Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Update

Well there's been much goings on these days! The boarding school daughter is doing GREAT and LOVING life...not sure if it's more about living away from pesky younger brothers or if it's truly about the most awesome opportunities in education. Either way she does call home and it's wonderful to hear her so very happy. And the pesky younger brother has been exploring his musical talents: he's got quite an ear for music and is adding trombone to his brass expertise that began with tuba.

Then there's the latest in my writing career - I've sent some tiny, short stories out into the world recently, as well as FINALLY setting free the third manuscript in the Shadows of Justice series. Whew! Time will tell on all of the above. Most exciting however is my continued work through the Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. This has been just one epiphany after another. It's thrilling (and a little scary) to watch my writing grow, literally overnight.

Echelon Press is launching a new Short Story division and I'm proud to say the latest in the Hobbitville Saga (young adult) will be featured there in coming weeks. I'll also be featured on the new echelon shorts blog and I'll keep things linked from here to there and twitter to there and facebook to there ....and well you get the idea!

As for what I've been reading? Well, that too will post here soon with links to some of the best books around, because my 'to be read' pile has been offering up some FABULOUS books!

Stay tuned,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Arbor Day?

In Reverse!

At the moment there's a truck in my back yard and some brave young man is about to climb a 75 foot pine and start topping it.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I LOVE trees and nature, but sometimes nature needs a helping hand and trees need groomed too.

And yes, we'll be able to have some real grass to romp and play in for the first time in too many years!

Regan - who is so mesmerized by the de-treeing I'm having a hard time focusing on the writing that needs done.

Noon update: They've taken a break for lunch and you wouldn't believe how much better my yard looks already - even with the truck and chunks of tree trunk lying around. This is SO awesome. I admire the expertise and efficiency. If you're in this area and need tree care - call Red's! I've added all kinds of pictures to my facebook page so you can see more of the process for yourself.

More soon!

4pm and these guys are done, stumps and all. They've been at it since before 8am and they've been fantastic! Two seventy-foot pines (give or take a few feet) and countless other smaller trees sized up, trimmed up and cleaned up. It couldn't have been easy with my endless questions and strict feline supervision like this:

WOW. My yard looks at least twice as big and I can't wait until we get some grass in here. I'm actually excited about spending time back here again.

It's hard to find words (and it's sure not easy for a writer to admit that) to express my gratitude to Red and his team. So efficient, knowledgeable and professional - and friendly too. They took care with my property and my family and never stopped smiling - not even when they were up to their elbows in muck trying to dig out a broken gate post. Amazing. Truly Amazing.

And of course, the dogs were thrilled to come and explore the wide open spaces Red's Tree Experts created for them!

Happy Un-arbor day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Author + Publisher = Readers Win!

As an author you're in partnership with the publisher - no matter who publishes your work - and sometimes they announce incentives to keep an author in the sales frame of mind. (Publishers seem to have caught on that us authors would be content to just write and write and write...)

That's what my publisher, Echelon Press, just did. We've all been asked to campaign for the next couple weeks to promote our paperback sales at Amazon. This is an awesome opportunity for authors and readers to connect or reconnect with a favorite author or discover someone new.

I'd love it if you'd boost your personal library, or make a gift to a reading pal, by picking up one of my action packed adventures from Amazon today:

Justice Incarnate (Shadows of Justice Book One)

Invasion of Justice (Shadows of Justice, Book 2)

You probably already know Amazon offers free shipping on modest minimum orders and they're fast! So you can be reading one of these great books in as little as 24 hours!

What are you waiting for?

Happy reading,

Friday, August 14, 2009


So here I am in this adventure of life and I find myself another week closer to the start of school...

I'm not gonna lie - I get tired of summer about three weeks into it. Mainly because of the bickering - why do siblings solve boredom with bickering? I wouldn't know since I was an only child...but I digress.

This year summer is winding down a little differently - my oldest is going to boarding school and today is move in day. I must admit we didn't bother to pack well, we just sort of tossed things in a 'to school' pile in the dining room corner until it was time to load the car. I'm sure we'll pay for that in the unloading phase of the operation, but wait...I'm tangential once more.

Really today is about all these bittersweet feelings churning inside me. My girl's going off to finish high school at the best school in the state - among a group of kids so bright you need sunglasses just to have a conversation. This is such an incredible opportunity and I can't begin to tell you how excited I am for her. She's going to thrive - and most likely redefine 'excellence' in the process.

I know it will be good for me too - I might just score for a little extra time to write with only one child living at home, but I'm not sure if I should break out the party horns or a fresh box of tissues.

It's just so very, very odd to know I'll be driving back home without her...


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Write Stuff Wednesday

"Revise, Revise, Revise." In my head that's always been spoken by Jim Nabors's Gomer Pyle.

Yet revisions are important to writing - especially if you want to be published. Writing a short article or a full length novel, revisions are required. Chances are the ideas you've put into that first draft are golden, but trust me, some of those words can be moved around or (gasp) cut to really polish the whole to a gleaming finish.

In all my revisions classes, I encourage students to get the idea down, to follow that rush of words onto the paper and handle the corrections later. It's a matter of focus and purpose. Whether you plot or write it by the seat of your pants, this process applies. Get the ideas down, enjoy the character action and reaction, then GO BACK and make it shine.

In the revision you can eliminate that passive voice (was/were) and weak verbs so the reader stays connected to the story. In many cases, this is a simple reorganization of a sentence. In the revision you can catch all those subconscious spelling errors and incorrect wording (to/too/two). In revision, when you're a step back from that rush of story, you can really see what you left unsaid.

In my opinion revision is all about attitude. If you love the book or article and want others to love it too, you have to clean it up so readers can see, hear and feel the golden idea you're trying to convey.

And of course a little chocolate never hurts.