Tuesday, October 25, 2005


It's finally autumn in Alabama, with chilly breezes and cloudy skies. We turned the heat on at work for the first time yesterday, and I gave into the inevitable and put away my sandals until spring or the next warm day, whichever comes first.

October has always been one of my favorite months. September in Alabama is still summer with all its heat and humidity, but October brings cold snaps and changing leaves. Alabama versus Tennessee on a mild October Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Little kids in costumes knocking on your door and asking for candy, bringing back a thousand childhood memories.

October is pumpkins and haunted hayrides, growing shadows in the afternoon and condensation on your windshield in the morning. October smells different, like fallen leaves and the first hint of woodsmoke. The color of the day is different, the light cooler and more distant, the sun a lover who has not yet abandoned you for the delights of the other side of the world—but his eyes are starting to wander.

I fell in love for the first time in October, on a cold, crisp night in late October. Some friends and I had gone out to the boondocks to a "haunted" barn and talked the folks running the show to let us dress up and play monsters in the exhibit. Afterwards, the boy I really liked held my hand as cheesy eighties love songs played on the radio. It never went anywhere, much, but you never forget your first love.

I think I'm going to set my new book in October, this brief, golden time between hellish heat and relentless chill.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bloggy Goodness

Since I'm waiting to hear from my editor on my revisions and a second project, and I'm only in the planning stages of my next manuscript, and nothing else is going on much with me, I'm having trouble coming up with anything to blog about. So I think I'll direct you over to The Bandwagon, where Mary got good news. Or to Booksquare, which always has something interesting going on. The Knight Agency Blog is chock full 'o good stuff for writers, and there's always Romancing the Blog.

Or you could check out my website and sign up for my newsletter. Once every month or so I'll send out an update of what's going on with me. No obligation and you can quit anytime! Can't beat that deal!

Monday, October 17, 2005

That'n Makes Me Cry

Stealing shamelessly from Mary at The Bandwagon, who linked to this jewel of an anecdote.

It takes a lot to make me cry. That story did it--and in such a good way.

My hero is a heroine--my mother, who withstood my oh-so-pragmatic father's attempts to squelch my dreams of being a writer and never lost faith in my talents and my drive. She's the one who tirelessly took my contest entries to the post office over the past couple of years because the hours at our little local post office clashed with my work hours. The postal clerks know her by name! And she was the first person I tried to call when I found out I sold.

Who's your writing hero?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Catching up on stuff I've posted about before...

Mom Update - She's doing really well. She even got up this morning and cooked breakfast, which she never used to do much of before the surgery. Honestly, she did better after the surgery than I did, and I was only 29 years old at the time. Mom's almost 72. Tough lady, my mom. I aspire to be more like her.

Vegetable Garden Update: Well, of the long-frozen seed packets I planted, three survived and thrived. The Tommy Toes and the crookneck squash didn't make it, although the squash gave it a good try. But the Atkinson tomatoes, the eggplant and the bell peppers all thrived and all three are still putting out fruit. I think my mom plans to pick the eggplants today to make a casserole or something. The bell peppers and tomatoes we've already been eating.

Book Update: No word yet from my editor about the FORBIDDEN TERRITORY revisions I sent about a month ago, and no word on the second manuscript she's considering (WILD CARD). I'm currently working on writing a working synopsis for my WIP, DANGEROUS PURSUITS, which is a sequel to FORBIDDEN TERRITORY.

LOST Update: I think the tough girl's gonna give Freckles a run for her money where Sawyer's concerned. Although, based on all the gaggy cute Jack/Kate moments last night, maybe I'm in the minority of those who like Sawyer/Kate better. Why do I do this to myself? Mulder and Scully should have cured me...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Who You Gonna Call?

Let me preface what I'm about to say by admitting that I'm a skeptic about all things paranormal. I believe in God, but not so much in ghosts, psychics, or the like. (Don't get me started on "orbs" and "vortices"). Most of the so-called paranormal activity people talk about has a perfectly logical, scientific explanation.

Still, to quote Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I like the idea that there's a whole world outside our physical world that most people just can't see, and that there are a few rare, blessed/cursed people who can see what the rest of us can't. It's why I made Lily, the heroine of my book FORBIDDEN TERRITORY, a psychic. It's why I loved THE X-FILES, why I like LOST and MEDIUM, why I love to watch shows like MOST HAUNTED on the Travel Channel.

And it's why GHOST HUNTERS is one of my favorite "reality" shows. Airing on Sci Fi, GHOST HUNTERS features two mild-mannered plumbers named Jason and Grant, who head TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society. They and their band of merry men and women go out on ghost hunts, armed with cameras, sensors and a decent amount of skepticism. They approach every "haunting" as if to debunk it, their theory being that if they do the skeptic's work for him, they're a lot closer to proving the paranormal exists than if they claimed every dust speck and chilly draft is evidence of ghostly activity.

The downside of their approach is that they rarely find any evidence on their investigations. But what they do find gives you a nice little chill down your spine, and the drama of their interpersonal relationships keeps fans interested even when the ghosties don't show up.

Another downside is that it airs opposite LOST. However, it replays at 11 pm Central, and also at 7 pm Central a week later, before the new ep airs at 8 pm Central. If you're like me, and you get a kick from things that go bump in the night, give it a look.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What if I Run Out of Ideas?

I've heard a million times that writers never run out of ideas, they just run out of time to write.

Has the opposite ever been true? I know I used to be full of ideas for books, but as I've been seriously trying to structure my writing time more, in order to better meet self-imposed (and externally imposed) deadlines, I find myself curiously bereft of ideas that really get me excited. Am I causing my own mental block by focusing on writing for publication? But if I don't focus on that aspect of the business, will I ever produce books quickly enough in quantity enough to be successful?

Am I just overthinking this???

Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday Catch-up

Well, my mother is safely home from the hospital, although it took until Saturday to get her home. She's not having too much trouble from the surgery herself, but all the bed rest seemed to have messed up her arthritic knee, so that walking around is painful and difficult, at least for now. She'll be getting an orthopedic referral soon and, we hope, they'll be able to figure out how to fix the knee.

Over the weekend I received the first installment of my advance for FORBIDDEN TERRITORY and a copy of the signed contract. It all feels a little more official now! Still waiting to hear from my editor about the revisions I sent--once they're accepted, I get the second installment of the advance.

She's also looking at WILD CARD, but I don't think there's any way she'll be able to buy it as an Intrigue. It was conceived as an Intimate Moments, and it would be very hard to revise it to fit the requirements of an Intrigue, I think. I know she can buy for Intimate Moments, but will she want my second book out to be in a completely different line? I have my doubts. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Lost viewers...would you have pushed the button or not?

After careful thought, I think I would, because of the ticking clock. But you'd better be sure I'd put my best tech guy on figuring out in the next 108 minutes what the heck that button actually does.

How about you?

And by the way, Lost showrunners? MORE SAWYER. Sooner rather than later. In copious quantities.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Mom Update

My mother's endoscopy successfully removed the remaining gallstone and she's back in her hospital room, awake and relatively alert. Barring complications, she's on track to be home from the hospital tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who kept my mom in your thoughts and prayers.

Update to the update:

Well, it's going to be Friday before my mom comes home. She failed her first solid food test this morning (promptly threw up), so they want to let her have the rest of today to get her stomach used to eating again. However, other than that, she's doing well, and when she's not drugged up on the anti-pain/anti-nausea stuff, she sounds more and more like her old self.

So I Had This Dream . . .

Had another vivid dream last night. I, along with probably about two hundred other people, ended up stranded in a deserted city. No cars, trains, boats or any other form of transportation, and there was a sea around our little island city. Sort of like a civilized Lost—power grid was working, clean, running water, etc. (Apparently even in my dream world, I'm a soft, pampered urbanite without much stomach for hiking the wilderness). So we had all the basic civilized amenities except transportation off the island and communication with the outside world.

And in keeping with the Lost theme, Sayid (Naveen Andrews) was on the island city, and we had a sort of tense "will they or won't they?" sexual tension going on. He was in among the three or four people in charge, doling out responsibilities. And for some reason (I think just to put distance between us because he was disturbed by his passion for me) he assigned me on a scout team to go explore the rest of the island city while he and the others set about figuring out how to keep the island's resources going as long as possible.

I protested loudly, pointing out that in my "real" life, I was a thinker, not a trekker, and that my talents were better used there with them than trekking about the island city. But he would have none of it. His eyes were saying yes, but his mouth was saying no.

And then I woke up.

Of course, I'm still trying to figure out why my dream starred Sayid instead of Sawyer (Josh Holloway)...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Writing Through Stressful Times

I apparently can't, if the last few days are any indication. Maybe if I were in the middle of a WIP it would be different, but I'm still in the plotting process on my newest WIP, so I'm getting nowhere while I wait to hear if my mom's surgery went okay.

Maybe once it's over, the creative bug will bite again.


Mom made it through surgery just fine, but there's a gall stone stuck in her bile duct, so they're going to have to go in and get it endoscopically. That means it'll probably be Thursday or Friday before she comes home.

She's lucky they caught it; I had a stone floating around in my system after surgery that finally blocked a pancreatic duct and had one last, nasty bout of post-surgery pancreatitis before it was all over with. Hopefully, Mom will avoid that unpleasant surprise.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Owie Ow Ow

My mother had to go to the hospital last night with severe abdominal pain that has turned out to be gallstones. Ouch—been there, done that, got the laparoscopy scars. Gallstones is one of those ailments that make you willing to undergo surgery without anesthetic just to get the blasted thing out of you.

Looks like they're going to try to do a laparoscopic gall bladder removal tomorrow if everything goes well. Assuming they can do the laparoscopy, which isn't a given, she should be able to go home Wednesday. In a week or so she'll be back to her old self, it my experience is anything to go by.

As surgeries go, gall bladder removal isn't the most dangerous, but any surgery is dangerous, so I hope you'll keep my mom in your thoughts and prayers.

And owie ow ow #2: anybody watch the Alabama/Florida game Saturday on CBS? Roll Tide and all that, but daaaaaang, did they have to show the slow-mo replay of Tyrone Prothro's tibia and fibula breaking??? Nearly tossed my lunch. The good news is that it wasn't his ankle, which can be a much tougher injury to recover from, but that's about all the good news you can find in that kind of an injury.

(For those who didn't watch the game Saturday, search your memories for Joe Theissman's leg break a few years back. Ewwww—see what I mean?)