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.


Taking Stock in the New Year

Taking Stock in the New Year

I had every intention of finishing my manuscript in 2015. After all, when I made the decision to dedicate myself to writing full-time, ten months still remained in the new year.

And yet here I sit, at the beginning of 2016, with a draft that is five, maybe six, chapters shy of being a completed story. The bones — and then some — are all there. The beginning has been polished to a fare-thee-well. The climactic scene, in one final twist of (what I hope is) shock and irony, is followed by a logical and satisfying denouement. Between the two lie twists and turns, subplots, clues, and red herrings. What’s missing are the last bits of connective tissue that will tie all that bone and flesh together into the recognizable shape that is a COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT.

Somewhere along the way I realized it. I should have (more…)

Meeting Hallie Ephron

Hallie Ephron Signed Book

My signed copy of Hallie Ephron’s “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel”

What a fantastic weekend!

New England Crime Bake was, in a word, inspirational. The workshops, the instructors, the camaraderie … fantastic. And all that fretting about meeting Hallie Ephron? Pfft! Hallie was nothing short of friendly, down-to-earth, and incredibly helpful. I will forever be grateful to her.

Hallie’s critique of the first 15 pages of my book exceeded every expectation I might have had. I could immediately see how her thoughtful insights were going to positively impact the entire story. The time and effort she obviously put into her review completely blew me away. I mean, the woman is a teensy bit busy, what with her writing career, writing book reviews for the Boston Globe, teaching the craft of writing, attending book signings, participating in panel discussions and workshops with other authors, and on and on. And yet, with all that, she couldn’t have been any nicer or more accessible to this as-yet-unpublished writer.

Now that it’s all over, I suppose I can confess: (more…)