Sunday, October 22, 2006

Homage to a Hero(ine)

Yesterday was the LIRW's annual East End outing hosted by our very own, very loved Bertrice Small. Let me try to put into words what this day entails and why it thrills me to be a part of it every single year. Each October, Bertrice hosts our authors (and guests) to a fabulous historical tour and lunch somewhere on the East End of Long Island, near her home. In the past, we've visited historical homesites, lighthouses, and yesterday, the Wickham Fruit Farm in Cutchogue followed by a delicious lunch at the Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow.

I picked up my first Bertrice Small book while I was still in high school. The magic of her stories, the mix of history and passion, the idea of a strong, kick-ass heroine and the intrigue and humor Bertrice can weave into her prose left me breathless. After that one story (Love, Wild and Fair for those keeping score...), I found myself scanning bookstores for every word Bertrice had ever written. When I exhausted the list of already published, I joined the ranks of those clamoring for the next book, waiting for the day she'd finish the latest in her O'Malley Saga with Christmas-like anticipation. With each story I read, I dreamed of one day being lucky enough to meet Bertrice, or barring that, following in her exalted footsteps and writing my own stories of history and passion, etc., etc. For the longest time, that's all it was: a lovely dream.

Until I found RWA and the LIRW and actually turned a fantasy into reality. I met Bertrice on a brisk December day at the LIRW's annual holiday get-together about six years ago. For me, it was like meeting a rock idol or a movie star: one of those knee-knocking, you just know you're gonna screw up and faint or say something stupid moments. But Bertrice was, as she always is, gracious, polite and deep down wonderful to me. We talked for a while--don't ask me about what, I couldn't begin to tell you. And in the grand scheme of things, our topics of conversation probably wouldn't matter to the rest of the world anyway. What mattered was that, after that initial meeting, Bertrice left me even more determined than ever to follow in her footsteps.

Now, six years later, I'm proud to call Bertrice friend. And yes, it still tickles me everytime her name pops up on my Caller ID or in my Email address book. It's a testament of sorts to the power of determination and the magic of daring to dream.

So for those of you out there indulging your own fantasies about writing, why not take the steps to turn your dream into reality? Write that book you've got inside your head. Take some courses, join a writing organization, and as Nike says: Just Do It. Who knows where it might lead you?

And speaking of leaders, it's time for this week's football score: Wildcats 19, Connetquot 0. Looks like another pizza party this coming Friday. Current record 4 W, 2 L, 1 T.

Go Wildcats!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Progress Continues

A great big thank you to all those who showed up at the Farmingdale Public Library last night for the LIRW's featured talk on How to Get Your Work Published. I'm sure I wasn't the only one surprised to leave the meeting room and discover we'd closed the place. We were originally scheduled to talk until 8:30 pm, but somehow, time slipped by and we didn't leave the library until nearly 10! I hope that all of you who stuck around for so long did so because you gained a new knowledge and you're looking forward to pursuing your dream of publication as a serious possibility.
Now, at last, I'm hoping life will slow down for me so I can finally finish Hayley's story before my revisions pop up for my second book for Avalon. Yes, my dears, it's official: I spoke to my editor yesterday morning and, barring any unforeseen hiccups, A Little Slice of Heaven will be my second release!!!!!
Slice is the story of former nursery school teacher Gianna Randazzo, now relegated to working in her family's pizzeria, and the mysterious stranger who may or may not need her help to discover what's truly important in life. The inspiration for this story came from Nick and a few of the other guys at Via Pizza in East Setauket who wanted to know why no one every writes romances that take place in a pizzeria. least not since Lady and the Tramp's famous spaghetti scene.
I took up the challenge with vigor. Of course, now Philip thinks we should be getting free pizza for the rest of our lives.
In any event, I'm really excited to begin revisions; my editor, the fabulous Erin Cartwright Niumata, helps challenge me to make my stories the best they can be. At the same time, she doesn't try to mess with my "voice" or the message I'm trying to convey.
And speaking of pizza, blog posts these days wouldn't be the same without this week's football score: Wildcats 28, Sachem 6! Looks like we'll be having a pizza party Friday night to celebrate our victory. Wildcats' record now: W 3 L 2 T1.
Go Wildcats!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Progress On All Fronts

October swept into my life wrapped in a To-Do list ten miles long. So I've been working toward crossing items off that To-Do list, one at a time. This morning, I looked up and lo and behold! The list has been cut in half. There are still far too many tasks to complete--all with looming deadlines, naturally. But I'll get there (probably just in time for the holidays.)

The biggest task on the horizon at the moment is that library talk scheduled for this coming Monday: October 16 at 7 pm at the Farmingdale Public Library. Don't forget, if you're near Farmingdale that night, you're welcome to meet me, Pam Burford and Michele Lang as we discuss the ins and outs of How to Get Your Work Published. I'm sure several other LIRW members will be in attendance--in fact, I'm counting on it! So stop by, say hello. Maybe we can help make your secret dream a reality, too.

Tonight is football practice where, if Gertrude, my Muse, is willing to cooperate, I'll spend some time digging back into Hayley and Dante's story--still titled, Straight From the Heart, which still doesn't fit because somewhere I went off the track with the original story idea. Though, technically, it was Hayley and Dante who deviated from form, at Gertrude's prodding I'm sure. In any event, I've set myself a goal of Halloween to have the first draft of this manuscript completed and with half the To-Do list erased, I just might have a shot of making it.

For those keeping track, the Wildcats tied Riverhead last week: 6-6.

We'll take it. That brings our record to W 2 L 2 T 1. This week's game is against Sachem at home.

Go Wildcats!

Sunday, October 1, 2006


I finally got the opportunity to present my workshop: Laugh and the World Laughs With You--Adding Humor to Any Manuscript at the LIRW meeting yesterday. Since the villagers didn't chase me out of town with pitchforks and lit torches, I'll assume I did okay. The next step is to complete the paperwork for submission to RWA. If they like the idea, I might get the opportunity to present the workshop in Dallas at the National Conference in 2007. Nervous? Well...yeah. But excited and eager to share also.

With the workshop done, my focus turns to my next event: an author's presentation at the Farmingdale Public Library. If you haven't already done so, write the date on your calendar! Monday, October 16 at 7 p.m. Join me, Michele Lang, and Pamela Burford for a fun and informative talk on How to Get Your Work Published. I'd love to see a lot of people there.

And if one of you happens to have a large coffee, milk/no sugar for me, I'd love it even more!

Wildcats Update: Riverhead Raiders 19, Wildcats 0.
(Someday we're gonna beat those guys!)
Wildcats Record for the Year: Wins 2 L 2 T 0
Go Wildcats!!!