Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What the heck happened to this year?

OK - today is the 9Th day of November. I have a simple question -

What the hell happened to the rest of this year?

Ever since my mother-in-law died the end of July, the days have been flying past. School started, my daughter had a birthday, my husband had a birthday, I had a birthday, my mother turned 90 - all events that sped past so fast none were given the attention they warranted. Especially my mother's 90Th birthday.

My whole family came to town. Once again, I felt left out of everything. It would be nice to not feel like the outsider inside of my own family. But I've grown comfortable on the outside looking in. Some of the observations of my family become fodder for my characters.

I am still trying to market book one, and I have a new story percolating. Problem? It isn't a fantasy story. It's more of an adventure/romance. I don't normally write pure romance. I can't come up with enough story to carry a romance only book. There has to be a hook for me to want to invest the mental energy to harvest.

Soon, the holidays will be here. Am I ready? No. This will be a hard time for my hubby and his family - the first Christmas without Sue. I don't know what to do to help my kids with the sadness they are going to have the next few weeks. All suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yes, I know... it's been a long time!


I knew it had been a long time since I blogged, but May? I really thought it had only been a few weeks. Time flies when I work too much. So, a quick recap...

June and July were work, work, work. We had a big July 4Th event which actually went rather well. So well, Steve and I decided to take two weeks vacation. After a lot of back and forth we decided to go out to the Pacific Northwest and drive down the coast.

Just as we got heavy into the planning phase, Steve's mother died. Very unexpected and very painful. Steve originally wanted to cancel everything, but I think his mother would not have wanted us to stop our plans because of her death. We made some alternate arrangements and here we are.

Flying into Seattle, we spent the first day wandering the city with friends. Did some of the regular tourist stuff, like the Space Needle, but also wandered into small stalls in the Pike Place Market for infused oils and vinegar and marvelous breads. Had lunch in a little out of the beaten path restaurant and ate the most incredible White truffle chicken salad I have ever had. The sun came out in the afternoon and we continued to wander the waterfront.

Second day was spent picking up the rental car, finishing up Seattle (we tried to find the Deadliest Catch fleet to no avail) and then to Mt. Rainer National Park. The volcano played peek-a-boo all day, but we saw awesome giant redwoods and cedar at the Garden of the Patriarchs. Then we headed to Portland and family!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Lots of things going on, which is why this hasn't been updated in a while!

Work is busy, but we have a bit of a down week this weekend, so I can spend some time with the family, the horses, and most important - the new book.

CATALYST is with my awesome editor. For the next six weeks, he will be dissecting and correcting my baby. The good part is - I know he loves the story and will not try to swing things away from what I am trying to accomplish. A good editor is a price beyond measure. JD is great, I am so lucky God sent me in his direction.

Still trying to get noticed by a publisher, but I know that will happen when God is ready. It's a good story and I know it will resonate with someone.

School is almost over for the year. Standardized test scores are in and we are ready (almost) for summer. Daughter has lots planned - son intends to work and save for a car.

Not too much else to post, I really have some words burning for book two of the trilogy. I have to strike while the words are hot!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

10K Miles from ATL

Still leaving, still breathing, and still humpin it to get through the second and third periods

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Memory of Dreamette...

I hate when I have to work so hard I cannot write.

The month of April is when I am working at my real job the hardest. Usually the weather is awful, when is good for my normal business (special event rental) but also the wildest. Tornadoes, high winds, hail - you name it we get it in the spring. And nothing ruins a good event event quicker then any of the aforementioned weather problems.

Last weekend was one of our biggest spring events. There were lots of tents, lots of alcohol and lots of bad weather. The wind was blowing a small gale. The rain came down in sheets. The mud was everywhere.

At my 'side' job, we kept the horses inside in anticipation of the weather. Across the street, the broodmares were turned out for a short time to allow them to stretch their legs. Mares who are about to foal are miserable. Just like pregnant humans. One mare delivered in early March. The other two were due in early May.

Dreamette was 22 years old. A champion broodmare, she was due for her latest baby the first part of May. Last Saturday during a large spring thunderstorm, she was struck by lightning and killed instantly.

Karma is relentless. Even if Dreamette had been kept inside last Saturday, she wouldn't have been safe. The same storm that hit the paddock also hit the barn, exactly outside the stall she would have been standing in.

I have never truly understood mares who are only used for breeding purposes. It has always seemed like a waste of a good horse. But I can understand grieving for a lost friend and a lost child. She was a star in her own world, producing babies that excelled in their breed. Her last year's foal stands alone in the front pasture, looking for a mother he will never smell or hear again. That, my friends, is worthy of mention.

People think animals are dumb. They consider horses put on this planet for their amusement or abuse. But, they are also mothers, and sons, and daughters, and friends, and companions.

Somewhere Dreamette and the foal who never was are running free, enjoying God's much greener pastures. Free from pain or worry, they will run forever, Dreamette waiting for her other children to join them. May they run free forever.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Triumph and Tragedy

Why do women feel the constant need for cutting each other down?

That is a rhetorical question which has nothing (or everything) to do with this entry. Recently I received a publisher's response from a house I had honestly forgotten I had submitted to. The fact that is was a negative isn't the story. It's what they said that is the subject of my posting.

Once I read their comments I remembered why I sent a query to them. They promised a honest assessment of their rejection. Now, I'm getting used to the "no thank you" letters from publishers. However, what I am having a problem with is what they said next.

They told me I had no story development in the 50 pages I submitted.

Wow. Low blow.

Now, I will confess the opening is probably the only part of my book even I struggled with. My awesome editor (who shall remain nameless except to say that he is my hero) had me cut a lot of the opening right away. That ended up being about eighteen pages, which I am slowly working out my frustration concerning by blogging. But now, even he admits more needed to be lost. And that's probably my fault.

As a writer, I have a hard time separating myself from what I write. I have spent a long time developing this story. These characters have been living in my head for years and I feel a duty to tell their story as honestly and deeply as I hear it internally. To know that I have to separate myself from this and look at the story from a commercial side is hard.

Which in a very round about way brings me to the opening sentence. Girls, in a nutshell, can be very cruel. It is one reason I am not an extremely verbal person. I've never run in the popular group, most people think I am stuck up when I am actually only paralyzingly shy. Girls are like sharks. They swim around in packs looking for weaknesses they can exploit.

Currently my daughter is experiencing the painful lesson that teenage girls are two faced, and it is painful to see her bewilderment at the sudden changes in those she thought her friends. Why do others have to cut down the smallest in the herd? I tell her to try and let it go, but she is just like me. She takes everything way to personal.

Thin skinned people are in for a hard time in this highly competitive culture we live in . Whether they are writers or painters or poets or twelve year old girls, we have to choose what we allow to injure us and to always remember that it can only damage our souls if we let the barb penetrate that deep.

Women are cruel, publishers are even crueler, but teenage girls are killers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

If Patience is a Virtue, Then I Have None!

I have come to the conclusion that I HATE TO WAIT!!!

First, I am waiting to be published. That one single process alone would be enough to test the patience of a saint. Nothing I can think of compares to the long term agony of waiting to hear from a publisher whether they think you are good enough to take a chance upon. Granted, they get more requests in a day than I get spam emails, but still...

I spend half my day at my regular job waiting for the mail to come. Just to see if any of the many people who owe me money have sent any. I get tired of tell my creditors, "not today maybe tomorrow." I just want to be caught up again with all our bills. I want to be able to set some money aside to grow old on.

Right now, I am waiting on a customer to return a credit card authorization form. I sent it more than an hour ago. How long can it take to write down a few numbers and fax it back? Now I am going to be stuck in traffic on the way home, still have to drive to the barn (20 additional minutes in another direction) and I had told my daughter we might go out to the tack store in Roswell. CRAP!

That is the part of being a mom I have a hard time with. When I get home, all I really want to do is take a nap! Not drive all over creation running kids here and there. True, my son takes a good deal of this burden by picking up his sister when I ask, but right now his car is broken and I don't have the money or time to fix it.

Have you ever heard the expression, "Just when I got it all together..."? That's how I feel right now. Money is tight, my kids are demanding, my business is having a hard time, the economy stinks, my son needs a job, my daughter is whiny and everything seems like I need to tie a knot in my rope and hang on.

That's when I need to submerge myself the most in my writing. When everything seems to be falling apart, the stories flow. Is there a corollary between suffering and the creative process? Of course there is. Look at Van Gogh. Look at Michelangelo. When an artist is suffering in their own private morass is when the greatest creations are made. Look at the Sistine Chapel. Look at "Starry Night".

Into every one's life suffering comes. How you deal with it is what makes the difference. I need to turn my problems over to my Higher Power, the Living God. Only He will bring peace to my soul. He gave me a talent and I thank Him everyday for my blessings. Now, I need to learn to praise Him for the suffering.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



Well, I still have three publishers I have not heard from to date. Of course, they say in their guidelines they have three to six months to make a decision. Does that help my blood pressure? Not a bit, but until I have a 'no' in hand, I assume all of them will be 'yes'. But I have already decided the easy part of writing a book is the actual writing. That's not what my editor says, but it's how I feel at this moment.

I've been spending some time on the new book, finishing the rough, beginning to flesh out the story and finalizing names, location names, etc. This is the phase I like the best. Who are these people clamoring inside my head going to become? What are their stories? Can I do them justice?

Creating stories in my head is a pastime I have enjoyed my whole life. If I didn't have to work for a living, I would spend my days writing non-stop. It is nice to have the voices inside my head, they tell me some fascinating things. They have kept me company on many dark nights. But, at least they aren't crazy voices.

Doesn't mean that some of the stories they tell me haven't sounded crazy. Believe it or not, when I was fifteen I had a story in my head for an assassin trying to kill the President during the Inauguration. About twenty some odd years later, it was a movie.

I've always read a lot. One summer I spent reading nothing by Russian novelists. Of course, it only took about two chapters of Anna Karenina for me to decide Russian novels are depressing! But I made the choice and stuck with it, even though I thought I might kill myself before the summer was over.

Another summer I read only books by Robert Heinlein. Then books by Arthur C. Clarke were another project. One thing has always been foremost in my mind.

"These people have the same crazy voices in their heads as I have in mine."

Believe it or not, that's a very comforting idea. When I was a child, I was always scared to tell my mother I heard stories in my head. I was afraid she would think me insane. I have often wondered if any of my writing heroes had the same fears.

Writing these blogs is helping me conquer another of my deepest fears - public rejection. I have never had a really strong sense of self worth. I am painfully shy, a point which many people in my life have mistaken for bitchiness. I don't take criticism very well, see above 'no sense of self worth'. I march to my own beat, then try to disguise that beat so it appears to be closer to what others follow.

So, why at the spry age of forty something did I decide to go against every self protective instinct I have ever had and throw out my story for others to read? Because I am a mother. I want both my children to go after their dreams and desires with full speed ahead. If I am afraid to take on my fears how can I teach my kids otherwise.

I have a plaque in my office, above my desk. It states, "If you are standing on thin ice, you might as well dance."

So this is me - dancing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Home Again, Home Again...

OK - I am officially tired!

We arrived at Dulles yesterday afternoon at 6pm for a 7:30pm flight home to Atlanta. Travelling with my mother is hard. she is almost 90 and requires a wheelchair through the airport. When we finally got to the gate -


The flight which was supposed to leave before us (6:40pm) from Dulles to Orlando was delayed for a 'mechanical problem'. The actual problem? A broken pilot seat. So the good people at Air Tran decided to give them the plane we were supposed to leave on to Atlanta at 7:30. Which meant we had to wait for the last flight from Atlanta to arrive. At 11:10pm. Which was three and a half hours from when we checked into the gate.

Now, wait a minute.

My father worked for United for almost 40 years. I know about delays. But I have never travelled with a 90 year old woman before. I wanted to get my mother home. It was a hard weekend for her, physically, and I just wanted to get her home. So a long delay did not sit well with me. But it really didn't sit well with others who were booked on our flight.

You see, there were no other flights out of Dulles last night by any airlines. So anyone who had a connecting flight they were trying to make in Atlanta was SOL. They could either fly out late with us and sleep in the Atlanta airport until another flight was available or stay at a hotel in D.C. and leave out the next morning. Needless to say, there was much unhappiness at gate b67 last night.

On the plus side? The plane landed in D.C. at 11:10pm. We rolled away from the gate at 11:25pm. The pilot floored it and we rolled to the gate in the ATL at 1am. That has to be a record for a commercial flight. I think he was as ready to get home as the rest of us. We dropped my mother off at 1:35am then headed for Woodstock. I finally got in bed at 3am.

Next time I think I'll take United.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Place for Reflection

Today we drove into Washington D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin and other parts of the city. Of course, about a hundred thousand other people all had the same idea, so traffic was horrendous. But the sight of all those delicate blossoms surrounding our nation's Capitol was truly inspiring. Got some great pictures, especially around the Jefferson Memorial.

Then we drove out to the Pentagon to see the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Wow. To see the benches, to read about the victims, how the benches are aligned to illustrate who was in the Pentagon and who was on the flight - really brought home to me a sobering thought.

We are still at war.

Not just the war in Iraq, or in Afghanistan or any of a thousand other little posting around the globe. We are at war with our own country. Never in America's history have we been so divided as a people about WHO we are as a nation and WHERE we want to move ourselves forward to be as a people. Just a before, we must remember "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

However, when the leadership of our country turn a deaf ear to the cries of their constituents, it becomes time to change that leadership. When legislation running through the Congress favors the people voting for that legislation more so than the people it is intended to protect, the system is broken, and must be fixed.

Alas, most democracies implode around two hundred to two hundred fifty years, so we are standing on the brink of a Constitutional crisis the likes of which have not been seen since Boston threw the tea overboard. If our government is broken, do we not have the right to change that government? Isn't that what we fought for over two hundred and thirty years ago? Isn't that what so many have given their lives defending.

Stand up American, and start using your Bill of Rights! If you don't know what they are, when they are taken away you sure will! We enjoy a standard of freedom the likes of which is found nowhere else on this planet. But freedom comes with a price. Some pay the ultimate price while others are willing to trade away our freedom for a kind word in some foreign newspaper article.

It's time to stop caring so much about what the rest of the world thinks about us, and start improving our own impression of ourselves. As Lee Greenwood sings, "But I'm PROUD to be an American, where at least I know I'm free." The other caveat to that pride is, "We are all bought with a price, the price Jesus paid on the cross for our sins." The prices are high, the bill is adding up.

Wake Up America - annoy the media - READ FOR YOURSELVES! Those who do now know their History are doomed to repeat it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Change of Scenery, A Change of Pace

Well, we are now in Virginia, just outside D.C. for the Easter weekend. My sister and her husband live up here and we try to get up at least one a year, but it doesn't always happen. We flew up here with my mother, who will, God willing, celebrate her 90th birthday this coming October. She is moving slower, so traveling is not the easy trip it used to be. But I love that we can be together and wish my brother and his family could make it also.

The cherry blossoms are in bloom all around the Capital. We plan on driving in tomorrow and seeing them in all their glory. I want to go again to the WWII memorial. I always cry, especially when I pull up my father's name in the service computer. Then I want to go over the Pentagon to see the 9/11 memorial.

Washington is a wonderful place to visit our history, personal and national. The many marvels of the Smithsonian, the majesty of National Mall, the bookends of the Capital and the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting ponds, the cherry trees - all have a story, and those stories all weave into the mosaic that forms who WE are. The United States of America.

A country founded by men with a thirst for freedom, with a desire to be more than mere puppet soldiers to a king many had never seen. Men with something I find to be lacking in out government today - the ability to put aside their personal differences to create a new system, the ability to realize the whole is greater than the part.

My own family came to America as a last recourse. They were Quaker, asked to leave Great Britain because of their religious beliefs. Settling in what would become New Jersey, they started a legacy of farmers who would work the land for more than four hundred years. I went back a few years ago, to show my children where their grandfather came from. It was sobering.

The old farmhouse and out buildings are gone. There is a subdivision on our farmland. But the family plot in the church cemetery is there, reminders of the impact we once had on this small Jersey town. My grandparents are buried there, as is my oldest sister. The church pulpit still bears the plaque noting the donation of my grandparents. There are still people around, growing fewer every year, who remember my father and his sister. Some who even went to school with them.

I live in Georgia, but my spiritual home is here in the North. My family roots run deep in this part of the country. I was born in Pennsylvania, my brother and sister in West Virginia. Northern born, southern raised, American through and through.

I wish I could say that about our government.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week for Many Faiths

Tonight is Wednesday, tomorrow night is Maudy Thursday. Maudy Thursday celebrates the passover meal Jesus and his disciples enjoyed in the upper room before the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. From that arrest, events began to unfold in a rather rapid succession - The First Trial before Pilate, the Trial before Herod, the Second Trial before Pilate, including the 39 lashes and refusal of the crowds to pardon a seemingly innocent man.

Whether you are one of the faithful who believe in Christ's death and resurrection, or if you are one you thinks the Messiah hasn't arrived yet, this week is still a Holy Week of celebration. Those of the Hebrew faith are celebrating Passover, which commemorates the passing over of the Hebrew children by the angel of Death in Egypt. How marvelous these two events are when considered as bookends of faith.

One bookend is Passover, the remembrance and celebration of pure oil and the rushing sound of the Angel of Death passing over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and sparing their first born sons.

The other bookend is the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This event born to all nations of the world a united view of the Bible. "Love each other as I have loved you", this is the mission which God set before us.

As I walk through this Holy Week, I cannot help but remember a line from my favorite Easter song. "Death, where are your shackles? Sin, where is your stain? They've all been defeated, the Grave could not hold the King,"

Hallelujah for a Risen Living God, who loves us and want to live in cooperation. May the spirit of love that always surrounds us at this time, keep showing itself in and through us. May we be, unashamed of the Gospels.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Month Slides Into the Dust

Well, two more days and March 2010 will be history. Let's look at what has happened around the globe this month. The Democrats ramrodded a health care reform bill through Congress even though 85% of Americans don't want it, the weather went wacky all over the country dumping record amounts in the NE, and I have still not heard from any reputable publishers about CATALYST.

The first item is one of the three areas I choose not to discuss in public. The other two are religion and the Great Pumpkin. But, if the general population has not figured out we are rapidly sliding down the hill toward becoming a Socialist nation then they deserve what they get. I highly recommend reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged to anyone with a mind still capable of making independent decisions. It will give your life a direction and affirmation.

As for the weather, Mother Nature has obviously hit menopause. I would assume we are heading toward global climate change on a magnitude not seem in humanities lifetime. Does that mean we are the cause of this change? Not completely. I think these cycles of the earth are normal. God set into motion a living system, complete with chaos theory. Free will is not confined to people.

I am working on a new book. Nothing related to science fiction or fantasy, this book is in honor of my daughter and our two horses, Bella and Penny; and all the other horses who find themselves in rescue centers. If you love horses, then join the movement for responsible breeding of horses, especially Thoroughbreds. The reckless search for the next great racehorse unfortunately leads to many wonderful not so great horses have to find homes. I will never let I horse I own or care about be sent to the kill pens.

My closest friends came for dinner Sunday to catch up and provide support for my son's godmother and her daughter. Stacey lost her husband last year to ALS, and there are still some sore spots, but it was wonderful for them to come up and enjoy some fellowship with old friends. I pray for her everyday.

My husband has to have tests done tomorrow first thing for his heart. I ask everyone to pray for his protection and that nothing extreme is wrong. Updates to follow as I get them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Have you ever had one of "THOSE" days?

I'm having one of THOSE days. It started when I woke up three minutes before the alarm was to go off. What can you do with three minutes except wish you had them to sleep through! Then, the television alarm doesn't go off on time and the children blame you for them not getting finished the homework they should have done the night before but didn't because they knew you would get them up earlier enough the next morning.

Somehow I missed time to take a shower, which meant my hair had to get put up. Then I get dressed and can't find any socks. I pick up my keys and the dog it at the door ready to go. And the sunrise was red...

It never really rained today, just enough of a dreary drizzle to make my day complete. Which cancelled riding lessons which made my daughter walk around saying, "I'm Bored!"

My son and my husband are sniping at each other again. I get really tired of the male testosterone overflowing in my living room. I love my son, and I love my husband - but I cannot wait until Chris ships out to boot camp/A school. Two Reece men is too much at one time and in one place.

And my husband has to have another heart cath. The blockage/dead spot they saw in 2006 has moved/changed and they want to check it out. And out warehouse manager has more cancerous tumors in his leg. And I'm broke until business picks up next month.

I really need to sell my book, but I also want to hold out for the 'right' publisher. What is the right publisher? Preferably one who isn't a scam. One who believes in me and my story. One that doesn't want me to pay half the costs. Not to brag on myself, but - CATALYST is a great story and it's going to make someone (and me) a lot of money and bring enjoyment to a wide audience.

Family time this weekend - my bestest friend and her daughter are coming up for a few days from FLA. She lost her husband last year to a horrible, horrible illness - Lou Gehrig's Disease. It wastes away the body, but leaves the mind untouched. He was one of the most genuine people I ever met and I will miss his laugh and smile forever. But, I'm glad he was a part of her life because he made her life complete for the years they were together.

My son has a report date for the Navy. AMEN!! He wants to go Special Forces and he would be awesome there. But whatever he chooses he will excel at - he's just that kind of kid.

So my head and my heart aren't moving together right now. Which means Janis Joplin is calling to me.

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I don't have time to be sick!

Nothing slows down my progress like being sick. My brain ceases to function properly and words seem to get bogged down in a haze. If I could zap this ache out of my muscles I might feel better, but I doubt it.

OK, I took the big plunge this week and sent my book to a MAJOR publisher. If they accept it I will dance naked in the living room, well maybe in the shower! But my editor thinks it good enough, so I'm taking JD's advice and going straight to one of the top publishers in SciFi/Fantasy. I still have several other queries and proposal packages out there, I'm sure someone will bite. I just hope it's a reputable company.

Did a little work this week on another book, completely different from CATALYST. I need to step back from that story until Book One sells. Book Two is almost completely sketched out, just the ending to flesh out. Vivi knows where she wants this book to end and Book Three to begin, but I've lived with her for over a year now and, honestly, I need a break from her. For a fictional character living in my head she sure can be bossy!

The new book is the fulfillment of a promise to my daughter. This book is about horses and girls and the fulfillment of first love. About as far from a post apocalyptic earth trilogy as a person can move, but she wanted a story she could relate to. Since she's an almost teenager, who loves horses, it seems a good fit.

I need to put my life in some sort of order. Laundry, taxes, paperwork, regular work, dishes - right now everything seems to be piling up in big heaps. Some day I might actually win the Mega Millions or Power ball and then I can devote my days to writing and riding. But now, everything has to take it place. Another thing being sick won't help me figure out.

But I would rather just write. I can occupy me for hours, putting me into a world of my own creation. I get excited when I see where the story is moving. Some times it's my direction but mostly I let the characters tell their story. Why? It's more important to see where they want to move events to. These really are their stories, I am just the external typist recording everything for posterity.

But I hope Evie and Vivienne and the others don't catch my cold. Too many people whining in my head makes for one hell of a migraine!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Saturday Well Spent

I like my Saturday's. I like spending time with the solitude and the comfort of the horses. I like working around the barn and, yes, I even like cleaning stalls. I don't like toting water buckets. But the power will be in soon and so will the pump for the well. It is amazing how much we take running water for granted until you have filled and carried 25 - 5 gallon water buckets.

Water shapes everything on this earth. It wears away stone. It moves trees. It has to be carried over by a gator with you don't have it in pipes in your barn.

But I'm thankful for what we do have. Large stalls, skylights, open spaces - it is an awesome place. It helps me think. It helps me write. A lot of my best ideas have actually come while cleaning stalls. Plug in the earphones, turn up the iPod and I can enter a zone unlike any other place.

Today I worked on trimming Penny's mane and tail. My mare has the most gorgeous and natural tail. People pay thousands of dollars for what she grows without effort. With all the rain and the cold, and the surgery and moving, I haven't trimmed her up since November. And then I worked on the compost pile.

And - walked the property to see what changes the latest flood had brought to us. All and all, it isn't that bad. A little more debris washed down, a water bucket floated across the street and half way across the paddock on the other side of the street and all the channels that were dug to help channel the water away are overflowing.

But our barn is high and dry. The horses are fine. Ready to go out and play and stetch their legs, but dry. No leaks in the ceilings. No buckets in the hall to catch the rain. The water can flow, but it can't stop progress. It just makes a path around.

Yep. I like my Saturdays.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Week Down and What Have I Accomplished?

Well, another week is about to be history and what have I done for the betterment of my family? We have large contracts at work in negotiation, I've done laundry and been to the grocery store. What have I done for my writing? Not enough!

Sure, I'm in a quandary over unscrupulous publishers but that doesn't result in forward momentum. What I really need to do is go back to my lists and start the process with another round of query letters. I knew when I started writing it would be a long and sometimes painful journey. But nothing worth having ever comes easy.

Without quite realizing what was happening I have allowed the end to overshadow the vehicle. Vivienne's story is compelling and she deserves it to be told. While I have taken a moment to step into another story, one which has existed in short story form a long time, I am never far from her attention. Book Two still waits for its ending and Book Three is always percolating.

Getting published is one thing. Being proud of what is published is quite different. I have certainly read some books and thought at the time, "well, that was a waste of paper and time". But then there are some books that stir the soul, fire the imagination and inspire one to greatness. I want to be proud, when the time comes, of the final edition when it is printed.

One of my favorite authors is Robert Heinlein. While many of his books changed and enriched my world, one which I find myself referring to over and over again is "Time Enough for Love". The concept of eternal man and genetic compatibility is most interesting to me. If they could take my brain and transfer all my knowledge into an exact, young and limber body with no lasting side effects or pain I would say "Sign me up!" Life is to be experienced.

One of my favorite saying in TEFL is found the first notebook of Lazarus Long. "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." My all time favorite saying from the same book is:

"Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect. But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a foot pad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please--this won’t take long.” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time--and squawk for more! So learn to say No--and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you. (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.)" Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough to Love.

And that - is that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Working from Home

Why, when you tell people you are working from home, is their first response to ask if you are playing hooky? Is it because that is what they would do? I really do work from my home. That's why I have a laptop computer. Everything I need to do my job, with the exception of my physical office can be found on or forwarded to my laptop.

Now, I do take longer breaks than I would at the office, to change out the laundry or start dinner or ferry children around. But that happens around checking my emails, updating contracts, updating my blogs, and working on getting published. In truth I work harder at home than the office, just at my own speed not anyone elses.

Today, for example, I am in a quandary. Do I agree to sell my book to a company with a questionable reputation, or to keep pushing letters and samples of the book to major publishing houses? Honestly, I think I am good enough to see the book directly without any financial output on my part. Am I that naive?

While I work on my next book I am going to be prayerful of this situation. I may also consult someone wiser than myself. But I will not let it stop my writing. Someone out there is going to get it. And I'll be ready when they do.

And when it gets published, I will throw such a party for everyone who has believed in my and this project, as to shame other parties.

With lots of good tunes and good food.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm frustrated. Why do I never seem to have enough hours in a day to get anything accomplished? I am not just talking about time to write. Some days it seems I don't have time to turn around. When I was younger time management never was important. I could work all day, party half the night and sleep a few hours and do it all over again. Ah, the lost talent of youth!

I'm also stretched a lot more than when I was young. I want to streamline my life, discard things from my memory banks to make room for new information. But how does one decide what stays and what goes? What if I make the wrong decisions?

I have an idea for a new story, way different from CATALYST. This week my goal is to finish sketching out the characters and make a rough outline for the story. Book Two of the Trilogy is stuck at 75% complete. Again - I know where I want to go, I'm just having an argument with my characters about how to get there. I am winning, but they have some smart ideas.

That begs the question - how many writing projects can I juggle at one time and NOT get them totally confused? The new story is far and removed from the world of CATALYST, which should help my thinking remain linear. I would not be amused if the characters began story jumping.

Still waiting to hear from several query letters I have sent out to publishers. It boggles my mind how many publishers don't even acknowledge they received anything from you. Today I got back my query letter in my SASE from a publisher. No note, no "we aren't interested", nothing that indicated these people did anything more than take my letter, open it, put in my SASE and stick it back in the mail. Certainly an easy job - wonder if they are hiring.

And then there are the publishers who think you are "fabulous" and if you will buy a thousand copies to sell yourself they will be glad to publisher me. Call me old fashioned, but I thought I was selling my book to a publisher so that they have the privilege of benefiting from my writing. Why should I pay to get into print? Personally, I think I write better than the average novice author and should be paid - not have to pay.

I need a good ride on horseback through the countryside to clear my head. Of course, we have going into another rain cycle, so I guess watching old movies I already know the ending to will have to substitute. At least for now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oh Spring!

Today was an almost perfect spring day in the South. Sunshine, blue skies, warm and holding the teasing promise that winter has finally headed somewhere else. Alas - it was only a tease. Starting tomorrow, the return limited run of rain. But, the temperature will not be quite as stark in its previous engagements. Yah!

I love spring. It is simply the best time of the year. The rebirth and rejuvenation Mother Nature brings with the return of warmer temperatures and longer days has always excited within me the desire to create something new and fabulous. Planting flowers, pruning the bushes, cleaning out the cob webs in my house in celebration of another winter gone.

But I also try to clean out the cob webs in my mind. Too often I find myself dwelling on things in the past which need to stay in the past. My doubts and insecurities rise up and attempt to ensnare me in their clutches. With a firm hand I can send those feelings out with the wind, refusing the comfort of the old familiar.

Spring inspires within me a new desire for writing, a renewed passion for expressing myself on paper (or computer screen if you will). I have a new book idea, totally different from CATALYST. I have Book Two of CATALYST to complete the rough draft, and I have the CATALYST blog to push forward. And the continued process to find a publisher. If I get everything accomplished, this will indeed be a Spring renewal.

So, my Spring Resolutions:
1 - Write at least two hours every day. It doesn't have to be all at one sitting, but don't push it off. Too soon I would find myself finding more reasons not to write than to actually just write.

2 - Be diligent in finding a publisher. Somewhere out there is the perfect book house to me. We just have to find each other.

3 - Follow through and follow up. These seems to be the two issues I have the most problems with.

4 - Always take the time to stop and look around at the wonders of our physical world. God's world deserves our amazement and honor.

5 - Slow down! Far too often we race through our days and run right over those who need us most, our families and friends.

Yet the number one most important thing Springs brings is Baseball!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday - Another Week Calling for Rain

For most of the past five years we have been in a drought. Water conservation was championed twenty-four hours a day for months. Lakes were at all time lows and the drought made headlines all around the country.

Boy, what a difference a year can make!

This state has had more water in the past year than in three previous years put together and then doubled. Last September we had major floods across the wide Metro Atlanta area. The experts have said we had a 500 year flood. Who the heck plans for a 500 year flood? Far as I know, there wasn't anyone around here five hundred years ago except the Cherokee Indians and they didn't write anything down about a flood!

Rain, to me, is like writing. Some days it comes in a fine mist, covering everything but not leaving any concrete imprint. Other days, it comes in a flood, flowing faster than man can contain and control. While every writer hopes to live in a flood, far too often the floods are few and the mist is prevalent. Which is better?

I find when I have a flood of words flowing, the page count increases, but upon review the story sometimes has taken a bend I did not see coming. On those days it feels the inmates are running the asylum inside my head.

Ah, but in the mist I get so much more accomplished! That is where the polishing and refining seems to spring from. In the mist I can see the characters and their demands to be heard, but I can slow down the input, making better use of my time. A flood is always going to come. Whether it is a 500 year flood or a 10 year flood depends on how much I have cleaned out during the mist.

A writer always has to write, it is a part of our souls. But a smart writer knows the drought can be just around the corner. What happens to a writer who has lost his ability to see the stories in their head? How long can you reside in the drought waiting for a new flood to appear?

If you love writing, the droughts come. But how you respond can be a very individual thing. The important thing is to remember, no matter how long the drought lasts, no matter how low the lake level gets - a new flood is always around the corner. We just have to be patient and trust God.

THAT is the hard part!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ah Saturday!

Most people spend their Saturday hours either at full speed or at neutral. My Saturdays are usually a good mixture of both. The hours I spend at the barn can be long hours of full speed work or quiet rest. I love it either way. Still trying to get everything moved in and smoothed out and making the property our own.

They began digging the well today, which was awesome. Now if we can get electricity soon to run the pump and heat water, we will be jumping for joy. Still, the quiet out there in the mornings is pure food for my heart and soul. I enjoy my mornings with the horses. They are my mental health.

Tomorrow is another day, and I need to write and decide which publishers to submit to on the next round. But if the weather is going to be as nice as today, there is no way I will get any writing down. We have had too many rainy weekends and freezing temperatures this winter to not take advantage of a day full of sunshine.

So, if I'm writing in my head but putting nothing on paper or disk, am I not devoted to my craft? With all the stories competing for attention in my head, I could write mentally for years and never get every story down. Some are winners. Some are not winners. But I think each one through to the end they desire. Then I take the ones I think are richest and put them on real paper first.

I like writing outlines and notes on real paper. I think more clearly when I see the words before my eyes. Names become faces become people before my eyes and that gives the stories the cement they need to become books. I write straight to the computer, but always last. The paper comes first.

I love trees. I love all types of trees, and I try to buy recycled paper. Because, if I am going to indulge in my passion of writing, the least I can do is spare Mother Nature's oxygen generators a break.

And I may take a break tomorrow and write in my head while I ride on the back of my hubby's motorcycle. Because I am always writing, just not always on a visual media!

Friday, March 5, 2010

What do you mean it's March?!?!?

Just yesterday I was watching the countdown to the New Year. Today I realized it was the end of the first week of March. What happened to January? Did I sleep through it? And February - did I blink and it disappeared? Ever since I was little people told me time flies as you get older but passing at the speed of light is ridiculous.

When I am writing, time seems to move in slow motion. There is never enough time for me to get everything accomplished I have laid out. But I push forward. If I am not writing other things get attention but I always feel "I should be writing". Is there a correct balance when you are a wife and a mother and a friend and all those other hats that women tend to heap upon themselves?

When women do things which enrich themselves and not their family, are we being selfish? I learned a lot time ago I cannot be responsible for any one's happiness except my own. However, as a corollary to that statement, if I am not happy I do not have the right to inflict my misery on others. So I write. It makes me happy, which in turn makes me a happier person for my husband and my children. So - am I selfish or am I doing my best to make a better family life?

I propose I am making my home happier. Because - if Momma ain't happy...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm Confused, but That's Normal

Tuesday we received 4 inches of snow. By Sunday it is supposed to be almost 70 degrees. What the frack?! I know the weather in Georgia is unpredictable but enough is enough. The hubby thinks this might have been the last round of snow, and I certainly hope so. Snow makes my real job a little more difficult for sure.

I sent out a few more queries on the book. How can someone have your query letter for less than three minutes and decide it isn't what they want? Even I can't make a decision that fast. If they aren't willing to take a jump with me, an unknown, then tell me that. Don't just hit the pre-typed turn down without even opening the attachment. Blind rejection really steams me, in case you hadn't noticed.

Oh well, going to spend some time with the horses over the next four days, that should help my blood pressure. Unconditional love and acceptance make me smile. Perhaps something wonderful will come in over the weekend. Still have at least three outstanding queries I have not heard back from. Maybe one of them will request the full book to read. Once they read it I know they will be willing to take a chance on this middle age mom from Atlanta. If the situations were reversed I'm sure I would read what they wrote. Oh yeah - most of them have written NOTHING. They just like to crush other people's dreams.

I'm not bitter at all, can't you tell?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How Did it Become March Already?

I have come to the conclusion I am having problems keeping track of how fast these days are speeding by. Soon the boy will be on his way to Boot camp and the girl will be spending all her time and effort on her horses. The hubby and I will throw ourselved into the opening party season here in Atlanta and I will still be looking for Valentine Cards!

So far my publishing efforts have three publishers looking at the manuscript, one of whom I think is a scam company. A legit publish was looking at the book, but took a pass because I didn't know how many author copies I wanted to purchase. Is there some standard accepted number of copies an author should purchase? I was honest to them in my reply, but obviously they found my reply a downer.

But that was only Round One. I still have query letters out to three publishers, and have a second round ready and waiting for dispatch orders. As the old song from the
70's reminds us, "I will survive, I will Survive.

Friday, February 26, 2010

OMG What a Day!

I have been on my feet since 8am this morning and I am worn out. Moved the horses to the new barn today. That was special! Jake and Bella and Pandora just about had nervous breakdowns. Bella broke through her stall guard. Jake screamed her head off and Ponca went under her stall guard. Decided to leave the Belgian draft horses outside - don't know how they will act inside stalls.

Tomorrow is another day. Barn first thing. Then have to leave, come home, shower and head to Chattanooga to spend the night in the Aquarium. I thought it was the Ga Aquarium. I would rather have a 45 minute drive than a 2 hour drive. But what are you going to do?

Since my body and mind are not speaking right now, I am going to bed!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where is Spring?

The advertising slogan of a tv station here in town used to be, "You miss a day, you miss a lot", and that is how I feel today. I've missed some of the Olympics, I've missed some of my days and most of all I miss my mind. With writing a book you develope a disconnect from the rest of your regular daily life and your family. Everything becomes about your characters and their life. Everything in your life tends to either disappear or get ignored. I am know dealing with the aftermath.

Today is almost the end of February. Spring is supposed to be around the corner, yet up north they are having a snow hurricane. It is cold and windy and I cannot help but compare some of our climate issues with the Bible verse "As you sow, so shall you reap". While I am not an avid follower of Al Gore I do believe we are being ignorant in our attitude toward our natural environment. We do not have another planet to move to once we destroy this one.

That said, I am about to embark on launching my book accompanying blog. Am I scare? Dang right! But, it needs to be done. I once said I would rather write a speech than give one. This is similar to that emotion. So I am going to write a speech every day, while writing as another person. Can I do it? I have to.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today I spent in meetings. How many meetings, you ask? Too many. I have decided the worst type of meetings are those run by committee, They tend inevitably to have someone who wants to put their 'stamp' on every facet of an event. These are the people who must be stopped. They will stop the motor of this world. Two in one day is two more than I was truly prepared for.

On a happier note, CR is ready to turn the last of his paperwork in to get a date for Pensacola for his Navy testing. Cool FB page for SEALS and SWCCs. Check it out.

OMG - it is almost midnight and I am so sleepy (and hungry). guess I could float off on a cloud. After I have a snack!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sometimes I do entirely too much in a day

This morning started out crazy. Early morning phone call changed all my plans. Had to run out to the new property to meet the vet because Arabella needed her shots. So, instead of going straight to work, had to run to Emerson and wait for the vet. The good news was they were working on the arena, the bad news was the dirt we needed won't be available until next week. Dumped some dirt to start the process but...

Once I get more comfortable will writing this every day, I will start the blog for my book. I am waiting on two publishers to make a decision with the manuscript. Waiting stinks! But, I must go on. Book two is so close to finished, I just have to make a firm hanging end. Book three needs to be all action and romance. I know where I want to end. Now I just have to get there.

Opening my writing in blog form is scary and exciting. I know I will get some crazy comments, so it will be a good experience to toughen up my skin. Just need to make sure the first things I post are good. I need to outline several posts in advance to be sure of my direction. Scary but - it is the plunge I need to take if I want to become a serious writer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Today is the first day...

I am writing a book. I am officially out of my mind. There must be forty-eleven people at any given time who are also writing a book. Some of them are doing so because that is what they wanted to be in life - an author. Some of them are so called "experts" in their particular fields. I am neither.

Sure, there was a time in my life when all I wanted was to write a book. But then I thought - who am I that anyone would want to read what I think is interesting or facinating? But maybe, just maybe, there are some people out there who are looking for a good fantasy book that appeals to young adults and, more importantly, female. That's who I want to write for.

I love Science Fiction. Reading Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke and J.R.R. Tolkein changed my life as a teenager by opening up new lines of thought, new worlds I had seen in my dreams. I don't think of myself as your typical "sci fi" nerd. But I will proudly admit my allegiance to "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek". I love books by Stephen Donaldson and dream of the day my book might be on the shelf along side my heros.

Will that happen? I certainly hope so. But everone has to start somewhere. So - here I go. Off into the cybervoid. Fire up the rocket honey, it's gong to be a wild ride!