Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Perseverance pays off. Isn't that what advisers tell us? Friends, fellow writers, editors, critique partners all tell us to hang in there. Keep writing. Don't give up.

Well, I don't know about sales. That's different than publishing. And publishing is certainly different than finishing a book. But without finishing...there is no possibility of publishing and there can't be any sales.

About three years ago, I had this idea for a book. A couple would be in a plane crash...and survive. Those of you who read my blog regularly know I have a certain fascination with survival scenarios. So I researched and wrote and researched and wrote...

My critique partners gently--then more firmly--tried to tell me the story just wasn't working. Nope. Not working at all. There were some good chunks scattered throughout the story, but that's what they were. Chunks. And chunks do not a story make.

I knew that.

I just didn't have a clue what to do with it. Finally, I paid for a professional opinion. I sent it off and waited for the report. The woman who read and critiqued it worked especially hard on it because she was a friend. But she didn't cut me any slack. Nope, she didn't, though she did use humor and tact.

When she pointed out the errors--so many errors--of my ways, it was impossible for me to miss them. I'll admit this. It made me mad. And discouraged. And I dumped the story in the dead file and went on with life.

Last year, I was looking through my dead file for something to work on. And pulled out the plane crash story. I read through it again, noting every point my professional reader had listed. And...she was so right. Yeah, she was.

But this was a story I really, really wanted to write. It was still simmering on the back burner. So I closed the file and opened a new document and started from scratch.

That book--my plane crash book--is Shadows on Stone. It's a story I'm very proud of with a hero and heroine I fell in love with along the way. And it's the first book in a new series--Tuatha Treasures.

Sometimes when the story really isn't working, it just needs time. Time to gel. Time to simmer. Time to develop into the story it was meant to be.

If you'd like to check out the final result--just click on the book cover for Shadows on Stone. It was worth the wait. And yeah...perseverance pays off.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Four Bears

When I want to mull over various story ideas, I have a game I play on the computer. It's fairly mindless, yet requires more thought than say, solitaire. In the game, I'm establishing a colony in a new land, competing against other explorers who are also establishing colonies. We have to explore, locate resources, collect treasures, build our towns, and so forth.

Treasures are guarded by treasure guardians. And the worth of the treasure is usually directly related to how many "guardians" you have to eliminate to collect the treasure. If the explorer isn't strong enough, the guardians will wound him so bad he can't fight until his town ransoms him. That's pretty much like real life, isn't it? The more valuable the goal to us, the more work involved to achieve it.

Some of the most difficult treasures in the game have four bears guarding them. One way to defeat the bears is simply to wait until you're far enough in the game that your explorer is "strong" enough to defeat all the bears. Of course, by then the treasure might be gone. One of the other explorers might have collected it.

Or...the explorer can get help. He can gather a few soldiers to help him defeat the bears and collect the treasure.

A lot of time in life, we insist on collecting the treasure all on our own. We refuse the assistance we need. And we end up knocked out of the game.

How many bears are you fighting?


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Final Edits

For those unfamiliar with the world of publishing...the final edits are the last chance for the author to make changes in his/her manuscript. The publisher sends the corrected/ edited ms back to the author and says, "One more chance..."

Some authors skim through and send it back, but I read it word-for-word. And still find errors, typos, and the occasional what-the-heck-was-I-thinking, head-scratching phrase. It's a slow process.

You might wonder why go through it all, then? Well, writing the book isn't enough. Editing and revisions aren't enough. If this is going to be what's left after I'm gone, I want it to be the best I can do--at this point in time. I might grow to be a better writer in the future. I sure hope so. But for now, this is the very best I can do.

And besides...I'm something of a perfectionist. I admit it. When I find errors in my earlier books I cringe. With every book, I strive to avoid that experience in the future.

So. Final edits. I'll be busy. ☺


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Twinkie Defense

I'm tired of all the badly behaving people who claim the Twinkies defense. You know...somebody/something/life made them do "it". A soldier kills a bunch of civilians and now we have to hear about how he's having trouble paying his bills. I know a LOT of people who are in debt up past their eyeballs and living out past the edge. So what?

Or the person who had a bad childhood so it's okay to shoot a bunch of people at their workplace. Or the individual whose wife is divorcing him so it's okay to kill his family.

When did we turn into a sniveling bunch of whiny babies? Life sucks. Oh, yes, it does. People all over this country are suffering with poverty, homelessness, disease, and every other possible problem. I've been there. My neighbors have been there. My family is there right now!

The grown ups just keep going. We all hang in there together, offering words of encouragement and hope...and when we can, we do something a little more substantial. But at no point is it okay to kill a bunch of people because things aren't going good.

It just doesn't work that way. I don't know anyone who doesn't have a bushel of problems to deal with. No. One. Such is life. Deal with it. Talk to someone. Doctor. Minister. Friend.

Many years ago the doctor I was using as a primary physician at that time was arrested for selling drugs. His picture was on the front page of the newspaper and I was stunned. I was also in the middle of a medical crisis and had to find another doctor. My new doctor asked me how I felt about the previous doc. I said I was "sad". He said, "You shouldn't be sad. You should be mad. Doctors have the very best access to help."

I've thought a lot about how we deal with multiple murders in this country. And I've decided I'm tired of listening to the excuses and justifications. There are no acceptable reasons to kill a bunch of people. I don't care whether you use a knife, a gun or a rock. Too many people get all wound up by the method. Dead is dead.

And the Twinkie defense is not good enough.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Has the sads... :-(

On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. As I sit at my computer, I have to wonder where our country is going. Oh, I'm not worried about the elections. The damage--incredible damage to our freedoms--has been done. Quite frankly, I don't see any way out short of total anarchy. The thing I find most discouraging is that so many people are asleep at the wheel. They're worried about who's going to win on the reality shows on television or who's sleeping with who in Hollywood. And the band plays on in Washington, DC.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then maybe you should take a couple minutes and read up at the links provided about how your freedoms have been systematically stripped in the last six months.

Many of you are appalled at what the current candidates are proposing, but my friends that's merely a smoke screen to keep your attention away from the real show. Read. Be informed. Don't be distracted by the political clown show. Time is running out.

Obama signs law
No need for congressional approval for war


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Motor City Mage

Yay!!! My critique partner, Cindy Spencer Pape, had a new Motor City book out! This is the final one in the series. If you haven't read these, you're missing out on a wonderful group of characters! Click on the book cover to take you right to the source!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Speak To Me

A few years ago, I embarked on a new career--writer of romance. In the beginning I received considerable encouragement from fellow writers (most of them were also new to the publishing business).

Over time our little group dispersed and went on to other endeavors. Some are self-published. Some are "retired" from writing--either temporarily due to personal issues or permanently because writing is a long lonely business that pays poorly.

Because I grew up part nomad, I can have a discussion with almost anyone, anywhere, anytime, about anything. My children used to writhe in the throes of embarrassment when I struck up conversations with total strangers in the line at the grocery store. They didn't understand there is a difference between talking about impersonal subjects and sharing deeply personal insights. All they knew was I was chatting with a total stranger!



Well, don't ask me to promote myself. That's completely different. I grew up in the era of ladyship. Those women who are near my age will understand exactly what I mean. Most women born after the 1950s probably won't. Oh, they'll believe they do because they might be familiar with a lady in their family or close friends circle.

You see, a lady never, ever put herself forward. A lady might accept the accolades from her peers, but she would never boast or even mention her accomplishments. She could be a concert pianist, a scholar with a string of degrees, a race car driver with a shelf of trophies but you would never know those things about her unless someone else told you.

It's difficult for those of us who grew up with our mothers and aunts and grandmothers drumming the rules of ladyship into us. Very difficult. Because for those of us who are writers or other creative types, we're encouraged, nay expected to "toot our own horn". This is the new reality.

At the same time, we're trying to survive in an increasingly isolated culture, a place where we relate to fewer people and have less in common with those around us. Competition is fierce. Friendship is shallow. And the new neighborhood is Facebook. Now instead of coffee klatches, we have circles and lists of friends we know in the most superficial of terms.

There's are certain expectations in this brave new world. Almost all of them are understood though they're never actually articulated.

I'll promote your book if you promote mine.

If you read my blog and comment, I'll read yours...and comment.

If you rave about my book, I'll purchase yours and rave about it...even if I think it's terrible.

If you don't follow the rules...well, what can I say? I don't know you. 

Back in the days of ladyship, when you were touched by a book, you wrote a letter to the author and expressed your appreciation. I miss those days. I wrote to some of my favorite authors b.e. (before e-mail) and received handwritten replies. It was a two way street, linking author and reader on a level I suspect rarely happens now days. Instead, readers belong to reader sites where they rate books they read with little thought about sharing their thoughts with the author.

When an author writes a story, they are reaching out to the reader and sharing their inner vision. This is akin to standing naked on the street corner. We all have an intensely private life comprised of thought and fantasy. When we write, we reveal some of those private thoughts.

If we never receive any feedback, we have no idea whether the onlookers are cheering or laughing at our nakedness. Is it worth the risk to reveal more of our inner selves? Or should we really go back to our dark cave, hoarding our gifts, never sharing those bright fantasies and ideas?

I won't know. Unless you speak to me...


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Cover!

Lookee, lookee! Received my cover for Shadows on Stone! Isn't that pretty?

When Maxen Pryce and Russet McGinnis dig up a strange stone on their archeological dig, they don’t suspect the startling ways it will change their lives. The stone—the Lia Fail of Tuathan legend—is the property of the goddess Danaii and she wants her possession back. While flying the artifacts to Russet’s winter home, Max and Russet’s plane is seized by Danaii and transported to Cabhán Geal, home of the Tuatha dé Danann.

Alone and dependent on each other for their survival, Max and Russet confess their love and need for each other, taking delight in their passionate interludes even as they struggle to deal with abduction, shape-shifters, hostile natives and the puzzling demands of the goddess Danaii. Unaware of the significance of the cargo hidden on their plane, they meet each new encounter with increasing determination to survive—whatever the cost—as long as they are together.

But Danaii has a plan, a plan that will take everything they have to give. If they surrender their lives to the goddess, their futures will be brighter than they can imagine.  


“Well.” He leaned closer and kissed her nose. “Are you ready to go meet the neighbors, honey?”
“As I ever will be. Why do I have the feeling they’re not going to help rescue us?” she asked as she slowly wiped her hands on her sweatpants.
“Probably for the same reason I feel that way. Something isn’t right.” He offered her his hand and led the way around the tail of the plane. He had his eyes on the ground, trying to avoid the muddiest spots so he wasn’t prepared when Russet stopped dead and frantically yanked on his arm.
He turned to see what her problem was.
She was making little whimpering squeaky noises, and the terrified expression on her face raised the hair on the back of his neck. Whipping around, he peered over his shoulder as he instinctively nudged Russet back toward the plane door.
A line of young naked warriors was advancing across the field toward them brandishing spears. That was bad enough. But the enormous tawny griffin leading them was enough to send Max tearing off across the field toward the trees lining the far edge. He had a firm grip on Russet’s arm and dragged her willy-nilly behind him, ignoring her protests and frequent stumbles as she struggled to keep up with him.
“What was that?” she yelled.
“Keep running.” Max peered over his shoulder and immediately zigzagged off to the right. The griffin was gaining on them. “Run!”

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Killer Smile

Heh. I don't have anything much to say today. My mind is on some dental work I have to have done this afternoon. And you know? I can't seem to get around that. Anyway, I thought I would talk about a discovery that came from having dental work done in the past.

Most people don't seem to have a problem with the dentist. Oh, it's not a pleasant experience, but it's not painful, either. Not so for me. For a long time I thought I was a wuss of the first order. And then I stumbled across the truth.

Novocaine (along with most of the other "caines") doesn't work for me. It's difficult to convince the medical establishment that this is true. Very difficult. But I've finally developed an explanation that at least they listen to before they drill.

It seems the anesthetic shots don't work on anyone in my family! My uncle, my siblings, my mother is gone now so I couldn't ask her, but her brother had to have general anesthesia for his dental work. The shots don't deaden the skin for stitches, either. Nope.

Now the grandkids are coming along. Our family has been working on compiling (and updating) a family medical history. And that is one of the things that is in it. Along with the severe nose bleeds and the kidney disease.

What about you? Does your family have something that runs through the generations? How do you make sure everyone is aware of it?


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lost the Plot

A fellow writer sent me a wonderful jumpstart she is working on. For those who might be wondering, a jumpstart is when an idea/dream/notion is tickling your brain and you just sit down and write until it runs out. Sometimes it ends up as a book. And sometimes a promising idea just sort of dies with a dreadful thud and you move on.

Anyway, when I encouraged her to keep working on this little bit she had, she said, "But I don't have a plot..."

Now for me, plot has never been an issue. I know! That's the wrong way to do it, but sometimes that's just the way it works. I keep writing, meandering in the woods, and suddenly it all starts coming together.

My critique partner once asked me, "Where are you going with this story?"

And my reply? "I have no idea."

My current story just hit the coming together 12K. I ran back through it to see how much I would have to change now that I sort of have a plot. And except for a name change and two sentences, I'm in good shape.

Now another writer friend cannot conceive of working this way. She's very organized with index cards and outlines and color coding. I admire her tenacity very much. It would make me insane to write with all that paraphernalia in my mental space, but that doesn't mean it's not right for her.

So what am I blathering on about? Well, we all have different working styles. And some of us don't start with a plot!

What's your writing style?