Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I received my edits yesterday which provided a flurry of excitment, causing me to hand out the wrong cell phone number to Medallion's author liason, Kerry. Thank goodness she's used to crazy writers and was able to look up the correct number. In addition to that, my brain shut down, and I confused the meaning of anagram and acronym. Yes, please join me in yelling idiot.

The edits were relatively painless and the manuscript scattered with positive comments. I suppose that's to help prevent the I suck syndrome. I'll share what I learned. My characters are stuck in perpetual "Joker" mode because they grin so damn much. Easy fix. I have inflamed Mr. Webster with my lack of farther/further differential knowledge. Note to self to blow up page 46 of The Elements of Style. Oh yes, and sometimes I became so engrossed with the story that I forgot to clearly indicate who was speaking. Hey, wait a minute, that's one of my pet peeves. How dare I commit the same atrocity in my own work?

Anyway, that was my editing experience. The most difficult debate was a polite suggestion that I redefine the ZEBRA acronym. I did lose some sleep over this. Thanks to my Medallion author group for helping me with that one. I settled on Zoological Environmental Bio Research Agency.

I did take my time and re-read the manuscript as I went through the editing process. I will now go and drink heavily and congratulate myself on not submitting to the desire to rewrite the entire book because I suck.

I have duly noted how far down to start the chapter headings, to use . . . instead of ... and a few other specifics that Medallion prefers. Angel Falls will hopefully be less of a chore for my editors -- who by the way, are awesome. Here's a shout-out to Emily Steele and Janet Bank. Thank you so much for all your hard work and for taking such good care of my first book.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Time to Breathe....

I wanted to post these amazing pictures my son took on his cell phone during our vacation last week.

I can't believe that his itty phone captured such fabulous photography. Way cool.

In addition to our venture to Florida, we held the annual July 4th party which included about 80 people and a stupendous fireworks display by the eldest child in my family aka my hubbie.

Needless to say, I survived both vacation and party as well as a Buffy and Angel marathon which has consumed my evenings for the past month. 1 Month = 7 years of Buffy. I'm exhausted and grateful it's over. I was a faithful viewer of both shows but until you see the episodes back to back, the genius that is Joss Whedon isn't clear. An amazing talent and gift that man holds. I'm awed and jealous and suddenly speaking like Yoda for some unknown reason.

I attempted to write while on vacation but that was an absolute waste of time. It's very hard to be at the beach while my characters are in the Amazon, facing all sorts of challenges that I just couldn't bring myself to care about. Me: Look at that beautiful sunrise! Character: I'm dying over here... Me: So what! Do you see that beautiful sunrise?

So, needless to say, I'll be back to the grind tomorrow. I gave myself yesterday to readjust from party craziness and today I'm attempting to focus on the job that pays the bills. But tomorrow, I suppose I'll have to rescue my character from whatever peril she's found herself in. I'm really loving this book and anticipating re-immersing myself in the plot. I want to have this submitted to Medallion by the beginning of next month so I have quite a bit of work ahead of me. Not so certain I'm wanting to be me right now...but this is the craft and the writing must go on.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Long Gone....

I don't balance things well which means that I'm incapable of updating this blog and focusing a hundred percent on my writing. Why? Probably because I multi-task in so many other areas of my life. So I'm heading back to the trenches and probably won't return until Angel Falls is polished and on its way to my publisher.

One thing that happened this weekend that was pretty cool - I found myself on Amazon and Borders. What a thrill.....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Things That Get In The Way Of My Writing...

1. A really good book (produces the "I suck" syndrome)
2. Disorganization (My desk is a mess -- oh well, can't write today)
3. Sadness (Zaps the creative energy with a lightening bolt)
4. The weather (If it's not conducive to my scene, it's conducive to procrastination)
5. Work (An IM of "do the child support worksheet in Jones" while writing a sex scene. I hate writing sex scenes so I'm like "Yes! A worksheet to do...")

Monday, March 31, 2008


I am stunned. My heart hurts. And I am relieved.

There was this boy I once knew and loved. He was precious and always getting in trouble, making my son's life miserable because it meant the dreaded grounding. Actually, I believe my son spent most of his young life grounded for something this other little boy did. It was my stand that "if you were there, then you were guilty."

As this little boy grew into a teenager, he changed. Matured. His wild streak was a mile wide. He was two years older than my son and hormones sent this boy off into the maturity my little man lacked. Their friendship weakened but never waned. There were still occasional overnights here and there, the last one two Friday's ago.

There will be no more overnights. This boy has taken another's life.

Yes, it was an accident; but nonetheless he is charged with felony murder.

My heart is breaking for a life well-wasted. For a spirit soon to be broken. For those summer days where sliding down a muddy hill was enough adventure. For my son.

And I sit here thanking God that it was not my son who lost his life. And I feel helpless.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Staining Hardwood Floors

Who you do not want helping you with this project:

Every time we turn around, she's there. As are her little itty bitty foot prints. My husband yells at me. I yell at the kids. The kids yell at the cat. None of us can figure out how she keeps ending up downstairs.

Will this project never end?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Writing Is Hard Work!

Yesterday I wrote and wrote and wrote. It felt as if I was pulling every word from the very depths of the dictionary and placing them carefully in each sentence. I struggled with each paragraph and every page. After three hours, I walked away from the computer. Watched a very bizarre movie. Came back. Deleted the same twelve pages I'd sweated over all morning and began again. This time, the words were there. And even though I only had time to splash about a thousand of them onto the screen, I felt satisfied. And this morning they read well.

What did I learn? I write like crap when I force myself. Go with the flow, baby.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weather and Work

Storms blasted my little corner of the world yesterday. Tornadoes set off sirens, and I wasn't allowed to take a break and relish the activity. I love storms, especially when I'm not stuck in traffic on the interstate. But I'd bought a new toy yesterday morning, and my husband insisted I use it -- all day. It's called a palm sander. I purchased this little thinger-majigger to aid in the do-it-yourself project which is consuming my life. We are finishing our hardwood floors. As my husband pushed the sanding machine, I crawled from edge to edge and belt sanded the areas he couldn't reach. Then I had to use my little toy to palm sand the areas the belt sander couldn't reach.

I hate this thing.

With a passion.

My arms ache. My back aches. My body wants to collapse and never awaken. AND to add insult to injury -- I couldn't watch the skies turn all sorts of interesting colors nor enjoy the display of lightening that slashed through the clouds.

What I could do is turn my thoughts inward and contemplate my wips. I like to write invisibly. It allows me to discard and rearrange my plot and opens my mind to things I might not consider as I plunge along at the keyboard. I made headway on both the projects I'm working on. It's a shame I have to spend my day with that little toy and not my computer. Did I mention that I hate that thing?

Friday, March 14, 2008

How Do I Get Published?

I'm afraid I can't answer that question, my friends. Why? Because the road to publication is different for every writer. There is no hidden key, magic word or secret spell. How did I get published? Here's a tongue-in-cheek version:

1-- I spent months writing this book then years getting it just right.
In the interim, I moved on to other projects.
2 -- I proofed it for decades to make sure everything was correct.
Then proofed again.
3 -- I researched for 18 weeks, 2 days and 6 hours, to find an
agent who would handle the type of book I wrote. That agent rejected
it. So then, I began again...
4 -- I repeated step three 89 times more and waited
and waited and waited and waited some more
6 -- I researched for 13 weeks, 4 days and 10 hours, to find a
publisher who would handle the type of book I wrote. That publisher
rejected it. So then, I began again...
7. -- I sold my book.

Perseverance will be your best friend, self-doubt your worst. Know that you are not alone. Do your research, scour the links I have provided. I posted a new link today. Redlines and Deadlines. I figured, heck, why reinvent the wheel? Go read their blog. Great great great information.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I love this time of year when the sunset brings peeps and squeaks of mating frogs. Needless to say our pool cover always has about two to four inches of water on top and the froggies love to lay their eggs until the green plastic becomes nothing more than a swarming pond of tadpoles. Each year, I scoop several cup fulls of taddies and dump them in my Koi pond. Why? Well, first and foremost, my fishies are hungry. But second, I love the surprise. A few always survive, and I never know whether I've hatched a bull frog, tree frog or toad. By June, it's pretty apparent. I either have the incessant chirping of a tree frog waking me up at the crack of dawn, deep horn of the bull frog frightening the bejesus out of me in the middle of the night, or a small parade of tiny toads entertaining me while I sit on the front porch.

I liken this surprise to my plots. If it's too predictable, the reader will be bored. Move it forward. Change it out. Keep your voice fresh. All of these are daily struggles. As the tadpoles sprout legs and begin morphing into a higher life form so do my manuscripts. I admit I get a complete rush when my ideas pull together and become a full-blown finished book. There's nothing like it -- well, perhaps the Rockin' Roller Coast at Disney is pretty darn close.

My latest query from my Dragon Dancer series is receiving partial requests. Perhaps I've finally figured out what it is to write a decent query letter. If that's the case, I'll share. I'm nervous. Very very nervous. One particular agent who requested a partial is my dream agent. Top of the list. And I pray I haven't made some idiotic snafu in the partial.

I'm multi-tasking. I've split my day into three parts. I'm moving forward on Angel Falls and the second book of the Dragon Dancer series plus I've decide to scour my first Dragon Dancer book (the one I'm querying) to make certain I've eliminated all overused words. I seem rather attached to the word "that." But that's for another post. :) In addition, I'm working on a novella as an exercising in tightening my writing. It's a real chore, because I'm not a naturally "tight" writer. I like to, um, express myself.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Do I Feel Your Pain?

Apparently not.

I've always considered myself an empathetic creature. Until this past weekend. My husband had knee surgery on Friday to correct a slightly torn meniscus. It was discovered that he had gout/pseudo gout or some such thing which was the root of all his pain. I have an extremely high tolerance to pain and found myself at a loss over the weekend to provide sympathetic care. I did cater and serve but my response to "the leg spasms are killing me" was "been there. done that. get over it." As I wrestled the crutches from my husband's hands, I realized it was a good thing I never felt the call of nursing. And my solution to gout? Giving my husband bitter cherry juice and saying in a jovial voice "drink up, it's good for you."

Julie obviously parading around in the skin of her villian...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Have Nothing to Say...

I really don't. Weird, huh? Actually, it's probably because I'm steeped in my current wip. I have been challenged with character naming on this ms. It stems from the wide range of ethnic backgrounds that I have included, creating the insecurity of totally making a serious snafu and giving someone a name that is inappropriate to their culture. I persevered and succeeded but not without much hair yanking and blood letting.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patry Francis Day - The Liar's Diary


Why? Because I said so! This woman and I share a common dream. She's at a point in her life where it's very difficult for her to help make her dream a reality, and I want to do all I can to shove this dream to the top of the dream-come-true list.

This is my at-work day, so I'm going to allow the wonderful Susan Henderson to explain everything you need know about Patry and The Liar's Diary.

So exit right to Susan's blog


Thank you.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


It's inevitable. But change is often a difficult aspect of life to swallow. For years, my house has been swamped with giggling, drama-queens that consumed chocolate by the pound and spent hours talking about boys, trying on clothes and experimenting with makeup. As my daughter faces her eighteenth birthday, college and a life away from home - I realize this era is quickly disappearing.

Moments like this...

....are being replaced with this:

I had a house full of football players last night. They consumed a dozen eggs, two dozen sausages and two dozen biscuits, a case of Mountain Dew, Swiss Rolls, Oatmeal cookies and a pan of brownies. Girls were cheaper. This is my future -- at least for a couple of years. It's different. I have to talk football, cook in restaurant-style quantities and fall asleep to the sound of badly off-key boy-men singing along with Guitar Hero.

What does this have to do with writing? Everything. Characters must change from the beginning of the book to the end. Thinking about aspects in my life, be they small or large, that are changing helps me to focus on the important transitions of my characters.

My daughter is so excited for college, and I find myself heartbroken. What will I do without her? How will I possibly survive? This is how I challenge my characters and it's up to me to add creativity and realism to their responses.

For all of you facing the release of your child into the world, hold on -- we're in for one hell of a ride. And I thought mailing my manuscript to a stranger was hard. Hah! That's funny.

For all of you raising young boys, I have one very strong word of advice: Teach them to clean their own bathrooms.


Friday, January 18, 2008

The Big "C"

Cancer has stolen from me but rather than dwell on the unrelenting hideousness of this disease, I thought I would pay simple tribute to those that I miss.

Ken G. -- you were the big brother I always wanted and never had, but you never should have shown my dad how to throw a football. My nose still bears the scar.

Chriss -- gone way too young. I know you have Bob's back at all times.

Kenny -- miss you. miss you. miss you.

Paul -- I never met you but through your wife's words, your life became larger than the greatest action adventure.

And now I would like to raise a glass to the survivors, their courage and perseverance even through the darkest of days. They are heroes, each and every one, in their battle against this invasive monster.

I have placed a link to the right for Patry Francis' website. I don't know Patry. I've not yet read her book. I'm waiting to buy it on January 29, 2008. But her blog is an inspiration, and her determination a reminder of the greatest power in the world -- our faith. The LitPark link will take you to Susan Henderson's blog. She is the powerhouse behind pulling together one of the best internet promotional campaigns I have ever seen. Huge kudos for her effort and all of those involved in showing the world The Liar's Diary.

I invite you all to come back on January 29th -- I will be hawking the book of a fellow writer I have never met. How cool is that?


Friday, January 11, 2008


I admit I have slight claustrophobic tendencies. It came to light last night. Sitting in the commute from hell (which I don't mind because I only have to do it two days a week), I was singing happily along to Styx's Babe when the radio did that whole neener-neener-neener-I'm-interrupting-this-awesome-song-to-
thing. Mind you, I'm at a dead stop on a six lane highway with miles of brake lights stringing ahead of me. And the newscaster has the audacity to inform me that "there are tornadic conditions to the north with severe thunder and lightening expected for the next eight hours..." Well, gee, thanks for that but I'm stuck in traffic with no bridge in sight, no escape route, no nothing. Then drum roll please I hear sirens. Flock me! I had a brief stupid-moment and attempted to open my door. My car is very protective and automatically locks all doors the minute I turn the key. Of course, it does unlock the door when I turn the car off. But my brain didn't acknowledge that. And the claustrophobia kicked in causing me to really panicked -- for about 30 seconds -- which was long enough to break out into a sweat and make my hands shake.

The sirens stopped (I think they did it just to scare the shit out of me) and traffic began to move. I breathed, found another great 80's song on the radio and began my singing, brake-gas-brake-gas foot dance and continued my drive home. Now you wonder what this all has to do with writing? I will use every iota of emotion I experienced in that brief moment. I have a file called "Emotion" and write myself cryptic remembers. Last night's entry was: Stuck in traffic. Tornado. Panic. It's enough to remind me how I felt. Writers have that inane ability to recall specific moments in their lives with absolute clarity. A few other entries in my Emotions file that evoke very strong memories are: 9/11 - no planes. total silence. heartbreak. and Colony Square - the elevator from Hell (don't even get me started on that experience. You wanna talk fear? Holy Mother of Dog...I was petrified. My heart starts to race just thinking of that morning and it happened twelve years ago!).

I am now off to scare the beejesus out of one of my characters....

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Damn Weather

I love different and unique settings. They draw me into their world and become living, breathing characters.

So today I'm a bit irritated.

It's beautiful out. Simply gorgeous. Warm. Clear blue skies. Hawks and herons dancing in the wind. And it keeps drawing me away from the computer. Damn weather. Not to mention the fact that spring fever in January is never a good thing. I'll only be disappointed in a few days when I have to strip off the flip-flops and put my mules back on. Damn weather. My Japanese Magnolia's buds are getting bigger and bigger by the day -- surely they'll pop just before the cold bite of frost attacks. Damn weather.

On the flip side.

I think I'll go to my wip where it's fall -- still warm, leaves crackling in the wind, but chill enough at night to light the fire. That way, I can draw from this day and put some good use to this unseasonable damnable weather.


Monday, January 7, 2008

My Cover!

Last Thursday was a very exciting day. It brought my very first book cover to light. Let me be the first to admit that the cover for Devil's Gold was not anything like I'd expect, but I love it!

Funny story: As I wallowed in dreamland the night before, I walked into a nightmare. Before me sat the MP panel and they were proudly displaying my book jacket. On the front was a full moon with the silhouette of witch -- ala Bewitched. I argued and argued finally yelling at everyone gathered around the table that there was no witch in Devil's Gold. They finally shook their heads and apologized and agreed to change the cover to reflect the ZEBRA logo. They then presented me with the logo -- and guess what? It was a witch.

When I received the email Thursday morning that contained my book cover, I paused and let out a brief prayer that went something like this "please don't let there be a witch...please don't let there be a witch."

And that, my friends, is my first book cover story.

Happy writing, all.