Thursday, June 30, 2005


I started writing when I was about 12 or 13. I remember sitting the jump seat of my folks' Datsun king cab pick up and scribbling away while we navigated across southern California looking for the perfect rattan furniture. As I passed from high school to college, I kept writing, all of it terrible and pointless.

Or so I thought.

I took a hiatus from reading and writing romance. It lasted about, hmmm, ten years. I was too busy working, dating, partying with my friends, living the life of a 20 something in L.A. Wish I could remember it ;). Anyway, after my second child, I got the urge to write again and dove back in with true commitment. My first endeavor was pretty crappy, but it was a complete ms. As bad as it was, I was told by kind and gentle contest judges I had a "lively" voice. I had no idea what that means (I still don't) and it took me awhile to see my "voice." So where is this leading?

About a week or so ago I was doing some filing in my writing file box when I ran into the last WIP I worked on back in my early 20's. The ink is faded and the perforation separating each page is falling apart. Streamers of paper hang from it because it was a dot matrix document and it ran through a roller. But for a hoot I picked it up and started reading. Whoa! I found narrative using the exact same language as what I use now. The structure was the same, the "voice" of the story was easily identifiable as my own.

It was a humbling and exciting discovery. I think as writers we really worry about our voice and finding it. But sometimes, I think, it is there, we just don't see it. It's comforting for me to know I have a voice and it can be "seen" by a reader. It gives me one less thing to worry about in my writing. I recommend to any writer struggling with the concept of voice to go ahead and read through old material, even if it reeks beyond all imagination. You may not be able to put a description to it, but it is probably there. And it will remind you how truly valuable those first attempts are and how nothing is ever pointless when you are writing.

And now for the IMPORTANT stuff...

BEAUTY AND THE GEEK last night was awesome. Talk about a train wreck. I loved it. Chuck and Rich were at there most obnoxious and, that's one feisty beer spokesmodel. Cannot wait for the big finale next week.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

I'm supposed to be writing. I've started a couple of stories trying to see which one strikes my fancy. The one I'm working on right now has a woman realizing their is little hope of rescuing her son from vicious kidnappers. Pretty sad, eh? So why am I laughing like an idiot?

I turned on this movie The Lost Skeleton of Cadvra. It is a parody of 1950's monster movies. This movie is so funny, the dialogue is just classic.
Kro-Bar: Yes, it is different this earth as it is called but then are we of the planet Marva as we call our planet not also strange and different to this planet and its people also?
Lattis: You think the earth people think we are strange, you think? It is strange how the ways of different people on different planets differ.

This is typical of the movie. If you get a chance, look for it.

On Another Note...

I had to get my tire fixed. I somehow ran over a screw and a nail. The tire store repaired it for free. Unfortunately, the tire store is across the street from a Barnes and Noble. My girls picked out a couple of books and I got "Johnny Tremaine" for my son. I wasn't going to buy anything because I knew I would be going to the bookstore tomorrow. But a book jumped out at me, it's sparkling glow begging be to pick it up, crying for me to buy it. So I got The Beast Within by Suzanne McMinn. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Home Improvement Princess

This is Daddy's Pride & Joy. Katie insists on participating in home improvement projects with her dad. So he painted an old tool box neon pink and got her a tool belt. This kid can't read, but she knows when to use a Phillip's head screwdriver. Today she stained a table and chair set she and her dad made out of old logs.

She is truly a Renaissance Girl. She loves getting dirty and working in the garden. She likes building things with her tools. When it comes to sports, she likes to compete and out-hit most of her male teammates in tee ball this year. At the same time, she likes cheerleading and looks at "Vogue." One of her favorite games is "hairdresser" and wants to paint her nails all the time. Before school in the morning, she would get out her clothes, lay them on the floor and create new outfits, deciding which was the cutest. She truly takes joy from all life has to offer. I hope she can maintain that elan through her adulthood. If she does, I think she will be unstoppable.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I Just Don't Love It Enough

So I've been trying to finish my historical with little success. My friend read it and said she wanted to smack the heroine. After getting more of her opinion, I had to agree. I chatted with Melissa about it and we came up with a good ending to make my heroine pay for her stupidity. It got real complicated. Then I realized I just didn't care. I don't "love" it enough (anyone receive that wording a rejection letter?). Of course I have to come to this conclusion on page 362.

It isn't a bad book. I think it is well-written but the characters mean nothing to me. I really don't care what they do. I don't care how they feel. It's my own fault for not catching this earlier. I have spent many, many months on this book with little progress. I could never envision this book on a bookshelf. When the little voice tries to get my attention, I should probably listen. So it will be filed away on the old hard drive until I get an urge to use it for something. But I have no inclination to keep working on it. I have a couple of other ideas ready to burst out, one I already have the query letter written in my head.

I worked so hard on the mechanics and the research, I forgot to put in my passion.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Blame it on the weather...

I'm on page 360 of my historical. I can taste the end, smell the HEA as it rises from my laptop. So why can't I get myself going?

I blame the weather. My mind moves on to different stories. Summertime is the time for adventure. For stories that take place on a tropical island. Stories with hot temperatures.

I thought of an idea on the way to pick up my kids from daycamp yesterday. I plotted it from beginning to end, found the black moments, characters, etc. in the time it took me to get the kids and get home. I wanted to dive head first into this new story.

But I must remain faithful to my historical. I'm almost done. I find it difficult to write about a woman in a corset when a chick with a miniskirt is winking at me. How do I keep interest in a guy with a cravat when a stud in a sportscar is waving madly from across a hot parking lot?

I guess this is when self-discipline kicks in. Nose to the grindstone.

In another vein...

If you are truly bored, try taking on Darth Vader at Sith Sense

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day

I complain about my husband often in my posts because, well, that's what he's there for. But he is a rather remarkable person, especially when it comes to his kids.

My husband became a husband and father for the first time when he was 20. At the time, he had grand plans to go college and law school. But he made a commitment to his new family. However, he never gave up his plans. So he worked full time, went to school and helped take care of his son. The marriage lasted the length of a sneeze and he became a single father. He took primary custody of his son. So, he worked even harder and continued with his schooling, devoting himself to making a better life for him and his son. He finished his AA and fought with the law school to let him in. They didn't have any rules on the books saying a four year degree was required for entry and my husband used the loophole. While going to law school, he continued to work at a day job but still made sure he had time for his son.

When I met him, his son was 11. He hired me to be his secretary (isn't that cute?) and he gave me certain rules. If his son called, interrupt at all times. He left the office by 3:30 on Tuesdays for his son's baseball practices. He always left the office by 5:30 so he could get home to be with his kid. His child always took top priority. When we got married and started having kids, nothing changed, in fact, he is even more stringent about his time rules.

He is out of the office no later than 5:30. He has been blasted by other lawyers because he refuses to work after 5:30. He has always coached our kids' sports teams, so there are weeks where he leaves even earlier to get to practice and games.

He does not go out with the guys except for the occasional poker game on a Saturday night every other month or so. When he comes home, he is either playing sports with the kids, pushing them on the swing, taking the girls for a ride in the powerwheels Barbie car, playing a video game with our son, watching a kiddy movie or playing a board game. He has an endless well of patience with our kids, one I wish I had even a tenth of.

I have never seen a person more devoted to the happiness of his children. He planned our yard with them in mind. When we got married, we killed ourselves buying a house in the city we live in so his son could be in a great school district. No sacrifice is too great for his kids.

He spoils them, but they are genuinely happy. They are secure knowing they have a father who thinks they are the greatest humans in the world. I only hope they appreciate it and, when they become parents, try and emulate him. It would be the best Father's Day gift they could give.

Happy Father's Day everyone.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On

While sitting on the couch chatting with Melissa today, my house started to shake. We had an earthquake. Not a big one, but enough to knock a few things around. I opened my cupboards and found a few things tilted. Hubby reported stuff fell from his shelves. I'm about 50-60 miles from the epicenter, so I'm sure folks in the desert felt it a lot more. Here is a link to the earthquake page and you can see how many earthquakes we get in this area: USGS earthquake map.

Now if that isn't moving enough, hubby talked to a contractor who says he can remodel our kitchen in two weeks. I'd counted on the project taking 3-4 mos. but he thinks he can do it much quicker. I'm pretty excited. Oh, of course we have figured out the price.... That I am not excited about. There will probably be another earthquake when I see the estimate and my jaw drops to the ground.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Friday, the Fun Begins....

The ominous words were uttered by my 5 year old last night. Today is the last day of school. As of 12:30 tomorrow, all three of my kids will be underfoot. Sigh...

Usually I spend the summer screaming at the top of my lungs. My kids see summer as their time to drive their mother to apoplexy. But this year. I'm going to be organized. I'm going to plan. I swear it.

We live within driving distance of some awesome museums. I'm going to take them this year. I realized at the end of summer last year, the poor kids got to do nothing. So this summer I'm going to strive to do things differently. We have year-long passes to Legoland. There is no reason I can't take them. I'm going to take them to the "club" so they can play with their friends while I workout and get some writing done.

My biggest hurdle is my house. I hate it when my house is dirty. But I find my need for a clean house dominates everything else. I gotta stop doing that. I guess the one advantage to getting the kids out of the house is they won't be able to make it messy.

I've decided to create a schedule, plan the weeks, plan the menus. I want to take the frustration of daily obligations out of my life, and, hopefully, Friday, the fun will begin.

In Other News...

Got a request for a partial. Emailed a query to an agent and an hour later they requested a partial. I wish I could feel more enthusiasm, but I'm afraid I'm getting rather jaded for the whole submission process.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

"Untapped" Comments

I had so many great comments about the "Untapped" post, I wanted to say a couple of things. First, I'm so glad I'm not alone. Writing can be such a solitary occupation, you can't just crane your neck over the cubicle wall and ask a question and double check if you are right.

Second, Suzanne said to study the masters. Funny, I just finished reading Jill's WHITE HEAT and was impressed how she always brought it back to the emotional response of her characters. Whatever action these people did or situation they went through, she always brought it back to how the hero or heroine felt. Also, about a year or so ago (I'm not exactly sure) I took an online class from the LRWA about writing SIMs. All of the instructors were wonderful (including Suzanne) and they hammered over and over, how important the relationship was between the hero and heroine, despite the level of danger, it always has to be made personal.

Anyway, thanks guys for the input, certainly helps me clear up my thinking.

Friday, June 10, 2005


I keep feeling like I'm lacking something in my writing. It's as if there is an untapped part of me I can't set free in my writing. When I write, I feel like there is something missing. Not always, but quite often I think I can do better than what I've done. It's not in the plotting, I don't have a problem there. My descriptions are good. But I don't feel as if I've cut to the core of the emotions I'm trying to express in my characters.

Much of what I write is romantic suspense where the hero and heroine spend a lot of their time trying to stay alive rather than doing a bunch of soulsearching. I do not like to write introspection, but then I don't think an internal narrative is always the best way to express the depth of a character. I don't know, maybe I'm being hormonal, I'm not sure. Any ideas?

In Other News...

Erika and Joe were eliminated from "Beauty and the Geek" this week. Erika has come to the conclusion she might be "shallow." Gee, ya think so?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Writing Your Heart Out

How much "heart" do you put into your writing? I don't mean the love and passion you have for writing, but your own personal feelings? Do you open yourself at all in your writing? How far are you willing to push yourself? Can I end a sentence without a question mark?

I guess what I'm asking is if there is something you won't write about because it is too painful or takes you out of comfort zone. I don't mean things like taboo subjects or explicit sex scenes, but topics more personal to you. Or, do you delve into those subjects, willing to bare your pain and weaknesses for the sake of a story?

Monday, June 06, 2005

"Beauty and the Geek"

Now that "Deadwood" and "Desperate Housewives" are done for the season, I have to find something to fill in the dead space. So I Tivo'd "Beauty and the Geek" and watched it last night. Oh boy. Talk about low brow. Please tell me this show is a set up and these women aren't that stupid. Among the questions missed:

Who was president during the Civil War? (the woman said Hoover)
Which president was a govenor of Arkansas?
Name three states that start with "New." (the only one she could name was New Mexico)
What is the capital of New England?

How in the world do they survive? Can they balance a checkbook? Do they need to? All of them were so self-involved, I can't imagine being stuck in a house with them.

The guys were true geeks. I felt bad for the one guy because he was a pure nerd. Three of them admitted to being virgins. One was the V.P. of the Dukes of Hazard fan club. He deserves celibacy.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Beast and the Blog

dh: "What are you doing?"
me: "Blogging."
dh: "You have a blog?"
me: "Yeah."
dh: "Wow," and, with a smirk, "maybe you need a life, or better yet, a job. What does 'dh' stand for?"
me: "What do you think?"
dh: "Uh...dickhead?"

Hubby decided to read my blog one night. I was not thrilled. My writing is never read by anyone in my family. Hubby has never read any of my writing. I think he's tried, but since it doesn't contain the words "Luke Skywalker," "the Republic,""Ford Mustang," or "Nicole Kidman" he quickly loses interest. I told him he shouldn't read it, I'm not particularly nice to him, but he was a pretty good sport.

I told him I didn't want him to read it. He pointed out that everyone else can read it, why not him? Besides, he could go to work and find it online and read it anyway. A valid point. So, does anyone in your family read your blog?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

June Gloom

Every year around this time we get gloomy June mornings that generally burn off into pleasant afternoons. Not so lately. Today had been cold and drizzly. I don't like it. I'm ready for summer. I'm ready for triple-digit heat. It has been affecting my mood. I have no ambition to do anything be it housework, writing or reading. I just want to sit there and snarl. I know some people love this weather, but I'm ready for the sun.

I write more when it is sunny, even with the heat, I can relax and get a bunch of writing done. I know Melissa loves cold and rainy weather, she find it pumps up her muse. But I think my muse might be Malibu Barbie and only comes out when the sun is promising a killer tan. Does anyone else have "weather muse?"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I've been tagged for the book stuff, so here goes:

Number of Books Owned?

Not that many. I'm not a book hound. I do have a keepershelf, but I'm pretty selective. I have lots of research books from history to crime and weaponry. And of course the collection of writing "how to" books.

Last Book Read?

I just finished THE COMPANION by Susan Squires a very different vampire novel that takes place in Regency England and North Africa. I really, really liked it. I'm currently reading WHITE HEAT by Jill Shalvis and THE ITALIAN SECRETARY by Caleb Carr.

What's Next?

Not a clue. I have so many books to read plus I've got a bunch in my cart at Amazon.

Five books that mean something to me?
1. HOUSE OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Victoria Holt. It was my first flat out romance novel. I became a big Victoria Holt fan, I must have been 11.
2. SHANNA by Kathleen Woodiwiss. A very educational book for a 12 year old.
3. JANE EYRE. I just loved that book. I was freshman in high school and read it so many times.
4. GRAPES OF WRATH by Steinbeck. Actually, any Steinbeck novel could be here. I love him.
5. THE TALISMAN by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Talk about the hero's journey perfectly executed. I never understood why this book wasn't more celebrated. It really put into practice all of the stuff I learned in AP English

Recapturing the Joy in Writing

When I started writing, I really didn't have any goals. I loved to write and took joy from merely putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it were). Now, I find so much of my thoughts geared towards publication, I find I forget why I started writing in the first place. I hate the fact that as I write my historical, in the back of my mind I'm worried about how I can market it or what agent is going to be interested in it. I find the joy of writing the darn thing has been eclipsed by my concerns about publication.

And I'm not alone. Melissa and I have talked about this for awhile. I think we feel it especially with regards to our historical writing. So we joined with our friend Olivia to create a new blog to re-discover the joy of writing and to celebrate the genres we choose to write not for their marketability but because we love to write. The result is Villa in Tuscany.