Asking the Right Questions

Hello, world, and welcome to June!

It doesn’t feel like this year should be half over yet. I know that the older we get the quicker time flies, as each second becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of our overall lifespan…but six months into 2011? Really?

And even more incredibly than that…how on earth did I manage to interview 30 authors on my website in the month of May?

It all started out innocently enough: I had a laundry list of authors on my to-do page that needed to be addressed, and I had my fairy goddaughters for Bring Your Child to Work Day. It was a match made in heaven. We came up with a list of fun and silly questions and decided to send them to everyone.

Yes, everyone.

Within a week I had twenty sets of answers from fiction authors whom I’ve known and respected for a very long time. Add to that five authors…
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Critique Groups–Where Talent Abounds

So you’ve decided to take that leap and write the romance you’ve always dreamed of writing. Your mother, sister-in-law, husband and best friend all think it’s wonderful–that’s great! But while having them read your story might help with the kinks, your fellow writing peers are the ones who know what editors are going to look for. As it is, Editor X may not even like what you have, just because they did. That is where getting involved with a critique group is so important for a writer . . . on the ‘write’ path.

Being involved with a wonderful critique group (mine meets once a month and enjoys each other’s company) is a blessing when you are serious about your writing career. Critiquing is taking the good with the bad with a touch of diplomacy and a lot of encouragement from others in the same boat as you. Some people prefer not seeing who they are critiquing with at first and building the personal relationships along the way. The internet…
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Who Are You Meant To Be?

You know how some things are a secret? Like the chocolate stash behind the canned vegetables at the back of the pantry. Yep, no danger of anyone finding the mini candy bars hidden there in my house.

Writing was one of those things for me.

I grew up in a less than ideal home and I used writing as my outlet. Over time the journal entries and poems of my youth evolved into short stories. Not very good ones at first, but it was still satisfying to see the story in my mind come to life on the page. And yes, for those of you wondering…I do in fact carry on conversations with my characters. In what other profession is it possible to get paid for talking to your imaginary friends? Yeah, in most places they medicate you and introduce you to a little thing called a straitjacket!

But I kept my writing a secret. No one knew. Not…
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At Least I Have Choices

Choice is a concept that is scary and liberating all at the same time. I find, as I sit to write another manuscript, I am sometimes frozen by having choices. The choice to use whatever word I want, to depict whatever emotion I wish, to whatever characters I create. But choice also gives way to fear: what if I use the wrong word, the wrong description, the wrong simile? This conundrum of choice reminded me of my decision to pursue another Masters degree, this time in something other than finance or economics. This was my essay that helped garner an admission and I find it more relevant than ever, now that I have forced myself to sit down at yet another book.

I knew if I focused my gaze on the greasy Kalashnikov slung across his back, I could disassociate myself from the rough hands that were fumbling my threadbare coat. The solider who was rifling through my pockets was looking for money, gold, diamonds or whatever other treasures he…
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Who Needs Best Friends?

Whether it’s in real life or found on the big screen or between the pages of a favorite book, we need best friends.

Anyone who’s been through either good or difficult times can appreciate the steadfast friend who remains at your side.

As a writer, I can’t imagine having a main character without the benefit of a best friend.  Sometimes they provide comic relief or that voice of reason.  Whether that best friend is quirky, serious or just sweetly loyal, I love best friends!  Love, love, love ‘em!

Where would Lucy be without her Ethel?  Probably not in as much trouble, but, come on, where’s the fun in that?  Can you even picture Fred Flinstone without Barney Rubble?  Or Spongebob without Patrick. 

There are, of course, the stories with best friends that have you reaching for your tissue box.  Beaches.  Bridge to Terabithia.  My Girl.  Fried Green Tomatoes.  Charlotte’s Web.  Those are the stories that make you want a best friend just like the one you read or saw—even though…
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Look, Ma! No hands!

My junior year of college, I was sitting in the library, typing away on my laptop, trying to finish up a term paper, when it happened: my hands froze. Not good-God-the-library-is-cold-I-wish-I’d-brought-a-sweater froze. Not even kill-me-now-I’m-never-going-to-finish-this-paper froze. No, I mean my hands physically froze, as in the muscles from my neck through my shoulders through my elbows through my forearms through my hands froze up, so that I couldn’t move them. And they stayed that way for a week. I couldn’t brush my hair. I couldn’t bring a fork to my mouth. All I could do was lie in bed, terrified that my life was never going to be the same again.

And it wasn’t. In the last 14 years, I’ve seen countless doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors. I’ve tried Western medicine, meditation, and acupuncture. I’ve had a variety of diagnoses. Fibromyalgia. Repetitive strain injury. Myofascial pain syndrome. And my personal favorite, “It’s all in your head.” Yeah, right, Buster. You try…
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One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato…

I Am Number Four…

And I’m not talking about the bad movie (based on the NYT Times Bestseller by Pittacus Lore – aka James Frey and Jobie Hughes) that hit the theaters less than a month ago, and is already available on Blue Ray. No, I’m referring to this blog. This is the fourth time in the last hour I’ve started my first Waterworld Mermaids blog, and I have drawn my line in the sand: this one will be the one…

So, prepare yourself. The number four has been my lucky number for more than three decades. Who knows what awe-inspiring blogging will happen in the paragraphs below. What key learnings (God, I hate that phrase…so corporate and annoyingly smug) will you walk away with in the five minutes it will take you to read my first Mermaid blog? (And being the optimist that I am, I assume you’re still reading).

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride

Writers talk a lot about finding time to write.  I’m one of the writers who works a full-time job outside the home.  I’m a librarian and not because I love to read (that’s for another blog).  It’s enough to say I have to find time to write.  Or make time.

There were years when I couldn’t make any commitment at all to a writing schedule.  Family, illness (I’m an MS patient), career, and a loooong commute all conspired against a writing career.  Now, though, the kids are grown, the MS is under control and I’ve changed my schedule so I can take the train to my job in the Bronx.  No car, no every 6-week oil changes, no zillion $$ in gas each month.  And almost ten hours a week to sit back, think and (gasp) write.

Riding the train is all about the schedule – the minutes it takes to get from here to there.  My schedule puts me…
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Join Me on the Nothing’s Impossible Carousel!

In three days, I will celebrate an anniversary.  There won’t be any champagne toasts, no moonlit stroll, not even a single long stem, red rose….Well, actually there is one of those.  It’s rather permanent and its garden is very secret.  Only a handful have ever seen it.

This anniversary is of the day, five years ago this Saturday, when I learned for myself, that nothing is impossible.

I remember getting the phone call from the late Darrell Ives, (may his generous spirit rest in peace) as he boarded the band’s charter plane and let me know that he and the guys were on their way to me.  He mentioned where they were staying and asked me to meet him at the venue.  My heart had landed somewhere between my toes.  I was about to meet my musical heroes of the last twenty years and their head security man had just spoken to little ole me like I was a…
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Waterlogged

I like to read in the bathtub.

In fact, reading a good book in a nice, warm bubble bath is on my list of favorite things to do. Sure, I’m a writer, but I was a reader first. And trust me, there is no better place to read than in the bathtub. (Except for maybe the beach. Hmmm….)

But reading in the bathtub is not a simple process. Many years of plotting and field research have contributed to my idea of a perfect evening. So here are my thoughts on this sacred ritual.

What to Read Now, I don’t have to read a Nora Roberts (swoon) novel, although it is preferred. However, since I have pretty much read all of Nora’s books at this point, I’ve had to branch out.

Hard covers? I don’t think so. Hard covers are for bubble bath virgins. Unless you have impressive arm strength, or are some kind of martyr, this is just…
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