A Little Reconnaissance

Lately, I have become obsessed with book reviews. Not in terms of what I should read, but what I should (or shouldn’t) write.

The whole thing began when a writer friend of mine, who is very much published, lamented about stinging reviews. As a very entrenched NPI (non-published individual), my only concern with the other side of the fence (getting published) is how to scale it. I never once gave thought to what I would do if.. gasp!.. I’d ever make it over the hump. But being able to perch on my friend’s shoulder as she navigates through this publishing maze has opened my eyes. And those eyes went straight to reviews.

As I scour through the reviews, I’m fascinated, riveted and scared witless. In many instances, they are like a bad car wreck (i.e. carbeque). And even though I know I should look away, I can’t turn my head away from the good, the bad.. and the, oh, holy moly, OUCH! And there are many ouches out there. From…
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Still Searching for a Tagline…

I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect tagline. That elusive phrase that summarizes all that there is to know about moi the writer and aspiring author. Why is it important since I don’t have an agent (yet), or a book sold (yet)? Well, it’s all about marketing in the new era of author as business owner (can I get an AMEN).

In this new age, you can’t just sit back and rest on your laurels. You must create the foundation for success by getting on board the marketing train and tooting your own horn. You would think I could do this with my eyes closed. After all, I am a professional marketer. Have been for 25 years. But nope…and you ask why?

I’ve hit a brick wall.

I just can’t come up with that clever catch phrase, and “I’m smart. I know things.” (Think Godfather II, and you’ll get the reference:)…But clearly I don’t know as much as I thought about creating a brand for me (versus clients or even offering…
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Spotlight on Our Voices

Two weeks later and I am still thinking about the spotlight session on St. Martin’s Press at RWA’s National Conference in Manhattan. 

I had decided to take that particular day and have a little fun.  Choose workshops that weren’t necessarily honed in on craft, possibly pop in on a book signing or two and I’m so glad I did.  I had no idea what the “spotlights” on the publishing houses were going to be about but one of my favorite authors writes for SMP and so I found a seat and debated whether or not I’d need my notebook.  Just to be on the safe side, I dug it out of my overstuffed bag and relaxed into my seat.  I scribbled a header on my blank note page and thought that I’d probably be jotting down submission guidelines once things got started.  What I found myself voraciously copying down once the ladies of SMP began their presentation was not just information I could easily find on a website somewhere but…
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Make a Wish

Today is my birthday. Those wishing to send me elaborate gifts, let me know and I will provide my address. 😉

Every year on my birthday, my BFF writes some variation of the following phrase in my card: This is going to be the best year ever!

Outwardly I roll my eyes, but secretly, I love reading that. It’s more than just a sweet sentiment. It’s reassuring, in a very uneasy time in my life.

The past year has been a big writing year for me. No, I didn’t get published or bag an agent. I didn’t even win any contests. Hell, I didn’t even enter any. But I found something more important. My writing mojo. It was gone for awhile but I just feel so assured that I’m on the right path now.

So this birthday I’ve decided to take my BFF’s advice and have the best year ever. More specifically, I’m going to have the…
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Writer PMS

Lately, there has not been enough chocolate in the world to satisfy me.

Also, the Washington Post’s review of the last Harry Potter movie made me cry – and I’ve only read a few of the books and seen two of the movies, it’s not like I’m invested.

Finally, I’m a bit …. how should I put it … snarly.

So it hit me today, PMS has snuck up on me again. Yeah, I’m real quick that way.

What does my TMI have to do with writing? Well, just as scientists have declared that men get PMS too, so do writers. Ours is a special strain and by using the following self-diagnosis chart you can determine if you are suffering from Writer PMS.

1. Is Everything You Write Crap?

Now, that’s not what other people say about it. That’s what that cranky-pants who lives in the back of your head whispers to you while you’re staring at your computer screen.

2. Are You Unable to Spell?

Most of us have…
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C’est La Vie

Happy Bastille Day, everyone!

I spent the morning trying to figure out how to make this blog post relevant to June 14th, but I could not come up with anything decent regarding the rise of the bourgeoisie or cake. (Anything decent about cake.) I went through a few popular French phrases: Ou est mon chat? and Lassiez les bon temps rouler! and Ceci n’est pas un pipe, but none of those really spoke to me. And I only have about fifteen minutes to write this blog post, because the Fairy Goddaughters spent the night (the internet is down at their mom’s house) and I had to make sure they ate, and I had to tell them some more stories about my recent trip to Vermont and give them a few things to do around the house today because I have to get read for working a none-hour shift at the bookstore today.

Notice how nothing in there included writing? That’s right. I’m having an abundance of Life right now. So…
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Exercise and Writing–Yea, Write! . . . I Mean Right!

How many of you find yourself working on that scene—you know the one where your characters are finally getting into the juice of the story, working on that love scene you just can’t walk away from until it’s finished and bam, another day has gone by while you promised yourself you’d start exercising again? Okay, maybe it’s just me. Lately I’ve been so focused on my writing/editing/researching and yes, checking out blogs/websites/Tweeting—all in the name of my writing career. In the meantime, I’ve managed to find my clothes a bit snug and soda cans piling up in my trash can. My favorite words lately—‘Just a few more sentences. Let me finish this scene.’ By the time I’m done I don’t have the energy to work out or it’s time to fix dinner, or some other excuse. That was me, a year ago. I was spending time applying to jobs on-line along with my hubby who’d been laid off (I was…
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Shut Up and Listen

I’ve been out of touch recently, lavishing in the brief respite from the buzzing schedule of my normal life. My family and I have seen a few sights, visited with grandparents, attended a reunion and just relaxed. I’ve enjoyed basking in the sun by the pool with a favorite book (that I’m reading for fun, not research), the air permeated by the familiar scent of sunscreen while my kids swim with their friends. I’ve enjoyed taking my girls to the mall where we can walk and talk, have lunch and window shop. And of course lots of giggling over boys—I do live with two teenage girls after all. For me, a family vacation allows time to unwind and reconnect with each other without the day-to-day distractions of home life.

During the school year I’m all about schedules. Who has to be where? Soccer, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, track, chorus, cello, friends,…
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Summer Lovin’

Summer Lovin’, had me a bla-aast…

Don’t you remember the anticipation of summer?  Counting down the days and planning adventures with friends.  Just waiting for life to begin. When every day was a gift and you yearned to make the most of it. 

I’m not talking about the scents of freshly cut grass or wild honeysuckle or even the feeling of sand between your toes and the sun’s rays tingling the tanning oil on your body.  I’m talking about feelings of love and anticipation and a world ripe with…possibilities.  The possibility of falling in love.  Again and again.

I remember the excitement about boys.  I can now look back with the realization that summer relationships taught me a lot.  It was that first taste of all-consuming love—when you knew IN ADVANCE that it wasn’t meant to last beyond the season so you tried to make each and every little moment count.

Sleeping in and sneaking out.  Giggling into the night with girlfriends about boys and willing to sneak out for…
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What reality TV has taught me about writing

I love reality TV. Love it. Over the years, I have wasted countless hours watching shows such as Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, Top Chef, The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette. Among others.

But were these hours really a waste of time? For one, reality TV has provided me with a much-needed way to unwind after a long, stressful day. For another, amidst the drama and the scandals, these shows have actually – gasp! — taught me something about writing.

Goal. Interestingly, the only reality shows I watch are the ones based on a competition. From the outset, even before we know anything about the contestants, we know what they want. To be the sole survivor. America’s favorite dancer. The biggest loser. Recipient of the final rose. Their goals are clearly defined, and the entire season revolves around the progression towards achieving…
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