Thursday, December 31, 2009

The one hundredth post!

Yay! Confetti toss! Drum Roll! It's my 100th post. This is a magical day, the last day of the year, the last day of the decade, and there is a blue moon tonight. How about that, huh?

This morning, I bought three quick picks in the SuperLotto when I stopped at the gas station to fill up the tank. The first number is for me, next for my daughter, last for my son (it's an age thing). I didn't even look to see what it was worth, just wanted to test my luck. : ) Also it's probably my last ticket as I'm putting lady luck behind me. From now on that three dollars will be put to better use.

This has been a crazy ten years for me. I've taken from it some life lessons that I hope will serve me better in the next decade. I'm working on being less spontaneous when it comes to life changing decisions, no more trusting to luck and chance and just "going for it" whatever the it of the moment is. I'm weighing pros and cons. But no more procrastination either. Nope. I'm being responsible for my actions and doing my research before making any decision these days.

Thanks for sticking with me, even though I turned off the comments section. I do appreciate the emails you send. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year, and I hope 2010 will be a sweet introduction to an amazing decade.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I read a lot. Probably more than I should, but I can't honestly think of a better pastime.

When I was a kid, my mother would always ask me, "Who are you this week?" It seems I took on the mannerisms of the heroine in the story and put those newfound traits into practice. Not an easy thing to do when you are one of seven children and being raised in a family of modest means. Imagine when I read a Regency and thought I was deserving of a lady's maid, and a hero both wealthy and handsome, and was told it was my turn to feed the chickens. There was, I'm sure, a lot of deep sighing going on, although I seriously cannot remember as I prefer to think of myself as a pretty darn good kid. : 0

It takes a very special book to sweep me away, and many written for today's market leave me wanting. I find little that strikes me as new or different. I don't particularly enjoy science fiction or fantasy, definitely not erotica, find most romances are repetitious. I prefer to read about people I would like to know, or whom I can relate to, and love to watch their lives unfold. Recently I read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

Now, I did not grow up in the American South, not even in the USA. I grew up in Australia and knew little about the race problems in America, other than what we learned in school, until I moved here in the seventies. That caused me to wonder why this story about white women and how they treated their help in the sixties, touched me in such a deep way and why I couldn't put it down. Why I loved and understood all of the stories characters, even the mean ones. But of even greater interest to me, is that the person I related to most was not the white woman, but Aibeleen, the middle-aged African American maid. She was a strong and wonderful character and I was rooting for her the whole story.

I think what hit me the hardest about this story was both Caucasian and African American people were stuck. They were trapped by their elders' beliefs. Racism is taught. It's not inherant. The heroine was trapped by her own upbringing, her own family's feelings, her fiancee and his family's feelings, her friends beliefs, but she did risk a lot to take action and expose some of the cruelties of the time. But Aibeleen, she was the real heroine. The risks she took were by far the greater.

I think what made Ms. Stockett's story believable, is she wrote from her truth. She'd grown up in the south in the sixties and had an absent mother, and was raised by an African American nanny whom she adored. It came through on the page. She deftly painted her characters with sensitivity, honesty, and true understanding of both sides of the social structure and the cruelties of those times. I think. She didn't preach. She didn't dress it up. She told her story simply, as she had experienced it. We're discussing this story at our next bookclub meeting. But what I would love to hear are comments about this story from African American women.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I love this time of year. All the kids come to see their parents who live here in the desert. They bring grandkids. It changes the look and feel of this development. All of a sudden we have strollers and tricycles, and whole families out on bicycles. It's great to walk the dog and just soak it all up.

My kids are on the way. Thirty minutes to go, but who's counting? The house smells so good. Turkey, gravy, two kinds of pie, cornbread...have to confess I did sample the cornbread. But I didn't even take a sip of wine. A couple of days ago the local newsman was at the market and interviewed a woman, who looked to be about eighty and who was buying a turkey. He asked her what made a successful turkey dinner. She said the trick is to think of it in fifteen minute segments. Every fifteen minutes you have a sip of wine and baste the bird. I'm good for about one glass of wine, then I'm buzzed. I'd probably drop the bird on the floor and have to go by the three second rule, plate it, slice it, and serve it and not tell a soul.

Anyway, just wanted to take a moment before I have to make gravy and wish everyone an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving, whether you're celebrating or not, it's a great time to reflect on what makes you happy and what makes you give thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Same Old Same Old...

Not much going on in the past few weeks. The writing/publishing world is getting crazier by the moment. Nobody knows what's happening, or which road to take these days. I'm just quietly typing away and minding my own business, and trying to stay away from blogs that are negative, who needs that toxic stuff in their life anyway?

There's a new romance e-publisher in the mix, is their site. They're under the umbrella of Harlequin Enterprises yet say they are a seperate company and don't follow the rules and regulations of Harlequin/Silhouette. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I went up to L.A. for the weekend to attend my chapter meeting but after spending Saturday shopping with my daughter, my poor old knee was swollen and sore. I'd vacuumed the house, then used the steamer vac on the dining room and living room on Friday, then driven the two and a half hours on Saturday morning. Then topped all of that off with shopping. Yikes! Anyway, Sunday morning I was limping. I decided to ice the knee down, take a few slugs of extra strong coffee and drive home. Fortunately after some medication, ice bags, and significant time spent on the couch followed by a good night's sleep, it feels okay today. Whew! I managed to dodge that bullet, no doctor visit in sight.

Last week I finished judging six contest entries set in the Regency period. They were all good, one was outstanding. It made me look at my own writing again (not that I write Regency romance) but to try to get a feel for how a judge might read my submission. Couldn't do it though. It's so hard to judge your own work, if not impossible. This week I'm preparing my Golden Heart entry and thinking it doesn't stand a chance in hell. Oh well, I paid my money so might as well continue on. : )

I decided to purchase a couple of books printed by Samhain Publishing to see what the editing was like. Read Maya Banks, Into the Mist. What a neat story. The writing was excellent, the pacing was great, and I was invested from the first pages and even though the love scenes were pretty steamy (and I normally don't read those) I thought they were necessary for the main character to show her developmental arc. Also, the hero was a shapeshifter who shifts into mist, and he was delightful.

In my opinion: it was a really good read, and I'd highly recommend it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doom and Gloom!

Everywhere I turn these days, whether it's a writer friend's blog, or the professional blog of an agent or editor, or a writing magazine, I read of the doom and gloom surrounding publishing. It's depressing. :( So stop it already! I don't like being depressed!

While I understand the fears of many writers, and have read many interesting articles on the topic of publishing, there really isn't much that the writer can do but wait and see how it all plays out. Digital, print on demand, e-books, print books, Kindles and other reading devices, it doesn't matter, the written word will be around for years to come. I feel there is an overreaction like, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Psssh! Just go write another damn story. And make it the best one ever.

None of us need to become dinosaurs. We have to fight dinosaurism. It's a very contagious disease, and believe me, the older we get the easier it is to catch it. We have to continue to learn, to understand, and stay abreast of the changes. We have to be technologically savvy. We need to accept advice, look for alternatives, weigh the pros and cons, and then move forward. It's all about moving forward, and who better to understand that than a writer of fiction?

And we don't need to explain our decisions, or actions, to anyone. Not friends, not family, not writing chapter mates. Just do what feels right. Do what makes you happy. Do what brings you a sense of fulfillment. And if all of that means swimming around in a little pool instead of the big one, do it, just plan on being the best damn swimmer in your pool. Self publish, e-book publish. It's all good.

New York print publishing houses will always be around, but also remember they've always been selective. The risks are greater for them today than in years past. While they've always been disproportionate in how they've distributed advances against royalties, we have to remember the top earning authors who get those big bucks are the ones that keep the house afloat and allow more risk taking for we lesser mortals. The big houses have there own agenda, we just have to make sure we have ours and don't live in perpetual dreamtime. Along with the dinosaurs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birthday week!

So, the birthday week is now officially over. Whew! It was busy. Between outings, telephone calls from overseas, email cards to chuckle over, gorgeous long-stemmed red roses from NYC, and numerous birthday cards in the mail, I feel very loved.

I had a lovely lunch at Melvyn's in Palm Springs. Friends took me there to celebrate. It's an old restaurant and part of what was once a private hacienda. It's on the side of the Ingleside Inn which is a romantic little hideaway boutique hotel. It's been in PS for a long time and has attracted all of the late greats like Sinatra and Dean Martin, and even though it's a block from the main drag it feels like you're out in the country. Huge big eucalyptus trees provided shade and palms swayed in the breeze. The patio had a ceiling of grape leaves, fake, but gave a nice cooling effect and the crisp white tablecloths were offset by cobalt blue glassware. The food was delightful and the servings way too big. Had one of the best Cobb salads ever and it was prepared tableside in that old "we're really out dining not just eating way".

A writer friend was in town, so the day after we went to Tommy Bahamas Restaurant. It's upstairs above the store on El Paseo. El Paseo is the Rodeo Drive of the desert with all types of specialty boutiques. Anyway, the restaurant overlooks the valley and is patio style dining to capture the breeze. When our food arrived we both gasped. The servings were huge. I'd decided to go with a beer battered fish sandwich (because I'd had enough of salads for a while) and man, that thing hung out on either side of the bun. : ) It looked like a whole darn fish. It was wonderful and I'd decided to forgo dessert when the waitress came by with a huge tray of scrumptious looking confections. She said dessert is on us because it's your birthday. We both looked at the tray and said Key Lime pie, but we'll share one slice. It was one of the best I've had in a long time.

Then the weekend hit and I thought I'd better stick to crackers and water as a month ago I'd joined Curves and Monday was my first weigh and measure. Not really fair, I didn't think. Anyway, Sunday evening another friend had me over to celebrate by cracking a bottle of Merlot, and of course we had to have cheese...and crackers. Sigh.

Monday I limped into the gym with all kinds of excuses at the ready and found instead I'd lost both pounds and inches and they were thrilled. Who'd have known? Geez, I could have had my own slice of pie.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Honorable Mention.

That has such a good sound, doesn't it? : )

It's not first place, not even third, but very honorable. I'm proud to say my manuscript, Saving Sarah, received an HM from the SOLA chapter of RWA's 2009 Dixie Kane Contest. Yay!

This is a story I loved writing, but haven't done much with as far as submissions go. I never knew how to label the story, paranormal or romantic suspense. I had the distinct impression that paranormal was waning, possibly because there was so much paranormal in young adult fiction and everyone was jumping on the band wagon, so I think I had tried to make it romantic suspense. And it really wasn't. I had submitted it to a couple of editors who accept unagented manuscripts, and to one editor I'd met at a conference. It came close, went all the way to a full manuscript request, but then they passed.

Jenny Crusie took a look at the first chapter and gave me some excellent advice. I knew the entire manuscript needed another complete editing pass so set about slowly doing that while I wrote another story, a mystery. I began submitting that, but focusing on a handful of agents only, then started a second mystery. (One of these days I'll get smart and really focus on submitting to dozens of agents, but that's hard for me and another whole blog topic.) And for some reason I sort of forgot about SS. I entered the contest, can't quite recall why, and then forgot that I had. So this was a very pleasant surprise.

Now I'm wondering if maybe I should take SS out and give her another twirl. Let her dance in the daylight for a bit. Maybe even send out query letters to agents. It couldn't hurt. I'll wait and see what comments the judges have made, do a quick revise if necessary, and maybe, just maybe get it out there again. I do love the story, and the setting. I've spent some time in Manhattan, and back when I was married we used to go up to the Catskills with the kids and their grandma, so I focused on both of those settings. And I love my main characters. In fact I adore them.

So yeah, I think Sarah will get a second chance.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Writing again!

I'm back to writing again. Yay! Still taking Lani's Revision class. I've really missed writing. The thing was, I didn't find too much that I wanted to change in my computer read of the manuscript. Now we're into the first Act. The opening scene needed some revamping just to give it a bit more zing. I like how it is now but will get some feedback from my new critique partner.

Well actually, she's an old critique partner, just not old in years. : ) Gina and I belonged to The Four Fabulous Fictionists about four years ago. Then one of the gals moved away, and a new one took her spot, then I moved away, and Gina moved even further away, and three of the gals got published and had deadlines and other more important stuff to do. So we disbanded but were still out there for each other and available for a brainstorming session online, or a cold read of an ms. or to read revision requests from editors. Not the same thing as our fun days of face to face critiques but still helpful.

I'd also thought that I'd lost some of my creative spark, was losing my natural voice, so I decided to go solo. Four years later, I'm ready now to try this critiqueing thing again and I think strong enough in craft to know when I want to make a change and when I don't. Back in the day I wasn't secure enough in that knowledge and found everything so frustrating. Too much information can be as bad as none at all. : )

Last night I got back to my latest story, another desert murder mystery, and the fingers were flying. I haven't looked at this ms. for about three months. I'm lovin' it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reading and More Reading.

I've become like a fat cat this summer, lying around in my special chair, sun streaming in the window, air conditioning blowing gently through my and reading romance books. The only thing missing has been the mistress of the house bringing me my vittles in a cut glass dish, but I can dream.

One morning last week I got out of bed and jumped on the bathroom scale. Oh dear. In exactly two months (I know this because I know what I had to weigh to fit into my clothes for RWA National) I had gained five whole pounds and a few ounces. I was disgusted with myself and fumed through my low calorie breakfast. I did an extra mile walk with the dog, arrived home sopping wet, and after a shower fell back on the bed exhausted. But not too exhausted to be unable to read. Oh no. Reading is my new passion.

After an hour to finish one of Nora Roberts earlier books, Opposites Attract, a story about a female and a male tennis pro, which by the way had great action scenes, I called Curves. It's a great little gym with world wide establishments. A neighbor and friend works at my local place. She'd been trying to get me to join for a year. I was worried about my knee, so resisted. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) : ) Anyway, I love it. Making this move, having the courage to admit I was turning into a sloth, was good for me. I've cut back on calories just a little, nothing dramatic. Already I've lost a pound and a half and it isn't even a full week. I feel better too. Yay, me!

Favorite reads this month:
The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy. I'd never read it back in the mid eighties when it was first published. Guess I was too busy then with husband, kids, work, etc. Besides that, it wouldn't have appealed to me. It would have scared the beejezuz out of me. This story is so powerful, it deals with truly unforgettable characters, set in the US south, traversing three generations, a family with a horrific past and a desire to overcome their tragic legacy. It is honest to a fault. The prose is beyond eloquent. It made me stop sometimes, hug the book to my chest and cry just from its pure depth and beauty. I'll never, ever forget it but doubt I'd have the strength to read it again. I couldn't read anything for days after I finished this story and it still rattles around in my mind. When I regain my courage I might go out and buy South of Broad, which is Conroy's latest novel after a long hiatus.
To summarize: mind blowing.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery. This was written in French then translated into English by Alison Anderson. I loved this story, once I reached the end. It was then one of those stories where you sit back and say, "Aha. Now I get it." All the pieces fall into place and it becomes extraordinary.

BUT, and I must say this, at first I didn't like it. It took me over 100 pages to get a feel for the two protagonists. One middle aged, the other a pre-teen, both had similar philosophies on life, both seemed cold, aloof, and in some ways patronizing. Both characters wished to hide from the world their true nature and their above average intelligence, because they thought the world would not understand or accept them. Both were extremely well read and knowledgeable. I felt I was taking a class in philosophy from a professor who looked down his nose with disdain at the dumb students. It irritated me. Then I forced myself to stay open, to listen to what the heroine had to say, and ended up being enthralled.

To summarize: exquisite.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

In Limbo.

Okay, so I haven't been tinkering with the manuscript. Haven't even been writing anything on the one that's two thirds done in rough draft.

This is hard. Every day I get itchy fingers to write, but I'm taking the time off that Lani recommended prior to taking that course in revision. I'm doing a lot of reading, and some movie watching. I did two non-fiction articles just to keep myself occupied and I've been playing a lot on other writer's blogs. But it's not the same.

This is a strange time of year, here in the desert. I suppose it's like winter in some of the northern states. When the weather is bad you stay inside. For us our winter is the prime season, it's so mild and encourages outdoor activity that after moving here from Los Angeles I had to change my writing habits. Instead of writing more seriously from October through April, I now write like a demon in the summer because it's too darn hot to do anything outside after about 10 a.m. Not this year though, it seems I'm in limbo. Playing that waiting game for the course to commence, waiting to hear back from agents and editors after the National conference. Waiting on a couple of contest entries. Waiting. Waiting. Can't wait for these next two weeks to be over so I can start on the manuscript again. Boy, if I ever truly thought I could give up this writing game I now know it's impossible. I once quit. I lasted two weeks if I recall correctly.

Best book read in the past month: Circle of Three, by Patricia Gaffney. This was an achingly beautiful story. I loved it so much and it touched me on so many levels that I had to read it slowly, think about it during the day as I did other things, then curl up in the late afternoon for a couple of hours and read a bit more. I truly savored this book, usually I'm a glutton. : ) It was a story that made me think, gave me glimpses of recognition into my own heart. A woman's story definitely. It spoke of the truths in the relationships of women spanning three generations, a grandmother, mother, and daughter. It also looked at guilt, death, compassion, anger, and love. I'll treasure this one always and know I'll read it again and again.

Best movie seen in the last month: Nanny McPhee. Seriously. : ) It's a kids movie but one I enjoyed so much I saw it a second time. I think it was released in 2006 but I missed it, (probably because I'm not yet a grandmother and don't pay much attention to what is currently around for children). Anyway it starred two of my favorite actors, Emma Thompson and Colin Firth. Plus there was a young boy, Simon, played by Thomas Sangster, a star to watch and that's for sure. I love this kid. He was also in Love Actually, another Brit film that is a personal favorite. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, check it out. Even if you haven't got any kids to watch it with, it is bound to warm your heart.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to School.

This is the most perfect time for me to take a class. I'm always envious of anyone returning to school and as this is the season, yeah, I've been turning a pale shade of green. There were no funds allocated for any continuing education for this year and two years ago I quit taking a fall workshop. I was getting itchy when along came Romantic Comedy author, Lani Diane Rich. My savior.

Lani is trying a new type of classroom experience with a live feed and a back up audio. Questions will be asked during the lecture, making it more like the actual classroom, and I think it should work well. She's a good teacher from all accounts and will be able to keep a tight grip on the students and not allow too many digressions. We've been advised to put our manuscripts aside and not work on them until class starts. The old let them simmer for a bit and see what flavors come to the fore. Also, we've been told to stock up on supplies. Oh goody! A trip to Office Depot. All of those sticky notes, and colorful markers, and highlighters, and colored pencils, and...

Lani has set up online Forums and we future students are getting to know each other already. What she plans to do is use us as guinea pigs. : ) For 50% off her six week class, we will help her to iron out any hitches or glitches in the program before she gets it up and running full time in the fall. We start in mid-September and I can't wait.

I've always enjoyed Lani's writing and look forward to every new release. She definitely has the humor gene I never inherited from my parents. I envy her that, too. I like her quickness of thought. She offered two classes, one called discovery, the other, revision. I chose revision but seriously wanted to do both. I've never taken a revision class before and am looking forward to this. I've recently finished a manuscript and although it has an amateur sleuth I'm not sure of its sub genre. I'm pretty sure it's a romance but if it is a romantic adventure, a mystery with romantic elements, or a contemporary mystery with romance, is anybody's guess. I'm hoping that through this class I'll be able to identify the story's strengths and weaknesses, and embellish both to know for sure what it is I've written. That would surely help with querying and marketing, don't you think?

For more on future classes of Lani's, or to check out her books, please visit her new site:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What color is your manuscript?

I had lunch with a writer pal, Lynne Marshall, some time ago. We met halfway as we live three hours apart and chose the small town of Monrovia just off the 210 Fwy. What a delightful main street. All of the shops and restaurants were trimmed in nice woods and hunter green and people were actually out walking. Go figure. I felt like I'd stepped back in time.

We had a great Italian lunch at Bela Sera and nobody hurried us out. We spent a couple of hours there chatting about writing. Lynne writes medical romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. I think to date she has something like six books out and a couple more in the works. We talked about her current story, now in its first draft, and she said she would let it sit for a couple of weeks before rewriting. I said something about taking a vacation then coming home and adding in all the good stuff. She said, "You're right. I'll color it all in." And those words stimulated this blog post.

On the drive home I thought about Lynne's words, and have often done so since. Lynne's stories have a richness of emotional layers. I imagined her stories in color and sensed vibrant reds and purples, rich dark greens and vivid blues. And always a touch of sunny yellow to counteract the dark storms of relationship and medical catastrophe. Her stories always have romance, of course, but there are also deep layers of medical illness, babies being born, work tensions in her make-shift hospital, emergencies, near death situations and family issues. I've given up trying to read these stories when I travel by plane as they always make me cry. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, I just don't want to arrive looking like I've been dragged through some emotional storm of my own. : )

Anyway, that got me to thinking about what colors I would use if I were coloring in the pictures of my own stories. I've tried my hand at several romance sub genres trying to figure out where my voice could do its best work. I don't write erotica so no pulsing red for me. I tried paranormal but they were more like paranormal cozies, nice witches and ghosts. : ) Then I tried romantic suspense but wasn't writing dark enough for today's market, so not enough black color.

Am I a pastel writer? Yikes! I don't want to do watercolors. I want big bold canvasses heavy with oil paint. I finally sat down and looked for the core or the ongoing theme in my stories and found they all held a mystery but they also included romance and family issues. Not what you would call a cozy, I don't think, but definitely mystery at the forefront. So I shifted my focus to concentrate on the solving of the mystery and made my protagonist an amateur sleuth. The first story is finished, rewritten and currently being polished. I loved writing it. The second one is almost done in first draft. In these two stories my colors are richer, definitely more oranges and hot fuchsia pink, dark browns, and grays. The second one may even have some black. ; )

So, what color is your manuscript?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back from RWA National Conference!

What a difference a year makes. Last year I attended the conference and didn't find much I liked. I honestly thought it would be my last time. Now if I'm being perfectly honest, it could have been my emotional state that cast a pall on the occasion. I'd had recent knee surgery and was still in pain and I topped that discomfort by getting food poisoning. NOT a good time.

This year was the complete opposite. I had a fabulous time. Washington D.C. was lovely. I even pitched for the first time in two years. I've been writing steadily, two manuscripts in twelve months, but I've also been exploring new ideas. In addition, with the recent changes in the industry I had decided that if I never got published again it was okay. That understanding helped me to relax, to look closely at my work, to define it better, to be less needy, to pitch the concept to an agent or editor in a confident manner. I've finally accepted that I have no control over their decision anyway so why worry, right?

I had the pleasure of hooking up with an old friend from LARA, plus one of my chapter mates. We three buddied around and all had the same idea. This year we planned to attend as many workshops as possible. Honestly, I haven't done that since my first conference in 2002. Were my feet sore! It was lovely to see Gina again. After four years we picked up right where we left off, a true sign of a good friend. She's just as delightful and sweet as ever, only thinner and prettier. Darn her. But then again, she's only in her early thirties, so I have to remember that. : )

There were many great workshops, meetings in the bar, the Jenny Crusie Cherries dinner at an Italian restaurant. A lot of fun. Got to sit near Virginia Kantra and her husband. Lots of heated discussion on paranormals, shapeshifters, animals of all kinds, sex, and romance. It was like a mini workshop.

Had a roam through Georgetown with Trish and a lovely dinner by the water. Seafood. Yum! Our conversation was deep, emotional, and touched on the reasons for the dissolving of my marriage many moons ago. I have to admit she made me cry, but in a good way. Had another light dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant near the hotel and can still taste the Baba Ganouche. Now I'm hungry thinking about it.

The Awards ceremony was a ton of fun. Krissie, Anne Stuart, was a scream. She did a half dozen costume changes, my fave of course was when she wore the Nun's habit and rode around the stage in her motorized wheel chair. The movie clips were great and the background music had me dancing in my chair. She's a funny duck, that Krissie.

One of our past LARA members, Chi, won the Golden Heart in the Historical category. I was so thrilled for her. Plus, she sold a novella to Harlequin Mills and Boon on the Wednesday. All around a perfect conference for her. I did get two agent requests and one editor request. I'm excited about all three. Today I put a final polish on the first three chapters and got one submission out by email attachment. The other two go snail mail, so tomorrow I'll take care of that. Then I wait. Well, not really. I'll continue through the manuscript putting the polish on the rest of it and hope that someone will ask to see the entire thing. Wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm late, I'm late...

I don't quite know where the month of June has gone, it seems like I just posted yet it was two and a half weeks ago. I've been up to L.A. for my RWA chapter meeting, and to celebrate my son's birthday. It was a nice weekend. Got to watch a couple of movies with my daughter as she tivo's everything. Me, if I miss it, it's my tough luck. : ) Anyway, one of the movies we watched was Kung Fu Panda and I have to admit that I loved it. What a great message.

Then on the following Wednesday we had our monthly bookclub where we discussed The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young. I don't quite know what to say about this book, I didn't dislike it but I didn't love it either. The premise is: Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?

The story deals with Mack Phillip's youngest daughter's abduction and brutal murder, during a family vacation. Evidence of her murder is found in an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, and still grieving, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to the shack for a weekend. He goes and meets up with the Trinity: God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, all in human form and not quite what he expected. Some of the conversations with the three were rather childlike, based on what I recall as Sunday school bible stories. However, as the author says, he wrote this story for his family and self-published it. Word of mouth created frenzied sales and a print publisher picked it up for reprinting. It's still way up there on the best-seller lists too, so make of that what you will.

I'm not religious in the sense of structured religion, rather believing in a spiritual sense within myself, an energy force greater than me, that somehow guides me and keeps me on the straight and narrow. I don't think of God as being in human form; however, I do believe Jesus existed and was a good man trying to encourage others down a good path. If your religion is strong Young's story will undoubtedly touch you in a deeper way than it did for me.

Anyway, our group was amazing. We had some interesting discussion on the book and on religion itself, and because we're such a diverse group, I found it gave me some deeper insights into my fellow book club members. Our next meeting won't be until September when we'll discuss an author's debut novel, Girls in Trucks, by Katie Crouch. October's pick is one of my favorite authors, Adriana Trigianni, we'll discuss Big Stone Gap.

I've got quite a TBR (to be read) pile. Four friends new releases, By Hook or By Crook, by Betty Hechtman. A Hint of Wicked, by Jennifer Haymore, Temporary Doctor, Surprise Father, by Lynne Marshall, Who Dares Wins, by Bob Mayer (non-fiction, which I'm reading slowly and taking some of the exercises to heart). Last but not least, one of my all time favorite author's books just arrived. I'd pre-ordered it, The Angel's Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I couldn't resist a little peek or two, but can't risk a full read as I have so much writing to do before RWA National conference.

I'm doing what I hope is my last rewrite on my mystery before submitting it. I'm entering it in a contest before National, then pitching the story to both an agent and an editor. If I get any bites I'll be ready to go with no gnashing of teeth after coming back home. Meanwhile, the second mystery, set in the same location and a spin off, must sit and gel for a bit. I'll probably not write any more on it until the fall but it has progressed nicely and I feel good about it, just sorry that I can't revisit those characters right now. But they'll wait. : )

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I've always believed in timing. Timing is everything. Doesn't matter if it's the meeting of a new amazing love interest, paying your bills, or just getting ahead of the traffic on the freeway. It's kind of like karma...really, really important.

Tonight I was mindlessly flipping through the remote control looking for something of television interest, and lo and behold (I know I love that expression) there on KCET was a special on Victor Borge, the man of timing. I poured another glass of chardonnay and made a plate of cheese and crackers, invited the dog in from outside and together we laughed our asses off, well, at least I did. The dog seemed mildly amused and more interested in the cheese than Victor.

Victor Borge, for those of you who don't know, had impeccable timing. He juggled playing classical music on piano, combining the voice of whichever artist he was accompanying, or the musicians of a full orchestra, plus giving humorous asides, and all with the timing of a great comedian who never missed a beat. The man was a genius. One of the reasons I don't write comedy, I suppose, is my timing is off. Well it stinks, it really does. I know and appreciate when it's right for other artists, but to do it myself, meh. I can't.

So, how about you? Do you have comedic tendencies? How's your timing? And, who do you think is one of our best comedians today?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May Bookclub.

Our Laguna de la Paz bookclub held its second meeting yesterday and it was such an enjoyable experience. Due to La Quinta being one of those "seasonal" towns we weren't sure how many would turn up during the summer months. Most of our Canadian and northern states visitors have returned home until October when the season resumes, yet we had seven attendees yesterday. It was a great group with everyone participating and bringing a different perspective to the table, and one member emailed her comments even though on vacation. :=) Way to go, Marge.

The book being discussed was The Lost Recipe For Happiness, by Barbara O'Neal. This was her first book under the new pseudonym, although she has many books written under the name Barbara Samuel and also many Harlequin romances written under the pseudonym Ruth Wind. I've always enjoyed Barbara's works for their sensual detail, whether a story about making perfume (where you swear you can smell the scents) or the restaurant business (where you get hunger pains reading about the wonderful foods) or her lovemaking scenes that have such great sensual detail they don't read as mere sex scenes.

As it was my turn to host I'd thought about making the pomegrante baklava from Barbara's recipe in the book. Time ran away from me though as I'd had a trip up to L.A. and only returned home on Monday evening. I was in Wal-Mart picking up a few things and saw a covered tray of various types of baklava and thought I'd give it a try. They were amazing! Yikes, and I'm supposed to be on the second phase of the South Beach diet. No baklava on that. I froze the leftovers, but somehow they seem to call my name every time I pass the fridge.

Back to discussing the book, here is the author's blurb:
Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena Alvarez knows how to defy the odds. And when she is suddenly offered the opportunity she's been waiting for--the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant--she knows it is a chance she has to take, even if it does mean relocating to Aspen, where she doesn't know a soul, and usurping the job of a notably volatile chef. So with her faithful dog and her grandmother's recipes, she arrives in Colorado to find a restaurant in as desperate need of a fresh start as she is--and a man whose passionate approach to food and life rivals her own. For Elena, old ghosts don't die quietly, but some remain with her for a reason. And, through all the ups and downs, she knows the chance for happiness is worth every risk.

It was nice that our one male member did not balk at having to read a romance and although he said he's never read one before, he rated it at least a seven. His only negative comment was it was predictible in that it didn't have a surprise, or twist, in the ending. I explained that a requirement for writing romance is a happily ever after, so in that sense romances are predictible. We all agreed this was a story about learning to let go so you can move forward. Everyone found it enjoyable and felt they had a greater understanding of how a restaurant is run and the relationships that have to come together to make a truly successful business. They also felt the heroine was well drawn and strong yet totally believable. Then we digressed a bit and ended up talking about the pros and cons of women in business and that was a lively discussion.

With a rating from 1-10, The Lost Recipe For Happiness scored six seven's and two nines.

June's meeting will be held in the clubhouse at 1PM. The June book-of-the-month choice is The Shack, by William P. Young.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Three historical book reviews. One movie.

I'm not sure why, but of late I've taken to reading historicals from different time periods. I've even looked for classic movies without realizing I was doing that. So, what's the deal with these stories?

Maybe it's the return to harder times, looking to gain insight into how others survived with less of everything? Not that I suffer anywhere near what the heroines in these stories do. But, it is good and heart warming to read about strong heroines willing to fight for their (or their family's) survival. We all stare down the threat of losing everything we've worked so hard to gain, yet hold out a promise that the situation will improve. Hopefully, like the heroines in these stories we're also making adjustments to our lifestyles, cutting back, doing without, appreciating the simpler things, enjoying the love of family and friends, and being strong in our belief that the hardships we deal with today are nothing like those of the past.

When His Kiss is Wicked, by Kaitlin O'Riley:
Colette Hamilton cares for four sisters and an ailing mother, after her father dies. With little money, and a bookshop to run, she makes inroads into improving the shop she loves and making more sales. All of this in a time when a female shopkeeper was frowned upon. Her uncle sets about getting Collette and her sister married off. But both sisters are resistant.
Then Lucien Sinclair(son of an earl with a desire to marry a plain, simple woman, who will do his bidding) enters the picture. He wants nothing to do with a woman of beauty because they bring their own problems, but when he meets and becomes intrigued by beautiful Collette and her delightful family, he must fight the attraction. He however, finds himself like a moth attracted to the flame.
This was a delightful book about overcoming hardship, and I enjoyed the author's narrative voice. The story left me with a smile on my face.

Siren's Song, by Trish Albright:
Olivia Yates is a scholar in times when women were not. With an archaeologist father, and no mother, she learned from him about Egyptian artifacts and taught herself to decipher hieroglyphics. With her father at an archaeology site and possibly in trouble, Olivia knows she holds the key to deciphering a code and must go to him. Someone is trying to murder her. Samuel Stafford is a sea captain, not a treasure hunter, yet he soon finds himself on a whirlwind journey on the high seas, headed for Egypt and its untold treasures, and reponsible for one very fiesty young woman.
This story of family loyalty and protecting loved ones at the risk of ones own life, is an exciting adventure filled with action, humor, and romance. It left me breathless.

The Promise, by TJ Bennett:
Alonsa Garcia de Arunjuez is a Spanish beauty, haunted by a Gypsy curse that threatens death to any man she loves. Thinking she is betrothed to a "safe" man, he is killed in battle. But not before begging a promise from his friend and fellow soldier, Gunter Behaim, to marry his betrothed. Betrayed by love, Gunter has sworn off making promises, but the man saved his life. He relents. Alonsa and Gunter have met before and there was an initial attraction but both quashed it. Now with the promise made, the sparks ignite and against the backdrop of the dark cruelties of war, these two who seem like total opposites must risk everything they've believed in to cast off the curse and unite their souls. A wonderful romance with an excellent grip on the historical time period. It left me sated and satisfied.

And the movie:
Sense and Sensibility.
What a wonderful cast. I know I saw this one years ago but couldn't resist watching it again. It's the 1995 version, starring Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and so many more wonderful actors and actresses. Based on Jane Austen's classic novel, it tells the story of the Dashwood sisters whose chances at marriage seem doomed when their father dies and the family fortune reverts to the son. The suitors are trapped by the strict rules of society and the conflicting laws of desire, and the two older sisters, Elinor and Marianne, must face many losses before finding their happily ever after while adjusting to their altered economic situation and standing. It left me sobbing, but in a good way. : )

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Bookclub.

The new bookclub met for the first time last week. What a lovely diverse group. We even have a token male, : ) but he was out of town so did a conference call on one lady's blackberry. The book under discussion was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski.

The majority of participants found the story slow. It was a long book, topping out at 566 pages. When I pointed out the differences in literary vs. commercial fiction they were interested and opened themselves up to embrace a different type of read. Going into a literary work I know what to expect. Beautiful prose (an element of music beneath the words, space to explore deeper philosophies, time to enter into a richer more magical world, a willingness to allow the author to warm up his engines. Commercial fiction on the other hand, (at least for me) is where the expectation is one of immediate action. There's no time to waste. Don't stop to smell the roses. Get the first clues out, present a dead body, have the protagonist in the midst of a dilemma, introduce the hunky hero right up front so we know what we're dealing with. And the list goes on.

I read and enjoy both style of book, but my reading enjoyment varies. Like my choice in ice cream. I have my favorite but sometimes I want vanilla, othertimes chocolate, and in a plain cone. Hey, sometimes I'll even get daring and go for pistachio, or get out a bowl add some chocolate fudge and make a sundae. ;)

Back to Edgar.
I found the book initially appealing. Although I don't normally like prologues I do think this one was necessary, and it stayed with me throughout the entire story. About a third of the way in I grew tired of the description of landscape etc., because it was already set in my mind. I knew where we were although I've never visited Wisconsin. There were a few too many sunbeams on bales of straw for me. I lusted after some action.

That said, the characters were well drawn, the dogs wonderful, and the prose kept me going. I knew I wouldn't not finish the story, although it did take me two weeks where I'd normally read four commercial novels in that time period. Then things heated up a bit by mid-book. I'd read Mark Doty's comment on this perhaps being a modern day Hamlet. Then I started thinking about Shakespeare's works and realized it incorporated many other themes as well. I visited the author's website and found someone else had commented in the same vein. My interest was sparked.

Don't want to give away any spoilers here but if you start this book, stick with it. At the end I was angry because of the ending, but the story wouldn't go away and continued to simmer and stew in my thoughts. About a week later I decided it was indeed the best ending for this story. I was finally satisfied and deeply in awe of the author. He pulled off something very difficult. He left the reader without a happily ever after, a ton of questions that demanded answers, and for me, a desire to read the whole damn thing all over again.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


There have been some storms in the past weeks that have upset my treat of reading several literary agents blogs before beginning my daily writing. A treat that would normally stimulate my brain and get my fingers tapping on those letter keys. But these verbal storms--I'm not talking freaks of nature here, hmmm? well, maybe I am--they threw me into a dark place like an impending snowstorm.

Why is this happening? Why are people throwing rotten tomatoes at each other? Frustration with life in general, the publishing industry itself, broken dreams, I'm not sure. But name calling, that's toxic behavior, come on, we're supposed to be adults. Professional adults.

Yesterday, I'd arranged to meet a writer friend for lunch at our usual halfway point, me driving an hour from the desert, she driving the same distance from her home in L.A. We'd had a huge wind storm the night before and the noise had provided little sleep. I awoke groggy and much later than usual, so rushed around and did errands, walked the dog, showered and put on "real" clothes, dashed to the office and glanced at the phone and email to make sure my friend hadn't had a last minute emergency, and then took off for the freeway a CD blasting out C&W.

Five miles up the road the ambient temperature gauge in my car kept dropping. It went quickly from seventy degrees to sixty and was still falling as I noticed an increasing sandstorm up ahead. How was I to know there were sixty-five mile per hour winds today? I hadn't listened to the news or checked online news. Sigh.

I don't have a blue-tooth or any other device to use a cell while driving, so couldn't call my friend and say I was returning home, and to get off the freeway in that part of the desert would have meant driving into the eye of the sandstorm. I switched on my headlights, lowered my speed, gripped the steering wheel with both hands and placed my concentration on staying alert to what other cars were doing. By the time I was navigating the pass we were in a whiteout, visibility was poor and light weight cars were being buffeted sideways. I took an inside lane and travelled alongside a huge truck using it as a buffer against the wind. Sand blew across the freeway, often times small pebbles would ping the car but I chose not to fret about paint damage and concentrated on getting to my appointment in one piece.

At my destination, a huge black cloud had replaced the sand storm and I opened the car door, which was almost ripped out of my hands, my hair blew straight up off my face, I hunkered down wrapped my arms around the bodice of my thin cotton shirt and ran inside to the warmth of the restaurant. My friend said her car had registered fifty degrees as she'd driven into the parking lot. And here we were, both dressed for a nice spring day of eighty or so degrees, usual at this time of the year in the California desert.

On the way home, the winds had died down and the temperature elevated to within normal range. I thought about the storm. And the storm in my writing world. I'd taken care not to get caught up in the emotional aspects, ignored the negative, the what ifs and possibilities, kept my eyes on the road ahead and successfully navigated to safety. I had chosen not to comment, not because I didn't have opinions but because I didn't want to be dragged into the middle of the mess. Those outbursts or little storms are not healthy, they don't make you feel better for having cursed and hurled insults, or spoken positively and been accused of being a suck-up, there is no win in these situations. Even if comments are left anonymously, they leave questions. Who wrote it? Why? You end up feeling as tainted as the crazy ass person who left the comment.

Last night I went to a friend's blog, He has a new book coming out in June, Who Dares Wins. It's based on the programs of the Green Berets and how to be the best you can be while facing down difficult situations. His most recent blog was about the differences in social and market norms. You should read it, and put his book on your must order or pre-order list. His comments touched on, I think, the reasons behind the difficulties agents and writers have in understanding each other. One works to create and from an emotional or social stance, the other is excited by the aspect of selling, and works from a marketing aspect. We're talking chalk and cheese here, folks. Once each side understands and can respect the differences in the other's worldview, we might have a better working environment.

Oh, stop it, put those tomatoes down.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New book books.

I've been busy lately. Went up to L.A. for a long weekend. Met up with my writing group at LARA and lunched with a couple of pals. Not a lot of writing being done, although I have found the twist, the crunchy, yummy part of the story that I'd been searching for. Now I just have to put it into some semblance of order and go back a little in the story to foreshadow.

The rest of my weekend in the city was spent hunting for foreclosed houses in the San Fernando Valley with my daughter. Not for me, I'm staying put for a change, this was for her. Of course she doesn't have a lot to spend so we visited some rather dicey neighborhoods. Scared the living beejeezuz out of me to tell you the truth. I have difficulty imagining my firstborn living in some of those places. I've been trying to push her toward a condominium but not sure if she'll go for that.

One of the homes had a neighbor who walked by with a chicken on a leash. I kid you not! Another house was owned by a sad little man who had seven dogs and a penchant for cigarettes. There was a recessed garage that he claimed could be a sound studio. It was crammed to the ceiling with junk. His place smelled so badly of dogs and urine and smoke that we couldn't get the smell out of our nostrils. I sat in the car refusing to touch anything, not my face, my hair, my arms and thought I was going to throw up. We pulled into the first 7-11 store we could find, looking for antibacterial soap but none was available so we purchased baby wipes and cleansed our skin, then ate creme Easter eggs to get the smell from the back of our throats. Well, that was the excuse. : ) Love those things.

The next place was another foreclosure and we called the listing agent. She revealed the prior owner had died in the house of self-inflicted wounds. We moved on quickly. By mid-afternoon we found a nice area with an affordable home that was really cute. Good bones in that house but I'm not sure if my daughter will pursue it. It's up to her, her decision and I try not to interfere too much. But it was a sad experience for me to walk around those places and think of someone not being able to make their payments and having to walk away from their home. So sad to think of someone taking their life. We read about this in the papers all the time, but to actually go out and see it first hand, walk around the homes with notices in the windows and know the circumstances behind what might be a "good buy" is,'s kind of creepy. By evening I was so depressed I broke my "no alcohol" diet and had a glass of wine.

On to cheerier subjects, a friend of mine started a bookclub in the development where I live. She thought she might get five or six women interested and twelve showed up. It seems everyone knows someone else who they think might be interested. We're going to look into using the clubhouse for the gatherings as nobody has a house big enough for a really large group. We met at 3:30 and left at 6:30pm. It's going to be a lot of fun. Our first book will be The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wrobleski. In May we'll discuss The Book of Negroes which has been retitled for the US market as Someone Knows My Name. It's authored by Lawrence Hill. I'm looking forward to both books although they are a little on the long side for me. I'm used to romance of about 350-400 pages and a very fast pace. So, for my hosting event, I chose Barbara Samuel/O'Neal's book The Lost Recipe For Happiness. It was a January release and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I love her voice and hope the other women in the group do as well. In fact, I'm going to make one of the recipes from the book. I'm thinking the pomegranate baklava. That would go great with coffee or chardonnay. Yum.

I'm really excited about the bookclub because it will encourage me to read outside of romance. I used to read everything but romance, before I started writing. Between writing and staying up on the reading of friend's books and the occasional advanced reader copy from Harper Collins, there isn't much time for reading other genres. (Not that I'm complaining, I love romance.) Once in a while I'll read a Harlan Coban, a John Grisham, or a murder mystery but that's about it. I rarely read biographies anymore, so this club will, I'm sure, help me to broaden my horizons.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The times they are a changing...

Well, actually daylight saving time has changed again and this time we've jumped ahead an hour. I hate it. Why do we do this? Is it really about farming? I mean how many more eggs can get layed, and do the cows really care if they're ambling home in the dark in the winter months? Which brings me to the question, should man mess with mother nature? I don't think so. I truly believe there are reasons for everything in life and we shouldn't mess with what is a pretty perfect plan.

Anyway, enough grumbling. I'm on to my second cup of coffee so I'll be fine in another half hour. The problem for me is I know getting into bed the night before that it is going to be different the next day, so I spend half of it tossing and turning and checking the clock. It's the night before quality of sleep that gets me confused not the missing hour. : )

What else has been happening in my life? Not much. I've been reading a lot. Almost a book a day. Am I hiding from the world, you ask? Well, I'm kind of stuck on my last third of the book (remember I'm not writing this one with an outline, I've gone back to my seat of the pants writing). The last act is usually the most intense, exciting part to write, because everything is coming together. Except for now. I'm going to have to backtrack and change a few things because some step has obviously been missed. Last night I watched two back to back movies and I got a flash of recognition of what that missing element is. Today I'm excited to get started. But first I'm taking the dog for a long walk to think it through. I think it's right, I think it's right, I think...

Friday, February 20, 2009

More good books!

I've been on a reading binge lately, maybe because of our unusually rainy, snowy, cold weather. Normally I read a lot in the summer months. Most of my friends read more in the winter because of bad weather, but for those of us living in the desert it seems to be the opposite. In the summer we stay inside in the air-conditioning. At least that's when I read and write like a demon. So what possesed me to start reading every day? Shrugs. I'm writing well, too, so it can't be writing avoidance raising its ugly head. I'm not sure, but here are three books that were really well written, lots of fun, and that I highly recommend to my romance reading buddies:

Susan Wiggs, Fireside. This was fabulous. I'd read all of the others in her Lakeshore Chronicles. Not that you have to read them in order, they're all stand alones, but I do recall the hero being mentioned in an earlier book and thought at the time he was an excellent minor character. So Bo Crutcher, baseball player, finally gets his story and it's a great one too. Bo has to be the best hero I've read in quite a while. To say I adored him is an understatement. I totally got him. I wanted to know him. How much better for a writer to achieve that with one of their characters, eh?

Barbara O'Neal, The Lost Recipe for Happiness. Loved this book. There was a richness, a sensual feel to this story, and it came from not only the recipes and the restaurant background, but from the beautifully written characters. I just wanted to reach out and touch them. Wonderful people and a great story on friendships and family.

Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, Lani Diane Rich, Dogs and Goddesses. Wow! What can I say? This is yet another collaboration of Jenny Crusie's and I'm a big time fan of anything she writes. In fact on her forums we have a joke that even her shopping lists are interesting. She just has a way with words. So, to combine Jenny's writing skills with those of Anne (I loved her Ice series) and Lani (the last one I read of Lani's was, Wish You Were Here, set in Idaho, another terrific book) was for me a complete feast. It was more than a three course dinner. On the surface this story is light and fun, a celebration of three women. They become friends, discover they are ancient goddesses with dogs who can talk, and end up finding their soul mates and having lots of sex. : ) The thing that resonated with me was the amount of research these authors did, yet it didn't show. They kept their story contemporary and fun, yet created the history and made it believable. That's world building folks, and they did it with a deft hand.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What are you reading?

I've been doing a lot of reading in the past month. Some for research and some for pure pleasure. I recieve ARC's from a large publishing house, those are advanced reader copies and are bound books with the cover artwork but get another pass before final printing.

The story I just finished, Very Valentine, by Adriana Trigiani, was absolutely fabulous. The cover artwork alone made me feel good. So rich, so colorful. If I'd seen this in a bookstore it would have called to me, just like the little red high heels with the black bow that waved to me from a store window in Rome a few years ago. And yes, I bought them. : )

I found Very Valentine, which by the way comes out this month, to be as strong in character and description and content, as its beautiful cover. The characters, mostly Italian, are vibrant and colorful and very real. I knew them, and I'm not Italian. There was the right mix of humor, crazy family dynamics, romance, and armchair travel. Sigh. Now I want a trip to both NYC and Tuscany.

Ms. Trigiani does a great job with setting, incorporating it as a sensual character. She does the same with the cooking scenes, bringing in food aromas and mouthwatering tastes, and the texture of leathers and materials used in the making of shoes. Her love scenes are deftly written without explicit sex scenes, romance is always at the core. One of the things that resounded with me though, were her characters, so big, so full of life they almost leaped off the page. The heroine's story revolved around her grandmother's custom shoe shop in NYC. Ms. Trigiani's grandfather had owned a shoe shop in Minnesota in the 1930's. The things I learned about making shoes will stay with me for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed learning something that is obviously dear to the author's heart. And that's what makes this story so wonderful, it has heart at its center.

So, what are you reading?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Change is in the air...

So half of January has slipped by but not entirely unnoticed, at least by yours truly.

I've been working hard. I committed on the Cherry Forums, over at Jenny Crusie's blog, to do at least one submission per month (for those of you who REALLY know me, you know my weakness is not submitting enough) and I set my monthly goal as one chapter per week on the WIP. So far I'm on target, or maybe a tad ahead. I'm up to chapter six of the new manuscript.

I've re-written my query (of an already completed manuscript) based on some feedback from Jessica Faust over at Bookends Literary Agency. She ran a contest in December and we were allowed to submit our first paragraph as a pitch. I was lucky enough to be critiqued and what Jessica had to say really resonated. So, I have a new query letter but am holding off submitting until Mercury gets through its retrograde. I mean, why risk it, right? Communications can go awry under Mercury's craziness. Seriously, I'm not procrastinating, the minute that planet changes course my query letter goes out. And this time it's going to five agents at a time. No more of this send to one and be loyal and wait forever for an answer. Nope. This time I'm getting serious.

Tonight I watched Dateline and cried bucketloads regarding Barack Obama's rise to
becoming the 44th President of the United States of America. The review of our history, that step back in time, made me cry. So sad. So shameful. All I can say is what a journey and thank God it's behind us and we can move forward and hopefully repair a lot of that damage. May we never again lose sight of the fact that all humans are created equal. I love this man, and his gorgeous wife and his family. His beautiful smile makes me happy. I can be having the crappiest day and then I listen to him and somehow he makes it all seem okay.

I know we can! I know I can! I have hope.

My eyes are tearing up again just writing this. Good heavens, can you imagine what a cry baby I'm going to be on Tuesday? All I know is I'll be glued to the television, 'cause I'm not planning to miss a thing.

How about you?