Thursday, March 29, 2007

13 Books From My Youth That Stayed With Me

1. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
3. The Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol
4. Francesca, Baby by Joan Oppenheimer
5. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
6. The Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene
7. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
8. Mandy by Julie Edwards (aka Julie Andrews)
9. The Bastard by John Jakes
10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
11. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
12. Too Bad About the Haines Girl by Zoa Sherburne
13. Indian Captive, The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski
No, I have never read Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. My mother wouldn't allow it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another successful event

Congratulations to my dear friends and fellow LIRW members, Candace Gold and Michele Lang on their talk yesterday at the Northport Library on The Ins and Outs of E-Publishing. Their enthusiasm for this digital medium is so infectious, they had me thinking what the future might hold for e-books and publishing, in general! While the crowd was small, Michele and Candy held them enthralled from beginning to end with what it's like to be e-published, the triumphs and pitfalls, the pluses and minuses. For Michele, this type of talk is par for the course; she's a fixture at most of our appearances and signings. But this was Candy's first shot on the dais, and as expected, A STAR IS BORN!

It's always interesting to attend these types of events because you can usually spot the serious "book of my heart" writers in the crowd, the ones who just need the right push to get them eager to start the journey. They usually stay 'til the very end, take copious notes, and ask the most questions. For those of us who've already reached some pinnacle of success in our own journeys, seeing that new spark in someone else uplifts you like nothing else.

Stay tuned to my website and the LIRW site for info on upcoming events. Maybe we can give you the push you need!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thirteen Things I Do to Break Writers' Block

1. Run dialogue between my characters (which gets me some funny looks in the grocery store and in the middle of traffic jams!)

2. Re-read the last few chapters of my WIP to find a dangling thread I can pull.

3. Brainstorm with friends and critique partners.

4. Take a shower (Usually combined with #1: there's something about the solitude, the rhythm of the pounding spray, and the endorphins released that gets my creative juices flowing...)

5. Play music (I try to match the mood of the scene I want to write: upbeat and fun, dark and moody, etc.)

6. Flip through a book of quotations and see where I land. (I've come up with some great new twists just from reading a line or two of Shakespeare or Keats.)

7. Walk the dog. (It's the shower thing all over again, without the pounding spray, but with the funny looks from suggestion #1!)

8. Skip the troubling scene and move on to the next scene. (Sometimes moving forward just a bit opens me up to figuring out what's needed in the previous scene.)

9. Rewrite the current scene in a different POV.

10. Surf the web for stories and images using key words. (Google something like "birthday" and see what comes up! You'll be amazed!)

11. Write an article for my local RWA chapter's newsletter.

12. Play computer Mah-Jongg.

13. Create a list for another day's Thursday Thirteen.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My First Thursday Thirteen

Several of the Romance Divas are getting involved in the Thursday Thirteen, a weekly list of thirteen items. Naturally, I just had to go along with the crowd. So here goes:

1. Cupid by Sam Cooke
2. Soundtrack from the Broadway show, The Scarlet Pimpernel
3. Little Willy (Won't Go Home) by Brian Connolly
4. Bare Necessities from Disney's The Jungle Book
5. Daybreak by Barry Manilow
6. Sex by Berlin
7. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah by Alan Sherman
8. The Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show
9. Dancin' Fool by Frank Zappa
10. Ebay by Weird Al Yankovic
11. Theme song from "Taxi" (aka Angela) by Hilary James
12. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
13. Poisoning Pigeons in the Park by Tom Lehrer
What can I say? I'm a twisted individual...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wednesday Whines

Maybe it's the fact that my endocrinologist changed my thyroid medication (again!), but I'm cranky today. Now, admittedly, even she's tired of trying to get me regulated. After all, it's been eight years since I was first diagnosed with my thyroid disorder and she's my third endocrinologist since this roller coaster left the station. Today, she noted, "You know, one day you're going to come in here and I'm going to say, 'That's it! We've finally hit on the magic formula that keeps your levels perfect!' and you're going to fall off the examining table." Maybe...but I'm not adding extra padding to my butt as a just-in-case anytime soon.

In any event, to match my mood, I figured today I'd share some of life's petty annoyances. See how many raise your hackles.

1. The Anna Nicole Smith debacle. Can we please let this poor woman alone yet? When is enough enough?
2. New items that break the day after you've thrown out the receipt: earrings, toys, zippers on clothing, etc.
3. Having my Internet connection conk out the minute I hit "Send" on a particularly long post or email.
4. SUV drivers who ride up so close behind you their headlights are giving you a free CT scan of the brain.
5. Experienced but unpublished writers who insist that "Nora" (insert any other world-famous author's name within the quotes) can do it, so why can't they. For starters, you don't have their contract deadlines. Much less their following.
6. The "Boogeyman" who threatens children through song lyrics, websites, or video games. Be a responsible parent: teach your children street smarts as well as their ABC's. When I grew up in another decade, the boogeyman was telling kids to commit suicide in rock songs. Smart kids, ones whose parents took an interest in them, didn't consider lyrics as a hard and fast rule to live by. That would be like believing if they bought explosives from The Acme Co., they might blacken their hair and face, but they'd come back to life in the next frame.
7. "Tall" coffees in small cups.
8. Celebrities doing commercials for weight loss centers and products. Yeah, right. You went to weekly weigh-ins with average hausfraus and told your personal chef to simply open that box of crappy beef and elbow macaroni for your dinner.
9. The Donald and Rosie. Enough insults in the never-ending desire for publicity. Does anyone really base their own opinions on what these two think? About anything?

Thanks for listening. And feel free to vent your own frustration!

Friday, March 9, 2007


Things That Tickle Me

1. Signing a copy of my book for my boss.
2. Receiving emails of congrats from professionals who once rejected my work.
3. Walking into my office's break room to see several people reading copies of my book.
4. Mailing a copy of my book to my favorite author ever (at her request!)
5. Walking into my local library to see my book prominently displayed with a sticker that says, "Local Author."

Things That Make Me Cringe

1. Sending copies of my books to reviewers.
2. Waiting for a release date for the second book.
3. Noticing that there are less than 5 advance copies left and more than 10 recipients waiting.
4. Starting the query process all over again.
5. Worrying my best work is behind me.

I know I should focus on the ticklish things and remember that most of the cringeworthy items aren't in my control. But no one becomes a writer because they're a shrinking violet. A psychology student I once met said it best: "You like to write because you like to play God in your own world. You decide who lives, who dies, who falls in love, and who gets their just desserts."

There's probably a lot of truth in that. What do you think?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Look Who's Reading J.D. Robb!

It's my kitty, Miss Savannah. Now why couldn't she have been caught reading my book instead?