Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winding Down


I had my first pre-Christmas meltdown this morning. I’m sure there will be more to come. It seems no matter how hard I try to organize and plan – and re-organize and re-plan, it always comes down to this. As my children move the Star of Bethlehem on the Advent calendar to yet another pocket and joyfully announce how many days left until Christmas—I feel it. That squeeze of panic in my chest, and then I can’t get my breath. How many days? How many? And then I start mentally recalculating the list of “things that have to be done”(the baking, the shopping, the wrapping) then the list of “things that need to be done” (the cards, the visit to Santa, taking a cookie tray to the senior center where my dad goes) right on down the list of “things I really wanted to find time to do.”

Writing, of course, is on the last list. Right up there with crawl into a corner and cry and pull my hair out. None of which I ever seem to get time to do.

As the year winds down, I find myself reflecting on the things I didn’t accomplish rather than the things I did. I suppose that’s normal. Twice I’ve pushed back the release date for The Model Man – for no reason other than I am too busy to do what it takes to finalize it and get it off to final production. (I have a very understanding editor. Maybe too understanding!)

This was one year where work really came first, and while I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, it’s my goal for the coming year to put writing ahead of work. I’ve been working on little ways to get my kids more organized, get the household more organized, get the work situation more organized--now hopefully, I can get the writing more organized.

Since I doubt I’ll get time for another December blog, I’ll ask now. What accomplishments did you see in 2007? What do you hope to achieve in 2008?

PS: in case you missed it, I blogged yesterday with my friends The Scandalous Victorians. Stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Day of Thanksgiving and Praise


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Could any holiday be more American than this one? (Well the Fourth of July comes pretty close, doesn't it?) Anyway, since Thanksgiving dinner prep and work will keep me from blogging much of this week, I'm going to recycle an old blog about my favorite holiday:

On November 28, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln declared all government offices closed for a day of Thanksgiving. Magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale suggested that Lincoln made the day a nationwide observance. On October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued the following proclamation, setting apart the last Thursday of November as “a day of Thanksgiving and praise.”

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stagecoach Etiquette

Thanks for stopping by, but I'm not here today! I'm blogging with my friends the Scandalous Victorians. So mosey on over!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Four Score and Seven Years Ago


I was going to post a blog about Thanksgiving, but maybe I'll get to that later this week. Anyway, it dawned on me what day this was, historically speaking, so I hope you won't mind if I recycle an old blog I did for the Scandalous Victorians last year.

Four Score and Seven Years Ago…

Most of us have heard those famous words, but I wonder how often anyone takes the time to reflect upon them or their meaning.

On November 2, 1863, many months after the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) had ended, Governor David Wills invited President Abraham Lincoln to “make a few appropriate remarks” at the consecration of a cemetery for the Union war dead.

Lincoln accepted the invitation, probably viewing the event as an appropriate time to honor the war dead, as well as reveal his evolving thinking about the war, not merely as a fight to save the Union but as an opportunity to establish freedom for all those under the law.

On November 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Lincoln spoke the now famous words. At the time, the President drew criticism because of the brevity of his comments. Yet those “few appropriate remarks” have gone on to be one of the most memorable speeches of all time.

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.

Well said, Mr. President.

For more information on the Gettysburg Address or Abraham Lincoln, visit:

http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/gettysburg/

http://www.nps.gov/archive/gett/home.htm

http://americancivilwar.com/north/lincoln.html

http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/alincoln.html

Friday, November 2, 2007

Interview with the Scandalous Victorians

I've been interviewed by the Scandalous Victorians!

What a great way to start the month of November!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The End

How do those words make you feel? At the end of a good movie or book, they can bring a sigh, a sense of satisfaction. At the end of the move Bridget Jones’ Diary, when Bridget and Mark Darcy finally share that first real kiss, her in her underwear, the snow falling gently around them—I always want to cry out “Not yet! It’s just getting good!” (Thank God for sequels!). At the end of Gone With the Wind, when Scarlet O’Hara tells us that “after all, tomorrow is another day” I have that lingering sense of unfinished business.

JK Rowling uses the line “all was well” to wrap up her Harry Potter series. A definite sigh of satisfaction after reading that (or maybe it’s just exhaustion, considering how long the last two books were!)

But what about when it’s your baby? Your characters you’re sending off into the sunset? How do those words make you feel then—even if most writers don’t actually type them out. The End. Over. Finished. Kaput. You’ve raised your characters, taught them well and sent them off into the world like wee baby birds to try out their wings. Your time with these people, whom you’ve lived and loved vicariously through, has come to an end.

I suppose I should feel a sense of relief, a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. But it seems just about the time I hand that envelope off to the mail lady –she, tugging, because I can’t quite let go, and looking at me like I’ve lost my mind—or as I sit there, finger poised and trembling over that “send” button that will electronically zap a copy off to my editor—I panic! Wait! They’re not ready yet! I’m not ready to let go!

We spend years, sometimes months even, with these people. And while they may not be real in the flesh and blood sense, they are very much alive to the writer who creates them, and hopefully, the reader who embraces them.

For me, I don’t think it’s ever over. I still think of Tucker and Holly when I drive past a Christmas tree farm. I think of Derek when I see a flashy sports car drive by. And there’s an actress on TV that reminds me a lot of Kelly. I can’t even hear the words “cowboy” or “gunfighter” without Raz Colt taking over my mind, or hear Owen Wilson’s voice without the smooth-talking Kip Cooper (who reminds me very much of Mr. Wilson –without the psychological issues, I hope!) springing to my thoughts. With the exception of Cooper, who is clamoring for his own story even now, these characters’ stories are written. Over and done with. So why are they still haunting me? Why is it so hard to let go?

How do you feel when you’ve reached the end of a WIP?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday Ten: Write the West

I'm blogging with my friends the Scandalous Victorians today on this topic.

So mosey on over and set a spell, pard.

Y'all come back now!

Nic

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Cowboy Code of Ethics

You can catch me today blogging on this topic with my friends The Scandalous Victorians!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 5, 2007

TGIF



Nuff said there, and that's about all I could come up with for a TGIF blog!

Off to write some more!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Black Moment


Do you ever have this dilemma? The closer you get to The Black Moment (I always hear those words in James Earl Jones’ voice, with an echo) the more you start dragging your heels about writing it? For me, it’s a definite case of “I don’t wanna do it!”

We work so hard to get our characters together, to get them to overcome their obstacles, fears, conflicts and flaws and take that shot at happiness… and then we have to rip them apart.

I’m at that point in my WIP, and it’s killing me. My heroine wants so badly to trust, but has been hurt before. She’s not willing to take a chance on or believe in anything—especially not a hero with a reputation like this guy’s. Speaking of my hero. Sigh. He’s done his best to convince her it’s real and that he’s ready to take a chance and settle down. But I know something he doesn’t. When he pours out those feelings to her, she’s going to shoot him down like a scud missile.

And I’m dreading it.

In stories past, I have cried right along with my h/h at this pivotal moment, felt their pain as intensely as if it were my own, and hated myself for ripping them apart. (Note to self: Nic, you seriously need to get a life!) But rip I must, because they haven’t learned yet. Haven’t discovered all that they’re willing to sacrifice in order to be together. Haven’t realized that, despite their differences, being apart is far, far worse than fighting to be together.

As the God of their universe, I know I’ll put them back together when the time is right and they’ve suffered enough, but it will still mean a few days of feeling lousy on my part until we get there. I’ll be walking around feeling blue, sniffling at all those love songs on the radio, and feeling like I’ve lost my best friends. (Yep. Gonna get that life any day now...) But the sooner I dive in and do it, the sooner I’ll get to the scenes where they get back together. So tomorrow morning when writing time comes around again, I’ll go ahead and rip their hearts out.

But I still don’t wanna!!!

So... do you dread writing The Black Moment? Or do you simply take it as it comes, as a necessary part of the story cycle? How do you get past scenes you don't really want to write?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BLP's


BLP. That's an acronym a friend of mine and I use. It's short for Best Laid Plans. As in, I tried to find time to write today but this or that happened ... BLP.

Well I've had about a week's worth of them.

The kind where, you force yourself to get to bed at a reasonable hour, set your alarm for a bit earlier than usual because, doggone it, you're going to get up early tomorrow and get on top of your workload. Yeah! Because you really need more time to write. Then, in the middle of the night you hear the small, pitiful call "Mama!" You know the one -- the cry of a sick child. Ayep. That was my youngest. With a fever of 103.8. For two days. Then it hovered in the low-grade temp range. For a week.

Of course by then his brother had it.

And then came last Friday night, when, after a week of caring for sick kids and running around like a mad woman buying medicines and cooking chicken soup, I joyfully hit the sheets early. I was soooo tired. I woke up at four a.m. with my head spinning and though whoa-- how much did I have to drink last night, anyway? Then I realized... not a drop. It felt like a hangover but was much worse. Cut to mom spending the weekend on the couch running a similar fever. (Which really freaks my family out, btw. They stand there, staring at me with that "what do we do now?" expression. Who will cook our food? Launder our clothes? Tell us when it's time for bed? How can we function if mom is sick???)

Well the kids are on the mend. My oldest went back to school today. I'm still sniffling and coughing, but my throat isn't quite as sore today and there's real hope I might actually get some sleep tonight (as long as I prop myself up on pillows and take some Benadryl). But the dh seems to be coming down with it. Still, the thought of both kids being back to school tomorrow cheers me. So even if the Big Kid Himself is home sick, I should have at least a bit of mental health time, and I plan to spend it writing. After all I have a WIP to finish.

But isn't it funny, just when I got back into the swing of things -- just when I was excited again, that this happened. And to think I was actually looking forward to school starting up again!

That's a BLP if ever I saw one.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Goals


I’ve never been much for setting goals—I always either reach too high or want to accomplish too much and wind up disappointing myself.

But the month of September, along with juggling a heavier-than-I’ve-ever-seen-it workload, I’ve devoted to my WIP. I also promised myself that those six hours of quiet time each week while my youngest is in preschool, would be devoted to writing and nothing else. Sure by the time I’ve walked the dog and commuted back and forth to take/pick up my son, it’s more like an hour and fifteen minutes to myself, rather than two, but I’ve made good use of it. This week alone I’ve managed to add some sixty pages to my WIP and revise another thirty. Not bad.

So my goal for September is to keep on keepin’ on and see how far I can get with this.

Wish me luck!

Do you set goals for your writing? What do you do when you don’t meet them – beat yourself up, cut yourself some slack or just keep pushing?

PS you gotta love that picture. Sigh. Puts me in mind of the hero in The Model Man, my soon to be released Last Rose selection from The Wild Rose Press.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Quiet Again


The dog paces restlessly around the room, the sound of his toenails unnaturally loud on the hardwood floor. He takes one more reconnoiter around the house before finally coming to confront me with a “What did you do with my kids?” expression, then flops down at my feet, chin on his paws, eyes as dark as chocolate syrup watching my every move.

The cuckoo clock chimes ten a.m. and we both jump; the ice maker in the fridge dumps out another tray of frozen cubes, the sound echoing in the otherwise empty house. I flip on the TV for company but can’t quite bear to leave Nickelodeon on, it makes me miss the kids too much, so I settle for The Weather Channel to provide some background noise. Another hour and fifteen minutes and I’ll pick my youngest up, but it’s more than four hours til the oldest is done for the day. For the umpteenth time I wonder what they’re doing, and think back to this morning.

I stood outside the school with the kids all lined up and waiting as my oldest son waited to go inside. He seemed happy, relaxed, chatting with friends. I’m always amazed at the ease with which the boys and girls from his class mix, happy to see one another and talk. When I was his age we were in separate lines and rarely talked to the opposite sex. But this one has a new hair cut to show off and someone else has pictures of a new puppy, and they mingle easily. A little girl I’ve never even seen before asks Colton if he knows her brother Max, he is in Colton’s preschool class. Colton, feeling shy, hugs my leg and peeks out from behind me, but finally nods his head yes. Wyatt barely seems to notice I’m there and I’m sure in another few days I’ll be told not to walk him to the door anymore, that he can do it himself. Still, as the line begins filing toward the doors, he breaks free for one quick hug and tolerates a kiss without complaint. Colton and I wave until he is out of sight, then head for home. The sky is hazy and it’s already getting hot; in the back of my mind I wonder if Wyatt will be too warm in that shirt and those shorts and make a mental note to change Colton’s outfit before he heads to preschool.

He’s not going, he tells me as we walk toward home. Nope. School is dumb and he is definitely not going (yes, he says definitely. The curse of a writer/reader/editor mom, my kids have great vocabularies). I tell him school is for big kids and yes, he’ll be going today. He informs me he doesn’t want to be big, he wants to be little again and in an Oscar-worthy performance, brings tears to his eyes at just the right moment. They shimmer and dance before one lone tear makes its way down a pudgy cheek. Will I stay with him in class today, like I did the other day? No, I say. Miss Erin has some special games for you to play today and you won’t get to play them if mommy is there. Then I pull out the big guns. I remind him of that really cool playground at preschool that he’s been wanting to try out. I’ll bet his class will be going outside to play there today. That answer quiets him as he weighs his options and a short time later, changed into a lighter shirt and shorts, he willingly buckles himself into his car seat and we head for school.

The drop off goes better than expected; never under estimate the power of a woman, even if she’s only four. His best friend Leila is in his class, and at the sight of her – skin tanned brown as a berry, big eyes shining, her curls even longer than they were last time we saw her – Colton quickly forgets his hesitance and makes a bee line for her. I hear her squeak his name in that cute little voice of hers “Co-tin!” They hug and I whisper a quick prayer of thanks, give his teacher a relieved smile and tell Colton I’m leaving now. “Okay,” he says, barely giving me a glance. Whew.

In just a few more minutes I’ll leave to pick him up, I can’t wait to hear how his day went. But for now, the dog and I are keeping one another company while I get some long-neglected work done. It feels kind of good to have this time to myself; not like this summer when the in-laws took the kids for the day, it’s different somehow. I’m watching the clock, knowing I’ll need to pick them up soon, planning lunch and after-school snacks.

But good as it feels… it sure is quiet.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Counting Down the Days


The smell of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air. A deep sniff also brings the “new vinyl" tang of a shiny new backpack, a squeaky clean pencil box and the rubbery aroma of new sneakers.

Yep, it’s back to school time.

We still have a few more days to go, but the feel is definitely in the air. I’ve started putting the boys to bed earlier at night and waking them earlier in the morning, in an attempt to ease them out of their summer sleeping habits. I also need to ease out of mine! Both work and writing took a back seat this week to the lure of sleeping in – I knew those days were numbered so I did my best to savor them.

Isn’t it funny, though, how the back to school season still brings up those old feelings? Fear of the unknown. Knots in my stomach at the sight of a school bus. Spending six hours a day away from mom. And it’s not even me that’s going back, it’s my kids!

Oh I’m sure once we get into the swing of things I’ll find the routine comforting, and enjoy the quiet in my house. Maybe I’ll even make constructive use of the rare quiet time (my youngest will only be gone six hours a week, not a day, after all) and get back into a regular writing schedule. In the past, fall has always been a very productive time for me.

Creatively speaking, what time of year is most productive for you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Perfect Summer Day


It was one of those rare late summer days today. The kind where -- just when you've given summer up as gone -- it makes one grand last appearance. Sure it was a smidge on the muggy side, but it was a great day.

I managed to put aside all those nagging "should be" thoughts and spend a great day outdoors with the boys. "You should be doing laundry"; "you should be working"; "you should be cleaning"; "you should be writing". I managed to ignore that inner voice, and for me that's rare.

Instead I was throwing a football around with my oldest son (at 7 years old, it's no longer called "catch"); then the little one joined in and we tossed the frisbee around for a while. After that, a picnic lunch outside under our favorite tree. No worries, no cares, just the pure joy of a perfect summer day with my kids.

Next week the back to school routine begins, but today for just a little while, time stood still and summer reigned gloriously.

Thursday, August 23, 2007



Do you ever have days like this? Where you are the kitten – and the rest of the world the Border Collie?

Well, I’ve had about a week of days like that. Nothing has gone right. You know the kind -- everyone wants to take a bite out of you, so like this kitten, you rear back, tell them all to back off—only to have someone smack you in the teeth for it.

Sigh. I won’t bore you with the details of my work situation. Suffice to say I know my job – I’m good at what I do and I damn well know it. Someone stepped on my toes and when I warned her to back off, she got nasty. I didn’t sink to her level but let her know in no uncertain terms that I was the superior here and she wasn’t going to push me around. Guess who got slapped on the hand for that one? Not her!

Some of you know about my dad’s illness and that dealing with my mother’s many issues during the illness has been a challenge. Well having a sister who consistently leaves ME to deal with my mother during all of this is no picnic either. But my mother and sister are exactly alike in that they’re both ridiculously self centered and selfish with no concern for anyone but themselves. So of course that conversation got turned into a “you just don’t know how stressful my life is right now.” Uh huh. Yeah, must be rough taking all those vacations and having plenty of “down time”. So that was the second battle.

Third is the non-stop kids battle. Gone are those idyllic lazy days of early summer. In place is the restlessness that comes from having the luxury of doing “nothing”. They go back to school in just under two weeks and I think they’re ready for routine and schedules again. I probably am too.

Anyway, so that’s my mood for today. One of those days where a hot fudge sundae for lunch would probably help – if only my stomach weren’t in knots from all the stress and angst.

For now, the in-laws are due soon to take the boys for the day. Never been too crazy about the ol’ IL’s, but this summer they’ve earned my gratitude. Having one day a week to myself has been a real sanity saver. Whether I spend it cleaning, working, writing – or simply lounging on my favorite couch “recharging my battery” by watching reruns of Frasier or Meg Ryan movies I’ve seen a thousand times before, it helps.

First on my list is a long walk with an old friend who always has an ear when I’m feeling down. Yeah, he gulps his food and drools and prefers to take his half of the bed out of the middle and has the worst habit of chasing squirrels…. But time spent with him always manages to lift my spirits. And to think they call dogs man’s best friend! Hah!

Monday, August 20, 2007

You Can't Go Back... but you can try!


I did something yesterday I haven't done in a loooong time. Have you ever done that? Tried to recapture the fun, the spirit of the things you did B.K.? (before kids!)

My husband and I used to attend a lot of civil war re-enactments in our dating days. I loved them and in the days before I even met my dh, I had half a mind to join the re-enactors. But thought the mind was willing, the bank account was not, LOL.

But there was a time we'd attend and spend the day, browsing the sutler tents, finding unique and interesting things. We'd bring grapes and cheese and wine (non-alcoholic, of course) and spread our picnic blanket on the ground and enjoy the battle with not a care in the world.

Flash forward ahead ten years! My oldest son was sulking because I wouldn't let him spend $17 on a plastic cap gun. The youngest was mostly interested in the drinking fountains and restrooms and I didn't get a chance to look at anything for longer than a split second or talk to anyone.

But some things never change. Once we were seated and the battle began, the boom of the cannons and the sight of the men fighting and falling caused a surge of excitement that I'd practically forgotten about. I really wanted my kids to enjoy it, and they seemed to take an interest, but it may take a few years to really spark anything in them. The battle was just building to a climax -- they weren't reenacting a specific battle, just an overall "this is how it would have been done" battle for show, so I wasn't sure who would be victorious. There were a lot of Confederate soldiers down and the Union side still had plenty of fire left, but the rebs just kept advancing. That's when my four-year-old grabbed himself and announced-- loudly-- that he needed to go potty. Naturally the dh didn't offer to take him -- heck, he didn't want to miss anything! By the time we got back to the restroom--after stopping at every outdoor fountain along the way (there were three!)-- I could hear the sounds of cheers and applause and realized the battle was over.

By then my oldest son was hot, bored and ready to go home. The dh was muttering about needing to do stuff at home, and I realized I still had no idea what was for dinner, so we headed for home.

Sigh. Such is the life of a mom, writer or not! So I learned that you can't go back to the way things used to be, but you can find some of the old excitement now and again!

Pardon the picture, btw. My digital camera is pretty outdated and I don't have the pics from my regular camera back yet. This was the best one I could come up with.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sons of Summerville


That's the title of the anthology I've agreed to participate in with two other Wild Rose Press authors and one newbie author.

We've done some brainstorming, and soon we'll start having online meetings to discuss our plans. But so far, I haven't allowed myself to think on this too much. If I start walking and talking with these characters, they'll start telling me their stories and then I'll want to write them. And right now I can't. Three other projects need to get finished first!

But I'll be sure to update you as soon as I can on Nick and Maggie's story and who the Sons of Summerville are.

For now I'll leave you with a photo of the naval reserve station at beautiful Summerville, NY here on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Deja Vu... all over again

Weird. That's how I feel right now. Several months ago I set up a google alert for my name and the title of my holiday novella, Small Town Christmas. So far, anytime I've been alerted it hasn't been about me or even my story. But the one I just read was. It wasn't a blog or a review I didn't know about, but apparently STC is now available on two short story sites I didn't even know about. And... get this. On one of the sites it was listed as a "best seller". Who'da thunk it? (Ahem, so uh.... why is there an echo, rather than a bulge, in my wallet right now if it's a best seller?)

What's really weird is the excerpt. It's not the scene that was excerpted on the Wild Rose website, and it's not necessarily one I'd have picked, but it's a good one. It shows the sexual tension building between old friends. But I couldn't help thinking... who chose this for the excerpt? Strange, strange. Very weird to think of somebody else sifting through my creation and choosing which scene to entice readers into buying.

And all of this comes at a time when I'm beating myself up for not having the time to write that I would like. Those of you who know what my day job is know that I've been busy, and that I need to make money, so martyr that I am, I've pushed writing aside so I can focus on work. After all I can't feed my family on promises. But it hurts. I really wanted to get The Model Man out in November, that will have been a year since my first release and I really wanted to get it out this past summer. Sigh. So why am I sitting here blogging when I should be writing? LOL.

As the saying goes, so many stories, so little time...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where I've been...

It's hard to believe that a year ago I despaired of ever being published.... and at the beginning of this month, I just signed my third contract with The Wild Rose Press --and my first historical contract! Here's a sneak peek at the cover!

I'm also in talks with two other TWRP authors who want me to be part of an anthology with them-- set right here on the beautiful lakeshore near my hometown! So safe to say I've been busy while I haven't been blogging.

And yes, summer vacation has officially achieved "is it over yet?" status.

Until next time...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Five Reasons I'm Looking Forward to Summer Vacation


The fellow moms I talk to on the playground while waiting to pick my oldest son up from school and I have come to one conclusion about this school year – it’s lasted about a week too long. (Our kids won’t finish the school year until Wednesday the 20th. ) We’re all burned out--moms and kids alike. And while I know that sometime around the day after the Fourth of July I will decide I’ve had enough friggin' summer vacation, right now, I’m ready for the break.

Here, for my Friday Five, are the reasons why.

*Sleeping in. Not me – them! While my youngest will never be the “night owl” his older brother is – he’s a morning person, like me—there will still be some mornings when he sleeps past seven. And on the mornings he doesn’t, he enjoys some quiet time watching Noggin while eating his breakfast. But most importantly I’ll still be getting up at my usual time, which means some quiet time for me, hopefully time I’ll spend writing since I won’t have to worry about making breakfast and getting dressed first thing. The past couple of weeks, as I said above, we’ve all been burned out and the morning battles to get teeth brushed, hair combed, clothes on and everyone out the door on time, has really frazzled me. It’s very hard to think creatively when your brain was been fried by 8 a.m. so I’m looking forward to the break from the morning rush.

*Relaxed routine. One of the things that bothers me most about the school year is being a slave to routine. Right now it’s still light out at 8:00 when my kids go to bed-- and they don’t want to go. So it will be nice to be able to relax bed times a bit, and nice to not have to watch the clock all day long and worry about being back from running errands in time to pick someone up from school.

No more packing lunches and backpacks! LOL. Can’t help it, it’s just another one of those “slave to the routine” things I dread each day during the school year – packing my son’s lunch for school. He’s a picky eater so it’s a challenge each day to come up with something different – and healthy!—that he’ll actually eat. Cleaning out his back pack with him each day after school –all those papers they bring home, ugh! – and helping him to get it packed and ready for the next morning is another chore I dread.


Speaking of my older son… I think one of the things I’m most looking forward to is having him home during the day again. Having him away at school for a full day this year took some adjusting for me, and even though he’s really good at pushing my buttons and fighting with me, he’s also incredibly sensitive and thoughtful – the first to notice if I’m having a bad day, or to join me for an impromptu song or dance, and (almost) always willing to help me with things around the house. And if nothing else, it will give my youngest someone else to pester all day long . *G*


Friday, June 8, 2007

Five Things that Kept Me from Blogging Last Week


I took last week “off” from my day job as a sort of “vacation.” I work from home, so time off is really kind of redundant when you can’t afford to go anywhere for a real vacation. But the dh was off from his job as well, and I knew I’d be interrupted non-stop anyway, so I decided to give myself a break from my daily routine. Yeah. Snort. Last time I do that!

I had planned to blog last Friday about the five guilty pleasures I had indulged myself in during my down time. Staying up late watching movies with my hubby, sitting on my patio reading – a real book, not a work-related one. Things like that. Oh sure we had some little home improvement projects planned, but I had no intention of spending the entire time doing them. I have long since forgotten what it is to relax and planned to devote some time to rediscovering just how it’s done.

What is it they say about the best laid plans? Here are the five reasons I did not post a blog last Friday.

1. Painting. Not the Van Gogh kind, but the buy-a-gallon-at-Home-Depot-and-slap-it-on-the-wall kind. For seven years now I have slept in a cave. At least it feels that way when it’s dark out, or when you wake during the night. Four walls of knotty pine paneling and a dark hardwood floor. My hubby calls it our “hunting lodge”. I just call it gloomy. We’re in no position financially –and hubby isn’t the handiest guy around—to remove the paneling and put up dry wall. So we looked into painting over the paneling and argued for a few months over the color. Anyway, from the first brush stroke, I knew it wouldn’t go well. The color is great and the coverage is wonderful. But my husband is quite possibly the slowest painter in the universe. He also jumped the gun a bit and didn’t give me much time to clear things out of the room before he started. Add to that what I call his “little lady” attitude toward me painting (as in, “here now little lady, that’s no job for a woman!” No he doesn’t actually say that, he just comes across that way.) So ten days after we first started painting, the room is still not done (Did he listen to me when I told him that, in addition to primer to go over the paneling, we would also need primer for the wood trim, which we’re painting white? Uh… no.) My dresser and night stand are pushed into my very narrow upstairs hallway and most of my belongings are still hidden under plastic drop cloths. I’m not happy, despite the fact that the color has transformed that dark gloomy cave into a cozy country cottage . But it will be finished this weekend – because I’m going to finish it!

2. Unexpected vet bills. You know how hard it is to blog –or do anything creative -- when you’ve just blown an unplanned hole in your checking account? I have young pets, they’re not supposed to get sick! I had to take both Tanner and Gilbert to the vet last Friday morning for check ups. Tanner, for his annual check up and shots, and Gilbert to re-check the tumor on his ear. I also suspected Tanner had an infection in his ear (he gets those a lot) because he’d been shaking his head a great deal. Turns out he has a yeast infection in both ears. So four medications (pills for Tanner’s ear, his flea control stuff, and a cream for his ear plus a new cream for Gilbert’s ear) and more than $250 later, we were on our way home.

3 . Emergency root canal. Yes, this was Friday, as well. Those of you who know me know I’m a fanatic about oral hygiene. I’ve had to be. I haven’t’ had dental insurance for most of my adult life. I wasn’t taught good oral hygiene by my parents and had lots of cavities as a kid. I learned my lesson. So as an adult, I’m a real purist when it comes to brushing and flossing after every meal –it’s probably been more than 20 years since I’ve had a cavity. That all came to a crashing halt with my first – and last – sip of coffee last Friday morning. Holy friggin’ cow did that hurt! Never had any warning that anything was going wrong in there, but the pain got worse as the day wore on and – hey, I’m no fool. I’ve seen my husband go through this many, many times (he of the cavalier brushing and infrequent flossing). Long story short, I ended up rushing off to the dentist where he started to do a root canal only to have to stop because of so much infection in that tooth. Hah, and to think I never even felt sick until Friday morning. Sigh. So now I’m dealing with that, the rest of the root canal is scheduled for the 22nd – and my hubby is enjoying the heck out of this. Many, many times I have lectured him that if he would just take better care of his teeth, he wouldn’t have these problems. Oy! Does that one ever come back to bite you in the behind. As I was flossing before bed last night, he walked past the bathroom. Stopped. Smirked and said “Why bother? They’re just gonna fall out anyway.” Grrr.

4. In keeping with the day from hell that was last Friday... when I got home from said dental visit, after puking my guts out the whole way home (novocaine and I are not the best of friends) my kids came running to tell me Tanner had jumped through the living room window. Sigh. Not all the way through, and thank God, he’s fine. But we’ll have to replace that soon.

5. And the number five reason that kept me from blogging last week – hey, after all that you need another reason????? But since anyone who knows me has already heard these stories, if they were kind enough to stick with me til now, I’ll see if I can’t find a hot guy picture to post to at least make it worth their while.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Five


Surprises. Whew – for a day or so there I thought maybe I wasn’t going to be able to find five things to blog about this week! Then it came to me. Surprises. I’ve had some nice surprises this week. Not the Benjamin-Bratt-jumping-out-of-my-birthday-cake-naked kind of surprises (but one can dream. Besides my birthday is still six months away!) but anyway, just some nice, unexpected yet lovely surprises, those little things that come along and blow a pleasant breath into what was otherwise an ordinary day. This time I think I’d like to count down.

5. Gilbert’s ear is getting better. Yes, I know I haven’t blogged about this before. But, long story short, when I took my kitty to be neutered two weeks ago I asked the doctor to check a spot on his ear. Turns out to be a mast cell tumor. Gilby is only eight months old, so he’s quite young to have something so potentially serious. The doctor put him on high-dose steroids to shrink the tumor, and if that doesn’t work, she’ll have to remove a good portion of his ear. Well I noticed yesterday – the spot on his ear is shrinking. But keep him in your prayers and good thoughts anyway. That's him, above, btw. I figured Tanner has been on here twice now, Gilbert deserves a shot at "fame."

4. My pants are getting looser! So maybe those walks with Tanner and the overall healthier eating habits I adopted at the beginning of this year are starting to work. I was able to slide into a favorite pair of jeans the other morning without the usual grunting and groaning and wriggling around to get them buttoned. This came as a bit of a surprise.

3. Writing. Yep. It makes the list again. Now that the crankies have gone, things are clearer in my head and the writing is coming along much better than it was a week ago. And I’m much happier for that, and quite pleasantly surprised.

2. A “love note” from my oldest son. We were having one of “those” mornings. Stressed. Rushed. Me holding onto my temper by a mere thread as the daily race to get out the door in time for school heated up. I yelled when my seven year old son picked up a crayon and pencil and took time out to draw a picture – we didn’t have time for pictures! Then he finished what he was scribbling and handed it to me. A folded-over piece of paper with a hastily drawn flower on the front. Inside, two stick figures, one labeled mommy, the other Wyatt. And a message. I love you. Sometimes. (LOL. Apparently I’m not always lovable, go figure!) But in the midst of chaos, it was a true God breeze.

And my #1 favorite surprise this week (and she knows by now it’s gonna be her!) was …a phone call from a friend. Not just any friend, but one I’ve never talked to before. Darah has been my CP for a good four years now, the friend I rush to tell everything to – and I do mean everything (don’t tell the DH I admitted to that!) I start most days IMing with her and end quite a few that way, too. But we’ve always been too shy to actually call each other. So imagine my surprise the other day when I picked up the phone –ironically, the caller ID didn’t work!—and heard a laugh and a “Guess who?” She beat me to it! I was going to call her for her birthday next month. I think maybe I’ll call her anyway. And while I’m at it maybe I’ll call that other CP I IM every day whose birthday is coming up next month – I’ve never talked to her either!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Raz-a-licious

My CP's and I have a little game we like to play. We argue over who would play Raz Colt, the hero in my historical western WIP, if it were a movie.

I always come back to Johnny Depp -- hey, what woman doesn't?-- but truthfully, Johnny is a bit long in the tooth to play Raz. Not that he couldn't do it...

But last night someone said "Adam Beach!"

Who?

So I googled him... and you know? This guy has potential. What do you think?

I like the outfit here, Raz dresses all in black...

And then there's this one... ooh, I'm a sucker for a hero with long dark hair...


This one I'm posting not just because Raz is part Indian, but just because.... well, just... because!

Now that's what I call Razalicious!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Cowboy Mystique


Since I haven't come up with any new ideas so far this week, I thought I'd post a "repeat" of sorts. I did this blog for the Scandalous Victorians, the group I blog with, last year. But since I've started research on the next part of that series, the gamblers, I thought I'd post this one here. My apologies to any who have read it before.

Cowboy. Gambler. Gunslinger. Soiled Dove. Law man. Funny how the very names bring to mind a certain image, one largely created by Hollywood and popular fiction, both romantic and otherwise. These are the characters who live in my imagination, and around whom I like to create my stories. I’d like to speak about these colorful characters over a series of blogs, but no promises as to how often.

Let’s start with that honor-bound “knight of the plains”, the cowboy.

The earliest cowboys were a far cry from the image that probably jumped to your mind with the very mention of the word. For one thing, they spoke Spanish, and rather than the stereotypical chaps and Stetsons, they wore brightly colored costumes and did most of their riding, roping and branding in the Mexican provinces of Upper California and Texas. They called themselves Vaqueros (the pronunciation of the name is similar to that of the word “buckaroos” which is where the term originated) from vaca, the Spanish word for cow.

But these vaqueros created the legacy that lives on in the American cowboy as we think of him today. So where did that code of conduct come from that tells us – in one simple word – that this is a man of noble deeds and few words?

When defeated Texans returned to their run-down farms after the civil war ended in 1865, they found a land teeming with wild longhorns (a breed of wild bovine that resulted from the breeding of the American cow with Spanish cattle. These guys were lean, slab-sided—and ornery). A longhorn steer worth four dollars in Texas could fetch as much as $40 up north where there was an insatiable demand for beef. Cattle were also needed to feed army troops, railroad crews, as well as Indians newly confined to reservations. A new western industry was about to boom – and the cowboy would play a central role.

Most cowboys were young, from their late teens to early twenties. And they were a varied lot, made up of both former Union and Confederate soldiers (a large percentage were ex Confederates from Texas), Mexican-Americans and a small percentage of African Americans as well. Some were simply young men looking for excitement.

A cowboys’ past was a private matter – the origination, perhaps of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He was just as likely to be a preacher’s son, a dropout from an Eastern university or the youngest son of an English nobleman sent to the American West to make something of himself as he was to be a wanted man. But the way he threw a saddle over his horse was all his peers needed to know whether he understood his business or not. That was all that mattered.

The cowboy was no mere farm hand. He had to be a superb horseman, excellent ropester and tough enough to subdue a 1,000 pound steer. It goes without saying that such a man would carry himself with pride, knowing he was admired – even envied – by other men who hadn’t the wherewithal to withstand his nomadic lifestyle. Spring and fall would find him on roundups – collecting the cattle and driving them in so the calves could be branded and bulls castrated in the spring; cutting marketable steers from the herd in the fall (females were kept for breeding). And that wasn’t even the dangerous part.

On the trail, a cowboy faced a multitude of dangers ranging from violent weather to raging rivers, illness and disease, marauding guerilla gangs and even groups of angry farmers determined to keep the longhorns, which carried a virus fatal to other breed of cattle, away from their fields. Stampedes were also an ever-present threat. Two or three thousand longhorn steer could be controlled only when they wanted to be and were capable of erupting into mass hysteria any time of the night or day, particularly during bad weather. So no matter how cold, wet or sleep-deprived a cowboy might be, he had to be prepared to leap into the saddle at the first rumble of a herd on the run.

Spending months on a trail drive meant he would go long periods of time without seeing a woman, let alone touching or speaking with one. Since his lifestyle precluded him from forming romantic entanglements, (marriage and family was out of the question as long as he remained in that line of work) the only women he could hope to meet on equal terms were prostitutes, or the “soiled doves” awaiting his arrival at the end of the trail. Because of this, his attitude toward “respectable women” was primly Victorian, almost worshipful. And when the opportunity to be in the company of a decent woman arose, the cowboy would go to great lengths to make the most of it.

As one story goes, neighbors from a distant spread attended a dance at a Texas ranch one rainy evening, bringing their newly-hired governess with them. When leaving for home with her employers, the young governess forgot her overshoes. The following Sunday, an eager young cowboy showed up at their door and presented the young lady with one shoe. “But there were two,” she protested. “Yes,” answered the cowboy, “I’ll bring the other one next Sunday if you don’t mind. And ma’am? I sure do wish you was a centipede.”

In 1886 a severe drought that left the herds in poor condition by summer’s end was followed by a series of blizzards. Livestock on the range was devastated, with some ranches losing up to ninety percent of their stock. This was the beginning of the end of the open-range cowboy.

So no matter what image his names brings to mind for you, the cowboy was, courageous, strong, dedicated, trail-wise, and respectful of women. A true American hero.

For more information on cowboys and the Wild West I recommend:

“The Wild West” by Warner Books

“Cowboys of the Old West” – by Time Life books

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Five

Each Friday, my friend and CP Paty Jager blogs about five things. Maybe five things she’s grateful for or happy about, or five things that happened that week. I like to check her blog each Friday and see what she comes up with. And starting today, I thought I’d steal her great idea, LOL. If nothing else, at least it gives me one blog a week I can come up with. Given my mood the past few days, I considered blogging about five things that annoyed me this week – but I had way more than five . So I decided to see if I couldn’t come up with five things that helped me shake the crankies.

  1. My dog. Knowing that a long, brisk walk each day is essential to his physical and mental well being really motivates me to get out there and move each day. (For some reason the fact that it’s also good for my physical and mental well being isn’t as much motivation.) But there’s something about the way his ears pop up when he sees me walk toward the closet where I keep his leash, the happy look in those chocolate-syrup brown eyes when we round the corner toward home at the end of our walk that makes it all worth it. And let’s face it; a walk in the sunshine doesn’t hurt me in the least, absorbing some vitamin D and natural light and maybe breaking a little sweat helps cure the blahs – and it’s great for the ol’ thighs besides! (BTW that’s a puppy picture of Tanner from last year. He’s about three times that size now.)

  1. Friends. The best kind – the ones that stand by you even when you’re crabby and cranky. And even when you tell them you’re so darn cranky you hate “everyone and everything” they know you don’t mean them. Your kids, your husband, your job -- life in general. But not your friends.

  1. SpongeBob Squarepants. Seriously! Not only is it one show my kids will still sit down and watch when I need a mental health break but, I defy you to listen to SB sing about the fool who ripped his pants, or my fave, “The Best Day Ever” and not feel your bad mood lighten just a tad. That little yellow guy always puts a smile on my face.

  1. FLY lady. Are you living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Grumbling that you need a bigger house because your current one just doesn’t hold enough stuff? Are you buying still more stuff and wondering where you’ll ever put it? Ever got up to check on your kids at night and tore the tendons in your little toe because you tripped over something? (No? Ooookay, so that one’s just me… never mind). But then I found FLY lady. I’ve only been FLYing for about two and a half months but I’ve already seen the difference. And knowing that no matter how bad my house looks right now, if I just get off my “FRanny” and set my timer for 15 minutes – I can make a real difference. Swishing and swiping each morning. Getting dressed to the shoes. Shining my sink. Five minute room rescues, 15 minute declutters, hot spot fire drills and those 27 fling boogies have all changed my life. Best of all, FLY lady gave me the strength to admit that you can’t organize clutter, you can only get rid of it. (Now if only I could convince my husband of this!) Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Visit her at www.flylady.net. She’ll change your life, too.

  1. Writing. Even though I didn’t accomplish as much of it as I set out to this week, I’m still grateful that it’s what I do. Ever wonder what non-writing people think about when they’re driving? Or waiting to fall asleep? Or when they’re brushing their teeth? And gosh, what do they beat themselves up for not doing at the end of the day? How boring their lives must be! So yes, I’m grateful to be a writer – angst-ridden, soul sensitive, with a mind that’s always a million miles – and a couple hundred years—away. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Crankies


It’s my favorite time of year– Lilac time. My home town is known world wide for their lovely lilacs and annual festival to celebrate them that takes place the second week of May each year.

But despite the bright sunshine and the lingering sweet smell of lilacs in the air – I’m cranky.

I’ve been struggling to write, struggling to get any work done, struggling to manage a quick smile for the checkout girl at the grocery store. I’m not sad, just…irritable. And that isn’t me.

I can’t put my finger on any one specific thing that set me off, but I’ve been in this mood all week. I think it’s more a series of things – small annoyances, maybe a bit of PMS in there for good measure, crazy weather, too much stress in my personal life. Little things like that.

Can a whole bunch of little things add up to one big, bad mood? Apparently.

But the weekend is looming and looks to be sunny, so maybe some time spent outdoors pulling up weeds, walking my dog and playing with my kids will help. I hope so!

What do you do when a cranky mood takes hold and won’t let go? (Darah, don’t you dare say have sex!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I've Been Tagged!


1) Each player starts with eight random facts or habits about themselves.

2) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things with a copy of these rules.

3) At the end of your blog you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names (I don’t know eight so I’ll just choose one or two)

4) Don’t forget to leave them a note saying they’ve been tagged.

The only person I knew who hadn't already been tagged was Darah, so I only tagged her!

Gosh, I really hate these things and it took me hours to come up with eight simple facts about myself, but here goes:

1) I wrote my first story, “The Unloved Doll”, when I was six years old

2) I hate talking about myself.

3) I was never a “dog” person until I met Tanner, our family dog. Now he’s the love of my life. (That's him, above, btw, beckoning you to play)

4) I love the smell of rain.

5) My favorite colors are lavender and buttercup yellow.

6) I am painfully shy.

7) I’m terrified of butterflies.

8) I love cloudy, overcast summer days.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Being Held Accountable


In the past few weeks, I have struggled with finding time to write. No, that’s not true. I have struggled with making time to write. It’s not that I don’t want to. I’m desperate to. It’s that old Latin thing again, lifus interruptus. I keep telling myself “Okay, as soon as I finish doing (you fill in the blank), I’ll have time to write.” Yeah, snort. Tell that to my four year old. Or my seven year old. Or the dog. Or any of the other people, places or things that conspire to get in the way of some good solid writing time.

But now that the release date for The Model Man has pretty much been set for November 1, the pressure is on. I need to get back to working on it no later than July 1 – and doggone it, I’m going to finish Wild Texas Wind before then.

So I’ve decided I have to write every day. And be held accountable to my two best cp’s for the number of pages I produce each day. I’m not assigning a number, I get too caught up in the “I failed” attitude if I don’t reach that number, and my creativity goes haywire when I start trying to force a certain number of pages. So I started off with four yesterday. (I’ve done plenty more than that in a sitting, but when you consider that the day before that I couldn’t even cough up a sentence, that’s not bad.) And just about four again today, which was a miracle really since I had the kind of stressful morning that would have rather seen me dive into a bowl of ice cream the size of a swimming pool (I abstained-- had a second cup of coffee instead, figuring the caffeine would either worsen my mood or perk me up. It did both.)

But I learned an important lesson today. Being accountable to someone for the number of pages I write in a day works for me.

How do you inspire yourself to write?

Oh btw, that great Benjamin Bratt pic I put up there has nothing to do with today’s blog. Just some eye candy for your viewing enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

One for the Roses


Those of you who know me know I tend to be chatty, so I’ll shock and surprise you all by keeping this brief.

Today is the first anniversary of The Wild Rose Press --they opened their doors for business on May 1, 2006. It’s been an incredible journey, and one I’m fortunate to have taken part in.

I was an unpublished writer a year ago today, and now because of The Wild Rose Press I’m published with a novella and a full “rose” length story due out this fall. It’s something I never would have dreamed possible last year at this time. My network of author and editor friends has bloomed and blossomed until I can hardly keep up with all of them. Definitely what “Martha” would call “a good thing.”

Happy birthday, TWRP!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hot guys, anyone?


Well Darah did get me started thinking about hot guys.... :o)


To Blog -- or not to Blog?

That is a question I’ve wrangled with for quite some time. All the writers I know, published or otherwise, are blogging. Many of the sites I visit by other writers (and I must admit, I seem to only visit blogs by fellow writers) are phenomenal. A wealth of information, great graphics, writing tips and suggestions – they’re incredible! And what they have to say makes so much sense—it’s all so interesting!

I’ve avoided the whole blogging process for quite some time, because frankly, I don’t know what the heck I’ll blog about. I could talk about the daily juggle of what I need to get done versus what I actually have time to get done. No matter how much I want to write, the kids will still need to eat, the clothes will still have to be laundered, the dog will still have to be walked and I’ll still begin each and every day wondering “what the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?” (Once upon a time I was organized enough that I knew the answer to that question days ahead of time. But then I had kids. Anyway, I digress…).

My friend Darah, who dragged me into this whole blogging thing, said something in her blog that made me think. She visits blogs for the pictures of hot guys (I won't use her words verbatim because they wouldn't have the right purr). Hmmm. No hot guys on mine just yet… --oops, digressing again. Just the mention of hot guys and my mind is off and running. Sorry.

Anyway, I’ve been asking myself why I read the blogs I do. Largely because they’re friends and I’m nosy, LOL. What did so and so blog about today? What’s she working on? How many pages did she write? Then there’s the former critique partner whose blog I stumbled across not long ago. She’s now multi-published. Visiting her blog most days is more a ritual form of self torture than anything else. She seems to get a lot done; I don’t. Then again, it sounds as though she’s still single and doesn’t have kids. Yeah. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

So maybe no one other than fellow writing friends will ever visit my blog, but if what I have to say is of interest to them, or I put a smile on their face for a second or two, then I guess that’s okay. I’ll still be here blogging about absolutely nothing. Jerry Sienfeld made millions on a show about absolutely nothing, so maybe there’s hope for me yet!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The kindness of strangers

Has the kindness of a stranger ever taken you by complete surprise? Whether it's someone holding a door open for you, handing you a dollar when you came up short for a cup of coffee -- anything.

My life was touched like that today. A good friend, whom I'd be lost without, helped me put this blog together on a whim. I'm not the most technically savvy cookie in the box, and have a hard time juggling things I "want" to do with things I actually "have time" to do. I was really touched by her willingness to help, but not surprised, because that's the kind of person she is. And when she asked a friend of hers to help with some of the design and her friend agreed -- well, that was the kindness that took me by surprise and left me blinking back tears. Her friend doesn't know me from a hill of beans. Yet because she's a friend of my friend, she was happy to share her expertise and help me out. Wow. What a great feeling.

That's exactly the kind of thing I've noticed in the writing community -- pretty much from day one, and I've been a member of RWA since the late 80s (Yes, I'm an old dinosaur -- and proud of it!). I don't' know what it is about writers, but we're always happy to help out a sister writer. Or as RWA used to say it, we actively train the competition. And we do!

Anyway, I decided that would be the topic for my first blog. Kindness.

Thanks, Darah. Thanks Lora. I'm forever in your debt. And I'll be sure to repay your kindnesses to a fellow writer as soon as fate presents the opportunity.

Friday, April 27, 2007