Saturday, November 9, 2013


I did it. This is the first time ever I've signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and so far I am loving it. Let me give you my take on it and why it's working for me.
First off, the idea of writing 50,000 words in a month is not so daunting for me. I've done it before when I had deadlines and books due. The fastest I've ever written a book (rough draft) was two months. That was with A Matter of Pride and I just wanted to see if I could do it. Turns out it was one of my favorite books. (see the Pretty Baby post). Maybe it was because I knew what was going to happen (not plotting--I don't do much extensive plotting; I just have a general idea of what the story will be) and didn't leave myself time to second guess what I was putting on the paper. So this year, after many month of writing heartaches and pain, I needed something to kickstart my writing again. I had been plodding along, but I just wasn't feeling it. My daughter (one of the twins) is also a writer. Not published yet, but she is working on her second novel. She signed up for NaNoWriMo and asked me to as well. What the hell, I thought. So I did.
The thing about me is that I have an enormous responsibility streak in me. When I sign up for or commit to something, I do not shirk my duties. (Thus when I quit my volleyball team earlier this year--long story--you know it was a major issue that caused me to do that. Okay, you only have my word for it, but honestly, it was a big traumatic deal for me.) As soon as I signed up for NaNo in October, I started regretting it. Writing really did break my heart this year and last--several times--so I wasn't eager about doing NaNo. And then I started.
OMG (sorry). It's been fantastic! Not only have I reached the goal every day so far, the joy is back. I'm having such fun. Yes, it's work; yes, it's hard; yes, I've taken wrong turns and had to delete scenes; but I've always managed to make forward progress and like what poured out on the paper. I can't believe how much I look forward to facing the page (yes, I'm hand writing it, then transferring to computer) each day. That responsibility gene may have kick started me, but now it's me and I'm loving it.
Now I also have to make a confession. You're supposed to start Nano with a brand new work, from the beginning, with nothing written on it yet. I'm a rebel. I had a half finished novel that I'm working on, but honestly, 50,000 words is 50,000 words. I don't need validation from the website, I don't need to win any prizes, I just needed that responsibility gene to kick in (That gene is also why I'm so good on deadline--in ten published books, I haven't missed one yet and turned in nine of them at least a month early. Yes, I was that freak in high school and college who turned in term papers early too. Except once, when I wanted to experience what an extension felt like. I hated it. I had a semester and turned it in a week after the due date.)
So my words for today are done, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and now I'm off to play. Or do laundry. Unfortunately real life does like to intrude.
Books I'm reading now
A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin

Friday, October 25, 2013

Secrets in Books

Oooo, that sounds so ominous. Well, if not ominous, important, and actually this post is neither. But as I was re-reading and getting A MATTER OF HONOR ready for publishing as an ebook, I remembered so many things that were going through my mind as I was writing the novel. So I thought I'd share some of those secrets.
A Matter of Honor: book 3 in the Destiny Coin series
A Matter of Honor: book 3 in the Destiny Coin series

First, I have to tell you about the heroine's name. Lorane didn't just pop into my head from nowhere. When I was a young girl, I was given a doll by bachelor friend of my parents. Yes, the bachelor part is important because he didn't have children, so he really didn't have any idea what an appropriate toy was for kids. He gave my sister and me dolls--dolls that go on display, not the kind you play with. These dolls had big eyes and were very stylized. My sister destroyed hers pretty quickly, but I had mine for years (even after I gave her way too much makeup with a marker). In fact my kids can remember that doll because I still had it as an adult. She fell apart about 15 years ago, but that doll was named Lorena and she lives on in my heroine.

The second secret about Lorane is that she was the easiest character I have ever written. Why? Because she's my husband. Okay, that sounds weird, but her focus-driven ways, her interest in science and her dedication to her work is as familiar to me as my own quirks because I've lived with them since I was married. My husband is just as focused, just as dedicated to his work, and can be just as, hmmm, shall we say unconcerned?-- about the real world as Lorane can be in the novel. The only time a review has ever truly hurt me was when one reviewer said she didn't like Lorane because she dealt with absent-minded people all the time and they drove her crazy. It hurt because my husband is such a wonderful man, so loving, so caring, but if I depended on romantic letters or gifts to show that he loved me, I'd be waiting a loooong time. Of course, I also think intelligence is the sexiest thing out there, more than abs, roses, or spewing poetry. Nerd girl here.

Another secret: To this day, I don't think I could recognize poison ivy. (You'll have to read the book to see why this is ironic.)
Books I'm reading now:
A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Disney Dreams Part II

I love Disney and our vacation to Disney World was everything we hoped it would. Our family of five was together for the first time in over a year. ANd now that political reality has intruded its ugly head into our lives (my husband is about to be furloughed if the stupid ^&#$%(* in Congress continue to not do their jobs), I'm thrilled we took the time to have this vacation.

Day Three was spent at Animal Kingdom. We loved it. It was totally new to us, and fabulous. The Expedition Everest roller coaster was such a hit that three of us rode it twice. The Dinosaur ride took out two of us (upset stomachs). In my opinion, Dinosaur is just the Indiana Jones ride of Disneyland with a different theme.  I made the same argument about Test Track--it's the Disney California Adventures Cars ride with a different theme (Test Track was first). Someone back me up here. But the animals at Animal kingdom made the whole park worth while. My second favorite park in the place.
White Rhino at Animal Kingdom
White Rhino at Animal Kingdom
That evening, after Animal Kingdom closed, we went to Epcot for dinner. We really just dashed through for food and then did a couple of rides before they closed for the night--Test Track, Nemo, and Soarin', which I will never go on again. I was laughing the whole way through because I was scared to death. It's the heights. I can't take them any more. Isn't it odd the fears we develop as we go through life. I'm not afraid of the height in a plane, but I am never climbing another tower as long as I live. And I had no issue in Tower of Terror the next day in Hollywood Studios either, but I couldn't ride on Soarin' without scrunching my eyes shut. My daughters were laughing at me too. It was actually quite amusing for all of us, including myself.

Anyway, back to Epcot. I had a chance to use my German in the German section, but only because my husband forced me to. I don't know why I suddenly got shy. Maybe it's because it's ben years since I've had a chance to use my German. Even when I was there a couple of years ago, I spoke Hungarian with my cousins. The food in the international part was amazing. So much so that we went back on Monday night for dinner in Morocco (best shish kebab I've ever had). And the beer in Germany was awesome. I miss German beer.

Hollywood Studios was my least favorite park. Too sunny, too hot, not enough trees, etc. We did do Star tours, which was fun because it's different from Disneyland, and saw the shows (Meh. I'm not much one for car stunts. I'm sure it's impressive, but I was hot and bothered.) Tower of Terror was great fun, and we stayed long enough to see Fantasmic.

Sunday two daughters left to return home for work, but three of us still had two days. Morning was spent saying goodbye, and then we donned bathing suits again and went to Blizzard Beach,..just in time for the second rain storm of our stay. Still we were getting wet anyway, and rain didn't stop us. I pushed my own limits and surprised myself at how much fun I had. I want to go back.
My husband's favorite character
My husband's favorite character
Dinner that night was spectacular. We ate at Artist Pointe in the Wilderness Lodge. I had the best scallops I've ever eaten. Husband had buffalo and venison, and the honored graduate had filet mignon. And it was on the meal plan!! So except for the appletini I had, it was essentially free. (It did cost double points, but somehow we had accumulated them so it was on the meal plan.) The food and atmosphere was sublime, and the resort was impressive. Now I know where the rich folks stay. Beautiful lodgings.

On our last day, we revisited Animal Kingdom because we were so taken with it. Magic Kingdom is still our favorite, but we see that a lot in California (only slight differences between the two), so Animal Kingdom it was in the morning, then back to Epcot to see the few things we missed, a few country presentations, and redo Nemo so we could explore the aquarium further. And that's when we had RAIN. We had ponchos and decided we wouldn't let the rain stop us, but we were soaked. What an adventure though. We went on most of the exhibits and saw most of the films, including Norway's. No offense to Norwegians--their country is beautiful--but why is Norway a country in the international plaza? There's no Brazil, no Egypt, no Australia, no Russia, no India, but they do have Norway. Is lutefisk such a delicacy? (I'm kidding, but my husband and I did make many jokes about it.) We  buy a Santa figurine to add to our Christmas collection there. A Norwegian Santa is our Santa for 2013.

And the next day was home. Too sad. I don't even like to think about it. Our week was magical. Then it was back to reality: our remodeling has started, and then the politicians started playing idiotic games with our nation that directly impact me and my family. Our timing was really off on both the vacation and the remodeling--I'll know next week if we won't have income for a while--but I refuse to regret the week at Disney. It was worth every penny and we have so many memories to treasure.
Books I'm reading now:
Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Preternatura: Top 3 Things Gabi Stevens Has Learned From Writing...

Preternatura: Top 3 Things Gabi Stevens Has Learned From Writing...: Today, please help me welcome fellow Tor author and agent-mate Gabi Stevens! Gabi has stopped by today to talk about the things she has lear...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Little Signs

I don’t believe in omens or magical portents or prophecies (although I love to read and write about them), but sometimes little signs do exist that one should pay attention to. I quit my job last year for two reasons: one, so I would have more time and energy to write (I was a teacher, know); and two, my youngest was starting a new community transition program through the schools to give her job and life training, so she could have more independence. She doesn’t drive and this program is all over the city. There is a bus service that we could sign her up for, but I’ve heard horror stories about it (hyperbole, but things like having to spend four hours on the bus to get to and from the classes—two hours there, two hours home) So basically I left my job to become a glorified chauffeur. I know, I know; I need to let my daughter learn how to get around, but not yet, okay?

Yesterday as I was driving my daughter home from her morning session, and we had a wonderful conversation. She opened up to me about not being ready for a lot of things. Yes, we believe in pushing her, but she was honest and told me she wasn’t ready. It was at that moment I realized that I had done the right thing by not working (and thank the stars that I have the luxury of that decision). Until yesterday I’ve been feeling guilty about earning no money (let’s face it, the writing isn’t making me rich), but today I’m quite happy to be typing while I’m waiting for her to finish her class. And yes, it does help that I drop her off, then go to a cafĂ© for a breakfast and hours of uninterrupted writing. Once a week her class is too far for me to drive back and forth so I just stick around. I am so productive those days.

So the little signs are important to pay attention to and I believe are more reliable that those big ones people want to believe in (2012 anyone?). Like the sign that’s telling my to cut my bangs to make my hair easier to manage. That’s being taken care of this afternoon.


Books I’m reading now:
Dating a Cougar by Donna McDonald
The Cuckoo’s Calling By Robert Gilbraith
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Pretty Baby

As a writer I've heard this metaphor used so many times: your book is your baby and it hurts when they call it ugly. I find the metaphor not very accurate. Okay, I do understand what people are saying, and to some extent it is analogous, but honestly, if you can't view your manuscript objectively, you will never improve as a writer. You have to be able to  see your weaknesses and learn from them and improve. Admittedly that can take time, sometimes years, to see your own work without a prejudiced eye.
I have loved every book I've written, but with the gift of time, knowledge, and ability, I can recognize which books are better than others. And this view is still very subjective. The book I believe is my weakest is my mother's favorite of all my novels. But from a storytelling standpoint, that book relies on the BIG MIS (big misunderstanding--a problem that could be easily solved with a conversation). Personally I like the big mis as a trope. It reads realistically to me. I've had big mis-es in my own life and I believe humans are prone to them, but for some reason they are a big no-no in romance these days. So that book, which does rely on the BIG MIS (with, I hope, good justification for it) and, objectively, I think I could have ended the mis earlier, but that would have ended the book sooner,  thus is definitely my weakest.

Which leads me to the point of my title--the prettiest baby. I have some novels that are so special to me, that I believe are truly great, that have broken my heart because they didn't do as well as I believed they should, that should have launched me into a solid stable writing career (so I didn't have to even think about returning to teach to earn more money). AS YOU WISH was one of those. It was magical writing it, and so many elements worked in it. I have another manuscript that isn't published yet, a time travel, that was the same way. I'm still looking for a home for it.

And I want to mention one more. A Matter of Pride was my second published novel and my sixth manuscript. It is the second in The Destiny Coin series and was originally published in 2001.MatterOfPrideFor me, it is probably the closest I will ever get to writing a perfect romance. All my other stories rely on a lot of adventure and derring-do in comparison, but for a classic, well-written (if I'm allowed to indulge in a little boasting), smart, and emphasis-on-romance story, Pride is wonderful. I have recently re-read it in preparation for releasing it as an ebook, and it holds up well. I made myself laugh, and it is smart. I love the characters. I love the plot, and the ending left me cheering. Yes, I know I wrote it, but it is good if I have any ability to judge books at all.

I hope you check it out. Book one, A Matter of Convenience, is also available, and book three, A Matter of Honor, will be coming out in about a month. Honor has its own secret that I'll share when I re-release it. (waggling eyebrows)
Books I'm reading now:
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Reader in the Family

As most of you know, my youngest is developmentally challenged. She is healthy, joyous, funny, and lest you think she's a paragon, can be a brat or simply have attitude with us. In other words, normal, but as I bet other parents don't, we celebrate every teenage tantrum she pitches. Not in front of her of course. But soon she won't be a teenager any longer. We're already stretching it because in less than half a year she leaves her teenage years behind.

I'm not telling you this for sympathy or condolences. It's a fact of our lives and we live pretty (again that word) normally. As normal as any family with a few considerations. But one of the saddest aspects for me was that she was never a reader. She can read, but it was always a struggle for her because language is where her major difficulties lie. The rest of us--me, my husband, my other two daughters--we are huge readers. One of my twins was already reading before Kindergarten. The other twin took a little while longer, but became so addict to reading by seventh grade, that she was punished at school for reading too much (sounds more draconian than it was--it was a math class and she shouldn't have been reading; and now she's a writer too. I plan to collaborate with her soon). My husband reads a lot, and I'm never found far from a book. So it did make me sad that my youngest would never know the joys of books.

You know the minute you decide life has shown you one thing, it likes to slap you in the face and make a fool of you. And this one is a really good trick it played. I'm thrilled to announce that my youngest has started reading for fun. It's only been in the last couple of weeks. She's not reading adult novels, but who cares. She's been picking up picture books and junior novelizations and asking to buy books. She's been reading fan fic on the Internet! I can't tell you how thrilled I am that I have to tell her to put the book down and come play with the dogs. She seems to like reading on her iPad more than hard copies, but I'm good with that. Right now We're just celebrating that she's reading. Behind her back. We don't want her to become self-conscious about it, but I think she's shocked that I'm letting her buy every book she asks for.
I'm wet because we just got off of Splash Mountain at Disneyland
Who says life isn't interesting? Change happens.
Books I'm reading now:
The Cuckoo's Calling

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New book out.

Only it's not so new. It's the re-release of my very first novel, A Matter of Convenience, a historical romance set in the Massachusetts of 1798.

Under the name Gabi Anderson.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I was out of state this past weekend for the wedding of my husband's niece (which technically makes her my niece as well, but I wanted to make the familial relationship clear in few words which is totally pointless after this long aside). It became a semi-family reunion because we saw relatives we haven't seen in years. One of my nieces has a seven-year old daughter that we've never seen. That's the problem with family living all over. I live in New Mexico, two nieces live in Idaho, one in Utah, one Bro-in-law and family in Houston, the other bro-in-law in California; so family get-togethers like this one are few are far between. We had one member of the oldest generation, four of us from the next, ten from the next and three from the next. Plus one if you count the groom that joined the family that weekend. A ten-hour drive took us to the location of the ceremony. We stayed in town for three days, played, talked, and essentially caught up with one another and life. There is a bond there that blood provides, which overcomes the lack of contact, the different lives and beliefs, and the generational gaps that exist. Or I may be delusional.

A few odd observations (and don't you think oddservations might be a good word for that?): Every state has its own unique quirks. My husband and I like to claim New Mexico drivers are the worst (not understanding the use of blinkers, drunk driving, speed), but I think every state claims that; but I have never seen lookie-loo traffic as bad as I did in Utah. We passed three accidents, minor fender benders all, but from the way traffic was stopped, you'd think the next dinosaur-massacring asteroid had hit and everyone wanted a piece. Also, we are suffering from the most sever drought here in New Mexico (really, if they can consider piping oil from Canada to Texas, can't they consider piping water from all those flood regions here? Okay, there's no money in water; I get it), but both Colorado and Utah are green. I figured out why--they water! Every field had a sprinkler system  and they were on.  No wonder we don't have water here. Saw some odd businesses too--taxidermy and antiques at one; statuary and farm equipment at another.  And in Utah on I-15 they have the HOV lane. We finally figured out we could drive in because we had three occupants in our car and one had to have 2 or more. HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicle. I'm sorry, but two does not seem "high" to me. Seven or eight--now that would seem high. Those carpool lanes in California do the same. Two or more. Two does not make a carpool in my opinion. Those lanes should be  three or more at least. Then they would truly be worth driving on.

Okay, so this was a slow and not very interesting blog, but, hey, we all have those days. The wedding was beautiful, very informal, and looked lovely. The bride and groom don't have a lot of money, but really, I like this wedding better than a lot of the fancier weddings I've attended.  So congratulations to the bride and groom (they know who they are), and a hello to my family (They know who they are too).
P.S. Pixie isn't blogging this week because she's still mad that we left her behind. With a fine house-sitter, but Pixie hasn't forgiven us yet.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A very Special Prom night

Pixie here. You've heard me talk about Mom, but what you may not not know is that really I'm the dog of my Mom's daughter. She's really special, a little different from other kids, but I love her just the same.  She's graduating high school this year, which may not seem like that big a deal to you, but it's huge for us. See, Stef has been in special education all her life; she can communicate but not really well or at the level of other kids her age. She can read, but not well, and while she likes her independence, she won't be living on her own any time soon. So this is a huge milestone for her and all of us in our family.
The problem is that with the end of the school year comes all those things that normal kids, well, I can't say take for granted because they're a big deal to them, but it isn't exactly the time for thinking of others. Take Prom night for example. Prom was last night for Stef's high school. She started talking about prom back in September, right around the time she realized that being a senior was special. She planned to go, get a dress, a date, everything that going to prom means. Now we've all seen those lovely stories about the kid with Down syndrome being elected Prom King, or Homecoming Queen, or to the various courts. They are heart-warming, wonderful stories and really give you faith in the youth of today. This isn't one of those stories.  Honestly, for every one special kid honored this way, there are probably a couple dozen who are forgotten. Stef is one of those forgotten ones. Stef didn't go to homecoming. She was left out the group senior picture in the yearbook. Seriously, when seniors were asked to assemble or participate in something, most of the time, they forget to call the special ed kids. But she kept talking about prom.
Stef doesn't have Down Syndrome, and she isn't the outgoing, overly friendly type. She isn't unpleasant, and she can be quiet (except at home when she sings at the top of her lungs and so off-key it almost hurts, but no one would every tell her to stop), and her face looks serious, and sometimes, not often at all but sometimes, she can forget about her mouth and a little bit of drool can come out. She's tall, curvy (and who in the great scheme of things thought that was a good idea?), and rather shy. She has a wicked sense of humor once you get to know her, and she loves to play games.
So prom night was coming up, and Mom and Dad were really worried about how disappointed Stef was going to be. No group of friends volunteered to take her, no date, nothing. Mom even reached out to her former students for ideas, but no one got in touch with her.  That's when a small, quiet, lovely little thing happened. Stef's been a member of Best Buddies since she started high school. Best Buddies is a group that pairs up kids with developmental and intellectual disabilities with peer buddies just for friendship. Stef's best buddy this year is a junior. I'm not going to mention her name because she didn't give me permission (not that I asked, but I won't publish her name without her or her parents' permission). Juniors are also allowed to go to the prom. All of Stef's buddy's friends were going but she wasn't. Instead, she called Stef, told Stef that she thought prom would be boring, and how about  they went out to dinner and then went bowling instead? Stef spent the last two weeks talking about how she wasn't going to prom, how she had better plans. So last night, while all the other high school juniors and seniors were getting dressed up, picked up in limos, spending lots of money on one night, Stef went out with a friend, had a wonderful time, and just felt like she was part of something. That she had a friend. Something most of us take for granted.
A small, quiet, heart-warming story.
You know, I couldn't love Stef more if she were "normal".
P.S. Mom pledged 10% of her royalties from AS YOU WISH to Best Buddies International, so if you want a fun read and contribute to a good cause...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sick days

Mom's been home these past these past two days, but instead of playing with us (Tonks and me), she spent them in bed. Turns out she was sick. Some fever or something, which means I would have had the perfect opportunity to blog without interruption, but, hey, even we cutest pups have our jobs, and mine was sleeping by her side while she was in bed feeling awful. I do my part. And I do love her. Crazy thing is, she's more happy about the weight she's lost from not eating for two days than the getting better. Humans are such an odd breed. The things they find important. Tsk, tsk.

Mom has been restless lately because she hasn't found anything to entertain her. She's finished the entire line-up of "Eureka", the available episodes of "Warehouse 13," "Top Gear" (UK version, of course--we have our standards), and in an attempt to find something else that kept her interest, she watched another show that may people rave about, but she found lacking. The last two books she read were lacking too. She loved the writing, but in one the holes at the end left her unsatisfied, and in the other, she thought the heroine was such a baby. She likes the humor mixed with serious (see the TV shows she enjoys above), and that what she writes too, but apparently they don't sell well. If you ask me, she should throw in a dog or two and bones. Everybody loves bones.

So if you have any suggestions for her, reading or viewing, I'll pass them along. If she has to spend many more days in bed with nothing to read or watch, she'll go nuts, and I don't like it when she goes nuts. She starts doing crazy things like cleaning and removing all that lovely dogginess that we (Tonks and I) have worked so hard to get into the house.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

There's been a coup

Pixie here.
Mom has really dropped the ball recently.
She hasn't posted anything in a long time, and frankly, after reading the past posts, there's been far too little about me. So that's about to change. I stole her password and her laptop and have taken control. I mean, look at me. I'm long past due for grooming (Hey, Mom, the scruffy look went out in the sixties!), and breakfast was late this morning. Who does she think she is? Sure she had a book appear on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo this week. But seriously. Compare:
Who would you rather look at? Naked dude or scruffy loveliness? (Even scruffy I'm the cutest). So I decided to take over. It's probably time. And my content will be far more interesting than hers. Although that whole lack-of-opposable thumb thing might make it a little more difficult for me. But I'm nothing if not cunning and clever. Who else but a cunning and clever pup could show you how to kill a mockingbird?Mockingbird
It didn't even taste like bird. Pffft.

Monday, March 11, 2013


It's spring break for me and I am full of plans. Plans to write, plans to publish, plans to relax, plans to enjoy. The problem with plans and too many of them is that often they are unrealistic. There is no way to achieve everything on my list if I am totally honest with myself. I expect too much efficiency from myself and if I'm honest I already know I won't get to half the things on my list. And that compounds the guilt I feel for falling short.

So this week I'm trying to be realistic. Trying. Not necessarily succeeding, but trying. I have two books to be put up on Kindle and Nook, so at least I can get them formatted. I'll try to get the covers done too, but definitely formatted. I'm working on a book (two actually) and would like to make good progress on them. I would love to push it and get at least one finished, but I also have to remember that my day has left me tired and drained and I do need recovery.

And I'd like to spend some time with the family. Maybe catch a movie with the daughter. Maybe paint a room. And the poor dogs need attention too, and then I should plan for the rest of the school year...Wait, it's getting out of control again.

We all have twenty-four hours in a day. What we do with those hours is our choice. And I"m learning that the world won't end if I don't accomplish everything today. I'm not talking about procrastination; I'm speaking about getting the job done with quality and care. Much better than the slapdash ways I usually get things done.

Take a breath and remember that life is fleeting and it's okay to take a break.

Books I'm reading now:
Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spring Fling into Romance

Multi author booksigning with Darynda Jones, Celeste Bradley, Katie Lane and me! Page One Book Store, Albuquerque,  March 9, 3:30 PM.

And now for something different...

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."
A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."
A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.
“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is--”
“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”
How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, but it's actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one's shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, changer and all was blown out of existence. They co-existed in a parallel universe, though.
How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.
How many cover blurb writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Past, present and future walked into a pub. It was a bit tense.
Books I'm reading now:
Judging the RITA at the moment. Shhhh, can't tell you what I'm reading. It's a secret.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I had a conversation with my mother today. Nothing important. We chatted, we laughed we shared news about the family. And then she told me she had a nightmare last night. She's spending the nights at my sister's to feed the dog while they're out of town and she doesn't like spending the night in that big house. In her nightmare she was frightened, and then my father appeared in her dream. He said to her, somewhat annoyed with her, "Why didn't you tell me you were scared?" And as she's laughing at herself while telling me her dream, she said, "I was so happy to see him again."

She didn't mean in her dream. My father died twenty plus years ago. And his visit in her dream made her happy. Truly happy. It was in her voice. Oh, neither of us read anything into the dream or take it as a sign. It was just a lovely visit so she could see him again. I had a dream about him, my uncle and my grandmother, all deceased, last summer and I woke up with the same feeling. Not that it was sign, but it was just lovely to see them again.

I think that's why romance (the literary genre, not the dinners, flowers, and candlelight) is so enduring. Love is the most powerful emotion. Love is the chemical that drives us. Love is the thing we search for and once we've found it, man, we depend on it to anchor us and buoy us and gladden us and strengthen us. At least it does for me.

And when that person who inspires us is gone, it doesn't mean the love is. The love stays. That's how strong it is. And I take comfort in that.


Books I'm reading now:
Whoops. Can't tell you. I'm judging the RITA contest.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hi ho, hi ho...

Yup. It's that time. Time to return to work after a lovely long break. That's the advantage to being a teacher--you get lovely long breaks. That's not to say I didn't bring a large box of grading home to do or that I didn't have a bunch of lesson plans to type out, because I did. I even got all that work done. What I didn't accomplish was what I wanted to do. I could blame family coming coming to visit--they did. I could could blame the holidays that require preparation and planning--they did. But really I have no one to blame but myself. Honestly, it felt too good to just take time to myself. But more on that in a moment.

I think it's undervalued, that taking time for one's self. Somehow you have to replenish you strength, your spirit, your sleep bank.  I can't speak for other writers, but I always feel that I'm not doing enough. I always have that something hanging over my head, bugging me, making me feel inadequate. That I have something to do that I'm not doing. If only I were smarter, better, faster, needed less sleep. 

The stupid thing is (going back to that whole replenishing the well) that when I do work and push myself, I feel better and have more energy and more creativity. So basically what I'm confessing to is laziness. Sigh.

Anyone have any anti-laziness pills?

What I'm reading now:
Risky Business by Nora Roberts

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Perfect Book...

...doesn't exist. I'm convinced of it. From any aspect, no book is perfect. It has grammatical errors (and I speak from experience here: My last novel went through numerous iterations from me, from my editor, from me again, from the copy editor, from me again, and then I went through the galley proofs and still found 143 errors. I try not to glance at my book's content once it's in print out of fear of catching more errors, but I had to give a reading at a book signing, and--cringe--I found an error while I was reading. It's not a good idea.), pacing errors, printing errors, word choice errors, and if by some minuscule chance all those errors don't exist, then, guaranteed, the final product doesn't live up to the author's vision (mine never have) and  there will be people who don't like the book and others who absolutely adore the book. A perfect book is a mythological beast.

Which is why it is a fruitless goal to try to write a perfect book. Like life, a book will be messy. It will be messy while you write it, while you work out its kinks, while you "fix" it. And that's okay. I believe a book should be messy. The entire process of writing is a an exercise of insanity which we try to justify by claiming creative license. That's okay. Eventually we wrestle the beast into some coherent form (hopefully) and with even more luck (much, much more luck), we'll find a few readers whom we entertain and, if we're extremely lucky, whom we touch.

So my non- New-Year's resolution, which just happens to fall on January 1, 2013, is to embrace the insanity and ride it; to enjoy the utter despair and the utter joy a writer feels during and after the process; to acknowledge the futility and do it anyway.

Happy New Year to you all.

Books I'm reading:
Mai Tai One On by Jill Marie Landis
The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway