Once upon a time…

We’re doing some spring cleaning around here and while transfering files from a box (really) to an actual file cabinet, I found this query. 

It ended up leading to my first sale. 

The phone number was my mother’s, by the way.  I was too poor to have a phone of my own.

Good news! We've been working behind the scenes to get old books into ebook format,
The Smart Bitches outdid themselves with this post rebutting an LA Times column about the
"As dark and deep and sweet as chocolate...I wanted to live in this book."  Sarah
By now, most of you must know I have a new book out, The All
A writing blog today..... I’m in the midst of an enormously fertile period. I’m writing

In the Rain

I’m warmly ensconced at an Italian restaurant in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. I came t0 town to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak and do some focused work away from the distractions at home. But after three days of my own company, I had to get out of the hotel. It’s pouring rain, which means I am the only crazy person traipsing around. I have a borrowed umbrella in a singularly boring brown, and my Italia bag slung over my shoulder, which I bought at a market in Rome, the only place on the whole journey where I finally spoke and understood Italian. ANY Italian.

If you are like me, you are thinking Lee’s Summit is a backwater and you won’t find anything to your liking. I used to come through here on the train on the way to St Louis, pausing at a station that is, as a matter of fact, right across the street from where I now sit. In those days, I would see the Main Street with its hardware store and think …eh.

But this afternoon, in the rain, I have found a beautiful amber bracelet to celebrate the Girls In The Basement. I found it in a shop with fair trade goods run by a woman from southern California (the mosaic is in the sidewalk in front of her shop on Third Street). From a wine shop run by four women who must have been sisters with their matching platinum hair and robust figures, I purchased a local bottle of Pinot Noir (brewed right here!).

I really have not been afoot enough lately, and will have to work in some small trips somehow, despite my rather full schedule.  Ambling around in the world restores and renews me as nothing else can.

Now I have had an exquisite meal of chicken canneloni. I am one of three customers at the restaurant, because it is obscenely early, and it really is pouring outside.  The other two customers are a male couple with white hair, splitting a spaghetti plate. My coffee is here and I’m going to call a cab in a minute , but in the meantime, weve shared a meal. Thanks.

ciao bella
Ah, I've been in my writing cave again and haven't been blogging here at A
Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, August 15 – 17, 2014, Los Angeles, CA Plot Your
A writing blog today..... I’m in the midst of an enormously fertile period. I’m writing
Here it is, arriving suddenly.  On Thursday, it was still Indian summer, sunny and hot. 
This is what can be fun about the shift in the way books come to

stems

Met a friend for tea the other day and this vase was on the table.  Kept playing with the way it looked.  Just for fun.

A friend of mine has started a business flipping houses. We live in a lucrative
We've been working on new webpages, my friends. This one was given a facelift some
It's a gloomy morning in Texas, the air thick and cool, heavy with the thunderstorms
This is a wintery sort of recipe, but a reader went through a lot of
I've been hearing a lot of funny grumbling about NaNoWriMo.  I'm not sure why.  There

Uh, I don’t think so

I keep misreading a line on my Google reader:  Recipe of the Week: Lemon Fish with Puree of Sweet Peas

I keep thinking it says Lemon Fish with Puree of SweAt peas.

I am tired this morning. It's  Friday, bright and sunny. I've had a good week--lots
My old dog is pacing this morning as he often does these days. He's a
The first Monday of the new year, and once again, I am not home. This
Here it is, that week between Christmas and New Year. This is when many businesses
I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep

Honor, opening volley

In yoga class last Friday, our teacher asked us to think of a word we’d like to use as a mantra or guiding principle over the course of 2008.  The word that popped into my mind, and stuck there like an annoying burr no matter how I tried to dislodge it, was honor.

Honor. No problem to think about that one, hmmm?  Honor yourself, others, the world.  Yes, yes, very goodHonor
idea.  But as with all spiritual concepts, there is ever so much more to it when you start giving it real thought. And of course, I’m now tripping on ideas of honor at the click of every hour.

Reading a regular column called A Million Ways to Save the World in the new Oprah magazine, a line struck me like a thunderclap:  Forget self-esteem…focus on self-respect, says Diana de Vegh, a psychotherapist.

Not self-esteem, self-respect. It made me hear my father’s voice in my head, exhorting me to be responsible, to think about the consequences of my actions (and, thankfully, he never allowed me to slide–if consequences were not forthcoming from external sources, he imposed them from within the family structure).   

Not self-esteem, self-respect. One implies unconditional love, which is fine in its place.  The other encourages esteem born of action and responsibility to self, others, the community and world.  Honor? 

I have been thinking far too often of one of the incidents from last week, about a person I am fond of who took a dramatic and destructive turn.  The consequences are terrible for her, and she was first in my prayers and sorrows, but as the days pass, I keep catching glimpses of the ripples that radiate outward from her, and how many different people are affected in small and large ways.  She most of all, of course, but we all choose our paths, one way or another, and so did she.  Those around her did not choose but will be forced to deal with the fall-out.  Her actions have consequences.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the plagiarism discussion surrounding a historical romance writer, who was outed on an irreverent romance review website. (I am not going to contribute to the fire by adding links or names–that is not the point here.) There are dishonorable actions all around on this one–the plagiarism is wrong, and should rightfully have been reported.  But with power comes responsibility, and the glee of the exposers is in poor taste.  The body of journalism law and ethics has developed for a reason, out of trial and error. Plagiarism is a crime that must be reported whenever it is discovered. That is responsible.  Continuing to hoot and holler over the crime after reporting makes it feel about as appealing as a couple of sixth graders kicking a dead deer on the side of the road.

Also, Madeline L’Engle says, "If you don’t do your work, it might not ever get done."  My minister (whom I seem to be quoting a lot here recently) says over and over, "Do what is yours to be done." 

Simple, clear, straightforward, and like a powerful sword, the idea carries both redemption and crusade.  If you do your work, it then goes into the world to heal or inspire or quiet or amuse or breathe life or excite or express.  If you do it, things heal, get better.  If you don’t, the work goes unfinished, the holes remain, the ache stays aching.

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world in which everyone is doing that, focusing on what is theirs to do.   I can certainly see times in my life when simply focusing on my own stuff would have made a difference.  I’m sure you can see incidents in your own, can’t you?  To earn self-respect, I must be responsible to the press of the work that is mine to do, and the consequences are toward healing.   My acquaintance turned her back on what was hers to do, and the result is crushing.  The reporters of the plagiarism were responsible and did what was theirs to do, but then allowed power to lead them into destructive action, and thereby possibly wound the work that is still theirs to do.  They turned honorable action to dishonorable action.  Sensationalism is never honorable. (Notice how sensationalism enters into the presidential race, for example.)

Hmm.  I think this is going to be very interesting, exploring honor, as part of what is mine to do this year.

What is yours to honor this year? What does honor mean to you? 

I am tired this morning. It's  Friday, bright and sunny. I've had a good week--lots
This is an in-progress drawing that's been living on my desk the past week. It
A friend of mine has started a business flipping houses. We live in a lucrative
I am a fan of Gretchen Rubin, whose books on happiness and habits offer a
Lately, I've been reading the diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn to help create

Post holiday crash

Is anyone else as tired as I am?  I’ve been getting my work done in the mornings, but then I’m just demolished for the day.   It’s the great rush of activity catching up with me, and I’ll be better by Monday, but till then….whew!

I’m watching movies, mainly.  Finished rewatching Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which I’ve seen many times.  Treated myself Wednesday to PS I LOVE YOU (five big fat stars from me–really a lovely romantic story with a terrific grace note).  Last night, it was…hmmm.  I can’t remember.   Today, I’m headed out to see Atonement, which I’ve been waiting for for ages.

The new proposal is just about finished, finally.  It seemed to take its sweet time, but they do sometimes.

I am tired this morning. It's  Friday, bright and sunny. I've had a good week--lots
My old dog is pacing this morning as he often does these days. He's a
The first Monday of the new year, and once again, I am not home. This
Here it is, that week between Christmas and New Year. This is when many businesses
I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep

Canine trials

Jack_and_sasha_sleeping_3 Been scarce, thanks to my dogs.  Sasha had to be rushed to emergency vet on Monday night, thanks to a very gory head puncture wound on her forehead after a scuffle with Jack over cat food.  Tuesday, Jack was slated for surgery on his torn knee, so I essentially spent 24 hours with vets.  We set up a hospital in the living room so the injured pair could sleep close by us (what dog-loving woman would fail to fall in love with a man who suggests sleeping with the dogs so they’ll feel good?).   

Both are fine now, as am I. 

Left…there they are recovering yesterday, in our camping area.  I was reading nearby. Notice Jack’s shaved leg.

Sasha_2

Sasha’s battered pirate face.  She was the winner, in the end, since she got the cat food.   

Jack_2

And here is Jack, post surgery, not feeling the best, but on his way to recovery.

Now to work for me, since everyone is fine, though I am working on a laptop downstairs so Jack won’t climb stairs looking for me.

EDIT:  I realized that it sounded as if Jack injured his knee in the fight.  He didn’t. He was scheduled to have surgery to correct a torn ACL.
 

I am tired this morning. It's  Friday, bright and sunny. I've had a good week--lots
My old dog is pacing this morning as he often does these days. He's a
The first Monday of the new year, and once again, I am not home. This
Here it is, that week between Christmas and New Year. This is when many businesses
I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep

Sexiest man

People Magazine came out with its annual list of world’s sexiest men this week.   Topping the list is Matt Damon.

Uh. No.

Nice guy.  Smart guy. Really good actor. Lots of other complimentary things–he pulls off the Bourne thing very well.  But sexy he is not. 

I don’t argue with some of their other choices.  Johnny Depp has been in my top five for decades–creative and whimsical and that mouth doesn’t hurt. George Clooney isn’t my type, but I get why other women think he’s fabulous. Patrick Dempsey? Yes. And Brad Pitt, for all his strange little problems the past few years still has one of the best faces ever and an angst, a certain passion to change the world, that takes him right over the edge.  Plus he has that geeky thing with architecture. Love a man who loves builAnthony_bourdaindings.

The list made me think about what makes a man sexy and how individual it all is.  (Thank God).  Top of my
list right now is Anthony Bourdain.  Tall, loose-limbed man who is a chef and a writer and a traveler?  Duh.  He’s reckless and intense and in real life he’d be a pain, but he’s really in love with life, every second of it, every facet of it, every everything, and that, my friends, is hot. 

Who is at the top of your Sexiest Man Alive list?  Really.  Who?

I am tired this morning. It's  Friday, bright and sunny. I've had a good week--lots
My old dog is pacing this morning as he often does these days. He's a
The first Monday of the new year, and once again, I am not home. This
Here it is, that week between Christmas and New Year. This is when many businesses
I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep

Where am I again?

Today I visited a new grocery store in my neighborhood.  There is a Starbucks inside.   And, maybe 50 yards across the parking lot, there is another one.  A freestanding cafe. 

I do a talk about characterization, and make a passing comment to Starbucks and using it as a way to figure out who your characters are.  What is their Starbucks order?  The first time I gave it, the talk was in Vancouver, and I suddenly worried that there might not be be Starbucks in Vancouver.  There were 130, and in one spot, there are two across the street from each other. 

In that spot, the traffic is quite heavy and I could, once I saw the location, understand why that might have happened.  So many people.  Lots of cars and lots of foot traffic, and if you had to cross the street, you might not be able to get that coffee.   (Horrors!)

But I’m flummoxed at the two at King Soopers. One inside. One outside.  Wow. 

I am tired this morning. It's  Friday, bright and sunny. I've had a good week--lots
My old dog is pacing this morning as he often does these days. He's a
The first Monday of the new year, and once again, I am not home. This
Here it is, that week between Christmas and New Year. This is when many businesses
I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep

Jack bites Jack and other stories

I’ve not really recovered from my weekend.  Not really because of the bad run but because two days later was One of Those Days and I was already tired.  The charming South American orienteer came back through and we had some fun, though we got stuck in a bomb scare at the airport.  The sad story is this: 

My beloved dog Jack is a protective creature.  He doesn’t allow strangers in the back yard. The young teen who mows my grass knows this and rings the doorbell so I can get Jack in the house before he mows.   On Monday, he–for who knows what reasons–did not wait for me.  I was away, fetching the fetching orienteer. His mother was taking his brother somewhere.  He had something to get done that morning and wanted to knock out the job.  I get all that.  As the mother of sons, I can even follow the non-logical thinking of going into the back yard, thinking it would be okay. 

It wasn’t.  Jack is a good watchdog.  He is very friendly when I tell him to be so, but if I’m not around, watch out.  He bit the boy. Not badly.  He came back and mowed the back lawn later (but only because his mother insisted, I’m pretty sure.)  The boy’s name is Jack.  I don’t think he’ll want the job of feeding the cats when I happen to leave. 

In other news, I saw a beautiful photo on another blog tonight:

Womenrowinginsarees_2

It’s a great visual, but it would be quite challenging to row with those yards and yards of fabric getting wet.

I also revised many pages today. 

I know there are a handful of readers here from India, though I think you
I know I have at least a couple (Hi, Mom! Hi, Sis!) more conservative readers
I've known for a long time that there was a person at Unity who worked
I belong to a tightly knit group of long-time writers (we straggled over to the
Really in love with the new material, which is seducing me back to the other