Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Goodreads. It's a social network where people who love books and love to read share what they are reading. They also can review what they are reading. I have a small author page there and in fact just last night linked this blog to that page- so *waves* to the Goodreads people who see this post.
I mention this because I am following a couple of good friends in a new promotion activity. I will be giving away two free books on Goodreads. I'm curious to see how many people sign up and if it makes a difference. My hope is that if you haven't read my books before that you will sign up to try to win a free book- and then review it on Goodreads. If nothing else you will check out my other award winning books. You can find most of them at your library or a library in your district. If not, ask your librarian to purchase them. Five of my books have received starred reviews from Booklist Magazine- the magazine for librarians.
So if you are on Goodreads, please find me and friend or follow. Have a fantastic weekend. Cheers~

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28

My blogger friend Anita made a great comment the other day that what gets her back into writing mode from edit mode is bum in chair and just doing it. I agree~ When I say I'm having problems starting it's because I'm only able to scrap out five or six pages a day when I usually easily do ten or more. So for me it's not bum in chair as much as finding the place where you are so lost in story that pages flow without any thought. I love that feeling. I'm still waiting for it. Meanwhile I'm bum in chair and the partial for my agent is almost ready. I think it might help if I continue on with writing this book instead of waiting. I trust that the more days I hack away, the better my chances of finding the zone.
So, do you work in a zone? Or do you simply give yourself a page count or word count and stick it out until you're done? Or are you the kind of writer who writes whatever comes to you that day with no thought to deadline? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27

Here we are in the swelter of a massive heatwave and the stores are putting out winter coats and fall sweaters. School supplies are already half price and school doesn't start for another month. I predict I will be seeing Halloween goods in the stores in the next week or two. For me time flies so quickly, I don't want stores helping it along. On the radio this morning an ad for new cars said, snow is just around the corner time for a new car. Um, what? It's a heat wave. The idea of snow right now is kind of nice, but why skip the wonders of summer? The flowers that come out in the heat? The lazy steamy days? We have them for only a short time. I say-heat or no- we live in today, this moment, right now and see the joys there are to be found because today, right now, this summer won't be here tomorrow.
What are your pet peeves when it comes to stores pushing the seasons?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26

I'm having a terrible time getting started on my latest book. I can't figure out why that is. I love the idea. I love the characters. I've got my beat sheet worked out. So what is my problem? Why am I scratching out five pages at a time?
My lovely friend and fellow writer Joelle Charbonneau clued me in last night. She said, "You have been in editing mode so long, you are struggling to get back into writing mode."
A bell went off in my head, she's right! I've spent this entire year so far revising and editing first the gluten-free mystery book, Gluten For Punishment and then my thesis thriller, Mind Games. I'm so into editor mode that I'm picking at my writer trying to work. Poor writer. She sits down and instead of letting her play I keep telling her things she should edit. Does this happen to any of my writer friends out there?
My solution is to do a few playful, creative, non-writing projects until I can once again hear the writer voice inside me. So I'm off to color with colored pencils or maybe bake up a new recipe.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25

Here is a picture of one of the gladiolas I planted in my garden this year. Isn't it lovely? I thought in this heat wave we should have a picture of some good things about summer.
We got rain this weekend in the evenings and I think the plants will begin to perk up a bit. I have two tomatoes that are almost ripe. I jumped the gun and picked them early because I was afraid, the heat, bugs or rot would get them first.
Jumping the gun is when a racer takes off before the starting gun sounds. I am thinking since I have an international and NY readership, perhaps I should explain myself. My NY editors rarely understand what these "isms" mean. My latest battle was with a heroine whose friends "would give their eye teeth to have one of those designer coats." I thought this was a very common saying everyone knew meant that they are jealous and would do almost anything for the coat. But my editor and her assistant didn't "get it." It sounds yucky, they said. Do you mean they'd really pull their teeth?- eww. Sigh. No, I explained it's a common saying for "They would do anything." This was not good enough. I had to completely take the sentence out before they would move on. This is not the first time this has happened. Several of my books have had "isms" fixed. I can't remember exactly which ones at present, but I am always shocked by the editorial lack of understanding. I try hard to remove "isms" but I think at the same time they do add flavor to the story. What is your favorite "ism?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22

We had rain today. YAY! Water falls from the sky. It was accompanied by lightning, thunder, and wind, but not so bad that it did any damage. The grass is already perking up a bit. DD (darling daughter) went to let little dog out to do her thing when she stopped. Wily E coyote was near the fence. He ran off and in the distance we heard a goose holler. I hope it got away. I went out but could not see anything. The birds pitched a fit for twenty minutes after, but then all was quiet. Little dog was safe to use her yard. I stayed with her just in case. I miss big dog. He has been gone a year, but he was the one big enough to run off the largest of predators.
Have a fabulous weekend. Cheers~

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21

Yesterday I learned that The Counterfeit Bride earned a starred review from the ALA's Booklist Magazine. This is wonderful news. A starred review means that more libraries will consider stocking the book. You can also ask you local librarian to stock it as well. In the back and forth of writers trying to build careers in a bad economy and a changing market. Good reviews are important. So if you read a book and really enjoyed it, please post a little line on Amazon. It will make the author's day and perhaps help them sell their next work to a publisher so you can read more.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20

The other day I saw geese flying in a V heading south. I thought- already? It's a little early considering the heat wave and all. But then I realized that the lakes are very low right now. Perhaps they are looking for a place with more water resources.
Another strange bit- my magnolia tree is blooming again. It is not supposed to bloom twice, but suddenly I have big pink flowers at the very top of it. Meanwhile the cherry trees and the neighbor's birch trees are all losing leaves as if it is late September.
I think perhaps we are in some sort of climate change. The plants and animals are confused.
Meanwhile, the wood chipper guys are out creating as much noise as possible as they clean up the piles and piles of debris left by last week's storm.
The view from my window is close-the-blinds hot and I'm enjoying a bowl of cherries for breakfast.
How are you dealing with your season? Cheers~

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19

I have joined Google+. It is a new social network meant to out do Facebook. I like it because you can keep private matters private and yet still have social friends from all over the world. It is slow going as I have yet to figure out how to add people. I was lucky to have a mutual friend add me and then I went through her friends and added people that way. I hope in time to master this new network. I like to keep on top of new things happening on the web. It keeps the brain from getting rusty and helps keep my writing current and my friends in touch. I really enjoy Facebook and only regret the lack of privacy. As an author, you are a public figure, and everything you do on the web must be carefully thought out. But then again, now that the web is so prevalent in everyone's lives, I suppose the best thing for everyone to do is to always act as if your Grandmother is watching. Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't want her to hear.
What is your motto when working on the web?
(If you are on Google+, add me.) Cheers~

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go see the Dalai Lama of Tibet in person and listen to him speak. The auditorium was packed. He spoke on religious tolerance and how religious people should work together and not fight each other- because we all believe in the same truths- love, compassion, and forgiveness.
It was an interesting talk. For me, people-watching was as interesting as the speaker. So many different cultures there curious to know what this man of learning had to say.
His main point was to respect your own culture and religious traditions, learn about others and understand that we all want the same thing - a happy life.
My question for today- are you living a happy life?

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15

Well, this week certainly did not go as planned. We lost power in a storm Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. The power did not come back until Thursday. The food in the fridge melted and/or rotted. The house was an oven. The internet and cell phones ran out of juice. We tease it was the Zombie Apocalypse.
Needless to say it set me back in both writing and catching up on-line. Sometimes when you set what seem like realistic goals, nature comes along and reminds you of the old saying..."the best laid plans of mice and men..."
I hope you have a fab weekend. A heat wave is approaching. Stay cool. Let me know how your week went. Cheers~

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11

Interesting Monday~ woke up to the house shaking and a fury of a storm going on. Grabbed little dog and hit the basement. It lasted almost thirty minutes and when it was done we had tree branches down, trash cans, and trash everywhere. (Why do these things happen on trash day? I think the wind see the trash cans as a challenge.) We are safe. As best I can tell our roof is intact- although they did stop the trains due to 80 mph wind gusts. To put that in perspective, according to the Beaufort wind scale- it is hurricane force with extensive destruction and devastation possible. (Don't you love the drama in the words destruction and devastation?) If you go by the Affir-Simpson Hurricane scale it was a hurricane one. Which means: No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. (Certainly much less dramatic. ;))
We are without power. I'm using laptop battery and wifi battery back up. Hope the power comes on before the food in the fridge goes bad. How's the weather where you are?

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8

Yesterday I registered for Bouchercon - the world mystery convention and home of the Anthony awards. It takes place in St. Louis this year, September 15-18th. It will be my first mystery con and I'm excited to see the difference between mystery fans/writers and romance fans/writers.

I also joined Sisters in Crime an international organization to promote the professional development and advancement of women writing crime fiction.

As a close writer friend told me, "You have gone over to the dark side." BWAHAHAHA

It is fun to write the communities and characters of mysteries as well as the puzzles. So, I don't know if it's dark, but it's different. I'll keep you updated on the rest. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7

Today is a tad bit cooler. Little dog discovered a kitty in the woods. Kitty refused to come out so we went inside. I'm working on a new mystery series proposal and trying to get back into the swing of reading blogs and commenting. Catch up on my TBR list as well. So many of you are wonderful authors and I want to read all your work.
On the one hand it is a relief to be done with all the work that the Master's degree took, but on the other, I am left with a mountain of regular work that I put aside. It is YAY! you accomplished something big-and I still have the balloons to prove it-but now get back to work you are behind. LOL Isn't that real life? If we didn't have work to do, then we'd all be like little kids and crying about how bored we are.
So, what are you working on?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6

I spent time in the library yesterday. I love to go. I love the smell of books. I love the wide variety of services from music to movies to computers. I could sit and read magazines all day long. Our library is very active. Every time I have gone there are always kids and Moms and Dads. There are seniors and others participating.
I must admit, though, that I gave up on the library catalog computer in frustration and simply walked the stacks to find the books I wanted. I am so used to google and simply typing in a word and getting leads to what I want that I have forgotten how the Dewy decimal system works. Shame, I know. I suppose I could have asked at the help desk, but there is something adventurous about seeing all the titles available on the shelf. I find books I didn't even know I wanted.
If you have time this week, go to the library and thank a librarian.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5

I've been home a week. I tell myself it is time to get up and get back to work. To soldier on- school is done. Degree in hand. Now put it to use.
The small child in me says, no. I'm hot. I just did a big thing. I deserve ice cream and naps...and ice cream. :)
I rewarded my inner child with books. I purchased my good friend Erica O'Raucke's debut YA novel, Torn and my dear friend Vicki Thompson's latest Gaslight mystery. They arrived today. I will use them as the carrot to get me back into the swing of social media and writing. If you get X number of words done, then you get your treat. :)
Life is about motivation, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4

Happy Independence Day, USA! When I went bicycling around my neighborhood, I was struck by the numbers of empty houses and houses for sale. I was surprised by the lawns that have grown filled with weeds because the economy is still not right. People can't afford the upkeep or they just don't care. The price of gas is more than double what it was when we moved here. The price of houses have been cut by hundreds of thousands. We live in a community meant for up and coming families, laughter, lakes and the American dream. But now boats sit idle in driveways as neighbors can't afford the gas to use them. Houses aren't selling because the big corporations in the area are no longer employing new people or transferring workers. The price of gas which made our little subdivision out in the middle of nowhere affordable has made it a ghost town. People just leave. There are five houses that have been for sale for over 18 months. Nice homes in a nice neighborhood. Two empty houses on my cul de sac alone. A woman drove by with her tiny blonde-haired daughter in the back seat. The window was down and the little girl waved a small American flag. Last century things were so bad we were once promised a chicken in every pot. Now we've only lost luxury things- boats, McMansions, etc. There are people who would have you think we live in the end of times, but I think of that little girl and her waving American flag. I think of the men and women who fight for us every day-Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, police, firefighters and I think that we still live in the best of times. Cheers~

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1

Happy Canada Day! and welcome to a new month. Here in the United States it's the big Independence Day weekend. We are lucky in that we can stay home and watch fireworks from both the front and the back of the house. We can see them through the windows and don't have to expose ourselves to heat and biting insects. I suppose that is half the fun, though, isn't it? To make a picnic that gets you outside. Where wasps attack your sugared desserts, ants enjoy your crumbs and mosquitoes enjoy your blood. They only take a little, right? LOL. We try to spend a lazy weekend in the heat and the humidity taking in outdoor concerts, fishing, swimming and running around. Someone suggested I get a hammock. I'm all for that. Ahh, the smell of bug spray and summer heat.
What are your plans for the weekend? For those in the throes of winter- please leave a comment to let us know how your weather is going. Cheers~