Friday, October 29, 2010


My most recent manuscript placed second in the romantic suspense category of the 2010Dixie Kane contest. Yay! I love that story. It's the second one in my three book series, set here in the California desert.

Also, I was invited to join the Just Cherry Writers, which is an offshoot of Jenny Crusie's blog. We do a weekly critique of one person's scene. My time in the spotlight was two weeks ago. I posted the opening scene of the story that I'm submitting to the Golden Heart this year. The feedback was fabulous, and the detailed critiques made me look closely at my storytelling. I find it amusing that we often times think we've explained ourselves (or our characters) in great detail, only to find when the material is subjected to the eyes of other writers we find those details that should be on the page are still in our heads. Oy! Anyway, it sure was helpful. Also, critiquing another writer's scene is equally as helpful.

My last story in this series is currently on hold. I love writing it, and actually miss my characters. But, I need to get back to the second one and do a final revision, a spit and polish, before sending it off to the contest next month. And I need to revise the synopsis. Double oy!

Today I whittled down a seven page synopsis to four pages, and it didn't make sense. It's hard to write a condensed synopsis that needs to show both the evolving romance and the plot/suspense, and give the thing a sense of voice. The total number of pages in the submission are 55, and that is inclusive of synopsis. My story ends at a nice chapter break at 52 pages. That would mean a three page synopsis. Triple oy!

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Historic Gold Mining Town

Yesterday, a friend and I went exploring. It was a birthday treat for me. We visited Julian, a historic district dating back to the late 1800's and situated 4,500 feet in the mountains above San Diego. It was the most perfect day, bright sunshine but with a cool ocean breeze. A great getaway from the recent triple digit temperatures of the desert.
We took the long route past the Salton Sea, and then turned west on highway 78. We saw cactus and Ocotillo plants that rose to twelve or more feet and lined the area's on either side of the highway, and stretched for miles. Fortunately my friend also finds beauty in the flat desert countryside, because there was a lot of it to see. Then we started to rise and ended up in a two lane, extremely narrow mountain pass with lots of bends. Trees stretched their branches across the road creating a shady canopy. It was lovely.
Julian was once a gold rush town, and is now known for its apple ranches. Some of those are u-pick ranches, but apparently this year the crop wasn't great due to the heavy rains, and many were closed. We didn't care. The town was so quaint, the buildings amazing, the people friendly, and the food and shopping fantastic. We wouldn't have had time to pick apples anyway. We had a fabulous lunch and I was served apple boysenberry pie-ala-mode with a candle. The entire restaurant joined in singing happy birthday to me, and it was embarrassing beyond all belief. But the pie was fabulous. : )
Afterward we shopped. And then we shopped some more. I bought all kinds of knick-knacks. The prices were great too. And there was a brown leather jacket that I wanted so badly, but didn't buy. I mean, I just got home from New York City last Sunday. But anyway, we are going back soon. If it's still there I'll figure it was meant to be and shell out the bucks.
The whole idea in taking this adventure had been to go and pick apples. I intended to take some up to my kids. I planned on baking. I planned on eating an apple a day. On the way back to the car I snipped an apple no bigger than a silver dollar off a tree at the end of Main Street. It's sitting on my desk as I type. Just this cute little reminder of a wonderful trip. I wonder how it tastes?