Monday, October 8, 2012

That crazy #sytycw2012 hashtag

Have you been seeing that #sytycw2012 hashtag all over twitter?

I absolutely have. I'd say it's a quarter of my tweetstream - even if the hashtag isn't there, people are talking about Harlequin's annual writing competition So You Think You Can Write. There's some six hundred or so entries, lots of those are people I'm online friends with. The last couple of years, I've entered and had a great time, met some wonderful people, and got to cheer for the winners Leah Ashton and Kat Cantrell and Natalie Charles.

One of the very best things about contests in Romancelandia, is that although they are a  competition and everyone wants to win, even if you don't come out on top, you can end up with your own happy ending. The winners aren't the only ones to sell their book. I've been waiting for a certain friend to spill her own happy news and the suspense is killing me.

But most important of all, win or lose, this is a amazing way to meet writers who love to read and write the same kind of books that I love. I've so many people. Leah, Kat and Natalie aren't just names on a cover to me. They are writers, friends I look for on twitter, which makes their successes all the sweeter.

And I've been lucky enough to meet many other wonderful friends. These are the women who cheer me on when I'm staring down my fears and who celebrate my every victory, no matter how small. This year, since I don't have an entry, I get to sit back and enjoy the fun, without any of the worry. Jessica and Jane during the build up to the first New Voices competition two years ago. Joanne and I go back nearly as far. In fact, I knew all the writers mentioned in RLA's post on her favorite entries. It all makes me wildly happy to see all my friends up there.

But I've barely skimmed the surface over at the sytycw site, so help me out. Have a favorite entry you have voted for every single day? Does your BFFL have her first ever book out in the big bad world and it needs some love? Found any gems in the pages (and pages!) of Nocturne entries? The perfect fit for the shiny new Kiss line?

Link me to your fave - or your own! I don't want to miss anything in the few days left to vote.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Power of Four


I quite forgot to include that I'd been tagged by the lovely Rose Red over at Sprig Muslin along with Karina Buchanan, Catherine Coles and Amalie Berlin. 




Four places I've worked:

  1. photo shop in Grand Central Station. Yes, it's as busy as everyone says. You kind of get addicted to that rush.
  2. the small hotel where I was married
  3. the small ballet company where my children danced.
  4. my all time worst baby stitting job ever was for a then seven year old boy who BIT me on a quais regular basis. Even the key to Gramercy Park didn't make up for how horrid he was.


Four films I could watch over and over again:

  1. The Breakfast Club
  2. Serenity
  3. Pride and Prejudice. The Colin Firth one.
  4. The Fifth Element

Four tv shows I could watch again and again:

  1. Buffy
  2. Gilmore Girls. I love the witty back and forth dialogue.
  3. Lost Girl. Current obsession.
  4. Bones

Four authors I enjoy:
Four? That's a joke right? How about the last four books I bought.

  1. Lisa Kleypas
  2. Sarah Mayberry
  3. Ruthie Knox 
  4. Thea Harrison


Four places I've travelled to:

  1. France
  2. Sanibel Island
  3. China
  4. Sea Ranch


Four websites I visit daily:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Tumblr
  4. Sudoku. 


Four favorite foods:

  1. pizza. Homemade with arugula and ricotta.
  2. a fresh perfectly ripe peach
  3. fudge
  4. seared ahi tuna

Four places I'd rather be:

  1. Sanibel Island. Any day of the week.
  2. Paris
  3. Piazza San Marco
  4. Tokyo

Four lucky bloggers I'm tagging:


  1. Lacey Devlin
  2. Cara Cooper
  3. Xandra James
  4. Jackie Ashenden
Apologies, all! *ducks and runs away*

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme


Lucky me! I got tagged in the Lucky 7 meme going around not once, not twice but three times! First by the lovely Kiersten Krum on her Tumblr. I can't find the post, but go poke around, she posts lost of hot guys and hilarious jokes. Then by the lovely Maisey Yates with some fuchsia lipstick and the Thea Harrison with guns and swords. 


 I am forced to confess that I'm not so prolific that I have three manuscripts I'm working on at the same time, so y'all get the same snippet. 

Here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS 
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

Here are the rules:
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know



From the manuscript I am painfully revising this month (and last month too).

Two could play that game. “Since things are slow this afternoon, I’m getting started writing a new program to track the invoices and sales. I can write something where the data only has to be input once, instead of the three or four times the current software requires.”
“I don’t know about that. We’ve had the same software in the store for almost ten years. It’s reliable.”
“It is, but it’s also slow and outdated. Since you don’t want to invest in something new, I can at least write a quick program that would make the process a whole lot faster.” Then they could enter the twenty-first century, and as an added bonus Chris could look forward to a few evenings busy writing code instead of making small talk over his father’s favorite reality show.



Check out Maisey and Thea's blogs to see who else they tagged! Or maybe you want to post your own Lucky 7? If you do, let me know in the comments so I can check it out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yes, it's always like this

A while back, I somehow fell into the job of costuming for a dance company. It isn't anything I'd ever intended to do. 

Every show presented more technical challenges. How to get the pleats to lay flat? How to secure the boots that were too loose? How to ensure that a girl's top stays in place? All these little details that I had never thought of before. I mean, who thinks of these things? Well, now I think about these things. But that wasn't the biggest challenge. 

You see, I didn't grow up as a performer. I did a couple of plays in high school. Small shows and I had very small parts, which was fine by me. Now, suddenly I was involved in these huge productions with elaborate and expensive costumes. Hundreds of pieces to keep track of and repair and replace. It all seemed pretty straightforward and each show started out that way.  Alas, it never went as easily as I planned. Things were torn, or misplaced. There were last minute casting changes that led to last minute alterations.

Early on, one show went especially wrong. I hadn't thought about that evening in a long time and then I read Maisey's post and it all came back to me in sharp detail. It was one crisis after another all night long. I literally didn't sit down before my name was called again by panicked dancers - Torn pointe shoe ribbons, tights with holes, makeup stains, ripped tulle, lost headpieces, tears and stains, glue and thread and needle.  Finally at the end of the night, the star was back on stage - neatly sewn into his costume with the broken zipper - and I turned to some of the veteran performers. They were celebrating our success in getting everyone back out on stage on time. The audience had no clue how frenzied we were back stage. My hands shaking with an excess of adrenaline, I couldn't see anything to celebrate. "Tell me it isn't always like this," I said, half-joking. I wanted some reassurance that some day I wouldn't have to do this, some day in the not too distant future I would get it right.

They assured me that it was indeed always like that, and if you were very prepared and very lucky, the audience never knew. It was one of those moments when the world shifts around, like a kaleidoscope, and suddenly you see a different pattern. 

I wasn't supposed to get it right every time. It wasn't supposed to be done. I wasn't supposed to be done. Being accomplished didn't mean being finished. I carried that thought with me out of the theater that night and it quite changed the way I thought about my life.

I'm not perfectly organized or getting everything right. Every single day is an adventure. I'm making it up as I go along.





Friday, January 6, 2012

My Words Are Not Me

I was playing around on twitter a bit this week, but still managed to get nearly everything I wanted done. It was a bit of a surprise since I've kept up for once with nearly all the blogs I've followed, chatted with people about their holidays as well as been super busy with my real life obligations. One of the things I saw this week was yet another author having a meltdown over a bad review. It doesn't matter who or why it was this time. All of these incidents have a certain sameness to them. I always worry about these authors. I used to think it was because I doubted they had any true friends. You know, the kind we all need; the ones who will tell you to knock it off when you are making an ass of yourself.

Then, while I was messing around making jokes and reading #engineersmut on twitter, I saw a random tweet.


Camryn's words made me think of the narcissistic way some people love their own creations: their writing, their painting, their kids even. It can never be anything more to them then an extension of themselves. This is why so many writers are struggling with the bad reviews. It's not the reviews themselves, which often seem unremarkable to me. It is that the author is taking the criticism of the flaws in their work as comments disparaging them as a person. It's crazy-making to do that and can't lead to anything except the sort of public bad behavior that has become all too common.

Not everyone will like my writing. And that is okay. It's not the end of the world. It doesn't mean they are stupid or wrong. But it doesn't mean that I am either. Art is so personal and intimate that every individual experiences it in a different way. Just because someone doesn't like what I write, doesn't mean that they dislike me. It doesn't mean that we wouldn't have a wonderful time talking and laughing over drinks or that they think I'm inferior somehow. And even if they do think that, it doesn't have to bother me.

Writing becomes a visible manifestation of your intellect, your heart and your soul, but it is, by it's very creation imperfect. It's not all of the writer, or even all of the writer's vision of the story. Courtesy of the ever lovely Lynn Raye Harris, I found this little book on writing by Ann Patchett. She writes at length about the process of creating a magnificent story in your head and failing to capture it properly as you wrestle it onto the page. I feel it is exactly like that for me. I know that what I've ended up with isn't as shining and beautiful as the story I've created in my mind. If I could ignore it and go on with life I would, but it plagues me until I bleed it out onto the page. While I'm writing it, I pour my energy into making it as good as I possibly can, but then, I try to let go.

Because the words on the page are not me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Big Adventure

So. I took this little trip. I hadn't been planning to run off and leave my husband behind. My stepmother called last spring and asked if I'd go along with her on a vacation.

To China.

It was completely amazing. After an insanely long flight, we arrived in a country which was both like home and totally foreign. Fabulous coffee was served with breakfast. The streets were packed with people walking their dog, rushing to work every morning just like here. But I couldn't read the signs, or even the label on a package. Even the beer and the Coke tasted different. The cities we visited were surprising.  Both older and more modern than I had expected.

Beijing's old quarter

Shanghai at night









Can you see how worn those steps are in places? Pretty scary  on the way down.








We climbed the Great Wall.








We ate amazing food one afternoon, prepared in our cook's home.  Lotus root - who knew you could eat that?









We strolled around markets where busy families bought their dinner.

People were gracious and patient with us, as we fumbled our way through a Starbucks order. We chatted with university students eager to practice their English on us.
Just like home!