Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone and may the new year bring you whatever it is that makes you feel good about you! Me, I'm going to shoot for enjoyment of my surroundings and loved ones.

Maybe I'll quit writing completely, or publish one of my completed manuscripts, or tackle a new manuscript. I don't know what is in store for me and for some strange reason I'm not worried about anything. I recently stepped away from my local romance writing group, and I've decided to forgo my prior intensive drive to get published again. I'm thinking of taking a few interesting classes, doing some volunteer work, travelling, mixing it up.

I'm taking back the bit of me that I kept in reserve to get the writing done and to pursue that dream to have a career as an author. It's been five solid years of learning the craft of writing, completing six manuscripts and getting nowhere. As each year has passed I've recognized the increased difficulty for new writers to get published with large publishing houses. Most likely I won't give up writing completely as I do enjoy it, it will however take less of a role in my life. I figure I'm not getting any younger and the years are slipping away, there are so many adventures yet to be had and I can't embrace them while glued to a computer chair. So look out Tibet, Machu Pichu, The Amazon, Corsica, that Mediterranean Cruise I've always wanted to take ... I'm saving my money and here I come.

So raise your glass with me in a toast to 2008 and new adventures! May we all have as many as we can comfortably handle and may they bring us intense happiness.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Regardless of what you celebrate, or if you choose to celebrate nothing, you must admit this is a lovely season of the year. I don't think of it as religious just as connecting. I drove through the gates of the development that I live in tonight and admired the palm trees around the lake, which are wrapped with twinkle lights. Many of the houses are decorated, people stop their cars to shout out Merry Christmas, and even though I haven't truthfully celebrated Christmas in years, I open my car window and grin and shout the greeting back. It feels good.

In recent years I've chosen to ignore the holidays. I converted to Judiasm when I married my ex-husband and raised our two kids in the Jewish faith. Whatever I knew or believed in from my upbringing, which was Anglican, changed with that decision. After our divorce I was in limbo for a long while. What did I really believe? The answer was, a little of everything. My children grew up and chose whatever life partners and beliefs they wanted. I accepted their decisions.

The only time I ever think about things like this is at the holidays. I have such a mish-mash of understanding when it comes to religion and am open to everything. I love to attend Temple, yet I'm blown away by a Catholic High Mass. When I studied Neo-Paganism for a story I was writing I could totally relate, I even told my daughter I wanted a scrying ball for my birthday. And she very nicely bought me one. When I read about Zen Buddism it makes sense to me. When I read about Quantum Physics I understand. However, a few years ago, I stood in the middle of Notre Dame and cried bucket loads because of the sheer overwhelming beauty of the place and the way it spoke to me. Then I bought a St. Christopher medal and wore it on a bracelet next to my wristwatch. I wouldn't even take it off to shower. Weird huh?

I can't fathom what has gotten into me this year. I even accepted an invite to Christmas Eve dinner at my best gal pal's home. She said, "We're by ourselves. The kids aren't coming this year. It would please us immensely." My friend's husband is of French birth and loves to cook. He put on his black apron from the Margaux district and set to work, loving that he had an audience as he chopped and basted and mixed. Nothing pleases him more. We, my friend and I, sat at the table in the kitchen and drank fine wine and nibbled on cheese and watched him and kept him entertained with our chatter. He doesn't have an accent, having lived here since his late high school years, but man can he speak French beautifully. I know why she fell in love with him. That language is like catnip to this cat. He spoke of growing up in France pre-world war two and scoffed at my description of a chicken recipe I learned to make from a Frenchman I dated several years ago. My date had assured me one should always use a good white wine, and the entire bottle, none of that cheap cooking wine for him.

"In France we drink the wine," my friend's husband said. "Who would waste a good wine by pouring it on food?" I laughed and took another sip of the buttery-smooth cabernet sauvignon and had to agree. Nobody was getting my wine to pour over a chicken.

Today I took my dog over to the Polo grounds and watched a few players put their horses through their training. My dog was fascinated. We love to watch them, man and beast fused as if one. It's a great game. Can't wait for the season to start. Then I came home and prepared a mini-feast for one, well, one and a dog. I had long conversations with friends and family, wrote emails and read emails.

Tonight I'm alone but I don't mind that one bit. I've had invitations but prefer to be here savoring the peace and quiet. Giving doesn't have to rely on a season, or a day, or family, or company, or giving of gifts. We can make it what we want. We can derive simple pleasures from the day and give silent thanks, or talk to our dog, or think up ways to give to others in small non-commercial ways. Like giving a French Chef the praise and attention he needs to perfect a grand meal.

Happy holidays to all, and a very happy, healthy, and creative 2008!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What are you Reading?

The Island, by Victoria Hislop, was my last truly amazing read. This story is Hislop's debut novel. The book was published in Europe and the U.K. in 2005 and has been acquired by Harper Collins, I believe it has either just come out in the U.S. or it will any day now. I had the opportunity to read an arc or advanced reader copy.

The story is set in Greece in the 1940's on the island of Crete. It starts out in contemporary London where the heroine is drawn to trace her family roots in Greece. She knows there is a mystery in her mother's past, something her mother refuses to discuss. When she arrives in Crete she is told the story of the town, of her mother's relatives, and the history of an island, Spinalonga, which was once a leper colony. A colony where her own relatives were sent. The story deals with the complexities of mother/daughter relationships, sisters, forbidden love, disease, and prejudice, and all with a deft hand and a sensitivity that is evident through the author's beautiful prose.

After reading this novel I had a yearning to read books from earlier times, historical romance, classics, I couldn't get enough of the lyrical prose that had filled my thoughts when reading The Island. Last week a friend gave me an early Christmas gift, Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer, it was originally published in 1953, this one is a 2007 release from Sourcebooks Casablanca, the cover is gorgeous, the paper is fantastic, the interior design simple but elegant. It has a really good feel to it and I love that.

I'd never read this book, although as a teenager I loved Regency and Gothic novels best of any. I've been swept up into the Regency period again and loving it. I read until almost two a.m. last night, unable to put this story down. It's a slow start and if I were writing it I'd start from the protagonist point of view in chapter two and weave the tedious male conversation in chapter one throughout the novel, but that's a contemporary author speaking. For the period, the story works, but for many of today's readers it's a slow start. Stick with it, it's a great read.

Both books are beautiful to look at, a total luxury to read, and would make excellent holiday gifts for any lover of romance.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Keeping it Real.

November has been a strange month for me emotionally, one of change, perhaps mirroring the season? Trees are losing their leaves or changing color. Mountain tops are capped with snow. Nights are cooler, days are shorter. The ducks and the Coots are setting up residence around the lake, and inside my little abode, my writing is getting a major overhaul.

I finished the story in NaNoWriMo, pushing through and completing the remaining 30,000 words in the first ten days and then dropping out as it was hard to do an actual wordcount once I began revising.

Several days later I read that Bob Mayer had two last minute cancellations for his writers retreat on Whidbey Island. I'd been interested in going. As luck would have it my dog sitter had just returned to work after a six week abscence following abdominal surgery. Was this a sign perhaps? Or would I merely shoot myself in the foot, become dejected after intensive feedback and give up writing forever?

I went. Now I'm back and more determined than ever to get this writing thing under control.

At the retreat there were six writers, one Category Romance, two Sci Fi, one Literary, one Chick Lit, and me. I'm writing (attempting to write) Romantic Suspense. Bob is multi-published in Sci Fi, Thriller, and Romantic Adventure. It was an interesting group and I did learn a lot. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who feels stuck. Bob has this knack of pulling the eyes of the story out and saving those, getting rid of what doesn't work, reworking the original story idea or concept, and keeping it all simple. I had thrown in everything but the kitchen sink, all external conflict, not much emotional. Sigh. He uses the KISS theory--keep it simple stupid--I'm simplifying like crazy now.

I'd tried a story within a story and Bob didn't like it. Neither did anyone else. It had major flaws. He advised ditching the second story and using a clean, linear structure. At first I didn't like my simplified story idea, it semed barren, perhaps told too many times by more proficient and talented writers. I felt I had no new spin to give this story, then I realised the details are all in the characters anyway. Sooooo, make my characters more interesting, dig deeper, I mean really, really deep, show more real motivation. It's a start. Painful, but a start.

This is going to be a long journey. But I swear, I'm keeping it real. Who knows, I may have a major break through in my writing style. It'd be about time.

For information on Bob's future retreats, go to

Friday, November 02, 2007


I'm so excited, I've always thought about doing this writing challenge but each year November rolls around and I'm struggling to get an RWA Golden Heart entry finished and can't see my way clear. This year is different.

I am a proud first time participant in NaNoWriMo. Yay! me! I'm part of The Cherries group which has I think nine or ten writers.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, this is a free organization that challenges authors around the world to write their little hearts out during the month of November. You can't start writing until the first of November and then you complete your writing on the 30th. The idea is to finish a novel of fifty thousand words in one month. You don't stop to tinker, or make corrections, you just plow through. What fun, huh? Block that internal editor and just fly free putting copious words on the page. There's time over the holidays to play with the story and embellish it or make it better. And if it's really, really bad and totally beyond redemption, there's always the trash bin. *grin*

I've been learning the craft of writing all year long. In some ways I've been intimidated rather than stimulated to write. Now that I know more of the rules of writing I realize those same rules have been holding me back. It has taken me until now to try to really write anything new. I've been doing rewrites all year and while that has been helpful, they aren't fresh ideas, or stimulating new work.

This is the end of the second day of NaNo. Yesterday I wrote an entire chapter, today not quite as much but I have a two day total of 6,679 words. On the website you can record your daily word count and do an accumulative count. Also, you are associated with a region and each region around the world competes for the highest total word count. There are also discussion blogs, sharing of excerpts if you want to do that, and groups often form to do physical write-ins using their laptops. Loads of fun! I love how the story is shaping up and am excited to keep at it but realize I do need some sleep. At my current rate I'd be finished in two weeks but probably have severe back ache or a total meltdown. *grin*

There is a huge NaNo website, if you want to read about it. It truly is quite amazing. So, just in case you don't hear from me again until the end of the month, know that I'm here and slogging away. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fun Stuff

Not much writing going on here in the past couple of weeks. It's all been fun, fun, fun. I had family visiting from Australia and had a wonderful time with them, then they took off for NYC, Vegas, Grand Canyon, S.F. and a drive down the West Coast to L.A. My son and daughter and son's girlfriend came to visit to help celebrate my birthday. More fun. Then everyone left and I had ten days to catch up on writing, however, I live in a development that has a home owners association and house painting was about to happen. No clear date, just a vague idea of when this would happen. I kept my fingers crossed it would all be done before everyone returned.

I spent days cutting back shrubs that grew near walls, moving garden furniture etc. House is finally done and looks gorgeous. I think of the color as iced cafe mocha, it's actually called Casita. The trim is vanilla. Yum. I'm having a front arbor built as there isn't much of an entryway to my front door so no curb side appeal, and it gets full sun. Then I'm training dark red bougainvillea up the posts. Should be gorgeous. I chose new outdoor lights, carriage style in antique brass, they look black but are actually a dark brown and the handyman got those up yesterday.

I cleaned everything, put the garden furniture back in place. Today I dead-headed the roses and then cleaned the house from top to bottom. Tonight my Aussie's return for four days before flying back home. I feel like I'm sitting here in my ballgown and jewellery waiting for my date to arrive. *grin* Everything feels wonderfully brand spanking new. Next week, I write.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lopping off heads!

I've been tromping through my current WIP (work in progress for you non-writers) in combat boots and wielding a big sharp knife, you know, like the one that Crocodile Dundee brought to NYC with him. When the young guy challenged him in the dark alley with something that looked like a switchblade, Croc laughed and in his pure Aussie accent, said, "Ya' call that a knife? This is a knife." Then he pulled out some huge, foot-long, sharp looking instrument and the bad guy ran away. I digress. I'm more like the Queen of Hearts walking around her garden screaming, "Off with their heads," and giving grandiose flicks of my chubby wrists.

I've removed many superfluous characters from this manuscript, which I wrote when I was a young babe (about four years ago) and have either merged them making for one much stronger character, or just eliminated them if the scene wasn't necessary. Remember, I said I was a babe and I meant in terms of writing. He he. Anyway, I was plowing through the manuscript fixing things, tweaking things, creating better character arcs, yet I still didn't like it. I'd come to this screeching halt at about the mid-point. It was boring. How could I ever expect anyone to pay money to read this story? Well, actually I do have to say the story is good it's just the heroine, she's not strong. She's boring. She's so damn passive I want to shake her and tell her to get a grip on her little old self.

On the verge of tossing the entire work, I went to the HWSW blog and Jenny Crusie had posted a lesson today 0n character arc. For those of you not familiar with this year long writers workshop: you must go and visit. It's the best.

Anyway, how timely was this? I asked Jenny the meaning of the term string-of-pearls plot. She replied: "The string of pearls plot is a series of events that are linked by problem or situation, but they don't escalate and therefore don't cause character change." I knew instantly what I had in this current story. My heroine was boring because she was making attempts to change but never did. Secretly, I think she was waiting for the knight in shining armor to come save her. Ain't gonna happen. This is a contemporary story set in NYC. Hell, the guys are too busy trying to save themselves let alone learn how to ride a big white horse.

Is my manuscript salvageable? Hmmm? I looked at it objectively and asked a lot of questions. Here are my answers: story is good, vibrant setting, I like the hero. He's a skank at first but he redeems himself. That's always good. I like my secondary characters and their subplots, like the paranormal aspects, plus there's a good mystery thread. It's a contemporary paranormal mystery.

Okyaaaay, so not as bad as I'd initially thought. Just make the heroine stronger. Make a kickass heroine. Now how hard could that be? I know, I'll just make her everything I'm not. She'll be my fantasy side. Yeah. She's already half my age so I'm writing a fantasy anyway. That's it, that's the ticket. For today at least, one head has been saved, there will be no more decapitations. Back to the drawing board.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Busy Time!

"Well, you'd think the Queen of England was coming to visit." I can hear my mother saying that now. Heh. Or my other favorite, "This isn't a hospital, it's a home." I'm a bit anal, my Mom doesn't mind a bit of clutter, but then again she had seven kids so probably got used to stuff lying around. I've been busy cleaning closets and kitchen cabinets and getting rid of clutter. It started out two weeks ago in preparation for having the guest room and the dining-room painted and because my house is small and I'm expecting my niece and nephew and two kids in a couple of weeks.

And yes, I love the color. Straw hat. It came out a little more yellow than I'd intended but I love it in the daylight, and in the evening with overhead lights on. It's accented with white. It's perfect. Looks lovely with my dark woods. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, clutter.

So, I've cleaned and organized. Heck, I even cleaned the silver pieces from the shelves of the dining-room hutch. You know the pieces nobody ever uses, the things that take up space and are supposed to look pretty but just look tarnished. I had to remove everything so we could move the hutch to paint that wall, I figured might as well clean the stuff before putting it back in. Next house I move to, I'm selling it all. Who needs it? Does anyone entertain like we did in the old days? Not me! I barely cook. It's just me and George. (I saw the raise of that eyebrow!) George is my George Forman grill. I'm in love. I toss a piece of ginger-marinated chicken breast on the grill, make a salad, cut up the warm chicken, toss it on top and I'm good to go.

Anyway, last weekend I took a breather from cleaning and wrote a little bit. It felt good, first real writing since my Aussie trip, but I couldn't quite get organized. Then I went to Jenny Crusie's blog and cracked up. She's doing the twelve days of cleaning and reorganizing. She started with an overwhelmingly cluttered office. I watched her progress and organization because she posted photographs, before and after, of each day's chore. The idea was to do fifteen minutes of cleaning per day. I know she did more than that. So I glanced around at the bookshelves in my office, they threatened to burst their walls. I had file drawers with papers I no longer needed, and drawers with bits and pieces that layered on top of each other, and fifty percent were of no value to me or anyone.

Every day I did a little more work. I also read Jenny's blog and listened to everyone cheering her on and chatting about the stuff they'd cleaned or reorganized in their own homes and apartments. It was fabulous. What a great community! Now I'm sitting here in my organized office, in my clean house, I feel good because I've donated unwanted but in perfect condition items to my favorite charity. Books have been donated to the library. I'm ready to write.

I have one manuscript out at Kensington Publishers, another with Medallion Press. I'm starting the deconstruction of a story I had great fun writing a couple of years ago. It's a light paranormal mystery, set in NYC. I remember going there and walking those streets and talking with people. I want to visit again. I'm tearing the story apart and reconstructing it to make it stronger, but first I'm doing a collage because I never did one on this story and they now help me to get focused. It's such fun to look at my photographs and maps and bits and pieces to do with New York. When the kids were younger we visited every year. Now I have to go back again, just for me, maybe this fall. Fall is lovely in NYC.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Slow down, it's not a race!

When I got home from my Aussie trip there was a letter from Medallion Press requesting the full manuscript of Beyond the Shadows. I'd sent them a partial in June, just on spec, and really didn't expect it to go anywhere, this being the tough business it is. Anyway, I was so thrilled and panicking a bit as the letter was dated July 26th and this was now August 14th. I wondered if they thought I thought I was so darn special I wasn't even answering. Heh.

They had included an email contact and asked for a heads up if they were to recieve the manuscript. I emailed, told them to give me a week to recover from my jetlag. In typical style two days later I was futzing away at the thing and totally disregarding the fact that I was indeed suffering with jetlag.

By the Friday I thought it was good to go and printed it up and had my envelope made and at the last minute realized I hadn't printed a manuscript cover page. I quickly did one, wondering why mine was not in the folder because that's normally what I do. (I put manuscript, synopsis both long and short, query letter, pitch blurb, manuscript cover all in a folder.) Anyway, I was using the flash drive as I'd stored everything on it to take with me to National and to the Aussie conference so I could get some work done. When I closed out the document it asked if I wanted to replace with the original and I pressed yes, still thinking manuscript cover. The ms. cover of course had the same title as the ms. I had this sinking feeling as I removed my finger from the key and hurried back to check. I had replaced an entire manuscript with a one page manuscript cover. OMG! I was frozen in place. How could I have been so stupid? I began my search. Nothing. I did a wider search. Still nothing. I looked everywhere. There was an older version of the entire story but it didn't have all of the updated information, the new weaves I'd done post the HWSW workshop.

I called everyone I knew and they all said the same thing, "It's gone." So I took the printed version to Staples and had a copy made, then I mailed the package to the Publisher. Then I took a few days off to totally shake the jetlag, and with my photocopy I started re-typing it into a new document. Have you ever tried that? I hope you don't have to. With all of the dialogue and the checking and re-checking it's a slow process. I'm good for about five to ten pages a day.

Today, I took another look at the old copy still on my hard drive. I decided it would be simpler to work from it as I realized a lot of the in-depth changes had been done in the first act. The changes to the other acts were more weaving through and there were later pages that were unchanged. Whew! So I copied in my newly typed four chapters and deleted the four older ones. It's still a chore but at least this way I've managed a twenty page chapter in four hours. Tomorrow might be better. Now I'm taking a break. A chapter a day is good news. I'll be done with this baby in two more weeks, but I'm not rushing.

So, for all of you newbies out there (like me) don't panic like I did. The person requesting our material isn't sitting drumming their fingers on the desk impatiently awaiting the arrival of our manuscript. They have a lot of others ahead of ours. We should let them know we're delighted at the request, but take our time, get it right, it's not a race. And, back it up, back it up, back it up. I had to learn that the hard way and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cakes and pies and cups of tea, oh my!

I spent a short but sweet week with family in the Hunter Valley and even though the nights were cold, cold, cold, the days were lovely. We had a picnic at the vineyards and got to browse in the new collector's book store. It was a huge old barn of a building that reminded me of the antique bookstores I used to visit in New England when my daughter attended boarding school there. And of course I had to buy something, a book on Irish myths and legends. Maybe because Ireland is next on my list of places to visit? Does anyone smell a new work in the makings? It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but the next step was the Australian Romance Writers conference in beautiful Sydney, Australia.

What an amazing four days! The cakes and pies and cups of tea ... yikes! I'm not getting on a scale this side of September! And even with jetlag, this morning I'm looking at the key to the gym and planning on tomorrow to begin getting back in shape. Well ... maybe the day after. *grin* Anyway the Aussies put on a great show, so thanks to all of the hard working organizers. The highlight was of course, Jennifer Crusie's workshops and meeting Anne Stuart (Sister Krissie) who has a most infectious laugh. I also met up with Allison Ahearn and her hubby Mark again, which was lovely, and met and chatted with author, Lillian Darcy who is a doll, and also Anne Gracie and Paula Roe. Allison Rushby did a great workshop analyzing the movie, Notting Hill, which was very informative. Also ran into many of the medical romance authors who are friends with my chapter mate, Janet (Lynne Marshall.) It's winter downunder and I think someone forgot to tell them that, or maybe they were rolling out the red carpet for international visitors, the weather was glorious.

The hotel, The Four Points Sheraton, overlooking Darling Harbour, couldn't have been better. The perfect moment to my day was sitting in the window seat with a cup of tea and watching the sun set, then I'd scurry around and hit the shower and change clothes for the evening's scheduled event. One night was a Venetian Carnivale hosted by Harlequin Australia. We all wore masks. 'Twas a little steamy under those masks but everyone had a great time. The next evening was a dinner for the awards ceremony. I didn't really know anyone so slipped in the back door and asked if a seat at a back table was taken. One of the ladies at my table turned out to be the Cherry who organized our lunch with Jenny, Melanie Scott, she was a winner of the Emerald Award, so it was terrific to share in her delight. Also, Robyn, another Cherry (I've forgotten her last name but she has a very nice chef husband ... I think if you have to have a husband that might be the best kind to get) was at the same table. It's really a small world this writing one. The Australian writer who sat on my left at the dinner, Keziah Hill, is friends with one of my California chapter mates, Eden Bradley.

Jennifer Crusie's one day workshop on Friday was the best thing I've done for myself in my writing career. I think this workshop, coming on the heels of the year long HWSW workshop on her website, really cinched everything I've been learning all year. And here is another irony. I was standing in line chatting (as writers are wont to do and met another Cherry, Erica. We ended up sitting together for the entire day.) We covered so much material in Jenny's workshop but with her personal anecdotes and bubbly humor the writing points took on more meaning. And she had jetlag, too, poor thing. And as if that wasn't enough, Jenny taught several more two hour workshops over the weekend. One was Sex and Violence, another, Motif, Metaphor, and Theme. I looked over the notes on the long plane trip home and couldn't believe how much information was in there.

I think Jenny has a story about every aspect of the writer's journey and she shares her knowledge, both professional and personal, so generously. On the last day, I even got to have lunch with her and five of her Cherries, plus writer Anne Stuart. We chose a seafood restaurant in Darling Harbour and had the best John Dory I've ever eaten.

But, to have Jenny come down from the lectern into the audience to hug and greet me on the first day of conference was beyond fabulous. We've met a couple of times before, but a hug? Wow! It made my day.

So now I'm back, and work is beckoning, and so is housework, and gardening, and bills and mail, and laundry, and I have the writing bug. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Post National Conference

Well, I made it through another Romance Writers of America National conference, this time in Dallas, but am not sure how I survived. *grin* I mean I am still in one piece, my mind is still working, I have some voice left, and I can still smile, although some have said the smile looks more like a grimace but that could be old age. There was good news and bad news and absolutely awesome news, but first the bad so we can get it out of our system and get all that good karma in here.

I had the room overlooking the railroad tracks and from approximately midnight to 5 a.m. the freight trains came rumbling through downtown Dallas, creating what I could only describe as a 3.8 good old California earthquake. Not enough to make you jump out of bed and run for cover under a door jamb, but definitely enough to make you thump the pillow and curse. And this was a five star hotel? I know you do things differently in Dallas, but what were y'all thinking?

Besides the trains, I roomed next door to the party goers from hell. We're talking mature women here, not teenagers or young adults on a wild vacation away from authority figures. They shrieked! I mean laughing and shrieking until 1 and 2 a.m. The second night I kept thinking they'd go to sleep soon, but when 1.45 a.m. hit I gave them the old college dorm three thumps on the wall. It worked. The next two nights they were as quiet as mice. But did a frustrating nights sleep (I figured I got about four hours) help with my 9 a.m. pitch to the agent of my dreams? We'll see. Sha-Shana Crichton did request to see my work and I have diligently put that package together and that baby flies tomorrow. She's an interesting lady and I've heard wonderful things about her, I can only hope.

I had an appointment with John Scognamiglio who is the Editor-In-chief at Kensington Publishing. Just his title had me quaking in my boots. He was very quiet and nice and my pitch was done in two minutes, he handed me his card and said send the full manuscript. I had chosen to pitch my romantic adventure, Gone Tropical. I couldn't believe my luck and I still had about six more minutes of time on the clock. What to do, what to do? Should I say thanks and leave, or make conversation? I had no idea what to do. So I talked. (I know I would talk to a tree stump, in fact sometimes I do.) Anyway, after a couple of minutes passed and he figured he was stuck with me, he relaxed, I relaxed, and he actually smiled a couple of times. Let's hope he likes my work because I could see myself working with him. There's an intelligence but a sweetness about him. There are lots of barracudas in this business, a lot of harshness, but I don't get that feeling about him. Yesterday I went over my manuscript again, today I'm printing and doing a straight through read, then I'll reprint and hope to have the manuscript to him by first thing next week.

I met a ton of wonderful well-known authors and got to chat with old friends and hung out with chapter mates in the lounge and the bar and learned more about them. My old critique group is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. My friend Trish didn't win the Golden Heart for her category but she was offered a contract while at conference and she was talking with an agent. She's extremely happy! Haven't heard yet about her deal as I'm sure she is going over that contract with a fine tooth comb. My friend Lynne who has three medical romances out and I think a couple more in the works, gave her first RWA workshop, a collaboration with several other authors, and did a wonderful job. She's so poised as a speaker. My friend Thieme drove up from Houston and she looked happy and relaxed. She has two books coming out with Medallion Press.

I see all of this business and development in my friends achievements and although one might expect me to be envious, I'm not. I'm proud to know them and happy for their success, and I think they've all worked diligently to get to this place. Sometimes I do wonder why I've been left behind. Yet, on the other hand, I have a clear vision of where and how I want to grow in this business, so in the meantime I just keep learning and my writing keeps on improving, and I give myself rewards for every tiny step that I achieve along the way. It's a long journey but a worthwhile one and it's all about the writing. Publication is nice, but it isn't the only benefit one gets out of putting pen to paper, or in this case, fingertips to keyboard.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Well, the last part of June was exhausting both emotionally and physically. Three lovely women I was connected to in some way, all passed away. One was a friend, an actress from the late fifties and sixties, a talented lady who continued to teach acting classes into her late seventies. We only saw each other at Thanksgiving or a holiday party in the last few years but I always admired her. Another was an artist, the mother of a friend and a woman I knew well, she was also very talented and continued to show her amazing art creations right up until the end. I saw her last at Christmas. The third lady was the aunt of a writer friend, the woman who raised her like a mother, and influenced her giving support and encouragement for her creative abilities. I didn't know her personally only through my friend. All of these women died quite suddenly and were active, vibrant participants in life, right up until those last few weeks or days.

I thought about all of this as I remembered each woman's life and what they had contributed. I realized that is what I truly want. To depart this world still active and doing something I feel very passionate about, giving something back, contributing even if in some small way. It gives life purpose. It gives you energy and it keeps you young. Anything you learn, anything you create, requires energy of thought and action.

Then I was bitten by a black widow spider. Yikes! I was surrounded by death. And yes, she met with a swift passing, in case you were wondering. It stung like crazy, and I wanted to tear at my leg. It was night and there was no way I was going to drive myself to the emergency room and be billed $500 for first aid I could do myself. I visited the internet and read up on everything I should do and found that for most old people like me the venom isn't deadly. Whew! Guess there is so much poison in me it doesn't matter. Heh.

So I played doctor. I washed it off and applied Neosporin and ice packs. Then I took some Benadryl. Anyway, the leg swelled, and something like cellulitis extravasated into the surrounding tissues making me look like I had a two inch reddish-purple butterfly tattoo. Sexy! I went to bed and wondered if I'd wake up the next day. Anyway, I did, so I called the doctor the next morning and he asked if I felt dizzy, did I have any shortness of breath, was I sweating excessively. I laughed, it was 112 degrees Fahrenheit that day. I think he was a bit annoyed that I laughed, but it was funny. A week later it's almost gone. It has been two weeks and there is still a hard lump beneath the skin, but no more tattoo. I kind of miss it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Middle of the Month

So, a writer friend said, "You haven't posted in a while."
I replied, "Yes I have." And honestly I tried very hard not to get all defensive. I smiled. Well, my eyes were a little narrow and my lips were kind of tight, but it was still a smile. I squared my shoulders and puffed out my ample chest. "I wrote that one on nothing, I'm sure that was the title. I thought it was kind of cute."
She rolled her eyes. "I don't do cute."
"Well, neither do I, as a rule, but I was in a playful mood."
"Yeah, more likely had a few cocktails. You still need to post."

So here I am. And I haven't even had a glass of wine. Honest. Anyway I was thinking about some writing stuff today as I began the second deconstruction and reconstruction of an earlier manuscript. I've grown immensely, as a writer, this year and it's obvious to me. Well maybe also as a person, still haven't tried on either pantsuit. But back to writing. The Crusie/Mayer workshop in itself has been amazing, and all of the blogs and links to other sites and writers minds that I've learned about from the Jenny Crusie Forums have proved invaluable.

The workshop has helped me clarify so many points in storytelling structure. Where I may have known or read of these steps in writing a good story (and believe me I have a huge self-help library) I only understood them on an intellectual level. The workshop made me work, duh, therefore the name. Slaps herself upside the head. It made me take the knowledge learned and get out of my own way. I had to physically apply that new knowledge to my manuscript and then step away, then come back and look at it again. Believe me, it is much better for the effort.

I think to be a good writer those step-points have to be fully integrated, part of the very essence of you. They need to flow unhindered from mind, to fingertip, to page. It's like learning to drive a car, you have a teacher, a companion sitting beside you as you venture out onto the highway. Then you're finally on your own. You're still a little unsure, a little too careful, at first you think about all of the rules and you go through a step-by-step process. You put on your seat belt, adjust the side mirrors, glance several times into the rear view mirror, turn the ignition, put the car into reverse, check the mirrors again, reverse out of the garage and try not to kangaroo it (make it jerk for those non Aussies reading this) and the whole time your heart is pounding and your saying, "Man this is awesome I'm driving a freakin' car. I got my license." Several months later you drive home and think, "How the hell did I get here?" Everything has become so automatic it seems the car, with a mind of its own, left the origination point and somehow found its way to the destination, your garage. Your confidence as a driver grew out of sheer practice, going through the steps until it became automatic. You didn't question, you didn't overthink, you just did.

I feel confident that I'm there now, doing what comes naturally not kangarooing it, just staying with the flow and letting the words fill the page. It feels good. I love being on automatic.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I love blog posts about nothing, they seem so decadent, like champagne and strawberries, or thick dark chocolate. Mmmmm. Now I want a hot fudge sundae. But no, I'm on a diet so I will be strong. *grin* Have to fit into my conference clothes. If I turn up in the black pantsuit I was successful with the weight loss, if it's the brown, okay well that's my fat suit. Pretty soon I'll be known as that gal from California who wears the brown pantsuit.

I chose "nothing" as my subject tonight because that's what I've got, zip, nada, nothing. It's been a quiet month, but a good one. I just finished up the manuscript I'd been working on. It feels good. Not the most spectacular thing ever, but good and solid. I like it. It's about witches and ghosts and old curses on land and a couple of innocents falling in love through the manipulations of the coven. Highly unlikely but hey, it's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This week we have the LARA chapter workshop. It should be fun and informative. I've made the goodie bags, have a huge box of new books donated that we'll put into them, plus all kinds of promotional goodies. I made book thongs out of hemp (they're cute bookmarks in case you don't know) and threaded pretty glass beads and other things onto either end. A fun project. I'm kind of craft challenged, mainly because I can't see to thread a needle, but this time I used hemp and it was amazing, no needle necessary and it knots easily, so much better than the embroidery thread I used last year. Geez, I could become an expert at this and then I'd be known as that gal from California who wears the brown pantsuit and makes book thongs.

Anyway, I'm planning on sending out my story to one or two people by June first. Then I'm going in and reworking Gone Tropical before National conference. I want to really submerge myself in that book and those characters as I haven't looked at it for about four months. I want to relearn who they are so I can effectively pitch the book to both agent and editor. And I did decide on the conference to Australia and I'm so looking forward to going. It will be a blast and I get to take a whole day workshop with Jenny Crusie. So then I'll come back home with all of this amazing information and I'll be known as that gal from California who always wears the brown pantsuit, is an expert at making book thongs, and thinks she's so darn smart just because she took a Crusie workshop. *wink*

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An odd duck

I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge strangeness. I'm quite proud of everything weird about me, even though for the most part I don't say publicly what those odd things are. *grin* I just know I'm a bit of a strange duck. The other day I cut a quote of Colin Powell's from a local newspaper, I believe he was addressing young people, could have been a graduation or something like that, I don't remember, but I do have the quote taped to my computer:

"No matter what anybody thinks about you, no matter what box they put you in, you have got to believe in yourself."

I spent a good part of my young adulthood defending myself against the people who wanted to pigeon-hole me. I was a "this" because I was a "that." It never made sense to me then and it makes less sense to me today. I just am. When anyone asks me, "How could you go from being a nurse to an author?" Well, I mumble something polite and just stare off into the distance. I'm not defined by one thing, never have been, never will. I like to think we are all multi-faceted human beings with a deep need to create. For many of us though, life gets in the way, we have to work at our other jobs to provide for ourselves and our loved ones and then creativity is stunted by necessity. We forget how to play. At some point, the opportunity to create arises, or we hear that inner voice that says "You can do it." A tiny stream of creativity will re-enter our lives and we'll begin to dabble again. Before we know it the stream becomes a river and a whole new world has opened up.

Anyway, I love that quote of Colin Powell's and it got me to thinking about quotes in general and then to thinking about my maternal grandmother, one of the neatest women ever. I so want to be like her when I grow up. Ooops! Too late! Already grown! *grin* Anyway, Granny lived in a small house on a small farm in Australia. She lived by herself, from her early forties onward and was amazingly independent, and had a great love for words. No television. But she loved listening to the radio. She was a simple woman, an artist who created incredible watercolors, loved to garden, and read from the good book every day. She used to cut out quotes from magazines and tape them to the verandah wall, or put them in her kitchen. Some had been there for so long the paper had yellowed. Wonderful wise words from famous people.

As a kid I loved the one that went like this:
"The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, we are nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth."

Years later, I found that quote etched in black enamel on a garden decoration. It has place of honor in one of my patio flowering pots. I'll never be a gardener like Granny, and I can't draw or paint like she could, but I have a passion for words. I love words. I've decided of late to use my words honestly and to own what I write, whether or not anyone else appreciates my talent. I love story telling and I'll keep on doing it until I get too old to see the keyboard. And no matter what anyone else thinks about my so-called life of writer's isolation, it's my choice and I love what I do. And odd duck or not, or swimming that river against the current, of most importance I do believe in my ability.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Am I the Sanjaya of Writing?

So I watched American Idol last night. I know, I know, I'm an addict, I confess. But I love viewing the raw talent and watching the growth and development throughout the elimination weeks, seeing who has the savvy, who doesn't. Who can read through the lines, sift through the crap, and find what it is in commercialism that works. Doesn't matter if it is singing, or writing, it's all the same.

I loved Sanjaya because he had a presence. Yet on the same hand, I wanted him to be eliminated because he wasn't quite cutting it. He couldn't sing, damn it. Geez, he's as tone deaf as I am, but that kid has something and it might be sheer determination, I'm not sure. He touched me on some inner level. He's a fighter.

He made me ask that awful question: "Am I the Sanjaya of writing?"

What if I can't write, but people are humoring me to continue to perform? What if I'm an embarassment to the writing community? Sanjaya cried in public, in front of millions of viewers, and I cried with him. I felt and understood his pain. His loss of the dream touched me at my inner core and I wanted to hug him, tell him he was brave, and wonderful, for trying and to never give up or give in. Many don't. Many have the idea, the glimmer, I coulda, shoulda, didn't. Sanjaya did. For getting out there, for putting his stuff up for everyone to take potshots at, I admire him. And the thing is he's a kid, just a kid with a dream, he's not some old jaded fart like me, someone who's been around the block a time or two. I hope he takes voice lessons and uses that amazing charisma and works his charm and his art and becomes the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Me, I think I'm toast.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I'm back!

Wow! I can't stop writing (despite having a toothache that had to wait until today before the dentist could see to it AND do a darn root canal.) Man, last Thursday I was typing away and took a swig from a cold water bottle. A pain like you wouldn't believe ran straight down to my toes. I swear! (Well, I did too, but I won't tell you what I said.) I jumped up and ran to the kitchen and swished my mouth out with warm salt water. Then I called the dentist's office. He was on vacation until Tuesday!

This has been an amazing week and I've accomplished so much. The deconstruction (and reconstruction of Beyond the Shadows) is almost completed. Then I'm giving it another read through and submitting it. I really like what I've done with the story and I love my characters. I always did, but with the rewrite they have become more real, well-rounded, really likeable. Just hope I can do the same with Gone Tropical, because it is going to go through the same process, and probably I'll be starting it next week.

Only one person, one agent, has seen GT, so I'm going to pitch it at RWA National in Dallas. Have to go this year because my critique buddy, Trish Cerrone, is a Golden Heart finalist. Her second final in two years. Yay, Trish! I need to go to applaud, whistle, and cry when she wins. She's a fabulous writer.

Finally made my decision on conferences for the year. Unfortunately, I won't go to Australia. My kids want to come with me and visit with family and that's just too darned expensive for this year. That would blow my entire vacation and conference budget. We'll do a family trip next year.

Have revisted my one year and five year goal plan and adjusted those. Now I'm ready to rock 'n roll. Look out world, here I come.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I've been soaking up the information on how to deconstruct a novel on the Jenny Crusie Forums. I wanted to figure out how a favorite author wrote a story, made it work for me so that I was completely engaged, and answer why I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish it.

There are many books I read and either don't get, or wonder how they got published in the first place. I've had my fair share of "how to write lessons," whether these came from books, classes, conferences, critique groups, forums, online classes, it doesn't matter, if I can't see the big picture, I just don't get it. Oh, I'm good at seeing other authors slip-ups, just not my own. That darn ego, it can get you into a lot of trouble. *grin*

By deconstructing and looking for the turning points, the spine that holds the book together, the symbolism, the internal and external conflict that drives the story, I'm finally seeing that big picture. It's not enough to just sit down and write a story. Maybe I'll always be a storyteller and engage my audience if sitting around a campfire, but to get it onto the page and make it work, now that's tough. This is the closest I've come to understanding how books work and when and why they don't work, at least for me. You can tell a story with emotion and feeling, you can smile, or scowl, and throw your arms around, you can sit tall, hunch over, lower your voice, scream, rage, simper sweetly, BUT, when you write it you have to show that emotion and feeling on the page through words alone. Big task.

With recent rejections still stinging, I've taken a long hard look at my past two manuscripts and can now see ways they can be improved. I've begun the first deconstruction and if I don't deconstruct myself, *grin* I'll do the second one also. The first one is shaping up beautifully and I'm very pleased with it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


News can be good and bad, both at the same time. I discovered this last week as I sobbed over my email and blog entries about a rejection that I'd just received from an agent. Rejections don't normally make me cry. I feel a bit low, think it over, fix what I can, and move on. Not this time.

I felt I'd been so close to acceptance with this submission. The rejection was so nice, so carefully worded. Wonderful compliments, and an offer to submit future work, but essentially the agent didn't like my heroine. In a romance, that is instant death. Heck, it's the heroine's journey, if she's not likeable who is going to stick around for 350 pages?

I'd taken huge risks this time. I'd started to wonder if my voice was too old. I deliberately wrote my heroine younger, made her sassier, made her what I thought would sell. Big mistake. I wrote against my normal voice. Against what I feel in my heart that it is to be a woman. When I reread the manuscript, I could see instantly why she wasn't likeable. Talk about a revelation coming too late, hindsight is indeed 20/20.

In the midst of my little session on the pity pot, a multi-pubbed author emailed me privately and said, "I make this offer infrequently but never lightly. If you would like to send me your manuscript, I'll critique it." I offered to pay her for her time. She wrote back, "Nope -- no fee. Someone did this for me early in my career, this is paying it back." She made me cry all over again. I only hope I can get published so I can do the same thing for someone else.

Then I thought of all of the people in my life who were dealing with personal tragedy, ill health, death of a loved one, chemotherapy. It put everything into perspective. I'm so grateful for what I have achieved so far. I'm grateful for my family, my friends, my health, and my humor. If this is not my time to be published, maybe the universe has something bigger in store for me. I can believe, and I can wait.

So, I went out and bought fresh flowers, new candles for the coffee table, chocolate, a nice bottle of wine, and I made myself a lovely dinner. I raised my glass and made a toast to karma. Send out a plea for help to the universe, be open to receive, arms outstretched, and you never know what will fly into them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Home from conference

The SCWC conference was nice, different, but nice. It's a change from the romance writing conferences as most writers who attend are either general fiction or thriller or sci-fi writers. Don't quite know why I keep turning up (this is the third one since 2000 that I've attended.) They aren't exactly welcoming to the poor old romance author. In fact, I fear I was the only one present. Heh. I experienced more than one or two sniffs of disdain. Oh, well. I don't apologize for what I write, a writer is a writer, and I happen to enjoy the journey of two people who embark upon the happily ever after. Call me an old romantic if you like.

There were workshops that Bob Mayer gave on point of view that helped immensely. They mirrored what I've been learning this year through the online workshop that he and Jenny Crusie are doing. In addition, the Saturday night workshop on police procedural/ forensics, etc. was quite amazing. That will help immensely in my current work, as it is a cold case. There was a veteran San Diego Homicide Detective, John Teftt, another police officer, and a Forensics expert who lectured, showed slides, and then invited us to examine the tools used in forensic examination. By 11 p.m. I was about to fall asleep, so left, but heard the session lasted well past midnight.

Now I'm home and trying to settle back into writing but feeling "itchy" can't seem to settle to anything of worth. Maybe tomorrow will be a better writing day. There's always tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


This has been a strange couple of weeks. Lots of "stuff" going on to keep me busy but not a whole heck of a lot to show for all of that "busy-ness."

New York City was amazing. I do so love the big apple. Good food and pleasant company. Finally got to see the Broadway show, The Producers. Had always wanted to, but for some reason kept missing it. Anyway, Tony Danza had the lead and he was really good. I mean really good. It was like the role was written with him in mind, which it wasn't. Love Mel Brooks' humor. Didn't do too much shopping this time. Prices were outrageous. Weather stayed perfect for me and only turned cold the day I left.

Oh yeah, and on the trip out of LAX they couldn't get the cargo door closed, so there was a delay. Made up the time in flight and guess what ... at JFK they couldn't get the cargo door open. Hah! We waited almost two hours, finally six pieces of luggage came down the chute and then the carousel stopped working. Forty-five minutes later, I got my luggage and a cab and arrived in Manhatten at quarter after seven, the flight arrived at three-forty p.m. Watcha' gonna' do?

When I arrived back in L.A. after an amazing flight I got my car and headed back to the desert. Friday afternoon and heading for the desert? Not good planning there. What would normally be a two hour and fifteen minute drive took four and a half. I was about to tear my hair out. If the dog hadn't been waiting to greet me I'd have checked into a hotel.

I went to a luncheon honoring Lisa Scottoline, yesterday. She's an ex-trial lawyer turned author and lives in, and writes about, Philadelphia. Her stories are wonderful. I love her character descriptions and she has incredible story lines. Loved Devils' Corner and am about to start on Dirty Blonde. Thrillers, but more legal than gore. I can read them and still get to sleep at night. Can't read all of those descriptive blood and guts things. They have me up all night peeking through the shutters. I try to convince myself nobody would try to enter my place with the huge beast I have guarding it, but after one of those stories I'm not at all convinced.

Today, I decided to be proactive instead of sitting around biting my nails and awaiting answers on my writing. I wrote a short story and had so much fun doing it. Then I packed it up to send tomorrow to a magazine. Who knows, it might get picked up. If not, it was an exercise in editing because it couldn't be longer than 1,000 words and I had to cut, and cut, and cut. Hard for a garrulous person like moi. *grin*

I've also been doing some editing on an old story that I like and putting a bit more polish on it. I'm thinking of where I'll submit it, but will wait until after the conference next week. I'm looking forward to taking classes and meeting up with fellow writers. I get stimulated by classroom learning. We have a huge CD library of workshops from RWA National conference and I never check them out. It seems my mind runs off at tangents when I'm forced to sit and listen to a taped lesson. Put me in the classroom, and I'm fully engaged. What's with that, eh?

I'll post again after conference, or if I get good news before. If not, Happy Valentine's Day everyone. Hope you get lots of smooches.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The frozen desert

No I didn't say dessert, that would be ice cream, or sorbet. Much too cold for either one.

I'm talking about the California desert. Can you believe the nights are below freezing? I had a busted pipe on Sunday with a fountain of water spurting off the roof. Of course that meant calling a plumber and paying twice as much for the repair but Monday was a public holiday and I figured, who can go two days without water? Not me. The irony is, the pipe ran over the roof, was totally exposed to the elements, and had no purpose but to supply water to an additional hose bib. It wasn't even done to code. Damn. We took the whole thing down but I still had to pay $200 for something I didn't use or need, thanks to the prior owner, Mr. Fix It.

The fruit farmers are having a tough time with their crops. We have oranges and grapefruit that will not recover if this cold continues. My grapefruit are doing fine, I've picked and refrigerated a lot of them. Plus I sent dozens back with a friend who'd come down from northern California. Red peppers have frozen on the vines and will have to be destroyed. Look for rising prices in fruits and veges over the next few months.

I'm heading off to NYC for a week and figured I'd have a huge adjustment to the change in temperature going from the desert to the big apple. Not so. They've had a fairly mild winter so far and ours has been extra cold. I've been wearing gloves and scarf and heavy coat in the mornings and evenings when I walk the dog, so it will be no different. Maybe I'll pack a couple of turtlenecks, and one heavy sweater but otherwise, it'll be the same old same old. Which is good, cause I hate worrying about packing the right stuff for different climates. As I've gotten older and wiser, heh, I find I pack fewer items. I try to travel light these days.

Haven't heard anything back from the agent who has the full manuscript of Gone Tropical. My mother would say "no news is good news" I however, am chewing at my fingernails. Next month I'm off to a conference in San Diego, so if the news from the agent is a negative, I hope to get some feedback and put a bit of polish on it before pitching it to anyone else.

Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer are conducting their ongoing year long workshop over at It has been very informative so far. A great opportunity to not only get free lessons but insight into the writing process of two fabulous authors, and to interact with other writers in the comments section. Check it out.

In the meantime, I'm working on my new story retitled, Unlock the Truth. It's a cold case and requiring a lot more research than I've ever had to do before. While I'm excited about this story it's a lot slower getting it off the ground. I do have access to a female lawyer who is giving me some assistance and also have a fellow LARA member, Melissa Jarvis-Prieto, who is not only a great writer but works in Public Relations. She has given me insight into crisis communications which is a thread that runs through my story. It's all good, just not my usual seat of the pants, make up the story as I go along kind of writing. Not sure if it will be better or worse, but something is making me plod through it. I think the research, combined with the workshop, might help me produce something deeper than I've written in the past.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

The holiday season is over, thank goodness. Now I can get serious again.

I've done very little writing in the past three weeks, there have however been lunches, dinners, parties, and playing around on several blogs. These blogs have proven to be of great help (entertainment factor aside.) I've found wonderful tidbits of writing information, references to workshops and suggested books to read. So while I haven't been writing I've been learning. I ended up spending an entire week researching one aspect of writing that I really knew little about and that was, how to really tap into the unique world of your narrator. I ran across something written by Alicia Rasley and was immediately acting like my dog, ears straight up, still as a statue, prepared and ready to take off. I've been reading up on this ever since and think I might now understand it.

I've just started the Crusie/Mayer year long workshop:
The first lesson was posted by Bob. On Thursday, Jenny will comment and discuss Bob's blog. If you haven't already stopped by, go and check it out. It's free. How great is that? You get the wisdom and writing insight from two talented authors, plus you get to discuss in the comments with other writers. It's all good.

The holiday season was quiet for me, an occassional lunch or dinner out with new friends. A lovely brunch on Christmas morning with old friends who came down from L.A. They're TV producers and have their own production company. Interesting people and it's always fun to hear of their projects. The kids were both out of town. I spent New Year's Eve with friends in my neighborhood, they had about thirty people over for dinner, with dessert and champagne at midnight. I left at 11:20pm to avoid the whole "kissing of essential strangers" thing. No matter how swiftly you turn your cheek someone usually manages to plant a wet one. : )

Today I delve back into my current story, Behind the Gates. My goal is to write 1,000 words per day in the rough draft. I should be able to get the draft done in three months but am adding one extra as I have a couple of short trips to take. NYC this month, San Diego conference in February, maybe a trip to Australia for a wedding in March. Still working on that last one. It's either that, or I go to Australia in August for the RWAconference. Can't decide. I need more money. Have to write faster and better. I'm going now, to clock in.