Thursday, April 30, 2009

My New Crush

This is an older picture and he's a bit grayer and has gained a few pounds but Douglas Lyle was a marvelous speaker at the MWA symposium. He talked about Scott Petersen and OJ and stupid things that criminals do. I was enthralled. I, of course, bought his Forensics for Writers Book. He also has the loveliest eyes, I mean for a guy who likes dead bodies.

Mystery Writers of America

Sue Grafton and James Lee Burke have been inducted in as Grand Masters.

I spoke briefly to the prolific
Laura Lippman, one of my "idols"

All in all, it was a marvelous day in New York City.

One day, I hope to be there all week because I've been nominated for an Edgar.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Quiet but Busy...

I just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for my erotica novella, "Teasing the Muse." I've been thinking about promo items to take to RWA National in July. And I'm waiting for the revisions from my editor. I love saying "my editor." I've started writing a second one for TWP's "Cougar" series.

This week I'm going to NYC for the Mystery Writers of America symposium. It's the middle of The Edgars week and I'm looking forward to hearing some wonderful authors talk about mysteries.

Yesterday I slaved over a hot laptop, revising "Moonstone Magic" and sent the first 12 pages to my retreat buddies. The PLRW retreat is this weekend. Even though its Friday through Sunday, I won't get there until Friday evening because....

Works has been busy, too.

Now if I could just win the lottery: All I want is the 100K a year.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To Susan Boyle

One day I heard someone tell my father that he was lucky he had at least one pretty daughter.
I knew I wasn't the pretty one.
Just as I'm sure you knew you weren't the pretty one.
No, my dear Susan, you're not pretty, you're beautiful.
Just like me.

I can listen (and watch) you sing all day. You give me hope.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Problem with Feeling Better... now I want to make a list of all the things I have to get done - stuff I should have been doing the last four days while I was trying to get better.

But I'm going to take it slow...yes, I am. I just have to keep telling myself that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being Alone and Sick... because you have to drive yourself to the doctor's, to the pharmacy, to the grocery store.
Then fix everything you need.
Then fall onto the sofa exhausted.
Then have three cats want to use you as a mattress, which can be good warmth for the bronchitis if it's not the 17 pound cat who wants to sit on your chest.

The best thing about being sick alone: no one sees how crappy you look, except everyone at the doctors, the pharmacy, the grocery store and the cats.

Sick and Not Smiling until I Saw This Picture...

So now I'm smiling.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Writing and Digging Holes

I look around my little apartment and think "I did this all alone." I moved EVERYTHING except the big furniture by myself. That can be both validating and sad.

Yesterday I did some planting in my tiny yard. My sweet neighbor, Chrissy, offered to help but she has enough to do - her wedding's in 2 weeks. So I'm slowly digging holes and planting. I dig the hole for the lilac bush a little each day. My back was a bitch last night.

It would be nice to have someone do some of these things for me - nice to hear someone say, "Look what I've done for you, honey." But that ain't happening and if I want something, I'll do it myself.

Recently at a writers meeting, the members were asked about collaborators, who we had, who we used to help us. I immediately flashed on the hole for my lilac bush.

In the beginning of writing for "real", it was Juilene Osborne McKnight - but that was 20 years ago.
I left a critique group because of the way I travel for work - I couldn't make the meetings and no one wanted to email me their work. I got the feeling they were happy to see me go. Because of that I don't trust critique groups.

So I'm writing in a vacuum. I have no mentor, no collaborator. My trust is rusty. I don't have the time to wait for someone to come along and help. The acknowledgments page of my book will have lots of white space.

So I dig my holes alone.
And I write alone and if when my gut tells me it's done, I send it out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

One Good Friday 144 years ago...

...we lost our greatest President.

"Let the Railsplitter Awake!"
"Let Abraham come back, let his old yeast
rise in green and gold earth of Illinois,
and lift the axe in his city
against the new slave makers
against their slave whips
against the venom of the print houses
against all the bloodsoaked
merchandise they wanna sell."

A. Ginsberg in "Homage to Neruda:"

"Let the Railsplitter Awake!" Maybe he has.

Another 3 AM

Only a writer (or any other kind of artist) knows what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night with an idea that you need to write, paint, etc.

I went to bed thinking about a short story I'm rewriting and I awoke at 3 AM, fully awake and ready to write.

It amazes me how characters and plots can take on their own life and pull the writer down a completely new path - more than likely the right path for the story. And that's what happened to me: Dobson and Teague took the lead in their story. They knew the ending, the who-dun-it, the why-dun-it long before I did. Well, after all they ARE detectives.

Damn, it's nice working with smart people, even if they are all in your mind.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Someone Noticed!!!!!!!

I've been trying to lose weight with some small success. I've also joined Curves and try to go on those days I get home from work before their closing time. The days I get home too late I walk around my apartment complex.

A nice (VERY) lady in the office next to mine said something to me this morning about noticing that I've lost some weight. Yay!

I thanked her.

I'm really not doing it out of vanity or "trying to catch a man" as some people have accused me of. I just want to be healthy and be a good role model for my daughter.

If you've never been overweight (and I have for most of my 61 years), you don't understand how very hard it is to lose weight. It gets even more difficult the older you get. And there is so much emotional baggage that goes along with it - heavy emotional baggage I've carried for more than fifty years.

So that kind remark made my day - maybe I'm not the invisible woman after all.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How to Do It All

That seems to be the question I'm hearing recently.
How do I write, blog, maintain a presence on Facebook and even Tweet on Twitter?
How do I do all that when I have a full time job and/or kids and a husband?

Well, I only have one of the above - a full time job. I'm single (for many years) and my daughter is grown. But my job can take a big bite out of my time and energy.

So how do I do everything I need to do to work to my dream of being a published writer - published in novel length?

I make some choices and set priorities. I'm not Mrs. Clean - my apartment is not a mess and there are no dishes in the sink (they're in the dishwasher) but you can see a few cat hairs.

I give up most television shows. I record several routinely and watch them on the weekends or when I have some non-writing, non-reading time. Oh, did I forget to mention that I read one book a week and listen to one a week (on my car CD player since I travel for work)?

I get up early top check emails, Facebook and sometimes Twitter. I check all three when I get home.

I work at least an hour every day on a Work In Progress. I have several projects. When I'm stuck on one, I move onto another project - that gets my creative juices going.

With three blogs - I try to have at least one blog every other day on one. Blogging also gets my creative juices going.

One of the hardest things to do is to say no to friends when they want me to do something with them. I try not to do that too often, because writers need non-writer friends to center them in the real world instead of the pretend one in their stories.

Friends and family can also be energizing.
Travel can give you a new perspective - and maybe a story idea.
Writing groups give you support.

But it's still you, alone in that chair, facing that blank screen and blinking cursor and only you can make the decision - do I want this enough to give up (fill in the blank).

All I know is there are two things that are as important to me as breathing and eating: reading and writing.

And somehow, I find the time for both.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mitzi's Nomination for Product of the Year...

...maybe even the decade.

Friday, April 03, 2009


And now I'm thinking about the act of writing itself. The physical things that we do to get words in a computer file or on paper.

I write short stories, articles and novels on the computer because my brain, my visions of the story go too fast for me to use a pen and paper.

But poetry is something different. Pen/pencil and a writing tablet. I write, I cross out, or I copy and rewrite and cross out and go back and...

Fiction comes from the gut and spews out quickly.
Poetry, like love, comes from the heart and like love, takes time to evolve.

3 AM

For the second time in less than a week, I'm up at 3 AM, my head full of ideas.
Maybe it was the sushi and the three glasses of wine I had with the sushi - or, more likely, the two cups of coffee I had to counteract the wine.
Maybe it was the discussion at dinner that triggered ideas for work.
Maybe it was "writing" (or, rather, rewriting) the beginning of Moonstone Magic in my head before I fell asleep and again when I woke up.
Maybe it was thinking that I wanted to go to Curves after work and possibly GLWG's Fire House Friday later in the evening.
Or maybe it was my blog that included the old dream of being Helen Herriott working in a vet's office in the English countryside before WWII that woke me up wondering, "What do you call the person who carts away dead farm animals?" BTW: I can't find it online even though I used the Reverse Dictionary and it's not farrier.
Maybe I just have too many ideas circulating around the old gray cells.

Thank goodness I have nothing scheduled for this weekend except maybe a movie with Olivia and Chelsea.
I have a short story to polish and send out (almost done).
I have a proposal to get ready (the outline of it is done).
I have a full manuscript to review before sending out.
I have the beginning of Moonstone Magic to rewrite for the retreat in May- and that has been going through my head for a week.

The Prologue: Uther taking his son to the wizard. Not that son and not that wizard - a new twist that has me awake in the wee small hours of the morning. I can "see" Uther, rough, huge warrior, tramping through the woods of Dumonia, a babe in his arms. I see the wizard's small hut and smell the burning herbs and feel the old man's displeasure at the King - a bastard son, not Ygraine's. Ygraine's son is with the old wizard's apprentice. Ygraine's son will be king. What will happen to this babe? And so the story of Arthur, his half brother, Vivienne, Guinevere and Merlin's need to provide a heir for Arthur begins.

If brain activity keeps you cognizant, then I will have no problems. I'll be alert and oriented forever - and awake at 3 AM writing.