Thursday, January 27, 2011

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

We seldom get famous romance/women's fiction authors doing book tours that include our desert communities. This week we got lucky. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, or SEP to those of us who are die hard fans, spoke at the Rancho Mirage Public Library as part of her book tour promoting her latest work, Call Me Irresistible.

It was a great night, and she had an amazing turnout, not just women either. But what really impressed me was the age range of the audience. SEP attracts readers from the late teens to senior citizens. One of the ladies in our group is in her eighties and she said she really got a kick out of the book.

Our La Quinta bookclub chose SEP's book for our February read. February being the month of love, right? Also, we thought it would be a treat to hear the author speak and see if her natural voice shows through in her written work. Of course, I knew that it did. (I've had the pleasure of hearing SEP talk at the Romance Writers of America National Conference.) I've never had the chance to speak to her before, because at RWA she is at a whole different level to little old me. An author pal, Lynne Marshall, who writes medical romance, came to visit and she joined me and four members of our bookclub at the library event.

SEP was a delight. She has a natural approach to public speaking and makes her audience feel like they are conversing with an old friend. She has a bubbly personality and her humor comes through with ease just as it does in her books. She seems very comfortable with herself, is approachable, kind, and always gracious...even when fans rolled up to her signing table with a cartload of older books of hers that required an autograph. And the amount of photographs she posed for was amazing. She must be exhausted at the end of each one of these events. I figured it's like being an actor in a public venue and feeling you must be "on" and presenting your best self at all times. Or maybe not, maybe she was just born that way. ; )

Seriously, if you have never read her books. Go get one. You don't have to read them in order. Some characters from prior books pop in for a visit in some of the newer ones, but each book stands alone. One of my personal favorites is, Natural Born Charmer. But they're all good.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Catching up.

I have been so negligent about blogging this month. Bad me. Bad because I don't even have a good excuse, I just plain and simple...forgot.

I promise I'll do better. Twice a month, at least. In fact, a friend and I were talking a week or so ago about if and when I'll turn my comments back on. I know the odd passerby must think I'm weird in that I have closed comments. But, back in the day when I first started these ramblings, I was getting comments. Not many, maybe 3-4a day. And then I began to get a half dozen spammers. Always the same ones, and the same messages. I hated that worse than no comments from readers and fellow writers.

In 2006, I turned off the comments and decided to make this a letter for family and friends. Anyone who drops by and doesn't leave spam, I consider a friend. So if I do re-open my comments, don't be shy.

My blog is not so much for writers, as they have far better, smarter, more interesting blogs of their own. And they have dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of followers. And I have nothing to promote. Besides that, I don't offer insights into writing or publishing because I consider myself a perpetual student. There are many intelligent author, industry, and agent blogs around, and their teachings are of more value to a new writer than my weird ass way of looking at the writer's life.

My favorite author sites are:
My favorite agent blogs are: (Nathan is no longer an agent but he has a fabulous blog and much industry news to pass along).

I figure, who needs a blog that only provides more random ramblings in their life? Not many.(See, I'm still procrastinating about opening the darn comments.) Why did I close them again? I decided it would serve me and my people to write a newsletter, if they wanted to comment they could send me an email. Simple, yes? My people are spread wide, everywhere across the USA, and Australia, and a few in the U.K. To keep up with everyone is hard to do. This keeps them aware of what is going on in my life, on a fairly superficial basis (the really good stuff just gets told in private email or by phone, ha ha) and I don't have to spend a lot of time updating everyone individually. And that frees up my time for writing.

Speaking of which, I am writing up a storm at the moment. I'm coming into the last quarter of the rough draft of my third romantic suspense. The books are linked through one minor character, a redneck cop, the Southern California desert setting, and the fictitious town of Rancho Almagro. I'm now about to write the big final blowout scene and it's very exciting. Yesterday I began to write my resolution (in my head) as I drove back from Los Angeles. The ending, I think is going to be great because it reflects the beginning I've already written and really like, and it causes the reader (I hope) to stop and contemplate the deeper meaning to the story. So while it might seem to be cops and robbers, and drugs and shootouts, there is an underlying theme. I promise you.

I love to brainstorm as I drive, and yesterday on that two and a half hour trip, I wasn't even thinking about my ending, it just popped into my head. Today, I knew I had to come up with a big scene where my undercover agent fights the big fight and takes down the bad guy, but I didn't want it to be anything like the first and second books. I was out of ideas that were different, yet exciting. I knew the romance part, but not the blowout scene.

Tonight I walked the dog for an hour and tried to think things through, but wouldn't you know it, every man and his dog stopped us for a chat. I came home exhausted; even the dog was tired. I started to cook dinner and all of a sudden the scene was there, playing out in my mind like a mini movie. It is soooooo awesome. I just have to say that. It is really, really, good. I hope that I can put those pictures into words and have it all make sense. Darn, I wish I was a more accomplished writer.

Tonight I will sleep and let it stew. Maybe I'll have some good dreams.

Tomorrow I will write.