Saturday, July 26, 2008


Have I mentioned my impatience problem? Not lately? Oh good! The tasteful editors remain too busy to write. This time of year, I suspect they’re preoccupied with conference schedules, vacations, children home from school--in short--everything, except reading submissions.

Since I can’t change the reality of publishing, I’ve decided writing is the perfect career choice to cure me of the impatience flaw. Way too often, I race into projects without adequate planning. I could save myself hours upon hours of time by thinking through stories at the concept stage. Hint to self: if you can’t write an exciting synopsis then the idea isn’t ready to become a compelling story.

I long for feedback (another character weakness) to that end, I submit, enter contests--push to get more submissions out there… Not all of these activities are bad. However, they are counterproductive if I’m impatient and submit stories before they are the best I’m capable writing.

Rather than fretting about how many months it has been since I’ve sent off a particular submission, I should be working harder on the current story. Also, I should be rejoicing that I don’t have a deadline and can take the time I need to polish and revise.

I’ve noticed something else. It is hard sticking to one project for the months needed to write a book. Currently, I’m writing the first draft of the third dangerous book. While this is happening (way too slowly to suit me), other story ideas keep interrupting the flow.

If they really grab me then I stop and make notes before returning to work. All fine and good, except that this slows down progress. Seriously slows it down, because it takes time for me to get back into the special story world. In my case, all the good writing happens in a trance-like state when I live inside the story.

Do you work diligently on one thing at a time? Or do you have multiple projects in various stages of completion?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Garden Life

One of the joys of summer are the hummingbirds, who arrive daily to service the flowers. Lucifer (crocosmia) is their hands down favorite. The bright red, nearly irridescent, blooms in the photograph belong to Lucifer. As a point of reference the fence posts are five footers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reading report

Last week I attended my second meeting of the book group. The circle of readers had shrunk to seven women plus the gracious facilitator. This time I came prepared to discuss what I’d read the previous month, including specifics as to whether or not I liked the title and why.

I’ve had friends who read more than I do. By my own standards, I’m a moderate, but enthusiastic, reader, reading two or three books a week. I read for entertainment and education with a rough sixty/forty split with entertainment winning the larger share. The others attending the July meeting were all the two to three books a month variety of readers.

Since I’ve led a sheltered life, mostly hanging out with other romance writers, I’m easily shocked. But I was flabbergasted by the realization that none of my fellow members read romance. I read other genres, but I do favor romance both professionally and personally.

The tasteful members had read--literature, the latest Stephanie Meyer (which is young-adult-tender-paranormal romance an odd exception to the romance ban), mysteries both cozy and gritty, non-fiction, thrillers, women’s fiction, but very little romance--and definitely no erotica.

The book I discussed, which launched the liveliest discussion, was a mystery that I tossed aside during chapter two, because the author failed to engage me. This report launched an ardent defense of the writer in question. No one else had read this particular title. Eventually, the comments trickled in from quieter members, admitting they too had suffered disappointment from the same author.

If not for the gentle facilitator, I would’ve felt like a wildcat crouched in the center of a wolf pack. There was no violence. However, there were incidents of eye rolling and subversive mutterings as I reported on the month’s selections. I made no apologies for my preferences, or the romance genre, which is thriving and certainly doesn’t need me to defend it. Yet, I couldn’t help wondering, where were all the other romance readers?

Another thing surprised me, and attitude of censure toward publishing as a moneymaking sector of the economy. Presumably, real artists should be above such considerations. Perhaps, someday I’ll tell them what I do for a living.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Writing Life

The lovely ladies on the New Concepts Publishing's Author email loop told me I'm on Amazon. What an unexpected bonus.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Garden Life

Not a good photo, but since the blooms are well over my head it was either hold the camera aloft and hope for the best or get a ladder. And it was much too hot to drag around the ladder, which is why the wisteria, honeysuckle, and akebia all still need trimming. But, I digress.

This rose is the perfect illustration of my greatest weakness as a gardener. I'm too soft hearted with volunteers. It's an unidentified, possible unnamed seedling. When the baby rose leaves first appeared in the pink section of the west border, I was instantly smitten. A seedling rose? And not one of the species that commonly seeds itself about either. So I potted it up and awaited developments. After a couple of years the first blooms appeared,and I could see it was going to be another one of the big roses. Still, I was charmed--the healthy foilage, the wildflower form, but better, the long flowering period, the fresh rose scent. I repotted into a larger container and pondered where to plant. Then life got hectic and I didn't keep a good eye on the volunteer rose.

She planted herself, broke right through the plastic pot and sank her impressive roots into the soft ground in the holding area--very rich soil--where I used to grow sweetpeas. Perhaps, I could grow sweet peas up her bare ankles and knees--she has a pretty open growth habit and very sturdy legs.

It's been scorching hot by Seattle standards, i.e. in the low eighties--but the roses and Jasmine are very happy in the heat even though the gardener is melting.

A Graham Thomas bud nestled amid Sissyrinchium a very nice little perennial that has taken over far more than her share of the yellow bed, crowding out some lovely but less aggressive species.

This is Katie my biggest garden menace. She's generally a force of destruction without meaning to be--she feels strongly about sentry duty which has worn a path around the the garden. I'm undecided whether to concede defeat and gravel her trail or restrict her to a dog run or a compromise solution. In the meantime, there's the equivalent of a dirt bike track around the house.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dangerous Rescue Excerpt

Here's an unedited excerpt from Dangerous Rescue, coming soon from New Concepts Publishing. I'm cheating slightly, because Sam is a secondary character in this story. But, I'm currently working on his story--so I'm Sam-obsessed.

Sam stood, grinned agreeably, and then shook hands with the attractive couple from two doors down the beach before resuming his seat. He continued to play the dutiful, single son, making polite chitchat for another hour before making his excuses. He understood his mother’s strategy perfectly. Nevertheless, it had been effective. Melinda and Nick made a cute couple. He’d been uncomfortably aware of his status as the lone solo act in a paired-off world, as his mom had intended.

He was still thinking about it when he drove home an hour later. The problem was, he didn’t want to settle. He wanted what his parents had. He wanted the magic. In the meantime, he was still young and there were lots of playmates to enjoy before he made a permanent connection.

Speaking of which, he spotted a damsel in distress in his right front quadrant. Hard to tell about her coloring from this angle--but she had a great ass. The hood was up on her compact rental and she was stretched over the fender, examining the engine compartment, her upper-half hidden by the hood.

Sam didn’t know a lot about engines, but he could offer her a ride or the use of his cell phone and he was happy to lend emotional support. He liked to think he was the kind of guy who’d have stopped to help even if she’d been grandmotherly, but the cute butt and trim legs had caught his eye much faster than the raised hood.

Parking close behind her, he got out of his car and offered assistance. “Can I help?”

“Not unless you’re freakin’ magician,” she snapped and backed out from under the hood, blowing long brown bangs off her forehead with a frustrated whoosh of breath.

He grinned in appreciation because the top half matched her bottom and then some. “Sorry, ma’am I’m only a lowly passerby on the lonely highway of life.”

She laughed, wiped her greasy hand on a hankie, and then extended it to him. “Caroline Kennedy, and no, not that one. My grandmother was a big Jackie O fan, so my mom promised to name her first daughter Caroline.”

Pausing to eye him assessingly, she pushed the bangs away leaving a streak of dirt on her temple. Sam waited for her to make up her mind, doing his best to look harmless and friendly, which he was--basically.

“If you could give me a ride into Kingston, that would be so great,” she said appealingly. Her eyes widened and she touched her throat, leaving another dirty mark. He produced a clean handkerchief, and gently wiped her temple, her throat, and finally he cleaned her slender fingers. Moving slowly and touching only the soiled spots, he worked to keep her comfortable. But, at the same time, make her aware of him as a man. One, perhaps, not as entirely harmless as she’d first thought.

Nothing wrong with being a nice guy except, unless he pushed, women had a tendency to dismiss him as too young, too sweet, and not boyfriend material. A guy never got laid being too nice. He’d learned.

Now days, if he was interested then he stepped inside the woman’s comfort zone and let her take a second look at man who wasn’t too young or too nice or too harmless.

His interest level rose along with another part of his anatomy that responded favorable to the curvy Miss Not-That-Caroline-Kennedy. This close she smelled good and her skin was soft and moist. She sighed and leaned closer.

God, he loved women.

Giving her a slow grin, he made a counter offer. “I’d love to give you a ride to Kingston, but would you mind if we stopped by my place first?”

She blinked in hesitation.

To push the odds in his favor, he teased her. “You’re welcome to wait in the car if you’re uncomfortable entering my lair.”

“No, I mean that’s fine, I’d love to see your place. Do you live around here?”

“It’s right on our way,” he assured her, holding her eyes though he wanted to look elsewhere. He waited, knowing his patience would reap rewards. If it didn’t, that wasn’t a problem. There were always plenty of willing partners.

The abundance of lovely women in his life was the main reasons he resisted his mother’s hints. Exclusivity and commitment were for some time in his future when he found a truly special woman. He never doubted that would happen, but until it did--he saw no reason not to enjoy the variety on offer.

He held the car door for her, buckled her in, keeping his touches light and caring. Again, his restraint was rewarded as she sighed and moved nearer. Lingering, he caged her with his arms. “Do you need to call someone? You’re welcome to use my cell.”

“No--I mean--no thank you. I tried calling my girlfriend earlier but there was no answer. I’ll try again later.”

Her eyes drifted shut--her lips were less than inch from his. Sam stroked the side of her head, letting her silky hair tease his fingers. The pink tip of her tongue darted out to trace the outline of her smile. He followed the lascivious journey with his finger, and then she sucked it into her mouth.

When she’d finished, he framed her face and then pressed his lips to hers. She softened beneath the onslaught of his mouth, inviting him to deepen the kiss. Instead, he reluctantly pulled away, unwilling to start something he couldn’t finish.

“Hold tight to that idea, baby. We’re twenty minutes from my place,” he whispered while placing nibbling kisses up her neck and on the sweet spot behind her ear. She tasted so sweet--like a sun-ripened melon.

Five minutes from home, Caroline cried out. “Oh look, can we stop?”

“We’re almost to my place,” he said persuasively.

She coaxed. “It’s so pretty and I’m really thirsty.”

“As your wish is my command,” he said shrugging off his irritation. The bar had a nice view and a little more get-acquainted time would work in his favor. A drink or two never hurt either, he thought cynically.

“A glass of merlot and whatever the lady wants,” he instructed the bartender then excused himself to wash his hands. When he returned his glass of wine waited along with a dish of plantain chips. Caroline sipped from a tall frosty glass.

As he sat, he pressed his leg against hers. She covered his knee with her hand, and then slid it up his inner thigh.

“Very nice,” she whispered appreciatively.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Garden Life

It's summer and the days string lazily together--perfect, mild, and bright. This morning I was all ambitious--I already have my word count for the day and have been outside consulting on the big hedge pruning with the wonderful Mr. Bill, who agreed to reshape it again this year.

I actually got outside before the sun faded all the color on the big deck to snap a picture of one of the annual boxes. These are the only annuals I grow and never the same from one year to the next but I'm delighted with this year's combination. The petunias, alysum, and heliotrope are wonderfully fragrant.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Garden Life

By the way, I am working on the story--but it's summer and mild and a perfect day for mowing. However, before I can mow the backyard, I have to do something about rosa Sally Holmes, we hade a little rain the other day and she's fallen across the lawn path. At twelve foot plus, she's outgrown her supports--I'm thinking about bamboo and sturdy rope (mainly because I have lots of bamboo and rope) to contain her exuberance. The picure shows Sally's topknot.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reading report

My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bournes (Regency historical romance)

After reading The Spymaster’s Lady last year, I pre-ordered this book and it arrived on the day of its official release. There was a small concern that it might not be as wonderful or perhaps too derivative, all foolish worries.

Then there was a brief internal debate over whether to save it as a special treat or start reading right away. Life is short and uncertain--I opted to read immediately. Since opening the cover life has been much more difficult. It is only by telling myself that it makes the story last longer that I take care of the animals, tend the garden, work, and sleep.

The story is sheer magic, the characters believable, the plot riveting, and craft so excellent it’s transparent while being as effective as gravity. Just in case you don't have a copy handy I'll include a link.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Garden Life

I've been outside toiling in the sun again, but there are compensations. Roses love the hot summer days.

Another mid-year delight, Graham Thomas, one of the David Austin roses. Lovely on the bush or in vase, a prolific bloomers with a very light fresh fragrance.

On the other end of the spectrum. This is a close up of the rosa Don Juan. It's really too sunny to capture colors well--in real life the blooms are dark almost black at the edges red, It has the most intense perfume of all the roses I grow.

Writing life

After painful cutting, there are finally more new consectutive words than there are old non-consectutive ones. I've isolated the new version in a seperate document. For now I've retaining the old story, some of those scenes/fragments may work in the current manuscript but I'm not counting on it.

Writing sequentially works well for me, but sometimes I still find that I've started the tale in the wrong place. I hate it when that happens.
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