9/11 — When Time Stood Still

9/119/11.

I lived in New Jersey then, had lived there my entire life up to that point. New York City was the big brother my part of New Jersey looked up to, idolized. We cheered their baseball, football, and hockey teams and viewed them as our own. An hour on the train put the bright lights of Broadway and world-class restaurants, museums, and attractions at our feet. Secure in the protective shadow it cast, we enjoyed the bragging rights Manhattan’s proximity provided.

The news came over the radio as I eased my car into a parking space on that crystal blue September morning. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a private business jet. A Cessna; perhaps a Gulfstream. I wondered how many people they held. I don’t remember thinking about the building itself or what such a crash could mean to those inside. It was Manhattan, the World Trade Center, after all. Invincible.

Disturbed but not yet grasping the full impact of the situation, I entered my office building and asked the receptionist if she’d heard. She nodded and indicated that some of our co-workers were watching the news on the television in the kitchen. I joined them and watched in horror as the second full-sized commercial jetliner hit. Frozen into shocked silence, a female manager in a male-dominated home-building company, I struggled to contain my emotions, failing only when I noticed the tears streaming down the bearded face of my friend and Construction Department counterpart, a tough and stalwart veteran of an industry full of tough and stalwart men.

That moment was a portent of the changes to come in the ensuing days. Every wall between us, male/female, rich/poor, black/white, left/right, shattered on that day, at least for a short while, and we were all simply Americans.

I pray one day we will once again experience the unity, without the pain and grief, of September 12th.

 

Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies

I’ve given a lot of thought to themes during the process of revising my manuscript these last several months. Every well-written story has at least one, and often more than one theme. The interesting thing about theme is that it usually doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve finished the first draft. Only in the full read-through and revision process does the author begin to see what the story’s really all about. And so it was with me.

Oh sure, I had a story concept in mind when I began: Forced by finances to work on the legal team defending an abusive ex who is charged with murdering his heiress girlfriend, a freelance paralegal sets out to win the high-profile case that will put her business on the map. But is she willing to face the truth about her past in order to win the case that can ensure her future?

When I began writing, I knew how the story would start, I had devised a deliciously twisty ending, and I even knew a couple of surprises that were going to happen in the middle.

What I didn’t know until recently was what this story is about. (more…)

All the Cool Kids are Doing It

I’ve got a new addiction. #1LineWed on Twitter. All the cool kids are doing it. giggle

One Line Wednesday, or #1LineWed as it’s hashtagged, trends every single week for hours and hours on end. Writers and readers alike have fallen in love with this very simple premise:

Each Wednesday, the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America, also known as the Kiss of Death (KOD) chapter (Twitter handle @RWAKissOfDeath), declares a theme for the day. Writers and authors (of all genres, by the way) post one line of their book / poem / work-in-progress containing the theme word and hashtagged with #1LineWed. It’s great fun and, yes, more than just a tad addictive.

Bonus: If you’re a writer looking to build your tribe on social media, this is one terrific way to share your work with potential readers and fans, one line at a time.

In addition to my own #1LineWed posts, I make it a point to seek out the posts of others to like. (Simply type #1LineWed in the Twitter search bar.) The best of them I also retweet.

Bonus-Bonus: Many of those you like and retweet will follow you and like and retweet your posts, too. I love “meeting” and getting to know other writers this way!

Today’s theme was “Back.” Here are my posts, followed by some of my favorites by others today: (more…)

Life Is Funny

Life is funny. I’m a plug-and-play kind of gal living in a satellite TV vs. Netflix world. In our house, changing between the two is a complex process requiring multiple remotes and knowing which acronym is which (HDMI1? HDMI3?) before you can even begin to look for what you’d like to watch. Needless to say, I am rarely the one discovering interesting or obscure entertainment options.

Life is funnyBut today we (and by “we,” I mean the hubs) found “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” on Netflix. And what a great find it was! One of the first things my husband and I realized we had in common when we met is our mutual love of American blues music. We are both long-time B.B. King fans.

But I digress. I wanted to talk about how life is funny sometimes. In the course of this two-hour gem of a documentary, I found out a couple of really interesting things I have in common with The King of the Blues himself: (more…)

Selective Belief in Astrology

Selective Belief in Astrology

Belief in AstrologyConfession: I don’t know an earth sign from a peace sign, so taking astrological advice does not come naturally to me. But I will admit to an idle curiosity about the relationship between my zodiac sign (Capricorn) and my “destiny.” See? I can’t even do this without quotation marks. But I digress.

You could say I have a selective belief in astrology. As in, when my horoscope says things I like, I’m all in. Otherwise, I turn the newspaper page to the crossword puzzle, which is where I was headed before being distracted by the foolishness of a one-size-fits-all-Capricorns “message” from the universe.

This week’s issue of our local paper, however, provided the type of glad tidings I prefer to clip and post above my desk:

“Writing, research, and communications projects go well this month, with the sun in Pisces [the sun is where? oh, whatever]. Words come with greater ease. Study and practice.”

Oh, and “today” (how do they know when I’m reading it, since my newspaper is a weekly?) is an 8, where 10 is the easiest day and 0 is the most challenging. Alrighty then. I’ll go with that, until further notice or next week’s issue, whichever comes first.

 

How Long is the Writing Life?

How Long is the Writing Life?

As a fifty-(inaudible due to throat clearing)-year-old who’s recently completed the first draft of my manuscript, I do sometimes think (especially when reading about the latest 20- or 30-something best seller list debut author), “How many stories are in me? Will I be granted the time to write them all?”

Then again, who among even the fresh-faced youngsters getting multi-book deals and sweet advances is guaranteed a long life … or even a long writing life? The landscape is littered with literary one-hit wonders. Some really did die before they could publish another book. Some disliked the publicity and attention that came with their success and stepped away from the typewriter. Perhaps for others, it was the time and distance between published works that made the whole endeavor financially unsustainable. Some may have simply lost their writing mojo or descended into substance abuse, but for whatever reason were never heard from again.

What message can we take away from all this except that there are no guarantees in life anyway, so what the hell? You might as well keep writing.

So, do I have a single novel inside? A trilogy, perhaps? Or am I a late-blooming Sue Grafton champing at the bit?

The only answer, of course, is to keep writing the best that is in me. The Universe has its plan; so do I. Write. And write some more. Write as long as there are stories fighting to get out into the world. For they will be here long after I take my leave.

Besides, there are plenty of role models about whom the adage “It’s never too late!” was surely written. I’ll have what they’re having.