul.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12

There are many different ways to start a story. The first rule of thumb is to always open with a hook. Draw the reader into the story. To think of this in visual terms, when a reader opens a book and reads the first line you want to reach out and grab them by the throat and suck them into the work. Right. How do you do this?

Start in the middle of something. Action or dialog are great starters. But warning, don't use action or dialog that does not have a purpose or it will only confuse the reader. Don't be concerned if twenty pages into your story, you find your opening. This is also normal. Yes, it's hard to cut those twenty pages. Do it anyway. Think of those pages, not as a waste or loss of time and effort, but as your mind's way of working toward the perfect opening. Everything you write has purpose-just not necessarily for the reader.

But, you say, some people can open a book with sweeping descriptions of vistas and sunrises. Yes, some people can. This is rare in today's market and not the norm.

Why are beginnings on my mind? When I first started writing I was content to write one opening and revise the scene to polish. But in the case of my last two manuscripts, I've written two or three different scenes as openings... and it's been fun. What I've got is a good, better, best scenario. The goal? To reach out and grab the reader by the throat and don't let them put it down until they reach the end. Then, like a roller coaster, leave them wanted to read it again...

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11

I'm a bit behind today in posting. The reason why is that in March I applied for a Master's degree program. I have been accepted and am currently going through a lot of information that must be done by May 22nd.

It is an MA in Writing Popular Fiction-Seton Hill University. I am very excited by this program. My end goal in having a Master's degree is to be able to teach creative writing at the community college level. One of my favorite things is to talk about books, writing, craft and the writing life and one of my life long dreams has been to help college students in their journey of discovery to fulfill their dreams-yeah, I know, sounds like a lofty full-of-myself kind of goal. But when I was struggling through my first degree, I vowed that one day I would work at the college level and do my best to make the college experience easier for at least one student.

Now whether any of that happens is up to the fates, but this is a step in that direction. Also, because I'm already published in the romance genre I have chosen the thriller/suspense genre for my Master's thesis. My hope is to learn more about the genre and keep my writing fresh.

So, there you go- the secrets of my heart... now I have to get back to work. Cheers!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I want to wish my mother, my grandmother and all my aunts and sisters and girlfriends a happy mother's day! Even if you don't have kids, I know that you have nurtured me and others. For that, I thank you and send virtual hugs. Cheers!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9

Went to see the new Star Trek movie. It was big fun. Lots of inside jokes for old trekies. Lots of big explosions, action and fast moving vehicles. I won't give it away...the crowd was bigger than the crowd for Xmen Origins which I saw last week. So there are more trekies than comic/action hero fans.

My wish for the next Xmen and Star Trek movies are that they have an equally strong female protagonist in each. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8

Thank goodness it's Friday or TGIF! I'm finishing up the initial revisions of part three of a project I'm working on. Last night I found a foothold for a new romantic suspense story. What does that mean? Well, for me, story telling is being able to see in the mist. If you sit still long enough and unfocus your eyes and think about the story you want to bring to life, the fog clears and the scene opens. Once I have an opening, it's easy to go back to the spot and widen and clarify and create an actual story. So, yay for footholds in the mist! Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7

It's my parents 49th wedding anniversary. Congrats to them today!

I'm terrible at remembering anniversaries. Barely functional on birthdays. Thank goodness for commercials on things like Mother's day, Father's day, Christmas, and Easter, etc. It's not that my friends aren't on my mind. I think I have some kind of mental block. I will buy the cards well in advance-only to forget to mail them. sigh. Or I'll mail them and they will arrive too early or ridiculously too late.

One year I had Christmas cards all signed, sealed and stamped...nope- they didn't go out. I vowed to save them and send them out for the 25th of July as a joke- only...yeah, I forgot. By Christmas, I could no longer find them (I think I put them in a box somewhere to save....)

I'd like to say it's because I have my head in a story, but that is too easy of an excuse. Truth is even if I organize myself I'm not on time... I have come to terms with my own imperfections and I know the people who love me accept that I'm not the friend or family member who "always remembers." Because of this, I simply smile when I'm 'forgotten" and am happy to know that I'm not the only one who misses the Hallmark moments. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 6

From my window:

The sky is hazy white today covered in thick clouds with indeterminate edges. The sun a white brightness overhead. Light filtered through water. The trees surrounding the lake are pale green and spotted like an impressionistic landscape. Some leaves still yet to unfurl while others have sprung out in infancy still growing to full size. The water itself is a dull mirror. Shadows of green and brown reflect the trees at the edge. The center reflects the hazy light of the sky. No wind moves it. Still, smooth, it rests. Fresh blooms of algae drape around the edges. The recent rains are gone and the banks recede leaving the scent of rot and mud. Geese scream and honk their presences. Babies follow after their mother, their fat yellow grey feathers give them a fuzzy coat. Red-winged black birds call as they hop through the tree branches. In the distance is the ever present sound of lawn mowers and trimmers...a staple in the suburbs. May comes softly in the world, hiding the scars of March and April with new grasses, new growth.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Wow- May 5th- Most people don't really know what cinco de Mayo celebrations are for- so to clarify: "It marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention. Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest. "*

It's not really Mexican Independence day as some think, but in a way it celebrates their ability to stand up for themselves...which is independence...isn't it? So, here's celebrating community and personal independence. Cheers!

* quoted from

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 4

Today is a math day- 5.4.09. 5+4=9 5x4=20

That is where my brain went today... I'm working on revisions for a project I'm doing with a friend. I'm also doing some research reading and best of all, I'm weeding the gardens. The thistles are back, but no worries I have evil chemicals ready to kill them dead. I tried the old fashioned organic way. But thistles need something stronger than me and my weed popper (a metal device that you shove in the ground and it pulls the weed out...mostly.) So with gloves on my hands and a nice face mask, I'll be out there with a spray bottle. Much easier on the back, I think. Some times you have to be ruthless. (This also applies to revisions and editing, too.) Judicial ruthlessness is important no matter what you do. Cheers!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 3

We are lucky enough to have sunshine. I took the dogs for a long walk. Now everyone wants to take long naps. :)

I'm meeting with other writers today to have fun, talk about writing and possibly forming a new support group-small and mighty. I'm not looking forward to the drive, but I am looking forward to the meeting. Small sacrifices are easy to make.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 2

Spent the day running errands, doing yardwork and went to see the movie "X-men Origins, Wolverine." The errands were average. The yard work- well, we are only getting started on the mess that mother nature made of our yard and gardens. But the movie? Hmmmm. A picture tells a thousand words. Cheers!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

Happy May Day everyone!

Question to all writers out there-- Have you ever wanted to quit? Have you ever quit?

I've heard on loops when someone talks about being burned out, lost, done...they are just done. Done with rejection. Done with trying to hit the market. Done with revisions and critiques. Done with never getting it right. Done.

Other writers pop up immediately to "support" them with-you're not done, you're just tired. Take some time'll be back. Or don't quit. Never quit. LOL we turn into a cult... or The Firm-once you write a book you can never can never get out...

Truth is one book may be enough for you. Ten books may be all you have. Pushing passed who you are just to "never quit" doesn't do anything but waste your time and kill your creative heart.

So, next time someone says they are done, for goodness sakes, let them be done. Hug them. Be understanding. Don't push. There are real limits to how much abuse a person can take and yes, the writing life is full of abuse. The only reason to do it is because you LOVE it. If you don't LOVE it, move on- no shame-no harm- no foul.

In support of all those creatives who are done, today I am not a writer. Today I am a house frau with a teeth gritting bad back who is going to take one too many pain pills, watch old movies, make cookies and actually interact with my family.

FREEDOM! Happy May Day everyone.