Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happiness is...

Here it is, two days before thanksgiving, it's raining and the temperature is in the 30's and I have to go grocery shopping.

Yes, we went two days ago and got the turkey and most of the other things we need, but since then I have made an additional list--twice as long--of the things I forgot the first time.

I'm not complaining. Well, maybe about the weather, but as Mark Twain (or Charles Dudley Warner, depending on your source) aptly observed, "Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it."

I'm happy because the stores are filled with food.

I'm happy because I can afford to buy it.

I'm happy because my family is going to share it.

Not everyone has access to well-stocked stores, and not everyone has enough money to buy what they need if they do. And some have no family to share it with, even if they met the first two criteria.

What makes this country great is how those who have reach out to those who have not.

One story that made me happy recently is the one about Coca Cola suspending its ad campaign in the Philippines this year, instead donating the money for typhoon relief.

I'm also selfishly happy they aren't suspending ads here. Sure would miss those Polar bears.

But if they did, I'd be okay with it.

I'm hoping in the midst of holiday preparations, shopping, visiting, and all the rest that goes along with it, we all take time to remember those for whom the holidays aren't quite
so happy. And maybe buy a few extra groceries and drop them off at the local food pantry.

Everyone should have a Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you do.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Thanksgiving story

Have  you been enjoying these perfect fall days? I don't mean the cold and rainy ones, but the ones we've had recently with warm air, deep blue skies and the fading colors of the autumn trees.

Jim has been mulching the fallen leaves with his riding mower. I gathered enough of them before he started to mulch the hydrangea. The directions I got with the plant said to trim it down before cold weather and protect it. It's supposed to come up again in the spring. I hope so, because I darn near killed it this summer by putting it out in direct sunlight. Plants get sunburned, too.

The humming bird feeders need to come inside and get a thorough cleaning, and be put away until next year. I haven't seen the little birds in several weeks now, so I imagine they have gone to their winter home in Central America.

Luckily, we have Thanksgiving to look forward to before the chill of winter sets in. I'm hoping it will still be warm enough to take a walk after dinner. We'll have the grandkids (and parents) this year, which is always a treat -- especially when they offer to do the dishes!

Here's a link to a chapter from "The Lunch Club." Jane Ann has her entire family coming for Thanksgiving, and wonders if she can cope with Larry's increasing forgetfulness. More important, can she keep his memory lapses from their children?

If you enjoy the chapter, I am putting the Kindle version of the book out for just 99 cents November 28-30.
Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


A comment on my last blog said, "So you're percolating..."

That about sums it up. But now it's time to get to work.

I'm doing something different this time around. A devout "pantser*" I have converted to "plotter."

I am going to write my character sketches, outline my plot, set up conflicts, before I start writing. I even started a chapter-by-chapter outline.

This way, I can see where I'm going before I get too far off the path. Even if the pantser in me comes forward and teases me onto a side road, I can look at my outline and find my way back.

Another thing I need to do is set goals. I am a slow writer, as witness my books being some two years apart. People tend to forget you in two years.  A writer has to keep her name out there, building up a following.

So I need to write not only better, but faster. Maybe I'll take a page from the nanowrimo writers and try to churn out so many words a day.  In case you are unfamiliar with nanowrimo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be November. Across the country, writers are turning off their cell phones, hiding their iPads or Kindles (or Nooks), telling friends and family they are not available, and writing. Their goal is a 50,000-word competed manuscript by November 31.

I didn't enter, because I know my limitations. But I can also stretch myself. Limitations are meant to be exceeded, right?

*Someone who writes by the seat of her pants, like airplane pilots did before planes came with instruments.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm back!

My "Fall Fever" left me this past week. I blame the drop in temperature and the gray skies. At any rate, I've gotten back to business.

The business at hand now is...deciding what to do next. Maybe my previous inertia had more to do with the fact that I finished "Riverbend" than the nice weather. I have sent it out to see what happens, which is a waiting game all writers are familiar with. No joke, some writers get a rejection slip years after they submitted a manuscript. The lucky ones can write back with the cheerful news that their book has been in print for some now, thank you very much.

No writer I know sits back and waits. The kind of inertia I experienced last week can wreck a career before it starts. Kristen Lamb blogged today that success comes only with hard work (which we know, or should know). She likens it to planting an orchard. No one plants a seed and expects a tree full of fruit the next day.

A writer is planting seeds every time she blogs, Tweets or leaves a post on Facebook. But, like the farmer, she should not expect her work to yield an instant crop...of readers, not peaches.

Until I read that, I was getting discouraged. The agent I pitched "Riverbend" to told me gently that historicals just aren't selling now.  The new big thing is erotica, which I won't touch. I'm not against it if that is what people enjoy, but I don't enjoy reading it and I don't think I would enjoy writing it. Or maybe I would, because I would be laughing at myself as I wrote.

I'm toying with an idea now, running it around in my brain, trying visualize the characters, wondering what kinds of stumbling blocks I put in their way as they journey toward their goals. And what are those goals? Do they even know, or do they think they want one thing when deep inside they really want another?

Yeah, I may look like I'm napping, but inside my head the wheels are turning, folks.

And, I'm still cultivating my orchard ( 3 trees full now!) I need only two more reviews for "Angels Unaware" before I can submit it to a newsletter that suggests titles to its readership. It's just another way to get it noticed, which is the hardest thing for a new writer to do. Unless she changes her name to Nora Roberts.

But I think that's unethical, if not illegal.