• jack,  writers,  writing life

    And I’m Done

    What’s Jack up to? Jack is doing well. He’s up and at ‘em and ready for a relaxing week after having a long and wild weekend with the family. At least I hope so. I know I’m ready for a fairly relaxing week so I hope Jack is on board with that.

    Well, it’s November 30th the last day for NaNoWrimo 50,000 word challenge and I’m happy to report that I’ve completed it with 54,194 words. I went a little over since I started with a few words in this story. This was my first Nano and it was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my writing life.

    Speaking of hardest I had one crazy day on Friday in my post Thanksgiving stupor where I wrote 10,000 words. I would not recommend this for anyone. I think I was sleep writing at one point and had to get up and hop around the house a bit. Splash some water on my face.
    In my head I was Rocky and had a little Burgess Meredith pushing me on. Making sure I wouldn’t give up and there were plenty of times I wanted to. At 20,000 and again at 27,000 and again at 35,000 words. But once I got close to 40 I knew there was no turning back.

    A life saver, well, NaNo saver for me was Write or Die over at Dr. Wicked’s writing lab. It really forced me to write without thinking and let go of that inner critic. At one point when I was complaining about how hard it was to think up something else to write my son gave me a great reminder when he said, “You don’t write what you think Mom, you write what you feel.” Such wise words.

    Now I know that this story will take about 20- 25,000 more words to finish and at least 10,000 of the hot mess I’m-so-tired words will be cut, but hey, I’ll be crossing that bridge next month and maybe even next year. Yeah, probably into next year.

    Well, that’s it for me and my NaNo journey. I want to thank all of you for your encouraging words. They meant so much and to my RWA/NYC NaNo crew a big thanks too. I’m so glad I joined you for the ride. Oh and all my NaNo tweeting buddies. You rock hard!
    Now onto that layer of dust that had been sitting for the past month.
  • my view,  writers,  writing life


    What’s Jack up to? Jack is doing good. Feeling a lot like his old self and getting back into trouble again. I’ve had to shoo him away from the trash one too many time lately so I’d say he’s on the mend.

    As for me I’m feeling unsettled. It’s a word I tweeted yesterday about the uproar over folk’s responses and RWA’s response to Harlequin Horizons. Yes, I still see both sides of the argument but RWA taking away Harlequin’s status does leave me just that, unsettled. Don’t throw tomatoes please. I know the bylaws and the rules. I do get it both sides and the whole protection thing (ish).

    But it also brings to my mind the many fine writers that write for Harlequin and how they must feel and the legitimacy of the RITA’s if Harlequin writers are not included (hmm). I mean it is called Romance Writers of America, a pretty broad name, and am I correct in saying that Harlquin is the largest romance publisher?

    Now I could go on and on bringing up how it would be nice for fine e-pubs to be included too and let’s level the writing playing field but the whole thing is a slippery argument slope and I got Mammogram 40 or 50 confusion to be pissed about too today. So there is plenty of unsettled to go around don’t cha think?

    Much love and keep breathing y’all. Remember dialogue is good and I hope there is a solution to this soon where this off feeling stops and the love flows.


  • Books,  publishing,  writers

    On The Horizon

    Yesterday the romance publishing world (or at least my little tweet corner of it) went into a bit of a tailspin with the announcement of Harlequin going into the self-publishing business with the launch of Harlequin Horizons (see site here). There were arguments a plenty and plenty more over if this was a good decision for Harlequin and if self publishing is a respected option at all for writers (Check out Smart Bitches post and comments here). Interesting on both sides but the initial anger is upsetting to me.

    Now I’m not going to give an opinion, ok I’ll give something (I can’t resist). I’d like to be traditionally published. It’s a dream of mine. I’d love to be published by a house like Harlequin or Avon or Berkley I could go on and on here and I’m not ready to give up on that dream (some dark days maybe) despite many years of work, numerous manuscripts and countless rejections.

    But let’s play What If for a moment here. What if you’ve been this close for so long and the playing field keeps getting smaller and smaller? Or what if what you write doesn’t fit into any box that said dream publisher is looking for? Or what if they already have your box ticked off? Maybe the slot is already filled for that African America romance or interracial romance or they don’t publish any of what you write. Then what? Do you keep submitting? Change what you write or take a chance on self publishing to get your work out there? Notice I’m not saying have fame or fortune here.

    Now I know the argument of the good stories will someday get published and it’s just a matter of time. Or the one about the reason that most manuscripts get rejected is because they are not up to snuff and I do think that’s true for the most part. But I also think there are those few gems that may never get a chance because they don’t fit into any open box on that special given day when the stars align for subjective publishing dreams to come true.

    Honestly, I don’t know my final thoughts on this. It makes my dreamy writer head spin but all that said. Here is my question for you:

    Do you have an opinion on self/vanity published fiction books? Have you read any lately?

    Please all you non-writers speak up. I want to hear from you too.


    P.S. Update please go to Smart Bitches blog to read comment from Harlequin’s Malle on the subject here. I do think there are many sides to a story and breathing through is key.

  • conference,  jack,  jack pics,  writers,  writing life

    Mojo Monday

    What’s Jack up to? Jack had a very happy 3rd birthday yesterday. Filled with fun and new toys. I even let up on his special diet and got him a birthday cupcake which though his was happy to eat, didn’t stay down. Oh, well at least he enjoyed himself.
    Jack, says thanks for all the well wishes yesterday!

    I’m back from the NJ romance writer’s conference and happy to report that I had just THE BEST time. It’s such a well run conference full of friendly people with top speakers and presenters. The only downside? The 4 and 5 am fire alarm. That stunk. Here is some of the NY crew at dinner lunch. Notice the wine on the table. The hotel thought it would make up for lack of sleep. It did not. That cute little sweetie there did not partake.
    But as you can see I think the rest did.

    (Carolyn, Isobo (holding other the cutie Jack) Leanna, Stacy)

    Upside. Rooming with my PIC Megan and Liz M. too for a hot minute. Sorry I don’t have a picture of Liz. Hi Liz! Here are Megan and I in the hotel’s faux Soho lounge. It’s pretty. The only pic I have of Liz was taken during the fire alarm. I think it’s nice. I’m afraid she may not.

    Some of the great workshops I attended were:
    One on digital publishing with super smart Icantalkdigitalinmysleep and, yes, I think she can, Angela James.
    Darn, how did I let her leave without telling me what format was best for my Sony.

    A dialogue workshop with Bestselling author Karen Rose. Here is Karen with friends and fans Louise and Danielle.

    Also a super workshop on Collages with Jennifer Crusie that blew my artist mind. I already do story boarding but this will have me taking it to the next level. I knew Jennifer was Ms. New York Times Best Seller but now that I know she was an art teacher and is quite an artist I think I’m more in love. Notice it says behind her “creativity is play” something to keep in mind.
    Finally I spent many an hour hanging around Bestseller (I was doing that a lot trying to get some mojo to rub off) Madeline Hunter. She had 2 workshops

    1. Surviving Almost There (a place where I seem to have been hanging out for quite a long time)

    2. Alaso a double session on conflict that rocked my world. I learned so much. She really got the gears working.
    Now I just about thought I’d swoon when I went to the book signing later and gave Madeline my card and she said that she had been to ye little old blog before. Oh happy, swoony day! Thanks for that moment Ms. Hunter.

    And now for your viewing pleasure a few more pics from the signing:

    Golden Leaf Winner YAY!!! Anna DePalo. Congrats Anna.

    Leanna Renee Hieber

    Isabo Kelly

    Janet Mullany. Lucky me getting her last copy of: A Most Lamentable Comedy.

    So as you can see I’ve had quite a weekend. Now time to put all that inspiration and fun into practice. Gotta hit the writing cave. Will be popping out for brief sips of air.



  • writers,  writing life

    Writerly Weekend

    Happy Friday! I’m off to New Jersey! Hmm… is that usually followed by an exclamation point? Oh stop, Kwana that’s such a New Yorker joke! Who are you, Conan?
    But, really, I’m thrilled to be off to NJ for a writerly weekend at the Annual New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart In A Book Conference.

    It’s sure to be jam packed with fun and inspiration. I’ll get to see many old friends and go all fan girl on writers that I admire at the Literacy book fair and signing which is open to the public on Saturday. You can check out the list of authors here.
    I can’t wait to attend workshops like: Painting Colorful Characters, The Magic of Words, Writing with Passion and My Writing May be Art…But My Kids Need Braces.

    Here’s hoping I wake up my lazy muse this weekend and you have a wonderful weekend.

  • blogs,  fashion,  writers

    Fashion on the Brain

    I’ve got fashion on the brain. It’s that lovely in between time in New York right now when you just don’t know what you’ll get weather wise at any given moment so you need to be ready for anything.

    I’d love some easy pants, comfy driving shoes in a few great colors, a fab trench coat and of course a to die for bag (you all know me). This lovely lady was taken from The Satorialist and she totally fits my bill.

    Friend and author Melissa Walker was featured on NPR talking about her picks for fashion books. You can listen here:

    You can read the full article and read more about the books here.

    Melissa is the author of Violet On The Runway YA series.


  • romance,  writers,  writing life

    Golden Apple

    Happy Friday! You and me made it another week. Whew. Yeah baby! Don’t be tardy for the party. Ooooo Ooooo. About 6 of you will get that. The rest will think I’m cra-a-zy. Please excuse me. How dreadful. LOL.

    Well, I am happy it’s Friday as you can tell. Last night I had a very un-dreadful night slipping out of Freshchester, as my dear friend calls it, and heading down to the city to celebrate some very fine people in the romance writing industry at my local RWA/NYC chapter’s Golden Apple Awards.

    The honorees were:
    Lifetime Achievement: Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

    Author of the Year: Patt Mihailoff-
    Go Patt!!

    Editor of the Year: Brenda Chin(Harlequin)
    Publisher of the Year:Harlequin

    Agent of the Year:Miriam Kriss
    (The Irene Goodman Literary Agency)
    Bookseller of the Year: Clove Lake Book Store (Staten Island)
    Librarian of the Year: Jeanne Sylvester (Nutley Public Library)
    What a wonderful night for an industry that I love. Big congrats to all the honorees!

  • jack,  my view,  writers,  writing life

    Bad Writing

    Happy Friday!

    What’s Jack up to? As I write this (late Thursday night) the Jackster is right under me up under my bed snoring lightly. Poor thing, he’s worked so hard. Trying to sneak into the trash multiple times, but I was up on my game and thwarted him each time. I’m sure today he’ll come for me with extra strength. I’ll be ready. I hope.

    What is bad writing?

    I find it hard to define, but it’s something you know when you read it. Now being in a book club the subject of bad writing has become an interesting and lively debate.

    For me it’s writing that doesn’t flow or hold my attention. It’s definitely writing that I have to go back and read a few times in order to understand or writing that doesn’t ring true and I don’t mean in a fantasy way I mean in an authentic way.

    I’m very interested in this documentary Bad Writing with George Saunders and David Sedaris.

    So how would you describe Bad Writing? This post maybe? Ouch!

    Have a great day.


  • inspiration,  my view,  writers,  writing life


    “You need to learn to Doubt your Doubts.”

    These were the best words that I heard over this weekend. They were spoken by my pastor in church this Sunday. The sermon topic was: “Faith that conquers fear”.
    Fear. My own dear friend and late night snack companion. Then the question came up: well, what do you do when you have doubts?
    Doubts. Those insidious little creatures that seep into your head telling you that you: can’t write it, have no talent, it won’t work out, you won’t succeed, all is lost, your looks are gone, your body is shot, you don’t have the smarts, it’s over or whatever else your nasty little creature like to whisper.
    We all have Doubts. But a good way to deal with doubts is to learn to doubt them.
    Hmm… Doubt the Doubts. Put them on the defensive (eek I hope I used that term right DH). Break the paralyzing hold they have, making them less effective and faith more powerful. Tell that little creature critic to SHUT UP. Brush it off your shoulder and move on. There is work to do. I’m feeling powerful.
    Sidebar: Um, friends remind me to give this speech to myself again in about 3 or 4 days when I’ll no Doubt (ha) be needing it again.

    On another note: I was quoted in The New York Times from my earlier post on Frank McCourt. You can read the Times article here. Thanks to all the new visitors who have stopped by. Welcome. I hope you come on back or better yet follow me. Gasp.

    The best parts about being in The Times?

    1. Honoring Mr. McCourt
    2. It’s not that far a stretch from The Bestseller List.
    3. Being called a romance writer without a bit of snark or a ripped bodice. WIN!


  • Nora Roberts,  RWA nationals,  writers,  writing life

    One Word At A Time

    Going on right now is the annual Romance Writers of America conference in Washington DC. No, I’m not there this year I’m here in NY, but keeping up vicariously though twitter. Sigh. Of course this would be the year that they give out the most awesome conference bag ev-ah.

    Thanks to Sarah from Smart Bitches for the twitpic of the bags from Harlequin. How cool are these? Like I need another tote, but… Sigh again.

    Oh well, that is not what this post is about. This post is all about my love of Nora Roberts/ J.D. Robb. See Nora is a member of RWA too and is always in attendance being most gracious in her fab shoes and giving out very meaningful advice. Here she is at a Washington Post event. Click here to read the full article. Oh, and check out the beginning. Is that my friend Laura there? Hi Laura!!


    Shout out to Nana. I promise to make up for the lack of signed a Nora book next year. Love ya!

    That muse can kiss my, well, ya know.

    Thanks Twitter and YouTube for the clip.